Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Speaking of Safaris

How cool would it be to have your own safari tent set up in your backyard? All that's missing is the bug zapper and a few giraffe.

El Capitan Canyon safari tent pictured above. Get rates and an overview of the El Capitan Cayon camping experience at Sunset.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunflower Safari

We went on a Sunflower Safari this weekend. We didn't have to search very hard to find them. There were 40 acres of bright yellow flowers to look at during our walk through the Duke Farms.

The sunflowers are being grown in partnership with the NJ Audubon Society and will be harvested and sold as bird seed. We are definitely going to support the program and buy some at our local Agway after the harvest.

Our safari adventure was the perfect activity for an overcast day. The bright yellow faces of the sunflowers made it feel like a sunny day.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Recession Fun # 14: Baking a Classic

We bought new baking sheets last weekend to replace ones well past their prime. there was a picture of chocolate chip cookies on the wrapping and my daughter said "cookies with brown spots - my favorite!"

I felt bad because she's mentioned this before but I always seem to buy Graham Crackers instead. Maybe because store bought chocolate chips seem so unhealthy and well like real junk food.

So this weekend one of our projects is going to be baking a batch of real Toll House Cookies. Yummy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Endless Summer

There's a feeling in the air that summer is winding down and yet, I also feel as if it's barely begun. Maybe it's that the garden has never really taken off after the deer attacks or there has been one too many rainy weekends. It could be there were too many chore filled days without a sense of just hanging out. Maybe I expected to get more done.

It didn't help not to have a real vacation. Next year no matter what I'm planning a week off in the heart of the summer. Today, I'm envying people like surfers who live in places and have a mind set that is summer centric. I could use a dose of endless summer.

The beautiful surfing images are tintypes by Joni Sternbach for her SurfLand series.

Let's Join The Circus

My daughter was tight rope walking the other night along the metal support of her canopy bed. She would hold on to the dresser and steady her self before edging towards me and using my shoulder for support before shimming to the bed post at the end of the bed. She would grab it with great relief , a satisfied sigh and a look of pride each time she made it across. She was really enjoying her death defying feats.

I'm very tempted to indulge her inner circus performer with one of these Cirkustalt tents from Ikea. How much fun to have a circus tent of one's own? Ever want to join the circus?

Cirkustalt tent available at Ikea.
Sells Floto Circus Poster various available on eBay.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stormy Weather


The grey skies and soggy nature of the last few days have made me think of the sea.

Thomas Sandall Light House Lamps available at Zero.
Meteor Print 19th century engraving of the Perseids via Even Cleveland.
Heart and Anchor Mourning Brooch via Momublog.
Moby Dick Collectors Edition by Herman Melville available at Amazon.

All the Rain in London

It feels as if all the rain in London poured down on us this weekend and the weather report for the week ahead is none too promising. Time to think up some more indoor activities. This past weekend we made Thai Chicken Curry, Blueberry Pirate Muffins (they had pirate cupcake liners), and traded off between watching House Hunter's International and Shaun the Sheep. What's your favorite rainy day activity?

It's Raining, It's Pouring

It's raining, it's pouring.

The old man is snoring,

He went to bed and bumped his head,

And he couldn't get up in the morning.

I've known the first two lines of this nursery rhyme since I was little and taught them to my daughter recently. This weekend we were repeating it in the car as the rain came down, and she asked me what the rest of the song was. I had no idea, so I looked it up today and was a little surprised. It's a little on the grim side. I guess a lot of nursery rhymes are though.

All Creatures Large and Small

Some pictures from the 4H fair. Little rabbits, a calf, the little one, a fancy rooster, black sheep, white sheep!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Affordable Luxuries #12: Glass Juice Squeezers

We have an old classic glass juice squeezer that has been in the kitchen cabinet forever. Definitely nothing fancy or overly designed, but it does the job.

Wednesday night we made fresh OJ because the little one spotted it on the counter. It was after work, late and I was exhausted but couldn't bear to say no. She was saying she wanted orange juice, but I suspected she more interested in the process than the outcome. She just wanted to squeeze the oranges and I was going to end up having to drinking the juice.

But she surprised me again. She declared "I like orange juice." Real orange juice is not something she drinks, the closest thing being Juicy Juice orange or orange soda. I blame the orange soda habit on her uncle. She developed a taste for it when he visited us from Virginia and did the shopping. Anyway, she ended up downing two glasses of fresh squeezed juice. I was delighted.

Our juice squeezing activity reminded how much she is growing up. She wanted to do it all by herself. I ended up having to help of course. It was too difficult for little hands. But break a mother's heart, her little hands are not so little anymore. As I watched her, I saw the growing coordination and determination in her now little girl hands.

I was also reminded how tasty real orange juice is. A classic juice squeezer is an affordable luxury, so is forgetting you are tired, giving in and making your little one happy.

