21 January 2007

Winter Clothes

You may have noticed the winter storm that traveled over the U.S. this past week. Well, it came through Texas and gave us a nice blanket of snow for day or so. (Enough to make a medium-sized snowman!) The picture is actually from the day after it snowed, and so most of it is gone. That's a snow covered construction site in the background, not a mountain - or even a hill.

Because it was cold for a whole week, for once, (it's in the low 60s today) I was able to wear what I call 'real clothes' to work. You know, sweaters with a nice shirt underneath that coordinates with your pants and so forth. Anyway, I got SO MANY compliments on how I looked, I think I've decided that a cold climate works best for me. You can look nice even if you've got a little extra 'fluff' around the middle from certain holiday overindulgences.

20 January 2007

Another Cute Bunny Vid

This one's called 'The Fox and Bella Story.' Make sure your speakers are on for this one. It's definitely one of the best bunny vids I've seen on YouTube. We can't have a bunny right now, so I must satisfy my bunny cuteness cravings online. (That almost sounds like something I need a 12 step program for!)

Without further ado, here are bunnies doing all those cute bunny things...

06 January 2007

Flounder Joy

My son wants to be a chef. He has always wanted to be a chef. Not a fireman, not a doctor - he did say farmer for a little while, but that was so he could grow his own ingredients. He's watched Food Network since he was four, and he's been writing recipes since then. He even got a little hand-held voice recorder for Christmas one year because he kept getting frustrated that he couldn't write things down fast enough. And of course we still have the tapes!

Since our Renaissance study, he has decided that Leonardo Da Vinci is his hero, but I often wonder if it isn't actually Alton Brown. He quotes 'AB' all the time like gospel. Cooking is kind of a big deal in my family. We have certain 'family recipes' and traditions like making dressing together at my grandparent's for Thanksgiving. Because of his enthusiastic interest, my son was introduced to all of this at an early age with bread making and then cookies (all with my grandfather.) Recently he's been getting lessons on Chicken and Dumplings - mmmm. Now, however, all of these lessons are punctuated with "Alton Brown says."

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big 'AB' fan myself, so is the rest of my family. It's just funny to hear a 10-year-old voice correcting someone with something Alton said on last night's episode. Because he watches it every day!

Even though he has always wanted to be a chef, he has never been adventurous about what he actually eats. I think he subsists on mainly cheese and bread products along with the occasional hot dog. Well, he will eat steak, but how often does that get served?

Most of his cooking experience so far has been of the helping variety. Measure ingredients, stir the sauce, roll the dough. He recently graduated to using a knife to help with chopping. So I was pleased the other day when he suggested a dish that he wanted to prepare that I thought he could actually do mostly by himself. Usually he suggests very complicated things (sometimes of his own creation) that we have to politely put off till later... Well, you can probably guess where this suggested recipe came from. That's right, Good Eats. Episode Flat is Beautiful III - Flounder. The recipe is for Oil Poached Flounder.

My son did almost all of the preparations himself. I only helped with the 'hot' bits. It turned out just great. And here's the best part. The rule is, if he cooks something, he has to at least try it. His response to a bite? And I quote, "That's wonderful! No really, I like it!"

Thank you Alton Brown.

02 January 2007

New Year's Day Magical Associations

As I finished eating our New Year's feast leftovers, I thought it might be nice to post about some of the magical things about our New Year's Day.

Let's talk about food. If you're from the South, you know that you are supposed to eat black-eyed peas for luck, and greens for money in the coming year. We did both at our house, using spinach as our 'green,' since it is strongly associated with prosperity. We also followed the tradition from my family of having rice and cornbread with the meal. Rice is a prosperity grain which, in addition, confers protection and fertility. Cornbread (another Southern dish), made from cornmeal, is protective as well, and it connects us to the Mother Goddess ensuring spiritual growth.

Foods will always naturally carry their own special brand of magical energy, but this can be greatly enhanced by your intent. If you choose foods based on their qualities, be sure to 'charge' the foods before and during cooking, and then bless the food again before consumption. Charging simply consists of raising energy within yourself while focusing on the appropriate intention, and then directing it through your dominant hand (or from your hand through another item, if you prefer) into the desired object, in this case your food.

As far as non-food magic goes, the first day of the year is supposed to be representative of the year to come. With that in mind, it is best to have a clean house, a full pantry, and most importantly, lots of fun!

We had some discussion at our house about when we should actually be celebrating the New Year. It seems that you can find a different 'right' time to do it with every tradition investigated. It could be Yule or Samhain, or possibly Ostara. New Years based on lunar calendars change every year (from a Western perspective). So, then, what is right? I feel like it is appropriate to celebrate the New Year based on whatever tradition you are following, but it is also appropriate to celebrate the calendar New Year. We are subject to the energies around us whether we participate in them or not, so why not join in the festivities? As long as in your tradition there is not a 'ban' on such willy-nilly joining in, it seems to me that by participating, we can enjoy the free flow of happiness and joyful energy that surrounds us during celebrations such as these. The more the merrier!

01 January 2007

Perfect Excuse for a Blog Post

Here are my New Year's resolutions/goals for 2007, in no particular order:

1. Blog more - at least once or twice a week.
(Obvious, I know)

2. Continue with my recently instated exercise program of walking three times a week, and maybe add a little yoga.
(Again, obvious)

3. Finish painting my house (interior) and unpacking all those boxes ASAP.
(Three months is long enough to put off unpacking, don't you think?)

4. Begin a regular meditation practice of at least once a week.
(For my own sanity)

5. Actually get my business going online finally.
(Year number 3 for this particular goal, but it looks more promising this time)

6. Succesfully complete our first year of homeschooling.
(Meaning we get everything finished by June)

7. Continue to be caffeine-free.
(But I might officially exclude chocolate from the caffeine category)

8. Buy more books :)
(OK, that's not a real goal, and not really hard to do, but you gotta have something fun on your list, right?)