Thursday, June 7, 2012

Choo Choo

I can not believe it has flown by so fast, but it has. My fantabulous husband has met the one year mark with the railroad. YEEEEEEEE!!!! He longer has to wear the obnoxious "orange hat" that singles out all the new hires. He longer feels the terror of being the "new guy" every day as he journeys off to the unpredicatable day on the job.

I can't express how proud I am of him. He took a leap of faith, at my coaxing, and made a drastic career change. He embarked on a territory he had never considered before. He allowed himself to see the world in a new light, and after all is said and done, He likes it. And that makes me happy.

A big thanks to my hubby for taking a chance, and sending our family down a pathway that keeps our family thriving. And keeps Big Sis DIVA entertained. "choo choo daddy, choo choo momma" Words we hear round the clock now.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Vegetable Co-op

What is a Vegetable co-op?

In my own words, it is a group of folks who split the cost of GOOD nutritious foods. This enables members of the co-op to receive fantastic nutritious foods at a super fabulous LOW price.

One of the things I really enjoy about a co-op is the variety. You never really know what veggies and fruits are going to be in your haul each week. Some you might be totally familiar with, some you might not. Some you might have never even heard of. That is the beauty of a co-op. You get to explore food. Challenge yourself not only in providing your body with a more nutritious intake, but with devising ways to prepare nutritious meals.Take risks. Learn. Explore. In the few short months I have been a co-op member, I have expanded my cooking skills and my consumption skills. :)

Examples of unfamiliar vegetables being Beets, Eggplant and Scalloped squash. These three veggies are not something we would normally have in out kitchen. I was a little nervous but thanks to Pinterest and a willingness to learn and expand my horizons, my family has now enjoyed and added some new scrumptious dishes to our repertoire. (and a couple of gross ones too)

Juiced and roasted work out great. But This salad was delicious and a great way to utilize beets for a yum cool treat here in the summer.

I won't lie to you. I do not like eggplant. My husband does not like eggplant. But the beauty of the co-op is, we received a large supply of eggplant. And we are hungry a lot, so I had to figure out something. And I did!! This fantastic recipe was amazing. And it freezes great and when reheated tastes wonderful. So anytime we have eggplant I can make a few batches of this and we have freezer meals ready to go!I haven't tried This but it sure looks good. We plan on this being on our table later this week.

Scalloped Squash:
WTH?? Cute little squash. What to do what to do? Several ideas were brought to my attention thanks to Pinterest. Our favorite was This one.

Enjoy. If you are faced with a food you are not familiar with, take a chance, try something new, challenge yourself. And enjoy the food and enjoy knowing your are learning and expanding your horizons.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sucked that cucumber DRY!!

I really love my veggies. I am also enjoying being in my veggie co-op. One thing the co-op is teaching me is how to make my veggies stretch. For example, let us take a look here at the cucumber.

Fancy, huh?

First, I juiced this little guy. I really like to drink cucumber juice. It is refreshing and when mixed with orange juice or beet juice can be quite scrumptious.

After I juiced the cucumber, I then took the pulp and mixed it with yogurt. Resulting in a fabulous spread for my pita lunches this week. A sprinkle of dill yielding a fancy cucumber dill pita! YUM-O

I also took some of the pulp and froze it into ice. Now I have a supply of cool cucumber ice to add to my water as we embrace the 90 degree  daily temps we will see for the next 4 months.

Not a bad stretch for a food that cost me about a quarter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Stinky Dishes

Big Sis DIVA has taken a real liking to washing dishes. This is fantastic for ME!!! I only can dream that this will last past her 4th birthday and into the teenage years, right?

Well, Big Sis DIVA also has a very sensitive nose. Recently while she was performing her daily duty of getting are dishes cleaned for the dishwasher, she voiced some choice opinions on the smell of our garbage disposal.
"I cant wash "ish" mom because it is too STINKY in there." Points down to garbage disposal and runs off away from the sink.

Shit. I can not let this happen. Very quickly I have become accustomed to this new found help in the kitchen. I am sure not about to give it already. So, I do what all women these days do when they are faced with a domestic problem to solve. I consulted Pinterest.

I found this great link to an idea. (Now, when I clinked the actual link it told me the file was longer to be found, but the picture pretty much was all I needed. So, Thank you to whoever originally posted this) An idea that we are all well aware of but if you are like me, have never thought to put two an two together and put it into practice.

vinegar ice

Vinegar and lemon ice cubes. GENIUS. And I just happen to have a surplus of lemons on hand from my vegetable co-op this week, so VOILA. We now have a fabulous collection of vinegar lemon ice cubes living in our freezer, ready to use at any time to freshen up the stinky sink.

