Mi Familia!!

Mi Familia!!
Roscoe, Sophia, & Emily(across top) and then I think you can figure out the rest!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

busy, busy, busy!

I just felt like I wanted to throw up a smoke signal from over here in holiday land!
we are doing well... there is a lot going on right now at any given moment....
since my last post :
Roscoe discovered himself in the mirror...too cute! : )
our car broke down... so sad... : (
we got most of our holiday shopping done... : )
Emily had a holiday concert , in which she sounded beautiful... : )
I have made most of my homemade gifts... : )
I found an old friend/coworker that I had lost for the last three years or so...and I have been actively seeking out... gotta love the internet!!... : )
the pomanders are well on their way to preservation! ... : )
Sophia has been doing great...AND napping...and sat sweetly during the concert(SUPER exciting for me!)... : )
it has snowed a lot!... : ) / : (
we went to a holiday party and connected with some very sweet neighbors(always nice!)... : )
I have had some good and bad days, peppered together in that wacky way they tend to be this time of year... : ) /: (
and Al and I are doing really well...which I think in no small part has something to do with my newly (re)found path of joy... : )
Tally- more smileys than frowns equals doing alright!
just thought I'd pop on and say hello and that I hope every one's holidays, and more importantly lives are going well....
I hope to be able to put up more posts soon...
I've been taking pictures of everything, as always, and have some cute ideas... but seriously lack the time to put into making them the way I'd like to see them go up...

Today I am thankful the smell of our tree as I sit here and type.
I am thankful for the table full of homemade gifts that I will be able to share with people this year...just waiting for packaging!
I am thankful that I have NOT been struggling to find my joy for the last little while... I hope it lasts!! : )

Monday, December 8, 2008

searching for the gratitude

Today is the exact reason that I started this blog.

I am struggling today. no particular reason, but several all together.

I was talking with my sister and she reminded me every day is precious...which is true...so I have been trying for the life of me to see it today.

I mean the whole point of this thing is to force myself to appreciate all the things that I do have.
But I don't want to just have a pat answer..my kids... my husband... I need reasons behind them to feel like I am actively practicing gratitude.

Well, today the help came from an honest and tragic story, that just happened to effect my family. I warn you this thing will tear out your heart if you see it...so prepare yourself emotionally for it... but it is something that I think is important for people to see because it seems like it could have been avoided.

If you get MSNBC you can watch it next Sunday at 4(well my time)... but you can also follow the link and look for yourself at DearZachory.com. Andrew Bagby was a casual friend of mine, but my sister was a very good friend, and had a part in this sad story and documentary.
So having re-lived a tragedy recently, I can look at my crappy ass day and still say thank you.

thank you for my family... because everyday that we breath the same air is a blessing. It's so cliche but it is so true. I love my family with every beat of my heart and I can't imagine losing any of them. My babies make me pull my hair out... but they are worth it...and even a day like today is better than a day without them.

Today I am thankful for waking up... next to the man I love.
I am thankful that I got to hug my kids all day long...even more than I wanted at the time...because I can't imagine the weight of their absence.
I am thankful for love, forgiveness, and sanity!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Hi everyone!
I have three cool give-aways to tell you about today!
The first one is from Pam at Pam-Fried Family Life.
She is giving away a beautiful handmade grey scarf that she made. It is lovely. Click on her name to take you to her post that tells you all about it! : )

The second one is from Jen at Buried with Children. She is a funny Mama of triplets and another cute little man. She is giving away a Christmas CD, a box of Truffles(YUM!), AND a $25 Target gift card! Click on her name to read her post all about it!

The third is from Daisy Quilts. She is giving away a whole bunch of stuff, to celebrate her 1 year anniversary! Some of the things she is giving away are a bag(there's a picture... it is SUPER cute!!), 2 hanging decorations (ornaments or whatever you want them to be) and a pincushion, as well as some added goodies. Click on her name to go read her post all about it, too! Or you can just click on the link on the side of my blog. (maybe...I'm in the process of figuring this part out still!!)
Good luck to everyone who chooses to play!
Have a great day!! : )

I am thankful for others generousity!

Emily, Emily, Emily


I just sent my oldest daughter out the door to her first audition...and it's not even for a play or musical.. but a school!

I feel sick with nerves.

I don't talk much about my oldest daughter on here... for a few reasons...

1. because she doesn't really want me to...she thinks my blogging is embarassing...
2. because she isn't part of my prime daytime hours, since she is at school...
3. honestly she just doesn't want me to...

BUT today I don't care, because I need an outlet for my extreme nervousness and anxiety!

Where do I start with Emily.

