Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Signs of Spring

It's been a long winter.  Kids have been sick, the weather has been yucky, and cabin fever has been rampant.  So when yesterday dawned sunny with a high of 46 (down right tropical I tell ya!) it was something to be celebrated.  Cabin fever manifests itself in my children as an inability to make a decesion without a tantrum and a complete lack of body control in regards to one's brother.  I was tetering on the edge between checking myself into the loony bin or commiting homocide, so I threw the kids in the car and we headed to one of our favorite botanical gardens: Inniswood Gardens.

We began our excursion with the goal of finding signs of spring.  Just the fact that we were outside without our coats and had the sun shining on our heads was a sure sign that spring is on it's way, but it's a fun lesson for the kids to find the little signs that spring is coming, and learn about how nature stirs itself to life again at this time of year.

We found bulbs poking up through the bare dirt.

We found bright green moss growing in the swampy areas.

We heard birds singing in the trees.

We saw a rushing stream, swollen from the recent thunder storms.

We saw budding tree branches.

I got to wear my Vibram Five Finger shoes, that had been packed away for most of the winter.

The boys had a blast running through the mud.

Until Connor fell down.

And got mud on his jeans.

 But mostly, the boys moved...

and moved...
 and moved...
 and moved...
 and moved...
and moved!

Of course, there were several signs that Winter wasn't quite over yet.  The boys found a few patches of snow and played King of the Mountain.

And parts of my favorite knot hedge were covered to protect it from the next inevitable frost that will surely come before the weather warms up for good.

The fresh air and sunshine was better than any medicine.  We returned home in much better spirits.  A good time was had by all.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Teddy Bear Pancakes

We're out of bread, and I haven't gotten around to baking in a couple of days, so I've been forced to make the boys pancakes for breakfast two days in a row now.  Poor kids!  They're favorite is chocolate chip pancakes, but I try to keep those just for birthdays and special occasions.  So to make a "plain old boring pancake" a little more inciting (can we say picky kids?!?) the boys get Teddy Bear pancakes!

 I have a terrific whole wheat pancake recipe that gives light and fluffy pancakes that aren't too sweet with just a hint of tang from the yogurt. It takes seconds to whip up, and only a few minutes to cook them. If I'm feeling ambitious I'll triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers. They are great for popping into the toaster oven to reheat for a quick breakfast.

These grains are not soaked. I've been pretty lazy in that department for a little while. However, the recipe uses yogurt or buttermilk, and I've successfully used kefir, so I think it would adapt to soaking very well. Just combine the yogurt and flour the night before, and in the morning add the rest of the ingredients and cook up like normal. And yes, that is a Teflon griddle. I hate it, and the Teflon is starting to flake. It's the only Teflon pan left in my kitchen and I can't wait to get rid of it, but for now it will have to do. I do not have room for a cast iron griddle (and how heavy are those anyway?) and it takes twice as long to cook up the pancakes one at a time on my small cast iron fry pan. If anyone has another solution for me, I'm all ears. Until then, we eat pancakes pretty rarely and I'll just have to deal with it.