Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yoga

Some friends of mine put together a "Mindful Mothering" yoga class this afternoon, and I have to say it was such a great idea. Get some awesome friends/amazing mothers together, do some yoga , and then sip tea and enjoy snacks and have a discussion about our mothering. I left feeling a bit more relaxed and knowing that I have such a supportive group of mothers all around me who really understand the experience I have. We are thinking of making it a monthly thing which I think will be great. I came home with really good energy (even saw something super cool in the sky, new it had to be planets but didn't know which ones. Called Chris, he didn't know, called my Dad and he told me it was Jupiter and Venus. It was pretty amazing, I could hardly keep my eyes on the road. I felt so lucky to see it as when I got to my house, we were completely socked in!) I was able to get the kids through dinner and bedtime without stressing out even though we had a monster begging for "MORE CHOCOLATE!" and a toddler stuffing peas up his nose. Note to self...need more yoga.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Overload





We were away from home for 14 hours today. We spent the first 3 hours at a delicious breakfast my Dad and Mimi hosted. It was a burrito bar, mmm, and they even sent me home with a jar of my favorite salsa in the world (a homemade chipotle sauce). The kids had a fun time playing with their grandma/grandpa, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. It was a little chaotic at times, but everyone really enjoyed it. Chris and Grandpa even vacuumed out my car! Athena said her favorite time was when she practiced reading with Mimi and Oli. Mimi gave her this very cool book that has a little wheel you turn to make a new word (like a word family thing b-ug, m-ug, d-ug). Athena is very good at reading those kind of words now, kind of amazingly so since I have never really sat down and worked with her on it. I think she could be reading independently if I actually practiced with her a bit as she is reading so many isolated words on her own right now as it is.
After breakfast, we headed up to the OC to visit with more cousins, Aunt/Uncle, and Nana came too! The kids had the best time at this park there with dirt trails and little hills (reminded me of my childhood at Lakeside ditch, but not as fixed up). Rowan loved riding around on a big kid bike with training wheels (we had to push him), but he was not about to ride his trike there and get laughed off the course. Athena had a blast riding through the mud, and took a short spin on her cousin's bike without the training wheels. She definitely has a ways to go on that but it seems to be the kind of thing that when she decides she is ready to have them off, she'll figure it out in a day. I let go of her a couple times and she can balance, she just gets scared or even worse, let's go of her bars to scratch an itch. It was still fun though.
We later took a trip to Native Foods, and filled up on tasty vegan eats. The kids devoured their kids meals. Athena loves their chicken free nuggets and Rowan had the pizza. I got my standard order, the something or other chicken run ranch burger with a salad. It did not disappoint. After dinner, we headed back to play with the cousins some more. The kids were just having out of control fun and we could hardly leave the place. Sometimes I felt like Rowan was meant to have been my Bro/Sil's 4th child (they have 3 boys). Rowan fit right in and was not shy at all, just chasing his cousins all around, having a dance party, and loving all of their toys. It was an awesome day, but I'm glad we have tomorrow to recover and get ready for the dreaded Monday...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Drive In Pictures

Our driver.
Rowan messing with the controls.
Snacks.

Athena faking that she was asleep.

We saw "Bolt" which wasn't what I thought it was going to be. Athena didn't love it, but thought most of it was OK, albeit a bit scary at times. "High School Musical 3" played next and we stayed for about 10 minutes just to get a laugh. Rowan was actually really loving the opening scene but it was hilarious because after the 10 minutes Athena said, "Is this the real movie?" When we told her yes she said, "This is NOT my kind of movie." I was kind of relieved knowing she wasn't into this kind of movie yet because I know in another few years she'll probably be bugging me to take her to see something just like it. So, a night at the Drive In with Veganmomma's family.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am so thankful

As I was putting the kids to bed tonight, I started thinking about everything I was thankful for. I'm not the best at putting my thoughts into words, but here goes...
First of all, I am thankful for my husband, daughter, and son. Each day they give me a reason to get out of bed and try to make myself a better person. My daughter has taught me that when given the choice between "A" and "B", that you can choose "C". She helps me think outside the box with her creative lead each day. She models what it is like to be a genuine person, thoughtful, insightful, and real. My son reminds me to loosen up a bit, he is free, emotional, and funny. He delights in the small stuff, and helps me slow down when I get too crazy. He is also persistent, active, and curious. Then, there is Chris. He is my rock. He is there when we need him, just when I think the chaos is getting overwhelming, he brings order to our world. He is dedicated to our family, working hard each day at a job he doesn't love so that we can live a comfortable life. He is honest, goofy, and talented. We are all so thankful for each other. Athena said she is thankful for our family, but more for Oli's family which made me laugh. I am thankful for the rest of my family as well. We are so lucky to be surrounded by moms, dads, grandmas, great grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, and sisters. So very lucky. We have wonderful friends who I know I can count on too.

