Archive for September, 2012

Pumpkin Apple Soup, you do not disappoint

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m working from home today. My desk coffee table is covered with the papers I’m working on. My nose is running with the fall sinus thing that my friends have all been passing around. Apparently its bad enough that Dr.Dad was in bed last night at 8:30. That’s rough.

The kids seem ok (err, well that’s a whole other blog post), I packed salad for them today in their lunches. The bread we have is uninspired, I ate salad for breakfast (when I was packing their lunches). At lunch time for me I was foraging around in the fridge and found the soup I made last week.




I found the recipe at Once a Month Mom, but I modified it slightly — different veggies, added wine, etc. Here’s the recipe I made


Curried Pumpkin Apple Soup


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth (or a good veggie broth would be great here too)
  • 2.5 cups canned pumpkin (or cooked squash would work)
  • 0.25 teaspoons salt
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 0.33 cup heavy cream – I did not add these two, but I’m keeping them here if you like.
  • 3 Tablespoons honey


Melt butter in medium soup pot over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery and apples. Saute until onions are clear. Stir in curry powder and saute for about a minute. Add wine and cook for one more minute.  Stir in half of chicken broth. Pour contents of the pan into blender or food processor. Add the canned pumpkin and blend until smooth. Add mixture back to pot, stir in remaining chicken broth, salt and bay leaf. Turn heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

<let sit in your fridge for a few days>

I didn’t do this, but it might be even yummier: After 5 minutes, stir in heavy cream and honey. Simmer for 2 minutes more.

Serve with cranberries and pumpkin seeds in your favorite bowl you brought back from New Zealand. Remember fantastic trip you took in August 2001. Make plans to go back.

Categories: What we are eating

The word of the day is…..

September 19, 2012 4 comments

The word of the day is gratitude.I’ve been taking the bus because our car needs a clutch. Like needed a clutch 2 months ago and will no longer travel faster than 25 miles per hour. So it’s at the shop. The van has been reassigned to DoctorDad and I’m busing it. The bus ride to my work is reasonably easy: 2 second walk to the busline, 20 minute ride downtown, layover downtown and then a 20 minute ride right to the university. But I don’t often do it because it’s not handy: the bus runs once an hour, sometimes less. And there’s the layover downtown. And there’s witnessing drug dealings (maybe) near the bus stop downtown. And of course, all the normal running around I do to/from work can’t happen. So while it is a major drag to be forced to ride the bus this week, each day when I am on that bus I’m so very thankful — my life is really good.

Today I am feeling gratitude:

  • for my lovely family.
  • for a good job.
  • for payday. YAY! Today is payday 1 for one of DoctorDad’s jobs.
  • for a night out with friends last night.
  • for cherry beer. Even if I woke up this morning wondering if 2 cherry beers was too many. And I was dragging all day.
  • for friends calling, emailing and texting me to offer rides. I’m surrounded by people who are willing to help.
  • for a great pediatrician who can work with child 1’s personality and make her feel like she (child #1) has choices and comes out ahead.
  • that child #1 does not have scarlet fever.
  • that our favorite chocolate bars are $1.99 this week at the co-op
  • and most of all that Jimmy’s might be able to install the new clutch before I have to take the bus Monday morning.

How about you? What are you thankful for?

Categories: what we are thinking

Parenting tip # 1001: Conversation in the car.

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Every good parent knows that the very best time to have a serious, in depth conversation is in the car. Birds and the bees, existence of God, why the principal doesn’t let the fourth grade lunch all at the same time. All of these conversations happened in the car. You have their attention. You want to be listening to that super good story on MPR, but they choose that moment to let you know that they know how twins come into being. (Bonus Parenting tip #1002: mpr archives all their stories. You can catch it later when the kiddos are in bed).



(I got a chance to catch up with Leah’s teacher today at school and heard from her teacher that Leah Lu talked in front of her entire class for the first time today — day four of class).


Me: Did you talk today at school to the class?

Leah: Mama, I was sharing about my summer today and I realized it was a good summer. But with all the good stuff we did, we didn’t sleep in the tent nearly enough. So I didn’t really want to share what we did because I missed the sleeping in the tent.

