Sunday, December 23, 2007
I've only ever made soap by using the cold process method, but the drawback to that it that the soap takes at least 2 weeks to cure. I had heard about hot process, where the soap only needs 24 hours to cure so, being short on time, I went ahead and gave it a shot.
The big difference between the 2 methods is that with c/p, you mix the oils and lye after they have cooled to around 100 degrees. With the h/p, you mix the oils and lye while they are still very hot (150-200 degrees) and the saponification and boil-off of the lye take place at the same time. It's much faster, but I didn't realize how much more "hands on" it really is.
I got Elise down for a nap, then got started. Got the oils melted and the lye mixed. Then I put them together. I knew that the mixture needed to be stirred constantly, otherwise it would boil over. But what I didn't realize is the pot I was using wasn't tall enough for the size batch I was making. So even with all the stirring, the caustic mixture still boiled over! It was everywhere. I was so panicked I took the pot off the stove and placed in my sink. My bamboo cutting board was in the sink and it got the lye/oil mixture on it so I had to toss it. Despite the fact that I was covered head to toe, I still got a couple of minor lye burns. I've cleaned the mess up, but I still won't let the kids in the kitchen until I can go over it again.
But back to the soap. I lost about 1/2 my soap to the boil over, but I decided to stick with it and see if I could salvage the rest. I poured it out into a taller pot and put it back on the stove. Hopefully, it's OK. I won't know until tomorrow probably. If it hardens, then I know the saponification took place. I'll test the ph to make sure there's no more lye in it and, of course, test it out on myself first.
Oh yeah, I forgot this part. In the midst of all this mess, Elise woke up. I threw her in the Ergo because I was too scared that she'd get herself on the kitchen floor before I could clean it up. It was so stressful having her so close to this mess.
I think I'm going to play it safe and experiment with "melt & pour" method (take a very basic soap that's already made, melt it down and create a whole new soap by adding fun ingredients to it) for now until Elise is a bit older and I can get some guaranteed time in the kitchen alone.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I was incredibly skeptical because I'm a sucker for a bowl of pasta. I had heard all of the wonderful things about spagetti squash and thought, "yeah, yeah, yeah, clearly these people have NO idea how much I love pasta!". But we did it tonight and Dan and I both agreed we loved it, even MORE SO than pasta. HUH! Whodda thunk?
We ended up renting an apartment in Gramercy Park, near the Empire State building. That was actually waaaaay cheaper than trying to sleep 4 adults and 2 kids in either one or two hotel rooms. The apartment is quite grand too. It's low season, so we got it for 1/2 of what it would usually rent for!
Double bonus that our flights were comped by the airline. Dan was one of the very unlucky few that got totally stranded in NYC last year during the big snow storm. He was supposed to do a 24 hour trip and it ended up being 4 days....even after 4 days, we had to buy a whole new ticket with a completely different airline just to get him home. The original airline he was booked with couldn't fly him out for another couple more days!
Ordinarily, it might not have been a big deal, but Dan packed for only ONE day. 2 pair of underwear, 2 pair of socks, one suit, etc...you get my drift....he had NOTHING and only a jacket in the biggest snowstorm that I can remember.
After all was said and done though, the airline was super cool and reimbursed him the extra hotel expenses, as well as the new flight that he had to pay for. So it totally paid for the flights for this new trip! Awesome!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Anyway, they never sent Elise's photos back and I never heard back from them regarding her until today. I got an email that are interested in Elise's pictures and could I please send them more?
Hmmmm. Ok, I did respond and send them more photos....
My BFF modeled at a young age and feels like it was a totally positive experience, yet inwardly I struggle with this. I guess I didn't feel too strongly, otherwise, I probably wouldn't have submitted their photos in the first place. Anyway, this whole thing may be absolutely nothing so I'll try not to get my chonies in a bunch.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Anyway, all this to say that I'll be posting my vegan rice pudding crockpot recipe soon, so stay tuned!
