28 September 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Carousel

27 September 2011

How to Eat Vegetables That You Don't Like

Having recently become a vegetarian, you might be surprised to learn that I don't like every vegetable in existence. In fact, I dislike many of them. With great intensity. However, I am always trying to set a good example for everyone so I think it's important for me to eat as many different vegetables as possible to get all the benefits I can. Not only that, but certain things I don't like *cough cough squash cough cough* is extraordinarily cheap at the farmers market and is readily available, which means I should do my best to find a way to get it in my food to save money and help my body at the same time. So, here are my tricks to tricking myself into eating vegetables I don't like.

Dice it: If you chop it up into really tiny pieces, you might not even notice it's there! This works particularly well in dishes with broth, like soup or a pot pie, where the vegetable can sort of hide in the undercurrent and its flavor is overpowered by everything else in the dish. If you dice it small enough, it might even 'disappear' completely into your creation and you'll forget it's there. That works too.

These are vegetables I DO like.

Shred it: I don't like zucchini, but it's cheap and it's a vegetable. Therefore, I decided to incorporate it into my life. I have found that shredding it and putting it into whatever I'm making is a great way of hiding it for myself. Usually, I shred it and throw it in a stir fry (for myself) or I shred it and saute it with garlic and olive oil and make it into a frittata for Heidi and Piper. Granted, I also don't eat eggs like that, so I'm not enjoying my creation, but I know they're getting an extra serving of vegetables in the morning every other day.

Puree it: I don't like squash. It is also a relatively easy to find vegetable and isn't $100 million (most days) so I try to buy it and do something with it when I can. Up until now, I have not been eating it myself, save for the occasional spaghetti squash replacing spaghetti. Heidi and Piper will eat a roasted butternut or acorn squash straight out of the oven, but if I want to get the nutrients from this spiffy vegetable, I have to transform it. I'm still proud of myself for coming up with the idea of pureeing the roasted butternut squash with some vegetable stock and then dumping that bad boy right into the soup I was creating that day. It gave the broth a little bit of an interesting color and was completely undetectable during ingestion. Brilliant.

Dissolve it: Though I've only done it a couple times, I would like to make it more of a habit because I know how good this particular food is for all of us. Avocado. Blech. Gross. Vomit. But yet, when I dissolve it in vinegar, treating it like plain yogurt or mayonnaise that would go into the dressing of a cole slaw, I can eat it on my salad. So vinegar, some avocado, Bragg's, olive oil and onion powder create a nice, tasty salad dressing where I can almost ignore the fact that the avocado is in there. (Thanks to Steve's friend Jason who taught me this trick and doesn't know that I've used it.)

So when in doubt, throw the offending vegetable into a soup, pasta sauce, put it on a pizza or puree it to smithereens. You'll be eating veggies you don't like in no time.

24 September 2011

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

Cool Air: Ahhh. Finally, some cooler weather. I'm loving it, though I'm quickly realizing how few fall/winter clothes I have for Heidi. Luckily, I found a lovely consignment shop near me that I already perused and found a lot of great items. I'll be seeing them again soon.

My Exes: Yes, this might be strange, but hear me out. I am grateful for and appreciate the role that each of my exes played in my life. If it weren't for them, my life would not be exactly the way it is and I certainly would not have had many of the amazing experiences I was privileged to have. In particular, if it wasn't for one of them, I never would have gotten to Australia. So, thanks guys. It meant a lot.

Fall Festivities: This is my favorite season of decorating. I love decorating for fall and then decorating for Christmas. I also love everything that goes with the changing of these seasons like baking, the smells of apples and cinnamon, pumpkins, falling leaves, warm sweaters and playing in the snow! I am so grateful to live in a place where I can see all of this happen.

Classes at Church: I've been attending a class at church on Wednesday nights from 7-9 pm and also attended the special Saturday edition of said class and I must say...I love being out of the house by myself! It is amazing! Yes, the class is extremely good, insightful and definitely what I need once a week, but the simple task of driving alone at night is a beautiful thing. I might just have to take more classes every month for the foreseeable future....

Honest Tea: I drink water 24/7. Or close to it. And though I truly don't mind it (I used to when I was younger), every so often I just want to taste something different. Enter Honest Tea, Half Tea/Half Lemonade. Just one of those babies shifts my palate to fun land and I'm good to go for another few days. I'm glad we usually have it in stock, even if Steve tends to drink 4 or 5 in the span of 5 seconds.

