Costume Police!

You might get ticketed by the costume police when you’ve got a matching vehicle as a part of the design. We “spared no expense” as they said on Jurassic Park… Oy! I justify the expense by telling myself, “I only have one child and there are a finite amount of Halloweens…yadda, yadda”, you know the lies we tell ourselves.

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I fell in love with it at first sight! I love the hat, the boots, the badge, I love it all! Not to mention, B seems to like it too.

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A tip ‘o the hat and my heart swooned. No warm blooded mommy could say no to this, right?

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There he goes, having stolen my poor heart!

What costumes are your kiddos wearing this year?

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Veggie Toddler Cookies?!?

I couldn’t believe it when I read the Spouse in the House blog this morning. Veggie cookies?!? Since all my little guy does is bite a carrot or broccoli and spit it out, I needed a new way to add more vegetables into his day. I’ve been using Deceptively Delicious for macaroni and cheese, meatballs and sauce as well as morning pancakes but a “cookie” really kicks it up a notch. So, I walked straight into the kitchen and started pulling ingredients out. I didn’t have zucchini or carrot but I did have puréed apple and a small bag of frozen kale left over from our CSA basket.

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Here is what I did:
2 cups oatmeal (or more to get a cookie dough consistency)
2 bananas (the browner the better)
1/3 cup apples (I had a ton from apple picking so I just used a few cubes that I had puréed and frozen)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup kale (I minced it in my mini food processor)
3 Tablespoons Raw honey (mine was from a hive at a raspberry farm – yummy)
1 pint blueberries (had them around, so I figured I would toss them in)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I added everything into one big bowl and mashed it with a potato masher. It was a little watery so I added about a half cup more oatmeal.

I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper and patted twelve “cookies” into shape. I wasn’t sure if they’d be spreading or staying put, so I spread them out.

Bake for 15 minutes

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They did not spread at all and came out of the oven in 15 minutes firm on the outside and cake-like on the inside. Perfect.

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I “shared” three hot out of the oven with B. He said they were yummy too!
Thank you Spouse in the House, please go to their blog and check out the original recipe I found that inspired me to write two blogs in one day!!

Do you have a healthy veggie recipe that’s a hit at your house?

Back to Detroit (…Waldorf)

Seasonal scents of applesauce and soups dance down the hallways with the sounds of children singing and making music. As my little guy leans his head on my shoulder, still not sure about coming back to “school”, his tense muscles begin to relax and he starts to peek up. Slowly, he asks to slide down so he can walk on his own as we approach Miss Maggie’s Parent-Tot Classroom.

Leaving our shoes and bags in a cubby outside the room entrance, Miss Maggie greets us warmly, washing B’s hands for him with a cloth warmed with lavender and water. I wash my hands too and bring the cloth to the tot-sized table as we take a seat and begin to chat with our neighbors while peeling and slicing apples from the mounding bowl on the table. Everyone joins in as an easy rhythym begins and the children start to lose interest in the apple slicing and explore the simple wooden toys in a peacefully muted play area.

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Miss Maggie invites the class to sing the “Good Morning song” with lots of big movements that encourage the children to stretch and giggle. This easily transitions into holding hands for a lively game of Ring-Around-the-Rosie where the “cows are in the meadow eating buttercups” (B’s faaaavorite part). After independent play and quiet parent observation she offers some talking points about the development and education of our tots and then prepares the table for snack.

I absolutely love that we MADE our own snack from scratch, have been smelling it cooking the entire morning and will now get to share it with our friends! I was nervous at first about the bowls and teacups being “real”, in other words they would break if they dropped, but it feels very special and sweet to be sipping out of them. The very shape and weight of a teacup seems to encourage delicacy.

Of course the children should have “real” tools to work with, and in twelve weeks I’ve never seen one break once. A candle is lit and a non-denominational “blessings on our snack” is said before we pour water or tea from glass pitchers into our grandmother-esque teacup and pass a bowl of almonds or berries around the table to top our freshly made applesauce. What a treat!

A relaxing, bonding and educational morning for my son and myself. I feel a collective “sigh” as class comes to a close and we pick up our bags and our tots to head outside to the beautifully natural play area.

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The Detroit Waldorf School has given my son and I a local opportunity to connect with nature and our neighbors once a week. The six week parent-tot sessions are short enough to get a good sized sample of the Waldorf education model and early childhood curriculum without a huge commitment. It’s definitely been a joy for us.

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Fabulous Ferndale!!!

Date night in fabulous Ferndale! One mile north of the city limit at 9 mile & Woodward Ave. is the hopping little city center of Ferndale. I’ve been following The Hungry Dudeand based on some eye-popping pics he posted I have been trying to get to One- Eyed Betty’s for months.

Finally, one of my hubby’s favorite bands Half Light Music was playing at The Magic Bag so I convinced him to have a beer and some appetizers first.

