Berry Picking with Kids

Berry picking with kids

Despite the lapse between expectations and reality, I still go berry picking with my kids multiple times during berry season.  I like a good deal just as much as the next person and U-pick is always substantially cheaper than picked berries.

More than that though, I love the nostalgia of it all.  My mom took all of of us kids berry picking when we were little and one of my first jobs was berry picking with my fabulous younger sister. (I do remember more raspberry fights than cash in my pocket though!) My yobo and I have picked together with the kids every year. He is a great picker and has our buckets full in no time!  My girls have become excellent pickers as well and the boys in the comic are still in training. Soon I can just sit in the shade with some lemonade and watch them pick…. right?  :)

Best of all, my freezer is full of fresh berries!


4 reasons why your kids should eat with chopsticks

chopsticksYears ago, when our little ones were wee, my yobo and I were out for dinner with an Asian family who had just moved to Canada and their 8 year old could not use chopsticks.  I thought it was scandalous!  I was determine to teach all my offspring to master the Asian utensil.  Along with my many things I was sure I would do as my children grew, such as teach them Korean fluently, have them well behaved, good mannered geniuses, use of chopsticks was high up there on the list.

As parenting goes, I have not been able to follow through on all my lofty ambitions.  They have temper tantrums like the rest of them and their Korean language ability is severely lacking.  But I am proud to say, that they can use chopsticks (phew!).  So though their rooms are messy, they can hold their own in a chopstick challenge.  Well, the ones over 8 at least.

chopsticks

So besides pride, there are some good reasons why you should teach your child to eat with chopsticks.

1. Improves fine motor skills

You know those skills that help kids write their letters, numbers, and their name.  These skills make for great colour-in-the-liners!

2. Improves hand – eye coordination

This will help make your child a future baseball champ or a knitting pro.  I’ve also heard the best surgeons are also those who grew up using chopsticks.  Hearsay, of course.

chopsticks

3.  Builds new pathways in the brain by learning a new skill

With all the talk of neuro-plasticity these days, and the advancement in brain development, why not forage a new pathway or two?  A growing brain could always use an extra trail.

4. It takes longer to eat

(which may not seem like a benefit) but it reduces overeating.

Have you ever tried to wolf down a bowl of ramen – or m&m’s for that matter – with chopsticks?  It definitely takes longer!

chopsticks

We started with all the kids around 3 and they graduated up through various trainer chopsticks to being able to use the wooden ones.  Next step: Korean metal chopsticks!

Osaka Sushi – near Children’s Hospital BC

Osaka Sushi, South Cambie Street Pictures

If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being at Children’s hospital in Vancouver, whether for an appointment or an extended stay, you may find yourself wishing for more than coffee shops and cafeterias.  When you need some fresh air but don’t want to travel far, you are in luck.  There is a decent sushi shop just blocks away.  The exercise might do you well, the walk is good for body and mind and the food is better than the vending machine.

We had the regrettable opportunity to visit Children’s hospital more than once in the last little while and needed a place to go and eat.  When I asked the six small children in my care what they were interested in for dinner, they all yelled ‘sushi’.  I was proud considering the options I had presented included pizza and Mcdonalds.  So on recommendation from the ICU doctor, we made our way (read: ran) a few blocks down to Oak and King Edward and found Osaka Sushi.  The kids rushed in, I smiled sweetly and we piled all 7 of us in a little booth.

We ordered a copious amount of cucumber rolls and teriyaki chicken rolls and the children gobbled them all down. I am not sure if they are the most discerning eaters, but they all gave them thumbs up.  What is not to like about cucumber or chicken rolled up in rice and dunked in way too much dipping sauce? I ordered a dynamite roll which was OK.  I don’t like lettuce in my rolls, but aside from that it was good.  My sister joined the party and she had a spider roll which was also average.

