Monthly Archives: June 2011

the plum and daisy stand

My eldest has been begging me for months for money-making opportunities. She’s been fired up by lemonade stand ideas, a Fancy Nancy fashion boutique story, her friend’s cookie making enterprise, and so on.

Problem: we live at the end of a cul-de-sac. I love it for the safety, that my girls can ride their bikes and scooters at any time, that Macie can chase a ball in the street and I don’t have to leap shrieking from my perch on my folding chair on the driveway (classy, no?). But for a lemonade stand or fashion boutique, or a yard sale, for that matter, the lack of drive-by or walk-up traffic can be a bit of a bummer, especially for a 6 year old.

But, after months of pleading, I finally caved when Bailey suggested selling the plums she picked at summer camp yesterday. Though my conscience was a bit concerned about the ethics of selling fruit that was given to Bailey freely by a kind teen girl running a FREE summer camp for the kids from our church, I figured I could offer my own cash to the sweet summer camp girl when I tell her the story.

Ethics out of the way, the next concern was customers! I did give a little notice on Facebook to my local friends (okay, I shamelessly begged for some drive-bys) and ended up having a lovely conversations with myself (Bueller? Bueller?). But armed with taped together cardstock, Bailey fashioned her sign (I wasn’t going to run to the store for posterboard at 9am, sorry) and was ready to open up shop.

Then Natalie had to get in on the action. She has plums that she picked at summer camp, as well, but we’d already discussed how she wanted to keep and actually eat them, since she likes plums. Hmmmm, what else can the Nat sell . . . daisies! Sign #2, a card table and folding chairs, and the merchandise; and the girls were in business.

Teehee, the signs are my favorite part. Design and execution all their own.

Macie, of course, had to get in on the action. She was quite keen on the MONEY aspect (she loves to carry handfuls of change around the house) until I put the cashbox away and she went off to play in their new tent (my project I teased about yesterday).

Who could resist these two cuties?

Bailey was adorable. She kept asking me how we could get customers to come and dreaming up brilliant ideas.

“Did you give lots of details on facebook about the plums? Details make things more interesting and make more people buy them.”

“Will you tell them that the plums that I’m selling are very juicy and ready to eat?  Some are sweet and some are tart!”

“Hmmm, we need to make this more exciting so more people will come.”

Sweet, excited girl.She reminded me of myself four years ago when I first set up shop as a photographer–I was naively convinced that all I’d have to do to get an enormous client base was simply create a website and print myself up some business cards. Customers would surely come rolling in!

For my girls’ sake, I’m so grateful for their local grandma who found time to stop by for a little shopping and even brought a friend! Two satisfied customers and two very happy girls later, they’ve each earned $3 for the day, which isn’t bad at all for a dead-end street.

While they were busy selling (and playing) I was working away on my dresser re-do. Remember the before?

She’s shaping up! Today I finished the sanding, wiped the entire surface down with a tack cloth, and rolled on a couple coats of primer. This is going to be so pretty when it’s done!

easiest salsa ever

If I could only eat one kind of ethnic food for the rest of my life, I would without hesitation choose Mexican food. I can eat it for breakfast (mmmm, black bean, egg, and cheese burrito anyone?), lunch (two shrimp tacos, pronto!), and dinner (fajitas! or tortilla soup! burrito!) pretty much every day. Sure, I might occasionally miss a big juicy burger and crisp fries, but give me a vat of fresh salsa and warm tortilla chips and I’m good to go.

*slight disclaimer* I honestly have NO idea what authentic Mexican food is. I know what I like, but I’ve never been to Mexico, have zero Latino ancestry, and probably wouldn’t recognize authentic Mexican food if it jumped up and down naked in front of me. I just know what I like.*

This salsa, this is what I like. And it so ridiculously easy to make and keep on hand.

Start with a can (or two) of your favorite sliced tomatoes–I love S&W brand, plus I can get a flat at Costco for cheap. Love the flavor and ease. Add a Serrano chile (dark green pepper smaller and thinner than a jalapeno), an Anaheim chile (light green and long), a bunch of green onions, one clove of garlic (small to medium), about a third of a bunch of cilantro (or a handful if you’re growing your own!) and a food processor.

I love summer produce. Some of you may be thinking “Why would I use canned tomatoes at the height of summer tomato season?” I prefer canned in this because they are pealed and whirl up so quickly in the food processor and help the salsa last a bit longer in the fridge. If you’re planning on using all of your salsa right away, you can certainly substitute a pound of fresh, cored tomatoes.

Coarsely chop your green ingredients and toss them in your food processor’s bowl. I cored and seeded my chiles, reserving the seeds and ribs just in case my salsa needed a little more heat. (If you put your cilantro in first, it is less likely to get stuck in the lid.) Process for 20-30 to the consistency you like.

Add the tomatoes (I used just one can), process for another 15-20 seconds, and taste with your chosen tortilla chip. This step is important! The salsa will definitely need some salt–I used about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of coarse Kosher salt (I keep it in a ramekin on my counter so it’s always on hand for sprinkling) to really bring out the flavors of all the other components. At this point I also noticed that the flavors were a bit bland, so I added in about half of the ribs and seeds from my Serrano chile and pulsed it a bit more.

Process a bit more and pour into an airtight container to refrigerate for a few hours. This is the hardest part for me! I just want to dig in, but the flavors need a little time to meld and come together. You can also add a bit of lemon or lime juice for brightness, even a splash of apple cider vinegar if you like.

The gorgeous thing about this recipe is how easy it is to tweak! Like a little more onion flavor? Add another bunch of green onions in at the start? Like the HEAT? Don’t seed your chiles. Some find the garlic in this a little strong–cut it in half or lightly toast the bulb in a pan on the stove to mellow the flavor a bit. Still super easy and yummy.

You can keep your pico de gallos and black bean and corn salsas, this is all I need on a hot summer’s day. Well, this and a tall, cold Dr. Pepper, of course!

And here’s a peek at a project I’m working on for my girls–any guesses?

budding filmmaker

With all the photos I take around our house, it’s only natural that my girls (yes, all three) love to play with cameras. While they’re not even allowed to breathe on, let alone touch MY camera, we do have a a kids’ V-Tech camera (Natalie’s) and an older Canon Powershot that they all have pretty much free reign over. Bailey, more than any of the others, has really claimed the Powershot as her own. I’m thinking her career trajectory will be slightly different than my own, however.

someone’s dressing herself

And not doing too bad a job at it!

Accessories are a must, of course, when you’re two and opinionated. Who cares that the headband hit the van floor within 2 seconds of her being buckled in–I got the shot before we left!

The dressing herself is currently being accompanied by her trying to punish me by stripping naked when she’s mad at me. Time-out in her crib=Macie spending two minutes screaming and violently yanking at her clothes in a (usually) vain attempt to remove them. I wonder what would happen if I responded like that every time I was upset about something . . . okay, no, let’s not go there!

To scrub that image from your brain (sorry!), this is what you get when her sisters have spent the last six months pointing their cameras at her and telling her to say CHEESE!

Or maybe she’s just saying “want see!!!” Either way, she’s still cute. If we could only get the stripping thing to go away . . .

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