October 21, 2009

Hit the trail, Pumpkin seed style

What about all those pumpkin seeds left over from this recipe?

Have no fear: a friend just handed me the newest edition of Martha Stewart Living and Martha's latest "good thing" will become our Good Thing with a little tweaking!


Combine those seeds you saved (1C or more), plus 1/2C almonds with a little oil and a sprinkle or two of salt. Spread on a pan and put in the oven at 375* until golden brown. It took me a little over 10 minutes and I stirred them up halfway through.
When toasted, add 1/2C unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/2C dried cranberries and/or rasins and 1/4C candied ginger cut into little pieces. Stores at room temp. for 2 weeks:
I packaged mine into a canning jar for an easy hostess gift I will need this weekend.

This mix most certainly is a yummy, delicious good thing.

October 20, 2009

Montessori Mama

In the world of educating children, there are many, I mean MANY different buzz words. We all want to do what's best for our children, but if we can barely pronounce, much less understand all the different schools of learning, how can we possibly translate this into educational action for our kids?

Actually, I have no idea. However, recently I narrowed it down a bit and began exploring alternative education styles because I wanted to pick up some tips on what we could be doing at home with Bear. So I starting searching around and even in the outer fringes of educational possibilities I STILL found quite a few choice

Let's try saying some of their names, shall we?
Waldorf, Charter based, Montessori, Reggio Emilio and multiple intelligences/Gardner schools just to name a few.

I am sure each philosophy has many redeeming characteristics, but I'm not about to analyze them for us. That would be nice and informative, but that woul
d almost be boring for some of you, wouldn't it?
Instead, I sheepishly (I know you were waiting for a picture)...

submit that I will chat with you on occasion about my take on my favorite of the fancy named pedagogies: the Montessori method.

Why this one?

Well, I personally feel the most common ground with this style and I have some history with it as I've used elements of it in my public school classroom when I
taught kindergarten.
Why sheepishly?
Because with all due respect, I am no Maria Montessori. In fact I am not even a certified Montessori director. I just like what I know about the meth
od already and I am impressed with how well it translates to Bear.

"Sheepish". Wow, the lengths I go to in order to just be able to post some photos from our weekend. Anyway...

The slogan, if you will, of Montessori is:
An eye that sees
a hand that obeys
a soul that feels

Oooh, I love it! No matter who reads that should take it to heart, don't you think? While that sums it up in a nutshell, a few more details are in order.

The Montessori Method began in Italy by a woman *gasp!* named Maria Montessori. It has since spread all over the world. It is famous, but not trademarked so you may find variations on the teaching methods depending on where you are. No matter what though, all schools will reflect the keystone points of: respect for the child and an emphasis on self directed, real life experiential activity.

The method supports the belief that physical activity plays a large role in the absorption of learning concepts and skills by the child:
this BY FAR is Champ's favorite aspect of Montessori learning, but then again he is a physical education teacher! While fantasy has it's place in this type of education, the "real world" is considered most important as providing educational experiences.

So that's that. If you want to know more about the Montessori Method, just do a little web surfing and you will find lots and lots of information on it (believe me!).

Now you're in the know and your ready to join Bear on his Montessori journey.
This post and any following ones on the Montessori topic are sponsored in part by:

the Internet
books on the topic
informed friends
and a well intentioned Mama.

October 19, 2009

Bitten by the Blogger Bug

It is all just so very exciting: I'm really enjoying this blogging thing! Today I learned all kinds of fancy, new blog directions like:

HTML, buttons for blogs, labels for blogs, how to change a background, how to make your own signature, adjusting margins, striking through text, changing fonts or colors
and my favorite:
how to entertain a sick husband and a 15 month old son while doing it all!

I'll be back tomorrow with a fully new and improved blog and in the meantime, check out my new signature. Eh? Pretty neat, huh?!

October 17, 2009

Company coming? It's time for the Magic Pumpkin!

This weekend we welcomed lots of wonderful company into our home. I knew they'd be here in time for dinner so I had made a yummy pot roast, but...
as we waited for their arrival, the phone rang and they announced that they had made wonderful time and would be to our wooded hamlet in time for LUNCH!!!!!

After a few moments of scrambling, flailing and picking up all the things Bear had most recently strewn about the floor, I found the pumpkins I had been collecting from our C.S.A.

Hmmm? Maybe?
I suddenly had inspiration: Pumpkin Cheese Soup!
YES, YES! That would be perfect!!

Say you're name is Cinderella and you're in a mealtime pinch too, just grab that carriage pumpkin of yours and try your own kind of magic on it...

First, find some carving to
ols. Bear would suggest a spoon and a hammer. I suggest a spoon and a knife.

Carve the top of the pumpkin off with a knife. This really will work best no matter what Bear insists about his hammer being able to do the job. Remove the seeds and save to roast later.

