Thursday, October 29, 2009

Some quotes from the boys

     The boys have been very funny lately and I have been bad about writing down what they have said or done, so I have forgotten some stuff I really wanted to remember.  Therefore, I will jot some things down now.
**Wolf has started writing some words and finding words he knows on signs.  He is really into signs and asks us to draw ones upon request.  These have included "no butts on the table", "No smoking dogs allowed", "no tornadoes", and "no babies messing up the room"
**Wolfie is mad that we are getting our roof replaced.  He argues with me to not have it done because "our roof is a classic!  They don't make them like they used to!"
**Wolf also got upset with me for not giving him candy in the grocery store and announced rather loudly that he "only needs ONE parent."  He suggested that I sit out on the front porch where I might get struck by lightning or perhaps float away.  A little flair for the dramatic.  One can only wonder what he will come up with when in the throes of teen aged angst.
**Wolfie was having fun playing on the Steggie statue before going into the Natural History Museum.  When we came out, some older children were playing on it and he was mad!  "They are breaking up my Steggie fun," he shouted over and over.  "Steggie is my own personal retreat!"  I believe I was abducted by aliens and returned to this planet pregnant with this child!

**Vladdie knows his colors now, but always refers to white as "coconut" and brown as "chocowet".  A boy after my own heart!
**Vladdie walked up to me, handing me at least 6 plugs for childproofing the outlets, then opened the childproofed cupboard.  Houdini?  Possibly.
**Vladdie absolutely loves coloring and cutting paper.  He is equally fond of art in general.  He loves to spot public art while we are out and has pointed out some I didn't know existed.  He especially enjoys his Grandpa's art.

I know I have forgotten so many more cuter things, but I confess to being old and having cerebral atrophy.  It is very tiring trying to stay one step ahead of these two!

Monday, October 26, 2009

a few new costumes

I loved the dragon cape that I made so much, I decided to make a bat cape too!  I also repurposed some muslin curtains into a Luke Skywlker costume by cutting down a robe pattern and pj pants pattern.  It's almost trick-or-treat time!

Unfortunately, little Vladdie would not model for me, so Wolfie gets all the glory!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mom sent a care package, right in time for swine flu

My Mom is a crocheter extraordinaire!  We got this package in the mail and it contained these...

Pirate Piggy masks!!!!!!!  My 4 year old, Wolfie, asked  me "why do we have swine in our house?"  The answer?  Because Grandma loves us!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Guess who cut my hair? My husband!

After a bout with the flu (H1N1????)  and months of no haircuts, I flipped my wig and begged my honey to try and cut my hair.  Since he is a saint, he gave it a try!  I am so pleased with it!  He had Jassy help eyeball it in the beginning, but then just went wild!  Dang, I love this guy.  By the way, he knows nothing about hair other than it grows on heads and various other parts.  He is brave.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yet another reason why my husband is so great...

     I have been under the weather, as have the boys, but only minimally so.  At any rate, between that and getting the furnace fixed and 40-ish degree weather, there has been almost no outside play this week.  The little guys were itchin' for some outside fun.  I grumbled off to work and Dad went into gear, bundling and escorting children out of doors. 

     Somehow, this ended up with them walking around town, including out to eat and then the library.  I stopped and picked them up on my way home, impressed as hell that he did all this with 2 wild, cooped up boys sans naps.  Then I looked at 4 year old Wolfie, or better yet, his pants.  He had on his 2 year old brother's pants!  They looked like culottes!  Plus, he had on brightly colored lightning mcqueen socks, orange crocs, mittens and a plaid jacket!  I felt like Captain Von Trapp when he realized that his children were traipsing all over Vienna dressed in old drapes (although I did just make them pants from some muslin curtains! )

     Then I felt the baby's diaper.  At least 5 pounds!  This man was brave enough to head out for more than 4 hrs., including lunch, without so much as an extra diaper!  I would have had one poopy kid and another wearing a milkshake for a hat.  Not this guy.  Seemingly bullet-proof from the power of ridiculous pants, he completed his trip unscathed.  My Hero!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Things I am loving right now...

1.  My electric knifeMy carnivorous brother mocks my need for an electric knife.  Same brother generously gifts me delicious loaves of home-made bread.  First loaf cut by hand, hmmm, lets just say that one slice = 24 servings.  Then I cranked up the knife. Ha!  The slices were thin and beautiful, as they should be.  Also great for cutting home-made Seitan, or quorn roast or Tofurkey!

2.  My garlic rock:  Yes, it is a rock.  A large/ flat /smooth one.  I soaked, scrubbed, boiled and dishwashered it many, many times.  Now I use it to crush and peel my garlic, instead of using the edge of my good knife.  It crushes like no other.  Throw it in the dishwasher to clean it.  Voila!

