Flops

So the Indian Spinach Lentils were a flop. Oh well. I was really hoping to come up with an easy vegetarian Indian meal for the crockpot. I have to turn that book back in to the library but I will keep searching. I used to have so many vegetarian recipes! It frustrates me that I didn’t write out my menus or keep more of my cookbooks. 

Tonight we are having something I make a lot, Chicken Tortilla Soup but without the chicken. I am using black beans and vegetable broth instead. I also am cooking it on the stove versus the crockpot. It is a super easy throw together, especially since I just used canned black beans. The boys are having a friend over, and since Drew is out of town my friend and her daughter are also having dinner with us. The soup makes a lot, and with the extras it will easily serve all seven of us.

It is only Tuesday and I am so ready for the weekend. I miss my sexy bike man. But I will only see him for a couple days then I’m out of town this time…Seattle for a music festival. I’m super excited! Also Andrew is moving out Saturday. I will be here for a little while in the morning though.

All of Salila’s invites are out for her birthday party. Now just to figure out the cake and a craft or two for her sleepover. I was thinking something fun for the girls to either wear or take to decorate their room. When I figure it out I will be sure to post it here.

Whew. Today was crazy. Big grocery day with three stops, Fred Meyer, Winco and the bread store. I noticed the bread store doesn’t have as much organic bread as they usually do. Maybe someone else has discovered my little secret! They are carrying gluten free bread now, 4.99 a small loaf but I so rarely eat sandwiches I don’t feel like bothering with it. I had a good coupon day, saved about 12.50 altogether. Then I mailed a package to a friend that is having a baby, picked up the boys’ friend, picked up the girls, then finally the music store for guitar strings and picks. Tomorrow I get to have tea with my friend in the morning and then Dakota has a filling at the dentist. Normally I would volunteer Wednesday at the school but another mom has taken over so my weeks are getting empty. I worked in the book room at the school last week so nothing this week. I am thinking about how to volunteer next year. I would like a regular gig like I have now, but it will have to be family friendly. The only thing I can think of is the Oregon Food Bank, and every opportunity I’ve seen so far isn’t a regular thing. But as I make my list I will call and talk to those in the know. Thursday and Friday I can’t remember what is going on, besides Drew coming home Thursday. Maybe Thursday I will clean and Friday we may have a homeschool thing with Dakota.

Soon I will be coming up with our homeschool plans for next year. Over the summer Dakota wants to learn to play guitar, learn pre-algebra and more physics. He also wants us all to take CPR classes and First Aid classes. He repaired a broken IPod this week, and is still working on our desktop computer. For now I will be getting Salila a Summer Bridge workbook, she is showing interest in the guitar as well. She also draws and paints all the time. I would love for her to take a class but so far she hasn’t shown any interest. She wants me to teach her everything! Sweet huh? I just wish I knew everything….

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Fun Foods

I saw a recipe for ham & cheese pockets and knew my kids would love something similar. They are all about fun foods as most kids are. Trouble is, for them anyway, I rarely buy them because of ingredients. These sandwich pockets were assembled, baked and frozen to be re-heated later. I had some cheese and pizza sauce (tomato paste blended with water, herbs and garlic) in the freezer so I was already half way there. All I have to do now is make my pizza dough.

This is a recipe I have been using for years. It is basic and easy, and you can change it up and double it as you wish. Sometimes I add stuff to the dough, I have used blends of flours before. I have never made this gluten free, but have made a cornmeal crust, which is basically polenta spread into an oiled pan.

1 tbsp yeast

1 cup warm water

2 1/2 c flour (you can use half ww flour-in my experience using all ww or all spelt results in a tough crust that isn’t stretchy)

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

oil & cornmeal for the pan

Dissolve yeast in the water, stir in the flour, 2 tbsp oil and the salt. Mix 20 strokes. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Oil and sprinkle cornmeal in your pan, divide dough in half, roll or pat out. Put on your desired ingredients. I have found the fewer ingredients the better. Bake approximately 10 minutes, more or less depending on your oven. We usually make a pepperoni pizza (tomato paste, cheese and pepperoni) and a veggie pizza (tomato paste, cheese and fresh tomato and basil, or zucchini and mushroom, olives, etc.)

So I’ll let you know how these turn out.

Yesterday I did a little more organizing, cleaned out the top two drawers of the flatware chest. Small things that could be “treasure” usually end up there. Since I organized our bookcase recently I had a new place for tiny treasures and the chest will be used only to store flatware. Woot! I’m not really going off any list, just doing it sporadically. Once something is organized, I feel motivated to move to another project. Small things, but it makes me happy.

Today is Yugioh/Magick the Gathering homeschool card playing day (wow that is a mouthful). I hope homeschool park days start up soon. Or I may just start one of my own here in Southeast, I am not sure what park to meet at yet. We haven’t met many homeschoolers this year, but have managed to stay busy anyway. 19 more days until Salila is officially a homeschooler! Yeehaw!

 

 

 

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Run Free Hamster!

