Tuesday, May 25, 2010

cooking lessons: graham crackers

It's a constant challenge for me to be creative in my teaching.

Teaching? I'm still so surprised that I ended up in the role of the teacher of my kids. Not just teaching them how to tie their shoes, but stuff like math. Reading. It's still intimidating, but we're getting along. And I find myself challenged to find ways to keep things interesting.

Last week, I was so inspired by this blog post at Local Nourishment. And thus I decided to start "cooking school."

Here's the deal: it's not uncommon for Ben and Kyle to show interest in working in the kitchen. Remember this post?

Still, I tend to resist. Part of it is knowing I can do things so much more quickly, neatly, efficiently. And while I readily admit to being a very messy cook, at least I'm aware of it. I do make an effort to clean up after myself. And I'm fairly sure that I'm not as messy as my two boys are.

Of course, I do invite them to help sometimes...but to be honest, it goes against my grain. It's a stretch for me. I'd rather do it myself.

But after being challenged last week by the idea of using a "Real Food Kitchen" as a classroom, I've made a commitment - to myself, and to them. Yesterday we brainstormed things they'd like to learn to make (they're pretty excited!), and today we had our first lesson.

The goal: homemade graham crackers. I used a recipe I found Wardeh by at GNOWFGLINS, click here to take a peek. We made the sprouted flour variation. The boys were so interested!

I let them be creative when cutting the crackers, although I admit that it pained me a little bit.

Here's the pan I kept a tighter rein over:

The thing is, they loved the experience. And they loved the crackers. I have a feeling that this could be the beginning of a beautiful thing.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Not Me" Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Yes, keep on reading... if you didn't fall out of your chairs, that is. That's right, I'm posting a "Not me" Monday this week! Shocking, I know. It just felt like the right time. Please hop over to MckMama's blog, My Charming Kids, to continue the celebration.

As for me, I definitely didn't abandon the idea of potty training my 2-year-old, a mere 6 days after we began. Why would I? I mean, the potty is a great place to hang out, even if you're not seeing any successes. I just love the idea of a party at the potty. Don't you?

You can be sure that I didn't wait three months to clear the baby shower debris from my daughter's bedroom. And so of course, last week I did not fold up approximately 3000 gift bags, and approximately 9000 sheets of colored tissue paper. There's no way I would leave those things kicking around by her dresser so so long.

While shopping a month or so ago, there is no way I abruptly decided not to try on a pair of jeans after I'd taken them to a dressing room, just because they had a button fly. I have plenty of time to button five buttons on my jeans every time I use the bathroom. In fact, I've got nothing but time on my hands these days...

Upon beginning my most recent attempt to shuck the pregnancy weight, I absolutely wasn't astonished by the fact that my household goes through much fewer sweets when I'm not eating them. And I didn't find that fact sobering at all.

After eating out with friends, after I discovered that I'd ordered a cup of soup as well as tater tots to go with my meal, and not instead of, I definitely didn't go ahead and eat them both anyway.

And at the end of the meal, I for sure didn't put half of my dinner in a box, and then proceed to eat the rest of the tater tots on the drive home. They're not so tasty as to be that addictive! And even if they were, I absolutely would have more willpower than that.

Lastly, I positively didn't realize during the share-about-your-week time at Bible study, that the most exciting thing that I'd experienced during the past week was discover that my house had been invaded by ants. That'd be a little bit pathetic. So nope, not me!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

she is...

...sometimes serious,




...and seriously sweet.

Friday, May 21, 2010

if you give a mama a pile of dirty dishes...

If you give a mama a big pile of dirty dishes,
She'll put them in the dishwasher.

After she puts the dishes in the dishwasher,
She'll turn it on.

Listening to the water run will remind her
That she needs to wipe the lunch off her 2-year-old's face.

So she'll get a warm, wet washcloth, and turn to chase her toddler.
When he sees her coming, he'll run the other way.

As she goes after him, she'll trip and crash into her 4-year-old.
She'll thank him for breaking her fall, and check to see if he's hurt.

After ensuring that no either of them are injured, she'll continue hunting for her toddler.
She'll look and look.

Finally she'll find him sleeping under her 7-year-old's bed.
She'll pick him up and settle him to his own bedroom.

As she exits the room, she'll see a baby sock on the floor.
She'll tiptoe into the sleeping 3-month-old's room to put it away.

While in the baby's room, she'll remember that she needs to prepare more baby wipes,
So she'll scoop up the dry ones and head to her bathroom to get them ready.

When she gets to her bathroom, she'll see a small toy fire engine on the floor,
So she'll take it to the play room.

As she comes out of the playroom, she'll see an empty, abandoned snack bowl on the floor.
She'll decide to take it downstairs to the dishwasher.

Upon arriving in the kitchen, she'll see the dishwasher soap on the counter.
She'll remember that she didn't put any detergent in with the dirty dishes.

So she'll put the detergent in the dishwasher, and turn it on again.
And chances are, if she turns on the dishwasher...

In just a few hours later, she'll have yet another pile of dirty dishes.

