Sunday, April 29, 2012

Violet's Lens

Apparently Violet took my camera for a spin the last few days (in her defense, when I asked if anyone had seen my camera, she did remember that she had put it in her doll bin).  I love seeing life from her perspective!  She wrote the captions.

Mommy undoing sewing
Playing with Matias
A light
 Gramma's Piano

 Great Gramma and Matias


 Mommy and Beatrice


I suspected she had gone in there while Bea was napping...little stinker.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Green Pancakes

"Green Pancakes"
I have a reluctant veggie eater at my house, so here is a recipe we've come up with that he will eat.  You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand...fresh or frozen.  You can blend the vegetables as coarsely or finely as you like.  I made mine very fine so that discerning eyes wouldn't find anything familiar.  Now that he knows he likes them, I may leave slightly larger bits next time.  Experiment with what you like best!


1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen spinach
6 eggs
1 tsp seasoned salt

Combine vegetables in food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the eggs, blend until a smooth batter forms.  Heat a pan or griddle and coat with oil.  Drop 1 TBL of the batter onto the pan for each cake.  Cook until the edges look dry and the bubbles on the top remain.  Flip and continue to cook for one more minute.  (They cook up exactly like pancakes)

Serve warm with butter.  We eat them as a savory dish, but they would probably go well with syrup as well.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Opposite Day

These little sillies enjoyed Opposite Day at preschool!

The Best Nest

One of our favorite P.D. Eastman books is called "The Best Nest", where two birds go looking for a good place to build a new nest, and end up discovering that their old nest was really the best of all.

We have a "best nest" on our front porch.  It was built last year by a pair of morning doves, who sat on it for quite a while, though we never saw any babies.
May 2011
Then a few weeks later, a mommy robin sat on it and hatched a nestful of babies.  They stayed for a few days and then flew off.  I meant to take down the nest all year, but never could bring myself to do it.
April 2012
We were thrilled when mommy morning dove showed up this spring, took down the cobwebs and fixed up the nest once more.  She didn't decide to use it however, and mommy robin is now back.  We found a blue egg on the porch (sadly cracked), and when we held the camera up to take a peek for us, there is another blue egg in the nest!  We wonder if perhaps now there are more than one, but we don't want to disturb her.  Judging by the squawks outside while Matt was watering the front garden, she is not too far away!  We hope we get some more babies in this nest...which certainly is welcome to stay on our front porch for a long time!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tea Party

This weekend Violet treated Beatrice to her first tea party.  It was a big hit.  I dare say this won't be the last...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Garden Rocks

I have been looking for a good way to mark our garden rows this year, and came across the idea to use painted rocks on Pinterest.  I decided to turn it into an activity that is perfect for the preschool set.  Here is what we did:

1) Purchased a bag of Pond Rocks at Home Depot for $2

2) Violet washed them in the sink with water and a toothbrush.  As she cleaned the rocks, they went from generic-mud-brown to an array of colors.  We were able to observe different colors, speckles, stripes, smooth and rough rocks.  We talked about what we saw as we washed them.

3) Violet put the clean, wet rocks into muffin tins- working on one-to-one correspondence, sorting and classifying.  She wanted to get out the bigger muffin tin for the big rocks that didn't fit in the mini muffin tin.

4) We set the timer for 10 minutes and dried the rocks in the oven at 250 degrees.  She counted down how much longer we had to wait, and we talked about letting Mommy touch the hot oven, not her.

5) Time to paint the rocks!  For easy cleanup, I like to have the kids paint on tinfoil. When they are done, we just fold it up and toss it.  We talked about using one paintbrush for each color, and then when that went awry, we talked about what happens when colors mix.  It was tricky to hold and paint all the sides of the rocks, but they did well.

6) Let the rocks dry completely.

7) Paint the plant names (or kids' names or whatever you choose) on the rocks with white paint.  I did a few with black sharpe marker but don't recommend it- it ran in the last step!  I let Violet try to figure out what each rock said based on the first letter and some hints about each plant.  She recognized her name and her siblings names right away!

8) Spray all sides of the rocks with a coat of Mod Podge Spray Acrylic Finish to make them shiny and weather-proof.  This made the black sharpe marker run, so I was glad I'd used white paint on most of them.

9) Put them in your garden to mark your plants, or in a sandbox or rock pile to add some color and fun.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Garden Journal #4

New watering can!

She dressed herself for gardening.

