Saturday, November 22, 2014

On Why I Preserve Food

Today I took out of the freezer two jars. One is labeled "mixed fruit 7/14.” Last July I had some peaches and berries that were about to go bad, and we were going away for the weekend. I cooked them with a little sugar into sauce and froze it. This week I'll eat it on oatmeal for breakfast. The other jar is labeled "green salsa 9/14." At the end of September we pulled our tomato plants and I made a pureed green tomato salsa with onions, cilantro, and aji dulce peppers. We'll have that tomorrow night on big bowls of beans.

I preserve food for a number of reasons. Sometimes, like with the fruit that was about to go bad or the green tomatoes or the over-abundance of beets in my farm share, I can save something from the trash or the compost bin to be enjoyed another day. It's thrifty, and an act of gratitude for all the hard work that went into growing those fruits and tomatoes and beets. Every summer I freeze some fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and kale, because I like the idea of eating locally grown foods all year-round. I make my own pickles and some fruit sauces, because the store-bought version tend to be very expensive and/or full of ingredients I'd rather not eat.

I'm reading Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace. This is what she has to say about preserving food -

"What you preserve is the cheeriest memento mori. It is a way to say and mean: of everything that passes, this is what I choose to keep. It is a clear reminder, there for the tasting, of where and when and how you have lived."

Last March, when I began to feel that I really couldn't handle one more arctic blast, I found a bag of strawberries in the bottom of my chest freezer. I made strawberry sauce and shared it with my neighbors, explaining that last summer had come to remind us that the next summer was on its way.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Alessia at 4

A week ago I looked down at Alessia in her bed and realized that the baby was all gone. Living in my house is a sensitive, smart, willful, and wild 4-year-old child.

She loves books and drawing and is teaching herself to write. She spends all day telling stories with her sister using found stuff for props.

She's so determined to be independent and in control that she's still not fully potty-trained as she just can't accept that she needs help for number two. At the same time she still doesn't dress herself, because she doesn't want to give up that moment of undivided attention and physical connection.

She is very fidgety and distractable. At meals we are constantly reminding her not to chew on her utensils or turn them into drumsticks. If we ask her to go get something, chances are something else will catch her eye on the way and she'll start telling a story and drawing or putting a few legos together.

She loves dirt and fingerpaint and everything sticky and tactile. That combined with her fidgetiness results in interesting mealtime messes that become kinestetic explorations (a fancy way of saying she will play with her milk after accidentally knocking it over).

She is shy around other children, which is why we have decided to send her to preschool this year. She is both very excited and nervous about preschool. Her first day is tomorrow.

She is very loving, although she almost never says the words "I love you," a scar left over from her sister's birth.

She is my first. Sometimes she sits in my lap and I put her head on my chest and tell her how she napped as a tiny baby lying snuggled up against me. I tell her (and myself) that growing up means letting go of some things and getting to do other things that you couldn't before. Happy Birthday, big girl!





Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Locavore Goes on Vacation

We are in Maine. Every year we rent a cottage with my in-laws in the little town of Owl's Head where Adam did most of his growing up. Because of our food allergies we don't eat out in restaurants much anymore. This sounds tragic to many, but we've decided that is more fun to cook local foods at the cottage. Maine has to be the locavore's dream. We've eaten locally caught haddock with tomatoes and kale. We grilled pork chops with roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, and a tomato and cucumber salad. Last night we roasted a chicken and grilled eggplant. Tonight, to top it all off, we grilled lamb sausages, and served them with little french green beans and pasta with a fresh tomato and basil sauce. We've eaten goat cheese sandwhiches, and we're taking home in a cooler water buffalo steaks and goat stew meat.

Alessia and Olivia at the Weskeag Farm in Owl's Head where we bought most of our vegetables and the best tasting strawberries.


Grilling lamb sausages.


A breakfast fry up with leftover roasted potatoes, broccoli, and eggs from Weskeag Farm.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Harvesting and Preserving Herbs

There is a romance around picking little snippets of herbs from one's garden and carrying them directly into the kitchen for that evening's dinner or that special Sunday morning's omelet. We use some of the herbs in our garden this way, especially in early spring when the chives appear as the first edible in our yard, and in midsummer when basil and parsely are at their best. Most of the herbs in my garden though get picked and preserved for year-round use.

