Friday, November 27, 2009

And One More Thing...

Amirah is reading Frog and Toad to me now. She also finished the last twenty pages of her writing book today (she's really come around to enjoying writing in general). And Eli finished his preschool reading/writing book and is starting his first grade book. And he's just about finished his Kindergarten A math book. It was quite a productive, enthusiastic day today! We sang lots of mazal tovs. I love seeing how excited they get about these things, and how things that were once more difficult for Amirah have become a pleasure. Todah, hashem! What a blessing to be on this learning journey with all of them.

The Menu

Here 'tis...

teriyaki chicken
cabbage salad with roasted almonds
roasted portabello mushrooms
brown rice
Japanese eggplant
pea shoot salad
steamed baby bok choy

for breakfast...

dulce de leche cinnamon rolls
(made my usual cinnamon roll recipe, boiled a can of sweetened, condensed milk for 3 hours, then used that for the frosting)

and for lunch...

sushi and cranberry coconut frozen dessert
(dairy every once in a while!)

And the only reason I'm posting this at two in the morning instead of going to bed is so I can write down how I made the cranberry dessert! I love cranberries, and had had a bag sitting in the fridge for about 10 days, so was overdue to use them up. So here's what I did...

In the food processor I put:

16 ounces cream cheese
1 can of coconut milk (none of that reduced fat stuff!)
a small bag of fresh cranberries
sugar - maybe 2 cups?
1/4 cup(ish) lemon juice

I whizzed it all together, tasted it, tasted it again, tasted it to make sure it really was okay, one more time for luck, then quickly stashed it all in the freezer before it needed to be tasted again to find out if it had degraded with the passing of time. This was so good, and I can't wait to try it in its frozen state. Of course, I'm going to have to have a big boxing session for the cinnamon rolls and a vigorous walk for the cranberry coconut dessert after lunch. OY! Good shabbos!

Meat Servings

I found this on the extension service website, and it's a great guide! Different cuts of meat have different yields of servings after you take out all the bone and fat. Here's a quick guide:

Ground meat and stew meat = 4 servings per pound
Boneless steaks, roasts, and chops = 3 servings per pound
Cuts with some bone and trimmable fat = 2 servings per pound
Cuts with considerable bone and trimmable fat = 1 serving per pound

Calculating meat costs by cost per serving is a more accurate measure of the actual cost of the meat than cost per pound.

What about chicken? A whole chicken is about 1/3 waste (bones and trimmed fat; we're not counting the soup for now!). Multiply the cost per pound by 1.5. Then you can figure out which is the better deal - the boneless meat or the whole chicken. If a chicken costs $1 per pound (in our kosher dreams!), then you are actually paying $1.50/pound for the edible meat.

And that's all the math I'm going to do this evening... back to those shabbos preparations!

Giving Thanks

As Jews, we are thankful every single day, and today was no different. But today I gave extra thought to how extremely grateful I am to be living in the United States. There are very, very few countries in this world where I would be able to (and allowed to!) live my life fully as a frum Jew.

The United States is a "medina shel chesed," a place of kindness, a kind host to its Jewish population (how does one translate "medinah"?). This country was founded by all kinds of people, including many Jews. We are all free to pursue our own version of "happiness." We are free to assume the practice of our religion and that is something that is officially protected. We are free to educate our children as we see fit. I am enormously grateful to this good country. May the United States continue to be a medinah shel chesed!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Perfect. Day.

Today was just one of those days when everything went just right. We've met most of our learning goals for the month, so we were able to finish everything up before lunch. Today we did tefillah, torah stories, our Bereishis book (copying words from the torah), kesivah (finishing our review book, then on to our 2nd grade book!), vocabulary learning and review for biblical Hebrew, a page of spelling, a reading lesson, three pages of math, a science experiment on high and low air pressure, and two pages of English printing. And yes, our day was leisurely and didn't start until 10:00. We finished all that at 12:00 (and took a 15-minute snack break), then I worked with Eli until 12:30. After lunch, we spent two hours at the park riding our bikes, and then Amirah had a playdate. Then instead of beans, we had hamburgers. Yum. (And it's all MH's fault for making me drool about hamburgers last night...) And Dean went and got a new bed for Raizel. Hooray! Big twin bed! And Avi met his new-to-him toddler bed with a decided lack of enthusiasm. Two chapters of Guardians of Ga'Hoole, and everyone was out. Except me. Heh, heh.

