around the house…

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you may have been wondering what the hell happened at the house of mayhem and chaos because i’ve been quiet for so long.

well, a lot, to put it simply.

i took a very last-minute trip to phoenix to see my family after some “family stuff” was happening (everyone is ok, so not to worry), the boys got glasses, finished preschool and we got them all registered for homeschool kindergarten. and, well, it’s just summer and that means our calendar is super full.

i’m trying to not overdo our schedule, but there are so many people to see and things to do!  i’m also trying to not spend as much time online (it’s a working goal, anyway) and focus on just “being” with the boys.  we have lots of fun things planned for the summer: t-ball, swimming, playdates, tending our garden, working on reading and math, camping trips and some museum visits.  ok, i’m already tired just writing out this list!

but, things are going really well.  the boys are getting so big and will be five next month (FIVE!!!!) and they have requested an epic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles party, so i have that to work on look forward to.  so, that’s what we’ve been up to.  please stick with me, i’m trying to get better at creating writing goals for myself with this blog and i have a lot of fun posts i want to share with you.  like i said, working goals.



that bittersweet time of year…


i am a summer girl.  i love being warm, the sunshine on my face, wearing flip flops and tank tops and shorts and flowy skirts.  i love eating from the garden – a tomato, hot off the vine, is one of the most delicious things i can think of.  i love playing outside with my boys and canning the bounty from our kitchen garden.  i love grilled food.  i love going to the river by our house, watching the 4th of july fireworks, camping and just everything about summer.

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this morning, i woke up and had to put on a sweater.  there was a definite fall chill in the air.  i’m seeing pumpkin lattes advertised, kids are returning to school, and it’s already september.  i am not ready to let go of summer just yet, so i will not be jumping on the autumn bandwagon just yet.  i mean, the first day of fall isn’t until the 23rd, so i’m going to give summer every last bit of my attention.

christopher and i rearranged the boys’ room to give them a new perspective as the season closes.  i like the way their beds are arranged now.  they like them too.  they are so grown up.  it seems like this summer has been pivotal in their development.  i deep cleaned the living room and moved some things around there too.  it seems to maximize the sunlight now and the room seems bigger.

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last week i canned 25 pounds of tomatoes and have a dozen pints of whole tomatoes to use throughout the winter.  i have pizza sauce and some puree to use as i cook up the warming, comfort foods that sustain us through autumn and winter.  i have tomatillos to turn into salsa verde and put up for winter.

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the days are still warm and the breeze is cool, so we have been soaking up every moment outside. i always get a little melancholy this time of year because i know our cold, grey winters are just right around the corner.  i know we won’t be able to play outside in our bare feet every day much longer.  i know that harry and i will start to feel that winter depression and we will stand in front of the window basking in every ray of sun that so rarely pokes out through the clouds during the winter in the pacific northwest.


so, i am keeping a summer frame of mind as long as i can.  i will go get another floral tattoo to remind me of late-summer harvest: a hop vine to complement the grapevine i already have.  and then, maybe in a year or two, i’ll get a forearm full of ripe summer veggies.  i won’t put away my tank tops and shorts and sandals.  i will bask in as much sunlight as i can.  i will relish the cool breezes on my face and the joyful squeals of the boys as they play in the yard.  i will harvest the garden, till it under and tuck it under a blanket of mulch to nourish it for next spring.  i will put up the harvest for the winter and then i will finally settle into fall, but not until i’m ready and the last warm wisps of the summer slip away.

enjoy the last of summer, my lovies.



in the garden…

after a really lame garden experience last year (except for the zucchini!  god, there was so much zucchini!) we have a bumper crop of veg this summer.

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i love spending time in the garden with the boys.  they love eating all the veggies they are growing.  harry is especially proud of the sunflowers.  he planted some last year and the ones we have this year are volunteers.  i love seeing life sustain itself.

how does your garden grow?



around the house…

 this las week has been a fun one with the boys’ 4th birthday, the columbia cup/water follies (a.k.a. hydroplane races) in town and christopher’s and my 6th wedding anniversary.  the boys and i watched the air show from our backyard and then moved down to the cul de sac so we could get a better view of the barnstormers and the jets doing their tricks.

i made a delicious family-recipe cake for the boys’ actual birthday and they loved blowing out their candles.


