Vegetables Come to Life!

I recently stumbled upon a marvelous collection of books by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers that you absolutely must check out! We found several of them at our local library. Almost magically the authors turn ordinary food into characters with such expression and life! My daughter has enjoyed finding the various vegetables that we get from the farm transformed into a car or an animal or even a city. What a great way to encourage our children to eat their vegetables! Here are the ones we have read and enjoyed. I recommend them all!

image “Fast Food”
Just about any form of transportation you can imagine, all made with vegetables and fruits.

image “Dog Food”
A humorous use of dog-phrases. The dog watching a mushroom TV while sitting in an avocado chair is my favorite!

image “Food Play”
This is an excellent book for helping to develop the imagination. There are pages and pages of food characters with no text. You make up your own captions!

image “How Are You Peeling: Foods with Moods”
In 1999 this book won a “Best Illustrated Children’s Book” award by the New York Times. A great resource for explaining and exploring various feelings.

image “Gus and Button”
This story of a boy and his dog uses landscape and characters made entirely of food. He leaves the mushroom land he knows and discovers a whole new world of adventure.

Other ones that I know of include, Dr. Pompo’s Nose, One Lonely Seahorse, Food for Thought and Baby Food.

Reading these books reminded me of how as a child I used to play with my food. My family would occasionally go out to eat at the local family-style buffet. The highlight of the visit was the dessert bar where we could get all sorts of bulk candy. My little brothers and I would make little creatures out of the candy by sticking various kinds together and by carving mouths in them. The gumdrop orange-wedges were the best for this! I still find it tempting to play with my food. Mash potatoes make great mountains. And of course there’s always the broccoli trees. Hmm, maybe I should try a volcano with the gravy!

Wordless Wednesday

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Give a Friend a Pumpkin

image My dear friend Valerie brought me a pumpkin today. In addition, she brought 4 jars of home-made salsa and a mini-bouquet of zinnias. It made my day!
What a great idea this is! Try taking your friend something special today. It can be as simple as a pumpkin. Or, as Joe Fox in “You’ve Got Mail” suggests, “a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils!”

Homemade Laundry Soap

image Monday is laundry day at our house. Since going green I’ve made a lot of changes to our laundry routine.
First thing to go was the commercial laundry detergent. With it’s many harmful chemicals (such as nonylphenol ethoxylates & chlorine bleach) I didn’t want to risk the health of my family or the health of our planet by using it. I now make my own laundry soap and it works quite well! It’s pretty simple, very inexpensive and makes about 5 gallons so it lasts a long time.

Materials:
2 bars soap, grated - I use Kirks soap as it has less un-natural ingredients and is only .99 a bar
1 c. Borax - Meijers sells this under the brand ‘20 Mule Team Borax’
1 c. Wash Powder - I get Arm & Hammer’s ‘Super Washing Soda’ from Meijers

Put grated soap in a medium-size saucepan and cover with water. Put on stove over low heat and stir until dissolved.
Fill a 5-gallon bucket with hot water and stir in disolved soap mixture until combined. Then mix in borax and washing soda. It’s pretty liquidy at first but will thicken as it cools. You can use 1-2 cups per load.

*many thanks to the girls at Well Tell Me forums for this recipe*

Another thing I add to my laundry is white vinegar. I just put it in the fabric-softener cup so it will be dispersed during the rinse cycle. Vinegar is an excellent anti-bacterial and it dissolves urea (urine). Vinegar Kills Bacteria, Mold and Germs Drying clothes: Using a clothesline has been more relaxing than I initially thought it would be. Granted, it’s more work than a dryer but everytime I do it I’m saving money and helping the environment. It gets me outside as well which is always a good thing. According to Ideal Bite it can even save you up to $135! While hanging up the wash I have time to ponder things or just be in silence. It’s good for my soul and good for the earth! 

Potato Harvesting Day

This past weekend my little family and I went potato digging at our local CSA farm. It turned out to be a beautiful day! It was cool but sunny! The farm provided old work gloves that all of us, including Emma wore. When we first started, Emma wanted to dig too. After awhile though she got tired and was put in charge putting the harvested potatoes into the bucket. Here’s Emma & Aaron working together.
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In all there were about 5 different varieties of potatoes harvested. They were anywhere from white to dark purple and ranged from large to very small. We were really surprised when the first type we harvested were about the size of my thumb! I guess that’s why they call them, ‘fingerling’ potatoes. I’m assuming you just leave them whole and don’t bother to peel them.
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Emma held her first caterpillar! I was really surprised she let it crawl on her as I thought she’d be scared. It was such a cute moment!
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