Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Halloween is Here!!

We had a good time trick-or-treating. Evan acted like an old pro and Eliot was right behind him. Lyn acted like the big sister she is. I hope Danny, Connor, and Annika had fun at their dad's house. I am 28 weeks pregnant today but I kept up with the kids just fine. We visited Granny's neighborhood a little and then went to our own neighborhood. I was very proud of the toddlers' manners. They used please and thank you at every house.

Buzz Buzz




Sometimes you just have to take your child's lead. Evan was taking a nap today and three of the kids were at their dad's and Lyn was out and about. Eliot and I were snuggling and resting and she requested the "baby bumble bee" song. We sang this a few times. She loves singing songs that use finger plays. I had the computer on nearby and I asked her if she wanted to hear a new bumble bee song. Of course she said yes. I had Laurie Berkner's Buzz Buzz saved and turned it on. We had to listen to it about three times. There was giggling and buzzing all around. This was a great opportunity for me to spend some impromptu one on one time with my two year old. Using songs and finger plays is a great way to help a toddler develop language skills. And it is a great way to have some fun. If you are interested in listening to the song we enjoyed today scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page and click on the youtube video of Laurie Berkner singing Buzz Buzz. Have fun!!

(I have removed the video from the bottom of the screen. You can still find it on You Tube)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ghosts of halloween past

Ghosts of Halloween Past

There was a time when I lived in an area without any neighbors. Danny and Lyn were little and Connor was a baby when we started going to Granny's house to trick-or-treat. Her neighborhood was safe and just right for Halloween. We now have our own neighborhood to explore but we still enjoy visiting Granny for trick-or-treating. I went through some of my old pictures and found some of the kids through the past years celebrating Halloween.

Danny age 5, Lyn 3, Connor 10 months. I actually made these costumes out of construction paper.

Annika age 3 in her preschool class

Connor age 4 in his preschool class

Danny age 9, Lyn age 7 trading candy

Annika age 4 in her preschool class

The scariest of them all, me all in black in 2006 when I was a toddler teacher.

Annika and Lyn at their Halloween party ages 9 and 5

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fried Eggplant

Fried Eggplant

I am fond of this dish. I use my own recipe. My husband will eat it. The kids will try it. I actually crave it. I think it is more of the fried covered in cheese aspect I enjoy more than the eggplant aspect. Today I tried something different. Anyone who knows me or has been following my blog at all lately will be aware that I am on a buttermilk kick. Instead of using egg to batter the slices of eggplant this go around I used buttermilk. I couldn't really taste a big difference. I think it added a slight tang but that could have just been my imagination. Here is the recipe I use:

one medium eggplant (peeled and cut into thin slices)

store bought all purpose Greek seasoning

all purpose flour

buttermilk or beaten egg

shredded mozzarella cheese

cooking oil

I put the Greek seasoning into the flour. Just season to taste. I use a lot. Mix it well. Have another bowl with the buttermilk or beaten egg. I heat my oil in an electric skillet at about 350 degrees. I dip the slices one at a time into the buttermilk or egg and then into the flour mixture covering both sides. I place them into the hot oil and turn once. They take longer than you would think to cook. When they are brown and crispy place on a paper toweled plate. Sprinkle with cheese while they are very hot so the cheese will melt. They are best eaten really hot. They do not reheat well at all. I actually ended up eating this whole plate myself!!

Now for a little history behind the eggplant for all of you who didn't know you wanted to know about this interesting vegetable (or is it a fruit?) The eggplant is technically a berry. It is classified as a vegetable here in the United States when used in cooking. It is native to India. It was introduced to Europe in the middle ages. English speaking people called it "eggplant" because the early varieties were small and whitish in color resembling eggs. Eggplants are in the nightshade family. Generally other plants in that family are poisonous. Edible eggplants come in a lot of varieties but most of us here in the states are used to the fairly large purple variety. Eat up!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The best desert ever

What's for desert

Oh to be two and three years old and content with cereal for desert. We had homemade chili for dinner last night. All of the kids enjoyed it even though it was a bit spicy. The little kids wanted more to eat and they asked for cereal for desert. It was such a warm evening that they went outside to eat. They are eating the new Honey KIX cereal. It is whole grain and actually not that bad at all. I was even tempted to try a bowl for my desert as well.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween Party

Since three of the kids will be at their dad's for Halloween we had a little party today to celebrate. Granny's house is the location of choice. We ate cupcakes, cookies, and candy. Some of the kids dressed up and worked on some art projects. We just had a nice time playing together. Granny had a noise activated halloween decoration on her mantle. Evan's high pitched voice set it off even when he was out on the porch. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Busy day

What a day today! I had my fourth flat tire in six months today. I am so thankful to my mother for getting us a membership with AAA. I spent the rest of my day waiting to get the tire changed and replaced at the tire shop. When I got home I started on my bean salad that I have been planning for two days. Dad then informed me that when he was out of the room for ten minutes the little kids (Evan 3 and Eliot 2) destuffed a couch cushion and "snowed" the living room. He was wondering why they were playing together so well together. At least it was all cleaned up by the time I got home. You never know what you will get in our home.

