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Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I am so excited... Tonight the fabulous KEITH JOHNSON returns for season two of MAN SHOPS GLOBE on the SUNDANCE CHANNEL. If you aren't familiar, he is the head buyer of all things fab for who else? ANTHROPOLOGIE...

For me, and this is JUST ME, American Pickers can't hold a candle to this dude. I tried to love the Pickers but enough of the gearhead stuff already...

So if you are lucky enough to get the Sundance Channel I hope you will tune in...

Can't wait to see what Keith's buying this season.

Volunteer Tomato Plants

Volunteer Tomato PlantsJune 25, 2010
We've had a fair amount of warm days followed by rain in the afternoon and evenings mixed with rainy days.  The combination has seen weeds sprout up on the garden paths so they are getting to the point of needed to be cleared again.  A couple of days ago I noticed two volunteer tomato plants on one of the paths and there is another one in the first raised bed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hammock & Lilacs

Following a cool and rainy spring, hanging the hammock this summer was especially wonderful. Finally, warm temperatures and blue skies have arrived and it feels so good.

The Blueblossom Lilacs are in full bloom along the driveway this week. They're native to the area and offer the sweetest scent of blossoming summer.

I gathered up a bouquet for the small wooden table we put next to the hammock.

This was Hubby's first hour of many to be spent napping in the hammock this summer.

Milk Crates

I love our local junk store.  It’s run by an old man who only takes cash.  I think he visits garage sales and takes what’s left over at the end of the day… which is mostly junk.  He piles the newest wares in haphazard fashion outside his shop for all to see.  But you know what?  His lazy marketing scheme works. 
We’ve driven by and had to stop more times than I can count.  Once in a while there’s a real treasure.  Remember the vintage desk chair in the boy’s room?  It’s from there.  And my latest drive-by find are these old milk crates. 
They are now sitting atop our fridge and holding my stash of cookbooks. 

Road Daylily in Bloom

Road DaylilyJune 24, 2010
The large clump of road daylilies are in bloom, waving gracefully in the breeze.  These are a common daylily here quite often found growing wild in ditches and along farm fences.  As such they tend to be fairly common daylilies in many home gardens.  Most daylilies are rather problem free, low maintenance garden plants that naturalize easily.  The road daylily is perhaps

Monday, June 28, 2010

OH AND....

I forgot to mention I turned 51 on Sunday...

I would say it wasn't my most memorable birthday but maybe it was.


So, back from the reunion and I have to say it used to be MUCH easier to do a turn and burn road trip...

And factor in a two year old passenger to make it more...well...interesting.

How many times can you watch Monsters Inc. or Finding Nemo in a thirteeen hour period... Or better yet how many times HAVE you?

Not as many as me I bet...

It is an art form to take a two year with you at EVERY bathroom stop, she goes potty, you go potty and she never touches a single dirty surface...

It was super hot in West Virginia... I think it was hotter than Florida...

Not good when you're having forty~five hot flashes a day... Makes group pictures less enjoyable...

But you know what? Unlike here where our air vents are in the ceiling, theirs are in the floor... Do you see where I'm going with this?

How delicious is cold air up your dress when standing over a floor vent during a hot flash?

It truly is the little things in life...

August Fields

When I first started this home décor blog, it was with the intention of documenting the constructing of our new home.  We had grand plans of moving to a village type community and building a historic-inspired home.  I just knew if I was ever going to start a design blog, this would be the time to do it! 

Well, things have changed for us due to the economy and bad housing market, so we are staying put for now.  But Sara over at August Fields has done just what we intended…  They recently put the finishing touches on building a dream home, and documented the process of how they went about it. 

Well, they just  moved in, and their kitchen is jaw dropping:



Check out the painted brick walls and wood beams!


If I ever went as far as to covet a fridge, this would be the one:


You have to see what’s going on in their boy’s room:


This is something I’ve always longed to do…. fill a room with built-in bunks.  Leave it to Sara to actually implement it.  So fun!  Can’t wait to see it all finished.

Remember a few days ago I posted about our drinking glass system?  Well, Sara has come up with the ultimate solution… a water fountain in the house!  Absolutely brilliant.


And I love the framed art above. 

