Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ella's New Hang Out Spot

Recently, our Ella Bella has been climbing behind our big leather chair and hanging out behind it.

I don't know why she likes this particular spot--but she is back there all of the time!

So silly!

Maybe she thinks that it s her own little clubhouse--NO BOYS!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Wreaths with Found Greens

I have been meaning to change the two wreaths that I have had hanging since Easter. Best intentions, right?

I have never tried my hand at making wreaths before, but after some internet research, I decided to try and make them myself with greens found from my yard. Here are the results!

The kitchen door wreath, about a 12" in diameter wreath form:

And the front door wreath, a 24" form:

My father had given me some sea lavender on our last visit that I used on the front door wreath. I made the big one yesterday and the smaller one today (both during Ella's naps.) Thank goodness I had James' new truck to keep him busy making circles around the yard while I was working!

What do you think? Don't look too closely, you are bound to see the miles and miles of florist wire that I used. Have you ever made a wreath? Did you enjoy it? I did, but my fingers are killing me!

My only concern about these is that I used live greenery, except for the sea lavender. I am hopeful that the greens will dry naturally, and am crossing my fingers that they just don't die completely!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Ford Fan!

We are Ford and Subaru fans in this family. James was recently the lucky recipient of a new Ford F-150. I think he likes it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Steps

So this is what happened in Tulsa when we were visiting my grandparents:

She really isn't quite there yet, but I would say she will be a crazy walking fool within the next few weeks! (Does Chris look proud, or what?)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Heading to Tulsa

I will be away from Blogland for a few days visiting my grandparents in Oklahoma. See you Monday!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

So Handsome

My son fills my heart with so much joy. And those eye lashes! My goodness. A friend of mine took this picture at Ella's first birthday party and I must have missed it somehow until my sister reposted it on FaceBook. Thanks Susie for taking it--it is my new favorite!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mrs. Sparks' Zucchini Bread Recipe

So I love zucchini bread. well, let's face it. I love all quick breads--pumpkin, banana, apple, you name it, I'll take a couple of slices and slather them with either butter or cream cheese, pair it with a great cuppa coffee and I am in heaven.

I made some last week and it was great, but . . . err, I guess the recipe was really for two loaves and I stuffed it into one. So the resulting explosion was good, but UGLY. (Let's just say it was the second time in a week that I set off the smoke detectors.)

I told my husband about it and he told me about a friend of his at work that brought in his wife's zucchini bread. And Chris went on and on and ON about it. Okay, I said, get me the recipe. So here you go, this is Mrs. Sparks' Zucchini Bread. And oh, it is DIVINE.

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 1/2 cups sugar (I know, I thought this was a lot, but it gives the bread a sweet and crunch crust)
2 cup grated zucchini
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Oil the pan and place wax paper on bottom only. (I just buttered the pans).
Bake at 350 for 45 min to 1 hr. (This made two loaves and it took 80 minutes).

Thanks Mrs. Sparks!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Newest Love

Meet Battle! He is an Arabian gelding from the the 15-horse stable that I volunteer at every Saturday. I answered an ad on Craigslist for some part-time stable help and am loving every minute of it. For a few hours I feed, water, turn-out, groom, and exercise the horses. The smell of horses, hay, leather and grain makes me very happy.

The owner invited me to take part in a Labor Day trail ride and I was all too happy to join in. I rode Battle and he was a dream. (sigh) I used to have horses as a girl and I have missed it so much. 18 years later and I am back in the saddle again. It's a great feeling.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cracking Me Up

Can I just say that my little girl cracks me up on almost a minute-by minute basis? She is quite the comedian, and giggles at herself constantly. Here she is from dinner the other night.

"What are you staring at? Isn't this how YOU use a spoon?"


Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Not-So-Little-Boy Goes to Pre-School!

There are so many emotions swirling around inside of me as I collect my thoughts for this post. Pride, sadness, joy, anxiety, and overall a letting go--of my baby!

We enrolled James in the public pre-school this summer. There are 11 children in his class, and school is four days a week for three hours every morning.

James is three years old and many of the children are four, so I am a little anxious as to how well he will do for himself--but so far he is doing great!

Last week the school had an open house, and James got to meet his teacher. Let's just say that he is ENTHRALLED with her. I mean seriously--he had only just met her and when we took his picture with her he looked like this!

When was the last time I got him to smile like that? Honestly, I think it was on his train ride to NYC!

Anyhow, the Open House was fun, James got to meet the other children and check out the classroom. Ella had fun too. Here she is with Granny Annie:

James was pretty happy to check out the school mascot, "Stripes" when we left.

After the Open House we took him down to Essex to ride the steam train and the riverboat as a special treat. More pics from that later.

And here is my boy, on his first official morning of school.

Looks a little unsure! Maybe he needs some extra cuddling with his Mom?

Uh, no. He's good.

So Chris took the day off and we drove him to school together. Miraculously I kept my tears at bay. But boy, let me say that when I hugged him good bye and sent him off to his teacher he NEVER LOOKED BACK.

I thought "Well, maybe when we pick him up he'll need me to smother him in kisses and will allow me to make an utter fool of myself mauling him in the school parking lot with hugs."

Uh, again, no.

Pretty much all he wanted was his Daddy.

It's cool. I'm good with it. (Sob, sob, sniff.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A New Chapter Begins

So, here I am, turning the page and starting anew after a nice rest during which I soaked in some late summer sunshine, celebrated my daughter's first birthday and sent my son off to pre-school. For those of you who used to read my posts on Tutta la Storia, welcome to Under A Shady Tree!

A few weeks ago my husband said that he missed my blog posts. That was all I needed to get back to Blogland. You see, Tutta was mainly created to keep family updated that were far from us. My husband is out of town nearly every week, so I was chronicling moments from home for him to share in.

My first blog post on Tutta was a collection of photos taken to celebrate my son's first birthday. We recently did the same a couple of weekends ago in Maine for my daughter. We chose a spot not far from where I grew up and a friend from school took the photos. The day was breezy, sunny, and beautiful. Enjoy.

The dresses that Ella is wearing are vintage--the pink one is from the 50s and the white one is a Victorian Christening gown that was altered to add-in a doily that says "Baby." These were gifts from my Mother.

The photographer is William Morgan Conant from Brunswick Maine. Leave me a comment here if you would like his contact information.