loo-uh-vul

omar and i will always think of louisville, ky as the place where i instagramed everything, where we got an awesome (and free) hotel upgrade, and where the food is amazing.

louisville will also always be synonymous with neon green ford fiesta. at the hertz counter the lady asked me if i cared if the car was green. um, no. she told me that some people are rather particular about color. i shrugged my shoulders. and then i walked out to this:

now, instagram didn’t exactly capture the true color here, so feel free to brighten and saturate the above picture by about 45% and you’re good. holy cow, it was green. so green that at one point omar and i were hanging out outside a bookstore and i heard a group of people start talking about it/laughing at it. i walked up to them and (trying not to laugh) asked them if they were making fun of my car. their faces were priceless, i informed them it was a rental, and everyone laughed. and then one of the guys asked to take a picture of it. hilarious. even the hertz guy at the return said, “wow, that sure is green.” no kidding. but it was fun driving something in the non-van category for a few days.

it was also a good car to drive around the old parts of the city and dart in and out of spots so i could jump out and snap photos of some of the most interesting old churches. they were everywhere. the original downtown building facades were also fascinating and many were still in good shape.

we also spent time at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, the museum at 21c, Cave Hill Cemetery, Cherokee Park, and various other book stores and local shops.

but the food. that was kind of the highlight for us (of course). i think every restaurant we went to informed us that they had their own farm and pastureland. most restaurants had farm-to-table events and knowledgeable staff that were quick to share what they loved about louisville. the top meals were the cornmeal pancakes with chai butter at Hillbilly Tea, the pork belly and kimchi sliders at Holy Grale (a unitarian church-turned bar), and the prickly pear cava with ceviche at The Mayan Cafe.

lastly, louisville will also always be known as the place we were when we got the call that after all the inspections, appraisals, phone calls, etc, the house we wanted was a no-go. all that amazing food made up for the disappointment.

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poolside

we’ve been experiencing a bit of house buying drama. i like to think that it’s just one more learning experience that will all make for a good story one day. rumor has it that we will know for sure by this thursday whether or not the house is ours or whether the search will have to start over again.

until then, we still have a pool. a pool that i am going to miss more than i thought i would. depending on the day, the kids spend hours in it. they all have killer tans to show for it. i have pink skin and mosquito bites to show for it.

2012 book list

i really thought i would get around to this sooner. in past years, i was good about creating a loose to-read list for the following year. it didn’t happen this year. so this year’s list will track only what i’ve actually finished. in the past six months there have been some excellent books (The Island of the World by Michael O’Brien), some truly disappointing ones (Still by Lauren Winner), and many in between. i’ve also included novels/chapter books i’ve read to the kids (many of them read during mealtimes because if there is food in their mouths, there is less talking, and in theory, more listening).

i’ll post this as a separate page and (hopefully) keep it updated throughout the rest of the year. happy reading.

The Island of the World by Michael O’Brien

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression by Bruce Barnbaum

Year of Plenty: One Suburban Family, Four Rules, and 365 Days of Homegrown Adventure in Pursuit of Christian Living by Craig Goodwin

Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren F. Winner

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Innocent by Ian McEwan

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler

Evangellyfish by Douglas Wilson

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller

Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls-Sexual Identity, the Cyberbubble, Obsessions, Environmental Toxins by Leonard Sax

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

Mary on Horseback: Three Mountain Stories by Rosemary Wells

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

The Light At Tern Rock by Julia Sauer

Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

she torched a mango

we’ve had a kitchen torch for many years. i think we might have used it once, but i’m not positive. in a perfect world, crème brûlée would be on the dessert menu rather often, but it’s not, unfortunately.

and then last month the mangoes started pouring in, along with a recipe for mango brûlée. it was a win-win. we got to dust off the kitchen torch (because who doesn’t get a kick out of using a kitchen torch?) and now we have yet another way to work our way through piles of mangoes.

i was tempted to let the boys help me. it’s quite a simple recipe: slice mango, sprinkle sugar, torch the sugar, squeeze a lime, done. but the idea of a certain 4 year old handling a kitchen torch gave me pause.

she baked a pie

this is a blueberry pie. the blueberry pie to end all blueberry pies.

i don’t typically do much in the pie baking world. i’ve eaten my share of gloopy fillings, neon red fillings (how do the grocery store bakeries get their cherries to glow? it makes me nervous.), and oddly textured crusts, so “bake a pie” is rarely on the to-do list. but the other morning i woke up thinking about blueberry pie. there were some rules, though. it needed to have a non-gloopy filling, lemon of some sort, and a crunchy crust.

i came across Dorothy’s Fresh Blueberry Pie at Shockingly Delicious and figured it would be a winner. only 1 1/2 cups of the 5 cups of blueberries are cooked. the remaining fresh blueberries are folded into the cooked mixture and then poured into a blind baked crust. my one change to the recipe was that i added 2 extra teaspoons of lemon juice, but next time i might decrease the sugar a bit.

for the crust i went with a gingersnap crust. it was a good recipe, but i think i might increase the number of gingersnaps for a thicker crust next time.

and the finished product? just about perfect. perfect for summer-like weather. perfect with whipped cream. perfect for devouring when the house buying situation is getting a bit frustrating, odd, ridiculous…take your pick.

now go bake a pie.