Strawberry Cardamom Jam, beautiful beet salad, smoked chicken

Despite being up from 3:15 - 5:15 this morning (Oliver woke up, turned on his moon light, decided it looked like an eyeball and instead of simply turning it off, came to get me to do so; he went back to sleep; I did not.), I managed to lead a nap-free, productive life today. Happy Monday! The boys started camp, and both were thrilled. Jack is doing a really cool day camp that Tom did when he was J's age; it's half computer programming, half sports, and Jack has big plans to create the perfect video game which will make money despite being free and showing no ads. I love his idealism. Ol is doing the same program he attended last summer and was really happy to be back at school and to have so many buddies in his group. It was marvelously sublime to have some quiet hours alone.

In addition to celebrating Percy's birthday (really hope you know that means nothing more than a longer than usual walk and many fruit and veggie treats), I cleaned and trimmed the flat of strawberries I bought yesterday (roughly 20 cups if you wonder about the flat->cup amount), made a strawberry cardamom jam that is really delightful and then set up double the original amount to macerate overnight. I'll can it tomorrow and will post the recipe ASAP. If strawberries are growing locally near you, now's the time to preserve them. Though strawberries are seriously lacking in pectin, I really don't like using commercial pectin products and so today added a grated apple to the pot and cooked until 218. This has set up really nicely!

The boys and I watched The Adventures of Milo and Otis this afternoon because Milo looks like Nutmeg and Otis, Percy. It was kinda campy and strange but delightful all at once. Dudley Moore is just going nuts with his narrating responsibilities, and I feel this movie is what has subsequently given many people the idea of posting pictures and videos of their pets online. Then I made pasta because one of Tom's aunts, who is hilarious, sent the kids battery-powered spaghetti twirling forks and as you can imagine, we had to put them to use immediately!

T came home early to watch the USA-Ghana match with the  boys. It slays me that the man never utters a word of interest about soccer, ever, but when the World Cup plays, he morphs into an intense fan. Anyway, during all that mayhem I smoked some chicken breasts over oak chips and made a beet-wax bean salad with what I bought yesterday at the FM. Aren't chioggia beets' rings and variegation cool?!?! I tossed in some chopped orange and dressed the whole thing with a honey-red wine vinaigrette. Lovely, lovely!

Fatigue is now getting the bets of me, so off to bed I go. Buona notte!