something about these photos just seems so timeless to me... 

falling shadows

Before the leaves all fall, I had fun taking this shadow-y pictures.  

Now if I would just get around to framing everything I say I will.  

on rest and reading

Up until a couple weeks ago I hadn't read a book in close to two years.  Since Anderson was born.  I was starting to get jealous of people who said they were reading.  Jealous? Resentful?  Not sure which but basically I couldn't figure out how these people had time to read.

With this baby growing and braxton hicks contractions increasing I'm taking cues from my body and resting more.  I'm also preparing myself as best I can for the exhaustion we're about to go through again.

Although not a novel, I have to say that I have enjoyed reading this devotional, Waiting in Wonder, from Catherine Claire Larson throughout this pregnancy.  It has short readings for a few days during each week.  It's a great gift for pregnant friends and has been my go-to this pregnancy to see how big this lil guy is, and what's developing each week.  It's practical and has been a blessing.  I'm not glued to other pregnancy books this time around.

To get myself back into reading I picked up A Homemade Life at the library.  I'm so glad I did.  I've been wanting to read it for years and devoured it in just a few days.  Nap time reading is glorious.  Piles of laundry are not.  Gotta figure out some balance around here.

I highly recommend this book.  Each chapter made me want to make the recipe at the end, so much so that I may need to just buy the book and consider it more of a cookbook.

After that book I needed another good read and checked What Alice Forgot out of the library.  It was another good quick read and had me appreciating Benjamin and our marriage even more. 

Next up? I'm not sure... recommendations welcome!

mum time

The real green thumb in the family, Nammie planted some mums for us this weekend.  Out with the flowers that were going to die soon and in with fall.

If you missed it last year, here's my Mom's Tips on Mums- when to buy them, how often to water, and what to do when their season ends.

Anderson loved any excuse to play in dirt and help of course.

30 weeks

It's easy to state the obvious these days.  This baby is growing, or as my Mom would put it, I'm getting huge.  She hasn't really said that but I'm pretty sure that's what she's thinking.  10 more weeks to go?  Really?

You could say the nesting instinct is definitely in full swing.  Not that I'm baking things, more that I'm trying to get the nursery more put together and organize some things that have been on my list to do before he arrives.

Thing is, I start doing stuff during Anderson's nap and then get overcome with my body telling me to sit down and rest, so I'm trying to do that too.  I have to.  My body is also telling me when to snack more so that I don't get a sugar-low and faint.  I will be very surprised if this baby isn't bigger than Anderson was.

Oh little one.  You'll be here before we know it...

we (officially) have a two year old

We can now say we have a two year old.  He had quite the day going to his favorite little farm to see the chickens and feed the goats.  He also got to the park of course and had dinner with his favorite people.  Dinner also consisted of his favorite foods- corn on the cob, broccoli, and cupcakes.

Oh Buddy, here's to another great year with you- the year you become a big brother!

quick bourbon-pickled peppers

This post has been a long time coming.  We've made a couple batches of these and given away most of them.  Benjamin is the only one who has consumed them because I just can't imagine doing so right now.  Since they're refrigerator pickles they need to be consumed sooner than later and given their heat it's hard to imagine consuming that many hot peppers in a matter of weeks.

First, Benjamin just pickled jalapenos, then he mixed it up and I'm told the second batch wasn't as hot and more bearable.  Given the fact that he didn't get hiccups right away, I'll take his word on it.

The peppers are pretty and if you have bourbon loving friends they'd make a fun gift even for Christmas given the read and green peppers.

Here's the recipe for you thanks to and loosely modified from Country Living

Ingredients You'll Need:
  • 1 pound jalapeño or other peppers or chiles sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
1.  Transfer the peppers between four pint jars or one 2-quart jar.

2. In a saucepan combine vinegar, bourbon, honey, coriander seeds, salt, mustard seeds, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes. 

3.  Pour the hot liquid over the peppers and seal the jars.  Let them cool to room temperature then refrigerate for 3 days before trying them out.  They can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

pumpkin picking

Where there are apples, there are pumpkins.  At least here.  After picking some apples we walked, or in Anderson's case ran, down the hill to get ourselves a pumpkin.  

We had to stop and say hi to Thanksgiving dinner first though...

We're learning that sometimes it's easiest to just pick Anderson up when you want to go somewhere more quickly.  This mostly applies to getting into church on time and for this instance, getting up the hill before his nap.

Anderson spotted this pumpkin and soon realized how heavy it was.  

