Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Green Smoothie Disaster

Oh that title reminds me a little too much of The Great Vaseline Incident.

This one was not quite so bad, but oh man.  Hah, yea.

So a couple mornings ago I was really excited because we'd made a green smoothie for breakfast.  You might be wondering why this is exciting, and that's because I have to admit, our smoothies have been fewer and farther between right now as we are in a budget crunch while hubbs finishes up his PhD and we are on a lower income. Smoothies = incredible, nutrient, power packed breakfasts, but also = more $$$ than oatmeal. :)

So there I said it.  Not too many green smoothies in our house for the time being.

Anyways, so this was a special occasion, and I told Sonny first thing when I got him up out of bed, cause I knew he'd be excited.  And sure enough he was.  His face lit up and he started squealing "Smooosh! Smoooosh!!" as I got him ready to go downstairs.  I went downstairs ahead of him with my hands full, and stopped off in the bathroom really quickly.  He was a good minute behind me - or so I thought.

I was in the bathroom when I heard the fridge door open.  Not a huge deal - he does that a lot these days - although he is not supposed to.  Then I heard this funny, unfamiliar "sploosh" noise.   ...   Then it dawned on me.  I had left his glass and my glass (about 5 cups of smoothie total), sitting on the fridge shelf right out in front - within perfect reach of a little pudgy arm.

I ran out of the bathroom just in time to see Charlie burst out into uncontrollable sobs.  Sure enough, green smoothie was splattered all over the fridge, the floor, the dishwasher, the cabinets, Charlie and....are you ready for this?  E-O.  E-O the little blue elephant was once again a casualty of war? a Charlie made disaster? ....only this time it was green smoothie not vaseline.

Selfishly I looked to see if my smoothie jar was still intact - it was, whew! - then I set about the task of dealing with my son and his spilled smoothie glass.  Poor little Charlie-man was crying buckets.  I immediately felt so bad for him that he was so upset over his delicious smoothie being all over the floor.  My heart went out to him.  Surely he was just as upset as I was over the loss of precious, nutrient packed, yummy tasting smoothie that he was looking forward to eating for breakfast.

But as I tried to comfort my son and clean up the mess, it became apparent that the tears were not over the spilled smoothie, but the covered E-O.  He must have known that E-O was "dirty" again and that he would end up going away for several days to get cleaned up like he did after The Great Vaseline Incident.  He was heart broken and I thought would blow a gasket when I picked up our now-green little elephant and deposited him in the washing machine.  It took a great deal convincing that E-O was just going to take a bath in the washing machine bathtub, like Charlie does upstairs, and that everything would be okay.  Seriously.  I had to play that one up big time.

He finally started to calm down and I put him in his chair for breakfast.  He eagerly gulped up the 3 swallows of smoothie that were still in his cup, cast his eyes at my full glass, put on his sweetest little face, and started saying "Mooah, mooah" while signing "more" with little hands and pointing at my glass.

At that point, my heart just about broke.  I have had those "okay, now I really feel like a parent" moments,  but this time did me in.  Serious Mom Moment.  I have never felt more like a parent.  Here was my son, who had been disobedient (by opening the fridge), spilled his smoothie in his eagerness to drink the beloved drink, and created quite a huge mess for me to clean up while simultaneously trying to console his broken heart - here he was, asking me so politely and sweetly to share my smoothie - mine! that I had so much looked forward to and that I had every right to because I didn't foolishly spill mine.

And what did I do?  I took pity on him shared my beloved smoothie with him.  I wanted him to have green smoothie as much as he wanted it, even though he had been disobedient and created a great deal of work for me.  I showed him mercy, shared my smoothie and we laughed and giggled.  After I reminded him one more time of his folly and what he was NOT supposed to do ever again.

I even got some pictures. :)

There was lots of smoothie love that day. :-D  And lots of Love.

Oh and for those curious, the green elephant is now back to his original blue hue, hardly any worse for the wear.  I tell you, that elephant and music box inside has survived about 5 more laundry washes than I ever expected it to.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How much do you love bums?

In this house we love bums a lot.  Specifically Daddy's bums.  Oh wait, you thought I was actually talking about bums as in heinys!  Heehee.  

I'm talking about Daddy's buns!  Oh wait, I just realized that's not any better.

Buns!  As in what you put your veggie burgers on!  ;-)  

But in this house, we still do have an obsession with Daddy's buns - or actually just any bread that Daddy consumes.  We were at the grocery store  a couple days ago, and as soon as I put the buns in the cart, Charlie starts squealing "Dah-dee, Dah-deeee".  I knew he wouldn't rest until I let him hold the buns, so I ask him if he wants to hold Daddy's buns.

