Sunday, August 29, 2010

Random Pretties

These pictures are not of the same fact they are totally unrelated, other than that they caught my eye as I was browsing through my (very large) favorite house pics file on my laptop, while I was watching a really bad Netflix pick on a Saturday night.  I have nothing to say about them really other than I find them incredibly gorgeous and would be quite happy to call any of these places home.  Enjoy. 
Happy Sunday to you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Workin At The Car Wash

Dirty tractor, car, & wagon
Bucket filled with soapy water, two sponges, and able bodied workers

You've never seen attention to detail like this before
We're talking an hour maybe serious as you'll ever see him
(except for the climbing in the bucket move - he's embarrassed about that one. 
no such unprofessionalism will be tolerated in the future)
And there will be a future, because you can bet we'll be right back at it tomorrow. 
Better enjoy being barefoot, playing with water hoses, and hangin' out shirt-free while we still can.

Pretty Home In Sweden

Have you seen anything more lovey today?
(ok, technically I have, my boys are so much more lovely than any home,
but you know what I mean....)

Be still my heart. 
Laura Ashley pillows (on an Ikea couch I should add),
A chandelier lit by real candles....
The home owners are an English family - it shows.
I love the wallpaper - so cozy.

Charming kitchen. My favorite part of this house...
Those beautiful chandeliers, seem to be everywhere... 
Enjoyed your visit?  Me too! :)
Found here

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Day of School - 2nd Grade

Dear Andrew,

As I tucked you in and kissed you good night yesterday I prayed.

I prayed that this 8 year old boy of mine who uses word like "sweet" to describe things he really likes, but still needs a nightlight to keep monsters at bay when he's sleeping, knows  he is amazing

I prayed that you'll spend this year in the hands of a friendly, passionate teacher, that nurtures your curiosity & creativity

I prayed that you never lose the courage to be yourself 

I prayed for you to be in the company of kind playmates at recess

I prayed for you to have patience when things don't come easily

I prayed that second grade is a good, very good, year for you, that you are happy

I prayed that you'll still hold my hand when we walk to and from school
(and you did...thank you!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Play Me, I'm Yours

Cincinnati is currently participating in the "Play Me, I'm Yours" street piano program.  Not familiar?  You can read about it here.  We even have one right in the middle of our village square.  Tonight, we walked there after dinner and were treated to a very special concert.


Played with such passion & feeling....
When asked if he was taking requests, I was greeted by an "ummmm".  I guess he wasn't too sure...
But he tried his best and worked those keys.
Well, even if he didn't come close, we were still quite charmed by his smile.
I honestly think he thought he was playing his favorite song of lately.  Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star?  Ummm, no.  More like Club Can't Handle Me by Flo Rida.  Oh yes, this is what happens when your children have 6  years between them.  We aren't always listening to Disney tunes.  I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, but my baby's got some soul and is down with the R&B music.  What's a Mama to do?! (his second favorite song is the Bob the Builder Theme song though, so I suppose all is not lost!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Warm & Cozy Farmhouse

We are enjoying our last few days of summer vacation and some beautiful, humid-free, weather.  We've been spending this week at the pool, walking to the ice cream parlor (need to eat that peach ice cream before it's gone for the summer), and trying some yummy new recipes (will post later).  I've been leaving my 100 pound camera at home - so no family pics.  But I wanted to post this beautiful, warm & inviting home I saw this morning here by way of this blog.  Enjoy.  I pretty much could pack up our bags and move right in.

 Mighty pretty, no?!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to School Shopping for Boys

Am I the only one out there that loves boy clothes?!
Preppy, sporty, big stripes, cargo pants, khakis, argyle socks, cords, & baseball Ts...I love it all. Yes, there isn't a whole lot of variation from year to year (or generation to generation for that matter) but I look forward to updating their little wardrobes each year. I do most of my shopping online, or in places that have shopping carts to keep my Little Biscuit contained and my arms free. Plus there are some SUPER DUPER sales right now.

Here are some of my favorites for fall...

From Mini Boden, Old Navy, Crew Cuts, Lands End, and Polo

Monday, August 16, 2010

Apricot Crisp

Lately my primary source for new recipe inspiration comes from fellow bloggers.
This weekend it was this Apricot Crisp that I saw on Stephmodo last week.
It. Was. Fantastic.
and it's all gone. already.

I made a few changes based on what I had, I actually made mine closer to the original recipe, but didn't realize that till I pulled it up here.  It is one of the fastest fruit crisps I've ever made.

Here's the recipe with my changes:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup old fashion oats
1/2 cup chopped almonds
7 cups (original recipe calls for 5 cups) pitted and halved fresh apricots, do not peel. I used 1.5 pounds.
The juice of one fresh lemon juice
(1/4 cup granulated sugar - I didn't add this sugar, but will next time.  It was delish without, but apricots are very tart, so if you like your crisps sweeter then add the sugar) 

1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease an 8- by 8-in. baking pan. Melt butter and let cool. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and brown sugar. Stir in oats, raisins (if using), and pecans, then stir in melted butter.
2. Toss apricots with lemon juice (and granulated sugar if you use it) and spread in baking pan. Squeeze topping into shaggy chunks and scatter over apricots. Bake until bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes; cool at least 30 minutes, and serve with vanilla ice cream

