Wednesday, July 28, 2010

homemade pasta

We tried our hands at making pasta the other day, with great results. I used the recipe from the book Backyard Homestead.

In addition to eggs, I added a puree of spinach and broccoli from the garden.

We mixed the dough and rolled it out,

then rolled it up and cut the noodles.

The dough was surprisingly simple to make and work with.

While the pasta cooked, I sauteed shrimp in butter and olive oil with garlic and seasoning. The pasta and shrimp were tossed together and sprinkled with shredded parmesan cheese, served with a side of homebaked rolls and just-picked tomatoes topped with basil and fresh mozarella.

The balsamic glaze for the tomatoes was quick to make by reducing the vinegar on the stovetop.

It was a fine summer feast. I don't know if it's knowledge of the work that goes into preparing the food, a direct tie to the source of the ingredients, or pride for the product of all our efforts, but a meal like this sure does taste good.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

blueberries in the morning

It seems a sin to leave Michigan without stopping for some fresh blueberries on your way out, so once we broke camp, we headed here...

Delicious on top of waffles,

Or baked, along with fresh peaches, into a pie.
(photos courtesy of Daniel)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

camping by the beach

Back in college, I stumbled upon a small beach park on the Michigan side of the lake, just down the shore from the big Indiana Dunes State Park. This beach was more to my liking, small, with boardwalks for wandering and campsites nestled in behind the oaks. Since we left South Bend, this spot has become an annual destination for camping and playing.

Camping with kids can be a lot of work, but it's worth it for us to share this with our children. Each year, the kids are able to help more and more with the packing, planning and work involved. I do believe there is something to be said for spending time, unstructured and unscheduled, exploring and interacting with all the elements around us -- and not only for the children. There is work involved in these undertakings, yes, but there is a sort of "reset" triggered when we step outside the day-to-day rhythm and spend these moments in awe and discovery.

Last year, Charlotte was too small and sleepy to care much about the beach. This time, she seemed right at home among the water and sand.

After a delicious campfire dinner, we returned to the beach to take in the lake at sunset.

I am grateful for the chance to share these experiences with our children, to see the peace and joy they find beyond the walls of our home and to watch as moments like these are woven into their memories.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

got it.

After a few practice runs...

and several takes...

I think I got my favorite picture.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


It's not yet been a year since we moved into this place, and slowly, we have been turning "house" into "home." We knew this space was right for us the first time we saw it. After years of looking and stepping foot in who-knows-how-many houses, this one was right from the start. Of course it took a while for everything to fall into place, but grand plans were forming in our mind long before the papers were signed. Yes, that tree does need a fort in it, and that one should hold a swing. Fruit trees and garden beds, a sandbox and some chickens. Dreams of paint colors and artwork and just the right pieces to fill each room flashed through our minds. Yet with three little ones and the demands of home-ownership, some things have been pushed to the back burner. Way back. Despite the delays, there are some corners of this house that truly feel like home.
The whole family agrees -- one of the best spaces in our new house is the children's playroom.

Whether that's because it's one of the few rooms we've put effort into setting up, or whether it's because of what happens within those walls, it's the place inside (other than the table) where you're most likely to find all five of us together.

favorite playthings

Or maybe it's just the invitation to play and leave the rest of the work outside the door that makes this room so welcoming.