Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gardening: In The Yard and In A Book

I haven't blogged in awhile and it's because I'm exhausted.  I've been out in the yard, weeding, edging, spreading mulch--everyone's FAVORITE part of yard work.  I say I like to garden, and I do, but I like to plant and water and harvest, not fill trash bag after trash bag with dandelions.  When it's all done, it will look presentable, not the embarrassment that our yard is in it's current state.  I'm gaining a lot of motivation from my current book, Michael Pollen's Second Nature : A Gardener's Education.  I love Michael Pollen's books.  They always make me think and feel like I'm reading to broaden my mind, not just be entertained.  After my last string of novels that kept me on the couch instead of doing what I needed to be working on, I decided Second Nature would be a good pick for me.  I enjoy reading it, but I'm able to put it down.  When I'm thinking about it when I'm not reading it, I'm just pondering some ideas he's presented, not wondering what will happen next in the story.  It's a nice change of pace for me.  Any who,  his reflections on the way we as a culture garden, think about gardens and even weeds has been a constant in the back of my mind as I pull dandelion after dandelion and shovel more and more mulch.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Recipe: Guacamole

Tomorrow is Recipe Friday, but it's also Vince's field trip to the farm, so I doubt I'll have time to blog.    I wanted to post this recipe since we just had it for Mother's Day and I'd forgotten how GOOD it is!  It's awesome just as a dip or as a topping for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, burritos, whatever.  It's pretty easy to make, if you don't take into account all the chopping.  I had Vince help me by tearing the leaves off the cilantro and putting them into a mini prep.   We had VERY minced cilantro in our guac, but it was still AWESOME.  I got this recipe from The Bride And Groom Cookbook, which I knew would be fantastic since almost every recipe in there is.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gardening For Kids: Fairy Garden

You're probably just about sick of me blogging about North Canton Library programs, but this is one more.  Last night, Ellie went to the Children's Department's Fairy Garden Party.  Of course she had fun, she loves that kind of thing, but she also came home with a really cute fairy garden.  
Ellie's Fairy Garden
Ellie's been a fan of fairy gardens for a few years, ever since my mom got her hooked by taking her to a fairy garden class at Rice's Nursery.  Since then I've seen lots of fairy gardens and fairy garden accessories for sale.  We got each of the grandmas fairy gardens a few years ago for mother's day.  The big appeal for Ellie at first was that she really thought REAL fairies would come to her garden.  Now that she's a little older, she just likes the idea of the tiny little accessories and growing flowers.   

So, my blog today is more about how to get little girls interested in gardening.  This fairy garden that Ellie did at the library is basically just a container garden with a few added items, available from Michaels, Pat Catans, or Jo-Ann Fabric (also available at almost all garden centers, for a considerable higher price.)  Any flower will do in a container, as long as you plan the container for the type of flower you're planting as well as placing the container in a place suited to your plant.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Reflection On Mother's Day

Yesterday yet another note came home from school with Caden.  It's like banging my head against a brick wall talking to that kid about his behavior at school.  He get's so angry and frustrated or he cries.  Or he says, "Whatever!"  or my current favorite, "Ya, Right!".  (He often uses this out of context so I know it's something he's heard somewhere and he's emulating it, trying to be cool.)
I was also talking to another mom of a child with ADHD and it was so refreshing to hear, "ME TOO!" after everything I said about Caden.  He's not alone.  I'm not alone.  But sometimes it feels like it.  Parenting a child with ADHD is so difficult.  Parenting a child with ADHD with other children in the home is also difficult.  We were both (my friend with an child with ADHD) commenting on how we feel like we're constantly harping on the one and praising the other, or nagging one and ignoring the other.  It's hard to focus on 3 other kids when I'm CONSTANTLY focused on Caden, still, even AFTER his toddler phase.   As Mother's Day approaches, I'm reflecting on what it means to me a mother, for me.  A mother of 4 with a child with ADHD a toddler with some separation issues (if you've ever met Olivia and even LOOKED at her, you know what I mean), and one typical preschool boy and a typical first grade girl, who both look up to their older brother and mimic his actions and phrases.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cliff Notes of My Container Gardening Class

Tuesday night I attended a Container Gardening class at the North Canton Library by Connie Greathouse of Harvest Home Greenhouse.  It was a great way to start gardening without actually getting out in the dirt yet.  Connie told us that you shouldn't plant your plants (no matter how nice the weather seems to be today!) until after the full moon in May.  While this seems like an old fashioned thing to say, it makes sense.  If it's clear the night of the full moon the pull of the moon can suck the warmth from the earth's atmosphere, causing temps to drop to dangers lows for sensitive plants.  If you remember last year, the night of the May full moon has just this phenomenon.  I was out covering all my vegetables and flowers with any scrap of cloth I could find to protect them from the cold.  This year I'm going to heed the warning and just wait until after the full moon.  (Which is next Wednesday the 14th.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The TV is Broken- I'm Elated!

