Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Baking With Julia- Blueberry-Nectarine Pie

Blueberry-Nectarine Pie by Teckelcar
Blueberry-Nectarine Pie, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I was really on the fence about this pie. I'm not a fan of blueberry pie and nectarines don't exactly thrill me, but my husband thought it sounded good and I had already blown off the biscotti so here I am with a freshly baked blueberry-nectarine pie.

For the full recipe go to either That Skinny Chick can Bake! for a close read on the recipe or Manchego's Kitchen for a crumble variation. And as always check out Tuesdays With Dorie for the scoop on the whole Baking With Julia.

Anyhoo back to my pie.

The crust was pretty easy and came together without a hitch. I think I still prefer my all butter standby, but this one is good variation on the shortening and butter crust. In fact the only problem I had in making the pie was the mistaken belief that I had a lemon in the fridge. It brought the whole process to a halt until I could get my hands on one, thus the pie wasn't finished until 11:45 pm. However that didn't stop Jacob and I from having a late night slice.

Oh my is it tasty. The crust is very delicate and works well with the fruit filling. As for the filling, I ended up using an entire lemon's juice. I like my pies on the tart end of the scale and the lemon really brought out the flavors. I'm looking forward to having this for breakfast. As Jake said "It's pie, therefore it's good."

Monday, July 30, 2012


I love this little film, a Zero can make something. For underdogs everywhere.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Project MCP: Favorite Summer Activity

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The fourth and final challenge from Project MCP for July is "Favorite Summer Activity."

This challenge was a no brainer for me. I love going to the beach and playing in the surf. I could spend hours playing in the waves. This picture of Max with his father I think shows this activity very well.

Even with his eyes tightly closed, Max is smiling away. I am so pleased that I got this shot. The froth of the surf, his head just barely above it all, and a strong arm from daddy makes a wonderful moment in time.

This to me is summer.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Project MCP: Bokeh

Untitled by Teckelcar
Untitled, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Sort of.

The full title of the third challenge this month is "Try a new technique – Take a bokeh photo." Since I have already done bokeh I figured I would focus on the try a new technique.

And the technique is shooting through a tube.

It all came about by accident. Larry had shortened one of his lacrosse sticks and had cut off a good six inches. For whatever reason I picked up the tube and and looked through it. As I marveled at the effect a light went on I realized this would be a great tool to use with a camera.

I found the effect to be stunning. The object being photographed is a flower and I love the vibrant color and kaleidoscopic effect. I used the tube with my cell phone because the tube can completely encompass the lens.

I'm so glad I decided to look through the tube.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

White Mountains

White Mountains by Teckelcar
White Mountains, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It has been rather beachy here lately so I thought I would share some nice cool greens and blues from our trip up north.

It is the view from my cousin's house of New Hampshire's White Mountains. It really was an idyllic spot to spend our vacation time. I look forward to going there again.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Artist of the Week: Sand Castle

Enemy ship by Teckelcar
Enemy ship, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The artist, or rather artists, of the week are Jake, Nate, Max, and Rebecca. It was a real pleasure watching all four of them working so well together during our entire time on the beach. They were very happy to help each other build various structures in the resulting sprawling complexes they created.

In the top picture you can see all four working away with the Lost Pearl in the background. I couldn't resist taking this picture of the pirate party boat in the background. It gives the fortification a little more meaning.

bridge by Teckelcar
bridge, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
In the next picture, featuring Miss Rebecca, there is a close up picture of one of the many bridges. The kids found the sand to be ideal for building all sorts of ambitious structures. No internal drift wood supports were needed. The sand was just wet enough to hold together and form almost any shape. They didn't need buckets of water to keep the structure from crumbling away. The biggest threat was stray toddlers (of which there were mercifully few with the notable except of two cuties that were well corralled by their doting father) and the advancing surf.

The kids were careful to erect the main body of their fort high enough on the wash to lessened the danger of advancing waves, but not where the sand was too dry to stick together.

the complex by Teckelcar
the complex, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
In the third picture you can see Nate and Rebecca working on the details of the fort. They discovered that the sand could hold a squared edge and as a result they made small houses throughout the structure. Near Nate you can also see a few more of the bridges. Nate was the main bridge builder and was in fact the one to request documentation of their efforts.