Today we had a lovely Thanksgiving at my cousin's house, who conveniently just lives a canyon away from us. The kids had a fabulous time visiting with their cousins. I honestly only saw Athena when it was time to eat in the 4+ hours we were there. She told me on the drive home that we need to go to their house more often so she can play with her cousin's dolls. Her cousin's dolls even have crutches! (which is a favorite theme in her play right now) This alone, made it one of the best Thanksgivings since we have had kids. I really got to sit back and relax quite a bit, the kids just got along so well. Then, there was the food. It was fantastic. Most of my family eats the traditional fare, but are well used to my vegan ways. Lucky for me, I have a rockin' veghead sister in law who I can always count on for tasty food. My mom also likes to contribute to the vegan cause, and cooks up a few dishes herself. Plus, the rest of my family knows to leave off the butter on the steam veggies, etc., so that we can eat them too. So, here is what was on the menu this year. I made the "Festive Chickpea Tart" which turned out well. I got very good reviews from my taste testers, it was especially yummy with a little cranberry sauce. I also brought along a "Celebration Roast" by the Field Roast people. It was pretty good, but a little salty (maybe that was my broth though?). Athena requested roasted potatoes, and I couldn't deny her that so I made a big tray of that including some sweet potato for Rowan (his favorite) and the rest of us. My mom made the vegan stuffing, every year I count on this from her as she makes the best stuffing! She also makes a sweet potato casserole that she veganized many years ago. She used to bring 2 versions of it to Thanksgiving each year (vegan and traditional) and then one year she just brought the vegan one and no one really noticed so now that is what she does. It is super sweet with candied nuts and brown sugar, almost a dessert. She also made a green salad, and left off the cheese so that we could partake. My bro/sil brought a pumpkin soup (which ended up being my favorite dish), a sweet potato/corn/green bean medley, festive carrots, and fresh baked bread with roasted garlic. Finally, for dessert I brought along pumpkin pie brownies and chocolate pumpkin pie (From E, D, and B, V) served with vanilla coconut based ice cream. Wow! I *think* I liked the brownies better, but it was a close call. The chocolate pumpkin pie is definitely a good choice if you don't have much prep time as it comes together in a snap.

After our big extravaganza, we stopped at a soggy playground for a bit to run around with the kids. A fantastic day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Puddles

video
We met some friends at the park today after a night of rain. I didn't really want to spend the day outside, but felt like my poor kids never get to experience any "weather" so off I went. We'd been there over an hour when one of my friend's kids started jumping in this GIANT puddle. I had this whole debate with myself over whether or not I'd let my kids go for it, and that was when I saw Rowan bolt for the water. I quickly made the decision that I was OK with the water play, I had some extra clothes (or so I thought) and all would be well. The kids had a blast! They could practically swim in this puddle, Rowan sort of did by accident (kind of scary, but he didn't mind too much, involved some rolling in the puddle and a wet from head to toe toddler). We had just enough clothes to outfit athena fully and rowan minus a shirt. He didn't seem to mind though as he fell asleep on the way home. Athena even gifted me with a nap later in the afternoon. How sweet.

Wow these are good!

