Saturday, February 18, 2017

Warmth; A few hours out of doors

The gate leading into our backyard got a makeover today.

Hooray for the first warm days at the end of winter.

 Boy arts and crafts?

I was (am) a tomboy so this has always been my kind of arts and crafts too. 
Anyone want to take a guess at how long this will stay up? 
I'd honestly be fine with leaving it here forever.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I want to look at people the way my four year old does

This week my son had an assignment where he had to tell the story of when a visitor came to his house. Last summer two of his cousins came over to play for the day. For the assignment he tried to tell me the story of that day. I wrote it all down as fast as I could.

The point of the story was to focus on detail. He was supposed to tell his story as if someone who knew nothing about his visitors was reading it. He did a very good job telling me about how much fun they had and what they did together. But I had to ask him, "what did your visitors look like?" At first while I was writing his description down I couldn't help but want to ask him for more specific details because this was what he told me:

"Siaara looks like a sister and her is. And she looks like a friend of mine. Asher looks like a friend of mine and he looks very brave."

I didn't ask him to elaborate though and I'm glad that I didn't. It wasn't until later that day as I was driving to my mom's and little Abe was sleeping in his car seat that his description of his cousins really spoke to me. My son has a really impressive imagination. He's very creative. He's incredibly talkative (to people that he knows) and his vocabulary is extremely large. He could easily have said that one of his cousins is very tall, that she has really long yellow-ish hair and that she is skinny. He could have said that she is pretty or that he likes her face (he's said that about several different people).

I kept thinking about it and thinking about it, "she looks like a friend... and he looks very brave." If someone asked you to describe what your sister looks like or your best friend what would you say? I wouldn't say she looks like my friend but there is something about a four year old describing two of his very favorite people looking "like a friend of mine" that just makes me want to be a better person. If someone asked me what my sister looked like I think it'd be admirable to say, "she looks incredibly kind. In fact she looks like someone who enjoys making people happy. She looks like a friend of mine and she's my sister."

I want to look at people the way my four year old does. One of the things that I keep thinking over and over, with as divided as things seem to be culturally these days I honestly believe that if he'd been describing someone of another race his description would have still been what it was. I know that my son doesn't see skin color or racial differences as something that makes people different from each other. I remember last summer when a family of very dark skinned individuals was at the splash pad by the river. They honestly stuck out like a sore thumb and I remember little Abe was sort of staring. I asked him, "why do you keep looking at that little boy honey?" And I remember he turned to me and said, "because he looks really cool!" He never said a word about the boy having really dark skin. I want to look at people the way my four year old does.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New in February

This month is getting away from me. It's flying by. Actually if I stop for a millisecond and think about it I seem to remember January being really super busy too. Okay, never mind. This mad rush feeling is apparently normal. I'm up early and my husband and son are sleeping (nope, they just woke up). Anyhow I thought I'd try and get a post in.

I planned to focus on all things new this month. So far I've not been as focused on the mission as I'd hoped to be but I've still gotten some new experiences in.

1. I made a new dinner that my husband seemed to like and I really enjoyed. The recipe is HERE Thai turkey zucchini meat balls with a coconut milk red curry sauce over white rice. The zucchini was in place of bread crumbs and egg. I did bake the meatballs in the oven at 375 for 15m. instead of browning them in a pan before simmering them in the sauce because I knew it'd be faster to cook them all at once in the oven and I knew that they'd stick to any pan I'd try to use (I don't have any good pans for browning meat). I also used apple cider vinegar in place of the fish sauce because the fish sauce smelled nasty. I will definitely make this recipe more. It was a very delicious meal that was not that difficult to make.

2. You know those chocolate no bake cookies with oats? Everyone's eaten them at some point right? I remember making them fairly often when I was a kid but don't know what recipe I used. I have not been able to find a good recipe for them and haven't made them in years because every recipe I tried has not been right. Someone at work mentioned them the other day and I asked what recipe she used. This wasn't a totally "new" experience but this was the first time I've made chocolate oatmeal no bake cookie the right way in decades! Hooray for good old fashioned recipes turning up after decades.

