my sweet treat

While summer is full of great local fruits and veggies, delicious ready-made foods at our farmer’s market, and ice water never tasted so good, I still have a very well-known secret summer drink.

Pina Coladas. Oh. My! This is my all time favorite drink and nothing about it is local. Well, the ice is local. Hm.

This habit has been on going for about four weeks now, maybe longer. It is my evening drink of choice instead of beer or wine. And if the day is particularly awful, either the weather or the boy’s behavior, I get the blender going a little earlier. I make them by the pitcher, saving it by the glassful in the freezer for the next time I get a hankering. My son has seen me whip them up so often he knows to ask for some of the little kid version when he sees the ice in the pitcher. He has his learning tower over, the same as if we were making dinner or dessert together.

So I feel I must share the recipe to anyone who wants to break away from the mixes and try the real deal (unless you are headed somewhere tropical soon, this is as close to real deal as you can get) No high fructose corn syrup, thank you very much. This is just so easy!

‎6 cups ice

6 ounces Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut

8 ounces pineapple juice

6 ounces rum (we used Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, 42 proof)

a few drops aromatic bitters, optional

pineapple wedges, optional

maraschino cherries, optional

Blend well*, pour into glasses, and serve with a festive straw, a wedge of pineapple, a maraschino cherry, and an umbrella toothpick. Enjoy!

Makes four large drinks.

*If you have a little one around who wants a child-version, add all ingredients up to the rum. Blend, serve them some, add rum and bitters, and blend some more.

And, in order to have a few pictures for my post, I just had to make a batch tonight, though without the additional flare. Sorry for the low-quality. The good camera is out on work-duty tonight with the husband.


cutting work

Although it is summer and most people are enjoying the pool or trails, I find the boys and I are inside more often than not. I believe we should be out,  but then I worry about heat and bugs on the baby and when we are out, I end up drippy and grouchy from the heat. So we are waiting on fall!

Because big E is restless and we have been learning shape names with the geometric cabinet, I got back out cutting work. We started this a long time ago, perhaps right around the age of 2, with straight lines. I made them quite thin and got scissors that popped open as his first pair. He liked cutting but grew frustrated if he did not cut perfectly. So now, older and more skilled with scissors, we pulled the shapes back out for cutting and making collages. I should note that between the time we put up the practice precision cutting, he still had access to scissors, but more for just free cutting practice. As his skills improved, we got out a child-sized, very sharp Fiskars pair – they fit his hand, and the actually cut well. Here are the types we used between the ages of 2 and 4.



In case you are inside more than you planned this summer, I uploaded the files to share – on the left side bar. It just requires construction paper or cardstock paper, a printer, and a paper-cutter (or scissors). The order we showed them to E was: straight lines, zigzags, curves, and then shapes.

And just in case it needs said… I know they are not much, but please, keep them just for personal use. No selling, no passing along as yours. Thanks!

October 10, 2010 – I have removed the files since boxnet was causing trouble on my site… If you would like the documents, comment and ask or email me. Thank you!

grocery store guilt

As is often the case, I find myself headed to the grocery to pick up milk, bread, and one or two other items for a meal later in the week. And I often leave with far more than I wanted or needed. My guilt and pain over grocery shopping starts about 2/3’s of the way along, just after the breakfast foods and cracker aisle, but before I have even gotten to the breads, fruits, and veggies. Mild panic sets in: how much will this all cost? do I really need it all? do I have time to even go back and put things away I could part with?

Inevitably I continue, berating myself and all the choices, but still buying most everything I have. Okay, everything I have. And I continue these guilty thoughts while I check out, while I walk to the car, while I unload, while I drive home (eating some unneeded snack I just bought), while I unload the car, and while I unload the groceries.

But my guilt goes beyond having excess food and blowing anything pretending to be a budget we have. That is just one level of guilt I suffer. Feeling like a rat, storing my food in the cabinet, boxes shoved here and one more cereal box wedged in, I feel guilt that I can buy this food. I know I may cause mild financial crisis for the monthly budget, but I can buy it and buy lots of variety. I am often struck by just how lucky we are that we can buy fresh fruits, breads, peanut butter, yogurt, cheeses, eggs, chips, juice, meats, and on and on. Even when I feel like we need to eat ramen for a night or two a month to soothe my over-spending guilt. Even then, I am extremely lucky to be able to buy it and know that I can feed my family more than that on regular basis.

I also feel guilt that I do not cook enough of what I buy, often abandoning plans for the quick and easy choices, instead of some well laid plans to cook many healthy meals. (Often some of the easy meals take just as long as a simple low-prep healthier choice, like the calzones I am loving right now.)

Simple Swiss Chard Calzone

I can make lots of foods and enjoy doing so, but taking the time to do so can be hard and stressful with children around. On top of that guilt is also the guilt of buying any convenience items because it is often the items lacking nutrition. Choosing them makes me feel guilty of not feeding my children the best.

I also feel the guilt of not supporting more local food options. While tonight was not the case, I often end up going to the grocery store on Thursday or Friday, totally forgetting Saturday’s great local Farmer’s Market. Then, I miss the great chance to stock up on local peaches and corn because I bought strawberries and carrots trucked in. Even if it is just from across the border, I miss the opportunity to support local farms and keep the environmental costs down.

I am not sure I have a quick solution to my shopping habits and troubles. I recognize some guilt I just have to let go of for the sake of sanity sometimes. But for tonight, lacking any real game-plan, I soothed my guilt with a big bowl of ice cream, a sandwich and some chocolate chips. Nothing like that quick food to soothe my guilt away.

Yeah, right.