One of my favorite features of her home is their homeschool room.  And it’s not even finished yet in these pictures!  I already know I’m going to love it.  They wrote a lovely verse on the door frame of the room, and I can’t think of a better verse to to have chosen:


And look at the cool, funky flooring they chose for the room:


And from their lovely kitchen is a peek-a-boo window. 


Check out Sara’s blog for the scoop to come on the rest of their now-completed house.  I know I’ll be storing every bit in my inspiration files. 

Thanks Sara for a peek into your home!

Burlesque Daylilies

Burlesque DayliliesJune 24, 2010
The Burlesque daylilies are in full bloom now putting on a lovely show.   They are in with the Stella d'Or daylilies and their numbers have increased over the last couple of years.  The Stella d'Or daylilies were fewer this year with only a couple appearing.  I don't know if they have hybridized with the Burlesque or this just wasn't a good year for them.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Note of Gratitude

I cannot put into words how much your beautiful comments and e-mails have meant to us. We read each and every one of them together, and we're both deeply touched by the outpouring of love and warmth from everyone.

Thank you dear, dear friends for extending your blessings, thoughts, well wishes and notes of happiness. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

This photo was taken just bump is a little over 14 weeks. xoxo

How Much Do You Spend on Cleaners??? Last Chance For a FREE MEMBERSHIP

I hope that you all had a great weekend.  I did!  Today, we celebrated my daughters 5th Birthday and my husband’s Grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary!  We are all wiped out so I will post my weekly pictures later on this week.

In this post, I want to first of all THANK everyone that has bought Shaklee from me!!!  I am very appreciative of all business but even more than that,  I LOVE helping people!!!  I LOVE getting emails from you telling me how much that you love the products.  I love hearing how these products helped with your child’s allergies or autism, or your child’s skin rash went away, that you lost weight from our Cinch line and how now you are SAVING money by switching cleaners.

That is what Shaklee is all about, creating healthier lives, and they have been doing that for over 50 years now!  That is a long time in the business world.  That also shows something about this company……GREAT PRODUCTS!!!!!

Our mission at Shaklee is to provide a healthier life for everyone and a better life for anyone. We do it by making natural products that are so exceptional, you just have to tell your friends. Every product that goes into every Shaklee bottle is designed to improve health, work without compromise, and be gentle on the planet. That’s the short answer. 

Today, I also wanted to remind you about our JUNE special…..FREE MEMBERSHIP with a 50 PV order.  (PV = point value and the points show up in the cart.)  A Get Clean Starter Kit qualifies!!!

By ordering the GET CLEAN STARTER KIT today, you will receive a FREE MEMBERSHIP!!!

This membership fee is regularly $19.95.  It is a LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP and you will ALWAYS receive 15% OFF your orders and all order will be shipped right to your door.  Plus, you can order ALL products online.

I always recommend that you start with that kit because it has everything that you will need to clean your house.   I started with that kit and LOVE it!!!  Click HERE to see what the kit includes.

Most of you have seen my giveaways on other blogs, so you have seen their results. 

YES, these products WORK!!!!

I have told you over and over again how safe these products are for your family.

YES, these products are SAFE!!!!

I have even told you how CHEAP these products are.

YES, these products are CHEAP …………..but,

I know that is the REASON that some of you are NOT SWITCHING YET! 

I know because people have told me that they think they are expensive….BUT they are not understanding how  concentrated cleaner works.

So, I am going to de-bunk the myth that these are too expensive right NOW!!!


Get Clean Cost Comparison 2009 -- MN

This chart is a reason alone to switch!  I know that it helped me make my decision!

Did you check out how much it costs to make a GALLON of window cleaner?  LESS THAT 1 CENT!!!!   That’s CRAZY!

I also have to be honest,  when I do laundry and wash my dishes, I use even LESS than they recommend and it still does the job!  So I save even more money that way!

I SAVE hundreds of dollars each year by using these products, plus I am keeping the chemicals out of my home and helping our planet!

I wrote this post because I know so many of you are on top of the fence debating to switch and I wanted to educate you on how much you will be saving by switching brands. With the tough economy right now, I know people are looking for ways their family can save money and I want to help make a difference!  Plus, these products are safer for your family too!!!