She is amazing, honestly, she is probably the coolest person I have ever met. And I have three kids so I don't say that lightly. I love all of my kids, with all my heart and soul, but Emily has been special from the time of her conception. She came to me in a time in my life when I had nothing... no home, no friends(teenage drama), no family (I had freaked out and run away from my life), no peace of mind... and I was the saddest that I have ever been in my life (which is saying something)... I was completely lost.

Then I found out I was pregnant. OH NO! I made an appointment to "take care" of the situation because everyone in my life told me that was obviously what I needed to do.... I couldn't even take care of myself, how was I going to take care of a whole other human being? Well, I couldn't explain it to people, but I just knew that wasn't the right choice for me. I knew that the little life inside of me was a chance. a reason for living. In a weird and unexpected way, it was exactly what I needed to pull my head out of butt and worry about someone else for awhile. I didn't have the courage until I was waiting in the room for them to call my name, and then I knew, I just knew that I had to take control of my life. And I did.

I got up and walked out the door. I moved back home (from Seattle to Tucson). I got a job and a teeny tiny little house(rented of course!). I had nothing, but a bag of clothes and the couch that was in there when I moved in. My family wasn't very happy with me, they were there, but they didn't support my decision much. I was on my own, but for the first time in my life... I knew that everything was going to be ok.

I worked 50-60 hours a week, my whole pregnancy. I worked from 11 at night until 8 in the morning, at this little convenience store in the ghetto. I walked to and from work (one mile each way) everyday. But I was never scared because the people in the neighborhood all knew me and were looking out for me. It was perfect really because my whole existence at the time was about this little person brewing inside of me...and I just had this inner calmness, peace, and security in knowing that this was exactly where I should be and what I should be doing. I loved being pregnant. It was a beautiful experience. My life revolved around taking care of my baby and getting prepared. I bought all the stuff I "needed" for the baby(like diapers, a crib, wipes, some clothes) and saved up for when I wouldn't be able to work. My Dad took pity on me in my 7 month and bought me a bed...boy that was nice! I didn't know how nice until I got into it that first night!! : )

I can't tell you I never knew anxiety or lonliness, but by far my biggest fear was that I wasn't good enough to be a mother... and the second that she was born, that melted away. She was so beautiful, and I knew from that moment on that she was something special. She has always had this sense of calmness and knowledge beyond her years. Anyone who meets her tells me nice things about her... always, since she was a little girl... an example of this is every year since she was 8 and "allowed" to travel alone, my mom has flown her back to Tucson for a visit. Every year until last year(maybe at 12 she was too big?) the person who was sitting next to her on the plane, has sought me out once they got to get off, to tell me what a nice and well spoken young lady I have, and that I should be proud of her... and I just smile and say..yeah, she was born that way... : ) That's the kind of thing that happens around her all the time. Sometimes people will say, oh well, don't be modest, you had something to do with that...and a part of me wants to believe that is true, of course, but having had two other kids now... I really know that what I said was true... she really was just born that way! Please don't get me wrong... I adore my other kids too, and I don't know what I would do without any of them. They all have strengths and talents that I enjoy watching bloom... but it's the underlying calm, that is different about Emily. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone who hasn't met her, it's just a feeling you get when you are around her... she is amazing, and beautiful, and so smart... I am tearing up right now...it's hard to express how very proud of her that I am...

Wow, ok this was not the plan... I didn't mean to ramble on and on here... I guess I just needed an outlet and this is the form it took.

Please if you have time today, send your prayers, positive thoughts and energy, whatever you call it... her way. She is applying to go to a very competitive high school today. This school is cool, it is a public school but it is nationally competitive. It has a focus on creative arts, but also has an excellent scholastic program. I just want this for her so bad. She is talented but she isn't the only one who is, of course. The ratio for these auditions are 1 out of 3 actually get in. Those aren't such bad odds really... but of course that does mean that 2 out of 3 DON'T get in... so we all know it might not work out.

Man who ever knew I could feel this nervous over a school? : P
She is and has been in the city's magnet program since kindergarden, so if she doesn't get in she will still go to the magnet high school, but she wants this so bad... I hope that she gets it.

This is a picture of her before she headed out the door this morning... who could say no to that face, right?

Here's hoping!!

Today I am thankful to have been bleesed with the opportunity to help Emily nurture and grow along her way to travel her life's path.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas tree joy!

It has been a busy few days! I guess that happens around this time of year... lots of fun stuff going on! I have a few things I had wanted to post, but I want to post one thing at a time... the most exciting(for me anyway!)is that ...