"YESSTH!!!!"  came the reply.

And all throughout the rest of the store he starts chanting "bumms, buumz, ohh Dah-deee BUUMSS...."

Yes all you onlookers, my son is obsessed with his Daddy's buns.

It was definitely one of those mom moments spent in half amusement and half embarrassment.  

See how excited he is to hold the "bums"?

He loves to turn them over and examine them.

Or take them for a spin on his little push cart.

Do you love your bums?  :)
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Lentil Soup

I'm  not sure why I'm working on this post first since I don't have any pictures of it, and I don't have plans to make the soup again in the next oh, 3 days.  But I love this soup so much, I guess I feel like I must share.  Besides, lentil soup is not exactly the most glamorous soup to look at, not to mention that this soup is a very simple soup without extra additions anyways.  Therefore, decreed: picture not needed.

I don't actually do a ton of totally original recipe work.  I do LOTS of adapting recipes to fit our dietary needs, and even an exact recipe or two here and there.  I'd like to do more original recipe experimentation, but it doesn't always come to me.  Anyways....  I was in Whole Foods bulk aisle when I saw this Autumn Blend of dried lentils.  It contained French Green, Petite Crimson, Golden, Black Beluga, Spanish Pardina and Ivory White - most of which I've never heard of or eaten.  The most exotic I've gotten is the French Lentils.  And I know why now - they are definitely more expensive than your typical green flat lentil in the 1lb bags at the grocery stores.  But I was so curious, I scooped up a cup and brought them home.

Okay, I realized a picture of the Autumn Blend would be nice.

For those of you that adept at tiny reading, ignore the fact that the container says "sunflower seeds".

Then the question was how to cook them.  I couldn't just toss them in one of my typical lentil dishes.  I had to make something special to go with the $3.69/lb lentils - or at least different.  I knew I wanted to use smoked paprika, as I have been addicted to that recently.  I'm not sure how I went all this time without knowing how superior smoked paprika is to regular paprika.  I went to the spice rack and started sniffing.  Then I found it - white pepper.  I haven't used it in a dish in ages, so I'd forgotten how great it smelled.  But after that I wasn't sure what would be good to pair with it, so I went pretty basic - garlic powder, onion powder, veggie broth, and some salt.  Simple soup it is then.

It's so basic some of your jaws dropped in underwhelmation - I saw them.  And yes, I did just make up that word.  But it is so good you have to try it anyways.  Even the hubbs pronounced it "Mmm, really good".

Autumn Lentil Blend Soup

1 cup dried Autumn Lentil Blend*, carefully picked through and rinsed
3 cups veggie broth (or 3 cups water and 2-3tsp of veggie broth powder)
1/4 tsp of white pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
heaping 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika**

Okay, so I probably added more smoked paprika than that.

Place all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for around 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft, with a little bite.  If you cook them till they are completely soft the soup gets mushy, and the lentils lose their color and it does not have quite as pleasing a texture.  So cook just until they have a little chewiness left to them.

*If using regular flat green lentils, add closer to 4 cups water and cook for an extra 10 minutes or so.
**If you don't have smoked paprika, I would A. recommend you get some, or B. would assume that using regular paprika and some liquid smoke would achieve a similar result.  But I haven't tried that, fyi.

So this soup is a really great simple side the way it is, or go ahead and add some chopped up carrot and potato and onion (or other veggies of choice), and make it a heartier meal.  Since it's lentils, which are packed full of protein, adding some veggies to round it out makes it a great main dish recipe.

Also, if you haven't already been thinking "do I really like lentil soup enough to pay nearly $4/lb for these lentils" you should be now.  And the correct answer of course is


Hah, no just kidding.  I understand budgets.  I know I love lentils this much, but do still have a budget to think about.  I did try this with regular flat green lentils, with pretty much the same taste result, but a mushier texture.

Do note that the flat green lentils are sometimes referred to as brown as that is the color they actually are (!) and that they cook up to be.

You can slightly under cook the regular green lentils till they have a bit of bite left like the blend, but it still ends up different texture than the Autumn Blend.  And I really think I can taste a very subtle difference. (I think hubbs thinks I'm making that one up, but I swear I'm not.)

At any rate, not having the money to buy the more expensive lentils is definitely not a reason to not make this!!  It's totally delicious either way, and a really cheap side dish if you use the regular lentils.  Honestly I'll probably try mixing the special blend with the regular, or saving the blend for the special 1 time out of 4 or something.

