Friday, March 30

Special Treats

"Eating Greens is a Special Treat. It makes loong ears and great big feet. (but it sure is awful stuff to eat)" -Thumper

For the record I don't believe that last part, or I wouldn't be writing.  And I'm happy to relate that my four year old Bambi enthusiast doesn't either.

Today I watered the dirt that might turn into grass, for the fifth year in a row. And when I went out to turn the water off, I found (not for the first time) a salad. And it occurs to me (not for the first time) that there is a good reason why that expensive box of leaves is called "Spring Greens". It's because it shoots up in the spring without any care or watering, using the moisture from the melted snow to grow up tender and sweet from where it was abandoned last fall. I didn't know how far I was going to let it go, I thought about it a lot. Probably too much.  But today I plucked a few of those young and tender shoots and called it dinner.

This message has been brought to you with a free tip from my dirt patch to yours:

If your lettuce gets bitter, it isn't because it's too mature. It's because it's too hot. Lettuce doesn't actually need a lot of sun. Try covering it with a shade cloth for the hot summer months or just grow it in the spring and fall. It'll be sweeter and it might actually be a special treat. Also, don't believe everything you read on a seed packet. We may not have had our last frost but it isn't too early to plant your lettuce. It can actually take a light frost and recover just fine. Some of the tastiest greens I've eaten were harvested from under a light blanket of snow ;)

Monday, March 19

Kid Stuff: Anything but School.

It's about time I posted something about home school. I really should say, about unschool. But I'm a little chicken. It's kind of like a swear word to a lot of people and I don't know enough to be confident in it anyway. I'm not exactly a tried and true believer. After all, I have a two year old and a 4 year old who don't speak much yet. It isn't exactly like we sit and talk about what they want... Unschooling is basically allowing and facilitating your child to pursue whatever it is they want to do. Not a controlled and constantly surveillanced atmosphere, but one in which they choose how they spend their time and there is no pressure that they are suppose to be or do something specific with learning. But I still limit their TV watching and I think it would definitely be a problem if I let Ada do what she wanted all the time. Maybe I just need some more deschooling. Either way, with my children's specific needs I do feel that unschooling is really the closest form of assisted learning that I identify with. If for one thing only, it's because I want them to learn how to learn. I am not a Teacher. I am a Mother. I could teach and teach and get frustrated for weeks at a time, which I have done, and see nothing learned. 

I'm pretty sure that if I took Ada to a Doctor he would tell me how behind she is in a million ways and prescribe to have some testing done to see where she is at. But what it comes down to is this: I really don't care how my children compare to other children on a scale of normality vs. the child. What is important to me: I see Ada picking up on new things every day. I see her learn new words and play new games with her dolls, pretend new scenarios. I see how she tries to interact with other kids. It's a reality that not many people understand and I have to remind myself of on a regular basis that kids learning two languages at once have a different learning process than those that don't. And whatever that entails, it is worth the wait.

So what we ARE doing is looking for lots of bugs in the back yard. On the kids play house they have a little basket of Ivy that they love to water, and we're starting a raised garden bed together. We've been giving all of the earth worms we've found a new home in their little bed. I also have Ada signed up for a summer camp at a Wasatch Community Gardens and she'll start soccer in a few weeks.

Definitely what I am most concerned about is helping Ada have more interaction with other kids. Not because I am concerned about this in general, but because SHE is. She is such a little socialite. She doesn't know how to make friends or initiate play, she mostly just does what she wants and expects all the kids to follow her, but she WANTS to. So I think Soccer will be awesome for her. And meanwhile we play as much as we can with our awesome cousins and a few good friends.

The other thing Ada is doing is experimenting with music. Our house is an ongoing concert, just not one anyone would want to go to. Accept me, because singing out of tune with my two blossoming rock stars is my kind of thing. For Ada's Birthday we bought her a Ukelele. She doesn't know how to play yet, and neither do I. But I play some guitar and I know I'll be able to teach myself tuning and chords and then teach her as well. I just have to get on it!

We also read together, or I read to them, or they just look at books. But that's just part of life. And that is the whole point. Learning is a natural part of enjoying life. the most important thing that we can do on a daily basis is just LIVE...

They live. I live. They see me live, love, write, read, be. And the natural human part will pick up on all the rest.

