Monday, December 26, 2011

internet alchemy : The Family Award Wall

In decorating our new home, we decided to use a large blank wall as a gallery space for our collection of award scrolls.  The twelve scrolls display the recognized achievements of my mom, husband and myself and do a pretty good job of telling the story of our involvement in the SCA on an individual level.  In our several years of recreation, in various capacities, we've each invested ourselves in a few different activities and have been lucky enough to be recognized for our efforts.  Do these awards show the whole story of our SCA careers?  Not really- there are several gaps and many things unaccounted for- but if you wanted the brief 411 on what we've each been up to, our award wall is a good place to start.



The SCA's award "program" is, for all intents and purposes, an insurance policy for the organization.  By rewarding its members for their efforts, the membership becomes invested in their "careers" in the SCA.  There are those people that manipulate the award system (we call it "looking for the next cookie"), and those that could care less (people who are in the group for purely social reasons) but on the whole, receiving awards throughout your years of involvement gives you that same warm fuzzy feeling you got in grade school when you were given a gold star for the day.

There are extremely valuable lessons to teach when you broach the subject of awards with your children.  Most kingdoms have at least a handful of awards set aside specifically for youth, and you can certainly discuss them and their meanings with your children when you feel the time is appropriate, but there are other lessons here that are so much more important.

The two most valuable lessons are that your family involvement should breed growth and encouragement among yourselves, and that you must be willing to be disappointed when the efforts you've put forth are not rewarded- exactly as the world works in "real life".

Looking at our award wall, it strikes me that, in many ways, we've worked together as a unit to create it.  Without our constant encouragement and constructive criticism of each other, many of these awards simply would not exist.  When you or your spouse or child or any member of your family is called up in court, it's a good feeling to know that you've done what you could to allow that to happen.  And I'm not just talking about putting a family member into your kingdom's award recommendation system.  When your child asks your opinion about their performance in a recreation task (such as their boffer fighting skills or their A&S involvement) your encouraging words and honesty will bring them one step closer to recognition down the road.

The flip side of this coin, however, is that not all efforts are rewarded, exactly as it is for the mundane world.  Sometimes you can put forth all your effort (honestly and for your own personal happiness) and never be given an award for it.  The lesson children can glean from this fact is that rewards (pretty award scrolls and fancy titles) should not be thought of as earned achievements, but rather deserved surprises.  I say "deserved" because it's easy to feel that you are not worthy of an award you've received, which is a self-depriciating attitude that's unhealthy.  You receive an award because someone thought you deserved it- and by believing that you don't, you belittle that person's values and standards, even if you don't know who they are.



Cultivating an award wall in your family home isn't about working towards the rewards.  It's about recognizing the impact your family makes on your local group and your interests as a family unit.  It's about what makes each of your family members maintain their interest in medieval recreation, and what makes each of you unique.  By noticing what's missing - the gaps and the things unaccountable for- you provide an opportunity to learn humility and to evaluate why you might have taken up certain things.  Do you do it to make yourself happy or simply for the recognition it would bring?  If it's the later, I suggest exploring what the absence of that activity does to your recreation happiness quotient.  If it's the former, then you should continue doing it as long as it makes you happy to do so- this is a hobby after all.

Begin talking about the pros and cons of the award program with your children as soon as they are able to understand the concept of doing things for personal gratification and can grasp the negative concept that receiving an award isn't a sure bet, regardless of how hard you work at it.  You can also speak with them about how "hoarding" awards for the ranks and recognition they convey is selfish and destructive to the entire system (but resist the urge to cite specific examples by name!)  In the long run, when your child (or spouse, or whoever) is called up in court for the first time, you want to know that, though you encouraged them along that path, hearing their name that day came as a complete surprise to you both.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

kids at the faire : Fingerloop and Lucet Cords

Any craft that introduces medieval techniques while also helping to develop a child's fine motor skills is a pretty good craft in my book.  Both fingerloop braiding and the technique known as lucet are medeival crafts that create cords that can be used for pouch strings, clothing ties, even shoe laces!  The two methods produce two different types of cords, but they are both great for keeping idle hands occupied! 

