Dani (and your baby) and Ben

The promised recipes are now tucked into buildabelly's box.

I feel funny posting so many recipes for sweets. It's rare that I make desserts for our family because John doesn't care for desserts with my fervor, which means the girls and I end up gobbling much more than should be humanly possible. When company comes calling in house or we go calling as company, however, the posted recipes sure do please.


On Absolutely Nothing.

I have neither pickles nor peaches nor jam bubbling on the stovetop, and it’s before midnight, yet here I sit, lining letters in a row. A late summer lull, brought on by my not checking the garden today and by my generous mother not ringing the bell with arms brimful of the fruits of her labor, allows me to single-task tonight— a most welcome change from the juggling routine.

I’m paralyzed by a clogged snapshot drain.
Too many pictures give a stuttering tongue and halting speech, or at least their equivalent in my fingertips. I’m no mathematical whiz, but I figure that two or three more Monster Snapshot Posts like tonight’s may catch me up to today.

The wonderful Owen Sr. Family left yesterday morning after spending a few days with us celebrating Millie’s fake birthday. The girl really lucked out this year. On her actual birthday, she was The Birthday Girl (which, as anyone knows, comes with lots of perks); the day after, she had her birthday party with tuzzin-chums, sweets, and presents; then on Saturday, we celebrated her fake birthday with Grandma and Grandpa Owen and Sarah. A daytrip to the Discovery Center, a restaurant feast, and an ice cream cake served as harbingers to even more presents. We told her that her fruitful and multiplying birthday cancelled out Christmas, but she would have none of it.

Yesterday was a full day. After church, Pastor Jones marked another year given by gracious God with a houseful of love and a bellyful of delicious food. After this, we drove five minutes to B. Boyd E.’s new home on an Ithaca hilltop to find Amy, Tim, Dani, and the Sweet Shizzo Baby Within behind his door. Hurrah! We arrived home after ten, our bellies overfull but our heads and hearts just right. I’m not joking about the belly part. I arrived home with a bellyache and discovered this morning (stepping with suspicion on my sister’s scale) that I’ve gained a friendly family of pounds since I last set foot (feet?) on one. Mmmm. Birthday cake, candy, and ice cream for multiple breakfasts in a row surely had nothing to do with this extra poundage. I have had the happiest of bellies for several weeks now, though, until last night’s bellyache, that is. Thankfully, the ache had eased enough by this morning for me to join the girls in a breakfast of waffles soaked in maple syrup, whipped cream, and diced peaches. Oh—and leftover ice cream cake for lunch. (Would you believe I took a pregnancy test in hopes that I had an excuse for this gluttony? I discovered that it's pure gluttony...if a wrong thing can be pure.)

Which leads me to this:
I enjoyed my bellyache so much, I’d like to share it.
Feast on these rich and overly sweet photos. I urge any sensible readers who prefer nibbling to instead gorge on these dozens upon dozens of snatched moments.

An end will arrive soon, I hope.

p.s. Dani and Ben, I remembered. Your recipes will be posted soon. Tomorrow, if my brain is faithful.

Really, I'm getting caught up to the present with these pictures. Have some Cajun Blackened Chicken while you look, but pour yourself a glass of milk to temper the bite

So, Mildred Elise is now four years old; Baby Bumpkin has become Big Girl Bumpkin. She received an inkpad and alphabet stamps for her birthday but quickly discovered that the inkpad is most useful for making handprints on Aunt Becky's white door.

As a side note, Little Miss Copycat wants everyone to know that she is a whopping two years old.

The girls and I went present-shopping the day before Millie's party. I made Millie cover her head when I put things into the cart, and I laboriously spelled out what I sought to helpful, amused salesladies.

I never do anything for birthday parties except for three things. 1. Make the requested cake. 2. Buy balloons and blowers. 3. Buy lots of candy! This year, after the first guests arrived, I set up tables and then spur-of-the-moment brought out brown paper, bubbles, and blew up an entire bag of balloons (thanks, Leah!). So, this year, we had our first themed birthday, and it was an accident. Thanks to our sponser, the letter "B", Millie's party was a Big and Beautiful Bash.

Remember this, Mrs. Brown-who-used-to-be-Krantz?

The Nixie. You know her.

Deirdre in blue, on blue, holding blue. She even has beautiful, blue eyes.

