Friday, July 18, 2014

We'll Drink to That

It's official: we have too many cucumbers. How do I know? Because, as of last night, we have started using them in cocktails.

Actually, our cucumbers are one of those catch-22 things; more than we can eat as they come on, not enough to really get into making pickles. Though I did get a small-batch canning book this year and want to try that recipe for dill pickles.

Back to the booze.

Cucumber and Basil Gimlet
from Real Simple, August 2014

Muddle 1/4 cup sugar with 1/2 chopped English cucumber or 2 small Persian cucumbers, skins and all, in a pitcher. (We just used a medium, nice and firm, pickling cucumber.) 

Mom, we used the spurtle!

Add 2/3 cup fresh lime juice and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Add 2/3 cup gin or vodka (gin for us) and 1/4 cup water and stir to combine.

Divide among 4 glasses. Top with ice and garnish with fresh basil. (Why didn't I pull out two matching glasses? Nobody will be pinning that one...)

So...there was just the two of us. So...we just poured it in two glasses. It should serve four, because it's pretty potent. I enjoyed it, but couldn't finish my double. Next time we'll make it when there are other people around!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer, Full Steam Ahead

It has been hot and humid here for the last couple days, though the weatherman says it should clear out today. But, the vegetables don't wait for nice weather so the pressure canner was steaming away, pushing the temperature of the kitchen up a couple degrees. There are green beans and carrots to show for it and we'll be glad to have them in the middle of winter.

I canned all the carrots we had, but the green beans are still coming on strong so I have to keep after them. Colter has been eating them straight from the garden and sneaking them off the counter at every turn. Green beans and cucumbers and the kid is happy.

How, though, do we all have colds in the middle of July? Ugh.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Birthday x 3

I showed you how we got a little celebrating in while in Maine,

but let's not forget that the little man's big day actually happened at home. We were all pretty wiped out from just returning home the night before, but at least Keith had the day off yet and got to be around to celebrate with Colter. We've lucked out for his first two birthdays falling on Saturday and Sunday, and his third being one Keith had off.

He woke up to find his presents waiting for him in the living room.

He was pretty excited when he realized what was in that big bag...

a tricycle!

So excited he had to go sit down for a minute and just take it in.

Then there was a dump truck Keith found in Maine.

And some left-handed scissors for our little lefty, along with some stickers and Curious George notecards.

But really, it was all about the tricycle.

He could barely wait to get it outside and start pedaling.

Then after lunch, Keith made some birthday s'mores. The bike helmet barely came off all day!

We did have a little cake at home too. Keith said he didn't need another one, but what's a birthday without a cake? Especially when you are three!

Over the weekend, we went up to Keith's parents' house so they could spoil the birthday boy some more (and treat the whole family to a delicious meal!).

The best kind of birthdays are the ones that start early and go long and you get to see all the people who love you! Thanks to everyone for making it special for our not-so-little man!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Maine-ly Fun

Once again, July found us in Maine for our summer vacation. Being away with two little ones had its challenges, mainly that the littlest one didn't sleep very well at all. But we were happy to be near the water, to check out our favorite places – tool stores and yarn stores, restaurants and ice cream shops – and spend the week with family.

C sporting his new life vest...

E getting wet. He wasn't too happy his first time in, but liked it later in the week. In his defense, the water was pretty chilly!

Paddling about with Daddy...

Colter wanted everyone to play in the boat with him...

...then insisted that we all put our arms in the air for the photo. Aye, aye Captain!

A very cute crew mate...

...and a very messy eater.

Not to be outdone...

Zoe reading down by the lake.

Little men, ready for bed. Don't be fooled that it means they will actually sleep or anything.

Oh, and Colter boogered up his head by falling off the bed the first night we arrived.

The really cool children's museum in Portland was a hit with Colter. I liked the graphics on the wall.

All the way to Maine and he just wants to drive the tractor!

There was a whole other floor but C stuck mostly to the fire truck and the tractor. It's very hard for me to let him just do his thing when I want to make sure he sees everything. But all he wanted was that tractor!

Trying to get a nice family shot.

Wait, are we missing someone?

Now we are all here!

Would you two please look at the camera?

Can you tell how hard I'm holding onto C?

Maybe next year.

Next! What a good looking (and growing!) family!

And the oldies but goodies!

Maybe we stick with the casual shots.

"I will figure out this sippy cup!"

A nice neighbor snapped a few group shots for us.

There was a boat parade around the lake for the 4th, which we all enjoyed and have plans to join next year.

A guest appearance by Willie Nelson...

Boats! Puts a new spin on the "floats" in a parade.

Uncle Travis, you are so goofy!

And a little pre-birthday celebration – with one giant whoopie pie – since the gang was together.

The other birthday boy helped blow out the candles.

Elliott tried to eat toes instead of cake.

Since it was rainy the night of the 4th, there were no fireworks but we were treated to quite a display the following night. Keith captured just a bit of what was a better than half-hour show, alternating between several places around the lake. And since it woke the boys up, they got to come out on the dock and enjoy some of it with us.


So the week might not have been as relaxing as other (read "pre-kid") years, but it was great to get away and enjoy one of our favorite spots among family.
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