Monthly Archives: April 2010

Fostering Rebellion?

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I realized the other day that I am quite happy with the way my daughter, Elizabeth, is turning out.

She has a great sense of humor and a wonderfully contagious laugh.

She is goofy as all get out.

And she has this little tiny, blatantly rebellious streak. Like, she might throw her milk cup on the ground exactly because I told her not to.It seems most parents would balk at the idea that rebellion is a good trait. Wouldn’t it be easier if our kids would listen to us. . . and not throw their milk cups on the ground!

But I guess I’m a little different. I feel like her instinct to question authority is something to foster.

For me it’s easier to take a step back and ask myself “Why am I rebelling?” Then I can decide if I need to stand up for what I think is right or if I need to reign myself in because I am rebelling just to be rebellious.

I think its easier to step back and check myself simply because of the way society functions. If you’re doing something counter-culture or different than society says you should, most likely, you are going to be questioned and potentially told to stop. At which point you, or a person who has rebellious tendencies, can stop and re-evaluate his or her actions.

In the opposite situation, where a person is the type to naturally obey and do as their told, that person may lack the innate ability to question their actions and motivations.

Now, I know encouraging this kind of behavior does NOT make my job any easier. As a parent this means a couple of things:

One, I will be spending A LOT of time explaining the “whys” behind the rules.

Two, I will have to be much, much, much, much more patient. Much.

But if I can manage to put this theory into practice, I think the time and energy will be well-spent. This idea will hopefully foster a relationship of trust between myself and my children, rather than one of control and blind obedience. Instead of my kids doing what they’re told “because I said so,” I hope my kids will learn to trust me. Eventually, they will be able to trust me because they know I am asking for behavior that has their best intentions in mind.

They will also learn how to make good decisions based on the values they’ve been taught, as opposed to them not knowing what to do in a scenario because they never encountered it while I was around to instruct them or tell them what to do.

My theory comes down to the principle that teaching children the values behind rules, instead of just the rules, will help them become more competent adults, while reinforcing the fact that a parent’s guidance is out of love, not control.

Needless to say, we have a lot of work to do.

-Sarah

Let me know what you think about this.

Farmer’s Market Inspired Meal #1

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Phew! Before I get started on this meal, let me just apologize. The past few weeks and especially this weekend, school has been life-sucking. Now I am in between major assignments and can post, yay!

Also, at some point this semester when I was thinking of ideas for my blog, I had a brilliant idea. I could go all around campus and find little places to take a nap. I thought I would wait until close to the end of the semester, when people are walking around like zombies. Well, I did just that….and you know what? I am way to freakin’ tired to run around campus taking pictures of potential nap locations. I am too busy needing a nap myself! How’s that for ironic?

Anyway, on to business:

In case you didn’t notice in my last post, I am super excited for the Farmer’s Market. We love, love, love it! And so I will be posting a series of meals that are inspired by the stuff at the Farmer’s Market. I hope this will convince you to shop at your local Farmer’s Market, if its available.

Here is inspiration #1: Ribs, Asparagus and Cheesy Jalapeño Bread

Ribs: Okay, so I bought those at the store. I know, I know, we don’t shop exclusively at the Farmer’s Market. Although we might, if it was possible. Anyway, I just bought some ribs. But I cook them in the crock-pot. Seriously, all I do is put them in the crock-pot, pour barbecue sauce over them and let them cook all day (5-6+ hours).  If you start them in the morning, they should be ready by dinner. A tip: brown them a little bit before you put them in the crock-pot, it helps them retain moisture.

Asparagus: We did buy the asparagus at the market, and I wish we had bought waaay more. It was so gooood! All I did, after I rinsed them, was toss the asparagus in some olive oil and seasoning. I seasoned mine with, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. The I spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F until they looked cooked and a little crispy, maybe 10 minutes. You can adjust the time according to your preference.

Funny story: Like a good mom, I steamed a few pieces of asparagus for Elizabeth, so that she wouldn’t have to deal with the spices. When I gave them to her, she hated it. She spit them out and made a terrible face of rejection. I offered her a piece of my asparagus thinking she would nibble it and not like the hot spice. No. She almost ate my hand off trying to get more asparagus. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised; I love spicy food and have ate a lot when I was pregnant, as well as when I was nursing. At least she isn’t picky.

Cheesy Jalapeño Bread: We also bought the bread from the farmer’s market. The family that sells bread, makes some really great stuff. I won’t spoil the surprise since I’m sure I will be writing about it later. Anywho, I sliced off a couple pieces, buttered them lightly, sprinkled them with cheese and then stuck them in the oven for the last few minutes with the asparagus. These ingredients combined! Make dinner!As Dora the Explorer might say: Yum Yum Yum Yum Delicioso!

