Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Then why do I get weak in the knees when I see an Ebay listing for a Kindergarten Investigations curriculum? Must be nostalgia, since I used Investigations to teach when I was working. Sometimes Investigations was a pain but most of the time the kids loved it and I liked it (with supplementation). It would be so fun to use it with Reese and Eli, but we don't *need* it.
Speaking of homeschooling, I was making copies at Kinko's the other day and discovered that they provide cardstock for copies at no extra charge. Eric helpfully (?) pointed out that they're probably overcharging me for copies anyway. I was still thrilled to discover this. I copied a bunch of stuff onto cardstock: activities for Eli, game boards, mini books. I feel that I got my $9 worth. It is 9 cents a copy though...any Columbus friends know of a cheaper copying place?
I suppose, it's time to make the To Do list and get cracking. Kids need to be schooled, the house needs to be cleaned, food needs to be prepared, and we have a plan to go swimming this morning. Happy Busy Tuesday!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Tonight I made Indian food, including these samosas! The recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance, an awesome cookbook for beginner and experienced vegan cooks alike. We also had some chickpea curry, and assorted fruits. Yes, my children will eat samosas, in case you were wondering.
And here's what I did much of Sunday afternoon with Reese:
Reese got a sewing kit for Christmas that we finally got around to working on. It's hard to see, but those are sweet treats (cake, cupcake, cookies). The kit itself was pretty easy, all the holes for sewing were precut and the directions were clear. It was tough for Reese though so I did lots of it for her. Whenever there's a straight stitch though, Reese is all over that. I think she'll be a great little seamstress someday. Anyway, she and I had a good time.
Then after dinner tonight I threw together some granola bars for Eric. He found a raw recipe that he wanted me to try. Those are in the freezer setting up right now. If I remember, I'll snap a picture before I cut them. I also made after dinner drinks (canteloupe margaritas). It's been a long, busy Monday, and they taste so so good.
Whatchamakin' for dinners this week? ;)
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Yes, the children will be awake soon. Eli might sleep past seven, but Reese has always been a little early bird, hopping out of bed all cheery and light. I think I'm mostly a morning person too, minus the cheery and light. The nice thing is that Reese is content most mornings to play with her dolls and guys while I do some yoga or just zone out. It's after Eli wakes up that the demands of the day begin.
So what's been happening, let me see. Oh the raw experiment. That was kind of a fail, not really because I disliked raw food or because it was too hard or anything. It failed because of leftovers. I'm really the only person in the house who will consistently eat leftovers. I've been really trying to make just enough food for one meal so we don't have sad containers of food wasting away in the fridge. Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes I'm not. It just irks me to no end to waste food, so a lot of times I'll eat leftovers for lunch. In the interest of not wasting food, I only ate raw maybe two days last week. However, I liked the way I felt. I felt very clean, and like I was doing a good thing for my body. And with my vitamix, it's not a problem at all to whip up a raw veggie soup.
Speaking of raw foods and my vitamix, they can both just take responsibility for me discovering a most delicious raw dessert: banana soft serve. I can't believe I didn't know about this awesomeness before now. It's so good, you should try it. Here's what you do:
Freeze some bananas (maybe break them in pieces before you freeze them? I broke them in half).
Get some kids to put the bananas in the vitamix (cause why should you do all the work, am I right? Unless you don't want to share...)
Dump in maybe a couple tablespoons of maple syrup (or your liquid sweetener of choice).
Add about a teaspoon of vanilla.
Have aforementioned kids flip the Vitamix switches and blend the heck out of the contents of the blender. And you have a smooth, sweet but not too sweet, perhaps healthy dessert. Om nom nom nom.
Oh! I sewed some stuff this week! Not a really lot of stuff though. Sometimes I get in a sewing frenzy and pound out a bunch of projects, and sometimes I'm too lazy. This week was in the middle of those extremes. I did sew up a pair of flannel pajama pants to give as a birthday gift. And I got a good chunk of the most current batch of cloth pads done. I hope to finish the cloth pads this weekend.
I worked on a super secret project too. I guess I can tell you about it. I ordered a zine off Etsy recently and was inspired to create my own zine-like thing, but it's a coloring book so perhaps not so zine like? Don't laugh, but it's an animal rights coloring book, you know, all pro-veg and all that. It's not propaganda, just some line drawings of animals that I found on google, and some fun facts about said animals. Can I even legally use line drawings of animals that I found on google in a printed book? I don't even know. Anyway. It's cute and dorky and hippie-like. I titled it Animals are Friends...Not Food! I have a friend who says that to her kids, and I always secretly loved it. My plan is to put copies on Etsy but I might chicken out. Let me know if you're interested in a copy.