22 September 2011


This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival hosted by hosted by Kelly of Becoming Crunchy and Zoie of TouchstoneZ. Participants are writing posts about what mindfulness mean to them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Given that I am in the midst of my own mindfulness challenge right now, one would think this month’s carnival topic would be easy for me. I should certainly know and understand what mindfulness means to me because if I didn’t, I would not be able to hone my mindful practices. Yet in this moment, I find it difficult to really pinpoint what mindfulness actually means to me and therein is my answer.

I am in this moment, writing, typing and listening to Foster the People on YouTube. In this moment, I’m peeking at the Emmy’s because Hugh Laurie is presenting an award and he is worth looking at. Now, I’m thirsty and I’ll reach for my glass of water, take a sip and feel the cool liquid slide down my throat, my esophagus and into my stomach. A few of my fingers are wet from the condensation. In this moment.

This is mindfulness. It means that I am not worrying about what tomorrow will bring, what food I will make or whether or not an apparent blockage in my kitchen piping will be fixed. I’m not thinking about how late I was to church this morning, how it would have been better for me to get up earlier or how I could have spent a lot more of my time searching for jobs.

It was an effort for me to think of each of those things because I had to reach out of the present moment where I’m listening to the typing of my fingers and the smooth talking of some British guy on TV. I don’t like to do that because it causes all sorts of unfortunate feelings of “regret” and worry that I do not wish to have in my life. Instead, I look intently at my screen, as it stands right now. I glance down at my hands when I don’t know what to say next. I look over at the TV when it distracts me. I switch windows when I need to break up my thoughts.

This is mindfulness and what it looks like moment to moment.

It means that I live now. Not yesterday or tomorrow, ten minutes ago or ten seconds from now; just now. Mindfulness is this moment and nothing else. Live it.


Mindful Mama Blog CarnivalVisit the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

20 September 2011

Mindfulness Challenge #2 - Words

For my second task, I wanted to work on the words that I use, both externally with my children, husband and other people and internally with myself. As much as I stress the importance of word usage with others, specifically my children, I felt it as important (if not more important) to address the state of my internal dialogue.

These are words to live by.

First, I decided to start with something seemingly simple: telling my children that I love them more each day.

It's very easy to tell a tiny baby that you love her. She's soft, sleepy and adorable and just oozes cuteness. It is much harder to tell an older toddler or child who has so many "imperfections," or a teenager with so many "annoyances," or a husband with so many "problems," that you still feel that love. I know that the number of times I say "I love you" to anyone during the day has dwindled and I must constantly remind myself that though my actions may speak those feelings, I need to voice them as well.

Somehow, this has proven to be much more of a challenge than I thought it would be. Often, at the end of the day, I try to review how many times I told Heidi and Piper that I love them and find myself falling short of my goal. I have not set a specific number of times I need to say this every day, but I like for it to be more than once. I don't always exceed that number. Obviously, this is a work in progress, but it will always provide a good exercise in being mindful.

I came up with another fabulous idea for this challenge with regards to my internal thinking and "shoulding" on myself. I wanted to create a "should" jar, similar to that of a swear jar except every time I had a "should" thought, I would write it down and place it in the jar. This could be something as simple as "I should have started dinner earlier" or as complex as "I should have gotten a degree in Biology." (Please note that those are merely examples and not necessarily my exact thoughts.) When the jar got full, I decided I would burn the papers inside thereby releasing all of those negative thoughts I had.

I never even made it to the jar.

My desire to stop "shoulding" on myself actually worked itself out on its own. I was so conscious of every 'should' that entered my mind, thinking of later writing it down (and never did) that I all but stopped having those thoughts. Is this to say that the word 'should' never enters my mind anymore? No, certainly not. But I have trained myself to push it out of my thoughts immediately if it happens. I've noticed that I feel significantly better about my inner dialogue and as a result, I think I have been using that word out loud less and less. Benefits for all.

