Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rainbow cookies?

Margaret wanted a rainbow party this year. Last year the theme was blue, and I was ok with that since blue dyes aren't something that bothers me much. But rainbow? Yeah, that includes red. And natural dyes are expensive. So I attempted to make a rainbow cookie without the dyes. It failed miserably, but you all get step-by-step how it failed. Also, this cookie was not healthy at all. Just dye-less.

My vision: a big cookie shaped like a rainbow with clouds. The plan was to make up some sugar cookie dough without all the liquid (just some, like 1 egg instead of 2) and add a juice to color the dough. And I'd use marshmallows for the clouds.

The "dry" dough:

When I added the juice, I ended up adding extra to try to saturate the color more, but then the dough was too moist so I had to add more flour. In the end, the cookie was kind of floury. Here is the picture where you can see multiple little bowls for coloring the dough and on the left is the beginning of the large rainbow cookie on the pizza stone.

For the colors, I used pomegranate juice for red, orange juice mixed with pomegranate for orange, orange juice for yellow, and grape for purple. I attempted to make green, but it failed. I defrosted some frozen spinach. And you know when you squeeze out spinach, the juice is green? I added that juice to the dough. Unfortunately, it was not saturated enough and you couldn't tell it was green at all. So yeah, didn't work.

I added marshmallows at different times in the baking. I should have added them at the very end while the cookie was still hot. Next time?

I made 2 rainbow cookies and you can see them here along with our rainbow kabobs I got from Pinterest. The cookies are recognizable as rainbows, but they aren't what I was hoping for. The pomegranate juice ended up making purple and the grape juice ended up blue because fruit colors are dependent on pH levels and change the chemical reactions of baking. That's why red cabbage makes a blue dye.

Here's our rainbow cake, though. From-scratch chocolate cake with a rainbow on top without any dyes!

Other awesome things:
Our ceiling!

Our coloring table. As guests arrived, they got to color rainbows in the clouds.

The craft:

Remember our tree? It displayed the pinwheels we used as favors.

Margaret's hair.
Purple underneath.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rain Painting

I got this idea from the Internet, I'm sure.

We had rain all last week. And it's coming back in a few days. This rainy day activity took up a total of 10 minutes, but that's 10 minutes that the kids weren't crawling on me, so that's a plus.

I bought some watercolor paper at the store and Margaret and I dripped food coloring on the sheet and then put them out in the downpour. Observe:


We brought them in and let them dry. Margaret's is the one on the right. Mine is on the left. Since we don't use food coloring any more, this was a great way to put it to use.

Friday, March 09, 2012

International Women's Day 2012

Last Saturday when I was buying seeds for our garden, McKay asked that I pick up some flowers to give to the women on his work team for International Women's Day. I dropped him off at work early so he could put them on their desks secretly. He even woke up early to make little "Happy IWD!" signs in purple and white (IWD colors) for each. One of the women figured him out and gave him a "Thank you" hug, but the rest of the women did not and emails were going around asking the mysterious flower giver to speak up. The woman who did know his involvement said he should keep it a secret and let it become one of those fun office secrets. I am, of course, assuming none of them know about this blog.

The kids and I went to the Golden Gate Bridge for the Join me on the Bridge gathering for International Women's Day. According to the main site, "Join me on the Bridge campaign started in 2010 when women from Congo and Rwanda joined together on the bridge connecting their two countries, showing that they could build the bridges of peace and hope for the future. This action sparked a massive global movement, and last year they were joined by thousands of people on hundreds of bridges worldwide. On International Women's Day, 8 March, thousands of people will show that they are with the women of Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and other war-torn countries. "

The signs on the stroller say "101 Years of International Women's Day," and "May we have more Peace each year."

While people were gathering, there was face painting for the kids. You'll notice that Margaret and I are wearing purple. Also, her hair ribbons are the ones I made for IWD 2008 when I was pregnant with her to wear during my labor. She was due March 8, but decided to come 3 weeks late.

Margaret making a sign. She drew (in green, her favorite color) herself in a window with things outside the window. Unfortunately, you can't see it here.

Nursing and waiting while people are gathering. There were speeches from Women for Women International, a representative from Google talking about a fundraiser Google is doing for women, and some other people (sorry I was distracted with the kids). I know the San Francisco chapter of NOW and the SF Chronicle got pictures of Isaac. We'll see if they show up on their sites some time.

We hiked up the trail to the Golden Gate Bridge.

On the bridge!

These ladies in front of us chatted with us a bit and wanted pictures with us. Margaret and Isaac were very popular photo recipients.

