Monday, March 31, 2014

April Fools Day Food!

Happy April Fool's Day!

Every year I try to do a fun fake food meal for my family. I thought my kids, who are now all adults, would be tired of it, but I think they look forward to it as much as I do. 
And with a granddaughter to enjoy it, I have more fun than ever!

This year I did the most simple meal I've ever tried, and I'm pretty pleased because the chicken nuggets are something I came up with myself. 

This is the April Fool's food for 2014 featuring chicken nuggets and dipping sauce, juice, half an orange. :

And this is what it is made from:

The chicken nuggets are slightly smashed coconut marshmallows, the sauce is strawberry jelly, the orange has been hollowed and filled with jello. When it sets up after being in the fridge all night, I'll slice it into wedges. The juice is more jello. 
For video instructions, look here.

So, super easy! And since April Fool's Day is on a school day, Grace is going to have the faux chicken nuggets in her lunch box! I know she's going to love it!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Old Fashioned Kids

This article has so many great points about children and play. If you are interested at all in child development, it is worth the read. 
Childhood has changed drastically since I was a kid. No more do kids play outside all day, only returning home at sunset. 
Kids *need* risk, independence, and freedom, but modern parenting is all about minimizing risk, independence and freedom. 

From the article:
"To gauge the effects of losing these experiences, Sandseter turns to evolutionary psychology. Children are born with the instinct to take risks in play, because historically, learning to negotiate risk has been crucial to survival; in another era, they would have had to learn to run from some danger, defend themselves from others, be independent. Even today, growing up is a process of managing fears and learning to arrive at sound decisions. By engaging in risky play, children are effectively subjecting themselves to a form of exposure therapy, in which they force themselves to do the thing they’re afraid of in order to overcome their fear. But if they never go through that process, the fear can turn into a phobia. Paradoxically, Sandseter writes, “our fear of children being harmed,” mostly in minor ways, “may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology.” She cites a study showing that children who injured themselves falling from heights when they were between 5 and 9 years old are less likely to be afraid of heights at age 18. “Risky play with great heights will provide a desensitizing or habituating experience,” she writes.

We might accept a few more phobias in our children in exchange for fewer injuries. But the final irony is that our close attention to safety has not in fact made a tremendous difference in the number of accidents children have. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which monitors hospital visits, the frequency of emergency-room visits related to playground equipment, including home equipment, in 1980 was 156,000, or one visit per 1,452 Americans. In 2012, it was 271,475, or one per 1,156 Americans. The number of deaths hasn’t changed much either. From 2001 through 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 100 deaths associated with playground equipment—an average of 13 a year, or 10 fewer than were reported in 1980. Head injuries, runaway motorcycles, a fatal fall onto a rock—most of the horrors Sweeney and Frost described all those years ago turn out to be freakishly rare, unexpected tragedies that no amount of safety-proofing can prevent.
Even rubber surfacing doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference in the real world. David Ball, a professor of risk management at Middlesex University, analyzed U.K. injury statistics and found that as in the U.S., there was no clear trend over time. “The advent of all these special surfaces for playgrounds has contributed very little, if anything at all, to the safety of children,” he told me. Ball has found some evidence that long-bone injuries, which are far more common than head injuries, are actually increasing. The best theory for that is “risk compensation”—kids don’t worry as much about falling on rubber, so they’re not as careful, and end up hurting themselves more often. The problem, says Ball, is that “we have come to think of accidents as preventable and not a natural part of life.”


I'm hoping that we can change some of this for my granddaughter. I'm hoping that our move to the country will give her experiences similar to those that were normal in decades past. Last fall, I taught her and Grace how to use a small saw and hatchet, and let them go to it down in the overgrown woods at the end of our property.
They spent several days clearing out 'rooms' to play in. Here is a video of them showing off their work:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chickens and Chicks in the Green House.

This is a video of the greenhouse, and the chicks and chickens that are living there.
I moved the chickens into the green house when they started laying in February because they tended to put their eggs in inaccessible places in the little chicken house.  And now the baby chicks are too big to keep inside, so they are in the greenhouse too. Its getting crowded, but as the weather warms up, the big chickens can be outside more.

The floor of the greenhouse has deep leaf litter which will go into the garden beds later in spring. As soon as we can, we will finish the cob chicken house for the adult chickens, while the pullets (young chickens that haven't started laying yet) can live in the portable chicken house. The next project is to finish the cob chicken house and fence in a section of pasture for the chickens. While I would like them to have run of the place, one neighbor is worried they will range onto  his property, so I'll be fencing them in.

With the heat lamps, the green house glows at night. Kinda pretty in the snowy pasture.