You'd have to spend more than $3,400 to get the same amount of clean found in the Get Clean Starter Kit!

And, when you purchase the Get Clean Starter Kit you also make a positive impact on the planet:

  • Keep 108 pounds of packaging waste from landfills.
  • Eliminate 248 pounds of greenhouse gas.

Remember, there is ONLY a COUPLE OF DAYS LEFT to get the FREE MEMBERSHIP!!!!

If you want another great special email me at!

Whether you are welcoming a new baby or pet into your home, avoiding chemical products, trying to improve your family’s health and wellness, helping allergies,  helping keep our planet safe or just wanting to save money,  this all-inclusive Get Clean Starter Kit  will get you started on a cleaner, safer, greener home that saves you money!

Remember, this special only last until JUNE 30th, so hurry and order today!

Click here to visit my site or order the kit.

What did you think about the chart????

Bonnie :)

For questions about ordering or additional specials, email me at

Halfpenny Home visits the I make fun stuff market in Ipswich

This was the lovely message left for us by Anna today. We're really glad you like our stuff Anna, we love it too!

What a lovely day for a craft and vintage market! The bunting was out and so was the sun in Ipswich today. The Saint's Market was organised by the I make fun stuff people and Loveone who have a very lovely shop in St. Peter's Street.
Loveone were hosting the cream tea parties today, we had 'two to go' and very nice they were too - thanks to Peter and Tracy Ranger for tipping us off! I've been email and blog buddies with Tracy since January but had we hadn't properly met until today and it was such a treat to finally get together as they are usually so busy looking after The Gedgrave Flock - we have their yarn at Halfpenny Home as it is so soft, shiny and beautiful to knit with (can't you tell we're big fans).
We had a little time to play hangman...
make pom pom ribbon bracelets...
and enjoy some refreshments...
before we packed it all back into the trunks ready for Adam to take us back to Halfpenny Home.

Thank you so much Pixieannie for all the giggles, hope the ride back home on your new bike wasn't too wobbly - your basket was very full! Thanks to Adam for putting up with us all and helping pack and unpack and finally, thank you for the lovely button doodles Beth. Nic x

Plant Purchase from Richters Herbs

I looked high and low for horseradish for the garden unsuccessfully at all the local nurseries.  I even tried the local grocery stores for horseradish root in the produce section hoping I could plant it.  I had had success a few years ago with a piece of horseradish root that grew in the house for awhile.  A kind soul on one of the groups I followed suggested I check out Richters.  Richters Herbs

Saturday, June 26, 2010

First of the Zucchini and Tiny Tim Tomatoes

Things are progressing nicely in the garden.  I am still planting but that is normal for the square foot garden method.  I have a lot more vegetables and herbs planted in containers this year.  This does seem to be the year of dealing with various insects and their damage but with the wild rabbits mysteriously absent there is no large scale damage so far. 

I only have one zucchini plant this

Friday, June 25, 2010

Earwig Damage on Parsley

Earwigs (Forficula auricularia) are a common sight in many gardens.  They are attracted to damp locations so can be found under plants, in mulch and anywhere else damp like decaying vegetable matter.  Earwings are more of a nuisance indoors.  Despite their appearance earwigs aren't harmful to humans.  There is the old wives' tale that earwigs get into your ears when you are sleeping and while it

Tidbits From Around the Web

If you're growing basil in your herb patch (and we hope you are), there have been problems the last couple of years with basil blight, and this invasive threat is on the move. The East and Midwest have been affected so far, and the airborne spores of this downy-mildew pesto killer are devastating.

If you notice yellowing on the leaf tips of your basil plants, check the back of the leaf. If you

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Discipline Your Child"...

... and he will give you peace ("rest", in some translations). He will bring delight to your soul." ~Prov 29:17

Does your child (or do your children) give you peace?
Does your child give you rest?
Delight in your soul?

As parents, especially first-time parents, look into parenting books, methods, advice, and try to make decisions about how to raise up their children, there are many opportunities to encounter really lousy advice. It can be difficult, in this age of TV psychologists and celebrity moms and PhD-toting "experts", to know what is right.

Rather than try to lay out specifics, if you are a first-time mom, or just beginning to make some of these life-impacting decisions about parenting and discipline, I just want to encourage you to ask yourself a few questions, about whatever advice you are contemplating.

