This is a total grab-bag of items. Some are fun, some are sweet. A couple are to feed your mind and soul.
When I was in my teaching program, we were visited a few times from people from Facing History and Ourselves, a Boston-based group, with offices around the country, which uses case studies from the Holocaust, the Armenian Holocaust, Northern Ireland, and other conflicts to discuss human behavior and choices. I attended the Holocaust and Human Behavior workshop that summer, then became involved in a teacher's roundtable on transitional justice — what happens after a genocide or other civil break. This past week, I've been popping in and out of an online forum on the International Criminal Court, the ICC, which is in The Hague and addresses the prosecution of crimes against humanity. We started with a film about the ICC called The Reckoning. It will be available for viewing until Dec. 31. I highly recommend watching it as an introduction to the ICC, and as a look at what can be, might be, should be done to those who commit the most serious crimes against humanity. (The United States, under President Bush, did not join the ICC. It is not clear whether or when the U.S. will. This is a separate issue.)
I'm working on a Tasty Scarf for one of my Etsy customers (yes! I have customers! :). I picked up several new yarns this past week including a lovely pima cotton from Mirasol in a sunflower yellow, and a crisp green grass from Jil Eaton MinnowMerino. The merino is single ply and so soft. I'd like to get more and knit something up for Bama, but I'm already halfway into (and shelved for the scarves) the Child's Placket Neck Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, and a bolero from Interweave (pattern? issue?) is waiting in the wings.
Bama's vegetable in-take had dipped of late. My cooking was becoming routine, and I needed to add some new veggies into her line-up. She's a good eater, but as we continue transitioning to regular foods, there are still things to watch for. Like greens, for example. They can be slippery and difficult to chew. She hadn't been too wild for greens, or so I though, until I made up a bag of braising greens from Riverdog Farm's food box (courtesy of Aunty Jenny). Yum!
More Veggies: I often try to have some cooked items on hand, and am getting better about incorporating them into random dishes. For example, for lunch, I made a quesadilla with roasted sweet potato, then fried an egg and put chard on top (I fry the egg and put raw chard on top, then cover the pan to help wilt, prep the chard). The egg/chard combo came from our friends, the O'Reillys, and was a pregnancy breakfast staple. Bama loved the whole thing, eating more sweet potato then she normally does.
Quick Dish: This week, I bought Cooking Light's special One Dish Meals issue because I wanted a go-to for easy prep dishes to add to my laundry list of quickies (like tacos. Mmm. tacos.). Last night, I threw together the Tex Mex Lasagna. I used grapeseed oil in the casserole dish, not cooking spray, and I added slices of zucchini (uncooked) to one layer, and slices of roasted sweet potato to the other layer to boost the veggies. And, because we're sharing this with Bama who might not like spicy as much as Mama and Papa, I cut the salsa by 1/3 but added in that much extra tomato sauce. The result? We all liked it, we have leftovers, and it was assembled and cooked in 45 minutes.
Meatballs: Last new kitchen trick, from one of the mamas in my mamas group, was meatballs. I used 1/2 pound each lamb, buffalo, and beef, seasoned with sage, oregano, coriander (for brightness), and … I keep forgetting. Roll into marble-size balls and fry. I froze packets of 6-8 meatballs, then mixed some that were on hand with Trader Joe's Organic Joe's O's Pasta. I don't love TJ's, nor do I love canned food, but as a back-up, it's better than Chef Boyardee (too much sugar) and Annie's pasta was gross (gluey and made Bama gag).
While I have no interest in the Time Out Pad that Mamabargains keeps hawking, I think this pad for the table looks great. I bought oilskin fabric from my local store and use it as a table cloth for Bama, especially when we are out on the town. But a friend likes the SmartyPants toddler mat because it's easy to clean and will be something her son can use for other non-food projects, like painting.
Aunty Jenny and I took Bama and Speed Racer out for a walk last week. You know, before we all went crazy in the house. After our walk, we made a couple of pit stops to look at neat things including a bear backpack she's thinking about for Speed Racer (who may be rechristened Winston Churchill one of these days for his diplomacy and hair). There were three bears, perfect for SR, Bama, and Cindy Lou Who. 😉 The store, which is all about products from recycled materials, carries several Sprig Toys toys including the awesome Dolphin Boat Explorer, which is for three and up, but maybe if I took out the choking hazard life preserver … Sprig Toys are "battery-free, eco-friendly, paint-free, kid-powered toys sure to dazzle the most discriminating preschooler."
Uncommon Grace reviews books each Friday. One of her recent picks was one of my childhood favorites, Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. This version is beautifully illustrated by Inga Moore.
I don't read as much as I used to, but I'm doing alright, I suppose. I added three books about Afghanistan to my library call list (after Futureshock, for which I'm in a mighty queue): Earth and Ashes
,The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban
, andThe Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage). I heard about the books on an NPR segment called "Three Books," in which a reviewer gives some background and then recommends three thematically-linked books. Recent triads include three not-geeky, female-centric comic books, three books about spooky houses, and three books about music.