Search This Blog

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Blonde- Headed Girl and the 3 Bears Problem

Let me get this straight...a little blonde-headed girl disobeys her parents, wanders off in the woods, breaks into a home (even though it is bears' home, it is a home), proceeds to steal food, break furniture, and then sleeps in a stranger's (even though it's a bear) bed.

When it was told to me, Goldilocks was painted in the light of "shame on the cute little blonde- headed girl, but so glad she escaped from the bears!" I was relieved to read the Anonymous version printed in "The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales" edited by Maria Tatar that the bears were actually very versed in etiquette and Goldilocks was ill-mannered. They left the cottage to take a walk while the porridge cooled (no tongue burning shows good etiquette). They were trusting and honest and left their door open but in walks Miss Goldilocks. She had a field day as an intruder, vandal, and thief. But she still gets away. She escapes out of the window that they left open, which was another display of good house etiquette and tidiness because they opened their bedroom window in the morning for fresh air. Out she goes! Out goes the "shame on you, little blonde-headed girl" with a full belly and no one will ever know what she did. Either way, we do not get the typical pay-off moral lesson like in most children's folk tales where we know the punishment and see the results. But, is there a  punishment? Is it a cautionary tale?

I guess we can create our own endings with the children. She doesn't go back to the bears' house again this version claims. Guilt can be a horrible price to pay. She'll probably think about those bears everyday and wish she had not slipped up, disobeyed, etc. That is if she was that "fairly innocent little blonde-headed girl" that just made some bad decisions, but is generally good and has a conscience. Or is she the "I'm just glad my parents never found that out and I didn't get in trouble type". I don't know the moral lesson in that one. Or is it that humans are superior to bears and she was just exploring...they would have attacked her anyway? Hence, why children shouldn't be running off unattended in the deep woods. It's a toss-up. I don't know what to make of this old time classic tale.

Good discussion topic with the kiddos.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Hocus Pocus of It All

As a mom of three, I always get frustrated with the scurrying around to find costumes for the kids so that they can attend school carnivals, fall festivals, Halloween parties, and the ever-so-precious evening of trick-or-treating. But, as a teacher, I get frustrated with that scurrying around mom of three that is not using Halloween and the events of the season as teaching opportunties. After all, we are our children's first and longest teachers.

 So, I did a little learning and brushing up on the holiday myself. After reading countless websites on Halloween history, I found this video online through the History Channel. It pretty much sums up what I needed to know.

How could I use this to share history and folklore with my children? Well, their most favorite part of Halloween is certainly the costumes. We know that the tradition of dressing up in costumes comes from the origin of the holiday where the village people would attempt to scare away the dead that would rise on All Hallow's Eve. The two children that are old enough the participate in dressing up for Halloween are 6 and 5.  I chose not to focus much on the hocus pocus of it all. I didn’t want to fill their heads with superstitions and tales of ghosts on Halloween, although that may be much more fun at a later age when they have the ability to dicern the information for themselves. At these ages, I would be up all night shielding them from nightmares and explaining to them that the dead people aren't going to come and get them. Also, with the current costume choices like princesses, ballerienas, and super heroes, I do not think that the aformentioned ghosts and ghouls from the dead would be very frightened. So, we decided to focus more on the traditions of our own family. I shared with them all of the different costumes for Halloween that I wore as a child, told them how my mom would always make chili with Fritoes before we went trick-or-treating and about the different type of costumes that people would wear when I was growing up. We even looked up this list of most popular Halloween costumes from the last two years found on the National Geographic Website. I will be interested to know what makes the list this year.

Ten Most Popular Adults' Halloween 2011 Costumes
1. Witch
2. Pirate
3. Vampire
4. Zombie
5. Batman character
6. Cat
7. Vixen
8. Ghost
9. Nurse
10. Scary costume/mask

Ten Most Popular Children's Halloween 2010 Costumes
1. Princess
2. Witch
3. Spider-Man
4. Pirate
5. Pumpkin
6. Fairy
7. Action/superhero
8. Batman/Vampire (Tie)
9. Disney Princess/Zombies
10. Star Wars Character

I also took the opportunity to teach them about costuming and theatrical makeup. We learned how you could create anything you wanted with the endless costumes we have around the house and the exciting plethra af mom’s theatrical makeup kit from studying Theatre in college.