(1) Does the advice you are following line up with what the Bible says about discipline?

Spend an afternoon at and do a word search on "discipline", for example. Read about various parents in the Bible-- Eli and his sons, how Solomon talks to his son as he gives advice in Proverbs, how Samson's parents interacted with him and what those results were. Take to heart the commands given to parents (Deut 6, throughout Proverbs, to church leaders in the epistles about what their kids should be like, in each of the Pauline letters-- how children should act, how parents should train/teach).

Look at the whole counsel of the Word of God as you consider these things.

(2) Do you know anyone in real life who follows the advice you are considering?

Are their kids pleasant to be around? Depending on the ages of their kids, are their young children generally joyful and obedient? Are their teenagers respectful, or rebellious? Are their adult children following God? Whether they have one or many children, would it be pleasant and encouraging to be around a large group of people like their children? This is not to say that there is some perfect parenting formula that will turn out perfect human beings-- of course not!

But on the whole, we should consider the "fruit" of those that we are considering following. If we want to do well in our marriage, we ask advice from people who have made wise choices and persevered and have a strong marriage. If I want to learn to bake or cook well, I strive to learn from those who do so, not from the person who cooks primarily out of cans and boxes, or who doesn't enjoy cooking.

Another point on this score is that internet advice, or book advice, can be good (in fact, I've been spurred on and encouraged by many godly mamas in online form)... but the proof is in the pudding, and it is much more helpful to have solid advice from a person you know and trust, than to have extensive advice from someone "out there" whose life you really don't know anything about.

(3) In general, do the people who follow this advice have families that are joyful? Peaceful? Rested? A blessing to the people around them?

It's not at all that I'm saying everything has to be roses and sunshine, or that godly families won't have struggles or moments of complete and utter humanity and failure. Medical situations come up, seasons of extra pressure or difficulty arise, and of course, we're dealing with sinful human beings (parents and children alike) and no one is perfect! But in general, what is the likely fruit of the advice you're following? Does it match up with what you desire for your family? Does it match up with what the Bible says you should desire for your family?

(4) Does following this advice put you at odds with, or strengthen your oneness with, your spouse?

Unless there is a situation of abuse or neglect (which is an entirely different matter and should be dealt with legally), we should seek to find a place of peace and agreement in how we parent our children, but in the end, we are to respect and submit to the leadership of our husbands. God made men and women different for a reason... and we may not see eye-to-eye on every single detail. Still, though they (and we) are imperfect, He gives husbands & fathers ultimate headship and responsibility for leading their families.

Many times, I have encountered young mothers who put themselves at odds with their husbands over this issue of discipline by taking a hard stance against the very methods their husbands would use. It is not difficult to find young wives online-- especially on message forums or blogs-- husband-bashing because their husbands, ultimately, desire the very thing Proverbs says that discipline will bring-- peace, rest, and delight-- to the home.

There may be other considerations that are important to you, but these are the ones that came to my mind as common "sticking points" for young parents as they consider how to raise their kiddos. I pray God's blessings and His wisdom (He promises to give it-- James 1:5) on you as you seek His guidance in these matters.


Just a quick note to let you know we are off tomorrow bright and early for Mr. Sweet Pea's family reunion in WILD WONDERFUL WEST VIRGINIA. 13 hours in an SUV with a two year old... I wonder how many times we'll watch Nemo or Monsters Inc... Do you remember family vacations in our day as children? No DVD player that's for sure... My parents used to put a mattress in the back of the family truckster (station wagon) and we (the four of us brats) slept in it all night the night before so they didn't have to deal with us in the am... How times have changed... I'll let you know how it went when we return...

Still making my way through the WBC posts. And appreciating all your sweet comments.

Amazing number of creative women in this world...

Until we return...




We met and fell in love in August. By May we were engaged and by October we were married. During our courtship, we talked of fixing up an old house in the country, of small town life and of children...lots of children.

Our wedding was six years ago this October. I was 33 and Mike was 35. We followed our dreams and moved to that small town, and even found that old house in the country. But the children, the children never came.