There aren't many people who have met Jack and don't just love him. He exuded happiness and positive energy. He was such a friendly guy. Not the least bit shy, he would welcome new people with open arms into his life. He was a deeply spiritual man and his faith was very much reflected in the memorial. I thought the services were really nice and the people that planned it did a great job at encapsulating Jack and his energy. There was not a dry eye in sight.
For myself, I got a lot of inspiration from today (and Jack would have been proud!). I have been in a spiritual rut for a long time. It doesn't bother me much that I'm not a very religious person...I'm ok with not going to church on Sundays and I'm very ok with people that do. But I'm quite quite disturbed at how spiritually empty I've been growing. I can't go into very much more detail, but it turns out that on the way home today, I got pointed in a new direction and the source of this new direction was from somewhere I very least expected.
I would have never seen this coming. I hope it works out, but at the very least, I do feel inspired to embark on the journey.
Cheers to you, Jack! We love you!
Friday, December 14, 2007
"But", I point out to her, "I also teach you how to bake cookies!"
"Yes. And Daddy helps me make scrambled eggs!"
Later on this afternoon I was cooking dinner in the kitchen. She got up on a stool to watch. She then said that one day she would like to be a "good maker" like me!
Ha! How precious! She says the most endearing things sometimes. Totally makes me want to just hug her and hold onto that moment forever.
So, now BOTH Dan's brothers are expecting babies! And this means the baby pressure that we've endured for the last 4 years is FINALLY off of us. Finally.
Cheers for procreation!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I was sooooo excited!!! I started calling parents, friends, etc! Elise wanted to do nothing else but walk back and forth between me and Dan, so we did this for a long time before just leaving the party.
I know this means a new chapter in her life and I thought I would be a bit sad, but I'm not. I'm really happy for her and excited about her toddlerhood.
I am DEFINITELY getting a picture of this today!
Friday, December 7, 2007
I posted the Carrot-Squash soup recipe this morning, by the by!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
This picture probably is the most representative of what's on the tree right now, although I hope to add a popcorn & cranberry garland there sometime in the near future...there are the pinecones that we collected from our midwife's house, the reindeer that we made from ribbon and popsicle sticks, the glittery balls that we made from crafty-type stuff and the little gingerbread guys that I made from leftover foam paper from Lola's first school project. These little stinking gingerbread men are really how this whole project was born in the first place. We had to make a project for Lola's class...we had to do this poster board thingy and show pictures of Lola's heritage for history week at her school. I bought foam paper in red, white and green so I could make flags for Canada and Mexico. I had so much paper left over and the colors seems appropriate enough...waste not, want not! Ha!!! 3 days later, I finally had all my little "projects" done because I went overboard yet again. Of course the ornaments will be saved for years to come, but still I don't relish taking on a task that size for a while....it was more work than I anticipated! But fun, it really was. And watching Lola drink in the finished project was fun too!
Dan, on the other hand, was somewhat disapointed....For someone who grew up in a very conservative environment and Christmas was not celebrated in his household, he sure has taken it to a whole new level in ours!!!! Our front yard is seriously obnoxious!!!! But I know a lot of it is the fact that he is living out his childhood "christmas" through our girls, so I'm just letting him do his thing. Lola is at the age where she's appreciating it so I think that's why it's suddenly bursting out in him. I can't blame him at all.
But, with regards to the xmas tree, he was hoping to see huge blinking, multi-colored lights with neon and glitter everywhere. Kinda like our front yard. I hoped to appease him by tying bows to random empty branches, but I doubt that was really the "pizzaz" he was looking for.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Let me say that we are not big beet fans in this house. And there were beets in my CSA box this week. I think my problem is that I'm very inexperienced with beets...I only know that I detested beets from a can when I was a kid and hadn't tried them since. So, anyway, I was getting a nice little base going....sliced carrots, mustard greens, cubed eggplant sauteing in some olive oil when I saw the beets. I don't want any veggies to go to waste so I sliced those puppies up too. After I finished cleaning PURPLE STAIN off everything within 5ft of where I was slicing, I saw my stew had turned bright purple too! Everything. The eggplant, chickpeas, everything. I like the color purple, I really do, but I have to say this soup does not look the least bit appealing.