Jade glass juice squeezer available at Cypress Home Decor which has a pretty cool selection of Depression style glassware.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Recession Fun #13: Country Fairs

We are looking forward to going to our local 4-H fair. The tents have been set up and we're off to the fair tomorrow. We're going to enjoy wandering through the tents of bunnies and goats. We'll probably wait on a ridiculously long line for face painting and finish up in the food tent for some fair food.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Orange Crush

Sunday night I actually took time to make a decent meal as we unpacked the groceries.It was a recipe that I had bookmarked in a copy of Bon Appetit that focused on Italian Food. There was a really nice article on pastas with several recipes I'm planning on working my way through.

I chose to start with Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange. The combination of orange and prosciutto seemed risky but it all worked out deliciously. It was like a delicious Carbonara with a citrus twist. I love when I find a recipe I want to cook again.

I'm copying the recipe here in case I lose it.

Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange

•Kosher salt
•12 oz. egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh)
•2 Tbsp. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
•2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1" pieces
•Zest and juice of 1 orange
•1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
•Freshly ground black pepper
•1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

•Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente, about 2 minutes for fresh pasta, longer for dried. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.
•Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
•Add reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest, and cream; bring to a boil. Add pasta; cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and divide among warm bowls. Sprinkle remaining orange zest over pasta.

Commuter Fun

There's not a lot that is fun about my commute. I take two trains and a subway each way. The best I can say is that I can use the time to read , or crochet or write. The stations I transfer at are not particularly pleasant space. Crowded, dirty, with cheesy businesses and stresses out fellow commuters.

So what's not to love about this "transfer accelerator" at a subway station in the city of Utrecht? How much fun would it be, to avoid running down the stairs at a life risking pace, and slide like a kid to your subway? Not only is the slide an effective accelerator, it's a clever reminder that life should be fun. A perhaps deliberately subversive reminder to commuters in the midst of the adult rat race to remember the child within.

Hats off to HIK Ontwerpers the firm who designed the slide.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Love You a Bushel and a Peck

Our little song. We like sing the first few lines to each other as we walk or play or swim. Maybe with practice we'll learn the whole song.

From the Musical "Guys And Dolls"
(Frank Loesser)

I love you a bushel and peck
A bushel and peck and a hug around the neck
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap and I'm talking in my sleep
About you, about you

Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your pretty neck, I do
Doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle oo
I love you a bushel and peck
A bushel and peck though you make my heart a wreck
Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess
Make my life a mess, yes
A mess of happiness
About you, about you

Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your pretty neck, I do
Doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle oo
I love you a bushel and peck
A bushel and peck and it beats me all to heck
Beats me all to heck and I'll never tend the farm
Never tend the farm when I wanna keep my arm
About you, about you

Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your pretty neck, I do
Doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle oo

Friday, August 5, 2011

Affordable Luxuries # 11: Le Pen by Marvy Uchida

I've been writing my lists and notes with an amethyst Le Pen by Marvy Uchida that I bought the other day. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Le Pen is such a funny name, very 70's a la Haagen Daz. Probaly an advertising stroke of genius in its time. Now a days it's hard to even find them in a store. But if you spot one, snap it up and really enjoy some good old fashioned handwritng.

Here's another online source. I want to buy the 18 pk.

Bat House Extraordinaire

I'm really taken by the humor and pure fun of Flederhaus, a public work by Heri & Salli for the city of Vienna. A perfectly playful space for the city that brought the world Die Fledermaus.

The current economy seems so dire and restrictive with no room for play or humor. This piece of public art is a perfect reminder that life should be fun and funny, that there's a need for repose and that art makes life better.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rock and Roll Wedding

If Kate Middleton's wedding was the height of elegance, stately and fittingly royal, then Kate Moss's nuptials were the height of rock and roll chic. Parts glamorous, edgy and a little rough around the edges.

I'm not a huge fan of wedding photos but when I saw a pic of Kate Moss and her leading man to be Jamie Hinch in the rehearsal dinner attire, I was drawn to how cool they looked. Also how in love they appeared. I loved her hippie style dress and rocking blue boots. Hinch's form fitting suit and equally rocker boots weren't bad either.

The photo definitely piqued my curiosity about what her wedding dress would look like. Gorgeously vintage was the answer. I would describe the look as part twenties film star part glittery mermaid. My favorite bit was the veil, old fashioned and romantic.

It certainly all cost a fortune, but the whole look of the wedding party benefits from the feeling that they just threw on some fancy dress up clothes they found in a trunk. Kate's undone hairdo added to the who cares we know we are beautiful vibe. Hurrah too, for the appropriately sweet bridal party dresses and the beautiful backdrop of Cotswolds.

Summer Greens

It's easy to take green for granted during the summer, but I'm trying to soak it in. I think back to how stark and long the winter was this year and I want summer to go on and on. Green is good.


Here are a few photos from our balloon watching. It really is glorious watching them rise up into the evening sky. I'd like to muster the courage to go up in one, but I think a person who finds ferris wheels terrifyingly high, is not the ideal candidate. Luckily one gets the sense of soaring even as a spectator on the ground.