A friend of a friend asked a friend, "But do they have fun?" after seeing what we did for our learning time. The short answer: YES, YES, YES! Lots. The learning itself is very enjoyable. Our pace is relaxed. The kids generally show enthusiasm for what we are doing and I don't push them to do too much at all. Our lessons just don't take very long. Truly 15 minutes per subject, maybe sometimes 20-25 for reading and math. And when learning is done, we're very good at doing lots and lots of playing. :)

The fun learning news is our new science curriculum. I had downloaded pages from Apologia's Zoology curriculum and it looked really good so I went ahead and ordered Book 1 (of 3). This one focuses on ornithology in the first several months. I liked our other curriculum (R.E.A.L. Science for Kids - Life Science) well enough, but Amirah has a knack for science and while the activities were enjoyable we weren't really learning very much that was new information for her. I'm very pleased with our first week or so with the new book. The pacing is good, the vocabulary is much more in-depth than the other book, and the concepts are a little more challenging (meaning I'm learning a lot too!). And Amirah loves learning about birds, and it ties in neatly with our Ga'Hoole series we've been reading (it's about a Jew-ish owl kingdom). This week we've been learning about how birds fly - the faster air on top of their wings creates an area of low pressure, and the air under the wings is normal pressure, so they get lift! Then we did an experiment with a straw in a full glass of water. With another straw, we blew across the hole of the straw in the water, creating an area of lower pressure above the straw. Sure enough, the water crept up the straw and lightly squirted Amirah in the face! Then we went on to learn about aerodynamics and drag. I'm very happy with this book, and looking forward to learning more.

The series includes Zoology 1/2/3, Astronomy, and Botany. Each one is a year-long course, so it could be good through 5th grade. The normal "classical" order would be biology, astronomy/geology, chemistry, and physics (for grades 1, 2, 3, and 4). If this continues to work this well, maybe we'll stick with this curriculum instead. We'll see! The series is geared to be good for up to 6th grade (the books contain extra challenges for older students).

Wishing everyone a happy Wednesday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekday Menus

sweet potato soup
whole wheat oatmeal bread w/jam or cheese
popcorn for dessert

spinach lasagna

biscuit pizza casserole
(chopped veggies, onion, garlic, two eggs, cottage cheese, layer of mozzarella, layer of pizza sauce (tomato paste, oregano, water, garlic, salt), biscuit dough on top)

veggie sausage patties

black bean soup w/cheese, green onions, tofu sour cream, salsa
homemade tortilla chips


Last night, as I was winding up my nightly "retreat" the wind was really picking up and lots of branches and other things were falling on the roof. At one point, I walked into the living room, half expecting the skylight to be cracked! Fortunately, no such thing. But after I went to sleep we were awakened by a large BOOM. I looked out the window by my bed. Without glasses, I could only see flashing, sparkly lights and then for several long seconds a big orange glow. By the time I got my glasses on the sparkly lights had gone away. Turns out two power lines went down and arced. They had our street shut down a half-block away for most of the day. Glad they got it fixed! Don't know what happened this time, but the lines frequently go down, and usually it's a squirrel getting fried. We all finally got back to sleep, and morning came rather quickly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

This reportedly costs 50-75% less than buying dishwasher detergent. I haven't made the calculations myself, but I did try it out and it worked at least as good as purchased detergent. Once I figure out how much I used to pay for detergent I'll try and do the calculations, b'n!

Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda (Arm & Hammer makes it)
1/4 cup citric acid (aka sour salt)
1/4 cup kosher salt

Combine everything and use as you would your normal detergent. In the rinse aid compartment, you can add white vinegar (about 1 tablespoon). Everything came out sparkling clean! Borax and washing soda are available in the laundry section at Winco, and probably most grocery stores. Sour salt and kosher salt are, well, with the salts! :)

I'm hoping to calculate the costs soon. I don't know how much cheaper it is, but I do know it's cheaper, and it only takes a couple of minutes to combine the ingredients. I made a double batch this time, but next time I'll probably mix up a gallon or so.

Next experiment: homemade laundry detergent!

