May 27, 2023

to the seaside

We're heading to the beach for the long weekend, so I probably won't be posting until next week (Weekend Contest Love excepting).
I hope you have an enjoyable kick-off to summer, friends!


I found a new favorite book hanging out in the racks of our local library. To be honest, I was most attracted to the cover design (I'm a lot like that with selecting wine--picking it because of the pretty label).
Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair has some great recipes that incorporate whole grains into meals for families (including babies). Over the weekend, I made the blueberry scones, since blueberries are starting to come into season.
I adapted the Lemon Cranberry Scone recipe a bit, using blueberries instead of cranberries and yogurt instead of buttermilk, but they still came out great.
Lemon Blueberry Scones (adapted from Feeding the Whole Family)
~2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
~1/4 cup unrefined sugar or brown sugar
~2 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
~1/2 tsp baking soda
~1/2 tsp sea salt
~6 tbsp cold butter
~3/4 cup fresh blueberries
~1 tbsp lemon zest
~3/4 cup plain yogurt (or buttermilk)
~1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl until well-combined. Cut in the butter with a fork or knife until you have "pebbly" crumbs. Pour in the yogurt and lemon and mix until combined. Add lemon zest and blueberries.

Flour a surface and turn out the dough onto it. Knead a few times, then pat into a circle. Cut into 8 wedges and transfer to a greased baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Also on the cooking front, check out our radish harvest! They're quite spicy, but oh so good.

May 24, 2023

lost my mind

All morning, I've had LOST on the brain. Yep, the finale was last night, and I was glued to the TV for a few hours, so naturally it's sunken into my thoughts. I must say I was generally pleased with the finale, save for the last 10 minutes (I won't spoil it for any of you by recapping). I just don't think things tied up the way I had hoped. That's all I'll say.

One quote from a fan that I recall seeing last night was great: "I've never understood Trekkies until I became a Lostie." So true! The show has been my Constant (inside reference) for the last 6 years, from the days of living in an apartment as a student through the birth of my son, until now. I'm going to miss it!

May 21, 2023

lawnmower milk

We're debuting the newest version of Kids Say the Darndest Things around here. Behold, "lawnmower milk".
While eating my cereal this morning, Soren munched on toast and kept saying he wanted the lawnmower. Whatever. Eventually it became lawnmower milk and I understood that he wanted some soymilk. He pointed to the green car on the carton and said it was "daddy's mower." Yes, I suppose it looks like our Neuton mower.
Then he wanted to try some of GG's (Soren's name for my mom) milk, because the carton has a photo of "GG's tree" on it. My parents have an identical tree in their front yard.
S also has funny names for other things, like "baseball game hat", not simply a "baseball hat"
and I find it so cute that he calls Sesame Street "A-OK", which is a line from the intro song.

Did you know Mr. Geek works at the "Football Game"? I didn't realize I married a football player. He actually works at a local university and his office is near the football field, so whenever we take him to work, Soren thinks he works at the football game. To confuse things even more, he's actually referring to the basketball game that the Mister took him to last year, which is near the football field. We've never taken him to a football game yet, but he often calls any sports with balls football. By the end of the summer, they'll return to being called "baseball games." I know, it's hard to keep track.

I'm both eager to hear more Soren-isms, and also a bit scared. I mean, he's already changed the lyrics of a song to include mommy's boobies. Ugh.

I'm dying to know the funny things that your kids say. Share away!

PB&J; cookie bars

I tend to crave peanut butter once a week, and though I still love my pb oat smoothies, I decided to try a new recipe that I found in Family Fun magazine.
They were delicious! And with the addition of oats and natural peanut butter, then ended up being fairly healthy, though calorie-dense.
PB&J Bars (adapted from Family Fun)
  • 2-1/2 cups flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 cups seedless jam, such as raspberry
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. In a medium-size bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, then set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter and both sugars until well blended, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter. Beat them until well blended. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until a soft dough is formed.
  3. Spread two thirds of the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan, then spread the jam evenly on top. Scatter small mounds of the remaining dough over the jam layer and sprinkle it with the peanuts.
  4. Bake the dessert until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through, about 45 minutes. Let the dessert cool before cutting it into squares. Makes 18 bars.
    These would be perfect to take along on a picnic. Enjoy!

