Friday, Friday!

It’s been a week of illnesses and fun.  A week of opposites, I guess… 

  • My daughter was sick at the beginning of the week and my son had a 24 hour bought with vomiting mid-week.
  • Between snuggling through these illnesses, we had a lot of fun at the zoo, playing at the splash pad, and walking around our neighborhood.
  • We also enjoyed cuddly time on the couch and in Mommy and Daddy’s bed reading books and watching movies.

Hopefully, we can get lots of rest this weekend and eat healthy foods (maybe even take some vitamin supplements) and feel better for a while.  Enough of all of this feeling sick business!

The weather has been a lovely mix of fall weather with summer peeking through in the afternoons.  We wake to chilly mornings, enjoy warm afternoons perfect for water play and shorts, and enjoy cool evenings that cool the house quickly after cooking dinner.  The trees in our neighborhood are starting to turn although the trees in our yard are still green. 

My son (3) has been enjoying watching the squirrels scampering around our yard collecting nuts for the winter.  He also watches the bees and butterflies and spiders outside our front window.  He reports to me the actions of the bees, which flowers they are landing on.  He checks the spider webs for flies and “bugs” to get stuck.  He even has “bug friends” that he imagines adventures with.  He shares these stories with me occasionally.   

My daughter (1) has been enjoying playing in the sand and climbing on her slide.  She also loves picking the seed pods off of the butterfly bushes and getting help from her brother to open them up and pull out the fuzzy stuffing.  She really loves picking and eating the last strawberries from the garden.  And of course she can’t get enough of the apples we picked over the weekend.

I am enjoying reading and knitting in the backyard while the children play.  I love cooking all of the yummy fall foods and baking with the apples.  I’m thinking of ideas for making the kids Halloween costumes and trying to steer my son away from a Batman or Spiderman costume and toward a bat or spider costume.  I find autumn simply perfect!

What have you been doing this fall?

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Soup Day: Bean and Vegetable Soup

Soup Day:  Bean and Vegetable Soup

Well, it’s soup day and my son is sick again…It feels like someone is sick in this house more often than not these days. I guess illness goes hand in hand with fall and preschool. Hopefully we build up an immunity to these bugs sooner than later.

For my sanity, I chose bean and vegetable soup for tonight’s dinner because it is easy and delicious. For bread today (because you have to have freshly baked bread with soup) I will be getting out my bread machine and letting it do all of the work (I don’t have my son’s helping hands today).

Bean and Vegetable Soup:Start with 1.5 cups of dried beans (soaked over night in water). Drain the beans and set aside.
In a large soup pot brown an onion chopped up in olive oil. The goal here is to get a nice brown coating on the bottom of the pan.
Add a little broth or wine, or juice (about 1/2 c) to onions and let it cook down. I think I’ll use the apple cider that’s left over from our apple picking trip last weekend.
Add the beans and a bay leaf or 2 to the pot and pour in a box of store-bought stock (about 3 quarts). You could make the stock, but I’ve never been successful at making flavorful stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for a few hours.
Add a can of tomatoes and fresh herbs. I use whatever I have an abundance of in the garden. Be creative!
Add about 1/2 c. of uncooked rice. I like brown or black rice. Keep simmering until the rice is cooked (about 30 min).
Add frozen or fresh veggies (about 5 c. give or take depending on the thickness you like for your soup). I use what ever I have left over in the fridge plus whatever I find in the freezer. You can’t go wrong. Just remember to add fresh root vegetables earlier in the cooking process so that they have time to get tender. Cook for a few more minutes (just to get everything hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more herbs if you like.

The best part of this recipe is it’s flexibility. You can use up left overs in the fridge and veggies that are nearing the end. You can even throw in left over rice or meat. Have fun with it!

Happy soup day!

Weekly Rhythm

“To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?”  

~Michael Jackson

Our weekly rhythm is built from many weeks of trial and error with adjustments here and there.  As with all living breathing things in this world it is constantly changing and growing with our family’s needs.  With that said, the following seems to be the rhythm that we have settled into lately: 

Monday Meat Night for dinner.  This is our big “Sunday dinner” since we like to spend Sundays out and about on adventures as a family.  Monday is our slow day.  My husband is usually at work during the day and the kids and I spend the day getting back into the rhythm of the work/school week.  We spend Mondays close to the house playing, reading, doing chores, and preparing a big meal.

Tuesday Taco Night for dinner.  We love Mexican food in this family!  Tuesday we do a craft or art project. 

Wednesday Veggie Night for dinner.  We eat a vegetarian meal on Wednesday.  Wednesday is also a school day.  I am working on something to do with my daughter (1) while my son (3) is at preschool.

Thursday Soup Night for dinner.  We always bake bread on soup days. 

