Weed smoothie

This week I wanted to make a green smoothie, but I didn't have any fresh greens in the house. I didn't have any "normal" greens in the garden either, so I picked some parsley and mint, plus two edible weeds: mallow and purslane. With the addition of some currants from the garden; bananas, blueberries, pineapple, and flax from the freezer; and some water; I actually had a pretty tasty green smoothie. Two of three kids also tried it and liked it. I'd call that a success.


Recently tried recipes

Greek chickpeas on toast. Loved this and it was super fast, so perfect for our busy summer. I doubled it, left out the oil, used onion instead of shallot, added spinach, and reduced the cinnamon. Oh, and added oregano from the garden. Thinking of mashing half the chickpeas next time for a different texture. Will make again!

Beans with carrot hot dogs. Carrot hot dogs. Weird or awesome? We liked them. When we opened the bag of marinating carrots, it smelled exactly like hot dogs. Baby had thirds.

Tofu lettuce wraps. These were super yummy. The filling and the peanut sauce tasted kind of weird separately but together they were amazing.

Un-fried rice. I merged this recipe with my brown rice recipe, using the ingredients for the un-fried rice with the method and liquid proportions I usually use to make brown rice. It was great! I didn't miss the eggs or the oil one little bit.

Vegan pepper jack cheese. Surprisingly good. Not exactly like the real thing, of course, but good in its own right. I like it on crackers.

Bacon cashews. Yum. I'm glad I used parchment paper on my pan so I could throw away the sticky mess they left behind.


Books Baby loves

Ten Little Babies and Babies by Gyo Fujikawa. Baby has spent hours examining the illustrations in Ten Little Babies, which is pretty impressive for a 20-month-old. He liked it so much I bought him a copy when the library wanted theirs back. I suspect he will like anything by Gyo Fujikawa and we need to find more of her books at the library.

My Daddy by Guido Van Genechten. This is a library find that Baby adores, because he adores his daddy. 

My Good Morning Book and My Goodnight Book by Eloise Wilkin. Baby adores the pictures of children in Eloise Wilkin's illustrations. I adore the illustrations myself; her details of home life are realistic and beautiful. Baby spends much time looking at these books, and he takes them to bed with him, his highest honor.

10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. Baby loves ducks and the color yellow; therefore Baby loves this book. The text is a bit too long in places but we just abridge when we read it out loud.

I Love Trucks by Philemon Sturges is another of Baby's favorite books, and another that I bought when the library wanted their copy back. I like the simplicity of both text and illustration; it is a perfect book for a baby-turning-little-boy.


Kids cooking

This summer, I'm letting Red Chief and Tiger Lily each plan a dinner every week. We get what they need at the store during our weekly shopping trip, then we make it together in the coming week.

I have learned about them by seeing their picks, even though this is just the first month. Tiger Lily likes old favorites—familiar foods. Red Chief likes to look through a cookbook and pick something new, and so far all the recipes he's picked are not something I would normally try—but they've all been good.

Sometimes kids tend to complain about what we have for dinner, and this small exercise has already helped the kids get excited about what we eat—at least one day a week.


Bee in the clover

Even though it's probably a scandal in the neighborhood, I overseeded my back lawn with clover a few years ago. I love it. So do the bees.


Mornings at the park

Here's something I figured out last summer: go to the park early, right after breakfast, for a little while. It's not hot, it's not crowded; it's actually quite pleasant. I'm going to try to take the kids once a week during the summer.

We also enjoy taking walks first thing in the morning. The big kids have been rollerskating for our walks lately while I push Baby in the stroller.

Once we all went out to the backyard before breakfast and I weeded a third of the garden while the kids played. I should do that again with the other two-thirds of the garden.


Boys camping

My husband took the two boys to a church fathers and sons campout this last weekend. And when Red Chief is your Official Photographer, you get about three pictures of people and about thirty pictures of the campfire.

As far as I can tell Red Chief passed most of his time throwing various things into the fire and spending time with a friend.

Baby loved the experience. He was very excited to be there, slept about four hours, and was an exhausted crying mess when he got home. He recovered after some extra naptime and a good night's sleep.


Red currants

I planted some currant bushes a few years ago, partly because I wanted to try currants and could never find any for sale, and partly because my husband and I like this video.

We got our first crop this year, three pounds. They are beautiful, transparent, like jewels. They are tasty. Sour.

Baby is a fan.


June garden

Lots of volunteer bachelor's buttons and hollyhocks came up from the seeds my plants dropped last year. They always fall down over the walk, but I leave them for the bees. And because they're pretty.

Summer squash is coming soon. Squash bugs have decimated our crops in the past. We didn't plant any squash or melons last year so as not to give the bugs any food. I don't know if that will keep them away this year; we'll see. Tiger Lily diligently checks under the leaves for eggs every time we go out, as her grandma taught her.


How to eat an apple

1. Get settled somewhere comfortable.
2. Take a bite.
3. Spit it out.
4. Throw it on the floor.
5. Repeat.