Late to the Party

3 09 2012

“Wow, a food blog post about the Hunger Games.  How original.”  See how judgmental you can be?  Maybe you should come back later when you’re feeling better.

Some very good friends of ours just moved 3,000 miles away.  But before that they did something terrible.  They introduced me to the Hunger Games.  I’m not sure exactly why this trilogy of books has nailed me so completely, but I find myself going back every so often to reread certain passages (or the whole book).  What strikes me is that from the beginning this series is not so much about a fight to the death or action or violence, but survival.  From the very first page we find out that in the districts of Panem the main enemy is starvation.  Food is vitallly important in this story, and even in the arena Katniss notes “…how quickly the food disappears.”  So it’s no surprise that it’s inspired a cookbook and countless bloggers to take up the mantle and dedicate posts and recipes to the many meals described in detail in the book.  I may be late to this party but that’s what I do.

The very first food in The Hunger Games is so simple, yet it’s given star treatment.  A gift from her sister, Katniss receives a “…perfect little goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves.”  Spread across some special bakery bread, this breakfast is dubbed a feast.  It certainly made my mouth water to read it, so I thought it would make a perfect appetizer for our Hunger Games dinner (which you’ll find out about later).

I searched my favorite recipe site (Cooking Light) for “goat cheese basil” and this beauty showed up:

Fresh Herbed Heirloom Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Crostini

That’s quite a title, isn’t it?  For a recipe with no photo, just the list of ingredients made my mouth water.  But it’s not exactly what I was looking for so I made a slight adjustment.  And by slight adjustment I mean I put the bread on the bottom instead of the tomatoes.  Actually it was more than that, because we didn’t have lemons and I used limes.  But lime juice is very potent so I used half as much as they asked for; even so it was a bit limey for my taste but still very good.  We went to the bakery at our local butcher shop and got some Italian sun-dried tomato bread and toasted it up in the toaster oven.  On went the goat cheese, topped with the tomato slices and basil oil.

A feast indeed.  Karen mentioned that this could have been a meal in itself.  I agree.





Three

1 05 2009

Ben was three years old yesterday.  Like last year I’m going to talk about some of the things he can do this April that he couldn’t last April.  Benjamin seems much more aware of his surroundings now.  He really notices what’s going on, and most of it entertains him.

ben

Ben is balancing better on his own, taking some steps in his gait trainer, and even balancing on the couch by himself for short periods of time.  

ben

Benjamin is much more interactive with people now.  This started last August when he would sit on my lap and watch the Olympics all evening.  He really enjoys attention, and lets you know it.

ben

Ben is crawling now, and rolling all over the floor to get to toys and other things left on the floor.  It’s become his favorite thing to do.  

ben hits the whammy bar for total rock domination

 

Ben is doing a little better with feeding.  We’ve been working with the feeding clinic, and they’ve been advising us on how to introduce food, etc.  He’s started opening his mouth for food out of resignation.  It seems we are wearing through his defenses little by little.  

ben

He did, however, like the frosting from his birthday cake.  

ben

Happy Birthday Ben.





It’s as if you were there…

26 03 2009

The school where Isaac takes his piano lessons had their annual performathon.  It’s always fun, we can sit for however long we want and listen to students of all ages and abilities performing on piano, violin, guitar, voice, etc.  We really enjoy it.  But Jonathan gets restless, so this time Karen handed him her point and shoot digital camera.  I always love seeing Jonny’s photographs; it’s like seeing into his brain and how it works.

nothing odd here

quite lovely

what is that thing on the ceiling, exactly?

okay, I suppose the chairs are interesting

yes we all knew this one was coming...

He made me show him these pictures right after he took them.

At this point I'm shaking with laughter

whew!  Back to normal.

omg why am I laughing tears?

So there you have it.  A peek inside Jonathan’s brain.  We hope you enjoyed the show.





Battle Royale

24 03 2009

Nate and Ben have been battling it out over toys lately.  It’s a toss up who’s going to win each one, but Nathaniel has been winning more and more of them.  Ben, however, has a secret weapon.  Once the toy is gone, he often loses interest. 

Let the games begin

This wonderful activity table was a Christmas present to the little ones from their dear Auntie Dawn.  It’s very cool that they can both play with it at the same time.  Nate still wants to keep pulling it away from Ben, though.






