Reese and Eli trying to figure out if someone was home at this place:
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Reese and Eli trying to figure out if someone was home at this place:
Thursday, October 28, 2010
After getting business taken care of, we headed to the Sand Playground. It rained this morning, so the sand was nice and packy. Great for sand castles!
Monday, October 25, 2010
Anyway, I had my first post treatment ct scan last week and am waiting for results, which I will get this Wednesday. Following in Single Dad Laughing's footsteps, I feel like I need to be real about this. So I've been preoccupied and not very creative, just trying to get through the days. Prognosis is very good, so of course I shouldn't be worried, but I am.
I didn't think this all would affect me as much as it has. I thought it would be no big deal, but it is.
I hope to be back to my posty self (complete with pictures of foooooooooooood and kids and life) soon. Maybe I'll try for blogging all our dinners in November, complete with a fabulous vegan Thanksgiving. That sounds like good times, doesn't it?
Saturday, October 23, 2010
I can overlook a lot of parenting practices that I wouldn't choose for myself and my family. Really. It used to be that everything got me up in arms, but a while ago I decided I just can't get outraged by everything. One of the things I haven't been able to let go though is sleep training, controlled crying, Cry It Out, whatever you want to call it. It just makes me so freaking sad. Babies crying alone in a dark room? How can that NOT make someone sad???
Plenty of people defend this practice. Plenty of people feel it's important to train babies to self sooth, sleep alone, go to sleep at X time.
I just can't get past the fact (yes, FACT, people) that babies cry when they have a need. What else are they supposed to do? They can't talk. Oh wait, your baby is fed, has a clean diaper, and isn't hurt...so that's that? No more needs to be met? What about the need for human contact? What about the need to have mom (and dad too!) close? The need to be held and cuddled and protected?
See why this makes me so sad?
I guess people have their reasons for doing this, whether some family member or doctor suggested it, or maybe they just can't take the nightwaking anymore. I know the nighttime parenting is the hardest part of babyhood/toddlerhood for me. Being tired sucks. But hearing my babies cry when I'm RIGHT THERE and could pick them up if I wanted to sucks even more.
Sorry, this just isn't for me. And reading about it, hearing about it...ugh. It makes me want to go stick my head in a hole and yell La La La La until it goes away. I like pretending that this doesn't exist.
In the end, I can only do for my own family though. I wouldn't have even blogged about it except it's just making me SO FREAKING SAD that I've heard/read about this more than a few times this week. I so wanted to suggest that parents read Dr. Sears' Nighttime Parenting or The Baby Book or even The No Cry Sleep Solution by Pantley. That nightwaking and needing human interaction and parenting to sleep is NORMAL. I want to share that there are options, that your babies will eventually sleep.
Really. They will. And then mama can sleep too. No one said this whole parenting thing was going to be easy. Big hugs for tired mamas!!
Friday, October 22, 2010
I begged for vegan cupcakes for WEEKS (mostly on facebook...what, you're not my facebook friend?? Why not???). I got a bunch of boo hoos and a recipe. So when a friend of mine suggested we surprise another friend with cupcakes, I jumped at the chance to try these babies out. Don't they look lovely? (sorry about the rusty crappy pan they are in)
So these are an adaptation of a recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. My only complaint is that the cupcakes themselves seemed a little dry. Perhaps I baked them too long? I don't know. Making cake-like things turn out well is hard for me. I'd definitely make these again though because although they look like they are complicated, they aren't. You can make them in steps, and none of the steps is very time consuming.
I'm hoping these pictures appease you, dear readers, because I forgot to take a picture of dinner last night. It wasn't anything spectacular, we had stir fry with veggies and soy curls and the same old sauce I always make with stir fry. Eric got home late and I had something to do, so we didn't even eat dinner together.
Tonight I'm making Jerk Seitan from Veganomicon, but I'm not very pleased with my last batch of seitan. I don't know how it will all work out. But I'll let you know!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
After dinner we went for a walk. Here's some pictures from our adventure, in no particular order.
