Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bouncy House Fun

I have been meaning to post this little collage for a few weeks. James' and Ella's Las Vegas cousins visited a while back and I set up the bouncy house for them.

Nothing like a little bouncing action to get the smiles and the shrieking going!
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Love in A Jelly Jar


James and I headed out with his pre-school class yesterday to a local farm. There was a hay bale maze, a hayride, the kids picked turnips and fed them to some oxen, and they also picked pumpkins.

The highlight of the trip for me was when James and I headed to the little country store that the farm family runs. They sell all of their own goods, including preserves, honey, maple syrup, salsas, and a variety of hand-sewn items. I left with a few things, including their red raspberry preserves.

This morning I wanted to have the jelly on toast. When I opened the jar, I was greeted with pure, homemade, LOVE. That smell—of plump, red raspberries, just picked in the heat of July—it was fabulous. The smell and the flavor of this little jar or preserves evoked a flood of memories of my Mother. I smiled while I ate every bite of my toast.

Thank you, Hurst Family Farm. You don’t even know how much love you packed into this little jar!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back from Indiana

We are just back from a 5-day trip out to Vincennes, Indiana for a family reunion. It was a fabulous time of reconnecting with family that I had not seen in 20 years! We stuffed ourselves with mid-west food like biscuits and gravy, pork tenderloin and chicken fried chicken!

We were also able to visit the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, which was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!! I will be posting more pictures in the next week. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sew Addicted to Sewing!

As I mentioned a few posts back, I purchased a sewing machine for my birthday present this year. I have been wanting to learn how to machine sew for a few years, but like other crafty pursuits, I had been letting the old excuse "I have two little ones, I don't have time to learn how to sew" get in the way.

Not any longer! I purchased a Janome Youstyle 100 on the recommendation of my local sewing machine dealer, and I LOVE IT. So far I have made all of the typical beginner crafts, like crayon rolls, bibs, and stuffies. Today I made an oven mitt! You can get the tutorial here.

I have much to learn still, and I need a few tools that will help me out (a cutting mat and a roller cutter), but I am making great progress. I really fell in love with the blue material I used for this mitt--unfortunately it was a remnant, so I won't be able to make another one!

Next up I want to do some quilted hotpads, and then I am going to start working on some vintage pillowcase dresses. My Dad gave me several turn of the century pillowcases just for this project, and I am very interested to see how my creations will look on our little Ella. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 19, 2009

M m m . . . Mushroom Barley Soup!

We love to eat at a little place called Rein's Deli in Vernon. They have an amazing mushroom barley soup that is a must eat if you visit. I have been trying to replicate it, and this past weekend, I think I came fairly close!

Get the recipe here at the Sustainable Pantry blog!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Picture of Beauty

My Saturday mornings spent at Nixon Hills Arabians in Marlborough continues to be a much-anticipated point during my week! I arrive at 8am, feed, water and turnout the horses, and then I clean stalls or exercise horses, whatever it is that Judy, the owner needs any extra help with.

A few weekends ago I was able to bring my niece to the barn and show her around. Here she is grooming Alvin, a champion Arabian.

We were able to saddle up Battle--one of my favorite horses at the barn, for her to ride. What a beauty!

I know my posts have ben short--we have been busy busy as usual!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Perfection

There is a little meadow down the road from our house that I love. When we drive by it I picture myself riding a horse through the green grass, and daydreaming about everything and nothing in particular.

This is the kind of meadow that I would like to call my own someday. Perhaps it would have a small log cabin with a wrap-around-porch, and a two-stall horse barn (one for a horse, the other for a goat or a donkey).

In this meadow my children would run and play, screaming and laughing, chasing each other like dragonflies on a summer evening.

In the winter we would hitch the horse to a vintage sleigh and give rides to our family and friends who would be snuggled under a homemade wool blanket and drinking mulled cider from a thermos.

In this field one day I would set up a tent and rows of white chairs and I would renew my vows with my husband.

There is so much possibility in a green field such as this. But for now, its greatest pleasure for me is the portrait of Fall that it creates. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oh, To Be A Cat

Our Henry, lounging in the dog bed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oh My Goodness . . .

The pups, lounging in the sun. Gino hurt his foreleg, and the joint was very swollen, but after a trip to the vet and some antibiotics he is doing much better.

On another note, Ella is starting to use a spoon and fork! She was very proud of herself while eating her eggs. She was actually able to spear them with the fork and get them in her mouth!

One of my birthday presents from my grandparents included two jars of Smucker's Plum Jam in the box. You just can't get it here (they live in Oklahoma).

Ella loves her toast with plum jam, just like her Mommy does!

I took this picture of Ella a couple of days ago--I think I am obsessed with her little toes--they are so perfect! I would like to eat them up!

And to follow up on yesterday's post: When I say I am terrified of using my Mom's machine it is really because I remember having a terrible time loading the bobbin, and it pretty much turned me off of sewing while I was in high school. (As I write this, I can see my Mom shaking her head, saying that her machine was so easy that our old dog rascal could have operated it. Love you Mom!)

So, I am looking for an easy beginner machine that will last--my friend Stephanie will think I am crazy, but after visiting the local sewing machine shop, and talking with the owner (who is an older Italian gentleman that was completely taken with James) I am going with a Janome Youstyle 100. I am going to pick it up today! Mr. Gittanella is giving me a discount because he said he was so impressed with James, and because James informed him that his middle name is Sebastiano (which is Mr. Gittanella's brother's name).

My very first project is going to be crayon roll. Stephanie made one for James and I thought it was just an amazing idea!

Anyhoo--gotta go--a busy day ahead!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

I turned 36 today! I am hoping that 36 is the new 26--I don't really feel old or anything, (although this is the year that I did start applying wrinkle cream.)

This year I was totally torn between choosing one of two gift options. The first is a pair of Frye boots that I adore. They retail for about $250.

Seriously, aren't they gorgeous? (sigh)

The other option is a sewing machine. I have my Mom's Kenmore machine from 1960ish and it terrifies me.

I want one that is easy enough for a beginner, but that I can also grow into. I was looking at this Brother that retails for $179 on Amazon (and interestingly I asked my friend Stephanie what she uses and she recommended this one! However--now that I have made up my mind to get a sewing machine (which will help me fulfill my dreamy visions of churning out pillowcase dresses for my daughter) I want it NOW.

If I get it from Amazon it won't get here NOW. I found it online at Wal-mart for $149 but NO STORE IN THE STATE CARRIES IT. Drat!

So, I am taking some other advice that I received to visit my local sewing machine shop (there is one in Glastonbury) and see what they can recommend. They looked a little high-end on line, but when I called the woman was VERY sweet and helpful, and when I told her that I was looking in the $100 to $150 range, she said they could definitely help me, and they had some good used machine options for me to try out.

Gotta love shopping local! So, stay tuned--we'll see what happens!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Fair Fun

We headed out to the Eastern States Exposition yesterday with three carloads of family and friends. It was a great outing filled with laughs, food and fun!

James and his cousin Garrin were inseparable! I love that they are about a year a part in age and are now the same size.

James loved the kiddie rides, and was pretty excited to be able to pick out a green Jeep to drive, since green is his FAVORITE color!

Here he is waiting in line to ride some "super fast race cars" as he called them.

Chris, I think you might need a bit bigger of a car . . .

And here is my favorite thing about the Big E--the Hallamore Clydesdales!

Ella was with us, but I couldn't get a really good shot of her. I think her favorite part was during the parade, when several Mardi Gras-type floats went by and the riders were throwing beaded necklaces into the crowd.

For more information about New England's largest fair, visit www.thebige.com.