Thanks to a tip from my friend Lindsey at Day to Day Vegan, I scored some of these today(she called me from Cost Plus World Market to let me know they were in). I don't think they'll last long, maybe a little longer since I'll be making some Thanksgiving treats, but otherwise, I doubt they'd last more than a couple of days.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ridiculous trophy

I don't want to sound ungrateful (or wait, I paid for this), but isn't this the most ridiculous trophy you've ever seen. Athena was looking forward to one like last year that had a pony tail, but this is what she got. She still likes it, but seriously, who was in charge of purchasing these?!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Playtown




The kids and I went on a field trip to Playtown today with Rowan's class. They had a lot of fun and didn't give me much trouble. You never know when you are in a big group of kids if your kids are going to be stirring things up or not(maybe some people know, but I never know), but today mine were pretty low key. They loved the roller coaster most of all.
video

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Wrap Up




Chris ended up working most of the day so the kids and I had a regular day. We took it slow in the morning and headed to our neighborhood park for awhile. They had a great time at the park, the weather was just perfect. We came home, ate lunch, and Rowan napped. I couldn't help but fall asleep too, I was sooooooo sleepy. When Rowan woke up, Chris was finishing up his work so we decided to head out for some dinner. We tried out the new "Nature's Express" and it was good. The drive thru menu is almost identical to the Kung Foods drive through which isn't a bad thing in my opinion. We dined on greasy burgers, fries, chicken tenders, and a chocolate milk shake, all vegan and organic of course. The kids sampled the pumpkin soft serve too! FYI, you aren't supposed to eat the drive thru food in the restaurant as it violates their health code or something, but they let us anyway. Inside they serve a buffet where you now pay by the plate, instead of the pound. $6.95 for a small plate and $9.95 for a big plate, plus the plates can't be piled higher than 2 inches. After dinner, we headed to balboa park and took a short tram ride just for fun. Finally, we cruised around the Old Globe and enjoyed their sparkling tree.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Only 15 minutes...

It is almost midnight, and I had to throw a post out so I wouldn't fail in Nablopmo. I had a night out tonight with some friends, most of who I haven't seen in awhile. We had a nice dinner and then walked around Hillcrest ending up at a cafe for drinks and dessert. It was a nice night, especially getting some support for some parenting "issues" I've been having. I really thank Chris for supporting me going out for the 2nd night in a row, I really needed it. And the best part of spending a night away is driving home, knowing my family will be there waiting for me (even if they are sleeping). I always feel a strong force pulling me home after being out, but it is a good force, not a bad one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Comfort food


After a long week, I was craving some comfort food but was too lazy to consult any recipes. The kids were getting hungry so I quickly made them some grilled cheese sandwiches (follow your heart "cheddar"), cinnamon applesauce, and peas. They loved their dinner and while they were busy eating, I finished up more food which was a noodles with cheese kind of thing. I used raw cashews, lemon juice, garlic, a dash of mustard, olive oil, and roasted red peppers to make the cheese sauce, and mixed it with a package of whole wheat pasta. It was tasty served over a bed of spinach and some leftover peas from the kid's dinner.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kitchen bugs

I get really grossed out by kitchen bugs. In the past I wasn't able to eat cauliflower for over a year because of an "incident", and then their was the chard from our garden, also deemed inedible. All because of some tiny little pests. I wish I could get over it quicker, but when I eat those contaminated foods, all I can think about are bugs, bugs, bugs. We haven't had any problem since we've been at the condo but then in the course of a week I've been nearly kicked out of my kitchen! First, we had broccoli bugs. I had 3 head of broccoli and only 1 was contaminated which I thought was very strange. I inspected it VERY carefully though so I'm pretty confident that I didn't miss any. The old Sara would have HAD to throw it all out, even the 2 OK bunches of broc., but I tried to be brave and frugal and went ahead and used the broccoli sans bugs. Then, just 2 days later I had plans of making a huge batch of garbanzo beans to freeze and make hummus. The beans had been soaking a couple of hours so I went to have a peek, EW EW EW. There were little black bugs floating all over the top of the pot. I saw some black dots on some of the beans and squeezed a bean to inspect further and realized that is where they were coming from. They were burrowed into the dried beans and were being released due to soaking. I had to throw away the entire pot of beans and there was probably 6 cups of them.:( Since these episodes I've been eating mostly those packs of prewashed spinach because it is all I can handle. I get grossed out when I think about the bug incidents and am afraid to make more beans because I'm worried more bugs will pop out, or even worse, that the black beans had them too and I just couldn't see because they were black. OK, I'm done getting myself all worked up over a bunch of bugs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Muffins