We got our tree on December 2nd. We always have good intentions of getting a tree early, but for one reason or another (usually involving money!) we get it last minute... well this year, I finlly got my way! I sat my hubby down and we talked about sacrifices (like working two jobs) VS. privilages (getting a tree early to enjoy as long as we can to make it worth the $$$!)...and we agreed that if we are going to get a tree we should enjoy it as much as possible! Plus, when you don't have a tree the holiday just seems to sneak up on you...and I want to enjoy this time.... because the kids are only little once! You know the anticipation is a lot of what I remember from being little...

It's not the stuff, but the excitement and feelings of warmth and happiness that I want our holidays to be about...
I won't say that we haven't tried to figure out a way to get the kids stuff too...but it is secondary to the feelings... and that is the way that it should be... the reality is that our kids have plenty... we don't live extravagantly, at all. Not that we wouldn't ; ).... but I think that's ok. We still have so much more than so many others.

I am lucky and blessed, and I like to acknowedge that!

So all the mushiness being said, the tree decorating wasn't all fun.. it got late and a little grumpy and slightly tense because of a light miscommunication... BUT it went up and the kids LOVE it!
I must admit that I love it too!
Probably more than a grown woman should! The last two years I didn't get to go on the tree hunt because of random things... I can't remember why the year before, but last year we hadn't gotten the mini-van yet and we don't all fit in the car at the same time... so I stayed home with a teeny Roscoe while Al, Emily, and Sophia went, not a huge deal. BUT this year we all went together and I got to choose the tree! I got a big fat tree that I fell in love with the second I saw it. When we got it home and in the stand I got to cut the string holding it up and was laughing and dancing around... well it was contagious and the kids got really into it too!

hee hee.. I truly think that sometimes I am MUCH too easily amused! : )

ring around the tree-o... yes I was singing, too! : )

POOF! It turns out it looks much bigger in the house, than amongst all it's bigger cousins in the lots!!

I turn the lights on every morning and smile while I watch the kids dance around it.

It fills the house with a luscious smell and a homey feeling. And we had to cut a few branches off the bottom so stay tuned for my how to make a wreath post... maybe tomorrow? I don't get the time to get on here as much as I like... but that's the life of a stay at home Mama! : ) My job never stops.. no lunch breaks or overtime pay here!
and that's ok by me, because if I can't get on here that means I am hanging out with the family... and that's the fun stuff! : )

I am thankful for a house full of fun and love!
I am thankful for the ability to geta tree early this year!
I am thankful for my goofball attitude..it lightens things up around here, which is sadly neccesary some of the time!
I am thankful that I have in my head several ideas for a thankfulness blog.. I am one lucky woman!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


ok no big post here... and I might even put up another later tonight.. but I had to say

I am THANKFUL for naptime!!
especially when my day ended last night at 1:30am and started again at 5:03 with a sad Roscoe!
Both of my kids are asleep, right now, at the same time, and I have time to cook!
it's a little sad to be so easily amused! : )
ok not computer time...food for the next three days time.
Hope everyone is well in the world today!

I am thankful for two SLEEPING children!


Every year we go to my sister's for Christmas.. that's the way it ended up as far as breaking down the family holidays . We have my mother in law over for Thanksgiving. Al's brother and his people take care of themselves... and the rest of the family lives far away..so it's not generally too complicated.

When everyone is over at my sister's for the afternoon and dinner, we usually try to have some kind of craft.... to occupy us and keep the tv off... or even better have the kids watch some tv(it's Christmas for goodness sake.. it's ok!) and let the grown ups have a glass of wine and chit chat over crafts... fun stuff....

Well, one year we made pomanders... and I was hooked! I was the only one who finished the whole way(it actually took me a few days to get the supplies to finish!)... and I still have it hanging up. I love the smell so much!

A pomander is a preserved piece of fruit, often an orange, but you can use apples or lemons as well. They are preserved with cloves... and also some additional spices and oil... but it's the cloves that keep them from going bad and have such a heavenly odor. They have been around for ages, as room deoderizers... think pre-glade or febreeze!

Well, the next year my sister gave me a bunch of supplies to make some more, because it was fun, but cloves can be outrageously expensive. So, I finally made some last night for Christmas! They need 3-6 weeks (sometimes even 6 months they say!) to cure... but I am hoping for good luck because the last one I made didn't take too long... we'll see.

I thought that I would show everyone my process and see if I couldn't inspire others to make them because they are just so cool! I know I'd love to get one as a gift!
here we go!

How to make a Pomander

This is what you need to get started, I'll tackle the spices a little further down!

