Small Hands in the Big World

Thursday, June 30, 2011

So Much More Than Veggies

We roll down windows to say “hi” to horses along the way, we sing a silly (non-rhyming) version of “going to the farm farm farm, how bout you you  you,” we pick clover and dandelions, we feed the pigs, we chat with the chickens, we crow with the rooster. Dirt clods are gathered and carried in baskets until the inspiration strikes to toss them. We hug our farmers, we slow down to watch ladybugs crawl and fly away, boots are taken off and we let the mud squish between our toes and run around the maypole.
Strawberries and sorrel are nibbled along the way, popsicles are devoured, we watch tractors roll by and hear the cows mooing in the distance. 
Funny to think that we once thought we were just signing up for local produce…

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Farm Follow Up

Wondering what we did with all those amazing strawberries?

Most of them were used for filling crepes (William's favorite)
The prettiest berries were a picture perfect topping for Daddy's vegan & wheat-free birthday cupcakes
(Happy Birthday, Rob!)
Sharing the farm bounty was extra fun this week. Daddy kept the kids busy all day while I got to spend time with friends. Four out of six members of my beloved Women’s Group gathered to paste photos dating back to 2002 onto scrapbook pages. None of us are accomplished scrapbookers but it was amazing how fun it was and much we got done with our combined artistic talents, yummy snacks, and a bottle of wine (Green Fin's white table wine made from organic grapes is light, pear-y, and soooo good plus it is only $3.99 at Trader Joe's). Time with my dear friends did a world of good for my soul... more another day about our "WG," still going strong after 11+ years!

Lovely long little radishes, romanesco broccoli, and sweet baby white turnips with vegan dip
(Mori Nu silken tofu + garlic + parsley + lemon juice & zest + a dash of vinegar and salt = YUM!!!)

My cashew-almond variation of Heidi Swanson's Big Sur Power Bars didn't
contain anything from the farm BUT they are a wonderful protien-packed treat
and I really wanted to share her recipe and recommend her new book
"Super Natural Cooking Every Day" -- LOVE IT!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

This Moment

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Hosted by SouleMama.
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Farm, Sweet Farm

We’ve been counting the days leading up to this happy occasion and today began our Summer CSA Session at Jubilee Farm. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect with the sun shining and a soft breeze blowing. Farmer Wendy welcomed us with open arms (the kids practically knocked her over with hugs), we saw old “farm friends” from years past, we brought new friends that we are thrilled to have coming with us this summer, and it felt absolutely wonderful to be back.  For 20 weeks we’ll get to take home an amazing bounty of freshly picked produce, and best of all we’ll get to enjoy the picturesque, serene surroundings in the heart of the Snoqualmie Valley. Every week we pick up items that have been picked, washed and neatly arranged for us plus we get to walk around the farm and pick a few things ourselves. Today, so early in the growing season, we only picked sorrel (a tart leafy green herb that the kids were eating as fast as we were picking) but we brought home pounds of various greens and a bunch of lovely little white turnips.
This is our third year at Jubilee and I can’t say enough about the farmers, the produce, the experience, and how great it feels to be part of something that is so healthy for our family and the environment.  It can be challenging to use all the veggies we bring home but this is exactly the kind of healthy challenge we joined the farm for. I especially love that farming has become a regular part of our daily conversations. We aren’t taking our food for granted, we see how hard the farmers work, we experience (a little bit) how hard it is to harvest, we feel great affection for Farmers Wendy & Erick, and we genuinely respect and appreciate the efforts of all the people who work to provide our food.

