Last weekend, we got together with some friends who have 9-year-old twins -- a son and a daughter. Munchkin absolutely loves being around kids. He latched onto the son and, even though he knew his name, called him "Boy!" for most of the day. Once, while straggling behind, Munchkin suddenly realized he was missing someone. He raced ahead yelling, "Munchkin needs his Boy! Munchkin needs his Boy!"
Yesterday, when I got Munchkin up from his nap, he wasn't wearing any socks. When I asked where his socks were, Munchkin replied, "In Munchkin's pocket." Sure enough, a pocket was bulging. Then he added, "Wants to play with your toes out!"
(Note: He still has some of his pronouns mixed up!)
I'm trying out the blogger polling feature (see sidebar)! Please only reply once and we'll find out how many readers there are out there. This poll will close on Labor Day. If you have a question you'd like answered on another poll, please let me know!
(I've been getting "stuck" on my blog site ever since I put up the poll. My apologies to anybody else who is having problems. I'll take down the poll after Labor Day and see if that solves the problem.)
I tried to attach this recipe as a "comment" to my last post, but for some reason, it doesn't seem to be working. For anyone who would like to know...
Lasagna even a picky toddler might love
6 lasagna noodles 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz) 1 small onion, chopped 1-2 large cloves garlic, minced ½ lb ground beef (I use grass-fed) 1 tsp Italian seasoning (I’m guessing on the quantity since I don’t measure) 1 tsp dried basil (ditto on the quantity) 1 cup cottage cheese 1 pound failed homemade mozzarella (may substitute store-bought) Grated Parmesan cheese to top (real cheese, not the stuff in the green can)
Boil the lasagna noodles for about 10 minutes. As the water is heating, begin making the sauce. Brown beef in a small amount of olive oil along with garlic and onion. When the meat is no longer pink and the onion is tender, add tomato sauce and seasonings. Cover and simmer (the sauce) until the noodles are done.
Layer in a smallish baking dish half the noodles, half the cottage cheese, half the sauce, and half the mozzarella. Repeat. Top with grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees 25-30 minutes. Serves 4 plus a picky toddler.
Well, you know that icky goo from my first cheese making experiment? I poured it into a pitcher and put it in the fridge until I decided what to do with it. When I got it out a few days later, it was solid. I loosened it from the pitcher and dumped out a perfectly round cake of cheese! It had the consistency of cream cheese, but with a weak mozzarella taste, so I sliced it up and put it into dinner. (By the way, that is NOT the way the cheese recipe is supposed to work. I'm going to try again with another brand of milk.)
The lasagna was a little different, as if I used ricotta instead of my usual mozzarella. My husband thought it tasted great! (I didn't tell him. Is that OK?) (OK, I finally told him when we ate the leftovers for a second dinner. He still likes it, and even my picky, picky Munchkin gobbled it up once we got him to taste it! I've included the recipe as a "comment" to this blog, in case anybody wants it.)
Milk is funny stuff. This blog entry was supposed to be the glowing success story of how I made Mozzarella cheese, but instead I made Icky Goo. It wasn't that I didn't carefully follow the instructions -- I followed them to the letter. Of course, Ms. Carroll left out a step or two. She never even mentioned that the milk heats up faster if you turn on the correct burner! But I figured it out and by the time I reached the second to last step I was excited. I could see how it was working! If students turned milk into cheese in high school chemistry class, more girls might consider a career in science!
So I got to the last step and my lump of curds promptly turned into the consistency of that thick paste we used to use in grade school! It tastes all right, I guess (the curds, not the paste), but yuck! Don't tell my family, but I think I'll hide it in lasagna. I gave the leftover whey to my ailing tomato plant.
I figured the problem must have been the type of milk I used, but when I went back to the website this afternoon, it looks like I did some other stuff wrong, too. I'm going to try again with a different brand of milk and more complete instructions. Stay tuned for Cheese Attempt #2!
