"Discover Science Here"

Lately, Oliver is really into Rube Goldberg machines. In fact, that's what he wants for Christmas. We'll see what Santa can do... Hmmm. He's also into making signs and likes looking through the magnifying glass. The other day he put the magnifier on top of a cup to look closely at it's liquid contents. Then he wrote this sign:

Gotta love it. 


Gluten free brownies

These are way better than the muffins I posted a while back. I found the recipe online (link forthcoming) and then added chocolate chips to it. "Yummmmm-eeee!" as Ansel would say. 

1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Mix coconut flour, cocoa powder, and salt. 
2. Mix eggs, vanilla, honey, and melted butter.
3. Mix dry and wet ingredients. Stir with a whisk to get desired consistency.  
4. Mix in chocolate chips. 
5. Pour in a foil- or parchment paper-lined 8x8 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-28 minutes. Check with toothpick to see if done. 


Christmas DIY glass ornament

Very cool result with little effort. I'll be making a few more of these in different variations this year. 


Gluten free, can it be?

For the last six months I have not had three consecutive days without a headache. I've suffered headaches before, but these are different, nauseating, and very sadly consistent. I've tried all sorts of things ranging from doctor visits to physical therapy plus peppermint oil and exercise. Headaches are puzzles that can be difficult to solve, and my case is definitely one of them. 

Now last month, I had 11 days without having to take painkiller. Six of those days were headache free while the others were only slight headache days. It was amazing. I thought maybe I had kicked it. 

Then they came back. I tried to think of what I had done those 11 days that would have helped my headaches. It just so happens that during those days I didn't eat much due to the fear of catching a stomach bug Ollie had. Was it not eating sugar? Gluten? Dairy? 

My guess is as good as anyone's, so I am running a series of experiments to see if going off of anything helps. This week is gluten. And it is surprisingly hard to do. I mean I love doughnuts for pete's sake! But it would be well worth it if it cured my headache issue. 

All this explanation to say, I used coconut flour to make some blueberry muffins today. Amazingly good. Not the same. But still good. 


Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday Oliver came home with a paper Native American hat and a paper vest. We decided to choose an Indian-like name for him, Gliding Eagle. He proceeded to tell me about the pilgrims, the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, and how the Natives helped the new arrivals survive those hard times. We talked about that historic feast and the things the people back then we're thankful for. Then we started to ask each other what we were thankful for. He first said corn and then meat and I noticed he was still acting as Gliding Eagle. But once we went further, we got to naming lots of things and, again, I realized how important gratitude is. And how much I love this time of year. 


bp's science: reading fiction makes you more empathetic

I recently read an interesting short article about why fiction readers tend to me more empathetic.  Makes me want to read more fiction.  Or read more, period.

And while we're on the subject of reading, I recently finished 12 Years a Slave.  The book is surreal; the intensity and horribleness of it, shocking.  The author, Solomon Northrup, was a strong man who faced brutal adversity with great character, perseverance, patience, and kindness  He was also a superb writer who created a narrative with explanations that helped me more clearly understand things from history that I hadn't previously.  I would recommend this read in a heartbeat.  This part of history is very saddening and sickening, but the resilience of the people and the strength they gave one another is truly something else.


and growing

Ansel is growing and developing at laser-like speed. His hair is growing really fast too, and it makes him look older. This morning I got out some long sleeved onesies labeled 18-24 months. "These will be too big," I thought to myself. The child is 22 months old but for some reason that fact has not been fully comprehended by myself. I said this with Ollie, and I'll say it again with Ansel, it is very neat to watch a child at this stage. It is amazing what a 22 month old picks up. Below are a few tidbits of life with Ansel:

- he carries a little bear around and it seems that his pacifier must accompany it. So when asking for these items he says, "bear, pass". These items mean a lot to him. The other day he was going down the stairs with bear/pass and  Oliver's snow boots on and proceeded to fall down. I was shocked and rushed to see if he was okay. All he was concerned about was "bear, pass" which he found and was completely fine thereafter. Forget about the falling down a few stairs part. 
- when we read a book about the circus and we get to the part about strong men he flexes his muscles and says, "strong men!" In his lowest voice. 
- he loves high pushes on the swing. I gave him one heck of a push at the park the other day and one of the parents there said, "wow, he sure knows how to hold on tight!" This Ansel lives extreme. 


ok go fans...big time

Look at these faces. These are the totally focused, nothing-can-bother-me looks the boys give when they are watching an ok go music video. They are entranced. Their cousins introduced them to this and if you haven't seen the latest, I'm here to introduce it to you.


Pear bread pudding

As I've admitted on this blog many times before, I have a problem baking things. I mean to say, I have a problem enjoying baking things and so sometimes, for no apparent reason, I whip something up.  With the day's getting cooler and daylight savings making our nights darker even earlier, I've gone into baking mode. Nothing is more welcoming than a warm oven and the sweet smell of cinnamon or pumpkin, or chocolate chips. Or in today's case: pear bread pudding.  I love bread pudding, however, it must be homemade.