Category Archives: cabin


Just a little piano in the morning at the cabin.



Leave a comment

Filed under cabin, mette

Reaping what we did not sow

Quoting grandpa, who was quoting Euell Gibbons, “reaping what you did now sow”.   This past weekend we took his example and went off into the woods to gather wild apples from the trees around the cabin.  It is clear that someone generations ago has a small orchard near the cabin.  Apple and pear trees abound, some you can even see are planted in what must have been clear rows.   These trees are as organic as it gets.  The apples they produce are amazing.  Well, some of them are.  Some, not so much.  That is the fun thing with apple trees.  You have to taste them to see what you are going to get.  In the wild, no two are the same.  Good applesauce, cider and really all things in life, are better with a nice variety.  Keeping that in mind, Otto, Grandpa and I climbed in the truck (boy did Otto love that!) and picked a TON of apples.  Otto, self named official taste tester had no less than four apples in his hands at all times.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We brought the apples home with us on Sunday and proceded to make a very large batch of applesauce.  Otto has really been enjoying learning about cooking recently, a skill I obviously want to encourage!, so he was keen to help.  I cut the apples in half, and he quartered them.  He thinks using one of my big chef knives is the coolest thing ever.  He understands it is a dangerous tool and takes it very seriously.  Mette, shows great concern with this development, and I can’t say I totally blame her.  We made a big batch and allowed it to cool off during the evening.  Today Otto took a large container to school to share with his friends for snack time.  He thought that was really cool and hopefully the kids enjoyed the yummy snack.  This morning I put a sizable dent in the remaining apples and canned 4 quarts and 6 pints.  I would say I have about 6 quarts to go.  I may need to find some homes for some of this applesauce!  I think some applesauce muffins are in order.  And, ooohh do I love buckwheat pancakes with applesauce on top.  May have to make some of those tomorrow for brunch!



Leave a comment

Filed under cabin, food, handmade, otto

Frame of reference

Every time someone says “you made that!?” or “you fixed that?!” in disbelief, part of me rolls my eyes.  Yes, I make some clothes and curtains (and small children), I have been known to take apart toilets and tile bathrooms, if I need something my first thought is “how can I make that?” – really this is nothing.

Truth of the matter is, yes, I am somewhat handy but my real secret is I have good people to learn from, who will help me when I get in over my head.  I spent many an afternoon and evening as a child holding tools, flashlights, mortar buckets, finding hammers, remembering where the box of nails was last, but mainly watching.  You can learn a lot from watching.  Most importantly you learn that things CAN be made and fixed at home.  Creating things at home, and by things I mean walls, stairs, bathrooms, kitchens, floors, paintings, sculptures, clothing, musical instruments, silicone molds, tiles, furniture, whole buildings, worlds if you really get down to it, is possible and wonderful.  Sure you can call a plumber to fix a leak, but it feels so much better when you do it yourself and have the dirty hands to show for it.  I have a lot to learn but I look forward to each project and every chance I have to watch, help and learn.

The concept of actually being able to make things is disappearing.  So many people can’t make things anymore.  We live in a culture where people buy everything.  I try hard to make or fix as many things as I can.  I take great pride in stocking a freezer and pantry with homemade foods from local sources.  More and more of our clothes are being made in my sewing room each day.  There are some house projects I am just not physically capable of doing, but everything else I tackle myself.  It seems totally normal to me that way.  I can’t imagine NOT doing that.  I hope that Otto and Mette grow up with that same attitude.  They see me working and enjoying what I am doing and visiting my grandpa Chris and nona Jen where walls are plastered and the furniture made by grandpa Chris, then at the cabin where the building was built by grandma and grandpa and is decorated with grandma and uncle racer’s paintings, I can only hope it will sink in to them as well.

To debut some of insane talents my family sports I am sharing a few links to their brand new websites:

My mom’s new painting can be found here.  There are a few new directions shown.  I am working on scoring a few for our dining room!!  You may want some too…..

Grandpa’s out of this world custom banjos deserve some of your time.  While you are there, be sure to click on the videos page.  Speaking of being able to make things, Eric shot and edited the two videos for the website, you can see some of his non-kid home movie work.

Then if you are interested in the family business you can check that out here

I think you will quickly see I am not nearly as talented as many of the other folks I hang out with.  Still I am very nice and who knows, maybe if I keep watching and learning I will get there.

Oh, while you are checking out their coolness, give a looksie to my brother’s page.  His stuff is wonderful as well.

1 Comment

Filed under cabin, grandmom, grandpa, grandpa chris, nonna jen, websites

Cabin in tilt shift

People, please, if you like the videos, show eric some love.  Leave a comment or two.  Makes the boy smile!