For more information about finding a CSA in your area check out Local Harvest
Oh, and if you are looking for inspiration for all those greens, here is a wonderful idea for kale. This is my version of Massaged Kale Salad from Cynthia Lair’s cookbook, “Feeding the Whole Family.” LOVE her cookbook, by the way, and her website Cookus Interruptus.
Massaged Kale Salad
1 bunch kale
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup roasted & salted sunflower seeds (or pepitas or any toasted nut really)
¼ cup diced red onion
1/3 cup raisins (or chopped apricots or dried cranberries or currants)
¾ cup diced apple (or pear)
1 TBSP olive oil (optional--it still tastes great with no oil)
1 or 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Cut kale into thin strips, as thin as possible (chiffonade if you want to be French about it), and place into a bowl. Sprinkle salt over the kale then massage it in for a couple of minutes.  Add onion, dried and fresh fruit, and toasted seeds into kale. Dress with oil and vinegar and toss.  Taste for salt and vinegar, adding more if necessary.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Birthday Grammy

"When I count my blessings, I count you twice."
                                              ~Irish Proverb
If you have Mother-In-Law “issues” then stop reading right now. You will be so horribly annoyed by what an amazing Mom-In-Law I scored when I married Rob that you’ll hate me for gushing about her.
She is reliable, eager to help, never pushy, and exceptionally respectful of my and Rob’s parenting. Ever since the kids were bottle trained, she has kept a weekly morning “date” with the kids at her place to forge a wonderful bond with each of them. And she is always so incredibly kind, telling me what a great job I’m doing with the kids, reminding me that motherhood isn’t an easy job so it’s no wonder I get tired, and more compassionate feedback that moms rarely get since performance reviews aren’t part of the job description.
Tomorrow is her birthday and to you dear Ellen, dear Grammy, dear friend, I say THANK YOU for all the love and support you give to our family. We love you.
The kids and I are taking her out for a little birthday breakfast tomorrow morning and naturally, all of the plans for homemade cards and gifts didn’t come to fruition.  However, in a fleeting moment of creative clarity, I thought of photographing “Kid Letters” to spell "WE LOVE YOU xoxoxo."  My 5-year-old William actually got really excited about it. Some letters were easier than others but with a little trimming and faith that Grammy will love anything involving her grandkids, it should turn out fine. Here is what we have so far (thank you, pool noodles, not just for people with pools):

My brilliant boy thought of this banner idea--perfect since I didn't have any nice papger large enough for the letters!

After our breakfast with Grammy.
Guess I'm extra lucky that we got some smiling photos of William since his preference is now to just be silly!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Destination BEACH

When warm sunny days are few and far between, I’m learning to make the most of the good ones.  With this in mind, we’ve been to Lincoln Park in West Seattle twice recently. The seaside calm that washes over all of us is remarkable. William is my little explorer, running every which way, lifting rocks, shrieking when a little crab scurries out, and collecting shells. Sara really gets into the sand, digging her toes in, filling buckets, burying herself, noticing the different textures of sand she encounters. The shore is too rocky and water too cold for pleasant wading but we trek around in our boots, finding seaweed in a multitude of colors, rocks covered in barnacles, and on our more recent trip during low tide, perfectly formed moon snail egg cases, anemone, and tons of teeny crab. Ferries come and go while we play, the gorgeous Olympic Mountains shine in the distance, and it feels good to be alive and living in the Pacific Northwest.

Happy Dog was with us on our first beach trip of the season. Sara admired his fine digging skills.
Sunny days are easy but we're trying to make the most of the chilly ones too...
Roasting marshmallows in the fireplace for Smore's.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Wisdom of Daddy

I stay close, I guide, I lend a helping hand.  I’m a mom, it’s what I do.  I want them to feel safe and secure, knowing I am always here for them.  I want them to know that it’s OK to ask for help, I want to help. It’s my way.  Daddy stays back, he waits, he stays quiet. It’s his way.
I used to get annoyed by this approach, thinking he wasn’t paying attention when the kids needed help cutting food into bites or putting toothpaste on toothbrushes. But I get it now.  Obviously, doing everything for kids doesn’t give them a chance to learn plus I realized that a lot of my “helping” was actually inspired by impatience, not virtuous maternal instinct. Sometimes I just want them to be done brushing their teeth already!
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”                                                                                      ~Chinese Proverb and Daddy Wisdom
And when I’m not getting it, he reminds me “teaching them to fish, Lizzie, teaching them to fish.”

Sara thinks Daddy is pretty wise too.
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