Lest We Forget


Today we take a moment to pause and reflect on the men and women, past and present, that have served our country. "Lest We Forget" is a phrase that stuck with me while visiting Australia during their remembrance day. In honor of all who served. In memory of those soldiers who fell. We will never forget.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
"For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon

Locally Grown

garden vegetables and fruit

One dream of mine is to have a huge vegetable garden, fruit trees, and a chicken coop to grow and raise our own food. I have many fond memories growing up with my mother's garden; picking colander's full of strawberries, eating sugar snap peas from the vine, and discovering huge juicy tomatoes. Unfortunately the size of our yard and proximity to downtown make it difficult to do more than a herbs in pots at our current house. Since we cannot grow the food ourselves the next best thing is direct from a farm.

farm fresh eggs

Not only is the food tastier but it can also be cheaper. We found our produce and eggs in a couple different ways.

The sweet corn came from Palafox Market, a local market that brings farmers into the city every Saturday morning. The corn was sweet and only 50 cents an ear.

The rest of the vegetables and blueberries came from Beulah Berries, a pick your own farm a few miles down the road. A friend and I picked the plump blueberries ($1.25/pound) and the veggies were for sale in the shed.

The eggs are from a local farmer who has pasture raised hens. Our neighbor picks the eggs up for our neighborhood straight from the hens. At $2 a dozen it is a great deal!

This crop calendar is a great way to stay informed with what is season in your area and this can help you find a local pick your own farm.

We are having fun discovering new ways to eat healthy, live frugally and enjoy our food.

Banana Drop Cookies

a cookie for each hand

I am always on the lookout for healthy snacks that EJ can enjoy. She loves cookies, so what is better than a cookie that is healthy for her? A cookie that is quick, easy and healthy!

I was excited when I came across this Banana Drop recipe in our Vitamix cookbook last night. We made a dozen cookies in under a half an hour and ate them all before we went to bed. EJ liked them so much I made another dozen this morning!

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas, peeled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups uncooked rolled oats
1 cup raisins
(I will also added 1/2 cup blueberries, and 1/4 cup flax seed, and 1/4 cup walnuts to give a little extra nutrition and crunch)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place bananas, oil, vanilla extract, and 1 cup oats into the blender and blend until the mixture is smooth.
Add raisins and rest of oats to the mixture and stir by hand.
Form into 12 balls, place on cookie sheet and press to flatten slightly.
Bake for 20 minutes.

ready to be baked

and eaten

Since there is no sugar and minimal fats, you can tell you are eating something healthy (not as sweet or buttery as a normal cookie) but the texture is addicting and like I said, they disappeared quite quickly.

Open for Business


I posted my first items to my Little Aviator shop on Etsy this evening. There is still so much to do but it is a big fist step! Now to post the rest of my items...

Watermellon Cheeks

Nothing makes you slow down and enjoy summer like a little watermelon on the front porch. No worrying about drips so the cheeks can get nice and juicy!

Weekly Cleaning Checklist


I like having a clean house but do not always feel like I am keeping up with it. In Japan, department stores sold household journals that helped keep the laundry, groceries and cleaning in order. That was a bit extreme for me, but since I love making lists and checking things off, I thought a cleaning checklist might be just the thing I needed.

So instead of falling behind and having to hiring a cleaning lady, give this checklist I created a try!

Cinema on the Green

waiting for the movie

Our neighborhood has a wonderful summer tradition of playing movies in Alabama Square when the days get longer and the weather warmer. Everyone brings their own chairs or blankets and enjoys freshly popped popcorn and soda under the gazebo.

We headed to the park to watch National Velvet, a Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor classic about a horse. EJ was ready for bed by the time it was dark enough to start the movie but she enjoyed playing with her friends at the playground beforehand.

digging in the sand

Playtime Chores

Sometimes it is an everyday chore around the house that brings the most fun to EJ's playtime.

watering the pansies

hydrangeas and basil

The extra hands are helpful but sometimes I have to be patient and enjoy EJ's creativity about how to complete the chore.

can you figure out what she is doing in this picture?


filling her watering can with water of course:)

Godspeed


This poster is for "Biebs". She could be the nurse in the poster; it reminds me so much of her. She is strong, resolute and always ready for adventure.

Biebs recently left an exciting ER position to be commissioned as a Navy Nurse and help those in our military. She starts a month of Officer Development School (ODS) tomorrow and then will be stationed down in Beufort, NC. (not to be confused with Beufart:)

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Biebs, as you go through the training. I am sure you will be stretched and challenged in many new ways but I know you will rise to the challenge and excel. I can not wait to hear about all the new experiences!

Godspeed my dear friend!

Evenings In Olde Seville Square

Evenings in Olde Seville Square have begun! People down here really know how to enjoy a concert in the park. Around ten thousand people show up each week for the Thursday night concert. Most with their chairs and tables, but a few even bring candelabras and enjoy the music by candlelight.

