Friday, September 30, 2016

Creepy teddy bears

Sarah is not on board with this whole vegan eating plan.  Today I decided to try making something cute so she wouldn't be able to resist it.  I found a very healthy vegan recipe for cookies that look like teddy bears.  Here's what they're supposed to look like:
I tried to involve Sarah in making them.  She was not interested.  I was distracted while I was making them and realized too late that I was supposed to grind up walnut and oats.  I already had the batter made and didn't have any walnuts, so I thought I would just add some slivered almonds on top and make them hairy bears.  Mine came out like this:
I cheerily offered one to Sarah, and she said, "No thanks. They look like creepy people with their mouths sewn shut."  A few minutes later, Noah wandered in and said encouraging things like, "Those smell good!" But I was watching his face when he first saw them, and even though he tried to twist it into a smile, the horror registered first.  He glanced at me and said, "Oh...what kind of creatures are those?"  I told him they could be whatever he wanted them to be, like cloud shapes.  He took a bite and said, "Mmmm...they're kinda like those muffins you made last week."  He hated those muffins. I ate a creepy bear myself and sure enough...they taste worse than they look.That's really the way the whole day has gone.

Burning books

Today in school, we're burning books.  More specifically, Noah decided to burn his math workbook that he just finished.  He emptied the pencil sharpener to use as firestarter and then did a happy dance as the dreaded book went up in flames.

 Sarah said sadly, "There go the integers..."

 Sarah said, "Oh look...part of lesson 13 survived."
 The adorable neighbor dog is so small that he slipped right under his fence to come over and watch the bonfire.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Boys vs. girls

The history lesson was about castles today, and the assignment was to write a story that takes place in a castle.  Noah's was funny and full of action and sieges, and ended up with the king dead from a nuclear bomb.  Here's Sarah's:

There once was a princess who lived in a castle.  And her father was rich.  He gave her everything a girl could want.  But she said, "I do not want it.  All I want is a friend."  
So he searched all around through skies and land.  
But he could not find a friend to take his daughter's hand. 
When he got home she cried. Then she spoke.
She said, "It was a dream" and he awoke.
When he awoke she was sad, very sad.
But he said, "I have something that will make you glad."
So he wrote and he wrote for a very long time,
taking care of each word and care of each rhyme.
He played her a song and he said,
"Make some words and sing along."

So she sang and sang and twirled through the air.
They went out to lunch and met some friends there.
Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, and Snow White.
That's the end of my story, sunny and bright.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

This is how I make lunch

Last night, Mike and I got a free dinner at Alexander's.  I ate two plates full of salad bar.  I brought home my baked potato and a few croutons and potato sticks from the salad bar.  (I also brought home my steak, which Sarah devoured the minute I walked in the door).  This morning I went to Kroger (see previous post) and found this on markdown:
I didn't know what I would do with it, but obviously couldn't pass it up.  During quiet time (sweet, blessed quiet time, which is the only uninterrupted time I have to think), a lunch plan began to form in my mind.  I sauteed an onion and some garlic in a little vegetable broth and soy sauce, dumped in the whole kale salad, cut up last night's baked potato and some sundried tomatoes (also on sale at Kroger), which I pretend are bacon bits, added some ginger, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and topped the whole thing with crushed up croutons and potato sticks from the salad bar.  
Noah declared it delicious and ate his whole plateful.

Middle aged puberty

I have a middle aged puberty zit, a large one, on my cheek.  Last night before bed I covered it in toothpaste, because that seems to work to dry it out.  This morning I got suckered into going to Kroger, just to satisfy Noah's sushi craving.  He told me I would be Best Mom In The History Of The World if I would get him sushi for breakfast.  He knew I would fall for that.  I argued that maybe Mary, the mother of Jesus, would be better suited to that title.  He said, "She really wasn't a great mom.  How hard would it be to raise the perfect Son of God?  And she lost Him in Jerusalem that one time when He was 12, and how many days did it take her to realize He was missing?"  