The service was quick and friendly.  They accommodated a whole bunch of munchkins and quickly made extra rolls when ordered.  The restaurant was busy and by the time my sister joined us, there was a line up out side.  So either all the doctors recommend this place, or it is just a local favourite.

wasabi nose trickMy sister arrived in just in time for the post dinner antics of our 6 year olds putting wasabi up their noses.  :)

Oma’s curry turkey

Oma's curry turkeyA tasty turkey dish with hints of spice and sweetness.  Need a leftover turkey recipe that doesn’t taste like last nights turkey dinner?  This is it.  It will knock your socks off.  And then you will find yourself looking for excuses to have turkey dinner just to make this for left overs.  Your hockey team won?  Turkey dinner!  Your flowers bloomed?  Turkey dinner! It’s mother’s day?  Turkey dinner!  This recipe comes from my mother and even though we didn’t have turkey dinner to celebrate, I wish we had, so she could whip this dish up with the leftovers.  I can make it myself, and you can too now, but everything tastes better at mom’s house!

My mom’s heart and home is always open for people.  She is one of the most hospitable people I know.  Most people in our church have been over for coffee and a slice of pie.  Most of the kids in the high school when me and my siblings were young, have been over for spaghetti and a sleep over and she can always whip something together without making you feel like you are a burden.

Her heart is big and so is her pantry.  She shows her love through food.  If you are down, she’ll bake you muffins.  Stressed out, stay for soup.  Feeling lonely, come for dinner. She cooks for the local soup kitchen, bakes for Seniors club at  church and always has a pot or two of something down in second fridge.

Her food is delicious because she cooks with love.  She is kind, caring and quick to give a hand.  She has been a patient and loving mom to me, a fabulous mother-in-law to my yobo and is a wonderful Oma to my children. We all adore her! So on this mother’s day, I give you, her curry turkey recipe.  Cook up a turkey, make this for leftovers, and you too can taste my mom’s love.

Oma

Oma’s curry turkey

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cooked turkey pieces
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dill seed
  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 5 cups coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients together and cook on low for 2-3 hours.
  2. Remove the bay leaves and the whole cloves
  3. Serve over hot rice and enjoy!

Notes

Turkey can be substituted with chicken. Optional toppings include cashews and lime juice.

http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=1901

 

 

 

 

Pulled pork bibimbap

pulled pork bibimbapWhat’s the best part of slow cooker Sunday? Besides a hot yummy meal cooking while you are out working or drinking coffee in the sunshine?  Slow cooker leftovers!   If you are going to have your slow cooker working for you, you might as well have it do a double shift and you have two meals done for you as you go to the zoo and watch the lion feeding- which I might add is very interesting!  Not the feeding per se but the side show! Did you know that the male lion sprays urine on the bystanders to mark his territory?  It makes for great entertainment! Well, if you are not sitting in the ‘splash zone’! :)

Slow cooker Sunday included a big pork roast with this fabulous recipe from Six Sisters stuff.  I have tried lots of different pulled pork recipes, but this one is something special!  The sandwiches we had with them were a.ma.z.ing but they played second fiddle to the leftovers the next day… pulled pork bibimbap.  Need I say more?  A fabulous fusion recipe that is fun to cook up and eat!  The pulled pork is so deliciously saucy, you don’t need to add any spicy gojuchang (red pepper) sauce, but of course, everything is better with a little spice!

So scour your flyers for a pork something-something on sale and get slow-cooking!  You won’t be sorry!  And maybe you can catch the lion feeding at the zoo with all your free time! 

Pulled pork bibimbap

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 6 individual bowls

Pulled pork bibimbap

Ingredients

  • 5 cups cooked medium grain rice (hot)
  • 2 carrots sliced up thinly
  • 1/2 zucchini sliced up thinly
  • 2 cups left over pulled pork
  • 6 eggs
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • sesame oil
  • Sesame spinach - mix together these ingredients
  • 150 g blanched and drained spinach
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Heat sesame oil on the bottom of the pan
  2. Add 3/4c cooked rice
  3. Top with 2-3 tbsp each of sliced carrots, sliced zucchini, sesame spinach
  4. Top also with 1/3 cup pulled pork
  5. Crack an egg on top
  6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds
  7. Mix it up until the egg is fully cooked.