A few fruit of your choice. I decided to use clementines because I love them and they are smaller... less space to fill. I was being ambitious and went for 4 but 3 was my limit for one sitting. I've read to use thimbles, for the pushing part, but don't own any... if you have some I think it wouldn't be such a bad idea to pull them out!

Atleast 2 bottles of cloves, you need alot of them. These are nice ones(from my sister) but I've seen cloves at the dollar store now..and that would help make these more affordable gifts!

A bowl to work over to contain the mess, I found the clementines to be much juicier than the orange I used before(which time will tell if that makes a longer drying out period. My head says quite probably will take longer... but unknown because they are also smaller..)

A rag to clean off your hands, if necessary. The fruit bleeds, and better out than un since you are essentially trying to dry it out.

You also need something to stick holes into the fruit. I used a push pin, it had a nice little grip to hold and it felt right to me. Use whatever you see fit... crochet hook, fork, nail...whatever!

And finally a ribbon to tie around the fruit, so that you can hang it...and make it look festive, if you want.

I get a long peice of ribbon and put the fruit, topside down, around middle of it, then pull the sides up and cross them to go up the middle of each half you just made, to make 4 even spaces, like when you tie a present. Tie the ribbon on the top and just leave the extra for now.

At this point, you should anchor the top (and bottom) with one clove in each section to help keep the ribbon from moving around.

Use your push pin to make holes for each clove. You want to fit as many cloves, as close as possible, with out tearing the skin underneath, plus the pomander shrinks as it cures, so leave a little wiggle room for that. You'll get the hang of it after a few times..and trust me you'll get LOTS of practice!

This one is about halfway done and you can see that quite a bit of juice is in the bowl... there was also a good amount of juice running down my hand...you WILL find every hangnail, or cut on your hands, but atleast the citrus is an antiseptic, right?

This one that has been completely covered... HOORAY!
But you are only halfway done, at this point.

If you are going to make more than one, put this one in a bowl and start another one. When you have finished all the fruit you are using, then it is time to mix up the additional spices.
Here's what you need for the spice rub:

1 tablespoon of ground cloves

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg

1 1/2 tablespoons of ground Orris Root.

(you can also use Sandalwood Oil, instead if you want. My sister ordered this container for me from an apothecarey from Chicago, but I think you local co-op or herb store might have it.)

4 or 5 drops of Orange Essential Oil

A brown paper bag

I used my mortor and pestal because I had all these lovely fresh cloves on hand... you can use ground powder from the store if you want to!

Put all the spices on a plate, I ground fresh nutmeg and used about half a nut(is that what it's called?...I really don't know!)

Then mix the spices together, and put a few drops of Orange Oil into the mix. Being the stinky hippie that I am, if I was making these for myself I would also add a drop or two (not much) of Patchouli Oil as well, but since my sister is getting one and she thinks it smells like stinky hippie...I refrained this time.

Then you take your fruit and roll it around on the spices until they are nice and covered.

Then you put the pomanders and the extra spices into the brown paper bag. Put your bag in a cool dark place. Check on them everyday. Roll them around in the spices and check for mold. If you get mold, throw it away (I know it's sad... but you have to do it!) I have never had a moldy one, but I have had a friend who did.

It can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months, to cure. The last time I made one it took about a month. Although truth be told, I'm not exactly sure because I put it under a dresser and forgot about it for awhile... but I didn't even have the spices or a bag... just the orange under there. I hope that someone else makes some. Let me know how you like it if you do! : )

Today I am thankful for pomanders!
I am thankful for a thoughtful sister.
I am thankful for fun crafts, that make me happy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Free Stuff and a project Tease! : )

It's pretty late and I am going to have to be up in a short time with the kids but before heading up first I wanted to put up this link because I thought.. yes, I would like a $200 gift card to Target. Thank you!!
If you want to try yourself go here.
I am a little afraid of this whole blog thing... I could see getting sucked into wanting to be on more.. but I really don't have crazy time to do it..
at the same time...I would love to win..and I love to read people's blogs, too! Plus thus has been afun outlet for me... we'll see what happens!
I did a really fun project tonight, that I will hopefully post tomorrow... lots of pictures and it was aroma therapeutic... although that's not the right way to say that phrase....right I'm too sleepy to fix it!

Tonight I am thankful for my sister who gave me the supplies to make said fun smelly project, as a present last year...and this year she will get one as a present, I wonder if she knew that when she got me the stuff in the first place! : )

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Leaf Windows

I know that I missed coming on Thanksgiving and being thankful... but I was and it was a great day with the family, so I didn't have time to come on here! I figured there were others holding up the thankfulness torch on that day!! : )

Thanksgiving was just a few days ago and now it is Christmas time everywhere!
I feel the pull and excitement of it more this year than I have in awhile... Sophia is at an awesome age, she is old enough to believe in the magic of it, and seeing that in her makes me feel happy and young and magical again myself.