The bean salad turned out OK. I wouldn't call it a salad per say though. It was more of just a bean dish. It consisted of:

white navy beans

pinto beans

red beans


bell peppers



salt and pepper

cayenne pepper

fresh corn

The kids liked the fresh corn on the cob the best. I guess I know what to add to my shopping list.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Magnet art

Magnet Art

Lyn's 1st artwork turned into a magnet

Annika's 1st artwork turned into a magnet

Lyn's 2nd artwork turned into a magnet

Every year the kids' schools send a magnet home that was created from one of their pictures they made in art class. I don't get them every time but this time around I bought Annika's. Anyone can send in their child's artwork and have it made into countless things from magnets, pillows, mugs, or even quilt squares. Check out Art to Remember's website to see how you can incorporate your child's artwork into many different things.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cabbage Rolls

What are we cooking now?

Lyn told me yesterday she was enjoying my "cooking" and "baking" phase. She helped me make these cabbage rolls but she did not enjoy eating them. Annika liked them okay and the little kids tried them. I think they turned out pretty good. Especially since I made up the recipe myself. My husband enjoyed them too. Eliot had fun helping to put the toothpicks in the rolls to keep them together while they cooked.

Here are the basics of the recipe.

white and whole grain rice
grated carrots
pinto beans
red beans
white navy beans
grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
chili powder

Mix it all up and wrap in cabbage leaves that were pre boiled till they were pliable. Roll up and place wooden toothpicks through the rolls to keep them closed. Bake 350 degrees for only 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy!!

Next time I think I will make them with sausage.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The History of Halloween

The History of Halloween
History of HalloweenHalloween has origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain [pronounced: sow- wen] from the Old Irish samhain, possibly derived from Gaulish samonios). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year". Traditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient Celtic pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Celts believed that on October 31st, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the living and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks being worn at Halloween goes back to the Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them, in Scotland for instance where the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.

The Origin of the name

The term Halloween, originally spelled Hallowe’en, is shortened from All Hallows’ Even ("All Hallows' Eve") [eve is an abbreviation of even, an older word for evening. Halloween gets -een as a contraction of even to e'en], from the Old English term eallra hālgena fen meaning "All Hallow' Evening", as it is the eve of "All Hallows’ Day", which is now also known as All Saints’ Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints’ Day from May 13 (which had itself been the date of a pagan holiday, the Feast of the Lemures) to November 1. In the 9th century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints’ Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day.

Halloween has evolved to mean different things to different people in different parts of the world.But in our home it is a fun way to celebrate the change in the season. It gives us an excuse to dress up and read scary stories.

Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes

Keeping with the season Lyn and I made buttermilk pumpkin pancakes. This was the first time we've tried to make them. I knew they would be heavy with as much pumpkin the recipe asked for. Next time I think I will use a bit less pumpkin. Overall they turned out OK. We ate some and we put the leftovers into single serving bags and froze them. They will make great breakfast snacks.

2 cups all purpose flour
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups buttermilk
3/4 can pumpkin
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately and then combine.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Off to the Pumpkin Patch

The little kids were the only ones who wanted to go to the pumpkin patch today. A church down the road from our house has a fundraising pumpkin patch every year. They had pumpkins, gourds, and all kinds of squashes. Evan and Eliot had a blast.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Right to at Least Try!!!

My mother sent me this article. It really made me angry at our system out there. Please read it.

It is about a mom who has three children and is expecting her fourth. Her second child was delivered by emergency C-section and her third child was delivered by VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). She was planning to deliver her fourth child at the same hospital and was told she would HAVE to have another C-section. What happened to her rights?

My fourth child (Annika) was delivered by emergency C-section at 28 weeks. My 5th and 6th child was delivered by VBAC as hopefully my soon to be due 7th will be delivered. I know fully well the risks involved that is why I choose to have my child at a hospital and not at home. But, I support a woman's choice in the matter. Sometimes it seems that we have become so used to the idea that a C-section birth is normal and 100% safe. I have known mothers that have died after elective C-sections. All childbirth holds risks. Just look at all the angles when you make decisions.
Annika at the hospital

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Beach in October

Beach Fun October 2009 (Columbus Day Weekend)

My mother, the best granny in the world, invited my family to go to the beach with her. The kids were out of school on Columbus Day so we hopped in the van and took advantage of the three day weekend. Danny and Connor were with their dad this weekend. Connor actually went home Friday with a sore throat. They will be a chance to visit the beach at another time. The little kids did so well on the trip down to the beach. It took about four hours. Eliot slept a little. Evan got to sit in the back with the big girls. Eliot wore her swim suit all the way down to the beach.

The ride to the beach

We have discovered that Eliot is a water baby. She is a natural in the water. We tried water wings on her and away she went in the pool. Evan on the other hand was something else. He needed every float we had handy to even get in the water. And even then he was so timid about the water he did not really have much fun at the pool. He did better at the beach the first day but by the second day he lost his umph. Dare I say my three year old son may be a bit of a brat sometimes. He did not want to make any choices of activities and transitions were horrible. All of his behaviors are normal for his age they just seem magnified when compared with his easy going little sister. They are only 14 months apart but she is able to cope with stress a lot better than he is.

Lyn and Annika have enjoyed themselves. Lyn has surprised me at how comfortable she has been in swimming in the ocean. Annika can officially swim this year. That has been such a bonus. She doesn't need as much supervision in the pool. She is actually helping to teach the little kids how to swim.

Lyn helping Evan swim

Annika making a sandcastle

Evan and Annika digging away

Beach fun

Pool fun

Check out more pictures on the sidebar slideshow.