Monday, August 31, 2009

Read Alouds for all ages

Not that reading favors any season, but since we are wrapping up a summer of picture books and trilogies and heading into a cooler season when reading becomes even more necessary, here are a few of our current favorites.  John is reading The Last Olympian to Julian and Shadowland is next up in cue.  Maia loves all of the picture books listed below and has had us read them all over and over again.  Special props to us for complying, since I usually get board with the same old, same old, which is according to Mem Fox, defies one of the secrets to getting your kid to be a reading wiz by age 18 mos.   But these picture books have enough detail, humor, silliness, sweetness, surprise, and of course lovely artwork that I can't say no to her little request of "again!"

by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

by Rick Riordan

by Louise Erdrich
Big bug surprise by Julia Gran
The black book of colors [braille] / by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faría

Squirrel at night / by Mélanie Watt

Doodler doodling / words by Rita Golden Gelman ; pictures by Paul O.Zelinsky

Monkey with a tool belt / Chris Monroe

10 things I can do to help my world : fun and easy eco-tips / Melanie Walsh

Dear fish / written and illustrated by Chris Gall

I don't like Gloria! / Kaye Umansky ; illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain

The hound from the pound / Jessica Swaim ; illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Bad kitty gets a bath / Nick Bruel

The robot and the bluebird / David Lucas

The red book / by Barbara Lehman

George and Martha : the complete stories of two best friends / by James Marshall 

The spider and the fly / [based on the poem by Mary Howitt ; with illustrations by Tony DiTerlizzi]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Basil/tomato ratio = no bruschetta yet

Originally uploaded by monpon.

So instead I made pesto. Walnuts, olive oil, lots of garlic and salt and pepper blended up and stashed in the freezer. The next batch will just be basil and olive oil frozen for a cold wintry day. Oh, wait, that could be soon because today is down-right autumnal.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mai in Motion

In constant motion, despite no naps, this girl just keeps moving, dancing, running, chatting, playing and stopping occasionally for a quick snuggle or hug.  Sweet as pie, growing long and lean, loving her pink milk and walks around the block.  She looks forward to her weekly trips to the zoo with grandma and grandpa, still detests having her hair brushed (the birds in the nest are going to get mad if you brush it!) and tries to stay as close to undressed as possible. She loves her inherited and much added to collection of stuffed animals. She puts them to sleep in a laundry basket, lines them up on her pillow at night, moves them here and there, talking quietly to them. Dogs and kitties, bears and spider monkeys, penguins and bats. They float in boats, ride in buses, slide down stairs and huddle on beanbag chairs. And she picks one out for me to snuggle with at night when she finally relents and settles in for a few books, a couple of sips of water and finally, a long, sweet slumber. 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Scrap of Honesty

Thanks to Christi at Writing Under Pressure for thinking of me and passing along an award that allows me to tell you even more things about myself than you already know.

It shouldn't be too hard, right?  I did the facebook 25, I blog about family life and the kids and the arts and crafts we do, but honesty?  I try to stay a little to the left of honesty.  I try to write around things, to capture them in a circle of details and impressions as if I were outside looking in. And now I should write a few scraps of honest truths?  Dare I?  Won't they all sound as If I am still hiding something, after all I am!  Smoke and mirrors baby, smoke and mirrors and more smoke...

1.  Although I value creative play, my three year-old is a TV head, and the truth is that I am sooo grateful for the 45 minute blocks or so that she will sit on the couch and yuck it up in front of Peep and the Big Wide World, Charlie and Lola, Hello Kitty or Ruby and Max for the umpteenth time.

2. I guess I should admit that we encourage this by buying movies for her: Bolt, Bee Movie, Wall-E,  not to mention most of the Miyazaki films though the only ones appropriate for her are Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro. And her grandpa further encourages her love of cinema by bringing over classic Disney every Sunday night like 101 Dalmatians, Fox and the Hound, Lady and the Tramp, Bambi and the like.

3.  And what do I do while she is watching her shows?  Laundry?  Loading the dishwasher?  Checking up on the older brother? Nah!  Reading trashy mags like US weekly or those ad-filled parenting mags that just show up in my mailbox and warn me of the dangers of too much tv...

4.  Since my slacker mom ways are shining through... when all the tv in the world has been watched, I still have the i touch with a few toddler "games" on it to keep her occupied for a few extra minutes until she starts back in with the juice requests, the "I have to go potty" declarations and the constant assaults on my personal space.