Now for the ingredients to add:

1 1/2 C chicken stock
1 pint light cream
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder

In order for it to be, well Pumpkin CHEESE Soup, add the cheese. I used 1 bag of white cheddar and 1 bag of yellow cheddar.

Stir it up, put the lid back on the pumpkin and set the whole thing on a jelly roll pan (to catch any potential spills). Bake for 1 hour at 350*

After an hour, pull it out of the oven, scrape down some of the pumpkin sides into the soup and stir it up gently. Remember not to scrape too much off the bottom of the pumpkin. Check the flavor and add any needed seasoning.
You could leave it in this state or do one of 2 things:
ladle it into your food processor, puree and then add back into the pumpkin or do what I did and use your immersion blender. Just be careful that the wand does not puncture the skin of the pumpkin.

top with a little nutmeg and then set the lunch table: I was able to serve 6 adults with about 3 cups leftover.

Sheer Magic!
and you have plenty of time left to enjoy your company
or head out to the Ball; if there weren't still that annoying issue of having baked your transportation.

October 16, 2009

Doctor's recommendation

Bear had his 15 month check-up yesterday and I am happy to report that he continues to be deemed a healthy, happy competent baby. Champ and I are so very blessed!

While at the pediatrician's office, the first thing I wanted to talk about was th

What's that? I haven't mentioned his head injury yet? You had no idea? Oh, well, I um... why don't I tell you now?

Yes, Bear had his first big injury this week which is pretty impressive considering
A. he's a boy

B. he's already been on this Earth for 15 months
C. He somehow managed to miss his skull when
he had his first official injury of his life at 13 months (notice exhibit D entitled "bloody lip")

The day in question began with a previously rough night. Bear kept waking up and crying from his crib, so after 3 or 5 or 9 or however many times we ended getting up Champ and I decided to pull him into bed with us. That helped enough to settle him and get him to sleep for a few hours.

The next morning, Champ and I got up, formed our usual bed of pillows around Bear and tiptoed out the door. When the boy woke, he called out "Mama" as usual and since it sounded a bit urgent, I headed in there quickly so that he wouldn't fall off the bed or something.
You know, I was being safe!

as I opened the door, caught Bear's head with the edge of it and sent him flying off toward my closet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oh dear.
Oh yes there was blood and tears and a big 'ol lump forming on his head A.S.A.P.
This was taken 3 days later and it's still not so pretty. Bear was unfazed by the whole thing within 20 minutes, I on the other hand am still dealing with it!!! Injuring my own son!!! Argh!

We watched Bear's pupils all day, gave him Tylenol and applied Arnica gel to the scene of the crime. We didn't call the pediatrician because even though it was awful to us, the injury itself, in Champ's health educator perspective, was not threatening.

So back to my pediatrician question: I asked if I had done the right thing. Should I have called? Was I remiss? The Dr. said we did everything right
except for causing the injury in the first place is what I thought I heard him say
If Bear had lost unconsciousness, cried for a long period of time or had dilated pupils then we needed to call right away and head to the E.R.

How strange that a day where I was lamenting my terrible lack of SAFETY turned into a day where we, on instinct and a bit of knowledge, did exactly what our pediatrician would have recommended. This isn't to say that head injuries aren't something serious or that parents shouldn't call doctors with concerns. Certainly the medical profession knows much more than I do about traumas.

It's just that if there's one thing that I learned through the head bump, it's this: I'm actually a better parent than I give myself credit for. I need to remember this because in the near future Bear will have another injury since:

A. being a boy, he is prone to injuries

B. with age comes injuries

C. he somehow managed to not drive his Mama completely off the deep end with his previous two injuries

Ahh boys, gotta love 'em!

October 14, 2009

Gingerbread waffles

It has been a rough night. Perhaps I have had 4 hours of sleep at best!
Bear turned 15 months last week and it's been a little insane around here ever since. I keep repeatin

it's just a phase
it's just a phase

it's just a phase...

yeah, well it hasn't helped center me just yet, so when Bear woke up this morning after another rough night where he needed to be pulled in to our bed, I took matters into my own hands and did what any good Mama would do-

I made a comforting
, delicious breakfast
for me because I so needed it Bear.
Gingerbread waffles- Mmmm the perfect Fall breakfast! Want some? I thought so! Now follow along:

In a pot, combine 1C molasses (I use blackstrap), 1/4C cocoa an
d 1/2C butter over medium heat until it almost boils. Remove from heat and let it cool a bit then throw it in your mixing bowl. Add 1/2C milk, 1 egg, 1 1/2t baking soda, 2C flour, 1 1/2t ginger, 1/2t cinnamon and 1/4t salt to bowl and mix together until smooth. Heat up your waffle iron and get to it! The recipe makes about 6 waffles and they are extra good with chocolate syrup or as a dessert with pumpkin ice cream.

