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Showing posts from April, 2010

A book plea for baby steps to Free Range

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We are reading an eclectic collection this week. Our library finally got the new computer system up and running. That means all those requests I had been saving up finally got addresssed. It is sad that soon I won't be able to do that anymore. Our library is going to start charging for requests. It will change how we visit the library and not in a good way.

Little Pig is Capable is a hysterical tongue-in-cheek book sending out a plea to let our kids be just a bit more Free-Range. The story can be read (and the message received) with just the basic text of the book which is how we read it for the first couple of times. Then we added the text of parents' voices and the adults just giggled their way through. Froggy is too little to get much of the underlying humor but she loves the book.
Ten Days and Nine Nights is a very very simple book that tells the story of one family's adoption from the big sister's perspective. The simplicity of the book is what makes it. T…

Extracurriculars - Curriculum Review Part 1

This week I am starting a series reviewing curriculum, classes and extracurriculars as decide what to keep, what to toss and what to add for the upcoming school year.

I am starting with extracurriculars since that is what prompted the review. I have signed Froggy up for swim team for the summer. This is a test for us on many fronts. It could fail (and thus make life simpler in many ways) for any combination of reasons.
The team while it says it is not competitive and welcomes beginners may decide she is not developmental ready.Froggy may decide she is not up to it or willing to put in the effort/timeI may decide that the time slot and/or commitment just does not work for our family
Or it could be a huge success and thus require a total revamp of how life works at The Landing.

Summer Swim Team meets five times a week for one hour. My understanding is that we can easily elect not to attend all sessions each week but it is unlikely we will be able to participate and attend less than th…

Menu Monday April 25-May 1

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First a recap from the past week. I have been working on a paper and thus a terrible slacker in the kitchen. We never made the lasagna so it is back on this week's menu. I did try the Sloppy Joes though. I think they came out very well with almost no work at all.

**Update** I made the risotto. It turned out beautiful. The squash gave it an amazingly sweet taste. Next time I would add a bit more spice. Perhaps some cardamon or something to give it a bit of a kick.

Sunday Baked Chicken, Butternut Risotto, broccoli
Monday - Mom at Class - Tofu Stir Fry, rice, keem
Tuesday Lasagna made with homemade ricotta, a nice green salad, and garlic bread
Wednesday - picnic - cold roast chicken, pasta salad, veggie sticks, and fruit kebobs.
Thursday - Fish Sticks, niblet corn and carrot sticks.
Friday Our Vegetarian Shabbat - Challah, Rasberry Salad, Pasta of the Grape, Asparagus and Chocolate eggs
Saturday - Dinner at the Israeli Festival.

I am also finally going to try these in hopes of addi…

A New Look at Chapter Books.

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We are reading two very different unrelated books right now and yet they are both chapter books which works well for me and is one of the finer things in my life.


Froggy is reading Frog and Toad Are Friends to me. This is our first real introduction to the Frog and Toad series. They have been recommended to me several times but when I looked at them they left me uninterested. Yet during our last trip to the library while scouting through the "I Can Read" section I picked one up to try since it looked much better than many of the other alternatives. Froggy really likes it. The stories while not fantastic and thrilling to me are appropriate and acceptable (unlike Arthur or Dora). The text is challenging without being overwhelming for Froggy and there are just enough pictures to be interesting and yet not be a picture book.

And I am reading Little House in the Big Woods to her. I read the whole series when I was a bit older than Froggy. I am sure she will probably reread t…

Menu Monday April 18-24

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Froggy made a special request so instead of the chocolate eggs I had planned I made my first ever carrot cake with cream cheese frosting- all dairy free. The cake turned out really well. The frosting tasted ok but the texture was not what I wanted. It was a good learning experience though and will turn out better in the future.

This week I am returning to a menu structure that worked well for us but fell by the wayside. We will have a vegetarian night, a fish night, a chicken night and a beef night.

Sunday - Burgers (which never got made last week) tator tots and peas
Monday - Mom at class - Pizza and salad
Tuesday- Sloppy Joes (made with leftover Brisket) niblet corn and green beans
Wednesday - Picnic Night, Tuna Fish, Crackers, Carrot Sticks, Apples and Cookies
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Challah, Lasagna made with homemade ricotta, a nice green salad, peach cobbler.
Saturday - a true Shabbat suedah out with friends and light dinner at home before Havdalah

Also this week I need to make…

Could you do it?

So I was reading on of my favorite blogs, Free Range Kids. She has declared Monday May 22nd as Take Your Kids To The Park and Leave Them There day. Froggy is too young still, being technically a preschooler but I wonder how many parents are willing to step up and do this? If Froggy had an older sibling or friend to do this with I would in a heart beat. She makes a very convincing argument that our parents did it for us and we not only were safe (in a statistically less safe world) but benefited from the experiences.

Can you find a neighborhood park close by where you can drop your child off unsupervised for even just a half hour to let them start being independent?

Why not? If the child is properly prepared there is no reason why they cannot be successful and safe yet I doubt many people will take this opportunity to venture into the Free-Range world. I worry that those who do will be considered unsafe and get in trouble with the legal authorities.

Raising Free-Range kids works for …

Catepillars

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Our caterpillars finally arrived. (This is actually our second batch but don't tell Froggy that. I killed the first batch) We measured them when they arrived and are watching them grow. They started at tiny and have gotten much bigger than expected. We keep thinking that each molt is the last but not so. Sharing nature with my daughter is one of the finer things in life for me.

