Sunday, December 23, 2007

More sudsy stuff...

Well, if you read about the soap sitch on the previous post, you'll be happy to know that all seems well with the remaining soap that I was able to salvage from that. It looks fine (see above, left) and hardened well. I'll just test it out tomorrow for good measure, but I have high hopes. I only got 12 bars out of it, but I learned a lot. I also found other sources for explanation of the h/p method and I think I have a better understanding now. So I'm actually pretty amped to give it another go!

I also tried out "melt & pour" tonight, using a clear glycerin soap base (see above, right). I made a lavender soap with whole lavender flowers in it, plus added lavender e/o and shea oil. It looks good for a first time effort! I'm anxious to try it out!

It's funny because when I first started soapmaking, I scoffed at the idea of 'melt & pour'...only the purist's method for me, thank you very much! Ha! But I actually really enjoyed it and I see where it would be fun to do sometimes. There is definitely a broader license for creativity with this method and it was incredibly easy.

To sum up, I would like to stick mainly with cold process soapmaking and try my hand again at hot process, but this 'melt & pour' method is going to be somewhere in the rotation, for sure.

Disastrous Soapmaking Experience!

I really had to make some soap today. I wanted to do a few little xmas gifts and we're getting down the wire with only 2 days left. But I had been procrastinating making the soap because it's so intimidating for me to attempt to make soap with both Lola & Elise in the house. Today I learned that I had good reason to be hesitant!!

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

Spagetti Squash....

In one word...

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?

Big Apple, Here We Come!

Fantastic news! We just found out that we will be going to NYC very, very soon! It's only for a few days, but it's one of those places that's I've ALWAYS wanted to go to and have never had the opportunity. So here it is! Dan will have meetings in CT for one of the days, but that's totally ok. More great news, my dad and his GF will meet us there for a few days. My dad is awesome and so is his GF, Monique. They also love to babysit, which makes them even more awesome, but even if they didn't, they are totally sweet and fun to be around.
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, 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

kid stuff...

This is probably strange to post, but back in October, I sent in photos of both my girls to a modeling agency. Lola's photos were returned with a letter saying they were not looking for her "look" at the moment and to try again later. I felt totally dumb doing it in the first place after that. Like I need someone to say whether my girls are special or not (although I realize they were not judging her "special-ness"), it just kinda felt weird.
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

Forgot to Mention...

I'm running on about 4 hours sleep. Went to bed at 11:30 pm last night. Elise woke up at 2:30 am and would NOT go back to bed until sometime after 5:30 am. I got really tired of nursing her after a couple of hours so I ended up putting her in the Ergo and we went into the kitchen, where I got out the crockpot and put together a rice pudding. I thought it would be nice to have something warm and sweet to wake up to when I eventually got some sleep. I fell asleep around 6 am and woke up at 7:30 am. Argh! Don't know why that happened last night. She usually sleeps great....
Anyway, all this to say that I'll be posting my vegan rice pudding crockpot recipe soon, so stay tuned!


This morning, I went to the funeral of a dear friend of mine and former co-worker, Jack Finley. We worked together about 9 years ago, but remained in touch as do most of us that have worked at this company because it was very much like a little family. I have friends that I met there that I'm still very close to and see often.
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

Everyone has a job to do...

On the way home from playgroup today, Lola and I talked about how Daddy goes to work everyday. She said, "everyone has a job". This is true, I agreed. "Your job is to be a little girl and to have fun", I said. She agreed. She then tells me that my job is to wash dishes and clean!
"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.

More babies!

We just found out that Dan's older brother, Tony, and his wife are pregnant!!!! WHOOOHOOO! It just occurred to me that maybe they wouldn't appreciate me blogging this to the whole world, but what can you do??? We've been waiting for this for a long time and we're so thrilled for them!!! yayyy!
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!