So it was a busy week when you also add in all the homeschooling and baking and cleaning up. And laundry. However, I'm still thankful that I'm able to do the laundry because there was a stretch in the last year that I wasn't. You can read about that in my other blog, RIGHTHERE
Okay, so I made the linky work but now my letters are all purple. See that? Ah technology.
Friday, August 27, 2010
On the docket for today:
- baking bread (rising as we speak)
- making a dent in the batch of cloth pads I was supposed to be DONE WITH already (want to know more about cloth menstral pads? Leave me a comment and I'll help you out!)
- edumacating my children (some math, some reading, and some science-y shark stuff awaits)
- taking a trip to Marvin's Market, which is where I've found the lowest prices on produce (Columbus friends, feel free to point me in other, cheaper directions!)
- laundry, never-ending laundry
- working on a super secret project which will be shared later
- and probably some snuggling with my kids, misc cleaning, and cooking things
It doesn't seem like that much, but the time passes so quickly. Heck, it's almost 10:30am and we're all still in our pajamas. I aspired to get us out for a walk too, but it might just be bikes in the breezeway.
I'm looking forward to the weekend. Weekend days don't look a whole lot different than weekdays, I suppose, but Eric is home and that's really nice. The kids were invited to a birthday party Saturday morning, that's good fun.
All right, one of the children is demanding food. Again. I suspect this kid is growing because he's eating constantly. Sometimes I'm at a loss for good snack food. What are your favorite (preferably healthy) snacks?
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I think I always knew that some food ingredients aren't healthy. Since the whole Cancer Thing, I'm even more mindful about what I put in my own body, and what I purchase for my family to eat. I do a lot more scratch cooking, a lot more label reading, and am just more thoughtful about the foods we eat. Granted, crackers aren't health food no matter where they come from. But if the kids are going to snack, and they do, I'd rather they were eating something that has ingredients we can pronounce, ingredients that come from my pantry.
So, the crackers! These are rosemary garlic crackers. They are pretty delicious. Here's the recipe if you're interested: www.everydaydish.tv/index.php?page=recipe&recipe=156
And here's the dough for the vegan saltine crackers I also am working on this morning. The goal is to get it paper thin, as thin as you can roll it without the dough tearing. It's kind of hard, but if you can make it work, the crackers are awesome. They taste just like saltines from the store, but better. I sprinkle garlic salt on them instead of plain salt because we are nuts about garlic around here. Here's that recipe: http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/breadsbakery/r/Recipe_Vegan_Saltine_Crackers.htm
And I just got a request for graham crackers from the children. They want to make duck and little man shapes. Cooking with kids is good math, yo, and life skills.
That's what I'm doing today. Got any big Tuesday plans?
Monday, August 23, 2010
Guess which kid had to be coerced to get this picture taken? Sigh.
This is one of my favorite places at Callaway, the boardwalk bridge. You can see ducks and fish and turtles.
The trees are so tall. It's fun to look way up. We didn't end up walking too far because Eli just really did not want to be hiking in the woods. Poor Eli. It turns out he was developing a blister on his heel from wearing his tennis shoes with no socks. I suppose it's a lesson for us all, that Eli needs to wear socks with his shoes.
Another cool part of Callaway Gardens is called Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden. It's a working veggie garden. The produce is used in the Callaway restaurants and sold at the general store. It's so weird to see dry corn stalks in August, but corn season here is already over. As we walked past the corn stalks, Reese goes, "My honey wants to know what these are." She was talking about her doll. Hahahahahaha.
This is the view from the entrance of the vegetable garden.
And this is the view from the back, while we were standing in that little red roofed house thing. Pagoda? It's not really a pagoda. Anyway...it's pretty.
By the time we got done hiking and exploring the garden, we were freaking hungry. We found a super nice picnic spot and Eric got to grillin'. Guess which grilled items belong to me?
The Grillmasters, and they're even wearing matching shirts!
After lunch, we headed to the beach on Robin Lake. I think I've posted pics of the beach before, so I just grabbed a swimming shot. It was a good time, swimming, snorkling, and building a sand castle.
Do these kids look tired and cranky? They WERE.
