Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Feeling Full

I realized this morning that simplifying--letting go of possessions, commitments, desires--has allowed me to experience a state of psychic fullness. Not so long ago, I was feeling a lot of anxiety, about where to put all our household stuff, meeting all my commitments, and acquiring all that I wanted. I was experiencing both an overwhelming sensation of fullness as well as scarcity. Actually, I've been letting go of scarcity feelings for some time, but only recognized the effects of that since I started letting go the stuff and the commitments.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Having a Home-Based Routine

I've gotten bread and bagel making well incorporated into our home routine, largely because our routine is based around activities at home, rather than how it has been in the past, that is, based around lots of activities outside the home. With Annabel having one day for swim, yoga, and dance lessons, plus Fridays for playdates, I'm less harried, the house is becoming more and more orderly, we're cooking everyday, baking multiple times a week, and doing our homeschool lessons regularly. I'm less harried because I'm less hurried, but also because I am accomplishing things that I wasn't able to accomplish when we were going out almost daily and thanks to the house being more organized, I can find things, which also makes me less stressed. I feel good about all the baking and cooking I do for my family. We are spending less money on groceries and eating tastier, healthier food.

I had worried in the past that Annabel would be bored or unhappy being home so much, but she doesn't appear to be at all. I suppose I am pressed into service as her partner in pretend more often, but I still have more time for my "own" pursuits (in quotes because these pursuits--the organizing, planning, cooking, baking, housekeeping, etc., I do for my family, not just for me) than I did when I was paying someone else to entertain her a few hours a week.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bread Baking as a Form of Exercise

Mike and I have been talking about losing weight. Somehow. Some way. Weight Watchers has been discussed, though neither of us has gone to the web site and signed up. I'm less enthusiastic about the thought of paying for someone to tell me how much to eat than he. Instead, I would rather force myself to put so much effort into making something eat that I will one, burn calories in the process, and two, limit my consumption because I will want to savor my efforts (that's usually how I think).

So, for the first time in about a billion years, I made a menu plan last weekend and except for last night, when we made a rare family appearance at the Oregon Hunters Association meeting (I decided to attend, which of course meant the children would attend, because a couple falconers were presenting and that sounded interesting enough to me to get out of the house) that Mike had to go to right around dinner time, we stuck to the plan all week. This is what we've been eating (never fear, I'll get to the bread baking bits soon enough):

Saturday dinner: grilled ratatouille (or at least that's what I call red bell peppers, patty pan squash, sweet onions, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant marinated in balsamic, EVOO, and herbes de provence, then grilled and returned to said marinade), corn on the cob, and ??? It seems like there was something else, maybe a salad?

Sunday breakfast (for me, anyway): the last store bought bagel I will allow myself. In theory.

Sunday dinner: citrus-marinated chicken (from the freezer, cooked days ago) in my "Chinese" Chicken Salad. What is Chinese about this, I don't know, but that's what they called the inspiration dish at The Cheesecake Factory, where I used to eat lunch almost everyday as a manager at Borders Books well over a decade ago.

Monday lunch: leftover Chinese chicken salad, this time with the wild & brown rice mix that should have been in it the night before. Ooops.

Monday dinner: ratatouille quiche...this was marvelous...must repeat. Used ol' Julia's pie dough and quiche recipes, natch.

Tuesday lunch: leftover quiche and cheese soup from leftover mashed potatoes, cheddar, and dried onion.
Tuesday dinner: grilled tri-tip (I kept my mouth shut while Mike stuffed no less than 10 cloves of garlic into that poor slab of beef, but he later admitted himself that it had too much garlic), grilled patty pan, carrot & dried cherry salad tossed with balsamic, and the last of the grilled ratatouille, tossed with wheat berries. Problem was, while I had soaked the wheat berries for some time, I forgot to cooked them. This turned out to be a blessing...