We ended up sticking with an Anderson-sized pumpkin for him, and got ourselves a larger one as well. I have a feeling we may carve it and then I'll try the trick of dipping it into a water solution with some bleach in it to see if it'll last longer.  Here's to hoping.

jalapeno simple syrup for jalapeno mint juleps

It's no secret that Benjamin loves some heat.  He'd have jalapenos every day if he could but I'm not sure I'd let him based on the fact that they seem to be so heartburn inducing.

When I saw this recipe for Jalapeno Simple Syrup in Country Living I knew I had to make it for him.  The process is quite simple.

1.  In a small saucepan combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 2 jalapeno peppers coarsely chopped.  Bring to a boil, stirring so that the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and allow the jalapenos to steep in there for 20 minutes then strain the syrup, discard the jalapenos, and allow it to cool.

The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 6 months.

To make a mint julep with it you'd muddle some syrup with mint, add in ice then add in your bourbon.  Add more ice and top with club soda.  Garnish with more mint and if you're daring, a slice of fresh jalapeño.  

almost two

On Monday our little boy will be two.  I could tell you how I can't believe it and ask you where the time went, or I could tell you that I can believe it, the time has flown, and we are so blessed by this little man in our lives.

As all mothers are, I'm completely biased in saying I think he's the sweetest, smartest almost two year old around.  Even though there's another one coming, Anderson will always be my baby, my sunshine, and my sweet boy.  I'm sure as he grows up he'll give me heartache and tears and sleepless nights all over again, but for now I'll dwell on these sweet pictures and be thankful for the amazing two years we've had being his parents.  

We love you so so much Buddy.  

(and now the pregnancy hormones are taking over, tears are filling my eyes, and I'll stop there...)

hog island's bbq oyster recipe

To make a meal all that more special Benjamin likes to add oysters.  He loves them raw but barbecuing them works too.  I enjoyed my last oysters in the early weeks of pregnancy before I knew I was pregnant at Early Mountain Vineyards for their Oyster Fest.  They were delicious and I enjoyed each one knowing they could be my last.

Now, I don't have a taste for them but Benjamin still does.  Each time we're in Wegmans he has to go check them out, ask how fresh they are, and talk about getting a few.  It doesn't usually happen so when it does he comes up with fun sauces to go atop them or this time he turned to Hog Island's BBQ oyster recipe.

We spent a wonderful day at Hog Island Oyster Company in California on our honeymoon.  It's a day I'd like to do again, maybe especially because we drove right through Pt. Reyes Station and now I hear about how adorable that little town is and really about the amazing cheese we could have filled up on from Cypress Grove.  Oh how I love Humboldt Fog.

We can't go back though- at least not til we have some serious savings to do so- but for now we can recreate a part of what we had.  Here's to oysters- fresh, shucked, and barbecued.

Ingredients You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • a dozen oysters
Combine everything but the oysters in a saucepan and let simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.  

Spoon sauce over shucked oysters in their shell and barbecue for about 5 minutes then serve immediately.  Enjoy- best with a glass of wine!

apple picking

We found ourselves at Hollin Farms again this past weekend.  It's fun thinking we've been there for strawberry picking, peach picking, and now apple picking.  What can we go to next?!

Anderson loved running along the hill and getting help picking apples.  He also loved tasting them as well.  I spared you all the pictures of him spitting out the skin.

If you are local, or local enough, I highly recommend this place. They have so much land and it's very well run and family friendly.  There's a corn maze there as well right now which we didn't get to this time- but I have a feeling we'll be back!

vanilla pound cake with ginger and rhubarb compote

I find myself needing to catch you up on all the cooking I did this summer.  It's hard to find time to blog these days but I've been given the chance to catch up, and so I will.  

This recipe made for a delicious pound cake so even if you decide to just make that, I'd recommend it.  I love pound cake and find it to be a treat I should really afford myself more often. Doesn't everyone love this dense and delicious cake?

The recipe hails from Country Living, a magazine which I found myself increasingly fond of as we set up a home that I want to be someone country, but still have modern things about it.  This magazine seems to portray that "look" pretty well and their recipes are usually winners as well.

Ingredients You'll Need:
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound rhubarb, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1.  Preheat the oven to 375.

2.  In a mixer cream together 1 1/2 cups sugar and butter on medium until fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Add in the sour cream and vanilla seeds and mix for another 2 minutes.  Add in the eggs then add in the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until just combined.