Fingerloop braiding uses loops of string hooked on the fingers and exchanged from finger to finger, hand to hand in a specific pattern to create a braided cord.  The open ends of the loops are knotted together and secured (I usually put the knot over a low hook on my living room wall) and the length of your loops is stretched out tight before beginning.  Fingerloop braiding can be done alone, but when you start getting into braiding long cords (longer than 18" or so), you may want a friend to help keep your braid tight by using a tool (can be anything long and thin) to push your braid tight at the opposite end from where you are manipulating the loops.  This is how siblings or friends can be involved in your child's learning process.  There are many types of fingerloop braids, some more complex than others, but a basic cord that is good for most purposes is the 5 loop flat braid. 

Video showing how to make a 5-loop braid:


Lucet, on the other hand, uses just one string and a 2-pronged tool, called a lucet fork, that positions the string for looping in a pattern that creates the cord.  This makes it a very individual craft, and doesn't require the space that fingerloop braiding can sometimes take.  The lucet fork doesn't have to be anything fancier than a plastic fork with some prongs removed until your child gets the hang of it and you feel an upgrade to a more period, wooden lucet fork is appropriate.  There are also 4-prong lucet forks.  In general, lucet cords are either square or flat. 

Video showing how to make a basic lucet cord:


Friday, October 28, 2011

internet alchemy : Nine Man Morris

Nine Man Morris is a 2-player, checkers-like game that requires a more sophisticated type of strategical thinking than what's typically required in a game of tic-tac-toe.  It's not as complex as chess, however, since all pieces follow the same rules, but there are similarities there as well- out-playing your opponent by trying to pre-think them.
The origins of Nine Man Morris are a little obscure, but it's thought that it was played by the Romans.  It was popular enough in medieval times for the board to be carved into cloister seats.

The great thing about Nine Man Morris is that the board is easy to make.  You don't even really need a board- you can draw one on a piece of paper or in the dirt.  You'll need 2 sets of pieces, 9 pieces each.  Stones, glass beads, wooden nickles, anything with a small diameter relative to the size of the board, and in two different colors or shapes so they are distinguishable from each other.  Keep them in a small pouch toss them in your basket for on-the-fly games.

Other than being old enough to not try eating the game pieces, your children really only need to understand the concept of game play- not necessarily the more strategical thinking involved.  The object of the game is to remove your opponent's pieces until they have no way of winning the game (typically when they are left with less than 3 pieces, but not always.)

The game begins with a blank board of three concentric squares joined at each of the four sides:


The two players pick who will go first, then each in turn, they place one piece on any circle point on the board.  The point of this initial game play is to try to strategically place your pieces at an advantage.

Anytime you are able to create a row of 3 of your pieces, called a "mill", you may remove one of your opponent's pieces.  It is preferred to remove any pieces not already arranged in a mill unless there are no others.  Creating mills and taking pieces off the board can happen during this inital piece-placement stage.  Removed pieces are out of game play completely.

Once all 18 pieces are placed (whether then lost or not), the game continues by moving pieces in turn around the board.  Players move a single piece along any available line to one adjacent space in their turn.  If they are able to create a mill with the move, they are then immediately allowed to remove an opponent's piece.  If the player is unable to move any pieces, they have lost the game.  If they are left with less than 3 pieces, they are no longer able to create mills, and cannot win the game- in other words, they have lost.

If you're looking to introduce period games to your child, Nine Man Morris is a very good one to start with, since the game play is about as easy as the board itself.  It's also easy to teach- encourage your child to teach his/her friends and organize tournaments.  It's also possible for children to be just as strategically good (if not better) than adults, so playing the game can often open up broader ranges of social interaction for children who may need more experience being around adults.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

kids cookery : chicken pasty

There are many recipes for a variety of medieval pastries that use meat fillings.  They are each unique- some savory, some sweet- but in general, you can think of them as the medieval version of the pot pie, just without all that unhealthy gravy.

Pasties are a fun medieval food for kids because of their very nature- the idea of little dough balls filled with delicious food is pretty cool.  The trick is to let them know what is inside, especially picky eaters.  An even better option, to seal the deal, is to let them taste the filling before you place it in the dough- so they can dictate whether it's good or needs more of something.  Don't go overboard with medieval flavor combinations that modern palate's aren't used to.

