Meat-and-Potato Tacos

July 13, 2013
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I stumbled upon this delightful, quick recipe while browsing one of my favorite books, The Commonsense Kitchen, where it was titled “Rico’s Tacos.” I think I may have flipped seeing meat and potatoes – a heart-and-soul of Russian cooking – browned together simply and wrapped in tortillas. I fell in love right away. Tom, the […]

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The Big Remodel: The Screen-Porch Anatomy

July 13, 2013
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This is our new screen porch – not quite yet completed. It’s on the side of the house facing east. I love the professionally-installed features (which Jacob and I would not have been able to DIY): Car-siding ceiling and recessed can lights (the covers are not yet on)… The decking (they used a composite material)… […]

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Wasn’t Meant to Be

July 13, 2013
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The other day I overheard the following exchange between my kids: Josie: “Cyrus!! You drank my chocolate milk!” To which the four-year-old Cyrus replied philosophically: “It wasn’t meant to be.”

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Let’s Go!

July 12, 2013
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I love how our eighteen-month-old Evelyn says: “Let’s go!” to the inanimate objects she carries from place to place.

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Tutorial: How I Patch Work Pants

July 12, 2013
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Because we live on a farm, my husband regularly wears jeans outside. He has maybe three or four pairs of work pants, and I am proud to say that I now extend their lifespan by patching them up when they tear – which is often, given that kneels a great deal for gardening. I used […]

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Waddled Woods of the West

July 12, 2013
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Me to Cyrus: “Where is Josie?” Cyrus: “I don’t know. Did she run away into the waddled woods of the West?” That boy’s a hoot.

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Cyrus of Many Faces

July 12, 2013
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Here are a few photos I took of my son Cyrus recently: Do you think he has a future in dramatic theater? I think so. Or maybe comedy. Yes, definitely comedy. But, for now, I’m just happy for him to be his mama’s little boy.

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Russian Apricot Preserves

July 11, 2013
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One of the things the Soviet immigrants to the West remember most vividly from their old life are the fragrant whole-fruit preserves, deliciously candied in a pool of flavorful syrup. They talk about them. They dream about them. They pass the pictures of preserves around on Facebook. Some of us can make these at home, […]

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The Catcher in the Oats

July 11, 2013
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I wrote the following a couple of weeks ago after a trip to the nearest city of 50,000 – an experience I always find vaguely traumatic. Please bear with me as I lay out exactly why I don’t belong in a city of any kind – and thrive so much on our farm. ————————————— “I […]

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Bug Repellants and Bug-Bite Remedies

July 10, 2013
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The first part of this summer has been cool and very, very wet thanks to the frequent torrential rains. As a result, the gnat population has been through the roof. I literally cannot step outside without a thick layer of repellant, or I get immediately covered in painful, itchy bumps. Not everyone in my family […]

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Delicious Baked Custard with Macerated Strawberries

July 10, 2013
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I am so excited to share this one with you, folks. It is my old-time favorite, found originally in Tom Hudgens’ fantastic cookbook The Commonsense Kitchen. The custard itself is what Tom describes as “the crème brûlée’s humble country ancestor.” Made with milk rather than heavy cream or half’n’half, baked custard is a tad less […]

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Baking with Kids

July 9, 2013
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Baking with kids is not something I do lightly. Because of the amount of the mess it involves, I find it pretty stressful, actually. But I also feel that it’s important that I involve them from time to time. Look at them, three witches at the cauldron. We were making these chocolate chip cookies – […]

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We Are Good Enough

July 9, 2013
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I spent my entire adolescence and adult life combating my mother’s demons in my own inner self. Not just struggling with them – slaying them. Crushing them right and left with aplomb. Wiping them out never to return – one after the other. I am hardly unique in that regard – each and every one […]

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Sewing and Kids: Josie’s First Pillowcase

July 8, 2013
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My seven-year-old daughter has been interested in handwork for a while, in part because they do some at school (she spent a good deal of the first grade learning how to knit in a weekly handwork period), in part because I’ve recently re-kindled my own interest in it. After my mother-in-law has given me this […]

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The Big Remodel: Our Kitchen-Floor Choices

July 8, 2013
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The floor in our new kitchen (that used to be two separate spaces – the kitchen and the dining), is maple. Most of the maple here is old and was originally a part of the house. We didn’t know this right way, though. When we first moved in in 2005, the kitchen and dining-room floor […]

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How to Make Russian Sour-Cherry Preserves

July 7, 2013
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Few things are more representative of the Russian (and my native Azerbaijani) culture than home-brewed black tea, accompanied by a saucer of sweet, fragrant whole-fruit preserves, prepared by simmering unpitted cherries, raspberries, and other seasonal fruit in syrup until the latter has reduced and taken on the flavor of the now-candied fruit. A small amount […]

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The Big Remodel: The (Coveted) Screen Porch

July 7, 2013
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Check out our new screen porch (I will come back with a wider lens and document it better soon). It has replaced a useless, icky old porch that had a rotting roof and a small deck that had seen better days. There was seriously no function to that thing. For years, Jacob had dreamt of […]

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A Family Momemt

July 7, 2013

Cyrus at breakfast (Cyrus is four): “Daddy, remember how we all got sick and then we all vomited? That was a fun family moment.”

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