3. :   A fun, free website for children learning to read.  Lots of fun stuff!

4.  Castille soap:  We got a bottle as a gift from my awesome Mom during her visit at the start of July.  It has replaced shampoo, soap, bodywash and shaving cream for my 2 boys, husband and myself.  One bottle needed, and it still hasn't run out, although it is getting close.  Amazing Almond scent too.  Reminds me of old Jergen's lotion.  Love that smell.

     So, what are you loving lately????

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Time to stop and smell the roses...

Making : more and more messes!

Cooking : cowboy beans, rice and mean greens

Drinking : hot coffee

Reading: A great repurposing craft book recommended by Aurora, so good!

Wanting: another month of summer

Looking: not my best.  Been growing my hair out.  Not looking too good.

Playing: Ring-around-the-rosey with the boys, they love it!

Wasting: precious sleeping time.

Sewing: a luke skywalker outfit

Wishing: for a windfall of moolah (but not at the expense of any deaths or accidents please)

Enjoying: body heat in a very cold house

Waiting: for my furnace, roof and jassy's tonsils to come out

Liking: teaching Jas to cook tonight

Wondering: if I will have any work this weekend at the job

Loving: my sweet and considerate husband

Hoping: for a real positive change in healthcare

Marveling: over vladdie's unusually consistent manners

Needing: to clean my basement

Smelling: nothing, I am stuffy

Wearing: thermals


Noticing: how dark it is in the mornings and evenings now

Knowing: this too shall pass

Thinking: about my doorbell, When ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it
Yeah, I'm thinkin' about my doorbell (white stripes)

Bookmarking: too many blogs by talented women!

Opening: jar of jalapenos

Giggling: over all the funny things wolfie and vladdie say.

Feeling: Thankful for all I have.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kicking the disposable habit

     For a couple of years I have been trying to kick the habit of disposable everything.  It scares me to see how much of what people buy ends up thrown away after one use.  I have made a lot of progress, or I should say my family has, as we are all living with the changes we have made.  We aren't perfect, as you will see, but we are always striving to increase our commitment to lessening our impact on the Earth in places where we can.
   Here is a short list of some of the things we have done:

1. Cloth diapers:  I have used cloth diapers on all 3 of my kids.  I use old fashioned pre-folds with pins and nylon pants.  My oldest child is 16 years older than the next child, so I did not keep her diapering supplies, but the diapers and the pants I bought for the boys have been going strong after 4 years of constant use.  Do I use them at all times?  No, I usually use disposables when going out and at night.  Also, if someone is going to be babysitting.  Still, every diaper saved from a landfill is a good thing.  Every diaper reused is a great thing financially.

2.  Diaper wipes:  There are a lot of recipes out there for making your own wipes.  I have a philosophy of KISS (keep it simple sucka!).  If I can get away without using a lot of things in a recipe or project, I will.  So I start with trying the least involved approach and complicate it as needed!  For diaper wipes, I purchased several bundles of cheap white washcloths at Target.  When I do a diaper change, I simply use warm water on it.  The cloths get the kids really clean, even after a poopy blowout.  The kids are clean smelling and almost never have had diaper rash.  When they have, it has cleared up in a day with only a little vaseline, no fancy ointment or paste needed.  I think this is because their skin is clean, nothing left on them after wiping, as far as soaps or lotions go.  I throw these in the diaper pail and not a stain is on them after 4 years.  Plus, they are warm, which feels so good and eliminates the need for a wipe warmer.

3.  Coffee filters:  My sis-in-love encouraged me to try a reusable filter.  It took a couple of tries to find one that fit my coffee maker.  I also had to get used to the idea that it leaves a darker color at the bottom of the pot and an oily sheen on top of the coffee.  However, this is minimal and I think the flavor is enhanced.  Coffee grounds still go into the compost.

4.  Dog training pads:  We have a tiny toy poodle.  We live in a snowy part of the country.  I would have to shovel part of the yard for him and dress him to go out.  I can't do this!  So I pad trained him (no different than a cat being litter box trained really.)  Instead of the dog pads, I sewed 2 old diapers together.  I lay them on an old plastic storage bin's lid so nothing can leak through.  Nothing ever does leak through, but, better safe than sorry!  He has a bucket in the basement for used pads and once a week I wash a load of them.  I dry them on a laundry rack.  Easy-peasy!

5Cotton balls:  I don't wear nail polish so I don't have to worry about removing it.  This hack won't work for that.  We use cotton pads for witch hazel/alcohol as an astringent and for removing make up.  I had some odd fleece scraps from a project.  We started using them as pads and they work great!  Just let em dry, throw in the hamper and wash with the clothes. I have a front loader, so I don't have to worry about them getting stuck, if you have a top loader, you might want to throw them in a mesh bag.

