Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Channeling My Inner Sunnie

Some of you may occasionally check out other bloggers from my sidebar or their comments. One of my few bloggy friends who still lives in the ward we moved from in Texas is named Sunnie. She is as bright and cheerful as her name suggests, and I know that when I read one of her new blog posts I will feel uplifted, informed and resolved to spend more quality time with my kids. Her blog reflects her personality perfectly--it is full of pictures of going and doing with light, but meaningful commentary. She has one of those mommy-blogs that you love to read because it is just so unpretentious. For all the fun things she does and copious pictures she takes, she never posts about her adventures to make you feel like she has it all figured out and her kids are perfect.

I unloaded pics from my camera yesterday and realized there are about 100 of them from the last six weeks or so. They aren't super exciting, but they are a reflection of what we've spent our time doing this spring. Several of them are plant pictures that more adorable hubby took. Plantboy likes to print these pictures and mount them on blank cards to give away. The result is absolutely lovely, though he has been known to say things like, "do you know any other straight men who would do this?" while he is picking colors and cropping shots for sticking to his cards.

So in a Sunnie-style Mormom mamma blog, here are pictures from this spring with minimalistic commentary. Be warned, there are a lot. I just had strawberries and cream for lunch and I'm feeling a bit indulgent.

These are from the jog-a-thon at Jedi Master's school. He did 22 laps! In any other class this would have put him in first place. In HIS class, he came in just behind super-girl with like 26 or something crazy like that.

These next several are of the garden--some in the back and some in the front. We mostly have vegetables in the back because we have one very sunny corner. This first is the drip system lovingly weaving in and out of the carrots (?).

Oh, yeah, the Youngling is a huge help. Though he spends most of his time getting underfoot, he really loves nothing more than to be outside with dad. Mom is very encouraging of such behavior.

This is nearly a month ago; the strawberries are twice this tall now and we'll probably be ready to pick our first big "crop" in about a week. The raspberries aren't quite so close.

Um . . . should have rotated this one before loading, but it was too pretty to skip, so just turn your head sideways. This plant is in the lupine family, which is the same as the Texas Bluebonnet. The leaf is nearly identical and the flowers are also similar. This thing, however is about three feet tall. I guess everything is NOT bigger in Texas.

This is a delphinium. I inadvertently discovered that these make excellent cut flowers. Padawan and the Youngling waged a vicious light-saber fight against some imaginary foe, but the delphinium was the collateral damage and had to be put in water. It lasted nearly a week before it began shedding petals or drooping.

Random ground cover, but I just love the blueness. Plantboy says that true blue flowers are actually quite rare. Most flowers called "blue" look more purple.

My Colorado Plantboy loves columbine. Here are three of several varieties found in our back yard.

This one is called bleeding heart. I've always loved this perennial and my mom has grown both the white and the pink types for years and years. Very aptly named.

Here is the garden a week or two after the previous shots--carrots, strawberries, raspberries, herbs, onions, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, corn, potatoes and beets. The squashes and cukes will be planted in just a few weeks. We're eatin' good this summer!

The Youngling's second birthday was on Sunday. What a cheeseball. He has gotten to that I-think-I'm-posing-for-pictures phase and he seldom smiles naturally for the camera anymore unless it is an accident. His shirt is a size 12 months, I think. It is also a onesie. Plantboy snapped it up before church and it was like a diaper-thong. Here he is with puzzles from Grandma P.

In a stroke of genius, Mom gave him a blender, since he wants the real blender out all the time. In less than two days, this thing has, literally, entertained the child for hours. He loves to put the plastic spoon (included with the set) in the blender, set the thing to high and then watch it blow its top. I'm quite certain we are exceeding the appropriate use clause here. I'm starting to hope it runs out of batteries very soon.

Here is mom cutting the red velvet cake. This is my all-time favorite cake. (ONLY homemade, the box stuff is like eating brownish-pink dried Styrofoam.) Until the Padawan can tell me otherwise, this is going to be his birthday tradition. Mom made this cake for me every year when I was growing up, but I can't bring myself to make it for my own birthday. This way, I just have to wait about a week and a half after my own day to make it. I'd like to find a bottle of blue food coloring and do blue velvet, but the store I went to didn't carry it.

Yesterday we went to a local park/demonstration garden that is mostly planted with native rhododendrons. May is the month for these and this tiny park was one of the most beautiful places I've been to in a city full of lovely things. When you come to visit next May, I promise to take you. Rhodies are in the same family as the Texas azaleas, but they are evergreen, so they have leaves and blossoms at the same time. The varieties in this park were also tree types so they were huge.

This is a picture of the three dwarfs: Itchy, Grumpy and Sloppy. I'm sure these same folks visit your house from time to time. Baby is wearing his new birthday clothes from Grandma L. Thanks!