I've added a new page element to my blog called "SAVE THE TREES!".
Please scroll down and click on all the links to help stop unsolicited junk mail! Most of the services are free.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Last night was Dan's office holiday party. I changed outfits about 30 times and didn't even end up wearing this.
We combined our holiday party with the office of a friend of ours. We had lots of fun, but one too many glasses of wine! I'm totally dragging today!
Dan's mom babysat our girls plus our friend's boy. Brave, brave woman! We got home late, around 11 pm, and all the kids were up! Elise had been sleeping since before we even left, but woke up around 9:30 and wouldn't go back to sleep!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Poutine Mentioned in Food & Wine Magazine!

Wow I couldn't believe my eyes when I got my issue of Food and Wine magazine today. It's the January issue so they have an annual "100 Tastes to Try" and what is #39? Poutine!! If you don't know what poutine is, well, it sure doesn't look pretty, but it was our favorite junk food growing up. It's ridiculously unhealthy, but it tastes sooooo good. There's still something really nostalgic about it and I have some every time I go home. I have never actually seen the word "poutine" in print anywhere else but on menus in Montreal so you can understand my surprise (and little burst of hometown pride!).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Go Lisey!

Seriously, the cutest thing!!! I love it! Ok, I do feel bad for those of you who have been on the receiving end of both my mass email/photos sendout and my phone calls and now have to read about it on my blog too, but I just can't help it!
Look how proud of herself she is!
yup, her mama is beaming too!

Life, as I know it, officially changed last night!

Elise took her first steps! We were at a party and she was crawing around, getting into everything. Then she stood up...she stayed standing for a really long time! Dan was prompting her to come to him and, sure enough, she toddled about 4-5 steps towards him, then lunged forward!
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


We had such a nice day today...playgroup with our friends and then snuggling up in our comfy clothes and watching the Grinch. I looooove that movie! Dan came home from work early, which never happens and I got the Christmas cards I ordered in today too. Jackpot!

I posted the Carrot-Squash soup recipe this morning, by the by!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ornaments and other fun stuff...

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 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

ok, the stew wasn't bad. It was actually pretty good! Course I made Dan taste first, just in case...Fresh beets are actually pretty tasty, I wasn't expecting that!

I Guess You Can't Hit a Homerun Every Time...

That's what Dan will say when he tastes this stew/soup thingy that I have simmering on the stove! This was made by a complete hodgepodge of everything I could find....usually, I try to "match" the ingredients that I think will complement each other, but this time it was just "whatever".

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 looks like today I tripped on my way to the plate and never made it to bat.


Spicy Carrot & Butternut Squash Soup!

Ok, not one to toot my own horn, but I made this soup last night with the fresh organic veggies I get from the CSA that I belong to and let me just say....YUUUUUUUMMMMY! It was so good! Everyone liked it, even both the girls!

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

Oooh, I just love me some prizes!

I entered a contest! All I need to do is direct you fine folks over to my friend's Etsy store here: and hopefully, I'll win a prize! yay for me!


You have probably figured out by now that I'm neither creative, nor crafty. So this silly little ornament is actually quite the accomplishment for me. I am quite proud of it!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Ongoing Xmas Tree Ornament Project

$100 spent at the craft store and a few days later we are well on our way to making our xmas tree ornaments. There are about 5 different kinds that we're making and we're about 1 or 2 steps into each of them. So my dining room table is completely covered in craftiness...It's awesome! Lola is obviously really getting a kick out of this. She told me she was so happy to be doing crafts with me...such little things we can do that mean so much to our kids....I really don't do that enough.

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

What Was I THINKING???

Be forewarned, this is going to be a bit gross....
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

Miscellaneous stuff...

I feel good tonight. I had a really nice day with my daughters and I didn't think that was going to happen so it was a pleasant surprise. I only had 6 hours sleep last night, tops, so I thought I would be irritable and mean (ha! isn't that nice?). Lola can totally feel my irritibility and we just end up getting started on the wrong foot. But I think because of my playgroup and all the positive energy I get from my group of friends, it really paved the direction of the rest of the day for me. My girls had so much fun and there was nary a tear in sight. I feel so lucky to be a part of this network of moms.
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 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.

good times!

Recipe Posted!

