Thursday, September 30, 2010
I feel I must complain about the recycling our apartment community does. They don't take all the things. You can bring plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, glass bottles. I think that's it. If you have tin cans or glass jars, you are on your own. Would it hurt to have two more bins and then FREAKING TAKE ALL THE THINGS???? I'm not throwing that stuff away, but it's annoying to store it up in my apartment or car until we can get to a recycling drop off in town. The joys of apartment living, right? From what I have heard, we're lucky our community recycles at all.
That was not the learning experience though. We've already learned about that.
On the way home, we passed under some oak trees. They are dropping acorns right now. Acorns are kind of fun to look at, so I stopped and said, "Hey, look at these." I explained that acorns are seeds and new trees will grow from them if the conditions are right (and if squirrels don't eat them all). Then we started talking about growing our own oak trees, which led to us gathering up a handful of acorns to bring home. I'm no master gardener, so I offered to look up how to grow oak trees from acorns. It can't be that hard, right? They're just seeds. I sprout seeds all the time. Usually you just soak the seeds, then plant them when they sprout (or eat the sprouts, om nom nom nom).
Well, oak trees, you are much more complicated than I thought. Apparently, acorn seeds need to lie in dormancy for 1000 hours. I am not making that up. I read it on the Internets. The site I found suggested putting the acorns in a plastic baggie filled with peat moss and letting them sit in the fridge all winter. Really? Isn't that going to get moldy?
It doesn't matter because once Reese realized that these oak trees weren't going to grow for months and months, she was easily swayed by the suggestion that we should grow something else. Crisis averted, and I don't have to have a bag of dirt in my fridge all winter. I think that's a win for everyone.
But now we know how the whole acorn thing works. And most of our stuff got recycled. I'd call that a good morning.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Don't worry, it's totally not. This was our dinner last night, bean burgers, which were served on homemade rolls, with oven fries and steamed broccoli on the side.
Mmmmmm. The bean burger recipe is a modified version of the Black Bean Burger in Veganomicon. I'll let you google it if you think you might enjoy a meatless burger. I tell you, I think the key to veggie burgers that actually stick together is wheat gluten. I would call this recipe flexible, too. I used pinto beans and regular white onions. I do like a recipe that still works with some substitutions. I have a pretty decently stocked pantry, but sometimes you use the red onions for something else because you forgot that you bought them for Black Bean Burgers. I'm not saying I did that. I'm just sayin'.
Tonight was Breakfast for Dinner, which is kind of boring. I served individual hash browns, tofu scramble, and toast. And then oatmeal for the kids who complained about the tofu scramble. I didn't take any pictures. You all know what tofu scramble looks like, right?
I'd like to brag and hype up my dinner for National Vegetarian Day, which is THIS FRIDAY, but I haven't decided what to cook. My menu plan for this week seems to have ended today. This needs to be remedied. Perhaps Friday would be a good day for seitan? Or for a really easy meal you can make with stuff you have in your pantry? I'm torn. I want to show the ease of vegetarian eating, but I also feel like celebrating with fancy food. We shall see what happens.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
October 1st, which happens to be this Friday, is World Vegetarian Day. Who's going veg with me? One day, people. I think everyone can do one meatless day. And if you're feeling really saucy, why not go veg for the entire month of October? Or just do meatless dinners? I'll help you by sharing what we're eating, point you to some other helpful blogs, and share some recipes and cookbooks I enjoy. Yay veg!!!
Over the weekend we didn't do a whole lot. I escaped the house on Friday night to have some coffee with friends. Saturday the children and I attended a fun festival at a friend's church. They had fake tattoos there, it was awesome. Then we went to the grocery store. I don't remember what we did on Sunday.
Monday was our homeschool group day. Families gathered together to share what we learned about the country of the month, Argentina. I made squash and black bean empanadas to share, but they were so good that I really wanted to eat them all myself. Reese talked about how people in Argentina have Christmas in the summer, she was pretty impressed that the seasons are opposite ours.
