Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Leilani woke us all bright 'n early. Well, not too incredibly early, really, but she was unwrapping presents at 7 o'clock. Natalia slept through Leilani's unwrapping. Leilani loved her gifts, but her favorite was the snowglobe. She's been asking for one for a few months now, so when I saw a plastic, unbreakable snowglobe, I knew I had to get it for her. Of course, she thinks Santa brought it :). Leilani also got a LeapPad, it has a camera and everything, just like an iPad, so she's pretty excited about that!

Both girls got train sets: Leilani's is a battery operated My Little Pony one, and Natalia's is the Disney Baby train. The trains have gotten more play time than all the other toys combines. Natalia got a toy laptop instead of a LeapPad. They each got puzzles and books, lots of little things in their stockings and got each other some fantastic gifts - Leilani got Natalia a talking lunch basket and Natalia got Leilani a Backpack kit with Map, a bracelet and fake phone. Natalia got a shape sorter and Leialni got a Minnie Mouse dress-up doll. I got Jeremy a book on General Custer (his current obsession) and he got me the Harry Potter Complete 8-film Collection.

After gifts, I popped breakfast in the oven. I was so excited - sticky pecan rolls. But not everything that I make can be a homerun - it wasn't very sweet. I made the recipe exactly as it was written, but I think if I make it again, I'm going to tweak it. Dinner was a much better success - vegan roast with veggies, and garlic mashed potatoes. After dinner, Natalia took a nap and Leilani watched some movies. I steamed the Christmas Pudding. Once it was done steaming, we poured some brandy over it and lit it on fire. Leilani was so excited and Natalia was mesmerized by the flames. I pulled out the reindeer rootbeer I made last week. Just IBC rootbeer decorated to look like reindeer. Brown pipe cleaners twisted around the top for antlers, googly eyes and a poofy red ball for eyes and nose. Leilani was super excited, both to have soda and at the decoration :).

Last night, between movies and bed, we tracked Santa's progress and Leilani got a phone call from the big man himself. She was so excited! We also did every single action rhyme I know. Leilani and Natalia had a blast with it and we had to do most of them twice.

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve!

Today we've had lots of fun - Leilani and Jeremy did some more cutting on the bed project, I did some cooking (yummy dinner, but more on that later)and we -hopefully - started some new Christmas Eve traditions.

Our dinner was one of our pre-vegan favorites, remade to be vegan, obviously. Scrambled tofu, biscuits and vegan sausage gravy and hashbrowns. I made the potatoes in the oven since I don't have enough frying pans and I needed my one for the tofu. I found the MOST amazing scrambled tofu recipe ever - everyone ate it up! Finally, a tofu recipe the whole family loves! Even Natalia chowed down on her plate full of food. I made the sausage this morning, then used the drippings for the base of the gravy. For the biscuits I used the "bisquick" I made a month or so ago. Leilani ate her entire plate, plus more potatoes. When I find a meal that the whole family will eat, I know I've found a winner.

After dinner, we watched some Super Why!, well, Leilani watched, I played on the computer and started dreaming about a vegetable garden. Then we went upstairs and I gave the girls a "Christmas Eve bath"....I put green food coloring in the water and some Johnson and Johnsons cold bath stuff in there so it gave it a sort of woodsy smell. Then I tossed all the characters from the Veggie Tales nativity play set and let the girls play in there for a while. Natalia screamed at first, but after I got in and held her, she calmed down and played for a good 15 minutes before I figured it was time for her to get out. Leilani stayed in for a bit longer.

We put out the magic reindeer dust Leilani made at school after they were done bathing and we were all dressed in our Christmas PJs. We also put the key and poem on the door so Santa can get in. We're going to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening watching Christmas movies and later we're going to make popcorn and hot chocolate and have some cookies, too.

Everyone, have a Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent: Day 23

We pretty much just chilled all day. Jeremy did some more work on the bunk beds, I did some stitching on one of the stockings (I haven't forgotten about Natalia's birth record, I'm just taking a break and working on another project for the time being). Leilani started her needle craft today, she had enough fake money saved up for it, and I gave her a "Christmas discount" too. It took her almost all morning, but she got a whole row and a half done. She kept saying "I'm not good at this mommy" and I kept reminding her that I wasn't fast when I stated either, that we get better the more we do something.

Natalia "helped" me do my cooking and baking today - we made chickpea tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch and a pecan pie for Christmas. Mostly, she just tried to grab everything and eat it or knock it over. Leilani "helped" Jeremy with the bed, which really means, climbed all over the wood, used the pencil to draw on the wood and ask questions. I think the way kids help is really kinda cute. And they're little for so short a time, I really am just trying to enjoy each minute.

