Friday, January 21, 2011

This morning

It's been a long 3 weeks full of sickies that are in our house..still in our house.  I started off the year with a full week-long cold that took me down, wore me out, and made me not care if my kitchen floor was swept (I know, Kari, can you imagine!?).

The week after, Matthew came down with a fever and a strange virus in his eye that resembled pink eye.  He's had pink eye once before, as a toddler, and this time around it wasn't as goopy as the official pink eye.  But, his fever lasted forever!  And, he'd be fine during the day, then his fever would spike up to 102 or 103 in the afternoon and evening.  He missed an entire week of school.

Now, this week, Daniel has had the fever, sore throat, and not many sneezes or runny noses as Matthew and I had, but he did develop double ear infections.  How nice.  He missed this entire week of school.  He has a birthday party scheduled this evening (it's a sleepover, but I just can't let go and let him spend the night...he's only spent the night away from me once in his 8 1/2 years and Daddy was there with him, I also don't want to make a drive 5 miles down the road at midnight to come pick him up because he wants to come home.  So, we made a decision that he could go and stay until 8pm...if his fever was gone...which it is!!).  For the first time in 5 days, he actually played after dinner last night.  He didn't have a fever for the entire day yesterday!  No fever spike in the evening!!

And, now this is the scene this morning.  The kids had a scheduled day off of school, which is great.  It gives us all extra time to recover before returning to those busy school days.

You gotta love Lincoln Logs!  The creative juices are flowing (see Anakin's Star Fighter on the rooftop landing pad?) and they're working together nicely.  sigh

The baby seems to be holding his own.  He's had some goop in his eyes, but no redness and no signs to indicate the feeling I'm having in my eye.  He's a little more stuffy this morning, but hasn't had a fever...yet.

I am (dare I say?) feeling slightly better.  My throat feels less and less on fire beginning yesterday.  It's still very difficult to swallow and I see a nice bowl of soup in my future for lunch.  I ate oatmeal twice yesterday.  It's warm, soft, and filling.  But, I can only do that for so long.

Anyway, I'm mulling over a couple more personal posts to come in the future, one about me and another more generally about my family.  It should be interesting!

I must go find my glass of water, my throat is telling me I need it.  Have a fabulous Friday!

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Cookbook

I received a gift card to Borders for Christmas and was having a tough time deciding what I wanted to get.  I knew I wanted a new vegan cookbook.  I've had Vegan Planet for a couple of years now and it is a fantastic book with yummy recipes.  But, I was itching for something new.  I also have Dreena Burton's Vive le Vegan which is a great family-friendly cookbook.  I love how easy Dreena's recipes are to put together.  She is a mother of 3 young kids too and she can make anything vegan, and make it delicious.

So, the cookbook I bought is... (drumroll please) Veganomicon!!  I'm reading it through cover to cover and the recipe descriptions are so well written and funny.  And, since purchasing it just over a week ago, I've made 3 different recipes.

I started with a stir fry that has quinoa, cashews, and pineapple.  Can I tell you how delicious it was?  Ohmygoodness.  So yummy!!!

It's so light, yet filling and the cashews are crunchy and the sweet pineapple went so well.  Wow, fantastic!   The liquid used for cooking the quinoa is half pineapple juice and half water.  Delicious!

Second, I made their black bean burgers.  I have a recipe I've used for a while that's delicious, but they don't really hold their shape.  I'd never be able to cook them on a grill for fear they'd fall through the grates.  So, I was open to try another recipe.  I failed to take a picture, but these burgers held their shape, would be able to be cooked on the grill if it hadn't have been snowing and blowing outside, and were equally as delicious.  They were easier to make too, since I didn't have to get out my food processor to create the patties.  I just had to mash and stir the ingredients with a fork.  I kind of liked having larger pieces of bean in my burgers too.  Fantastic!

The third recipe I tried was a salad with roasted portabella mushrooms.

There was red onion, chickpeas, avacado, with a spicy mustard dressing.  I used romain and boston lettuce which worked well.  The mushrooms were marinated in a mixture of garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and soy sauce and then roasted in the oven.  Fabulous!

Next, I'm going to make a pasta dish with avacado.  Can you tell I love avacado?  I can't remember what else is in there, but it sounded great.  Oh, and I can't wait to make their chickpea cutlets with mushroom gravy.  Mmmmm.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snowy Run

Today was the day I was doing my "long" run.  I'm training for a couple of half marathons this spring.  I ride on my bike trainer during the week and then do my long runs outside.  I'm starting from scratch, so my long run today was 5 1/2 miles.  I've got a ways to go, but it was good enough for this week!

I was looking forward to my run this afternoon.  I love the time alone, the quiet thoughts with myself, listening to fantastic music, but I was a tad intimidated by the weather.  Just a few minutes prior to me going outside, the sun was shining, the snow had ceased, it was a beautiful afternoon for a run.  But, as I stepped outside, the sun had gone behind the clouds and the lake effect snow was kicking in.

