Midsummer

Hibiscus

// Hibiscus blossoms

These are the dog days of summer – the blistering, lambent morning hours as the sun rises from its slumber, waking up the dawn. Each morning is punctuated with the sounds of the city – first the car horns, then the sirens, and finally the whoosh of traffic as it plods through hazy bits of daylight. Slowly then the creak of a mattress, the pitter-patter of humid feet across wooden floors seeking the chill of porcelain tile underfoot. There is the clinking of ice cubes as cold brew coffee sloshes into glasses, ready to be swirled around with just the slightest splash of milk.

We make the best of these mornings, a great plume of sunscreen and brimmed hats as we set off to meet the day, before the afternoon is too sun-soaked and sweltering to confront. There are trips to the market and to the playground, swims in the pool and frequent stops to smell tropical blossoms or to tweet to the birds. Then… home again to find a temporary retreat, to let in the sunshine and filter out the heat, until later on when the sun eventually lowers itself in the sky. We step out into the dimming light, enveloped by the music and the din of the crowds, and think: let’s do it all again…

XO,

N&N

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Piano music is just starting to filter through our doorways, and the city is hanging heavy, surrounded in dark violet twilight as the mercury hovers at a steady 102F. The past couple of days have been rather historic here in the United States, and paying careful attention to the politics on the news and through social media has been both awe-inspiring and exhausting. Last night, Texas Senator Wendy Davis (D) filibustered her way to democratic celebrity as she spent nearly 13 hours non-stop, in order to oppose one of the most contentious abortion bills that Texas, if not the US, has ever seen. Just blocks from our home here in Austin, cheers of jubilation erupted from the gallery at the Capitol building as hundreds of protestors joined in with a mighty ruckus, standing in solidarity with the Texas Senator. Time had expired and the bill was dead in the water.

Then came today’s landmark decision from the SCOTUS: the Defense of Marriage Act struck down as unconstitutional. Within minutes, media and internet seemed to ignite, and the words that kept resounding over and over: love and support for one another as citizens of this world.

As we hid inside from the heat this afternoon, I watched closely as the children played, negotiated, strategised and collaborated. They hummed tunes from their favourite television shows and there was one in particular that caught my ear. It says, “You can be, who you want to be…follow me and be, anyone you wanna be…” So much of our job as parents is governing, to help fashion (in a way) our children into moral and ethical critical thinkers and free spirits. While you do not have to be a devotee of Robert Frost to acknowledge that life is about choices, and how the path you choose can make “all the difference,” we do need to remember that it’s not just the path itself but the protection of one’s right to even choose one that matters. As catchy and commercial as that tune is, I do really want my children to believe that those words are true, and deep down, to know that they are. Alina likes to ask what she should be when she grows up, and do you know what she says? “Mama. It’s so hard to choose. There are so many possibilities, I just can’t decide.” You don’t have to decide today, Alina. In fact, you have every day of an entire lifetime to make that choice.

{Last but not least, wishing my father many happy and healthy returns of the day! Happy Birthday, Daddy. You sure raised some strong-willed daughters, and I know you wouldn’t have had it any other way. We love you!}

XO,

N&N

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Monday’s Moment

A single moment captured in a photograph. Candid and fleeting, this will always be a special moment in time…

A+F chasing cottontail//Alina + Finnlagh chasing a cottontail bunny

“From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole I’ve been told what I must do and who I must be. I’ve been shrunk, stretched, scratched, and stuffed into a teapot. I’ve been accused of being Alice and of not being Alice, but this is MY dream. I’ll decide where it will go from here.”

-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

It’s been a topsy-turvy, Alice-falling-down-a-rabbit-hole kind of day. A day for thinking big and chasing dreams, and soaking up the beauty of wildlife in the heart of the city. Blazing sun and heat-filled afternoons, punctuated with ice cream shoppes, icy cold drinks and visits to our local and homegrown favourite places…

A+F_fave tree wonderland//Alice and her Cheshire Cat amongst the tree limbs

***Don’t forget our GIVEAWAY that is happening on June 20th!** Please read this blog post for more details and be sure to ‘Like’ our page on Facebook and comment on the giveaway pic for a chance to win this Rainbow Gem necklace from Koukku!***

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XO,

N&N

11 months

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//Waiting for baby Reed, June 14th 2012

A year ago today, we were exactly one month away from Reed’s expected due date of July 14th. So you can imagine how incredulous I really am when I say that I simply cannot believe that it is already one year later…we are less than one month away from celebrating baby Reed’s very 1st birthday!

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Reed at 11 months is just an absolute delight. His walking is very abundant and he has picked up speed. While he still does crawl at times to get him faster from place to place, he can now manage to get himself up to standing from the middle of the floor, so he no longer needs to cruise from an object to embark on walking – he just sets off. Normally he gets nearly the length of our apartment before dropping onto his bum and letting out riotous laughter. He is as attached to his mama and to nursing as ever (which can be a bit dicey at times as we are now up to 7 teeth, with 4 on the top, 3 on the bottom…), but he really likes being left on his own at times (of his choosing) to explore. He’ll see a book on the table, and then he’ll go over to pick it up, flip through it and say “Gheeee…” and give a kind of throaty, hissy sound as he chuckles to himself. Since he turned 10 months he has been pointing constantly, holding up his finger like E.T., until you too point your finger upwards and bring it to meet his. That one is probably one of my most favourite Reed-isms (and I think it might have been his big sis Alina who did the very same!) Our little comedian also loves flicking his lips and making a kind of flubbed speech sound with his pointer finger and experimenting with all kinds of noises at the dinner table, to the delight of all assembled.

