Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Happy

I know it may seem like a small thing—and, it is—but I am so relieved my camera’s come back to me, cured of its focusing issues.  (Seems the theory that it took a knock whilst tethered to Carter’s wrist in a well intentioned attempt to protect it as I wrestled my backpack from a wobbly locker at the Egypt museum is a correct one.  Something called the focuser was all out of whack and my poor camera had no point of reference, try as it might to focus.  It was set back to zero and now that zero is a hero *snaps*.)

Our amazing January faux Spring continues and the boys and I played at the park after preschool today.

I am grateful Bunny loaned her camera to me, but I am THRILLED I have mine back.  I know a lot of whether a photo is great or junk depends on the photographer, but lens quality and ability to zoom really do help a lot.  :)

So, of course, I had to check the old girl out and see if she was really fixed.





That’ll do, camera.  (Babe, anyone?)

Friday, January 28, 2011

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

At Least They Agree

When we were walking (biking, scooter-ing, sleeping in a stroller) home from the park recently, we passed down a long street undergoing some sort of utility work, lined with signs forbidding anyone from parking during work hours for the duration.  After a while I stopped short and stared at one.


I wrote it off as a simple error, probably not intended.

However, the next, and the next, and the next 50 all said the same thing.  The kicker is this: some were done in a totally different handwriting.


The best part?  I did see one done correctly, and it was in sign maker #2’s handwriting.  I wish I had taken that photo, but didn’t and I shan’t be taking too many photos until the camera doctor tells me if the case of ADD my camera has developed is curable (seriously, the camera can’t focus on ANYthing at all, though it still takes photos just fine—you know, as long as blurry is your goal {I’m using my daughter’s crappy kindly loaned camera in the meantime}).  It kinda makes me chuckle to think of sign maker #2 writing one down, then sign maker #1 coming over to correct it.  “No, it’s with a “Y”, dude.”  So anyway, yeah, about 75 of these grace the street.

As a person who has corrected a mistake on a restaurant’s specials board once or twice when walking by by wiping off apostrophes, I hope I’m not the only person who’s seen this and felt their eye twitch, just a LITTLE.  :)

You think they mean Monday to the day the sun engulfs the earth?  That wouldn’t surprise me, given the pace of things.

Friday, January 21, 2011

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Waste Not…

…birds want not.

Nowadays I go through a crazy amount of bread.  2-4 loaves a week crazy.  I am thinking about trying sandwich bread recipes because I am so tired of going to buy more bread crazy.  I can eat a whole slice of bread, but apparently the crusts are toxic to the kids, and if I leave them on, the ‘inedible zone’ is ridiculously large (waste!), so I trim off crusts for the kids to the tune of 8-10 slices of bread a day depending on morning toast requirements and who’s eating what for lunch/snack.

It may seem like an insignificant thing, but I started to feel guilty about all that food in the trash.  I save the heels of some loaves for breadcrumbs, but I’d be up to my eyeballs considering my breadcrumb needs are pretty scant.  Plus, I didn’t want to make breadcrumbs with bit of ham or peanut butter on them.  I’m picky like that.

One morning a few weeks ago as I was filling the bird feeder for the umptibajillionth time that week I realized who would love the ‘trash’ part of the bread – birds!  I also knew just who I could trust with such a task.  Now the ends and scraps go into an old bread bag until, every day or two, Carter and I go out and scatter nibbles around the front yard.

yeah, he’s wearing his sister’s boots – on the wrong feet

I’m not sure if we’ll bother with it during the warm months, but it’s been a nice way to help the feathered ones through the winter.  Kids love routines, and Carter loves this one.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Menu—A Long Haul Edition