And today? We're staying at home, and I'm secretly glad. Some weeks I feel like we're on the go sooooooo much. The kids and I were able to enjoy a game of Candyland today. We didn't have to rush to finish our school-y stuff. I'll actually have time to get caught up in the kitchen or sew something. Maybe we'll get the bikes out or take a walk to a playground. I do like going places, but staying at home is nice too.
The only bad thing about staying home is the fighting. Ugh. Encouraging my children to get along with each other is definitely a work in progress. I'm reading Siblings Without Rivalry, hoping it will give me some ideas and insights. We shall see, and in the meantime, we just do the best we can. And I try not to yell and lose my temper too often.
Anyhoo, we have a couple literacy games that we want to play and a sequencing activity that uses the book Two Bad Ants. Have a great Tuesday, all!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
So here we have Tuesday night's dinner: Snobby Joes from Veganomicon, pita bread, baked kale, and apple slices. It was a pretty good dinner. I didn't care much for sloppy joes growing up, but now I like them. The pitas were made by me, and these had some awesome pockets.
Baked Kale (In case you want to try the deliciousness yourself)
You need: some kale (usually sold in bunches), olive oil, garlic salt, a greased cookie sheet, and an oven
Preheat oven to about 400 degrees. Wash and dry your kale. A salad spinner would work awesomely, but since I can't have nice things, I just shake it really good. Rip pieces of kale off the stem and spread out on the cookie sheet. Dab the pieces of kale with olive oil using some sort of pastry brush. Sprinkle with garlic salt (regular salt will work, but I think the world needs more garlic, don't you?). Bake for a time, like ten minutes or so, peeking in to check for browning edges. When the edges start browning, that's when I take the pan out.
Baked kale is crunchy and delicious. You might find it hard to share, I know I do.
Okay, last night's dinner was noodles and sauce because I was busy doing a colon prep for a colonoscopy. Lame.
Tonight I had the "I have no idea what to make" blues. So I turned to a handy vegetable loaf generator that I stumbled across called The Magical Loaf Studio
Basically you check off ingredients you have and the generator spits out a recipe. Careful, there are no promises that your creation will taste good. I've been lucky, and these loaf recipes usually go over pretty well. If you want the recipe for tonight's loaf, I can post it, but I think it's fun to make up your own. That's BBQ sauce on top. I'm sure you want to know if the kids liked this. They both said they did. Reese ate almost a whole piece, and Eli ate about three bites (pretty good for Eli, haha). We also had broccoli and apple slices. Apples are in season around here right now, and for some reason broccoli was reasonably priced too. I'll talk more about how our family eats with the seasons in October.
So there ya go! I'm really going to try to stay on top of this, I promise. Happy Eating!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Anyway, the argument was about homeschooling. I know not everyone we come across or know supports our family's choice to homeschool. And you know what? That's okay. Everyone has a duty to do what is best for THEIR CHILD(REN). And how lucky are we that we can choose? I think I've said this before: I'm not against public school. I'm not against preschool. I just don't think that those options are right for every family. Am I glad options exist? Of course!
One argument that almost always comes up in favor of public school though really really bugs me. Socialization. If you keep your kids at home, HOW will they get socialized?? How will they learn to function in society??
Insert giant EYEROLL here.
We don't hide ourselves in a closet, people. In fact, none of the homeschooling families we know do that. We're out and about just about every day during the week, hanging out with friends, attending art classes, going on field trips, visiting the grocery store, the library, the post office. My children watch and participate in interactions with people of a variety of ages and backgrounds regularly. If they were in school? They would interact with a small number of adults, and a huge number of same age peers. Is that really real world socialization? What's more real world? A group of children from ages 3 to 12 negotiating a game on a playground or a group of 5 year olds sitting in desks?
I just see more value in the former group for our family at this time.
