Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Cummington Fair

On Saturday my boys and I went to the Cummington Fair with my mom and Bailey.  When I was a kid my mother used to make us watch the oxen pulls and tractor pulls until the trophies were all given out (or whatever).  We'd be there after midnight, stretched out on the stands half asleep.  Now that I'm a grown up I can leave the fair when I'm ready... which was quite a bit earlier than that.  We had a great time though.

Here are some of my favorite animal faces from the many we saw that day:

This is a "Zedonk" -- half zebra, half donkey:

Sixteen day old goat.  So so cute.

And, of course, some pictures of two of my favorite cutie faces...

I had a fun conversation with a cute little old lady about this orchid; we were both standing there staring at it and noticed each other and talked about how it almost didn't look real.  A little later we crossed paths again a photograph.  She was looking at a picture of a carnival ride, trying to figure out what it was, saying to her husband (I suppose), "It's a bug.  What's that he's eating?"  I told her it was a carnival ride, like one of the ones outside, and she either didn't understand or didn't believe me.

But anyway, isn't the orchid gorgeous?

Things not pictured:

  • Countless other cows and sheep and goats and pigs and bunnies and such
  • A barn full of produce and quilts and honey and other goodies
  • Delicious cheesesteak subs
  • Bobby's first taste of italian ice (which I would not have fed to him except the man at the fried cheesecake stand gave me a free spoonful for him, and I didn't want to be rude or sound stuck up by saying, "actually my baby doesn't need to eat that," so I gave it to him. his lips turned red and blue, but other than that, no harm done.)
  • A really lame circus act
  • Carnival rides and games, including one we tried thrice and lost every time
  • Lots of tractors (trust me, I would have been all over the tractor photo ops had Bob been awake for that part of the fairground tour)
I love fairs.  I love summer.  I love family time.  Up next: Mason is seven!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Salmon and swiss chard quiche

I made my first ever quiche.

What is this weird mothering instinct that kicks in when you have a baby and makes you so much more domestic?  I mean... making baby food, looking up new recipes, and creating a quiche even though the recipe says 45 minutes prep time AND Ben hates eggs anyway... I never saw this coming.

I must say it turned out delicious.  And it carried us through quite a few meals this week, which is one of my favorite things about quiche anyway.  Bob and I ate it just about every day.  Sometimes for both breakfast and lunch.

And just because swiss chard is so good and good for you, here's the recipe (I followed it almost exactly except I added cheese -- what's the point of quiche without cheese?):

Salmon and Swiss Chard Quiche

Prep Time:
45 Min
Cook Time:
35 Min
Ready In:
1 Hr 20 Min


  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 8 ounces salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 10 inch pie plate using about 1 tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle bread crumbs into the pie dish and shake to coat evenly, discarding excess.
  2. Pour the milk into a large saucepan and warm over medium heat. Add the salmon fillets and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until salmon can be flaked with a fork.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and Swiss chard; cook and stir until tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt, pepper, marjoram and nutmeg. Set aside to cool; you should have about one cup of chard and onion.
  4. Spread the chard mixture and flake the salmon into the prepared pie plate. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and one cup of cooled milk from poaching the salmon. Pour into the pie dish.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center is set. Cool slightly before serving.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A little something different and important

I normally fill my blog with all sorts of little happy thoughts and little happy people.  Once in a while, though, something interrupts my comfortable little life.  Just now, I read this, and it rocked my morning.  You should read it, too.  And make sure you click through to Katie and Renee's blogs as well.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tiny Gram's 70th birthday party

Dear bloggy-blog,

Today was so exciting and adorable and scary and wonderful!

Bobby cut his itty bitty finger and buckets of blood poured out and it was dripping down my chest and on my toe and he cried and it was so sad I almost died!

Then later Bobby started screaming when he saw me holding my cousin's baby.  I thought it was so so super cute but my daddy made fun of him for being a mama's boy...

