Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One of these things is not like the other....

This past week, J-Bear got to meet her twin cousins, S&S, who beat her into the world by a mere 2 weeks.  

I think these three are set to be buddies for life.

J-Bear with her twin cousins, S&S.
Buddy Bear was fascinated by all the babies.  To him, there seemed to be babies everywhere while we were on vacation!  I don't think he was alone in his sentiments :)  

 One afternoon, Cousin H stuck her head outside, where several of the adults were relaxing during "quiet time," and made an announcement.

"There is a problem," she said.  
"There are kids everywhere around here."  

So true!  

Good thing they are all so adorable!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Blast in Boston

Family is a rock in my life.

The Plymouth Rock: it reminds me of my family.

This past week, we spent a week near Plymouth, Massachusetts,
enjoying time together and refreshing relationships that we treasure so much.

You may notice that the adult to child ratio was 1:1.  Thank goodness for YaYa and GP, MoMo and Papa, who ordered up a really nice house to accommodate our two large families, complete with eight kids 6-years-and-under!  

During the day, we took in the sights at Plymouth Rock,

trekked a few nature hikes,

explored the Plimoth Plantation,

which has something for everyone,

[Can you spot four kids drawing in the dirt while adults listen intently to the pilgrim historian?]

and hit the beach.

Come evening, 
we enjoyed playing ball, badminton or buses together in the backyard,

and soaked in the gorgeous bay views.

The best part was, of course, just being together.

Thank goodness for YaYa, GP, MoMo and Papa, 
whose awesome cooking, cleaning, baby rocking, monster-playing, and margarita-making
made the trip extra special down-right amazing.  


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back from Boston

We're back from a week in Boston visiting my sister and her family.

Here's the teaser....

G-Bear went to bed last night with a sad look on her face.  When I asked her what was wrong, she replied,
"I miss my cousins, Mommy."

I reassured her that we would all be missing each other for a while.  Family time is so sweet!

There is much more to share.....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Grocery Bag: Summer Days

Ahh, summer. These days are so precious.  When it comes to summer meal planning, I vacillate between joyful gratitude for the awesome summer produce, and distracted disinterest at the idea of going inside to make dinner.  These are a few favorite recipes that have delighted me lately. They use the summer produce, but allow me to spend less time in the kitchen.

Day One
Pasta with peppers, squash and tomatoes from Everyday Food Magazine
with a mixed green salad
Photo and recipe from

Day Two
Spaghetti Carbonara from Sunset Magazine
with broccoli slaw salad

Photo and recipe from

Day Three
Gnocchi with summer vegetables from Everyday Food Magazine
with napa cabbage salad
Photo and recipe from

Day Four
with basmati rice
When I make this recipe for our crew, I double the ingredients.
Photo and recipe from My Kitchen Table

Day Five
Pasta with pancetta, green beans and basil from Everyday Food Magazine
Photo and recipe from

Blessings on your kitchen!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beat the (dinner) heat

My car thermometer says it is 95 degrees outside today.
The fans are cranking to keep the house cool,
and I am responsible for making dinner tonight.

Tonight is not the night to fire up the stove!

We do not own a grill!

What is a mom to do??!

Tonight I will be employing a dinner preparation tactic that I learned last year when we lived in North Carolina.  During the summer in NC, ninety degree days are a dime a dozen.  What was more, our oven could heat up our whole apartment in a jiffy.  

So, on hot days like today, we bring the pancake griddle out to the porch.  Thank goodness for exterior electric outlets!  Cheese quesadillas with peppers and onions are on the menu tonight.  I can sauté the peppers and onions right on the griddle, then fill and cook the quesadillas right next to them.  The kids can play outside while I cook, but beware little hands getting too close to the griddle!  By the time we are all hot and sweaty, we can head into our *cool* house to eat dinner.  Not too bad.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tractor time

When Uncle S gets a tractor,
everyone gets a ride.

Even though there are no crops up at the cabin,

 no rows to hoe,

that doesn't stop this crew from having fun. 
There is something special about just riding on a tractor!

By the way, why did we need a tractor anyway?
Why, to get the boat out of the water, of course!

Oh, of COURSE!

My kids are having a blast.  
Uncle S is way too cool.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Buddy Bear's Break

Our mornings are filled with action and play.
But in the mid-morning everyday,
Buddy Bear becomes quiet, not making a sound.
I often will wonder, "Is he even around?"

So I creeeeeep up the stair
and find him there,

contraband paci and blanks in tow too,
pondering life and enjoying the view.

 I remind him that paci belongs in his bed.

he just smiles at what I have said.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

This Day in Happily Ever Johnson History: Fishergirl

Remember this?

Three years ago, G-Bear learned how to catch a fish.
This year, she is quite the fishergirl.

This year, G-Bear staked out a spot on the end of the dock with great enthusiasm.

With help from Uncle Scott and coaching from Cousin P, 
G-Bear dug out her own worms,
she cast her own pole.
she reeled in her own fish.

T asked her to smile for a picture.
G-Bear obliged, but then exclaimed, exasperated,
"Dad, you made me lose sight of my bobber."

Gotta love that competitive edge!
Happy fishing, G-Bear.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer, from my desk in the kitchen

I am in love with summer.

On the sidewalk near our house...

Someday soon,

 I'll take the time to post a menu plan,

or catch up on my inbox,

or put away the laundry,

or deal with the mail.

This week, instead of doing those things,

we hosted eight friends for an impromptu dinner,

searched for a new house in the neighborhood,

took the kids to the park and the library and played catch and had a picnic,

and went for several twilight strolls.

I haven't spent much time at my desk recently.
With apologies to the rest of the world, I can't say that I mind.

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