Finally, I want to mention two words I am working on removing from my vocabulary entirely: 'whatever' and 'jealous or jealousy.' Most of us know how the word 'whatever,' when used in certain context, can cause a certain sting. That is, naturally, the context to which I am referring. I'll still say things like, "Whatever works!" or "Whatever option is best for everyone," but I have been holding myself back from using the word with the intention to hurt. In an argument especially, I have found myself in the past saying, "Whatever!" when I could no longer come up with something logical to say or I wanted to cut off the person I was arguing with by saying something snappy and curt. I find that the best way to combat the 'whatever' tendency, for me, is not to say anything at all. In that space, I am able to turn the intended 'whatever' into what I'm really wanting to say, what I really feel. I hope that this change will improve my communication style in general and force me to work harder at putting my thoughts/feelings into words.

He's not jealous of anything. Except maybe your couch.
I've also decided to get rid of jealousy. Why? Because there is no place for jealousy in my life. When you covet your neighbor's wife (which is something I'm sure you all do every day ;)), you aren't really after the wife; you are after everything she represents, her qualities and the marriage she has helped to create with your neighbor. When your friend goes on vacation and you say, "I'm so jealous you got to go on vacation!" what you're really saying is "I want to go on vacation!" This seems pretty obvious, right? But then why add the aspect of jealousy to it? If you want something, want it for yourself, not because someone else has it.  

The person who has it has earned it.

To be jealous of their earnings is, well, (for lack of a better word) childish. It just doesn't make sense to spend your energy being jealous of someone else having something when you could be putting that energy somewhere else, like getting whatever it is that you want. Therefore, I am no longer allowing this word to come out of my mouth (or fingers). I'm happy that you got to go on vacation and I look forward to the day I can as well. I'm so relieved that you married such a wonderful person and you have a wonderful life together. I'm glad you have a great car that can get you where you need to go and whenever I'm ready for it, I will too. See how that changes the tone of things?

Staying true to its title, this post is full of words. A lot of them. I apologize. But I am so pleased that I started this challenge for myself and I am looking forward to continuing. Next I'll be tackling my eating and though I've recently become a vegetarian, that hasn't stopped me from eating late, in front of the TV. This is one of the biggest habits I want to erase and will surely be one of the biggest challenges as well. Here goes nothing...

17 September 2011

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

Amazing Moments: I had the opportunity last week to watch my children dancing to the sound of my 89-year-old great uncle playing his harmonica. In the time that we spent with him and my mother's cousin, both Heidi and Piper learned their names and called and asked for them all the time. My great uncle said on many occasions that having us (particularly them) there to visit made him so happy and brightened his life. I am so grateful they got to meet, though am disappointed I did not get any pictures of them (though my cousin did). As she said, it really is good for both generations: the old to be with the young and the young to respect the old. All in all, it was amazing.

Constant Reminders: Last week I drove on roads soiled with dirt. River dirt. Because only a day or two before, those roads had been submerged in water. Wow. How powerful of an image is that? This hit me intensely as a reminder that man is no match for nature, period. It is so easy to forget to live in awe of this planet. Don't.

My pantry: I am ever grateful for the items I keep "in stock" at all times because when money isn't available, I can draw from those resources and still eat good meals.

My phone: Once again, I thank my phone for it's existence. My computer won't turn on right now (at all) so I am forced to finish this list on a tiny keyboard and screen. I'm glad it's here though, lest you think I'm ungrateful this week :).

Vinegar and Baking Soda:My best friends. I love them. They serve me well. That is all.

15 September 2011

Baby Gifts

Last Christmas, I made nearly every gift I gave as part of my new sustainable outlook on life. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to carry the gift of homemade through every occasion to come including birthdays, other holidays and of course, new babies. Here I will show you some of the recent baby gifts I made for two of my expecting friends.

My friend who gave birth in July followed my path (cause of course I pave the way everywhere) and decided not to find out the sex of her child. The other friend I made things for found out she was having a boy, so my challenge was purchasing cloth that could serve both of those specifications. I generally start my shopping in the remnant bin and was fortunate enough to find a gender neutral baby pattern with which I made the gift bags for both women. 

Though I only knew for sure that one of my friends is going to cloth diaper, I decided to make both of them cloth wipes anyway because they can be so versatile and you never really know what they might be good for. Additionally, I wanted to make sure they both had a wet bag because besides cloth diapers, they're really good for wet or soiled clothes when you're out and a toy or two because...who doesn't love a homemade baby toy?

At this point, I'm sure you just want to see what this crap looks like, so here you go. The first pictures were include the gender neutral gifts and the second, obviously, are for the boy.