Talent show ’09

27 02 2009

In the school that the boys attend the talent show is a pretty big deal.  Last year Isaac was in it for the first time, and he loved it.  This year when the time came to sign up he wanted to play more music from his Legend of Zelda video games on the piano, so we were more than happy to oblige him.  But his teacher also wanted them to sing a song as a class, and so did Jonathan’s teacher.  That meant that for the duration of the show Karen and I would be sitting with just the babies.  No small feat, but undeniably easier than having Jonathan on my lap at the same time.

They went in order of grades, so Jonathan’s kindergarten class went first.  They sang a rousing rendition of Down by the Bay, complete with visual aids.  Then some first graders did some stuff, and then Isaac’s class sang This Little Light of Mine, complete with little flashlights to “let shine.”

see?  they're shining!

After another couple of acts Isaac took his turn at the piano.  He played the Clocktown theme from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

he says he wasn't nervous

He played it perfectly (of course).  The crowd was so moved there were cell phones in the air.  And at the end he took a nice deep bow, to the sound of thunderous applause that threatened to send the roof crashing down on top of everyone.  

I'll be here all week.  Thank you!

I’m expecting a call next week finalizing the record deal.  

But something odd happened.  All those acts from last year in which girls danced along to Hannah Montana songs weren’t there.  I was stunned, because there were at least ten of these routines last year.  But there were a lot more acts this year, so I suppose they found other things to do.  In all it was a great evening out with everybody, and when we left (which was a bit before the end) Isaac and Jonathan didn’t want to go.  They’re already making plans for next year.





An old friend

11 02 2009

Ben is almost three.  Looking back on each year it’s inspiring to see the progress he’s made.  And that’s a good thing, because day to day it can seem like there’s not much happening.  But there is.

Long long ago there was a time when Ben couldn’t do much.  He couldn’t sit up without support, he couldn’t roll over.  He could, however, hold a toy in his hand and “play with it.”  By this I mean that he would wave it in front of him.  He could also stand in an exersaucer and bat at toys.  But his three positions during the day (besides on my lap) were in the saucer, lying on the floor, and sitting in the swing.  He napped (and got fed) in the swing, and when he was there he had a favorite toy.  It was one of those toys meant to put over a carrier-type car seat.  Baby pulled on the ring, it came towards them, and vibrated on its way back up.  Ben loved it.  He’d play with it for long stretches of time.  But eventually he became bored with it.  So it got put away.

Nathaniel arrived last summer, so we’ve been getting some old toys out again for him to get bored with, and the old bumblebee was one of them.  Ben is rarely in the swing these days so he hadn’t seen too much of it.  But the other day I set him there while he napped and he started playing with it again.  Pulling it, letting it vibrate, never letting go.  He always liked feeling the vibrations.  

swinging himself and lounging around

So I sat there watching him pull and relax, pull and relax.  He was remembering just like I was.





One week in

9 02 2009

We’ve got some rules in our house that we actually enforce.  One of them is “No video games during the week.”  The boys have come to accept this rule, but it usually means that on Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday they want to do nothing but play video games.  We also have a “no video games before lunch” rule.  So the actual time spent may be relatively small in relation to the week, but the amount of space in their minds occupied by the games is very large.  Time was not kept by the position of the sun in the sky or by the phase of the moon.  Time was kept by marking how many days were left until the three day gaming binge.  Obsession is a dangerous thing, and these kids aren’t even ten yet.  So we decided to prove to them that there are other things to do than sit in front of the TV with a controller.

We designated February as “No Video Games Month.”  When met with the expected protests we explained that at least February is the shortest month of the year.  We could have picked March.  We could have picked JULY, when they’re home from school (we still may do that one).

next year he performs at the grammys

So here we are, one week into our screen-free month (no TV either) and what’s been happening?  I can tell you one thing that hasn’t been happening.  Much to our surprise we haven’t heard one complaint.  There the game systems sit, in full view of the children (and parents), and I haven’t heard one question about leniency on the rule.  Isaac has, however, delved into Zelda strategy guides as if he’s living vicariously through them.  I’ve hid those now, because I find it a bit creepy.  

Jonathan is summarily unfazed by the whole idea.  While he loves the idea of being free to play video games, in truth he could give or take them.  He often plays for a while then puts the controller down and does something else.  In this case he’s gotten hooked on one of their Christmas presents from my mother, the Smart Globe from the Discovery Store.  

actually looking for Carmen San Diego

He’s played with it so much that when they ask him to locate countries on the globe he can do it pretty quickly.  He was even helping Isaac do it (and mocking him at the same time).  So far I’d say that this experiment is a success, and it’s one we’ll have to repeat in the future.