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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cooking lessons

One of the things I like to do with the kids is that they get one meal a week. One meal to plan, making sure it is at least somewhat balanced, and then they prepare it with my help.

So I asked Daisy and she wanted to make "noodles that look like a shell, with the white sauce on it."

Ok, pasta with alfredo sauce, that's fairly easy. What protein?

Her first idea was ranch style beans. Now I love ranch style beans, but I don't know about loving them with alfredo sauce. After some more thought, she decided on chicken.

And mushrooms.

And onions.

(I know there was also a vegetable but I have forgotten what it was.)

It turned out well, she enjoyed it except it took so long to cook. Possibly it took so long because she kept bumping the burners down to low.

Then for Junior's meal he chose spaghetti with meat sauce. And Broccoli as a veggie.

Before we started cooking, I sat down with him and asked if he liked how I made spaghetti sauce. Then "are you sure you like it? Do you want to make it just like Mommy always makes it?" He said yes, and then I told him I always cook it with onions. Always.

He burst into tears because he "hates onions." He did decide that if I always cook it with onion and he likes it, the onions can't be completely evil. Sometimes I also use bell pepper, but I thought that would be pushing too much.

So we got out the mandolin and he put in the onions that were then fried up with ground beef. The pasta was boiling in a separate pot and he asked if he could put in the sauce.

Yes, I confess we use jarred sauce. Specifically Ragu Super Chunky Mushrooms (don't tell Junior, he also "hates" mushrooms).

So I tell him sure he can pour in the sauce.

And he did. Right into the pasta water.

I stopped him before he got very much in there but . . . apparently he really needs the cooking lessons.

Then the broccoli was just frozen broccoli cooked in the microwave, then we sprinkled salt and real parmesan cheese (not that stuff in the green can, real parm yumm).

Both meals turned out beautiful, and so each was satisfied with their efforts.

Try letting your kids cook, they might enjoy it.

And maybe even learn onions aren't completely evil.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Shooting sports

Since I knew nothing about what "4-H shooting sports" is, I am guessing that most of you don't either.

So I'm gonna tell you.

Pretend you care.

The kids learn weapon safety (i.e. don't point the gun at anybody, don't carry a loaded gun, stuff like that).

Then depending on their age, they have different positions to shoot in. Daisy's age they only do prone, which is laying on their belly. In a couple/few years she will be able to do all three: prone, kneeling, and standing.

Sounds pretty simple huh?

Except the targets are little. They are about the size of a silver dollar. The grown ups use binoculars to see if the kids are hitting the target.

And not just good binoculars. They use high powered binocular.

And you want to hit as close to the center of the target as you can (think of a dart board with its bulls eye. Except the bulls eye is smaller than a pencil eraser.)

And you are 50 feet away.

Wanna see?

I circled her targets with red. They have 3 sheets of paper with 12 circles - 2 practice targets and 10 real targets.

I am not telling you all this so you think "WOW! Daisy must be a great shot."

Cause she isn't.

She is awful a pretty bad shot on these targets.

Then again, I suppose being able to hit the piece of paper means she could hit a deer.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Never say quit

I am pretty sure that this February was the longest month ever in the history of the world. At least it sure seemed that way because of how packed it was. Some was good (wedding), some was bad (cancer and death), some was just busy (youth fair), some planned, some unexpected.

Which reminds me, I have posted the recipes for the baguette bread and pineapple bread pudding. They are over at my recipe blog. I don't yet have Junior's applesauce bread up, hopefully that will be up soon.

Anyway . . .

Our busyness continued until the very last day of February. Junior had a tae kwan do tournament down in Houston. We had to be there at 8:30 and it is a 2 hour drive (Hubby had to work the night before). So the kids and I got up at 5, Hubby got home at 5:30 and we were out the door by six.

But the tournament went well, it was a real confidence booster. For Junior's age group - tiny tigers, how cute is that - they all get first place for something. Junior got first place for "fastest kicks and punches" which is a polite way of saying he was hyper. So Junior came home with a medal. And Mr. Negativity actually told me it was fun. He said he was scared but it he had fun.


Then today the other kid, the one who never rarely complains gave a huge sigh when I said she had shooting sports today. I asked what was wrong and her answer was "I don't like shooting sports."

She doesn't like the practicing, she doesn't like shooting in the prone position (the only one she is allowed to shoot in for her age), the gun is heavy and hurts her arm, the strap that helps hold the gun hurts . . . and so on.

So whats good about it? Getting to touch a gun.

Hubby and I discussed letting her drop out since she is usually game for any project and rarely complains. He wanted her to learn gun safety which she had, I wanted her to quit nagging about trying it. We agreed that she could drop out if she wanted.

So we called her in and gave her the choice.

She doesn't want to drop out.

I don't know why.

I am not sure she knows why.

But she is staying in shooting sports.

Even though she doesn't like it.

I dearly love booklists

As a confirmed bibliophile, I have to admit one of my favorite things is booklists. Children's booklists, adult booklists, Christian booklists, I love them all.

So when Ang over at Hanging Out The Wash posted a booklist of classic children's literature, I had to look it over. She got the list from Best Children's Literature.

I am going to italicize those that we have already read and bold those I have read. If it is bolded, I will probably read it to my kids, or have them read.

Classic children's literature - Kindergarten through Grade 6

* Recommended children's literature for K-3, either for reading by children or for reading to them.

