Four Favorites & A Garden Update

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1. The girls and I walked down our street to the Lake Fair parade on Saturday afternoon. Local parades are so interesting to watch – Americana at its finest. The girls loved the princesses in fancy dresses lip syncing and dancing choreographed movements to tinny pop songs and I almost love the marching bands. This is Jane taking it all in. I love her little shoulders.

2. Saltwater Sandals. I broke down and ordered myself a pair. I have been thinking about it after I saw a couple women wearing them in California looking non-ridiculous. Yes, my girls and I have matching shoes. I asked the girls’ permission though and they thought it was such a fun idea. I expect I will get a different answer when they are 12 and 14.

3. California by Edan Lepucki. Totally gripping post-apocalyptic novel that gained attention after Stephen Colbert promoted it the midst in the Amazon/Hachette feud. For the record, I ordered the novel at Powell’s and why yes, I do feel a little smug. Breaking my Amazon habit is no joke.

4. The girls go to a pajama party at our gym once a month on a Friday night. It goes until 9:30 PM and they have pizza and jump on bouncy houses and watch a movie and they absolutely adore going. The afternoon before I make them have a rest time. Cate was reading books and seemed like she wasn’t going to fall asleep and then it got very quiet. She looked so little in our bed.

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Our garden is doing so well for the most part. The chickens got out last week and decimated the swiss chard in minutes. We are ready to plant some more greens this week and I really need to spend a couple of hours weeding today. But mostly, we have a ridiculous amount of zucchini this year. We thought we were planting heritage squash that turned out to be…more zucchini! One of Telfer’s colleagues told him that if you catch someone buying a zucchini at the store in the summer they basically have no friends. So far I have made these zucchini fritters (with a fried egg on top! and you can freeze!) and Orangette’s zucchini (which like her, will making it over and over). Any other ideas or recommendations? And if you live close to us, please let me share with you!

Reading Update

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My photographs are terrible here and it doesn’t help that all of my books are cream/tan. Anyway, here’s an update on my little shelf project.

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. George Packer
Whoa, read this if it all sounds good to you. George Packer takes the lives of three ordinary Americans as well as short biographies of famous Americans to create a mosaic of life in America right now. Honestly, this is a nonfiction masterpiece.

Blue Nights. Joan Didion
Held me completely captive in California. I may have made Telfer sit with the girls on the plane so I could finish it. I want to read more Joan Didion beyond her two, small grief-related books: The Year of Magical Thinking written after the death of her husband and then Blue Nights after the death of her daughter. “When we talk about our mortality, we are talking about our children.”

The Widower’s Tale. Julia Glass
Julia Glass is one of my favorite novelists. Three Junes was one of the first contemporary novels I read out of college and it had an enormous impact on my life and the way I viewed the world. The Widower’s Tale takes a bit to get into but I was so happy to spend time with these characters.

Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life. Marta McDowell
A Christmas present that I was saving for summer. It feels right to read about gardening in the summer…Such a lovely little book about Beatrix Potter’s gardens and gardening life. 

Also, I tried to read The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan. It’s on the shelf but I got 35 pages in and I just couldn’t go on. It was a freebie in a Powell’s Indiespensable box which also makes me feel better about not finishing. Ten years ago I would have gritted my teeth and read on. Now, I hope I am a little more gentle with myself. I don’t need to finish everything I start. I know not every book is meant for me and I am okay with that. Maybe another time (but I doubt it with this one).

In other news, Telfer and I are jazzed about this list from EW on the “The 55 Essential Movies Kids Must Experience (Before They Turn 13).” There are some absolutely fabulous movies here that I would love to see again, especially as a parent. The girls have seen many of the movies but we were thinking it would be fun to use this list to guide our family movie night choices. We usually let the girls pick the movie and they usually choose something like Tinkerbell or Aristocats or the truly awful the Princess and the Frog. I might watch ten minutes and then I am absolutely done. I could get behind a list however. What is it with me and lists? 

Little Things

coconut la croixI love la croix sparkling water, particularly the coconut flavor. The grapefruit flavor is also quite good but not as good as the coconut. Two years ago I could still find the coconut at a couple places around town. And then it disappeared. Whole Foods in Portland still carried it and I stocked up whenever we found ourselves in Portland. I never offered to share my supply with anyone, even Telfer. I think I did give Mendy a can on mother’s day which means I really do love her. And now, without warning, the coconut flavor is back at Target and I am rejoicing. I bought nine boxes last week and will happily share with anyone that happens to come over.
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I have also taken up canning in the last couple of months. I love this book and her blog. I still have a lot to learn but so far this summer I have canned earl-grey-vanilla-rhubarb jam, rhubarb syrup for cocktails, and caramelized red onion relish with plans of much more to come. There is nothing quite like the sound of popping jars when they come out of the water. When I made the jam, my first attempt, I did not have canning tongs and about scared Telfer to death with my kitchen tongs, towels, and boiling water setup. Chris is letting me use his canning tongs so I was much safer the second and third go around.
anne of green gables. puffin in bloom
Also, these forthcoming (end of August) Puffin in Bloom editions including Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Little Women and A Little Princess. I just absolutely adore these. Just what I need: my twenty-second copy of AoGG. Same artist as Rifle Paper Company.