SOOO... before I start getting into winter time activities and crafts, I have to show you the fun project we did with leaves.

We love going for walks in the park and playing at some of the wonderful parks here in the 'Burgh. I'm not from here, so I think that I appreciate the beauty of Pittsburgh more than some people who have always lived here. The desert is beautiful in a completely different way. But. I love the leaves changing and feel so lucky to live in a place where the kids get to see the change in the seasons.

While we were going on walks together, we would pick up leaves that we thought were pretty. I would bring them home and put them in big books to dry out. I ended up with a good amount of leaves from different kinds of tress in all different colors. I put some up around the house in doorways, and the kids made "Leaf Windows".

Now, the truth of the matter is that this craft takes way more work for you than your kiddo... but it is super cute and the older they get, the more they will do... but I think it is worth it because they are awesome keepsakes! I love it when I get out Emily's old daycare stuff... it's funny actually because I've noticed that it's as much work to do it at home for two kids as for 15 at pre-school.. the extra supplies you need don't take that much more time it's the preparation you need that takes the time! : )
anyway, if you want a fun fall idea:

How to make a Leaf Window

what you need:

a bunch of dried leaves
non- toxic glue
a wet wipe-up rag( to catch any random messes,
we use cloth diapers)
see-through plastic
{ I used the bags from our diapers... I save everything, maybe to a fault...
and am always trying to use things as much as possible.
I was going to use saran wrap until I thought of these,
but think it would have been hard with Roscoe because it is so thin.}

1. Ok the first thing you do is cut two peices of equal plastic, for each window. I cut the half of a bag(from the diapers we use) into two peices(that way it was already pre-matched).

2. Then you get your table together with your supplies, a wipe-up rag, and wrangle your kids into seated positions!

3. Next , it is time to let the kids pick their leaves. I put some glue all over the plastic so they could just push the leaves onto it. This was Roscoe's first experience with glue.. and he did great!! Sophia did a good job too, they made me really proud! They had fun and so did I!

You can see that at the end Roscoe decided he didn't like the glue... but that is what the rag was for so no biggie!

The time the kids took doing this was about 5 minutes -tops! Then it took me a couple of nights to make the frames. I made them from old cereal boxes(see -crazy keeps everything lady!!). Just cut strips from the boxes and glue the obnoxious sides together and you get a nice brown(fallish even!) colored frame. Then hang them in the window. When the light comes through them they look really pretty!

I think I'd like to add some more color to the frames... with their names and also let them color around the frame... but I wanted them up before I wanted to put up snowmen...so up they went!

I am thankful for fun!
I am thankful that my kids will actually sit and do "centers" at the house.
I am thankful for my adorable children!
I am thankful to be home and able to spend an entire day playing with my kids, because they rock!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

raking leaves

Today is usually my friday. My husband has Mondays and Tuesdays off. But because of Thursday being Thanksgiving, he is working tomorrow.
That is a drag.
BUT he is working tomorrow because he has Thanksgiving OFF, so it will be ok.
A lot of people have to work on the holidays and I'm glad that we get to be together as a family! I worked on all the holidays, in a different life, way back when I was pregnant with my oldest, Emily...and ever since I have always remembered to be grateful for the opportunity to celebrate with family.

I love my family. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world when I look at what I have, as far as cool people in my life. The truth is our life is hard, and I wouldn't mind if things were a little easier... because well who wouldn't. But we have love in this house. We all have our moments, being human and all, but we do alright for one another.

Today I participated in the ritual of leaf raking. It is a funny thing what a few hours of raking leaves can do for your state of mind. For me it is a rare opportunity to be with myself and my own thoughts. Its good exercise and it makes me feel good every year at this time.

We have a huge over one hundred year old tree in our yard.
It is incrediby large.
I have a love/hate relationship with this tree.
I love our tree because it gives us amazing shade during the summer and our house is so very much cooler than the last place we lived... by almost 20 degrees during the sticky parts...and that's big!! Especially because I was pregnant in the summer.... yikes!

I hate the tree a little because of the birds and squirrels that take refuge in it, are a pain.

I love our tree because it has been here for over a hundred years and that's a long time in the city.