Learn to Love your Lentils!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beach Pictures! Part 2

Hah, so here are the rest of the pictures from our August beach trip finally!  Enjoy!

Starring out so longingly.  He was more ready to go in the water than we were.

So ready in fact that we had to keep a grip on him or he would have walked right out into waves above his head.

He absolutely LOVED splashing in the water.

And I absolutely LOVE this boy.

"Would you kindly stop taking my picture, Mama?"

I love that I have a ton of pictures of him looking like he was taking right off into the  water.  He would run towards the waves, arms trailing behind him, take a little jump and then fling his fist fulls of sand into the "osha".  :)

Daddy made him a little mini swimming pool that he sat in for a while to watch the waves.

Okay, played in really.

Can you see his little raised eyebrow goofy look at you?  He'll give me that look sometimes like, "Mom, are you serious?"

We found a hole.  A perfect sized hole that someone else had made and abandoned.

So of course we must investigate.

And of course try and fit inside the hole.

He was so intrigued with trying to get in the hole.

"I made it Mama!  I'm in the hole!"

But then he got stuck and couldn't get out.

I think he was worried we weren't going to pull him out.   Lucky for him, we love him just enough to retrieve him from a hole at the beach and take him home with us. ;-)

Family Picture time!

Charlie will still almost constantly talk about the "beetths" and the "osha" even though it's been a month since our trip.  He's been to the beach before, in fact once earlier this summer in May even, but this trip appears to really have left an indelible mark on his little memory.  We totally can't wait to take him back to the beach again next year!

Happy beach times everybody!
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recipe posts in the works

I've got several recipe posts that I want to share here that are in process, but it always amazes me how much more involved it is to get a recipe post ready.  Not even taking into consideration that I have to remember to get the pictures taken of the foods.  Well, I don't have to take pictures, but I like to.  Even though my pictures are not stellar quality, I like to give some sort of idea of what the food will look like.  I always find myself much more willing to try a recipe when I see a picture to go along with it - even if I'm uncertain of whether or not I'll like the recipe based on ingredients.

So... bare with me.  I'm going to try and post a simple little lentil soup recipe that's all my own and a couple chickpea recipes and oatmeal that I am sort of "passing along".  Hopefully they'll slowly start trickling out, with a few other random posts.

Till then, here's a typical Charlie face I see throughout the day.

That's his "Smile for the camera, Charlie!" face.  :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gratituesday: doctors when we need them

The title kind of sounds more suspenseful and dramatic than it really is.  We've had no emergency doctor visits here, unlike one of the bloggers I read who recently had to take her daughter to the ER for stitches.

But I did have to head to the doctors' office this morning to get some lab work done.  My TSH checked specifically (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).  I have hypothyroidism - an under active thyroid - which means that I'm on daily medication for it for the rest of my life.  If you know me, you know that the thought of being tied down to a prescription for the rest of my life just makes me cringe.  In fact when I first got the news (while being pregnant and hormonal), I cried and cried and the personal calling me couldn't understand why it was such a big deal to be tied down to a tiny little pill every day.   I try to eat as much whole, unprocessed foods as possible to avoid being sick and needing medication, and then when I do get sick, I try to get well by as natural a means as possible.  But there was no alternate means for this.  Anyways, this was traumatic for me... blah blah blah.

Back to the appointment this morning.  My healthcare practitioner was indeed running late this morning, and I sat there grumpy because I was wasting my child-free day on sitting in a waiting room.  I finally was seen, and eventually after insurance questions and forgetting my water bottle, got back out and made it home.  Still rather grumpily.

Then I realized a couple things.  We have the ability in this day and age to treat hypothyroidism.  That means I can avoid the depression, extreme exhaustion, decreased taste and smell, puffy face, hair and hands, the slowing of speech, etc.  I should be grateful to avoid the slowing of speech, right?  Even if it means I'm tied to a prescription for the rest of my life and I have to sit in the doctors office for 45 minutes waiting for a simple test.  Also, we have the ability and the means to get to a doctor to keep my thyroid in check.  I should be grateful for insurance to help pay for it, and a car to get me to the doctor's, right?


So I'm not going to grump about the prescription I have to take or my time that was wasted this morning.  I'm going to be grateful for the doctor and go tackle my to-do list.

(And lest we forget, I should be grateful that I didn't have to wait an extra 30 minutes with my toddler in tow, RIGHT??? - thanks Mom and Dad!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Do you see it?