May 20, 2023

from garden to table

We've been enjoying the first tastes of the harvest from our tiny backyard plot--specifically greens.
The mesclun mix and red leaf lettuces have been wonderful, so sweet and buttery.  If you have only a pot and a sunny spot, consider planting some lettuce seeds. They're so easy to grow (and cheap) and the payoff is incredible.
Our Mizuno Japanese mustard greens are quite tasty too. Not as bitter as traditional mustard greens, these were excellent in a simple pasta dish I made last night for dinner.
While the photo above doesn't give them justice (these are the leftovers which I reheated for lunch, hence the darker colored greens), they were gorgeously bright green in the dish and didn't take long to cook.

My favorite part of the garden is the learning experience for Soren. We picked the lettuce together for today's lunch, and he was excited and engaged by the activity.  He even ate some lettuce without cajoling!
Mind you, this boy will fish out any secretly-placed green ingredient in any of my cooking and spit it out immediately and with much fanfare.
Next up, peas. This is the first time I've grown them so we'll see what happens. So far so good. Climb little ones, climb!
If you're curious how I made the pasta dish, I simply cooked some penne, then sauteed an onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in olive oil with some white wine, then added the greens at the end.  I tossed in the drained pasta, added some fresh oregano and Parmesan, and finished with salt and pepper. So simple and so delicious.

May 19, 2023

finding the magic in the magic kingdom

Part Two of our trip to Disney World takes us to the Magic Kingdom, where we spent days two and four of our week.
We also spent two days at the Animal Kingdom, and one day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I would have preferred to go to Epcot, but I wasn't sure if there would be enough to interest a two-year-old in that park.  I like the World Showcase of different countries in Epcot, but perhaps we'll be lucky enough to make it to Epcot next year if we go to Disney.

Soren spent most of his time in Mickey's Toontown Fair, where there were lots of play areas to visit, including Donald's Boat, a water park of sorts.
I'm not a parent who doesn't let her child get wet (I'm prepared with a change of clothes) so I let S run wild there.  Saying he loved it is an understatement.
I didn't waste any time staying dry either. At least it was in the upper 80s that day and we dried off pretty quickly.
Soren liked the slides and the play house too in Toontown
There was a tunnel underneath it where he said he was going to take a "night-nap".   He actually put his head down and way lying there (it was a week of sleep-exhaustion for all of us, as you can imagine).
We roamed the park, riding It's a Small World, Peter Pan, the Steam Train
and we explored Tom Sawyer's Island, which Soren loved.  It's just a maze of paths that are surrounded by woods, water, and tunnels and small buildings.  It's great for a preschooler to run around there for some time, especially when you get to ride a raft to the island.

The carousel was wonderful, gliding around and around, feeling the breeze on your face.
Mary Poppins and Bert were at the entrance too, which was fun to see.  I wasn't so good about taking photos of characters, and since we're not big Disney fans, we didn't wait in line to greet any of them.  Soren doesn't really know any characters except for Mickey Mouse, and I thought that he was too young to really understand the point in meeting them.

We commenced our day on the train, letting it rock us into a relaxed and pleasantly tired state, and headed back to the hotel for some swimming.  Not a bad day, huh?


We are drowning in cars in our house.  I step on them, pull them out from between sofa cushions, and even hear them spinning in the washer (oops!).  After tripping over and complaining about messes--specifically toys--in our house, I've been wondering when parents should start teaching kids about cleaning up.
I figured it was time when the chief mess-maker in the house enjoys announcing "I made a mess!" 

So over the past few weeks I've been slowly guiding Soren in cleaning up his messes.  It works best to pick up things with him, rather than just telling him to do it.  Especially if I turn it into a game, then he really cleans up with gusto, getting all the items into the basket as quickly as possible.
So far, so good, though as most parenting lessons and tasks, it takes time and attention.  While it might take me a few minutes to pick up the toys, it takes longer when making it learning opportunity.