6.  Paper napkins and paper towels:  We use cloth napkins and have lots of them!  I used a sheet from  a garage sale to make a ton of them and keep them in a basket for easy reaching.  We have an awesome rag collection as well.  I started my last roll of paper towels 8 months ago and still have at least 1/3 left!  I don't keep them out, so it isn't an easy grab for people, which helped the transition.

7.  Sponges:  I use kitchen dishcloths for clean stuff and rags for things that would ruin my dish cloths.  I buy dark colored ones so they don't get dingy looking!  I use mesh onion bags for scouring. They work great and don't scratch, but be sure to cut off the tags on the ends, because they may scratch!  I just put it over my dishcloth when I use it.  For tough crusty stuff, a little baking soda usually is all the extra help that's needed.

8.  Microwave popcorn, juice boxes, individually wrapped snacksKettle corn made on the stove is so much better than microwave anyway!  Packing a drink from home in a drink bottle or kept in a mason jar in a cooler is really just as easy as having drink boxes and capri suns that squirt everywhere!  It is also easy to throw a handful of pretzels into a baggie or tupperware.

9.  Saran wrap, baggies, tupperware:  I haven't eliminated these, but I have changed my approach to them.  I am a baggie/wrap washer first of all.  It is not gross or hard, you wash them just like a dish and drape it to dry.  Pot handles and my utensil crock work well for drying.  I try not to use baggies or wrap if a glass jar or tupperware will work.  I am trying to increase my stash of glass containers (mostly just pickle jars and the like) to replace the need for tupperware.  Reusing carry-out plastic containers until they wear out works well too.  I use my large yogurt containers for freezing and they hold a great amount.

These are some of the ways that we are reducing our waste and consumerism.  It didn't happen over night.  I advise anyone wanting to change their habits to start with one that seems easiest to do.  If you live with other people, explain why you are doing it, even to children.  Be a cheerleader and compliment them on their achievements in changing their habits.  Let me know if you have kicked any of your disposable habits too!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Name's not Dairy Godmother for nuthin'

    My superpower is making milk.  On my third child now, I most surely have traded in my amateur status and gone pro in my breastfeeding career. How do I know?  My son just finished nursing on one side, sat up, looked me in the eye and said, "mission complete," flipped over and started on the other side.  Perhaps it's time to wean him.

Experiment in laundry

Well, the weather has been so cold and wet, it seems that my opportunity to hang laundry out on the line has passed.  It was wonderful while it lasted.  I got really used to how the clothes came out, with less wrinkles, more easily folded, etc...  I kept hoping for an Indian summer, but It seems like Autumn came down in one fell swoop this year.  Yesterday, the temp in my house was 54 degrees!  Today the house is a balmy 60 degrees!  :) I am trying to resist the urge to put on the heat until Halloween, but I suspect I will lose that fight over the next few days, as highs will be in the 40's.
     So I decided to try a one week experiment in hanging laundry inside.  It seemed like an impossible pain in the butt.  However, after one week, I can tell you that I love it!  I have been hanging in a doorway with a tension shower rod that I found in our basement.  I hope to get a clothing rack from our basement emptied (currently used to hold out of season clothes), and start drying in the basement. I have to tell you, it really isn't hard.  I am excited to use less energy and prolong the life of my clothes.  Yes, I need to get out more!

Here is a load of whites hanging. Takes about 24 hours to dry. It will probably dry more quickly when the heat is turned on.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reason number 1,000,001 why I love my husband

My boys woke up to this today, courtesy of Daddy...

and yes, he did pose those R2 units on the counter.  Oh how he loves to pose dolls action figures.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My little boys

Wolfie is into loving lately. He calls it "making pink sparkles". When I came from work today, both boys hugged and kissed me over and over, in a way they usually don't do. Wolfie told me, "Mom, you make pink hearts in my eyes." What a sweetie!

Vladdie is a coffee lover!  He always wants to sit and have a cup with me.  He loves it and would drink a whole cup, but I usually give him milk with a spoonful of coffee.  He takes the cup in both hands, sips deeply, sighs and then says, with feeling, "mmmmm, good coffee Ma."  I have visions of coffee dates with my now teenage son, sharing secrets over a cuppa joe.  Then I realize I am a nutter!  It is so easy to take any hint of skill, interest or preference for something in your child and load it into your future magnifying projector.  For example, your child loves books, load, pop, he grows up to be a writer, for sure.  He likes to make crazy faces, load, pop, he is thanking the academy, and his mother, for his Oscar.

