Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to Read & Get Where You're Goin'

Our summer reading is going so well! I'm not saying this to be braggy (as our friend says) - I'm saying this with great surprise!

To be clear, I've read very little -- but we've listened to a large handful of the books from our pie-in-the-sky summer reading list.  (We've never made a list before; that was an inspired whim that somehow has taken shape!)

So far, we've enjoyed: Thimble Summer, The Would-Be-Goods, Five Children and It, and now we're on to Swallows and Amazons. 

I, for one, am loving it.  I believe both kids are, too.  Sela asks the moment we get into the car.  Linus rarely asks for something else, although he does sometimes ask for a Raffi song by singing it (which melts my heart - tiny little voices singing song lyrics is pure, sweet magic).

We've bitten off quite a large one, this time. (Gasp!)  I hope this won't mean it's the last of our summer 2012 books!

And boy, I thought I was quite clever combining Swallows & Amazons with Mr. Putter and Tabby Row the Boat and a day trip up to paddle around on the lake.  Well -- we didn't quite make it all the way to the lake, but it was a fun idea.  In any case, the books are great, and summer's not over yet...

Monday, July 23, 2012

What We Need

This morning's activity sponsored by...
our Village.

When we accidentally checked out Mr. Putter & Tabby on cassette (rather than cd), I was finally motivated to make a last attempt at assessing the working order of any and all cassette players in our basket of such things.  New batteries in each and a solid try.  All three (!!!) were broken.  I sent out a call to our Village, and this little beauty was kindly gifted to us, no longer the loved play thing it once had been at their house.

And this was not a passing fancy for Linus. This was the day's activity.  Of course! There are buttons!  You can make it do things!  (Nobody reminds about cd scratches.)

And so, having enjoyed Mr. Putter's fine adventure many (many, many, many) funny times, I remembered having organized all our (unusable without a working cassette player) cassettes in a drawer at one point, I think...

Oh yes, here it is neatly labeled & lovingly adorned... it up...

... and voila!  More gifts from our Village.  A treasure trove.

We get a lot from our Village: toys, games, meals, clothes, educational materials, organized activities -- from our entire "village" - near and far.  
But, most importantly, we receive care and friendship.
It comes in many, many forms.  I see it and feel it sprinkled throughout the course of every day.
And I am grateful.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What's on the Menu?

Cool weather & time, glorious time led us to an impromptu Cooking Camp at our house this week.
It was nothing fancy, but there was no rushing, and we made it up as we went along -- so it fit easily with anything else we had going on.
The number one (unspoken) rule for me was:
Enjoy our time in the kitchen together.
Cooking Camp wasn't on a checklist; it was just one of life's lovely little bonuses that I had time to notice because we slooooowed down.

"What should we make?"
"Apple pie & peanut butter cookies!"

We added some other dishes, too, as time and supplies on hand allowed.

Linus "smashing to smithereens" the
peaches for peach crisp.
The kitchen is another place we can all
add our own unique flavor to our family life.

Making Banana Coins meant both kids
learning to use a new kitchen tool.

Sela asked to make apple pie and did more of the work
on it than I did.  Even the "star" vents were her vision.
Fruit pies are fantastic family cooking projects. 
Surprisingly simple to make & truly delightful to eat!

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes about
healthy eating.
"What would you like on your salad?"
"Pie."  - Drew Carey

And, our meals were more interesting this week
(considering many of them had fruit in them, why
reserve them for dessert only?)

Banana Coins
Crush graham crackers in a small ziplock.
Add equal part ground flaxseed meal & mix.
Add sliced bananas & shake to coat.
Practice with your tongs to remove : )

Breakfast Popsicles
Stir together 2/3 cup vanilla yogurt & 1/3 cup (thick) orange juice.
Pour into popsicle molds & freeze.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lessons from My Garden: Perspective

This is how our little peach tree looks from the house.

And this is how it looks from a different angle.

Sometimes you've got to change your perspective to discover a treasure.

Incidentally, this is how the peach tree looks next to (little) people.  (More perspective.)  This tree really cracks me up!

Another note on perspective-  Listen to the words of this cute song.  You're looking for "Humpty's At It Again" - go forward to the fourth song.  Totally worth it.  Oo-oo-oo... 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

baby bok choy, 2 ways

We had baby bok choy for dinner.

Slice off the bottoms

We had baby bok choy for art.

Use paint for stamping on cards
Use pastels for leaves & notes


Stir-fried bok choy with roasted peanuts
3 Tbsp peanuts
2 tsp roasted peanut oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (too hot for Linus - probably reduce if serving to kids)
1 1/2 lbs bok choy
2 Tbsp peanut oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbsp water or stock
1 tsp roasted peanut oil

Fry the peanuts in 2 tsp roasted peanut oil until they're golden brown.  Chop with the pepper flakes and a few pinches of salt (if peanuts are unsalted) & set aside.

Slice off the bok choy stems and cut them into 1-inch pieces.  Leave the leaves whole.  Coat pan with up to 2 Tbsp peanut oil.  When hot, add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Add the bok choy and a few pinches of salt and stir-fry until wilted and glossy.  Add the soy sauce and cornstarch and stir-fry for 1 or 2 minutes more or until the leaves are shiny and glazed.  Add the crush peanuts, toss and serve with rice or noodles.

adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Monday, July 2, 2012

those summer nights

fresh veggies on the counter
kids at table working on project
doors open with a slight breeze
math nathanson radio on Pandora
talk of what we did today

roasted sweet peppers
3-4 sweet peppers, cored & sliced (these are gypsy)
1 clove garlic, minced
a teaspoon of your favorite cooking herb (I didn't have any, skipped it & it was still great)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

preheat oven to 425 degrees.
toss peppers, garlic, herb & olive oil together.
season peppers with salt & pepper.
cook peppers on baking sheet for about 5 minutes (peppers are soft, not charred).
sprinkle parmesan on top & let melt for one more minute.
drizzle with lemon juice & serve.

from the fields, farm fresh to you, june 11-15, 2012