May 29, 2015


Lily has been all about swinging lately. 

And if Elsie gets someone to push her, she refuses to budge from the swing. 

Which has made me think of this poem. (I apologize for childish poems. They just happen to be part of the soundtrack of my life.) 

The Swing  
Robert Louis Stevenson

How do  you like to go up in a swing, 
Up in the air so blue? 
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall, 
Till I can see so wide, 
Rivers and Trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside   

Till I look down on the garden green, 
Down on the roof so brown   
Up in the air I go flying again, 
Up in the air and down. 

Gyo Fujikawa's illustration of this poem.

I love Gyo Fujikawa illustrations.

Hilda Boswell's illustration

I just discovered Mom and Dad's copy of A Child's Garden of Verses illustrated by Hilda Boswell. When they lived in Alaska (39 years ago, starting today, their anniversary!), Mom babysat a little girl called Christina, who apparently changed Mom's mind about not wanting children. All eight of us kids can be thankful that Christina was a well behaved and delightful child instead of a whiny, spoiled thing. Otherwise, we might not exist. Anyway, when Mom and Dad moved back to Pennsylvania from Alaska to have Clover, Hilda Boswell's A Child's Garden of Verses was one of the books Christina's family gave them for baby Vaughan. And I love it! (I have a very large weakness for mid century illustrations with clear colors.) 

Have a gorgeous May weekend! 

May 28, 2015


It is a rainy afternoon. My house is messy. I am booking a hotel for an upcoming trip. The kids are arguing. My brother's birthday cake is in the oven. Elsie has cake batter on her nose. Orianna just got home late from chorus practice. Justin is working downstairs and listening to a book on tape that I can hear only faintly. I need to go buy cream cheese for the peanut butter frosting. 

That, in a nutshell, is my world at this moment.

Here is an afternoon last week.

We went to the Malone Rec Park, which we very occasionally played at when little. 

The kids love it.

It has monkey bars.

After the park, we went to the library and spent a pleasant hour. Kermit the frog enjoyed it as well.  This photo is the point we descended into blueness on the camera.

Home again. Books and iPad.

And Playmobil

And Polly Pockets

May 27, 2015

Blueberry, Chicken, and Corn Salad with Dill and Feta dressing

I don't think I ever shared this recipe. Did I talk about it? Not sure. I ate it a lot last summer. I discovered it on Pioneer Woman and tried it, simply because blueberries and chicken sounded weird together. It is not weird, merely scrumptious. I made it at least once a week for the rest of the blueberry season. I am not even sure why I love it so very much. I just do. The combination of flavors is amazing.  I am fully aware of how weird most people think it is. My brothers and father have discoursed at length about the weirdness of this salad. So feel free to scoff. I am immune to scoffing.

The official title of this recipe is 
Grilled Chicken Salad with Fresh Corn, Blueberries and Feta

(But since I don't use fresh corn or grill the chicken, it seems a bit of a misnomer. And it is wordy to call it a Blueberry, Chicken, Red Onion, Celery, and Corn salad with a Lemony Feta and Dill dressing. A conundrum. So we will leave the subject of the title for someone more clever to decide.)  

Make your dressing

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup sour cream
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and add

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Make your salad

Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
3 stalks of celery, cut into matchsticks and chopped
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups of blueberries
2 cups of frozen corn, cooked quickly

Mix it all together


There. That is the recipe. I enjoyed using the bold type there. I pictured myself barking out orders with each bold phrase. 

Now for the disclaimers. Besides the dressing, I don't really measure anything. I make this on a personal basis, since no one else in my family has any interest in it. I generally mix everything but the blueberries and dressing in a bowl and leave that in the fridge, ready to be pulled out and plied with blueberries and dressing in my bowl. It lasts me through several days. 

I use whatever chicken I have on hand. I have cooked chicken in a frying pan, grilled it, and roasted it, as well as using a rotisserie chicken from the store. 

I have tried sweet onion, but red onion really makes a difference. 

The original recipe calls for cutting kernels off fresh corn and using it without cooking, but that limits this salad to a few weeks in August and September, so I dispensed with that. I take a few handfuls of frozen corn and cook it quickly in a frying pan. By quickly I mean start to finish, two-three minutes. 

The original recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons of fresh dill, if  you are the kind of person who has fresh dill on hand. I wish I was the kind of person who had fresh dill on hand. 

And can I just mention how excited I am that Polar has cans of Ruby Red Grapefruit Seltzer now? I love Ruby Red. 

May 26, 2015

The Evening with the Blue Tinge

We got some rain finally, yesterday evening. It has been such a dry spring. Of course, it didn't rain for weeks and then decided to get serious about raining when we decided to BBQ. Dad and Justin managed to cook wonderful meat despite the rain. We had a nice, cozy evening afterward, playing games, moving a large piece of furniture from the basement to the garage, and talking wisely. Or talking at least. I was thinking it was all so cozy, and Orianna pipes up on the way home and says she doesn't like the look of outside. And then asks "What it is like to die?" Well there went my cozy rainy evening.  I told Orianna about my Grandmother dying and turning to the window and saying what a beautiful morning it was right before she died. (It was not a beautiful morning.) And how several people have mentioned bright lights or other reassuring things right before they die. Death did not come up on them as something horrible, but as something new and yet, expected. She was content with that explanation and went off to bed. Suddenly the rain was reminding me of all the sadness in the world. Instead of cozy, it felt oppressive. 

This morning, the sunshine is brilliant, my first iris opened, and I have great plans of folding laundry and sorting things out. 

Light is so reassuring.

And now for some pictures of evening light.

Last Thursday, Owen called us while we were eating supper and invited us up to a bonfire that evening. It was lovely. A perfectly gorgeous (cold) evening.

(And this was the evening I had my camera on the wrong setting. In case you where wondering about the odd lighting.) 

Rock collectors

Tori and Abilene

Gilbert stuffing marshmallows in his face. He was a sticky-faced disaster.

Wagon rides

Owen instructing the girls in the use of tow straps

Hitching up Orianna

And down the driveway they go

The leaves were so gorgeous. 

And the view is nice too.

Owen told the girls he knew it was hard, but he was doing at least 50% of the work because he was coaching. They scoffed. 

Meanwhile, the kids complacently enjoyed themselves.

Ashley and her new baby

The girls double teamed pulling

Owen coaching

Hoyt and Elsie talking to Wendy and Winkles

Then Owen gave the girls a dollar each to tow him down the lane again. Child labor. 

Hoyt is pulling the wagon handle, Gilbert is pushing the wagon, and Elsie is pushing Gilbert. Or at least putting her hand gently on Gilbert's back. 

Hoyt fell into the hay field and laid there exhausted for a minute. 

Putting their back into it

On the home stretch

Then Owen had to pull all the kids

Ashley watching her crazy husband

Sweetest little Abilene

Running through the alfalfa

Hoyt pulling the wagon

Aunt Tori and Gilbert

Inquisitive Hoyt

Hoyt following Gilbert through the alfalfa 

Foothills of the Adirondacks

Shades of green

Orianna leading the kids back from the field. 

The lilacs are fading

Owen and his girl

Elsie was carrying Kermit around for a few days. He was Froggy.

And then the sun set and we went home.