Yay, I got the gingerbread people posted! Click here!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Plight of the Gingerbread Man

Today we made gingerbread men. They are vegan and whole wheat, if you can believe it. The recipe I used was totally conventional, but I just substituted willy nilly and they came out pretty yummy, I thought. If they're any good, they'll get posted to my recipes section...ummm... eventually. I'm already 2 recipes behind, this will be number 3!

We had a few casualties in my first batch...I left them in the oven too long and the backs burned a bit. The second batch came out much better. We're bringing them to playgroup tomorrow so I can get some taste testers! You lucky playgroup, you....!

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

The Christmas Tree Rebellion....

I'm a rebel, oh yes.
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 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!

A Blast From the Past...

Today, I got an email and the subject line was something to the effect of "Are you the same Luci that lived here 12 years ago?". I was intrigued, but didn't recognize the name of the sender...I thought it had to be ligit, though, because she named the town that I really was living in at the time and it's a rather small town. Turns out to be an old roommate of mine when I was living in an apartment back in '95 or so...barely 21 yrs old, I think! I remember because she was a year younger than me and we had trouble getting into bars! ha!
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

No title yet, I'm lame.

This is the problem with blogging this late at's that every bright idea or inspiring story that popped into my head during the day has now been completely destroyed by fatigue and exasperation. I'm sure many cute, awe-inspiring events took place, it's just that now I no longer have the brain cells required to actually recite them, nevermind project them in a witty, compelling blog.

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

Oh one more thing...

I also wanted to add that this whole "going to bed at 6:30 pm" thing that Elise has just recently started is really actually working out well. So now I just jinxed it and it will never happen again! Darnnit!

Sweet Kisses and Little Horns

Elise has started kissing a lot. She is constantly either blowing kisses to us, kissing our faces or just kissing the plain air! But what is so darn adorable about the whole thing is the sound she makes and the way she sticks her bottom lip out. She makes the face of a toothless old man and then says "mwaaaaaa!"!

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

No Title...couldn't come up with one...

I love this shirt!!! Isn't it so cute? It's the one I got at the craft fair, made by the talented Urban Housewife. Note the equally adorable hair clip, which she also made. I couldn't wait to peel the kids off me tonight (SERIOUSLY! They were on me like glue!) just so I could post this picture!

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 definitely have a touch of flu or a cold or something. Both kids are super clingy today when all I want to do is lay down in bed. Dan is golfing so no help there. I think Elise might be sick too, her nose is running like a sieve! Last night she wouldn't go to bed so I ended up throwing her in the Ergo and putzing around the house until she finally fell asleep. Blah!

I think I start my new job tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Apparently trying to channel Clark Griswold...

I'm not feeling very good today, so I took a nap with the baby this morning. This photo is what I awoke to.

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

Elise and her bday cake!

The Martha Stewart cake was good, but it was really crumbly and a bit dry so, for kids at least, it made a big mess. Not a big deal, but I would like to make it moister next time. I think I will add some applesauce to it. Also, I'll try coconut oil instead of the grapeseed oil that I used (only because I didn't have any coconut oil handy). Elise thoroughly enjoyed it though and that's all that mattered!

Dan, his brothers, mom and Lola

Birthday and Turkey Day Festivities

So, in Quebec, we make these pies called "tortieres" during the holidays. Every region has their own style or recipe, but it's usually some kind of meat and potato inside. In our family, it's ground meat and potato inside. I have a family recipe that has been passed down at least 4 generations, but probably more. So I made a couple of normal sized pies and then a special little one (made in a custard cup) for Elise! So on her first birthday, she also had her first tortiere! It was so cute!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

No, I didn't cry ALL day....

But I did cry this morning...Dan and Lola took off to get something at the store this morning while I played with Elise. I was staring at her in amazement and the waterworks started...Then she looked up at me with a big smile on her face and started to play with my tears! AWWWW! That was beyond cute and it made me cry even more!
BUT! Then a very peculiar thing happened which made much 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!

Martha Stewart Eat Your Heart Out!

