Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mid-winter fun

I’ve been neglecting the blog, as well as photo taking and crafting a bit.  Mid-winter makes curling up with a book my top night-time priority.   However, we have been filling our days with lots of fun activities.

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We spent a day with the neighbor's and their grandchildren (who Joseph used to go to school with). 

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And we love sledding with buddies Wyatt and Isabelle at their great-grandpa and next-door neighbors house.

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The snow was PERFECT for building on this day!

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To brag, just a little, I made a BIG New Years meal, my most extravagant entertaining to date.  On the menu (that I can remember): baked beans, ham, lasagna, bread, scalloped potatoes, and fruit cobbler.  It was a lot of work, but fun and so yummy—especially the weeks worth of leftovers.

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On of my very favorite activities is to go “exploring” in the woods here.  I used to think of a walk as needing path and a destination.  Now I am learning to enjoy letting J take the lead, with his own ideas and wims and a three-year-old timetable. 

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What a beautiful, beautiful day!! (This was during our big thaw earlier this month.)

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Is it cat? Or is it a dog?  Mischa may look like a kitty, but sometimes he acts more like the family dog.

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Watching the resident owl and J’s school.  This little guy isn’t shy and greets us almost every day.

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Yesterday we were back at the sledding with Wyatt and Isabelle.  IMG_0017

The boys adored this pink thing (no idea what it is called).  No one, including Courtney and I, could get far, but the boys tried over and over again, crashing joyfully.

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And they introduced us to the “spider pile” method of sledding.  Pile on and then spin down the hill at high speeds!  What fun!

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More pics to come . . .

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Food favorites

I am LOVING this granola—so simple and incredibly yummy.  We just finished our first batch yesterday and plan to make more tonight.  I dream of someday kicking boxes out of my kitchen, and would especially like to get rid of all over-priced, over-sugared, over-commercial, over-processed cereal.  I made it with (using what I had on hand) only sunflower seeds for seeds, chopped walnuts instead of almonds, everyday whole wheat flower and vegetable oil, Dole mango juice, and of course our very own maple syrup. 

Also making me very happy is baking bread!  I go through phases with this, as it isn’t always the best for my waist line, but it sure is enjoyable.  My grandmother makes bread often and gave me a copy of her go-to book:

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

It is so easy and yummy.  I make the Light Whole Wheat bread.

Cookbooks are sort of a passion/obsession of mine, and I am very happy (thanks Bob!) to finally have a whole bookshelf dedicated to my collection.  However, I collect so many that I still have lots to discover.  Here are some of my other current favorites:

  • The Fanny Farmer Cookbook
  • Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Sienfeld
  • First Meals by Annabel Karmel

I also very often use allrecipes to find recipes, enjoy watching the PBS cooking shows, and get lots of cookbooks out of the library.

Today for fun in the kitchen Joseph and I made bird “muffins” (just peanut butter and birdseed mixed together and frozen in muffin tins and hung outside) and SNOW ICE CREAM.  We still have some kinks to work out with the bird muffins (they fell of their strings the first time so are in the freezer again for another try), but the snow ice cream was a big hit.  It was incredibly easy and fun.  All you do is fill a bowl with snow, mix in some sweetened condensed milk, and a tiny bit of vanilla.  Joseph really wanted chocolate so in his bowl we added cocoa powder.  I am sure we will be doing this again.  It received many thumbs up and lots of Joseph-style enthusiasm.

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We love playing in the kitchen!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Captain Naked-Pants (more overheard from Joseph)

  • When mad at me because I wouldn’t let him have any candy Joseph threatened: “Fine, I wont eat any more candy ever!” I have also heard: “I am throwing away all my toys!” 
  • “Remember a long long time ago when Margot grew a Shu-shi foot?  She grew a kitty!”  (Margot is our one-year-old kitty and Shu-shi is her kitten, who is now bigger than her and STILL nurses btw.  We actually watched him come out.)
  • “Can I have peanut butter and jelly?” At Thanksgiving, and pretty much every other meal.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We finally implemented a “once a day pb & j” rule.  
  • “I am Captain Naked-Pants!”
  • “It’s a big world!”
  • “I’m shaving” with lotion all over his face . . . 
  • “When I’m a big kid I can carry you and Shu-shi and daddy.”
  • “I am working hard.  I have to do hard work.”
  • “This is my creative toy.”
  • Me: “How old are you going to be on your next birthday?”  J: “almost 5.” (He is very aware of the fact that you start Kindergarden when you are five.  To him 5=big kid.) 
  • “That’s a really fat man.”  When a large and rather masculine women walked into the restaurant.
  • And, just now, he started doing perfect chasses, with even his arms in attitude (this is ballet step kind of like skipping sideways with one arm high and one arm at waist level).  I was very surprised and asked him where he learned this.  He said (seriously) “I felt it in my body.” (!?!?!?)  What a dancer!  ;-)
  • “Shu-shi is president!” 
  • “Where does the sun go at night?”  “Where do snowmen go at night?” 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Xmas festivities

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This Christmas was notable for us because Joseph is so much more aware.  All the typical traditions seem to mean much more, and we therefore are doing many more of them!  Setting out snacks for Santa and the reindeer was very exciting for J.  He wrote Santa, choose the snacks (there were chocolates too, but someone had already eaten them by photo time), and then told me to write thank you!

 

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Christmas Eve I also decided was a good time to finally finish making stockings for everyone. 

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All set!!! I have never ever made such a production out of Christmas and I am pretty sure my family never did either.  I actually had presents wrapped way ahead of time (mostly because that was the only way to keep Joseph out of them).  We have never done stockings of our own before.  Lots of fun!  I also must say how much I enjoy the Christmas tree tradition—it’s perfect decorating for me: a piece of beautiful green (and free) nature with lights and lots of homemade accents.  We just took it down and I miss it.

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Joseph woke up very excited at 5:15 and we decided to let him go right down and open his stockings for the special occasion. 

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By 7 we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s for more Christmas fun!

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In the afternoon we headed to Lincoln for the Shattuck family party.

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It was pretty rockus at times, but so much fun!

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Joseph and I like to spend the night so mom can party all night (this time I actually was in the early to bed crowd).  J went right to sleep after a night-night story from adored cousin Charlie. 

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It’s so nice to have a relaxed day at the cabin with family.

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The snow was perfect for outdoor adventures.  First J got a ride from Uncle Marc and then he tried out his very own skis!!!

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Part of learning ;-)  He actually had a very good attitude about this.

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One ski wouldn’t stay on so he fiddled around on the other.  He seemed surprisingly into it though so I may work on getting him more skiing experience.  Marc then took him sledding and I got time for a great ski of my own!

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We also tried out Troy’s snowshoes, which didn’t last long.  I never loved them either, but maybe we will have to give them more of a try.  It is really great to get out and play in the winter!

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On the way home we stopped by for a visit with the Wells in their new home.  Joseph and Ceira had fun making us all some yummy cookies!