Right now I am harvesting the perennial herbs. Last year Adam took a large raised bed from our back yard and rebuilt it into two small beds for the side yard. The side yard of the house is south-facing and, unlike our back yard, is free of trees whose roots compete for water and nutrients. I put several small oregano, thyme, and sage plants in last fall. This spring I added chamomile, savory, and mint plants. When I put them in the ground each plant was tiny, the kind of plant that costs $4 at the garden center. The plants love the new location and are now bushes, jostling each other for space. I've decided to cut them back pretty severely. I really put too many plants into the beds, as most perennial herbs are what my mother-in-law refers to as "dreadful spreaders" and they like space to spread out. I am hoping that by harvesting the majority of the leaves from each plant I can leave the plants with enough to winter over, but not so much that they try to spread too far. I don't have a lot of planting space, but would like to grow a variety of herbs.

There are many different techniques for drying herbs. I prefer to dry the perennial herbs. I am much mroe likely to use them dried than frozen, and I don't feel that they suffer much loss in flavor. Today I washed all the herbs I picked, wrapped them in a linen tablecloth and squeezed the water out, and then laid them out on another table cloth in my air-conditioned dining room. Tomorrow I will tie them into bundles and hang them in a closet to dry completely. Some people don't call for washing herbs before drying, but we live in an urban area. So I feel it's important to wash off the dust and dirt.

Today I picked sage, oregano, and savory. Once these are tied up I'll pick the mint, thyme, and chamomile. A little later in the summer I'll pick my annual herbs, basil, parsley, and scallions, and I'll freeze them.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fermenting Vegetables, It's all the rage!

For years now I have made vinegar pickles like my mom did when I was little. Last fall my friend Jen was making a polish dinner, and so I decided to try fermenting saurkraut. She had a food-grade plastic bucket, and I had a book called The Joy of Pickling. I shredded the cabbage, salted and pounded it to release juices, and weighted it with a plate and a bowl full of dried beans. In fermenting the weights keep the vegetables below the surface of the water where bacteria on the vegetables are hard at work acidifying the water and transforming the vegtables. For two weeks I kept an eye on my plastic bucket. Bubbles started after about three days, and every so often there were signs of life on the surface of the water (at the time I thought it was mold, I now know it was probably yeast) and I skimmed it off. After two weeks, with some nervousness, I tried the cabbage which was turning a golden color. It was delicious, and with almost no effort on my part. It probably would have been even better if I had left it to ferment another week, but the party was the next day, so out of the bucket it came. We ate it with kielbasa and homemade pierogies. My friend Jen cooked buckwheat dumplings in the shredded saurkraut.

Spurred on by this success and in need of a new kitchen hobby, since dealing with food allergies means I haven't been baking much bread lately, I got a book The Art of Fermentation for Christmas and a proper fermentation crock for my birthday. There are all different kinds of fermentation crocks and jars and systems, and strong opinions to go with them. I'll let you do your own internet research, and just say that the crock I got is ceramic and uses water to create a seal to help minimize the growth of mold and yeasts on the surface of the water. It also came with ceramic weights to hold the vegetables under the water.

Since getting the crock I've made two mixed vegetable ferments. The first was cabbage with carrots and oregano. I fermented it for a week, again I could have left it longer but I wanted it for a dinner party. We ate it with sausages and rice. The second was slices of cucumbers with carrots, radishes, garlic scapes, and dill. The cucumbers I get in my CSA share are too big to either ferment whole or pickle in vinegar. Last year I made freezer pickles out of them. While you normally can't freeze cucumbers without them turning to mush, the sugar vinegar solution in these pickles keeps them very crisp. This year I decided to try to ferment them. I only fermented them for three days, as cucumbers soften very quickly in the brine. They are delicious. I've been chopping them into my fried rice at lunch, and Olivia can't suck them down fast enough.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Olivia at Two

Olivia is on fire. She has the cutest wiggle in her walk, a sparkle in her eye, a giggle in her smile, and words pouring from her mouth all day long. She is going through a screamy screamy phase (luckily her sister is for the moment between screamy screamy phases) and also a "poor little idiot" phase. In combination we have regular conversations like this:

Me: Pour the juice in the popsicle molds and now put the tops on.
Olivia: I want a popsicle.
Me: Olivia they aren't ready. They will be ready tomorrow.

Or like this:

Olivia: Where's "Rhyming Dust Bunnies"?
Me: that was a library book. We took it back to the library.

She recites bits from books and sings songs. Her reportoire ranges from the Hallelujah chorus (both of the girls loved Easter service) to "I'm Driving in My Car," a favorite at our local library.