Maybe it was all the times I had to bring everyone  to the store over Christmas break, running amok, making me play the role of *that* grumpass, hissing mom.  Or the time Cole forgot his new stuffed animal (which was found and kept safe until our next trip, yay!).  Mostly it was that it was Friday morning and I decided I did not want to go grocery shopping at all the next week.  That’s why I decided I would make an 11-day menu, from Friday the 14th through Monday the 24th.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to truly avoid the store for that long—we’re already down to only 4.5 gallons of milk, which might not be enough for my milk guzzlers.  All hail the garage fridge!  A woman in the parking lot spied my cart with 6 gallons of milk and about 8 big sturdy grocery bags and asked how many boys I feed.  :)  We bonded over the miracle that is the garage fridge and scoffed at the PG&E ads that suggest they’re a waste (not if you keep it full of food!).  Funny, we think we’re so unique, but find common ground with strangers in the oddest places, like a parking lot.  :)

Anyway, here ‘tis—the 11 Day Long Haul.  It’s Day 5, running strong.  We’re down to one banana, which I would buy more of *if* I get milk, but otherwise, oh well ~ not like we’re having muscle cramps here and need potassium STAT!  ;)

Friday: Beef-Vegetable Soup
Saturday: Salmon, Palak Paneer, Purple Cabbage (just with a little butter, salt, pepper~last of co-op)
Sunday: Crock Pot Carnitas, Black Beans, Cornbread
Monday: Moroccan Garbanzo Bean Stew w/ couscous
Tuesday: Brats & Red Lentils, Salad
Wednesday: Pasta Bolognese
Thursday: Sausage & Zucchini crustless quiche
Friday: Chicken Divan
Saturday: leftovers *or* Low Carb Picadillo, Homemade Mac & Cheese for Kids
Sunday: Carnitas Enchiladas
Monday:  White Bean & Black Olive Soup, fresh bread

Phew.  For some reason links won’t embed today.  Pardon the old school method, just in case you’re interested in trying one.  :)

Black Bean & Olive Soup:
Crock Pot Carnitas:
Chicken Divan (a repeat because we all liked it, all being a non-Carter, relative term):
Garbanzo Bean Stew:
Bolognese—the one I have used faithfully for 7-8 years:


Monday, January 17, 2011


We’ve been enjoying some great January weather here the past few days, with highs nearly 70 and sunny afternoons.  It’s so nice to throw open the windows and air things out.  Saturday all of us walked (or rode bikes/scooters) to a nearby park and it was a real mood lifter for everyone to be outside for hours.

Cole walked nearly a mile, then asked to be pushed in the BOB where he promptly fell asleep.  He always does that and misses out on some park time, but woe to anyone who wakes that dude from a happy nap.  WOE, I tell you.  So he snoozed until half an hour before it was becoming chilly and time to head back home.

Cole loves both his new backpack and the baby doll, a frequent companion.

Everyone else played and ran, and took turn on the scooters.  I even rode Bun’s scooter some, and pretty much suck at it, but it was fun anyway.  Carter rode his bike to the park, but switched to his new scooter for some practice.  Learning a new physical task is funny.  I remember when I was learning to snowboard that I’d realize I was clenching my arms and all these muscles that were TOTALLY unneeded, and, though I’d consciously relax, later I’d be back at it, exerting way more energy than necessary because I was trying SOOOO hard.  I noticed Carter was doing the same thing with his scooter.


However, in only a short while, he was gliding for longer and longer periods, and balancing much more smoothly.


But, since he is still learning, his form again deteriorated once he began to tire out.  That was another thing I clearly remember from learning to board: at the end of the day I could barely make it down my last run I was so sloppy-tired.

Carter’s now a full fledged 5 year-old now, and in the midst of a mad growth spurt, first putting on an inch or two in height in late summer and now in a pudging up spurt—and eating mass quantities (for him).  Today I opened his lunch box, expecting to find the usual 75% remaining because he wanted to play more than he wanted to eat, but he ate everything, including his usually neglected apple.  Then he asked for food right after we arrived home (an hour after lunch) and gobbled two snacks.  My little guy is less little.


