{this moment} first beach day 2011

{this moment} inspired by Soule Mama. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Earlier this week, we couldn’t take the mid-90s anymore and we headed to the beach for an evening swim. First beach day of 2011, woot woot! Hard to believe it even happened because–I kid you not–I am in wool, jeans and a scarf today. It dropped 45 degrees in about twelve hours after that steamy evening. Northern Michigan, you don’t fail to keep me on my toes.

Have a wonderful weekend, lovelies!

rhubarb gelato

Wow, what a weekend: sunny & 70s, lots of outdoor fun and projects, time with our family, no commitments. Yessssss. One of the highlights of our kick-off to summer weekend was taking a trip to our farmer’s market and loading up on rhubarb. I think rhubarb is one of those love/hate foods. Me? Love. In many forms I like to consume it, but I’m always looking to try something new with it.

Strange side story: we had a rhubarb plant growing here at 605 and harvested some of it last year, but this year, it’s completely gone. And in its place? About 6-8 fern plants. It’s almost like someone came and dug up the rhubarb and replaced it with a mini forest of ferns. I love the ferns so I’m not really complaining, but where-oh-where did our rhubarb go? The ferns marched on over from our neighbor’s ferny corner, so no real mystery there. Did you take my rhubarb, lovelies?

OK, back to our regularly scheduled program…

So my Mom bequeathed us with her ice cream maker last weekend (thank you!) and I loaded up on four pounds of local rhubarb. Things were beginning to come together… I decided to embark on this simple recipe for rhubarb gelato. It sounded perfect – easy and refreshing. Do you like Sweet Tarts? Yeah, me too. You’ll probably really enjoy this one then.

We all did. The little birdie kept saying, “sour,” but she continued to eat most of her cone. It has such an intense flavor that it’s very satisfying. Enjoy!

How do you like to eat rhubarb? Do you have a good strawberry/rhubarb pie recipe and if so, will you share it with me?

Happy Monday!

the new line

My sister-in-law, Emily, gave us an outdoor drying rack late last summer and we’ve finally found the perfect home for it. Confession! Although I really wanted one, I’ve never really used one so let’s just say I’m still learning. Further proof that I’m a complete dork: I actually Googled “how to hang clothes on a line” because there is probably a correct way to efficiently do it, right? Sure enough, 55,600,000 results popped up. This actually made me feel a bit better about my dork status. A bit.

Fun facts I ran across in Cyberspace about line drying:

  • According to the NYT, clotheslines are banned or restricted by many of the roughly 300,000 homeowners’ associations that set rules for some 60 million people. Yikes, Big Brother, yikes.
  • Most households can save more than $25 off their monthly electric bill. Nice!
  • You can reduce the full lifecycle climate change impact of your jeans by up to 50 percent by line drying and washing them in cold water.

More fun facts and reasons to line dry can be found here.

I think clothes on a line are just beautiful and I’d like to see more of it. But not your dirty old stained underwear, thank you very much. What are your thoughts on drying clothes on a line? Do you have a method or routine you follow? I’d like to know!





click on

Happy Friday, lovelies. I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Here are a few links to tickle your fancy…

  • Attention, knitters! Calling all cherry lovers! And a special shout out to all expecting Mamas! All 3? Woah. You will totally flip over how ridiculously cute this pattern is. I swear I could feel my baby kicking just by looking at it. And I don’t even knit! Or know the gender. So yeah, click on.
  • Thinking of mowing down those dandelions? Stop! Make dandelion jelly.
  • Not sure what to do with all that dandelion jelly you just made? Dandelion macarons, silly.
  • Excited about asparagus season? Kick it off with this delicious easy-peasy asparagus frittata. You won’t be sorry.
  • I love when people do something special to mark a baby’s amazing changes month-by-month, don’t you?
  • I’m also amazed when people with a lot of kids (6!) find ways to make each child’s birthday special. Check out the balloon garland!
What blew your skirt up this week, lovelies? Send me a link.
XO ash

Mom love

We zipped on downstate this past weekend to visit with my Mom and a bit with my Grandma too for Mother’s Day. In addition to lots of Mom love, we were blessed with gorgeous spring weather (no coats!) and a virtual feast for the eyes: all the flowering trees were in full bloom. Fields of endless dandelions. Tulips, tulips and more tulips. Absolutely lovely.

Poor Chris was sick with a yucky cold AND pink eye so he wasn’t in the best of spirits, but somehow he managed to tackle a huge project for meine Mutti, for which I know she is incredibly grateful. It sure helps to have a handy son-in-law!

Speaking (err, writing) of meine Mutti, she just hasn’t changed. Check out this photo of her from about 30 (!) years ago and then today. Amazing!

And Grandma! Isn’t she just adorable? Almost 90 and she was in a pretty darn joyful mood because the Tigers had a no-hitter on Saturday. Woot woot! And she got to snuggle with the little birdie for a bit. A rare treat with the squirmy little lady.

I’m so very grateful to be a Mom. There was a time when I didn’t think I would be able to have children and I feel so blessed to have a happy, healthy, beautiful, funny, feisty daughter. And even more blessed to be expecting another child this year. I love this precious, exhausting, wonder-filled time as a Mom, even though there are moments when I just want to punch out at the end of my shift. No such thing…!