It's a Love Thing

Writing about life takes courage. For me it's a rite of passage. Something I have to do before I can move on to the next phase. I may move forward but there will always be a wall until I find the courage to write about it. And it isn't courage alone, some things have to be dealt with, consciously or not.  You can write about it as many times as you want until one conclusion is met or another reinvented of the same series of events. You learn something new about yourself every time, it can get you through the experience, break it down into terms you can wrap your brain around.  But I can not begin to put all the pieces together until I put some connecting piece down in honest words. Some events are so impacting that though I may not think about it regularly or ever, it is always in my subconscious effecting the way I perceive other things. Later it will turn up and I'll remember all of the details, all of the moments as if no time has passed. I look at them with new eyes and a fresh perspective.

For a long time I was stuck in a rut because my writing revolved around one particular person. A long lost love that shared my need for words. I was unable to move forward with something infinitely more important simply because I couldn't write it all out. I hadn't figured out how. Recently though, I've found the courage to push forward through that blockage. I've started a new project and thus a new blog. One that will only deal with this all engulfing subject. The subject of my life with my husband.

Today marks the ninth year of our togetherness. The day when we were married in an urban court room by a reluctant judge.

A few weeks ago something happened to me. I suddenly decided that it all had to be written down and those new eyes looking through the window of my memory were able to start recalling the details and put it all on pages. I've given those pages to him. But little by little, as I work out the details, I'll post them to their new home on my other blog.

It has been a refreshing experience to reconsider our beginnings and the journey we started together. He hasn't known what all my giggles have been about from behind my screen as I've remembered giddy details; but I hope he's felt an out pour of love as it has been renewed from my place in it all.

Without further delay and rambling I give you Amor a la Pampeña

Tuesday, March 6

Quinoa Salad

It seems like everyone is talking about Quinoa these days. Maybe it's a new health craze. Maybe it's a fad. Or maybe it just makes a lot of sense. I don't feel so bad to be a little behind though, my spell check doesn't even know how to spell it.

Not too long ago I didn't know what Quinoa was, accept for being a seed that I had seen in the bulk section of Winco's. I thought it was just a glorified bird seed, price-wise.  But then I started seeing it everywhere and hearing about it and so... I tried it. So easy to make. If you need dinner in a flash. It's perfect. It's a whole grain that cooks in the same amount of time as white rice.... And it's a whole protein.... And it is sooo good for you.... And the history of it is really neat....And my family would NOT even Touch it.

I had to force feed it to them a few times before they accepted that it was in fact an edible substance. The first time I tried it I made too much. It wouldn't have been too much had my family been feeling as adventurous as I was hungry for rejection. The next morning I tried it in my Greek yogurt. Totally Awesome.  I recommend it. But no one in my family has yet to try this either. But one day eventually I made something with it that was really good. Even my daughter thought so. But then I went without making it for a spell. Not a good idea. I made it again, and again...a total bomb. Anyway, long story short. I finally found a way that I really, really, really like it. I can't say that my husband and kids are totally converted yet, but they did eat this and completely separately I did get lots of compliments on it. And this is it.

Quinoa Salad

I first made this on a whim when friends Edgardo and Liz and their two munchkins stopped by and food was in the works.  I had a bunch of Quinoa from the night before in my fridge(big surprise). And a bunch of other random things, which in my fridge usually translates into salad. Salad it was. Two different salads. But at the end of the meal, after cooking and serving and cleaning and finally eating after everyone else had already eaten, I guess I just got lazy. This is a redneck blog, I don't feel ashamed about saying that. I combined the two salads on my plate and serendipity happened.The results were much better than their two parent salads. And this is the list of ingredients:

Some leftover cold Quinoa (a couple cups)
Two or three hand fulls of Baby Spinach
Two medium to large Avocado (cut in little pieces)
an 8 oz. container of fresh Blueberries
Two small Tangerines (cut in slices, deseeded, and separated into sections)
One small garlic clove
Sea salt
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 fresh lemon

Rub your favorite salad bowl with garlic, Toss all ingredients together, enjoy with a fork and some artisan bread, with a perfect crumb for wiping up the dressing remnants. (Hmmm... My favorite part of any good salad.)