Wednesday lunch: per Mike's suggestion, I tossed the wheat berry salad into a pot, added water to cover, and made soup. He threw in the garlic and the tri-tip. Sublime. So, out of one batch of grilled vegetables and a bit of leftover grilled meat, we got three meals--all quite tasty.
Wednesday dinner: grilled tuna, cucumber soup, and sugar snap pea-radish-and-carrot salad, tossed with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds.

Thursday lunch: took the kids to Subway after a trip to the library.
Thursday dinner: worst pizza ever at the Pizza Baron.

Friday: leftover tuna and cucumber soup.
Friday dinner: al pastor, black beans, and corn on the cob.

Saturday breakfast: applesauce-buckwheat pancakes with sliced apples
Saturday lunch: leftovers
Saturday dinner: spaghetti with Bolognese sauce from the freezer

Sunday brunch: garden vegetable (uh, that would be tomatoes and some chard) and mozzarella omelette.
Sunday dinner: roasted chicken, boiled potatoes from the garden, steamed broccoli, roasted carrots, celery, and onions. I'll make chicken salad and chicken soup with leftover vegetables, corn, and black beans.

I started making bread twice a week about three weeks ago. Haven't bought a loaf at the store since (though I did continue to buy bagels). For the first couple weeks, I only had bleached all purpose flour in the house, purchased accidentally while I was bargain hunting and not reading labels carefully at Winco. Started with a French baguette, from Julia's Way to Cook. Next, I made sandwich loaves (from Baking with Julia) that were predictably Wonderbreadish with the bleached flour. I had promised myself to use up all that flour before making a run to Bob's for something better, but after about four loaves of the stuff, I couldn't stand it anymore. I took the kids there for lunch and shopping last Friday and we now have unbleached organic white flour, organic white whole wheat flour, cracked wheat, amaranth flour, and some other Bob's goodness. I've made one loaf of sandwich bread with the unbleached white, but left the dough to proof too long (as I learned later from Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking) and the loaf came out half as tall as it ought to have been.

My greatest flour, water, and yeast triumph, however, has been with bagel making. The first batch, not so pretty. Returning to Baking with Julia, I seasoned the dough with black pepper and I just love the results. Shaping the bagels takes some practice, as it's important to develop a gluten coat by rolling the dough into a ball with a gathering up motion. I hurried while shaping the first batch and also left the boiled bagels sit on a towel to drain too long--they stuck when I tried to move them to a baking sheet. Anyway, that batch wasn't so great. Batch two received a "Looks like the ones you get at the store," from Mike, which I suppose was meant as a compliment. The taste is so superior to store-bought!

I also started a batch of sourdough starter and will bake a cracked wheat loaf from that this weekend. I also need to start another batch of bagels.

This bread baking is exercise, though. I mix the dough in my stand mixer, but knead it by hand for 8-10 minutes. I enjoy look forward to kneading. It's my favorite part of all this homemade bread business (besides slathering my own strawberry jam on a still warm slice).

Time to make the bagels.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I'm Awake

Literally and figuratively, I'm awake.

I'm literally awake at an unusually early hour because some dude with a pile of rocks in his mouth called at 4:30 this morning, looking for Owen. Our daughter is on a sleep over, so I was wide awake and in perfect enunciation form when I picked up the phone and responded, "You have misdialed."

"Can I speak to Owen." It's 4:30 in the morning, you're making unapologetic phone calls, AND you're not listening?

"You have misdialed." Click. Damn if the rock-mouth didn't call back again 10 seconds later.

"Dude!! It's 4:30 in the morning." (There's something about these gravel-mouthed boys that brings out the surfer girl in me.)

I'm guessing it was my use of a big word like misdialed that threw him off?

I have read conspiracy theorist explanations about the purpose of our public education system. The story, of course, is that it is meant to produce mindlessly consuming docile workers, which sounds plausible, yet is so disturbing to think about that it was always easier to dismiss it as mostly baseless paranoid ranting. Yes, that does seem to be the effect of public education, but I didn't care to believe that the outcome was anyone's conscious intent. I was awoken in a more figurative sense last night while reading John Taylor Gatto's 2003 Harper's Magazine piece Against School. Holy crap, "they" really did mean to create a system that produced unquestioning, conforming worker bees and to push those who refused to go along with the plan to the margins of society, where they hopefully won't get the chance to breed.