To all the Mamas out there, thank you for all that you do to make the world go ’round. We all live in a better world because of the tireless work you do. XO

wonders of Easter

We had such a wonderful Easter this year. It was sunny and felt so springy. New life! We spent most of the day outside when we weren’t eating one of our decadent meals or chomping on chocolate bunnies. The weekend was full of wonder for the little birdie (and us!), beginning with a real bunny sighting in our backyard on Saturday morning. Bunny!!!! Another highlight: Peeps? This is really a food? I just love the expression on her face below. Classic.

We also colored eggs this year using the simple McCormick food colors and the colors came out beautifully vibrant on the white eggs and deep and earthy on the brown eggs. It had never occurred to me that I could even use simple food coloring. Until I saw some beautiful pics over on Not Martha and wondered how she could achieve those amazing colors. Food coloring, duh! Last year I tried doing all-natural vegetable dyes and they came out all blah. Throw some “safe” chemicals at ’em and voila!

But wait, there’s more.

Magic seeds! We started a new tradition this year that we borrowed from my sister-in-law’s family. The day before Easter we planted “magic seeds” all over the lawn. We used grass seed, as I had plenty on hand from my egg cup project.  We checked on them several times over the course of the afternoon and evening and made sure to also say goodnight to them before bed. In the morning, we went outside to check on them and the seeds had bloomed (boom!!! says the birdie) into 200 Dum-Dum suckers!

And a little costume change for the afternoon… a pretty little Easter dress. Piddy dess!!! Oh, and another sucker. That would probably be number 6 for the day?

How was your Easter, lovelies? Full of hope, renewal and chocolate bunnies?! And a few sugar-fueled meltdowns to round out the day? What are some of your favorite Easter traditions? Will you send me a picture or a link, or share a story with my readers in the comments section? Please and thank you!

‘dama’s Snow Bunny

Wren just adores her ‘dama Judy. They do such fun things together every week, like going for walks to Morsels, Wren’s favorite place, and making a snow bunny! We’ve already lost a lot of snow from earlier in the week, but there was plenty of wet snow left for making a snow bunny. Isn’t it adorable? I didn’t feel much like sculpting anything else with snow this year. I just wanted to sit inside, read books and eat popcorn. Thank goodness for ‘dama Judy! We feel very blessed that we have family who live nearby and take such an active interest in the little birdie’s development as a snow sculptor.

Seedy retail therapy

What’s a gal to do when it’s nearing the end of April and there are eight (8!) heavy, wet, clinging to everything inches of new snow in these parts? Lots of chocolate and a hot, steamy beverage come to mind. Or maybe a glass of something a bit stronger, but given my present condition, my best Mama judgment says nope.

Maybe just curl up under a heavy blanket and thumb through the seed catalogs and pine for warmer days…? Because spring will come and summer will come. Please? Last year this time, we already had sprouted plenty of tomato plants inside and I had already transplanted them into larger pots. Yes, it was unseasonably warm and sunny, but still. It kinda hurts to look back on that time given our present wintery mix. Sigh.

With hopefulness overshadowing the winter blues mixed with a heavy dose of retail therapy, I just placed my orders!

I decided this year that I will get some tomato, basil and broccoli starts from a local farmer instead of starting them from seed given the calendar and the weather. And use up what’s left of our seeds from last year. Sugar snap peas, anyone? Maybe we’ll plant those this weekend and it will be our new Easter tradition. Nothing quite like having a little dirt under the fingernails while chomping a chocolate bunny’s head off, I always say.

So what does a little seedy retail therapy look like?

  • strawberry plants
  • asparagus crowns
  • bells of ireland
  • dill
  • parsley
  • radish
  • mixed lettuce
  • spinach
  • kale
  • carrots
  • delicata squash
  • french fingerling potato plants
  • honey ace melon
  • jade beans
  • fennel
  • cucumbers
  • beets
  • tigger melon
  • zucchini
  • mache
  • peas
What plans do you have for your garden this year, lovelies? At least a pot or two of some cherry tomatoes, right? I would love to hear/see your plans! Here’s to a happy growing season. Someday soon?!

click on

Happy weekend, lovelies. Do you have any fun plans? We’ve got a couple fun things planned, including going for a hike in the woods to hear the spring peepers and check out the first of the spring wildflowers. “They” say we’re going to experience a mix of rain and snow this weekend, but I’m hopeful that it’s mostly rain at this point. We need it to wash all the yuck away…

If you ARE stuck inside a bit, check out these inspiring links:

  • I had pretty much written off using crepe paper for decorating. Until now. Gasp!
  • Great ideas for making time in your life for crafting.
  • Rainy day blues? Dress for (colorful!) rainy day success.
  • Starting seeds this spring? Check out this handy calendar for when to start your hopeful cornucopia of veggies.
  • I love to click in on the Sweet Juniper blog and was thrilled to see the new hand-drawn header image. What do you think?
Here’s to a restful weekend. Whew.