Filed under cabin, mette video, otto and mette video, otto video

Off the grid

We spent the last few days off the grid at the cabin with Grandmom and Grandpa.  Due to really crappy weather and insane work schedules (eric) it has been forever since we have made it up there.  Since our last visit the kids have grown by leaps and bounds.  Otto now finishes his meals in a hurry, hops up from the table and rushes back outside to play.  Followed by his ever faithful dog companion, Hugo.  Gone are the days of constant supervision and worrying he would get lost.  He knows to stay close and since there is a limitless amount of things to explore close to home, he is set.

 When we were in New Orleans in March and the kids were here in grandparent heaven the seed was planted about having a camp fire and s’mores.  Grandmom and Grandpa held true to their promise and when we got there the camp fire was already set up along with chairs for everyone.

 Hero of the weekend no. 1, Grandmom!
Tied for no. 1, Grandpa!
 Living the good life.

 There really aren’t words to describe how dirty the kids were by the end of the weekend, however the amount of “stuff” that came out of Mette’s hair when I gave her a bath this evening was rather impressive.

 Not only had the kids never been to a real campfire cookout, eric had never had s’mores.  Happy to continue on my campaign to fill in the gaps in eric’s life education I sat them all down for a sticky sweet treat.

 They were very popular.
With everyone!
 No trip to the cabin is complete without banjo music!

 Otto working on the fine art of cooking over a campfire and NOT dropping your food in the coals.

Our take on Easter:  
Fluffy, sugary pink bunny on a stick
Enter, Fire!

Delicious.  Isn’t that what all the hype is about?  Bunnies at the stake, or am I getting something confused?

Cementing their super cool status, Grandmom and Grandpa had a tarp and sleeping bags so the kids could stay up late and enjoy the fire.

While they were all snuggled up I read some of The House at Pooh Corner.

Really this is nothing more than admiring a beautiful setting for breakfast and great light.

A little good cabin air and lots of running around can really wear a girl out.  Mette crashed out with Grandma on the hammock for a little pre-lunch snooze.

Otto LOVES the “Tarzan/Luke rescuing Leia” rope swing as he likes to call it.

It was a really wonderful few days and now all I can think about is how soon can we get up there again. The kids both had a wonderful time.  It is so great to have a place where they can learn how to just fart around in the woods.  Otto went on walks with Grandpa and learned how to identify deer poop which he thought was REALLY cool, we all went exploring and everyone ate well.

These pictures are really great, but wait until you see the videos eric is cutting together right now.  Seriously, we are sitting side by side on the couch both plugging away on editing on the computer.

We are so romantic.

Leave a comment

Filed under cabin, grandmom, grandpa

Peer Pressure

Is it really peer pressure when I am the peer? I guess not. Still, I said I would have more to offer you tonight, so here I am, computer in hand.