I made muffins for Athena's class today. They were having a thanksgiving "feast". They didn't serve any meat which was nice. Her teacher was telling me about a book they read too that she thought I'd like (I'd already checked it out from the library), which was nice. I made pumpkin and banana muffins since I wanted pumpkin but athena wanted banana. I felt pumpkin muffins were more festive. I burned the banana muffins though, so pumpkin it was. I blame the fact that I wasn't baking in my own kitchen on the burning though, since I rarely burn things. The muffins were a big hit, no one knew they were vegan except her teacher who asked me for the recipe. Four year olds don't really think of that I guess. I was worried they weren't going to be liked, but I was relieved to hear that everyone enjoyed them. Athena told me they also ate apples, blueberries, and carrots. She thought it was a great party and brought home a lovely flower pot center piece that she'd made at school. She was so proud of it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Che Cafe


We had dinner at Che Cafe tonight. I would have felt pretty lame about it since we ate out last night (my mother in law invited us to Sipz so of course we couldn't turn it down!:) But, today I made a big lunch for us, the sweet potato, black bean, onion, spinach (kale) mixture that I usually make for my enchiladas. We didn't have time for enchiladas so we just made them into burritos, and boy were they tasty. With chipotle cashew cream and organic salsa, they were one of the best lunches ever. Athena hates that dish so she happily dined on a pb & j with natalie's bread. She LOVED it, and she doesn't usually ask for pb & j, but she said it was her favorite now.
Back to the Che, it was "soul food" night so we hate plates of mac n cheez, red beans, collards, and corn bread. The kids loved the mac and corn bread. When we showed up Athena said, or more like whined, "I DO NOT LIKE THIS RESTAURANT!" We explained to her that they have different food each time we go and that we really thought she'd like it tonight. Now she loves it, partly because we had So Delicious ice cream sandwiches there for dessert I'm sure, but I'm glad she decided it was OK after all. I think last time we went there they had a spicy curry and all she got to eat was rice, so I understand her feelings I guess. She gave tonight's dinner 3 thumbs up, which is one of the highest honors you can get based on her rating system.

This is how Chris gets the kids ready for bed. :)

Rowan is determined to ride this scooter. He calls it a "doo doo", and he loves it more than anything right now. It drives me insane as he can't ride it yet, but he will not give up. I'm glad he has perseverance, but I just wish he would try something a little safer for him. I'm betting by his 2nd birthday he'll be cruising this since he already can do one or 2 pushes without falling over. I'm very impressed as you can probably tell. Poor Athena hardly gets to ride it anymore because he becomes a screaming monster and if I don't make her share it right away, she usually ends up sharing pretty quickly, probably because she doesn't enjoy his screaming any more than I do. We have a 3 wheeled "doo doo" stored over at Nana and Papa's house right now, but even that won't work if the razor is around. If he doesn't have the razor around, he'll give it a try.

Monday, November 17, 2008

oops

I almost forgot to post today. I had this great post all ready in my mind earlier but then rowan moved and ruined it. He was napping and woke up a little too early so I went back in and he had this amazing flock of seagulls hairdo going. I wanted to take a picture and write for the title "and i ran..." and then put a caption of "dreaming of flock of seagulls". It isn't very funny when you just read it, but man, the picture would have been amazing, but he rolled to the other side before I could sneak away and get the camera.
My highlight of the day was at stitch and bitch tonight when my friend urbanhousewife brought me a loaf of fresh baked bread. She is trying to inspire me to start making my own since I've been talking about it for about a year now. I can't wait to try it tomorrow. I was too full tonight since we went out to dinner (Sipz). Thanks for the bread Natalie!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

