Thursday, September 13, 2012

FIRST day of preschool

 Today marks the start, though Julia's preschool career comprises only a few hours of her entire week, this is her entry into the world of school.  She was ready for this a long time ago! 
She couldn't get there fast enough. 
 I made her wear a jacket (despite the 80 degree weather) just so she could use her cubby.  That darn cubby.  There is something about it.  Maybe it is the books that I grew up with that talk about the cubby at preschool.  Maybe it's because I still remember my own red cubby from preschool, this moment made me tear up.
 Once we were in her classroom Julia was ready to go.  Picture every other child still clinging to their parents.  Julia hit the ground running - she had figured out each of the craft stations before we left her.
She was mighty content on her own and in awe of her classroom.
Even Charlie pulled up a chair and decided he'd like to stay. 
No way Charlie, we get some precious 1-on-1 time now!
And this is how I left her.
There are so many big things happening in Julia's world.  Each reminding me how much she's growing.  This morning I asked her what she would like to be when she grows up just to document it on this day (and hopefully each of her first days of school).  She replied that she'd like to be a dentist.  We're not really sure where that one came from!  Later today she snuggled into my lap and quietly announced, "Mommy, I changed my mind.  I want to be like you when I grow up".  I asked her what that meant.  Without a thought she quickly replied, "I think it means I love you!"
I will take these moments and bottle them up.  Though she asserts her independance on a minute to minute basis, she reminds me how much she needs a solid foundation.  She's ready and eager, but needs some reassurance. 
Welcome to the world of preschool. 
Fun times are ahead.
"Blossom of snow
may you bloom and grow,
Bloom and grow forever"
(my favorite song that I learned in preschool)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Honey Girl

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of spending the weekend in Pennsylvania without an agenda.  It doesn't happen very often.   Agenda-free typically turns busy pretty quickly, but my mom and I were able to steal away some time to cook together.  In all honesty, I get the better end of the deal when the two of us are in the kitchen.  There are just some things she does better - even the simple art of sauteeing garlic.  I get to pick up her cooking tips and we mostly (with only a few interruptions) have an opportunity to listen to Sirius radio and talk about our world. 
While embarking on our Bon Appetit weekend, Julia, my mom and I happened upon the Farmers Market at Winterthur (the hilly fields of the estate where Charles and I were married).  This wasn't just any Farmer's Market.  Yes, we found our vegetable selection, but we were also entertained by a man selling fudge along with birdhouses (an interesting duo), a dog centered "au natural" mecca, and a honey girl equipped with a fabric hive to show off her sweet arrangement.  Julia was immediately enthralled by the Honey Girl.  It may have been partially due to the fact that this girl was beautiful and had a captivating voice, but the simple fact was this 19-year old and her whole display looked like it had been clipped out of an Anthropologie display window.  Honey Girl began spouting off bee facts to a mesmarized Julia.  "Do you know that it takes 10 bees their whole lives to make just one tablespoon of honey?"  Julia was sold.  We would not be leaving the Farmers Market without some honey.  We bought Julia a $2 tiny bottle, which was probably the best money I've ever spent on something that has captured my child's attention.  Julia's honey became the most popular "prize" of the weekend.  She thought a dab of honey would make everything taste better and it was true.  We managed to fit some honey into several of the recipes when we barbequed later that night - peach crisp drizzled with honey, a splash of honey here, a dab on her did get a bit out of control.
Since our trip home, Julia's little honey bear sits on the counter like the key antecdote to her medical kit.  According to Julia, a little honey will fix anything. 
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, so I agree and we have incorporated honey into much of our cooking lately.  From marinades to dessert, it is the perfect natural sweetner.  Maybe my small affection for bees has rubbed off on my little girl. 
You know, it does take 10 bees their whole lives...(I think those bees would be proud that someone is cherishing their hard work!)
The following recipe has been our staple, simple homemade freeze pop recipe - made with our favorite fruits and, of course, honey. It was inspired by Coastal Living, with a few of our own variations.
Pineapple/Blueberry Pops
2 cups fresh pineapple
1/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice or whatever juice is in the fridge (usually lemonade)
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup fresh blueberries
1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour mixture evenly into 6 (3-ounce) ice pop molds, leaving about 1 to 2 tablespoons purée in blender.
2. Add blueberries to blender with reserved purée. Process until well blended; pour over pineapple mixture in ice pop molds. Insert wooden sticks, and cover if necessary to hold wooden sticks upright. Freeze 4 hours or until firm.

And for an icepop recipe that requires a little more work, but will send you into a blissful summer state with just one bite, check out this blog - Arts and Lemons for the Strawberry Yogurt Pops (and you won't have to look very far for further eclectic culinary inspiration!) 

So today we squeeze out our last ounces of summer.  A few more pops sit in our freezer awaiting another hot night.  It is likely that our honey recipes will take a pumpkin filled turn. 
Until then...keep busy bees.