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this moment

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment

{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. — soulemama.com

Not quite wordless: girls in matching jackets and handmade mittens (by me).

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Dinner Party

June 4, 2011 2 comments

Last Friday of school. Last daycare day for the summer. My spouse is out of town = solo parenting with my two kids who are already geared up. Couple that with my neighbor children who are smack in the middle of a 2 week stint with grandparents as their parents are overseas for work. Grandparents live in a state that is more than a day’s drive away. I decide to take advantage of this and plan a “kids dinner party” (that’s how my kids were advertising it).

My friend Wendy, who is super wise, told me her daughter’s birthday party involved kids making pasta from scratch. Cue plan for dinner party here: I’ve made pasta lots and my neighbors like pasta.

Note: before you read farther and actually see the pictures of my home — remember kids dinner party on the last day of the work week when you’re husband is out of town and you have a lot on your plate does not mean clean like mad. It means run the dishwasher, stuff the mail in the in-box and roll with it. Our house is generally a bit disorderly by Friday, but it is usually clean. Orderly is just unrealistic for us with two working parents. We can do orderly, but then we sacrifice the important stuff like story time before bed.

Pasta is really not hard to make, although your experience might be enhanced by purchasing a pasta maker. We own this one, purchased for $39.99 at our local old-school hardware store (Marshall’s for the local folks).

Essentially a pasta roller works by sticking the dough between two rollers that you crank with a hand crank. It isn’t hard, I can’t imagine an electric one would be better than the old school kind.

Sometimes when you’re working with kids they do weird things, like pushups while they are waiting their turn. Run with it. Just make sure they wash hands between pushups and handling dough.

After working through it a few times, you might find you have a bossy kid who wants to take over. Sometimes you have a sweet neighbor kid who is also the oldest and the two oldest kids take over the process. Let them.

Other misc. stuff we have to help — our countertop with work space is a wooden countertop from Ikea. It doesn’t clean up dough very easily — I picked up a marble pastry board from a yard sale for a buck. If you have granite or similar countertops you won’t have any issues with rolling dough so this step is redundant. My marble board moves around a lot, so we have a piece of that plastic stuff you put under an area rug that we stick under the board.

You aren’t really rolling this dough if you use a machine, but I wanted to explain what we have on the counter in the pictures.

Recipe

2.75 c of flour – I used regular old white flour.
3 eggs
1tsp salt

1.In your stand mixer with a dough hook, put flour and salt. Add eggs and mix. My stuff didn’t come together well, so I added some white wine. (few tbs)

2. Knead dough for 8 to 12 minutes, until it is smooth and supple. Dust dough with flour. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. –> Don’t skip the sitting step.

3. Roll out dough with a pasta machine or a rolling pin to desired thickness. Cut into your favorite style of noodle or stuff with your favorite filling to make ravioli. Lay out on dishtowels on trays as you work with all the dough. At this point you can dry it, freeze it or cook it.

 

 

Cook pasta (just a few minutes,not the standard 8-10 minutes the box says), buy frozen meatballs and jarred red sauce. Serve pasta to children with a choice: red sauce or butter, meatballs or no.

Buy ice cream for dessert and pop in a movie. Three kids + one mom watch movie. One kid reads. Grandpa pops in to say they had a delightful dinner out at a restaurant serving local food. Finish movie. Send home 2 happy kids to 2 happy grandparents. Put 2 happy kids + 1 happy mom to bed. That’s a successful dinner party.

It is Valentine season…..

February 11, 2011 3 comments

My memory from childhood: small box of Valentines. I sign my name on the back. Occasionally I had more kids in my class than I had in the box and my mom would find some random one in the big chest she kept holiday stuff in.


I think things are different now and things are certainly different for my kids than they were for me. The kids and I went to Michaels craft shop and picked up some supplies. Grandma hinted she might send some supplies as well (she did and they arrived on the day we planned to make the cards). I bet these cards cost significantly more in money to produce than the version I used as a child, but the kids LOVE doing it.

New rug in the living room to sit on, warm sweatshirts with hoods, fire in the woodstove. Really, can you think of a better way to spend a Friday afternoon?

sidenote: I think wordpress changed its photo inserting stuff. Still working out the kinks.

Categories: What we are making

It is that time of year….

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

And I don’t mean the dark well before anyone truly thinks it should be. I mean the holiday baking time. We don’t eat a whole lot of junk food normally, but come December it is time for the little elves in Mrs. Claus’s kitchen to get busy.  This year I was able to enlist Erin’s help in making pecan candy, here she is stirring the sugar. Mmmm.

Road Trip!!

December 6, 2010 2 comments

Like what seems like half of America, we made a trip to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday. The kid were total troopers, driving about 1500 miles round trip and we were gone just about 4 days total. Whew.

And so I give you ideas for traveling with a youngish crew….

Bring a water bottle for each member of the family and expressly designate the water bottles — the blue one is dad’s. Fill said water bottle with water, but not all the way for the littlest members of the crew. Make sure the water bottles for the backseat have “sippy” lids — i.e. they don’t spill that much when they are accidentally dropped. They will in fact be accidentally dropped.

Pack two sets of books and magazines. One set for the outbound trip and one set for the return. Include books for reading and books like Where’s Waldo?” and I Spy books — books that everyone can enjoy.

Consider eating in the car vs. stopping at a fast food restaurant. Or pack a nice picnic lunch and eat in the rest area. My own children (n = 2) aren’t fabulous at eating fast food: one doesn’t currently like hamburgers, the other doesn’t like french fries.

Travel bingo — print a list (from the internet or that you think up) of things to look for on the trip. Be sure to include easy stuff and harder things.

When traveling in cold weather, where one might encounter snow, bring a pair of slippers for kids to put on their feet or let them take off their boots before they begin to melt all over their stuff that drops to the floor.

Bring a map for your kids and have them keep track of where you are. It helps them learn geography and the picture helps them get a sense of that eternal whiny question, “How much farther…?”

Many of our road trips include driving at night, when the kids are sleeping. Thankfully I have a husband who can easily stay up late (and often does).

 

Fall (?) Day

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s a blustery day here (and raining!). That means most of what I’d planned on doing is out the window: No apple picking and no applesauce making.  But it is the sort of day that calls for cuddling up with a warm beverage and reading the afternoon away. The kids are home today since school doesn’t start yet and daycare didn’t have room for them as “academic schedule” kids (they don’t go in the summer).

Child #1 has been devouring the classics such as Garfield Rounds Out. Our local library has about 50 Garfield Comic books on the shelf and it appears that Garfield humor is just right for our almost eight year old brain. To her credit, she has been reading the comics and explaining them to her younger sister.

Her younger sister asked to play with playdough (recipe below). It is always a messy activity, with crumbs getting all over the floor.  Little does she know that I intend to ask her to vacuum later. It is super quiet over there, I suspect she’s eating the stuff. mmm.

Myself: I’m torn between writing a lecture for my 9am class, working on some knitted socks and taking a nap. All three of those activities are sure to elicit demands from my children. So instead I’ll sit here, writing to you and enjoy my demand-free time.

Play Dough (pretty sure this is from an early childhood class we used to attend):

Flour 3cups
Salt 1 1/2 cups
Water 3 cups
Vegetable Oil 2TB.
Cream of tartar 1TB.
Food coloring few drops or unsweetened “Kool-Aid” 1pkg.

Mix ALL of the ingredients in a large saucepan.
Cook over medium low heat, until the dough comes away
from the edges of the pan and it becomes difficult to move the spoon. Remove from heat. Cool until it can be handled.
Place on counter or wax paper knead 3-4 times.
Store in an air tight container.