Yeah, I get a little touchy about the whole socialization thing. I should probably just worry about my own self and my own family instead of getting stressed out about what other people say. Especially strangers on the internet.
So with that, we'll go about our day. Today is Art Studio Day, which is always a good time. Before we head out the door, we're going to bust our butts and get our other work out of the way. Because we can. ;)
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Reese lost her first tooth! I should say, her front teeth were not loosened naturally. She and Eli were playing puppy, Reese had a rope between her teeth, and Eli pulled on it really hard. According to The Internets, her loosened teeth are not a concern right now because she's due to start loosing them anyway. How do I have a kid who is old enough to be loosing teeth???
I brewed my first batch of kombucha yesterday. It's pretty easy, and I hope it turns out okay. So far so good!
Here's the makings of one of our meals since I posted last. It's seitan stir fry. We eat a LOT of stir fry. It's quick, easy, and pretty healthy. I make my own stir fry sauce too. Om nom nom nom. When the cooking was finished, this stir fry also had green beans and broccoli, and was served over brown rice.
Reese and Eli got a surprise package from Great Grandma and Great Aunt Patti! Thank you!!! We love books, and the kids love to read.
So yeah. We didn't do too much over the weekend. On Saturday morning we went to a couple farmer's markets and also recycled. Recycling is a job here, definitely not as easy as it was in WI. There used to be recycling containers at the front garbage drop off, but some jerky jerks were just putting crap in the bins, so I thought they were removed. Then while driving to look at the car wash area, we found them again. But the apartment community doesn't take glass (??), so that means a trip to a recycling center. Not a huge deal, except that we've only been able to find one and it's way across town. Are we really saving the planet when we have to use a bunch of gas to recycle some glass? I don't know, but I feel better recycling. I suppose we were going over there anyway for the farmer's market.
The markets here are kind of lame, sad to say. I don't know if it's the season, but there aren't many fruits and vegetables. It's mostly crafty stuff, which, if I wasn't crafty, would be cool. Most of the offerings are things I can easily make myself. Reese did get some hair bows.
Sunday I took the kids to the pool. Yes, swimming in September. I never thought we'd be doing THAT. The water was chilly...it does cool way down here at night, but it's been in the upper 90s during the day. I am not complaining.
Well, I hope everyone has had a great start to their week. The kids and I are off to a La Leche League leaders meeting this morning, and since we already got half our homeschooling stuff done this morning, we don't have that much to do this afternoon.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Oh, and I think someone owes me a brownie recipe? Hint hint.
You could make one too! It's pretty easy, maybe just a tiny bit time consuming though. But if you're hanging around the house, it's perfect. You can make your own bread or get some from your local farmer's market (or the store in a pinch). I sliced the eggplant into about 1/2" slices, salted the slices, then let them sit on a plate (this gets rid of the bitterness). I squished the slices with a towel to soak up the moisture, then placed them on an oiled cookie sheet, along with strips of red pepper. The cookie sheet goes in a 425 degree oven for around 20 minutes (just peek at it once in a while, flip about halfway through, bottoms should be brown when flipped).
While you're roasting your veggies, make up your sandwich spread:
White Bean and Sundried Tomato Sandwich Spread
This makes a freakton, but it's also good as a veggie or cracker dip.
2 cups white beans
4-5 sundried tomatoes, soaked for about half an hour in a cup of hot water and drained (reserve the liquid)
2 cloves garlic, peeled of course
salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp should do it)
1-2 tsp dried garlic chutney (you can get this at an Indian grocery store...don't have it? Try a pinch of cayenne...this sauce is good with a little kick)
Put everything but the soaking liquid in a food processor. Add a few splashes of soaking liquid and get the processor going. Add liquid until you get a consistency you like. Taste and season as needed.
When your veggies are done, assemble your sandwiches. Slice the baguette in half, spread the White Bean and Sundried Tomato spread on the slices. Layer roasted eggplant and red pepper on the baguette, adding some vegan cheese if you wish (I wished). Slap that bread together, get a napkin, and enjoy!
