December 31, 2008|Comments (29)
As I watched my youngest girl trot happily out to the chicken coop to muck the thing, I couldn’t help but shout with joy. She arrived knowing every dance move from the rap videos on MTV and all of the lyrics (even the scary ones). Now she hums “If You’re Happy and You Know It” under her breath while feeding chickens and helping me stir batches of laundry detergent. But does that a farm kid make?
Old Mr. W, my neighbor from childhood, swore that farm kids were born and not made. He theorized that no child born into suburbia could ever transition into farm life. They would never be able to understand that feeding the animals is just not a chore that can be forgotten. They would never “get it” that sleeping in meant that the cows wouldn’t be milked, the horses would go hungry, and the chickens wouldn’t be let out of their coop to enjoy the sunlight in order to lay eggs. Ultimately, he felt that city kids would feel robbed of their childhood were they to wake up one day and be expected to farm. Oprah would be called, Tom Cruise would fly in and jump on the furniture, R.E.M. would burst into “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and the poor little displaced child would be returned to a world of video games and designer clothes.
We take a slightly different view. Kids, we believe, really don’t wish to spend their formative years turning their brains to chunky peanut butter. They would much rather pop out of bed early and paint the chicken coop or gather eggs than most anything else. The daily chores become adventures and opportunities to make lasting memories.
So, the question must be put to you, my wonderful friends. Is a farm kid born or made?
December 29, 2008|Comments (29)
It wasn’t so very long ago that I stood in Westville Village (yes… “ville” and “village” is a wee mite redundant) with Tia Julie and Josh feeling very inspired. Not simply because I feel that I am part of the generationally displaced but also because it cemented certain ideas in my brain. In the moment that I took the above picture… after much deep and profound brain things inside my head… I had a plan.
As we walked to the schoolhouse along the paths at Westville with children in traditional clothes and wooden wheels running about happily, I told Josh my thoughts. Our children — those mysterious little future beings — would be part of such a community, be creative and inventive with their play, and they would not miss out on life because they were permanently connected to a video game device. Our future children would be able to think for themselves.
And so it came to pass that we got our kids. And what awesome kids they are! Creative? You bet. Did I dream them into reality, I wonder?
My girls love to play with homemade Play Doh (we refill the little containers and add different scents like mint, peppermint, almond, orange, and cinnamon with extracts), go on treasure walks with buckets of pine cones in tow, have tea parties, read books while curled up on the front porch, and enjoy exploring the world around them.
To think that just a few weeks ago, we were still in the planning phase… and now we have put our plan into action. And it’s working.
They called me “mommy” today for the very first time. My cup runneth over.
P.S. My youngest (pictured by the Play Doh) says “widdle waddle” instead of “a little while.” Cute!
December 27, 2008|Comments (27)
These darlings of the winter cookie baking… the classics that send us running for photoalbums… and the ones that end up being upstaged by chocolate chip cookies or buckeyes or iced sugar cookies. These are the wallflowers of the cookie family with their unexciting exterior which hides their secret burst of warmth and flavor. And now the classic contains more dietary fiber. An almost guilt-free winter sweet. What’s not to love about that?
First of all, you’ll need to grab up the following ingredients (and locate some giggly girls to help, too):
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups shortening
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
Now, stir together all the dry ingredients (except for the sugar) in a separate bowl. In your mixer, add shortening, 2 cups of sugar, water, and the molasses and put it on LOW for a sec. Add the molasses and the eggs — mixing in between each addition. You might need to scrape the bowl a few times. I did. Add the flour/wheat germ mixture a little at a time. Mix until nice and fluffy.
Now roll it into little balls and dip it in the 3/4 cup of sugar. **Try not to get distracted by how cute my kids hands are while rolling cookies.**
Nor when they hold up their sugar-coated little fingers and squeal with delight. **Focus, Lacy! Focus!**
Throw it on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 11-13 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Devour. Moan. Clean up crumbs. Eat crumbs. Moan. Scarf down more cookies when you think no one can see you. Then discover that you are incredibly full. Wheat germ is very filling stuff, as it turns out.
Want to learn more about adding fat-fighting wheat germ to your foods? Check out this snazzy little article about adding dietary fiber to your baked goods.