And, sometimes, he looks like a stinky big boy.  Then I make him put on his footy pajamas and snuggle me while he still will.  Actually, there is no force required there – he is still my snuggly little guy… and his footy pjs have skulls on them.  Talk about one foot on either side of a line between being a preschooler and a bigger kid, huh?

Friday, January 14, 2011

{this moment::big balloons for my big boy}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Drink Your Spinach


Being cooped up with Bun on a multi-day sick out, I have been catching up on my sneaky purees.  Purple puree is simply about half a bag of frozen spinach, half a bag of frozen blueberries, and the juice of half a lemon simmered on the stove for a while, then blasted to a fine puree either with a wand blender or small food processor.  What you get is a deep purple thick puree that hides well in brown foods.  My favorite way to get spinach down Carter’s gullet is in a Spinach Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie.

It’s so easy to make, and it’s really yummy, plus I can load it up with goodness.  LOAD it up.  The cool part is the other kids like it, too.

1 c plain yogurt
1 really ripe banana
1/4 c purple puree
2-3 T peanut butter (couple large spoonfuls, I really don’t measure this stuff)
1 scoop Trader Joe’s vanilla soy protein powder
couple good squirts chocolate sauce  or some cocoa powder and sugar
a few glugs of milk

Put it all in the blender and puree.  Add as many ice cubes as it takes to make it seem right.  Taste and make sure it’s sweet enough… if not, add a little honey.

I find with time, I can up the purple puree amounts to make it more ‘good’ and less treat.  Leftovers work great in popsicle molds.


But I almost never have leftovers.  Carter chugged three small glasses this morning.  He likes chocolate a little bit.

Monday, January 10, 2011

This Week’s Specials, Jan 10

I’m sitting to type out this week’s menu as I stuff my face with Monday’s dinner.  It’s Monday, so it’s meatless.  After yesterday’s pizza and cake (plus about half a yummy ale—half because I kept forgetting Paul ran into BevMo when he went to retrieve the ‘za and Paul finally drank it, saving it from a later trip down the drain, I am sure), after all that, I am more than happy to skip the meat.  Ironically, since I didn’t make any ‘big batch meals’ this weekend, I also had to make a pot of chili so that Pablo will have something to take for lunch tomorrow (and likely eat tonight since what I made is awesome, but riddled with noodles.  So much for being meatless, huh?  Last week he did well, and gobbled two bowls of red lentil soup, though… baby steps, I s’pose.

Monday:  Tofu Peanut Udon Noodles (HERE – I added some red pepper flakes and also a shot or two of Tapatio)
Tuesday:  Salmon, Braised Greens, Tomato Soup (HERE) —with the last of this summer’s put-away tomatoes
Wednesday: Cube Steak with Rich Onion Gravy, salad
Thursday:  Brats & Peppers w Simple Tomato Sauce (Best sauce evah – HERE)
Friday:  Rich Onion Soup (can’t find link at moment, but in Jan Whole Living mag and GOOOOOD)
Saturday & Sunday:  TBD after I grocery shop

I’m remembering to eat breakfast at nearly the correct time every morning, too.  Wahoo, me.  ;)

Drum Solo

Chalk it up to being crazy in love with the baby, but heaven help our ears, this is what I set up yesterday while the kids went to the park with their Daddy and Grandpa R:


I set it up so he could see it right when he walked in the door.

Cole had fallen asleep on the BOB ride back from the park (1.6 miles each way is still to much for him to hoof or pedal it).  I tried to bring him inside to continue his nap, but he woke and was in a terrible mood.  Really, he wanted me to leave him in the stroller, but that was not realistic since it’s cold out in January, even if it was sunny.

So he was tantruming as we entered the house.  Until he saw the drums. 

Drums!  I got drums!!  MY drums!

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This kid kills me.  He sat down and went through each drum, because he already knew what most of them are.

This one is the bass (thump, thump).  This is the snare (rat tat).  This is the cymbal (clash).  When you put them all together, they sound like this (really long, loud clatter).