So there are 20 days until the end of school and we are Ready. These days homework really becomes a chore and I yearn to let the kids just play outside until the sun goes down. The sun is finally out! It is like a holiday here in the Northwest! Alas, homework must be done. Homework. Every. Single. Day. Grumble grumble.

I got a new cookbook at the library, The Indian Slow Cooker by Anupy Singla. This week I am trying Green Spinach Lentils. I use my crockpot semi-regularly. Most soups I make go in there, and regular things like chili and spaghetti. I cook beans in there and freeze them to use later in 2 cup portion sizes generally. Sometimes I try something new, or I will try one of my regular recipes in there. Usually, since I know how a crockpot cooks things turn out well. Every now and then something won’t be great…edible…but not great.

So…what else? Dakota wanted me to buzz his hair…so his long hair is now super short! He loves it. Andrew is packing up his room, it is beginning to look bare. Sniff sniff. Dakota is ready for his own room…he has been measuring and packing up some stuff. Salila needs a dresser, and maybe a shelf and a bedside table. There hasn’t been room until now for her own space, so she has been sharing my dresser and storing toys and books in the living room. It will be fun to set up their rooms differently with their own space, finally.

I am really loving our weather, so sunny and breezy. The lilac tree in our front yard is blooming gorgeous purple and smelling so sweet. I have a bud on my foxglove, I wasn’t sure if it would bloom again this year but it looks like it will. I found some vegetable seeds when I was decluttering and saw the neighbor had bought some vegetable plants so I think I will give them to her.

Well off to make peanut noodles, a big favorite around here. Peanut sauce (made by Drew) lots of veggies, tofu and whole grain noodles/kelp noodles. Yummy :D

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Whatever I’m Doing

More and more with my computer it isn’t fun to get online anymore. I am slowly becoming a Luddite, as my technology fails and I fail to replace it…for realz.

I’ve been reading a lot, thinking about cleaning (and cleaning some…LOL) getting excited about Salila’s last day of school (25 more days till she is a homeschooler too!) and getting back to my regular exercise schedule. So far my knee is OK, a little tired at the end of the day but took a little bike ride on Sunday. What are you doing? What is your favorite show/movie/music right now? What are you reading? I’m reading “there’s a (slight) chance i might be going to hell” by Laurie Notaro. She lives in Eugene Oregon and the book is based on a fictional city (but it is TOTALLY Eugene LOL) it is pretty funny, my friend lent it to me. I’m also (re)reading some John Holt (Teach Your Own) and some horror comics. (Memoir) and watching horror films on days we don’t have to go anywhere with Dakota. We started “An American Werewolf in London” yesterday so I hope we can finish it tomorrow. I’m currently listening to the Scott Pilgrim movie soundtrack. Over and over and over.

Andrew is officially moving out at the end of the month. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And waiting to hear if he’s accepted to the University of Oregon any day now. He has also applied to Pratt in NY, Brooklyn campus. And his third option is Portland Community College and then either Portland State or another school when he is done with PCC. He’s working at Safeway (grocery store) right now packing online grocery orders from about 5 am to 1 pm everyday, riding his bike there and back every day. Dakota wants to learn calculus, and is thinking about being an engineer someday. And trying to fix our computer! Salila is doing her homework right now at this moment, just colored her hair teal green (just the bangs, no bleach!) and is really into manga and comics (her latest title is Happy Happy Clover). And collecting money for the Oregon Humane Society. Since she can’t volunteer (you have to be 12 or 13?) she is having a bake sale and raising money to give them, along with a card she is making. Oh! And planning her birthday party coming up. She wants to have it at Oaks Amusement Park. Drew and I are pretty stressed out in general but we are happy and know this is just one of those waves we’re surfing…if we crash we’ll just get back up on that board y’know? Him with work and me with worrying about him and work and every little thing. I’m having fun with the kids and planning a trip to Seattle with a friend Memorial Day weekend for a music festival up there. So excited about getting to see some live music and be myself for a change! It has been a while.

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Memories of Enoree

As a child, the now matters so much. As an adult, I try to be present in the now. I also realize who I am now is sewn into who I was then. Talking to my children about my own childhood brings up many memories. Many of them are sweet, perhaps touched with a little sadness but telling these stories bring back so much love and gratefulness in my heart. These loved ones and these places are the fabric of who I am.

One of these places is near Enoree, South Carolina. When I was growing up I spent part of my summers with my family in South Carolina. My Aunt Beverly and Uncle Bob had an old 18th century farmhouse that did not have electricity or running water and sometimes I would stay out there. It was on a hill above the river that was across the dirt road. Time would stand so still on the farm. I loved going in the well house to watch when the water was pulled up and taste the cold water from the dipper. They had lots of animals, including a horse that probably began my life long love of horses. I think that was the first time I ever rode a horse. Angora rabbits with fur so soft you could not imagine anything softer. Goats and chickens and I’m not sure what else. One time my Aunt made ice cream out of the goats milk and didn’t tell anyone. I thought it was just delicious ice cream, I had no idea! I remember walking around their place feeling like the whole world must be just like this. Everything was so beautiful and green.

