Thursday, February 28, 2013

11



Today, Grace, the girl who stole our hearts from the very first moment we laid eyes on her, turns 11.
I know that I'm her Mom, so of course I'm partial, but she is awesome.  Eleven years ago, I never could have foreseen the wonderful girl she's turned into.  As much as I want to stop time, I also can't wait to watch and see where she goes from here.  I just know it will be somewhere amazing and I just feel blessed to be along for the ride.  Here's what we are loving about her right now...


She's an outdoor lover and nature girl.  She loves adventure, and I foresee a lot of them in her future.

She's the kind of girl that when she asks what's for dinner and I respond that's it's cream of cauliflower soup she says, "Ooh, yummy."

She's kind and she thinks of others.  When we were making her birthday treat to take into school she was a little worried about fashioning the pretzels into a letter "G."  I thought it might be because she was embarrassed to take in the homemade pretzels, but it turns out she just didn't want to make it all about her!  Also, she leaves love notes around the house for everyone.

When she's reading a book she becomes completely involved and pretty much wants to inhabit that world.  Like mother, like daughter I say (I still want to be invited to Hogwarts).

She really loves her "red" hair and gets very worried when it starts to look blonder during the summer.

She hasn't yet asked for a phone, or to be on Instagram, or for an itouch.  I'm sure it's coming, but I'm so glad we are not there yet.

She gravitates towards boys as her good friends.  Ever since I can remember she has always had good boy friends.  She says they are interesting and fun and don't have so much drama.

She loves traditions and family time.

Her brother is her "best buddy."  He may drive her crazy at times (and he does!) but she still prefers him above all others as her playmate.

She's been slightly obsessed with The Lord of the Rings for the past year.





Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Influenza RX Sorbet


Over the past week, one after the other, both children have run fevers and felt like crud.  At these times we always take advantage of pajamas, hot water bottles, blankets and lots of books to help us make it through (Grace got it the worse- she was down for three days!).



For the first time, but not the last, I made Influenza RX Sorbet.  The recipe is in the back of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home by Jeni Britton Bauer, and I've been intrigued ever since I saw it. I love that the ingredients are all ones that are thought to have healing properties and each ingredient brings it's own helpful quality to soothe itchy, sore throats and clogged nasal passages.  And let's be honest, sorbet does a lot for the mental and emotional well being of us all as well.  Am I right?  It's basically love in sorbet form.


Influenza RX Sorbet 
(from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home)

2 cups fresh orange juice (from 5 to 6 oranges)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
One 3oz packet liquid pectin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne*
2 to 4 tablespoons Maker's Mark bourbon (optional)**

Combine the orange and lemon juices, sugar, honey and ginger in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from heat.

Add the pectin, cayenne and bourbon, if using.  Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cold.

Freeze the sorbet just until it is the consistency of very softly whipped cream.  Pack the sorbet into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface  and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze until firm.  


*I found that the cayenne was too much of a kick for the children (and really, me too).  I would leave it out next time.

**I didn't add the bourbon to the sorbet for the children, but you bet I would for Bryce!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Mary Poppins (bringing books to life)




Last week, we were able to take an overnight trip into New York City to see Mary Poppins before it left Broadway!  This was the children's first Broadway musical and it was wonderful!  We surprised the children with the trip, but knowing that we were going we had been reading  Mary Poppins by Dr. P.L. Travers.  It was fun to compare the musical to the book (very different but same whimsy)!


We had planned on spending a bit more time in the city during the day, but Harris awoke in the morning not feeling a 100% and we didn't want to push it.  We did walk around Times Square so the children could see the sights and I was awfully impressed with how New Yorkers don't let the rain slow them down in the slightest!


We went to dinner beforehand and had lovely views of the city!


Mary Poppins was so delightful to watch!  The sets were astounding and the performers were spectacular!  The children were hooked from the very first song!




One tired and feverish boy had to be carried back to the hotel room.




Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Grandparent's Valentine


I know we are well past Valentine's Day, but I just had to post these sweet Valentine's that the children sent their Grandparents!  They each put their thumbprint on the cards and Grace filled in the little people!  So simple yet so darling!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Gifts


Our children don't need anything.  I know that it is a complete luxury to be able to say that and I'm sure the children have no real concept of how blessed they truly are- to have needs met and lots of wants met as well!  We have made a conscious effort to buy the children toys only at Christmas and on their birthdays but of course things do sneak in (also, I'm a fan of the occasional Love Gift).


All this is to say that when it comes to Valentines we almost never give the children a toy as a gift.  One year it was chocolate love spoons, another year it was portraits of their beloved stuffed animal and some years it's just a fun dinner and dessert.  This year, we gave the children these sweet bowls.  It was time to move away from our plastic mish mash of snack bowls that we have been using and the children have always loved having their very own pottery mugs.  So far they have been a big hit and they are already what the children reach for when getting a snack or ice cream!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day


I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's spent with those you love.  When I was downloading our pictures from yesterday it became apparent to me that I obviously feel that the way to show my love is through food!  We celebrated Valentine's day at breakfast, lunch, snack time and dinner!


We started out with breakfast...




and continued at lunch.