What tips do you have for teaching your children to clean up?  When did you start teaching it? Do you have your kids do it right after playing or do you do it all at the end of the day?

May 18, 2023

lost without lost

Any Losties out there? While I haven't blogged much about the show, I am crushed that this will be the last Tuesday night that it's on.  Yes, the BEST show of all time ends on Sunday night, with the series finale.  I love how Lost incorporates themes of redemption, free will, and of course all of the spiritual and religious references.  It's been an amazing ride, and though I'm sure I'll feel let down by the ending, I am happy for the fun ride and lots of post-viewing speculations that Mr. Geek and I have had at breakfast.  If you watch, who is your favorite character? I'd have to say Ben, or maybe Desmond, or swoon, Sawyer!

May 17, 2023

Disney's Animal Kingdom

We made it back, though the jolt into reality is always a little hard after vacation, especially if you've been to Disney World. Minus a few rough spots regarding Soren, our trip to Disney World was wonderful.

After a fairly uneventful flight, other than the messy diaper change in the airplane restroom complete with top-of-the-lung screaming from S (Happy Mother's Day, Kathleen), we landed in Orlando ready to get to our hotel.
We stayed at the Old Key West Resort, since my in-laws are Disney Vacation Club Members, and the place was lovely.
It was very quiet and remote, but easily accessible to the parks and Downtown Disney via a bus or boat ride (though it's often spoken of as the least accessible resort to the parks). By the end of the week we were admittedly tired of lugging the stroller up and down steps and onto buses, but the laid-back pace and lush greenery of the Old Key West resort was worth it. We had stayed at the Boardwalk a few years back, which was definitely more bustling, though still nice.

We spent our first day at Animal Kingdom, which is Mr. Geek's and my favorite Disney park.
The theming and presentation is nice, it's not over-the-top Disney, but more of a natural setting. We set off on the Kilimanjaro Safaris to check out the animals before it got too hot. Soren was a bit overwhelmed by it all at this point in the trip.
Though he excitedly pointed to the elephants, giraffes, ostriches, and other animals that he recognized. Plus riding a safari truck through muck, mud and water was thrilling for him.
I love the sea of strollers that we came out onto after the safari. Only in Disney...
The petting zoo was also fun for him and my niece, even though he was getting tired by this point.
By far Soren's favorite area in the Animal Kingdom was Dinoland USA, which is typical for a toddler. The Boneyard, a fossil-themed play area was a big hit.
There were all kinds of slides and tunnels and things to climb, and dinosaur roars that happened when you stepped on dino footprints.
They really made the Boneyard a great place for kids. It had a good amount of shade too, which is important for little ones in the hot Florida sun.Beyond The Boneyard, there were some resin dinosaurs to climb throughout Dinoland USA, which was also a hit with our son.
Toddlers are often more interested in the hands-on things rather than the rides.
I did go on the Dinosaur ride myself, which was really cool, with a loud, bumpy ride complete with animatronic dinosaurs. Definitely too intense for the young crowd.

While at the Animal Kingdom, we made sure to see the Festival of the Lion King show.
The Mister and I have seen the Broadway version of The Lion King, and the show here was very similar. This was the best show we saw at Disney; the live singing, dancing, costumes and energy was incredible.
If you're heading to Disney World, you cannot miss the Festival of the Lion King. I recommend getting to the earliest show, since the wait it minimal.

One last thing about the Animal Kingdom--they have the best Baby Care center and First Aid area. We used the Baby Center to change a diaper on the first visit and it was nice to have a quiet, out-of-the-way place to tend to Soren. There were two dark nursing rooms with rockers in them, as well as a room with a movie playing so kids could relax a bit before heading back into the park. We ended up visiting First Aid too when Soren came down with a fever on the last day, and the nurse there was very helpful.

More to come on our trip over the next few days. It's a bit much for just one post!

Disclosure: I received 2 Park Hopper passes to Disney World from their PR team and wanted to blog about it, though it was not required.
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