Weekday Menus

Sunday - leftovers soup (pureed chick peas /tomatoes/onions/garlic, broth, rice noodles, ground beef, chicken), biscuits, baked pears (Amirah has turned into a real soup aficionado - she had three medium-sized bowls!)

Monday - bean tacos (taco shells, beans, salsa, guacamole, cheese, onions, tofu sour cream, lime cilantro coleslaw)

Tuesday - enchilada lasagna (layers of enchilada sauce, tortillas, mashed pinto beans, sautéed onions/garlic/cabbage/zucchini, and cheddar/mozzarella cheeses) and homemade tortilla chips

Wednesday - swiss chard strata (eggs, milk, cubed bread, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, sauteed onions/garlic/swiss chard)

Thursday - pancakes and eggs

The beans I used Monday and Tuesday are so easy to make. Before I go to bed, I fill the crock pot about 1/3 full of pinto beans, then cover to 2/3 full with water. I chop up an onion and three cloves of garlic, throw it all in, stir it, then set it on low overnight. In the morning (or when I get to it) I add salt and cumin to taste then puree it all in the food processor. Yum. I told DH I actually enjoy eating these beans as much as I enjoy a good chicken dinner. He looked at me like I was nuts. :)

i Really Oughtta Measure

On Friday I did another non-measured experiment - breakfast cupcakes for shabbos! They turned out really delicious, and now I wish I knew the recipe... They had whole wheat flour, flax meal, sugar (just enough to sweeten them up a little), cocoa, oat bran, okara (mashed-up soybean pulp, leftover from making soy milk) cocoa, white chocolate chips, water, baking powder. No idea on the measurements, but WOW I sure wish I did know! It's a keeper, and I'm hoping I can re-create it. If I do, I'll post it, b'n.

Avi Giggles

Avi made a perfect b'rachah after washing hands for bread this afternoon... for tzitzis! Then he went ahead and did the b'rachah for washing (good boy!). Eli and Avi were both full of giggles over that one.

He also thought it was very funny when RB took a picture of him at a party tonight on her cell phone, and thought it even funnier when she took a picture of mommy too. And boy, did he dance! He was full of little belly laughs tonight. He's a great little guy. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Menu

Here 'tis...

salmon gefilte fish
roasted lamb (for the bigs)
roasted chicken (for the littles who don't know the difference! :) )
mashed potatoes
roasted sesame cabbage
baked carrots
roasted balsamic zucchini/red pepper/onion/garlic/mushrooms
chocolate cake w/chocolate tofu frosting

And for lunch...

stuffed cabbage rolls

It's been a nice, full week - several playdates, a lovely rosh chodesh tiyul to our favorite wildlife refuge, a conclusion reached by DH and myself about the philosophy/purpose of an allowance (I love having someone with whom to discuss all the pedagogical ramifications... it's a very interesting debate! I'll blog, bli neder, about what we concluded as soon as I have free moment!), followup H1N1 vaccines for everyone + a 2nd flu shot for Avi (and he didn't even cry!), teaching my one family of students and really enjoying what fine young men they are becoming (oldest twins entering high school next year!), Amirah's art class (we normally don't sign up for things that we can do easily at home, but we hadn't signed up for a class this fall and not much is available mid-term; it's a nice change of pace and it's 90 minutes so time to really DO something), meeting a new friend via craigslist (Hi, S!) who just got her referral for a baby girl in Ethiopia (how well I remember that excruciating post-referral wait!), another friend leaving from Israel next month (please, Hashem) to get her two new daughters, some inspiring stories one year after the horrible murder of the rabbi and his wife in Mumbai (one Hindu doctor who was very close to them and learning about Judaism subsequently made aliyah with his wife and children to Israel, pursued an orthodox conversion, and exactly one year after the murder, he and his wife stood under the chuppah and had their Jewish wedding; AND the orphaned child of the rabbi and his wife turned 3, had his upshirin (first haircut), and put on his tzitzis and kippah, with the Indian nanny that saved his life beaming the whole time... all things I wanted to say more about, but the time has gone. In part because I received about 10 new books from Torah Umesorah for Amirah's kodesh studies, and I've been poring through them so I'm ready to teach from them next month. How's that for a couple of run-on sentences? It's been a run-on week!