Chocolate Oatmeal no bake cookies
combine in sauce pan and bring to boil for one minute
(continue stirring for one minute boil)
1 stick of butter
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. milk 
remove from heat after one minute and stir in
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract 
Finally add
3 cups of oats
Then plop on parchment paper on cookie sheet to cool and set
Yes, these cookies are incredibly unhealthy. But they are exactly what I think of when someone says no bake cookies and they were a wonderful addition to the bitterly cold month of February. (They are also my husband's favorite cookie and I'm very happy to have finally made the correct recipe)

3. For little Abe's Valentine card making project I laid out a large sheet of postal paper on the kitchen floor. He used a long string to drag through several different colors of paint to paint lines all over different colors of construction paper. After the paintings dried he cut hearts out of them. This was a new craft that we haven't tried before and he highly enjoyed himself so this definitely makes it onto the new things in February list.

4. At work we sometimes get stock in on tiny little pallets. The regular large pallets get sent back/ re-used/ recycled but the tiny little pallets always get thrown out. I've been wanting to take one home but I've been too reluctant to ask permission (even though I knew it'd be fine as long as I asked). I finally asked permission when I saw one the other day and I'm pretty excited to have some FREE nice clean new wood to use for either crafting or simply for my little guy to hammer nails into. This was a new experience for me because before now I've just been too reluctant to ask. I think we might use the wood to make a bird house.

There have been other little things but like I said I have not been as focused on all-things-new as I'd hoped to be. This month is just flying by. I want to make sure and fit in lots of little things though. Like painting my nails a new color or wearing an outfit I hardly ever wear. I definitely want to go somewhere I've never gone, like just into a store I've not been in or to a neighboring town we've never explored. There is plenty of month left for tons of new experiences. I just need to remember to fit them in and be on the look out for opportunities.

I hope everyone in blog land is having a really great (if not jam packed) February.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A tiny month of things I love

Valentines day is kind of, hmm, to be honest, well it's kind of lame. I never actually dated anyone in high school thus I had to watch all the girls around me getting flowers and candies and balloons in school on valentines day every year. I remember it being a unique sort of torture. Truly it was awful.

This year will mark fifteen years of marriage to a really funny man who is incredibly talented (he's an incredible singer song writer) and who is quite sensitive in a vulnerable sort of way but he is NOT sentimental. He thinks valentines day is lame too and he has this serious issue with buying flowers because quote, "they stink and they die." (I LOVE flowers)

To recap I'm not much a fan of valentines day but I do have a bit of fun posting about "things I love" on the blog in February. I'm a pretty big fan of love.

I don't doubt that most of my posts this month will be about my son (who is in time out right now actually) and I think I can do the theme great justice by starting out the "things I love" with The Mouse and the Motorcycle. He and I have been flying through chapter books this year (all of one whole month so far). The most recent book we read was Beverly Cleary's, The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

I personally really enjoyed the book but even more so I loved reading it to my son. Hearing him request each day that we read it brought such joy to my heart. I want him to love books and to love reading. I feel like I've been putting a significant effort into nourishing his love of reading over the past several years. Now that he's getting excited about reading chapter books together, now that he's specifically requesting that we stop whatever it is we're doing at any given moment so that we can sit down together and read, I love it!!!

We finished reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle on Sunday. Little Abe has really enjoyed most of the chapter books we've read but he seemed to enjoy this last book the most. On Monday we had plans to go to the library to return the book and get the sequal, Runaway Ralph (Ralph is the mouse who rides the motorcycle). We never ended up going to the library because little Abe decided that we really should read the book again. His exact words were something like, "You know mom, at first I didn't really think I'd get into that book so much. But actually I really actually LOVED it!"