Our gingerbread cookies from yesterday were a huge hit - we ate quite a few of them yesterday, so I hid them so we'll have enough for Christmas Eve. Natalia LOVES them, she ate an entire leg. More like gummed it, then it came drooling out of her mouth and kinda looked gross.

Leilani drew a lovely picture - a smiley face with ginormous eyes and the words "I see" printed above it. The only problem I have with this picture is its location - the bathroom wall is NOT the place for masterpieces to be drawn. Oh, and it's directly across from the toilet, so the picture WATCHES you.

Today's activity was reading the story of Jesus' birth. Yes, I know this is no where near His birthday, and originally not even close to a Christian holiday, but it is nice to remember His birth.

Tomorrow we're going to do our Christmas Eve box - new PJs all around, little stuffed animals for the girls, then we're gonna have popcorn, cookies, eggnog or hot chocolate and watch a movie together.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Advent: Day 22

Today, for our Advent project, we made gingerbread men. Our vegan recipe is super yummy and we went all traditional and used raisins for the decorations. I think Santa's going to be getting gingerbread cookies under the tree this year. Leilani had so much fun pouring the ingredients, sifting the dry ingredients and mixing them all together.

While we were mixing and measuring, Natalia was playing with Jeremy - she was in a serious daddy-mood this morning. He had to hold her constantly or she got M-A-D. It made me giggle - evil, I know - since he got to experience a bit of what I go through every day. I love Natalia, so don't get me wrong, but she just does NOT like to be anywhere but in someones arms. As a baby, she has that prerogative, I know, but that's why the floor doesn't get swept and dinner's not made - no using a knife while holding a baby! She finally settled on the floor and did some zombie-crawling, pulled a couple ornaments off the tree and then grabbed my leg.

After Natalia released him, Jeremy went out to the garage to get everything ready for his huge DIY project - this amazing bed. Leilani is beyond excited. He's going to be the girls' hero for years to come for making this thing. It's incredible.

Last night, our Christmas light hunting lasted maybe 20 minutes. Natalia fell asleep and Leilani was just done. We had bundled them up in their PJs and went out with high hopes. But alas, this area really doesn't do much in the way of Christmas lights. It was a rather sad showing, but Leilani did enjoy seeing the lights we saw. After we got back, Leilani had some cookies and watched a snowman movie that wound up scaring her, so we switched to Super Why. She finished the snowman movie this morning and wasn't nearly as scared - I think last night had something to do with being tired. Natalia stayed asleep after we got home, and then woke up a little after seven and didn't go back to sleep until 11:30 - used to be that was no problem, staying up that late, but I'm officially a mommy - I was ready for bed hours before she was. We danced, played with some puzzles, watched Elf, had some cookies and read some stories.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent: Days 20 & 21

I'm not much feeling like writing, but I want to put these two days down while they're still fresh, so I don't forget.

Friday we played Christmas Bingo - Leilani was super excited, she filled her entire card. Natalia mostly just tried to eat the cards.

Today's is going Christmas light hunting. We'll be heading out to do that in the next half hour or so.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advent: Days 18 & 19

Yesterday our Advent package was paper snowflakes! I found some templates on Pinterest and the idea to use coffee filters. Since we don't drink coffee and my dad left a bunch, we only have a ton of coffee filters. Today's package was another book. Yesterday and today's packages kind of got jumbled into today, as all we did yesterday was open the package. Leilani and I made some snowflakes before she went to school, and while she was at school, I made a bunch more and hung them up above the TV. Leilani was enchanted when she got home from school.

Leilani's been a bit worried about how Santa's going to get in since we don't have a chimney, so I found a "Santa Key Poem", attached a bow and key to the card I wrote it out on, and Christmas Eve we're going to attach it to the door. We're also going to sprinkle the reindeer dust out that Leilani made at school a couple weeks ago. She's very excited about that.

We all have colds over here, so we have the humidifier going with the VapoSteam stuff in it, meds galore, and sniffles, coughs and watery eyes. Not much fun, but thank goodness for those boogie wipes. I always thought they were a waste of money and just some goofy thing, but they're the only thing Natalia doesn't scream at having wipe her nose. And I don't blame her, they feel at least a bajillion times better than kleenex!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent: Days 16 & 17

Yesterday just flew by - Leilani and I made the gingerbread house in the morning, followed by yesterday's advent package - paint-your-own ceramic mugs. Actually, that took up most of the day. We went over to some friends' from works house last night. Leilani and the little girl are now bff's.

