OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA An early morning visitor

One evening last week, we came home to a visitor helping himself to our apple tree.  I had been under the misguided assumption that a fence would keep animals out of my garden, but I was obviously wrong.  Once he saw us, he hopped quite nimbly right over the fence as if it weren’t even there.  A few mornings later, I took my coffee out onto the back porch, and he was back.  Apparently, fences and Freckles are not deterrents for apple thieves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“This is the best dough I’ve ever made.”

True to our plan, we are baking and canning our own food like crazy.  Personally, I’m getting pretty sick of canning and freezing tomatoes.  Every year I swear I will NOT plant as many next summer, and every spring I plant more.  So far, I’ve made several quarts of pickles and cucumber relish, frozen bags of shredded zucchini for bread and soups, canned and frozen tomatoes for sauces and stews, and made several batches of peach pie filling.  The rest we’ve eaten fresh from the garden.

Harper Lee never tires of kitchen experiments so we’ve had good bread, homemade pretzels and lots of delicious fruity desserts.  The apron she’s wearing was a gift from Grammy.  Rob’s grandmother made it, and it’s a new favorite thing.

I also promised a list of meal ideas and resources for those of you joining us in the real food revolution, and obviously the best way to keep from doing something is to tell you I’m going to.  But better late than never…

Here are some very simple– because that’s how I roll– meal ideas for you and family.

Summer Salad

Friday Night Pizza

Veggie Frittata

These are the ones we’ve tried from Barbara Kingsolver’s website, but there are dozens of others.

Some other really simple ideas that we love:

Roasted grape tomatoes with a sprinkle of olive oil and parmesan cheese

Fresh cucumbers, green or red peppers, tomatoes and onions mixed

Frozen or fresh raspberries blended with lemonade

Any kind of fresh bread and good cheese

Hummus and raw veggies

Grilled fish– my kids LOVE salmon

Grilled kabobs of chicken, button mushrooms and fresh pineapple


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’re ready for our close-up, Mr. DeMille.

The highlight of our summer, besides much-needed family time, was the Foothills Arts Council’s production of Little Shop of Horrors.  We spent most of June and July in rehearsals, and wrapped up with three shows last weekend.  Both Harper Lee and I have been bitten by the acting bug, and this is something we will do again and again.  Even Isaac got in on the act by running the spotlight at one of the dress rehearsals.  He loves the behind the scenes work.  It just goes to show what good things can come from stepping outside your comfort zone once in a while.  Besides, we got to wear lots of eyeliner and red lipstick.  Aren’t we glam?

And then…

Isaac turned 9! 


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We, naturally, had a science party on Monday with lots of chaos.  I planned several experiments for the boys, which fairly quickly degenerated into a messy tangle of eight and nine year old boys covered in shaving cream, corn starch and food coloring.  Sometimes I feel as though our party invitation should come with a disclaimer and waiver form. 

They had a blast! 

Want to try your own?

Elephant Toothpaste

Food Coloring and Cream

Mentos and Diet Coke

Homemade Moon Sand

After everyone had been thoroughly washed down with the garden hose and were barefoot and shirtless, we released helium balloons with our names and address, so we might be able to track the distance traveled.  The word’s still out on that one. 

There were great science gifts (plus some fake dog doo, which was extremely popular) and a “lab experiment” cake that I was quite pleased with.  It was a super easy ice-cream sandwich cake if you’re ever looking for a kid-pleasing dessert idea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then, like the flash of a lightning bug in the summer darkness, July was gone.  Another beautiful memory to tuck into our growing collection.