The recipe below uses chicken, but any meat will do.  White meats takes better to the process than red meats, but it's all in how you prepare it.  If you and your children are adventurous, try experimenting with other ingredients, like fish.  The basic recipe below uses inexpensive ingredients, so if it doesn't quite work out, you're not out a hefty chunk of change.

Pasties also travel well, and don't necessarily need to be served warm (just be sure to adhere to safe food practices- they should still be transported in a cooler, and not left sitting out too long).  They are certainly a make-ahead food, but you can place them in a dutch oven over a fire (or camp stove) to warm them up if you think they'd taste better that way.

The following recipe is portioned for older children and adults, but you can make smaller portions for younger children just by using smaller pieces of dough and smaller spoonfuls of filling.  One of the large pasties below is a serving.  You can also substitute the raw meat for canned meat- just make sure that you drain it well.

To make chicken pasties for 4, you'll need:
  • 1 tube of prepared croissant dough (like Pillsbury)
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed into about 1/2" pieces, or smaller
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 green bell pepper (optional), chopped
  • cream cheese (about half a regular Philadelphia brand block) softened
  • garlic powder to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • (seasoning for chicken if desired - I recommend a small amount of powder douce)
  • Butter or olive oil for cooking
In a skillet on medium heat, cook the onion and seasoned (if using) chicken with butter/oil.  When the chicken is mostly cooked on the outside (though not yet cooked through), toss in the green pepper, garlic and pepper.  Stir often until the onion is transparent and the chicken is no longer raw.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.  Open the croissant dough and create four squares (using two triangles each, pushed together to connect them), and lay out on a non-stick baking sheet.  Cut off patties of cream cheese and press them with your fingers to flatten them out.  Place one flattened patty on each dough square. Divide the chicken mixture into four parts and place one on each dough square (the dough will stretch some, but don't over fill- you may have some extra filling.)  Place another flattened patty of cream cheese on the top of each mound of filling.  One at a time, wrap the dough up around the filling, making sure it's well sealed all around (they actually turn out better if the top is a little messy-looking) and place equally apart on the baking sheet.  Use the baking instructions from the croissant dough package, and add 2 or 3 minutes to account for the filling.  The pastry should be golden brown and the cheese slightly melted (but not soupy!).  Serve forth immediately or refrigerate and serve later (up to 2 days)..
Original Recipe from Allrecipes.com with my modifications.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Update

It's been a bit slow around here the past couple of weeks due to the lengthy process of moving my family.  I hope to resume more regular posting the second week in October.

I hope you are enjoying Growing Up Medieval so far!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

authenticity for parents : passing on interests

In medieval society people were born into their trades.  Dad John was a wheelwright so Son William was a wheelwright.  Part of the evolution into modern society brought an end to the strict adherence of this principle, so it may be difficult for some modern parents to understand how to take advantage of this in the recreation we do with our children.
Some of us have, in modern terms, very unusual hobbies that we practice specifically because of our involvement in a recreation group.  Given the total number of people you know at any level, how many of them would honestly like and enjoy taking up pewter casting?  How about making 16th century ruffle collars?  Let's face it- the hobbies we spend our time on are not your typical hobbies.  Yet they are great tools for expanding your child's horizons.

Now, I'm not saying that you should teach your children your hobbies and that will be that.  Far from it.  If they happen to really enjoy doing that particular craft, great.  If not, let it go.  The real priority here is to teach it to them so that, when they are adults they not only have an appreciation for the craftsmanship and beauty of medieval culture, they have a very real understanding of it.

Start young on this- pre-schoolers are infinitely fascinated by new things- but try to match the level of skill needed for success to the attention span of the child.  Most of the hobbies we do will require at least a grade-school level attention, but start your youngster off by constantly involving them (Anna, can you hand me that skein of wool?), reeling them in (Phillip, do you want to see how I can turn this piece of metal bright red?), and teaching them what you can in little bursts (Hey, Rachael, if I show you how to do a running stitch, do you think you could sew the hem of your dress?)

And, of course, encourage your child to excel at whatever craft he or she chooses to focus on.  If they decide to take on a different hobby than those you know, provide them with plenty of opportunities to teach you, so they feel that you are engaged.  If they would like to pursue a hobby that is more expensive (and you feel they are able to realistically take it on) work out a deal with them, just as you would in the modern world, to use chore money to pay for materials.

