A week in review

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Let’s go backward in time, shall we? Today. This afternoon. I made this scrumptious smoothie. Peach-nectarine bliss. Sounds like a good name for it, right? I haven’t made enough smoothies this summer. Seems like a goal for the next few weeks. Perhaps I’ll have some more tasty photos to share.

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This was from Friday. Friend. Backyard. Tent. All went well until the storms rolled in. Ooops!

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While they were setting up the tent, I snapped some garden photos. This one is one of the many stems of hollyhocks rising up along our deck railing. I planted the first one before Dev came home. A gift from my mom. And it nicely cooperates each year by returning. I planted some wildflower seeds in the backyard garden this year with no expectations, but one of them sprouted up nicely too.

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This is Lion. He looks ferocious, doesn’t he? Well, he’s not a warm and fuzzy guy, but he’s not thaaat bad. I definitely kept my distance for the photos, though, since he’s a bit persnickety about strangers getting anywhere near him. We had a lovely visit with our friends, and Lion, earlier this week. Which is where I shall leave off in the backtracking.

 

 

What’s my theme?

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I was looking through my Instagram stream the other day and it’s apparent that I have three go-to subjects when it comes to photos.

1. Cats! Everywhere. (I love dogs. Yes, I do. But J doesn’t really appreciate the camera. So fewer of her.)DSC_9799

2. Foliage. It’s that time of year, of course. I love wandering around my garden snapping photos as things grow bigger, wider, taller. The lettuce you see below, for example, is already bursting from its container. (I always break the rules of how closely you’re supposed to plant stuff.)

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3. Food. I’ve always loved taking pics of my food.
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Both pizzas below were made with crust from The America’s Test Kitchen GF cookbook. Easy to make. Crispy on the outside. Soft on the inside.DSC_9828 DSC_9826

And this soda bread is sooooo good! I was in the baking mood yesterday, saw this on my Pinterest wall and was mixing it up minutes later. DSC_9858 DSC_9851

My kid used to be in my top three as well, but he’s getting older and I feel a bit more conscious of his privacy. (Psst…he’s on the right here, second row from the top.) The boy hates singing. As do I. He played along for the spring concert, though, lip-syncing along.

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I count drinks in the food category. This is a mango margarita from Donkey Taqueria. Yummo.IMG_8867

Four Mondays in a row!

For some reason, I’m in a bit of a pattern here. Snap photos over the weekend. Post them on Monday.

I’ve actually become quite offline-focused over my weekends. So much so that people are a bit amazed that I didn’t see a Facebook post or respond to their email. I’m in front of a computer all through the week. I guess I see weekends as times to step away. I’m not against picking up my iPad and playing a game of Dots (so flipping addictive) or snapping photos for Instagram or even watching a Netflix movie on the computer. I just don’t feel the desire to engage the way I seem to during the week.

So not unplugged. Un-surfed? Eh. Something like that.

This weekend I caught up on some gardening tasks. It’s amazing how many weeds will grow if you’re not diligent for a few days. (Although try to grow something I *want* to be there and it takes forever!)

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And I finally tried a recipe I’d been dying to make for a few weeks now. Yes, it’s cornbread. And, yes, if you know me well enough, it’s gluten free. I’ve made a few versions. I’ve liked most of them. But this one has rocketed to the #1 spot on my list. I still haven’t mixed up Shauna’s all-purpose flour, which I’ve been meaning to since she made it seem so easy, but the King Arthur version worked just fine here. This is another one of those recipes where you really can’t tell that it’s gluten free. It’s just a really great cornbread recipe. You should try it!

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The first official weekend of summer

Summer is officially here. We’re doing our best to get outside, but also to get things done. Sometimes it’s hard to do both. But I managed it this weekend when I finally painted our coffee tables. I set them up in the garage and did cleaning between coats of paint. I felt very productive, I must say!

And then my husband had the brilliant idea for a family walk to dinner. We hadn’t been to Bombay Cuisine in a long time. So we got in tasty Indian food and four miles of walking. Now that’s some good family time!

And now for some random weekend photos…

This? Is a dog eating a pizza. A tiny pizza. I can’t resist giving our “old lady” treats.DSC_6572

I love my gnome.
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And then there’s my adorable kid. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to get away with calling him adorable. But he doesn’t read my blog so I’m safe for a bit.
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Words by me, photos by my sidekick

It’s the time of year when I begin assaulting my viewers with photos of my garden. It’s all the pent-up eagerness that I can’t contain after months without blooms in my yard.

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But…I don’t have everything planted yet so I’ve been restricted to the tulips and emerging perennial leaves. So where did all of this glorious color come from?

My kid.

The other day I asked him to join me in a quick jaunt to the garden center. He’s always been my partner in crime during these excursions. I remember when he was about two and I stuck him in a cart as I strolled through the annuals at Romence Gardens. I assumed he’d be happy enough just looking around at everything. Little did I know he’d want to plan the garden for me.

Much to my mom’s horror, I actually let him. He was very insistent about several of the plants. Varieties I may never have chosen if solo. But I thought, why not? And his choices turned out to be great additions to my flower beds and containers. So it’s become a bit of a ritual for us.

