Saturday, September 29, 2012

To Market, To Market

Quite some time ago I made a food related quilt for my good friend Angie and found myself with a ridiculous amount of fabric leftover from the project.  I made some quilted tote bags for Angie too, and was still left with a ton of fabric, so I chopped up the majority of it and have been meaning to make a picnic blanket for us.  My aunt loved the tote bags and asked if I would make her a pair too, so with all the leftovers of the leftovers I came up with these:

If you're a quilter you'd refer to the pattern as "stacked coins."  I made one horizontal and one vertical just for variety.  Joseph modeled them for me but was more interested in a feather he found on the ground.

Inside they have the cutest little pockets for your shopping list, pen, phone, whatever!  Technically they're even fully reversible.

They arrived safely today and my aunt said she loves them.  I think this is one of my very few special order projects.  I'm just so happy I could do something nice for someone who has always be so wonderful to me and my family :)

(Eventually that picnic blanket will get made......)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Farm Living

For whatever reason, it took Joseph all of 5 years to decide he likes raspberries, and now he can't get enough of them.  While looking into the upcoming Fall festivals at some of the local orchards, I discovered there was still a week or 2 left to the season for raspberry picking.  Off we went on Sunday morning with a few friends to Butler's Orchard!

I'd never picked berries much before, and it was really fun.  Joseph, Ethan & Zara had a blast before, during and after!  I think Zara ate more than she bought ;)

We also realized there was a field within walking distance where we could dig up our own potatoes.  Why not?!   It was actually a ton of fun for everyone.  The kids loved trying out their shoveling skills and were thrilled to get their hands dirty looking for potatoes (and worms!).

The only apples in season were Golden Delicious, so we made just a quick stop by the apple grove.  Although not my favorite variety, these apples are, by the way, quite delicious!

Finally, we made a quick stop to the garden where you can pick your own bouquet of flowers, and then grabbed some apple cider donuts at the farm stand before heading out for lunch.

It was such an incredibly fun morning, and I could not get the "Green Acres" theme song out of my head:
Green Acres is the place for me
Farm living is the life for me
Land spreading out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, give me that countryside!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

National Book Festival

In celebration of the power of the written word, the Library of Congress holds an annual book festival on the National Mall.  The men in my life are major bibliophiles, so this was a perfect activity for our family this weekend.  Throw in a trip on the Metro to get downtown and Joseph couldn't be any happier.

We gravitated toward the areas of interest for the younger set, like the Target Family Storytelling stage. I think Joe Joe was the only kid standing at attention during the whole reading.

Outside of running amok on the Mall and challenging us to races, the PBS Kids pavilion was the highlight of Joseph's day.  He got to meet Clifford the Big Red Dog, who turns 50 this year, and he caught sight of another children's literature favorite, Curious George.

What a great way to inspire kids to love books and learn how to read!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Not much going on right now to blog about, as school is in full swing.  Funny how that totally cramps our style.  These pics are from a late summer afternoon when Joe Joe and I had nothing to do, so we set out for some outdoor fun near a spot where the Little Falls and Capital Crescent trails connect.  Our boy just loves to bike!  But then after a water break he decided to show me how he could go running with me on the trail some day.  No question, he would have also loved to dive right into that creek to go for a swim.

But alas, not today.  He needs to do some serious training before he can compete.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I'm kind of blogging backwards in time here......again.

Right before our cruise, we spent a few days with my family in NJ.  My sister, who I unfortunately don't spend much time with these days, had the great idea to host a family reunion this summer.  The timing could not have been better - it was the day before we set sail, exactly when we were planning on being in town anyway.

Here is my mom (in blue) with several of her first cousins, my aunts:

The next generation includes me, my brother and sister, and many of the people I spent my entire childhood with.

The next generation is all of our kids, with Joe Joe front and center, along my sister's kids (my nephew and niece, Michael and Sami).

Then, as opposed to the in-laws, were the group we jokingly called the "out-laws," those that married into our clan - which included my Brent.  I had never met any of these people before to the best of my recollection, but they were all amazingly sweet and fun, and I am honored and thrilled to know them now and call them my relatives.

My mom also wanted pics of each family unit, so here's our bunch!  (Dang, I really need to teach my cousin Joe how to focus a camera!)

I hadn't seen much of my extended family in probably 20 years.  My fault, for leaving town for so long for college, med school, and residency.  So sad, but I do have the most wonderful memories of happy holidays spent with my "cuginas."  Hopefully social media will keep us closer in touch and we can arrange some reunions more often.

(Update:  I'm sneaking this last picture in several days after the original post.  How could I forget to include it?!  I rounded the corner in my parents' living room to find the Virgin Mary and some other little guy - I'm thinking St. Francis? - staring out the front window.  I asked my mom what they were doing there and she said it was to scare away the rain so we'd have good weather for the reunion.  Gotta love crazy New Jersey Italian Catholic superstition!

But guess what - it was a beautiful day!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Crossing Paths

Because our recent cruise sailed out of NY, we decided to leave a few days early and spend time with my family in NJ for a few days beforehand.  As fate would have it, I was contacted by one of my very best friends from college, who was going to be in nearly the exact same place at exactly the same time as us.  Amazing, as she lives on the opposite coast, and we haven't seen each other in probably 20 years.  Had either of our plans varied by even a day, we would have completely missed each other.

Rosemary and I were fellow "biology geeks," and if memory serves me correctly the reason we even met was because we were lab partners early in our time at Boston College.  I have so many wonderful memories of our friendship!  Rosemary encouraged me to take several art electives with her senior year when our science requirements had been fulfilled, which is quite probably the time that I realized (a little too late for career choice purposes) that I actually had a creative side.

Now we're all grown up, living with our families as far across the country as possible, but we luckily got the chance to catch up in person after way too much time.  I don't think either of us has changed much, except for having kids.

We wound up meeting at Core Creek Park, which is not even a few minutes from my sister's house in PA.  After all the years of visits, how had I never heard of this place?  It's huge, with walking and biking trails, fishing, boating, horseback riding, playgrounds, sports fields.......tons of stuff we could have been doing with my nephew and niece throughout the seasons.  When the kids saw the lake they all just took off running.

Brent very sweetly offered to take Ella and Kate out paddle boating with Joseph while Rosemary and I chatted away.  It was such a lovely morning, but I wish we had more time to visit!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Walk This Way

A delicious, spontaneous moment between Joseph and his friend Zara walking home from school together the other day.  *sigh*

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bermuda Shorts

I know this is dragging on, but these are the last few remaining vacation pictures to post.  They are, however, the perfect way to summarize our entire trip: Bermuda, in short, if you will.  (My apologies, but there was no way we were going on this vacation and not using that title for a post!)

Our time in Bermuda was all about taking in the natural beauty that the country has to offer.  The crystal clear aqua colored water is glorious!  The pink sand is just adorable!  The islands, made of limestone, are amazing!  And the weather is absolutely perfect!

Yeah, I could see myself here for a while.

As with every trip we take, Joseph has us up from sunup to sundown.

This was my most favorite sunrise, one of the last days we were docked at King's Wharf. 

It was so early even Joe Joe needed coffee! (Just kidding, it was hot chocolate.)  Since it was always just the two of us, Joseph took my picture for me.  I'll make a photographer and blogger out of him yet!

The cruise itself was a little long on the way down, but the sail time returning was much quicker.  We left Bermuda in the late afternoon on a Friday, and arrived just in time for (yet another) sunrise over New York harbor on Sunday morning.

And that's all, folks!  Back to reality.