Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Purging and Recharging

We are getting ready to pack up and go on a mini-vacation tomorrow.  I think it may be the first vacation that we're going on as a family that doesn't involve visiting other family.  We're heading down to Williamsburg, VA.  It's only a few hours from where we live; a long car trip was not desired, and there's a lot to do around there.  Hopefully without spending too much money.  I asked Max what he wanted to do on vacation and he said "have fun."  I like the way he thinks.  We're skipping Busch Gardens, but may take a trip to the beach.  My children have never really seen the ocean.  Sam saw an image of it on TV last night and exclaimed "Swimming Pool!"  I think it's time to show them the real thing.

These past few weeks have been fun, but stressful.  It's been a month of purging, but the unintentional kind.  Three weeks ago our hard drive, I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the end result is that it doesn't work, at all.  For all intents and purposes, it's fried.  We lost all documents and pictures.  One one hand, I was partially relieved that I wasn't going to have to deal with the digital clutter I'd been collecting.  Mostly though, I was devastated at losing so many memories.  Luckily, we had backed up much of our documents (so I'll have to organize it sometime), but we still lost pictures from the past year.  I'm still searching through e-mails and asking family if they have any from Christmas.  An important lesson was learned, back files up regularly and share pictures with others.

More recently we accidentally defrosted our freezer.  That's not the best way to wake up in the morning.  Again, on one hand, it forced us to clear some things out that should have probably been tossed a while ago.  I suppose it's a good thing that I no longer have a box full of ice cream sandwiches to snack on whenever my stomach rumbles the baby wants one.  On the other, I hate throwing out food.  Fortunately, we didn't lose as much as I originally thought; it just meant a short spurt of furious cooking.

A vacation will be welcome.  I've been camped out in my house this week, which has been good.  I've been recharging and trying not to spend any money.  I've also been trying to make progress on my checklist of things to do around the house before the baby arrives, but it's a slow process.  The full weight of my pregnancy is finally hitting me, and there is just so much that I should not/cannot do.  Due to time and budget constraints, I'm trying to get excited about finishing projects and organizing things, as opposed to big decorating redoes.  Pintrest has been very helpful in that respect.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  I'm hoping to take lots of pictures and have fun.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Poetry Project

Today, I found a link to this Poetry Project on Geeky Daddy's blog.  Needless to say, I saw the words poetry and project together, and got very excited.  It's a year-long project, designed to encourage reading and discussion about poetry.  From what I gather, you post once a month.  They have a guideline topic for each month, but it's not required that your post be about that, and there are no specific days that you have to post.  Sounds like my kind of challenge.  Here is the Intro Questionnaire for this month:

Why do you want to join for the Poetry Project?

I love poetry.  I'm happier when I read/hear it regularly, but find I often don't make time for it.  I figure this project will help me keep that part of my brain active, as well as expose me to some new poets and new thoughts on poetry.

Do you have a favourite poet?

This is a hard one.  Right off the top of my head I would say E.E. Cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Robert Frost.

Hopefully this will go longer than a year. Do you have any suggestions for themes?

Perhaps poems from different countries, in translation?  Or a glimpse into a poet's life, followed by a few examples of his/her work

What are your experiences with poetry in the past? Have they been positive or negative?

I have had mainly positive experiences.  Most of the time, they've been better when I've been able to discuss them with others.

Tell us about a poem or poet that has had a profound effect on you. If you can't think of a poem, how about a song? Or a line from a story?

Another hard one for me. The first one I thought of was Robert Frost's "Mending Wall."  I reread it a year ago, and realized that there is a reason we study it in school

What frustrates you about poetry or the way we talk about poetry?

I think that the language used to discuss poetry needs to be more accessible.  I don't want it dumbed-down, but if the idea is to encourage the reading of poetry by people all over, you should be able to discuss a poem without the need of an English degree.

Tell us something about yourself that has nothing to do with poetry!

I'm expecting my third child in October, so that will be three kids under the age of five (I'm excited, but a little scared).  I love to make things and bake, especially pie!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What is a Vampire's Favorite Fruit?

Last Friday, I woke up at 6:30 am for the specific purpose of baking a cake for breakfast.  I love early morning baking; there are just so many things that make it feel right.  The kitchen is quiet, and I have it all to myself.  It's still outside, and the heat hasn't quite reached the sweltering point that early in the morning.  Also,  I'm just in better mood when I've started my day doing something productive and creative.
So this is what I made last Friday, a Nectarine Golden Cake, or really, and Nectarine Buckle.  We had five nectarines in our Green Grocery delivery the week before.  I was very excited, only to find out that my husband does not share my enthusiasm for the smooth-skinned stone fruit.  Gasp!  My oldest seemed to share his sentiments, and with all the other fruit in the house, my youngest and I were not going to finish them off.  Several sat there neglected until I decided that while they might not like them raw, they will probably like them baked.  

Buckles are so named because you place your fruit on top of the batter in the pan, and as the cake bakes, the fruit buckles underneath.  You start with something like this:

And end up with this:

It's sweet, but not too sweet, so you can easily justify it for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or tea.  I found the recipe here,  It's been adapted from a recipe featured in Gourmet.  I pretty much followed her adaptation, with the exception of using turbinado sugar to sprinkle the top.  It gives it a little more shine and a nice crinkly crunch.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Independence Day, and that most of you were able to keep cool.  Of course, for almost everyone in the USA, that would be hard if you went out at all.  We decided to brave the heat, and spent a little over four hours at our local lake, eagerly awaiting the fireworks display.  I sat on a lawn chair for most of the evening, continuously applying bug spray (the harsh, antiseptic odor was worth it, not a bite on me!), while my husband and sons splashed in the very, very warm water.  We sweated and swam, ate overpriced vendor food, and boogied to 70's dance and funk music.  Max got our permission to dance on the sand, where he regaled those sitting on the beach's edge with his creative and enthusiastic moves.  Finally, the sky grew dark enough.  We sang the Star Spangled Banner, and waited for them to start the pyrotechnics.  As much fun as we had been having, heat and all, the night just got better.  This was Sam's first experience with fireworks.  Every time a rocket flew into the air, his entire body would stiffen with excitement.  Each explosion of color brought an exclamation from him, "Red!  Green!  Loud!  Bright!" followed by simple, contagious laughs.  Max loves the fireworks as well, but he's a cautious kid and a thinker.  He couldn't help but be concerned for the kids swimming in the dark water, invisible but for the multi-colored glow-sticks around their necks and wrists, and the brief illuminations from the fireworks overhead.  I was concerned as well, and envious.  I remember how magical night swimming is, and it's been such a long time since I've participated.  My concern came from the large flashes of lighting just a few minutes before.  Luckily, the storm held off until later that night, when everyone was safely out of the water and back in their homes.

Days like yesterday, and many more these past few weeks, have brought a wonderful, sad feeling of nostalgia.  I'm not sure what it is.  We went to our first waterpark with the boys last weekend (and my first trip to a waterpark in 10 years).  Even watching cartoons on these hot, summer mornings brings a flood of memories and feelings that I can't quite place.  I find myself trying to keep this feeling up; watching and doing things from my childhood, even buying the same snacks (nothing says summer like those horrible Fruit Juice Barrels, made with no fruit juice).  I think I know that everything is going to change again at the end of the summer.  They're all good changes, the new baby arriving, Max going to preschool, Sam becoming a big brother; but right now, this summer, I like time travelling backwards.  It's strange that since I've had children, each year I've grown older and further away from my youth, I've also been getting closer.