So off I went to Kroger to claim the title for myself.  I saw two ladies from church and talked to various other people.  I also stopped at the mechanic to complain about my "check engine" light being on AGAIN, even after we spent a month's income getting the engine fixed last month.  When I got home from talking to all these people, I realized that the big, bright blue, dried blob of toothpaste was still on my face. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016


I've been watching the pumpkins growing in the fields around here, and today was a beautiful day to go take pictures of them.

 Then I took Sarah for a quick trip to Ackerman Farms.

 They market these weird ones as "fancy pumpkins".

 I picked up this playful little guy, and he immediately started playing with my face. With his claws out.  He thoroughly beat me up in about two seconds.

 The playful one, playing with Sarah's hair.
This one had pretty blue eyes.

Butternut squash

I bought a big butternut squash at Aldi for $1.29, and today was the day I planned to deal with it.  I put it in the crockpot this morning and cooked it on low for about 5 hours till it got soft.  I won't even attempt to cut up a raw one, because it is so hard.  After the crockpot did all the work, all I had to do was scoop out the goodness.  There was a whole lot of goodness, so I did 4 things with it:

1. First and foremost, I just ate it.  Now that my tastebuds are reawakening, I can appreciate just plain squash. Then I mixed some in a bowl with applesauce and cinnamon and ate that too.
2. Veggie burgers.  
That's about a cup of squash mashed up with a can of black beans, a flax "egg" (1 T. ground flaxseeds soaked in 3 T. water until it becomes egglike in texture), 1 1/2 C. oatmeal, some spices (Italian seasoning, garlic salt, pepper, turmeric, parsley) and the last bit of leftovers from a rice/summer squash dish I made several days ago.  I also sauteed some celery, garlic, and onion, added that to the mixture, and formed patties.  I froze them individually for later eating, so I don't know yet how they'll turn out. 
3. "Cheese" sauce. 

I sauteed some onion and garlic, then added some veggie broth and boiled until the onions were soft. I poured that in the blender with some cold rice milk, butternut squash, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, turmeric, a few red pepper flakes. After blending, it was a little thin, so I put it back on the stove, whisked in some arrowroot powder, and boiled till the consistency was right.  
I put the sauce on some pasta and loaded it up with vegan "parmesan", and it was seriously fantastic.
4.  Put the rest in the fridge until I figure out what to do with it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Motherhood is a multifaceted job

This morning Noah emerged from his bed, and I spotted something stuck on the front of his shirt.
Me: Please tell me that's not a giant booger.
Noah: I think it's gum.
M: You think...How...?  Why...?  Wh...??
N: How do I get it off?
M: Use an ice cube.
N [after scrubbing on it for awhile]: My nipple is freezing off!

I, in all my accumulated years of motherhood wisdom, suggested he take off his shirt.  He did. As he continued scrubbing, somehow we got on the topic of Instagram.

M: I am required to spy on your Instagram account. It's part of my job as a mother in the twenty-first century.  [If you're one of those "respect your children's privacy" parents, maybe you're right and I'm wrong.  The longer I parent, the more I realize I really have no idea what I'm doing.  I'm just making it up as I go along.]
N [after finally picking the last remnant of gum off his shirt]: Hey, it worked! How did you know about that trick?
M: It's part of my job. Just like stalking your Instagram account.

This reminded me of a similar conversation we had when he was 5 years old:
April 6, 2007 After breakfast Noah left his milk on the table, so I put it in the fridge.  At lunch time I resurrected it. He sat down at the table and said, "Hey, look!  My breakfast milk is still sitting here.  And it's even still cold!"  I told him I had put it in the fridge, and he said, "So when you discover milk sitting out, you put it in the fridge?  Is that part of your job?  Geez, there's more to this mom job than I thought."

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sarah's poetry

We read "The House by the Side of the Road" by Sam Walter Foss in literature class today, and Sarah was inspired to write some poems of her own:


I'm glad I'm homeschooled and don't go to Morton Junior High.
I see college ahead 
and butter and bread
with my tiny Asian eyes.
I flip and flop, and I turn and toss,
and look at the clear blue skies.
Noah sees me, and I see him
with my tiny Asian eyes.

