Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Alessia's Story with Parenthetical Notation by Mamma

Bugs Bunny opened a snack shop after closing his barber shop (Bugs Bunny's Barber of Seville). The snack shop is at the Amtrak station (we take Amtrak to see my family in New Jersey each summer). Amtrak is having a free day (the MBTA had a free day a few weeks ago). Dogs are allowed on the Amtrak (unlike in Cynthia Rylant's book Mr. Putter and Tabby Take the Train), but cats aren't, because they don't like to go for walks (which is why the new water fountain on the Greenway is for dogs and not cats). Your allowed to blow bubbles on the train since it's warm outside (summer=bubbles), and the train has a snack car (a highlight of our annual Amtrak trip).
At this point I needed to go make dinner, so I'm not sure where the story went from here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Raising opposites


Alessia is a vegetarian. Olivia will tell you her favorite food is meat.

Alessia withers in the face of criticism. Olivia laughs at us when we put her in time out.

Alessia is a plain Jane when it comes to food. She likes her beans straight out of the can. Olivia has been dubbed "the spicy girl." She likes salame and prefers her beans cooked with tomatoes, onions, and bacon.

At the Museum of Science a few weeks ago, some little boys took away the play nectar Alessia was feeding her baby bees. She looked at them as if to say "I don't need this" and stomped off to become a bird. At the same time Olivia charged straight up to the boys, tore the nectar out of their hands, and shouted "these are mine!"

Alessia breastfed for a week. Olivia still has milk twice a day.

Alessia eats plain tortillas. Olivia only likes them wrapped around meat, preferably Yucatan pork, thank you Uncle Anthony.

Alessia is a daydreamer. She is always the last one at the table, eating her peas one at a time by hand. Olivia eats with great focus and NEEDS to be let down from the table when she's finished.

Alessia stays up later and sleeps in later. Olivia likes to be asleep before 8:00 and is up at the crack of dawn

And we love them both. And they might not say it much, but they love each other.




Saturday, February 28, 2015

Activities from the Kids' Junk Drawer

At the ages of 2 and 4, my children have their own junk drawer. You know, the tub with all the small random toys that don't go with anything else. That pack of plastic fish from the aquarium. The dice that they got at the MFA. The plastic pumpkin head wind up toy from Halloween. In the past few months, I've come up with a few activities that make use of the stuff in that drawer.
Make Your Own Eye Spy Game
Using blocks and toys from the junk drawer we created and then photographed a scene like in our Eye Spy books. Alessia is good at rhyming and helped me write the riddles.
Color Sorting
This one was inspired by an episode of Curious George. George helps clean up the city streets, but finds more treasures than trash. When told a pile of junk is not in itself a collection, George turns his treasures into a color collection by arranging them by color. I laid a big piece of paper on the floor, divided it into columns, and wrote the names of the colors of the rainbow with markers. The kids and I then went through their junk drawer, sorting it by color. With older kids, you could probably sort light to dark as well.
Make Your Own Museum
A few weeks ago the kids and I made our own museum of science out of blocks. (Yes, we are that geeky here.) We then used stuff from the junk drawer (and from our Noah's Ark toy) to create museum exhibitions. This activity was really about sorting things by theme - animals, shapes, colors, etc.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

An Alphabet Game / Un Gioco del'Alfabeto

A post about language in two languages....

(Vedi sotto per l'italiano)

Yesterday we played a new alphabet game. I printed out the letters, but you could write them on small pieces of paper, and we used masking tape. I picked a letter and Alessia (with a little help from me) found things in the living room and dining room that start with that letter. She taped the letters directly to the objects, walls, and floors. We have alphabet books that we enjoy, but Alessia had a lot of fun finding real objects and running around taping the letters to them. We played the game twice, once in English and once in Italian. Some objects ended up with two letters. R for rocking chair and S for sedia a dondolo, for example. L for lamp and L for lampada. This is a game that we should be able to repeat now and then. We'll try it in other rooms like the kitchen or the kids' bedrooms.

Ieri abbiamo fatto un nuovo gioco del'alfabeto. Ho stampato le lettere, ma potete scrivere le lettere sulla carta, e abbiamo usato il nastro adesivo di carta. Ho scelto una lettera e Alessia (con un po' di aiuto della mamma) ha trovato una cosa nel salotto o nel sale da pranzo che inizia con la lettera. Ha fissato le lettere sugli oggetti, sul pavimento, e sullla parete. Abbiamo i libri del'alfabeto che ci piacciono, ma Alessia si è divertito tantissimo trovando gli oggetti e fissando le lettere. Abbiamo fatto questo gioco due volte, prima in inglese e poi in italiano. Alessia ha messo due lettere su alcune cose. R per rocking chair e S per sedia a dondolo, per esempio. L per lamp e L per lampada. Questo gioco si può fare ogni tanto, lo proviamo nella cucina o nelle camere delle bambine.



Friday, January 2, 2015

A preemptive fridge clean out!

This morning Adam took the kids to the library and I tackled the fridge. Normally when my fridge needs tackling, it is because there are things that have gone bad in there. Inspired by The Frugal Girl's blog series "Food Waste Friday" I engaged in a preemptive fridge clean out today. This resulted in:

Four cups of pudding (leftover butternut squash from the fridge and coconut milk from the freezer)

A pan of roasted cabbage for lunch


A fermentation-crockful of shredded and salted cabbage


There is still a whole cabbage in there, but cabbage lasts weeks in the fridge so I have time for that. There are some bits of cheese, but Adam is working his way through those. There are also some carrots in need of eating. I'll make pasta with carrots and onions in the next few days, and if that doesn't finish them up I'll have to think of something else. Roasted? Pickled? Fermented?




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!