Thursday, July 25, 2013

~Idle Summer Moments~

Basket napping.

Capturing light . . .

color on color

and bursting blooms.

Taking time for cups of Earl Grey . . .

and enjoying the view from my chair.

 Door wide open, . . . cool air wafts in, sunlight dances . . . and the neighborhood owl sounds out his familiar 

Tired boys sleep late and leave me to peaceful mornings alone.

Lazy boys bask in their idle summer days.

Already the end of July and the fleeting feeling of it all has me overwhelmed. So many 'must do' projects to take care of. And so many 'pack 'em in' activities as well. Whatever happened to the lazy days of summer? 
So far, this summer has been so very different from the idle ones I'm used to. I've been working myself as much as I can . . . trying to finish things and tie up loose ends before the fall hits 
and my Youngest heads off to his first year of Middle School. 
And my Oldest begins his last year of Middle School. 
And this Mama starts to look for a job after 14 years at home.
A summer of transition.
But also, a summer worth making memories in . . . and slowing down for; to capture simple, unplanned idle moments. 
Seeking them because I know they're there.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

~This Week's Blues~

Blue #1:

Okay, they aren't technically blue, but I was feeling blue (read: too hot, achy, grumpy, pmsy, depressed, generally unpleasant to be around) earlier this week and the Husband brought an offering
to appease the beast. 
He also bought himself a 22oz beer- go figure.

Blue #2:

And these are truly blue . . . two new (to me) vintage thrift store plates for the kitchen plate rack. Love blue and white. Love the flowers. Love vintage. Love that they were 50 cents a piece!
Did I mention I loved them?

Blue #3:

Well, yes- the Oldest does appear a bit blue here, but the real blue we're talking is blueberry . . . as in Blueberry Yogurt Cake. I've been meaning to try this recipe for years now, and yesterday he and I gave it a try.

There was lots of chopping . . .

and bowl licking . . .

spreading . . .

sprinkling . . .

and waiting to be baked through.

And it was worth the wait!

The Husband raved over this one . . . and considering baked goods aren't his thing (he would happily survive on a beer-only diet) that says a lot about this little cake.
I think it's great because with the blueberries, walnuts and yogurt I can convince myself it's health food.

Oh, and it's also perfect with coffee . . . if it lasts long enough to make a pot.

~Blueberry Yogurt Cake~
(from July 2006 Sunset magazine)

1/2 cup plus 2 tblsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 lg eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp each baking soda and salt
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cram 1/2 cup butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

2. In medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Add yogurt, and mix; gently stir in blueberries.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts. Pour half cake batter into a buttered and floured 8 inch pan. Sprinkle half the brown sugar mixture and top with remaining batter.

4. Combine the remaining brown sugar mixture with 2 tblsp butter (crumble with fingers) and then sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean- about 45 minutes.


Monday, July 15, 2013

~Summer is . . .~

. . . a vintage bowl of cherries . . .

. . . cats wanting out and back in . . . out . . . in . . . out . . . in . . .

. . . lemon squares to share with friends . . .

. . . lacey hydrangeas bigger than my hand . . . 

. . . lazy back-porch loungers . . .

. . . Mediterranean strip steak grilled to perfection . . .

 . . . freshly planted annuals in the windowbox . . .

. . . the mudroom entrance squeaky clean . . .

. . . and vintage linen as an impromptu curtain . . .

. . . blueberry picking . . .

. . . and eating . . .

. . . outdoor evenings . . . 

. . . enjoying the view.

And summer- today in fact- also marks two years of blogging for me!
It's been lots of fun to look back along the journey . . . here's my very first post if anyone would like a glance.
Happy summer! 


Thursday, July 11, 2013


Gladioli . . .

lost in a sea of daisies.
Making me very glad indeed.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

~A Hiking Story~

It was just a regular Sunday afternoon. 
Beautiful day. A bit cloudy but we were confident it would burn off as the day wore on.
Out to The Gorge we drove and within an hour we found ourselves at Beacon Rock State Park. Time for a family hike. A couple of hours all together out in God's beautiful creation was just what we needed.
The sun was now shining and the trail sign said only 1.8 miles to the waterfalls.
We headed out, the Oldest in the lead, the Husband with the water and the red vines and the Youngest and myself somewhere at the rear. It wasn't long until the falls. And they were lovely, but we just weren't ready to turn around so soon.
But, what's this? 
Another sign reading: "Hamilton Mountain 3.6 miles"
What's another 3.6 miles when the day is still young?
Well, what it is is another 3.6 miles straight up. And up. And up.
And when you are really up, the trail branches off into two ways and two signs-
one way named 'difficult' and the other (pointing to a near vertical path) is named as 'more difficult'.
At this point Mom is a bit tired and kinda needs to pee. Against the wishes of the other three it is the 'difficult' trail that is chosen.
But after another hour and more of up, up, up we come to realize that though not as difficult as the other trail, this one just happens to be much, much longer to the top of Hamilton Mountain. And the males rally together that the very top is where we must go. So much for only another 3.6 miles.
After more than three hours of hiking we finally summit the blasted mountain and find ourselves surrounded by awe-striking views.
Very Excellent.
We finish the little water left. Scarf down the one granola bar each. Pose for pictures . . . and get the heck off of the mountain. 
The husband decides that the faster way to get down is by the 'more difficult' trail we avoided earlier.
Down we go. Straight down and sometimes down quite by accident as the rocks beneath us slide around under our feet. 
It's getting late.
We're starving
I need to pee like no one's business, my legs are literally jello at this point and we have hours to go until we see the lovely silver gleam of our car.
As I glare at the males tromping down the mountain ahead of me I make it clear that I am not making dinner tonight.
They shrug and murmur the 'p' word.
Hours after our summit, we praise God that there is still light and we see our car parked right where we left it. 
I nearly cry with joy.
Actually, the cry of joy really came when I spotted the campground restroom. Never thought I'd be so happy to use one of those.
We head back home with thoughts of 9pm pizza dinner floating through our heads.
I take the shoes off my swollen feet. 
The Youngest tells us how much he hates hiking. 
The Oldest passes out in the backseat. 
And Husband notices the gas light is on.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

~My Red, White and Blue~

We had a really lovely Independence Day. Last minute plans took the get together to our house . . . it was low key and simple. Just my parents came and we enjoyed our first grilled burgers of the season, fresh and tasty salads, the firepit, fireworks and (my favorite 4th tradition) hot fudge sundaes- complete with a cherry on top! The Youngest was the pyrotechnic for the evening . . . he took charge with gusto, arranging the order of our little firework show and even lighting most of them. And his older brother went along with it without a word. I couldn't have asked for it to go better.