Today was woodchipping day, and Matt's dad came to help. We had a lot of branches fall during a winter storm not too long ago, so we chipped them and put the bags of chips in-between our raised garden beds. Hopefully, it will keep the water and the mud away!

Check out our painted garden rock tutorial.

Friday, April 20, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


We have been on a granola kick lately, and finally found a favorite recipe.  We started with Stephinie's awesome recipe over at Gypsy Forest and adapted it a bit.  Here is how we make ours:

  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 c peanut butter (or almond)
  • 1/2 c oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ginger powder 
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 4 Tbsp wheat flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c coconut flakes
  • 8 cups rolled oats 
  • 1/2 c flax meal
  • 2 cups nuts/seeds ~ toasted pecans, toasted almond slivers, pistachios (!!), sesame seeds

1. Mix together wet ingredients and spices over medium heat until smooth. 
2. Stir flour and flax meal/seeds into the honey mixture. 
3. Mix oats, coconut, nuts and seed in a large bowl. 
4. Add syrup mixture, stirring until well coated. 
5. Spread thinly onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 stirring every ten minutes until granola is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. 
6. Add dried fruit or raisins if you like and store in airtight jars after cooled. This recipe fills 2 half-gallon mason jars.
We eat this on our yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, in a bowl with milk, or straight from the jar!  It is also yummy mixed with a bit of brown sugar as a topping on a coffee cake or muffins.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Working from Home

We love the days when Matt gets to work from home.  I think he finds Beatrice's code reviews very helpful.

I think she's a good culture fit.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Music Class at Home

Violet climbed into the playpen with Beatrice so that they could "do music class" together.  Beatrice thought the attention from her big sister was great, and Violet has decided that baby toys are the BEST.  This was a nice moment in a very rough afternoon (can you say counting down til Daddy got home?!), so I especially enjoyed it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weekend Garden Journal #3 Part 2

What a gardening weekend- it requires two journal entries! This morning (April 14) we planted a few things in Violet's garden and some sunflowers by our front lamppost.  We hurried to get them in the ground before it rained- and it never did.  If it doesn't rain tonight, they will need a good soaking from the hose tomorrow morning.

Planted April 14, 2012:
- Swiss Chard
- Purple Pole Beans
- Amish Snap Peas
- Nasturtiums
- Sunflowers

Upcoming Jobs:
- start kale, thai basil and chives inside
- install irrigation system in back beds
- plant early plants in back bed
- remember to water!!!!

Weekend Garden Journal #3

The seeds are here!

This year, rather than start a bunch of plants inside, we are going to plant some seeds right into the garden beds, and buy baby plants for the others.  We just didn't quite get around to starting the seeds inside.

We ordered our seeds from a really neat place, Seed Savers Exchange, which is not only a "non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds," but is also located in my college-home-town of Decorah, Iowa. I had the opportunity to visit Seed Savers as a student, but didn't realize how "radical" a place it was at the time.  It is the largest non-government seed bank in North America, and it ships seeds to seed vaults in Norway and Colorado to help preserve and safeguard thousands of varieties.  With the biodiversity of crops decreasing at an alarming rate, the work that Seed Savers does is becoming more and more important, and more and more appreciated.  It was even the chosen charity of several chefs on Top Chef Masters last season.  So we are excited to support them, and try out some fancy new type of (all organic) produce, like purple "green" beans and Seed Savers' own lettuce mix.

I will include our order this year for our own records (besides the names are fun):

Bean: Purple Pod Pole
Bean: Kentucky Wonder Pole
Beet: Chioggia
Carrot: Dragon
Carrot: Paris Market
Cucumber: Double Yield
Cucumber: A and C Pickling
Flower: Violet Queen
Flower: Tip Top Nasturtium
Flower: Sunflower Taiyo
Herb: Chives
Herb: Thai Basil
Kale: Dwarf Blue Curled
Kale: Red Russian
Lettuce: SSE Lettuce Mix
Pea: Amish Snap
Spinach: America
Swiss Chard: Five Color Silverbeet

We ordered one package of each, except for the Nasturtiums, of which we ordered two.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Botanic Gardens

Last Friday we visited the Chicago Botanic Gardens.  We saw lots of tulips and daffodils, fountains to (almost) fall into, some homemade paper art, secret paths, flip-up cold frames and perhaps best of all- a huge bulldozer spreading rocks.

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