I haven't even tasted it yet. It just doesn't look great. After last night's grand slam....it looks like today I tripped on my way to the plate and never made it to bat.
Ok, enough horn-tooting....I'll be sure to post the recipe soon!
Off to finish my xmas ornament projects. I swear I'm almost finished and then I stop blogging about it. Promise. Well, except for one more just to post pictures of how it all came together....;)
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
OH! And Elise is very, very close to taking her first steps! She now tries to go from one piece of furniture to another, or from me to Dan and takes a step or two on her own before just plunging forward. She is soooo proud of herself!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
A few days ago, Lola came up to me and, out of the clear blue sky, tells me that she didn't eat her mocos. Now, I know better so I'm suspecting she did actually do it. Then this little fib flies out of my mouth: "You know, Lola, if you eat mocos, a mocos tree will grow in your tummy". I don't know why I said this, except for the fact that when I was little, my mom had told me that an apple tree would grow in my tummy if I continued eating the seeds of my apples. But I know my daughter well enough to know that she is extremely literal and very sensitive. I was totally joking and for a few days she didn't really talk about it so I thought maybe she realized it was just a joke.
Then, today, we were driving back from getting fresh eggs from a friend's house and it's a pretty rural area. There's trees everywhere. Lola is talking non-stop in the back seat, like usual. I'm pretty good at listening to everything she says (as much as I would love to be able to tune her out sometimes!) because, like I said earlier, she's very literal and takes my responses very seriously so I have to make sure I respond accordingly...Anyway, the area we were driving in is unfamiliar to me so I'm trying real hard to concentrate on the road and I ended up effectively tuning her out, but I can hear that she's going on about a tree. I'm doing the "umm", "uh-huh" responses, but then she starts getting really upset and begins crying hysterically!
That snaps me back into reality and I'm trying to figure out what the hell she's so upset about. All I can hear is "tree" and nothing else makes sense! I'm looking frantically at all the trees around!
This is what I get for not listening...It turns out I had agreed that there was, indeed, a mocos tree in her belly and that it was so big, it would never be able to come out.
Sheesh!!!! I told her that mommy just made a bad joke...I managed to convince her, finally, that there was no tree in her tummy and all was well.
Last time I do THAT!
Friday, November 30, 2007
Lola is really learning how sharing works and how to take turns with friends. This has been my biggest challenge when it comes to her playing in groups. She's a sensitive girl and immediately breaks down into tears when she wants to play with something that someone is having a turn with. There's been a dozen or so instances where I've tried to show her how to approach the situation calmly and ask the child (playing with the coveted toy) to please let her have the toy after he/she is finished playing with it. Today she actually did it calmly, tear-free and without much involvement from us moms. No break-downs, she patiently waited for whatever toy it was to be her turn. NICE!!!!
Elise was full of smiles and cuteness. This lasted ALL DAY. She's been out of sorts for a week or so...it was really nice to have the happy, mellow baby that I've grown accustomed to back. Even if it was just for today, it was still a pleasant break.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Oh yah, and as you can see, we didn't do any faces or cute outfits on them. We just used naturally colored sugar sprinkles. Sorry it's not more exciting than that, but we were running late for Lola's ballet class.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Dan and I have this ridiculous argument every year about our xmas tree. I'm a lot less "into" the holidays as I used to be, but this is my one little thing....I just really like how a real tree smells and I really like to see it all lit up and decorated n stuff. When I was young, my parents had a fake tree that my mom (and ONLY my mom) would painstakingly put every tiny piece of every tiny decoration in each its proper little place so the tree would look PERFECT. We were not allowed to touch it! I'm surprised we were allowed to look directly at it.
