Spring Deliciousness!!

It was a beautiful day, and I had a full day of chores and errands planned.  So of course when a friend called asking if we wanted to go on a hike, I said yes!!  ;D  We had a wonderful 2 hour hike at Heritage in Farmington Hills – it was just the right temperature and there were so many wildflowers.  But the highlight of the hike was harvesting garlic mustard.  Garlic mustard is an invasive species, so you are generally allowed to harvest it in places where they don’t allow picking – it crowds out the native wildflowers, and many rangers will even arrange “garlic mustard pulls”.  And it is delicious!  The kids had a great time foraging – our friend S was truely a champion.  She is only 3, but she was the best and most dedicated of the kids.  We ended up with a huge bag to take home, and the kids still kept pulling…

For dinner, we made a quick sauce with the garlic mustard that we put over pasta.  Here is what was in the sauce:

1 onion, chopped

4 Tablespoons butter (this is an approximate)

4-5 cups garlic mustard leaves, flowers and a few stems, roughly chopped

28 oz can diced tomatoes

2 links sweet Italian sausage, cooked and chopped

1/4-1/2 teaspoon thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet and saute the onions until slightly soft.  Add garlic mustard and saute until wilted.  This will be fast.  Add tomatoes, spices and sausage.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes and then serve over pasta.  Garnish with parmesan cheese  Remember to wash out the cast iron right away so that the acid from the tomatoes doesn’t eat away your seasoning.

This was a big hit!  Not only did the kids get to help cook it, they also got to help pick it!  The boys have already gone up for their shower, but Rowan is still at the table eating.  :)   And since it is full of wonderful nutrients, as well as some bitters from the garlic mustard, she can have as much as she wants…

New Tea Blend

Well, last night I finally put my new herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs to use.  I blended up a tea that Chris and I both really liked.  For a bonus, it was full of calming and relaxing herbs that really felt good as well as tasting good.  This is what I did:

4-5 scoops lemon balm

4 scoops chamomile

1-2 scoops lavendar

1-2 scoops pepermint

Our Weekend Project

Our gate solution at the bottom of the stairs

Our gate solution at the bottom of the stairs

Since Rowan figured out how to move the gate we had placed across the bottom of the stairs in the foyer, we have been trying to figure out the best way to gate off this opening.  We already owned several gates, but it didn’t seem as though any of them would work.  The problem:  at the bottom of the stairs we had issues on both sides.  On one side, a curved wall.  On the other side, a metal banister.  We kicked around just about every idea you can think of, including gating off the whole foyer, drilling into the metal and gating off the kitchen and family room from the rest of the house, and having that be Rowan’s domain.  None of those seemed acceptable.

To make is more complicated, I also wanted to be sure I could open it with one hand while carrying a sleeping baby, and I wanted to boys to be able to have open access to the upstairs.  Our friends Jen and David Bowden lent us a gate that we thought might work while we were in our “gating off the foyer” school of thought.  It didn’t work for that, but it did end up being our solution.  Thanks Jen and David!!!

We ended up constructing a wood extenstion to the banister that we attached to the banister with T plates.  This provided the “wall” we needed on the banister side.  With this on one side, we were able to work with the curved wall on the other side and install the tension-mounted gate.  Chris and Drew built the “wall” (Drew even got to drill one of the holes), I painted it and now we should be good to go.  And for the bonus points, I can open it with one hand while carrying Rowan and the boys can both easily open it.  :)

Our New TV!

Rowan loves watching the new TV!

Rowan loves watching the new TV!

Well, Chris got Rock Band for his birthday.  I am still ambivalent about it – even though I bought it…  I don’t actually have a problem with the game.  Mostly I am not all that excited about one more fun electronic thing which the kids beg to play all the time.  (Please can we play Rock Band, Mama?)

But the purchase did lead to an imaginative adventure that I hadn’t anticipated.  The morning after Chris’ birthday, the boys fell upon the box like wolves with scissors.  :D   They worked together cutting and making sure everything was just right.  It was so sweet to watch them co-operating and enjoying each other!  Once all the flaps were cut off, Drew cut a hole in the bottom and then asked for help attaching antena.  The TV was done!

Next we got to watch TV!  We have spent the last couple of days watching the weather (Drew actually felt bad today when he realized his forcast hadn’t called for snow tonight – LOL), the news, hockey games and assorted other programming.  I love Drew’s “announcer voice” and theme music and Trevor’s enthusiasm for any show he is putting on.  This is certainly one TV that won’t have any limits on its use…

Happy Birthday Rowan!

Our little lady sharing books with her big big brother, Drew!

Our little lady sharing books with her big big brother, Drew!

Well, my sweet little lady is now one year old!  I can hardly believe the year has flown by so fast.  I really do feel like I just blinked and she is a toddler.  I have spent the past week or so really getting ready emotionally for this birthday.  I have been remembering back one year to when I was pregnant and what that felt like.  How I was waiting to see who this little person would be, and how I was so anxious to meet her.  (I was sure she was going to be a “her”.  My pregnant dreams have never lied to me on gender.)  How I was so sure she would be born between 5 and 6 am (she was) and how I should have known it would be a Wednesday.  How I was positive Rowan would be born in a snowstorm, but I didn’t tell Chris that because he was terrified she would be born in a snowstorm.  LOL

This morning when Rowan woke up, she gave me a super-long snuggle hug as I told her a bit about her birth.  We walked into her room and remembered meeting each other for the first time in that room and snuggling together as we got to know each other and the rest of the family.  It was amazing to me how calm she was this morning as I talked about this.  It really seemed as if she was listening and reliving that moment with me.  Happy birthday my lovely little Baby Flower!  It has been an honor to know you this past year, and I look forward to all the rest of the years of your life.  I love you, Rowan!