Summer of SuperChic

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We’ve had my niece, SuperChic, visiting us this week. She’s at that magical age right before you turn into a woman. I just want to hug her so tight because I know in a minute she will not be the little girl anymore and I’m going to miss that little girl.  She’s so cute and innocent and those freckles…they get me right in that spot that makes me happy and excited for her future and at the same time sad because I just want to stop time. It’s all going by way too fast for me!

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One of these days we’ll all be old ladies sitting around looking at these pictures thinking, those were the days…the good old days.

Glamping in the Sticks and Tomato-Basil Jam!

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My parents are finally back from their happy-little-retired-people romp all over the United States. They’ve been gone for months and I have to admit I’ve been feeling a little abandoned!

Really, I’m so happy for them. After years and years of bad luck and hard knocks, my dad working harder than anyone I know and being gone for months and months away from his home and family… they are FINALLY living the sweet life. And the best part is that they are still healthy enough to appreciate it. They bought a little trailer and they’ve been camping all over the place. It’s their dream come true.

But now they are finally back and you know what that means!  Quick Stick Fix!!! Woo hoo!  I love where I live but I have missed the sticks. Especially summer in the sticks with it’s crazy-abundant garden-harvest time. Oh, I miss my tomato garden so much!  Good thing my parents have a garden that is hooked up to a drip system and waters itself while they’ve been gone. It pretty much grew into a jungle.

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Tomatoes! Basil! Mint as tall as you! Corn, squash, peaches, plums! It’s a dream out here. A crazy wild out of control garden jungle of a dream.

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Of course Bug loves the sticks. It’s a kid wonderland out here. Junk everywhere, tree houses, broken down clubhouses (ie: death traps), weeds that grow as high as your head,  big panting dogs that like to play fetch, eight cats and of course all the produce you could ever want to eat right at your fingertips. She and her cousin Super Chic have been having a blast.

I call it glamping when I’m here because well, things are not exactly spic and span. If you know how my parents are then you know what I’m talking about. Cleanliness is not on the top of their list but that’s okay because hospitality and charm are. So you just can’t stress about clean bathrooms or dirty dishes, dust or spiders or (gasp!) animal hair. It’s just part of life. Suck up your city-slicker squeamishness and make the best of it.   You just have to let go and give in and if you can do that you’ll have a really good time. I love it here.

If you pretend you are camping then it’s actually really super glamourous. They have electricity , hot showers, air conditioning and wifi! My mom stocks via coffee just for me and my dad makes the best waffles ever. And we get to sleep in their trailer which is just one step away in cuteness from an Airstream.

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Last night when it finally cooled down I walked the garden with my mom and we harvested about three pounds of tomatoes in about five minutes. I was so excited about the sheer quantity of tomatoes that I talked my mom into making a batch of tomato-basil jam. She found the recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens 2013 Canning magazine and it peaked both of our interest. It probably wasn’t the smartest idea to tackle at nine o’clock at night but I can be a bit manic and persuasive at times. My poor mom. Maybe it’s a good thing they don’t see me all that often.

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Anyway, the jam turned out really cool. It’s definitely something of a novelty that you break out at parties with fancy cheeses and crackers or spread on a crunchy piece of sourdough toast or something. I wouldn’t want to eat it in a peanut butter sandwich or anything. It’s sweet but definitely tomato-y and faintly reminds you of cold pizza or spaghetti sauce. But I don’t care I think it’s wonderful and I’m so proud to be taking five jars home.

I love the sticks!