Now excuse me as I sit back and watch my 3 year old wash some dishes.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Yes, I do serve Ice Cream for breakfast

I am dead serious. I serve ice cream for breakfast. 1 ingredient ice cream that I make, from scratch. HAHA And it is fabulous. AND has no refined sugar or anything else funky or chemically for that matter. My kids can honest to God have ice cream for breakfast and I won't have to shoot myself a nasty look of distasteful judgement in the mirror for serving it either.

Would you like to serve ice cream for breakfast too and be elevated to the Rock Star level of fabulous mom I currently stand at? Well then, here is what you need.

A freezer
A blender
A peeled frozen banana

Step one: Peel Banana and Freeze. Originally I was told to let it only freeze for 2 hours or so, then whip it up. I, however, have two kids and Facebook to deal with and I forgot about little frozen banana for a day or two. Oops.
Frozen Banana

Step Two: Take frozen banana out of freezer and plop in blender.

blending banana

Step three: Blend Banana until it forms an "ice cream like" texture. I will be totally honest and tell you the only reason I attempted this treat was because I thought it was bullshit and that this frozen banana would not turn into ice cream. Well, I have been proven wrong. Low and behold after some blendage took place, the banana all of a sudden whipped itself into an ice cream like form. Who knew?

Step four: Call children to the table for breakfast and tell them you are the most awesome mom in the world because you are going to "let" them have ice cream for breakfast. Never reveal it is just a nice healthy banana! Nothing more. Bask in the glory of being totally cool to your kids.

amelia eating ice cream

Step Five: Serve "Ice Cream"

Step Six: Enjoy being the greatest mom EVER, all day long. Perhaps even repeat tomorrow for breakfast.

PS this works on husbands too.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sprinkles and Icing

My baby is 1 today.

I find myself wondering how did the time fly by. Was it not just yesterday that I fell asleep while feeding tiny tot and woke in a panic thinking I might smush her in the bed? Was it not just yesterday that it took me ALL day to get out of the house and into the car with 2 kids, only to then realize we missed the play date and then I spent all night getting us back into the house? Was it not just yesterday that she learned to smile? Was it not just yesterday she completed our family?

The last year has brought us lots of joy and adventures. Princess Pork Chop and Big Sis DIVA together with H4L, make me the happiest person in the world. We never have a dull moment around here. I am so thankful for that. And today we celebrate 1 year as a happy family of four!

H4L and his ladies!
Picking out  her first ever Sugar (cupcake)
Getting Princess Pork Chop's First cupcake
Big sis DIVA not impressed it is not HER day

Hello there

Oh my
Daddy, you got to try this!
Nothing like toes and icing
Can I be 1 everyday?
Daddy and his baby girl
Mom, Here have some

Happy FIRST Birthday to my baby girl Scarlett!!!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sick day

We have had more colds and flu's this year than I think I have had in my entire life. Thank you preschool! It is insane and very annoying. But here is a look at what a "sick day" looks like in our world.

These little guys got us our daily exercise when Momma just couldn't do more than hang on the couch!

What do you do to cope through a mommy sick day??

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beet Roast

Do you like Beets?

We don't. I use them to juice. I will toss one in because I know it is good for us and provides nutrition and good stuff for our livers, but I can not really stand the taste. H4L flat out refuses to drink or eat anything with a beet in it.

Well, what are we to do when our vegetable co-op brings in for the week, more Beets than one family should possibly ever see?

Toss them in the compost bin? My H4L's suggestion.
Juice them all? I could never drink 50 beets this fast.
Roast them? hmmmm. My mom suggested and showed me how to do just this, and my oh my these gross little vegetable became quite delicious.

So here is what to do if you ever find yourself drowning in beets.
1. Wash them real good.
2. Dry them real good.
3. Cover them in a light coat of cooking oil (we used canola)
4. Dash them with good salt.
5. Place them in a pocket of aluminum foil (or in my case my clay baking pot)
6. Cover and roast at 400 degrees until a fork inserted goes in smooth as pie. (maybe an hour or two depending on beet size)
7. Remove from heat and cool.
8. Peel skin off, it just comes right off, pretty cool learning for the kids actually
9. Eat the now delicious used to be yucky vegetable!!!!

So easy. I was really surprised and very happy we did not have to waste a whole bunch of beets.