  • Adamson, Joy * Born Free

  • Aesop * Fables*

  • Alcott, Louisa May * Little Women

  • Andersen, Hans Christian * Fairy tales

  • Atwater, Richard and Florence * Mr. Popper's Penguins*

  • Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin * Miss Hickory

  • Barrie, J.M. * Peter Pan

  • Baum, L. Frank * The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  • Bemelmans, Ludwig * Madeline series*

  • Bond, Michael * A Bear Called Paddington

  • Boston, L.M. * The Children of Green Knowe

  • Brink, Carol Ryrie * Caddie Woodlawn

  • Brown, Margaret Wise * Goodnight, Moon*

  • Brunhoff, Jean de * The Story of Babar*

  • Burnett, Frances Hodgson * The Secret Garden

  • Burton, Virginia Lee * Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel*

  • Butterworth, Oliver * The Enormous Egg

  • Clark, Ann Nolan * Secret of the Andes

  • Cleary, Beverly * Henry Huggins series

  • Coatsworth, Elizabeth * The Cat Who Went to Heaven

  • Dalgliesh, Alice * The Bears on Hemlock Mountain*
    * The Courage of Sarah Noble*

  • De Angeli, Marguerite * The Door in the Wall

  • De Jong, Meindert * The House of Sixty Fathers
    * The Wheel on the School

  • Dodge, Mary Mapes * Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates

  • Du Bois, William Pene * The Twenty-One Balloons

  • Edmonds, Walter D. * The Matchlock Gun

  • Estes, Eleanor * Ginger Pye
    * Moffats series

  • Farley, Walter * The Black Stallion

  • Field, Rachel * Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

  • Fritz, Jean * The Cabin Faced West

  • Gilbreth, Frank B. and Ernestine G. Carey * Cheaper By the Dozen

  • Gipson, Fred * Old Yeller

  • Godden, Rumer * The Mousewife*

  • Grahame, Kenneth * The Reluctant Dragon*
    * The Wind in the Willows

  • Gray, Elizabeth Janet * Adam of the Road

  • Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm * Grimm's Fairy Tales

  • Hawes, Charles * The Dark Frigate

  • Haywood, Carolyn * Betsy series*

  • Henry, Marguerite * King of the Wind
    * Misty of Chincoteague

  • Keith, Harold * Rifles for Watie

  • Kelly, Eric * The Trumpeter of Krakow

  • Kipling, Rudyard * Captains Courageous
    * Just So Stories for Little Children*
    * The Jungle Books

  • Kjelgaard, Jim * Big Red

  • Knight, Eric * Lassie Come Home

  • Krumgold, Joseph * ...and Now Miguel
    * Onion John

  • LaFarge, Oliver * Laughing Boy

  • Lamb, Charles and Mary * Tales from Shakespeare

  • Latham, Jean Lee * Carry on, Mr. Bowditch

  • Lawson, Robert * Ben & Me
    * Rabbit Hill

  • Leaf, Munro * The Story of Ferdinand*

  • Lear, Edward * Book of Nonsense*

  • Lenski, Lois * Strawberry Girl

  • Lewis, C.S. * Chronicles of Narnia series

  • Lindgren, Astrid * Pippi Longstocking series

  • Lofting, Hugh * Doctor Doolittle series (I remember reading one of these on a drive from Sydney to Melbourne, so it is hard for me to think of these without remembering the Aussie countryside)

  • London, Jack * The Call of the Wild
    * White Fang

  • MacDonald, Betty * Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

  • MacGregor, Ellen * Miss Pickerell series

  • McCloskey, Robert * Blueberries for Sal* every year when we go pick blueberries

    * Homer Price
    * Make Way for Ducklings*

  • McSwigan, Marie * Snow Treasure

  • Meigs, Cornelia * Invincible Louisa

  • Milne, A.A. * The House at Pooh Corner*

    * Now We Are Six*

    * When We Were Very Young*

    * Winnie-the-Pooh*

  • Minarik, Else Holmelund * Little Bear

  • Montgomery, L.M. * Anne of Green Gables

  • Mukerji, Dhan Ghopal * Gay-Neck, the Story of a Pigeon

  • Norton, Mary * The Borrowers series

  • O'Hara, Mary * My Friend Flicka

  • Pearce, Philippa * Tom's Midnight Garden

  • Perrault, Charles * Cinderella*

  • Potter, Beatrix * The Tale of Peter Rabbit*

  • Pyle, Howard * The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

  • Rey, H.A. * Curious George series*

  • Richter, Conrad * The Light in the Forest

  • Selden, George * The Cricket in Times Square*

  • Seuss, Dr. * The Cat in the Hat*

  • Sewell, Anna * Black Beauty

  • Sorenson, Virginia * Miracles on Maple Hill

  • Speare, Elizabeth George * The Witch of Blackbird Pond

  • Sperry, Armstrong * Call It Courage

  • Spyri, Johanna * Heidi

  • Steinbeck, John * The Red Pony

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis * A Child's Garden of Verses*
    * Kidnapped
    * Treasure Island

  • Travers, Pamela L. * Mary Poppins series

  • Van Loon, Hendrik * The Story of Mankind

  • White, E.B. * Charlotte's Web
    * Stuart Little

  • Wilder, Laura Ingalls * Little House series

  • Williams, Margery * The Velveteen Rabbit*

  • Wyss, Johann * Swiss Family Robinson

  • Zion, Gene * Harry the Dirty Dog*