She loves to eat, even though there still are so many things she can't eat right now. She eats pasta with olive oil by hand, and sweet potato "pappa" very expertly with a spoon. She truly enjoys meat. "I'm having pork for dinner." And yes, she loves her mamma's milk.

Olivia adores Alessia, but is also more than willing to stand up to her, which I figure is healthy for both of them.

She is affectionately known as "the chaos machine."

I can't believe we've made it this far. In the past two years she has tested every nerve in my body. I don't do well without sleep. A friend of mine said that parenting isn't about picking a philosphy or a plan and seeing it through, parenting is about doing what needs to be done. I never planned on nursing a toddler, but it's what Olivia needs and so here we are. I am very much enjoying watching her little personality develop. She is strong and fiesty, yet also sweet and very physically attached to Adam and me. Alessia is so deliberate in learning new skills, and always has been. Olivia is much more casual. She watches and listens to us and her sister and then just jumps in. She surprises us all the time and we all adore her. Happy Birthday little ciccia!





Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hello Warm Weather - an outdoor adventure and messy art

The girls and I are thrilled to have the warm weather back. This week we went on one of our favorite adventures from last summer. Our friends Julie and Cristina joined us. We took the T into Boston to welcome the return of the farmers' markets and then over to the Public Garden for a picnic lunch. The geese and the ducks and swan boats were all out enjoying the sunshine. The girls welcomed the Mallards and their adorable little ducklings by quack quack quacking, ran around the trees, and ate with that particular hunger that comes when eating outside after a good long walk.

This morning we had messy outdoor art. I brought out a large piece of paper, the last of our washable paint, and some toy cars. As soon as I said we were doing Messy Art, Alessia's eyes lit up. I reminded them of my two rules - don't paint your face on purpose and don't paint your clothes on purpose. They are both actually really good about following those rules, and beyond that I don't fuss. Alessia always ends up with a little on her face as she brushes her hair away and their clothes are always covered in paint, but it always washes out. I made big blobs of paint on the paper and showed the girls how to roll the cars through it. Alessia joined in. Olivia was more interested in scooping paint out of the cut open tubes, so I let her do that. We made hand prints and dragged leaves and sticks through the paint. Alessia requested brushes, so out they came as well. After the first time that Olivia stepped on the paper and into the paint, I decided that there was no way I was going to convince her not to and it wasn't upsetting Alessia, so I let it go.

Alessia took her shoe off to trace around her foot.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

A New Quilt Project

Last weekend I went with friends to a quilt exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts. It was such an inspiring experience. I had been thinking about starting a new quilt project. I knew I wanted to work with non-quilting fabric, but when I pulled out the pile of robes, napkins, and scraps of clothing fabric I wasn't feeling inspired. At the exhibition I saw several quilts made of different kinds of fabric used together, wools and cottons, plainweave cottons and sateens. The different textures of the fabric gave life and movement to the quilts.

Once home I pulled out some old robes and my quilting fabric. This is where I am at so far:

I intentionally cut the plaids slightly off grain. I saw this in an antique quilt some years ago in Vermont. The quilt was made of simple rectangles, but the plaids and stripes were all cut off grain, which made the whole quilt move. It gave the quilt angles, where there weren't any.

We'll see where this goes. Right now I am very excited about the possibilities.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Conversations with my children

Me: Olivia, you can't play with that.

Olivia (almost 2 yo): I Want It !!!!! (In screaming meltdown mode)

Me: Mamma said no.

Olivia: (very calmly) Alessia can you reach?


Alessia (3.5 yo): Mamma, mamma, Olivia is trying to touch a mess that someone made.

Me (internally - that could be nothing, or that could be something really bad): Show me, Alessia.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rayon sarongs turned wall hanging

This is my first really serious attempt at weaving. When I was a museum teacher I taught basic weaving to children. During that time I played around with different techniques, and I wove a small piece that I turned into a sewing kit. I never really got serious, although I was always fascinated. Last summer I bought a tabletop loom. At first I thought I wanted to do tapestry style weaving, but in the end decided to weave with rags. I've always loved the freeform weaving of the 1970s. The fabric in this hanging is from sarongs and lounge pants all made of rayon that I bought while traveling in the my early 20's. I cut them all into long strips, and added colors as I worked. This was a big leap for me, as normally I am a planner.

I'm pretty pleased with the results. I managed to keep the width consistent, and I made a mistake on the finishing, but I know what I did, so hopefully it won't happen again.