The US education system was not based on idealized notions about egalitarianism or democracy, but on the 19th century Prussian education system designed to prepare men for service in the military and bureaucracy. "The schools must fashion the person, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than what you wish him to will," said 18th century German philosopher and father of the modern Nazism Johann Gottlieb Fichte.

How much does this matter now, that public education was based on such views? One could argue that while some founders of the modern school system did advocate the production of weak-willed lemmings, surely the all the of good people who have strove to improve public education have made some changes that negate the original intention? Looking around, at the mainstream media, the people I have worked with at various jobs, the people I meet in most social situations, I have to say that it seems the founders of US education did a fine job of creating a self-perpetuating system that more than adequately meets the needs of the ruling elite. There seems, in fact, to be cumulative effect and as the schooled school the succeeding generation, the adults they churn out seem more and more childlike, in the worst possible ways. It's almost an insult to children to compare them to petty, jealous, greedy grownups who obsess about celebrities while our unelected administration commits atrocities around the globe, who ponder which new green gadget to buy while our continued consumption, green or black, destroys our home, who go on diet after diet as our corn-fattened bodies betray us and our government does nothing to change the subsidy system that created the abundance of unhealthy food marketed by multinational corporations that have no responsibility to the public they should be serving.

I'm ranting and writing run-ons now, aren't I.

I blame the dude.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Portland Hospitals Give Babies the Best Gift of All for WBW!

That is, they are no longer giving away formula-filled discharge bags!

As of today, all major hospitals in Portland, Oregon, will no longer serve as formula company marketing hacks, sending new babies and moms home with formula in the traditional "gift" bag. This was managed without government intervention, but by staff lactation consultants and others who persuaded their hospitals administrators to voluntarily stop issuing the bags. (Once a couple hospitals agreed to stop, an LC at one holdout warned, "You don't want to be the last hospital in town still giving away formula, do you?") Altogether, five hospital systems, totaling 16 medical centers (including several outside the Portland area, as far off as Medford, Oregon), have stopped giving out formula in discharge bags. Some still are giving bags, but without formula or coupons.

Today, during its annual Benefit Luncheon, the Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon awarded the following hospitals for "Maternity-Care Best Practices" for eliminating infant formula sample packs:
  • Adventist Medical Center
  • Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center
  • Legacy Emmanuel Hospital and Health Center
  • Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center
  • Legacy Meridian Park Hospital
  • Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center
  • Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital
  • Providence Portland Medical Center (where my two came into the world!)
  • Providence St. Vincent Medical Center
  • Providence Milwaukie Hospital
  • Providence Newberg Medical Center
  • Providence Seaside Hospital
  • Providence Medford Medical Center
  • Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital
  • Oregon Health and Science University
  • OHSU Doernbecher Neonatal Care Center
Thank you to all those who worked to make this happen. Oregonians once again lead the way in the US, supporting, protecting, and promoting breastfeeding!

Friday, July 27, 2007

IKEA Report

I had a couple hours to kill between a late breakfast out with the kids and Annabel's Bug Camp, so I decided to venture out to IKEA. The stupendously huge parking lot was so packed I almost decided to forgo the whole thing, but the big box must have had me on tractor beam, as I couldn't turn around. I managed, quite accidently, to find the Family Friendly Parking lot. Right next to the store. In fact, the one empty space in that lot was the one closest to the store. Obviously, I was meant to be there, despite my "buy nothing new for a year" commitment that I made merely two months ago. I figured I could just browse, maybe buy something for the kids. I was so excited about the awesome parking space I called Chrissy to tell her about it.

We walked smack dab into Smalland, the awesome play area for kids staffed by about a bazillion young women in yellow shirts. I offered Annabel the choice of shopping with me or going to Smalland. Duh, Smalland, Mom.