All jokes about my ears aside, I am so happy he’s happy with the drums.  Honestly, it’s so loud here all the time anyway, I am nearly immune to garden variety noise most of the time.  We did put the drums ‘to bed’ last night and they didn’t come out this morning until after we dropped big brother at preschool.  Actually, it was the easiest time I’ve had getting Cole to leave in a while—I simply reminded him he could play his drums if we went home (he loves playing for a few minutes every morning at Carter’s school and sometimes is QUITE reluctant to leave).  Win, win.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

3 Years Ago

So new., originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Happy Birthday Cole! We love you so much.

Friday, January 07, 2011

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Fun with My Nearly 3 Year-Old

Cole and I have been having a great time playing "blocks" together. Really, they're lego duplos, but no matter.

It's his first real foray into imaginary play, and he asks me many times a day to join him, and, of course I do.

I get bored easily, though, and have to make the game silly. Cole really just wants to put the people in the bus and make vroomy-vroom-vroom noises. I like to inject a little drama.

So, we have a game I call, Rude Bus Driver and the Man Who Just Wants to Know If This Bus Will Take Him to the Store. Rude Bus Driver, for short... :) It all started because Cole always drives the bus and I am the old man getting on. The old man gets on, the bus moves, the man gets off--repeat. Now, this is enough, I suppose, but I got bored and a little slap happy after about 1000 iterations and had the man ask, "Is this the bus to the grocery store?" Cole was baffled, as was the bus driver. "I said, is this the bus to the store?" Nothing. "Why won't you tell me where the bus is going?" By then Cole was laughing.

The game goes on and on, until the man decides to hitch a ride with the nice Recycling Truck Driver, in the recycling cart. Also, Cole hates the little girl in this set and has decided she can only ride in the stowage area under the passengers. This bus is weird, man.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Gone Meatless!

Okay, okay – just on Mondays.  :)

Planning one dinner a week as meatless (but not vegan) reduces the weekly total by about 15%, which has both health and environmental benefits.  I’ve been interested in this for a while, but only implemented it with my weekly plan starting last night.  Meatless Mondays is a great site to provide more information on the organized movement, though I hear there is also Tofu Thursdays (which has a much less appealing ring to it if you ask me, haha!).


Anyway, my plan at this time, having a carnivore for a husband is to make sure I have leftovers for him to fall back on, but last night he simply had two servings of the Red Lentil Soup with Lemon I made and had some nuts as a snack later.

We’ll see how this goes in coming weeks.  I’m always interested in ways to improve without too much discomfort to us all, and this sounds like a nice small step.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


McNuggets !, originally uploaded by Orangeya.

Another food-related resolution... but this one is focused more on my two younger kids. Bun has moved away from the Happy Meal, but the boys still love them. Now, I am not against the occasional Mickey D's, but I'd really like to replicate that nugget.

It may take me a while, but I will figure this one out. Mark Bittman has given me a few ideas... I am loving "How to Cook Everything," a gift from my father. :)

Saturday, January 01, 2011


verb: to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something): I have resolved that I…

I’ve never liked eating breakfast.  I always ate it when I was a kid--it was served to me, and not negotiable.  In high school I had a rather long drive and took the optional first period, and stayed after school most days for sports or various clubs, so I really needed to take the time, even though I was the only one up in the house, to at least make some instant oatmeal and pack a filling lunch.  In college?  I slept in a lot and got up as late as possible many mornings, except for Thursdays, which I usually packed with discussions to make my Fridays as close to free of lectures as humanly possible.  Those mornings I always made breakfast.

Since then, I have nearly always been a no breakfast person, except for pregnancy and early post partum.  I know how important breakfast is, so this is my resolution – breakfast everyday, not just the weekends.

homemade WHO Bread with rasp jam, scrambled egg, milk

I will have to remind myself daily, but hopefully after a month or so it’ll be a good habit.  :)

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, originally uploaded by lake.sider.


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