Thursday, November 15, 2007

learning notes: November 5-11

This was a very laid-back week. I didn't take many notes or photos.

The big news is that I now have a digital camera! At the Halloween party, a friend gave Eliza a gorgeous handmade black and purple tutu as a belated birthday present and used the occasion as an excuse to buy a camera for me. My jaw was on the floor. I ordered a 2 GB memory card for the camera (in an instant, the maximum number of photos jumped from 5 to 1,500), which didn't arrive until a few days ago. So as of next week, there will be no more grainy camcorder photos.

little yogini

The following photos were from the week earlier, but I just realized I forgot to post them. Ever since her Yoga mat arrived she has been taking it out most days. She wasn't sure what it was at first, and although I'd been into Yoga for many years, I relied on Yoga Kids (a book) to identify what would be appropriate for her age.


downward dog

lion (she's growling)

She danced even more than usual - sometimes adding up to hours a day. I didn't note exactly what she listened to, although I seem to remember it was a lot of rock and pop on the radio and classical music from CDs. She also asked for and acted out Carnival of the Animals several times. I mentioned that I'm highly sensitive to sounds in general and music in particular. I have a low tolerance for children's music (though there is a lot of it in the house thanks to newborn gifts). That's why Eliza is more familiar with the Beatles than Raffi. Two children's CDs I don't mind are the humorous Philadelphia Chickens and Dog Train, although come to think of it, we haven't listened to those in a long time (foiled by clutter).


Although I gathered art supplies to be able to do any number of projects from Preschool Art, we didn't end up doing any of them. I was feeling lazy last week, so whenever Eliza asked to do art, I'd just hand her paper and crayons or markers and mini dry erase board. She usually doesn't find it quite as interesting as paint, but I was feeling rather unmotivated.


Eliza helped a substantial amount with popcorn and pita bread (on different days). She has a Learning Tower, which is a kitchen observation platform for kids (although it can double as a puppet show stage). I cook at least five dinners from scratch each week, and this way, Eliza can observe without getting in the way.

Popcorn is one of her favorite things to cook. I pull over the LT to the range, and we wait until the three test kernels have popped. Once that happens, Eliza's job is to dump the pre-measured kernels into the pan, I replace the glass lid, and we watch the magic happen. I ended up sprinkling nutritional yeast on her portion, and she thought it was delicious. "This kid can't be related to me," I thought. (I hate the taste of nutritional yeast and only use it in small quantities in recipes that call for it, like Isa's seitan. I think I'm going to lose my vegan card for admitting I greatly dislike "nooch.")

Early Monday morning we baked 100% whole wheat pita bread. Eliza is mesmerized watching dough go 'round and 'round on my mixer's dough hook. Once it had risen, Eliza helped with rolling the six portions into balls, then used the French pin to roll them out. I thought I'd have to finish the job, but she did so well and rolled them to just the right thickness that I kept them adorably lopsided as-is!

Mediterranean autumn lunch:

1. black bean and orange hummus (Eat, Drink & Be Vegan)
2. Eliza-made 100% whole wheat pita bread
3. pomegranate seeds
4. stuffed grape leaves

The grape leaves weren't homemade. I spied organic stuffed grape leaves in a tin and decided to give them a shot. Unfortunately, they use white rice, and they weren't nearly as tasty (of course) as those at Café Athena or even the time I made my own at home, so that's two strikes against them. I haven't ever been able to find plain organic grape leaves locally, so I may have to see if I can locate a jar online.

We loved the hummus though (I've now made it twice). My parsley plant finally grew big and hearty enough that it could spare a quarter cup for the hummus. Eliza gets so excited when I tell her it's time to gather herbs from the patio.


M: playgroup
R: playgroup
F: music class

We had to miss dance class on Wednesday, and I wasn't feeling well Friday, so Chris took Eliza to music class before work. We spent more time indoors than usual last week, which didn't do Eliza's mood any favors - she was happy while dancing or at playgroup, but she also threw way too many all-out screaming fits. I didn't have the best time coping with her tantrums and my falling even more behind on housework, and I didn't get to read as much as I'd like, which tends to make me grumpy.

This current week has been happier for Eliza, but now I'm under a lot of stress preparing for the holiday and more than a week of house guests. I'll do what I can and try not to worry about the rest.


Kate in NJ said...

Oh we also love Philadelphia Chickens
and Dog Train!
Your food looks so yummy!
I think every year to "do something"
with our grapes leaves, but I never
get it done.
Your week sounds nice to me, without the screaming fits, we get enough of our own here ;-)
I have been wanting to try making pita...are you willing to share
your recipe?

Daphne said...

Oh my goodness - I want to eat your lunch. I love stuffed grape leaves (being greek they were a staple of my youth) and hummus. Mmmm. Oh and we're moving back to CA! We're so excited I had to share :)
PS Kate, I have a recipe for stuffed grape leaves if you want it. It's very simple - surprisingly so.

chanale said...

Kate - I use the pita recipe from one of my whole grain baking books as a jumping-off point, but I always have to adjust it. I'll get the recipe to you in the next few days, but you'll probably need to adjust it, too, to get just the right tackiness.

Daphne - How cool that you get to come back! I love stuffed grape leaves, but whenever we go out to a Greek restaurant, Eliza refuses to share (she'll eat all half dozen herself).