June 30, 2014

First Ice Cream

Eleven months old is when we first gave Little Smith a taste of ice cream. We were at the harvest festival in my home town, it was coconut flavor from a local creamery and he tried a tiny thimble full, smiled, and then was done with it. Hurray! Another milestone to check off the list. 

Baby Roo's first dance with ice cream was a whole different story.... and I blame myself. After all, I ate nothing but chocolate, fruit, and ice cream during my entire pregnancy with her. It was crazy, real-deal cravings that I was powerless to resist, and a big departure from the steamed kale and brown rice I munched daily the first time around. And so, I seem to be saddled with a permanent additional ten pounds, and this baby's love for ice cream is not a joke. She could not be cut off after she'd demolished the better part of my cone, giant heart wrenching tears convinced us to let her launch into her dad's chocolate fudge sunday too. This girl is sweet as pie (er... ice cream), but mark my words, she is going to be big big trouble. She already has us all wrapped around those little sticky fingers! 

June 29, 2014



Last week he: went to the dentist for the very first time. he was super nervous, but did really well (it was a mighty swanky office, so that helped!) / finally gave up sleeping with his 'nuk nuk' aka pacifier. I know I know, it's about time / helped pop change the oil in our car / loafed around the house a bunch playing with toys and enjoying no school or camp or speech class for a whole week.

Last week she: was a little cranky (probably too much time around the house and not enough action for her... or a tooth) / did a great job waiting around at the dentist (even when I had to put her down on the floor like an orphaned baby) / started really, truly, officially crawling / knocked over lots of her brother's towers and train tracks, leading to lots of crying from him, and then lots of crying at his crying from her... last week was a doozy!

June 23, 2014

Garlic Scapes and Rice

Scapes have become my very favorite part of growing our own garlic. The texture is somewhere between asparagus and green beans, with a bright yet mellow garlic flavor... so good! My cooking has still been trending towards the lazy. I promised to share a recipe when we ventured beyond hard boiled eggs, but then I figured I'd just go ahead and show how we do eggs. 

This is a wildly simple dish for lunch or a light dinner. I try to sit down with the kids for a quick hot lunch like this a couple times a week. It's so little effort and is particularly fun when we get to eat treasures from our very own garden (Little Smith definitely is more willing to try things that he actually  planted... I may even resort to fibbing on occasion!).

Garlic Scapes and Rice: serves two adults or one adult, one three year old, and one baby
  • four hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved
  • 2 c cooked short grain brown rice
  • 5 garlic scapes, trimmed and cut into 3/4" pieces
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbs nutritional yeast or soy sauce
  • 2 tbs minced basil (I used Thai and purple varieties)
  • few splashed of brown rice vinegar
Prepare hard boiled eggs (my favorite method is to put them in a heavy pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, then turn off heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove and run under cold water).

Cook rice and set aside. Heat olive and toasted sesame oils over a heavy bottomed skillet. Add the garlic scapes and saute for about three minutes, until tender. Add grated ginger. Add cooked rice and toss to combine. Add soy sauce and minced basil (reserving a pinch for plating). Remove from heat. 

Spoon rice mixture onto plates, top with reserved minced basil, and add a splash of brown rice vinegar and halved hard boiled eggs to each plate.

It's always a bonus when all of us can eat the same meal without any tweaks or modifications. I think we may have the only baby who actually enjoys using a bowl and doesn't toss it around (at least for now!) and it's kind of the most adorable thing ever to see her mini portions. 

The perfect lunch for three, if I do say so. I must admit that the baby chewed her scapes more than she actually ate them, but she also went back for more eggs, so it all worked out. The best part is that we have plenty more scapes to cook up this week. If anyone has any favorite recipes, I am all ears!

June 22, 2014

Last Breakfast

Check out time is 11:00. You light a fire while I make breakfast. You feed the kids breakfast while I pack up the food. I'll play with the kids by the water while you disassemble the shade tent. You play with the kids by the water while I pack up the sleeping tent... And then maybe we'll all just sit and watch the boats and birds pass, hoping the chairs and toys and tent pack and load themselves into the car in the next 45 minutes. 

