Saturday, April 30, 2011

Arbor Day and tree hugging

Ten feet from the front door, on our way to go plant a tree, Cora walked into a giant metal post that holds up her school.  She was a bit nervous and was checking to make sure her family was right behind her and walked full stride into the pole.  I am not kidding when I say her head bounced off it.  It almost killed the whole experience until someone uttered magical words.  "If you visit the park make sure to bring a little water, this is your tree and you need to take care of it."  It was the equivalent of winning  the lottery.  Instantly I remembered the feeling.  My Dad and I planted a tree together when I was a teenager and I still love that tree.  I took pictures with it at my wedding.  I have introduced it to both of my girls as the tree me and Paga planted together.  I miss that tree today because of the way her experience touched my heart and showed how connected to my little girl I truly am. 
They gave her an award and her class cheered her on like only kids can, when the prize is a piece of paper.  She stood up and walked straight to the stage and never looked back.  She was so proud of herself and her tree that she didn't need to look back to make sure her family was behind her.  She stepped around the giant metal pole holding up her fear.  She was awesome!  So proud of you my Schmoopie Pie Mimo.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Arbor Day

Cora has been nominated to be her classes tree planter in our town's Arbor Day Celebration.  I'll be back later to post pictures of the event.  Go Trees!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

For the tummy
Corn Cakes with honey are a very special treat since they are shallow fried and don't exactly fit the criteria for a healthy meal.  But they are so tasty that they are worth every drop of grease left clinging to your fingers.  The best part is that this is a very kid friendly recipe.  Lots of stirring and mixing to be done for the little helpers that are happiest when helping Momma in the kitchen.  This is always a sure fire way to lighten a less than happy mood in Emme.  That is, until it is time to stop stirring.  Enjoy!

Corn Cakes
1 cup unbleached flour
1/3 c cornmeal finely ground
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
1 egg
1 Tbs vinegar
1 Tbsp oil
1 c frozen corn
enough oil to coat the pan

Mix together the dry ingredients.  In a measuring cup add milk, egg and vinegar and beat.  Add oil and incorporate into dry mix.  Add corn and drop a heaping tsp into oil.  Cook until the center is set and serve hot with a side of local honey.

Update: I cooked the second batch like a pancake and they were still very good with much less oil.  I also added in some diced green onion.  Feeble attempt to make them healthier.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seeds are in

Well, some of them are in.  So far one bed is done and holds the pole beans and squashes.  I went with the Kentucky wonder again since we were up to our ears in beans last yer.  The girls ate more beans in a summer than I think they have in their life! Emmeline and I had a bus waiting tradition that included a snack of beans and a sprinkling with the hose.  I still have some frozen in the fridge from when we were just plain sick of string beans.  They were neglected when vegetable soup season was here and will most likely find themselves in a giant pot of crock pot curry. 
The squashes are repeats as well after my squash succcess last year.  I ended up with 4 butternut and 5 spaghetti squash! The plants were from my dear friend Liz who shared her started seed success.  The plants were glorious!  They did well against all odds: squash vine borers, bunnies, and something that liked to eat my blossoms.  I lazily just tossed the seeds in the plot and hope all goes well.  Nothing to lose if things go terribly. 
This gardening experience is all new since the move, so I am unsure about sun times and amounts so we may be eating lettuce on lettuce salad for the entire summer.  My only concern is that at least one kale plant makes it so that I can recreate the over wintering that last years kale survived.  I gave them a new home in dear friend Liz's garden, and against all odds they are back again and already being enjoyed.  What a pleasant surprise after the snow had melted away.
The second bed is still being cleared so the lettuce and greens and will have to wait another week or three.  I need to find one more sunny spot to put the tomatoes.  I have been challenged to a tomato off by my sister and mom.  Time to prove that there is quality in organic gardening!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The bunny