Me: Yes, I agree. But we did do some fun stuff. Like the beach, a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s, etc.

Leah: Yeah, but next summer we should to make up for it.Two nights was not enough, I miss sleeping in the tent.



Gosh I “get” this kid. Sometimes our kids challenge our very being and stretch us to be better people and sometimes they just remind us that the very core of who we are is good too. Raising Leah Lu is like opening all kinds of childhood wounds and getting a chance to make some of them right. Not all of them are right, but that’s what this parenting thing is all about, isn’t it?

We have friends who annually gauge the quality of their year in their Christmas letter by how many nights they spent in a tent. In one year he was denied tenure and they declared it perhaps their most successful summer: 60+ nights in a tent. He’s since moved on and become a tenured prof at a different institution, but his job does not dictate the success of his life.  B + A are certainly a couple to look up to in terms of quality family life.

Leah and I thought maybe next summer we should shoot for a 6 week trip. We aren’t sure we can convince Erin and DoctorDad to come along, unless of course we stop for a few triathlons and I buy Erin her very own ipod and/or kindle. Personally the cost would be worth it. Maybe Leah Lu and I will road trip it north to visit B + A and their children.

Already pondering where we could go. Just think of the nap possibilities. Nap in a tent, nap in a hammock. Nap with a sweet cuddly 7 year old.  Anyone want a dog for the summer? Then again, maybe Leah Lu and I hit the woods together and leave the rest of the family behind.

Categories: what we are thinking

Random Treasures.

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment

We have several antique suitcases. They have been in the attic for a while and now I’m going to use one to store yarn. I opened it for the first time since, oh, 2006 and found the following:

Old childhood photograph of my dad (treasure).










crummy pair of kid scissors

old pack of velcro

bracelet with a broken clasp

crummy painbrush





Sometimes you wonder how it is that this kind of random assortment of stuff ends up together.

Categories: Uncategorized

feast or famine

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Sometimes life is just like that.

For several years we had barely enough work. Mostly enough to get us by, but it was tight a lot of the time. Now, for the past 2-3 seasons, too much work.

Monday was my first day back to the office. Tuesday we picked this up:

That’s 50 lbs of fresh tomatoes. We ordered them back in March (?) when the woodburning stove was still running. Around that time it seemed like a good idea to order two boxes. So we did. One box was ready Tuesday and the other? Friday.

Add into the mix that we are splitting a third box with friends, oy, that’s a lot of tomatoes. But you know, we eat a lot of tomatoes and we can greatly reduce the BPA we consume if we can our own. (Dr Dad, well, he doesn’t usually consider things like BPA, but he does eat a hell of a lot of salsa he makes from the canned tomatoes). Yeah, so if you’re keeping track, that’s 150 lbs of tomatoes in one four day period. And a handful of fresh ones in the garden yet.

So what do you do with all those tomatoes?  Well, you get your counter cleared off, put on your tank top and tie your hair back and get down to business. Top to bottom in the picture:

canner, pot of boiling water (for peeling the tomatoes), blue bowl of cold water (for peeling tomatoes), bowl of fresh, uncored tomatoes. To the left add in a few bowls to hold the peeled tomatoes and not pictured is the sink to hold the peels.

It’s a process, for sure. Heat the jars and meanwhile peel the tomatoes (if you core a tomato then put it into boiling water for a minute, plunge it into cold water, then it the skin will peel right off). I like to use these pretty bowls, because they’re pretty handy and clean.

So core, boil, cold water, peel, repeat.

Peeled tomatoes, ready to quarter and stuff into jars.

Load jars, add lemon juice, add hot water. Lids. Boil.

Repeat again until all the jars are full.

Bounty. That’s what this year is all about.

There’s something in me. It feels a little like a woman who lived through rationing during the war or through the Depression. I’m squirreling away produce because we have them and they are available. (Coincidentally….last summer wasn’t a good year for local tomatoes. We only canned one box of them and ran out sometime around February).

My husband is taking on additional work because it’s there for his taking. He’s afraid to say no for fear of them not calling him back.* Feast or famine. At least we’ll be feasting this winter on homemade soup, sauce and salsa. In between all the craziness that is two working parents and two children.

*I did turn down a gift of a tomato at work this week.