The last days of summer

We’re down to the last week until school starts, which is rather late compared to most public schools. As much as I will miss our lazy mornings, I am looking forward to getting back into the school routine. My girls seem to benefit from routine as well, and they’re excited to get back to seeing their friends everyday. 

Nevertheless, we’re spending these last days the best we can.

It’s pretty incredible what Todd has accomplished in the garden this year. I’m sure there are a few things that will be changed for next summer, but overall we’ve had great results!
The tomatoes are brimming. We have 16 tomato plants, most of which are larger varieties that will be canned for soups and sauces

Our sunflowers have hit 12ft!

Green beans galore…

Some sweet peas with sweet potatoes…

Lettuce crop #4

And that mystery squash turned out to be buttercup squash, of which we now have quite a few. We’ll be curing these for eating throughout the winter.

We’ve also been faced with a new food challenge. Our oldest daughter has been suffering from eczema on her hands for a few years now. Per recommendation we are starting her on a wheat free and sugar free diet for who knows how long. Though this is a piece of cake for Todd, who is an excellent home cook and thrives on fresh ingredient, I’m in charge of breakfast and lunch and am generally more dependent on packaged foods (breads, crackers, etc). Our little lady is a bread lover, and though I’ve always tried to satisfy her cravings with whole grains and minimal processed wheat, apparently that’s just not enough. The “summer diet” of frequent burger meals and ice cream was certainly not helping either…

It’s been three weeks and one thing I have discovered thus far is that most “wheat free” supermarket foods still have sugar in them (especially breads!). Therefore it takes me twice as long to go grocery shopping, as I’m constantly reading food labels and putting stuff back. I am allowing her to have some honey or maple syrup here and there, and we’ve found that homemade ice cream with honey is just as delicious as regular ice cream. I also tried my first cauliflower pizza crust today with success. Feast your eyes on this yumminess! I went a little heavy on the cheese, but it was my first attempt and I’m damn proud!

It will be fun to share more of this adventure as we go along. How have you finished out your summer?


The squash that took over the world

I seriously think this squash plant has world domination plans…

squash climbsquash garden

The funny thing is, we still can’t determine if we’re going to get anything off of it.  There are little squash buds just sitting there, not getting any bigger. Grow, damn you! We’ve even taken to pollinating each one by hand, so hopefully that helps. at least we know the plant itself is happy…

squash buds

Marin is very excited that the sunflowers she planted are now taller than her daddy. We’re looking at 8ft at LEAST right now.

sunflower todd

Gardening aside, the week has been an eventful one. With the kids in camp last week, immediately following our trip to SF, we’ve decided to make this one as chill as possible. As much as I’d love to explore and/or hit the pool every single day, the girls have actually asked to simply hang at home with the occasional play date. Such a request is always welcomed, but also requires a few projects to pass the time a little easier.

One such request that I get a lot lately is making cupcakes. Maybe it’s because my kids have discovered the show “Cupcake Wars”, which is extremely difficult to watch without having cupcake in hand, but I usually am able to find some excuse to make something else with them instead. After fielding the cupcake request for a solid five weeks, I finally caved. But why make a boring ole vanilla cupcake when you can make peanut butter ones. Yes, we went there…


I found the recipe here and followed it completely. I’m not a fan of shortening and had planned to sub it with applesauce and oil, but I found a red palm oil shortening at our local coop grocer and it worked great! The chocolate frosting was a huge success as well, though I think I’d like to try a berry frosting next time… kind of a peanut butter and jelly concept. The candy hearts were a local score from months ago, we have a shop in town that sells nothing but cake decorating supplies, I kid you not. As a result, we now have a ridiculous amount of these little sugar bombs in our fridge and I plan to start pawning them off on the neighbors within the next few hours.

Marin had wanted to make a splatter paint pillow that she has a pattern for in one of her sewing books. We had the fabric needed for such a project, but no fabric paint (I read online that you can make fabric paint from acrylics, but I didn’t have the Liquitex or glycerol to do so…). Keeping with our just chill in the house plan, we decided to break out a craft we haven’t done in years. Sharpie tie dye!

marin pillow2

I forgot how much I love doing this. It’s so easy too, you just need Sharpies, rubbing alcohol, a dropper, a plastic cup, a rubber band, and some 100% cotton fabric (t-shirts work too).

anja sharpie

I didn’t have a dropper, so I used a syringe.

sharpie td2sharpie td3

Though the temperatures are climbing once again, I’m trying to find time here and there to get some me-crafts in as well. No better time to knit than when the kids have their tablet time…

knitting coffee

And I’m still trying to decide if I like this shirt I made. I’ve made one for myself before (see Me Made May post here) and I absolutely love it, but something about this print isn’t feeling quite right. Even my nine year old thinks it’s too flowery.

blouse flower

I don’t know… what do you think?