Let me start by saying that I am extremely jealous of fictitious holiday characters.  Santa is a fame whore, the tooth fairy is going to need a bailout the way her dead tooth values are inflating and the easter bunny is a twisted fetishist, hopped(no pun intended) up on sugar.  These are the creatures we allow into our homes year after year.  Mostly I am tired of making handmade presents and letting somone else take the glory.  I did not slave for hours on that new Waldorf doll for a fat man to get the credit! Extremely selfish, caddy, and a bunch of other names I am sure that one could come up with if given the time.  But, I am okay with it.  And that is all that matters.  So due to our Atheism and my hatred of having my thunder stolen, we do not roll with the hype of those childhood stories.  We tend to make up our own and leave the other guys in the background.  Santa still comes but he only brings one or two toys.  The easter bunny goes to Gam's house. 
I also see a difference in the way my girls treat things when they know they have come from a person versus the idea of a person.  They take extra care when they know I have worked hard on a gift, rather than something put under a tree by a guy they will never meet.  In truth it goes much deeper than my selfish ranting.  I truly feel that in order for people to learn to respect what they have they must treasure it.  Mass made and marketed toys are a dime a dozen in cost, but that should not take away from their value.  I have seen kids who adore the simplest of things: a blanket, one of dad's socks, the ugliest bear in the house.  The idea is to teach them that while "things" don't matter, how we treat those "things" does.  A good way to keep this ideal alive its to be selective in what and how much comes into your home.  Three dolls is not better than one.  You can only do so many puzzles in one day. 
Whether it comes from a store or your own hands, teach your kids to treasure what they have.  This will set up a value system that survives outside of "things". It will infect their world.  Treasure all that you have: life, love and ugly bears.  Happy Egg Fetish Bunny Day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

for the tummy

The recipe for today is one of the easiest and healthiest tricks in the book.  Raw bars are great for kids and adults and can be made when some impromptu playdate friends stop by or a sister, on her own for the first time, calls hungry.  The only requirement for these tasty treats is a food processor.  Otherwise you will have to get crafty or tired.  There is way too much chopping involved to do it by hand.  A blender would work as well so long as it's got some juice.  Ready for the simplest recipe ever?  here goes:

Raw Fruit, Nut and Seed Bars
1 part dried fruit
1 part seeds and nuts
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 c peanut butter(optional when using more seeds than nuts)

Place all ingredients into the processor and pulse until it forms a clump.  Place into a dish with an edge and pat down. refrigerate for a bit, cut, eat and enjoy.  Someone you know will love you for these.  I promise.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A new kind of fun

Once upon a time there may have been bars or restaurants or even a concert on the agenda for a Saturday night.  On a crazy night, all three.  I don't particularly miss those days and can see them as the grass is greener syndrome that adults tend to suffer every once and again.  But that does not mean that my Saturday nights have dissolved into a sofa sharing, tv staring kind of night.  Time to try something new! Paper, scissors, glue and a whole lot of imagination that I had not seen from a few of the members of our little clan.  Even MattDaddy pulled it together!  I purposely combined some family favorites like reading and monsters to ensure adult interest.  This is Saturday night with kids and I loved every minute of it!  Behold the terrifying monster bookmarks that stole our Saturday night. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

for the tummy

Today's For the Tummy features a bit of foraging the in yard.  It's spring which means that Wild Violet are spreading across the lawn like wildfire.  They love the shady, loamy soil that lies along the creeks edge.  I have been anticipating a harvest for a few weeks and cashed in yesterday while the weather was just perfect.  The flowers made a perfect addition to our salad for dinner.  A beautiful baby spring mix with blueberries, strawberries and little violet flowers with a rosemary and blackcurrant balsamic dressing.  Almost too pretty to eat.  Almost. 
The next adventure with these beautiful blossoms is to make wild violet honey.  Perfect for soothing late night coughing spells.  I used equal parts blossoms, cleaned and de-stemmed, and local raw honey. I will update its optimal steeping time when the honey reaches it peak in flavor. 
Happy foraging!