There was a scary bit though. At night, as you can probably imagine, it was very dark. If you have ever been camping way out in the middle of nowhere you know how dark the night is without electric lights. My MaMa (pronounced MawMaw) would sleep with me upstairs. Daytime was also a little spooky for me. There was a curved staircase that led upstairs, and even going up there in the day, the staircase was dark. My MaMa and I would say the Lord’s Prayer, and chat a little bit while she scratched my back. It took me a long time to fall asleep, even though I always felt so safe and loved with her there. Of course, I would have to get up to go pee eventually. Now if all the dark around wasn’t enough, you had to walk a trail in the woods behind the house to get to the outhouse. We had a flashlight but Oh! my imagination has always been very vivid and I imagined all sorts of wild things waiting for us just outside the small round light that the flashlight cast. Not to mention I always worried about something coming up through the outhouse hole!

When I was talking about this with Dakota on a walk the other day, I felt like it was so important to share. Most kids today can’t imagine a life without a television, so no electricity or plumbing at all? Unless you camp, or live “off the grid” yourself it is an alien thing. Most people would not want to live that way, but there are some of us that do. I think being lucky enough to experience that as a child fueled my desire to create something similar someday myself. For now it is my dream, and also a beautiful memory.

Thank you Aunt Beverly & Uncle Bob.

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Early Friday Morn

O little bloggy, how I have neglected you. Not intentionally, but well…I’m sorry. 

There are about a million and one things I would love to write about. So I will write about 5. 

  1. I am now a tattooed mama. A small (ish) one on the inside of my left wrist. It surprises me how comfortable/normal I feel about it whenever I look at it. I thought it would make me sad every time I looked at it (it is honoring my grandmother who has passed on) but instead, I am reminded of beautiful times, and what a wonderful person she was. Also, how I can be more like her.
  2. I am simultaneously teaching my son, and his friend how to drive. Have you noticed my silver halo? ;o) Because it is even more of my *silver* hair. Crazy fun! No, we didn’t get a car, I watch my friend’s daughter before/after school and one of the perks is the use of her car. Pretty sweet, huh? I still prefer not to drive, but I have to admit having the use of one 5 days a week is a luxury. 
  3. I am bettering my baking skills. Although I haven’t baked now in a couple weeks, I am slowly getting better. There are subtleties about baking I have missed for many years. Sure, I can make a mean batch of cornbread but cakes, pies, etc.? I have always enjoyed baking when I actually do it, I just was never super great at it. And, *Finally* I have learned to make one of my favorite foods of all time, pho. So far, just chicken but I will be venturing into veggie pho. In my experience, pho is really about the broth, and the delightful blend of herbs and spices. So we shall see. I was *lucky* at the library and picked up “peas and thank you” a cookbook from one of my favorite bloggers. I’m so excited about this book! As everyone around me “goes Paleo” I cook and eat more and more veggie. The only meat I can eat without feeling sick is chicken, and lately even that has been icking me out. Why? I don’t know. I’m not going to over examine it but if I feel good eating something, I will continue to eat it. Something’s working, because over the course of 6 months or so I’ve lost 20 lbs. Of course that may also be due to my Mt Tabor obsession. Who knows? If I feel good, why question it?
  4. My dearest daughter has bronchitis. She coughed all night and day for three days, nothing I could give her would help her. She was patient with all of my home remedies (including apple cider/honey syrup…what a trooper!) but finally I took her in to the doc. After listening and looking in her ears, nose and chest the doc told me everything was clear. (My lung sickness history and her non-related hospital stay as a toddler colors my worry here, I’ll admit it) She has missed almost all week at school. I will send her in a few hours, but be waiting by the phone. 
  5. The last thing, and one of the most important (to me) is I have been quietly, and slowly working on my self esteem. Little bits here and there. With a little help from my fashionista friend and a very special makeup place (Camellia…NE Portland) I am feeling downright gorgeous these days. I am remembering when my body was just a tool for fun, nothing more, nothing less. Run, swing, bike, dance! Yeah, let’s do all of that! No negative thoughts. No comparing. No guilt. Letting all that go. I’m liking the new me. She’s pretty hot.

 

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That Little Niggly Space

Way down deep inside, is a bit sad and melancholy. Even though I’ve been super busy, even though I’ve laughed (a lot!) and even though there is happy *all around me*. I go from feeling a bit nervous about it, to being angry about it having the audacity to be there, and then to feeling pretty darn helpless. 

And then I feel I need a drink. Or twelve. Maybe if I had that, I would share that deep part. Certainly out in the world and in my own home it is pushed away, pushed down. “For later”. For when I have support, for when I feel safe enough to share. I can’t be pushed to, I can’t schedule a time for it to come out. It can leak out, by fits and starts and later on I can plug the empty spot where the leak was. 

I can write. I have gone back to carrying a small notebook and pencil on which to write these little things that come out and come into my head. Some of it is beautiful, some of it grotesque, some just plain and boring. I don’t have to remember it for later, I can just put it right down and out. Aaah. Maybe some of it will morph into something else, or just be burned into a future campfire. 

 

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