Yay, he's actually riding his scooter!!!!!! (Eli, I mean, not Eric, although Eric did an awesome job riding too).
The Sand Playground. Hey, here's something kind of amusing: I check in at places around our Apartment Community on foursquare when I remember. I set up locations at places like the pool and both playgrounds. Some joker with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth took my mayorship of the Sand Playground! What the heck? If you don't do foursquare this makes absolutely no sense to you. Hah.
RIDE THAT SCOOTER for goodness' sakes!
We also took pictures of some trees for a homeschool group project. The assignment is to take a picture of one tree once a week until the beginning of November. Then we're to bring the printed pictures to Amazing Mondays the first week in November. I think it will be fun to see how the trees changed over five weeks. The kids get a kick out of standing in front of their tree too.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
You're looking at a crash hot potato (courtesy of the Pioneer Woman site), tempeh burgers, and some broccoli. It was a pretty delicious dinner. Kids demolished the crash hot potatoes, ate some broccoli, and picked at the tempeh burgers. I think if I slapped the burgers on buns, they would be more appealing.
Anyway, the recipe for the tempeh burgers comes from New Vegetarian Cooking by Rose Elliot, and can also be found on the Internets, so I'll post it here too.
7 oz package of tempeh
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, minced
2 tbsp flour
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup soy milk
2 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
oil for frying
For the coating:
2 tbsp arrowroot
5 tbsp dried bread crumbs
Boil the tempeh block for 15 minutes. Drain and mash well in a medium sized bowl.
Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion, cover, and cook for 7-10 minutes until onion is tender and lightly brown. Stir in flour and garlic, cook over low heat 5-7 minutes to cook the flour. Then pour soy milk into pan and stir to make a thick sauce. Remove from heat. Add to tempeh along with green onions and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
For the coating, mix arrowroot with 2-3 tbsp water to make a paste. Shape tempeh into four patties, dip each into paste, then into breadcrumbs. Heat some oil in a skillet, add burgers, and fry 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels and serve at once.
Okay, I will admit I totally screwed up the whole paste and breadcrumbs thing. I don't keep breadcrumbs on hand because I'm too lazy to read a label to find a vegan brand. Since I have the handy dandy Vitamix, I usually just whirl some oatmeal in the dry carafe. For some crazy reason, I mixed the arrowroot, whirled oatmeal, and water on one plate. Don't do that. It's a huge sticky mess, although the burgers still turned out very tasty. Just, you know, READ the directions.
Anyway, these are good. I didn't have green onions so I just left them out. I used to be all "I must follow this recipe exactly!" but I'm not really like that anymore. I'm quick to sub something reasonable if I don't have an ingredient, and leaving something out like green onions in a recipe that already calls for a whole onion seems okay. Despite what we all heard growing up, it's okay to play with your food.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The rest of the weekend has been uneventful. I've been sewing up pants from a tester pattern, and let me tell you, they are CUTE. I mean, manly. Eli is loving them because they have pockets. I'll post pics and link to the pattern when it's finished for my sewing friends out there. The kids and I went to the front office of our Apartment Community for a kids' craft event. That was pretty fun. Today I'm making a Joann's run for supplies to make a swap giftie, and I need more elastic for pants. And the kids are bugging me to make them some Halloween costumes already. Gah. That's a lot of pressure...I'd rather head to the Dollar Tree and raid their random costume props. We'll see.
Hope everyone had a great weekend!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
You are looking at the wonder that is Seitan and Portabello Mushroom Stroganoff. This recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance. I don't know that I've talked up this cookbook, it's pretty awesome. I use it a lot, and it's one I recommend to new vegans. I've made this recipe before, but the last time I subbed a LOT. This time I followed the recipe exactly. Next time, the peas are gone. I'm not a fan of peas. Kid friendly? Sort of. Like many meals I make, kids are reluctant to try new foods. Eli kept asking if the seitan was chicken (haha). Both kids took a few bites and declared it good, but didn't really eat a whole lot. I think that might just be a weirdo kid thing.