We stopped at Sonic on the way home and had slushies and onion rings. The onion rings at Sonic are not very good, but the slushies, as always, were very tasty.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
See? Sad face. :( Although the muffin tops and crumbly bottoms are good, and the kids gobbled them up.
It could be my flour. I accidentally bought self-rising unbleached flour the last time I did the grocery shopping. That's probably it. I might stick with my tried and true blueberry muffin recipe next time though. I kind of like my muffins to stay together.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I'm so happy about Vegan Brunch #1!!! It really was way fun and a great way to spend a Saturday morning, chatting and kids playing.
See these cinnamon rolls??? Note that most of the pan is gone because we all nommed on them so hard. They were just like I remember Cinnabon cinnamon rolls to be. Delicious and gooey. Thanks, Hannah!!!
So that was Vegan Brunch #1. I'd like to do this once a month, who's with me?? If you're out of state, you can always claim the living room floor. I'll even let you use our air mattress and some sheets. ;)
Friday, August 20, 2010
I bet you're curious as to what I'm experimenting with now. Okay, so here's the thing. I've been picking up raw food books and dabbling in raw food eating, wow, since last fall I suppose. It seems like a very healthy way to eat, and although I don't think I would ever go 100% raw, I think it's something I'd like to try.
Those of you who know me know that once I decide to do something, I jump right in, so today was my jumping in day! I decided that my experiment would be to eat raw foods all day until 5pm. So basically breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be raw, and I'll eat a cooked dinner. I still have a LOT of love for delicious cooked vegan food. And maybe I'll relax on the weekends.
So for breakfast this morning, I had a smoothie which I guess technically was not raw because I put yogurt in it. Oh well. I snacked on an apple and a handful of cashews (oh, I guess those were cooked too...roasted). For lunch I blended up a veggie soup (zucchini, tomato, celery, spinich, avocado, basil, etc) and ate some grapes. My vitamix is getting a work out today!
Will it last? I don't know. That's why it's an experiment. :)
I'll try to remember to take some pictures of my food. I didn't today because the camera is out of batteries.
Tomorrow...is VEGAN BRUNCH!!!!!! I'm so excited. Delicious vegan food and friends. It's going to rock!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I feel good about the direction we're going this year. After a minor freakout yesterday about whether we're doing the right thing and much thinking, I'm confident this choice is the best for our children right now.
AND. Guess what I did? I volunteered to teach Spanish for our homeschooling group. Ack! They were going to have someone come in and teach, but the teacher was planning to charge each family. I'm solid on the basics, so I offered to teach. It's about time I put my Spanish minor to good use, huh? I'm one class shy of being certified to teach it. I think it will be awesome good fun, and I wanted to teach Reese and Eli anyway.
It's amazing to me how busy we've gotten, how we were able to find our tribe so quickly here. I wasn't sure how that would go seeing as it took almost two years in Appleton to feel comfortable and like we were a part of a group. Perhaps it's the ages of the kids, or perhaps I'm just more at ease with myself. Whatever it is, I'm glad. I miss the heck out of my friends from WI though.
All right. Chickpeas are a'cookin', and then the kids and I are going to hang out with friends. Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Friday, August 13, 2010
Today was one of those days. Mama wasn't feeling so hot today, and we took it easy. Of course by afternoon I was disappointed in how little I felt we accomplished. Then I looked at my children, who were happily playing on the floor with a pan full of corn and a bunch of little counting bears and other assorted little plastic guys. I watched them for a little while, saw Eli pouring small cups of corn into a bigger cup, listened to Reese act out elaborate stories with the little plastic guys. I heard Reese and Eli negotiating, learning to work and play together for a common goal.
Isn't that education at it's finest? And it didn't happen because I sat anyone down with a worksheet and a book. It didn't happen because I said, "All right, it's time to play bears and guys." It was simply play.
Days like today I remember that we choose to live a simpler life. We choose to not overschedule our children. We choose to have me stay at home to be with them. We choose to set up a situation that gives our children the gift of play. And every day is a chance for a new choice. It's helpful for me to keep our focus, to remember why we do what we do.
Not to say we aren't busy! The lack of blogging this week says otherwise. :) We saw friends, went to an LLL meeting, and got to take a tour of Petco. There were reading lessons and lessons about letters. We had a Spanish numbers lesson with friends. We read books, painted a picture of the solar system, and drew pictures. We wrote letters to friends. We did chores and cooked meals. We went swimming.
