Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes

This morning I made pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. I can't say the photo does them justice as they were amazing!

I got the recipe here but I made a change. I used one cup of whole wheat pastry flour and one cup of regular unbleached white flour. I also called them pumpkin pie pancakes to increase their appeal to the children. They found them to be yummy. They are really moist and very filling. Excellent with some veggie sausage and real maple syrup. I have made them before and served them with whipped cream, which is also quite good.


We really love to have lunch outside on nice summer days. We haven't done a ton of it this year because our outdoor table desperately needs some TLC, such as bracing and refinishing, or maybe a trip to the dump. Yesterday we decided to deal with the sagging, peeling table and enjoy a sunny picnic.

A little candid shot of the girls munching grapes.

I cracked up at the funny face Dana is making here. She is so silly!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

At the Lake

Last night we went down to the lake with April and Matt, followed by a trip to DQ.

Nora has been super excited with Olympic gymnastics and has been doing tricks at every opportunity. There is this mysterious crib that washed up on shore in Canal Park sometime in the last year or so, and Nora had a blast climbing on it and practicing her balance beam routine.

Dana spent her time IN the lake. Thank goodness I had a spare outfit in the car! She started off innocently enough, throwing in rocks and wading. Soon things were out of hand...

See what I mean? Girls gone wild! April is so much fun. She was happy to wade in with the girls while the rest of us watched. Then again, she was smart enough to bring flip flops while the rest of us had shoes. All in all, it was a pretty great evening.


Last night we grilled dinner. Kevin made veggie dogs for the girls and I made homemade bleu cheese potato salad. Dana loves veggie dogs and that potato salad, but she refused everything and ate two entire ears of corn instead! I just love how she is attacking it. She LOVES corn!

I want to ride my bicycle...

Nora got an early birthday present from Grandma Bev and Grandpa Jerry: a bike!

Our garage has a whole new purpose: it is the bike riding center. Nora brought out her boom box and CDs and strongly suggested we park in the driveway instead of the garage. The girls spend hours riding in circles on the concrete, playing games and having fun. She is really quite good at bike riding and I have a feeling we'll be getting rid of the training wheels soon.

Dana had to make do with her tricycle while Kevin inflated the tires on Nora's old bike. She goes so fast on the little trike! She actually does really well on the two wheeler Barbie bike, too, but I don't have a photo of that for some reason.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Perfect Summer Day

A Perfect Summer Day

We started our day by baking the most delicious muffins with raspberries and blueberries picked at Grandma Inese and Grandpa Don's house. Find the recipe here. They are divine!

Next we did some swimming. Dana has turned into such a bathing beauty. She loves her floaties, but she also loves to copy Auntie Alyx and Auntie Liz by laying on an air mattress "sunbathing." She looks like a miniature teenager.

Last year Nora learned to swim. This summer she is perfecting swimming under water. She can go the entire length of the pool in one breath, and is working on not plugging her nose under water. Here she is doing her favorite pool entry: Cannonball! Grandpa moved the cabana this year and made a dock so the kids can jump in. I will try to post a photo of the revamped cabana as it is really cute.

After much swimming, we spent some time picking more berries and eating them fresh. We barbecued with Grandma and Grandpa and after dinner, the girls hung out in the sand. Grandma and Grandpa have been busy building a new path out of concrete and these cool forms that make the concrete look like stones. Again, will post a photo later. Anyhow, here Nora is pretending to build a path out of sand. I just think it is a nice juxtaposition, with Nora in her tutu and Dana in her dress pretending they are 49ers.

This is what summer should be: lounging in the pool, picking berries, grilling, playing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Oh how they grow!

I downloaded some photos off of my parents' camera the other day and could hardly believe this photo of Dana. It was taken last summer, almost exactly one year ago. I thought her hair was so long then, but take a look at the photo right below it that I took today.

When I brush out her curls after washing her hair, it stretches all the way to her caboose! She has never had a haircut, unless you count the time Nora trimmed one section...
Grandma Bev and Grandpa Jerry took the girls to the county fair this weekend and boy, did they have fun!

A ride on a spinning strawberry...

A giant slide, particularly fun in a dress...

A pony ride...

Delicious, sticky cotton candy...

Nora holding a baby chick.

Grandma helping Dana hold a baby chick.

Fun times at the fair!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beans Beans!

This year I had the most wonderful of intentions of tending a lush, prosperous vegetable garden. I convinced myself that this is the year. Last year Dana took off into the trails in the woods every time I glanced at a weed in the garden. This year I can trust her for two minutes, and I can trust Nora to help keep an eye on Dana and to alert me when she tries to make a break to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

The girls were excited about a garden, too. Nora made a list of things she wanted to plant, and the list itself was so cute I saved it for prosperity. We selected seeds, some tomato and cucumber sets, a couple of gardening tools, and set to work.

As you may have guessed, things did not go as planned. This is due, in part, to the less than ideal summer we have experienced thus far, and in part to the abundance of woodland creatures found snacking on my plants. We lost most of our peas, which is particularly sad because peas fresh from the garden are a favorite at this house. The tomatoes and cucumbers are flowering now, so I am not sure if they will have a chance to produce actual fruit. The asparagus? Ask me next year. Carrots are iffy. But the green beans are doing great! I am a pro at growing green beans. I have an abundance every year. We have been plucking a few for the past couple of days, marveling at the fact that WE planted and tended these! Dana is particularly proud of this fact and particularly fast to pick a handful to share with people so she has an easy opportunity to brag about her success. Today I finally mustered the energy to find a bucket and make our first actual harvest. I am super excited about the beans! My only complaint is that, for some reason, I always get itchy hives on my forearms after picking beans. I am sure the solution is to wear long sleeves but that seems like a lot of work in August. Now I am dreaming of a berry garden, with blueberry bushes and raspberry canes. I just have to find the perfect spot...