Do you see the awesomeness?

Do you see what made my morning so bright?  No?

There.  Now you see it right?

Amidst my cluttered stove I found this.  While I wasn't looking this morning, my super sweet hubbs left me a little note that I found after he left.  :-D  I love these.  Nothing like a little love note to brighten your day. :)  He's super sweet.  And thoughtful.  And is off working hard for our family.  And I pretty much love him madly.  To the moon and back.

Scratch that.  To Miranda and back.

Need help with that reference? ;-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quiet times and a SWEET giveaway I found!

Not quiet times over here at the house, but quiet times on the blog right now.  I'm trying to manage taking care of my toddler, get a solid exercise routine going 5-6 days a week (something I've never been able to do), hold down the fort with my husband working so much, and take on extra students.  The extra students being a super big blessing right now, while our income is lower, but also taking more of my "free/blogging" time away - as to be expected.

So, less blogging.

But there is another great giveaway going on, happening over at Raw Juice Girl's blog, Healing with Raw Juices. The giveaway will have 4 winners, so I'm really really hoping and crossing my fingers I might be one of them this time.  Never yet won a giveaway.  This would be a great one to win.

Oh.  What is being given away?  Good question.  NuNaturals Stevia products!  Specifically a 50ct box of powdered stevia packets, and a 2oz bottle of Vanilla flavored liquid stevia.  What is stevia?  Only an awesome little natural, sugar-less, herbal sweetener that makes a great addition to just about anything you need sweetened - oatmeal, coffee, baked goods, lemonade, smoothies, etc.

So if you are in the mood to try some herbal sweetener in your life in place of sugar, head on over to Raw Juice Girl and enter the giveaway!  Deadline is Thursday September 22, so you have some time, but don't delay too much!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nutrimill Giveaway at Heavenly Homemakers!

There is a fantastic giveaway going on right now at Heavenly Homemakers blog.

Have you ever wanted to grind your own flour?  Rather, grind your own grain into fresh, healthy flour?

Well here is your chance to get a grain mill for free!  Hop on over to Heavenly Homemakers and enter!  There are several ways to earn extra entries, so get busy!

I'm so interested in grinding my own more unusual flours - like millet, quinoa, chickpea, and the like.  But grinding some good old wheat berries, buckwheat, and oat groats as well - SURE!  Sign me up!

The winner will be drawn and announced on Monday September 12, so you have 3 days to get busy and earn your entries!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gratituesday: Baaa and Maaa

I love reading the Heavenly Homemakers blog, especially her Gratituesday posts.  I like the idea of taking the time to purposefully write about something you are thankful for and sharing it with others.  I'm so often tempted to feel ungrateful for so many things or to take for granted the things I should be so grateful for.  So I am going to do my best to join in the Gratituesday fun and share things that I'm thankful for.  Hopefully I'll start living in a little more constant state of gratefulness and realize just how many blessings I do have.

So here goes....

Just this fall my parents ("Baaa" and "Maaa" as Charlie calls Grandpa and Grandma) have started keeping Charlie, and two of his (close in age) cousins on Tuesdays for most of the day.  I am certainly grateful for the time that gives me away from my toddler, to breathe, to not be "mommy mommy mommmy" on call all day, and to zip around running errands at lightening speed while taking on projects in the house that are no fun to take on with a toddler underfoot.

But more than that I am so grateful that my parents get a chance to spend time with Charlie and watch him grow up.  I'm thankful that they are at a point in their lives and live close enough where they feel like that can make a weekly commitment like that to enjoy their grandsons.  All of my grandparents (and extended family of any kind) lived up in Ohio growing up, and so making the 12 hour trip once a year to visit people didn't provide for the kind of relationship building that weekly visits to Baaa and Maaa's house will for Charlie.  And Charlie LOVES getting to go over to see them and play at their house.  "Baaa" is particular favorite of Charlie's.  :)

And I'm grateful not just for grandparent relationships, but also cousin relationships.  Charlie has no siblings as of yet, so I'm grateful that every Tuesday he gets the sibling experience in the form of his cousins, who he enjoys playing with.  I'm grateful that he will know his cousins better than I ever knew any of my cousins, and hopefully will be great friends with them.

So there's my first Gratituesday post.

What are you thankful for?

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, September 5, 2011

How would you say these words if you were 2?

