Sunday, August 9, 2020

An Escape


That's me!

I love this little dogwood type flower that was all over.

Huckleberry Cheesecake Ice Cream 

The highlight of July (probably the highlight of 2020 so far) was a camping trip to Lost Lake near Hood River, Oregon. I won't say it was relaxing, because camping is never relaxing for me, but it was a nice change from being home. It was great to be somewhere different and it's always wonderful to be surrounded by nature. We borrowed a friend's kayak and had so much fun taking turns with it on the lake. We are definitely going to become kayak people. 

I felt fairly safe as camping is an outdoor activity, but there were reminders everywhere of COVID-19. Most people were wearing masks in public spaces, but not everyone. Nothing feels normal this year. 

I prepped a bunch of food in advance. For the first night we kept it easy and did hotdogs and burgers, s'mores too. I mixed and shaped the burgers the night before. The second night we had steak, melon, and garlic bread (pre-made garlic bread from the grocery store). The leftover steak was so good with eggs the next morning for breakfast. The last evening we had beef bulgogi and rice, recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Bulgogi Tacos in Smitten Kitchen Everyday. I cooked and mixed it up at home and warmed it up in a cast-iron skillet in camp. We spent our last day there kayaking so we were very tired and hungry when we got back to camp. It was so nice to have something I could just heat and eat. For lunches I made an antipasto pasta salad from Gimme Some Oven. I love how adaptable it is. It made an enormous amount. Next time I will cut the recipe in half. 

This trip reminded me to make everything as easy as possible for a camping trip. Buy the baby carrots, don't bring the carrots from the CSA no matter how beautiful they are. It sounds lazy but being able to grab a handful of carrots versus having to peel and chop them while dirtying a cutting board, knife and peeler in the process can make me choose to leave the carrots in the cooler. Easy wins the day! 

Friday, August 7, 2020


Lots of cooking, baking and eating here this summer. 

I baked some sourdough loaves, a flag cake, and a plum cake. I made pelmeni filled with potatoes and cheese. 

We are part of a CSA and once a week we drive 30 minutes into the country to pick up veggies at the farm. If there's an excess of something a sign will say "take as much of this as you can eat!" There were a few weeks in a row when bok choy was in the all-you-can-eat category. I made weekly dinners of teriyaki chicken meatballs, spicy bok choy, and buttered kohlrabi. Kohlrabi has been the best discovery from the CSA so far. It's a strange looking vegetable that tastes like broccoli stems. I peel it, slice it into sticks and steam it. I told the kids it was broccoli stems (they both love broccoli) and they gobbled it up. After dinner  I told them it was actually kohlrabi and now there's another veggie that they eat!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Our New Addition

Last summer we had a bathroom added onto our small house and it was such a good addition. Even though it's a small room, it makes our house feel so much bigger. We had flirted with the idea of adding another living space onto our house for a while and once we saw how much adding a small bathroom effected the feel of our home, we knew that adding more living space would be a huge benefit. In January we signed the construction contract and put down a deposit, securing our spot in line with the contractor. Our contractor came by the week of March 13 to drop off some paperwork for the permits and then the world changed. Construction was supposed to start in March, but of course that changed. Everything was up in the air.

The project officially got started the week of June 10th, coinciding with the kids' last day of online school and our 13th wedding anniversary. So much change! We watched them tear down the awning, bringing light into the kitchen for the first time. I love it so much. We watched the excavator break  up the patio and dig down for the foundation. They built the concrete forms and the city inspector said they were "Beautiful."  The day the concrete was poured we skipped our usual hour of quiet time because it we didn't want to miss a moment of it. Last Friday they put on the sub flooring so we had a very large deck, or stage, for the weekend. Today, Monday, they put up the frame for two of the walls! Each day gives another glimpse into what it will eventually become.

It is exciting, stressful, and very inconvenient. Essentially shutting down the backyard during a pandemic when we've already been at home for four months, and everything we would normally be doing (swimming, library, etc) is closed, is hard. We set up a play area in the front yard, but it really doesn't make up for the freedom of being able to tell your kids to go run off their energy in the backyard! I'm not complaining, it's just lousy timing. I know we are very privileged to get to do this. I grew up in apartments and rental houses where we weren't allowed to paint the walls or do any gardening. I never dreamed that someday I would be in the position we are in now. I feel very fortunate and don't take it for granted.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


May was another month spent at home cooking, admiring the flowers, distance learning and making treats. I think getting to spend the school day with a cat in your lap is the best perk of having to stay home.