Anyhoodle as you can see the whole thing did sprawl out over a large area. The beach wasn't terribly crowded, which may have been been due to the fact it was early in the day and rain clouds were sweeping in. Either way the kids could build to their hearts content until it was time to go.

the tide by Teckelcar
the tide, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Now at the water's edge Jake made a sturdy structure with dribble castles on top. He had help from his siblings to create what was initially a thick wall to repel the waves. Then it evolved into a squat tower. It got washed over a few times,but that didn't deter Jake. He would repair and replace as needed. Max was more than happy to help out with the connecting wall.

Max, in fact, was happy to help out wherever he was needed. His siblings would remain working in one area, while he bounced about.

tower by Teckelcar
tower, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Here is one final view. Again it is looking out towards the ocean, but as opposed to the top picture it is down by the tower. I like how the breaking wave gives a note of impending mayhem.

It was a good weekend at the beach.

I am particularly proud of how well the kids got along and even went so far as to invite others to join in on the fun. On Saturday (these pictures were all taken on Sunday) two boys roughly the age of Jake and Nate helped work on the day's sand castle. For a brief moment I had six children and all was good in the world.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


building together by Teckelcar
building together, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
On the heels of our trip up north we had a quick weekend on the beach at Virginia Beach. The beaches aren't as pristine nor as empty as those found on on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, but Virginia Beach is a darn site closer and better suited for weekend getaways.

That said we had a very nice time.

The sand there is great for building castles and the kids did all three days we were there. They would make large fortifications with bridges, towers, and moats. Max would often do his own thing, but ultimately it would link up with the other structures. Nate and Rebecca would flit about adding touches here in there while Jake directed his siblings at one point to make a huge wall to protect his city from the pounding surf.

Look What the tide brought by Teckelcar
Look What the tide brought, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Speaking of pounding surf, on Friday it wasn't too bad. We broke out some of our boogie boards and had fun with the waves. That evening a storm rolled in and the surf was quite violent Saturday morning. The flags were flying at the lifeguard stations and as a result there was no body boarding and we had to keep close in. But that didn't stop us from playing in the water. As you can see Max was having a good old time flopping about in the waves.
headshot by Teckelcar
headshot, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Sunday morning the surf was just as strong, though the lifeguards were being a bit more lenient. We could us the boogie boards, but again we couldn't go very far out. Here you can see how impressive the waves could be. That is Larry's head peeking out of the wave.

We were sad to go on Sunday, but the rain did help chase us off the beach. It was a fun trip and even though hotel rooms were small (literally bedrooms) they were just fine since our main interest was being at the beach.

Oh and if you ever go to Virginia Beach I highly recommend Big Sam's Inlet Cafe and Raw Bar. Great food and service at a very good price. The place is tiny and you often have to wait, but we ere glad we dined there.

Monday, July 23, 2012


A different take on Little Red Riding Hood.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Little Mermaid

My Little Mermaid by Teckelcar
My Little Mermaid, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
While her brothers were busy building forts, Rebecca and I decided to make a mermaid instead.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

White Mountains Sunrise

White Mountains Sunrise by Teckelcar
White Mountains Sunrise, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I think this picture of the sun rising over the White Mountains is my favorite one of our trip up north. Our bedroom faced east and we soon discovered exactly what it means to travel hundreds of miles north.

The sky would begin to lighten at 4:30 am, a rather unwelcome prospect at first. However, we soon adapted since it was so utterly quiet. After the second morning I realized I should bring my camera upstairs and try to take pictures. The eve of our last day I finally did and was rewarded with this spectacular picture of the White Mountains.

As I recall this was at about 5:30 when the sun peeked above the horizon. I was able to angle the camera just right to get the flare of its appearance. I think the big mountain with the two humps is either Moosilauke or Washington, my money is on Mooselauke.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Artist of the Week: Edward Hopper

Nate by Teckelcar
Nate, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Nate, captured here swimming in my favorite childhood swimming hole. We got to visit it while seeing my mom this summer. The spot had changed a bit, most likely from the unbelievable flooding Vermont experienced from hurricane Irene last year, but it was still recognizable and very much swimmable.

Nate was dubious at first as we visited each of the areas along the river, for the most part it is fairly shallow. However, at the spot we did settle on the river does a few sharp turns and had scoured out a much deeper riverbed. Coupled with a sandy beach it was a perfect place to while away a few hours.

The Long Leg by Teckelcar
The Long Leg, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
 Which brings me to this week's art.

This past year Nate took a semester long course in art and one of the many projects he did was to select an  artist, write a short paragraph, and then recreate one of the artist's works. Nate picked Edward Hopper (who is most famous for Nighthawks) and the oil painting "The Long Leg."

