Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I feel like Porter and I have been waiting for kindergarten to start for years now, and here it is, finally upon us. He has been watching the school bus drive past our house for years too, and insisted that he ride it the first day, even though I tried to convince him to let me drive. So we all walked down to the bus stop and waited with the big kids. He looked pretty nervous looking around at all these kids we didn't know. And then the bus came and I saw him get on. The bus driver asked him his name, and I saw that he couldn't understand Porter's mumbling. Then I saw him creep down the aisle of a very crowded bus, trying to find a seat in a sea of unfamiliar faces. There he was, my first baby, reliving that uncomfortable moment from my childhood. All alone. Gulp.

Luckily, that was by far the hardest part of the day for all of us. The girls and I followed the school bus in my car (I know, I know). And by the time we parked and found Porter in his classroom, all was right with his world. He had found some friends, and was beyond thrilled with his new teacher, the school and all the new big kid stuff that was now his to know. I could barely get him to talk to me. So I lingered, unneeded, for a few minutes, and then left to go back to my quiet house.

He was just as excited when I picked him up (kindergartners can't ride the bus home), and although he was exhausted, he was ready for another day at school. Molly and I baked cookies and watched Strawberry Shortcake this morning. And we are looking forward to hearing all about the second day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011


We've had a lot of rain here lately. A lot, even for our neck of the woods. The kind of rain that cancels soccer games and keeps everyone inside for days on end.

Today we got what felt like one last reprieve before school starts, and we spent the morning in the sun. It felt good.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Moving On

Porter starts kindergarten a week from today. We are all very excited, a little bit nervous, and so ready to be moving on to the next phase of life for him. We survived the summer, and it has actually gone a lot faster and smoother than I thought it would.

Molly has potty trained herself, which seems to me a miracle. Porter required sticker charts and M&Ms and months of accidents, and yuck, I didn't want to relive that. We had a couple of false starts with her, and I had pretty much given up out of laziness. And then one day she told me she wanted to wear underwear, and that was it. She's had a few accidents, but nothing horrible. And she does everything herself. Big sigh of relief. She will go to nursery school again this fall, and probably preschool after she turns three in November. Moving on!

Last night for dinner we had Zucchini Chicken Lasagna. I didn't have high hopes for this other than using up our garden bounty, but everyone loved it. Porter did pick out the zucchini, but he ate the rest, and Molly and Bryce had seconds. It also comes together quickly.

Zucchini Chicken Lasagna
adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe

8 ounces Neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese), room temperature
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 medium zucchini (or more)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
12 no boil lasagna noodles
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken (I baked 2 chicken breasts)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish.

In a small bowl, stir together the Neufchatel and ricotta, and season with salt and pepper. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise, then thinly crosswise. In another bowl, combine zucchini, garlic, and oregano, and season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1/3 zucchini mixture in baking dish, top with 4 lasagna noodles, then 1/3 ricotta mixture, some mozzarella, then half the chicken. Repeat layers once. Then top with zucchini, noodles, ricotta and cover nicely with mozzarella.

Cover baking dish with foil and bake until bubbly and noodles are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove foil, bake until golden brown, 10-15 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When I Am Big

I was talking to Molly the other night, and she had something important to tell me:

When I get big, I am going to drink beers and have a baby in my belly.

Lord help me, let this not come true for at least 20 years. And preferably more. And let these two things not happen together. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I keep forgetting to mention that our chickens finally started laying eggs. What a treat! As long as I keep them shut in the coop for the first part of the day, they lay in their nest boxes where they should, and they are so noisy afterwards that I can sort of tell when to go out and gather. The eggs are absolutely delicious, and we are averaging about 3 a day right now. We've even gotten a bunch of double yolked eggs, which is a trend that I'm hoping continues. Although we are eating a lot of fried eggs right now, I'm seeing how we will quickly get overwhelmed, so I've been on the look out for recipes that use up a bounty. I've got this Coconut Cream Pound Cake in the oven right now, and it smells heavenly. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I also got around to picking our raspberries and making a batch of jam. Raspberry jam is the preferred PB&J ingredient around here, and I got about 5 jars out of this batch. I'm hoping it lasts us through the winter, although I sort of suspect it will not. In either case, Molly and I ate a bowl of it with a spoon, warm out of the pot. Life is sweet.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Halibut & Sausage

We've been knee deep in fish lately. The boys have been pretty happy about it. But if you are looking for some land based comfort food, you've really gotta try this Potato Spinach Sausage Casserole. I almost licked the pan clean. You can mess around with the ingredients quite a bit, but the vinegar and the greens in the mashed potatoes are vital. I used Dubliner cheese, left the peels on my Yukon Gold potatoes and used a whole lot of chard from my garden, and it turned out great.

Have a great weeekend.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smoked Salmon

Bryce has been a busy fisherman this summer (with what time he has anyway), and the salmon have been jumping into our boat. I've been smoking a lot of the catch, and experimenting with different recipes. I think my favorite smoked salmon is still pretty basic, brining in brown sugar, salt and soy sauce. It is beautiful.

And last night, I think I found my favorite smoked salmon pasta recipe yet. I fooled around with it a bit, adding broccoli and increasing the amounts of just about everything. I thought it came out just right, with a hint of creaminess, but not an overpowering sauce. My kids loved it, and so did we.

And finally, to pander to my audience a bit as well...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And we will kill the old red rooster when she comes

My parents came to visit last weekend. It was short, but we packed a lot into a few days.

Along with the usual child wrangling and scenery viewing, there was a lot of fishing and seafood to be had.

And their time here just happened to coincide with the end of patience for our break of dawn crowing rooster. Bryce took matters into his own hands, and the whole process proved to be less dramatic, noisy and difficult than we had imagined. The kids watched the whole thing, and didn't seem upset, although Porter did tell me afterwards that he felt a little sad about the chicken. I told him I did too, and that was okay.

We cleaned him up, and made a fantastic rooster stew that very night. Despite rumors to the contrary, we found rooster meat to be delicious. I think the hens might be wondering what happened to their leader, but the vibe in the coop is decidedly more mellow.

We are trying to catch up on rest, cleaning and other vital chores now, but we all had a great time. And no one even had to sleep with grandma or wear red pajamas.