Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer of the Smoothie

I've officially dubbed this year the "Summer of the Smoothie". We've been enjoying our CSA veggies in many different forms this season, but the most popular (with the kids at least) is in smoothie-form. I feel kind of silly that it took me this long to realize how EASY it is to make a raw veggie and fruit concoction that actually tastes great! We do a little prep work (peeling and chopping), but then the rest is up to my blender! I keep over-ripe bananas in the freezer, so we throw one or two of those in and it gets nice and chilly without any ice. We don't add much of anything else (maybe a little orange juice to lubricate the mixture at the beginning). Our favorite mixture so far include beet, kale, carrots, apples, strawberries, chia seeds, flaxseed and frozen bananas. Justin will devour these (as you can tell from his messy face).

Oh-- and as a side note, too much cabbage taste in a smoothie can be counter-acted by a spoonful or two of raspberry jam. :-)

Orange Sorbet

So we've had this excess of oranges at our home for the past few weeks. We get a gorgeous selection of fruit from our Fruit Share, but the oranges are hard for us to go through (we all tend to get citric-acid related cankersores!). Today we decided to take the plunge and use them up. Auntie Rorie and Alex made a beautiful orange sorbet! Bet you can't guess who was in charge of the juicing?

Results were fantastic! (We use our Ice Cream maker that GranMama got us in the Summer of the Homemade Root Bear ('05)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Splash Pad in Shakopee

We spent the day in Shakopee, hanging out with Megan and Emma at the Splash Pad! Justin had a blast filling and dumping his bucket, and the girls were so busy it was impossible to snap a decent photo of them! What a nice way to spend a hot afternoon!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Slowing Down Again

Whenever I get to the point of saying "away with the wooden bowls... they take too much time to wash by hand", I know it's time to reevaluate the rhythm of our days/weeks. We have gotten really lazy these first few weeks of summer vacation with our morning washing ritual, having the kids use their dishwasher-safe bowls so they can just load them up. What is it that is causing me to rush so much that handwashing two or three dishes with my kids each morning is "too slow"?

We've had a busy few weeks of summer, with a week long zoo camp and a week long Vacation Bible School (which Alex participated in and I taught). This third week of summer is unscheduled. This doesn't mean we're not busy, but we definitely have the opportunity to consciously SLOW DOWN.

So Justin and I pulled out all of our beloved wooden bowls and utensils today and polished them while Sister played outside with her neighbor friend. They look so inviting when they're cared for, and the rhythm of washing our dishes after breakfast is a beautiful and comforting way to start our day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What to do with a Million Radishes?

First off, if you have an idea about what I can do with about a million radishes, shoot me a note. Secondly, here's what we did this afternoon. Play outside and harvest our radishes. I'm not quite sure why we always plant them (Dave reminded me that "they're fun"), but nobody in the family really loves them. These guys are too spicy for the kids to eat raw, and I would be quite happy with one or two on top of a green salad. Not thirty. But they are gorgeous, arent' they? And we grew them. The big guy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Picture Perfect Morning

It's our little friend Amelia's birthday party this afternoon, so this morning was devoted to making some one-of-a-kind birthday cards. Justin was using liquid watercolors (wet on wet) and Alex decided to give my Yarka watercolor cakes a spin (on wet paper as well). As I was getting the kids all set up, Justin dove in! He ended up preferring to 'pour' the watercolor onto the paper, in lieu of a brush application. The brush was acceptable to push the paint around a little, but it was SUPER fun to just let the paint fly! Alex took a more measured approach-- dividing her paper into four quadrants and carefully choosing each color as a part of her grand scheme. After the cards dried, the kids made some ink drawings over the top. Alex's kitty was way too cute (and the first time I've seen her really depict something 'cartoony' like this). Can't forget the important step of cleaning up. Aren't his chubby little hands yummy? (He could wash them all day with our bar of LuSa organic soap-- I've linked to her blog, Clean, before, because I love following Rachel's family adventures (and her photographs are stunning), but we really do enjoy the soap as well, so why not give her company a plug!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Relaxing Weekend

We were fortunate enough to be invited to Portage, Wisconsin to enjoy the Mulder's family lake house. While the drive there (and back) wasn't the MOST comfortable (four adults and three kids in a minivan), we wouldn't have it any other way. The girls had so much fun playing in the back of the car and the adults got some much-needed time to catch up and chat. Justin even had a personal attendant the entire time (thanks, Joel)! Once we arrived at the lake, it was time to relax, take boat rides, fish, build fairy houses, spot wild animals (wild turkey, racoon, turtle, fish, sandhill cranes, deer, woodchuck (I swear I saw one)), go running (I LOVE running on gravel roads, they remind me of the desert trails in Phoenix), do some reading and do a LOT of playing. Enjoy the photos below, and thanks for a fantastic weekend, Mulders!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Midsummer's Eve at the Lake