Little John finds safety with Leah.

Noah in his boat.

Candida was refilling the cup with bubbles only to dump it out and begin again. When I called her on it, she suddenly became deaf and very, very innocent.

She's wet from the waist up (which I'd rather than the waist down). A giddy child dumped a cup of soap on her head, and, if you can believe it, it wasn't Candida. For real.

So, even though I don't prepare well for parties, the one thing I ALWAYS remember is to ask the birthday girl what kind of cake she wants. Millie wanted a lion. I finished him, frantically, minutes before the first partygoers arrived.



I made one too many cakes, though this was half-gone by the night's end. White cake with vanilla cream filling and Mopsy's wild raspberry jam between the layers.

Candy was abundant.

When I asked Millie what she would like for her birthday, two requests remained constant-- a giraffe and a little Christmas tree. I am a mean mother, and I told her she wasn't going to get either one. Debbie, however, cleaned out her room a few days before the party and uncovered this little tree. Millie is, quite obviously, pleased as punch with it.

With only a day and a half's notice, Titi magically sewed this Fancy Dress for Mildred. Words can't do it proper justice, but it's enough to know that I hand-washed it two times in three days so that she didn't have to part from it. It is almost floor-length, though in this photo, Millie inexplicably hitched it up to sit down. (Deirdre's Fancy Dress was also made by Titi as a birthday gift, and those stuffed animals were pulled from a large bag slung over Mopsy's shoulders-- a female Claus.)

Millie wore her dress all day Saturday, too...


After I washed the dress in the bathroom sink Saturday night, Millie wore it to church the next morning.

Kazoo, kazoo, I hear you in my sleep.

In over half of my childhood pictures, I'm making this face, only with buggy eyes, too.

After I took a picture of Millie in her dress, Annie rushed in. She hates to be left out of anything.

I sneakily took this picture because they looked like they were posing as a rock band. Mercy is holding Millie's new doll from Deirdre.


The dress had another outing and was dirtied anew on Sunday night when we went to the V.B.T. awards night at Becky's church.

Annika and Hannah (Becky's two-year old sweetie).

The children jarred a grasshopper.

I was delighted when Cassie named him Jiminy Cricket.

Garden cukes, garden tomatoes, and.....garden smarties, don't I WISH!!!

A midnight snack.

These will fill winter pies and winter bellies.

Golden goodness. John teases me by asking how I can the sunlight.

Kaleidoscope one.


three. We had a church meal, and I used some extra berries from when....

We went blueberry picking with a handful of Purdyfolk (and might I add that they are, from smallest to largest, a wonderful family and thoroughly enjoyable company?).

Millie and Deirdre (Photo by Cadence Purdy.)

Millie picked only the choicest berries. (Photo by Cadence Purdy.)

Caleb pushes the girls. (Photo by Cadence Purdy.)

Millie left with a few in her bucket and a belly brimful.

When we got home, I looked up from my berry-tasks to find Millie doing this. When questioned, she told me she was making berry juice. While picking berries, she told my sister what she intended to make with her berries, and she and Debbie made a deal-- half of one of Debbie's pies for half of Millie's juice.

It looked like this and tasted heavenly.


I Did Not Forget

(I simply neglected to remember.)

Leah, for you, a pesto recipe.

Dani, for you, a salsa recipe.

And for you pickle-lovers, I edited the pickle recipe to include the mustard seed that I add to the jars.

For these three and more, go build your belly.


Good Things.

This morning:
The husky breathing of a satisfied baby
curled against me with her belly filled warm.

This afternoon:
Two girls who giggled so loud while blowing bubbles outside that I unwittingly grinned in the midst of grumpy-mama-bear chores.

A husband-friend who sleeps soundly on the couch to keep me company.
An open window as I stand guard at the kitchen stove.
The even regularity of rainsound.
The feel of fitful breezes.
Canning juicy peaches at midnight.
Sticky sweetness running from my fingers to my elbows.

After Debbie's birthday party (a month ago: these are outdated snaps, too), I took 8 of the tuzzins down to the horse pasture crick.

Her desire overcoming trepidation, Cassie approaches Princess, who's known to be a bit of a snit.

Millie resting halfway there.

Huckleberry runs ahead.

Dakota is all boy. He stalked through these brambles in a most manly fashion after determining that the blackberries weren't yet ripe.