I'm convinced it's the sign of a good trip when you are asked (politely) to leave camp. Packing up is probably my least favorite part of any travel, and an empty tent always bums me out, which is why I highly recommend filling it with a naked baby. Love you tent, until next time!

First S'More

I was struggling with some camera issues as Little Smith was experiencing the joy that is one's very first s'more. James kept getting annoyed and telling me to put the camera away and I could photograph the second s'more, but for some reason I refused to be deterred! As it turned out there wasn't a second one to document... 'can I just have the chocolate mama, I don't like fire mellows'. There is just no accounting for taste!

*oh man, is she still talking about that camping trip?! I am. sorry. and I'm not even done, although just one more... promise! I generally pride myself on kind-of-sort-of editing, but we took sooo many pictures (likely because we had no phones, which actually has me thinking quite a bit) and so this IS edited. plus, it's my journal, and I guess I can do what I want to, right? ;)

June 20, 2014

Disconnect and Connect

A new catalogue from REI arrived in the mail yesterday, and as I flipped through the first few pages I noticed our tent was featured, along with some new accessories. Among the various options to trick out one's tent was an 'entertainment center loft', a sleeve and hooks serving to conveniently attach an iPad so everyone can 'stay connected as they want to be' while camping. I was standing alone in my kitchen with the catalogue, and I let out an audible groan, for nobody's benefit but my own. I do get it, I am totally hooked to my iPhone and value staying connected. Once I left the office environment, with constant access to a computer, and started being on the go with kids every day, having that link to family, friends, and the general news of the world became super important to my sanity. But I have also found myself too sucked in at times. I have been known to bury my nose flipping through photos on Instagram when I should be watching the children I am photographing to share. I try not to judge myself too harshly, because we all need a little time to zone out in this life, but I think most of us would agree that we need a break from it all now and again too.

Part of what I love most about camping is the opportunity to unplug. I became smitten as a preteen, long before iPhones, when the novelty was escaping television and land lines. My father used to take me on the back of his motorcycle with a tiny tent that sprung into shape when tossed in the air, like magic. I'd stroll around the campgrounds looking for other kids to befriend, we'd check in with our neighbors on the latest word from the ranger over the weather. We would build a sense of community, then just as effortlessly, move to the next camp, rebuilding  with a new group the following night.  

Possibly because it was Father's Day weekend and everyone was on their best behavior, but I saw more simple, unplugged fun this past trip than I have laid eyes on in a very long time... and it felt really good. A gang of grade schoolers took turns launching each other out in a canoe with lots of shouting and coordination to keep stylish socks and sneakers dry, many pairs of father's and son's collected kindling, parents set up on the shore with beach chairs and cocktails while kids splashed in water far too chilly for my cold blood, neighbors lent matches and tips, Little Smith barely whined or complained (not always the case!) because he was too busy with his own small chores and responsibilities of camp... just those basic, kind moments and exchanges with the people in our present company that can easily go missing when we are all focused on 'staying as connected as we want to be'.

I always find discussions about technology and 'simpler times' frustrating and confusing. I am excited for my children to live in a world where the awareness of and connection to every culture around the globe is at their fingertips.There is tremendous value in access to information, and I try not to take that for granted. I certainly would rather prepare for discussions about moderation and technology with my kids than try to explain the kind of prejudice and ignorance that prevailed in those 'simpler times'. For my money progress is good, provided it's grounded in perspective. 

Currently I am fixed to the laptop with my trusty iPhone by my side, ready to check the weather, stream a podcast, or just text with friends at any moment. But personally, I draw the line at camping. It's the one sacred place where I can still shut off all streams in and out, and just be present with the actual people and environment around me. I am grateful that James shares this view, and hopeful that our children will also grow to appreciate the value of an occasional escape from the privilege of technology.