Just to clarify; this family of four did not eat 20 pounds of cherries in two days, as my mum suggested might have happened.
Oh no, not at all.
Aside from those that were shared with friends, we now have a freezer full of cherry jam, cherry orange marmalade, spiced cherry pie filling, Danish style cherries in syrup and bags and bags and bags of frozen cherries for winter smoothies, pies, crisps, crumbles and, most especially, for morning oatmeal. I know I have said this before but the reason I freeze rather than can everything is because I use a ot less sugar than the recipe calls for and I don't know how well they would keep. The cherry jam recipe called for 4 cups of cherries and 5 cups of sugar. 5! I used 1. For the marmalade I used a little more but still about half what they called for. If anyone has any useful tips about how to preserve with less sugar and not freezing I would love to hear them. Until then we will have a well stocked freezer full of summer fruits which is no bad thing, I suppose.
We went cherry picking the other day at Singer Farms and even though it was almost an hour away it was just about perfect. It was crazy how many cherries there were on the trees and it was impossible not to want to pick for hours and hours. As it was we came home with 20 pounds of cherries, which I feel like was a lot but now we have just a small bowl left in the fridge. Ahhh, we should have got more.
The weather has been so beautiful it is hard to write about it in adequate terms. It is sunny and a near constant perfect temperature, especially for outings. No one is hot and complaining and sweating in the back seat of the car with a frown. Consequently, we have been buzzing around like busy, busy bees. And it has been so much fun. Oh, I love summer so much it makes me nervous about it ending, if it wasn't for Fall being my favorite season I would have a really hard time with it.
After cherry picking we stopped for a picnic at Olcott Beach park and lay on the blanket. I wouldn't let Andy read his book and he wondered why I insisted he bring it. So you can carry it around all day, my love, oh and don't forget the kids book and mine, you can carry those around as well but I will be too busy chatting to let anyone read them.
June is such a whirlwind of a month. So many recitals, showcases, end of year parent-teacher meetings, community meetings, graduations and the list goes on and on. It is all good, fun stuff but by the end of it I am wiped out. It is hard enough during a regular week trying to juggle four schedules, one car and a volley of requests and then there is Leonard to consider.
Still, I feel a sense of well earned rest for all of us when it is over, which it is now.
Auntie Annika was in town to celebrate her birthday and the kids were wigging out about it. I didn't tell them she was coming and when they opened the door and saw her they about lost it. We had so much fun touring new restaurants and food truck nights, a little shopping and a large Victoria sponge for her birthday cake not to mention the new British fish and chip place we tried. It makes it sound like it was all about food. Ha. sigh.
We are now officially on summer break. I can not say how happy this makes me. We've begun some summer projects which I hope to get round to later and there has been so much reading, I must do a new book list to share. There has also been a considerable amount of lolling in the back garden and much to my chagrin there is also a new paddling pool. I do not love it.
I finished a twin set of geranium tops and shorts. One for my daughter and one for my daughter's best friend. They are adorable, made of this Liberty cotton crepe which is lovely to the touch but quite slippery to sew with. I am still not done with this pattern yet though.
The weather has been gorgeous, sunny and warm, blue blue blue skies, not too hot, no humidity. Gorgeous. Sometimes I find myself staring up in to the trees and sky in the back garden and I find it hard to stop, it is hypnotic. Oh early summer, you are so gentle, I love you.
Over the weekend I was able to pop in and out of the sewing room to finish up (and begin) some projects. I'm working on a cushion cover with some Kaffe Fassett prints. His use of color is awesome and intimidating.
I made a new little pincushion with Liberty fabric scraps because Leonard ate my last one. He pulled all the pins out and then ripped the stuffing out of it. It was revenge for leaving him alone just a little too long one day.
I am working on a special gift for my daughter's best friend that involves beautiful fabric and vintage buttons.
My daughter has one more geranium dress to add to her wardrobe. This one was made using Lunada Bay in coral, a gorgeous lightweight voile (similar to tana lawn) that is perfect for the summer. It is a little sheer though so I made her some bloomers to go underneath. They are the kids short pattern, using the flat front variation and with some additional elastic sewn at the bottom sides to create the gathering effect seen above.
My bed, made by my daughter.
My bed, made by my son.
