Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Fave: Summer Afternoons

Last Saturday afternoon we did exactly what you're supposed to do on a summer afternoon. Running through sprinklers in a bright pink suit and going for a ride on the 4-wheeler.
Does it get more summer than that?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Garden Update: July

Well, despite our best efforts (and those of the freaky-deaky wind storm/rumored mini-tornado that blew in) our garden is continuing to produce.

Our sickly and sad tomatoes have finally gained some ambition.

The lettuce and spinach have been great now for well over a month. Our first plating has actually gone to seed and we're working on plantings three and four.
If you live nearby and want some greens, let me know and I'll hook you up.

The potato bushes seem to be looking well.
For those who grow potatoes, when do I dig?

Dan got creative with the beans this year, planting green and purple varieties.
The purple flowers are really pretty. I hope the purple beans are tasty.

Squash blossoms! Yay! I wondered if we'd get any squash this year.

And our tomatoes are flowering. Finally! This is a sight I've been waiting for.

Dan's method of tenting the corn in the early spring has so far proven to be well worth the work. Hopefully it continues to do well in the heat and humidity and we can enjoy our own garden-fresh sweet corn next month.

Here's a neat side-by-side-by-side comparison.
May         -         June      -         July
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Fave: TV Shows I (usually) watch alone.

A while back I wrote about some TV shows that Dan and I can enjoy together, but the ones on this list are for my viewing pleasure alone. If Dan happens to walk into the room while one of these shows is on, it's usually met with eye rolling, an over-exaggerated sigh, and a "this show is on again?" (It should be noted that I do not have the same response when he is watching one of his car/truck shows or hunting shows.)

In no particular order, here are some of my favorites:


I so very much enjoy(ed) the classic Gilmore Girls, and since it's been long-since finished (now on syndicated re-runs on the SOAP Network) I've missed the sharp, well-written dialogue and off-beat characters of Star's Hollow, Connecticut. Bunheads has the same creator and some of the same writers, so in this show (a fish-out-of-water-with-some-ballet-thrown-in-comedy-that-sometimes-acts-like-a-drama) we get to taste some of that razor sharp wit. And it has ballet dancing. And Kelly Bishop. And Sutton Foster. And I really like all of these things.

Food Network Star.
Bobby, Giada, and Alton have been mentoring potential new Food Network Stars for most of the summer and now it's down to the final 4. I know I've got my favorites. Who do you like? Who would you watch and learn from if they got their own show?

Downton Abbey.

Oh how I absolutely adore this show. And oh how Dan cringes when he walks into the room while I'm watching it. I just discovered it on DVD this summer and am trying to get all caught up before the next season begins on PBS in January. (Argh! I don't want to wait until January!) The rich and aristocratic Crawley family and their servants and all their secrets, loves, dreams, and (mis)fortunes make for a very beautiful and enjoyable show. (side note: if you have season 2 on DVD, I will trade you a pan of brownies to borrow them. okay, thanks.)

Project Runway.
This is the ultimate in guilty-pleasure TV watching. Creativity, drama, sewing, fashion designing and a bajillion ideas about color, texture, technique, pattern-making, styling, and modeling. The season 10 premiere is saved on the DVR right now. I will be watching it sometime this weekend while Dan is not in the house. As much as I love this show, he absolutely, positively, without a doubt cannot stand it at all in the slightest. The DVR in our house is worth its weight in gold.

So ladies (I am presuming it's only ladies who have continued to read this entire post),  what are your favorite TV shows? Any suggestions I should add to my list?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Fave: Audiobooks

Anyone who knows me at all knows I love to read. I always have and imagine I always will. Usually, I'd rather read than do most other things, although that's not typically possible. Especially when I'm alone, I love to pass the time with a good book.

Enter Audiobooks.

I've got a great ipod (Mother's Day present from Dan - thanks hubs!) and instead of listening to music, lately I've discovered the wonder of audiobooks. (Well, actually it's more of a rediscovery. I used to listen to books-on-tape all the time in my bright yellow Sony Walkman.) Specifically, I've been enjoying autobiographies or memoirs read by the writer themselves. Here are my favorites so far:

Rob Lowe, Stories I Only Tell My Friends

Did you know Rob Lowe had a super interesting, oddly everywhere kind of life? Yeah, me neither, but I sure had a great time hearing all about it. Oh, and Rob had a great story telling voice. I think I have a voice crush on him now.

