Friday, January 30, 2009

Ice Cream Squash

When I was little, my mom and granny would make an acorn squash dish that I loved.  I guess in my elementary school (or maybe younger) mind, since it was slightly sweet and vanilla-y, it reminded me of ice cream.  I started calling it "Ice Cream Squash" and the name stuck.  Now my kids love having ice cream squash for dinner as well.  You can see on their faces that they feel like they are getting away with something by being able to eat a dish called "ice cream", even if it is still a vegetable.

Ice Cream Squash
2 medium sized acorn squash
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk (can easily sub rice or almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup turbinado sugar

Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds.  Place in a pot and cover with water.  Boil for 20 minutes or until easily pierced with fork.

Pour off water and let squash cool for 15-20 min.

Scoop flesh into blender and blend with remaining ingredients.  Pour into oven-safe dish.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until center is set.

Clearly, I need to be quicker with the photos on such popular dishes!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

While I Worked

Finn and Daddy spent some special time at the park the other day while I was working.  I hate missing time like this, especially in January when the weather is so rarely cooperative enough to allow a trip to the park. I am, however, glad that Finn and Daddy were able to enjoy each other's company, to soak up the sunshine and to stretch their limbs while I sat woodenly staring at a fluorescent screen all day.

Yes, Finn is getting too big AND losing his curls all at the same time.  Too much for a mother to take all at once, I'm thinking.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

8 years

8 years ago today,
I fell in love
harder and faster
than I ever imagined possible.
8 years ago today,
I learned what it means
to live unselfishly,
to worry unnecessarily,
to feel joy at the faintest smile,
to yearn for pudgy arms 
wrapped around my neck.
8 years ago today,
my world was expanded,
my view was changed,
my expectations adjusted,
my dreams altered,
my heart melted
when I became a mother
to Elizabeth.

Happy Birthday,
Elizabeth Paige!

I love you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 celebration

Last night, we had a small dinner party to send off my parents who flew out early this morning to head back to their home in the Philippines.  The come back to the States every year for 8 weeks or so around the holidays to soak up the grandkids and try not to freeze, as their skin has thinned quite a bit in the tropics.

We also took a bit of time to pre-celebrate Elizabeth's birthday while all the family was around.  Her official party will be Saturday, so she gets a bit of double celebrating this year.  She received, among other things, a fabulous fleece jacket that my friend, owner of Hoot Baby, made.

Stay tuned for the update on the "official" turning 8 party...this year an art-plus-Celtic-music party, planned entirely by Elizabeth herself!

Monday, January 26, 2009

An interview

Jessica over at Turkey Cookies offered to interview anyone who wished to be placed in the hotseat, which I, of course, immediately jumped on.  Listed below are the questions she asked and my replies.

1.  Ok, Art Family- what is your favorite family art craft??
One of our favorite family art activities is exquisite corpse drawing.  Exquisite corpse involves one person drawing the top of something and then covering it with another piece of paper until just a ½ inch of the bottom is showing.  The next person has to complete the drawing without having seen the top.  The kids laugh hysterically at some of the drawings they’ve come up with that way.

2.  You have written about some of your family's favorite books. (Snowflake Bentley is a favorite of mine.) What are the top five favorite children's books in your house?
Favorites come and go around here.  Our top 5 of all time are probably The Mitten, Olivia, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, The Sneetches

3.  When you are not crafting with your kids, what is your favorite way to spend your time and recharge?
As a family, we recharge by walking in the woods.  There’s a great park near our house with several short trails that are perfect for little legs.  Personally, I recharge by helping other moms in their walk toward more natural living.  I'm the moderator for the Natural Living/Attachment Parenting group at TriadMommies.

A favorite little path through the woods

4.  Your family time is so inspiring-family game night and camping.  Is there a family tradition that sticks out in your mind that defines this family time?
Some of the fun things we do as a family are more sporadic than we like, but the 2 things we do very regularly are read together at night (we are just starting Little House on the Prairie) and having a slow dinner together on Sunday evenings.

Reading The Tale of Despereaux

5.  You have tons of wonderful photos of your kids. I am always so impressed that you are able to capture so many moments in their life (like Finn drawing on the wall!).  Besides keeping your camera within arms distance always, what other hints do you have to catch these moments?  And then, what do you do with all of them??
Ummm…I’m a little ashamed to say that I frequently tell the kids to pause right there, while I dash off to fetch the camera.  Or I say, “wait! do that again and don’t look at me this time.”  I’m glad to have so many photos of us doing ordinary things though.  I think we’ll all be grateful to have so much documentation of their childhoods.  We store all of our photos on 2 hard drives that are mirrored.  One of my biggest fears is losing all these memories.

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


So...apparently, sometime over Christmas break, Finn's older siblings got him hooked on this video.  He was pacing around this afternoon saying, "Snape. Snape. Severus Snape."  A minute elapsed before I figured out what he was saying.  Or maybe it was when he said "Dumbledore" that I finally picked up on the clues.  Either way, I played the video for him, and the picture below is him watching.  He has no clue what he's watching.  Just funny little puppets dancing around.