We biked down with our neighbors and enjoyed some perfect weather at the park.

EJ got a close up view of the McGuire bagpipes before they performed

And then EJ and Connor spent most of their time at the swings.


Click here for the 2011 summer season schedule.

And here is a video of the McGuire Pipe Band.


Beulah Blueberry Picking

May means the beginning of blueberry picking season. I learned since moving to Florida that the combination of climate and sandy soil here means sweet juicy berries. I grew up foraging for the tiny tart ones that grew low to the ground in the back woods of MN so it was a pleasant surprise to find that blueberries can also grow in clumps on large bushes.

Beulah Berries is a quick 14 mile drive from downtown Pensacola. It is actually just three turns from our house! We first visited the berry patch last year when Avia and PopPop were visiting. When I received an e-mail that the berries were ready for picking, I knew it was a place I wanted to take them again.

You start your picking experience at the berry shed. It is stocked with anything you might need to make your visit enjoyable. (buckets, bug spray, water, chairs, shade)

A sign is posted inside with picking instructions. The shed is unmanned so these are quite helpful.

EJ grabbed her bucked and was ready to start picking.

She headed out with Avia in search of ripe berries.

Buelah Berries grows 17 types of blueberries. This visit we primarily picked Palmetto blueberries.

The bushes were the perfect height for EJ to reach.

Most of them made it into the bucket.

But a few went directly to the mouth.


About an hour later we each had our gallon bucket filled with blueberries. At $10/gal (or $1.25/lb) they are a great deal!

I froze one gallon to use for pancakes and smoothies and the other has already been eaten. We will be visiting the Beulah Berries again soon!

PopPop's Spice Rubbed Lamb


We celebrated Avia and PopPop's last night visiting with a lamb dinner on the front porch. DaddyO has been experimenting with different lamb recipes and found one he had to make for them.

Avia butchered (literally not figuratively) the lamb and EJ helped make the spice rub (she ended up with yellow feet from the tumeric but is a pro at pushing the pulse button on the processor). This recipe will hereafter be known as "PopPops Lamb" as he exclaimed during the meal that it was the best lamb he had ever tried. That is a big compliment coming from him!

We used the following recipe from Epicurious, and this Naan recipe was the perfect accompaniment.

Ingredients

1/2 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 4 1/2- to 5-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied, fat and sinew trimmed

Preparation


Combine first 13 ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarse paste forms. Add oil and lemon juice and process until well blended.

Place lamb in large resealable plastic bag. Pour spice mixture over lamb; seal bag. Turn bag several times and rub spice mixture into lamb. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Remove lamb from marinade; shake off excess. Grill lamb to desired doneness or until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 125°F to 130°F, for medium-rare about 15 minutes per side. Transfer lamb to cutting board. Cover with foil and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Cut lamb into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange on platter and serve.

it also received applause from our youngest critic

Just Like Anchorage

We don't need to travel up north to enjoy cooler weather this month. We were very happy to get the drop in temperature but I was a bit surprised when I saw how cool it was compared to our other favorite locations. We may just have to go camping and imagine we are in the AK wilderness:)

Front Porch Baby Shower


We celebrated the upcoming birth of a "little lady" to my dear friend Megan on our front porch last weekend.

megan, laurie and kimberly enjoying drinks

Megan and I go way back...back to the days when our husband's were in the RAG together and we were newbies to Navy life. I like to say she followed me to Japan and then Pensacola, but I know I was just lucky to have her husband stationed where mine was. If only she would follow me to our next location:)

The theme of the shower was a front porch garden.


We incorporated flowers into our decorations and food as much as possible.

The tissue paper flowers were made using a technique I learned in Japan. (every Japanese student seemed to know how to make them) Here is an easy tutorial.

The centerpieces tied all the decorations together and added color and freshness.


A friend made these fabulous cupcakes using instructions from What's New, Cupcake. The only downside to making such a beautiful cupcake is no one wants to eat them. Fortunately she made extras!


We had a drink table of fruit sangria, iced tea, and simple syrups.

The shower was held at 1:30 so we kept the food light and easy to manage.

Veggie cups meant no one had to worry about double dipping.

The fruit tartlets were quick and easy. Simply take a sugar cookie, add a dollop of lemon curd, and top with fresh fruit.


Mango pudding has become a favorite of mine. When I found cute silicone molds at World Market recently, I knew these little desserts would be a fun addition to the shower.

Before Megan opened her presents everyone learned how to make a Moravian Star. Each of our stars were then added to a mobile she took home for her nursery.

I did not get a picture of her mobile but here is a close up of the star. They take a bit of practice to learn, but once you have made a couple they are quite easy. I liked these instructions best!


It was a wonderful afternoon of baby talk, laughter, and food. We are so excited to meet Megan's little one in less than a month!

with my star

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