Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good Review

I came across this review of Twilight today and thought it was excellent. The book is brought to my attention now and again, so I'm always interested to see what others think of it. Since the author is a scholar in the children's lit. arena, she actually speaks with some expertise and knows how to express her thoughts about the book in an intelligent way, much better than I could do! I like that she balances the negative with some positive points as well, because they do exist. Though some of her points make it rather frightening that I keep seeing 11-year-olds toting copies of the book. Do the parents know what their child is reading?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Before you look at the pictures, yes, the Easter Bunny did make it to our house. We just don't have any pictures of it. We were so busy getting Gareth ready for church and then trying to keep him from the other baskets that I never even thought to get the camera out until well after his basket contents had mostly disappeared/been put away out of his reach. Gareth got some bubbles and an Etch-a-Sketch, both of which he enjoys (bubbles are apparently yummy).

My parents came out for Easter and we had a great time having them here. Gareth learned to say "Pops" and "Gram" while they were here, and he seems to be remembering that that's who they are! Dad tried to teach him some French as well (things like "tu es bete"), but the only thing that stuck was saying "Salut!" whenever my dad put his hands on his head. Gareth would only do that for Pops though.

Our weather that weekend wasn't the greatest, but my dad braved the wind to spend lots of time outside with Gareth. I even let Gareth play outside on Easter because it was actually sunny and almost warm out:

Gareth loves this rusty, mildewy swing set. He'll start on the double swing (on the "floor" of it), move up to the double swing seats, then on to the yellow swing, the white swing, then the slide. Pops taught him how to go down head first. Thanks, Pops.

I decided to splurge and get Gareth an actual Sunday outfit for Easter. His Sunday clothes have consisted of jeans with a button-down or polo shirt for the past several months. I'm hoping this set will last him through the rest of the year:

And possibly the best part of Easter was our fattening meal:

Ham (unglazed - I really think this is my favorite way)
Sweet Potato Rolls
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Classic Scalloped Parmesan Potatoes
Asparagus Amandine
Strawberry-Lemon Tart
Lemon-Coconut Cake

So, most of those recipes are from Southern Living, which should tell you everything right there. But, man, were they delicious. We had to do two desserts because there were too many delicious recipes to choose from. It was difficult to narrow it down to those two even. Do yourself a favor and print out the cake recipe. The cake itself is just a regular yellow cake, and it has become one of my favorites. I think it's the moistest cake I've ever had - better than store-bought. Ryan wasn't a huge fan of the lemon filling, so we'll experiment with different fillings (but if you like lemon fillings, this one was good). And the icing is just a basic cream cheese icing with coconut sprinkled on at the end.

An uneventful, but very enjoyable Easter.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Yes, yes, I'll get around to Easter and Gareth's birthday eventually. But I have to get pictures onto the computer for that and I haven't done it yet.

In the meantime, I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. If it weren't for the amazing book group I attend, I would never have read this book. I've got to have it finished by Thursday, and for the first time ever I'm having difficulty with that. Not that the book isn't good. It is. But there are recurring portions of it in which the author rants about conventional farming methods and how they're horrible in various ways. Some of these are more interesting than others. Some I know have factual basis, but others seem exaggerated. They also start feeling repetitive. These portions of the book leave me desiring footnotes or parenthetical documentation, not only to back up her claims but also because they start to sound like a research paper. So, while I enjoy reading about her family's experience growing food and turkeys and hens and buying locally whatever they don't grow, I keep having to slog through the rant portions and it's slowing me down.

I'm having difficulty relating to some of her assertions, even when she gives anecdotes from her or her husband's own experience. Do the vast majority of kids these days, and even from my generation really have issues thinking of food and dirt together? Do they truly not understand that those peas and melons start as seeds or that a carrot grows underneath the ground? Really?? As far as I know I don't think I've come across anyone like this. And for me personally, I grew up helping plant all those fruits and vegetables in our small garden. I loved planting time. And I loved perusing the seed catalogs, choosing flowers and vegetables. When I moved away to college I actually missed weeding (the lack of landscaping at my parents' new home left very little weeding to do when I got home for summers). I certainly don't claim to be all-knowing about when to put various seeds in the ground or how to care for them, but I (and I like to think the majority of those around me) know that fruits and vegetables start as seeds!

What I'm enjoying most about the book is that it's giving me the gardening bug. I'm suddenly eager to grow tomatoes in a pot and some herbs and possibly, as the likelihood of our staying here for the summer increases, some chard, peppers and other vegetables. Even if all of those don't happen this year, I'm excited for the farmer's market to open again in a few weeks so that we can return to buying fresh produce from the local farmers. Because it really does taste better. Perhaps one day I'll even start canning a little here and there so that we can have some good fruit to use during the winter months when little of that is to be found at the store.

Now, I'm not going to order my own turkeys and raise and kill them (let alone try to get them to mate), but I am interested in one day trying out cheese making. The chance of that happening before all our kids are in middle or high school is very slight. But it sounds like it'd be fun (and is supposedly easy). I can picture me and my sisters and Kate (our honorary sister) pulling mozzarella (apparently you have to pull it like taffy). And I wonder how much better it'd taste than what I get at the store. Maybe I'd decide it's not worth the effort, but I still want to try it someday, just because. Until then, I'll plan for the day when we own a house with a large yard with plenty of room for tomatoes, peas, lettuce, strawberries, raspberries, and whatever else suits our mood. We'd better end up in a place that's good for gardening!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh look a new post!

I love my sister Sarah. She is so funny. She makes me laugh.