Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Soccer Saturday (On A Tuesday)

We are about a month into Josie's town travel soccer season.  It's the same fun team as last year only with three new players (and missing one player who switched teams and one who moved to a different town).  

Since they are only nine, the girls get moved around the different positions.  Sometimes Josie plays forward and sometimes she plays defense.... and if things are not going her way at all then Josie plays goalie.

On this particular Saturday, Josie stayed out of the goalie net and for that, she was very grateful.

Our team was down by one point when Josie kicked a hard, angled shot into the net to score!

Here is Josie moments after:

And here she is running down the middle of the field and celebrating with her teammates:

It's no use explaining to kids this age the rules of Excessive Celebration.  They just can't help themselves.

At least this time, Josie didn't do a cartwheel and at least this time our team wasn't winning 15-0, which actually happened last year.

The rest of the game was exciting.  The opposing team would score and then our team would score and tie things up.

And then we went ahead and the other team scored again.

But then Josie's team pulled ahead...

which was a relief since the team mascot (the coach's french bulldog, Maurice) was feeling very tense about the whole situation.

Don't feel too badly for Maurice.  Moments after this photo was taken, he relieved his stress by relieving himself on my foot and camera bag.

I guess SOMEONE doesn't like the paparazzi.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Great Cookie Project

This summer I tried a little experiment.  I asked the girls (and Henry - who ignored me and walked away) if they would like to be a part of The Great Cookie Project.  Each week, I would buy ingredients for a different cookie and the girls would take turns making them.

The official reason:  the children would learn important skills in following directions, measuring, mixing, creating, cleaning and doing a project from start to finish.  Science!  Math! Home Economics!  The Great Cookie Project had them all.

The real reason:  I wanted a never-ending supply of fresh, homemade cookies and I was too lazy to make them myself.

Josie and Georgia took turns being Head Chef and we mostly used recipes I found on Pinterest.  TGCP included chocolate chip cookies, S'mores Bars, Chocolate Salted Caramel Brownies, jelly thumbprint cookies and (on the day that I remembered to take photos), sugar cookies.

It was Josie's week and she got to do all the rolling, the cookie cutter-ing and the decorating.

She chose whales, hippos, a martini glass, a goose and three ninjas.

Because why not eat a hippo cookie?  Or a ninja?  And everyone knows that goose is delicious.

Especially if it is covered in pink sugar.

Obviously the Great Cookie Project was a huge success.  It was such a hit that we thought we would continue it into the fall.  I envisioned one of the children making cookies each Saturday and then I imagined myself packing lunches with homemade treats.

It hasn't happened.

Who has time on a Saturday to make cookies!?!

We're lucky if we can get the smelly uniforms washed between games.

Fall is the killer of fun, summer traditions.  It's a fact.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The School Projects Begin

Since the beginning of September, we've been waking up early, making lunches, packing school bags, making three trips to drop off three children to three different school.  In the afternoon, we've sharpened pencils, opened packs of notebook paper, done homework, studied for a few tests and even watched as Henry completed two papers... but it didn't feel like school had really started until last week when the first project came home.

Josie was the lucky recipient of the assignment.

Josie had to make a poster that highlighted the word "Buoyant."  And not the traditional definition of "Buoyant" that refers to floating on water, either.  Josie was given the definition of "happy and cheerful."

I had a hard time getting the right light the morning that I took these photos, so I will have to help you decipher what Josie's poster looked like.  In the top left hand corner, Josie wrote the definition of her word plus a synonym.

In the top right hand corner, Josie explained Buoyant's Part of Speech (adjective).

And then on my favorite parts, Josie wrote two sentences that demonstrate the use of the word Buoyant and which she then illustrated.

"Sarah was buoyant on the first day of school."

"Jack was still buoyant even though he didn't win the grand prize."

Notice the look of sheer disappointment on the face of the girl who came in third!  I guess her gold fish just didn't cut it!

As far as projects go, this one was pretty mild.  The only role I had to play in it's production was that of cheerleader (Good job, Josie!  Nice coloring!), which is the only way I like to help with projects.  We had Back to School Night the other evening and Josie's teacher assured us all that hers would not be a project-packed classroom, which was a great relief to all present.  

We'll keep our fingers crossed that her idea of what constitutes few projects is the same as ours!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Weekend With Owen

I just got back from a wonderful weekend in Pennsylvania with Elizabeth, Sean and the ever-so-adorable Owen.  

Owen is now two and like all two year olds, he is Full Of Energy, so this was definitely a weekend on the go.

We took multiple walks, visited a neighborhood yard sale (where Owen tried out a toddler-sized slide and rummaged through a trunk full of stuffed animals) and spent a very pleasant hour at the playground.

Owen has learned to talk and he exercises this new skill from the moment he wakes up until the moment he falls asleep.  It's very charming.

On the evening of my arrival, Owen started calling me Apple and we have no idea why.  Sean's theory is that Owen saw my apple-patterned phone case, and that's probably a good guess.  In any case, Apple is a whole lot easier to say than Martha and having a fruit moniker made me feel like I was a celebrity child.  Should I admit on the internet that I'm older than Gwyneth Paltrow and therefore couldn't possibly claim to be Apple Martin?