The hardest part, I think you'll find, is not passing on the "too many projects at the same time" trait that we have as adults.  Let's be realistic with ourselves, though, and realize that, in a hobby with so many hobbies included, that's a trait worth having.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

merry market : wooden chess set

Chess Set from Playing Mantis
A hand-carved wooden chess set with plenty of character would make a nice gift for your period-gaming child.  This set in particular is quite a piece of art, but maybe you and your child could design and make one together with this as inspiration!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

kids cookery : applesauce

Applesauce in period was typically served as a sauce for meat dishes, and resembled the apple puree we all know today only very remotely.  Medieval recipes for "appulmose" include such ingredients as beef broth, egg yolk, and fresh cream.  I'm not sure you could get such a concoction past your own nose these days, let alone your child's!

Omitting the unusual extras, and sticking with a recipe like what your grandmother would have made isn't a horrible departure from period applesauce.  Sugar and cinnamon, which bring out the best in apples, are period ingredients (even if not exactly the same as they are now).  In addition, even if a modern applesauce isn't entirely period, it keeps well in the fridge for a day or so, can be served warm or cool, and is kid-friendly.  Your child can even help you make it, and imagine their glee when a nice bowl of their applesauce appears on the lunch table at the next event!

The apples you chose will greatly determine taste; Gala, McIntosh and Golden Delicious are all good choices.

To make a rustic applesauce for 4, you'll need:
  • 4 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or more to taste
In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.  Serve forth!
Recipe from Allrecipes.com 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

modern medieval family : eco-medieval

I'm officially coining a new term: eco-medieval.

What does it mean?  Consider for a moment the materials, methods and manufacturing we strive to include in our recreation kits.  Authenticity, in terms of medieval recreation, is achieved through using period practices and supplies to take the place of our modern conveniences.  Instead of backpacks, we carry baskets.  Instead of denim, we wear linen.  Instead of lawn chairs, ours are made of wood.  And as much as possible, we like these things to be handmade.

In the modern world, this same underlying principle is at the heart of the "green" movement.  A return to using non-synthetic materials, and a preference for things that are hand-crafted.  The eco-friendly family is one that leverages the power of natural resources and human ingenuity to create a healthy environment around themselves.  "Natural resources and human ingenuity."  Doesn't that sound an awful lot like the medieval world?

Eco-medieval, therefore, is a way for the modern medieval family to balance mundane eco-living with period authenticity.  Simply put, living an eco-medieval lifestyle is realizing that our love of authentic medieval supplies- those things we cherish in our kits that make us feel closer to living "the Dream"- doesn't have to check out when we leave an event.  Many of those items can find homes in our mundane lives.  Also, many of the concepts behind those things we love can carry over into the mundane world, finding new, modern avenues.

An example?  My garb is made up almost exclusively of linen and wool cloth.  These materials aren't hard to come by, but they can be costly.  The price is worth it to me, though, because of the authenticity these materials add to my garb and my persona.  Doesn't it make sense, then, that I should look for natural materials in my modern clothing as well?  If I can appreciate fine materials in the medieval sense, I can also appreciate them in the modern sense.  Price is still an issue, but if I'm committed to the eco-medieval idea, then the same rule applies to modern clothing that does to my garb- it's worth it it I feel more enriched and "authentic" by wearing it in the real world.

In addition to finding ways to support "authenticity" in the modern world through the green ideal, it's also a valuable tool for helping children see the modern world through medieval eyes.  And it can only help support their interest in recreation society when they see the history behind a modern desire for handcrafted, natural goods.  Seek out parallels in furniture making then and now, or cooking, or art-making.  Showing them that the medieval ideal is still alive and well in the eco movement gives the educational aspects of our hobby more bearing.

Another way that an eco-medieval attitude between event life and the real world can help children is that it can encourage the value of stewardship by providing a venue for hands-on, eco-inspired learning.  It may be difficult for your wee one to understand how wind energy works by not straining natural resources.  Yet, doesn't shearing sheep and processing wool into yarn to weave into cloth teach the same lesson in a more hands-on, albeit round-about way?  Likewise, they may not grasp that modern packaged foods use chemicals and substances that aren't good for us, but they will jump at the opportunity to grow their own vegetables and learn to make dishes from scratch with them.  Our hobby provides hundreds of chances to teach green lessons in the guise of period authenticity.