Tina Fey, Bossypants

Holy cow this woman is funny. Not just ha ha cute joke funny, but fall out of your chair laughing funny. And hearing her talk about her tough-guy, no-nonsense dad is reason enough to listen. I have not, nor will I ever, mess with Don Fey.

Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

This is my latest listen. It's short, sweet, cute, and as utterly enjoyable as spending the afternoon shopping and getting coffee with your best friend who you haven't seen in a while. She's refreshingly smart, creative, and I think she should call me and we should grab coffee.

I've listened to others, but those three have been my favorites. I encourage your to try out audiobooks if you haven't yet. I think you'll like them as much as I do. Oh, and don't be thinking I'm spending an arm and a leg (or Lana's college fund) at itunes buying these beauties. Oh no, why would I do that when they're available at the library for FREE! That's right, if you have a library card in the state of Washington, you have access to the audiobook (and e-book) library too. Yeah, it's pretty dang awesome.

So, do you listen to audiobooks? Any recommendations?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Snapshots from Last Week

A few pictures and such from last week: For Independence Day, we were invited to an afternoon of fun and food with some friends and family. It really was great to catch up with people I hand't seen in a while and eat too much food. Of course Lana had a great time too:
Because the 5th was a regular work day for all of us, we didn't stay up late for fireworks. I know, I know, we're kind of lame-o. Only lame-os don't do fireworks on the 4th of July, right?

Three days later we celebrated my 33rd birthday. Lana and Dan let me sleep in and then greeted me with a coffee cupcake and birthday cards in bed. It was quite lovely.
And because my family was so awesome, the next morning I wanted to do something neat for their breakfast - heart-shaped egg-in-the-holes. (maybe I should rename them egg-in-my-hearts?)
They're really simple to make and I encourage you to give them a try. Who knows? Maybe your family will think they're so cool they thank you with cupcakes in bed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Fave: Cherry-stained hands and the fruits of their labor

Last Friday afternoon, I got a random phone call from my Dad in Oregon. He and my Mum had access to all the free sweet cherries they could pick and planned to pick buckets full and make cherry juice. I was invited to participate in the family cherry festivities and make jam and pie filling. 

And we did. 

Seven hours later we had lots and lots of canned juice, 20 jars of jam, and six quarts of pie filling. Packing up my things, I assumed I was done. 

Oh no, I was wrong. Very, very wrong. 

My parents wanted me continue the fun by sending me home with their hot water bath and a 5-gallon bucket of cherries. (Please note - I have zero documentation of the cherry festivities in Oregon. I forgot my camera. Yeah, what kind of a blogger am I? I'll tell you, a LAME one.)

Enter, my friend Kristy. When I spotted her at church Sunday morning, I accosted approached her with the idea of "coming out to our place for an evening of visiting and making jam." Doesn't that sound low-key, fun, and perhaps a bit cozy? It doesn't sound at all like, "Come over to my house where I will hold you hostage until you cut and pit cherries for 4+ hours and perhaps permanently stain your fingers" does it. That would probably have been a more accurate invitation.
(This is what a cherry manicure looks like, you know, if you were wondering.) 

We pitted and chopped and washed and boiled our way to delicious preserves and a messy kitchen. I'm a little sorry I didn't take any pictures of the mess; it was quite epic.
(You can kind of see the mess on the stove top, but it's nothing like the sticky cherry goo that covered much of the counter top.) 

Here's adorable Kristy!
And she's wearing her equally adorable apron. 

Lana had to enjoy the canning from afar (sharp knives and hot stuff everywhere), but she didn't mind. She had Kristy's husband, Ian, to play with/chase/tickle for hours and hours.
When she wanted a break, she relaxed in her new camp chair. (Thanks Grandpa Rick and Grandma Cindy. Lana loves her birthday presents!) 

And here it is. Quite literally the fruit of our labor.
I think these jars look really pretty and I know their contents are quite tasty. Over the weekend, we made juice, jam, pie filling, cherry cobbler (x2), and 6 cherry smoothies (so far). We've given cherries away and I still have a bowl of them in the fridge right now. 

Cherries anyone?