Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Quick Glimpse

Summer is....

...splashing through fountains.

...eating sweet (oddly colored) treats.

...surfing and body boarding (in the controlled 'oceans' of Hershey Park).

....learning about science - fires and frozen marshmallows were the highlights.

...slithering reptiles.

...s'mores (indoors because of crazy rain).

...sun-ripened, picked from our garden red raspberries.

...selfies at Clippers Stadium, cheering on the Barnstormer's.

...more sweet treats (they pretty much happen daily).

...reaching super-fireman status.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

As he has been since the day she was born - G continues to be patient towards, tolerant of, inclusive of, thoughtful towards and kind to his little sister.  And as she has since the day she was born - L continues to look up to, want to be around and listen primarily to her big brother.  I am incredibly thankful for the relationship God has allowed between these two pieces of my heart.  I pray that it continues for years and years to come.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CSA Goodness

I am loving the CSA experience!  We paired up with family friends, so end up doing a pick-up every other week.  In our area there are an abundance of CSA options - ranging in size, variety and style of farming.  We went with this one because we really appreciated their approach to gardening.  I also thought it was cool that the owner/farmer is a (relatively) young guy whose first profession was teaching.  He got fed up with working in the public school system and moved to farming.  If you've read this blog before, you will understand why we felt a connection.  ;-)

Here's what the kiddos and I grabbed today:

  • spinach
  • turnips
  • radishes
  • PYO strawberries
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • head lettuce
  • salad mix (arugala and san toi)

We added on a fruit share as well, so we got a bonus of even more strawberries.

Oh my groceries, what a beautiful site!  Is there anything more tasty than a freshly picked, juicy ripe strawberry?  I don't think so.  I could eat an entire quart... by myself... at once...  (this may or may not have actually happened.)

Look at the green awesome-ness.  Love it!  Have I mentioned how much I appreciate our salad spinner now?  I never really understood it's purpose until this season.  It gets a workout now... making up for all that lost time.

The greens have prompted much salad making in our home.  We've long weeded out bottled salad dressings from our fridge (have you ever looked at the content list?!!  YIKES!), so it's been fun experimenting with dressing recipes.  Here is a current fav:

  • 1 grated garlic glove
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of one lemon or lime
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
Back to those strawberries...  

We eat a lot of them plain, made into shortcakes or pancakes, added to crumbs with rhubarb, tossed into smoothies.  I'll freeze many quarts as well so we can enjoy that sweet taste throughout the year.  I'll also make several large batches of strawberry jam to stock our freezer with.  I was so happy last year to come across a no-sugar pectin (have you ever looked at the sugar content of jam/jelly?  Not good for an item that is supposed to be fruit based) that tastes DELICIOUS.  I use a no-sugar pectin (Ball is most readily available in my area), 100% white grape juice concentrate and fresh strawberries.  Nada mas.  Sets perfectly every time, freezes awesomely and tastes so good on breads, muffins, pancakes, cupcakes...  and straight up - or so my children tell me.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Are you eating your greens?

No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to find one argument in favor of NOT eating leafy green veggies.  Every study, documentary or bit of research I've seen has affirmed that our bodies function best when fueled in large part by dark, leafy greens.  I love me some kale, and we've been using tons of spinach in our smoothies, but we hadn't explored much beyond that in the greens department.

We go through pounds of spinach every week, so Tim thought he'd try his hand at growing some.  He and the kids planted it and it's so cool to see it sprouting now.  We had our first DAD-SPINACH smoothie this weekend.  Tasted just a little sweeter than normal.  Must have been all the love.

Tim went with a system called lasagna gardening, which he utilized with a square foot plan.  Google the ideas if you are interested.  Very cool and we have had to do no weeding thus far, though I'm sure a small amount will arise in the weeks to come.

We picked up our first CSA share last week.  It was full of....  dark, leafy greens!  I can't remember the names of all the varieties we got.  I do remember that they came in many shades of green and purple.  Both my kids loved the arugula, which totally shocked me.

The share also included bok choy (which I'd never had, but enjoyed sauteed in EVOO with garlic and shallots) and kale and some fresh radishes.  

