Happy Halloween!

DSC_0469We’re bracing for a very cold and windy trick-or-treat tonight, though I don’t mind bundling up. Something about racing around the neighborhood collecting candy makes me think we will be working up a sweat anyway! Plus, call me crazy, but I’m ready to cozy up near a fire, make big pots of chili and bake cornbread, and all the rest of it.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

P.s. — Totally unrelated to Halloween or cold weather, if you are in St. Louis (or heading here anytime in the near future, preferably on a sunny day), check out 5 of our very favorite playgrounds and descriptions of them here. Happy weekend! 

 

Reading…

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 MAPS, by Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinska

Milo is currently very taken with the book MAPS, which I found at Winslow’s Home (our little neighborhood breakfast place/general store) of all places. The book is a nice large size, which is good, because it tries to pack in a whole lot of information onto each colorful page. Though it does not include all of the countries of the world, it covers some from every continent, and we all really appreciate the detail to culture and landmarks it uncovers.

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For instance, on the page about Nepal, there are detailed drawings of the Himalayas and the most prominent mountains in the range; there are roads leading to Lumbini, the place of Buddha’s birth; there are historical facts about the sherpas and first men to climb to the top of Everest in 1953 (New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, if you were wondering); the languages, flora and fauna, local dress and food, and population is included. There is just so much information and it’s so much fun to look at!

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Above: Finland! Looking at all the beautiful trees and berries remind me of Milla! (Also, it says, “The Finns drink a lot of COFFEE.”) Ha, ha!

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Antarctica

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 Australia

There is just so much greatness in this book! It would make a great gift for a 6 to 9-year-old. I really like the global citizen aspect of the book, which is also a strong Montessori philosophy. Milo and Oliver already knew the continents and many of the countries because of their discussions and lessons in school — this book has been the perfect companion to that journey of learning. It’s a first step in learning about other cultures and countries!

Roasted Sweets with Coconut Oil & Fall Spices

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I am a big fan of The Splendid Table on NPR. When this show comes on, I often shush the kids and strain to listen to it from beginning to end… which never really happens, because our house is full of talking and music and singing and banging and just general loud noises. But I was able to catch a small segment in the car about coconut oil and its health benefits.

When it came time to talk about ways to use coconut oil in cooking/baking, this jumped out at me:

One of my other favorite things to do is either take butternut squash or sweet potatoes and toss them with coconut oil, cinnamon and some sea salt and roast them in the oven. Coconut oil can take really high heat, so it can go up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit before becoming unstable. You can get some really nice high heat roasting on it.

And suddenly, I knew exactly what to do with those sweet potatoes I had lying on the counter top! But because I only had two small sweet potatoes (but plenty of other colorful root vegetables), I modified my approach. It turned out delicious!

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Roasted Sweets with Coconut Oil & Fall Spices

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 carrots (I used purple carrots), quartered the long way, then sliced into triangular chunks
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (preferably extra virgin, cold-pressed)

Chop all veggies and combine in a bowl. Heat coconut oil until liquid, then pour over veggies. Toss to coat (if the bowl is cold, the oil will almost immediately harden again — work quickly!). Add spices and salt, tossing once again. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes, until crispy on the outside, but still fork tender. Optional: combine veggies with 2 cups cooked quinoa for a delicious warm fall-inspired salad!

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Weekend Shenanigans

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We keep thinking, this is the last warm weekend, NO! THIS is the REAL last warm weekend! so we play so hard and sometimes do too much and our boys let us know by acting like crazy hellions. But we did have a great weekend. It was a weekend filled with trees and all the things they bring in the fall: acorns and leaves to collect (and throw), trees to climb, trees at which to marvel, their golden leaves glowing in the sunlight, trees to hide from little brothers in… DSC_0051DSC_0055DSC_0066DSC_0068DSC_0071CSC_0081DSC_0074DSC_0089

There was so much sunlight and warmth, and so much warmth from friends! On Friday night we enjoyed (another) homemade pizza and s’more’s night at our house with cherished friends. Then, on Saturday, we joined another set of friends for their annual Halloween party — a night filled with laughter and shenanigans and Brent’s famous chili. He was, also, quite fetching as a bearded woman. DSC_0104DSC_0105DSC_0106

And Ingrid with her conjoined twin circus act (this lady makes me giddy with excitement every Halloween — she always brings it with her costume choices!):

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The Mud

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You can take the boy out of the wild, but darn if you try to take the wild out of the boy…

The day after we returned from Asheville, this is what happened.
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Let’s just say there was a deck pre-bath before the actual bath. Check out the mud caked inside Oliver’s ear! DSC_0105Nothin’ better than a little mud fest.

Happy Weekend. And speaking of mud (and nature and all those good things), if you’re up for a short read this weekend, here’s a little article I wrote for the Washington Post: 10 ways to get your kids out in nature, and why it matters.

Montessori-Inspired

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Since the weather has turned cooler, an after-school tradition has blossomed: tea. After I heat two cups of water, Oliver enjoys stirring a vanilla-chamomile tea bag and a tablespoon of raw honey into a little teapot I found at a thrift shop recently. Then he and Emil sit down at the table and take turns pouring themselves (and each other) little bowls of tea. It’s kind of awesome, especially when one (or both) are dressed like Pikachu.

DSC_0149A little encouragement from the big brother goes a long way.
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Side note: one might need help removing said Pikachu costume about 15 – 20 minutes after consuming massive amounts of tea. Which is not very Montessori, is it?

Dress That Mama

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This scarf!!!

I can’t tell you enough about it, and its maker, Mariah Golden Palmer, over at Everything Golden.  I don’t remember exactly how I came across her online shop, but once I did, I was smitten; her vintage and handmade goods are certainly drool-worthy. But what really caught my eye were her hand-dyed scarves. The minimalist style and delicate paintbrush details are spot on with my own style. Receiving one in the mail was a joyous occasion, especially when I tried it on — the wool/silk blend of the material makes it perfect for a head wrap since it doesn’t slip around. And the beautiful charcoal color goes with every single thing in my wardrobe!

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Head scarf: c/o Everything Golden

Thank you, Mariah, for this beautiful piece of art! I am now coveting the Wildberry and Painting with Clay for my Christmas list!

P.s. — Learn how to tie your own head scarf (it’s so easy!) here.