Before I forget this moment in time, I have to take a moment to share some of Charlie's new words that he's working on.  Partly because of the serious cuteness of listening to my son try and say these words, but also because of the weird diversity of them.  (And if I don't record them here I'm likely to forget them.)  I'm sure every toddler's vocabulary is pretty diverse depending on what they are around and what catches their eye, but I'm certainly partial to my own little guy's. ;-)

Mousse : Muuhtzz  (Pretty much sounds like an Italian (Okay Giada De Laurentiis is who I picture) saying "mozzarella")

Eyebrow : Aah-bouw

Guacamole : gwahky (he just became obsessed with it yesterday - we have a fan on our hands)

Quinoa : keeeeny  (for those of you who don't actually know how to pronounce quinoa to begin with, it's "keen-wah"

Liam : Lbbleh  (Liam is his cousin.  The name gets slaughtered pretty badly, but given that he won't even try some of the other cousin names, I'd say that's an honor, buddy.)

Motorcycle :  Mang-ge  (I'm not even really sure how to phonetically spell that one.  It's so weird.)

Megamind : Mang-ga-mah (yes he likes that movie)  :)

Uncle Chris : Uck-ah

Dijon : Djom (we currently have an obsession with all mustard bottles in our house)

(Worth noting: at this moment in time I am sitting outside with the laptop, while our son happily plays with the recycling, something I've wanted to do all summer, but the crazy heat and mosquitos have prevented that.  Yay coming of fall and less mosquitos!)

Grammy : Gaah-gee

Joshua and Emma : Dosh and Amma (some friends of ours)

Ocean : Ohh-ch

Beach : Beeetts

Elbow : oooh-boo

I feel like I'm missing a couple key words, but my mommy brain has lost them at the moment.

Charlie-man, I feel like you are growing up too fast, son.

How my son be handing me hair care products going "muuhtzz, muuhtzz" and asking to watch "Mang-ga-mah" already?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More fun beach times! Part 1

This past weekend, just our little family of 3 was able to get away for a nice little beach weekend.  After we the hubby and I had had our nice relaxing beach weekend in July, we really did want to come back with Charlie.  We knew he would have a blast (which I think was an understatement!) and we didn't want to miss the fun times with our son.  And I have to say that it was one of the best weekends ever, just the three of us at the beach.

As a side note, I think part of the reason this vacation was so relaxing (even with a toddler involved), was because William and I had already had our really truly relaxing weekend beach trip in July.  We knew that this weekend was not about us getting to relax and do exactly what we wanted to do on our time, but it was about making memories for our son - running in and out of the ocean as many times as he wanted, and trudging back and forth with pails full of water, just so he could dump them out on the sand and get a kick out of it.  I mean I think it would have been a good weekend anyway, but I think it was awesome because we weren't trying to squeeze a grown up vacation in with a family vacation.  Make sense?  I know it won't always be like that, but it sure was nice this year. :)

William's mom/grandparents have a little trailer just right across the road from the beach, which made things super easy.  (Which I hear did weather out Hurricane Irene okay, thankfully.) We didn't stay out all day due to naps, sun and actually because Charlie would get cold as well.  It's pretty funny that my little heat box son actually would start shivering and shaking if we stayed out in the water too long.  I wish I'd had a camera out that far into the ocean to document the shivers (which are rare - except on the very freezing winter night right after hopping out of the bathtub).

Enough chatter and on to some pictures!

Playing in the sand.

He loved the sand.

Really loved it.

Love. Grins.  Giggles.

No really.

Except here.  He didn't love the sand after a face plant.

He also loved his little spot in the living room.  Perfect for eating, watching TV and playing with Uncle David's Legos.

Intense Lego concentration going on here.

He was so methodical about his Lego maneuvers.

Until he got sidetracked by the movie.


"Who YOU callin' crabby?"

Now he's just cheezin for the camera.

So far so good in the picture department, so I'm going to leave well enough alone and call it quits on Part 1 of the beach trip.  Be back later with Part 2 pictures. :-)

Oh hey...and then there was 100

So I have my potatoes boiling, and my chopped onions, carrots and garlic waiting to be cooked into some tasty Vegan Gardener's Pie tonight for dinner, when I thought to myself "I should tackle uploading pictures again to my blog."  After last time and the frustration I don't really want to, but I also really want to share some beach pictures from our fun weekend.  So round two here I come....

Oh and also, I pulled up my blog and found that I'd made 100 posts so far.  Huh.  Didn't realize I had gotten there already.  Thought I would do a nice fun post when I did get there.  Clearly that didn't pan out as my 100th post was the picture frustration post.  Oh well, post 102 will hopefully be lots of fun with cute pictures.

Wish me luck!