i start a new job with more hours this week at a new tap house in town, so i’m boning up on my homebrew knowledge again by reading charlie papazian’s the complete joy of home brewing.  i am super-sad to be leaving the West Richland Beer and Wine Shop but i need to be able to earn a little more money as we have another year of preschool to pay for shortly.  this new place looks really cool and the owners seem really nice and flexible.  plus, they are twin parents, so that gives them an extra check in the “positive” column in my book.

our little kitty, leeloo dallas, is just the cutest kitten in the whole wide world, don’t you think?  she is super sweet and gets along famously with everyone in the family.  i’m glad we decided to keep her.


christopher took the boys out on saturday to float the river near his sister’s house in benton city.  it was their first time on the river.  i couldn’t go because i had to work; and although i was really sad to miss it, they all had a wonderful time!  a-o river!


christopher and i don’t tend to do gifts for anniversaries, especially now since money is tight, but i did pick up four ferns for the front porch since he mentioned that his childhood home had big ferns on the porch.  i think they look lovely.  we also splurged and got our favorite champagne.  his mom gave us a wonderful gift and we were able to go out to dinner at a little italian restaurant in our neighborhood and see a movie.  she watched the boys for us.  and, as an added bonus, we ran into two of our best friends and neighbors at the restaurant!


and our little garden just keeps giving and giving!


i hope you all had a wonderful week too!



around the house…

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we had a pretty busy and really fun week:  our favorite farmer’s market opened last friday and we came back with a pretty great haul!  the boys made fun dream catchers for themselves (and one for daddy for father’s day–shhhh! don’t tell.) i did some sewing – check here for that post.  we hit the market again today.  jack jack got a rockabilly haircut from howie at steadfast – an awesome barber shop in town.  we found this most excellent dragonfly in the garden today.  i pickled some radishes ate my favorite dinner and i also discovered the best beer in the world!   if you know me, i don’t say that lightly!

i hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

here are some more things to check out while you relax and enjoy father’s day this weekend:

these famous dads and their kids – get a tissue.  just saying’

i will be drinking one of these this weekend

this looks awesomely easy and i will be making one for my bedroom

it’s always a good time for popsicles

i am so in love with this outfit

…and also all of these pants which i would wear out shopping and to work



around the house…

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last week was the last week of the boys’ first year in preschool so i’ve been busy and a little weepy.  here are some snapshots from the last week or so around the house.  from the top:

we had a gorgeous rainstorm the other night that resulted in a beautiful double rainbow / some of the flowers in our newly planted front flower beds and pots / harry in the garden / the boys first day of preschool compared with their last / i can’t get enough of this sweet little ginger kitten! / the boys cousin gave us a spiderman costume, so we are marvel-ing out every day / hanging with my “gnomies” that the boys got me for mother’s day.

i’m off to eat mac ‘n’ cheese in the backyard and play with the boys on this gorgeous afternoon.



my favorite chef…


do you have a favorite chef?  that one person who’s meals you gravitate towards and who you swear has never steered you wrong and who’s every recipe is delicious?

i do.

jamie oliver is mine.  i knew about the naked chef (swoon) way back when, but i never cooked any of his recipes until i was pregnant with the twins and living on the couch for the last month of my pregnancy.  i started watching jamie at home.  it was his show where he tromped about his garden and would cook dishes in his fab kitchen or right out in the veg patch!  it also made me want to move to essex, but that’s another post!

christopher bought me the jamie at home cookbook and that started my collection.


i love his philosophy of cooking.  use fresh, high-quality ingredients. keep it simple.  cook with your family.  eat good food.

the pictures in his cookbooks are glorious and the food can’t be beat.


some of my favorite dishes are the mothership tomato salad (pg 232 of the jamie at home cookbook), pizza fritta (i swear by his pizza dough and sauce recipes), oozy mushroom risotto (pg 64 of the meals in minutes cookbook), mustard chicken and his best roast leg of lamb. here is a pic of the lamb i did for our supper club.

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i plan out our meals a month at a time and the recipes are easy to plan for and source ingredients.  we grow a lot of our own food in the summer here, so getting fresh veggies is a matter of walking into the garden and bringing in a full basket.  my boys are loving cooking with us and show a real interest in our garden.


he is also revolutionizing school food programs and the way people approach food.  if you haven’t already, check out jamie oliver’s food revolution -blow your mind!   i follow his website – i love the recipe of the day – and his instragram.

ok, and just to clarify, this is not a sponsored post.  i just really love his cookbooks and the meals.

who’s your favorite chef?  do you have a go-to favorite meal?