Nate considered painting his version, but I urged him to try pastels instead. It would be a more forgiving medium to use and would work well with the subject matter. That was the sum total of my input on the project. Nate id a nice job capturing the image and I rather like how it came out as did his teacher.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baking With Julia- Semolina Bread

Semolina bread by Teckelcar
Semolina bread, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Between being out of town and not being a fan of biscotti, it was easy giving the hazelnut biscotti a miss; bread, however, is never to be missed. This week's challenge was Semolina Bread and you can find the recipe at this week's two hosts: Keep it Luce and The Way to My Family's Heart.

I picked up the semolina flour this weekend in preparation for today's baking, so it was pretty much a done deal in my mind that I would be making bread when Jake asked when I was next going to bake bread. He loved the Irish Soda Bread and the White Loaves and was hoping to get me to bake either of them. I reminded him that I make challah on Fridays, but... as he pointed out, we pretty much inhale it during dinner. He wanted something to snack on.

Therefore I have a very happy boy in the house when I told him about the loaf I just made. Jake practically sprinted over to the counter to cut himself a slice or two. Judging by the contented sounds he was making the bread hit the spot. I liked it as well. It has a nice crust with a bit of chew to the bread. The loaf is actually far flatter in real life, next time I'll do a better job in shaping the loaf.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fun - We're Not Young (Yahoo!'s SketchY Parody)

I like the original song, We are Young, by the group Fun. But this Parody is wonderful. The original was written from the viewpoint of twenty somethings and the parody is from the thirty something perspective, meanwhile I sit here in my mid-forties and find all the angst hilarious.

Happily I have been declared not old by Max. He feels that you have to be in your seventies to be considered old. That gives me quite a bit more time to be young and foolish.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Clog Pontiff

clogged by Teckelcar
clogged, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
While up North my mom had me go to her storage locker and figure what I could take back home to Virginia. I had, mistakenly, thought that I had long since emptied her home of all my keepsakes. However during the big clean out of her old place a collection of boxes labeled with my name were found up in the loft in the garage. I had been oblivious to their existance and I was curious as to what they held.

The first box I pulled was heavy and a cursory inspection reveled two pairs of wooden clogs, a toy horse pulling cart, and miscellaneous rocks and/or fossils. This was clearly my junk so I pulled it out the box to load into the van.

The next box in the stack, clearly labeled "Sarah's odds and ends" contained... sheets. It looked like a box has been reused from a previous moved and the label had never been updated. At that point I declared one box was enough to stuff in the van and called it a day.

Clog Pontiff by Teckelcar
Clog Pontiff, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
So now we have two pairs of clogs in the house, much to the children's delight. Max and Rebecca periodically clomp about the house and a rediscover how loud wooden shoes on hardwood floors. Fortunately the clogs are not particularly comfortable and fairly quickly the noise stops with an end result of the clogs being scattered about the house.

Which brings me to the rather odd pictures in this post.

While sitting on the couch the other day with John at my feet I picked up one the errant clogs and thought it would make a pretty good hat for a dachshund. John patiently endured having a wooden shoe balanced on this head with a red silk cord tying it on. I thought it was hilarious and got somebody to fetch me my camera.

The top picture clear shows what was going on, but the bottom one is the best. The angle of the picture is such that the shoe looks like one of the pope's hats. Combined with John's expression and you get the Clog Pontiff.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Project MCP: Red, White, and Blue

Happy Birthday Krispy Kreme by Teckelcar
Happy Birthday Krispy Kreme, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
And a big happy 75th birthday to Krispy Kreme.

July's second challenge for Proct MCP was "Red, White, and Blue." I wasn't sure how I was goingto do it since I missed both fireworks and my subdivisions little parade held every Fourth of July. I could just stage something, but I was hoping to do better than that.

Meanwhile today was Krispy Kreme's 75th birthday. It celebrate the dough nut shops were offering for every dozen dounghnuts purchased a second dozen of original glazed could be had for 75¢. When I pulled up at 9ish the drive through line was wrapped all the way around the building and even extended out on the street. Doughnut loving Richmond was out in full force.

As I slowly edged into the parking lot a space freed up and I was able to park. The line was no better inside, but at least I was no longer wasting gas while the car's engine endlessly idled. As I waited and waited I called home (with no luck) to see if there were any requests, took a picture of the doughnut production line, and posted said picture on Facebook. Eventually it was my turn and I picked out and assortment of chocolate iced doughnuts, plain, with sprinkles and custard filled. That pretty much covers what ever special request that the kids would have made if they had ever answered the phone.

