Sunday, March 28, 2010

learning manners

Jack has added three new words to his vocabulary: pease (please), ehkyu (thank you) and n'ekkum (you're welcome). It's very charming to see him working on his grown-up manners. All that time saying please and thank you to him is paying off now!

My favorite thing is that he prompts me about what I should be saying.... He will hand me a toy and say "Thank you!"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Salem trip!

Recently, my friend Chris and I went down to spend the day in Salem. She loves the city, and I have to admit it provided a very nice day out! I've been much more fond of the country and big open, grassy areas recently, but it was nice to see all the city had to offer. Particularly, we found a nice open park area in front of the capitol where the kids were able to play. There was a series of bronze sculptures that the kids got to play on, and Chris took a couple of great pictures!

Here's Jack playing on a drumming aligator:

And all three kids playing on some kind of stilt-walking frog:

I absolutely LOVE that picture! It is the perfect shot of the stages of growing up. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Where'd Mommy Go?

Melissa is apparently finding her hands full with all of her projects and blogging here has fallen by the wayside (as you may have gathered). It is now up to me to post things (probably mostly pictures), so that you can know what is going on here in McMinnville, OR.

Jack has started building things on his own now (see evidence of train tracks and legos below).

Also, for the past few weeks he has been in the nursery at Delphi while Melissa has been working there part-time. When they eat snacks down there, he (though being the youngest) is allowed to sit at the "big-kids" table because he is able to sit in his seat and bus his own tray after snack time. Along this vein, we decided it was time for a booster chair at home instead of a highchair. He loves it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

soup's on!

I've come to believe my passion this spring is going to be soups. The weather has been very changeable -- it snowed today! -- but we've mostly been having warm days that cool off quickly at night. Is there a more perfect time for soup? I am really fascinated with veggie soups right now. How is it that they can taste different every time, with very similar ingredients? Good vegetables are so darn healthy, too.

Combine this eagerness for soup with my deep-seated love of cookbooks and the fact that the local library lets me check out up to 50 (!!!!) books at once, and I think you can see where my menus will be headed!

I made lentil soup sprinkled with cheddar cheese the other day, and MAN did it hit the spot! I'll have to come back later and add that recipe; I mostly invented it on the spot so it's a bit of work to post here. :P

I did want to share this one recipe I got from the library recently and typed up for my own use. Unfortunately, I didn't note down the name of the cookbook it came from. If I figure it out, I'll come back and add the information -- that one was a winner!

French Vegetable Soup with Basil and Garlic

Servings: The recipe says this will serve 8 people as a one-bowl meal or 12 as a starter, but I halved it and it looks like it will still be at least 6 servings!

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 to 6 small red potatoes, scrubbed and diced (I would reduce this number next time)
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and coarsely chopped
6 cups chicken or beef stock, OR water
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, OR one 14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tsp fresh oregano leaves, or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 small zucchini, diced
2 cups cannellini beans (well-rinsed if canned)
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni or other small pasta
1-2 cups of whatever pesto you like

Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook 5 to 10 minutes, until the onions are golden.
Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two longer, being careful not to let it brown. Then add the potatoes, green beans, stock, tomatoes, oregano, and bay leaf.
Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are crisp-tender.
Add the zucchini and cannellini; cook about 10 minutes, until all of the vegetables are tender.
Add the cooked pasta and cook 1 to 2 minutes, just until heated through.

Adjust seasonings as necessary and remove the bay leaf. Serve with a small bowl of pesto on the side, so diners can add to their own bowls to taste.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

yoga night

Monday and Thursday are my yoga nights -- the best! A friend of mine teaches the classes, and they are just such a nice change from my normal routine! I find myself thinking about things totally unrelated to my day-to-day life, or nothing at all, and get a nice workout almost without even noticing!

I have to give my husband kudos for being willing to stay home with a tired Bear on these nights so I can get my personal time. He's a good guy, huh?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

blog content

Since I am a writer, after all, I am going to try shifting the blog a bit so there is more writing and not such an emphasis in my mind on having to have photos for a post. I will be organizing our photos on Flickr or Picasa (Alex is the boss of this maneuver, of course) and will post some kind of link here or something. I think doing it this way will help me to stay more up-to-date on posts and photos both!