Here's to my being as adventurous an eater as my five year old in the coming months.  Eat your greens!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Have I mentioned how much I utilize this site?  I haven't sprung for the 'royale' membership yet, but am often tempted to.  We are in the process of repainting our upstairs hallway (by we, I mean my husband and by in the process of I mean I've asked him to do it for the first time).  I thought it would be cute to have a wall hanging outside each of the kiddos rooms.  I had the kids list some words they would use to describe their sibling and we added some of our own adjectives.  So many ways to print and frame these creations but my current go-to is to upload them to an online photo site (Costco, Wal-mart, Shutterfly) and print them as mounted wall hangings.  They tend to be cheaper than canvas and lay flush against the wall.  Fun to create!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How is she 5?!

So very thankful to be celebrating this little lady's fifth birthday!  What a joy she is - with a heart to love people and serve.  She is eager, thoughtful, compassionate, energetic and affectionate.  She desires to know more and more about God and seeks to share what she learns with all.  Watching her grow is an absolute privilege and honor.  They are not all good days, but they are all days we have been allowed to spend together and for them - each and every one - we rejoice in God's design for our family and how L is knit perfectly in among us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Irony is.....

Irony is living a stone's throw away from a school and sending your children somewhere else!

It has been so wonderful to see tremendous academic strides made by both kiddos this year.  It has also been wonderful as parents to embrace the unique ways our children learn, to release comparison and begin to focus on individual needs and strengths.

Growing up, I had an excellent public education.  What schooling G and L would have wasn't really a discussion, we just assumed they would follow the same route as their parents.  It was eye-opening and disheartening to learn more and more about the state of public education.  While there are still tremendous teachers and educators working towards the growth and well-being of the whole child, there are increasingly frustrating challenges being forced on them.  In G's district, 14 teachers chose to leave the district last year - non retirement age teachers.

I realized I had to mourn public education.  That sounds dramatic, but it is true.  In my mind it was one thing, in actuality it was something altogether different.  I needed to release the idea I had in mind for the kids and open up to the possibility that there was something different for them than what I had experienced.  This took me time.  It also took a lot of research and involvement with our district and administration.

G continues to thrive in an immersion program.  This program is fantastic and he is growing leaps and bounds daily.  Sadly, his district plans to discontinue it so his sister won't have the same opportunity.  The nature of this immersion program within the public school district is that it exists in a sort of bubble.  The classes of immersion on the whole score exceptionally well on all standardized testing.  Because they do so well and rank so high, classroom teachers are given a lot of freedom in what/how they teach.  (I can't find a gracious way to say they don't have to teach as much to the tests as their traditional classroom teacher counterparts.)  Our hope is for him to complete his immersion program in public school in fourth grade.  Then we will evaluate a next step for him.

Our district voted for mandatory full-day kindergarten beginning fall 2014.  L would be in school from 8:45-3:40 every day, using a curriculum designed for half day K.  There is no research that indicates there is any advantage to the child in this setting - unless the child has an IEP and would be receiving specific support during the extended time.  She would have LA blocks of 90 minutes, 2 of them a day.  She would have half a year of music class once a week and half a year of art class once a week.  She would get 30 minutes of physical education once a week.  She would get one recess a day for 20 minutes after a 15 minute lunch.  She is five.  This is not ideal for her (research would indicate it's not an ideal schedule for any child that age).  So we are incredibly excited to begin a new educational experience with L.  An approach that educates the whole child, not a number taking a test.  (Speaking of, did you know that with Common Core your child's standardized test scores will be public access for colleges or future employers to review?)  While it took me some time to get here, I could not be more excited for the University Model School we will be joining fall 2014.  More on the program another time.

Public education is not horrible.  It can work for some children.  Each child is unique and has unique needs.  If their school is able to meet their needs - WONDERFUL!  I do encourage parents to be involved in their child's public education.  I believe every parent should be at school board meetings (these are the people who approve administrative decisions for your child - like cutting art/music/phys ed time), every parent should have a relationship with their child's teacher (your child's teacher spends more time with your child during the week than you do - that is not a judgement, it is a reality), every parent should read PTO minutes (lots of good info in there), every parent should share their praises and concerns over what is happening in their child's education with the administration and the board - emails, phone calls physical presence all great ways to do so.  After two years of attending meetings, I am still shocked that in a district our size there are maybe 5 parents who come out regularly.  We take assume that those in leadership have our child's best interest in mind.  Sadly, that is not always the case.  And as I always say, you can't complain about what is happening in your district if you are not lending your voice and sharing your thoughts on the matters that concern you.

Again, these our thoughts that reflect our family and our children.  A neat thing about parenting is when you have those kiddos, you get to make the decisions you want for them, and you don't have to compare those decisions to anyone else's.