I always vowed that when I had kids, we would get a real tree every year and we'd all decorate it as a family, throwing a hodgepodge of different things on it, like ornaments that the kids made from construction paper, etc...I remember bringing home ornaments that we made at school that would NEVER make it onto our tree because it would "throw off" the whole decor thing. Anyway. I have no idea why my husband is so hung up on putting up our fake tree, but he is and therefore we have the same argument every year. We finally decided that we will compromise....one year fake tree, next year real tree, etc...
Although I read that most xmas trees get recycled into mulch, I love the idea of a living tree. You're kind of just borrowing it from nature and putting it right back in the earth....
But no. This is our fake tree year. So, I'm rebelling by handmaking all the ornaments with my kids. We went over to friendly neighborhood midwife's house today to collect pinecones and tiny apples from her yard, which will all be strung and hung on our silly plastic tree. We have started making little gingerbread men, next we will string popcorn and cranberries for garland.
And we can't forget the handmade ornaments that Lola made in preschool last year....
Can't wait to see the finished project!
My memory is not what it used to be, but once it kicked in, I was flooded with memories from that time period. We probably only lived together about 6 months, but it was a wild ride! We were both flying by the seat of pants back then and a lot of crazy stuff happened. And it brings back memories of a time period where, yes, we had a lot of fun, but also there are things that I did my careless youth that I'm not particularly proud of. She had nothing to do with those darker memories, it's just that I can't help thinking of those when thinking of her since they occured in about the same time period.
Anyway, all this to say that it looks like we've both come such a long way since then. She has 4 kids and looks fantastic and very happy. We are both wives and moms now! And we are happy! Who know we'd get here one day? Certainly not us! ha ha!
I'm thrilled that we have reconnected, I hope we establish a new, stronger friendship, even though she lives pretty far away now. What an amazing thing the internet is!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Life's good. I guess that's all that I have to say at the moment. Not bad.
p.s. a special note to my cousin Pierre, in Lac St-Jean, QC: Je pense a vous souvent, svp donne des grosses bisous a Nat et aux enfants aussi. J'espere d'aller visiter bientot. Ou bien, vien ici, osti! he he! bisous, ta cousine et amie pour la vie.
Monday, November 26, 2007
It gives me the warm and fuzzies, I wish I could capture it forever. I'm going to try to at least get a picture to post...
On the other hand, I wish she could be that cute when I take Lola to her gymnastic classes at the rec center! Holy cow! The cute little kisses disappear and two little tiny horns grow on her head, a forked tail from her big, cloth diapered butt. It's insane!!! I spent the whole hour thwarting her efforts to join the other kids in the class. First I carried her in my Ergo for as long as I could, then I let her crawl around on the floor after she threw a ballistic fit. She'd crawl off thinking she was going to reach Lola and the other kids, but then she'd hear me on her tail and look up. She'd give me this stubborn look and SPEED UP. She was trying to outrun me!!! Jeezy kreezy. This was my whole hour, peppered with a few temper tantrums. In retrospect, I do not know what I was thinking when I signed Lola up for hour long classes. She also has an hour long ballet class on Thursdays. I'm going to need to enlist some help or I'll be going gray, bald, crazy whatever, very soon.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
So, a little update...I'm actually feeling better now, but pretty tired. Elise was out of sorts and she fell asleep at 6:30 pm, which worries me because this might be just a nap. It's a bit early for her to be down for the night. If it is just a nap, then I'm screwed because she'll be up until super late tonight, which I simply just cannot do. Please send sleepy vibes our way. 'Night!
I think I start my new job tomorrow. Wish me luck!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I'm still in shock! All I remember is that my husband and I had a casual chat about putting up Christmas lights, then he and Lola trotted off to the store and I took a nap.
THIS obnoxious 8 ft snowman was what they came home with!
My husband, who doesn't even get into anything "holiday" related, and Lola, both apparently thought this was the perfect addition to our front yard. They are beaming!