Ha! Ok, so the cake looks NOTHING like the pic in the mag, doesn't mean it's not tasty, right? We'll find out tomorrow!!!
I made lots of cool stuff and I can't wait to taste it all tomorrow. A pumpkin foccacia bread, zinfandel cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatos, the works. I'm hungry just thinking about it.
And one little chocolate cake, special for my birthday girl. I will be bawling tomorrow so I'm trying not to think about it too much....:)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Feast....

So I'm sure you're all wondering why I haven't been blogging or anything in the last day or two, right? Of course you are! Anyway, I'm hosting Thanksgiving so it's kind of a 3 day process for me. Armed with my to-do lists and schedules, doing all the food over 3 days is way less stressful to me than trying to do it all on the day of, since I do it all from scratch. And, I'm in the middle of baking a birthday cake for Elise! I'm going to give that vegan cake that I saw in Martha Stewart's Living a try. I'll let you know how it all tastes!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Today, uncle Tony and aunt Denielle took Lola ice skating. Lola looked so cute in her tutu, hat & gloves!
Apparently, she did well on the ice today! She really seemed to enjoy it. I think we'll sign her up for some lessons soon. We did it a year ago, but she was really not ready for them yet...
p.s....notice she is STILL wearing the tutu...

Elise's weight! Drumroll please....

Wow! I was surprised. Only 22 lbs, 12 oz! She sure FEELS like a 26 pounder.

huh! Whaddya know?

Lola and her Uncle Tony

Uncle Tony and Aunt Denielle come and visit about once a year. They live on the east coast. The second that Tony sets foot in our house, Lola is hanging on him and stuck to him like glue. Tony pretends to be annoyed, but he is secretly gushing. They are inseperable.
p.s. Lola's been wearing her tutu non-stop since she got it yesterday.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Born a Princess!

I could not WAIT to take pictures of the girls in the tutus! I couldn't even wait for Lola to get back from the store with Dan so I just did Elise's photos for now.

My friend made the tutus...aren't they delicious?... and sold them at a craft fair I went to today. The totally adorable hairclip was made by another uber creative friend, Urban Houswife. She also make some outfits that were just too cute. I couldn't resist! Photos of the outfit will follow soon, I'm sure!

Elise was tickled to sit in her favorite chair and when I gave her the wand, I totally expected her to to just chow down on it, like she does everything else, but she knew exactly how to wave it around like she was a little fairy princess!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Watching Elise grow...*sniff*

For some reason, I still think of Elise as this little newborn. Probably because at one year, she still looks so much more like a baby than Lola did.
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 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

Sleeping Babes...

So Dan took the kids to his softball game at 7 pm and the game was an hour long. Afterwards, they headed to Chili's for dinner, but apparently Lola passed out in the booth of the restaurant before ordering even took place. Her friend managed to stay awake long enough to eat his meal but he passed out within seconds of being strapped into his car seat on the way home! They have had so much excitement in the last 3 days!
I really hope that breakfast and coffee just magically appear tomorrow morning....

Another Day in the Life!

We had a nice day today. Went to playgroup, which was held in a beautiful backyard of one of the moms. The kids had fun, although my friend's son was a bit shy at first. He had been up since 5:30 a.m. though so that probably had something to do with it. He's such a sweet kid. This picture is of them hamming it up at my house...they are minutes away from Dan coming home and taking them to his softball game. After the game, they are going out for burgers. They have been super excited about this all day! have I!!!!

Aren't they just so cute?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Welcome to the World, Sofia!

My friend had her baby today! I'm so excited for them! She was born at 6:05 pm, weighing in at 6 lbs, 14 oz. Good times!

I am watching their older son while they are at the hospital. He is Lola's age.
I took all 3 kids to playgroup today. That was actually much less stressful than I thought it would be. Sooooo much better then keeping them home all day!
My friend's son did seem a bit sad/serious/pensive today 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!
There's nothing else in that room except for a couch and a small table. I just assumed that they were throwing toys of the couch! Anyway!
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

Martha Stewart's Vegan Chocolate Cake...

