25 January 2015

A Danish Squirrel Day Smorgasbord

Happy Danish Squirrel Day!

I think it's been a couple of years since I told this story, so if you're looking at that greeting and wondering what in the world I'm talking about, here's the quick version. One cold January day back when I was in middle school, my mom had a big rack of frozen pork ribs sitting on the table, thawing for supper. One of the then-little kids came up and asked what that thing was, and my dad told them we were having Danish squirrel ribs for supper because it was Danish Squirrel Day. Us older kids, having been stuck inside going crazy for several days of cold weather, decided that Danish Squirrel Day sounded fun and spent the afternoon decorating with construction paper squirrels and Danish flags. We aren't sure what the original date was, but have celebrated Danish Squirrel Day on January 25 ever since.

Theoretically I try to make ribs for our celebration every year, but I totally forgot to pick some up this year. I think I'm going to have to transition my annual menu from ribs to "new Nordic" cuisine anyway, though, because Little Bear is the pickiest little kid I've ever met when it comes to keeping his hands clean, and ribs are definitely not a food kids can eat without getting messy fingers.

What is "new Nordic"? I've been hearing little snippets about it for a few years, but basically, chefs and nutritionists from the Scandinavian countries have recently been working to renew their region's cuisine, taking classic dishes and local ingredients and turning out healthy but still uniquely Nordic meals. It's interesting how their governments have chosen to become involved to promote their national cuisines and encourage eating healthful, local foods. Tonight I'm making a loose adaptation of some meals I found online: we're having halibut, carrots from the garden, and linguine tossed with garlic-infused olive oil. And Danish butter cookies, to make sure we aren't too healthy. :-)

The "smorgasbord" of the title was actually referring to the random jumble of thoughts bouncing around in my head, not an expansive spread of hors d'ouvres. For instance, full sentences. (That wasn't one, I know.) It's been so much fun to experience Little Bear's continuously-expanding ability to express himself. Just now he was trying to put some photos back into a little photo book, and said "Need help." I told him to bring it to me; he frowned and said, "Need Daddy help you. I be right back," gathering it up and heading down the hall to Matt.

"Go outside? Go outside and play in the snow and go sledding!" It is cold, cold, cold outside, but Little Bear was still sure that he needed to go out to play while Matt hauled wood. This morning it was -16 F in town at church, and now it's about -21 here—our inversion, warmer temperatures up in the hills than down in town and the surrounding flats—isn't kicking in today for some reason. Matt bundled up well to go haul logs and replenish the woodpile for the week, since it's supposed to stay cold for at least a couple of days here, while Little Bear and I sat by the fire and read stories.

My self-proclaimed Arctic Ninja, off to sneak up on some logs.

Little Bear has been on quite the superhero kick again lately. "Captain America is very, very happy, Mama," Little Bear informed me. Why? "Because... um... freedom!" Not a bad answer... If he had his choice, I'd pretty much spend all day reading him a rotation of little golden books about Captain America, the Hulk, and other Marvel superheroes. "Big Cap" and "Little Cap" play with him during his daily quiet time, and he's loved having Daddy home to play superheroes with him this weekend.

Ultrasound and chiropractor tomorrow, hopefully getting the jeep in to the shop soon, and so many random chores around the house that pop into my head and then disappear before I can write them down... It should be a busy week around the Shifflerhaus. Hopefully I'll have good news to report after tomorrow's ultrasound! Have a good week, y'all.

Do you celebrate any holidays unique to your family?

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