Instilling the eco-medieval idea in our children is also the perfect way to teach them about craftsmanship and taking pride in the hard work they do, both at events and at home.  Children who understand the principles behind authentic work in the period context can take that concept with them through life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

dress them well : a great beginning source

I thought I'd start the "Dress them Well" posts by sharing a link to the Historical Costuming for Children LiveJournal community.  There are several contributors, sharing their garb perspectives on a wide variety of age groups, periods (even outside of the SCA period) and authenticity levels.  This is a recent find for me, so I'm still discovering new links, but here are a few that I find inspiring as a start:

More kids garb photos, (eleanor_deyeson)
The boy shall be dressed at his ease, (chargirlgenius)
Toddler dresses and hood, (birchduck)

There are plenty more- check it out!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

lesson learned : "hold" for your children

The SCA uses a safety word on the fields, lists and ranges that means all within the area must immediately stop because someone is in danger of being hurt, or something is causing a hazard.  The word is "hold", and usually, when one person yells it, others spot the danger themselves and yell it as well.

Recently, my husband, D, and I learned from a mother we respect (whose child is no longer a toddler) that "hold" works for keeping your children safe as well.  We were set up near the archery range, where D, my mother and I were all shooting in turn.  This is the first time we had set up near the range, and O was unfamiliar with the situation.  Each time he spotted his Daddy at the line, he would run to him.  This, of course, made me panic each time, but I only ever yelled "O, stop!"  This was usually enough to get D to turn around as well, but it did not affect the other archers in the same way.  In fact, I'm sure that a few of them were irritated by the distracting yell, oblivious to how close O was to running into the range.

Explaining our frustration about how O did not listen, and how afraid we were at the danger in which he placed himself, our friend told us a similar story, and we were comforted that we were not alone.  When we mentioned that we feared yelling "hold", since we didn't want to interrupt everyone, she shook her head.  No, she said, that's what "hold" is for.  It's better to yell hold when a child is about to enter danger, than to yell something else that may not work, and those who needed to be award of the danger remain oblivious.

We have not had an opportunity to put her advice into practice, but the lesson is learned.  No one will fault you for yelling "hold" where the safety of your child is concerned.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

merry market : wooden dragon toy

From Armadillo Dreams
Hand-made from poplar and painted with non-toxic watercolors, this dragon toy can boast of being event-friendly as well as eco-friendly!  Even better? Each one is made to order!

also from Armadillo Dreams
How about a wooden Gameboy for those older kids?  Its intended to be a teething toy, but giving your 10-year old one would make a great practical joke!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

authenticity for parents : developing your child's persona

At some point, your anachronist teen will undoubtedly say, "I think I'd like to do a [___] persona," at which point you'll happily encourage them to research it and you'll support them (knowing full well they'll probably outgrow it soon).  Until that day, however, you wield a mighty power.  YOU get to decide your child's persona.  And, oh, what an awesome power this is!

Being able to play dress-up with our children can be a fun experience, especially if your child enjoys putting on funny clothes for a day, and it's easy to get carried away with the idea of making miniature versions of the garb you never made for yourself.  After the child turns 3, however, your urges to "experiment" with garb and accessories on your child run the risk of back-firing on you.  The reason is simple- your child has the opportunity to develop a persona, same as you.

Sometimes the child's personality clues you in on their persona.  A young girl that loves how events make her feel like a princess rules out personas, such as Norse or Middle Eastern, that are not "classic" or "romantic" to a young one familiar with the world of the Disney.  She'll be more comfortable and happy in a 14th century context, where she can wear pretty dresses, or 15th century Italian, where she can have her hair braided with ribbons.  Another example? A rowdy boy who's hard on his clothes is well suited to a Viking persona, where you can encourage him to learn about real Vikings and in turn hone his pugnacious tendencies.  Since his garb will be simple rectangular construction, it's easy to make and repair as needed.