So yummy, so easy!

Have a great evening!

-Sarah

How Does Our Garden Grow?

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Here is an update on our little porch garden.

Let’s start with the bad news first:Our tomato plant. . .is DEAD! We will buy a new one on Saturday at the Farmers Market.

→Which by the way if you are a Stillwater resident, you should go to the Farmer’s market. It happens every Wednesday and Saturday 8am-1pm. This goes on from April through October. Right now most of the selection is herbs and baby plants, but as we get deeper into the Summer, the produce is amazing. There is a lady who sells homemade salsa that is great, as well as enchilada meals and lots of other goodies. Then there is one seller who makes homemade dog treats. Tango and Peanut go nuts for them. And the another family, Oh my goodness! sells fresh baked bread and cookies and scones. It is absolutely delicious. Check it out. And if you don’t live in Stillwater, find out about your local Farmer’s Market for sure!←

Anyway, our other plants are doing much better than the tomato plant.My chocolate mint plant is growing toward the sun!Our sunflowers are growing like crazy!We planted two kinds of flowers in this pot and now both have sprouted! Yay! As you can see, one side is growing like crazy and if you look closer, the other side sprouted too.I had almost given up on this pot, nothing had sprouted. Then this morning I noticed the dirt was rising… and when I pushed the dirt around a little, I was pleasantly surprised with hidden sprouts. Woo hoo! All of our flowers are sprouting! This is a first for me. Every year I buy flower and then kill them. Apparently all I needed was a little green-thumbed gardener to help me.

We also have an addition to our humble garden. Some friends uprooted this beauty from their own garden.

They surprised us by putting in a pot and leaving on our porch.

Introducing. . . . . . .

The Friendship WeedEveryone should have friends like this!

Have a dandy day!

-Sarah

Not Fully Prepared Lemon Bars (and a giggle)

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Once upon a time, my hubby tried to make me lemon bars. The recipe he had called for lemon zest. He had no idea what that was, so he just add more lemon juice. His lemon bars were yummy, but they lacked that certain…for lack of a better word, zest.

When I saw this recipe on Recipe Rhapsody, I had to try it. This recipe didn’t call for lemon zest. And secretly, I thought I would show my husband what a lemon bar should be.

While my lemon bars were cute, they were not quite a success. I was halfway into the process, squeezing lemons, and I realized I didn’t have enough lemon juice. I even added some store bough juice and I didn’t have enough. So bah! But I wasn’t about to stop in the middle.

All things considered, they were pretty yummy. My hubby claims he likes them better with less lemony flavor. So, I guess, technically, I still showed him what a lemon bar should be. But I am not satisfied. I will be revisiting this recipe!

Elizabeth wants some!Okay, here’s a bite.More! of that!Okay, one more bite. No more after this.Oh crap!

Well, at least she like them, a lot.

Since I messed up the recipe, why don’t you swing by Recipe Rhapsody and visit her for the recipe. She has some helpful tips too. (Veronica, I hope you don’t mind.

Lemon Squares from Recipe Rhapsody

And here is a giggle. My husband is pursuing his Master’s degree, can’t you tell by his study materials.

We actually went to buy this book today, not for Elizabeth. So, he legitimately had an assignment requiring the reading of The World of Pooh.  I even asked permission to post this. It cracked me up.  I hope it gave you a giggle! I find at this point in the semester I need more of those.

-Sarah

Love Medicine Cookies

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I had a presentation on Friday for my Literature by Women course. It was on the novel, Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich.

To make my presentation memorable I made love medicine cookies. They reflect the author’s heritage. She is part Ojibwe Native American and German.

So the cookie recipe I used was called Zimtsterne; it is a German spice cookie. And I used a raspberry jam, which is apparently an traditional Ojibwe food.

They are shaped like a heart because the title, get it? Get it?

I had about 27 people in my class and so I had to make about 3o cookies x 2 because it was a sandwich cookie. This is my pile of cookie parts. Phew! It took me forever to make all of those!

Finished product: A pile of Love Medicine Cookies!

Love Medicine Cookies

with Zimtsterne Cookie Dough (This makes enough dough for about 10-15 cookie sandwiches, this will vary depending on the thickness. I used a double batch.)

Recipe Source: Allrecipes.com but I altered mine a bit, if you want the more traditional German spice cookie go there.