They're guaranteed to make a 15 month old go from feeling like this (note the teary, oh so sad eyes):

to feeling like this:

well, it's a little better anyway!!

October 13, 2009

Do you know the Mitten Man?

Do you know the Mitten Man,
the Mitten Man...

the Mitten Man?

Do you know the Mitten Man...

Who wouldn't take his mittens off all day!

October 12, 2009

Veggie Tales

When I was growing up, I'd open up our freezer and a rock hard r
oast would fall out.

If that didn't injure me, then a margarine container full of some so
rt of soup or sauce was most certainly bound to end up crushing my toe, bouncing on the floor and cracking open.

I've had a sort of love/hate relationship with freezers ever since, but nowadays
I love my freezer. It is having a freezer Renaissance of sorts...

We are members of a C.S.A. which means we get all o
ur produce from a local farm. C.S.A. stands for Community Sponsored Agriculture: we pay a membership up front and then we reap the harvest as the crops flourish.
Sometimes I can't even get the produce put away before it's eaten. That's a beet in his mouth, folks. Apparently Bear likes beets.  And no, even though the photo looks like a choking hazard- how weird!, I promise you, it was only a small bite he took.

So you mean T.J. gets fresh, organic produce at a great price a
nd becomes a part of the local movement by supporting her neighborhood farm?

YOU BETCHA! This by the way is a brussel sprout stalk that's been debrussel

Are you curious about j
oining a farm? See if there's a C.S.A. in your neck of the woods.

With one more week to go this seas
on, my shelves are filled with canned tomatoes and pickles. Potatoes, squash, beets and carrots are spilling out of the storage area, garlic and onions are hung to the rafters and there is enough frozen produce in my freezer to feed an army, or at least my family for the months ahead.

As Winter bears down and Spring eventually returns, my freezer
goes through it's seasons, too. Right now it is full to the brim looking for toes to crush. Come March, it will be a rather lean machine which will mean my next CSA season is right around the corner and the cycle will begin again.

October 11, 2009

A wooden umbrella

The smell of wood piles burning, the rusty colors of Fall on the trees, the warm thermos of apple cider in the cup holder; all of these just scream let's go shopping to me! That's right, I love love love yard sales and there is no time like Fall to stock up on all those holiday must haves:

a wooden umbrella
an antique insulated milk box

a hodgepodge of pottery cups
shiny new shoes for Bear...

Like I said- all the holiday must haves!!!

Have you heard of The Compact? Originating in San Francisco and now with chapters all over the U.S., The Compact is a movement whose members promise not to buy anything new for a year. A whole, entire 365 day year!
How fabulous that sounds to me. Life altering! But... *sigh* I know I'm not in a place to do it right now nor do I think I 100% would want to do it...

Like all good things though, it got me thinking- what
can I do? How can I simplify and help out our budget? So this year, yard sales, thrift shops and the like are taking on a whole new meaning for me. I will try to get as many gifts as possible through um, "not new" means. This could save money and help the environment by recycling items. Maybe it will even encourage me to look at Compact life beyond gift giving.

Oh it sounds so noble and
different. I like different. But how easy will it be to follow? Let me shrug my shoulders at you and say "WHO KNOWS?" I'll have to keep you updated.
In the meantime, admire my latest "not new" loot:

Oh, and Bear likes his shoes.

I know this because he doesn't take them off and throw them when we are in the car as he does with his store bought shoes: he supports my Compact attempt.

Either that or he hasn't figured out how to yank his loafers off just yet.

October 10, 2009

Why am I Blogging? Seriously?

Exactly what am I doing here late at night, sitting at my computer? Don't I have enough on my plate with work and a family? Who is even going to read the silly thing? These are all the questions parading through my head and yet, here I am, typing away!

Maybe I'm here because I miss writing as much as I used to, you know... before kids.

Perhaps it's because I read enough blogs to respect their writers and want to attempt publishing a post or two myself.

When I really think about it, I come up with this: blogging gives me a way of putting my thoughts down into perpetual preservation. All the moments I choose to write about will forever be here.

Bear is little now, but someday I like to think that he will appreciate all (well almost all) of what I have written as a loving documentation of our daily life, our daily struggles and what it means to be a family.

If what I write is noteworthy to you too, then come along and join us; we're happy to have you with us during these moments we call life.

October 09, 2009

Blog Awards

I feel so loved.  Thank you friends for your deliciously awesome awards!

                                                   Thank you, Katelyn! 

 Thank you, VKT!

                                           Thank you, Emmy!

 Thank you, Coffee Slut!     

                                                  Thank you, Christy!

                                                 Thank You, Coffee Slut!

                                                    Thank you Katelyn!

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