Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Feeling Crafty?

If you have had it with the finger paints, glue sticks, and construction paper and are looking for a different type of craft to do with the kids, pick up a copy of this month's Chicago Parent and check out my article about wet felting.

My kids loved this project . . .. but not as much as I did.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Don't Go!

Do you think that it is odd that I have actual sadness over Labor Day's approach? I am seriously sad about September's arrival and all that it brings. I know that September has lots to offer and I will get in the mood for pumpkin bread and sweaters soon enough, but I am not ready for it now.

I don't want Ellie to go back to school. I don't want to make soup. I am downright depressed to see some of my plants winding down for the season. I wish the temperature wouldn't go down into the sixties at night. I don't know what I am going to do when the pools and beaches close next week. Probably cry a little bit.

I have not had my fill of summer yet.

I still want to eat three meals a day on my porch. I want to lounge in the yard and weed and admire my thriving vegetable garden. I am going to continue to wear flip flops every day and night. I want the baby pool to become a permanent fixture. For the first time in my life, I have a near-perfect tan. Instead of spending dark fall afternoons making muffins, I want to work outside and paint more lovely decorations for the garden (like these masterpieces from my little artists).
Damn you, seasons.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Perfect Summer Lunch

I am up to my ears in tomatoes. Between my garden and my CSA box, I have red slicing tomatoes, green tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and saladette tomatoes.

I have to eat at least a tomato a day to keep up. And I am doing so - happily. My favorite preparation is a simple caprese salad for lunch -- eaten on my porch in the sunshine.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Boy, Oh Boy!

This is the new man in my life. Here he is giving us a wave during our ultrasound last week (where he kicked and flipped and rolled like a crazy baby). We are all so excited to meet him.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beauty at the Beach

We are all going to miss our excursions to the Foster Avenue Beach -- especially Ellie. Oh summer, why do you have to go?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Peeked

I saw the leafy green tops getting bigger and bigger. I assumed that actual carrots were growing somewhere down there. But I had to see for myself.
And look what I found . . . actual carrots growing in my back yard. They need another thirty days or so, but I think that I am looking at a bumper carrot crop for the fall. Yippee!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fall Already?

I absolutely cannot believe that it is time to start thinking about back-to-school and fall activities already. If you are starting to make your plans for the next few months, check out the Fall issue of Going Places Magazine. Going Places is designed to help families find local, affordable and fun activities. And trust me, the magazine has the most comprehensive events calendar for the Chicago area that you are going to find.

I have two pieces in the fall issue out this week: Throwing the Perfect Fall Party and Make the Most of the Last Days of Summer. Pick a copy up when you see one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sweet Emma

The newest addition to our family -- my five-day-old niece Emma.
She is a beauty.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pools and Potty Training

Here are links to a few other things I have been working on (when I can make myself sit at a computer rather than in my backyard).

Check out the Chicago Moms Blog where I am voicing my confusion over potty training someone with a penis.

And over at Parenting Squad, I am sharing happy reflections on my summer with my kiddos (and go ahead and leave a comment if you wouldn't mind -- it feels like a ghost town over there).

Friday, August 8, 2008

The View Out My Back Door

Just a few of the beautiful things I will be enjoying this weekend.
I hope that your summer weekend is filled with things equally as lovely.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Box is Back!

Because of some harsh growing conditions in the Midwest this spring and summer, my CSA box went on a two week hiatus (they added two weeks on to the end of season to compensate us).

But after two long weeks of missing the box, we were rewarded yesterday! Here is what we got (and my thoughts on how I am going to use everything).

  • green peppers
  • Diva cucumber
  • carrots
  • bottle onions
  • garlic
  • sweet corn
  • yellow watermelon
  • cauliflower
  • giant kohlrabi
  • new potatoes
  • eggplant
  • lacinato kale
The watermelon is already gone -- we had it for dessert last night.
The great thing about the garlic, carrots, and potatoes is that you don't need to be in any particular rush to use them.
I am going to roast some of the green peppers to have with chorizo and queso blanco quesadillas tonight.
More green pepper, slices of the giant kohlrabi, cucumber and a carrot or two will be part of my lunch tomorrow, alongside some hummus or dip (trying to get lots and lots of veggies to my new babe).
I am going to roast the last green pepper, the eggplant, and the bottle onions (along with maybe a squash and red pepper) for a "roasted ratatouille" to go with steak on Saturday night.
The corn on the cob is going to be devoured with cheeseburgers on Friday evening.
I have become totally addicted to new potatoes, boiled and served with only salt, pepper, butter and chopped parsley -- so simple and tasty. I am going to save these to have with seared halibut on Sunday night.
Cauliflower is always a tricky one for me -- probably best to turn in into some sort of Ina Garten-inspired gratin with gruyere sauce and some toasted breadcrumbs. Maybe Monday night with grilled chicken.
Which brings us to the last man standing -- the lacinato kale. What to do? What to do? I prefer kale in a soup so maybe I will make a brothy white bean and bacon soup with chopped kale for dinner on Tuesday (when it is supposed to be rainy and not ninety degrees).
Sounds good.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Making Art From the Recycling Bin

I have a new piece in the August issue of Chicago Parent about creating beautiful artwork from items you have around your house. Two of the project ideas are Olympic-themed so check them out for the Opening Ceremonies this Friday.

This is a photo of Ellie modeling some of the finished projects. Where would I be without my little muse and able assistant? She is the sweetest girl.
When she is older, I hope that she remembers fondly the times that we spent painting, cutting, building and creating together. I know that I will.

Friday, August 1, 2008


In my yard.

In my house.

August is here already? I feel like I spend nine months dreaming and longing for summer and then it passes me by before I know it. With that in mind, I am focusing my energies this month on soaking up, devouring, and relishing every bit of summer goodness.

At the close of August, I want to feel like I captured all of the sand, sun, splashing and celebrating there was to be had.

Today, I am starting with an ode to my hydrangeas (which I took to be no good this year until a few weeks ago when they finally started their belated, but beautiful blooming).