Sleeping Kitty

The kitty is asleep, all comfy and cozy in Mom's big warm lap.
It's purring itself to sleep into a long wonderful nap.
Once it wakes up it will stretch right up
and then curl itself in a wrap.
The kitty's asleep, all comfy and cozy in Mom's big warm lap.

Coming Home

Dad's coming home
not from Paris or Rome
but just from work today.
I'll scream and jump and yell, "Yay!  Yay!  Yay!"
Then he'll pick me up and whirl me around and whisk me away.
Dad's coming home
not from Paris or Rome
but just from work today.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sarah quote

"Kids are just tiny, drunk adults.  They stumble around, make bad decisions...."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


After learning about the Crusades in history today, Noah was furious. He was supposed to write an essay about his opinion of the Crusades, but this is all he wrote, "Idiots!  I hate the Crusades.  It's ridiculous that so called "Christians" could be paid off to attack their own people.  Stupid."  Then he stomped off and said he needed a break.

Then it was Sarah's turn.  She wrote, "I think that everyone should stop fighting!  I see why all religions hate each other.  Just stop fighting.  It will be a lot easier."

I think we need to work on our definition of "essay".  

Failure turned success

I had another vegan fail last night.  I tried to veganize a recipe I used to make with meat and cheese.  I took out the meat and cheese and added squash. 

Rice and Spice (formerly Cheesy Beef and Rice):
1 C uncooked long grain rice
1 garlic clove, minced
½ onion, chopped
3 C veggie broth
2 carrots, shredded
1 t. dried parsley flakes
½ t. dried basil
½ t. salt
Dash pepper
 In large saucepan, saute rice, garlic, and onion in olive oil until golden brown.  Stir in broth, carrots, spices.  Bring to boil, cover, simmer a few minutes. Bake, covered, at 325 for 22 minutes, check, stir, bake longer if needed. 

It was really not the same without the meat and cheese.  I forced myself to eat it.  Even Noah didn't like it.  Mike actually liked it, but I added a leftover chopped up turkey burger to his.  Sarah helped me make it, but wouldn't try it.  I was left with a big pot of it to reconfigure in some way to make it more attractive.  

Today it occurred to me to turn it into a wrap.  I spied the leftover baked sweet potato on the counter and added a little salt and a bunch of whole wheat flour to it to make a dough, which I rolled into tortillas and cooked. 

 Then I filled it with last night's leftover's, which I covered up with salsa, red pepper, green onion, and lettuce,
 rolled it up,
and offered it to my favorite vegan boy.  
He loved it and asked for another!  I ate one and liked it too.  Success!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Vegan fails

Going vegan has made me learn how to cook all over again, which is a good thing.  I was getting bored with years of cooking chicken and pork.  Learning to make vegetables and legumes taste good is a whole different animal.  (Haha, I made a pun.)

Since I'm basically a beginner cook again, I'm making beginner mistakes and learning from them.  I've had two fails in the last few days.  Today I decided I would try to make vanilla pudding with almond milk.  Jell-o brand pudding mix is vegan; Aldi brand is not.  So I bought the Jell-o brand and added 2 cups of cold almond milk.  Noah and I whisked for at least two minutes, then let it set for another 5 minutes, but it never did set.  We just ate it like a yummy cold soup.  Next time I will try adding some arrowroot powder or cornstarch.  

A few days ago, I tried tweaking my blueberry muffin recipe.  I used a cup of coconut flour in place of a cup of white flour.  I also used 1/2 C. white flour and 2/3 C. whole wheat flour.  Well, it turns out all flours are not created equal, and you can't use them interchangeably.  The coconut flour absorbed all the liquid and left a dry, stiff batter.  I added almond milk, a partial can of peach nectar, and a partial can of crushed pineapple with juice.  Of course the muffins didn't rise like they should have and ended up with a texture that Noah said was like congealed oatmeal.  The flavor was good though.  It made double the usual number of muffins, and I'm the only one brave enough to eat them, so I will be eating dense muffins for the forseeable future.  Next time I will use much less coconut flour and maybe add some more leavening.