You could always use a different dough.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (you could punch this up for a more lemony flavor)
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I think I cut this in half because it is so strong)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (As I was typing this, I realized I didn’t add any salt, oops.)
  • Raspberry Jam for filling. (You could also use a different jam of your juice.)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375° F and lightly grease your cookie sheet.
  2. Cream butter, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest, until light and fluffy.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. On lightly floured, cloth covered board, roll the dough out to desired thickness. Use 1/3 at a time.
  5. Cut out half heart shaped bottom, then half heart outline shape.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes.
  7. Let cool completely.
  8. Once cool, pipe a little of the raspberry jam on the bottom cookie, enough to help the top cookie stick.
  9. Place top cookie on top.
  10. Then fill the heart shaped hole with a little bit more jam. (This process make for less of a mess.)
  11. You can either serve immediately or let them sit in the fridge over night. This helps the jam to thicken a little.
  12. Be a hit at your next occasion to serve heart shaped cookies.
  13. Variation: Dust the top cookies with powdered sugar before putting the cookies together.
  14. Tip: Make enough so that you have extras, especially of the heart with the cut out middle, they are kind of fragile.

Ideas of the left over dough

  • The little heart insides would make for a cute bite sized treat for kiddos.
  • Or you could burn the left overs to death and then your dogs would love you.

Have a great Saturday!

-Sarah

Almost Saturday Smiles

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The semester is coming to an end and occasionally I need a pick me up.

I hope this cheers you up!

I told people my name was “Sarah Elizabeth Batman Barnes!”

Now I have graduated to Sarah Elizabeth Batman Barnes Harrison!

Introducing. . . .BAT BABY ELIZABETH!

She may not have a utility belt, but she knows how to use her Fisher-Price cell phone and that remote!

Watch out bad guys! Bat Baby Elizabeth is ready to fight some crime! Hi-Yaa!

Bat Baby Elizabeth says “Books are Cool! Read and Stay in School!”

She’s on the chase, apparently the dog is robbing a bank!

Bat Baby Elizabeth has her eye on you!

I hope this made you smile!

My Crazy Week: An update on the drama that is my life

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Oh my! It looks as if I need to update. Man, oh man! It has been a crazy, well, week.

  • Last Wednesday-Sprained my ankle, had to use crutches for a day.
  • Thursday– Had to have friends come over and put Elizabeth down because I couldn’t. (they brought me Thai Chicken for dinner)
  • Friday– Was able to take care of myself, a friend came over anyway, I made myself and Elizabeth the left over Thai chicken. I just skimmed the sauce off the top. She started choking, which is fairly normal for her (to struggle with more solid-type food). She was wheezy for a while. (after she choked I took a better look at her mush of stuff and find half a cashew)
  • Saturday– Brian tried to give her breakfast, she choked and couldn’t even swallow rice cereal. We went to the Stillwater ER because I figured she must have swallowed a cashew. After about two hours, we left, they told us there was nothing they could do over the weekend, to keep her hydrated and that we could try some baby food. (They weren’t really listening to me.) Later she choked on baby food, milk then baby food and could only drink milk or formula. I called our on-call pediatrician. She said that the Stillwater could not do anything, even if it was Monday. (This would have been nice to know because Elizabeth had corrective surgery when she was two days old and if we had known Stillwater didn’t have the staff or equipment, we would have gone to them.) After much deliberation and more choking, we when to OU Children’s Hospital Emergency Room, in Oklahoma City. We got there around 6:30pm. People who work under E’s ped. surgeon checked her out. They still sent us home until Monday, but we were to make an appointment Monday morning ASAP, with her pediatric surgeon. We didn’t get home until after Mid-night.
  • Sunday-Rather normal, church, tried to do homework (it was really hard to focus). Was supposed to rest my ankle ALL weekend, obviously didn’t.
  • Monday– Woke up with my ankle throbbing, didn’t go to class, made an appointment for Elizabeth at 8am the next morning. (This moved up a study scheduled for the end of the month, to Tuesday.)
  • Tuesday-Went to the OU Children’s Hospital. About a minute away from the hospital, she started wretching, probably because she had only had milk/formula for the past 72 hours, and wasn’t even allowed to have that before the study. She was about to vomit, when half a cashew flew out of her mouth! (It smelled disgusting!!) We still did the barium swallow study. She had to be strapped down and drink this barium mixture stuff. She hated being strapped down, but she was so happy to have anything, she was sucking the sweet flavored barium out of the syringe. Poor baby, the doctors were impressed with her cooperation though. We met with Dr. Tuggle, her surgeon. He checked out the pictures from the study. Elizabeth’s esophagus has a point where it narrows, called a stricture. We were supposed to call the clinic and schedule a day surgery, where they will dilate her her esophagus.
  • Tuesday after the long appointment, we left the apt. at 6:30am, didn’t get out of there  until after 11am.- Instead of trying to eat lunch right then or trying to drive home hungry, we gave Elizabeth some formula and we all took a nap in the van. (We ♥ our mini-van!) I woke up before B and E, so I ran into Babies R Us and got E some yummy food she really likes (sqeeze-able baby food by Plum Organic, check it out) We ate at the Cheesecake Factory. Elizabeth had two of those Plum Organic baby foods and probably a third of my salmon. SHE WAS HUNGRY! After we ate, we ran into the mall so that Brian could touch and Ipad and walked around for a bit while Elizabeth napped. It was probably not a good use of our time, but a much needed distraction and break!
  • Tuesday once we got home -HOMEWORK TIME. We ate dinner, gave Elizabeth a bath, she played with her new bath paints, put her down. I worked on my homework until 3:30am.
  • Wednesday-Woke up at 7am and finished my homework. I was so exhausted in every way: physically, mentally and emotionally, that I didn’t go to class. I met my Professor for a moment and gave her my appointment. We came home, some of us ate lunch. We all took a nap. I didn’t wake up until about 3o minutes ago.

