Wednesday, August 29, 2007
So for dinner last night? Corn, lima beans. Homemade chicken strips. And tabouleh, with fresh tomato, and fresh basil from my garden. I'm going to be sorry to see summer come to an end - I just love the foods of summertime. Right now, besides the peaches, in my refrigerator, I also have apples, strawberries, watermelon that I cut up last night, a pineapple and grapes. MMMMM - eating close to earth just feels right.
Which brings me to a thought. We are so fortunate in this country. We are a prosperous nation, with all kinds of foods and retail goods available at our whim. We go to huge, brightly lit, heavily stocked grocery stores that make you shiver with cold because they're so air-conditioned. We are so used to all the products we use and eat and need being there for us - neatly arranged and attractively marketed. We even get a little disgruntled when they might be out of something we like, or we can't find it readily. Compare that to those nations where food is a luxury, where children are starving and where men fight for a sack of rice to feed their families for a month. Where produce sits and rots in the heat while people have to walk 20 and 30 miles to get there, swatting bugs the whole time, carrying children, nursing babies. Thank you God, that I don't have to fight for food to feed my little ones. Thank you God, for prosperity, for never having to go hungry, for having our basic necessities plus a whole lot more a short drive to Walmart away. Thank you God, that I can wake up in the morning, greet my family, and ask them what they would like for breakfast today, because I have OPTIONS. At my fingertips.
Just my thoughts for the day - I'm going to go see what Jonathan would like for breakfast --- with a smile on my face!
Monday, August 27, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Homemade graham crackers - that was my task for the day. Well, besides the usual. Why, you ask? Well, where to begin? A while back, Mark and I decided that we really needed to start eating a little better. We aren't in our 20's anymore, and one of us (ahem...) isn't even in HIS 30's anymore. I read somewhere awhile back that the three most important things you can do for your health are:
2. eliminate high-fructose corn syrup from your diet
3. eliminate hydrogenated oils from your diet
Okay, well, number 2 is hopeless. That's in almost everything we eat! But number 1 is easy, and number 3? Well? Okay, so we decided to try it. And I'm happy to say, that first of all, our kitchen had very little of it to begin with. The worst offenders? Crackers and cookies. And lo and behold, there it was, in graham crackers. The yummy graham crackers that I love and give to my babies on a daily basis. So a few months ago, when I stumbled upon graham flour at the local Amish market (gotta LOVE those Amish folks!), I bought my 2lb bag (for 40 cents) and then went on an on-again, off-again internet search for the perfect recipe. Today, I found it. Well, almost. Yes, it had vegetable shortening in it, but if you just substitute butter, there go the hydrogenated oils. I made them today, and let me tell you, they ROCK! If anyone wants to try, here's the recipe.
Also, today, I made herb flatbread to go with the chef salads we had for dinner - I got the idea from Quizno's - their flatbread salads look SO good, but they've got like 1000 calories and 56 grams of fat in each one....ummmm, is that a SALAD? So I did it myself, and I think we have a new addition to the "favorite recipe" box. Oh, and MUCH healthier, I might add.
So before this blog turns into a total foodie blog, which it very well could do, let me just tell you that after those two ventures, plus the chef's salads, PLUS the lima beans Mark brought from the farmer's market that I had to shell and cook, PLUS the watermelon that I cut up for snacks, not only did I spend about 3 hours in a hot kitchen, but had a royal mess to clean up after dinner. It was worth it though. We're trying to eat "closer to earth" these days, and it's working out great. So much farmer's market, so little refrigerator space! I'll be sorry to see summer end. Except for maybe the zucchini. And we, fools, grew those ourselves!
Onto the kids - it's no secret that Jonathan has a major obsession with all things train. Thomas ranks high up there, but nothing beats train tracks. We live in a town that makes half it's living by the rails, and trains rumble through here dozens of times a day. Every time, and I mean EVERY time we're out driving anywhere, we've got to alter our route so we run over at least 2 or 3 railroad crossings....the springs in my van are groaning from abuse! So the other night after dinner, we hit the Allegany Highlands trail - a cool new rail trail that has recently been added onto so that except for a few little spots, runs from DC all the way to Pittsburgh. We're out there with dog and double-stroller, enjoying the evening, when Jonathan decides he needs to get out and stand on the tracks for a bit. We let him out, he goes up to the tracks, thoughtfully looks both directions and says "Train tracks, Mommy...they're so beautiful!" How can you not crack up at the things these kids say?