I think you could add other veggies to this sandwich if you like. I'd love to try it with some roasted zucchini, and maybe I'd put some sprouts on there too. Om nom nom nom. :)
Oh!!! I totally forgot to snap a picture of dinner last night, but I made seitan nuggets and mashed sweet potatoes. See? I have to practice this Taking Pictures of your Food thing because I forget. Happy Friday, y'all!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
So far today, I've only gotten to the sheets, but it isn't quite 8am yet. In a little bit I'll run the soymilk maker and we'll start some school-y stuff (Reese requested that math be first, she loves math). After I get some bread going, I think a walk to the woodchip playground is in order. At some point today I need to clean up the kid bedroom.
Yeah, I clean the kids' room. I know I shouldn't. It's their room and they should clean it, right? But after many hours of standing in the doorway directing them what to pick up, I decided it's just easier if I do it really quick. Although I think today they're going to have to help me because it's time to purge again. They just have too freaking much stuff. Some of it has to go.
How do I get Reese and Eli to give up some of their belongings? We're going to target the books and the stuffed animals (who I swear are breeding in the night, by the way). I ask each kid to pick ten books and ten stuffed animals to share with others who don't have toys. It seems pretty painless, for the most part. I'm sure they'll get more stuff for Christmas and birthdays, and let's face it. When two people are sharing one bedroom, we really do have to put a limit on the amount of stuff.
So. Thursday. You're a welcome quiet day in our busy weeks. Thanks for stopping by!
What's your favorite day of the week? And...do you clean your kids' bedrooms?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
This is a stir fry with red peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, and soy curls. There's some brown rice peeking out under all the stir fry goodness too.
You're probably wondering...do her kids really eat that stuff?? The best answer is...yes. Some of the time. On any given night we'll have a main dish, usually a grain on the side, and then some raw fruit or veggies that I know the kids will eat. They are not starving by any means. We do dish up a small scoop of whatever we're eating onto their plates and ask them to at least try a bite. Or at least lick it. Sometimes they eat it, like Reese gobbling up stir fry tonight, and sometimes they don't. No big deal. Kids can control two things, toileting and eating, and I'm not about to get into a battle about those things. We offer three good, nutritious meals a day around here, and I'm pretty loose with the snacks (as long as they're reasonably healthy). It all seems to work out.
So yeah. I'm going to be blogging more food because starting in October, I'd like to blog our meals for the entire month. October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, and October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. I wanted to share how a regular family eats vegetarian, and show readers that veg food doesn't have to be complicated, and it is kid friendly. If any of you would like to join me in a meatless October 1st, or a meatless month, that would rock!! I'll write more about it later, but start thinking!
Monday, September 13, 2010
So that's a little snapshot into one of our homeschooling activities! We're heading to our homeschool group this morning, Amazing Mondays, where we'll be exploding our volcano that we made last week. Expect pictures, and possibly video, soon!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Well, let's see.
We are hot n' heavy into homeschooling. This is the biggest reason I maybe haven't been online as much as usual (which isn't a bad thing, haha). Reese is moving right along in math and so far we really love the Singapore curriculum. Lots of math games to develop number sense are being played. I love it! For reading this week we introduced a new word family, read our easy readers (Bob Books, and some pull out readers from some random reading curriculum), and did some writing. Thursday we had friends over and built our volcanos together (more on that later!!). On Friday, we went to the library and ran other errands. Here and there, Eli kept us entertained and also did some letter games.
But I like it. I'm so glad that I get to watch my children learn new things. I get to see that sparkle in their eyes when they figure something out. Is it a lot of work? Oh yes. But worthwhile work.