In this first photo, you will see the gift bag in the back, the wet bag to the left, the cloth wipes in front and the awesome crinkle toy behind them (It's a really cool thing to make. Do check it out.) and on the far right is a set of multipurpose burp cloths.

The morning of the shower, I pounded out this duck. Literally. I made it in a about an hour and a half and then shoved it in the bag and walked out the door. It is important to note that the friend who received this set of gifts has been showered with ducks her entire life and though I knew her child would be as well, I went ahead and made it anyway.

And then we have the bag all stuffed and ready to go. I really loved making this entire gift.

I had some help taking the pictures of this second set, so please don't mind the little fingers in the corner of each picture.

I made my other friend three different sets of cloth wipes: two sets were plain flannel on both sides and one set is the homemade concoction I created. Then I also made her a crinkle toy, wet bag and a really large burp cloth that could double as a blanket or changing pad or peek-a-boo rag at any place or time.

While I did use a sewing machine for most of these items, I sewed the wet bags and my version of cloth wipes by hand, as well as the crinkle toys. And like I said, I loved it. I just wish I had more time to devote to really concentrating on sewing like this.

Long live sustainability!

13 September 2011

The Art of Distraction

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Having children spaced 15 months apart has taught me a number of things, not the least of which is how important distraction can be. Instead of yelling, screaming or harshly disciplining my children in the midst of a brawl I offer a diversion for one or both of them. Not only does this work during a disagreement between them, but it also helps in other situations where patience may be hard to come by. Here is a list of ways that I distract my children playfully and the situations best suited to each technique.

Toys: Of course, this one is fairly easy. Many tears are shed over the lack of sharing of a toy and I am often called in as reinforcement. Depending on the situation, I may determine that one child or the other is going to take a turn to play with the toy, leaving the other child wanting for something. If it’s Piper, I usually look for the closest interesting thing be it another toy or a book and I will engage her in play with it in a way she is not necessarily used to. At other times, I will hold her and take her with me as I finish whatever I’m doing and she will usually forget about whatever problem she was experiencing.

If it’s Heidi, I will go through some elaborate questioning to determine what aspect of the toy she was most interested in and what other toy I can find for her that will meet that need. Within a matter of moments of actual conversation, I can usually change her mood completely. If I don’t find a toy that she is interested in, I’ll run through a long list of whatever items I can think of, making them sillier as I go on. That’s a sure fire way to bring a smile.

Actions: In some cases, I can distract Heidi by asking her to show Piper how to do something, rather than, say, dumping a bucket of water over her head. Alternatively, I can ask her to jump up and down, run in a circle, or perform some other action that physically changes whatever she was previously doing. Short of physically removing her from a situation, this is often the best way to help her modify her behavior while still allowing her to output all the intense energy she has. Thus, I like to do this when she is engaging in some sort of physical action that is less than pleasurable for another person (usually Piper) as it is often the fastest way to change.

“Hey, look at that!”: This is probably the best distracter of them all, one that has been used for eons in every situation imaginable. I was recently blessed by having my husband’s cats return to our residence after a nine month hiatus at my father-in-law’s house and have since used every opportunity that you can think of to say, “Hey, look! There’s Hagen!” or “Where’s Ccino?” So far, I have had about a 100% success rate with this method whereas saying “Look at the clouds!” or “Look at the train!” is not always fool-proof. At least these particular animals are good for something.

Singing: When all else fails, sing. For real. I find this to be most effective in the car, but it also helps at very odd times like in the bathtub, downtime during the day and waiting in the doctor’s office/waiting room. Singing is actually the only way I was able to make the last 20 minutes of my recent trips home in peace because Piper had finally had enough of sitting in the car and refused to go unnoticed any longer. I sang ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’ at least 10 times in a row (because if I stopped, she immediately started crying again) and all was right with the world. I have also made up a song for each of them that I will often revert to when I cannot think of anything else to sing, but that doesn’t always work very well. I’m working on adding more variety to my repertoire.

