Monday, December 30, 2013

Mommy is a foodie

Mommy came to the realization a few days ago that she has become a foodie.  She doesn't want to just prepare a meal, she wants to prepare a good meal and enjoy it.  And she means good in taste AND good in nutrition.

Thinking through the last few years, she realized that the path to becoming a foodie has been a gradual one.  The three years of preschool/kindergarten that Sissy spent at a Waldorf school may not have been the starting point, but it was certainly a push in the right direction.  Imagine a whole school filled with people that eat real food, know where it comes from and grow some of it themselves.

The gradual expansion of our vegetable garden, including the switch to Square Foot Gardening, means she thinks about where some of our food is coming from, and when it should be coming.  And then she joined the Slow Food movement, reducing the amount of preprocessed food coming into the house.  Since she does most of the grocery shopping, this is an easy step in the right direction.  She's started paying attention to the Dirty Dozen list (in a good year, we'll grow half of that list ourselves) and buying some organic produce, eggs and meat.

Last week, she watched an episode of a cooking show, which was a first for her.  She really watched it for the guest star, but came away with a recipe, which she adapted slightly to make a delicious meal for everybody last night.  (One that she says will definitely be made again.)  But it was the process of watching the show and adapting the recipe that made her realize that the term "foodie" does apply to her.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Coming up for air

After our road trip this summer, we suddenly whooshed through gardening season and raking season, and here were are, unexpectedly at the beginning of winter already.  There are rain barrels still to bring in and remnants of corn stalks and okra plants to compost, along with others.  But Mommy and Sissy took most of November off from gardening to successfully participate in NaNoWriMo

Sissy participated with a word count appropriate to her age and grade level, and Mommy did the full 50,000 words.  They were both very excited to participate, and even more excited when they finished their stories.  Now that those are done, and Mommy's done with her holiday shopping, she's promised to help type my blog more often.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I went on a road trip!

I spent two weeks riding around some pretty cool parts of the United States with Mommy, Daddy, Sissy, and an ever increasing collection of other plush.  I had to stay in the car too often, but I still go to see a lot from there.

The National Park Service has a Junior Ranger program at a lot of national parks, so Sissy worked on getting Junior Ranger badges at every place she could.  In our two weeks of traveling, she collected seven different badges, including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, and Mount Rushmore.  The places I saw were all pretty cool... though I got left in the car while they took the Grand Canyon Railroad to the South Rim.  But I was in the car for the drive-through safari we went to; it was cool seeing some of the big animals right by the car, knowing they couldn't get to me.

We had different camping accommodations during the trip: a tent (just enough room for 3 people and a couple plush), camping cabins (no bathrooms, bring your own linens), a "real" cabin ("Ooooh, it has a bathroom!  And towels!"), and a teepee at one camping site. 

We also had a camping stove and some dehydrated dinners with us; Mommy made them before the trip, by putting leftovers into the dehydrator for most of a day, then packaging them up in containers she had saved.  We had more pots than we needed - Daddy's camping cook set was really meant for one person, so he brought another, slightly larger pot as well, which is the one that got used all the time. He also packed the Dutch oven, which never got used.  (Mommy says it would have been good on a coal fire, but she wasn't going to make bread over a camping stove.)

Anyways, I had a great time and I want to go back to so many places, and the places near them that we didn't have time to visit. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How'd the baking soda and vinegar work out?

Was it really 3 months ago already that Mommy started washing her hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar?  It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but my blog entry about it was early February. 

She and I are both happy with the combination for washing and conditioning her hair.  Her scalp is sensitive, so she uses 1 teaspoon of baking soda instead of 1 tablespoon, but that's the only change she's made to the basic process.  That mixes with a cup of warm water before going on her hair.  For conditioning, she uses 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of warm water; the smell doesn't even linger.  I cuddle up right by her hair at night, and it doesn't smell of vinegar at all.

One of the really nice things about this combination is that she only needs to wash her hair once a week now; the combination is doing a really good job of keeping her hair feeling clean without over-washing it.

Of course, she's shaving it all off next week at a St. Baldrick's event, so I don't know how much use the combination will be in the near future.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mommy is sad.

A couple weeks ago now, Mommy (and Daddy and Sissy) went to her aunt's funeral.  I went with them, but didn't go to the actual funeral.  Her aunt had cancer for quite a while, but the end still came as a surprise to everybody.

As funerals go, it was short and filled with friends.  Afterwards, everybody went back to the house and looked at photos of Mommy's aunt and talked for ages and ages.  But it makes Mommy sad that with all our fancy technology, we still can't fight diseases like cancer fully.

Mommy and Sissy had talked about participating in Locks of Love when Sissy's school hosts it, but their hair isn't nearly long enough for that, so instead they've decided to participate in St. Baldrick's... they're both going to have their heads shaved! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What if...?

Last night, Sissy finished reading a book of short stories to Mommy.  At the end, the author explained where the inspiration for each story came from; many came from his habit of writing a "What if...?" question for himself each day.  We liked the idea, so Mommy asked Sissy to come up with a "What if...? question each day, and Mommy (or I) will try to find time to write about it.

Not her first question, but mine... what if a bunny wrote a blog?  I realize there are some bunny greats out there in film and literature: Roger Rabbit, Bugs Bunny, Little Bunny Foo Foo (a bit of an embarrassment to the bunny world), Knuffle Bunny, and of course, all of the bunnies from Watership Down, among so many others.  But most of them pre-date blogging.  (Knuffle's friend, Pigeon, does have a Twitter account.  He's a bit strange.)

