Sunday, December 12, 2010

Maidu Historical Site

I thought it would be fun to visit a local Native American site. Lucky for us, there is one just a few miles from where we live. It was a great place to learn about the Native Americans that lived in our area, apart from the books that we are reading for school.

The first thing we saw on the way to the site were egg shaped rocks:

Near the beginning of the path, we saw petroglyphs. I would not have noticed them if there had not been a sign.

At the beginning of the path, we saw Grinding Rocks, which was so cool, because we had just read about them. It was then that my daughter started to connect her lessons with the world around her.

We strolled around a little more of the path, before I decided that we had to start heading back to the museum. It was late in the day, and I told my children that we could visit the museum store before we went home. They each chose a small souvenir (my daughter, a piece of pyrite, and my son a piece of gypsum). The site had a very interesting aura about it. To know that living people performed sacred ceremonies there, ground food in the rocks, cooked their meals (perhaps underground) on the site with open fire, hunted wild animals, used the local plants to make their tools, baskets, and clothing, passed down their knowledge of the land to their children, and died there, was surreal to me.

There is still more to see and we will go back in the Spring, when the daylight hours are longer. I wonder if the aura will be different...

And my son will have the orange slice please...

I really like Chevy's Restaurant. There is one close by our house, the dishes are generous, and they have a decent selection of children's meals. However, no matter how delicious I think the plates look, my son always only eats the fruit. He worked on his orange slice the whole time we were there, even when his dessert came. Go figure...

On Building the Cave

I took pictures while I was putting together my cave and I wanted to post them, so I would remember what the room looked like before I took over.

Placing all of the furniture where I wanted them was a full day event (with the exception of the Gazelle, which is actually a compromise that my husband and I agreed on, a few days after my other furniture was in place). It is still not perfect; I need a lamp, want more shelves, and want to add more greenery - probably with silk plants that won't die. However, I am really enjoying it, as are my kids. There is even room for my son's table. While my daughter is working on her schoolwork, my son can do his "work" too.

Of Gingerbread Cookies and Parsnips

Last week I decided that it was time to make some holiday cookies, i.e. Gingerbread Boy cookies. I found all of the ingredients (you have no idea the kind of joy I felt when I found *just enough* molasses in the back of the cupboard), made the dough, rolled it out, cut out the cookies and baked them. After they had cooled, I laid out all of the sprinkles, non pareils, sugar crystals, chocolate morsels, and icing that I had so that the kids and I could decorate the gingerbread boys.

My son's creation:

As it turns out, neither of my children like the taste of gingerbread. Now what am going to do with all of these cookies??

On a better note, I also cooked with parsnips for the first time. If you have never cooked with this root before, it is like a white carrot, although I have to add that they taste and look more like potatoes. I found the recipe in Ming Tsai's One Pot Meals. My family loved the meal, and I am beginning to think that I don't season my dishes well enough. I used quite a bit more salt and pepper in this dish than I usually do, probably because I was worried that the white vegetable wouldn't taste like anything. In any case, there were only enough leftovers for my husband's lunch the next day; everything else was eaten. Hurrah! I have another favorite chef.