Saturday, July 30, 2011

Have your cake and blog, too

I'm sitting here to give my youngest daughter the comfort that I am near. I should have known better than to put on the movie I did tonight. G has been having end-of-life issues and is super interested, yet scared by the concept of spirits, or ghosts. Same here! This evening's kid movie included a pirate ghost. So now that G is trying to go to sleep she sees "pictures of the ghost" in her mind. Same thing happens to me with scary movies, which is precisely why I don't watch them...anymore. Anyway, I'm sitting here eating a slice of pound cake with chocolate icing. It's not vegan friendly and it's not homemade. It is, however, very tasty.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cleaning House

We're already feeling the closeness of the coming school year. Our vacation is the second week of August, so we want to be in the mindset of being ready for school when we return. Something we've been needing to do this summer is go through the kids' toys. They've already cleaned their rooms and we've gone through the toys in the basement to decide what to keep and what to donate. We have two kitchen sized trash bags to donate. It's not that much, but enough to make a difference in the clutter. I always have the kids help with choosing things to donate, but occasionally Will and I just grab some things we know they won't miss and throw them in the bag. It's just one or two things. The girls have been donating toys forever, so they're very cooperative. Sometimes they surprise me with how willing they are to put something in the donate bag. If tears become a factor I don't push it and let them keep the item. I don't want to get rid of their favorite toys. I want them to have the things they like to play with, I just don't want things around getting broken and abused. I'd much rather something go to Goodwill intact so another kid can take it home than have to throw away broken toys. Going through toys, putting labels on bins or bags with the kids makes me feel really good about teaching them organizational skills. They are growing up in a fairly neat and organized house, so I think we're setting a good example. S tells me she loves having a clean room. Her favorite part, the only part she likes, really, is the "decorating" part when she's finished putting things away and she can arrange her desk, dresser and display shelves. She also likes hanging things on her walls like crafts she's done or magazine pictures of American Girl stuff she wants. I told her I'd like her room if I were an 8 year old girl. She does a nice job making it pretty, but not without voicing how much she hates cleaning!

G is very unpredictable when it comes to cleaning. She likes to organize and seems to have a natural ability to do so. She started putting away toys at a very young age without my asking. It's not uncommon for the second child to do things like that because they learn from watching the older child, but she seemed to LIKE putting things away. Maybe she's learned to throw fits from her older sister, because sometimes when she has to clean her room she throws one. Other times she just gets it done without an argument. She also likes having a clean room and making her bed. Her downfall is "UNDER THE BED" dun dun dun! It gets to be a MESS under there of dirty clothes, books, hair ties, and trash. How do children have so much paper trash in their rooms? Soon, we'll be lofting G's bed. She has a very tiny room. Very tiny. Lofting the bed will be a huge help in giving her space. She'll get a desk under her bed. I think she'll love having the desk to use to draw and write in her room. And she won't have anywhere to push all that clutter when she doesn't feel like picking it up.

The work done this weekend will go a long way to making our home a more pleasant space.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The battle

The scene: A seemingly peaceful three bedroom row house.
The conflict: Parents want rooms clean; Children don't.
The threat: Parents will take away toys.
The standoff: Youngest child refuses to clean, makes room even more messy (just in case parents thought that wasn't possible) and throws fits about everything. Child constantly whines about being hungry though she has been adequately fed and watered.
The Compromise: Mother sits on bed and directs cleaning.


Any of this familiar?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

30

I went to bed age 29 yesterday and woke up age 30. I was born at 2:54 am, so my birthday started early. We surprised my daughter, G, who got up before all of us and was at the computer. She didn't know it was her birthday! hehe Her Dad and I gave her our two presents this morning: a pink Disney princess basket and bell for her new/used red boy bike and a purple salon chair for her American Girl dolls. Six years ago on my 24th birthday I gave birth to my premature little baby and now she's a new first grader who is too rambuctious for her own good!
G wanted to make pancakes for breakfast, so we did. Over breakfast, my girls were both saying they were glad to have their birthdays when they do. G asked S why she liked having her birthday in December because you can't go outside. Well, guess what? It's too hot to go outside today! No one cares, they're too busy playing and watching Disney episodes on Netflix.
Three cheers for 30!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Food Blog: Tomato Sauce Makes It All Good

I learned this tip from one of Natalia Rose's books. It's so true! Yesterday I made a "lasagna" type dish, otherwise called a casserole. I told my kids to think of it as noodle-less lasagna. They ate it pretty well, with the help of buttered toast and the promise of Lindeman's Italian Ice afterwards.

Lauren's Cabbage Lasagna:
Precooked Chopped Head of Cabbage
2 Yellow squash
Handful of Baby Spinach
1/4 cup diced Onion
1 Jar of Tomato Sauce

Basically just layer to your heart's desire in a Pyrex baking dish. I've done this with precooked Polenta as well in place of noodles. This time I put a layer of yellow squash, onion, spinach, sauce. Then cabbage followed by more onion and sauce and then another layer of squash topped off with sauce. I used a little pepper and dry basil leaves to enhance the flavors. I quite enjoyed it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Drink Your Salad

I started a new blog to focus on EATING (and drinking). Everyone needs to eat, so go check it out.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Food Blog Summer 2011: Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna is also called Tortilla Pie. See that goo there? It's vegan "cheese" sauce. I got the idea from OhSheGlows.com. It's VERY simple: a tablespoon or two of hummus, equal amount nutritional yeast and then water it down to be the consistency you like. It works well in this recipe because it helps hold the lasagna together. You can also see the shredded Daiya Pepper jack Style.
 This is an inside layer.
 Do you ever work at a crowded counter like this? Sometimes I just have to get dinner in the oven and then I can do dishes while it cooks. Plus, I have very limited counter space in this kitchen. But, even when I had a lot more counter space in my last house, I tended to clutter it up quickly. I prefer having a smaller space because it pushes us to keep it cleaner.

So here's what goes into this recipe:
 Three tortillas with the following between each layer: Refried beans, black beans and kidney beans (canned and drained or precooked), Salsa (I used both Garden and Black bean and Corn), Rotel canned Tomatoes and Green chilies, Cheese Sauce, Shredded Daiya.
On the very top I only put a light layer of refried beans and the last of the Rotel tomatoes with the liquid from the can to keep the tortillas soft while baking. I also put a little shredded cheese.

 This recipe keeps the tortilla nice and soft and it's very much like a traditional lasagna because it's so gooey. It had a nice spice to it as well without adding any extra seasonings... just what was already in the salsa and tomatoes. That makes it so easy!
Tip: If you don't have tortillas that fit perfectly into a pie dish like I did,
you can use multiple smaller tortillas for each layer.
I've done that before and I've used corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.
Both work great.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oh where, oh where has my summer gone?

For starters, I took a class on teaching smart kids with learning difficulties. It's for re-certification and was really informative and enjoyable--one of my favorite combinations of adjectives! Now, I have "homework" to do to complete the course. Also, I've been on my kids about getting their summer homework completed this month. What else have I been doing... I've been keeping up with my own lesson planning for my new courses I'm teaching this coming school year; and I've been going through some "new" series or just new seasons of my favorite shows through Netflix; and reading for enjoyment; and going to the gym; and playing with my kids--teaching them to ride bikes (G can ride a two wheeler!) and juicing and cooking and baking and.... yeah, keeping busy. Next up on my busy summer-to-do-list: painting some decorative wall treatments with some students at my school! I was out there today and my classroom is emptied of everything to re-wax the floors. So then there's all that work of putting it back together before the start of the school year. Still, I'm loving the weather and the sun and extra daylight hours and spending more time with my family. Really, that's what summer is for.