The plan for today? There's an indoor Attic Sale that we're going to check out (yay for lookin' at other people's stuff!). A trip to Marvin's Market will happen at some point. But mostly just relaxing and hanging out, and maybe some sewing. I hope everyone has a great weekend!!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
It is sooooooo good, I can't wait to try it on pizza. If you are interested in the recipe, you can find it: VeganDad Pepperoni
Other things going on today...not a whole lot. The master plan was to go to the library, but Eli is pukey sick, so we're staying home. After spending the morning laying in my recliner and puking up anything that passed his lips, he's now pestering his sister. So, he's better? I don't know, we'll lay low until we have a puke free 24 hours. I think that's the rule. I hate the pukey sicknesses, so I'd hate to pass it on to some unsuspecting sucker at the library. And man, I hope I don't get it. Sanitizer and handwashing are my best friends today.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The drive down was busy. I guess Labor Day weekend makes everyone want to get to the beach? We started the drive at about 3:30pm, and of course ended up stopping soon into the drive for coffee and drinks and potty. But look at this gas station! Gator Stop, what's that all about?
Alligators, that's what!! Can you see the turtle(s) too? It was pretty awesome.
Don't worry, we were on the right side of a fence that looked like it would keep the gators in their pond. If you were so inclined, you could go into the gas station and buy a bag of Gator Food (aka marshmallows). We did not do that.
This one came right up on the grass to beg! Or to plot against us?
Back on the road, happy with slushies (I think these were from a different gas station though).
Reese looking a little tired, but don't worry, the sugar from the slushies took care of that.
We arrived at the hotel, Casa Loma as it was getting dark. We dumped our stuff and headed right down to the beach. The last time we visited Panama City Beach, we saw people after dark on the beach with flashlights. After asking the front desk, we discovered that the flashlight people were catching crabs. We vowed to be those flashlight people, and we were.
Here's one of the many creatures we found on the beach. I expected there to be a few crabs, and that they might be hard to catch. The beach was littered with crabs, and if you were brave like Eric and went into the ocean, the crabs were bigger. Everywhere a light was shined, the crabs would scuttle away.
Does this look like a shark? That's because it IS. We saw fisherpeople pull up at least three sharks while we were there, all around a foot and a half long or so. They are sand sharks.
After spending a while on the pier, we headed down to the beach to watch the sunset.
After we got back to the hotel, we went crabbing again. There was no way I was staying away from the beach at night.
More time on the beach. We did some snorkeling, then decided to build a sand castle. It's more of a sand pile, I guess. I specialize in digging trenches, building sand piles, and adding on villages. The beach was awesome, by the way. It didn't get too deep too fast, and we found tons of shells.
Eli wanted to play football. We made them wear life jackets in the ocean. Give us the Concerned Parents Award, please.
After we got tired of snorkeling and building in the sand, we played a quick game of Kubb.
It's a good beach game!
Both kids like playing.
Then the fun had to come to an end. We left around 11am on Monday to battle the traffic all the way back to Columbus. It was a really great vacation, and I miss the beach already. It's amazing to me how many creatures there are on a beach, and how big the ocean is. I was able to do some thinking and enjoyed my family. I can't wait to go back!
Friday, September 3, 2010
So other than getting ready for the weekend, there's not much else going on around here. It's always a bit hectic, the "getting ready." We're bringing our own food to cook so I have my handy meal plan all ready to go. I still have a few things to prepare in the kitchen. Clothes must be washed and gathered up in a duffle bag. In my perfect world, the house would be clean before we go too so I don't have to come home to a disaster. Oh yes, I probably should pack for myself.
The Getting Ready is worth it, and I'm excited about the adventures we're going to have. Pics when we get back!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Tell me you have mornings like this too.
It doesn't happen all that often, so I guess I should be glad for that. We're trying to get back on track. People have been fed, coffee is made, and plans for the day are being formed. I think that will help. Getting out of the house later will help too. It's looking like a great day to ride bikes and take a walk.
How do you get back on track from a bad start in the morning?
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I meant to have a post with pictures tonight, but my computer is hassling me and I'm on Eric's laptop. Perhaps tomorrow? We shall see!