I also wanted to share the Tofu Spread love that I'm feeling lately. I found the original recipe on Pakupaku, which is an awesome resource for vegan foodstuffs. The recipe originated in a cookbook called The American Vegetarian Cookbook by Marilyn Diamond. It's pretty simple:
1 block of firm tofu (fresh is best)
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp mild flavored miso, lightly colored
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (I used about 2 tbsp)
1 small garlic clove (come on, is ONE clove enough? No. Add more)
I threw everything in the food processor and whirled until it was all mashed and combined. Here's the fun part: now add in some other ingredients to make a totally fun and original spread! Today I used a handful of cilantro, half a red onion, and a handful of almonds. The other day I threw a carrot in there. The recipe suggests such ingredients as kalamata olives, sunflower seeds, fresh dill, and ground pepper. I use this spread on wraps and sandwiches. Om nom nom nom. It's a nice change from the hummus base I usually use.
Other than running here and there, and making tofu spread, I feel like I haven't done a whole heck of a lot this week. I don't know, it's just one of those weeks. I have a pants pattern I'm supposed to be testing, signed up for a swap on one of my message boards, and probably should start thinking about Christmas gifts. Yikes. We did spend time with friends and went to La Leche League on Tuesday.
Tonight's dinner is going to be chili, maybe cornbread muffins (if I get my act together...and I might need to make some soymilk). I'm trying a new recipe, I'll let you know how it goes. And now I'm off to educate the children. Have a great day!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Anything you can do will be appreciated and will make a difference!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Okay, they did not eat much and seemed to prefer the rice with salt and pepper. BUT. They both at least tried it, and Reese might have even had more than one bite.
Every couple weeks I get a craving for curry. This recipe came from Veganomicon. It's just a touch "busy" (not exactly complicated, but a lot of steps). I don't mind, but if I get too distracted when I'm trying to cook it, bad things happen (like the first roux that I burned...whoops). I love it, you can use any curry powder mix you want and it turns out awesomely.
I probably owe you some meals. It was a boring weekend, eating-wise. On Saturday I sweet-talked Eric into making waffles for dinner. On Sunday we were at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, GA. Many deepfried foodstuffs were eaten. When we got home, I was hungry because of the slim vegan food pickings, so I ate a tofu spread and veggie wrap. No big deal there.
Yeah, excuses. It's only October 11th and I'm kind of regretting saying I'd post a pic of our meals every night. That's hard. I'll keep at it though. I'm thinking about joining up for the Vegan MOFO (vegan month of food) in November, but I'm not sure I can take so many food pics and post them two months in a row. I'd have to dig deep. Hah.
I guess I have time to decide. What do you think, readers?
Friday, October 8, 2010
And now for the Freak Out, homeschool style.
I post on a couple messageboards, one of them being a cloth diaper sewing board. On the homeschool forum, mamas are constantly posting about their curriculum, or if they should buy this curriculum, or is that curriculum any good? I have discovered that some homeschooling families have curriculum for EVERYTHING. Handwriting? Curriculum. Grammar? Curriculum. Spelling? Curriculum. I'm not saying this is bad or wrong, but it sends me into a tizzy every time I read one of those threads.
Our curriculum? Singapore Math. And a phonics on tape program I found at a garage sale that no one has ever heard of. Oh and I pick and choose from the 4 Blocks program that I used to teach. We use the library a TON.
Uh. That's it.
I read a post about the merits of two different handwriting curriculums and spent the rest of the afternoon on a curriculum website debating on buying it. Thank goodness I didn't because I came to my senses later and realized we don't need that. But this is what I mean by Freak Out.
I even fired off a message to a close friend of mine who happens to homeschool her children to ask if she thought I was worrying too much. And to find out what THEY do because I really respect her as a mother and fellow homeschooler, and her kids are awesome.
It doesn't matter what she said they do, because honestly, every homeschooling family MUST find their own way, they MUST do what is right for their situation. But her main message was DON'T WORRY. Spending time with my children, doing cool things with them, reading to them...those things are more valuable than any curriculum.
