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Take three wiggly boys.

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Add one former swimmer.

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What do you get?

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Mayhem!

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And maybe learning a little swimming at the same time.

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My friend offered to teach the boys swimming this summer. She’s wanted to teach her own son, but thought the structure of having others in class would help them stick to it! I was totally game, because a) swim lessons! and b) access to her parent’s pool for the lessons, so no fighting for space at the public pool.

So far, the boys are having fun, learning, and I get to hang out with this cutie on the sidelines.

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Our Town in Summer

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Our town is small. It’s not exciting. It’s nowhere anyone really wants to go.

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But what it is, is a good place for little kids. Pretty safe, small, and a few things just for kids that make it special, like the totally vintage Kiddie Park.

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And there’s a splash pad. There are two actually, one on either side of town. The one nearer to our house is low-key.

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I like to pop over for just a few minutes on a really hot sticky day, or when I just need the kiddo to blow off some steam. And now his sister is getting into it.

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These two melt my heart.

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He loves her, and she really loves him. Her face just lights up when she sees him, and she loves to watch his antics.

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He loves to give her hugs… and then whack her seat or scream in her face. He’s still a boy.

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Soon enough, little miss will be able to hold her own.

Don’t be fooled by the photo. She’s getting better at sitting up but still not totally stable.

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Tonight the two little people sat on the kitchen floor while I made dinner and played with ice cubes. She sat there for about 15 minutes and then just when I turned my back, she ploncked her head down on the hard kitchen floor. She cried a little, and then she was fine.

I can’t wait to see how much she grows this summer! I bet by August she’ll be crawling all over the splash pad and I’ll have to watch her like crazy. But for now, I’m savoring almost-six-months with this sweet girl.

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What’s Cooking in My Kitchen: Baked Donuts with Vanilla Bean Glaze

The research is in.

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Baked donuts are good, especially with this delectable vanilla bean glaze. In fact, I think I might actually like the glaze more than the donut.

This weekend I tried another donut recipe. But I skipped the chocolate glaze because 1)I prefer a plain donut anyway and 2)I wanted fewer distractions as I tried again to assess whether it’s worth it for my sister to invest in a donut pan.

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And the verdict is…

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Meh. I liked these more than the Browned Butter ones, but still maybe not enough to make often. The pans are fun to play with, but not something I think I’d do often.

What’s Cooking in my Kitchen: Brown Butter Baked Donuts

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You may remember that my sister lives in Ecuador. She also has a food blog, and totally eggs me on in these baking endeavors.

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A few weeks ago, she asked me to borrow a friend’s donut pan and investigate the process of making baked donuts. My friend, this was a mission I would happily accept.

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I started with this recipe for Brown Butter Baked Donuts.

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They came together quickly and easily. They smelled heavenly.

And I ate three.

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But in the end, baked donuts still aren’t… donuts, you know? Good, but not right. Good if you don’t expect a donut.

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However, I’ve still got the pans, so I’ll give it another try. You know, for science. And research. And in the name of being thorough. Ahem.

Pallet Gardening

My how-to pallet garden post always gets hits in the spring. Three years later, my pallet full of dirt is still going strong.

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Last year I moved it to a new spot near our deck. It seems to get enough light there and is easier to water.

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My basil plants got HUGE last summer.

Here’s what we’ve got going on this year: two basils, thyme, mint, sage and chives. I’ve got lavender, too, but I haven’t planted it yet, so it might not happen.

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The sage, chives and mint all came back from last year, even though we had a really cold winter and I didn’t do anything to help them.

This year, I’m trying a sprinkler instead of a soaker hose. My soaker hose worked well, but after just a year, it was full of holes, and I hated to buy a new one. We’ll see if this cheap green ring lasts. I know the little boy loves jumping around in it!

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Here’s to another year with fresh herbs!