This is the first time that I've made something purely decorative.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Olivia on gluten

On Saturday I ate at a restaurant with friends. It's a restaurant I've been to before, and they've handled our allergies well. So I told the waitress my allergies, she wrote them down, brought us gluten-free soy sauce and took our orders. I felt suspicious about the sweet potato sushi, but I decided to trust that the waitress had done the right thing (my mistake) and I ate one. Right away I knew that there was a problem. We tried explaining to the waitress that the sweet potato sushi probably had gluten in it. She got annoyed, but finally agreed to exchage it for a different kind of sushi. We spoke to the hostess who was more confused than helpful.

By late afternoon (it only takes a few hours for the gluten to enter my milk) Olivia was in pain. It took us an extra hour to get her to bed and then she woke up once an hour. She was up every two hours the last two nights, and she hasn't napped since Saturday. Her poop is like small pebbles (my husband calls them rabbit poops) and she farts a lot. Her personality is different too. Always a little pushy, she now screams every request, and when denied goes into immediate screaming meltdown mode, which isn't like her at all. She wants to be held and nurse all day long, which is frustrating for Alessia who ends up feeling neglected. Olivia's eating is erratic, and I need to keep her on a very limited bland diet.

It will be about a week before she really starts to feel better.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Pumpkin peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (gf and vegan)

Many gluten-free and vegan cookie recipes involve lots of ingredients and lots of strange ingredients. This is my adaptation of a recipe I found online (here). It uses pretty ordinary ingredients, can be mixed in one bowl, and is relatively low in fat and sugar for a cookie. Most importantly the cookies are delicious and everyone in my house can eat them.


Pumpkin Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (freeze the rest of the can in 1/2 cup containers)

1/2 cup brown sugar

Light dusting each of ginger and nutmeg

Heavy-handed dusting of cinnamon

1 cup oatmeal (preferably quick-cooking, but rolled works as well)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


In a large bowl mix everything through the spices. Add the oatmeal, boking powder, and salt. Give the dry ingredients a quick mix and then mix everything together. Add the chocolate chips and gently mix them in. Put scoops of dough on a cookie sheet and gently flatten with your fingers.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.


A note on allergies. My little Olivia is allergic to wheat, eggs, and dairy. So we use certified gf oats from Bob's Red Mill and Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Enjoy Life brand is free of the big eight allergens. This is also why I took the eggs out of the original recipe. We can eat peanut butter (and do almost everyday with our doctor's blessing), buy I would like to try this recipe with sunflower butter for people with peanut allergies.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Conversations with my children

Olivia (20 months old): Milk out of the cage

Me: That's not a cage, Olivia. That's my shirt.

Olivia: Milk in a jug. (Laughs) Not milk in a jug.

Me: No Olivia, that's not a jug, that's mama's breast.

Me: Alessia, where did that knitting needle go?

Alessia (3 years old): It's over there.

Me: Where?

Alessia: There! (Pointing vaguely to the right.)

Me: No it's not. Alessia do you know where it is?

Alessia: Yes.

Me: Where is it then?

Alessia: Ummmmmm


(We have this particular conversation often. At three I believe Alessia is struggling with where authority, in terms of knowledge, comes from. Instead of understanding that I know where something is when I say "it's over there", in her mind I say "it's over there" and ta da! there it is. This is also why she is often contrary and confused when I disagree with her take on something. Up until recently my word was taken as fact. A table is called a table because mom and dad call it that. That person is running and that one walking because mom and dad say so. So in her mind she wonders why isn't something so just because she says it is so?)


Friday, February 28, 2014

Cold Weather Projects with Boxes

I order all of our diapers online, so we often have large cardboard boxes in the house. Our last box we turned into a house. This one I turned on it's side to make a barn. The girls drew on the box with markers and I cut out farm animals and hay. They wanted it to be a nighttime barn, so I cut out stars as well. It was interesting to me that Alessia out all the farm animals on the bottom of the box. The realistic idea of them standing on the floor of the barn was stronger in her mind than the visual appearance of them lying down.


Today we turned a smaller box into an aquarium. We have a membership to the New England Aquarium and went last weekend. We often make art about our adventures. It gives us an opportunity to think and talk about what we saw and did. I cut out fish, seaweed, and coral, and the girls colored the fish. This time I showed Alessia how to glue some to the sides of the box. She got into it once I showed her and we put most of the coral and seaweed on that way. I hung the fish from the roof of the box and showed the girls how to blow on the fish to make them swim.