Leaving my first-born in the care of total strangers, I took off with Luc to explore. I love IKEA. I have loved it from afar for I can't remember how long...since before I moved to Portland 11 years ago. There was one in Townsend, Maryland, too far from where I lived to bother with actually going there, but this was back when they sent out their paper catalog and I used to spend hours pouring over it. I love the Euro-ness of it. The eco-ness of it. The Swed-glish names for everything.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mom's Time Out

When I think about all the "down time" I had Before Kids, I just can't believe the luxury of it all. Now, I try to get a "Mom's Time Out" at least one evening a week. Usually I get together with some mom friends and knit at a cafe or yarn shop. Having just taken my first overnight (32 hours!) away from the family since my son was born almost 18 months ago to attend the Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon, I'm inspired to get one more block of time to get down in my sewing room and quilt at least once a week.

Like a lot of parents, I have lost many of my BK friends and now mostly socialize with other mothers of young children. The women I happened to go out of town with are moms of much older kids (like, out of college) or not moms. While they had some interest in talking kids, it was from a different perspective than that of my mom friends who are still in the toddler trenches and it helped me mentally relax to not trade wee-one war stories, but to hear the calm, knowing voices of moms who'd been there, survived, and knew I would too.

It was also a relief to leave the kids at home with their dad and know that they were Okay Without Me. REALLY. Not that I doubt my husband's abilities--he had some concerns, but I knew he'd be okay. I worried that our still-nursing toddler would cry all night, though, and be traumatized by the separation. My fears were not born out and now that we've managed our first successful mom-free overnight, I have a feeling I'll be getting away more often.

While I do enjoy my time out of the house with my friends, I think that for really getting back in touch with that creative, multi-faceted, reflective person I was BK, time alone is essential and I'm thinking of scheduling myself a short retreat, say here:

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Writing on the Wall

I've been following the news stories about the "care-gap/mom's movement" issue pretty closely and to date, Judith Stadtman Tucker's analysis of what's happening around the country and why now is the best I've read. It's short, on-point, and inspiring. Plus, she includes a fantastic round-up of the latest media pieces on these issues that are so profoundly impacting families today. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Local + Seasonal = Good For Us + Planet

Shopping local is near and dear to me. I read many years ago, in a wonderful publication Small is Beautiful, Big is Subsidized (published by the International Society for Ecology and Culture), that now well-worn statistic about the average American meal travelling 1500 miles from farm to plate. I've been actively practicing "localism" ever since. It does take practice, figuring out recipes that work with what's in season. I can hardly bring myself to eat out-of-season produce anymore as the poor quality and knowing how far it has travelled make me lose my appetite. In winter, we eat a lot of kale, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, plus root vegetables such as beets, parsnips, carrots and potatoes. I do freeze locally grown corn, beans, asparagus, artichokes (we grow the latter two in our home garden) to give us variety. I use those in soups and stews as they aren't quite as crisp and tasty as they are fresh, though my daughter does love green beans straight from the freezer!

My one conscious exception to local food is tropical fresh fruit in winter--this is when we enjoy mango, kiwi, and citrus. Citrus is in season then, even though it isn't grown locally. I figure loading on the vitamin C at that time of year is good for us as well. My favorite is blood oranges; when I was pregnant with my son, I gave into my cravings and ate two or three a day. We don't eat bananas, which is one of those fruits that many families say they can't give up, but no one in my family likes them much, so they are easy for us to forego. I don't know when they're in season, but you might consider only eating them when they're naturally at their best and eat other fresh fruits during the rest of the year.

I have different sources for food during the year. Out here in the Far East of NE Portland, there's Rossi Farm on 122nd & Shaver, open from June through December. They're growing food literally less than a mile from our house, so I take advantage of that as much as possible when they're open. It's not organic, but that's one of those trade-offs we all find ourselves making as we reconcile our green balance sheet. We also have Grower's Outlet at 162nd & Glisan, which is open year-round. I shop at New Seasons quite a bit and appreciate how they label their produce. Less frequently, I go to the Hollywood Farmers' Market, but it's so crowded and kind of far to drive. I am looking forward to the opening of the Montavilla Farmers' Market this spring.