*This post was inspired by the delightful children's authored by Laura Numeroff. It is, of course, a work of pure fiction. My 2-year-old would never fall asleep underneath his brother's bed. He'd be too busy playing with the dust bunnies.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Who's Who Answers!

And here are the answers. Clockwise from top left is Kyle, Elise, Ben and Owen.

Lots of close guesses, but nobody quite nailed it.
It's so fun to see them develop their own looks and personalities no matter how much they look (or act) alike at the beginning. I'm just dying to see what kind of little girl Elise is going to be as she grows into her personality. It's such a blessing to be trusted with nurturing these little ones.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Take one new turtle and frog potty...

a few sturdy board books,

a willing toddler,

a handful of chocolate raisins for a reward,

...and we're ready to go. Okay, Owen, go!

Please go!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Who's Who?

Now that there's 4, let's test your skill one more time.
Can you guess which baby's which?
These are all pictures of them at around 3 months old. Good luck!
Answers will be posted Thursday night.


Monday, May 10, 2010

milk run

Today we made our weekly drive down to buy raw milk. We get 3 gallons a week. It is such good stuff!

Elise was all ready to go.

It's lovely to drive through the country every week; it helps me stay in touch with my rural roots.

We often glimpse a variety of animals. Cows, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, ostriches, hawks. Last week I spotted seven deer. And the scenery is stunning!

I also make my regular stop to buy fresh farm eggs. I love that I am buying them from the person who raises the chickens.

Milk does do the body good. And you know what?

There's something about that drive that's good for this suburban mom's soul.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day was

filled with precious moments

and I'm not talking about collectible figurines

but heartbeat by heartbeat, remembering

I am so thankful for my children.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

3 months

At 3 months old, Elise is...

...claiming the adoration of everyone she lives with.

...holding her head up quite well.

...delighted to shower smiles on pretty much anyone who comes over to talk to her (provided she isn't tired).

...starting to tolerate her car seat - well...a bit better, anyway.

...uttering the most adorable cooing sounds.

...becoming known for having a "husky little cry."

...sitting up - in the Bumbo chair!

...trying furiously to roll over onto her tummy. She gets incredibly frustrated about it, too.

...attempting to rival her brother Owen in spittiness. I don't see how she could possibly outdo him, though.

...still amazing me every day by the sheer fact that she is female.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Showcase Night

Last week was our homeschool co-op's Showcase Night. It's the program at the end of the term of Friday School, a chance to show what the children have learned.

Can you see Kyle? He's in the front row, just to the right of center. His class (pre-K) and the kindergarten kids sang "The Butterfly Song."

Ben's Literature class talked about the books they learned about.

We fielded a decent team! Elise was with us too, although neither she, Jeff, nor I are in this shot.

It was a fun night. I'm so proud of my kids and all they've done in school this term!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

for dinner: liver and onions

Well, I did it. I served my family beef liver for dinner.

I prepared it so carefully - it was sliced just right, soaked in fresh lemon juice for many hours, lightly breaded,...and I was extremely careful not to overcook it (as I found repeated warnings that overcooked liver tastes "terrible").

I sauteed onions to serve over it, and we crumbled bacon slices as well. Everything was done right, as far as I'm concerned.

But it didn't go over so well.

Oh, the boys were game to try. I can't fault them there. I pitched it as "a surprise, something we've never tried before!" and they were mildly excited to give it a go. But when they tasted it, things didn't fly so well.

And frankly, I didn't like it either. It was a texture thing. I ate all the liver on my plate, but it was generously doctored with onions and bacon.

I felt a little bit like I was doing a food challenge on "The Amazing Race."

Jeff liked it alright, though. At the very least, he said not to throw the rest of it out. I'm really glad we tried it, but even more glad that tonight's dinner is a much more popular kind of meal: homemade pizza.

Guess this family of picky eaters isn't quite ready for organ meats yet.

So what on earth am I going to do with the beef heart in my freezer?!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

before I was a mom...

Before I was a mom, I never wrestled a stubborn booger from someone else's nose. With my bare hands.

Before I was a mom, I never said things like "I know who you are, I promise I do!" after running through a string of my children's names in search of the right one.

Before I was a mom, I never found myself thanking the Lord that my children were remembering to flush the toilet a just a little more frequently.

Before I was a mom, I never could have imagined that when three of my four children are at Grandma's house, it feels like an absolute vacation.

Before I was a mom, I never cried at children's programs.

Before I was a mom, I never spent any time wondering how crumbs procreate.

Before I was a mom, I never had an inkling of how much laundry a few kids could generate.

Before I was a mom, I never determined whether to go to a park, or not, by whether it had public restrooms.

Before I was a mom, I never understood how my own mother felt when she said things like "Why do I have to ask you to do things so many times before you do them?"

Before I was a mom, I never imagined how good it feels to teach my child something, and see them really "get it."

Before I was a mom, I never knew that I would find cloth diapers fun and exciting.

Before I was a mom, I never guessed that I would nearly burst with happiness when watching my baby's smile blossom on her face.

Before I was a mom, I never knew the joy of seeing a small child running to fling his arms around my legs.

Before I was a mom, I never understood how my heart could hold more love, every single day.