Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lennon's ootd

The day you buy your first ever school uniform is a celebratory occasion.  Not just any outfit will do!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pineapple "ice cream"

Thailand is home to the world's most delicious pineapples: Phu lae and Phuket.

You can buy them from the side of the street- giant pieces, peeled and sliced, for ten baht each (~30 cents).

I could eat them every day.  Sometimes I do! There are over two dozen other varieties of pineapples grown in Thailand, but these are so delicious, I have never had much use for them. 

So with these tangy slices of heaven available on practically every corner, I don't understand how anyone could come home from the market with two kilos of glassy pineapple, instead! (cough, cough.. Whim ...cough!)

I froze it for smoothies, but then yesterday -struck by sudden genuis- I blended some up into "ice cream" using the grinder attachment instead, and it was amazing! 

I made another batch this morning with (fresh, unfrozen) mangosteen.  What did the kids think?

I'll let the picture speak for itself.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Not cookies: The power of suggestion

Yesterday, at our friends' wedding, the wedding favors were gorgeous, custom decorated cookies wrapped in charming gift boxes.  

The boys knew the drill and didn't pout to eat them, though did Miles ask if we could make some cookies at home later instead.

I will probably always say yes to that request.  I love when they want to solve a problem rather than just complain about it, so I try to support any realistic solutions they can come up with.

This afternoon, we settled in to make some "cookies". We didn't have any flour, butter or sugar, or even baking mix on hand (we still haven't gone grocery shopping since we came back from the beach), but I had a sneaky plan.  We mixed equal parts sunflower seed butter with ground sunflower seed "meal" an egg, a few spoonsful of cocoa, a sprinkle of baking powder and about a tablespoon of honey, then added a handful of mini chocolate chips.  (This is not a cookie recipe.  Follow at your own risk.)

We baked them like peanut butter cookies, and when they came out, they smelled, looked, and tasted exactly like warm, hardened sunflower seed butter.

I had warned the kids that we were making up our recipe as we went along and we couldn't be sure how it would turn out.  I even said if they weren't great we'd just try something else.  But there was no need.

They were completely hoodwinked.  They had absolutely no sense that these were not cookies.  I tried them: they were just sunflower seed butter and egg with a few chocolate chips every other bite. 

No matter!  They dunked them in milk, cheers-ed, and ate them with gusto.  They sighed and smiled. They experienced cookies in that moment, no matter what the recipe says. (I have to say, they had great cookie-like texture, held their shape, didn't crumble or puff up- they were nicely browned outside and just a little chewy in the middle.)

I don't have a thing against sweet treats now and then- not one thing.  But if my kids are every bit as happy eating warm seed butter dressed up as a cookie, then I'm going to go with that sometimes.  I can't speak for every kid, but as long as it's not actually foul, I think my kids like the cookie-ness of the cookie more than the actual taste.  I have seen the same thing with cake.

If I am making these myself next time I will leave out the honey and baking powder, since they were just for show anyway, to feel like we were really baking cookies.   This is the cheapest, easiest, quickest cookie "recipe" ever, not to mention being totally health-neutral, if not healthy. 

I would give them these cookies every day and not think twice about it, except that they ate the whole batch within 20 minutes!

Family picture

We so rarely get pictures of all four of us. I love this one!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vacation things to remember

Things to remember for our next vacation:

1. Stick to breakfast in the room.  
It's not much fun to go to a hotel's fancy buffet and only be able to eat a few of the options there.  It is apparently very fun to eat the same things you eat every other day of your life, except sitting on a towel on a hotel balcony.  The boys were thrilled to have breakfast picnics of just fruit, rice crackers, juice/milk, and hardboiled eggs.

2. At least ask
I'm such a penny pincher by nature that I tend to avoid tourist-traps like the beach-side pony ride.  I always assume it's highway robbery and say no thanks as we settle down on the nice, free sand.  This time, feeling frivolous, I checked.  The rides were 10 dollars for half an hour, which seemed pretty fair to me, and he even agreed to let the boys split a turn and ride for 15 minutes each (which was more than enough). I may be cheap, but I'm not dumb.  That was 10 dollars well spent.

3. Just get in.
This is something I need to remember all the time, not just on vacation.  Get in the swimsuit, get in the picture, get in the pool.  It sometimes seems like a hassle, and it would be easier to sit it out, but the fun stuff happens when we get in.

4.  Another crab omelet won't kill them.
Sometimes I stress trying to find a place where the kids can eat safely.  But the truth is, they can get an omelet and rice almost anywhere.  It's just a few days, it's not the end of the world if they don't get much variety.

5. If you see a bicycle built for four, rent it.
That's all, it's just really fun.

6. It's worth it!
Some parts of vacations do end up feeling a little crazy, but it's worth it. This trip in particular, the fun and relaxing parts totally outweighed the stress...