Thursday, April 26, 2012

Can you spell Entomologist?

The entomologist has turned 5! How is this possible?!? We registered him for kindergarten last week and bought him his first real backpack for his birthday. He got to move up to the top bunk for the first time last night. And although he's not actually heavy enough to move up to a booster seat, he's getting one (albeit with a 5 point harness) ! Is this actually happening?

I am sure so many of you remember the little guy from his first days into this world. He is as independent and stubborn as they come. I am beginning to understand that second kids are just their own people. They feel the need to assert that independence as individuals in stubborn ways that both drive their mothers crazy while bringing a sense of pride at the same time. This guy loves people. Although he will fight me tooth and nail over which pair of white socks he wants to wear, he also can't stand to be by himself. He follows me around and is under foot just like an infant at times. He'd rather wallow on the floor and wait for me to finish my email than go find something fun to do by himself.

Here is what I find him doing when I am busy on the computer...
I have found that if I take some one on one time seriously without distractions, it serves as a charge for him to play independently for a time afterward.  I sat up in his bed yesterday and had him tell me all about the bugs he got for his birthday and then he left charged long enough for me to take a nap up there for the next 45 min. I couldn't believe it.
Here he is entertaining himself by drawing but only after some one on one time!
Here is Entomologist Aeneas with all of this gear on, ready to go catch some bugs.

He has a ridiculous passion for things he finds interesting and right now that thing is bugs. He routinely digs in the recycling bin looking for things he can poke holes in and use as a bug catcher. Recently we checked out another really fun book from the Library called "Bug Zoo." I picked it up in hopes to prolong the lives of the little critters we pick up on our hunts. It teaches you how to build, care and feed the little guys. We have had so much fun building habitats and and catching bugs and now that he has gotten his real bug catching gear from his birthday, he's all that much more official.

Here is one of our bug habitats that we built using stuff from around the house and  a few things from the hardware store.
This is the invention of all inventions. It's called a bug pooter. It's basically a bug vacuum that you power with your mouth. Both boys spend hours flipping rocks and collecting things in it. They had no less than 50 rolly pollies in them yesterday.
You can hear him telling you how the pooter works and how it is made.

Happy Birthday my little scientist. You are amazing!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bird Food for Dinner

Justin has always called me crunchy granola. And I would agree that yes, I have those tendencies. I wear a lot of 2nd hand clothes (nice looking ones), I don chacos most every day it is above 50 degrees outside (because they give my feet freedom), gave natural birth to both my kids (although begged for an epidural and was denied on account of the speed of things), nursed them to close to a year (promising that once they could call it by name they were through), ride my bike as much as I can to do errands and I serve the family mostly vegetarian meals (because free range is expensive and we still have to eat).

However, I don't live in a commune, I don't have a garden, I take a shower most every day even and I don't (thank goodness) wear patchouli oil fragrance. Therefore I only count myself as having tendencies and not a card carrying member.

The other night I made dinner and as I was taking the plates to the table I realized I had gone way too far. Off the deep end. Colorado is wearing off on me!

Here is what we had:

Vegetarian Beet and Millet Burgers
Sweet Potato Fries
Broccoli Slaw

I always thought that once you started eating bird seed, it was all over from there on out. I made BEET and MILLET veggie burgers. And totally LIKED it!

I won't pretend that any of you will actually want this recipe, but if you decide you are brave enough to try something totally out there and completely granola, shoot me an email and I will gladly share it.


The gold hoop earrings were his favorite. And check out all the stuff he's got stuffed in the waist of his pants.

WE love to go to the library. Our public library is so fun and the boys are beginning to really understand how to use it. The latest craze, thanks to the Disney ride over t-giving, has been pirates! We came across a really cool book that tells about the history and lifestyle of pirates. After a few pages of information, there is an activity. So we spent the week learning all about pirates in general and making things to help live the life as well. If you have a pirate living at your house, see if you can find this book. It has been so fun.

 What's up for next week? Well, knights, of course!

Aeneas wore his knight helmet to EVERYTHING over the course of 3 days. Family night at Patrick's school, piano lessons and the store! Quite the head turner as you might imagine!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Eggs

Easter has come to the McBrayer house! We made our paper mache eggs again this year, made a soft nest for them to hatch and lo and behold, they did just that!

 They got bird feeders of which they were so excited about that we had to hang them up immediately. Within 30 mins there were dozens of little birds sharing an Easter morning feast of which the boys squealed, saying "The Easter Bunny came to see us and then we are like the Easter Bunny to the little birds!"

