Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Iris' 3rd birthday

Family portrait!



Hello Kitty Parfait







 I guess I didn't take more photos of the party. We invited just a handful of Iris' friends over for her 3rd birthday (you know, in January, when she was born!) I have a whole new birthday philosophy. As soon as everyone gathers, we sing "Happy Birthday" and eat the sugar. Then the kids can run crazy and the parents can relax.



marshmallows dipped in melted candy cane Hershey kisses.
Iris had a great party, and she can't wait til she turns four! They are both in a hurry to grow up. =(



Clark's 5th birthday!

Clark had his fifth birthday party at the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department (the same scene of his 3rd birthday party). The theme was "super heros" and it was a ton of fun! 

We had a very long, snowy winter. School was cancelled a lot. We were trapped indoors a lot. So, we used those snow days to make some super awesome stuff for the party. 

 
we made a pinata out of a paper grocery bag

construction paper, glue, scissors.

everyone helped.

and Clark picked some cool pictures from Pintrest to glue to the sides of the Pinata

and filled it with candy!

on the day of the party, we dressed in our Superhero Best
enjoyed our friends!

two cakes!
and ate some delicious ice cream cake!
family love

Clark is 5!

 There was a fire station tour, a pinata, and all the kids left the party with superhero capes and masks!



Clark's Theater Class ~incomplete video loaing

This Winter, Clark took a theater class called "Super-kids in the City" at Imagination Stage. He really enjoyed it. Each week, they worked on developing their character (Clark made super-villan, "Electricity Man") and learning about the characteristics of heros, such as perseverance, team work, courage, creativity, confidence.  He earned a badge for each of the characteristics that he demonstrated, and the badges were stapled to their super hero capes.

He often came home with fun games we could play. They were games with making and mimicking funny voices. Games where we made funny poses, or pretended to do something (mix a cake, eat chocolate, drive a car). 

This is an object improv game. The kids went around the circle and pretended the object was whatever they wanted it to be. Some other things it was: an ice cream cone, a car, a raincloud, a megaphone.  
video
The Debut of Electricity Man!
video 

This is the story the kids developed over the course of the semester, using their characters that they developed. Clark is electricity man. 



 after the video stops, Clark and the other bad guy go to jail, and Clark has a conversion. He says, "I'm sorry I was bad. I want to be a good guy now." and the good guys take him into their fold.  Then the other guy falls into a pit where he eventually turns good too. The End.

This was a quick thinking improv game.


While it isn't fantastic acting from this bunch of 5 year old boys, I think they had an incredible amount of fun and really developed their imaginations during the class. 

I'm proud of Clark for doing so well in this class and for really enjoying himself.

Frog babies

Max and Clarabelle had a fun winter.

 
making batch after batch of eggs.
 After their third batch of eggy laying, I finally figured out how to carefully transfer the eggs to a different container, with the proper PH and temperature and food... and the eggs began to hatch, and our tadpoles were here!
 and then the tadpoles grew and grew and grew.
this one is starting to get hind legs

and a few weeks later front leg buds
and then they turned into little frogletts.
we have eight little froglets (living in gross water at the moment)
so now we have 10 frogs.

Farming Freinds - making cheese - late spring

 When Tom went to his May conference in Orlando this year (ARVO), the kids and I took a road trip up to our friends' farm in Pennyslvania. Linda let me help her make cheese. We worked all day culturing, cutting, handling, straining, and pressing the cheese. These two cheese rounds will be aged for 9-12 months and become Romano.  Its about $200 of cheese per round! and it was a TON of work. I'm definitely feeling like I understand why cheese costs what it does! After we made the Romano, we walked around and took photos with it!

and then we cultured the left over whey and made Ricotta. It was angelic and light. The Peachy's call it "Ricotta from heaven" and they can't make enough to keep up with the demand!


Farming Friends - early Spring

Ok. I'm gonna try to start blogging again.

This is a post about our friends who have a farm. They are the Peachy family. They live in Pennsylvania and have a goat dairy. We met one of the Peachy daughters (Eunice, 19) at the Rockville Farmer's Market. We struck up a friendship, and were invited to visit them at the farm.
We went this Spring, and had a great time! So we went again a few weeks ago. And we'll be going again in late June to attend the wedding of one of the boys (Allen, 23).

Here's Clark and Iris riding in a hugemongous tractor with sons Abe (21), Wilfred (12), and Jerald and Harold (10)

 Here's Matriarch Linda Peachy with Clark and a Pony.

Iris and Eunice (19)

Riding Flicka the horse

Iris, Linda, Cat, and Tom
 This crazy contraption is an electric plow/tiller, hooked up to a wooden death trap. The younger boys made it themselves, and called it their "Jittney". Nobody died using it, but it doesnt have brakes, and is hard to steer. Clark got a ride, and... so did my sweet baby Iris. It was terrifying... yet fun!
 The best part of the farm experience was meeting the baby goats. They are so sweet and nibbly. Clark spent a million hours playing with them.
Iris holding a kid

Wilfred kept Iris safe from their nibbles and pouncing

and then he helped her hug a sweet goaty

and Clark was in heaven.

and so was I!
 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ratatouille

Here's my recipe and process for ratatouille. 
2 onions
9 garlic cloves
Olive oil. 

3 medium eggplants (plus salt)
2 yellow and 2 green squash 
4 bell peppers
(Cut into circles) 

Spaghetti sauce or tomatoes 
More olive oil

Thyme
Rosemary
Oregano
Salt and pepper. 

Process: 

Cut up the eggplant. 
Put the pieces in a strainer and salt them on both sides. This draws out the water and gives them a non-spongy-weird texture. 

I just leave the strainer in the sink so the eggplant moisture can go right down the the drain. 

Then chop an onion and sauté it. While it is sautéing in olive oil. Chop up some garlic. And throw that in there too. I used 9 small ones in this double recipe. 
And then mix in gobs of thyme. Maybe 2 Tbsp. and mix it up for a long, low sauté. 
While its cooking, cut up all of this stuff. 
When veggies chopped, blend onions in food processor to make a delicious palte that you will smear on the bottom of the pan. 
Then blot your eggplant to remove the salt and excess water - and you are ready to assemble 
I blot mine using the "paper towel sandwich" method. 
Then layer. 
In lue (loo? lu? leu?) of tomatoes, I use sauce. Every time we got 5-6 tomatoes this summer, I'd make a sauce and freeze it. So, garden fresh tomato sauce goes in this recipe instead. I put it between the rows so it can flavor the dish from underneath. :-) 

Ok, fill the pan. Then drizzle olive oil on top, a few spoons of sauce and some herbs: thyme, oregano and rosemary today. 
Cover with parchment paper (or Tin foil) and bake in 375 degree oven for about 40-60 min. 

And it's delicious! Good luck! 

We usually have some leftover eggplant or zucchini. We fry these up in corn meal and coconut flour to make some yummy appetizers!