3.  Pour the batter into a buttered loaf pan and spread it around evenly.  Bake until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.  Let it cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes then turn it out and allow to cool completely.

4.  While it's baking or cooling go ahead and make the compote by bringing the rhubarb, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and remaining sugar to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow it to cool completely.

Serve up the cake with a spoonful or two of the compote and some ice cream or whipped cream.  Enjoy!

classic peach cobbler

I realize that peaches may seem so last month to you, but if your kitchen is anything like mine they're still hanging around.  I have gone to skillet peach cobbler many times this summer but the other week I wanted something different- a more traditional take on the beloved dish.

I searched my blog and I had made one in the past.  The picture was small and all I did was link to the recipe.  My how this blog has grown.

I wanted to re-share it here and now so that you might enjoy the last tastes of summer before we really get crazy and eat all things pumpkin all the time.  There isn't a problem with that in my book but until that time, here's a final hurrah to peaches.

Recipe thanks to Gourmet

Ingredients You'll Need:
  • 6 large peaches, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the Biscuit Topping:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
Preheat the oven to 425.  

In a bowl or just in the 8x8 baking dish toss the peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter and then stir in the water until combined.

Dollop the batter onto the warm peaches and then put back into the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Enjoy warm with ice cream of course.

29 weeks

These photos are admittedly getting harder to take.  Benjamin snapped this one of me and when I saw it I immediately thought, "holy cow I'm huge."  I really don't remember being this big with Anderson at this point.  It's no wonder that that I found myself in the chiropractor's office this weekend to help get my hips back in alignment.   

I'm not self conscious about it, just saying that I know my body carried Anderson different than it's carrying this boy.

Anderson is very excited about his brother and often comes up wanting to say hi to him.  I'm pretty sure this babe will know his brother's voice well already.

Apart from the obvious back pain and increased exhaustion, all is going well.  With the onset of fall it's crazy to think how soon we'll meet our new son.  I definitely want him to stay inside longer than his brother did, but also am getting more excited to meet him.  I know rockers and blankets and tiny diapers (along with sleepless nights) will soon be our life again.

Until then, I'll soak up these moments with my first buddy.

fall is here.

many more pictures to come of our outing this weekend but these will do for now...

before + after: our dining room

I get asked often about our house so I thought I'd post some "before and afters" or in some cases, "before and durings."  

Our dining room was one of the first rooms we got to call "done" or at least, "done for now."  We eventually would like different lamps, and maybe a different mirror, but when you have things given to you from family that work just fine, you're fine with it.  Lamps are expensive, so are mirrors, so those changes won't be happening any day soon.

The chandelier was there before, I probably wouldn't chose it, but again, it's fine for now.

I picked the paint color off the rug we had before in our family room.  I think it worked out perfectly.  I took the advice of my super talented sister in law and wanted this space to be something so that when people walk into our home they get a taste for the whole idea of our home.  Overall, she said make it really pretty so that was my goal here.

This beauty of a buffet is from my great grandparents, the DeHaven's.  Anderson's middle name is DeHaven, as is my dad's, brother's, cousin's, etc.  It's a tradition.  I love this piece in our dinning room. It fits perfectly and is amazing in that is has keys so no little hands can open those doors and tear out fragile things in the drawers!

Right now the table is decorated with a massive tablecloth I scored for $30.  It had been $180 and is way too long for the table but I had in mind that the fabric could someday be used for even pillows on the window seat.  Someday I'd like white blinds in here and window treatments, but again, for now this is called 'done.'  The vase was a Home Good's steal back in my single days and the candle sticks are vintage and were a wedding present.  The plate on the buffet was also a wedding present and the silver tray was scored at an antique store for around $20. It has the letter E on it which means nothing to us but whose looking?

The dining room table was my grandparents and the chairs were from a friend of my Mom's who was moving and getting rid of them.  We weren't sure how much we'd like them at first but they have grown on us and I really can't see another set in there right now.

We hung our wedding program and wedding invitation on the wall and I'm not sure we'll hang anything else in here. The big wall may be asking for something to go on it, but for now I don't want to crowd the space.

And as for the before picture.  Such an improvement, wouldn't you say?  I really did not like this olive green color or the green ceiling.  The tan above was the neutral color all over the house and that had to go as well.

Because I love reading other blogs that share this info here are the paint colors we used:

Trim and White under the Chair Molding:  Whatever was in the house before- not sure of the name!
Blue walls: Smoke by Benjamin Moore
Ceiling: Iceberg by Benjamin Moore