Buds and Birds

comments: 55

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Grandma Paulson was visiting all last week, and Mimi had an absolutely wonderful time playing with her grandma pretty much non-stop. She also had her last day of her lovely, wonderful playschool, wrapping up two years of this perfect experience that fills me with emotion. She has grown and changed and thrived there in every way. For an only child (in our family at least; thankfully she has three birthsiblings that she knows and loves and sees often, but obviously they don't live with her), having friends to play with, talk to, learn with, walk with, fight with, make up with, laugh with, and share her days among is invaluable. I'm so grateful for our time there. I'm excited for next year (she's going to a pre-school in the neighborhood, and her friends, only one of which is a close neighbor, are going elsewhere), but I will miss these sweet days. (I will also miss the free eight hours a week they afforded me when I don't have them this summer, but that's another story.)

The weather has alternated cold and rainy with only mildly cold and rainy. I haven't spent too much time reading in my Adirondack chairs, but when I have been out there I've been nothing short of enchanted by all the little birds that are coming to our new bird feeder — a suet feeder that keeps squirrels and bigger birds out. Black-oil sunflower seed got spilled on the porch recently and not cleaned up; the squirrels went absolutely mental after they ate it all, and attacked the plastic milk jug we've used for years to fill the feeders, and destroyed the cap to the jug, and threw the jug across the yard and down the stairs to the sidewalk, and then threw the two empty feeders off of the trees, and completely destroyed the squirrel-proof one (I have two seed feeders — one is squirrel-proof, and one is just for the squirrels) by shredding the plastic tube inside and losing half of the parts. ANNOYING. Anyway, when I went to the store to get a new squirrel-proof seed feeder, I also got the new squirrel-proof suet feeder for the smaller birds. And now we have the sweetest little bushtits and chickadees. We've always had a lot of very friendly hummingbirds. Andy told me my red feeder (not squirrel-proof) was down on the sidewalk again this morning. Hrmmmm. Obnoxious. One squirrel sits on the fence and stares at me and thwacks his tail with fury the whole time I'm out there reading. He's quite annoyed that I'm in his yard, apparently.

My roses, good lord. Too bad I can't remember what they're called. I have two different bushes and they have been nothing short of fairy-tale quality this year, I do say.

I made a barbecue-chicken chopped salad like California Pizza Kitchen's from this recipe, but I used this chili-lime chicken that I've been making about once a week since I discovered the recipe. The salad tasted EXACTLY like CPK's. Exactly. It was awesome. Andy ate it (standing, still in scrubs, watching ESPN) when he came home from work.

Him, shouting from kitchen: "This is good!"
Me, shouting from living room: "I know, it's the jicama."
Him, mouth full: "The WHAT?!?!?"

Pfffft. I used the chicken on another night to make chicken tacos with this Mexican street corn salad, a vaguely unappetizing picture of which is up there, but I assure you, oh man, it was crazy good. So, chili-lime chicken, soft tortillas, corn salad, Spanish rice (from a box, I think it was Zatarain's). Boom.

Up there as well, Molly's Granola #5, the only one I'll eat anymore, originally gifted to me by the lovely Andrea for Christmas and which I've made several times since. I use cashews, sometimes almonds, and sweetened coconut. Very, very excellent granola. Simple and plain and toasty.

And then, magic custard cake. When I made this last summer, it occurred to me that it is exactly what I always want a clafoutis to be, but never is. So yesterday morning I pitted a bunch of cherries and added them to the bottom of the pan before I poured the batter in. It worked perfectly, though next time I would use more cherries, and actually more sugar. The cherries were seriously tart, and the cake just needs to be sweeter. Maybe a pinch of salt, too. This cake is really cool. It's a little bit of work, with beating the egg whites and all, but I've never seen anything like this before, and it is really delicate and delicious.

This week, ah . . . this week. I have a whole day — today — to myself. I'm sending the 'Night, Neighborhood cross stitch pattern off to the printer. Stacey's going to start pulling the floss tomorrow. The fabric should be arriving any day. This one has taken a while because I just have so many things going on at home right now. It's almost done, we just have to get it together around here. Things are a little rough around the edges. I could use a whole day to start smoothing them out. I'll be back soon.

***It's shaving-cream paint, to play with in the bath tub :).

***The upholstered dollhouse furniture was a long-ago sweet gift from Leigh. Thank you for that, Leigh. Meems set up this Calico Critter phalanx herself. Xox

55 comments

I'm sorry I had to laugh about your squirrels! They are annoying and cute in equal measure I think. I love to watch them burying nuts in our lawn but my husband does not find this so cute!
I NEED to try that magic custard cake with the cherries. I must check the PYO website when the cherries will be ready (allegedly, you know weather depending) I know it's not for ages yet though.
That shaving foam paint looks just like frosting, I'll bet she had fun with that. Excited to see the new pattern!

Everything is so beautiful this time of year and your post is icing on this Maycake.
She's as precious as ever..I'd love to wear her striped leggings w/ her floral dress..and how sweet of Leigh to give you that adorable furniture for darling.
And how could I omit applauding your baking/cooking:)

Beautiful photos as always. Pierre de Ronsard roses. My all time favourite!