And I hate the tree because I am a gardener and we live in the city on a small ass plot (that we rent) and the top of this thing is crazy big... this house hasn't been taken care as well as it could.. we are doing our best but it's not ours and we could be putting hundreds and thousands into this place.. but it won't be ours when we're done... and that matters...

anyway we cut a lot of the tree down but too late in to the growing season because this year was our first year having a garden here... so we are learning. This house is surrounded by trees and the last had fun sun from every direction all the time(hence the crazy hot summers!) So I didn't have as much produce as I would have liked.. but I think it will be better next year... especially with the fantastic compost we will have come spring!! : )

the leaves from the tree provided shelter for some herbs that I hadn't harvested yet... so I got to play with smelly plants today too, which is a total score! I lost a few herbs that weren't close to the ground, but saved some thyme, oregano, and marjoram which are three of my super favorites... so that's awesome! good job tree! thank you for shedding your leaves right before the snow came...or I would have lost everything!! : )

For some reason our tree reminds me of the book the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I love that book ...it still makes me cry when I read it to the kids .... it was one of my favorties when I was a kid.

Raking can seem like such a tedious and seemingly never-ending chore... so many leaves... but you know the number of leaves is not really infinite. It is a perfect metaphor for life really.... just keep plugging away... you'll get there eventually.. might not be as quick or even exactly what you were expecting.. but funny thing is .. it just keeps on happening. Life is all about the moment.. a bunch of little moments everyday. I just try to make more moments ones that I want to have again, than the ones I could do without...perspective is the key.

It is satisfying when you get that huge pile o' leaves too! I'm hoping it will dry out a bit and the kids can go play with it for a bit because it is so much bigger than the are.... even together!

One thing that I didn't get done that I had wanted to do today was a super cute leaf project that I have been trying to do. Tomorrow for sure, so I'll post it soon.( seems like every other day or so I get a post in)
Roscoe and I did get to build today, though which was super fun.

He is becoming such a little ham truly..he is so darn cute I can't stand it! He is our last as far as we think right now... so being my third I feel like I am constantly looking at him and thinking "aw... I'll never have another crawling baby now..." I love that he still makes noises and doesn't talk much because it's so sweet.
I love, encourage, and enjoy his accomplishments but I'm not in a hurry to send him into toddlerhood ....and tomorrow girlfriends and for the love of Pete DRIVING!... at least it seemed to go that fast with Emily. Often I wonder what the hell I was thinking starting over again with a 10 year old already... but then I remind myself that everyone is better off for it. Emily is allowed to grow up because I don't have time to be neurotic about her NOT being a baby anymore.... and the little ones get my extra patience(sometimes) because I realize that their times as young kids is fleeting. It throws a good helping of perspective into the mix having a teenager, pre-schooler, and a toddler under one roof!

Today I am thankful for Fall.
I am thankful for the exercise and my time to myself today.
I am thankful to have such a cute and loving family.
I am thankful that we all get to be together Thursday for one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

An attempt at something new

So it is becoming obviously apparent to me that posting everyday will just NOT be able to happen... and that's ok. The point of this blog for me is to be thoughtful of my moments of joy and happiness throughout the day. And although I just started it a few days ago and have only posted twice yet... it is already working. Throughout the day while I am playing and cooking and cleaning and so forth, I have been much more aware of my joy in the last few days... thinking things like oh...that would be a good post or that could something I share with folks... or other such thoughts.

So I feel content, even if only a smattering of my thoughts actually become content up here.

My husband is working two jobs right now. On wednesday, thursday, and friday he leaves at 7:30 am and comes home anytime from 12:30 am-1:30 am depending on how busy of a night it was. He goes to his regular job from 8:00-3:30/4:00 (he is a line cook) and then heads over to a second restaurant(as a line cook) and puts in a 7/8 hour shift. This is new. within the first month of it. and it is hard. it is hard on him. hard on the kids. and not completely unimportantly, hard on me. But we have discussed it over and over and for right now I need to be home with the kids, so it is something that needs to be done.

Although there are not positive things about this... that is not my focus here, so one of the positives of this situation is I get to cook more healthful foods because he isn't here to NOT eat them, and make me feel bad about it.

So I tried (again!) to make a tofu burger that was tasty AND wouldn't fall apart. I only partially succeeded, but I think I'm close to something good here!

I'll tell you what I did and if you have any suggestions or want to try them for yourself and let me know how it went... I'm all for it!

