Hello, friends. Just stopping by for a moment to say that we have not, in fact, fallen off the face of the earth. I am still dealing with some health issues, so it will likely be a little while until things are back to normal around here. I hope that you’re alright and that these last days of summer (or winter depending on your hemisphere) are full of love & light.
This month’s prompt word is celebrate. Aside from the fact that I’ve been physically unable to spend time on my computer, it’s been difficult to even brainstorm for this prompt. I’ve been suffering and when you’re suffering, it’s hard to think about celebrating.
Still, this set of photographs kept coming into my mind. I took them on our last day of vacation. I cannot help but to smile when I look at them. They remind that even when life is very difficult, there is still reason to celebrate & be grateful.
I wanted to put some words with these images, but writing is not my strong point at the moment. So here is one of my favourite poems which happens to be very apropos to the celebrate theme.
won’t you celebrate with me
by Lucille Clifton
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
Come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed. That line just takes my breath away.
“Celebrate” is the August writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Nicole of Rose Runs Wild. A few words from Nicole — Hi! I’m Nicole from Rose Runs Wild! I’m mama to a teenager, wife to my handsome husband and dog mama to our bulldog and pit bull. I work full time and blog in my free time. I love wearing black and white, plants, doughnuts, crappy pop music and working on our home we just recently bought! My blog is basic, it’s just about our life. The good, the bad and the ugly. I try to share as honestly as I possibly can in hopes that one or two other people out there don’t feel so alone. Life is rough, life is beautiful and it’s all about connection through the highs and the lows. That’s all I’m really trying to do, connect and share. And take lots of cute photos of my son (in the rare moment he lets me) and my dogs of course! Connect with Nicole here: Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin // Twitter // Tumblr.
The 52 Week Project – A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for one year.
31/52 — Completely mesmerized by something, though I can not remember what it was now.
32/52 — Relaxing for a moment after devouring a hot fudge sundae at the county fair. He had such fun and was all smiles the whole trip — this shot isn’t an accurate representation of the day. He loved the animals most of all. A very friendly sheep was the highlight of his day.
Things have been quiet around here and, well, everywhere in my online life. There are literally hundreds of emails in my inbox, unheard of for a woman who gets anxious if she has more than ten unread emails at any given time. But, that’s just the way it is. Everything is in shambles at the moment, both online and otherwise.
I have been — and continue to be — very ill. It will certainly be awhile before I am better and I’m not ready to talk about any of it yet. In the meanwhile I will be checking in here to get caught up as I am able. I have lots to share and some fun projects on the horizon.
Oh, how I love summertime. There is always something blossoming in our yard. Every day I incorporate something fresh from the garden into our meals. This has only been my second time ever growing food from seed. There is something about the experience that makes it unlike anything else in the world. There is a satisfaction and a sense of reverence that I can’t put into words. Each evening when I walk out into the garden to pick a vegetable and some herbs to use in our supper, my heart swells with gratitude and pride. The meals that I have been preparing are packed with so much love and labor that you can truly taste it in the food.
Every day we spend a bit of time out in the yard — picking, watering, exploring, and admiring.
^^^ our hosta are in bloom, such a lovely shade of purple ^^^
^^^ lettuce grown from organic seeds — it feels like i’m eating a miracle ^^^
^^^ baby cucumber ^^^
^^^ mama cucumber — our cucumber plants are doing best of all this year, and good thing because Roman loves them! ^^^
^^^ i just love their curly tendrils and it’s amazing to put them on any surface and watch them begin to twirl around within moments — living beings ^^^
^^^ a little jungle of food in the garden box — don’t mind the floppy carrot leaves, I’d just picked them and forgot to move them away for the pictures ^^^
^^^ our big garden at the top of the yard isn’t doing very well, not enough sun — so M. transplanted some of the plants to a new home along our stone wall. here’s hoping. ^^^
^^^ basil — I put this stuff in everything and it’s heaven, heaven, heaven. ^^^
^^^ eggplant blossom ^^^
^^^ baby bell pepper ^^^
^^^ a lonely tomato — our tomatoes are coming in very slowly, but there’s lots of little ones popping now, so it shouldn’t be long! ^^^
^^^ there were piles of wood in various stages of seasoning all over the yard after m. finished splitting them the other day. now they are all neatly stacked and waiting for winter. ^^^
^^^ my little explorer, I’m quite certain that he would spend the whole of his days wandering around outside and exploring every crack & crevice of the earth if he could ^^^
^^^ always climbing ^^^
^^^ spearmint, perhaps the most incredible smell in the world ^^^
^^^ our black-eyed-Susans have popped, sunshine in plant form ^^^
I took these photographs late last week. This morning, some bizarre, unseasonable cold front moved in that’s made it feel like autumn. I am not even close to being ready for that. I hope it moves along quickly and makes way for a long, hot, sticky August. Give me all the sunshine! ♥
Since we returned from vacation I’ve been on a cooking streak. All of that eating out made me long for some home cooked meals and the break from cooking actually made me miss being in the kitchen (a little bit).