Finally, of course, there's our home garden. It's a shadow of its former self these days, as I haven't gotten back into the swing of things since my son was born last year,
but we do have asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, boisenberries, and blueberries growing perennially and at the very least will grow tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, and several varieties of winter and summer squash this summer. I would like to also put in green beans, sugar snap peas, and leeks as well, but will have to see how the spring shapes up for us. Long term, we would like to grow vegetables all year, but it'll be a couple more years 'til we're ready to make that commitment.

We are so fortunate here in the Pacific Northwest to be able to enjoy as much fresh food year 'round, whether grown in our own gardens or grown for us by local farmers. Find out what's in season in your area and start cooking!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Get Outta Town!

Find family fun farther afield this weekend.
  • Spring Whale Watch Week starts on Saturday. Volunteers assist watchers at 28 sites along the Oregon coast. The closest site to Portland is at Cape Meares, west of Tillamook. Volunteers are on duty from 10am to 1pm to help visitors see the marine animals and offer information about their migration.
  • Visit Evergreen Aviation Museum on Sunday for foam glider making, rocket & radio-controlled plane demonstrations, and exploring the Spruce Goose.
  • Prepare otter treats and meet a mammalogist to learn about animal care & feeding as you watch sea otters up close at Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport on Sunday at 10am. Registration required. 541.867.3474 ext. 5319.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Food in Hibernation

I cook for the freezer pretty regularly. I started when I was pregnant with my second (now 14 months) and love knowing that I have delicious meals hibernating downstairs in the deep freeze. I have two distinct processes that work well for me.

One, I cook stews and hearty soups. Burgundy Beef, Flemish Beef, Hungarian Beef, White Chili (chicken, tomatillos, hominy), Chicken-Corn Soup, Coq au Vin, Chicken Paprika, Lamb Korma, you get the picture. I make large batches (usually enough for four meals for my family of two adult and two young children) and then freeze them in meal-size portions. These are fully cooked; all I have to do is defrost/reheat, steam a vegetable, boil some potatoes or cous-cous or reheat some leftover rice to soak up yummy gravy.

Two, I make what I call “freezer marinades.” I put meal-size amounts of raw meat (bone-in chicken breasts, pork chops, cubed leg of lamb are my standbys) in a freezer bag, add a marinade (orange marmalade-ginger-garlic, balsamic-honey-garlic, curry-yogurt), squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag, seal it, and lay it flat on a tray in the freezer (this makes the packages easier to store once they’re frozen). Ideally, I get a package out and defrost it in the fridge for 24 hours, though I often forget to do this the evening before and wind up getting a package out in the morning and leaving it on the kitchen counter to defrost. Since food defrosts more quickly if the package is in contact with metal (which conducts the chill away), I put frozen packages in an aluminum cake pan. Depending on the meat, it will need to cook at 350-400F for 10-30 minutes. Again…I just steam a veggie or maybe do a stir fry while the meat cooks.

For dinner tonight, I tossed leeks from our garden with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and started them in the oven at 425F. I left a little room in the baking dish for two slabs of polenta (leftover from a big batch I made earlier this week and spread on a jelly roll pan) . After about 25 minutes, I put the polenta in the pan with the leeks and Pork Medallions With Balsamic-Honey Marinade in another pan (a wonderful Le Creuset roaster that I won in a raffle years ago). I turned the oven down to 350F and left everything to finish cooking for another 10 minutes or so. I had all of five minutes of prep (cleaning the leeks, cutting them in half lengthwise, and seasoning them) and paid virtually no attention while everything cooked. And Mike only had two baking dishes plus dinner dishes to wash afterward (we plated everything in the kitchen to avoid using serving dishes).