Hope everyone who reads this is doing well, and I wish you all a good shabbos!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quote of the Week

Papa (thinking mama is still in the house, not in the car retrieving something): Sweetheart, are you done with your dinner?

Raizel: Sweetheart is in the car.


The Menu

Okay, don't laugh...

challah (so far, so good)
salmon gefilte fish w/dill sauce (mm hm)
hamburgers (what?!?!)
french fries (for shabbos?!?!)
carrot cranberry salad
pear gingerbread

and for lunch...

chicken with chimichurri sauce

(and chimichurri is THE best reason for taking the trouble to check parsley, flat-leaf anyway!)

Yep, hamburgers for shabbos. But these really aren't just any hamburgers. Deluxe fixings, homemade buns, and dh's special touch. These are so good we just had to save them for shabbos because they just don't seem like a weekday menu. And when you have hamburgers, you just *have* to have french fries, or so the kids tell me. :) At least for our lunch guests, we'll be more "normal."

The salmon gefilte fish turned out great. Whole salmon has been so cheap here - $1.78 per pound. For every pound of fish, I added about a cup each of celery, onion, and carrot, 1/2 cup of flour, a bit of salt, and an egg. I had four pounds of fish (originally two 3-pound fish) which made five 18-ounce loaves. I spent maybe about $13.50, making it around $2.70. Sure beats the $8 or whatever it usually is!

Also, with groceries I've decided this month to not buy a single pre-made snacky thing. I often buy granola bars, peanut butter cracker packs ($0.15/each!), and mini-bagels (which are really just mini-breads with a hole in the middle, not papa's bagels!). Other things too, I'm sure. I did buy pasta, but that's really cheap. I'm just making a point of making a really good snack bar kind of thing a couple of times per week.

So earlier this week I threw together oatmeal, egg, a few butterscotch chips, flax meal, sugar, and a little bit of okara (the soy bean pulp leftover after making soy milk) and, um, probably something else too, then spread it thin to make something like granola bars. It was pretty good, but I should have let them dry out longer.

Tonight I had a larger amount of okara (2-1/2 cups?), so in went some eggs, flax meal, flour, oatmeal, oat bran, butterscotch chips, baking powder, sugar, milk, and, um, no doubt something else too. I baked it into a cake-like thing in a 9x12 pan. It came out REALLY good, much better than the granola bars. Just very slightly sweet, great texture. I guess I've made enough cakes in my lifetime now that I don't need to use a recipe, but DARN I wish I had this one! :) Hope I can recreate it. Oh, dear.

Good shabbos!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This and That

First, I have to say that I have been officially inaugurated into the joys of Value Village. I had no idea. And I really don't know how I have lived in Portland for 12 years without ever having been to Value Village. It's like Good Will, only better. More expensive than the Good Will outlets which sell everything for $1.50 per pound (or less, depending on how many pounds you buy!), but much cheaper than Ebay, and *much* cheaper than going to a children's used clothing store. It's also very clean and very well-organized. I got Eli a couple of really good pants for $3/each, myself a couple of good shabbos tops for $6-7, a few long-sleeved turtlenecks for all the kids for $2-3 each, but nothing for DH. He's a hard-to-find size, so the selection was *very* slim (yes, double entendre!) for him. Oh, well. At any rate, it's great for us, and only 10 minutes from home. Thank you, BAF, for inaugurating me. :)

Dean keeps cranking out those job applications every Sunday morning and, baruch hashem, the job vacancies keep showing up. We're really hoping to end up in a place with a temperate climate (not too sunny, please) with a longer growing season, a nice Jewish community, and inexpensive housing. Low taxes would be nice too. He's had a couple of calls this week, so we will just wait and see!

Otherwise, an ordinary week. Tomorrow we're going to try and finish up our learning before lunch so we can take the afternoon to do something different. If we have a rain break we can go outside, and if not maybe we'll do an art project or something. Happy Thursday!

Cheap Oatmeal

For all you locals, Winco has 25-pound sacks of quick oats for only $10. They've been there in the corner for a while, but I just now finally ran out of my last 25-pound sack from Bob's Red Mill and took a peak at them tonight. Couldn't believe the price. Bob's is $16 for the same size!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekday Menus

Sunday - chick pea soup (celery, onions, carrots, stock, salt, macaroni noodles, chick peas), popovers (two of the kids asked for THIRDS on the soup?!?!?)