 Headed for the Easter Island rice patties!

 Patrick tried to get into his egg and Aeneas was all about wearing his as a hat.

Patrick read the Easter Story to us from the Rhyme Bible Storybook and then we followed it by making resurrection rolls (Thanks Nina for the idea!). The boys totally got it. It was a beautiful moment.

Easter egg hunt at church. This year everyone got a basket with a number and could only pick up the eggs that had their number on it. The event actually lasted longer than 5 min for the first time in history, and there were no tears over who got more! Not a bad idea.

Two handsome boys, totally decked out for the special day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Milk with Poop

This is one of those posts that I don't imagine my grandmother or mother, who are faithful followers of our blog will appreciate. However, it is one of those parenting instances that you all will totally relate to being married to a McBrayer. I would say the McBrayer girls made a safe escape except this is not something I would put past Joel and I'm thinking Brent may be the only civilized guy in our family, however he is quickly becoming influenced, I think. So...

You all have known Aeneas since that summer we brought him "home" to see the family, 5 summers ago. He's been a spit fire since the day he was born and had he not been so damn cute, we'd have thrown him into the marsh behind my dad's house long ago. Well, he's still got it, only the personality shows itself a little differently in a 5 year old than it did in a 5 week old. But, there are those redeeming times that we manage the upper hand in his vices.

The boys may have milk or water for dinner. They are both at a stage where they will totally ignore us when we ask their preference in which case they go without anything at all. And in their effort to assert their independence, they will request milk with ice or water with ice, just to be difficult.

Last night JP asked them what they would like to have with dinner. Patrick said milk with ice and Aeneas, in order to one up him, asked for "milk with poop!" Only a father would have responded with ok and then walked over to the counter, poured a huge glass of milk and dropped a fist-sized chunk of apple cake into it. He set it on the table and Aeneas's jaw dropped. "What's this?" said Aeneas. JP says, "it's milk with poop. That is what you asked for, right?"

Justin never let him in on the fact that it was actually cake and he wasn't about to take a sip to find out. I've giggled about it all night. It was a good trick, and certainly an idea I would have never come up with. I think he may have learned his lesson. Kids - 0; Parents - 1

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lumpy Soup

There is something about the recipes and food that our parents and grandparents grew up on that has always fascinated me. A few generations before us, the majority of people were still living on farms and working the land. And although I never met Justin's grandparents, the stories of them are endless at the gatherings of family over holidays and vacations. But both with my own great-grandparents growing up in rural Georgia and Justin's South Dakota grandparents, there were so many things that were similar.

It was natural to feed your family with what you had, what you grew, and what you could harvest off of your own land. And with 9 kids, like in the McBrayer family, there were always hungry mouths to feed and little to go around. So for them, lumpy soup was the staple. You could use what you had on the farm and make an enormous batch to feed a crowd. 

I poked around the family looking for pictures and the recipe for this "delicacy" so that we could share with the boys (and you!) what their families in past generations grew up eating. And just like you might imagine, there isn't a recipe. It's the thing you learn leaning over someone's shoulder in the kitchen. There's a lot of  talk that goes like this: Well you use some of this, a handful or two of that and then add water until it looks about right. Well if you weren't there it's difficult to figure that out so I did my best. Here's what I figured out for lumpy soup in case any of you were dying to try it for old times sake.

Grandma (Jeanette) McBrayer

So here is what you will need. Four, eggs, milk and salt! To feed four people I figured you would need the following:

4 cups of milk
1 cup of flour
1 egg
salt to taste.

Add the salt to the milk and warm it on the stove without scalding it. Throw a cup of flour and an egg into a bowl and mix it together to make lumps. Adding more flour until you get something that looks like what you see in the picture. (I broke the lumps out as dime sized pieces and then tossed them in more flour so they wouldn't stick together.)

Then, with the milk close to boiling, drop the lumps into the soup. Let it cook for 5-10 min. 

What would go better with lumpy soup than some biscuits (more flour and milk!) cut with one of Grandma McBrayer's actual biscuit cutters (one of my most treasured kitchen tools) that Aunt Peggy gave me as a wedding gift?!?

There you have it! The Boys loved it. What little kid wouldn't? Stay tuned, the next post will be about my Great-Grandmother's Chicken and Dumplings! Another old time favorite.