I’ve never eaten or made roasted leeks before. Amazing! Crispy and salty on the outside, creamy allium deliciousness on the inside. This could be the new roasted garlic. And the marinade made a rich savory sauce for the polenta and pork. It was such a satisfying meal; I must admit part of the satisfaction came from feeling rather clever for putting it all together with so little effort.

Here is the basic recipe for tonight's pork. You will want to multiply the quantities depending on how much meat you want to prepare at once. I usually double this recipe when preparing it for the freezer. I also find I prefer more marinade than called for.

Pork Medallions With Balsamic-Honey Marinade
Serves 4-6

1 ¾ to 2 pounds pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons high heat oil such as coconut or sunflower for searing
½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Put vinegar, honey, olive oil, mustard, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl. Stir to combine. salt and pepper, stir to combine.

Slice tenderloin into 1-inch rounds and season with salt and pepper. Set pan on medium high heat and cover the bottom with oil. When pan is hot, add pork slices in a single layer and sear for 1 minute. Turn and sear 1 minute more. Remove from pan and allow to cool some. Label freezer bags with content and date. Transfer meal-size amounts of pork to bags and evenly divide the marinade between the bags. Squeeze the air of the bags, seal, and then lay them flat on a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen, I store the bags upright in a plastic shoebox size storage box, making it easy to flip through the bags when I'm looking for something to defrost.

To cook, defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350F. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Knitted Fairy

My daughter's fourth birthday is at the end of April and I already have a wonderful little knitted cotton dress on needles. It's from Lucinda Guy's Handknits for Kids and has been something of a challenge for me. Mostly, because of the colorwork involved, I have to pay closer attention than I'm accustomed to doing while I knit. Chatting away while knitting with my mom-friends when we get together on Monday nights has led to more than one session of unknitting. Another issue comes from knitting with a silky mercerized cotton on super slick Addi Turbo needles; my hands get tired and cramped from being clenched as I try to keep it all from slipping away from me. So, I've been looking for a bit of a break from this project...and seeing as I'm feeling ahead of schedule still, I decided to start something new. Oh, and I had a $25 credit to use at the Yarn Garden which was burning a hole in my pocket for a couple weeks. I gave in on Monday, bought yarn, and began working on the knitted fairy from Claire Garland's Dream Toys.

I'm on total knitted toy jag right now. A few weeks ago, I nearly bought every knitted toy book I could find at Amazon, but thankfully came to my senses and went to the library instead. Besides Dream Toys, I have World of Knitted Toys and Knitted Toys checked out right now (and if you're the person with Knit Toys on hold, don't worry, I'm returning it today). All three are full of wonderul, darling designs, but I have been itching to make every single item in Dream Toys. I'm changing the fairy doll design somewhat...or at least, how to achieve the design. Garland instructs to knit flat stockinette pieces and sew them together, but I loathe sewing and I don't like to purl much either. Instead, I'm knitting in the round, which I'm fast at (my first knitting project, which I did over and over again, was a knit-in-the-round hat, ever since I've just preferred to knit in the round to anything else...I think that's what I like best about making socks) and can knit thusly nice and tight, good for a knitted doll project.

I started the doll this afternoon and it's going well so far. I've knit the torso and about half her head. I need to figure out how to get her face on. She gets felt eyes and lips and a little sewn nose. I'm trying to figure out if I do that before or after I stuff her. Also, stuffing will be a tiny bit tricky thanks to my choice to knit in the round, but I'll work that out. Anyway, I am using lovely soft (in texture and color) pink yarns for the body and hair. Rowan Cashcotton 4-ply for the body (cash as in cashmere...delicious to work with) and Rowan Kidsilk Haze for the hair (ideal fairy hair...super soft and fine with a little silver shimmer). I'm thinking of making her dress a mini version of the dress I'm knitting for my daughter. See, sometimes I'm not such a bad mommy.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Not Your Average Joe

