October 22, 2014

hold on a minute...

Hold on.  Before you up and start thinking I'm someone I'm not, let me clear a possible misconception.  Yes, yesterday's post is near and dear to my heart.  I not only care about the foods we eat around here, but I really really really enjoy chowing on healthy foods like: arugula, and soba noodles, and milk kefir, and sushi, and I know the farmer-all happy-eat pesticide free grass-hang with your calf-beef.  Sure.  For the most part I live off a diet like that. But...

I am a card carrying member of the Booberry cereal fan club; have been for quite a long time.  It has quite a following actually- even secured it's own Facebook page.  

Part of it's mystique (besides the fact that it's a ghost mascot on the box.  Serious.) is that it's only mainly available during the Halloween season, so hunting down my holy grail of cereal in Target this past weekend led to a thrilling find.  It's back!!  It's crunchy marshmallow ghosts and it's blueberry flavored grains.  Here's how I showed restrain: I did not buy more than one 2 boxes because it wouldn't be any fun if I could eat it whenever I wanted (and since Champ knew I had already bought a box for my brother-fellow card carrying member- earlier this season my excuse that it was for him would have been a total lie and I would have been busted.)  Here's how I did not show restrain: this afternoon I pulled out two bowls and treated Ace to his first helping of this ultramarine dyed deliciousness.  He didn't know what to think since boxed cereal of any sort is a rare item to find in this house.

I said "Happy Halloween season!  Dig in!" and then modeled what to do.  After a few moments of crunching, he smiled wide his blue stained teeth. "This good" he said.  That's my boy I thought, then I went and hid the second box.

October 21, 2014

The school lunch

Going in to this whole "starting kindergarten" thing, I had my reservations.  Mainly, food.  Especially lunches.  Bear eats well- I believe the going term is "adventurous"- but I had no idea what would happen once he started in on these 7 hour school days.  A Mama can pack a healthy lunch, but will her boy eat it?!  Admittedly, one of the great joys I've found in motherhood is watching my children ingest the food I've prepared for them.  This frames me as a creepy overlord, but the sentiment is genuine with little hearts drawn all over it.   From nursing on up, I've liked to watch my boys eat; perhaps a layover from our primal past?  I don't need to be around when my boys are ordering ice cream at the dairy bar or housing restaurant french fries, but if they are at home, eating homemade foods, I'm usually nearby with a goofy grin on my face.  I LIKE seeing what they eat.

School then, caused a problem.  I thought about his lunch a lot in the weeks leading up to school.  I wondered how I would get nutritious foods into his system both willingly, and without making him feel like the wackiest lunch carting kid in kindergarten.

In the end, my seeming problem resolved itself; even proving to supply my mealtime
maniacal grin as I pack lunch each night.  The school encourages lunch packing (for most of the week anyway).  CHECK!  My sister-in-law gifted Bear with the coolest lunch box ever right before school started.  DOUBLE CHECK!  Bear picked out a shark themed carrier for it and suddenly lunch time at school was a rockin' place to be: was it because I put a silly little something in his lunch each day to make him laugh, or maybe the daily note tucked around his silverware?  I was thinking about this last night as I steeped his caffeine free rooibus tea to put in his SIGG bottle. Gathering up the weird toy to hide in his kiwi, funneling the tea into his water bottle...  all are actions that help me to feel I still have a handle on my child's life- he's only 6 of course I do- but that isn't always easy to stand by when Bear is someone else's responsibility for such a large chunk of the day.  Who steeps tea to send with their child each day???!!!!!!!  I do thank you very much, and I will continue to do such things for as long as he lets me.  Some folks don't need these
salvations, but oh I do. My gig is food: it's the most tangible way for me to show love to my family.  Prepping Bear's lunch tonight, tomorrow, the next day, and the next has been the unexpected balm helping me to ease into this new, adventurous world of kindergarten.

October 15, 2014

Picture book review: Grandfather Twilight

Move over Goodnight Moon, there's a new bedtime book in the house!  Yeah, yeah Margaret Brown knew her stuff and children should own a copy of Goodnight Moon, but you know what?  Children should also own a copy of Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger.  I first came upon this book when working at the bookstore.  I promptly bought myself a copy and squirreled it away because I knew it was bound to become a classic in our house.  It did.