We have a little parrot in the house. The other day Scott talked on the phone saying, "uh-huh, OK," etc. Munchkin used the pauses in the conversation to repeat every word.
This morning, as we listened to a Matt Redman song on a Veggie Tales CD, the lyrics included a line, "Better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere." I heard Munchkin repeat, "One day in your golf course. One day in your golf course."
Munchkin's still in sick and in slow motion, so I interrupt the "cute Munchkin stories" to bring you the following book review...
This past spring I read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver (http://www.kingsolver.com/). The book is the account of how the author and her family moved from Phoenix to a farm in the Appalachias and decided to live off the the land and eat locally for one year. It's part journal and part informational. I don't know what Kingsolver normally does for a living, but she is a very good writer with an educator's heart. For anyone interested in the issues surrounding our national food supply, or who just enjoys a back-to-the-land story, it is a really good read. I found some parts intriguing, some parts delightful and some parts very funny. I won't spoil it by telling you any of the funny stuff -- if you want to know, you'll have to read it yourself!
This book linked me to two other books. Kingsolver writes about how her experiences in making her own cheese led her to "Cheese Queen" Rikki Carroll. Carroll has a book out called "Home Cheese Making" http://www.cheesemaking.com/ that I had to wait ages for at the library. It seems I'm not the only Kingsolver reader who has followed up by searching out the cheese making book! I have almost completed gathering my supplies and am looking forward to trying the mozzarella recipe. She says it takes only 30 minutes. I'll report soon on the results!
The other book is written by Gary Nabhan, an aquaintance of Kingsolver, who did a similar "eating local" experiment, but remained in Phoenix (quite a feat!). That book deserves its own review -- a blog for another day.
Munchkin is sick, poor kid. Probably picked up the bug at Sunday school and it kicked in on Tuesday. Today was a slow day as I kept him home to get better. He was in slower motion than usual, but my mommy-radar still clicked on every time things got too quiet in the house. Here's what he was doing...
#1 He got the bathroom step stool and put it in the middle of his trampoline. Then he sat on it and bounced. When I found him, he was just about to try it standing up.
#2 He was reading a book in the corner. (Shock!)
#3 He was laying down, sandwiched between the back of the couch and a cabinet and looking through a family photo album. He's not allowed to get the albums out by himself, but he was so darling I couldn't get mad. :)
I just checked on the visitor statistics for my blog and discovered, to my total amazement, that there are people out there reading it! There's 42 of you since I first started the stats at the beginning of July. A few have actually visited my site over 50 times! (Update: I think I misread the stats and it is just 14 visitors visiting a total of 42 times -- so thanks to my 14 loyal readers! Don't know if the 50 visits part is right, either. It seems too high. I'll figure out how to read the stats eventually...)
So... I don't know who you are, but thanks!!! I hope I can continue to keep you entertained!
By the way, I've gotten reports of people having trouble leaving comments. If anyone wants to leave a comment but doesn't have a Google account, just click on the Comment icon and leave a comment as "Annonymous." Of course, you'll have to include your name in the comment if you want me to know who sent it. I have the site set up to accept annonymous comments and will leave it that way unless I start having problems.
We took Munchkin to the Portland Zoo today. It was a lot of fun and we saw lots of animals, of course. Munchkin had a really good time. In the section called the Great Northwest there are mountain goats, bears, cougars, and the like. The highlight for me was the golden eagle, which we got to see up close. There was also a section with farm animals in a petting zoo. At the entrance to the "farm" was a John Deere tractor set up for kids to climb on. Munchkin did, of course.
On the way home, I asked Munchkin which animal at the zoo was his favorite. Munchkin answered, "A tractor." He has held steadfastly to his answer, even telling Grandma on the phone that a tractor was his favorite animal. A drive to Portland, a $20 entrance fee, and Munchkin likes the tractor!
Personally, my favorite moment occurred as we watched a large brown-orange baboon. I heard a mother say to her son who was about Munchkin's age, "No, it's not Elmo."