A couple of days ago, Eric received a small Caterpillar dump truck from his Amie and Boppa. It has three buttons that make different dump truck noises and turn on headlights, and of course the dumper really tips. He loves, loves, loves it. In fact, during the first night he had it, he cuddled it tightly all through bedtime stories and bedtime lullabies in his rocker.

In general, anything that has wheels he calls a “beep beep.” Trains are one exception—he knows those are “choos.” He loves his beep beeps.

Today I tried to make a small excavation site for his dump truck. We put some cornmeal on a cookie sheet and took it outside for some morning play:

We made patterns in the cornmeal with the wheels, and then we put some cornmeal in the dumper and practiced tipping it. Short-lived, but fun for the moment. Then we started looking for roli-polis—always a good pastime.

Eric also helped to vacuum this morning. He cries when I tell him it’s “Mommy’s turn.” The Dyson is actually light enough for him to push. Now, if only he’ll keep this hobby through his teenage years, I will gladly let him vacuum the whole house!

During Eric’s nap today, Katie and I worked on her lessons and started The Long Winter. Last year during our Laura Ingalls Wilder period, we only read through The Shores of Silver Lake (although we skipped Farmer Boy for now) before moving on to Harry Potter. We were both feeling in the mood for the cozy world of Laura, though, so to reacquaint ourselves, we re-read Little House in the Big Woods. Now we are onto The Long Winter, and it is beautiful to reconnect to these characters we love.

I took the last part of Eric’s nap to plan menus for the upcoming week, while Katie watched a couple of streamed episodes of Liberty’s Kids, a cartoon series I really love that takes place in the time right before and through the American Revolution. We meet characters like Benjamin Franklin (voiced by Walter Cronkite), Patrick Henry, Phyllis Wheatley, Revere and Dawes, John Adams, Abigail Adams, Ethan Allen, and so many more. What I appreciate most about the program is how balanced it is historically. I think it is a sophisticated point, and a necessary point, to make regarding the hypocrisy of some of the colonists calling for freedom from tyranny and yet still condoning slavery. The fact that this cartoon can present those issues really impresses me. The presentation of the British point of view also helps to balance the interpretation of events. I enjoy both watching it and talking with Katie about it.

For dinner we made turkey burgers, baked sweet potato “fries,” and a new recipe for pear, oat, cinnamon, and ginger shakes. A Martha Stewart recipe, these shakes blended up thick and yummy for only 273 calories. Freezing the red pears overnight really added a lush thickness to the shake, the oats a bit of toothiness, and the almond butter, milk, and buttermilk some protein. Maple syrup and fresh ginger added sweetness and spice. Oh, these were so good. The kiddos liked them, too. This recipe is going to go into our rotation. Who doesn’t love a shake with a burger? No one here missed the ice cream this time. I definitely recommend trying this one!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!