To start, all the photos are uploaded and edited on the iPad which has run out of battery. Yes, I could run it off an USB cable from the laptop but that require getting up, and to be honest, I don’t feel like doing that. So there will be pictures tomorrow.
How about a recap to start the new year?
First, Grandma Bah came and stayed with us for the weekend of New Year’s Eve. It was a cold weekend for her, but a winter heat wave for us with temps in the 40’s. There is precisely nothing open in the burg for the holiday weekend so we did a lot of playing in the house and enjoyed some home cooked meals. I made Choucroute Garne for New Years day and it was amazing. It is a tradition in our family to eat this Alsatian version of pork and sauerkraut for good luck but this was the first time I had made it without my mom. It was delicious. Even the cats ate it!! Nurkel was climbing up on the table for leftovers the next day. Grandma Bah seemed to have a nice time visiting with the kids and they got to open even more presents which is always popular.
Later that week eric, the kids and I headed up to the cabin to visit with Uncle Racer who was home for a week. It was great to see him. It is always too long between his visits. I am really hoping we get a chance to hang out with him in Chicago this summer when we are there. Otto got to see the great giver of Star Wars toys and Uncle Racer even showed Otto how the X-Wing makes noise. Otto had an amazing time playing in the snow with Grandpa and had to be lured in with the promise of hot chocolate and marshmallows. It was a short and action packed visit filled with good food and lounging by the wood stove. Pretty much what every winter cabin visit should be!
We had a quick overnight at home where I madly cleaned the house before we headed out again, this time to Philly. We decided that a good way for the kids to run off some steam before heading to Grandpa Chris and Nona Jen’s house would be to go to the ever popular Please Touch Museum. It worked out great. The kids had a great time and really ran off some steam. The only part that was hard was getting Otto to stop playing long enough to eat. He insisted he WAS NOT hungry and then proceeded to inhale a hot dog. Ah, three year olds…. While visiting we took advantage of the food offerings of the city and feasted on Vietnamese food the first night and real Philly Cheesesteaks the second. I have been craving a cheesesteak for so long, it was amazingly good. There are many places here that serve them, but no one makes them right. This was perfect. On Sunday while visiting we went to the baby shower for Jen and soon to be here baby Harrison. It was a big fun introduction to Jen’s extended family. There were mimosas and bloody marys for mommies and french toast and chocolate covered oreos for kids. Everyone was happy. Mette also managed to score a chance to play with a small pretend laptop that belonged to one of the little girls at the party. She has since then told me every day that she wants a computer for her birthday. Amazon is taking care of that and sending one our way.
Eric also asked her who she would like to have come to her birthday and she replied “santa”. Smart little girl that one!!
Before heading back to the burg we made a stop at the LEGO store to see what goodies could be found for Otto. They had tv’s playing LEGO movies and he was really scared they were going to start showing Star Wars things that he would be scared of so we didn’t stay in the store for long. It worked out well though because I took him and Mette two doors down (we were in a mall) to the Hello Kitty store and eric went in and stocked up with guys for his birthday. Otto was so cute in the Hello Kitty store. He kept picking things up and showing them to Mette saying, “oh, Mette, look this has Hello Kitty on it!!!”. Seriously, I don’t think there was a single thing in the store that didn’t have Hello Kitty on it, but he was going to help her find it all. We did score a really cute backpack that is just Mette’s size so she can go to school just like Otto.
We managed to get the kids fed and in the car just after noon which meant that Mette took her first nap in three days on the ride home!!! She was starting to get a bit manic in the evenings with the thrown off sleep schedule and this was key. Every day we were in Philly the kids were so excited they got up at 5:30. Since we were all sleeping in one room with Mette and I on one bed and the boys on the other, when they are up, we are all up. That combined with no naps was making us all tired. It was worth leaving a little early to have her sleep on the way home.
All of this excitement combined with some quality time needed to play with the new toys from Christmas has kept us more than busy. There have also been stomach flus and sinus infections circling our group of friends so spending a few days just us in the house has worked out to be just fine.
I have been cleaning and reorganizing like a crazy person. The kitchen and third floor have been tackled and closets and dressing rooms are next. Watch out!
I will be back with more pictures and funny stories soon.
***note*** eric just looked over my shoulder at this post and said “shit, baby, that is epic. Throw the readers a bone and put a picture in.” I had to explain that the laptop doesn’t have any pictures and the iPad is dead. Sorry again.

1 Comment

Filed under cabin, grandma bah, grandpa chris, new years, nonna jen, philadelphia, phoebe rant, please touch museum, uncle racer


Back again. Last week was a whirlwind of activity but we are starting to get back into normal life again. Thanksgiving at the cabin was fun and crazy all together. There are a lot of ways two small people can get into trouble there and the adults all seem to be busy with something else. That my friends makes for a deadly combo. Luckily nothing was broken and no permanent damage was done. Due to the craziness I managed to take almost no photos. The camera would have to have been strapped to me in order for me to have it when I needed it, and then it would have been in the way for all the baby slinging I was doing. I did manage to get a few shots of mette playing grandpa’s tuba. Both kids were able to make some amazing sounds with it. I think it must make you feel pretty powerful to make a big tuba sound when you are three feet tall!

The tuba sits on the floor in the living room and is at the perfect height to sneak a few notes in here and there.

This is sadly the only picture I got of any of the food, but fear not, the food was amazing and plentiful. This year we turned the living room of the old cabin into a dining room and ate under the watchful eye of the bears in the fireplace. It was quite lovely.

Feasting with us this year were long time friends of the family, Phil and Deb. Deb made a cranberry salad with whipped cream that made mette squeal with delight, each time she saw it. In her first sitting she had four bowls full. Rest assured I got that recipe. Deb gets a special prize for making someone as happy as mette was when she ate that salad.

In true cabin fashion we had a nice coating of snow on Thursday making it that much more festive. Otto, grandpa and I went out for a walk and all Otto wanted to do was eat the snow. We had some good discussions about not eating yellow snow or licking anything that is metal. Basic life skills.

I am working on some more photos to have up later this week so stayed tuned.

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. While Otto had a good time, he is SUPER excited to go to school tomorrow.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 Comment

Filed under cabin, food, otto and mette, thanksgiving