Saturday, September 28, 2013

A walk in the woods

We've been trying to get as much out of the early fall weather as we can. Last winter was long and dark and at any given time one of us was sick. So while we've been excited about the coming season, the colors, the sweaters and the soups, as well as Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am not looking forward to what comes after all of that. Months of dreary, grey skies, cooped up kids and adults, and a long wait for the spring. That is probably what has prompted almost daily trips to the local park for mini hikes.


A picture of my children, once a week, every week in 2013. 
Early Saturday walk in the local park- just before the rain came. Reed and Siena have always got along, but recently they have been so good together- I get so happy just watching them be.
As always, inspired by and joining in with Jodi over at

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumn is here

And with that an overwhelming urge to can or jar something or another. An early morning trip to the farmer's market resulted in way too many tomatoes and since in our family pizza, pasta and other things requiring tomato sauce are almost a daily occurrence what better thing to do than make tomato sauce. Everyone has their own favorite recipe for this I am sure. My favorite recipe relies almost exclusively on the awesomeness of the tomatoes, with a tiny bit of help of spices and some sweetness to cut through all that acidity. There is something lovely about opening a jar of your own tomato sauce to pour over spaghetti- even on the nights when all you can muster after working all day is boiling water- it still feels like a homemade, wholesome and sophisticated dinner. 
But of course just making tomato sauce wouldn't have satisfied my desire to commemorate the coming of autumn. So something pumpkin-y was in order. I came across a recipe recently for pumpkin spiced dried chick pea snack, which seemed like a lovely autumn snack, except that it required having pumpkin butter/jam on hand. Cue excuse to make pumpkin butter. I pretty much followed this recipe, but added a bit more ginger and I used apple cider instead of apple juice. The result was a lovely, rather spicy and utterly pumpkin-y spread. 
Tomorrow we are off to a local co-op's equinox party, which we greatly enjoyed last year (except for the incident with trying a pumpkin pie which was laced with lard)- filled with pumpkin carving, lively music, bonfire, apple cider and community garden exhibits. I hope all of this together with the cooperative weather will help us get into the fall spirit. 

5 tbs olive oil
20 medium sized tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
15 fresh large basil leaves
6 springs of fresh parsley
2 flat tbs light brown sugar (or maple syrup or leave out all together)
1/2 c white wine
2 tbs thyme
1 tbs tarragon
1 tbs coriander
salt and pepper to taste

Putting tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes is incredibly helpful for peeling them.
Sauté the onions and garlic, and then add the spices, both fresh and dried.
After the onions are translucent and the spices lightly toasted deglaze the pan with the white wine.
Add chopped up tomatoes (I do not de-seed them, you might want to depending on you preference- I find that having seed and chunks of tomatoes in the sauce makes it feel fresh whenever you eat it).
Finally, add some maple syrup or brown sugar, let it all simmer and reduce for 20-30 minutes.
Make sure you use safe canning/jarring techniques when storing the sauce, especially if you make a bigger batch.

We also made a blueberry jam from the blueberries we picked this summer


A portait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.
Siena and Reed-growing up- eating their own apples and practicing guitar. These two love being together and get along better than I ever could have imagine, largely due to Siena's patience. I love seeing them play and they do more of that everyday, so I thought it only fitting to do "mixed" portraits

Inspired by Jodi's 52 project over at

Saturday, September 14, 2013


A portait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013. 

Siena- learning to read has been a big part of her homeschooling and she seems so keen and ready
Reed-rare chance to watch him sleep- he has always napped in his crib or bassinet (unlike Siena who loved sleeping with us or on us)

Saturday, September 7, 2013


The summer has decided that September was a good time to flex its we've been (for the first time this whole summer) dealing with 90 and 100 degree weather for over a week with no sign of it stopping any time soon. Trying to keep it cool!

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.
Siena- keeping cool while doing some serious excavation work wearing mommy's sunnies. Lovely friends brought us amazing lunch and the girls enjoyed "discovering" dinosaurs in ice while looking rather smashing if you ask me
Reed- couldn't get enough of this home grown watermelon

As always inspired by and joining in with Jodi over at and her 52 project.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Too darn fast (in more than one way)

Lately, maybe because the work has started up again, I am more than usually (and that is saying something) nostalgic about the passing of the time. Reed is almost 17 months and not a baby anymore in so many ways. He runs, slides, scooters, cracks jokes, says a few words, feeds very little and has a clear personality. Luckily he is still a cuddle bug, the funniest, smiliest kid I have ever seen and that helps make him feel like he is still my little baby. Siena too has grown up so much. She is minutes away from reading, brave on adventures that she undertakes by herself, interested in some more serious issues of our world. Reed melts my heart almost every second of every day and reminds me of how much I loved this stage when Siena was growing out of babyhood. I wish I could remember more of that time. I wish I could bottle the way they smell and feel now. I wish I could take a million photographs. I wish I had more time and patience. But mostly I wish time would slow down just a tiny bit.

My favorite moments lately have been watching them play together. Recently, post bath, they have gotten into a habit of running around in circles, laughing hysterically, until they both fall to the ground, and then repeat the whole cycle. Since this is always happening after bath and after dinner, Reed's tummy is often distended and every once in awhile he seems to notice this giant thing running in front of him (his own belly). The fact that he always slows down a bit when he notices his belly is one of my favorites. On one occasion they decided that doing this whole routine while unravelling a skein of yarn would be a great idea. Needless to say that resulted in utter chaos.