We started trying to have a baby before our first year wedding anniversary. Unknowingly, it was the beginning of our long path of infertility. My diagnosis came a few short months after we bought our old farmhouse, a house which was proving to require much more work than we had anticipated and to cause much more stress than we could have possibly imagined.

While we struggled to create a home that would provide peace and comfort, we were also going through intensive fertility treatments and procedures...all of which, month after month, year after year, proved to be unsuccessful.

The reality of what was happening caused us great sadness, and I personally felt an overwhelming sense of mourning...mourning for the woman I always thought I was, fertile, and mourning for the life I had dreamed of with my husband, with children.

I began this blog three years into our infertility journey because I desperately needed to find the calm in the storm and to celebrate all the good we had to be grateful for.

At a time when I started to retreat from friends and social gatherings, I found a new community with new friends from around the world. The days in which I couldn't bare to run into anyone in town, were days I found comfort in the words and warmth of bloggers near and far.

A year ago we returned once again to the fertility clinic in Portland. We've been going through various medical procedures since then, which ended up leading to an IVF procedure this past April.

So it is with great happiness that I share with you something I never thought possible...I am pregnant. We are due just before Christmas.

With twins.


Today, I wanted to talk about systems, and my love of them! 


One of my favorite “mom” books is Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell.  In it she describes “robbers” that steal our joy as mothers.  It probably doesn’t come as any surprise, but disorganization is one of the robbers she lists.  I know for myself this is true. If ever I’m grumpy, I can usually pinpoint it to disorganization of some sort.

I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the overall mess, and lump it all together into one big blob.  Instead, what I’ve learned that has helped me, is ask myself what it is that’s exactly bothering me and then break it up into parts.

Is it that books are piled up on the furniture?  Toys on the steps?  Shoes in the hallway?  A hamper I always seem to be tripping over?  I name the problem and write it down.  Then I come up with a solution or system for that specific problem. 

Sometimes the answer is really simple and doesn’t take any time at all.  For other things, it might take much trial and error before coming up with suitable system that works consistently. 
For the past couple years, I’ve tried coming up with a solution to our drinking problem.  No worries… I’m not talking about that kind of drinking problem.  I’m talking about the kind where everyone gets a new cup every time they want something to drink.  Then they proceed to leave the glass on any surface they find convenient.  Then of course, the next time they get thirsty, the previously used cup cannot be located  and the cycle starts again.  Humph. 

Wisteria has solved our drinking problem!  I found this caddy in their catalog, and promptly ordered. 


It’s what I’ve been searching for all along. 


Whenever our children are finished their drink, they rinse, and put the glass back in their spot.  Simple!  Problem solved. 


And it’s cute.  That counts almost as much.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pre-match preparations...

Knitting is calming and relaxing, we'd like to think that this is why Adam joined us this morning for 'a knit' in preparation for this afternoon's big game.
Yes, he is knitting on our 'stunt' ball of yarn from Knit Collage. It's so lovely to knit with so we have some 'on the go' in the shop - no one can resist it! We are eagerly awaiting a shipment due any day now.
Actually... we reckon it was the cake, two to choose from today - orange or chocolate?
We did make him knit a decent amount before we got the cakes out. Nic x

Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Here is a great summer salad.  It is so fresh and tasty.  This is one of my favorites and the kids LOVE it too!


2010 05 07_3456


3 ripe tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small green pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 cup several fresh spring parsley

1/4 pound Greek feta cheese



cubanelle pepper

Just chop everything and place in a bowl, then add dressing.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon oregano

3/4 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Serve on a warm pita or enjoy as a salad!

I hope you give this a try, it is so healthy, yummy and fresh!  It is a great side to any BBQ!

I am linking up to these parties.

Have a great day!

Bonnie :)

Please visit my Shaklee Shop

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Fairly soon, we'll have a new little boy joining our family. His name will be Moses Henry, and he'll join in on our family's shenanigans and multiply our joy and be used by God to change each of us. I pray and trust that God will use Moses, his life, his personality, and his gifts, to impact this world in remarkable ways.