Every year, we celebrate Midsummer's Eve by building Fairy Houses for our magical friends to visit. Normally it falls on Dave's birthday, but with our big trip to the Mulder's lake house the following day, we celebrated Friday. The lake house is on a beautiful, secluded piece of property that extends from a woodsy area to marshlands to the lakefront, so we had a LOT of room for foraging the perfect building materials for a grand Fairy House! Alex and Emma got right to work (in their matching outfits-- thanks, Megan!) finding the right structural and decorative pieces to create their masterpiece. We found a lot more milkweed, but I didn't make anyone eat any this trip.

There were a few special visitors who came to inspect our work. This beetle approves of the Fairy House. (if you look closely, you can see a bumblebee on the blossom below)

This friend really liked the milkweed, so we made him his own special pile of blossoms away from our house. The next morning the ladies were so excited to discover the gifts that the fairies left as tokens of appreciation for a wonderful house! When they hold these special stones in their hands, they can feel the warmth of the magic that is inside.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Milkweed Blossom Fritters

So my plant book mentioned breading and frying the Milkweed blossoms and buds. After a quick internet search (don't you just love Google?), we came up with a plan. I whipped up a basic batter (whole wheat flour, egg, baking soda, milk). We boiled the blossoms, buds and leaves we'd gathered for just over a minute. Then I coated everything but the leaves in the batter and fried it up in olive oil. I've only 'fried' things a handful of times in my life (this was maybe number three), so there was quite a bit of splattering and screaming and holding towels up over our chests during the process (and no, Alex was not involved in the screaming part). The result, however, was delicious! It tasted quite like broccoli..... and fried batter.... which is always a good thing. The leaves were spinach-y, but definitely had a firmer texture. Everyone agreed that they were a fun treat to have, and if we happen upon any more Milkweed in bloom, we'll definitely try it again.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Hike

We geared up and headed out to Lake Elmo park for a hike this morning (before the rain hit, luckily!) We made sure to cover ourselves with sun and bug protection and we had a lovely time. I brought my Edible Wild Plants book and we identified some Evening Primrose, Ox-Eye Daisy, Yellow Sweet Clover and Milkweed. We also found some Wild Raspberries and Brambleberries-- just a few were ripe enough to sample, but in a few weeks the picking will be great!
The Milkweed was in blossom/just about to blossom, so we picked a few clusters of buds in order to experiment. We made sure to leave a LOT for the wild butterflies to enjoy, but it was fun to do a small bit of foraging. Justin fell asleep in the backpack near the end of the hike. He just couldn't keep his eyes open any longer! Happy Father's Day to the greatest Daddy EVER!

"About My Daddy"

BY alex marotz AGE 4

my daddy's name is David
he is 48 years old
he is 111 feet and 111 inches tall
he weighs 14 pounds
his hair color is brown
his eyes are blue
he likes to go to work
his favorite food is salad
my daddy always tells me go to bed
he is smart because he knows to fix things
my daddy likes to wear his work clothes
it makes my daddy happy when I do things for him
if I could give my daddy anything it would be books
his favorite drink is beer
his favorite book is on his kindle
if he could go on a trip, he would go to St. Olaf
for fun he likes to go out and eat
his favorite restaurant is red lobster
i love it when my daddy holds me
my favorite thing about my daddy is he holds me

i love my daddy.

Happy Father's Day!

Alex got to stay up 'late' last night to decorate the table for our Father's Day breakfast (she traded the time it would take to read a story for some decorating time). She worked very hard setting up a meaningful tableau, which included a panda (for Alex), a badger (for Justin), a Daddy, girl and baby doll, a vase which she filled with fresh-cut flowers from her 'fairy garden', a 'throne' for Daddy to sit in and a beautiful sign to greet him in the morning. We also got out the 'fancy' plates (our old Ikea set from our apartment days) and a 'fancy' napkin for each member of the family. Justin, Alex and I let Dave sleep in while we whipped up some gourmet french toast, blueberries and bacon. Then it was time to open his gifts. Justin gave him a wonderful painting and Alex gave him a framed 'interview' "All About Daddy". (I adapted this from a Pinterest pin that was floating around last year, and absolutely love it! I think Dave will treasure it as well-- so cute!)