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It was a Friday night around 8ish so we had to wait awhile for a table, but that was just perfect for me to get to taste MORE of their enormous beer menu (yahoo!). We sat down to friendly, helpful servers who guided our selection of two different beers and two apps (our eyes were DEFINITELY bigger than our stomachs!) it was all amazing! I’m not sure if it was the fact we were out alone for the first time in a month, the high alcohol content of the beer or the fabulous food, but I was experiencing Nirvana when the Pork Belly Poutine and the cutting board sampler came to the table.

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This photo does the food absolutely no justice…it was salty, crunchy, gooey, cheesy AND savory…

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I hadn’t even noticed the horrible glare off the menu when I took this picture because my eyes were tearing up in delight!

What’s your favorite date night spot or one you’ve been eyeing??

Grey seal Georgie joins other rescued seals at Arctic Ring of Life

Great information on Detroit and Belle Isle Zoo:

The Woodward Spine

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Things are looking a little less grey for a seal that has arrived from the Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center at the University of New England to her new, permanent home at the Detroit Zoo’s Arctic Ring of Life.

The female grey seal pup – estimated to be less than a year old – was found stranded on the coast of Georgetown, Maine, by Marine Mammals of Maine. She was deemed non-releasable to the wild by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) due to severely compromised eyesight.

The seal has been named Georgie after the Maine coastal city where she was found. Weighing only 87 pounds at the time of her arrival in June, Georgie is thriving under the Zoo’s care and now weighs about 140 pounds. She joins grey seal Kiinaq, harp seal Pequot and harbor seals Sidney and Freita, all of which were rescued.

“Since…

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Detroit Metro Parks (and other places to skip stones)

Sometimes you just need to get outside and get immersed in nature. Deep forest, marshlands, estuaries, lakes, water fowl and everything that goes along with it. Without traveling more than 30 minutes from Greektown, you can find peace and tranquility in the form of Metro Parks.

Detroit Metro Parks are as diverse as the city itself. Many have Nature Centers with turtle tanks and local wildlife hides for show and tell. We’ve attended many pre-registered events for a meager $3.00 that gave B inspiration for weeks of imaginative play.

There are paved running trails that are stroller friendly and more rugged trails lined with mulch. Whether you like a colorful playscape or a deep, dark forest, there is something for everyone!

One of our favorites is Lake Erie Metro Park because of the children’s play area and tiny beach nearby to throw rocks into the lake (B’s favorite pastime). This past Saturday morning was absolutely gorgeous weather and the park was the perfect place to stretch our legs. We packed a picnic lunch and spent a few hours climbing, swinging, digging, sliding and skipping.

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Another favorite of ours for toddler-sized nature walks is Oakwoods Metro Park where the 700ft. nature trail surrounding the Nature Center is perfect for B’s interests, legs and attention span.

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A balcony overlooking the river/estuary was perfect for skipping stones with B.

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The path was perfect for exploring. We searched for different sizes, shapes and colors of leaves for our seasonal nature table. We found leaves, insects, spiders and birds to observe quietly. We collected acorns, chestnuts and bark that had fallen around the trail. It was punctuated enough for B and diverse enough to hold the adults interest for the morning.

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Do you have a favorite spot in nature that you love to spend family time?

A is for A P P L E

Apples, apple cider, apple cider slushies, apple cider doughnuts, apple butter, apple cake, applesauce, apple pie… I felt like the character Bubba from the movie Forest Gump, except no shrimp! I want B to know where his food comes from. Since he eats about five apples a week, I want him to know they grow on trees and not believe they somehow form from the big fruit bowl on our kitchen counter.

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All told, it took about thirty minutes for my two and a half year old to pick a half BUSHEL of johnagold, red delicious, macintosh and fuji apples. That’s about fifty apples. All from the trees themselves, any he picked off the ground were rejected from the bag (someone’s got to do quality control!). It seemed like that part should’ve taken longer.

Since we had driven an hour to get to the orchard and the weather was more Indian Summer than Autumn, we set out to see the rest of the sprawling orchard and seek out more toddler friendly fun.

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There were chickens to feed…

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Goats to be amused by…

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Cool, old tractors to explore…

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Apple cider AND apple cider doughnuts made it home with us, barely

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We each enjoyed (thoroughly) an apple cider doughnut and a shared apple cider slushie (which I never knew existed, new Fall craving MUST HAVE) while browsing their amply stocked apple-everything country store.

It was a relaxing, windows-down kind of day. All the way home we talked about goats, chickens, tractors and trees. We also talked about how yummy a fresh baked apple pie would be for dessert that night. When we arrived home, we set out on the task of doing just that.

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Rollllllllllll it…

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Pat it…

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and give it a milk and sugar wash (old bakery trick)…

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Mark it with an “A” (not a “B” as in the nursery rhyme) for apple, then put it in the oven for my family and me!!!!

Erie Orchards was definitely worth the trip for all of the family fun it provided. No fees to park or play, just pay for the apples you pick. On weekends there are pony rides, hay rides, a pumpkin shaped bounce house and always an act performing (see their events page). I prefer the quiet peace of a weekday morning, personally. Bathrooms are port-a-johns only, but some of the nicest I’ve ever encountered. We shall be back!

Have you been to an orchard to pick apples with your family? What are your family Fall traditions…