Thursday, June 30, 2011

out and about: hiking

We've gone on a couple of hikes recently.

The key to a successful hike with the Little Wickies?

1) Friends


2) Snacks


Yesterday we checked out a little creek and swimming hole.


super tiny lizard we found on the trail

Katie still talks about the "amazing" heart (yes, yet another piece of glass) we saw on one of our hikes.

Ah, nature at its best, right?



Monday, June 27, 2011

what? you didn't know annie was part korean and chinese?

So, I've been meaning to post this for the grandparents.

Here is Katie with choir singing songs from Annie. Unfortunately they couldn't get the microphones working for the show.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

jammin' on the one


This year I combined the blueberries we picked with the strawberries from the farm behind our house to make a mixed berry jam.


I've been jamming for a couple of years now, and if you're going to do it, I would recommend investing minimally in these three instruments:

1) Ladle; 2) Jar Lifter; and 3) Funnel.

You can buy canning sets for under $15 which include a variety of tools, but I found these three the most important.

The recipe I adapted makes a small batch, but can be doubled or tripled if needed.


Strawberry Blueberry Jam

3 cups of strawberries (I slightly smoosh them as I like chunky jam)
1 cup of blueberries
1-1/2 cups of sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 package of pectin (plus a little more if you like yours extra thick)

1. Mix pectin with 1/2 C. of sugar in a small bowl.
2. Mix berries with pectin/sugar combination in a medium saucepan. Cook to a full boil.
3. Add rest of sugar and bring back to a boil. Boil hard for 1 minute.
4. Test thickness.
5. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir.
5. Can and process* your jam.


Tips:
- Wash jars and lids in the dishwasher the day before.
- Start boiling your processing water first as this will take awhile.
- Microwave some water in a shallow bowl and heat lids in the bowl while making the jam.
- Put a small bowl in the freezer before you begin. Use it to test your jam's thickness. The jam should thicken quickly in the cold bowl so you know it's ready.

*How To Process Your Jam
1. Fill jars leaving 1/4 inch from the top. Tighten lid.
2. Place jars in boiling water (jars should be covered by at least 2 inches of water). Boil 10 minutes.
3. Cool overnight without touching or bumping.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

maddie meets monet / katie covets chagall

Today I took the girls to an art museum for the first time.

Mo had little interest, she kept walking around saying "me no touch da art, right mama?" in a sort of Rainman way.

I'm thinking of taking Katie back as she seemed to really enjoy it.

She was able to describe to Papa in detail later that night her favorite piece of the day -- floating fish, painter in the background and all -- which I was surprised by.

Blue Angel by Marc Chagall, Katie's favorite piece of the day

Now, don't get me wrong while they did fine in the museum the stairway back to the car provided WAY more fun. We spent at least 15 minutes playing on these.


"Did you like the museum girls?"

"Yes, mama."

Two minutes later going down the ramps in the parking structure, "Wee!!!! Mama, this is fun, do it again!"

And later, "Mama, can we come back so we can go down those ramps again?"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

the fingerprint kid

Picked this book up the other day at the flea market for a quarter.

I remember this book from when I was a kid. Did you have one?

Katie gets a little messy with the ink pad, but is really loving the step-by-step directions.



Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm getting good ... compared to a kid

I've been enjoying having a piano and been reteaching myself some music.

I'm about half way done relearning a Sonatina and was feeling pretty good about my progress. Here's a sample of me playing (on our untuned piano with an with a sticky A that doesn't always play).




Like I said I was feeling good... Until I saw this 11 year-old playing the same piece.





Oh, and this is how it's played by a a 6 year-old.




In the end, it's like art. You perform the act because you enjoying doing it, not because you are necessarily very good at it.

Oh, and if you're interested (totally understand if you aren't at this point) this is how it's really supposed to be played.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

do 5-year olds think blondes have more fun?

At Katie's end-of-the-year open house she tells me, "Mama, I drew a picture of you and me, come see!"

I have to say I was excited. She is a Papa's girl. And, I am often reduced to the status of chopped liver when he is around. So any time she singles me out in his presence I have to admit I do feel special.

She guides me around the corner and there we are...

Both blonde with blue eyes. And, looking like we just came from a mother and daughter tanning salon.

Don't get me wrong I LOVE this picture. I'm trying to get her to paint me a tiny version so I can slide it under the glass of my desk.

We just got her class journal and I really like looking at all the different pictures she's drawn throughout the year.

I'm trying to cull down the artwork I keep, taking pictures of the stuff I like but it is difficult as I have two art-producing machines and I don't want to slow them down!

Monday, June 6, 2011

mixed up

I have a guest post over at Ricebabies today where she is beginning a series on mixed race families. Check it out if you're interested in learning some random facts about the Little Wickies.

Hope you're having a good Monday!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

folding madness

Fact: Katie is getting good at origami.

Fact: Katie loves to mass produce things once she figures them out.

Mama's solution: Put this skill set and passion together and transfer it to something more beneficial for the culinary needs of our family.

Wontons.


Mo was not happy watching us, and ended up joining in.

Her start was commendable, painting water on the edges very carefully.


Then she would just scrunch the whole thing up. And "fold" it over a bit.


"Ta da!" she would proclaim.

The meat tended to slip out of the Maddie creations a bit too easily after being boiled, but they were all edible.

Usually wontons are made with shrimp and ground pork, but I often make them with turkey because it's easily available at my grocery store and is a tad healthier.

Turkey Won Ton
1 lb. ground turkey
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. sherry
8 water chestnuts diced
4 large Chinese mushrooms diced
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 green onion stalk chopped
1 egg
2 packages of wonton skins

Mix ingredients well. Make wontons using 1 tsp. of filling per wonton.

You can check out YouTube for some tutorials on folding wontons.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

in the bushes

Blueberry picking season has officially begun at one of the farms near us.

We tagged along with some friends this week to gather some bounty.

The girls are actually really good at picking berries now.

And, at only $3.75 a pound -- well, it isn't really child labor, right?

We ended up picking more than 5+ pounds of blueberries.

I'm going to make breakfast for dinner tonight and I'm going to try this recipe because it looked so good.

Part of the berry-picking crew