As I get closer to delivering, I just wanted to share the lyrics to a song. You may remember my appreciation for Lori Chaffer's voice and writing style... here's a song of hers that's been resounding in my head the last week or so:

(Supposedly, you can listen to it here)
Welcome to this dusty land

Where you will cry lots but we'll all understand

Things may not turn out sometimes like you plan

That's all right, our little man

Welcome outside of your mother's womb

Well, I know that it's frightening, but now there's more room

Just think of all the great things you'll do

Just by you being you

I don't care what the world says about all this struggling

All I know is that now you're here, it's all lovely, lovely

I don't care about all the things that have troubled me

Now that you're here I remember life can be so lovely

Welcome to us, oh, our little song
You're one part your daddy, one part your mom
They're gonna help you grow up to be strong,
But for now, little guy, sleep well

I'm definitely ready to welcome our little man outside of his mother's womb (his due date is a bit squidgy, but I think I'm about 38 & 1/2 weeks right now, due sometime the first few days or week of July), but I also know that God will bring him at the right time, and our lives will eternally change to include this new little person He's given.

For now, I get to enjoy feeling him a little longer on the inside (which still totally rocks my world... He pushes and flops and kicks and it's wild to think that each jump or hiccup is from a little person who will be so significant to me for the whole of my life). It amazes me that God lets us partner with Him to create eternal souls-- it's marvelous the way that each person He makes gives yet another unique perspective on the amazing God Who makes us all in His image. God teaches me so much through these children, these blessings, these little one-of-a-kind souls.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is, I am so excited to meet this new little man and have him be a part of our family.

Hyssop Tea Recipe

Have a sinus headache? Allergies have you sniffling and miserable? Got a cold you just can't shake? Feel better with a steaming cup of hyssop tea. Hyssop has been the herb of choice in treating upper respiratory problems for centuries. It can clear you sinus passages, sooth a sore throat and relax tense and frazzled nerves.

Hyssop Tea Recipe (Not for use by pregnant or nursing women)


Using SoilMoist™ Granules in Houseplants and Planters

I posted awhile ago about my waterball garden using Deco beads by the makers of SoilMoist™.  I was impressed enough with the Deco beads that I wanted to try the SoilMoist™ as well.  SoilMoist™ has been successfully used in the horticultural industry as a water management system.  Essentially what the granules do is absorb moisture like a sponge then releases it to the soil as the soil dries.  It

How to Grow Hyssop

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a hearty perennial shrub in the mint family that has a spiky, upright habit and narrow tongue-like leaves. It's a dark, vibrant green when it gets enough nourishment, and sports small, vibrant blue flowers (some variations produce pink, lavender, purple or white flowers). It has an attractive appearance in the garden, but where it really shines is as an herbal

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Peony Clippings

I clipped the first peonies from our garden the other day. The blossoms are much bigger than last year as I had just planted them last spring. This variety is called 'Shirley Temple'. I love the fluffy white softness of the white petals.

I put the little bouquet on my night stand.

Knitting Bonanza!

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I just love this wool! Nic has let me loose with this to knit something! I haven't started needs to be something very special and also needs to bear in mind this will be only my second knitting project. But, I tell myself, I have mastered the strawberry tea cosy so, onwards and upwards. But then I look at it again and consider it a piece of art as it is!

Here we have some of the Gedgrave Flock yarn - totally different but just as gorgeous.
Back to the Knit Collage yarn, this time a sampler of it when knitted...mmmmm

The socks are done! Yay!

Well done ladies on your acheivements. They are already busy on the next pair. And the weather in Suffolk was so cold this weekend they went straight into service!!

Jacqui x

What's Eating My Sweet Basil?

Herbs generally are rather problem free plants in the garden yet this year I have encountered more problems with herbs than in previous years.  The oregano has been attacked by spider mites and fungus gnats.  Earwigs attacked the potted parsley and I just discovered an unidentified caterpillar attacking the potted sweet basil.  I'm hoping this isn't a sign of things to come for this growing

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Show & Tell: Clearing Out My Bloglines

One day last week, I went on a cleaning splurge with the kids... I woke up and told them, "today is gonna be a cleaning day." After breakfast, brooms began flying, appliances were wiped down, things that had been lost were found, furniture was rearranged... and by 11:30 or so, we'd made quite a big impact on the apartment. The whole living space looked different and we all enjoyed the fruit of our labor!

Today, I feel like doing the same thing with my Bloglines account. So here we go, here's a link-sharing festival of just the articles I've saved in my Bloglines blog reader. Enjoy!