I’ve tried several new recipes this past week and these salmon burgers with pickled cucumbers (fresh from our garden) are an absolute favourite. They were so delicious, we wanted to eat about ten each. Even little Roman, who has been quite picky lately, loved this meal. I adapted our salmon burgers from this recipe.
It’s a perfect summertime meal. The salmon burgers are so savory and the cucumbers are a perfect mix of crunchy & zesty.
If you’d like to make this delicious meal yourself, you’ll need:
1 pound skinless boneless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped chives
3 chopped garlic cloves
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
salt & pepper to taste
4 large hamburger buns
1 cucumber sliced into circles
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dill
Pickle the cucumbers by combining the cucumbers, vinegar and dill. Salt to taste and set in refrigerator to chill for at least half an hour.
Add first seven ingredients to food processor. Blend until all ingredients are well mixed but salmon is still slightly chunky — just a few pulses. Stir in breadcrumbs and add salt & pepper to taste. Use mixture to make four patties.
Preheat oven to 350. Heat grill or grill pan (I used my stove top griddle) to medium heat. Grill patties until fish is cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer patties to a baking sheet and bake for 9 minutes. Meanwhile, toast hamburger buns.
Prepare crunchy mayo by combining mayo, soy sauce and Panko breadcrumbs. Mix until evenly combined.
When ready to serve, add mayo to the tops of your patties, place them on the toasted buns and add a bit of fresh lettuce. Add a scoop of the cucumbers to your plate and enjoy!
If you give this a try, please let me know how you like it! xo
If you don’t live in New Jersey, you may have never heard the phrase “down the shore.” It’s a phrase that we, North Jersey-ans, use when we are traveling south to the Jersey Shore points. Going “down the shore” every summer has been a tradition in my family for years and years, since long before I was born. Of course the tradition continued after I was born and as such my family went down the shore every summer of my childhood. Without a doubt, many of my most incredible, magical memories are rooted in those trips.
It has always been a dream of mine to continue the tradition with my own family. We took Roman down last summer but he was only a few months old and I didn’t feel comfortable taking him out on the beach then. So, this year was really his first “true” trip to the seashore. Sadly most of my family no longer makes the trip every year, and for those that do, it’s not easy to coordinate travel dates. This time around it ended up being just me, Matthew, and Roman. Even though it would have been nice to have family around us, it was a really special and beautiful trip for the three of us and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Here are a few of my favourite photographs from our little getaway.