I'm speechless! Just speechless.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
BUT! Then a very peculiar thing happened which made much sense....you see, Aunt Flo paid her very first post partum visit today. Isn't that just crazy? On Elise's first birthday. Just nuts! Anyway, turkey day was a nice distraction. The food was SO good, if I do say so myself. I liked everything. Pics will get posted tomorrow!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
At one year old, Lola already looked like a toddler to me....she was slim, walking by 10.5 months, had longer hair in ponytails and wore cute little clothes that were not cut for a cloth diaper.
Elise at one year is still chubby and round. She's not walking yet and her big cloth diaper butt mandates stretchy, loose clothing! She's extremely cuddly and just really looks like a 'baby'! I think because of that, I underestimate her capabilities...like when she picks up a new skill, I get really amazed and, admittedly, a bit surprised. Today, though, she really gave me a good dose of reality at just how much she is growing up and how quickly she is learning. We were sitting on the floor, playing with a rubber racquetball. One thing about Elise is that she is a mimicker. She mimics your hand gestures, your sounds whatever. If you give her a phone, she knows to put it to her ear, give her a hairbrush and she will brush her hair.
Anyway, so there we are sitting on the floor and I show her the sign for ball. She has never signed anything yet, but I've started showing her a few. I know she knows the words though! I showed her how we "bounce" the ball and how we "roll" the ball. She giggled with such immense delight at these new words. I could actually see the learning right before my eyes. She learned how to bounce or roll the ball and after only a few minutes, she would do either according my request.
I think Lola grew up quickly, though I don't really blame myself because the reality is that a lot is just Lola's personality. She is full-speed ahead and has always been this way. Elise has always been content just chilling out. So it's kind of funny and a teeny bit sad to watch her grasping on to all these new things...she can't stay a baby forever as much as I would love to live in this moment for a long, long time!
Friday, November 16, 2007
I really hope that breakfast and coffee just magically appear tomorrow morning....
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I am watching their older son while they are at the hospital. He is Lola's age.
My friend's son did seem a bit sad/serious/pensive today though...you could tell he missed his folks. After playgroup, we came home and another friend came over with her son, K. All 3 kids were playing so well together and the baby was asleep so I ended up babysitting him for a couple of hours also.
During that couple of hours, the kids were all playing upstairs when K took a dowel that was on the window sill and proceeded to smash the walls. There are about 10-15 deep divets in 2 of the walls upstairs that will need to be patched. I couldn't believe it! I heard some banging and kept asking them to stop whatever they were doing, but I didn't actually go upstairs until about the 3rd time. I didn't think there was anything up there that could cause any real damage, not even thinking of the dowels on the window sills. I never imagined that anyone would do that!
When Dan came home from work, he took all the kids (except Elise) to Shakeys for a few hours, which gave me a bit of a break!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Anyway, the point I was trying to get at is that later on there are a few recipes, one is for a double chocolate cake which is 100% vegan. I was so surprised. I read the recipe several times over to make sure it was correct. Now, as you know, I am not vegan myself, but I do prefer to bake vegan and pretty much only bring potluck dishes that are vegan. It's a simplicity issue really, plus the fact that I'm not crazy about dairy. Anyway, I'd rather bring something that everyone will eat and those who are not vegan will not notice the difference anyway. Coconut oil and applesauce have provided great baking substitutions.
I'm going off an another tangent....anyway! I was so surprised to see a recipe for cake in Martha Stewart that was that simple and not even billed as a vegan recipe. I want to try it for myself before adding it to my recipes file. And I will test it out on my friends, vegans and non-vegans alike! You know who you are!
MORE awesome news!!!! Dan's cousin is having a baby! I'm so excited for her. So now Dan's brother and his wife are about 6 months along and his cousin is about 3 months along! Man, we thought Lola and Elise would be cousin-less FOREVER so it's really nice to see new babies in this family!!!! I'm so happy for both, they will be really loved!
Yesteday, I fixed a stew in the crockpot. It was delicious! You can look here in recipes to see how it was made. Anyway, since Dan had a softball game, it was just Lola and I for dinner so we had a vegetarian dinner of stew with cheese paninis. There's lots of stew leftover so I will reheat it on the stove and cook some hot italian turkey sausage to throw in. Dan has to have some kind of poultry or fish with dinner in order for him to feel the meal was "substantial" enough for dinner! Funny man!