weekend ending

The weekend is almost over, and it was a pretty nice one. With weather in the upper 80's, it was just like any other summer day. Saturday I played with the kids while Chris made a tasty breakfast of pancakes and home fries. Then I crawled back in bed and read for an hour or so while he tried to keep the kids away. They kept checking on me but since I looked pretty boring just lying in bed, they didn't really bother me. Then it was off to Athena's soccer game. It was HOT at the game and the kids weren't that into it. She was having fun, but you could tell that all of the kids we ready for the game to be over when it did. After that, it was home again, Chris took Athena for a swim while Rowan (and I) napped. I'm a cat napper so I was back up in 20 minutes and reading again. We cruised down into Rose Canyon to look for trains but didn't see any. The kids had fun playing the dirt at least. Then it got dark so we headed home for dinner. We made plans to ride bikes in the morning to get smoothies. So at 8:30 this morning, the kids took off on their bikes with Chris and I right behind (not riding though), and headed for Jamba Juice. Athena did great on the ride, Rowan petered out on the way back but then got pumped up when he got to "ride" Athena's bike and we made it home without anybody melting down. Then Chris took Rowan to the beach while Athena and I stayed behind to be mellow. She played quietly with her dolls and polar bear while I read some more (oh, in case you were wondering, I was reading "My Sister's Keeper" and wanted to get it done before book club on Friday, i can check that one off my list now). I put Ro for a nap and headed over to Brides by Demetrios to watch my sister pick out her wedding dress. She had already narrowed it down to 2 when I arrived so it was really pretty easy just helping her decide which one we liked best. She picked a beautiful dress and I'm so excited to see her in it. She'll be tying the knot in July 2009. After we chatted about some wedding plans, I made a quick stop at Costco, and then made it home in time for us to head for the pool. The pool was refreshing and made us hungry so we took off for Pokez for some greasy yummy Mexican food. It was so funny when I told Rowan, "You want to go to Pokez?" He responded with, "Ouchie." I had to explain to him that I was talking about a place to eat, not a place where we'd go see a bunch of pokey things. When we arrived at Pokez, I announced it again and he said ouchie again. It kept making me laugh. The kids are both asleep now, and it is before 8:30 so that is pretty nice too. It was a great weekend, I'm sad it is over, but tomorrow is Monday and I like taking Rowan to his parent participation class even though I'm pretty tired by the end. He loves it, which makes me happy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Jaw Dropper

I made the usual, lemon garlic seitan with pasta (brown rice fusilli if you want all the details), and decided last minute to add some chopped kale to the seitan. I've used kale that has been minced in the food processor, and it went over well, but chunks of veggies aren't usually welcomed by my children. Tonight I was in for a huge surprise. I served Athena a plate with 2 sections, one with the pasta, and one with the seitan and kale. I noticed she was first picking out just the seitan, but I wasn't too worried. Next thing I know, she eats a bite of kale. I don't say anything, but stop and stare for a minute. And then, it happened, she was like, "I'm going to put this over here (kale with pasta) because I love it so much!" Chris and I looked at each other and tried to act like it was no big deal, meanwhile sneaking thumbs up signals to each other. She even asked for seconds! It is funny to me that she won't touch most vegetables, but kale and spinach are usually OK in small amounts. Tomatoes, onions, zucchini, asparagus, and cooked carrots are still out though!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rowan's holiday wish


These. We were at Target tonight and he wore them around for about 10 minutes until we finally ripped them off his feet while he sobbed over his loss. They are so hideous, but I swear, I'm thinking of buying them for him because I know how happy he will be. He kept saying, "I want mine, boots" which sounds more like, "I-ont...miiine...boots."
Gotta go, the little guy is calling me, having trouble falling asleep. He took a 3 hour nap today so I saw that one coming.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

2 stories

#1 Athena

In the car driving home:

"Mom, when I grow up I'm going to have 14 babies, and 14 kids. Then I'll get 14 moms to help me, and 14 dads. And we'll have LOTS of cars. 24 bugs, 24 priuses, and 24 honda civics. Not 4 Mom, 24! That will be a lot of marrying, or maybe we could all get married at the same time! Ha ha ha!"

#2 Rowan

He has begun to go to sleep on his own at night (as in not nursing to sleep or getting walked/rocked to sleep). Tonight he wanted to bring a baby in to sleep with him since Athena was bringing in a stuffed polar bear. He calls it his "may-mee". It is so cute. He was rolling all over the bed trying to get comfortable and get his last wiggles out and then he would randomly remember the doll and ask for "may-mee". Once I gave it to him, he'd settle back down and cuddle with it. Too adorable. He really likes to push his "may-mee" in the stroller and feed it too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Disappointment

