Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Four

Today, my sweet daughter turns four years old. I can hardly believe that four years ago, I was holding a tiny newborn, getting ready to spend our first night together. And now, she has grown into such a gentle, caring little girl who is capable of so many things--and learning more each day.

Happy fourth birthday, my darling C.

 Birthday decorations

 C's new birthday crown (featuring a crocus, as these flowers always start to appear right around her birthday)

C in her new crown

C with her birthday table, and special guests Auntie N & Uncle J!



 C's new wheels (and a slightly envious D)

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Garden in (Almost) Spring

Spring is coming! Seeds are going into the ground, overwintering crops are starting to grow again, and we welcomed two new fruit trees into our garden (a pear and a fig). It's so exciting to see things beginning to take shape. Though we still have a lot of work ahead, it is always so worth the effort, and thoughts (hopes) of bountiful harvests are motivating us to get outside in the garden--even in the rain.

 Front garden beds with overwintered veggies (kale, broccoli, fava beans, romanesco, mache, brussels sprouts, carrots, garlic, onions)

 Overwintered broccoli

 Look! A little floret forming on the romanesco!

Kale going to seed

The little pear tree, a 4-way graft (Bartlett, Flemish Beauty, Conference, and Anjou, if you're curious)

Another new addition, wintergreen. I love its charming (and tasty) red berries!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Living the Dream


Around the time that C started preschool in the fall, she stopped taking naps. Aside from a few unintentional snoozes in the car, she basically hasn't stopped for a mid-day siesta for months now. That is, until earlier this week, when she requested to lie down with her brother while he was napping. B obliged (after she promised that she would be very quiet). About 10 minutes later, he peeked in on them and was greeted by this scene:


So he reached the parenting holy grail, which had been but a distant memory to us: both children napping at the same time. It only lasted for about 30 minutes, but it was glorious all the same.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Short Vacation

We took a lovely trip last weekend to visit family. Though it was short and a little exhausting with the two littles, we had such a wonderful time and can't wait until we can return again.

 The boys taking a stroll through Nana's magical garden

 Walking down the road

Three in the woods

 D and the tree

Me and my little guy 
(B was trying to capture us with our cheeks together. I was putting my cheek to his and saying, "Cheek to cheek." D responded with his version, "Cheeky cheek.")

A donkey named Norm

D with his great-uncle and Jasper the parrot. 
(D got to feed Jasper a peanut, which he still talks about--"Jasper! Peanut!" C, recounting the tale today, said, "D fed a peanut to Jasper. He was so proud, and so brave!")

Cow-gazing

What a glorious morning!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pasta with Kale, White Beans and Meyer Lemon

While making dinner the other day I was taken with the beauty of the ingredients I was preparing for our pasta, and snapped this picture (too bad it doesn't quite capture the lovely golden yellow hue--or the magnificent aroma--of the Meyer lemon juice + zest). The resulting one-dish meal was quite delicious, and well-received by all members of the family.

In case you would like to recreate it, here is the "recipe":
The garlic (8 cloves) and kale (1 bunch) was sauteed in olive oil. After a couple minutes, chopped kalamata olives, a can of white beans and a splash of water were added. This all simmered together while the pasta cooked, until the kale was tender. The pasta was drained, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with just a little sea salt, then the kale mixture and the juice and zest of one Meyer lemon was added. Easy and very tasty--perfect for a weeknight meal!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Remembering

Some pictures from the vault--taken almost exactly four years ago, when I was pregnant with C. Photos taken by our lovely friend Heather, who also photographed our wedding.


 


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reading Time

Just a little video of D reading and talking on his current favorite, er, "chair." (At the end, he's trying to point out one of his favorite items in the book, the lawnmower.)

video

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In a Quiet House

... so much can get done!

I got to sew at the table! Yippee!

B and the children were out and about for most of the day, and I got to have some productive, peaceful hours to myself. Got some spring cleaning done, cleared a little clutter, and started some sewing projects for the birthday girl.



Also took a nice little tea break in the sun--all in all, a very rejuvenating day!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Sun

We had a lovely warm, sunny weekend. Though winter is surely not over yet, this was just the break we needed. We spent much of the weekend outside, working in the garden and even enjoying some meals on the deck. Much to C's delight, we also hung up the hammock chair that had been put away for the winter.




Hooray for playing outside... and not needing a coat!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gather

Today's post is about a new restaurant, Gather, which specializes in farm-to-table, plant-based cuisine. It does have a reputation as being a bit exclusive (you do, after all, have to have the right connections to get in), but the owners are down-to-earth and the food is tasty. The ambiance is quite cozy; with communal seating and an open kitchen, you can watch your food being prepared (and even help out if you are so inclined). Admittedly, the beverage menu is limited and the menu is fixed in advance, though the owners try to appeal to both the adult palate and that of young children. All in all, it's certainly worth the trip!

 Recent offerings at Gather: sushi bowl toppings

 Porcini crusted tofu, mashed potatoes, shallot gravy, and roasted beet salad with pistachios

The proud owners of Gather

Do those folks look familiar? Yes, Gather is actually the name we have given to our new in-house restaurant (AKA the dining room). It all came about when I decided to make a banner for our newly-painted dining space, and thought "gather" would be a suitable slogan. Little did I know that I had tapped into a cultural zeitgeist! Our lovely Bay Area friends, who were visiting at the time, told us about a fabulous-sounding critically-acclaimed restaurant in Berkeley that went by the same name. So, what was there to do, but celebrate with pizza at our new "restaurant"?


Mushroom-tomato- pesto & Pear-almond-Field Roast-sage pizzas with Massaged Kale Salad

Since then, we've enjoyed "cooking at Gather" and it has re-invigorated our meal planning and the way we think about making dinner.

 Menu plan for the week (admittedly more ambitious than most)

 A satisfied customer

I recently read a blog post about the importance of play, and I think that may be why we so enjoy the Gather concept. Turning a daily chore into something of a game makes the process all the more fun. After all, the stories we tell, and the games we play, can turn our lives from something rather dull to something exciting (or at least, something more interesting). So, here's to many more meals at Gather... you know who to contact for reservations!