And in the aftermath of my freak out, I agree. Perhaps because I taught in a charter school that didn't have an organized curriculum, I feel comfortable going it on my own. I have a curriculum writing background, I have access to the education standards in my state (everyone does, by the way). We are going to be okay, probably more than okay.
As with anything, going it without the support of a curriculum isn't for everyone. I have to embrace that at this moment, it's right for US. And I have to say, I'm quite happy that it is.
Freak out over. Phew.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
This was a butternut squash, carrot, onion, and rice crockpot meal. Yeah. No. Although Eric did say the flavor was fine, but the squash got all mushy because the rice took a thousand hours to cook. I'm undecided if we'll give this recipe another go or not.
And here's a picture of something NOT gross! Reese and Eli went to their first play ever today. It was called If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Other Stories. We got to go to the River Center. Oh la la, fancy! It was a good time, for the most part.
The not great part was the cranky ushers. We walked in and they tried to make us sit way off to the side "to make room for the school groups." Uh, excuse me. We ARE a school group. A small one, but still. Maybe if they want to have control over where we sit, they should assign seat numbers when we purchase tickets.
Anyway, I'm hoping we can go back in March for another performance geared to younger kids. The kids said they would like to go again. I might have to find some books about theater production too because Eli was fascinated by the control room and the lights.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I guess I missed Tuesday round up. How did it get to be Wednesday already? Could it be that I spent all day yesterday sewing? This is a Marigold Skirt, this lovely pattern right HERE
It was a challenging pattern, not really difficult, but lots to think about and endless variations. Definitely a keeper!
And then I guess you have to feed people, huh? This was a back up dinner. My original dinner was a crock pot meal that I was testing, and it wasn't ready in time. Luckily, I tend to have a couple quickie convenience meals all ready in the freezer. This was sloppy lentils, pita bread, oranges, and a white bean dip.
Other things that have been going on:
The kids have been sick. It's a drag because we can't really go anywhere with sick kids. Eli seems to be well on his way to healthy, and Reese is on the mend. Maybe next week we can do more stuff?
Have I mentioned my pro-vegan coloring book? Well, I made one. I need to look it over one more time, and then as soon as I have some dollars, I'll make some copies. Several people have expressed interest, and I'm considering opening an etsy for this kind of thing. We shall see. Anyway, it's a cute little coloring book, I hope lots of people will want to share it with their kids.
I went to a La Leche League conference last Saturday and it was awesome. It's exciting to know that LLL is alive and well in Georgia. It was nice to spend time with so many likeminded people, and hear some great speakers.
I guess that's all! Have a great Wednesday, everyone!
Monday, October 4, 2010
Some people have asked about my stir fry sauce. I used to buy commercially made sauces, until I found a delicious stiry fry sauce recipe on a blog called Luciana's Vegan Kitchen. I tried to link directly to her blog, but man, blogger is being a cranky You-Know-What tonight and I have other stuff to do. So I'll just type it out for you real quick if you promise to google Luciana's Vegan Kitchen and check out her blog.
Infinitely Adaptable Stir Fry Sauce
1/4 cup low sodium tamari (just soy sauce is okay)
1/4 cup orange juice (or whatever citrus-y juice you have on hand...ask me how I know)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp dry sherry white wine or mirin
3 tbsp brown sugar or agave necter
2 cloves garlic, minced (I shredded mine with my handy microplane)
1 rounded tbsp ginger (you can use dried or fresh)
1 tsp chili garlic paste
2 tsp sesame oil
Basically you whisk this stuff in a bowl. Pour it in your stir fry. I usually pour it in after the aromatics are sauteed (see how fancy and chef-like I am!), right when I put the broccoli in to steam. At the end. I like to thicken my sauce with a little cornstarch.
It looks like a lot of ingredients and I know that turns some people off, but throwing this sauce together takes like six minutes. Maybe. It's really fast. Enjoy!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
It was a quiet day here. I took a bath, did some sewing, went to the library with Reese, and we took a long walk around our apartment community. Nice Sunday.
