Thursday, March 26, 2009

First Grade Field Trip

Today was our class's trip to the zoo! Mrs. Keyes told me not to worry about coming in with Steven until around 9:00, because the buses weren't leaving until 9:15. I thought, perfect.....she is giving me some extra time to get our lunches packed, etc. Well, Steven was fully dressed from head to toe on top of me in my bed at 6:30am chanting "field trip, field trip" So, I dragged myself out and went ahead into school at 8:00. George took Amanda Lily to breakfast, then they were off to the restaurant. She really enjoys helping set up at the store anyways, but that is another blog.

We rode the big yellow bird, because I didn't want Steven to miss the whole experience. It was windy, but not overly hot, so we had a good time. I was having throw backs to my childhood. I'm not sure how many of you have been on a school bus lately, but they haven't changed much since our day. Steven has begged me all year to ride it to and from school, but I just look at him and say "honey, you just need to get over are not riding the school bus" It is totally me, and I accept it, but it's just not gonna happen.

We had a nice lunch in the park area upon arrival, then broke into groups and toured the park. I found my friend Trish who was chaperone for Ben's class, and we navigated the place together. I was really surprised at the animals they had there. Not that it's Lowry Park Zoo, but it was fun for the kids to see the alligators, leopards, elephants, emu, snakes, lemurs, eagles, and my personal favorite....kangaroos! Another really cool looking animal was an alligator monitor. It was like this giant lizard looking thing with fluorescent spots. They also got to feed the mountain goats, which was super cool for them.

Some of the photos show Steven with our group, as well as one on the bus ride where he was sitting with his Spanish Teacher Sra. Catala, and his good friend Kaitlyn.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Zoo Animal Cookies

Stevens First Grade Field trip is coming up on Thursday. I thought it would be fun to make Zoo shaped animal cookies for him to take into class. Amanda Lily and I have been working on them this morning. She is so precious. She knows they are for Steven's class, and she still has no problem working hard on them. (Of course, we made a couple heart shaped ones for her to eat as well.) Anyhow, since my blog is morphing into recipes and cooking advice, I thought I would share this super simple recipe I use for the cookies.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and mix. Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Refrigerate batched dough for at least 2 hours. Roll out dough in batches, working quickly so that it doesn't become sticky. Also, be sure to dust your surface with flour prior to rolling dough out.

Cut into animal shapes. (I got mine at Joann's) Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. I only baked mine for 5 minutes because the animal cookie cutters are mini's, so adjust time in oven according to size of cookie.

One word of caution, remember to work quickly with the cookie dough or it will stick.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Risotto instead of processed rice

A couple of months ago, I did a blog on Nutrition. Jennifer commented on her love of Rice A Roni. I have been meaning to post this recipe for her, but keep forgetting. It is for an Italian style rice called Risotto. You can find it in any grocery store, and it is easy enough for even a novice cook to make.

1 cup risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups free range organic chicken broth
Sea Salt and Pepper

Warm your oil and butter in pan and saute the onion. Throw a pinch of coarse sea salt in the pan a minute after the onion has started cooking, to bring out the water in the onion (as well as the flavor) After the onion has a glossy look (maybe 3 or 4 mins), add the risotto and cook stirring for 3 more minutes. Stir in broth one cup at a time, allowing it to be absorbed by the rice before adding each cup. The risotto will come to a good consistency gradually. Add pepper to taste.

Above is the most basic of recipes. There is allot you can do to spruce it up to your tastes.
My kids favorite risotto is made with tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

1 lb roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, cut up
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (buy a block of it in the deli section)

Add tomatoes and cheese after most of broth is absorbed. The cheese gives the risotto a very creamy texture. The possibilities are endless with risotto. I've even made a sweet potato risotto before!
My next recipe I post will be for couscous, another great starch for your side dishes

Monday, March 16, 2009

Visiting Nanny

For the past two weeks, we have had house guests. Mom, Larry, and Tre' have been here, and we have had lots of fun. One of the highlights of their stay was a trip we took to Monkey Joe's. It is alot of fun for the kids, and it wears out their energy. We went on a Thursday after school. Steven told me that he wants to have his birthday party there, so we will see.

We also got a chance to go and have a visit with Nanny. I was so glad to see her. And she of course was happy to see us. The kids made her day. We ran around in her yard playing tag and she sat on the swing and just soaked it all in.

While we were in Wildwood, we got lucky and saw 3 trains. For those of you who don't know, my son is train crazy. He has been since he was 2 years old. We always thought it was a phase, but no.....he loves trains. There is even a documentary series on the Discovery Channel called "Extreme Trains", that is his very favorite show. Maybe one day he will help engineer the train that will travel from NYC to California. Who knows?

Anyhow, here are some photos from our fun times together.