But I have to wonder what some of their blogs would be like.  I can imagine Bugs Bunny writing some pretty funny stuff, but Roger has a pretty short attention span... Twitter might be a better option for him.  Hazel and the other rabbits from Watership Down could write some pretty interesting stuff, given the chance. 

But this blog is mostly about my family, and the fun things we do.  I just have to remember to write occasionally in between all the fun we're having.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It was a Seussical day

It only took two days from when Mommy and Sissy saw Seussical for Sissy to start singing random bits of the songs.  It was a local production which was, according to both Mommy and Sissy, really quite good.  The performing community group is composed entirely of children, though most of the cast for this show were older than Sissy.  The theatre has birthday party options too, so Sissy is considering that as an option.  Given that she had been asking for a party at that place with the giant mouse and video games, Mommy thinks this is a significant improvement, and the pricing is fairly comparable.

On the hair front, Mommy's Baking Soda & Vinegar (BSV for the lazy) experiment is going well.  Her hair was a bit oily last week, but seems to have settled back into a normal cycle.  Life goes on....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Washing hair with baking soda and vinegar (wash day 2)

So far, so good.  Mommy's hair didn't develop more oil than normal between hair wash days (I should know, I sleep right by her hair), so she went ahead and tried the baking soda and vinegar options again this morning.

There are still some logistics issues to work out.  Like, should she keep some baking soda and the jug of vinegar in the bathroom, rather than having to go to the kitchen for it?  What containers should she use?  Again, avoiding the kitchen first thing in the morning, where there are three cats eating and asking to be tripped over before she's seen her morning coffee, would probably be a good idea.

So the experiment continues....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Washing hair with baking soda and vinegar (day 1)

Mommy's trying a hair experiment, using baking soda as shampoo and vinegar as conditioner.  This is the first day she's tried it, and so far she likes it, though she will use slightly cooler water when mixing the baking soda and vinegar with water (one tablespoon to one cup of water, each mixed separately).

She wavered on trying it this morning after finding a blog entry someone had about how bad it was for your hair (based on its pH level, but lye, which is used in most soaps and a lot of shampoos, has a higher pH level), but there were dozens of entries from different site about how good it is, from people who had tried it.  Besides, she had already bought the apple cider vinegar.

The baking soda, which she mixed with hot water (warm next time) had a soft feel, almost like a light conditioner, when she applied it.  It doesn't get sudsy like shampoo, but it didn't feel bad either. 

The vinegar just felt like pouring on water, but with a strong smell.  It didn't feel like it was detangling anything, but there weren't tangles when she brushed, so it worked.

The next step is to see how long it is until she has to wash her hair again.  Apparently human hair takes time to adjust to the process, anywhere from two to six weeks, because it has to replace less natural oils this way.

Fortunately for me, plush bunnies don't have to worry about any of this.  I just sit around and look cute.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Herding cats

A lot of people refer to the difficulty of organizing a group of people as herding cats... perhaps it's difficult because it's people doing the herding, instead of the cats?  The cats around here are pretty good at herding the people:

Miss J: The kitten of the house is fairly quiet most of the time, except just before breakfast and dinner.  Especially breakfast.  She can't read a clock (Mommy hasn't figured out how to teach telling time to cats), and has a range of about an hour for what she defines as breakfast time.  Mommy and Daddy, on the other hand, have a range of about 15 minutes for waking up, as defined by the alarm clocks.  But once Miss J starts - whether it's an hour before the alarm clock or 5 minutes - she just keeps going.  It's a continuous high-pitched meow-fest, which translates to "Come on, get up, you have to feed me, I'm staaarving.  Now, now, now, you have to get up NOW, I'm really hungry and oh yeah, so are the other cats.  You've got to feed us NOW."  (Translation may be a bit off, as I don't actually speak Cat.)

Mr. M: The old man has his quirks, though not as much near meal time (Miss J has those covered!).  His attempts to herd the people here tend to revolve around shower time and bed time: shower time because he likes drinking the water off the shower floor, and bed time to get his special spot under the covers.  He mwrorws at Mommy to lift the covers, and then stares at them, deciding if he's going to sleep under the blanket.  But heaven forbid Mommy put the covers down before he steps under, making him mrowr again.  And then he has to turn around a couple times under the cover before deciding if he's staying or not.  Some nights, he walks away, and comes back later (minutes or hours... it varies) and mrowrs at Mommy to lift the covers again.

Miss D: This lady is the quiet cat in our house.  She'll meow a bit around meal time, but mostly she uses body language to push the people around.  When she curls up on the bed by Mommy, she's curls up right against her... you know, the "if you shift a millimeter, I'm going to fill that space, try not to fall off the bed" type.  Her time sense is a bit better than Miss J's, so she waits until the last few minutes before the alarm rings to jump up on the bed and rub up against Mommy, to make sure she's awake at feeding time.  This is particularly amusing because Daddy feeds them most mornings.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Back into the swing of things

It should come as no surprise that the holidays were a busy time around here.  School was out, work was intermittent as people took time off, and the karate school was even closed for a few days.

But the busy schedule has continued past the holidays.  After taking several months off for an injury, Mommy's back at karate and getting ready to test for a new belt, along with Sissy.  When you're trying to cram in the knowledge for the next test, it's important to go to the right classes... at too large a class or too easy a class, you're not likely to cover the advanced skills needed, in this case, to test for 5th Gup. 

There are 10 Gups which count down, so white belt is 10th.  Mommy and Sissy will eventually move past the Gups and into the Dans, but that's a long way off still.  (Our belt system doesn't include purple, which Mommy says is a shame, since some forms of karate do.)

Now Mommy has to go write an essay about martial arts.  It's only 75 words, but the words have been slow to come together.