Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

See for yourself! This is currently the most prolific section of our garden. The corn is crazy tall, and heirloom and grape tomatoes (to the right of the corn) are exploding, though still green. But the summer squash (in front, from left to right: scallop squash, yellow squash, zucchini and lemon cucumbers) is already ripe, and we're inundated with it.

Zucchini is featured frequently at our house right now, with the most recent rendition Stuffed Zucchini with Potatoes and Peas. Also on the menu this week: zucchini, black bean and corn enchiladas and zucchini-based faux crab cakes (I'm told Old Bay seasoning makes these vegetarian cakes taste just like the real thing . . . we'll see).

The peas were somewhat short lived. We picked a bowlful about a month ago, and then the plants promptly died. Beans were equally disappointing this year; though the plants we have continue to thrive, only a few ever came up - despite three rounds of planting from different seed packets.

Our formerly lush potato plants have also begun to shrivel up and die, which I understand is an indication that the potatoes themselves are ready to harvest. We'll dig one up this weekend and see. I did pull up an onion last weekend, and they still have some growing to do. Carrots and celery will be ready soon, and peppers are just coming on. We're big pepper people, we like 'em both hot and sweet, so we're looking forward to that crop.

And for dessert . . . last night I tasted our first homegrown blackberry. Yum!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Stuff We Like: Sophie the Giraffe

As we amassed baby gear in the months before (and after) Violet was born, we relied heavily upon the recommendations of other parents with similar priorities in making our selections. We still do, though we're moving beyond baby gear as Violet approaches toddlerhood. And now that we have a little bit of experience ourselves, we're looking forward to turning others on to things that have become favorites in the East End, starting with Sophie the Giraffe.

Made by Vulli for over 40 years, this teething toy has earned her status as a classic. Sophie was without question Violet's first favorite toy. Soft and pliable, Violet could manipulate Sophie's long legs and neck easily early on and - as intended - her head and hooves found themselves in Violet's mouth often. Most importantly, all that chomping was completely safe: Sophie is handmade in France with natural rubber and non-toxic paint. She's become my go-to baby gift, so if you're expecting, well . . . you'll know what to expect.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hey Baby, Nice Ride

Violet and I have been doing our part to reduce our share of fuel consumption this summer by doing much of our commuting to daycare and work by bike. We converted the Chariot from its cross-country ski set up to bike trailer this spring, outfitted our girl with her very first helmet, and hit the asphalt.

We’re fortunate enough to live within a mile of Violet’s daycare, and can ride the whole way there without ever venturing off of our quiet neighborhood streets. After dropping Violet off, I swing back by the house to drop the trailer off and then ride just one more mile to the office. Even in 100 degree weather, it’s often more comfortable than the car, which hardly has a chance to cool off in the time it takes us to get where we’re going.

Best of all, this arrangement provides me with what is essentially the only exercise I can fit in right now. And while I get a little bit of a workout, Violet is comfortable (the Chariot is quite the cushy ride) and happy just watching the scenery go by. Maybe by the end of the summer, we will have even saved a few gallons of gas.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Here Comes Trouble

With a couple weeks of crawling under her belt, Violet is now officially mobile. She's enjoying the increased independence this new skill offers her, especially the access to all those things no one but a baby recognizes as a toy (shoe trees, for example). She's also pulling herself to her feet - an act which never fails inspire a hail of giddy giggles from our girl - so cruising is probably not far off.

All this meant we couldn't put off baby-proofing any longer, so that's finally underway. Baby gates, electrical outlet covers, cabinet locks . . . we even finally bought the 2-story fire escape ladder we'd been meaning to pick up since we moved in four years ago. Just like we've been meaning to remodel. We'll get there eventually.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fun on the Fourth

We spent the holiday weekend at Eric's parents' place in Utah. My parents joined us for the trip, so Violet enjoyed the attention of all her grandparents at once for a few days. She quickly trained them to sing "so big!" in unison on the cue of her upraised arms - a performance that eventually included most of the other friends and family who were in attendance for the Fourth of July festivities.

Before the fireworks began, we introduced Violet to another summertime classic: the sprinkler. She's not quite ready to run through it, but with her Dada to steady her she was able to get into it, and her cousin Giacomo was happy to do the running for both of them. Meanwhile, I was happy to keep my distance from the freezing cold water and fire off a few photos of those brave enough to immerse themselves in it.

A few more photos from the weekend:

And the new, super-cheesy smile that just showed up that weekend: