Sunday, September 15, 2013

earthwise: environmental crafts and activities with young children, by carol petrash

earthwise: environmental crafts and activities with young children
by carol petrash

since i'm home full-time with arty, i'm always on the lookout for interesting and creative activities we can enjoy together. i love to draw, paint, sew, and craft, and i've always looked forward to sharing this love with my child(ren).
so when i was browsing through the playgroup library the other day, this book jumped out at me immediately.

earthwise has four sections, one for each season, and each contains a range of craft and cooking activities for pre-school and young primary children. some, such as grinding flour, and carding wool, are more ambitious. others are more simple. the aim with all of them is to encourage children to become aware of the seasonal changes in their environment, and engage as much as possible with natural materials in their craft and play.

this book offers a really good range of ideas that lend themselves very much to open-ended play, and creative expression. i'm really looking forward to getting stuck into a few new projects from the 'spring' chapter with arty in the coming weeks.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

baby noms: pumpkin and herb risotto

this recipe has been met with such enthusiasm from arty that i'm not remotely sorry that it made enough for 10 servings. i think he'd happily at it for breakfast, lunch and dinner indefinitely if i let him.

pumpkin and herb risotto


800g pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cubed
2 large pattipan squash, roughly chopped
70g butter
1 medium brown union, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
leaves from 5 sprigs of sage, finely chopped
leaves from 5 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped*
2 litres stock (my recipe for baby-friendly chicken stock is here)
200g grated cheddar cheese

(*these measurements are a bit hard for me to quantify, as i tend to go by feel with herbs - they made about a dessert spoon full when chopped)

  • boil or steam pumpkin and squash until tender. set aside to cool.
  • melt butter over a medium heat in the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • add onions, and sauté until they become translucent.
  • add herbs, and rice, and stir until everything in the pot is nicely covered with butter.

  • add stock one cup at a time, waiting until all of the previous cup has been absorbed by the rice before adding the next. stir constantly as you do this.
  • once all the stock has been added, the rice should be cooked. if it is still chalky, make some more stock, and continue to add it in the same way until the rice is ready.
  • remove the risotto from the heat, add cheese, stir through, cover, and set aside.
  • puree the pumpkin and squash, then combine with risotto.

as you can see form the photo, i served this with some chopped continental parsley on top (because we have some growing in the garden at the moment). it would also be nice with a dollop of sour cream and some chives, but frankly, it doesn't need any embellishment. it's delicious as it is.

Monday, September 2, 2013

what is chronic fatigue syndrome?

it's sleeping off one leaden blanket of fatigue for every two that drape themselves over you.

it's being embarrassed to answer your friends when they ask how you are, because there's no honest way to say you're fine, but the truth is so boring.

it's knowing that every over exertion will cost you a migraine, a nose-bleed, a cold sore, aching joints, mouth ulcers, a stomach ache, a dull mind...

it's catching every. damn. cold.

it's asking for favour after favour, and relying on every ounce of goodwill you ever earned.

it's being full of grief over what you want to be, anxiety over what you have to be, and guilt over what you can't be.

chronic fatigue is a cocksucker. and today i am really angry about it.