From my weekend with Owen, I learned the following things:  Owen likes trucks and Peppa Pig, he knows his colors (for the most part), enjoys a good laugh when tickled, has this charming habit of lying back-down on the carpet and staring up at the ceiling as if he is outside staring at the stars, and he adorably calls out "Hello Daddy" "Hello Mommy" whenever the corresponding parent enters a room.

I also loved the way that he asked to be picked up.  ("mommy hug")

Spending a week with Owen did make me miss the two year old phase, although older kids are pretty wonderful, too.

See you in December, Owen!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Southside

Because it is almost the weekend (and because I am finally finished with my Block Island posts), I will share with you my new favorite cocktail:  The Southside.

Elizabeth gave me a Vintage Cocktail book for Christmas last year and it is full of delicious gems.

The Southside is a very summery cocktail, in my opinion, but I'm sure it can still be enjoyed in the fall (wink, wink).  It calls for fresh lime juice and fresh mint.

You muddle together fresh mint, lime wedges, simple syrup and lime juice before adding the gin and giving the whole thing a good shake over ice.  

You then pour the contents of your shaker into a glass and top with soda.   

The Southside is simply delicious and totally worth the effort of the measuring and the muddling.  

The only bad thing about this cocktail is that it's not party-friendly.  The mint-to-drink ratio is one that requires you to start afresh with each glass and doesn't lend itself to a more crowd-pleasing pitcher.

That's not to say that I drank alone.  While I enjoyed my cocktail, Josie made herself a mocktail.

She squeezed lime juice, added simple syrup and soda.

Mostly she made a sticky mess, but it was fun nonetheless.

Cheers!  Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The First Two Hockey Games Of The Year

Josie and Henry both had their first hockey games of the season on the same day.  And as luck would have it, I got to go to both.  Henry and I went to watch Josie make her debut with the Islanders and then we hurried 20 minutes down the road to another ice rink, where Josie and I watched Henry and his team start their season.

This is Josie's first year playing hockey on an all-girl team.

Their home rink for games might just be the dirtiest, most disgusting rink in New England.  It was hard to take successful photos through the years of muck that has accumulated on the plexi-glass boards.

Josie played defense for this game and did a great job.  Her team won 4-1.

After Josie's game, we piled into the car and drove to another rink for Henry's game.  

I don't get to see many of Henry's games because Gordy is usually the coach or the assistant coach which means that he has to be there, leaving me to take either (or both) girls to their weekend activity.  

On this day, Gordy missed the game and his Assistant Coaching duty, since he was back at home, hosting a party / meeting with Georgia's soccer team, their coach and parents.  

We actually lucked out on this day.  It's not usual for the two hockey players to have back-to-back games in the same part of the state.  Dividing up the Sunday tasks was much easier than normal.

It's amazing the difference between nine year olds hockey and fourteen year olds.  

Both are enthusiastic and serious, but the teenagers win for speed and accuracy.

Henry's team won 8-0.

And so the hockey season begins.  

I've already gotten out my wool socks, ugg boots and down jackets.  I've done about five loads of hockey-related laundry and I've already driven hundreds of carpool miles.  

Yep.  It's begun.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I Jump On The Pesto Bandwagon

Block Island has so many wonderful atributes including gorgeous beaches, stunning sunsets and great restaurants but what it doesn't have is good, fresh produce.  Some of the restaurants have their own kitchen gardens, but there isn't a dedicated produce farm on the island and so all fruit and vegetables have to be shipped over to the island on the ferry from the mainland.  Needless to say, pickings can be slim at the Block Island Grocery Store.  There is one island farm stand, conveniently located close to our house, that sells fresh basil and the occasional tomato or cucumber.  I biked over to the stand one afternoon and bought myself a big bunch of basil and decided to give homemade pesto a try.

I know.  I'm the last person ON EARTH to make homemade pesto.  I prefer eating to cooking, so it takes me awhile to try things.

In the late afternoon, I started the process by washing the Block Island dirt off the basil.

And making myself a vodka tonic.

The basil was gorgeous:  green, fresh and beautifully smelly.

I was joined, as I almost always am, by Josie, who turned up the dance music and got down to business.

I followed a recipe I found on the internet that called for 7 cloves of garlic (which was way too much, by the way), basil, olive oil and pine nuts.

I left out the pine nuts because of Henry's nut allergies.

Josie helped me with the blending.  This part of the process took a long, long time.

Note to self:  blenders are not food processors.

We added parmesan cheese once we were done with the chopping.

And then mixed the pesto into our spaghetti.

I was pleased with our creation.  Nothing says healthy eating to me more than the color green.

While we were on Block Island, we ate outside on the deck most nights.  I like to stare at the ocean as much as possible while I am on the island.  Once we are back home in Massachusetts, the daily view is of green for a few weeks and then we move to gray skies and finally to blinding white snow, so I like to get my share of sunny and cloudless-sky while I can.

On The Night I Made Pesto, the sky was particularly clear and the weather was perfect.  We ate our healthy dinner and then took a lovely walk on the beach.

I'm already missing summer, can you tell?

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