I bet, at first, when I wrote that it had been a crazy week, that you thought I was exaggerating!

I hope your week has been more peaceful and restful than mine!

-Sarah

A Thai Chicken Thank-you

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So, Wednesday I stepped off a curb wrong. I thought I had destroyed my ankle. After a visit with the doctor, I just sprained it. As far as updates go, it still hurts.

But good came out of this fiasco. A sweet friend and her family had to come help me put Elizabeth down on Thursday. I couldn’t get on my knees to give her a bath or pick her up to go in her crib and Brian was a t work. This wonderful family also brought me dinner!

That dinner was glorious! It was a Thai Chicken recipe my friend half invented. And there are pictures.

If I knew how to say it was delicious in Thai, I would, but I don’t. But it really is delicious!

Here is the recipe, as provided by friend:

Thai Chicken Thank You

Chicken breast + Curry paste + Ginger + Curry powder + Canned coconut milk + chicken broth + Yellow onions = Awesome easy Thai curry soup

You pretty much cook the chicken and onions in all the spices and then add the coconut milk and chicken broth at the end. Oh, and you make some rice to pour it over. And add avocado and cashews at the end.

So easy right?

Enjoy!

Thanks friends! Love you guys so much!

-Sarah

Flower Power

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You know how in  my last post, I mentioned not knowing what I was doing? Well it’s still true, especially when it comes to planting flowers. But I did it anyway.

You see the problem is, we live in an apartment, on the second floor. So any planting we do has to be in pots. Well when we bought seeds yesterday, I didn’t read the instructions. So I ended up with a bunch of seeds that probably belong in flower beds and stack of flower pots. We planted them anyway.

I also bought a cherry-tomato plant and a chocolate mint plant at the farmer’s market this morning.I know what some of you may thinking. Wait a minute. Chocolate mint plant? It really does exist. I googled it. Check it out. It smells delicious.

Elizabeth had a lot of fun helping me put the seeds in the dirt. Even if we didn’t do it right, we had fun. I highly suggest planting something with your little ones if you have them. For toddlers it’s just fun to put your fingers in the dirt (or terrifying depending on the toddler) and for older kiddos, it’s a great learning opportunity.Our flower planting was a success, even if nothing grows and the plants die! (Which is likely.)

Have a fabulous Saturday!

-Sarah

Amateur Painters, Professional Mess-makers

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Okay, so I admit that most times I don’t know what I am doing. I usually just make stuff up as I go along. Well that is definitely the case when it comes to painting with a one-year old.

Today Elizabeth and I painted flower pots! And boy was it a mess.

Elizabeth can testify to our mess-making skills.But she didn’t mind, because she got to play in the bathtub. . . with her clothes on.

We got paint everywhere. Even her clothes.We also painted the porch.We did manage to get some paint on the flower pots.
Names like Picasso and Van Gogh come to mind don’t they?

Come back later for when we actually plant some flower seeds in our flower pots, which should be equally fun and messy.

-Sarah, One Curly Mama

(p.s. I would like to issue an apology to readers who read for recipes. I’m sorry I have been lacking in the food area. School is just so busy, I’m lucky if I eat dinner. I should be posting some recipes soon though. I promise!)