I was very disappointed today when I went to drop Athena off at school. As I entered the room, I could tell something was up as there were a lot of parents lingering around and a heavy "buzz" in the air. It was then I saw the note that informed us that Athena's teacher had resigned rather suddenly due to personal family issues. I understand that sometimes personal issues do get in the way of work, and sudden things do come up, but I am frustrated that the teacher didn't even get to say goodbye to the students. I don't know if she left on good terms with the administration or not, but I can only get the feeling that things were not good or why else wouldn't she finish out the week or maybe just until next week when they go on Thanksgiving break. They'll have a substitute teacher through December, and are supposed to have a new teacher hired for the new year. Her same teacher's assistant is there, which is nice so at least there is some consistency. Athena seems OK, but I'm still disappointed. The teachers had a meeting with the kids and were supposed to tell them what was going on, but I don't know what they said. Athena said she didn't remember. I told her that her teacher would not be working there anymore and she innocently was like, "so she'll never be my teacher again?" I am trying not to transfer by disappointment and feelings of uncertainty on to Athena and have tried to be very positive and calm about the whole mess. I hope they find someone really good to replace her teacher. I was very happy with the way things were going this year. No, it wasn't perfect, but Athena was thriving and I was loving the child directed project approach they had taken on. Their latest endeavor had been creating there own "Metal Mutt" out of old metal that the kids brought from home. The finished robot dog looked pretty cool, and Athena was very proud of it. She even works on making them at home and wants to invite friends over to help her get more ideas she tells me. I guess another thing that is bothering me about the situation is that I get the feeling that some of the parents may have had something to do with her leaving. I "heard" that one parent in particular was really complaining a lot, but you know how these kinds of rumors get started. Who can really say if that was the case or not? She was a new teacher to the school, and I did feel like some parents were being overly critical, but then again, I'm a really laid back person. I tend to look at the big picture and give people the benefit of the doubt. The teacher did struggle with classroom management at the start of the year, but things had improved tremendously, and I respected her for working through that with her rowdy group of boys. She never took a heavy handed approach, but instead worked on building friendships and helping the students problem solve and manage their own behavior. The class had meetings and worked together to brainstorm solutions. Anyway, I could go on and on, but I just really hope the transition is smooth and that Athena continues to thrive in her current classroom. If things do go down hill, I will consider pulling her out for the remainder of the year. I doubt it will come to that, but I won't say it couldn't happen.

If anyone is still reading...I do have a completely unrelated question for you. Her teacher (assistant) asked me today for an idea for their Thanksgiving feast. She wanted to do something simple that Athena could eat too. She thought I did such a good job on Halloween (the bagels with tofutti and sprinkles) that she thought I may have a good and easy Thanksgiving idea. I don't at the moment, but please give me any suggestions you may have. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Favorite part of the day today

My favorite part of the day today was in the afternoon. Both of the kids brought their doll strollers with dolls on a walk around the complex. They walked so far, even Rowan! We stopped and had a snack at the picnic tables and watched the people playing tennis. I have been making an effort to take the kids outside, just for a bit, in the afternoon when Rowan wakes up from his nap. With the time change, it is hard to do, but the rest of the evening goes so much better when I do take them out for awhile. Tonight they even let me cook a pretty decent dinner (black bean, kale, and sweet potato enchiladas - then I made some homemade chipotle cashew cream to top it off). They used to go out with Chris when he got home from work, but now it is pitch black and no one feels much like leaving the house after 5 anymore. Once in awhile, we will take an evening walk, but not often.
Tomorrow Athena is back to school after a week off (illness and holiday). Rowan and I have some errands to run.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pumpkin muffins

It's that time again...pumpkin time! Well, Halloween is over, but the next months are my favorite months to make pumpkin/squashy food. I have been addicted to pumpkin muffins for about 5 years. I love them year round, but November is my favorite time for them. Tonight I whipped up a double batch so that I could freeze a few for emergency muffin needs (sometimes Athena needs them for school). I used to use a recipe from People's co-op, then had been using the Vegan Lunchbox recipe, and tonight I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. I had to make some substitutions as that is just the kind of baker I am. I used mostly whole wheat flour in place of all purpose flour, I cut the sugar in half and put a pinch of stevia, I cut the oil in half and subbed apple sauce for the rest of the oil, hemp milk for soy, omitted the allspice because I didn't feel like grinding any, added chocolate chips, and sprinkled them with pepitas and some with orange sugar crystals. They turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

My happy taste testers.
For dinner I made a big batch of peanut noodles (plenty of leftovers), but they were mushy as I over cooked the lo mein. At least I have extra peanut dip for the week as I love it with raw veggies.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lovely day