I asked Alessia what else our aquarium needed. She came up with penguins, rays, turtles, and a diver. The penguings went on the bottom of the inside of the box and the rest on the outside.

I was a little confused when she said the aquarium needed a bus and a train. Then I remembered that due to construction we had to take both a bus and a train to get to the aquarium that day. The trip there and home was obviously an integral part of that trip for her. So we added a bus and a train.


These projects can be a little tough for Olivia. She colors with crayons and will do some glueing, but eventually she gets a little bored. When bored she has a habit of throwing things (note the crayons on the floor) or doing little sassy things to get my attention. I know this will get easier as she gets older. I explain to Alessia that sometimes we need to stop and do something else as the project might be a bit advanced for Olivia. She handles it pretty well. So I'm very lucky there.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Week of Transitions for Two Little Girls

This is a big week for us. The whole house is going gluten-free. We made this decision a couple of weeks ago after Olivia dropped a toy under Alessia's chair and then put it in her mouth. Alessia was eating a whole wheat sandwhich at the time and the crumbs on the floor were enough to put Olivia in screaming pain a few hours later. When she has a gluten attack like this, it takes a week before she starts sleeping normally again. So over the last two weeks we have switched to gf pasta for everyone. Adam finished the last of his crackers, and yesterday we finished the last of the regular bread. Alessia was faced with her first gf sandwhich at lunch today. It went about as well as to be expected.

She protested that she can eat gluten and she likes gluten. This bread's not for me! This bread's for Olivia! She told me that we can buy more regular bread at the store. In the end she had three bites of the sandwhich and then licked as much of the peanut butter as she could out of the middle. It will take a few days but she'll get used to it.

Olivia's on a nap strike. I've decided I don't care if she sleeps or not, as long as she spends some quiet time in her crib as Alessia does in her room. So now I nurse her and then put her in her crib at nap time. She screams as I leave the room, and then after a few minutes plays with her music box. Two days ago she actually fell asleep. So we'll see how all this goes.

Alessia gave up her high chair for a big girl chair with a booster seat on it. As with most things I spent weeks chatting it up and she put up a bit of a fuss, but in the end she embraced it as a big girl thing to do.

Alessia also decided to try undies this morning, which she has done a couple of times now. Generally what happens is she has a rare fit of enthusiasm for trying the potty. She pees a little, puts on undies and then a half hour or so later she pees in her pants, declares she's had an accident, and then goes back into diapers. Unfortunately she wants to wear undies, but doesn't want to use the potty. This morning she went so far as to poop in her undies just to see what I would do. I told her that wearing undies meant pooping in the potty, and that I knew she knew how to hold it. She told me flat out that she didn't want to poop in the potty. So I told her that she couldn't wear undies again until she showed me she could poop in the potty. This tactic might actually work with her, as she really does like being a big girl in undies.

So that's what's going on here...


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Faith and Money (did I really just write that?)

So the two big taboos of faith and money have been much in my mind lately. I know I'm not supposed to talk about them publicly, but I'm not sure how to talk about a whole bunch of other things without talking about them. I'm in the middle of reading a book called "Practicing Our Faith." One of the authors writes about faith and relationships in terms of money. The Christian commandments to love God, ourselves, and our neighbors is for many a commandment to be "in right relationship" with all people (and even beyond people to all of God's creation). Money is at the center of many of our relationships, both with other people and with nature. How we choose to make, spend, donate, and invest money can be seen as how we choose to be in relationship with other people and with God's creation as a whole.
So this year, I am going to try to be more conscious of how I buy stuff. My hope is first to buy only when necessary. This allows me to donate more and spend more on organic and locally produced food. It keeps me from cluttering my house and eventually a landfill with stuff I didn't need in the first place. Second, I am going to try to buy used. Buying used cuts down signifcantly on the environmental cost of buying stuff, and it keeps stuff out of landfills for at least a little longer. Third, I am going to try to buy locally, American-made, and fair trade goods when I do need something and can't get it used. Through this I can support my neighbors near and far.
This isn't a set of rules, but a set of guidelines I've set for myself. I expect to question them and possibly change them as I see how they play out in everyday life. Already I've found myself in situations where once upon a time, my reaction would have been "well I'll just order a __________." I also realize that consuming this way is going to take more time and research, which I will have to balance with the other ways I choose to spend my time. For example do I run all over creation searching for a locally made version of something that I could just order quickly from Amazon for much less? At times the answer may be "just order it", but I'm hoping that at least some of the time the answer will be either yes, it's worth the trip, or no, I actually don't need that at all. We'll see.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Thank You to my Family, Friends, and Strangers

