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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Boys of Summer

Well, it feels like we're wrapping up our summer.  The school across the street had its first day today, and the evenings are getting chilly (which, honestly, is lovely).  We're getting ready to head out of state in... umm.... 9 days.  And I'm trying not to panic.  Too much.  And while I'm always sad to see the summer go, I'm also looking forward to cooler weather, exciting adventures, and seeing people we haven't seen in a long time.  Also, watching my belly get all big and round.  That's fun.

But for now, we're still enjoying these warm afternoons.  And watermelon.  And being almost-four-years-old.
Covered.  Covered in watermelon juice.
It only looks like hugging.  This is the beginning of a tackle.

Jonah loves the camera.
 I know I've been whining a lot on facebook and twitter about how nauseous I am, and yeah, it sucks.  But afternoons like this make it all worthwhile.  I get to enjoy this kind of thing now, and it's only going to be more fun when Noodle gets to be this age.  I really am trying to slow down and enjoy life.  Also: trying to take more naps.

Capt. Morgan?  I swear I did not put him up to this.

J was just so proud that he ate all that watermelon.
This one is a hug.  Owen looks so happy.  I may die from the cute....

Brotherly love.  For real.

How is your summer wrapping up?  What are you excited about for Fall?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Brandywines, beefsteaks, and (I think) yellow taxis.

I am a fiend for fresh tomatoes.  And it turns out my little guys are, too.  Not those sad, deep-pink grocery store ones, though.  I'm talking fresh-from-the-vine, juicy, makes-your-tongue-hurt (or is that just me?) deliciousness.  And this season has been good to us lately.  We've had a bunch of tomatoes from our farm share, and some from our plants, as well (although thanks to Irene and some large tree branches, those days may be over).  It's been delicious.  But also?  A bit overwhelming.  We actually got to the point recently where we had more than we could eat, even with goat cheese and balsamic.

So what to do when that happens?  Well.  In the past when we've had an excess of tomatoes I've canned them, and that was pretty awesome.  But I just didn't feel like getting out all the canning equipment and doing the hot water bath thing.  So I made tomato sauce for the freezer.  And this recipe is the best-tasting, simplest, easiest one I've ever heard of.  Unfortunately, I can't remember now where I originally found the recipe, but if you know of it let me know so I can give credit where it's due.

And the ingredients list?  The best part:

-a bunch of tomatoes.
Pure delicious.

That's it.  Literally, there is one ingredient: tomatoes.  I usually add other things before serving it up, but that's just out of habit; you can serve this as is, and it tastes fresh and sweet and acidic and awesome.  So the basic idea is that you cut the bellybuttons out of your tomatoes, quarter them if they're big, and toss them in the food processor.  A blender would also be just fine.
Puree those babies.

And then?  You put this whole mess in a pot, bring it to a boil, and then let it cook, uncovered, for a very long time.  2-4 hours is usually what I shoot for.  Scrape down the sides once in a while.

It might be a bit foamy at first.  That's okay.

When it's cooked down to maybe a half or a third of the original quantity, it's probably done.  Let cool, put in a freezer-safe container, and pop it in the freezer.  Done.

And the best part is that you actually don't need a ton of this stuff to make whatever you're making taste amazing.  Pasta sauce?  Chili?  Soup? Heck, you could probably just season it up, top with a bit of cheese, and have a pretty amazing tomato soup.  And you can definitely just put it over pasta as is, but if you saute just a bit of onion first and then add some basil, it's pretty rockin'.  Any way you do it, it's a great way to save some of that summer sunshine for the impending winter months.

Or you could just do this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Three things I'm really excited about....

1.  Tomatoes.  We have real, live, ripe tomatoes in our kitchen right now.  A couple from our sad, neglected garden, and several from our CSA.  And I am a tomato fiend.  I actually have trouble sharing them with the kids, which makes me feel guilty, but hey: I do share with them, it's just difficult.  Although it is really cute when they get covered in tomato seeds and goo, as they never fail to do.  And one of my very favorite things to do with tomatoes (besides just eat them whole, right off the vine)?  Tomato-basil-goat cheese salad.  Oh, baby.  Chop your tomato(es) coarsely, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then top with a small handful of basil leaves, some goat cheese crumbles, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  It makes me swoon with pleasure.  The only downside is that there is always a bunch of delicious, tomato-ey, vinegary, goat-cheesy juice left at the bottom, which I feel mildly guilty about drinking.  But only mildly.

2.  Our new evening clean-up routine.  Getting the house picked up in the evenings has always been kind of a battle around here; the kids (not to mention Mama) are tired and cranky by the end of the day, there are toys everywhere that I really don't want to pick up, and the kitchen is badly in need of a good cleaning.  So yesterday, I told the boys that I would set the timer for 30 minutes.  I would clean the kitchen, and they would pick up their toys and put them away.  The good news was that if they finished before the timer went off, they got to have 'special mama time' where we could spend extra special time together doing things that I sometimes am too busy to do; play games, read extra books, just cuddle and talk, whatever.  The other good news was that I would not nag them or yell at them or anything, and if their toys weren't picked up by the time the timer went off, I would do it for them.  The bad news was that if I picked up the toys, they went into the locked storage area for the next 24 hours.
        And guess what?  The toys were all picked up, both last night and tonight, without nagging, without yelling, without frustration or argument.  Last night, we got to play Memory for 7 minutes.  Tonight, it was 17.  And the kitchen was clean before the kids went to bed. (Dr. Daddy is away, so this is all a very big deal, by the way.)  And we had some really nice time talking and laughing and playing together without anything else getting in the way.  I harbor no illusions that it will work like this every night for forever from now on, but it's a huge step up from our former routine.

3.  My sauerkraut!  I'm pretty sure it's done.  It's a hot pink, delicious-smelling mess, and tomorrow or the next day I'm going to put it into jars in the fridge.  I haven't posted about it only because a. I've been lazy and b. I have no camera right now.  But I'm so super excited about homemade kraut.  I hope I'm doing the ladies over at Devouring the Seasons proud!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's World Breastfeeding Week!

I've been thinking about nursing a lot lately.  Daydreaming about our little Noodle, and remembering those dreamy, snuggly feedings with my little guys when they were six months old.  And also? Remembering how awful it was before then.  Like seriously.  I don't share our breastfeeding story with new mamas because I don't want to scare them.  But since it's been on my mind, I'll share some of it here (and please keep in mind that this is only some of our nursing troubles).  I know there are some twin mamas out there (and singleton mamas!) who can relate to a lot of this.  (I should warn you that this is long. And sad.  And if you are a new, nursing mama, you should know that pain like this is not normal or typical.  If you are hurting, get help!)