Those are some of the highlights of my Aunt Trisha's impression of me blogging after my grandmother's 70th birthday party.  Her mockery pretty much covered the main events, so I'll just provide a couple pics of the cute people in attendance:

This is my cousin Mary Jo's son Damien.  So, he is Bob's... what?  First cousin once removed?  Help me.

That's Mary Jo's daughter Savannah with Bailey.

Traffic on the pike made us miss most of the party, so that's all I've got.

I love you, aunties and grandma.  I'd totally make fun of me too.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plum Island

The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island is absolutely one of my very favorite places.

When I was a little kid, the closest thing we had to a family vacation was a weekend at Plum Island with Aunt Becky and Uncle Bill.  I remember that it was usually cold when we went, but it was the beach -- the ocean!  I loved it.  I was quite small those summers we went on these "vacations," but I remember two things very well.

Back in those days I loved butter a lot (um, can you tell?), and one day when we were dining in an almost-deserted restaurant and all of the adults were distracted by the joy of being on vacation or their food or something, I started grabbing butter packets off the tables and eating them.  As I recall, my brother David was assisting me in my butter challenge... I don't know how many I put down before I got caught, but it was quite a few and those golden rectangles of joy were so wonderfully delectable that I still remember the occasion to this day.  (This may have also been the first time I ever even dined in a restaurant and had the pleasure of meeting these single servings of butter.  Possibly the novelty of it all contributed to my need to over-do it.)

The other thing I remember vividly... At low tide the water at Plum Island gets deep very gradually.  This one time my dad carried me way out into the ocean, walking with my Uncle Bill, until they were waist deep in water.  To a little person like me, it felt like we were in the middle of the sea.  Suddenly we were surrounded by a huge school of fish.  It startled me at first -- I felt them rubbing on my legs -- but then I was just amazed at how many fish there were.  The fish were packed in tight, swarming all around us.  I had never even imagined so many!  My adult mind really can't remember how long it lasted, or how big the fish were, but just as suddenly as the fish arrived, they disappeared.  I'm curious whether Bill remembers that time as well as I do; I know my father does.

Anyway... whoa I'm really digressing here... if you're in the area and you haven't been to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge this year, you need to go.  The only disadvantage to this wonderful spot is also its greatest advantage: the parking is very limited.  That means you might occasionally arrive to find the parking lots full, or you might not get to park out at the "point" of the six-mile long reservation (the best spot in my opinion), but it also means that when you do get a spot, you will get to enjoy a beach that is untouched by commercialism and uncrowded by pesky beachgoers.  It costs $5 to park, and if you're told that the lots are full take a chance on it anyway -- cars are leaving all the time.  The drive through the reserve alone is worth the money and the trip if you ask me, and you can always climb up one of the observation towers to get a good look at the salt marsh if you absolutely can't find a place to park in a beach lot.  If you like your beaches unspoiled, you can't beat Plum Island.

We've gone twice so far this summer, most recently last week when my mother was out visiting.

The ocean around here is a little cold for Bobby at this point in his life, but when the tide goes out it creates little pools that are perfect for him.

(The footprints photo was a bit of a failed attempt -- Bob wouldn't keep his feet still.)

(That's my foxy mom.)

Here's a little-known fact for you: snails are awesome.  Here I am finding a big one in the sand.

At low tide you can find tons of snails.  They fill themselves up with sand...

...and they spit it back out when you pick them up.

They glide around under the water, on top of the sand, like little magic carpets.

(Thanks to Ben for all those great photos above.)

Bob loves Grandmother...

... but now he wants mama back.

The sunsets over the salt marshes are quite lovely, too.

Here are a few pictures from our day at Plum Island with Cass and Kara back in June:

This time it was super hot and windy, and it was a little much for Bob.  Kara dug him this hole to sit in; it was cooler and less windy in there and Bob liked it quite a bit.

He pretended the sand was fun-dip and his pacifier was the candy stick.  It was gross.

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