Tomorrow is back to our busy-ness. We have a homeschool gathering at a local park Monday, we're going to see a play on Thursday, and there's a gathering with some homeschool friends on Friday.
I received a hammock style baby carrier at a baby shower before Reese was born. I used it a few times, but there was something about it that made me uncomfortable. Reese hung down too far, the sides seemed to close in on her, and when I carried her, she kind of swung around if I moved. I think I would have become one of those moms who claimed that babywearing didn't work except that at the same time I was attending LLL meetings. Mamas at LLL used a variety of baby carriers, and I was assured that sometimes you had to try a few before you found one you really liked.
So my second baby carrier was a boring, gray Nojo ring sling that I got in desperation at Babies R Us because Reese got so upset when I put her down. I needed some way to hold her but also go about my daily business. We used the ring sling some, but not a whole lot. Admittedly there's a learning curve with ring slings, it takes some practice to feel comfortable and get it just right. But before I knew it, I was using the ring sling instead of a stroller when Reese and I went out. It was so freeing! No stroller! No loading and unloading!
When Reese was just 9.5 months old, I discovered I was pregnant with my second child. I continued to wear Reese, but explored other carriers too. Along the way I tried a mei tei and a Moby wrap. Nothing felt as comfortable as my ring sling.
After Eli was born, into the sling he went. He was an almost totally in arms baby from the start. And again, I found it was so easy. With a sleeping baby in a sling, I had my hands free and was more mobile. I could care for Reese while still caring for Eli. That's a win, win! I used an upright carry with Eli, his head and neck supported well, his head near my collarbone (so I could easily kiss him). His little legs were tucked up inside the sling. You know one of the best parts? The edge of the sling could be pulled right over his little head and people weren't always touching him. It was literally a barrier between my precious baby and germy weirdos who wanted to coo over him and touch him. We never did get the hang of nursing in the sling, but you know, that's okay. The experience we had with the sling was amazing, and I wouldn't change it for anything.
That old, boring Nojo went on to be used until Eli was around 3. There was no need for a stroller, of course. I didn't have to drag a baby bucket car seat around because I had the sling to carry the baby. I was able to hold Eli securely while still holding Reese's hand when we were out. I can't imagine anything easier. I'm always going to treasure those sling moments, when I could duck my head down and smell my baby, kiss his little head, know that he was so close to me.
Please consider reading this position paper released by the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance: Position paper for babywearing
If you have a babywearing experience you'd like to share, please do so! I'd enjoy reading your story, so link me in the comments. :)
Friday, October 1, 2010
I was undecided about this picture...it's the risotto in progress from last night's dinner. It was an artichoke and spinich risotto, recipe from a Moosewood cookbook called Simple Suppers. I'm not sure if I would make this one again or not. It needed something.
And tonight for World Vegetarian Day, I made pizza. I wish I could say that this was a well planned meal, but it wasn't. I found the pizza dough in the freezer last night and decided that was dinner. My vegan pizza was tomato spaghetti sauce, onions. red peppers, green olives, mushrooms, and some seitan-based pepperoni. I'm not going to talk about the omni pizza on World Vegetarian Day (but that is the nice thing about pizza, people can use the ingredients they want).
One of the things I wanted to discuss with you during Vegetarian Awareness Month is convenience cooking. Convenience foods don't have to be unhealthy (or unvegan...is that a word?? it is now!). My idea of convenience food is having pizza dough in the freezer. Or having a batch of seitan in the freezer. Or having fast, easy, go-to meals at your fingertips for those nights when you don't feel like cooking. Oh! You know what's convenient? Canned beans. Well, canned beans are convenient if you usually cook your own dried beans.
So if a meal I make is considered a convenience food meal in our house, I'll let you know. Maybe I'll even spill some super secret recipes, because wouldn't that be fun?
I won't be at home tomorrow, so no pics or blog. I kind of think I might not blog at all on the weekends. Maybe I'll do a weekend round up and tell you what we ate. Would that work out for y'all? I hope so, because that's the way it's going to be.
Have a great veggie filled weekend!!