We've had a lovely day so far. Athena had a soccer game in the morning and had a lot of fun, everyone on her team scored a goal. She was pretty tired during the game as she has been having trouble sleeping lately. She goes to sleep easily most nights but is awakened with dreams and can't fall back to sleep. Last night she was up from 2 to 3 or possibly later (that is when Chris dozed off). It is hard because I want to attend to her at night and make sure she feels safe, BUT I feel like once she starts talking to us, she stays up where as if I ignore her more, like the nights when I'm so dog tired that I mumble in my sleep and tuck her in really fast, she falls back to sleep easier. Or maybe she doesn't but I'm so tired that I do and don't notice her tossing and turning. I ordered her some herbs for kids valerian, thinking maybe those could be her magic drops for when she wakes up in the night. I hope it works. She isn't a wreck the next day usually, but it does catch up with her eventually. Plus, she has been having major meltdowns every other day or so which usually occur when she is tired in the late afternoons or early evenings. Last night she was hitting and kicking Chris and just going crazy simply because he wanted to dry off her feet when she got out of the bath so that she didn't slip on the tile. She's really quick to tears lately, a lot of this stems from our moving it seems, often after a tantrum she'll tell me it was because she misses our old house or something along those lines, even though what triggered the tantrum seemed like something totally different. It is hard to say, she is only 4 after all. Today she was helping teach Rowan how to say "I love you", he was saying "I lah oo".
Too cute.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nablopomo

I finished the October Vegan MoFo task of blogging every week day during the month, although some days it was a stretch to come up with a food based post. I never announced it, but did sign up for nablopomo again. It is the National Blog Posting Month where I will make sure to blog "something" everyday this month. I believe I was a success last year, I don't feel like going back and checking, so I just wanted my faithful readers to know that I will be posting every day this month.

That said, let me know if there are any topics you'd like me to blog about as sometimes I do run out of ideas. I am looking forward to a great weekend...how about you?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Frugal veganmoma

I just finished the start of one of my frugal veganmomma moves. We tend to be a pretty frugal family, with the exception of food. We spend a lot on food, but figure it is worth it. It is not, however, worth it when I let stuff rot and waste things that I could have used. So here is what I did:
  • (this has nothing to do with letting things rot, but it is a big money saver since we consume a lot of beans) Made a big batch of black beans this morning. Used a bit to make bean burgers for dinner (so good and have 5 extra patties for a quick snack or lunch), and froze the rest in 2 cups servings.
  • squeezed the last of my lemons from my aunt/uncle's tree and froze the juice. It is ready to go for a lemon garlic pasta night!
  • chopped celery and froze it also in 2 cup servings.
  • chopped the rest of the carrots that were getting old and froze them.
  • chopped the rest of the chili peppers from my aunt/uncle's garden and froze them too.
  • also made a big pot of brown rice last night so that I'm not tempted to go buy those little frozen bags of it at trader joes which are so convenient when I forget to make the rice ahead of time.
  • last night made a double batch of "snobby joes". Didn't freeze the leftovers because I figured we'd eat them up for lunches.
I think that is all for now, but I feel good getting started on this project, and am really hoping to cook more large batches of things so that we actually have leftovers, reduce the amount of spoiled produce in my house, and just get back into a groove of cooking. October was kind of a wake up call for me where I completely struggled through MoFo. November has started off quite well in the food department. I hope I can keep it up since it actually is making things easier on me.

Here is a picture of my second plate of dinner tonight (oops). I made the burgers based on Vive Le Vegan's "celebrity adzuki bean and rice cakes". I used black beans though, hoisin instead of BBQ, carrots for celery, and baked them rather than pan frying. They were a big hit, Rowan ate his entire patty. I didn't give one to Athena because she is still recovering from the stomach flu just gave her the baked potato), she'll be the real tester. Chris said, "they taste like those Amy's burgers!" We served these with baked potatoes and a green salad with hemp seeds, pepitas, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

It's back

The vomit that is. Now Athena has it, I can only hope she is done after one night, but she looks green still. We will take it super easy today. She is in good spirits though, just finished her cinnamon toast. I'll post a video later of my kids breakfast demo. They love making their own breakfast.
This can keep your kids busy for quite awhile.
video

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The highlights from today:
  • grocery shopping with Rowan while Athena was at school. I LOVE my co-op, where else can I run into 4 different friends, get free food for my toddler, have a cashier swing my boy up in the air and tickle him while he smiles and giggles? (Rowan was particularly friendly today, engaging just about everyone in the store in a conversation.)
  • Picking Athena up from school and seeing all her creativity at work. She made a cone shaped hat that was covered with "NO BOO" (2 words she knows how to write). I asked her if it said that because Halloween was over and she said, "no, it's to remind the boys to stop scaring us." We both thought it was funny.
  • napping with the kids, yes, both of them!
  • surprising Chris at work to pick him up. The kids rode their bikes, while I jogged along, over to Chris' work this afternoon. They did amazingly well.
  • eating good food. (a raw taco/kale salad combo from the co-op for lunch, "snobby joes" for dinner. Mmm. My refrigerator is full of goodness right now, I even remembered to double the batch of "snobby joes".