Other times, your child's physique will help determine a persona.  My son, Owen, is lean, with a long torso and neck.  Putting him in Viking garb is a crime, since he's built for the long, tight silhouette of the 14th century cotehardie.  In Owen's case, his loving and personable disposition also fits this persona- he's the model of Arthurian chivalry in miniature form.  This doesn't always work, though.  A girl with a tom-boy attitude and natural curves may look better in Middle Eastern, but perhaps the layers aren't her style and make her feel awkward.  This is where your work as the parent in developing your child's persona comes into play.

There's no need to wait until your child makes their own decision on what persona they prefer to encourage them to read about all the cultures they could settle on.  There are hundreds of children's books available that focus on the medieval period.  Not all of them are particularly accurate in their history, but exposing your young child to the basics is a great start.  There are even some movies geared towards children that offer unique perspectives on medieval culture, such as The Secret of Kells or the forthcoming Brave.  Encourage their interest by asking if they liked the clothes or other facets of the culture shown.  If you get a non-committal response, that's a good indication that the interest just isn't there.

Not all children will develop persona's early on, and for those who do, there is, unfortunately, no guarantee that they would stick with it for any length of time anyway.  Your role is to respect your child's opinion and monitor their comfort level, and to help them discover the vast world of possibility with medieval recreation.  This holds true for your teens as well, just include a stern belief that any persona they chose to pursue (and therefore spend [your] money on) is well-researched and not just a trend or ploy to get noticed by their peers.

Remember also that you'll go a long way with this process by practicing what you preach.  Don't enforce a strict persona on your children, but not put the same effort into your own persona.  Children, after all, learn by example!  Also, don't assume that your child wants your persona.  Sure, it may make you feel good to have a miniature version of yourself to parade around at events, but not at the expense of their interest in medieval recreation.  They may have no real interest in your chosen period, and forcing them into it means they miss out on one they may like better.  The more they like the whole dressing up and going to events thing as children, the more likely they are to retain it as a hobby when they are older.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kids are Anachronists Too!

As medieval recreation becomes a more mainstream hobby, the number of children born to anachronists increases.  For my part, all three of my kids have only ever known that attending SCA events on the weekends is something that we do.  They were all only two weeks old when they attended their first event, and, yes, they were in garb.

Through the past three years, I've shared some of my experiences as a SCAdian parent with readers of my other blog, The Compleatly Dressed Anachronist, but I've lately felt that I needed to share more.  So, this new blog was born (pardon the pun).

This blog is a bit different from my other in that I have an opportunity to share much more with you, in much the same way as the typical "lifestyle" blogs that are so popular these days.  To that end, you'll see a revolving set of blog features and standard categories.  Planned thus far are:
  • Lessons Learned will be an opportunity to share experiences and offer advice to other medieval parents on how to deal with the very specific issues that come up in our hobby.  Sometime they'll be funny, other times quite serious, but regardless, they will be presented to help you see that you are not alone!
  • Dress Them Well will be focused completely on garb for children.  I'm of the mindset that all children should be well garbed at events, so you'll be sure to spot some finely frocked frolickers in this one!
  • Kids at the Faire will offer a DIY perspective on medieval crafting for your family.  From toys to artwork to event gear, and so on, I'll share the what and how of doing it on your own.
  • Authenticity for Parents will deal with medieval parenting topics (as in period practices) as well as ways to maintain authenticity with and for children.  
  • Merry Market will provide links and inspiration to re-creation appropriate items for purchase (or at least for drooling over).
  • Internet Alchemy is a wide ranging category that will generally showcase online finds that fall within the "kids at events" category. 
  • Modern Medieval Family will be for items of all types that cross over into the mundane world, but that seem appropriate to share.
I will also, of course, share event stories and photos of my family.  We are a large family (we'll equal a half dozen by the end of the year), which poses a whole separate set of issues at events, but I hope you will find our experiences helpful no matter the size of your family.
    Please stick with me as I build this blog.  It will obviously change as my children grow, from infants and toddlers to youth and teens, but I hope parents of any variety will find use in what I post here.  Feedback is always welcome, through comments or by email submissions.

    Regular posts will begin August 21st- I look forward to sharing them with you!

    P.S. I forgot a category!  Kids Cookery will focus on medieval food suitable for kids tastes (or eating habits).