Thursday, October 31, 2013

You've Got To Be Carefully Taught

It’s time for Operation Christmas Child again!  And this year we added something very special to our tradition.  Each year since Little Bird…then Little Hoss were born, we have done a box for a little girl and a little boy from us and each of the kids.  
This year, the babies came shopping with us!
As is the tradition for Himself and I, we shopped for the boxes and enjoyed a meal out where we talked about it.  Usually we have something like sushi… with preschoolers now a part of this, the meal was Chick-Fil-A (and some playground time! LOL) with dessert at a frozen yogurt shop.  
At 3 years old, Hoss is still a bit young for shopping for someone else.  His focus kinda wavered a bit.
Four year old Bird was definitely more into it.  As I explained to her we were shopping for a Christmas gift for a little girl who might never have ever gotten a Christmas present or birthday present, her big blue eyes puddled up.
“We’ve got to get her something!!!”
And so we did. 
Little Meghan and Little John (names picked out by the kids) will be opening boxes with presents carefully selected.  There is a soft bunny and a soft bear, cuddly blankets, snazzy shirts, and a little toy picked out just for them.  (Himself and I will finish filling it with items we’ve picked up thru the year such as crayons, toothbrushes, bowls, etc).
Why are we starting with them so young?
Because there is a song that I first heard a long time ago, probably before I was a teen.  It is from the musical "South Pacific" and is called "You Have To Be Carefully Taught". 
You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!
Well folks... you can carefully teach the other way too.  
Red and yellow, black and white…they are precious in His sight…

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Creative Outlet: October

Lately I’ve been so busy with Himself coming home, traveling, and end of summer work around the house that I haven’t been doing many creative projects.  But here’s a few I have to share…
I want to have a few plants in Himself’s study… and he does not want ‘cute’ pots/planters.  OK, in my opinion ‘cute’ is subjective.  So I made a man-friendly cute planter!  An old boot, some dried moss, and a bit of jute twine make for a manly container for this cactus.
I made the tag to remind him that it is time to go for walks down to the lake!
One of my terrariums needed to be redone so I decided to make a little fairy garden in it.  We have so much moss around here, so I use it a lot in my terrariums.  The stones are from Alaska and Scotland and the shells are from Scotland.
The wee ‘diaper fairy’ is a family joke…
I played around with this little diorama box for a relaxing afternoon.  The mermaid, starfish, and other fish are from the fabric I used for Little Bird’s birthday banner.  I added a bit of beading to the mermaid for texture.  Here again I used stones and shells from AK and Scotland. 
The box is wrapped in a piece of scrapbook paper.  (Need to work on that technique a bit more…)  I’m going to play with it a bit more, but overall I kinda like it.  And it was fun to make.
This is the cover page for a new memory scrapbook I’ve started.  It’s a small 9x9 album and each page will highlight one country or state I’ve traveled too.
I wanted a frame for Little Hoss and Little Bird’s first day of school each year.  I got into my yard stick and office stashes to make this.
I love assemblage art pieces!  So I tried my hand at making one myself.  I call it “Home Improvement”.   I’m not sure if I am finished with it or not.  I’ve seen ones much fuller than this, and I’ve also seen ones that have been spray painted on color to make the shapes the star of the show.  I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do…leave it as is or work a bit more on it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Boo at the Zoo

While visiting in MO, there was a special evening event at the St Louis Zoo called “Boo at the Zoo”.   Sis, Himself, and I went up with the babies in their costumes.
Little Hoss is the purple dragon (he’s very quick to correct you that it is a d-r-a-g-o-n) and Little Bird said she was ‘the lost princess’ (referenced to the movie “Tangled”). 
Little Bird was fascinated by the fog machine. 
Little Hoss was more into spiders.
There were two disgusted kiddos when they found out the train would not be running that night.
Sitting next to ‘Unca’ during a story time.
Next stop… the carousel. 
Little Bird on “Punky” the Cheetah.
Little Hoss on “Mango” the Whooping Crane. 
(They came up with those names on their own!  LOL)
The bubble area was a huge hit! 
Two princesses.
The giant black cat was a favorite of Hoss.  The ‘smoke’ impressed him. 
Hug time!
Working thru the straw bale maze. 
Things got a little ‘batty’ for a while.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Seafood Cookout for the Birthday Boy!