So you might as well know right now that I'm a huge fan of Martha Stewart. Huge. Love her. Anyway, you can imagine my excitement when December's issue came in. Hello! December! Cool little holiday trinket crafts and yummy stuff to bake, etc...How can a sane woman resist???? Anyhooo. I'm cruising along in the magazine, when there's this big article on chocolate. I was quite impressed that they article recommended organic chocolate, although disapointed that there was not enough, if any, emphasis on fair trade chocolate. I'm not done reading the article so perhaps there will be a mention on fair trade, in which case, I will gladly retract.
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!

Babies, babies and more babies!

I can't believe all the babies that are in our lives right now! A good friend of mine is having a baby early tomorrow a.m. (a scheduled induction) and we are watching their son for the next day or two. He is the same age as Lola, only 13 days apart, and they have played together since they were 6 months old. Lola just loves him to death. They play together so nicely, but it was a bit awkward putting them to bed since we decided to try them out in bed together tonight. We've vacationed with this family before, but the parents were always there so we've always done the "separate" quarters thing. This is the first time they've bunked together. It worked out pretty well, actually! We thought it would be a huge play-fest and neither would get any sleep, but we waited until we could see that they were both drowsy before we put them down. They were asleep within minutes! It's still early so I won't claim this to be a complete success yet, but so far so good. I'm bringing all 3 kids to playgroup tomorrow so that will be the big test for me. I'm sure it will be fine though, if I didn't think so, I wouldn't do it, believe me! Dan will take Lola and her friend to Shakey's for dinner later tomorrow night so I can get a break. It's all good!

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!

The Cat That Ate The Canary

We were in the car and Elise was getting fussy so I handed her this little stainless steel bowl of cheerios. It had a cover on it so I thought maybe she would just shake it like a rattle as a distraction. I don't know, I was looking for just anything that would distract her since we were almost at our destination. I didn't think she'd be able to get it open, but guess what? she can. When I opened her door, she looked at me with this big ol' grin on her face! It was too cute!

What Blog Would be Complete Without Mentioning Dinner??

I can't help it, I feel so inspired by this plethera of fresh veggies. I'm so proud of myself for using them all up. Well, I still have to use the argula, some mustard greens and some chile peppers, but I have tons of ideas for them all.
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

Fresh Veggies

Last Tuesday, I faxed in a request to join this new CSA I heard about from a friend and by the weekend, they had me all set up to pick up my first box at the Hillcrest Farmer's Market. So that was yesterday and I've used a bunch of the produce already. I am so happy with everything, it was beyond my expectations! The veggies are super fresh and taste so much better than any I have bought in a store. I can't even describe the oranges! They melt in your mouth! There was some pretty cool fruit that I had never seen before like passionfruit and pineapple guavas. Other fruit in the box: apples, oranges, lemons, tomatoes and pomegranates.

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!

Crusty Snot Monsters

Doesn't that sound gross??? I assure you, it is. But I had to hold Elise down and get a warm washcloth to her nose just to soften the snot enough to be able to remove it from blocking her entire nostril. You could tell she was grateful afterwards...what with the grinning face and all, but she did not much enjoy the process. No, no.
My girls are both sick today. Elise is, as you know, super snotty, and Lola has a barking cough with congestion. It's a bummer. Lola hasn't had a cold in like 2 years though, so I guess I'm pretty lucky. Elise, on the other hand...well, this is already her 4th cold and she's not even quite a year old!
I'm going to keep them home as much as I can handle it. Wish me luck!!!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tomorrow is a new day, right?

I was putting Lola to bed tonight and we talked about our day. I asked her if it was a good day or bad day and she said "bad day". Ugh, my heart sank.
"Was it bad because we got angry with each other a lot?"
Well, we're going to try to make tomorrow a better day. I promised to be more patient and she promised that she would listen well. I kissed her goodnight. She is really so sweet. I know a lot of today had to do with me...since the time change, the kids have been waking up at 5-6 a.m. and I've been going to bed way too late for that. Also, Dan wasn't home 3 nights in a row because of work. I'm sure I was short-fused. It can't be merely coincidence that Lola and I have a rough patch whenever I'm in short supply of sleep and/or support.
We'll see how tomorrow goes. Tonight I'm curling up on the couch with a book "Talk So Your Children Will Listen", which was recommended by a friend. Wish me luck!

