Monthly Archives: July 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This week, the little boy that was once this baby:

 rode his bike without training wheels.  He will start Young Fives on his fifth birthday.  I am proud/in awe/amazed/overwhelmed by all of this!

Here is more Wordless Wednesday.

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Menu Plan Monday

I wanted to give an update on some recently tried recipes.  First, the Beef and Chicken Fajitas were absolutely wonderful.  The Nourishing Traditions Waffles were really, really dense.  I like a fluffy waffle, personally.  We did the Corn on the Cob Cupcakes a little differently.  We just made two 9 inch round cakes, and frosted them.  Then, we ‘drew’ a corn cob in the frosting and let the kids decorate them.  They were so cute, and fun, and yummy.

The Grilled Swordfish was awesome.  I have finally found a fish my husband not only tolerates, but requests. The Turkey Lenti Chili was really good too.  Soaking rice in kefir did not work out for me.  The Hummus Dressing was ok, but not as good as I’d hoped.  It just tasted like runny hummus.

I think this week should be relatively normal, but then I’ve thought that all summer and it hasn’t yet happened.  Well, just in case we don’t get any curve balls, this is what we’ll be eating:

MONDAY

Grilled hot dogs, sauerkraut, and coleslaw. I am the worst coleslaw-maker.  Any suggestions?

TUESDAY

Not Really Stuffed Peppers, using a from memory/semi-made up recipe.  I take 2 cups of cooked rice, and mix with 1 pound of ground beef.  Then I cut up about a cup of jarred, roasted red peppers and mix together with the rice and beef.  I add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, and then enough spaghetti sauce (just short of a regular sized jar) to make it casserole consistency.  I shred some Parmesan cheese on the top, and bake it at 350 for about 25 minutes. 

We’ll also have some green beans, they are looking good and popping up all over in the markets!

WEDNESDAY

Penne Rustica from Your Home Based Mom.

Cucumbers Caesar originally from Mom In Mental Motion.

THURSDAY

Vericheesey Casserole

Chips and some version of Mango Tango Black Bean Salsa.  I’m not really sure about the corn, seems like too much sweetness to me but I’ll give it a try.

FRIDAY

Something yummy with pine nuts, feta cheese, kalamata olives, cooked shredded beef and tomatoes.  I have all of these, I’m picturing something delicious but it might end up being along the lines of a Greek Island Skillet at Dennys.  Either way, it will use up some things that have been hanging around for a while that need to go 🙂

 I’ll also have a green salad and put garbanzo beans in it, just to further the illusion that I am good at cooking Mediterranean food.

I also want to make a blueberry dish so I’m going to try Blueberry Oat Coffee Cake from Life As Mom at some point this week. 

Head over here for more Menu Plan Monday.

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MOMA, GRAM, whatever.

I have written before about how Grand Rapids offers us big city livin’ without the commitment. As an aside, I need to tell you that this was astutely noted by my friend Megan, who now lives in Missouri.  I am kind of wondering what Missouri has against me, as it has become a vortex that keeps sucking my friends in.

Anyway.  I had an opportunity to visit the new Grand Rapids Art Museum.  I am not what you would call a huge appreciator of art.  I don’t know how long to look at the pictures before moving along, or if I should have a look on my face that seems to indicate that I ‘get it’ (99% of the time, I am pretty sure I don’t). 

This all can be squarely blamed on my 7th Grade Art Teacher, Mrs. T.  She inexplicably hated me.  If I got a D on any given project she was feeling generous, and she threw me out in the hall all the time for no reason. This was my first, and fortunately last, experience with teachers hating me.  Other than this incident I was pretty well-liked by teachers, professors, and particularly male grad assistants but I realize that last one was probably because I was relatively skinny and had a good tan throughout college and not due to my fine intellect as I had thought at the time.

Therefore my experience with the GRAM is purely based on the building itself.  Aside from the Gordon Parks photography exhibit (sweet!!), I couldn’t tell you if this was the same stuff that was is the old building or not. The building is amazing – very sleek and not at all crowded which is the polar opposite of the old museum.  It’s beautiful and fancy and shiny, and the gift shop is nice.  I felt very big city for a few hours which is about long enough before I’m ready to be small town again. 

If you have a Grand Rapids Childrens Museum PALS Membership, the GRAM is free in July.  The staff keeps a good eye on the kids, but are really nice to them.  They offered suggestions of things to find, kind of like a scavenger hunt.  In the gift shop, the kids selected Diego Rivera tattoos but I can’t quite yet bring myself to put a weird distorted skeleton on my babies.

I really want to return to the GRAM alone, so I can mosey around calmly at my own pace and maybe sit and pretend I am sketching something.  Mrs. T. won’t be grading it this time.

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Beat the Summer Spike

I can’t even fathom why this is true, but television viewing by children goes up 150% in the summer. I suppose it is because they are not in school, but seriously? Do they just sit and watch TV? That’s sad. There is too much to do in the summer. Winter is another story; that’s when we pack in most of our quality programming along with lots of other junk. 

TV isn’t a big focal point for us around here.  The TV is in the basement, and not only do we have minimal cable, we are getting rid of that too (more on that soon).  Even so, I like what I am learning about the Smart Television Alliance.  I don’t think I need to harp on inactivity, childhood obesity, or even my favorite subject; aggressive marketing to children. 

Now the Smart Television Alliance is sponsored by TiVo, so don’t be suprised that Tivo-ing through commercials and watching only educational programming is one of the suggestions.  Just don’t forget that we can do it with a..a.. what are those old-fashioned thingys called again? Oh yeah, a VCR

Read up about the E/I (“educational”) programming section here.  It’s one of the topics we talked about at the presentation from GRIID and it’s interesting and a little scary.  OK really quite scary. 

There are recommendations by age group, which I think are generally pretty good.  I would of course add Blues Clues and Super Why. The one I disagree with in the 3-6 range is Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and that’s because it is product placement-city. And also because I can’t stand Ty Pennington.  Ty, what won’t you endorse?

The best part is a blog which offers suggestions for crafts and activities for kids to do as an alternative to watching TV or more accurately, watching more TV.  They are ‘inspired by’ kids favorite shows, so they get a theme going which of course I love. 

I’d proceed with some caution here; there is some good information and activities but it’s still pretty pro-TV which doesn’t really jive with my parenting style. But the themes, now we might be talking about something I can work with here…

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