I tried to keep a healthier after school snack since I'm sure they had had more candy than usual during the day.




And dinner was served in a heart shaped baking dish, with heart shaped garlic rolls...





P.S.  Bryce and I went on a lunch date where two ladies sitting next to us called us a cute couple!  We haven't been called a cute couple in a long time so it made our day!





Grace's Valentines


Grace's class did not exchange Valentine's with the whole class but rather with one other student.  They picked names out of a hat, rather like a secret santa, and were instructed to make a Valentine for their pick and perhaps give a little token (chocolate, etc.).  Grace's Valentine doesn't care for chocolate so she made strawberry hand-pies instead.  We used this pdf to print directly on a kraft bag that we were able to slide the hand-pie into (we also used a wax liner inside the bag).  Since the Valentine was for a 5th grade boy, Grace felt good about using the kraft paper and keeping it not mushy gushy!


The Valentine that Grace made was all her idea and I think it is so cute.  She used twine and then used the phrase, "Valen-twine."  I told her it was Martha worthy and she beamed!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Harris' Valentines



Harris' Valentine's cards turned out to be a last minute job this year.  We were late starting to think about them (how is it already mid February ) and then every idea was a little too sweet, cutesy or "Valentiny" for this 8 year old boy.  Fortunately, Marilyn had sent a newspaper article about Valentine's that were just right for such boys- Valen-slimes!


The newspaper article provided printables for the cards and gave instructions on how to make slime using water and Metamucil (we couldn't find berry flavored, so we colored the original).  We had a bit of a hard time with the slime because after boiling it for 20 minutes, per the instructions,  the slime was still pretty wet.  I had visions of parents hating me for sending their child home with messy, red slime!  However, after heating for a bit longer and cooling overnight they were fine to send in for the children.


And of course, Harris loved playing in the slime and can't wait to make more!



Monday, February 11, 2013

A Fireside Picnic + Snowball Cookies



Friday evening we got snow!  We've had several periods of snow, but until now it really hadn't amounted to much and so the children were thrilled to wake up Saturday morning to lots of snow to play in.  They quickly got to work building a snow fort and I got to work making a batch of celebratory snowball cookies.


We had a fireside picnic out on the porch with chicken pot pie hand-pies and hot cocoa.  The hand-pies are a perfect winter picnic food since they warm your hands as you are eating them!



It was also the perfect time to snuggle up together!

I remember that my Mom used to always make these cookies around Christmas time and they are so, so good.  They sort of melt in your mouth.  I decided that they are a perfect snow day cookie and they are so easy and quick!


Snow Ball Cookies*

2 sticks softened butter
5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
powdered sugar

Cream everything together and form into little balls.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool just a bit and then roll balls in powdered sugar.  

*(the original recipe also called for 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans.  we leave them out due to Harris' allergies and they are still delicious!)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Favorite Things #30




For each of the children's birthdays, we always have a pancake breakfast to celebrate the start of their special day.  Typically, I put a candle smack in the middle of the stack of pancakes but that usually results in the candle wax melting inside the pancakes!  Therefore, I was smitten right away when I saw this set of number candle holders from Mariposa!


They do their job perfectly and I can envision all sorts of uses for them on cupcakes, cakes and anything else sturdy enough to hold up the numbers!  My only conundrum is what to do when Grace turns 11 this month?  There is not two of any number!

*I found them at a local store, where I was able to use a 25% coupon! Sweet.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Silver Frame



A couple of months ago, I found this silver frame in a consignment store and loved it right away, both for its size (11x14) and its beauty!  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was only $18!  The sales lady assured me it wasn't real silver since it doesn't have "sterling silver" stamped on it anywhere.  I bought it because I didn't really care if it was sterling silver and I wasn't as convinced as she was.


As it turns out, I believe that it is silver-plated at the very least, because I have to polish it every couple of months or it starts to tarnish.  Whatever it is, I sure do love it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Grace's Waldorf Experience...so far

(a page from her Botany main lesson book)

We are a full 5 months into Grace's school year and I've yet to give an update on how it's going for her after moving from the grammar school to The Waldorf School.  I anticipated a bit of a honeymoon period or regret at having moved away from her friends and the school that she attended for 5 years, but she's yet to express anything but gratitude and joy at being able to attend Waldorf.

So far, Waldorf has been a perfect fit for Grace and she literally loves everything about it.  Their philosophy of learning and teaching is pretty different than anything Grace has experienced prior to this year and she is really responding to it.  One of my main goals for my children's education is that they become critical thinkers and life long learners.  Also, I want them to find joy in the process of learning.  Waldorf is doing a beautiful job at incorporating the whole child into their curriculum and pulling and tugging at the various ways that children learn- some obvious and others not so much.  I'm not in any way intimating that Waldorf is perfect (no school is) but that it is feeding a part of Grace that we were worried was being slowly lost.  It is a wonderful thing to watch her blossom and grow stronger in who she is both during school and out of school.

On a side note, I have found it fascinating to watch how much Grace has responded to the sort of materials that they use at Waldorf.  From the fountain pens, to the colored pencils, to the heavy paper they use for main lessons books, the materials are very high quality.  This fact has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated by Grace.  
 
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