In most cases where behavior is ill-timed or unwelcome from a child, taking a different perspective is all one really needs to do in order to change it. Getting a little creative with parenting does require more work than simply reacting to a situation, but the results are clear: your children will be happier. If you can use the art of distraction just a few times each day instead of the automatic yell or stern tone, you’ll notice it really isn’t difficult at all and it will be second nature in no time. Go ahead, distract away.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • On being a more playful parent — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how the Playful Parenting book impacted her.
  • Parenting a toddler through play — Alicia at I Found My Feet lists some examples of how she uses play to parent through everyday tasks and challenges.
  • Splashing in Puddles — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares how she learned to get dirty and have fun with her little boy.
  • Say Please — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life explains how they taught their son manners by "play," showing that actions speak louder than words.
  • No Nanny Needed — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.
  • I'll Run Away With Gypsies — Nikalee at Spotted Pandemonium maneuvers physical and emotional obstacles while spinning playful tales, jumping through hoops, and inspiring the kids to clean the living room.
  • A Promise To My Daughter — Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure writes a poem for her daughter promising to use play instead of anger when facing difficult situations.
  • Parenting Through Play — Not Always Easy But Always Rewarding — Amy at Peace4Parents discusses how play hasn't always come easily to her, the power of appreciative observation, and how her family learns together through play.
  • Imagination Plays a Role in Our Parenting — Tree at Mom Grooves shares how parents can use play to set the foundation for communication and understanding.
  • A Box of Crayons — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction talks about how a simple box of crayons has become a wonderful parenting and teaching tool.
  • The Essential Art of Play — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her favorite lessons available for young ones through play.
  • The Art of Distraction — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a list of distracting alternatives to harsh punishments in tough parenting situations.
  • Grace and Courtesy Games at Home or School — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has ideas for grace and courtesy games that help you encourage courteous behavior without reprimanding your child.
  • I am woman, hear me roar! — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares how one simple sound can diffuse an argument in an instant.
  • Getting Cooperation Through Play — Amyables at Toddler In Tow talks about respecting the worldview of a preschooler by using play to encourage connection and cooperation.
  • Playful Parenting = Extra Energy??Momma Jorje didn't think she had the energy for playful parenting. See what she was surprised to learn…
  • Dance Party Parenting — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen learned how to be the parent her children need through play.
  • Wrestling Saved My Life — Wrestling is as vital to her son's well-being as babywearing once was, finds Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • Parenting through play — By playing with her children, Tara from MUMmedia is given amazing opportunites to teach, train and equip her children for life.
  • Parenting Through Play Starts in Infancy — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Issa from LoveLiveGrow shares that though she only has a 3-month-old, playful parenting has already started.
  • Play Before Sleep — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how playing and singing with her son before he falls asleep helps calm her frustrations that tend to arise at night.

10 September 2011

The Guest Gratitude Post

I've been so grateful for the response each of my gratitude posts has gotten and I am so pleased to see more and more gratitude each week. Today I am hosting a guest gratitude post by the lovely Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama, full of wonderful things to be grateful for.

I have been enjoying Amanda's gratitude posts so much, and I've been looking forward to writing my own, so I thought it would be very fitting to write my very first gratitude post as my guest post on Let's Take the Metro!

Here are five things I am grateful for right now:

1. My husband: In addition to these 35 things about my hubby that I absolutely adore, I have practically grown a second heart full of gratitude for Jeff's diligent and dedicated support of our family. He works at a wonderful company with a fantastic team of people, but his job also causes him a high level of stress. Jeff works very hard, and it is this effort and commitment on my husband's part that keeps him in a position to be the sole supporter of our family right now so that I can be a stay at home mom to 14 month old Baby, the love of our lives. My husband is giving us all the most special gift possible - the time to raise our son in the best way that I know how.

2. Getting laid off: If you are a reader of my blog, you know how much I cherish the gift of being a stay at home mom, but before Baby was born, I had no intention of leaving my career as a special ed English teacher. Getting laid off gave me the opportunity to open my mind to a new possibility - a situation that has become the ultimate experience of my life. I will always be thankful to this blessing in disguise.

Family in Colorado
Here I am with two of the people I am most grateful for.

3. My son: Baby is the best teacher I have ever had. I have learned to be present and to live in the moment, thanks to Baby, and this seemed like an impossibility for me for pretty much every moment of my life leading up to Baby's birth. I often think of him as my little "time lasso-er" because this tiny superhero seems to have the power of keeping my mind calm, centered, and at peace with the moment at hand.

4. My blogging world: When I launched I Thought I Knew Mama on January 3rd, 2011, I had no idea that it would enhance my life so much. I am so thankful to my readers for inspiring me to write - a passion of mine since childhood - on a nearly daily basis. I am also grateful to all of the bloggers out there that provide me with much needed information, laughter, tears, smiles, and hope every day through their writing. And of course, I don't know what kind of mama I would be without the support of my blogging friends, many of whom are also part of the Natural Parents Network community.