Normal people don't get excited about expensive appliances bitting the dust.  The is especially true when it's clearly the work of a child.  I, on the other hand, I'm THRILLED that the TV is dead!  Clearly, this needs explaining.  First, yesterday, we had 4 working TVs in our house.  There was one in the play room downstairs, one in our bedroom, one in the living room and one in Ellie's room.  The one in our bedroom is rarely used.  It's primarily for Vince to watch a movie and rest or for Evan to watch the last 1/2 hour of a game.  The TV in Ellie's room is hooked up to the WiiU so it's only for video games (we have about 3 WiiU games) and for watching Netflix.  She's usually pretty good about it, but one night we caught her watching a movie when she was supposed to be asleep and took the WiiU gamepad.  That was probably about a month ago.  I actually forgot we even took it until just now.  She never asks for it, she just plays with toys instead.  Third TV, in the living room, is the main TV.  Evan watches all of his shows on it and we watch all movies and DVDS there.  It's hooked up to the PS3 so there's the ability for gaming, but Evan never uses it and neither did Caden, until recently. He found that there's a free Minecraft download as well as some other free downloads so he can game on it without us actually owning the games.  The games he picked are not at all appropriate for a third grader, but I realized that too late.  I think I've said it before, but that kid is always one step ahead of me when it comes to electronics.  I try to police him the best I can, but he's surpassed me with his knowledge of devices.  So now I have to hide the PS3 controllers to keep him from playing the games that he got for free.  Lastly, the departed TV.  The guy in the play room.  The one I'm glad to see go.  It was the smallest (except for Ellie's Hello Kitty TV) of the main 3 and we'd had it the longest.  When we moved into this house and decided to put the XBOX and Wii and Blu-Ray downstairs it never occurred to me that it would be a daily battle--which I would lose--daily.   As I've said before, Caden is OBSESSED with Minecraft.  It's the only thing he talks about, the only thing he cares about and the only thing he wants to do.  As a punishment for one thing or another, Caden was always losing his iPod, his Xbox controllers and all of his other devices.  (I doubt he even remembers he has a DSXL it's been so long since he's played with it.)  He becomes a different kid when he's played a lot of video games.  A not nice kid.  Angry.  Short tempered with everyone.  I don't like it.  We try to keep him off games as much as we can, but he's sneaky.  We'll take the controllers so he can't play Minecraft and he'll use the blu-ray to get on YouTube and watch other people play mine craft.  Seems harmless, but it has the same effect on him, if not worse, AND they're adults playing so there's the bad language aspect of it.  So we'll take the TV remote.  The kid actually found the Wii that we weren't using in the closet, connected all the wires and started using THAT to watch Netflix and YouTube and even play games.  Always one step ahead.  Take the Wii remotes.  It's a constant headache.  It's not fair to everyone else.  Ellie wants to play Disney Infinity.  She can't because we're hiding controllers.  Vince wants to watch a movie, he can't because we've taken the remote.  If Caden would respond to other punishments we could use them, but the kids is OBSESSED.  He truly cares about nothing else.  I can't think of one other thing to take from him as a punishment.  But that's all in the past.  Now that that %$!@# TV is dead (clearly I've also been watching those Minecraft YouTube videos) I can send him downstairs to PLAY!  He'll be playing with toys.  Real toys.  Interacting with people, not through a microphone, but his siblings in real life.  I thought I could do this before, but because he's always a step ahead, he would have figured out a way to game when I thought he was playing with toys or siblings.  Now, I can relax.  I can trust that he's not gaming.  I'm no longer the bad guy, constantly fighting with him about watching YouTube or gaming or watching Netflix or movies (only two of the 4 TVs can actually watch cable).  Fate has stepped in to help me combat the monster I created when I first said, "Caden, do YOU want to try playing Mario Kart?!" Hello creative play.  Hello giving Vince the time of day and playing with him like he so desperately wants.  Hello playing OUTSIDE!  As good as Caden is with electronics. As tech savvy as he thinks he is.  There's NO way even he can figure out how to fix THIS:

Monday, May 5, 2014

Recipe Monday: Marinated Portobellos

I got caught up in other things Friday and never did a recipe post.  Today my mind is a blank so you're getting last night's dinner.  Evan made marinated chicken on the grill last night.  This is one of his favorite foods and really, there's no vegetarian substitute for grilled meat--except grilled veggies.  So I've been working on finding things that work well on the grill and are also vegetarian and healthy--not "fake" meats or processed veggie burgers.  I LOVE mushrooms so I'm always game to try portobellos different ways.  I found this marinade recipe in the Forks Over Knives Cookbook and it was super easy to make and really good.  I'll definitely try it again.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hazel Artisan Bakery

Today the two youngest kids and I went to pick up our Breezy Hill produce at Hazel Artisan Bakery.  If you're not already, please sit down. Here it is...we were early. I was a little confused and unsure what to do in this situation, since it occurs so rarely with me, but the case of freshly baked cookies gave my kids some ideas.  Each kid got a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie and Vince got a Black Cherry soda (we gave Olivia a sip just to see her make the carbonation face--so mean, but so funny!)  I hated to just get snacks so I thought I'd give the Oatmeal Molasses bread a try.  They sliced it there for me, so each slice is thin and uniform, unlike when I try to slice my own bread at home and each slice seems to be at an angle.  It wasn't until we were sitting down and the kids were enjoying their cookies that I realized that I probably should have just gotten lunch for everyone there--although Cookie Lunch IS fun, it's not that healthy.  They have a light lunch menu at the bakery and although I've never eaten there, the food always looks good.  Maybe we'll give it a try next week when we pick up our produce.
Speaking of our produce, we had baby bok choy and peanut butter for lunch.  It was nice and sweet and just the right size for snacking.  SO happy with what we got from Breezy Hill!  It is all certified organic and I was a little worried about the price ($11 for 3 things seemed like a lot to me) but when I saw the quantity I got and compared it with what I would get at the Raisin Rack (which came from farther away therefore has a larger carbon footprint) I realized it's comparable, if not a little less.  Plus, I can get things (wild ramps)  that I can't at RR.
As for the bread, it was AWESOME!