Double Standards...

I'm having a lot of trouble dealing with Lola the last couple of days. I don't know that it's neccessarily that she is out of sorts, or if it's just me. I'm inclined to say that it's me. We are clashing constantly and I'm getting super frustrated and saying really stupid things to her and using a tone that I totally regret as soon as the words hit the air. I was just talking to a friend at playgroup today who is feeling similarly...she hit the nail on the head when she said she was using a tone with her child that she would not even use on anyone else. Why are we using it with our kids???

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?
I told her those were not nice words to say, but I felt like a complete hypocrite. I need to learn how to be more patient with her. I don't want her to reflect on her childhood as a bunch of yelling and double standards. If anyone has any ideas, advice, book recommendations, whatever, tell me because I need a new perspective.
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.

Muffin Tops and Pancakes....

This morning, as I'm getting dressed to go to playgroup, I noticed my butt in the mirror. It's a view that I've been intentionally avoiding because it would force me to confront all this weight gain that's been happening...I knew the weight gain was happening, but I wasn't paying attention to where it was going. Well, today I faced the stark reality. It's all over my mid-section. I knew I had a pot belly, I have always had that, but the size of the muffin-top that literally pours out from the top of my pants?????????? Oh my Lord, I had no idea it was that bad!
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.


Lola's latest new thing is to proclaim out of the complete blue that she didn't do something. Which means, of course, that she did. For example, yesterday we were driving in the car, just listening to music, when all of a sudden she says, "Mom, I didn't just pick mocos out of my nose with this straw...I DIDN'T!! I promise.".

hmmmmm.....what do you say to that?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Day of Bonked Heads and Spilled Lemonade....

Man, I feel horrible. I took the girls over to the Verizon store after playgroup today because my phone is about to die. Lola was all wired up from playing, so as I'm talking to the store rep, she is bouncing around the teeny, tiny store. She attempted to run outside, but tripped on my heel and fell. Her head hit the corner of the metal door frame and there was a very loud THUD. My heart was in my throat!! A few people came over to see if she was ok (it was really that loud) and she was screaming. Someone suggested I take her over to nearby Schlotsky's and get some ice for her head so we did that. I was so scared she had a concussion or something.
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

They're growing up...sniff....!

I've never dreaded a birthday for myself, but for some reason, I am really emotional about Elise's first birthday. Just writing about it is making the tears well up in my eyes! I don't know why....maybe because we probably won't have more kids (fingers crossed there will be one more on the horizon, but the chances are slim...this is a whole other subject!)?
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?

Someone has obviously pissed off this bunny.

I had to, had to, just had to add some pictures from Halloween. The kids are so damn cute, I could just eat them up. Not literally, course, but they do look quite delicious! Figuratively speaking.

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???

Lola ate a couple of pieces of candy that night, but hasn't asked for a single piece since.

I stuck the bag of candy in the garage so as not to hear it's seductive call in the evenings before bed (I'm talking about me here, not Lola) and just braced myself for the inevitable candy hostile attack that would surely ensue the following day. It didn't happen. I have no idea why, but whatever, I'm grateful. This has been the scene at my house for the last 2 halloweens and every year I think "THIS will be the year that we will duke out the candy thing" and it never happens. Whew! Safe for another year.....

Ok, this is actually the second blog I've ever started.

I can't find the original one that I started! I don't even remember what it was called, but it had something to do with having an "hbac" birth, meaning that I had a homebirth with my second daughter after having had a c-section with my first. Bummer. Not that I had posted fact, the reason I can't find it is because it was started and then remained unfinished and untouched for many, many months. Said "hbac" baby is going to be a year old here pretty soon, so that gives you an idea!

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.