This morning started off like any other school morning - getting lunch packed, getting all of us dressed and ready to go out the door. Until it came time to actually go out the door. Then I couldn't find the diaper bag (which has my keys). It wound up being locked in the car. Natalia was asleep when we got home last night, so I tried very carefully not to wake her (I didn't) so she could get unexhausted and not have an even later night. So it was a win on that front - not so much on the whole getting to school front. Leilani wound up staying home and we did some projects, made sticky pecan rolls and orange rolls (for Christmas and New Years Days respectively). Natalia had a lovely poo blowout - all the way up to her neck. This was the first bath she didn't like. The whole thing lasted 30 seconds - just long enough to get her cleaned up.

Our advent project today was making snow globes. Leilani made one and I made one for Natalia (since she's a bit young to be messing with glue and glitter and such). It was hard for Leilani to wait for the glue to dry. I can't believe how quickly December's going and that it's almost Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Advent: Day 15

Today we went up to Seattle. Leilani was super excited, Natalia not so much at the prospect of a long car ride. Fortunately, she fell asleep. We stopped at a little road side coffee shop and got coffees (Leilani got a chai tea, which she said upset her tummy. Which is weird because she usually LOVES chai tea!) Our first stop was at Whole Food - I haven't been to one is so incredibly long, it was awesome. We got some tempeh (which I can't find anywhere in our town), almond yogurt, rice cheese and lunch. Natalia ate off my plate - she had some curry paste/sauce off my "chik'n" salad, rice out of my dolmas, and yogurt. Leilani loved eating all her food (and some of mine and Jeremy's)...she had sesame marinated tofu, and some of Jeremy's chickpea salad. I love that my girlies love to eat so many different types of cuisines and flavors.

From there we went to the Children's Museum....Leilani said she didn't hate it, and didn't love it. She said she liked playing in the theater area, the market area and the rock climbing area. After that, we went up to the food court where a dance academy was doing a performance. It was acrodance, and Leilani said "that's what I want to do!" Fortunately the dance academy here in town specialized in acrodance.

While we were in the foodcourt, Leilani got some cotton candy and we found a little vegan cafe - they had puff pastry!!! I got a smoked yam tart, Jeremy got a tomato tart and we sort of split a roasted pumpkin dish. The next time we go up to Seattle, we're going to their actual restaurant.

When we got home, Leilani took a bath, then opened up the Advent package, which we'll have to do tomorrow. So tomorrow we'll be building a gingerbread house and our 16th day...should be nice and busy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Advent: Day 14

Leilani woke up feeling so much better. She went to bed really early and all that sleep really helped (isn't sleep amazing). Anyway, I gave her some more meds and she went to school. She really didn't want to miss school.

Leilani opened the Advent package before school. She was a bit confused because it was two pine cones. I explained that when she got home from school, we'd spread peanut butter on them, roll them in bird seed and hang them up outside for our feathered friends. She was quite excited.

After dropping Leilani off, Natalia and I went shopping. It took an hour, but I got everything on my list (YES! I remembered it!) except the two things Super Wal-Mart didn't have - dates and currants to make the Christmas Pudding. I hate WalMart, I really do, but the price is right and it's mostly a one-stop shop. I had to get Natalia a highchair, the kind that you put on a dining chair, since we could never find the missing part to Leilani's old highchair. Natalia seemed to enjoy sitting in there with her food.
Leilani loved it too, because they could eat a snack side by side.
I love it because now Natalia can actually feed herself, do painting, etc and be contained.

Our Advent project got derailed. I cannot find the bird see ANYWHERE. But I bought some plaster ornaments for Leilani to paint and wrap for her teachers. She's quite excited and can't wait for Monday to take them in. So even though it wasn't our original project, she's still having fun.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Advent: Day 13

We finally got our truck back, so I could drop Leilani off and I'll pick her up this afternoon. I'm really quite excited to be doing that again :). When I picked Leilani up, she looked miserable. If she's not feeling better by morning, she's probably going to have to miss tomorrow. Her nose is running like crazy. We went to Wal-Mart to get the milk for our hot cocoa (it's National Hot Cocoa Day!) and Leilani fell asleep on the ten minute car ride to the store.

After dropping Leilani off, Natalia and I came home and Natalia took a nap (I watched How I Met Your Mother and worked out our Holiday menus and a corresponding shopping list). After Natalia woke, we went to the library, came home, read and watched some Backyardigans. Natalia loves the colors and music. I think they're super cute and like the songs.