Friday Wild Card (anything goes) for dinner.  I’m usually excited for the weekend on Friday and lack motivation for cooking by the afternoon, so I usually choose and easy one pot meal like chili or a casserole.  Friday is also a school day.  I’ll get back to you when I have a brilliant idea for my time with my daughter.

Saturday Fun Day!   My husband works during the day, so the kids and I get some chores done and go out to do something fun away from our house.  We like to go out for dinner or get carry out and watch a movie on Saturday nights.

Sunday Family Day!  My husband is off of work on Sundays so we get out and have a family adventure!  This is a crock pot night so we don’t have to be home preparing our dinner.  We can come home hungry and tired to eat and go to sleep 🙂

Everyday we have an activity in the morning (art, craft, music, game, outing, preschool) after breakfast.  We go outside every morning and we have quiet time everyday after lunch.  In the afternoon the kids play while I cook.  Sometimes my son (3) helps me with dinner.  We usually go outside again in the afternoon.

My husband and I like to take the children out for nature walks at local nature centers and parks in the evenings after dinner.  With the days getting shorter and the darkness coming earlier everyday, I fear these walks will happen less frequently 😦  Another example of the living, breathing quality of family rhythms. 

Happy Hump Day 🙂

 

 

Cheers to Friday!

Cheers to Friday and the kick off to a long weekend for my family!  It’s been an exciting week that opened with a couple of cool sunny days getting me giddy for fall and promises to end with more sunny cool days.  Sandwiched in the middle were a few rainy, gloomy days which really make it easy to decide to bake and cuddle all day with the lamps on 🙂

This week we:

Lost our whole corn crop to the squirrels.  If we grow it again next year we will have to figure out a way to keep those pesky rodents at bay.

Cleared out the tomato, green bean, and pea plants that were turning brown in the garden. 

Planted new grass seed in the areas of the yard that the pool and slide sat too long, leaving big brown circles and triangles.

Baked, colored, cut, danced, sang, and played a lot

I will leave you this week with a thought about children’s questions.

There are two things… to be noticed about the inquiries of little children.  The questions are often posed in rapid succession, as if the child were not so much seeking information as just wanting to hear an answering voice.  Also, the child seems to listen with more pleasure to a tentative answer, spoken with love and warmth in the voice, than to an assured and categorical reply given in a matter-of-fact tone.  When little children pour out their endless questions, they are seeking something much deeper than the mere satisfaction of curiosity.  They are seeking to bring around them the living tones of the human voice.

~A.C. Harwood

What did you do this week?

Beef Stew for Dinner

Monday, with crisp autumn temperatures, felt like a perfect day to simmer beef stew (today’s humidity is a stark contrast).  The house smelled deliciously cozy and WOW it tasted good!  The first stews and heartier cold weather meals always taste so indulgent after a summer of lighter cooler dinners.  Here’s my family’s stew recipe:

1/2 to 1 lb. lean stew beef (most butchers will cut any beef roast that’s on sale into bite size stew pieces if you ask)

1 onion

6 potatoes

6 carrots

Any other root vegetables that you have on hand.

Frozen corn and peas

worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

Corn starch

Start by browning the meat in a large pot (I usually pour a little olive oil to cover the bottom about 1 Tablespoon).  The goal here is to get that nice brown color coating the bottom of the pan.  About 1/2 way through browning the meat add a chopped onion and salt and pepper.

Next, fill the pot with enough water to cover the meat and onions.  Pour in a couple of teaspoons of worcestershire sauce.  Bring water to a simmer and continue to simmer for 1 or 2 hours adding water as needed to keep the meat covered.

Then, toss in chopped potatoes, carrots, and other roots if you’re using them.  (I like to use bite size pieces.)  Add enough water to cover again and return to a simmer.  Continue to simmer 1 hour or at least till the vegetables are tender. 

I thicken it with cornstarch.  I pour about 1/2 cup of corn starch into a bowl and add a little water to make a runny paste.  I stir it together until it’s smooth and pour it into the stew.  Stir stew.  Keep adding cornstarch-water mixture until the stew is your desired thickness. 

Lastly add frozon corn and peas and return to simmer for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

“Delicious autumn…

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
― George Eliot

What a beautiful rainy, fall day!  And speaking of birds, my son (3) said the darndest thing yesterday afternoon.  He was convinced that he saw a penguin fly over head while he played in his sandbox.  To his credit the bird was and awkward flyer and not a bird that we often see in our neighborhood (I’m unsure what it was actually).  I love these little glimpses into the way little people think about the world.  The ways that they are piecing all of their experiences and knowledge together in their own unique way, making sense of this amazing world we live in.  The human brain is an incredible organ!

Happy Wednesday to y’all!

…and just for Autumn’s cozy delicious sake, potato soup.  (I omitted the bacon and started with olive oil.  substituted bell pepper for celery and added frozen corn at the end.  Drop a few drops of hot sauce in your bowl and yum!)