And Matthew? Well, today he learned a new trick - how to climb up onto the couch. He hasn't yet figured out how to get down. Well, actually, I take that back. He CAN get down, but he usually winds up with a bruise somewhere and he has a screaming fit. Not that I can blame him. Just one more thing to add to my list: go yank Matthew off that couch before he cracks his skull....
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Which brings me to question...will there ever be a "stage-free" moment? It seems like they give up one bothersome behavior only to pick up two or three more. And it's funny, you never can quite remember exactly when they give up a bad habit - it just kind of happens and then a month or two later, you're like "hey...he doesn't do THAT anymore". Take Jonathan for instance. For a long time, he refused to walk up the steps by himself. He HAD been doing it fine, but I guess after Matthew was born, he saw me carry Matthew up, and then he started refusing to go up without assistance. Most of the time, I couldn't carry him - I had Matthew, my purse, the diaper bag, maybe some grocery bags or four.... So then he started needing to hold my hand up the steps. This went on for months! Then all of the sudden, just today, I realized that he hadn't needed "help" for a good while now - probably at least a month or two. Here I never thought the day would come, but indeed, it did come, and I never even noticed.
So I know Matthew will think up something else to make up for finally accepting the vacuum. It's just the way they are, I guess!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
The last few weeks have had their low points, that's for sure. But then you stumble upon something that puts it all in perspective, and I'd like to share it, even though it's not the happiest thing in the world. I read this family's blog the other night - it's not long - it only covers a time period of a few precious months. Reading something like this was just the kick in the pants I needed when I was starting to feel a little sorry for myself. I am so grateful for my family, my children; my healthy, robust babies that bring me so much joy just by their very existence. I thank God every day for them, even when that prayerful thanks is followed by another prayer that God grant me enough patience to just get through another day.
So I leave you with this link. Whether or not you choose to read it is your decision - it is very sad.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Yes, the zucchini have grown out of control. We ate out for two nights in a row on the weekend, and all the sudden, the zucchini overtook the garden. I'm not even going to bother cooking up these, I've got two more in the fridge a little smaller, and these are just too big to deal with.
Boy, is it HOT. We've had a dry, coolish summer up until now - only a few really hot days here and there. But the heat is here, and here for at least a week. Last night it didn't cool off overnight that much, and our un-airconditioned house is over 80 degrees this morning, and it's supposed to be 98 today. But today's the worst of it - I hope! I think the pool might get a lot of use today!
Monday, August 6, 2007
And in other news, Mark has been singing a new song around the house lately: to the tune of "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover".... Mark sings: "50 Ways to Have Zucchini". Tonight's menu - kebobs - shrimp, pepper, onion, and of course, zucchini. On the grill. Marinated in herb-garlic stuff. And I've still got more zucchini the size of baseball bats, on the vine, in the fridge. Why don't the deer and chipmunks eat these, huh?.
On Sunday, we didn't get much done because it basically POURED all day long! We needed the rain, but what a bummer - we had planned to spend the whole day in the pool with the kids. I got a few odds and ends done in the house, but we were all mainly in recovery mode from Saturday, so we didn't do much. We only have a few weekends left with the pool - it's stormy today, so I'm not letting Jonathan go in. Tomorrow's supposed to be 99 degrees - yep, we'll be swimming!
Friday, August 3, 2007
Thursday, August 2, 2007
The next Michael Phelps? He was actually kicking his legs and moving his arms!
Our banana peppers are coming in well - last night we had one cut up into our salad and it was a great addition. Tomatoes? Not so great - we have a small chipmunk problem! Mark has already caught five chipmunks this season. We re-locate them to a place we won't name and are very sure they don't (and can't) come back. But we think new ones are moving in as soon as the old ones get evicted! Ah, the joys of gardening!