Monday - noodles and cabbage with peanut sauce, miso soup

Tuesday - crustless zucchini quiche, whole wheat garlic bread, carrot sticks

Wednesday - tomato soup, pizza bread

Thursday - pancakes and eggs

The Cost of Bread

A friend recently asked me if I had calculated the cost of my basic bread recipe (we trade recipe calculations - weird hobby!). I hadn't done it in a year, and I think when I did do it it was an estimate not a down-to-the-penny analysis. :) So I went at it tonight to see what it was.

Here's my recipe (I posted it last year, but just for convenience's sake...):

4 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup bulgur or other grain cereal (optional)
4 cups water
6 T. oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 T. salt
1 T. yeast

I combine all of that, let it rise until doubled, shape it in loaf pans (4 loaves, 1.5 pounds each), let it rise for an hour or so then bake it at 350 for about 40 minutes (until slightly before the hollow thumping sound; freezes a bit better).

I buy all of my ingredients in bulk, mostly from Bobs Red Mill.

Here are how the costs break out:

oatmeal: $0.26
sugar: $0.12
flour: $1.52
salt: $0.03
yeast: $0.08
oil: $0.26
Bobs Red Mill 7-grain cereal: $0.32 (optional)

So, for four loaves it costs $2.27–2.59 (depending on whether you add the extra cup of grain or not).


Every time I do one of these calculations it's very inspiring to know that instead of $4 for mediocre bread, it's only $0.55 for really good bread. No temptation to buy the "easier" $4 bread! Same goes for my beans-roasted-this-morning 35-cent cup of coffee. None of these things really take that much of my time. Bread takes about 30 minutes of active time from mixing the dough to freezing the loaves. Roasting the coffee beans, grinding the coffee, and putting the coffee in the French Press takes one minute of my (active) time. The $.60/gallon soy milk is a little more labor-intensive, mostly because the soy bean mashing part of the soy milk machine (aka soy cow) takes a bit of scrubbing to clean. But that's still only maybe 10-15 minutes of work for 1.25 gallons of soy milk. The labor requirements are far outweighed by the benefits. Fun stuff, for those of us with weird hobbies, anyway. :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Great Snack

One of our favorite snacks is roasted chick peas. They're really delicious, and a perfect balance of carbohydrate and protein. Just take a bunch of cooked chick peas, sprinkle them with just a touch of oil (not olive, but canola is good; olive burns at high temperatures) and salt. We roast them at 400 degrees for about an hour, turning them and moving them around every 10 minutes or so. They come out really crispy. Don't put them in a covered jar or they will become less crispy. Just leave them out. They don't last long, at least around here! A whole tray is gone in two days. YUM.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Three more hours until shabbos. The cooking is DONE (except for popping the chicken in to bake) and we'll go soon to pick up DH at work, then to drop off shabbos dinner for a friend trying very hard :( to recover from surgery. Then home to clean up a little and run everyone through the shower. Lovely company tonight for dinner that we haven't seen in a while, and it should be a nice day tomorrow, be'h. The spinach pastries turned into a filo dough pie, and the eggplant "meat"balls turned into eggplant turnovers. :) Added some olives, sundried tomato chummus, and some applesauce to put on the persimmon cake. Ready to feast! Our own weekly Thanksgiving.

I do like it best when shabbos starts around 6:00, but at least today, our first really early shabbos, I'm nearly ready except for a little straightening up. I may even get in my exercise walk beforehand, which would be good since I missed a day earlier this week.

Looking forward to snuggling into bed after dinner with a good book, and enjoying a restful, relaxing day tomorrow. What loveliness. Good shabbos!