I told Plantboy that this was the look I was going for in our back yard.


chris w said...

Yay mommy blog!! I love the youngling's cheese smile - I can see your smile (when you're really laughing) in it.

I'm jealous of your garden and your beautiful flowers. We have the trade off of the desert - lots of space but horrible soil(can't even call it soil). We have coaxed peas,onions and peppers out of ours so far (and a baby peach tree).

I love it that both of our wonderful husbands have uttered: "What other straight guy would do this?"

Janssen said...

Wow, Oregon is crazy beautiful! And how cute are you and your boys?

Sunnie said...

i am loving all of those flower pics! they are so beautiful! and it's not everyday you get your name mentioned in a blog post title:) thanks for all the kind words. glad to make someone's day a little better!

Guatemalamama said...

Just the other day I was hoping you would post pictures of your family. I haven't seen your boys in a long time. The garden looks wonderful. I wish we could come out and eat a summer supper with you. I think I will be able to see PB when he comes for the backpacking trip.

I have never seen your hair so long. It flatters you.

Jenny said...

So mommy-indulgent, my crankiness just flew out the skylight. Seriously. I sat at the keyboard ready to rip out some attitude, and BAM! Read your post. It's gushing with serenity. (thanks)
BTW--that first garden shot--totally NOT carrots. But I'm still not quite sure what they are. Fill us in, will you? Rhododendrons in my part of the world are just starting to peak. More of a June blossom here. And HOLY GARDENING BATMAN!! Righteous veggies. Nicely done.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Jenny--my bad. They aren't fringey enough to be carrots, which are in the bed opposite. Those are beets just popping through the surface. They are now about 8 inches tall, but looking a little bit burned against our light-colored house today, however. I hope they make it. Garden beets are pretty much the world's yummiest vegetable.

Doreen said...

Love your garden! And can't believe the baby is 2 already. My, time flies!

emandtrev said...

Wonderful pictures of you and your boys, and um...when can I come visit? The outdoor Oregon pictures are fantastic!!

emandtrev said...

P.S., would you be willing to share your recipe for red velvet cake? It looks delicious, but I too am not a fan of the boxed variety.

Christie said...

That was fun! I've been wondering what rhododendrens looked like. They're always mentioned in Austen-esque novels, but don't grow around here. They're awesome! Oh, and your backyard looks great. So organized and productive. Thanks, again for a fun post.
(P.S. The elementary schools in my area are split -- K-2 and 3-5.)

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Red Velvet Cake
(Not for the faint of heart)

cream until fluffy and smooth:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs + 1 yolk

mix in a small bowl:
1 ounce bottle of red food coloring
1 oz water (measured in the bottle)
2 TBSP cocoa

Beat these two mixtures together.

In a seperate bowl, combine 1 cup of buttermilk with 1/2 tsp of vanilla.

In another bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups flour and a 1/2 tsp salt.

Alternate adding buttermilk mixture and flour mixture to the red mixture, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl combine 1 tsp baking soda and 1 TBSP white vinegar and add to cake batter.

This makes two small 8" rounds. Grease them wel and cook at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

(No altitude changes: until a few years ago I only ever made this in Utah.)

The cake is a bit of a pain, but it is the frosting that is the really tricky part. You have to follow the directions pretty much exactly or disaster results. Also, the box mixes tell you to use cream cheese frosting. And although I normally advocate cream cheese frosting on everything, it is just vile on this cake.

Cook over low heat:
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 cup plu 2 TBSP flour

Stir constantly, scraping the sides and the bottom until very thick. Remove from heat. Stir mixture every ten minutes or so until partially cooled (this will keep it from getting lumpy) and refrigerate until it is cold throughout.

Cream together 1 stick of unsalted butter, 2 TBSP white shortening, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 2 tsp vanilla until ver smooth. Slowly add cooled, cooked mixture, beating until the mixture is smooth and thick.

Makes enough to frost and fill the cake layers.

You'll have to let me know how it goes if you are brave enough to attempt. ;)

emandtrev said...

Thank you! I'm going to try it! I will let you know if I am successful. :)

Brian and Courtni said...

Okay, love plant boys photos...he should print/sell them on the side.

can i just say that your little birthday boy looks EXACTLY like you?! so cute! and i love the blender...we have done gifts like that (broom, iron, vacuum, etc.) and as strange as they seem, they are always the winners.

just noticed the recipe for your cake in the comments...yummy! i'll have to give it a go when i am back in the states with all my good kitchen gadgets and pans :-)

Genjunky said...

Love the flowers and the garden - but the family pics are priceless! Such a beautiful bunch of boys and a gorgeous mom.