So excited that you had a new post up. We also have a gaggle of naked calico critter bunnies in our house. They actually were mine and now they are my Kate's. We also have a sea otter family but she's terrified of the tales for some unknown reason and therefore, they get to keep their clothing on so the tails can stay safely tucked inside.

Your yard looks dreamy and I hope mine can look that way one day...

Alicia,
Your photos take my breath away! Those roses!

Little Miss Cleaver gets furious at the squirrels on our feeder. She yells at it to go away whenever she sees one. For my sanity I'd taken a live and let live mentality (though they've destroyed at least one feeder for us too).

Claudia Martins Dietrich says: May 24, 2016 at 11:42 AM

Oh, Alicia, your pictures, your prose, they are so heartwarming! Your post is a feast to the eyes.
Lovely Amelia, such a lucky girl to have you and Andy as parents!

I made a Mexican street corn salad this month as well. I roasted the jalapeño before seeding and chopping - most excellent! I didn't think to add chopped avocado, but definitely will next time!

Oh lala, these lovely pictures! This bird and his flower, it's wonderful! Grandma's times are the best!

two words .. storybook wonderful !

Diane Smith says: May 24, 2016 at 09:23 PM

Just a few words of warning re your pesky seed lovers.It could be a racoon, wood rat,or a black bear.We've had problems with all three ripping into our black oil sunflower seeds no matter the storage type or area.The fellow from the Dept of Natural Resources told me a black bear can smell it 5 MILES away.
Honest truth!

My second word of warning is along with birds it brings rats.That want to nest in your house and possibly die. After years of birdfeeding we were inexplicably invaded and the fellows who ripped out and replaced ALL our insulation counted over 17 dead rats and over 100 mice.And we counted out quite a lot of money to repair the damage.

very funny story about squirrels)))
I'm going to cook cherry magic cake this week.
thanks!

Thank you for the recipes! That salad is the only thing I ever order (maybe have EVER ordered, as an entree anyway) at CPK. It's wild to think I've been ordering that salad for...more than 20 years (I'm 30 now)! The basil is so key to the flavor. I make it at home without chicken, and sometimes with queso fresco instead of jack. I'll try the corn salad, it doesn't look unappetizing in your photo at all!

We have a squirrel that likes to lie on the top of a fence picket across from my kitchen window and sort of hug the sides of the picket with all four arms and legs. So funny to watch.

Stunningly gorgeous roses! And your garden looks so lush. Lovely photos as always and thanks for the recipe inspiration. Hello sweet Clover! Amelia has the most beautiful hair. I hope she willingly submits to hair washing and brushing. My 8 year old granddaughter is now more amenable about this but Miss 3 and half is pretty loud and feisty when it comes to hair washing and brushing time. But we soldier on :)

Wow, that 2nd picture takes me back. My girls used to line up allll of their webkins and Barbies on the hearth, facing the tv when we watched Disney movies. It was awesome😊

Beautiful pictures. I have some roses like those.

Thank you for your wonderful blog. But I wanted to thank you, too, for the wonderful recipe links. I made the chili lime chicken, BBQ chicken salad based off the California Pizza Kitchen recipe, and the Mexican street corn salad and ALL were just delicious! My husband gave them 5 stars out of 5—and he's a tough critic. So, thank you very much for the recommendation.

I also love the casserole dish you used for the magic cherry custard cake. I wish I could find one like it. I am looking forward to trying out the magic custard cake soon, too. It looks yummy!

The roses sure are beautiful! I just bought for the first time a David Austin rose called "Wildeve." Peachy pink beauty.
I can totally relate to the clafoutis deal! I want to love it but every recipe I have tired is meh....I just blogged about a cherry clafoutis that I made last week. I was just gifted more cherries last week and I want to recreate this cake my mom use to make with them, and the frosting for it reminds me of your cloudburst recipe. I can't wait to see if it was as good as I remember :)

I'm loving how long Amelia's hair is! So pretty.

Oh that sweet, sweet child of yours...

Linda E. says: May 27, 2016 at 05:21 PM

hello....I just love your blog....something about it is so comforting....I am a 60 year old wife, mother of 2 and grandma to 5.....your world reminds me so much of my childhood, especially of my mom, who was German....she done beautiful handwork of all kinds....our home a collection of sweet bits and bobs.....pretty flowers, trees and vegetables outside.....creating wonderful things to nourish the body and soul...and this is what I see and read in your blog.....just wanted to simply say, thank you....

Hi ♥ Stopping by for the first time and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed my visit here with you, Blessings as you continue and hugs, too!

claire jenkins says: May 28, 2016 at 08:09 PM

oh Clover Meadow... how old is that sweet creature now? I remember the puppy posts and it makes me a little misty! <3

Ah those roses! So beautiful! And that salad looks soooooo good! Yum. And what do you do with those shaving-cream paint..just paint? How do you make them? Looks and sounds interesting :)

We have those David Austin roses too. The apricot colour of them is amazing.

Thanks for the link to Molly's Granola #5. I was unsure as there was no vanilla or cinnamon for flavor. But my goodness! It is the best granola ever! And so quick to make.

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.