Anyhoo, as I stared at the case awaiting my turn I noticed the chocolate iced with sprinkles had red, white, and blue sprinkles.

Woot! I had my red, white, and blue picture.

And so it came to be that Krispy Kreme saved my bacon with Project MCP.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Chippy by Teckelcar
Chippy, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
My cousin's house is partially built into the hill. I say partially because instead of the house being set in the hill there is actually a very narrow yard, maybe five feet and a retaining wall made of field stone outside the back door.

I remember looking out the door one morning when I espied this fellow in the midst of it's morning ablutions. It sat there for a bit, cleaning its fur while perched on the wall until I got a little too close. It then darted along the wall, with me slowly in pursuit, occasionally pausing to see what I was doing. I got this picture just before it disappeared into the wall.

I know my mother in law does not like chipmunks, or at least the one plaguing for flower beds, but I always liked them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Artist of the Week: Cartoon, Cartoon

Rebecca by Teckelcar
Rebecca, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is Rebecca. I took this picture of her when we went up North to visit family.

My mom has moved to an independent /assisted living facility and no longer has a house that can hold us all, but my cousin has a house nearby. He has graciously allowed us to use his second home in Vermont when we visit my mom. It's an old farmhouse situated on a hill north of where my my lives (it is where we went sledding last winter). It's in a gorgeous area and the kids explored the field surrounding the house. I miss her old house, but it looks like my cousin's place will work out very nicely.

Anyhoodle, enough about where we were last week.

Mark and Jake by Teckelcar
Mark and Jake, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I was tossing out various bits of detritus about the house when Rebecca espied a small white board. She asked if she could have it. She had a dry erase set of markers from school, but no way to use them. I let her take the board and promptly put the whole thing out of my mind.

A few days later she showed me the red image on the left. It is a rather accurate picture of the character Mark Chang from the cartoon "Fairly Odd Parents" on Nickelodeon. Rebecca asked for me to take picture and once it was taken she happily wiped clean the white board. A few days later she followed up with another cartoon character, Jake the dog from the Cartoon Network's "Adventure Time." And once again she did a bang up job. She certainly did not need to write down Jake's name.

Rebecca has developed quite an eye for copying cartoon characters.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Watermelon Warrior

Watermelon warrior by Teckelcar
Watermelon warrior, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Almost exactly a year ago Max snagged a quarter of a watermelon rind and declared it as a good hat. It could only be improved if it was a half a rind instead of a measly quarter.

Yesterday Max finally got his wish, a full half rind helmet.

It wasn't easy scooping out the watermelon, but I kept at it. It was the first watermelon I wasn't bringing to a pot luck or picnic that I could dedicate to the cause. I closely scraped the rind and we left it out in the sun to dry it out a bit. So of course it was been cloudy the past day and a half. But it is wearable and I might try drying it in the oven for a bit.

Max is very pleased with his new helmet and has worn it a few times already. The rest of us are enjoying the mangled chunks of watermelon that are in the fridge. A big win all around.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Nature's Fireworks

We fully intended to go watch fireworks this year. The plan was to see the show over Lake Morey in Vermont. We would spent the afternoon swimming and head to the house we were staying in for a quick dinner. The fireworks would be a nice capper to a lovely day.

Mother nature, however, had her own plan. As the afternoon wore on thunderheads piled up in the western sky. A few heavy rumbles of thunder chased us out of the water and to the car. I was hopeful that the storm would quickly roll through, but that was not the case. We watched the clouds roil and mas as we ate dinner. The storm hit at about 7:30 and kept on rumbling. By 9 it was clear that we would not be going out.

I was a bit disappointed, but not overly so. Driving back on unfamiliar dirt roads late at night is not exactly fun. Particularly when a third of the passengers are a bit storm phobic. So I settled of filming some the storm after it had moved east of us (pretty much over Lake Morey).

There is no audio as the storm was a fair distance off and my camera can be obnoxiously noisy during quite scenes.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Nana and the Kids

Nana and the kids by Teckelcar
Nana and the kids, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Or what I was doing last week.  

We did our annual summer trek up North last week to visit family and get away from the special joy of Virgina in the summer.   I'm happy to say that we were successful on both fronts.  

Vermont was wonderful, low 80s during the day and mid-50s at night. We even missed the massive thunderstorms since we left Friday morning. Saturday I called a neighbor and she checked the house and said it was fine.   Sadly our vacation had to come to an end and we had to return to the blast furnace that is Virginia .