Our Halloween Costumes for 2012:
1. Babuska Baba Yaga (Cora’s favorite book character)

2. A mime

3. A queen

4. A skeleton (Photo to come)

Kids ask tons of questions. Why do we celebrate Halloween? Why do we trick-or-treat? We should answer the questions and give them the facts. But, as parents, we should also ask the kids questions as well. Most of all to open up a path way for discussion. Any topic is worth a discussion when you are teaching your children.

Some questions and discussion points for kids of all ages:

1. What kind of food are pumpkins?

2. How can we trick or treat safely? 

3. When we eat lots of candy, it’s important that we also have good dental hygiene...discuss taking care of your teeth.

4. Whatever your child decides to do for a costume, discuss the origin of that costume or that character.

To wrap it up, here are some Hocus Pocus faves of our family!

All time fave "hocus pocus" show as a child and still loved today.

Fave Movies to watch during Halloween season:
- Harry Potter (all 8)
- Hocus Pocus
- E.T.
- Rocky Horror Picture Show
- The Worst Witch
- The Craft

Fave Halloween Books:
The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco

Happy Halloween Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

By the Light of the Halloween Moon by Caroline Stutson

Fancy Nancy: Halloween or Bust by Jane O'Connor
The Story of the Jack-O-Lantern by Katherine Tegen

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

Sunday, July 22, 2012

NEVER AGAIN! Verde Limon Mexican Grill in Bella Vista, AR

I read about Verde Limon Mexican Grill in Bella Vista, Arkansas from the Fayetteville Free Weekly. I was excited because we do not get many places to eat in Bella Vista and I am a Mexican food junkie!

I apologize for there being no pictures. The experience I had was so unsettling, photography wasn't possible. I like Mexican restaurants and I like to eat local. It's too bad I can't support this one.

When my husband and I walked in, we were not greeted, nor was any other table that walked in. Once someone noticed we were waiting be seated, we were told by the waitress, "I'm not sure who your server will be, but I'll find out". Much to her dismay, she returned depressed to take our order.

The salsa was okay. Just okay. The chips were stale, old, and could have broken my teeth. We ordered the cheese dip, because I always say that it the the true test of a good Mexican restaurant. The cheese dip was moderate at best and only room temperature. It was a little messy trying to eat it.

We both ordered a combination plate with a stuffed bell pepper and taco. However, after the waitress burnt my arm setting the plate in front of me, I was disappointed to find no bell pepper. The bell pepper being absent from the stuffed bell pepper made the stuffing look like dog food. When the waitress was asked about the absence of the pepper, she shrugged. With the owner not being present, we took the manager, who also shrugged and didn't understand why the stuffed bell pepper doesn't have a bell pepper. They were clueless and didn't seem to care about our dissatisfaction.

The manager did offer to bring us something else, but based on the aroma of what was sitting before me, I could not imagine what else would be delivered from that kitchen on a Sunday night. We decided to just pay for the cheese dip and leave. That we did and I shall not return. I'm just happy I didn't have to put my children through this experience. They too love Mexican food and I want to keep it that way. I wish I had read Urban Spoon before visiting. Obviously, I am not the only dissatisfied customer.

Verde Limon on Urbanspoon

P.S. As there are little options for a taco in Bella Vista, we stopped by the Taco Bell in Jane, Missouri up the road. We had wonderful service with a smile, and piping hot food. This put things in perspective in regards to Verde Limon Mexican Grill.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tavola Trattoria - Dining in Downtown Bentonville

It had a good vibe. Was a little different than the usual crowd, so I'm liking it. Felt very hip and "in". But, who cares! The food is what is important. Here's what I can speak about:

Very good rosemary and Parmesan bread served with marinara. They give it to you right away. We like that.

Fried olives served over arugula, with a marinara dipping sauce. Good but $6 is unnecessary. That's $1 an olive.

Gnocchi Formagii was pretty good. A little dense and very rich sauce. Had no problems finishing my plate.

