I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Garden Update


My best friend Liz was just here for a visit and knowing that she is an avid crocheter, I wasn't surprised that she had brought along her current project. She is crocheting a reusable bag for produce and groceries out of plarn, which are strips of plastic grocery bags slip knotted together. I didn't get any shots of the project she is working on but here are a few links to show you the results: here and here.

Steak Teriyaki

I've never been a fan of teriyaki ... until I tried this recipe. Not only is it one of the tastiest meals I've eaten lately, it is beautiful to look at. Best of all it is easy to make! It takes thirty minutes or less and doesn't have an overwhelming number of ingredients:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 strip steaks (8-10 oz each), about 1" thick [Note: I recommend Laura's Beef or other beef raised without steroids, etc.]
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 scallions, sliced thin

1. Whisk soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, vinegar and cornstarch in bowl.

2. Pat steaks dry with paper towels. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add steaks and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and tent with foil.

3. Wipe out skillet and add soy sauce mixture. Simmer over medium heat until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Slice steak thinly against the grain and transfer to platter. Pour sauce over steak and sprinkle with scallions. Serve.

4. Lick your lips!

Birthday Party

Ella's third birthday is coming up in a few weeks and we are going to have a simple party here at our house for her. My neighbor's two children, Josie and Zack - ages 7 and 9 - have been delighted to help me plan the day. They've been to lots of parties so I figure they are the experts. What has struck me about their suggestions is that none of them involve expensive equipment or an outside venue. Zack insisted we bob for apples and Josie pleaded for musical chairs. They both think a pinata is a fabulous idea. They also suggested getting out the wading pool and having the sprinklers on in one part of the yard, with Ella's roller coaster/ride on toy in the midst of the sprinkler showers. This all sounds easy enough to do and fun as well. I am also hoping to have a craft for the kids, I am still looking around for something simple that will be appealing to a wide range of ages.

It was brought to my attention that party favors for the guests are a nice touch. I don't remember this from my childhood, is this a new thing? Anyway, I think I am going to try and make a couple of the favors myself. My sister has handmade the birthday invites, so the least I can do is try and make a few party favors. I have found directions for star ball streamers (in Earthways) that look fun and usable. I may have the children paint tiny terracotta pots or give them pots to fill with soil and plant a seed in. What do you think?

We are going to be using Ella's birthday ring for the first time and I am excited to start this new family tradition. (The birthday ring is conveniently used as our Advent spiral during the winter holidays as well!). I will be sure to post pics after the fact. I sure do wish Lissie and Rach could be here to celebrate with us.

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