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rainy Day

It actually rained today and Athena really wanted to go out in the rain so we made a plan to walk around the complex with her in the lead. Rowan looks super grown up in all of the photos. I promise he is still a baby, well toddler at least.
Walking on the path.
Stomping in puddles.
In the parking garage.
Going to check out the pool. I always loved watching the rain fall in the pool when I was a child so we headed there first.
Umbrellas that didn't last long. The kids wanted to feel the rain and their arms were "tired".
When we got home we made hot chocolate, and later in the day we made a fort and popped popcorn. I'm sticking with the positives for now (there was one HUGE meltdown), not worth dwelling on the bad of the day since it really was mostly good. Rowan is feeling so much better and fighting naptime and bedtime like usual. Glad he is feeling better, but I could have used another one of those 3 hours naps today!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Updates

Rowan took a nap for over 3 hours and is eating again. Luckily, I had the foresight to switch to disposables diapers while he was sick and that really paid off today if you know what I mean. So we are done with the puking it looks like and have moved on to other things. Not too bad at all.
Athena stayed for lunch at school again. She wants to stay every day now. That will be an extra $60 a month which isn't a lot, but still maybe not in the budget. I'd like to keep it at once a week.

Today we looked at a house that we might rent. It fit our needs in every way except it smelled like dog pee. The managers are having the carpet specially pet treated tomorrow since they really want to rent it to us, but I'm not very hopeful. I think I will still smell it. Too bad, as looking for houses is bad news, and really stressful on Athena. She started having major tantrums again just after we started discussing moving (again). It will be for the better in the end, but I don't want to have to keep moving.

I walked with the kids to Whole Foods today and Athena brought along her doll stroller and then I let the kids push around a kids cart. It was one of those experiences that usually turns into a nightmare, but I tried to remain calm and upbeat and it all worked out. Plus Rowan stole an apple and then willingly went back into the stroller so that was nice. We've hit a rough spell with Athena as I hinted to above with lots of tantrums and just a really contrary attitude. It is so hard to stay patient with her. I'm trying out some techniques, or I don't think you could really call them that, but I guess what I'm trying to do is not lose my temper immediately (which is how I've been lately).

For example:
Today, after we returned from the house search Athena entered the house before Rowan and I and then blocked the door so I couldn't get it open. Lately, my lack of patience, would have had me raising my voice to tell her to move out of the way, then probably making some silly threat. Today, I took a breath and then pretended that I didn't know she was blocking the door and was like, "oh, this door is stuck and I can't get it open, hey Athena, could you help me see what is blocking it?" Voila, the door opened. Wish us luck with parenting this spirited girl. She is really pushing our buttons right now.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Nothing will get you out of bed faster...

...then someone vomiting all over you. Rowan was up a couple times last night throwing up which meant we had to completely strip the bed at both 1:30 am and 4:00 am. I'm so very sleepy, at least he took a 3 hour nap, but I didn't get any rest since I took Athena to a birthday party for her cousin. It was a fun time (until the meltdown at the end), but I think I should have stayed home and napped.
We thought Rowan was better as he acted cheerful and didn't have a fever ever, but around 4 he threw up again, and then again at 7 in the bed. He is finally sleeping now at 8. He wants to nurse to sleep but then he gets too much milk and throws it all up. I'm too tired to carry him around the house so he can sleep, so Chris walked him for awhile and then I just nursed him a bit. Fingers are crossed. That is all for now, I need to eat dinner and get to bed.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Athena's First Goal!

video
Athena scored her first goal today! It starts off a little slow but then she really goes for it! She was so happy. She has been trying so hard to get a goal. Most of the kids on her team are 5 and they were always scoring but the 4 year olds are starting to really get into it now.