I'm glad I let them play. I'm glad my parents chose to give me time to play as well. It feels good to do something that is so right for my children. :)
Monday, August 9, 2010
After several hours at the beach, we were hot and tired. Instead of heading home, we decided to get a hotel room and stay for the night so we could do some more exploring. We ended up at the Osprey, and here's the view from our 6th floor hotel room:
The Osprey was a great hotel. If we had stayed longer, the kids could have joined in some of the kid activities. There was a pool and a hot tub (neither of which we used...the ocean was RIGHT THERE, yo), a tiki bar that closed by 8pm (why, tiki bar, why???), and popcorn in the evenings. We used our popcorn to feed the seagulls.
Look at me, taking artistic shots. We sat down by a little sand playground and while the kids played, I played with the camera. I love how the clouds looked that evening. Later, when we were back in the hotel room and it started to get dark, we saw people up and down the shore with flashlights. We found out they were looking for crabs. Next time we go to Panama City Beach, I want to look for crabs!!!
The sand was so white and so soft. We dug a big hole on Saturday, and on Sunday Reese got buried. I'm glad we had our sand toys because there was lots of digging to be had.
After some morning swimming and playing, we cleaned up, checked out of our hotel, and headed back to the pier. For a mere $2 a person, you can walk out on the pier, smell dead fish, and see some cool stuff in the water. Really, it was fun. If you want to shell out $6 you can fish off the pier, and it was neat to see what the fisherpeople were pulling in. A little kid was walking around with a fish in had to show everyone who wanted to see. If you looked down in the water, you could see schools of little fish and the bigger fish that were chasing them. We also saw what might have been a sea turtle.
And of course, my favorite, the pelicans.
Looking over the side of the pier was great, but I wish I could have seen into the water better. There was a lot going on down there!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I'm glad dinner turned out well because I was sort of cranky whilst cooking it. No particular reason. It happens.
In other news, I cut out a couple shirts for Reese and a hoodie shirt for Eli. I'd work on them now, but tequila, darn tequila. You know what I'm talkin' about. Hopefully I can bust them out tomorrow at some point. Pictures, of course, will follow.
What did you have for dinner tonight?
Monday, August 2, 2010
So I finally got fed up today and crafted my own reusuable pads made from microfiber towels. It was pretty easy, I traced around the existing pad first. After cutting that out, I also cut out a rectangle for the center of the pad. I zigzagged the center strip in place, then serged around the outside.
Look at that! They look almost the same, but I can wash them.
See? Look at how that fits on the mop so nicely.
Making three of these took me about 20 minutes. The only issue I seemed to have was that the pad slips a bit while mopping. If I was mopping a huge kitchen or my old dining room or something, it might be a problem I'd have to troubleshoot. But with what I mop in our apartment, it works just fine. I don't think you'd even need a serger, you could just zigzag around all the edges.
I know what you're thinking. You're not crafty enough to make these. You don't have the time. There's no shame in not being crafty! Goodness knows I get busy too. There are bunches of awesome work at home moms who make this kind of thing too and sell them. Check out hyenacart.com or etsy.com for vendors. If you buy from WAHMs, you're supporting someone else's dream of staying at home with her children. AND you're not throwing something away all the time. I think everyone wins with a washable, reusable swiffer-like mopping pad.
Now if I could shake my dependance on those darn cleaning wipes. I love those things. Do you have anything that you regularly throw away that could be substituted with something reuseable?
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Nah, not like a maniac. Since I decided so early that I'll be sewing a wardrobe, I can do a few pieces each week and we should be good to go by mid-October, when the weather gets cooler here. SWAP is a fancy way of saying you're going to plan and sew a seasonal wardrobe. The clothes ideally are mix and match, but Reese's wardrobe is going to be more eclectic because I'm challenging myself to sew from my stash mostly. Today I went through my fabric and made a few choices about what I'd be sewing.
This weekend I made a hooded sweatshirt and two long sleeved shirts. Oh you want pictures? Okay!
Well, you get one picture. I can't find the hoodie pic. However, these are from the Kwik Sew for Children book, just the basic t-shirt pattern. I have some gray pinstripe fabric left from making Reese her Business Dress (those of you who hang with us know what I'm talkin' about) and there should be enough for pants. I think Business Pants would look pretty okay with these shirts.
What else do I have planned? I bought Reese some adorable chicken fabric, and that is going to become an Emmy shirt and capris. I found some surfer girl knit that would be a cute hoodie. I also have to buckle down and get a new set of underwear done. Busy busy!
Any other seamstresses out there? What's on your sewing table?