5. I made these Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted by Molly of Orangette three times in the last week - sinful and yummy and really the batter was better than anything I've ever tasted, though I prefer milk chocolate chips to the semi or bitter sweets. It also took three tries to actually wait the full 36 hours of refrigeration before baking them.

6. I love naps, but my sweet little kitty thinks that it is time to give them up and I am stuck in the denial/anger stage of grief over the loss of our nap time.

7.  Sadly, I haven't done any "art" for most of the summer except for a few ink drawings with Maia that look like a fifth grader could have made.

8.  And my brain is turning a slightly green color, growing fuzz around my right temporal lobe.

9.  I  appreciate kid-humor: for example, today as we were filling up old, expired surgical gloves with water, the 11 year-old said as one of the fingers in the glove expanded eighteen times its original size "look, my balloon has antidermitus," which then turned into a slew of jokes about that auntie Dermitus having elephantiasis of the handermitus. Luckily no one mentioned anything about "sausage digits."

10.  And finally, silliness aside, I do feel as if I am too often on the outside looking in, obsessively weighing, evaluating, and assessing over the minutest details of my life, my home, my work, my family and just for a bit, I do wish it would all just blur up a bit more once in a while.

Consider yourself bitten.  YOU on my blogroll (Brian, Jocelyn, Denise, Wendy?) or YOU who are not on my blogroll and could use an excuse for a post, carry on the scraping, after all it's not like you have to reveal all your secrets...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Show Your Codpiece and Turn it Up!

Now playing at KSJD in Colorado on a show called Native Voltage hosted by DJ Maurice is my bro-in-law, Sean's band Codpiece   The show features "Music from native nation, native bands, solo native music, native local bands and mixed with voltage music (Pow-wow, Round Dance, Rock, Metal, Punk, Funk, R&B, Oldies and Reggae) a different kind of a radio program mix that well put a voltage in your soul on the road or at home. TURN IT UP!!!!"

Hang out from 8-10 to listen to a telephone interview with the man behind the bass and vocals of Milwaukee's own Codpiece.   You can also listen to a few tracks at Show Your Codpiece on My Space.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thirteen - It's Official

Originally uploaded by monpon.

It's official: Julian is a teenager. Papa John bravely took Juj and three friends to Wisconsin Dells for the day on Saturday to enjoy the unnatural attractions of roller coasters and water slides. The boys slept in the on the living room floor and couches and woke up groggy but ready for an epic burrito birthday party affair. Though the party went on and on for hours and hours, I took few photos; I was far too busy looking for my lost glass of wine, readying the burrito bar and socializing with all the friends and family that stopped by that day.

What flashed through my mind as I lay in bed that night were a handful of absurd and laughter-filled scenes that although they were not photographed they remain vivid in my mind:

1. Julian and Pat blowing out their candles with small balloon pumps and big smiles on their faces.

2. Joe-Joe passing out poppers before singing Happy Birthday and the loud confusion of singing, popping and confetti landing on the candles and in Amu's hair.

3. Stella-dog barking and chasing rocket balloons the kids launched in the house immediately after the popper incident.

4. Summer sitting in a puddle of bubbles that I just opened despite Courtney's warning that "bubbles are for outside."

5. Vida Mae and her Shirley Temple curls.

6. Maia and Gracie sitting on the couch playing constructively with "potty putty" and the turtle shaped putty I found in the toy camper van the next morning. Along with lots of other toys and games that were pulled from somewhere deep within Maia's closet.

7. Stella snatching someones burrito off a plate and the walk that I took her on shortly after thinking that something might explode from either her front or back end in which she pulled me down the block ribbons streaming from her collar from balloon kids had tied onto her, not stopping to sniff or mark, just yanking on her leash, anxious to get back to her party. Though she did graze on some of the 16 varieties of grass we have growing on the front lawn.

8. Kobe and Maia sending up the rest of the helium balloons with pictures, notes and names written on them long after the party ended.

9. The laptop cake Amu and Papa made for Julian with his photo on the "screen."

10. Julian opening the package sent by the US government containing his official passport; Welcome to the world kid, this time it is for real!

The few photos I took can be viewed here.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cilantro to Coriander

Originally uploaded by monpon.

Since the cilantro turns to seed so quickly around these parts, I decided to harvest the seeds and try to dry them and use them over the winter for seasonings in soups, salads and meats. I picked as many seeds as I could before they flowered and my hands smelled of cilantro for the next few hours; such a strong sent! I have used coriander in warm beans and greens salad, lentil soup and mixed in hamburgers, i.e. lamburgers or shiskabobs. Still, I wish the cilantro would hang around a bit longer, at least until the tomatoes and hot peppers ripen for our favorite salsa.