*I have also heard rumors of using beets in a chocolate cake, therefore making said chocolate cake healthy. hmmmm I will be exploring this soon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Backyard Science

Every morning we try and hit the backyard for some fresh air and exploration time. Sometimes we fail and we just look through the window at the exploration possibilities as we rush off here or there, but I really try to get this time in. We never know what we are going to discover or encounter, but it is always something amazing.

Flowers climbing over the fence from the neighbor's yard.

A little backyard fishin'.

Big Sis DIVA's Beans. Now they live  where they can climb!
One amazingly beautiful morning this week, I opened the back door and let in the fun. We rushed out and found so many unplanned fascinating things to discover.

Some of our Backyard Science Tools. 
Big Sis DIVA loves flowers. We have a beautiful Gerbera daisy plant growing that she loves. On this specific morning, we had the privilege to be witness to a bug in "action". A real  live bug sipping on some nectar from Big Sis DIVA's favorite flower. It was really cool. I personally have never seen a bug "Eating" on a flower, live, so it was a real experience for me too.
Bug having some Breakfast!
We talked about the flower and the bug and flower nectar and dirt. I just kind of guided the conversation a tad and then let the questions flow from my tot. This invited us to explore more plants and flowers in the yard. On this adventure we came across snails hiding on leaves and snuggled down tight next to pretty purple flowers. We also happened across a REAL hatched egg and feathers.

Big Sis DIVA LOVES "baby eggs" so this was a real gem.
I love that we have a "classroom" right outside our backdoor. A place we can go and learn unstructured, un-planned, un-censored. Just soaking up nature and knowledge and life, together.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A flower is an educated weed.

A quote I ran across recently, really sums up our lessons this last week. Thank you Luther Burbank for letting me borrow "A Flower is an educated weed."
Growing from within the "Earth"
Learning best in the "Earth"

I know my kid is only 3 years old. I know she is not in school. I know she has a short attention span. I know the majority of her learning at this age is through playing and experiencing. When I talk about our lessons, please know I'm not strapping my kid down to a chair and demanding she read a novel and write a short story. I do not expect her, nor do I want her to be at a level that far surpasses her age. We are simply spending 5 to 10 minutes here or there throughout a given time of day in what we call "school time". All electronics are turned off at 9am and we "play" and "learn" through many different mediums for the next 3 hours. Many times I do not even think my kids pay attention to the "lessons" I have for them. But I chug along because the most important thing I want them to gain at this point is routine, a passion for knowledge and the skills to absorb information and learn. Oh and I really enjoy spending this uninterrupted time with m kids too. For me and them.
Learning letters at breakfast
That being said, it always makes me so happy to see when my Big Sis DIVA has actually paid attention and in fact IS absorbing the information I am teaching and not just gaining skills to use her mind later. This week we learned about Earth. I talked to her about it and she would respond here or there or give me that blank 3 year old stare. We just continued on and I hoped for the best. Then at my parents over the weekend, Big Sis DIVA noticed a glass clear globe, an Earth. She looked at it from across the room and without be provoked and shouted, "Earth". Then proceeded to tell her Gah that Earth was a planet. I was tickled that she had learned AND retained the knowledge of the week.
Learning to sort Trash, courtesy of Classroom Freebies Too
I printed a Stash of play dough mat's a while back. This one fit perfectly!
We are spending two weeks covering the same theme. Earth, Recycling and Nature. You might can see why; that is a ton of topics and could go on forever. I wanted to cover earth day in our lessons, but I also wanted Big Sis DIVA and Princess Pork Chop to be introduced to Earth as a planet and to get out and see some nature. So, I structured the 2 week period to encompass all of it.

While out strolling in nature, we were lucky enough to watch a nasty storm roll  in. Complete with  impressive clouds and noise. Part of "Earth's" activities.
We had to taste the rain of course!
This week we looked at the Earth in all its forms. Pictures of the planet Earth. Dirt, by looking into the sky and discussing where we are. you name it. If I could fit Earth into the conversation I did. We talked about recycling and not being wasteful. We also spent a lot of time outside playing in the dirt, becoming one with nature. Honestly we did not have a lot of classroom time this week. We explored more out in nature and discussed life as it happens. I think that is the best way to learn, personally.
We found a small ant hill and watched as the ants worked in the "Earth"
This little guy snuck up close to Big Sis DIVA's foot. He caused quite a scare and was  deemed the "scariest  monster" ever.
We are hanging this one in our classroom this week to accompany our lessons, thanks to  Teachers pay Teachers

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