Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nothin Could be Finer....

than living in Carolina. We spent the afternoon on a bike ride along the American Tobacco Trail today. This was the first time that we have taken Ethan's bike and let him ride with us. Usually he is in the bike trailer with Owen, but we thought we would give it a try today. We were not able to ride as far, get as much exercise as we usually do, but it was so much fun watching him take off on his own. He even fell over once but got right back up and hopped back on. I think he really felt "big" today not having to ride in the trailer. We probably rode a mile or a little more, which when you think about it, is quite a distance for 4 year old legs. And then we went to Harris Lake Park so the boys could play on the playground. They had a lot of fun and it felt great outside. The colors around here are just gorgeous now. The peak in WNC has probably come and gone by now, but we are just starting to peak in the Triangle area. I absolutely love this time of year. Note the picture of the boys with Owen in the BACK of the trailer. I swear I tightened his seat belt in the trailer as tight as I thought was possible and he still managed to slip out of it. I think he spent most of the ride hanging out the front trying to pick up leaves. He is going to be my extreme sports kid.

Let the Canning Begin....

I am venturing into yet another new territory - canning. With all the tomatoes I received from the CSA this week, I felt like I needed to do "something" with them, else I would surely lose a few of them. And well, since I usually use tomatoes when making homemade spaghetti sauce, I thought why not can them? I called my mother in law this morning and she told me exactly what I needed to do and it was so incredibly easy. Put the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water and let them boil for about 10 minutes or so. You want the skins to start cracking so you know they will be easy to peel off. In another pan, boil your jars and lids so that they are sterile. When the tomatoes are done, pull them out one at a time and peel the skin off. Then cut the ends off. Get your first jar out of the water and put about a tbsp of salt in the jar and start putting the tomatoes in the jar until it is almost full. Put the lids and rings on and wait for the familiar POP sound so you know they are sealed. Easy! Now I have two jars of tomatoes to use this winter for homemade spaghetti. I hope the CSA has a greenhouse so I don't have to wait until next July to start receiving tomatoes again. :-)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ye Creativity Runneth Over

This week at preschool the boys were talking about vegetables. Ethan came home everyday talking about squash, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. The different colors of the vegetables, how they grow, etc. It was very cute. Here is the cooking project they worked on this week. I thought it was adorable. The original Mr. Potato Head. He named it Power Ranger Black. I am still unclear where he got that from unless from one of the other children. We have never watched the Power Rangers here. Hmmm.........

Owen's class is too small for such projects like these, but he did do an art project this week with paint and corn on the cob. They ran the corn on the cob through a tray of paint and then painted a piece of paper with it. Very cute. It is amazing to me the things they actually learn at preschool. I have my moments that I doubt my decision to continue working, but then there are days when I think maybe I did make a good choice.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I received my first box of veggies from a local CSA today. I received everything you see below plus 1lb of organic pork ribs. All the veggies were $15 and I added the ribs on for an additional $4. I am so thrilled. This is my first time participating in a CSA so I only signed up for the winter season, but I have my name on a wait list for a spring/summer/fall 09 CSA. If I truly eat everything over the next few months I am definitely going to invest in it for next year. For those that don't know, you invest in the farmer by paying them upfront for a share of their crops. For me, this was $15 a week times x number of weeks through mid to late January. If I get on the list for the 09 CSA, it is going to be more like $500 or so, but that will be my families veggies for those months and the shares tend to be larger in the warmer months. My struggle is going to be coming up with recipes to use the veggies or learning to can or freeze them. Tonight I was on a mission to find something to make with red peppers. I think I have settled on a chicken dish with red peppers and thyme. Next week I should be getting about 2-3 pounds of sweet potatoes - YUM! So if you have never heard of a CSA before, you should google it and see what you think. The benefits for me far out way the risk of having a bad crop. I love that my veggies come from a mom and pop farm within a short drive from my house. Not flown or trucked in from other countries or across the US. I also love it that I know they have been picked within a day or so of me getting them - the fresher the better. There are many resources that I reference on a consistent basis. Local Harvest, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Edible Communities, just to name a few. Check it out. I think you will like what you read.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008