Friday, June 28, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Garden Update

The garden is coming along. Unity is in a garden camp this week and has been learning all kinds of fun things about medicinal plants. She came home telling me about putting lavender on sprains and making tea out of lemon balm. 

                                              These are Unity's peas. She is proud of how they are doing.

Our spinach is going crazy. Lots of saag paneer in our house these days.

                                              And the cabbage too.

My friend Alisa gave me four bean seeds. This is the only one that took. 

                                       The potatoes are volunteers from our big year o' potato, 2010.
                                     The broccoli is hanging in there despite the onslaught of slug attacks.

                                    Picking berries, always a favorite.

                                       Just a couple cherries. They are hard, since their window of time for
                               pollination is so short.

                                     Blueberries are almost ready...

Raspberries are starting. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Super Tide

Because of this weekend's super moon, Monday was a super low tide. Brixton and I went out to the beach to look at tide pools and marvel at the endless seeming expanse of rocky beach. All kinds of things were uncovered that we don't usually see; lots of seaweed, crabs, sea anemones. I love the moody beauty of Washington beaches. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

Slightly more than six months ago, Chris told me he was worried he might be allergic to something. He went on the elimination diet and I was praying please let it be dairy. I'd been vegan for four years, before getting pregnant with Unity. Vegan doesn't scare me. Right before Thanksgiving we found out that he has a gluten allergy. Of course.

Ever since then, we have been venturing into the world of gluten free cooking and eating. It has been challenging. I am thankful that there are a lot more products on the market now than there used to be, but most of them just don't taste the same. It's been a big adjustment for Chris. A lot of his former favorites like bread and pasta are now more expensive and less fulfilling. But, we're working on it.

The kids and I are still eating foods with gluten, but I haven't been baking much, because it seems unfair to make tasty things that he can't eat. Recently I have been inching one toe into gluten free baking. far so good.

These muffins are a combination recipe: a gluten free pumpkin muffin recipe from Blackbird Bakery cookbook and the regular blueberry muffin recipe from the King Arthur Flour cookbook.

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons Xanthum gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
 Cream butter, sugar, salt. Add eggs. Add baking powder and dry ingredients. Beat in the milk.
Mash blueberries and add to batter. Stir in vanilla extract.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Finally- a blueberry muffin we can all enjoy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

the sights of summer

No, we didn't get a dog. We borrowed a neighbor's friendly puppy.
It was mutual admiration and bewilderment. 

Ok we are only three days in but I am so loving summer right now. 

Monday, June 17, 2013


 We don't often go to antique stores in the city. They are full of fancy and delicate and expensive things that just don't make sense for us. But there is a combo fruit stand slash antique barn out in Eastern Washington that we like. They have amazing cherry lemonade. And salt water taffy. And the antiques span the range from  old farmhouse furniture to classic 1980s VHS tapes and everything in between.

Chris decided he wanted to go there for his Father's Day adventure yesterday. So we went and snacked and wandered around. I found this cutting board that reminded me so much of some plates that my grandma used to have hanging in her kitchen. It's the same style of artwork and country wisdom kind of quotes. When I saw it, I was right back in her kitchen eating crackers and playing gin rummy. I love stuff like that.

The kids wanted to buy everything they saw of course, but finally they decided on these plastic horses. They each got one but I could only find one this morning. They chose to spend their own allowance money on them. The funny thing is that I once had the whole collection- back in my horse-obsessed days of my youth. I loved all the Marguerite Henry adventures and it seemed that each book had a plastic horse figure to match. Seriously, I had a whole herd of them in my bedroom. Easier than a real horse I guess.

So it was extra amusing for me to see the kids choose that very thing to buy. Guess I should have saved mine, but then of course they wouldn't have wanted them, right?

Friday, June 14, 2013

the first and the last

                        Hard to believe but it's true, Unity has now completed Kindergarten. Here she is holding the picture she teacher took of her on the first day, which they made into magnets and used for attendance. She looks so tiny in that picture. I guess she kind of was.

This year, wow. When I think of all the ways she's grown it blows my mind. She started out barely able to sound out a word and now she reads Fancy Nancy books comfortably by herself. Same thing for math- she's gone from doing just the basic counting works to doing addition, subtraction, number place, and the beginnings of telling time and counting money. (And speaking of, when did Kindergarten become the new first grade? Sheesh.) It's been such a huge year socially and emotionally as well.
The new friendships, the new building, learning how to interact in a big community of older kids. Despite the occasional inappropriate jump-rope song that made it's way home, we have really enjoyed watching who she is becoming in this new world of hers.

and now, summer. I am so looking forward to just hanging out and going to the library and meeting up with friends and eating breakfast in our pajamas. Summer, here we come.

Monday, June 10, 2013

the bunks

I don't think I've talked about this yet, how we put the bunks together. It's been a gradual  process, first putting the kids in the same room with the beds as singles and now putting them together as bunks. They still can't fall asleep in there at the same time, but that will come (soon I hope.)

I have lots of fond memories of sharing a bunk bed with my brother growing up. We played "radio station" where we sang a song until someone yelled "Switch" and you had to instantly sing a new song. We had stuffed animal fights, throwing them back and forth between the beds. Our bunks were also against the wall and I would slide down the wall until I ended up in his bed. Our parents would come up and tell us to go to sleep and we'd look at them with astonishment- "How did you know we were awake?" They must have had magical hearing we thought.

I might not tell my kids those exact stories, but I did tell them how much I liked having a bunk bed when I was kid, how I used to sing to my brother and when the storms came I told him elephants were bowling and he shouldn't be afraid. There's something about that kid space, the stories they create with each other in the dark when they're supposed to be sleeping.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Odds and Ends

Odds and ends of visits with Grandma Ann and with our friends Desi, Ada and Leia. These days have been a little crazy but fun with house guest and end of school projects and parties. 

We gave our old cloth diapers to the twins and their parents were glad to have them, seeing as they have two bottoms to cover. It was hard for me to give the diapers away, (yes, I know they are stinky and it's good to be done with them, but what happened to my babies who wore them?!?!) but it's easier for me to give them to friends and know they'll be put to good use.