First thing in the morning, I made some yummy sweet potato muffins and while I was finding more puttering to do in the kitchen, the kids randomly came in and asked if they could paint. I realized as they were getting set up that it's been SO LONG since they did that. It's been funny for me to think about how last year was all about art projects and experimenting with paint around here and this year is more about the kids playing together and me getting more into my own thing..specifically cooking and baking right now. Strange how things can change so drastically sometimes. Anyway, it was so fun and refreshing to see them making a big ol' mess at the kitchen table again.
Then we decided to do a test run of the science experiment I have in mind for this week's Young Scientists group (one of the activities I run for my job as an RM here in Family Housing). It's really simple but really fun and it kept them busy and interested for a good amount of time. I think it'll be a hit on Tuesday and I'm sure we'll do it again sometime at home.
|Give the kids an empty clear glass or cup and then two cups, one with water and one with vegetable oil. You can ask them what they think will happen when they pour the liquids into the same cup. These guys were sure they would just mix together....|
|..and were pretty amazed when they saw what really happened.|
|Then I gave them some liquid food coloring and told them to put some drops in to see what would happen.|
|They both wanted to try stirring their concoctions|
|I'm sure you're not surprised that this is what ended up happening with Owen's.|
|I suggested putting some ice in and then Zoe played around with putting the food coloring onto the ice cube|
Seeing the beautiful, light, delicate snow falling outside gave me an urge to make some chocolate pound cake with powdered sugar on top. I found a recipe for regular pound cake in my Moosewood Cookbook and added four tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to it. It came out just the way I'd hoped it would and we ended up sharing some with our neighbors. I love doing that on a snowy day like today...I love the thought that we are all cozy in our little apartments with our little families but somehow still connected to our neighbors at the same time.
The rest of the day was a mix of chores, board games and book reading...pretty perfect. We had our weekly movie night and I made this yummy Mediterranean Stew from the online workshop I've been lucky enough to take these last few weeks called Whole Food Kitchen. My East Coast friend Jenny gifted the workshop to me a couple of months ago, straight out of the blue and I still can't get over how generous it was of her. I feel so spoiled. It's so nice to be enjoying cooking and to be making a bigger effort to fit in more nutritionally dense foods for myself and my family. The kids aren't totally into the new food I've been making but I'm still managing to make new stuff without making completely separate meals for the kids AND I feel like they are getting plenty to eat. It's tricky with these picky kids but I'm getting there..for us it's all about good, simple "sides" (chick peas, black beans, fruit, toast made from homemade bread). That way if they don't like the main course, at least they are getting what they need from the sides. I like this approach because I'm not giving them the impression that I'm cooking something separate for them, and then I don't get mad at them if they don't eat the main course, which is good for me AND them!
Zoe's tough--she has really gotten so picky. She even turns her nose up at macaroni and cheese now, which used to be one of the only things she would eat. I do think I was relying on it too much and she just got tired of it. I have nothing against mac and cheese--I just think we were having it way too much and so I'm proud to say that I haven't made a box of mac and cheese in over a month. I also haven't made a frozen pizza and have been making homemade mini pizzas with the kids once a week. Change is so good sometimes. Owen isn't nearly as picky as Zoe. He doesn't like everything but he will at least try it and if he likes it he'll go ahead and eat it (as opposed to the combination of not liking stuff but also WANTING to not like stuff that Zoe has going on at the moment). When that happens I get this warm, proud feeling in my gut as I watch him shovel kale into his mouth without flinching like he did a couple of weeks ago. Or like tonight when he polished off some of my homemade oatmeal bread, boiled fingerling potatoes and THREE HELPINGS (he finished Zoe's for her) of stew. If not for this workshop, I never would have thought to try giving him stew made with quinoa, sun dried tomatoes, spinach and kalamata olives. You just never know until you try. I say that to Zoe all of the time, but I'm only just now realizing that I should give myself that advice more often.