Grandfather Twilight is a calm exuding, elderly gentleman- as modeled here by Ace who is smitten SMITTEN with the character.  He lives in a dreamy house in the woods along with a cat, a German Shepherd, and a gorgeous chest full of pearls.  He also owns a pair of slippers; a key detail in Ace's opinion.

Similar to "Goodnight Moon", the story line is tightly composed with perfectly curated words.  The pictures set the tone immediately with wispy watercolors that are pure art.  
I'm not kidding- I could frame every single picture from this book.  As Grandfather walks through the pages he leaves twilight behind where daylight had just been;  journeying through the woods to the sea where he gently places the pearl in the sky to complete the Earth's cycle in to night.  Returning home, the animals are tucked in, the candle blown out, and good night whispered.  

 The book is moving enough to have Ace spending his days "walking like Grandfather Twilight"*, thus how can you not give in to this kind of recommendation for a book?! 

* actually Grandfather Twilight has great posture

October 13, 2014

Ace confronts 3

Ace turned 3 last week.  He had big BIG plans for the day involving candy, some taboo lunch choices, and rainbow everything.  Here's how it went down:

When I snuck in to peek at his last few hours as a 2yr old, I discovered the dogs packed tightly around him; ushering him into threedom like some mythological guardians of the calendar.

Either that, or everybody was cold that night.  When he woke, we celebrated with Bear until it was time to catch the school bus.

Now this child of mine-  he is not Bear.  He does not request things that Bear would.  He does not need suggestions as he always has his own plan of action.  Therefore once Bear was out of sight, Ace immediately began requesting "candy!"  "rainbow popsicles!"  "candy!"  "chicken nuggets!" "candy!".  Having heard these requests for the past month in anticipation of his big day, I knew just where to head first.

Candy for breakfast?  Sure if only once a year (or so).  Afterwards, I tried to take a few photos like I've seen floating around online
- gorgeous fall backdrop, dappled lighting, interesting plants- 
Ace was not that cooperative.  You think it was the candy?

We took a break for lunch.  There must have been a blue moon on his birthday...

Ace was livin' the life by this point in the day.  He asked "is my birthday tomorrow too?"  I replied that those mythical dogs should have told him the full deal of how birthdays work: only one gloriously reckless day per year.  Tomorrow we eat broccoli again.  We swung by the post office to pick up some birthday packages and that perked his spirits right up.

Our friends were having a harvest fest... they generously expanded it into a birthday party.  We brought rainbow popsicles and wore tie dye.  The band played happy birthday and Ace was smitten with the idea that this gathering was entirely for him.  We rolled with it into the evening hours, agreeing that the birthday fireworks were indeed spectacular.

We tucked him into bed a sticky, field burrs in hair mess.  There was a grin on his face and new rainbow silks surrounding him.  He smelled of a chocolate grass sweat blend: a perfume that for the rest of my life will remind me of him, me, and one perfect fall day in 2014.  Happy 3rd birthday, Ace.  We love you.

September 15, 2014

Roll over

All I wanted was to snap an updated photo of Trot and Huckle. but Huckle had other ideas.  I recently taught him to roll over so he felt inclined to show me what he's learned thus far.  What's funnier: Huckle's pride or Trot's indifference?


Our days are currently as packed as the jars I keep canning. Blanching and chopping (hence, my missing thumb) and gathering and freezing and drying and on and on and on.  This year I scored an extra bounty of tomatoes at a year sale (I was delighted!), and Champ scored a free dishwasher to replace our "exhausted by any effort towards washing" one.  That's what I call a great harvest season.   

      taking a break to look for gold.  They didn't find anything but more green beans.

This time of year I drink a whole lot of coffee; intently burning the candle down so that there is no such thing as an end.  Champ and I are about as exhausted as Huckle there most days, but if I'm to feel exhaustion this is the type I prefer: complete with nicks on my hands, lukewarm coffee on the counter, beet stains on all the dish towels, and a growing insurance that we will have produce readily available throughout the winter days.  The days when I certainly could bundle up and drive down a snowy road to the grocery store, but why?  Some folks preserve their food out of necessity- I'm not that by any means.  Other folks preserve food because while it's tiring, they find fulfillment and nourishment in it- that's kind of me.  A few folks put food by so that they can be lazy yet healthful all winter long- now that's me!  

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