"No problem," I thought, "I've run in snow before". And, I have, back in WI when I was training for my first half marathon.  My great friend and running partner, Jessica, and I ran in a snow storm and it was no problem.  Only this time, I didn't have my friend with me to help pass the time, to talk about recipes, or how the kids were doing, or about our latest projects around the house.  But, today I had the Dixie Chicks Live! 

I just love their music.  Whatever your politics, Emily has a beautiful, strong voice.  And, hearing Ready to Run, Truth Number Two, and Sin Wagon gave me that extra spring in my step!  Even though my calves felt tight and my thighs started to ache at the end, and there are way more hills here than in Wisconsin, I managed to stay motivated, but my time was still slow.  I keep telling myself that I'm still getting into it and not to worry (my pace is over a ten minute mile...yikes!)  But, the snow on the roads made it feel like I was running through sand on the beach. 

Here's me after my run.  I wasn't as soaked as I thought I'd be.

 But the snow, oh the beautiful snow...everything was so still and the flakes were falling in almost slow motion.  It was gorgeous eventhough I had to wade through ankle-deep snow when cars came by, and I had to duck my head down to keep the snowflakes from pelting me in the eyes.  And, now my neck is sore.  sigh...but, it was a good run.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Snow, Snow Beautiful Snow

I received a request to do a post on snow, from a friend who loves snow.  I also love snow.

We get lots of snow where we live in Michigan.  We just moved here in the fall, so this is our first winter here.  Although, I grew up here, so this isn't new to me.  My Texan hubby however, is finding it a bit much...the amount of snow we're getting.

Last week we got some warm weather and almost all of our snow melted...much to the dismay of our children.


But, no fear my children!  The snow has returned...with a vengeance!  Here is what our backyard looks like today.

We have to stake out our driveway, so we know where to shovel.  It helps me to stay on the driveway when it's covered in snow.

And, we've wrapped up our evergreen bushes, so the snow won't weigh down the branches too much.

The baby wasn't too interested in playing outside in the snow today.

Why not?!?


This next picture is for my sister.  We miss you Kari!

We average about 100 inches of snow annually.  And, we rarely see the sun during the winter months.  That's probably the worst part of getting all this snow.  
The other part of living here that bothers our children is that the schools aren't too eager to close.  It's nothing to get 6 inches of snow for a couple of days in a row and the school system rarely delay's school, let alone closes.  We had a blizzard just before Christmas which resulted in about 20 inches of snow over 2 days.  It took the snow plow 3 days to come down our street.  And, the local schools did close.  My kids let out a loud Hooray!  
We'll see how things look in March.  I'll be ready for Spring then.  But, we'll most likely still be buried in snow.

Happy winter everyone!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My incredible not-eating boy

"Look at how big my tummy is, Mom!", says my middle son, Matthew.

I reply, "Yes, Sweatpea, you're right!"

He's trying to convince me that he's not hungry, after coming home from school and I see that 2 of the four boxes I've packed for his lunch are still completely full in his lunch box. 

My middle son is not a good eater.  My oldest is, although doesn't like the typical food items:  onion, celery, mushrooms, garlic.  My youngest (almost 2 years!) is a great eater.  He hasn't seen a food he didn't like...except mashed or baked potatoes...strange.

But my middle boy has maybe 20 things he does like...on any given day:

1.  meatballs (only my homemade ones)
2.  lemon yogurt (can't find it here in our new town)
3 - 7.  apples, pears, cantaloupe, and sometimes dried fruit:  cherries, raisins (although not currently) papaya and pineapple
8.  salami
9.  summer sausage
10.  hot dogs
11.  Mrs. Grass noodle soup (I'm refusing to give him Campbells chicken noodle soup anymore...gross)
12.  turkey on occasion
13.  chicken (baked or breaded)
14.  mac and cheese (Annies cheddar shell variety only)
15.  toast
16.  english muffins with butter (no jam)
17.  fresh pineapple
18.  torellini
19.  shrimp scampi

...and, that's all I can think of, so not even 20 items.

This is last night's conversation:  "If you take 4 bites of corn and 4 bites of noodles, then you can have a dessert."    He did it, after some tears, and more bribery, and reheating his plate.  Bribery is big.  I know the proper "rules" for getting your kids to eat healthy.  But, with my middle boy, I can't follow them, or instead of being 35 lbs at 5 years old, he'd weigh much less!  My almost two-year old weighed 25 lbs at his 18 month check up.  My 5 year old wears size 3T pants!  He had on 24 month pants the other day.  They were very short, but fit his waist just fine.  sigh

The meal he loves the best is my homemade meatballs.  We're all happy when I make them, because then we know there won't be any complaining.  Too bad I'm vegan...seriously.

So, if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.  I've tried a lot out there:  bribery, making something he does like when he completely refuses what we're eating (which I don't do often), telling him how big and strong he'll be if he eats well, etc.  Nothing usually works, except the bribing.  Sometimes even that doesn't work.

But, he's still our boy and we love him no matter what.

Oh, and I thought of another thing he does like...popcorn!  So, that makes 20 thing he does like.  Of course, I'm not including sweets in the list.