I hope this weekend is like last weekend. Because last weekend...
...my son and my daughter took turns making my bed in the morning.
...the sun shone and we ate outside.
...we sat on our new chairs and watched the trees grow right before our eyes.
...Leonard staked his claim on one of the chairs and we all realized at once that we should have bought five chairs, of course.
...we picked flowers, visited the library, wrote book reports and funny speeches.
...I worked for hours in the sun on my needle point and my knitting.
...my son surprised me with breakfast in bed, made and served by him and he wrote us all little love notes with tokens inside, just because.
...Andy was home for three whole days.
...we talked and played and sat and did the whole lot of nothing I have been dreaming about.
Hope you all have the loveliest of weekends!
Joining in once again with Heather's Blog Hop, This Week In The Kitchen.
We've eaten lots of local, organic asparagus this week. Such a treat and this is the first time I have ever seen it in our Co-op. I prepare it a number of ways, but above it was boiled, drained, added back to the pan for a little minced garlic, a squeeze of lemon and some olive oil. Delicious. I have also adopted Ina Garten's technique of peeling the last quarter of so of the stem, which makes them even more tender and more palatable to the kiddos.
I think once every couple of weeks I cook this wonderful curried-cashew cauliflower. I found the recipe on the jar of the cashew butter years ago and it has become such a favorite for everyone in the house. I serve it with a cucumber raita and some basmati rice. It's a super simple vegetarian dinner that we all love. Winner winner chicken-free dinner.
For a treat, I made the kids some magic shell for their banana ice cream this week and my daughter made me take a photo of hers with all the ice cream eaten and the magic shell still there. Magic. Andy did the same with his but he said I didn't have to take a picture.
Also on the menu were sausages from the farmer's market, sauteed mushrooms, new potatoes with butter and fresh mint and some stewed blackberries and apples eaten with vanilla frozen yogurt. Of course, there was more homemade bread and next week I am going to post the recipe and step by step instructions for how I make it.
Last but not least a little giveaway for you dear reader! I purchased the Little Paris Kitchen because I loved watching all the videos online but the truth is I have not once ever used this book so I am offering it here for anyone who would like it. It is so brand new and untouched it needs a loving home to spill wine on it and dust the pages with flour.
Just leave a comment and I'll pick a number out of a hat. Only US residents for this one please.
This weekend I taught the kids how to cook a meal, from beginning to end.
They have been wanting to learn to cook for a while so we decided a fun way to do this might be for them to cook dinner once a week. This week was their inaugural dinner for which they chose, Hot Diggity Dog Soup from the Blue Moon Soup Cookbook, which we found at our local library.
We talked about how you needed to read a recipe all the way through before you began to see if you could follow the directions and what groceries you would need. They then wrote out a shopping list and we walked to the store. I gave them a budget of $25 to get everything they needed. They went off to shop by themselves and found their ingredients and even taste-tested the hot dogs. They went through the check out and paid, their total was $23.56. They carried the shopping home.
Once back in the kitchen we talked about mise en place and preparing your work area. They got out all the ingredients and measured and chopped them. I gave them a pretty thorough lesson on how to operate the stove top which was both fascinating and frightening to them. Then they got to work, reading out the recipe as they went along, taking turns to add ingredients, stirring the pot and then finally cleaning up. I hung back and let them get on with it and it was awesome to watch. My daughter must have said at least twenty times, "this is so fun!"
They served us the soup with bread and butter and some parmesan cheese. Dessert was cherry pie, bought from the Co-op. The soup was delicious and all the better for knowing they made it themselves.
I am excited to see what they come up with next.
Yesterday my daughter wasn't feeling well so she stayed home from school. I think there has been a little bit of spring malaise running through the house this week, no one is sick but we are sleepy and wanting to be away from the hubbub.
This malaise has led me to think about how, in the last 12 months or so, there has been this speeding up going on. Andy works more hours than ever before, the kids have more activities and I am rushing around from one obligation to the next. Of course time feels like it is zipping by because there is so much less of it when we are caught in the rush of modern life.
I've decided to try and slow time down a bit and with summer break around the corner, it is the perfect opportunity. I am so looking forward to quieter days, more reading together, more knitting, more being in the art room, more gardening, more pottering and a whole lot more nothing.