^^^ On our first night, we ate at one of my fave restaurants — Spicy’s Cantina — their shrimp & lobster quesadillas are fantastic and I look forward to having one all year. We ate out for 99% of our meals while we were away and Roman was an angel every.single.time. Waitress after waitress commented on how adorable and well-behaved he is. Sometimes I really have to pinch myself because I can hardly believe how lucky I am with this boy of mine. ^^^
^^^ These beach shots are all from my iPhone/Instagram account. I’ve invested a lot of money in my big camera and thought it better to leave it safely behind — away from the sand & sea. ^^^
^^^ The Seaside Heights boardwalk is hands down one of the best places in the world. Rides, games, food, fun, and a stunning view of the ocean. It pretty much represents everything that is beautiful about summertime. ^^^
^^^ Our beach rental was two blocks from the beach (which faces east) and one block from the bay (facing west). On our first night, I snuck away from M. & R. just before sunset to check out the view from the bay. When I got to the end of our street, I stumbled upon a field of wildflowers… at sunset… Talk about breathtaking! ^^^
^^^ This carousel was built in 1910 and has called Seaside Heights its home since 1932. It is one of only a few remaining hand-carved wooden carousels left in the country. Unfortunately, the family that owns it is going to be auctioning it off in September because of financial issues. It breaks my heart because it was such a special part of my childhood. Still, I’m glad I got to take Roman for a ride on it at least once before it is gone. ^^^
^^^ There was a great playground up the street at the bay beach. Roman had a blast, of course. ^^^
^^^ Boardwalk food — the most delicious, most unhealthy food in the world. We splurged and splurged the whole trip long. You’ve just got to do it when you’re at the Jersey shore. Fresh cut french fries covered in cheese and fresh squeezed lemonade with lots of sugar are two of my guiltiest pleasures. ^^^
^^^ Gratefully we had amazing weather and got out on the beach every day. The sand & the sea knocked Roman out like nothing else. It made nap times a cinch. ^^^
^^^ Roman loves fish and water so we decided to make a trip over to the Point Pleasant Aquarium late one afternoon. It was his first aquarium and he was equally parts thrilled & terrified of the sharks. His expressions were priceless. ^^^
^^^ There were little monkeys behind the glass in this enclosure. Monkeys are his absolute favourite (he’s obsessed with Curious George) and he is waving hello to one of the monkeys in this shot. So cute. ^^^
^^^ On our last morning, we stopped at the Park Bakery before we hit the road. The bakery has been around since 1947 and it’s seriously one of the best bakeries in the world. My mom loves their crumbcakes so we picked up a couple for her and some sweet treats for us for our trip home. ^^^
I am so grateful that we had such an amazing trip. It was really sad to drive away toward home, but we left with full hearts and the most beautiful memories that we could have hoped for… and of course we were happy to come home to our sweet Bella girl!
The 52 Week Project – A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for one year.
29/52 — We’re back from vacation. I took this portrait on the first full day of our trip. We discovered a little playground up the street from our beach rental. It was the first time that we let Roman really go off on his own and explore a playground. Of course we stayed right nearby, but we are slowly giving him independence, not standing right behind him to catch every fall. His footing is steady enough now and it’s so beautiful to watch him beam with pride when he accomplishes things on his own.
He had a wonderful time running across the footbridge and worming his way through the tunnels. I sort of can’t get over how big & mature he is in this shot. It makes me proud and it breaks my heart, all at the same time.
As every parent knows, date nights are hard to come by these days. We used to make it a point to go out at least once a month. But lately, well, we’ve had one night out without Roman in the last year and a half. Everything is more complicated when you have a little one to think about. On top of that, M. works long days. He leaves the house at 4:30 a.m. and doesn’t get home until 6:00 p.m. He doesn’t have the energy to go out when he gets home and he only has one day off each week, Sunday. That doesn’t leave us much time for fun.
That said, it’s still important to seek out little ways to enjoy time together — even if that means a “date night in.” This week we sneaked out onto the deck for an evening drink. It was nice to spend some time catching up and daydreaming about our upcoming family vacation to the sea. It didn’t last long — there were baby baths to be given, lunches to be packed, and so on — but it was nice to have a bit of “us” time even for a little while.
While we were out there, we enjoyed a couple of ice cold Teagaritas. The Iced Teagarita is Jose Cuervo’s new twist on a classic. It consists of a lime flavored margarita, blended with Jose Cuervo Tequila and premium orange liqueur, then combined with refreshing iced tea. It’s like a miniature party in a glass and it’s the perfect summertime drink. I love iced tea — it’s my favourite drink besides lemon water — and the Teagarita hits the spot, even for an iced tea connoisseur like me.
If you’re thinking of having your own little date night in, or just looking for a yummy summertime drink, give the Teagarita a try.