Ah,but you ask, what about Jas?  She's my dolly, even still at this late age.  I still like to dress her up, natch!  But now, I get to feel proud of her and happy when I see how sweet she can be with her brothers,after 16 years as an only child.  They adore her!  Vladdie has a thing for Nate though.  I swear,he must keep lollipops in his pockets!  Speaking of which, he just got promoted to asst. manager!

Oh, another funny thing from today. We were out on a walk and a bird pooped on wolf's sleeve.  He was unhappy and shocked.  Then he said, very calmly, "Maybe I should poop on a bird."

Ah, I can't decide if they keep me young or make me get old more quickly!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seitan meat "cheat" balls and Marinara sauce

I just made a video tutorial for a new recipe, Seitan meat "cheat" balls and Marinara sauce.  It is a great meat substitute,and economical if you buy the vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast in bulk.  You could use this in a ton of recipes, like meatball sandwiches, "boy scout surprise" (meatballs in a crock pot with a jar of chili sauce and a jar of grape jelly.  Do not scoff, it is yummy!), maybe even a swedish-y meatballs dish.  Here's the link and a written version of the recipes.  I didn't get a pic of it all together, and we ate all of it except a portion for my husband, Matt, to take to work for lunch... Guess that means everyone liked it?!  At the end of the video is an out take where Vladdie sneaks up behind me and smacks me in the head with his toy sword!  The boys are busy being wild while I am cooking in the video.  You should have seen what the house looked like after I finished making this!!!!

Seitan “Cheat” Balls

1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp Basil

½ Tbsp oregano

½ tsp Marjoram
1 tsp salt

1 cup vegetable broth

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

2 tbsp olive oil

About 3 cloves of chopped garlic

Pre-heat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and garlic.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix them together, the dough will become stiff; at that point, work with your hands until all the ingredients are mixed, then start kneading.
The seitan will become very elastic, and will not stick to your hands when it's finished.
Roll it into 1-inch balls and place in baking dish (oil lightly or use “Pam”).
Cover pan with foil and bake for approximately 55 minutes. Remove; it is fully cooked and ready to eat. Enjoy!

Marinara Sauce
1 onion
4-6 cloves garlic, diced
2 cans (28 oz. Each) diced tomatoes
2 cans (6 oz.0 tomato paste
1 Tbsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ Tbsp Basil
1 tsp sugar
½ Tbsp oregano
*Sauté onion and garlic in small amount of olive oil until soft.
*add tomatoes, paste and 2 paste cans full of water. Add dry ingredients.
*Bring to boil and then reduce heat to allow it to simmer 1-2 hours. Enjoy!

Here is a link to my Sister-in-love's recipe for garlicky, sweet, spicy seitan which started a  renewed interest in seitan in our house.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Psssst... Don't tell Wolfie!

I did it!  I made Wolfie an R2-D2 hat for Christmas!  I found a fleece hat tutorial 
and then Lovingly made patterns, cut out, basted and sewed on the R2 components.  This is a boy that utterly LOVES R2-D2!  He sleeps with him, faced his fear of hair washing with him and takes him with him where ever he goes.
   !!!!~Today I caught Wolfie playing with the Asoka (girl Jedi) and Anakin (boy Jedi) action figures.  He was making them kiss and they were telling each other that they loved each other !  His Dad, a historically accurate Star Wars fan tried to explain that Anakin was married to Senator Amidala.  He didn't seem to care.  You can't stop love.

A new toy for Vladdie

Vladdie just loves to press buttons, flip switches, and generally mess with stuff.  Tonight, My husband, Matt whipped up a little toy for him.  Outside of the 2 light switches, everything else was leftover from other projects.  This is sure to be a favorite of his, for a grand total of less than 2 bucks!  Nice job Matty!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Yet another repurposing clothing project!

Last year, one of Matt's favorite sweaters got inexplicably mangled in the dryer.  Something tore it up beyond repair.  I held on to it for a year, knowing that I would use it for something.  Well, I finally turned it into somethings!  I made Wolf and Vlad adorable knit pants.  They are so very Scandinavian!  The sleeves make up Vlad's pants, the torso becomes Wolf's pair.

I admit, I did screw up a little, I didn't remember to add extra to the length at the wist band for wolf, so they are almost too short. These will be great for lounging in and for layering during the winter.  They LOVE them, despite Vladdie's tears.  I bribed him with 2 candy corns to pose, and apparently the fee for posing has escalated to 3 candy corns.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

She looks so normal...

This is my Mom.

She looks very nice.  Like a normal person, n'est-ce pas?
Yet, madness lurks just around the corner, as she has just crocheted this....

A Piggy pirate mask!
A-hoink, you scurvy swine!  Sweetness!