But, the masterpiece was what my husband had: the Chicken Saltimbocca with portobello mushroom ravioli, chicken layered with prosciutto and sage, with a divine cream sauce. I had order envy!

Will be back to order that myself.

They had a great drink list and really wanted to sell us wine. Like really bad. But, no dinner salad with meal. Boo. They seem to have a good lunch menu as well.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Paradise Lost in A Donut

Paradise Donuts in Bella Vista is a little slice of hell on earth. I am sure none of you will ever need to be in this neck of the woods to eat donuts, but in case you are passing through, don't stop here! As you can see, we did not each most of them. And, it's a good thing because I don't think we could have handled it.

Super nice customer service. Very clean inside. Was even fine with looking past dropping the maple donut on floor and then offering it to us for free.

Horrible donuts! Thick, dry, smack-me- in-my-face-sweet. And we have a super high tolerance for sweet in this house..

The sausage and cheese pocket was unacceptable. Sausage goop would be a more appropriate title. I'm not sure if it had cheese or gravy in the middle. It was grey and a little hard to tell. The kids thought they were okay but didn't say much and didn't eat much.

Will not make this mistake again. Their Facebook page labels them as the "best donuts in Northwest Arkansas".

Guess we shouldn't be eating donuts anyway. May have to change this Saturday tradition.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

As American As A Pizza Pie

Located in downtown Rogers, Arkansas The Rail - A Pizza Company was recently visited by Tyler Florence in the filming of Food Network's THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE. 

6 pm.

Clean high chairs.
Waitress was super helpful and very knowledgeable about all questions.
80s music playing in the background with that whole new wave psuedo-hippie weird pizza joint vibe.

Shared the Wedge Salad with my husband. It came with bacon, tomato and fried onion strings with blue cheese dressing. The Blue cheese was pretty good, but kind of mayonaise-y. It could be better and needed more bleu cheese. It all really made me grow a little tired of a wedge salad. And, I have been championing them lately. Very cold. They are supposed to be the best salads in town.

The Louisiana Hot Sauce wings were brilliant. Perfectly crispy. I can't speak enough on their behalf. Will return no matter what to have these wings again.

We chose a small "Alfred" speciality pizza.
Spicy alfredo sauce, Italian sausage, chicken, mushroom, spinach, red onions and cheese. Could ease up on the red onions a little, but the crust is perfection. It's foldy/crispy and a little burnt on the end. Made me wish we had just ordered a cheese. One piece is plenty.

The Thai Peanut seemed fun. I'm just trying to get used to the idea of peanuts and cheese.

There was a large assortment of imported beer. I chose an Austrian one. This one was not really my fave, but only because it wasn't fruity or a cider. It was smooth and light and grew on me just like this random sticker on the wall:

It was something to ponder while watching the U.S. Olympic trials on the above television. I felt as American as a pizza pie.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why Did I Drive to Joplin, Missouri for a Hot Dog?

Instant Karma Gourmet Hotdogs on Historic Route 66 in downtown Joplin, MO.

7:30 pm.

Chose a fabulous Austrian beer out of the iced beer tub. Salzburger Stiegl Radler, beer with grapefruit soda. It's my new fave.

Selected the 1/2 Wedge Salad with blue cheese, bacon, and tomato. The dressing was right. They hook you up on the blue cheese crumbles.

The main course: Andy's Secular. An angus beef hot dog, a bit crispy, with cream cheese on the bun and green onions on top. Brilliant!

My husband had the Angry Redneck. It is a bacon-wrapped hot dog with chili, blue cheese slaw, and jalapeƱos. He only allowed me one bite. I hated him for that. Fire.

The silverware was rolled in fabulous cloth napkins. Comforting.

Typical chalkboard menu, eclectic art on walls, art books on shelves. Namely, books on Jackson Pollack and Joseph Albers, which warms my soul.

Nirvana and Run DMC playing in background made me laugh.

The only sad thing was they didn't have a desert choice, but would have rather had the Angry Redneck fries instead if they weren't closing at 8 pm.

Kid-friendly with clean high chairs. Vegetarian and Vegan options available, of course. Very reasonably priced.

Will return.