Monday, July 30, 2012

Quinoa Pizza Bites

These healthy little darlings are packed with flavor and easy to make. My boys like them and I must admit that I ate more than my share. (I finished dinner 3 hours ago and I'm still full.) Mmmmm...

Quinoa Pizza Bites

2 C cooked quinoa
3 large eggs
1 C chopped onion
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
1 C chopped pepperoni slices (1/2 of a 7 oz bag)
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried crushed oregano
marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all ingredients, except pizza sauce, in a medium mixing bowl. Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top and press down gently to compact. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with marinara on the side.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Favorite Kind of Light

When the light outside turns golden and brilliant and for just a couple minutes, illuminates a thin strip of my yard and the rock wall of my 60's era fireplace, I know I've arrived at my favorite time of day. The boys are breathing softly in their beds and I've made it through another 24 hours of life, mostly unscathed. Time to fill a bubble bath, turn on some soft music, and open a book.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

12of12: July (Thursday)

On the 12th of each month, I take 12 photos to document my day. My camera is currently out of town with my man, so I was forced to make do with my iPhone. I was anxious that this would be the first 12of12 project the result of which I didn't love, but although the photo quality isn't as great as usual, I was still given a lovely day to capture.

[Click on the block of photos to enlarge.]

1. It turns out that the boys are crazy about peas! They eat them like candy out of our garden. The basher was so desperate for the vegetable today that he ripped half of a plant apart. 2. The basher required a bit of TLC this morning, which I was happy to supply. 3. His favorite book. 4. Funny faces. (We also made happy faces and sad faces. The basher looks the same in all of them.) 5. Lunch date with Grandpa Art and Grandma Georgia! 6. Sunny and hot. 7. Working during nap/quiet time. 8. After wrestling. 9. While making the boys' quesadillas, I looked out the window to see them quietly munching on their appetizers: whole apples. 10. My mom and I attended a splendid concert tonight put on by students of the Gifted Music School at a private residence in Federal Heights. 11. This home was lovely, unique, and inviting, with fuchsia walls and ornate decor. After the concert, the hostess served a light dinner on gold china. 12. What I want: an entire pan of brownies. What I ate: an apple and cheese (which is pretty tasty, unless what you really want is an entire pan of brownies).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Another Parenting Discussion

 Calvin had his first piano lesson this week.
 He is excited to learn out of his very own book.
 He learned how to sit in the "I'm great!" pose. Nice and tall. He can even balance a teddy bear on his head while he plays.
He learned about making short sounds and long sounds. We listened to the looooong sounds for a looooong time.

There is much discussion to be had on the subject of extracurricular endeavors. Some parents believe in unstructured play and learning, and that over-scheduling a child is detrimental to their development. Some parents believe that challenging their children to learn new skills as a musician, artist, or athlete teaches them to work hard and boosts their confidence. My philosophy incorporates both ideas. I do believe that it is important to let my boys play on their own for a good stretch of time; it fosters creativity and problem solving. Some of my best times as a kid happened when "pretending" with my friends or cousins. I had an especially good time with my cousin Megan as we princesses tried to escape our evil stepmother, the queen, or the wicked witch. We rode bicycle horses and explored strange and beautiful lands under her walnut tree.

But during the summer, when my friends' days were completely open, I was expected to complete an hour of piano practicing before I could play. Sometimes I resented it, yes. But I also found enjoyment in music. Through the years, I learned that, even though a piece may seem daunting at first, I was capable of learning hard things if I would just drill the tough spots and dedicate my time and energy on the piano bench. Thanks to a strong foundation on the piano, I was able to pick up the violin relatively quickly. Orchestra became my team sport.

This week, I attended a lunch meeting with some colleagues, all of whom are elite musicians and teachers, much more experienced than I am. Interestingly, most of them agreed that, although (or maybe because) they are all professional musicians, they do not desire their own children to become professional musicians. However, they still plan to place their children in music lessons. I told them that I was planning to give the punk his very first piano lesson that very day. My man and I aim to give our boys access to different areas of education - baseball, golf, soccer, art, piano, maybe cello, or even drums - and then let them decide what they like. This opinion was met with a bit of friction. Someone commented, "You can't expect children to work hard on their own. They don't get to choose to play or not to play!" Although I think I was a bit misunderstood, I didn't care to defend myself at that time. But let me explain here.

When I was a young girl, my mom put me in dance classes. Of course she did! She used to be a dancer herself, and she found great joy in the art. However, it turns out that I am a terrible dancer. Although I excelled at tap (I got rhythm, man!), I was the very worst in my class at ballet and jazz. It is my conviction that I am in the bottom 5% of all humans when it comes to flexibility. I cried and complained every time I had to go to class. It wasn't until after I quit that I finally figured out how to spread my toes apart, and I still don't understand why a ballerina has to have that skill. My point is that I am grateful that my mom had the understanding to let me quit something that I just didn't like. I was not required to follow in her dance steps. But because she saw that I had the skills of a musician, she did require that I stick with my piano, and later violin, lessons, even when they got hard. Even in the summer when all my other friends were playing. She gave me access to options, allowed me to choose, and then made me stick with it.
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