Our culture downplays the pressure of living life as a "modern, successful woman"-- Aifric Campbell shares about the major transition of her life, going from career woman to mother (a few excerpts, and then the link) :
I had a seven-figure salary but worked so hard I rarely had time to spend it. Personal shoppers at Harrods and Harvey Nichols picked out my Max Mara suits and Gucci leather briefcases. Everything revolved around work.
I had always wanted a family and was thrilled when I became pregnant in February 1998. I was 36. I didn't tell a soul because I didn't want allowances to be made. Instead I simply wore longer dresses and my male colleagues didn't notice a thing.
Oscar was born, and I fell in love instantly. Nothing prepared me for the overwhelming passion I felt for the tiny bundle in my arms. It seems totally mad but, even though I loved Oscar to bits, it never crossed my mind not to return to work as soon as possible.

Oscar was two weeks old when I was invited back into work - to be told that I had been promoted... and I was thrilled. I really felt it proved I could have it all - a gorgeous new baby, a fantastic career, a loving, supportive husband.

But I was also in a state of total, bone-crushing exhaustion. As the days ticked by, I felt increasingly torn between my new baby and my return to the office.



  • Lucy's blog is an incredibly inspirational place! She crochets like the dickens (seriously, I don't know how she finds the time!), and her blog is where I was inspired to make the colorful, flowery granny-square blanket I made (pictured above) for myself in the winter (to be fair, it started out for "Violet" but then the doc told us she'd made a mistake and we were actually expecting a boy).
  • Maternity clothes-- two great ideas I meant to try but didn't get around to, and now it's too late for me: Refashion jeans into a maternity skirt, Turn a big shirt into a maternity shirt
  • Container Gardening-- it's the only kind of gardening I can do right now... but it's great for herbs and smaller plants!
  • Make your own bath toy bag.
  • Turn a sock into a baby rattle-- super cute idea!
  • Make your own car playmat for the floor-- my mother-in-law had done this for her sons (my husband and his two brothers) a couple decades ago, and our sons still enjoy playing with it. She also adapted this idea to make a "ranch" playmat (with buildings, stock tank, grove of trees, stream, etc.), to use with toy animals. It's a great idea, and for us as overseas' dwellers, it's a great, easily portable toy!
  • Easy and cute homemade travel high chair-- I really do intend to make this at some point... it would be very useful for our family, particularly in certain seasons of life (when doing a lot of travel with a 12-18 month old).'
  • OR- recover your home's high chair with an updated, fun fabric!

Asparagus Pizza

I want to share with you the most delicious recipe that we've been enjoying lately. It is a recipe that came to us from Smitten Kitchen. If you haven't already taken in her mouth watering culinary skills, you most certainly should.

Most of the time, I merely drool over her delectables...making mental notes of 'having to prepare that myself someday.' But my lack of follow-through changed a few weeks back when she sent a recipe for Asparagus Pizza.

Go here for her delicious recipe.

Below is my version, slightly modified for what I had on hand at the house.


20 stalks of asparagus (about four cups shaved with vegetable peeler)
olive oil
two shallots (four bulbs)
salt and pepper
mix of shredded Italian cheese (I use Horizon's Organic Italian Blend)

Saute sliced shallot in olive oil until cooked. Throw in shaved asparagus and cook until slightly tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The pizza dough recipe is one I've used from the Moosewood Cookbook for eons. It never fails.

Dough recipe:

1 package yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup wrist temperature water
3 cups or so of flour (use any flour you like)
olive oil to drizzle on top

Combine yeast, honey, salt and water in a large bowl. Add flour and knead into firm dough.

Return to bowl and drizzle top with olive oil.
Cover and let rise for at least an hour or until it doubles in size.

The recipe makes two large pizzas. I roll out the dough on each pizza pan and then I bake the dough for a few minutes on 475 until it doesn't stick to the pan and is slightly golden (see above).

I remove from oven, add toppings (cheese and asparagus) and then bake for several minutes longer until cheese is nicely melted and crust is nice and golden.

Bon Appetit!

It's a wonderful way to enjoy lots of yummy asparagus while it's in season! It's also a perfect preview to the fresh tastes of all of the summer produce to come.

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