5. My health: One of my biggest reasons for committing to creating a green lifestyle for my family is to provide us with long and healthy lives. With my 28 year old brother beating Hodgkin's lymphoma twice in the past three years, my 22 year old cousin and close friend passing away suddenly of a brain aneurysm two years ago, and several other close relatives being inflicted with cancer - including my amazing dad who beat kidney cancer, I can't help but worry about my family's good health being taken away at a moment's notice. Each day, I feel thankful for another day of having health and the awareness and dedication to do everything I can for my family to keep us healthy and enjoying this beautiful world.

Of course, I am also very thankful to Amanda for giving me the opportunity to guest post on Let's Take the Metro and for making me laugh so much each week!

Charise is the proud mama to an incredible son born in June 2010 and wife to the husband of her dreams. As a special ed English teacher turned SAHM, she is now living what she thinks is the ultimate life as she spends her days mothering and writing. Her blog - I Thought I Knew Mama - is a window into the adventures of stay at home mamahood, natural parenting, and green and healthy living. You can also find I Thought I Knew Mama on Facebook and Twitter.

06 September 2011

Guest Post: Conversations with a Toddler

I am honored today to host this pants-peeing post from Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama. When you're done laughing, do check out her amazing blog and show her lots of love.

I subscribe to a parenting philosophy in which I believe that adults do not need to prattle on to their children endlessly. Young children need their minds kept clear so that they may focus on their own creativity, imagination, awe, and wonder without our adult logic and reason interfering. I am not suggesting that you sit in silence with your wee ones all day long but instead of chit-chat, consider filling the space with humming or song. Of course, there are times where conversation is warranted and there are times when conversation becomes part of connecting with and parenting your children. Again, not suggesting you tape your lips shut lest you damage your children with all of your chatter. After all, if you were NEVER to speak to your children, you might miss some rather entertaining bits of wisdom.

My 2 ½ year old is never short on whitty remarks. Her thoughts are clearly articulated in her little toddler way. So while you sit quietly and just enjoy being with your children, go ahead and get a chuckle out of these recent conversations I had (interspersed with humming and song of course) with my toddler.

Tiny: “Mama, go away.”
Me: “I am folding diapers right now. I need to be here.”
Tiny: “Mama, GO AWAY now.”
Me: “Ok.”
Tiny: “No mama. Stay, Hold me.”
Me: “Ok.”
Tiny: “Mama, go away. Move.”
Clearly there is no win-win here.

Me: “You many help me get the mail now.”
Tiny: “Not yet. Pants off.”
Me: “You may keep your pants on until we get back inside.”
Tiny: “Me naked. Me get mail.”
(We live on a super busy street and I don’t want the world seeing Tiny in the nude)
Me: “Honey, your pants stay on when we are out front.”
Tiny: “Ok. Mommy take pants off?”
This is the point where I pick her up and get the mail.

Tiny: “May-may eat poop.”
Me: “Yuck. Yes, Damian is eating poop. Sometimes dogs eat poop.”
Tiny: “Daddy eat poop. Daddy a dog.”
I was peeing myself from laughing so hard at this point.

Tiny: “Made gassy. Big gassy.”
Me: “Now your tummy will feel better.”
Tiny: “No, tummy hurt.”
Me: “Well, try making more gassy or a poop.”
Tiny: (Making a very determined face) “Gassy stuck. Get it mommy.”
Me: “You have to make it come out. No one else can do that for you.”
Tiny: “Get it mommy. NOW!”
I rub her tummy to which Tiny replies: “Mommy grab it. Get spoon.”
Really? A spoon?

Me: “Tiny, please hurry. We are late.”
Tiny: “Not yet, story first.”
Me: “Honey, I am sorry but we have to go now. I will tell you a story in the car.”
Tiny: “Me no go. Gigi come. Stay and read book.”
Me: “Tiny, I am going to pick you up so we can go. Sorry, but we are late and Gigi cannot come over today.”
Tiny: “Ass farm.”
We still have NO clue what an ass farm is but when Tiny gets mad, she says it.