It’s become a tradition for my family to have a seafood boil for Himself’s birthday.  So on our latest trip to MO we did just that.
No more hoping the wood wasn’t wet so we could build a fire – Dad bought a propane turkey fryer set up to cook on.  It worked great and the water was boiling in record time. 
Big J is in charge of the cooking. 
Almost ready to eat!  New potatoes, corn cobbettes, lobster, snow crab legs and shrimp.  Oh yeah…
Round one:  Lobster!
After dinner were the birthday cupcakes.  Little Bird is the decorator.  Most decorations are currently some sort of green as that is her favorite color.  LOL
Singing to the birthday boy!
Two excited kiddos waiting on their cupcake.  Hurry up and blow out the candle Unca!
Happy Birthday My Love!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Salud! at Whole Foods - Mexican Fiesta (with recipe)

A recent Whole Foods class I volunteer worked was for soldiers in the Wounded Warrior program.  For privacy reasons I’m not going to show the participants but I want to share with you my favorite recipe from the class… Maple-Habanera Glazed Pineapple. 
Gloves were worn because both fresh pineapple and the habanera peppers can be rough on your skin. 
The pineapple can be grilled in a cast iron pan or on an actual grill.  Do be careful about the steam rising up since it has marinated in the peppers.  It can really hurt your eyes!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fig and Rosemary Jam (Recipe)

I’d like to share another jam recipe with you.  This one is from the class at Whole Foods.  It is quite unique since it’s made from figs and rosemary.  It has definitely moved into a favorite status with me!
With the figs cut in half it has great texture.
Isn’t it pretty?


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Juice It!

When I go to my classes at Whole Foods a favorite treat is to stop by the juice bar.  I enjoy a green juice with kale, spinach, carrots, apple, ginger, and a few other things I can’t remember just now. 
Dad and Mom picked up on that and for my birthday gave me a Bella Nutripro juicer.  My point with wanting to juice is to get the proper amount of veggies and fruit in my diet.  So I use only the amount of each that is a serving… 4 veggies and 3 fruit servings.  That comes out to about 18 ounces of juice. 
This run has carrots, tomato, an apple, watermelon, and a stick of celery (celery isn’t my favorite and one is all I like in my juice). 
That little bit made this much juice – thanks to the watermelon!!  That is about 36 ounces!  And as you can see, there’s not all that much pulp. 
The Bella is easy to use and very quiet (which surprised me).  The hardest thing is cleaning it when you are done.  But even that is not too bad.  I do it immediately before it starts drying on and it only takes about 3 minutes. 
Veggies that are good for juicing include:  beets (including the stems and greens), kohlrabi greens, collard greens, Swiss chard , leaf lettuce, celery, cucumber, fennel, radishes (including leaves), carrots, cabbage, broccoli, sweet potato, herbs (ginger, mint, parsley, cilantro, etc.), wheatgrass, tomatoes, dandelion greens.
Good juicing fruits are:  apples, pears, oranges, grapefruits, limes, lemons, pineapple (with rind), and watermelon (with rind).
However, you’re not supposed to juice these because either too starchy or not juicy enough:  bananas, mangoes, papaya, berries (just not high enough juice yield in my opinion for their nutritional density), and avocado.
If you want those, you’ll have to run them thru the blender then add in your juice and blend again.  This isn’t a bad option… just more dishes to wash.
One other thing you can do when juicing.  Be careful about what you thru the machine (no seeds, stems, course peels) and you can use the pulp to make delicious quick breads.  You use the pulp the same as you would zucchini or carrots.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mastadons and Saber Tooth Cats and Giant Slothes…Oh My!

My last visit to my family in MO coincided with Little Bird’s first preschool field trip.  They went to a nearby Mastodon State Park.
I went along for several reasons.  First, Little Bird needed her personal paparazzi along to document the day!  ;-D  And second, waaaay back when I was in junior high school I was part of a group raising money to purchase the land that would become the park.  I wanted to see what I had worked for.  (No, in all those passing years I had never visited the park.  There’s no good reason either.)
Little Bird waiting for the program to start.
After everyone got there and was ready, the group went to the conference room.  A park docent told them about the Ice Age and what it was like in the area at that time.  Then they watched a film.
When it was time to go, Little Bird was picked to be a “special helper”.  Her job was to hold a tanned hide so the other children could feel it as they exited the room.
She did a very good job.
From the conference room they went back into the museum, starting at the upper level.
The displays wrap around and down to the door exiting into the park.
Little Bird enjoyed looking at the displays.
One display showed the difference between modern elephants (African and Asian)…
… and the mammoth and mastodon of the Ice Age.
They also were able to see a full size skeleton. 
The docent's lecture was a bit over their heads though…
Once the museum tour was finished, everyone headed outside to hike down to the ‘bone yard’ area.  It was a long walk thru scrub oak woods and down a steep flight of stairs…
…where we ended up at a pavilion with 3 signs! 
Really?  That was it?
They then hiked through the woods back up to the museum where they were released to go home with their parents.  We were all starving, so after picking up Little Hoss from his class we headed out for a nice lunch out.
A good ending for an exciting day!