The Menu

Mostly done!

gefilte fish loaf
yellow pepper/sun-dried tomato spread
sweet potato kugel
spinach tarts
roasted zucchini
baked potatoes
eggplant pastries
chicken marinated in vinaigrette dressing
persimmon cake with homemade applesauce

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Math, Water, Bikes, and Teeth

After saying in a recent post that I was mostly just doing informal math with Eli and that we might start more formal math later, well we've done a 180 on that! He picked up a Singapore Math (Kindergarten A) that I had purchased for Amirah but that we ended up not needing to use. He asked if he could have it. I told him it was fine. Well, in the last 10 days or so he's done about 120 of the 150 pages! He'll just sit down with me and whiz through 10-15 pages and be as happy as can be. Fortunately, we have the next book too! So I guess now I'm doing formal math with Eli. He's also nearly done with his alef bet book. There's a good beginning reader on that I'll be using next. I used it with Amirah too and it worked really well. He's almost done with the books that precede Explode the Code, and I happen to have the next two books already. They didn't work for Amirah at all (too writing intensive), but I think they'll be perfect for Eli. So, Mr. E. (aka MysterE) is zooming along, and he's very, very happy doing it. I also just got Handwriting Without Tears for Raizel and Eli. Raizel seems very ready to start writing (and has constantly been begging for some kind of workbook). Seems funny to start the writing before the reading, but that's what she's been asking for over and over again, so... we'll try it! Al pi darko, indeed. (Al pi darko = according to his, i.e. the child's, way.) Amirah has some new chumash materials coming from Torah Umesorah as we continue to work on our biblical Hebrew in anticipation, be"h, of her being able to read parshas bereishis (first section of Genesis) by pesach.

In other news, we have no hot water. No pilot light. No gas coming out. The line must be clogged or something. Hopefully we can get someone out here tomorrow. At least we can heat water on the stove. Still, I will very much miss my nice hot shower tonight, and be thankful that we have such things normally!!

The kids also went biking again today, this time at the school playground by our house. Lots of kids there, lots of fun. Avi couldn't take his eyes off the basketball players. He thought they were magnificent! Amirah hardly got off her bike. She really needs a bigger one, and Eli is probably big enough to take over hers. I don't think he'll yet mind that it's blue with purple flowers and a pretty basket. His helmet is yellow with bright pink tropical flowers, and he thinks that's just normal, so I think we can get away with it for a little longer. :)

And last of all, Amirah has her first loose tooth. A coming rite of passage. When I taught school, I always loved that transition all of the kids go through in first grade, from early childhood into youth. And the next transformation around nine was also very fun to watch. I've definitely always had a very soft spot for first and second graders, and now I have one of my own! What a pleasure.

And finally, Happy 3rd Birthday to our nephew/cousin, Mr. C! Farewell, toddlerhood!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Weekday Menus

Here's what we had during the week last week:

Sunday: roasted vegetable quesadillas, guacamole, leftover lime cilantro coleslaw, chips
Monday: sundried tomato chummus, rice crackers, butternut sweet potato soup w/buttermilk, toast
Tuesday: Chinese orange chicken, brown rice
Wednesday: blintzes with cottage cheese/tofu filling
Thursday: pancakes and eggs


A new month is suddenly here, and now that we spent October catching up on our learning after the round of flu viruses we are really on top of things. Amirah finished her learning in a record two hours for twelve subjects, and Eli did his usual 35 minutes or so. Efficient! I did ease up on a couple of subjects, figuring it didn't really matter at all if we finished them in December or January; we'll still get to our "end goals" by June. It's actually kind of funny to think in those terms, because it really feels more like a continuous path. Wherever we are, we just keep going! There is satisfaction in completing a book or a level, but those all come at asynchronous times. Even the grade levels are funny - 5th grade in that subject, 1st in that, 3rd in that, 4th in another. Amirah is where she is, and there's no need to push her somewhere else. It's really very relaxing knowing that we're headed on our path of learning in her own time. On the other hand, keeping annual and quarterly goals in mind does help me see if we need to "catch up" a little or if we can take a week off to do other projects. I really do like those days when we can finish it all up in the morning, have an after-lunch outing, then home to make dinner. It's a nice rhythm.

Since we did finish before lunch today, we headed out to the library and to the park next door. Amirah had been practicing gliding on her two-wheeler on the back deck and this week managed a couple of rounds of pedaling, so we took all the bikes with us. There's a great path that goes around the whole park with gentle upward and downward slopes. Amirah pedaled away as soon as we got there and no one was happier than she. Eli and Raizel trailed along at a zippy speed behind her on their trikes and they all had a great time. They alternated biking with swings and slides (except Amirah who never left the bike!). It's so nice to have a good stretch of sunny weather, and I want to be sure to take advantage of it. We all had such a great time I think we'll go back tomorrow!