Also, how much longer will I be treated to his cute, squishy cloth-diapered bottom running around my house?  As much as I long to be done with the diaper routine, I will miss this.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Thursday, January 22, 2009

5 Things

5 Things I'm Loving Today

1. The sun, streaming through the windows warming our house
(and this rosemary plant, turned scraggly in the winter)

2. Smartwool socks 

3. The birdies that visit our feeder.

4. Finn's newly discovered love of marbles

5. This felt project I made the other evening
(the colors make me so happy)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Snow Day

Does anyone want to know what qualifies as a "Snow Day" in NC?

That would be less than an inch of snow
(see below)

That's right; we received less than an inch of snow and the schools shut down, cars spun around (at least in our neighborhood), and the kids frolicked like they'd been handed a belated Christmas present.  (see below)

Of course, in my opinion, a snow day could not have come at a better time.  Right on the heels of MLK Day, we had an extra day to sleep in, which only Elizabeth took full advantage of, the kids were able to make pizzas for lunch... 

and watch the inauguration from the comfort of their own cozy home.

Root Vegetable Stew rounded out the snow day, 
because everyone needs hearty soup and warm bread
after playing in the snow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cinnamon Braid

Sunday afternoons are the time we like to spend as a family, around hearth and home, so to speak.  Our evening meal is generally the biggest meal of the week, and I try to include something special that I think the whole family would enjoy.  This week, I made a Cinnamon Braid for dessert.  Absolutely delicious!  And at least 2 of the kids declared it to be the best dessert ever.

The first part is easily done in the bread machine and takes out the need for kneading the bread. 

1 cup water 
1 egg 
3 tbsp butter 
1/4 cup sugar 
3/4 tsp salt 
4 cups whole wheat bread flour 
2 1/4 tsp yeast 

Put all ingredients into bread machine on Dough setting. When this finishes (1.5 hours on my machine) pull the dough out and split it into 2 balls. Roll out each to about 8"x14" rectangles. Melt 4-5 tbsp butter and mix in 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/3 cup brown sugar for each braid. Pour 1/2 of the mixture down the center of the dough. Slice angular cuts up each side of the dough like below: 

Fold the sections over the center like below:

When you are finished it should look something like this: 

Let rise in the oven (not turned on) for 30 minutes. Then spread the remainder of sugar/butter mixture on outside of braid like this:

Set the oven at 350 and when it is hot, bake for 30 minutes.

We served ours with a dollop of whipped cream (1 cup of whipping cream beat until thick, add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla then beat again until stiff)

Philip thoroughly enjoyed his!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Tomten

As one of our weekend projects, we decided to read the Tomten, a winter favorite by Astrid Lindgren, then each child picked a favorite part of the story to illustrate according to their interpretation.

I'm not entirely sure which part of the story was Finn's favorite, but he intently illustrated (with jumbo triangle colored pencils from Stubby Pencil Studio, check them out) the whole time his siblings worked on their pages.

Philip and Paul chose the section of the story when the tomten peered at the sheep.  They particularly like how spooky the tomten looks in the shadows.

Elizabeth, not surprisingly, liked the part when the tomten talks to the horse.

The kids all enjoyed this project so we're open for suggestions of other books to interpret.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January Jam

Every mid-January, when the winter blues set in, the cold rain keeps the students indoors, and the short days start to take their toll, Elizabeth's school hosts the most popular fundraiser of the year, the January Jam.  For 2 1/2 hours after school on a Friday, parents can get extra errands done, have some quiet time to themselves, or volunteer to tend the snack table at the Jam, while their children dance their little hearts out.  As soon as school starts back following winter break, Elizabeth starts looking forward to January Jam.  She gets 2 1/2 uninterrupted hours to spend with her friends, being crazy, expending pent-up energy, and being her social-butterfly self.

January Jam 2009

On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
~George Gordon, Lord Byron, 
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pretty Finn

Finn seems to have developed a particular interest in women's accessories as of late.  He was so taken with Elizabeth's new wooden bead set that she finally just made him a necklace of his own.  He wears it incessantly, and we have to pry it from his clammy hands at bedtime for fear of him choking in the night.

After the necklace obsession had been going on for several days, I turned around last evening to see that Finn had seized my alpaca scarf and wool slippers as his own.  He shuffled along for much of the evening trying to play with his cars, encumbered by unwieldy embellishments.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


A perfect, three-quarter moon lit the clear NC sky last night.  I noticed on my way upstairs to bed and mentioned it to Paul, who then convinced me to commit the beauty to film.  Outside.  In my pajamas.  At 25 degrees.  Brrr!  I realize that 25 degrees probably sounds temperate to anyone in the Northeast or Midwest right now, but this is the biggest cold snap, in what has turned out to be the coldest winter, we've had in several years.

The view from the far side of the driveway

The view from back in my safe cozy house

The trusty weathermen are saying that tonight and tomorrow night will be in the low teens or single digits.  I'm glad I got my moon picture last night!