Sunday, August 26, 2012

Charlie and Ceci

   Yesterday we had the joy of spending the day with our Charlie and Ceci. We don't get to see them often and were babysitting while their parents were at a wedding.  We took them to Fredrick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. This is a world class botanical garden and sculpture park that is a must see if you are in the state of Michigan.  

   Just one of the star features is Leonardo's horse.

   In 1482 Leonardo DaVinci was commissioned by the Duke of Milan to make a sculpture of a horse that would be the largest in the world. DaVinci completed only a clay model that was destroyed by soldiers.   In 1977 Charles Dent began plans to commit DaVinci's plans and bring the horse to "life."  This horse is 24 feet (7.3 meters) high and is stunningly beautiful.  Mr. Meijer helped to heavily finance the project and added that while the castings were being made, he wanted two.  One for Milan and one for Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We took the kids to see it.

 It's hard to appreciate the size of this sculpture until you are literally right underneath it.
 It never fails to take your breath away.
 We wandered to the children's garden that included a few water features.  It was a very hot day and we came prepared for wetness.  This is a model of the Great Lakes with geologic and depth features.
 There was a sundial that showed the time with your outstretched arms.
 But Ceci really liked the water.
It didn't take Grandpa and Charlie long to feel the pressure of a long day in the hot sun.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

You say tomAto I say tomOto

Remember this from last weekend?  Well, friend Laurie asked for the recipe.  I'm warning you, I travel near and far from the main recipe, but that's what I think you're supposed to do.  Follow it the first time then tweak it after that.  I do NOT use the crust they recommend because I did it once and it was has hard as concrete.  It was a cornmeal crust.  This is from the freezer section.  Just a plain ol' frozen pie crust.  This is the way the filling goes:


1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 1/4 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons bread crumbs
3 Tablestpoons fresh chopped parsley
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup manchego cheese

Heat oven to 350.  Use pie weights and bake the crust for about 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and let cool.

Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and add the onion, cooking till golden.  Let cool. Meanwhile, thinly slice the tomatoes and toss with 1 tsp. kosher salt in a colander and let drain about 30 minutes.
 Increase oven to 375. Combine 3/4 cup manchego cheese, mozzarella, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, 2 TBSP each chives and parsley, 1/45 tsp. each kosher salt and pepper and the cooked onion in a bowl. Toss. Spread in the crust.  Arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil and season with pepper.  Bake until the tomatoes are browned, about 50 minutes. top with remaining herbs.

My variations:  Plain ol' tomatoes, not worrying if they are heirloom or not. Mix cherry tomatoes with big ones. No manchego cheese?  Use just mozzarella.  No parsley? No big deal...add more thyme. No fresh chives?  Use dried. The crust is not their cornmeal crust. 

I've made this pie as much as two times a week during tomato season.  It's absolutely delicious.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Where are we?

 I saw this on Pinterest and pinned it.  For a person who lives in bookville, this was a natural for my yard.  I had an old picket fence that was falling apart, I had an old post behind the shed. I had nails. I had paint and brushes.  I even had a bird nest that I took out of a wreath. Cost? About an hour.
 The bottom marker says "Cuddlevania."  This is where Elizabeth's cuddle lives. When asked, she says it's between Ohio and Kentucky-o.
 I also had everything on hand to make a tomato pie for lunch.  I could tell you I got the recipe from FoodNetwork magazine, July/August 2011, but I changed it so much it's hardly recognizable.  I use the recipe as an outline.
 Got the binding onto Adelaide's quilt.  Yay!
 Auditioning for Ceci's Christmas present big girl bed quilt.
I call her my dollycake so a cupcake seemed right.  The background is a very pale sweet green.  I'll needle turn applique this.  I don't do fusibles, I don't do machine applique, I don't do glue.  I cut, baste and needle turn.  This will have an assortment of borders, depending on my stash. Oh, and a little mouse contemplating nibbling. 

Not bad for a Sunday at home! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012


 became this.
 This was turned into beautifully scented lavender ice cream
 became blackberry sorbet.
 These were given to
 peach ice cream
and peach sorbet, which when combined with a scoop of the blackberry sorbet became a dessert worthy of plate licking.

I'm having more than a good amount of fun with my ice cream maker!

Friday, August 10, 2012


 If we lived during the Ice Age and saw a giant beaver, this is how small we would be.
 And if we were Paleontologists, we'd dig with paint brushes.
We took our last outing of the summer this week.  We went back to the city of St. Joseph because their Heritage Museum had an Ice Age mammal exhibit and since the girls are very into the Ice Age movies, this exhibit was a HUGE hit.   The above digging box was filled with rice and there were various fossils buried and they quite literally dove into the job of uncovering them.

Next week will be their last visit for the summer and they're bringing friends for a big beach day. We've crossed just about everything off our to-do list for the summer and declared it a success.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

When you wish upon a cupcake

 Our Ceci is two!
 We began the day at Charlie's last baseball game.  He's in the age group that has coaches pitch.  Charlie has an arm on him.  From a very early age (he's only 6) he could throw a ball with force, aim and speed. Son Ben is the coach for his team and we loved watching him handling the little kids, noticing each little one's strengths and encouraging them when they needed it.  It was a very hot day and the kids were troopers.
Charlie's good friend Ethan is also on the team.

These four are 'never sit stills.' I thought I had a pretty good idea to bring some fake moustaches along and get a group shot.  These silly moustaches are one of the biggest selling things in the shop I work at during summer.  Well.  Best laid plans, right?  First Charlie didn't want to put one on but after seeing Grandma's fake sad face, he agreed with giggles.  Elizabeth would have no part of it until Momma intervened.  I don't know what she said to her but it worked.  Adelaide, ever game for anything Adelaide, was the first to put hers on.  Ceci's was stuck to her pacie so she didn't even notice except when she looked at the other kids.  Grandpa held her because she NEVER sits still.  Three of the four looking at the camera was the best I could do, but aren't they cute!!!

 When you are two, what do you wish for?
The quilt is received!  Now I have big plans for a big girl bed quilt for her for Christmas because she's going to be a big sister this winter and will be in a big girl bed.  I must work fast!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summertime, summertime, sumsumsummertime

Our days of summer vacation are counting down. School doesn't start till the day after the first Monday in September but when the clock strikes August there's a feeling of panic in the air.  It's hard to fit everything in that hasn't been done yet.

The after supper trip to the city beach started this time with a walk along the pier...
for a visit to the light house. 
Little Adelaide is covered in poison ivy and while she keeps a stiff upper lip about it, we see her scratching a lot.  So would we all if we were as covered as she is.  We can't think of where she was that she was in contact with it, but her daddy is very, very sensitive to it and Adelaide must have inherited it.
They picked the last of the red raspberries.  Elizabeth is wearing her airplane that she fashioned from a box my new shoes arrived in. She drew cockpit instruments on the inside and propellers on the outside. She hasn't taken her airplane off for two days.
 The black berries are monstrous and sweet.  I'm going to turn them into something really good tomorrow.
 After berries, Patient Husband and my daughter picked tomatoes for drying and salsa.  The girls were way bored by now and made friends with Cubanelle peppers and two ears of corn.
 The farmer whose bounty we were picking came out with a couple of the very first watermelons and
offered Patient Husband the first taste.  Ripe enough yet?  The juicy floor said yes. We brought one home that barely fit on a shelf in the fridge.  We'll take it to Ceci's birthday.

Slowly, slowly wins the race.....