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This time around the first plant that caught his eye was the stevia. So I added that to our mint, basil, lemon balm and rosemary. Then we started randomly adding things to the cart. At one point he asked if he could get in my bag and use my camera to take some photos. Of course, I said, and the two of us walked along, me examining tags and roots, him stooping and stretching to find just the right angle for the shot.

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When I downloaded them, I have to say I was impressed. I use aperture-priority as my main setting most of the time rather than manual, which does slightly “automate” the photo-taking process as far as the shutter speed. But even if you have your camera on the auto setting, you will only take good photos if you have a good eye. I’ve known people who’ve spent hundreds on fancy cameras and their photos are just not good.

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So I was certainly pleased to see how deliberate and careful he was with his shots. So here I regale you with some lovely selections from our garden-shopping adventure. The one below reminds me of this photo I took a few years back.

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A study in tulips

My backyard is just bursting with blooms right now. The ones I planted out front, however, were ravaged by the squirrels. Or at least I’m going to blame them, even without proof. I have no idea why they’re too lazy to scale the fence and gnaw on the ones in back. But I’m very glad they didn’t.
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Crazy about daisies

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My shasta daisies started blooming last week.

Such happy flowers, don’t you think.

While the boys were setting up their tent for a backyard camp-out one evening, I started poking around in the garden trying to find different angles to photograph the blooms. It seems that I got a bit carried away.

And then I decided to take a photo of my foot. Just to mix things up, I guess.

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A little of this and a little of that

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I’ve been having some fun lately creating mini mish-mash bouquets for our table. Whatever’s blooming has been a target. I have no eye for floral design. (Obviously, since I stuck a huge peony in with some tiny flowers!) I’m just going with what feels good and looks cheerful. They last a few days and then I go out and clip some more blooms. Our dill started sprouting delicate yellow flowers the other day and I just love them. So in they went as well.

 

The persistent poppy

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I’ve always been slightly smitten with poppies. They seem so bright and happy. And the name fits perfectly. So I planted one in the garden several years ago.

Only to have my mom yank it out.

Three times.

She thought it was a weed. Every time I scolded her she’d dig a bit, plunk it back in and apologize profusely. And then, an hour later, there she goes again!

Miraculously, that plant is still living. Not so miraculously, it’s never grown much and it spits out a single flower if I’m lucky. (I reminded her of her vicious ways when she came for a visit last weekend. I’m spiteful like that.)

A single unreliable poppy just doesn’t cut it for me, though, so I got another plant last year and I kept my mom FAR AWAY from it. And now it’s blooming nicely. With several flowers. So I finally have my poppies! I group them in with my other favorites that I’ve made sure to include in my garden each year: peonies, hollyhocks, zinnias and sunflowers.

Those sprouts below are from a sunflower kit that Dev begged me to buy for him. They started to emerge just yesterday and we’ll get them out into the garden with the others we planted and watch them grow nice and tall. As long as I can keep the critters away from them.

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A few of the other blooms that are making me smile right now…DSC_1991 DSC_1995 DSC_1996 DSC_1999

And then two random cat photos. Because one is never enough.DSC_2012 DSC_1984

Awesomeness

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I declare the first day of Memorial Day weekend to have been completely awesome.

We did nothing special.

In fact we never left the house. Except for a trip to Lowe’s to get lumber. Does that count as special?

I pulled weeds, which most people would definitely say is not a special activity.

My mom and L visited, which, OK, was indeed special. I love my mom.

Scott dug a really deep hole in the yard. I guess you could count that as special, too, although he may not feel that way since the entire project took forever and he was sweating and grunting through a lot of it.

I filled containers with plants and seeds. I did the dishes. I walked the dog. I did laundry and made beds. I swept up the dirt that we kept tracking inside. I chatted with the neighbors. I watched a Netflix movie with my kid. I finished reading a book (about zombies!) to him on the deck – with lanterns and blankets – before starting another book (about a 10-year-old with genetic abnormalities), which made him giggle with several references to farts and tushes. The reading thing in hindsight does seem special.

I think the awesomeness simply comes from having such a gorgeous day laid out before me to enjoy being with my family and accomplishing things without feeling rushed and overwhelmed.

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Fleeting

Peonies make me think of my grandma.* I don’t know why. I don’t remember her having them when I was a kid. But they bring her to my mind every time I see them.

So a few years ago I planted a peony right in my garden.

I love it. Oodles.

But the blooms don’t last very long at all. Maybe a week? They’re so lush and full. I couldn’t resist making them one of the first bouquets to grace our dining room table (see Greenery for the backstory on the floral newness). I went outside one evening and clipped several stalks, placing them in a bowl to carry back into the house. I trimmed all of them and plopped them into three different vases. I was chatting with my mom on the phone as I did this and let out an “Eeep!” when I spied a few bugs in the bowl. My mom proceeded to tell me that people don’t usually put cut peonies in their houses because of the bugs. Or, if they do, they hang the flowers upside down for a little while to get rid of them.

I’m stubborn, though. I dumped out the bugs and left the bouquets as is. Not a single insect disturbed me for the rest of the week. It goes to show that sometimes moms aren’t right. (Even though most of the time they are!)

*Queen Anne’s Lace, too. I always think of adding Queen Anne’s Lace to my garden. Don’t many people consider it a weed? Not me. I love it.