During the day and early evening he loves to sit in one of our many windows and watch the birds. He waves to many of them (waving ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ is honestly the sweetest and he is so joyous when he does!) and I am convinced that he has all those blue jays and doves memorised. Dancing boy seems to love to bop his little tushie about (not-so-shocking if you know this family!) and enjoys saying the words ‘cake’ and ‘cow’. He has even taken to asking, in his gurgling voice, one finger pointed in the air: ‘What’s that?’ All of the excited clapping combined with shaking his head vigorously to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – I dare say this baby boy has us wrapped around his little finger in the very best way possible.

How we love you, Reed! You are just the dearest, sweetest little boo bear.

**In N&N news: don’t forget our GIVEAWAY that is happening on June 20th!** Please read this blog post for more details and be sure to ‘Like’ our page on Facebook and comment on the giveaway pic for a chance to win!

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One good deed deserves another…

Hello all! Several weeks ago, Alina won a fantastic and very generous giveaway from über-hip Kids magazine, La Petite Magazine and dreamy, ethereal retailer Tutu du Monde. We were all absolutely thrilled, considering we never win anything!

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What did she win? Well, Alina won a stunning Backstage Onesie in ‘Powder Pink’ as well as a matching pair of ballet flats! Needless to say, we are anxiously awaiting the postman these days, and I promise to do a photoshoot for the blog once we’ve received the parcel. Tutu du Monde’s collections and look books are so appealing with their girlish, feminine detailing, always paired with gorgeous styling and a tasteful colour palette.

In the spirit of giving and giveaways, we figured that one good deed deserves another…so we’re having a giveaway ourselves! I have written in the past about the wonderful natural wood + crochet teethers and necklaces from Anna Koukku. Anna has generously contributed a ‘Rainbow Gems Colour Necklace’ for one lucky N&N reader! To enter, simply ‘LIKE’ the Niko & Nonnie Facebook page (if you haven’t already), and comment under the giveaway picture. A winner will be chosen at random on JUNE 20th, so stay tuned and see if it’s you!

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Good luck!

N&N

Monday’s Moment

A single moment captured in a photograph. Candid and fleeting, this will always be a special moment in time…

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Some days you wish that you could bottle up all the emotion you feel in an instant, to remember all the sights creating vivid pictures in your mind. There is the inseparable sibling pair- your two eldest, climbing trees and working in unison…and your littlest one in the papoose- he clings to you, you cling to each other. Hot summer days were made for exploring and playing pirate, and for cherishing a simple, uncomplicated afternoon with the people you love.

Sugar + spice and everything nice

Strawberries&peaches

Just look at the colour of that fruit! The summer harvest is overloading the markets here in Austin, and the local peaches and strawberries are the perfect mix of juicy and tart sweetness that makes stone fruits and berries so very refreshing. Don’t you love the retro blue Ball jars? We have a whole bunch from their American Heritage collection, and use them for everything from plain old storage of sauces and soups to drinking cold brew coffee with fancy straws.

We buy a good deal of fruit, and oftentimes, we need to use up all the ones that become overly ripe — so we bake them! I thought I would share a recipe that we use at least twice a week to make a moist fruit cake that we serve with a healthy cannelle of Greek yogurt and drizzles of local wildflower honey. We’ve been throwing plums into this cake, and we simply cannot get enough of how good they are. Plums always make me think of that classic imagist poem “This is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams:

 

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

_____________________

Sunday Fruit Cake

Ingredients:

6 strawberries, sliced and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

2 ripe plums (white or regular), sliced and cut + any juice you can salvage

1 large apple (we prefer Fuji), sliced and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 stick of melted butter

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup of milk or cream

2/3 cup of white sugar (or a mix of 1/2 white + 1/3 brown sugar)

{Place all the fruit into a bowl, sprinkle just a smidge of sugar over top and a pinch of salt, add 1 teaspoon of water to the bowl, and refrigerate overnight. If you don’t have much time, you can microwave it all in a bowl for 1 minute, stir, and then for another minute. Allow to cool down completely before mixing into the batter.}

Oven temp: 400 degrees

Grease your baking pan with a generous amount of melted butter before adding your cake mixture. We use a rectangular pan that fits in our toaster oven and the cake rises up about 3/4 of the way to the top once it’s baked. Normally we bake the cake for about 20 minutes, but if you are using a convection oven or a big proper oven (we don’t because it heats up our house too much!), it would be a good idea to check on it at around the 12-15 minutes mark using your cake tester.

ENJOY!

Ps: I’ll be back on the blog tomorrow – it seems our littlest boo will be 11 months-old!

XO,

N&N