Here goes, this is what I ended up putting together:

Tofu Burgers

1 package of extra-firm tofu
1/2 cup of steel cut oats
1 can of white beans
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds & 1/4 cup almonds
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Spices: sea salt, oregano, basil,
21 seasoning salute(an awesome salt-free spice from Trader Joe's),
powdered kelp & dulse (I put these in everything!)
celery seed, a little cumin, fresh ground pepper, olive oil
all of these to taste and anything else that might be good or if you don't like it.... leave it out! : )

{this is probably where I should state that I rarely use a recipe...I cook from taste, look, and feel...I try to tell people about what I use.. but often I have no idea...just guesstimation really ...so sorry about that!}
  1. The first thing I did was cook the 1/2 cup of oats in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water with a pinch of sea salt. I cooked them a little less than I would for porridge, maybe 15 minutes.

  2. While that was cooking I mashed the tofu with a fork. I used extra firm so I didn't feel like I needed to smash and drain...{ but that might not be a bad idea actually... b/c I did have some textural difficulties! : ) }

  3. I also put both kinds of seeds into the mini-processor and chopped them to a crumbly consistancy.

  4. I chopped the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauteed the onions for about 5 minutes then added the shrooms and garlic and cooked for 7-10 minutes more until they had a nice color and smell. : )

  5. At this point I mixed everything together. I was thinking that I didn't want to use an egg(just to see if I could do without it), so for added stickiness I guess, I processed the can of beans and threw them in too (drained and rinsed, before throwing in the mini-chopper).

  6. I made 7 patties originally, they were HUGE. I put them on wax paper and put them in the fridge to set up.

This is what they looked like when I took them out to cook. By the time that I got to cooking them that night... things were a little hectic, cranky, and hungry..and they fell apart... and I WAS NOT in the mood for pictures! But I put the rest in the fridge and carried on with bathing, putting kids to sleep, cleaning, washing dishes....etc... and figured I'd try again tomorrow.

Well today(yesterday's tomorrow..hee hee...), I pulled them out of the fridge, and they were MUCH firmer. So I decided to make each patty into two patties ( to help with the size and sticking together thing) and throw them in a non-stick pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

...and it worked! I cooked each side for close to 10 minutes(which is a long time)... but they came out pretty good! I think that when I make them again I would use the egg. I think that would hold them together even more... I'm not even vegetarian, much less vegan, but I was just trying to see if I could do it vegan, because it makes me feels better for when I eat with my husband (you know beast of some sort on the table every night)!

Anyway, this is the final product, on some toasted whole grain bread with a little dijon mustard and some massaged Kale(an awesome raw foodie trick that I learned from a friend, and use ALL the time.) There was some breakage..I couldn't have pick it up and swung it around... but it was easy to flip and made it to the bread just fine... so like I said.. maybe an egg next time.. but I will defenitely be trying it again! Also any suggestions, or opinions about them is welcome...especially if you make them differently... I like to fiddle with my food! : )

Oh, and the kale trick is super easy!
Massaged Kale
just take a bunch of kale, remove the stems by folding it in half and pulling the leaves from the big rib going up the middle... wash in a sinkful of cold water... spin dry... then put the juice of a lemon, a pinch of sea salt, and a little olive oil in a bowl wisk it together and pour it over the kale. Reach in and massage (yes I know it sounds silly!) the leaves with the "dressing" ... let it sit for an hour or so. I rinse the leaves after that, but if you like the flavor you can leave it on... you could just spin off the excess maybe...it is a little too strong for me... so I rinse some of it off. It "cooks" the kale making it WAY less bitter without actually cooking it ...so you get all the good stuff with a lot less bitterness... total score right? : )
Today I have lots of things on my thankful list pertaining to this post:
Today I am thankful for a husband who takes care of me and our family.
I am thankful that my children eat my cooking and generally like it!
I am thankful that I succeeded (mostly) in a new food adventure, even if it took an extra day!
I'm thankful for this blog to throw stuff out there for other people to see.
Oh, and I didn't get to it.. but I'm thankful that, so far today, Sophia hasn't had an accident in her big girl undies...although it is naptime so stayed tuned for the results of sleeping in said undies (for the very first time today!!)!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

oatmeal cookies

This morning came far too early, in fact the night just turned into morning with none of that whole sleeping business occuring at all! Well, that is not completely true I did get a nap from 3:00am- when I burst into our bedroom and handed the boy child over to his father and made them both leave the room...until 5:30 when his father returned him to me in about the same fashion!

apparently Roscoe is growing right now.

truth be told he is an amazing sleeper most of the time. he doesn't sleep through the night but only nurses a few times and promptly falls back to sleep. ( and seeing that his sister NEVER slept much I do acknowledge and appreciate this in him) BUT when his brain is exploding he struggles a bit more. He is like me in so many ways...which I happen to think is a good thing! : ) but it seems he got my manic head at 2 in the morning thing... which is a bit of a drag.