This past week we placed two of my family members into the hands of God. On Sunday we baptised my little Olivia. On Wednesday we buried my grandmother. Throughout my grandma's funeral people spoke of how loving she was and how dedicated she was to her family. I am blessed, because this love of family is something that lives on. For Olivia's baptism my sister drove from New Jersey with her family, our mom, and our brother all in her car through Saturday's snow storm. Along with our friends and my husband's parents they trudged to church in the ice and snow and then back to my house for food and coffee and talk. I've been a little sleep deprived lately, so all this was posssible because my family and friends make themselves at home in my kitchen, pulling out dishes, making coffee, finding the mustard in the back of the fridge. On Tuesday Olivia and I took a cab and two trains to Long Island for my grandmother's wake and funeral. While the occasion was sad, I could not but help take joy in seeing my little Olivia running around my Aunt Johanna and Uncle Vinny's house. I have so many happy childhood memories of our trips to Long Island. On this trip it was my little girl who was showered in love by aunts, uncles, and cousins, just as I remember being showered in love as a child. For the love of my family and friends I am most grateful.

Traveling with Olivia strapped to me and a car seat strapped to a piece of rolly luggage, I am also grateful for the kindness of strangers. The dad who helped me with the clasp of the baby carrier, explaining his wife was traveling alone with their two kids and he was feeling a little guilty. The people who saw me coming and opened doors. The train conductor who ended Olivia's meltdown by making a paper doll out of a ticket with his hole punch. The woman who let me buy her return ticket on the Long Island railroad as I found myself without enough cash to buy my own ticket at the elevated on train price. The red cap at Penn Station who told me how to get down to the train platform before the train was announced. Thank you.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homemade Finger Paint

We've been experimenting with homemade art supplies. Yesterday we tried a recipe in The Artful Parent for homemade finger paint. The recipe is basically three parts water to one part cornstarch, cooked together with food coloring added.

On the upside the colors were amazing and they mixed well. On the downside I cooked the cornstarch and water way too long, resulting in a jelly. Olivia was not impressed with the stickiness on her hands and begged for a brush, a q-tip, anything, and finally gave up as the q-tips I gave her were no use. Alessia on the other hand was in hog heaven, as you can see in the photo below. She squished and squeezed the paint, trying different color combinations and in general having a grand time.

We'll try this recipe again as the colors were gorgeous and the girls really enjoy the making part.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Conversations with my children

At 4:00 AM in bed

Olivia (19 months)- Where's daddy?

Me- Daddy's downstairs

Olivia- Where's daddy?

Me- Daddy's downstairs

Olivia- Daddy's downstairs. I ready get up.


At lunch

Alessia (three years old)- Can I have my crib back?

Me- No baby girl. You have a big girl bed now. You had a crib when you were small.

Alessia- So someday when I'm small again I can have my crib back.

Me- No baby, you don't get small again. You only get bigger.

Alessia- (intense look of concentration as she noodles through this)

Me (internally)- we are never getting this child out of diapers

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Drawing Volume

Yesterday we were drawing with markers on a big sheet of paper. Olivia screeched as she scribbled forcefully on the paper. It gave me an idea. I started talking very quietly and running the tip of a marker very gently and slowly around on the paper. Then I shouted and made a strong bold swoosh across the paper. I made little ah ah noises while making little marks. I made a loud sustained arrrrgh, and scribbled back and forth really fast. Olivia didn't take much notice, but Alessia was mesmerized. At first she just stared, alternating between my hand and my face. I could see the wheels in her brain going. Eventually she joined in shouting and making bold swooshes of her own. Olivia did take notice of Alessia's shouting (do younger siblings learn anything from their parents or do they just learn from their older siblings?), and joined in shouting and scribbling. It was fun, and probably very educational, although I'm too tired at the moment to articulate it.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"These are the beds to climb into" by Sylvia Plath

This morning while getting dressed, I was trying to decide on a craft activity for today. I realized that Alessia was reciting parts of Sylvia Plath's The Bed Book. Plath wrote the poem for her children and a selection of it is in one of our favorite books.

So out came the card stock and the scissors, some tape and the markers, and we made these:

Beds for snacks

Beds to spatter and spotter

Beds that fly

And go underwater