– In recent news that is not terrible, we have a new car! Well, new to us, at least. Anthony’s mom decided it was time for a new car and we inherited her old one. Our families are the most generous people I have ever met. It’s so wonderful to be a two-car family again. We survived for a few years with only one car before, but it’s hard. We don’t live in a walkable area and we don’t have great public transportation, so a car is pretty much necessary. Occasionally we’ll walk a park near our house as a family, but when it’s over 100 degrees it’s just not enjoyable. This car is such a wonderful gift and we appreciate it greatly.
– We have had such wonderful support from both family and friends, online and off. Recently Suz sent us a Laurie Berkner DVD because she knew Isobel loved the videos. My pal Jett has sent a stream of almost constant presents from her vintage shops, and my dear friend Ellen brought us a sack of treats from the farmer’s market. It’s all so wonderful it makes me well up with gratitude and renders me a ball of mush. Todd also sent us a care package in the mail–lady bug activities for Isobel and some sample cases to return to him full of spotless-ladybugs.
– Recently Isobel and I had been riding around with my mom in her car when Isobel found a tiny purple squirt gun on the backseat. “Is this for me?” Isobel squealing, ran off without waiting for the reply, “Thanks, Ama!” she shouted. I turned to my mom, ready to ask her why she had been driving around with a squirt gun in her car. She had recently been to a high school reunion, she said, “And there were people there I wanted to squirt.”
– Speaking of my mother, back in her day she was a feminist badass. I posted her copy of Our Bodies, Our Selves and growing up she played the Free To Be You And Me on heavy rotation. I can probably still recite some of it. She was an early advocate for recycling and ran the recycling program for their church before it was particularly easy or efficient. I quite clearly remember the moment in seventh grade, when I first learned about abortion, when I asked her what she thought about the subject. She was standing at the sink, wearing her apron and drying dishes. She taught fifth grade for eight years but quit to start a family and stay home with my sister and I. “I believe,” she said, “That it’s no man’s right to tell me what to do with my body.” She is the reason I wanted to stay home. I wanted to be a feminist badass of the homemaking tradition, just like my mother.
– Last weekend we enjoyed a yearly tradition at my friends Ellen and Ivan’s house: Christmas in July dinner. The practice started three years ago when Ellen and Ivan realized it was going to be their first time hosting a holiday dinner and they had not even so much as roasted a turkey before. Both Ellen and Ivan are competent home cooks but they wanted to cook a trial run of the meal, just to be sure. Of course when you cook a full holiday meal you have to invite people over to eat it, and we have been lucky enough to score an invite. I posted a photo of the dinner on instagram and was instantly bombarded with requests for the stuffed onion recipe. Here it is, enjoy!
– We took our yearly pilgrimage to the fair with our buddies the Waltons and had such a great time we stayed there for eight hours. I know. Isobel and Kingston had a blast and everything was great until the end when we had a little issue of not being let off a ride soon enough made the kids dissolve into tears. They were smiling by the time we left and of course didn’t want to leave.
– My mom and I took Isobel to a craft activity at our library. She was allowed to make one craft and take one home. She chose a wind chime to make there and a construction-paper pennant to take home. The pennant craft came with a bunch of stickers. I found it hilarious that she could identify soccer balls and basket balls but had no idea what to make of the football. That’s my girl!
– We’ve been playing the hell out of FFXIII and one of the monsters we occasionally encounter is the adorable cactaur, a notoriously tough character despite its looks. Isobel thinks it looks like an anthropomorphic zucchini, so when she see it she shouts GET THAT ZUCCHINI DADA!
– We’ve been giving Zorro and Poppy small tastes of freedom and letting them spend an hour or two in the backyard each day. Ever since Poppy went missing for those few days she’s been sure not to wander out of our yard. And Zorro, well, Anthony once found him stuck at the top of the fence, unable to jump to the other side or climb back down. Poor thing, it’s hard being 30lbs of lovable orange cat. Since suffering that indignity he’s stayed close to home, too. They really enjoy it and I think it’s good for them. It turns out I’m a loving dictator after all.
Scrapbook: Marine World. We visit the non-shy butterflies and discover a Super Tiger.
Scrapbook: Home Life. It only appears this clean in photos.
Follow Friday: Guest Photographer Erin Wetzel. Magical photos plus a discount on art.
Thrifty Giving: Faraway Friends. I attempt to return the awesomeness sent my way.
Recipe: Tender, Crunchy Smashed Potatoes. Oh lordy. We have a winner.
Plants under the confocal microscope. These look like scenes from space. Breathtaking. The flickr stream is amazing, too.
Anyone got a photo of a church that looks like a confused chicken? Oh hang on… it’s ok… found one! Via @JohnDonoghue64
The cat tries to smoke and we’re trying to get him to quit. Best no-littering sign ever. Via @molliekatie
How to attract native bees to your garden. A guide for making your home as sexy as possible to bees.
Raven Asks Human for Help with Painful Quills After Porcupine Attack.The raven would not have survived without this help. Renewing some hope in our species. Via @schmutzie
In defense of SHARKNADO. TESTIFY! I didn’t watch Sharknado (we were doing something else) but I love watching terrible movies for express purpose of riffing them.
Recipe: BLT Salad. Not that you need a recipe, but here’s some inspiration.
Thrifty Giving: Birthdays and a Housewarming. More thrifted goodness.
Scrapbook: Summer. I have often referred to this post when winter was a bit too much.
Thrifted Closet: Family Outing. A two-for-one–my outfit plus Isobel’s.
Do you have a question for me? I’d love to answer it! You can leave your question in the comments, @-reply me on twitter, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a messenger pigeon. Don’t actually do the last one, though. My cat will eat it. Be sure to let me know if you want me to include your name and link to your blog or shop. Anonymous questions are fine, too.