Tiny: “Mommy, daddy mad.”
Me: “We are fine love. Mommy and daddy are sorry for being loud at dinner.”
Tiny: “Mommy mean?”
Me: “No, mommy is nice. Daddy is…” and before I could finish…
Tiny: “Jackass.”
Oh gosh…I have no idea where she learned that. I swear!

Tiny: “Love you mommy.”
Me: “Ahhh, I love you too. I love when you love me!”
Tiny: “Love bunny more.”
Greeeat! Competition with a stuffed bunny!

And last but not least…
Me: “Off we go to the park.”
Tiny: “Me ride horsey with penis.”
I still haven’t stopped laughing from that one.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s conversations with Tiny. She is a laugh a minute I tell you! I’m going to miss toddler talk someday.

03 September 2011

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

A place to go: This past Friday, I left my home in preparation for the hurricane. I am not someone who panics easily, but since we have lost power before during minor storms, I presumed we would lose power for a longer stretch during this larger one. Thus, I ate much of what was in the fridge and freezer before I left and took what I could with me 2 hours northwest to my father's house. We did not get any water despite being about 500 feet from the river, but we did lose power for about two days. Since that is never an ideal situation for someone with small children, I am grateful I had somewhere to go where I could continue to live a "normal" life.

Awesome friends: Being home this week, I was able to see several of my friends again unexpectedly. In particular, I got to see my friend Stephani at The O'Hara Family who came through for me YET AGAIN by giving me a small bag of her homemade laundry detergent. "Idiot" me left my cloth diaper detergent at home and I was in dyre need of something, ANYTHING that I could wash my diapers in. (So far it's working well. *crossing fingers*) Stephani, and all my other friends, are awesome.

Guest Posters: I finally put the call out looking for guest posts since I'm going to be out of it a lot over the next month. I don't like to ask for help (ever), but since I have written so many guest posts for other people, I thought it might be nice to get some back. Expect a few (I hope :) ).

The Earth: My physical home. I'm glad I live here. I'm also thankful for the constant reminders that the Earth is ALIVE. It's not some dead thing that we can do whatever we please to. She's not going to take it anymore.

My children: I am always so glad that my children are my children, but given the amount of traveling we have done this past week, leaving our house without giving them hardly any notice and spending a lot of time in a house they haven't spent much time in before, I am even more proud of who they are. They have been so good throughout all of this and I am so impressed with them. Thank you for being my children.

02 September 2011

The Food Formula

It's that time again! The beginning of another month marks the beginning of yet another cycle of food. I'm really enjoying my vegetarian trek, but for some reason I'm still struggling with meal ideas (even though I look them up all the time). Thus, I decided to create a food formula for the month of September, which essentially means that each day of the week has a pre-planned type of food I'm going to make. I know there are many people out there who do this, so I've decided to try it this month and see how it works for us. Here is what I figured out:

Monday: Soup!! It's September and that's good enough for me in terms of "colder weather" approaching. I like to make soup on Monday's because it's an easy meal that I can start early in the day and let it sit until dinner time. Also, no two soups are ever alike.

Tuesday: Rice and beans: the perfect protein. There are plenty of ways to prepare rice and beans, but my favorites are the bean sautee that I make and black bean soft tacos with Spanish rice. Mmm. (Please note that the black bean link actually goes to the homemade tortilla recipe, but you can see the other stuff in the background.)

Wednesday: Stir fry. Throw a bunch of veggies in a pot, add some soy sauce or other Asian things, toss in some noodles or serve over rice...done!

Thursday: Pasta. You can't go wrong with pasta, really. And now that I have a bread maker, I can make homemade garlic filled bread goodness to go with it. :)

Friday: Veggies Galore! I love roasting a couple trays of veggies and just chowing down on all of them. I also love steaming a whole bunch and sauteeing another bunch, throwing in some sort of grain and going for the gold.

Saturday: Wild card. I think Saturday is a good day for pizza, but I don't really like to have pizza every week. We can alternate between homemade and restaurant bought and therefore can change up our topping choices to make it even better. If we don't do pizza, we'll find something else equally as pleasurable.

Sunday: Homestyle. I like the tradition of a big Sunday dinner, but I don't always get to do it. I'm hoping to keep that tradition up this month by making things like lentil meatloaf and the occasional baked fish complete with all the trimmings.

Do you follow any sort of formula for your weekly or monthly meal plans? Do you think it will work? ;)