I have to tell you all about Joe Mishkin, this incredible balloon artist/children's entertainer I have seen in action the last two weekends. Okay, first, I'll admit, I have a crush on him. He makes me laugh out loud and he's kinda cute, in a hyperactive, fuzzy rodent way. But seriously, the guy is a fantastic entertainer and I highly recommend you check out the calendar on his web site...he has gigs in public venues a couple times a month, so if you want to "see the goods" yourself before hiring him for a birthday party or whatever, you can. He does NOT make balloon animals...silly hats, space hats, fairy/butterfly wings, and magic wands are his thing. Chrissy & I took our girls to see him at McMenamins on St. Paddy's Day and he had them (and us) cracking up...and they loved their balloon art, of course.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cinderella and the Three Little Pigs, Live!

The True Story of Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf.
MARCH 9, 10, 11, 17, 18
Tears of Joy Theatre and Paul Mesner Puppets give us the real skinny on this time-honored tale. This adaptation of Jon Scieszeka's popular book reveals that Alexander T. Wolf just wanted to borrow a cup of sugar. Ages 4 and older. 7:30 pm March 9, 11 am March 10 and 17 and 2 and 4 pm March 11 and 18. $16 adults, $12 kids. Brunish Hall, 1111 SW Broadway. 503-248-0557.

Academy Theater Anniversary Weekend
MARCH 10 & 11
Saturday: Joe Mishkin! Not your average Joe! Balloons, juggling, music and having fun! Sing along to the Wizard of Oz, 2:15 and 4:30 on Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday at noon: "Professor Banjo's Old-Time Play Party" starring Paul Silveria. A show for all ages featuring simple dances, sing alongs and audience participation. Sing along to the Wizard of Oz, 2:15 and 4:30 on Saturday and Sunday. Academy Theater, 7818 SE Stark. 503-252-0500

Cinderella, the Musical
March 10, 11
St. Mary's Academy is putting on its spring musical, Cinderella! Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens, and $5 for children under six. The Sunday matinee is great for kids because they sit up front, and at end of production, they can go on stage and meet Cinderella and have photos taken with her or other cast members. The cast is make up of great student actors/singers, and the music is live orchestra of students and community members. Be sure and call to reserve tickets since Sunday is final showing. St Mary's is located at 1615 SW Fifth and Market, downtown. There is paid parking across the street, and downtown street parking is free on Sundays. To reserve seats or for more information call 503-721-7712.

Every Family Reads Presents Avi!
Multnomah County Library staff created the Every Family Reads program to motivate families to read and experience books together. Newbery Medal winner author Avi, author of several acclaimed novels for middle-grade and teen readers, inaugurates this new and exciting program. Your family can participate by reading the works of Avi during March and April and taking advantage of the art exhibits, puppet performances, craft workshops and author visits. See the library web page for more information, but here's taste of what's happening this weekend:
  • Adventures of a Snail and an Ant
    Join Amy Gray of Zing Productions as she brings puppets Avon and Edward to life in this adaptation of Avi's story The End of the Beginning. Saturday, March 10, 1pm and 2:3pm at the Capitol Hill Branch. More performances throughout the month at other branches.
  • Puppet Creations
    Bring Avon the Snail and Edward the Ant to life as shadow puppets or create your own moveable puppet with artist Kathy Karbo. Recommended for children 5 and up. Saturday, March 10, 1pm, at the Sellwood-Moreland Branch.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Blog With a Plan

I've decided to resurrect this blog and use it to share my cooking and crafting exploits, ideas for things to do with young children here in Portland, thoughts about clean environments, breastfeeding advocacy, world affairs, whatever catches my interest during the precious free moments I have to write. Posting schedule will be as follows:
  • Monday: Roundup of weekday kid activities
  • Tuesday: Craft update
  • Wednesday: Recipe of the Week
  • Thursday: Roundup of weekend kid activities
  • Friday: Green notes...gardening and environmental activism
  • Weekends: Miscellaneous ramblings about whatever's going on in my head, parenting, breastfeeding advocacy, world affairs, etc.