Monday, November 12, 2007
So my goal is to finish all the produce in a week without wasting any, which means I need to incorporate as much as I can into our meals. This is a cool challenge for myself and I'm actually excited about cooking again!
This morning I made a frittata for breakfast and chopped up a bunch of veggies super small to put in it. Lola never noticed the veggies and she ate it right up.
For dinner I made a pizza...I thinly sliced and eggplant this morning (horizontally), then marinated it all day in olive oil, white wine vinegar, herbs and garlic. I roasted the slices and used them for the first layer of my pizza. I also snipped the fresh basil with a pair of kitchen shears and spread that over the tomato sauce. A side salad with a mustard vinaigrette (olive oil, white wine vinegar and stoneground mustard wisked together) and dinner was served! Quick, fresh and easy! Check out my recipe section for more details!
Friday, November 9, 2007
On the way home today, Lola told me to relax, in response to me starting to get frustrated in some conversation we were having. So she said, "ok, ok, relax! You're driving me crazy!". I really wanted freak out on her for saying that, but I'm thinking, well, I said it to her earlier....why would it be ok for me to say it to her, but not ok for her to say it to me?
Part of it is probably the fact that I'm not usually on the computer this much. This whole blog thing has been addictive and I probably need to spend more time with her in a positive way.
So, with that, I bid you adieu.
What seems to have come hand-in-hand with the muffin-top is something that I have dubbed "pancake butt". Round (not in the sexy j-lo way, but more like circumference), wide and FLAT. It's no wonder why all my pants keep falling down. I thought my pants were just too big, yet, for some reason, I couldn't fit into anything smaller.
UGH!!! This is not a good feeling at all. Feeling yucky about yourself is really not a good feeling. Well, I need to stop all this pitying and get myself to the gym....
Muffin Tops and Pancake Butts won't go away by themselves. It's a shame, though.
hmmmmm.....what do you say to that?
Thursday, November 8, 2007
At Schlotsky's she started to calm down a bit so I thought I would order some lunch for us while we were there anyway. While we were waiting, Lola spilled her lemonade all over the table and floor. She was still really upset over hitting her head so this pushed her over the edge. The poor thing just completely melted down. I felt so bad for her! All this trauma in the span of like 10 minutes. We've been home for almost a couple of hours now and she does seem fine. One of the passersby told me to be on the lookout for symptoms of a concussion so I've been watching, but she is totally back to her high-energy self, it seems.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Or maybe because this year just went by so fast, I feel like a missed a chunk of her baby-ness...
It doesn't help that Lola is like a miniature adult. She called her Grandma today and I just could not believe the extent of their dialogue. I usually have to prompt her answers because she won't say much on the phone, but today she was chatty cathy and had all kinds of funny responses and clever lines. After hanging up, she asked me to redial Grandma's number because she had forgotten to tell her something:
Lola: Grandma, I forgot to tell you something!
Grandma: What is it, Lolita?
Lola: I very, very love you!
ME (in the background): AWWWWWWW!
Man, how sweet is that?
Lola is amazing. This photo was taken about an hour before going out to trick or treat. She did a few houses with her friends and then said, "I'm done, I want to go home". I immediately picked my jaw up from off the ground and took her home. I was happy that she was done because that meant less candy to hide from her (AND ME!) later, but also because the baby was unbelievably unhappy riding on my back in her Ergo. What gives???
I really had good intentions though. I had intended to document every step of my planned homebirth and pregnancy. I wanted my blog to spread out all over the U.S., Canada, wherever, so that others who were planning homebirths or VBAC births would know they weren't alone and maybe even gain some support/warm, fuzzy feelings of solidarity. I guess that can still be done, though. Luckily, I did write out my birth story on paper and one of these days, I will create an entry and post it here. Soon. I promise.