He woke up at 11:00 last night before I had even gone to bed and wanted to party like the rock star that he is... ALL. NIGHT. LONG!! when I did give in and call for reinforcements Dad was not as cheerful as I was hoping...I know not too surprising.. it was 3 am.

SO- to keep things together and happy until blessed, blessed naptime(which is in the process right now...HOORAY!) my strategy is FOOD.

yeah, big shock there!

but honestly it is the only thing that will get us all through a rough morning...a constant undipping blood sugar level..until after lunch when it is officially time to rest.

so this morning breakfast was the same as every other morning, for Roscoe.

cereal(O's today), banana, & rice milk to drink the second we get up.

then some grapes and vegetable booty (puffed rice and corn with kale and kelp, a not too unhealthy snack that feels very naughty!) half an hour later while I am making the morning time snack which was the yummy part!

my new obsession, steel cut oats.

I had never had them until recently. I had always gotten rolled oats. I had seen them mentioned several times in the AR(allrecipes, my other obsession of late) exchange...so when I saw them at the local co-op I got some to try.

I make a new treat(awesomely healthful snack in actuality) that I like to call the oatmeal cookie... because well it tastes just like a really good oatmeal cookie, and let's face it, if you tell a toddler they are getting an oatmeal cookie odds are they are going to eat it with a SMILE!!

The Oatmeal Cookie

  1. Bring 3 cups of water and a dash of sea salt to boil in a heavy pan.
  2. Add 1 cup steel cut oats.
  3. Add a half cup of unsweetened applesauce (you could use a chopped apple if you wanted, I bet that would be tasty!), a tablespoon or two of TVP (texturized vegetable protien)(this tastes like the dehydrated apples chunks in instant oatmeal, and adds a good boost of extra protien, always a plus, especially during this whole brain explosion thing!), a good few shakes of nutritional yeast, a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice(or straight cinnamon), and a tablespoon of brown sugar(it's not a lot, just enough to make it slightly sweet).
  4. Cook for 15-30 minutes depending on texture preference. We are good at about 23 minutes, I think... something like that.
  5. Add rice(almond, soy, whatever you have) milk to thin if neccesary.
  6. When the texture is right serve up in a bowl, top with some raisins, a sprinkle of pie spice, pour over a little milk, and put a squeeze of honey over the top.
  7. Commence eating and making of yummy noises!!

You should try it. It is super good stuff and pretty darn good for you too!! And most importantly it helped me make it through the morning without losing my marbles!

Happy toddler # 1!

although this is a picture of her eating her breakfast today which was plain yogurt with half a chopped plum stirred into it with a little cinnamon, raisins, and a squeeze of honey over the top.

Stinker ...oops I mean, Happy Toddler # 2

He was about to be eating some oatmeal cookie numminess in this picture... I should taken pictures of the mess he made.. but did I mention I was a little tired this morning and I wasn't feeling overjoyed at the moment of clean up time!

And what's up with both of my goofy scrunchy nosed kids!

Anyway, I should actually try and accomplish something while they are still out... thank goodness for the Pumpkin, Leek, Sweet Potato Soup in the fridge for dinner... I think the mound of unfolded laundry is more than enough for me to handle today!!

Today I am thankful for Oatmeal Cookie Oats!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sock Puppets

Well, today is going to be my first post. I hope that this works out the way I see it in my mind. My hope is to use this as a tool to be as thankful as I can be. Times are tough, in a lot of aspects in my life, but I want this to be about the good stuff, because there IS a lot of good amongst the frustrations, and sometimes it's easy to foget that! As I sit here being thoughtful of my hectic and not too fun day... I realize that I barely played with my kids today...and that is probably why it was crummy. My hubby's days off are often crammed with chores we need to do together, instead of enjoying our time as much as I'd like to... but on to the positive... starting with some Sophia lovin'!!!

Tonight after bathtime, instead of going straight to bed for stories and songs, after Dad got her little brother to bed. Sophia got to make sock puppets with Dad and Mama! She got a kit for her birthday from an awesome friend of ours. So tonight we pulled it out and had a blast together! Sophia went nuts with all the pre-glued felt pieces... it was truly enjoyable!

Sophia's Superfantasico Puppet!

I have good intentions of doing a lot more crafts than we end up doing...and tonight was a reminder to make it a higher priority! It is difficult with Roscoe being so young, but I'm determined to figure out a way to do more, because it was by far the highlight of my day! I LOVE all the felt wackiness on her puppet!! And I like how my "dragon" turned out too! Right now they are all in bed, in the empty tissue box that she claimed for them... to sleep in for the night.

Al's puppet

My dragon puppet

So tonight:
I am thankful for sock puppets!! : )