Notes

Bibimbap translates 'mixed rice'. So once served, the heat from the pot and the rice will cook the egg as you mix. So mix well and ensure that the pot is good and hot! Another option is to fry the carrots, zucchini and the egg separately and serve in a normal bowl.

http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=1889

all bibimbaped

All mixed up and ready to devour!

 

Kimchi bokumbap with bacon

kimchi bokumbap

My yobo loves thrift stores.  When we first moved back to Canada, garage sales, freecycle (remember that?) and second hand stores were his weakness.  He would take almost anything if it was free.  Most of our house was furnished in second hand furniture and he did find lots of treasures.  But for all the treasures, there was lots of … how do I say this nicely, … interesting items.  After I while, I made a little rule.  In order for an item to enter the house, it needed my permission.  Otherwise, it was banished to the shed.  I must say, I have some great items for thrift stores, and they have made good money on us as lots of it has returned back to their shelves. Charity.  It makes the world go round.

My yobo has gotten much better at spotting a good find these days, except perhaps his weakness for chicken things, but that is another post.  The other day he came home with this fabulous bowl which I just love.  It is great for holding soups and stews and this great recipe.

A left over bowl is the perfect fit for this left over meal.  We had some kimchi that had fermented too long and some left over rice.  Couple that with bacon and you have this treasure of a dish!

Kimchi bokumbap with bacon

Kimchi bokumbap with bacon

Ingredients

  • 2 cups kimchi
  • 5 cups cooked rice
  • 1 pkg bacon (375 g)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • sesame oil
  • 6 eggs

Instructions

  1. Cut up the bacon into bite sized pieces and fry it. Drain the fat and put in a bowl. Save the fat. (I didn't say this was healthy!)
  2. Chop the kimchi into bite sized pieces as well (sense a theme?).
  3. Fry in the bacon fat. Add the sugar. Set aside.
  4. Cut up the onions, carrots and zucchini into small pieces.
  5. Fry the veggies in sesame oil.
  6. Add the cooked rice to the veggies and combine with the bacon and kimchi.
  7. Fry eggs (in leftover fat if there is any) and put on top of the fried rice.
  8. Enjoy!
http://koreainmykitchen.com/?p=1891

My kids like kimchi bokumbap but they can’t handle too much spice.  We are slowly increasing the spicy-ness of our food to make them into good fire eating Koreans! :)

Nyles

Here is our Ny-guy with a tone down version! The recipe includes kimchi for the whole patch.  The kids had less kimchi so the adults had more! Ours was hot! hot! hot!

Sleep… aahhh!

Sleep... aahh!

My kids are notoriously bad sleepers.  As babies, they are up multiple times a night and even as toddlers (and school aged kids) they find reasons wake up and wake me up in the night whether it is an itchy back or a wet bed or a bad dream or the need for drink of water.  My baby is not such a baby anymore but it is rare for me to sleep a whole 8 hours uninterrupted!

My friend tells me it’s just because I am too nice in the night.  :) Do you get 8 hours a night?  If so, what’s your secret?  If not, are kids your excuse too?

* I just noticed a typo in the comic… I’ll blame it on the perpetual lack of sleep 😉

Korea & China trip – from a kids perspective

Traveling with kids

I can’t believe that it was a year ago already that we boarded the plane and headed over the Pacific Ocean to China and then Korea!

The kids were determined that they wanted to go and see their Halmoni and had brainstormed fabulous ideas for making money to pay for the tickets.  We had a garage sale, the kids collected pop cans, we brought things to the scrap metal depot and they had lemonade stands.  Kyah even wrote letters to the major airlines asking for assistance.  The kids helped raise over $2000 in the Korea fund towards the trip and that experience made the big event even more meaningful for us all!

After the trip, Kyah put together a power point presentation for her grade four class. The teacher let her share the highlights of the trip including things she thought were interesting and unusual.

If you would like to see the trip through the eyes of a 10 year old, click and enjoy!

My trip to Korea and China

and the saving continues for the next big trip! :)