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rounding out the week

It's been an ongoing Legopalooza in our home since Monday.
All of which occurs at the dining room table.  The only space big enough and out of Charlie's way.
Although, nothing is really out of harms way these days.  Once he's got his eye on something, watch out.
It doesn't help that he is a grumposaurus today.  He didn't sleep well in the night and is resisting his nap this morning.  Lots of tears.  Do 22 month olds cut teeth?!  I don't remember... 
This is my view of the kitchen window as I'm typing.  I love how my kitchen window sill can tell a whole story...The bunch of basil from yesterday's farmers market..the bottles I should have long ago weaned from Charlie...The cow creamer left there to dry after Christmas morning brunch that looked cute and has occupied the spot since, a Delft pitcher turned lamp I found in an abandoned corner at a local antique mall for a few dollars...a framed picture of my boys from Xmas Eve at my parents... some little potted tea roses as a thank you from a friend.  It looks different all the time.  It makes me happy in all its undecorated & cluttered glory!  Have a lovely weekend.
(looks like I'll be making some banana bread with my overripe bananas!)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A teeny bit obsessed

Oh my, how the loveliness that is Cabbages and Roses has escaped me until now is a mystery. With my professed love for all things English country and floral fabrics I'm not sure how I got along without this book. It faintly reminds me of the Laura Ashley Home catalogues of old but with a much smaller color and fabric range (hopefully they expand over time).

After hearing Christina Strutt on the Skirted Round Table last week, I rushed out to buy the book. (actually I sent my husband since we were on vacation and I make it a habit not to drive in places I am unfamiliar with since I manage to get lost all the time in places I AM familiar with...) When the book store didn't have it I ordered online and it was waiting for me when we returned. Welcome home...

It did not disappoint.

I remember coming across a blog a while back that was having people post the one picture that best represented their style. Well, if I had to pick one picture this would be it for me...

I keep looking at the fabrics trying to think of where I could incorporate some in my own home. Granted the colors are a little cooler than what I currently have. Pink & white wouldn't sit too well with my ivorys, wheats, deep russets, and browns. Though I do have a buffalo check that is mighty similar...

I love the slightly cluttered book cases, the worn furniture, the coziness, the simplicity, and all the books. Everything looks loved and welcomes you to sit and enjoy the home. In every room, any chair, you can't really make a mess because it is never really completely put together in the first place.

(I love that the table cloth is left unironed, yes I do beleive I have copied that look. Though if I'm being honest, those chairs don't look all that comfortable.)

One of our family room bookcases on the right...

I've decided to embrace to Lego creations put out of Charlie's path of destruction, the playing cards, the handmade birthday card, and call it my attempt at English country design!

Hope you are having a great day. Everyone local can thank me for the incredible thunderstorm we are experiencing...I watered the grass today for about 2 hours...that'll do it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Andrew's 8! (and a couple recipes)

On 8-9-10 (very cool date indeed) my little guy (who isn't so little anymore) turned 8!
Rather than his typical big birthday bash he got to spend a week visiting Legoland.
So this year we just had grandparents and his best friend, who is like family,
over for a little birthday dinner and celebration.
The birthday boy requested his favorite, rack of lamb, for dinner.
His almost 2 year old brother thought it was quite delectable as well.
Dinner was made even more enjoyable since my Mum marinated the lamb at her house,
my mother in law made her yummy potato casserole,
and all I had to do was make a salad.
I made Jo's Panzanella Salad (with a few tweaks based on what I had on hand).
(see how happy I look eating my extraordinary large helping of salad!)
Rosemary & Garlic Lamb Chops
(I've made the recipe for years, I don't remember the source, maybe Bon Appetite)
5 cloves garlic
3T olive oil
2.5 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 t salt (I use kosher salt)
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 rack of lamb, trimmed and cut into individual chops

Combine garlic through pepper in food processor, until garlic is finely chopped.
Brush each side of lamb with garlic and rosemary mixture and place on a sheet tray. 
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Prepare broiler. 
Broil chops 4-5 inches from the heat for about 3-4 minutes per side.  Cook longer is you want to meat more done.  I will say cooking time varies a bit depending on how meaty the chops are.
Yesterday we made them on a charcoal grill.  Cooked about 4 minutes per side.

(1 rack feeds about 2-3 people.  But Andrew has been known to eat an entire one on his own.  The marinade can easily be double or tripled)

Panzanella Salad
Entire loaf (crust and all) of french bread with roasted garlic (I used Fresh Market brand)
Sliced into 1 inch cubes and toasted in a large pan, over medium heat, with about 3-4 tbs olive oil and a good sprinkling of kosher salt.
I have never used bread with garlic in before to make croutons.  This was a tip from Jo.  Whoa were they good.  I had to keep swatting my husband away while he nibbled on them before the salad was ready.
Baby romaine lettuce (as much or little as you like)
5-6 sliced radishes
1 red pepper diced
1 yellow pepper, both peppers cut up into about 1/4 inch pieces
2 big bunches of basil diced
4 large tomatoes, cut in 1/4 inch pieces

My vinaigrette
(really my Mum's recipe, but I make it so many times a week, I now call it my own :))
The juice of one whole lemon
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp mustard (I use Maille Dijon Originale)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil

Add everything together but the olive oil.  The slowly whisk in the olive oil until you get the right taste.  I probably use equal parts lemon juice and olive oil.  I sample it with a piece of lettuce to know it is right. I like it on the lemony side.  You will not taste the mustard.  I've given this recipe to friends so many times, and they are always surprised about the mustard as an ingredient. (I usually add a couple diced green onions, and a big bunch of parsley and sometimes one finely chopped clove of garlic.  I didn't yesterday).

Toss everything together in a large bowl.  Yum!

And this picture kinda sums up our casual party (Daddy hadn't showered after a work-from-home office day, Charlie just woke up from a nap and the birthday boy was all smiles - he had a great day!)