We are reading some great stories to go along with our study and keep her interested while awaiting the metamorphosis.

From Caterpillar to Butterfly is a Stage 1 Science book that show the life cycle in a fun and interesting way. We checked out three different books of this type and as I expected this was the only one that we read multiple times.

Becoming Butterflies is part of the "Science Made Simple for Curious Young Minds" series. It is written as a story unlike the Stage 1 Science books. Froggy likes stories much better and will consistently choose these books over any non-fiction book. …

Garden Update

We had an extremely productive day in the garden yesterday. Unfortunately the front of the house now looks worse than when we started. We removed lots of dead branches from our dying Cherry Tree. It is at the end of its life span and we are delaying removing the whole thing. We also took out one of the major shrubs which had been demolished by Snowmaggaden 2010. We put in some salvage techniques to try to save the other two that were badly put upon by the same storm.

On a more positive note, I managed to get my green beans planted. We moved the Green bean lady to a more sunny spot in the yard. It is a much less convenient spot but it will hopefully yield a much greater harvest. We also planted four different kinds of potatoes. It is a little later than I had hoped to get these planted but better late than never. We are moving slowly towards increasing the amount of local produce in our diet much of which I hope will come from our garden.

The goal for this weekend is the cucum…

Menu Monday April 11-17

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Ahhhh finally a normal week. Life is calming down and I can relax and try some new things in the kitchen. Quality Ground Sirloin was on sale at the market so that will feature heavily in this weeks menu. The weather is screaming spring and I want my menu to reflect that. We are trying hard to eat out less so I am planning lunches as well as dinners. We have a fabulous new backpack cooler that lets me easily and conveniently pack a picnic lunch for the whole family. This Shabbat we are having Salmon but for next Shabbat I need to come up with a fancy yet vegan meal to serve to our company. Got any suggestions?

Dinner Menu
Saturday - Tacos with homemade tortillas(recipe below), Black Beans, Mexican Rice, Simple Green Salad
Sunday - Tofu Stir Fry, rice, keem
Monday - (Mom at Class) Spaghetti with Homemade sauce and a green salad.
Tuesday- Burgers, Tator Tots, Green Beans
Wednesday - Swim Night Picnic - Cold Roast Chicken, coleslaw, Potato chips, cookies
Thursday - Pizza and carrot stic…

Get Outdoors Challenge

The Children and Nature Network has declared April to be Children and Nature Awareness Month. April is the perfect time for this because throughout much of the country the weather is just calling cooped up children everywhere to come play outside.

Long ago, I read about the Green Hour and have tried valiently to provide that for Froggy at least on a weekly average. We succeed a minimum of 9 months out of the year and come close during even during the winter.

During April though it is more a question of convincing people to stay inside long enough to get the necessary chores done. Even I am balking at the minimal confinement necessary to grocery shop or prepare dinner. We live outside during this season, taking hikes with friends, cleaning up the yard, planting our garden, riding bikes and blowing bubbles.

I am a terrible picture taker so I won't be playing along with 5 Orange Potatoes but we will be heading out every day. If you are looking for ideas of what to do pop over for …

Menu Planning Monday - Mom Away

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This is a rough week. I am leaving on Tuesday immediately following Yitzkor services to go to Florida for my grandmother's funeral. I am packing up as much of my Passover stuff as possible ahead of time. I will not return home at the end of Peseach which means Dad will have to pack up whatever is left. Can you tell I am a trusting fellow?

Sunday - KLP Meatloaf, applesauce, kale chips
Monday -Daddy cooks- Steak, oven fries and carrot sticks
Tuesday - Pesach ends at sundown - Dinner out with Grandparents - Mom gone
Wednesday - Grandma cooks - Mom away
Thursday - Mom is back (yippee) Tofu Stirfry, rice and Keem
Friday - Challah, Roast Chicken, green beans, roasted red potatoes, melted icecream cake made with coconut milk icecream.
Saturday - leftovers.

Buy Local Eat Local

I try very hard to follow this motto. We go to the farmers market almost every week. Our farmers market reopens today. Not many of the vendors will be there yet but it is a start. We try to eat only what is in season and put up our own local produce for when stuff is not in season.

One way people have recommended buying local in an affordable manner is through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group. We tried a CSA once and did not like it. There were no fruits and lots of stuff my family did not eat.

Well I looked again this year and found one (too late to join for this year unfortunately) that I like much better. They include lots of fruits in the share. But it is the added benefits that come with the share that sold me. Since the place where we have gone strawberry picking the past 2 years is not offering them anymore, I was looking for a new place and this one looks great and even claims to be low pesticide use. We will be heading out to several of their u-pick events…

Goodbye Mommom

Dear Mommom

Goodbye. I am glad that your parting was swift and soft. We will miss you. I know these last 8 months have been hard without Mom.

You are an amazing woman. You were always cool even though you were a grandparent. You were never the fuddy old lady that some of the "Aunties" were. It made me smile and giggle to think of you teaching dance class while I felt old and decrepit rolling out of bed to tend to the Froggy.

You are an amazing woman. I had trouble dealing with just one miscarriage. Yet you had so many and the stillbirths as well. And yet you kept going and trying again.

I am sorry that I was not able to hug you and kiss you one more time but I know Mom was waiting for you and gave you lots of hugs and kisses.

You will be missed. We love you so much.

Your loving granddaughter
Michelle