Looking out onto the East Bay (home!) from the Golden Gate Bridge. We walked out to the halfway point and then walked back. Many people were walking the length of the whole bridge and back, but the kids were getting noticeably fussy. I brought food, but food can only keep moods at bay for so long.

Isaac nursing and a pic of me. I'm wearing a necklace I bought while people were gathering. It's made from recycled paper by women of the Inkuge Cooperative in Kigale Rwanda. Margaret chose the green, of course.

More proof that we were at the Golden Gate Bridge. Very windy!

Not very many pictures of the kids. Margaret got to the point where she was hiding from the camera. She was pictured-out and irritated at my efforts to document the day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Conversations, part 2: Bullying

Margaret has already been bullied. Right in front of me. And it was strange, but for a moment it took me back and I felt helpless and didn't know how to respond. Then I realized that as the adult, I'm supposed to give her tools for those types of situations and I talked to her about it.

It happened at the grocery store. There were a couple of other little girls with their dad and when we went past with our cart, the girls started taunting Margaret and calling her a "little" girl, "Look at her, she's little."

Oh what do you do?

So we went down the next aisle and I asked Margaret if she liked that and she said no and that she wasn't little, she was big. So I told her that the next time that happened to say, "Stop. I don't like that."

And as such is the nature of grocery stores, she got the chance in the next aisle.

And the girls said it again and Margaret tried to tell them that she didn't like it. She was a bit timid, though, and they couldn't hear her. I really couldn't let it go. Maybe that makes my maturity level at the level of these 5 year olds, but a part of me felt that as Margaret's parent, I needed to stand up for her. And I tried giving her tools and that didn't work so I had to say something.

"Girls. Why do you keep saying that? She said she didn't like it, so you stop."

Of course, now the father, who hadn't seen the rest of it, saw me ganging up on his daughters and asked what was going on. So I told him they were saying that my daughter was little and she didn't like it.

"That bothers her?"

Well, yeah. She's 3. And they were doing it in the taunting voice! That hurts a 3 year old. But arguing that with the father seemed pointless and we just went on. And I cowardly readjusted our route through the grocery store to avoid them the rest of the trip.

And oh, what do you do?

I don't know if I handled that well. I remember getting teased as a kid and my parents telling me to just ignore it, but we all know that doesn't really work. And in the moment it feels awful.

Since this incident, I've talked to Margaret about when people are mean to her. She's to say she doesn't like it and to tell them to stop. Because bullying is something you can't foresee, we discuss it about once a month.

How do you deal with bullying? When do you step in? Ignore it or confront it? I hope I'm dealing with this correctly.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Steampunk Playhouse

Remember when we moved to this new place last June and I said that our landlords were getting a steampunk playhouse? Well, this past weekend, most of that came to fruition.

It still needs the roofing done, but it's a little 2 story Victorian house for the kids to play in! As far as size, they made sure that it was big enough for 2 teenagers to sleep in. If we stay around the neighborhood for a while (the house we are hoping for is close by), there will be fun slumber parties.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Conversations, part 1: Bodies

There are a few conversations I regularly have with Margaret and intend to keep having them with her and Isaac for some time. They are almost always the same. This week will feature those conversations.

"Margaret, we need to talk."


"You have a body and no one's allowed to touch your body without your permission. Not your tummy, not your back, not your butt, not your elbows, not your vulva, not your hands. None of it. It's your body and your choice. Say that with me, 'My body, my choice.'"

"My body, my choice."

"What if someone touches you and you don't want them to?"

"I say 'stop' and I tell Mommy and Daddy."

"Yes. Even if it's a friend or grown up or anyone?"

"I say 'stop' and tell Mommy and Daddy."

"Yes. What if it's Mommy or Daddy?"

"If it's Mommy, I tell Daddy and if it's Daddy I tell Mommy."

"Yes. Your body, your choice. No one gets to touch you without permission. And always tell us, even if the person says it's a secret. You can tell us anything."

"I don't like Isaac touching me."

"Yeah. He can be a bother sometimes. You tell him to stop. And you don't get to touch him if he doesn't want it. His body, his choice."

End attention span. I have this conversation with Margaret at least a couple of times a month. It's not going to prevent everything, but we have to talk about it. It's usually spurred by me reading something on the Internet about kids getting hurt.

And I do try to give her as much autonomy as I can. Even when I help her wipe after going to the bathroom, I ask her before I wipe her, "May I wipe your vulva/butt?"

Do you have this conversation with your kids? How do they go?