Our Advent package today had a book - A Charlie Brown Christmas. As I was reading it, Natalia crawled! She wanted the book, so did an actual crawl to get to it! I rewarded her by letting her have the book when I finished reading it. It's a board book, she she can't really destroy it *grin*.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent: Day 12

Leilani had to ride the bus again today. She looked so tiny climbimg on to the bus. Fortubately she seems to enjoy riding it. Natalia and I snuggled and played all day. Well, except for when Natalia napped. Pretty much, it was just a lazy day

Leilani's Advent thing today was writing a letter to Santa. I can't get the scanner to work, but hopefully later I'll be able to add it

She wrote:
Dear Santa,
I made presents. We have magic dust for your reindeer. I love you. From Leilani
And drew him a picture of a reindeer. It's really cute, and hopefully I'll be able to get it up soon :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Advent: Day 11. AKA The Weirdest Day Ever

Today, I did the strangest thing I've ever done. I put my little girl on the bus. It wasn't my choice, I just had no other options. I spent the whole time with my stomach in knots. "What if there's an accident? What if she's bullied?" When 8:30 rolled around and I knew she was in class and I hadn't gotten a phone call, I relaxed for 2 minutes. Then I started worrying about her getting on the right bus after school. Needless to say, it was a rather long day.

Before getting on the bus, Leilani opened todays Advent package. Christmas jokes! Some of them she didn't understand because of the cultural difference (the jokes are from a British blog) So when I asked her "What's an ig?" the answer ("An Eskimos house without a loo") didn't make any sense until I explained what a loo is. Then she giggled. A couple others that made her laugh were
"Why does Santa like to wear bells? Because he love a good bell-y laugh"
"Knock knock. Who's there? Snow. Snow who? Snow use, I'v forgotten my name again"
"What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Ice Krispies"
"What goes 'oh, oh, oh'? Santa walking backwards"
"What do monkeys sing at Christmas? Jungle Bells"
and last of our morning jokes
"Knock knock. Who's there? Mary. Mary who? Mary Christmas"

I heard her singing "jungle bells" as she was getting ready for school, so I think she really liked that one. *grin*

While Leilani was at school, Natalia and I watched Star Wars 4, 5, and 6. Well, more like had them on while we napped, cleaned and baked. We cleaned and vacuumed the living room, cleaned the kitchen, made no-bake chocolate-peanut butter-oatmeal cookies and enough cheezee sauce for three different meals.

Leilani made it on the right bus, and is safe, sound and in one piece. Unfortunately, the truck isn't done and won't be until sometime tomorrow, so she's riding the bus again tomorrow. She's pretty excited, I'm not, but I'm glad that Thursday we'll be back to normal.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent: Day 10. AKA The Day From Hell

I woke up wth a migraine, for the fifth day in a row. But, after a tall glass of chocolate soy milk and some tylenol (I don't dare take anything harder since I'm nursing), the headache seemed to be subsiding. Then, on the way to school, things took a turn for the worse. The truck started behaving badly. I had the pedal FLOORED and barely made thirty miles-per-hour. Once we got to school, I was afraid to turn the engine off, but Leilani needed me to take her in, and I was hoping that if I turned it off, it would work better after I turned it back on. Only, it didn't turn back on. So I called Jeremy. He got there after what felt like FOREVER! We ran to the auto-part store but they didn't have the part at that moment, but would have it by ten. I took Jeremy back to school for the Kindergarten Dads and Donuts.

While Jeremy and Leilani did crafts and had donuts, I ran to Wal-Mart to get some shopping done, then back to school to pick Jeremy up and go back to the auto-part store. I dropped him back off at school, came home and thought he'd get the truck fixed, go back to work and I'd hang out at home, make some seitan and cutlets, take a nap with Natalia and play with her. But it wasn't in the stars today. I barely got the seitan mixed when Jeremy called and said I needed to come back to pick him up again. We made two more runs to the auto-part store, then the trucks alarm went off and we couldn't get it to stop. Jeremy told me the other key fob had the button for the alarm, and could I run back home and get it? So I did, only it wasn't the right fob (in my defense, it was the only fob in the drawer). We called the insurance and went to a mechanic to see if they could fix the truck. The insurance paid for a tow truck, so we went back to school to tell them we were going to have the truck towed and that the truck would be there some time today. Then, we went back home. We turned on to the street and got a call saying that the tow truck was already there. By this time, it was a little after 2:00, so I decided we ought to just stay at school, since we'd had zero luck with trying to go anywhere else all day. But the tow truck needed us to follow her. We got to the mechanics and I dropped Jeremy off, because if I left right then, I'd get back to the school just in time to pick Leilani up. I was there with just minutes to spare.

Leilani decided that she didn't want to see me, so hid around the corner. The school counselor went and talked to her, and she came out. I told her we needed to go pick up daddy and told her all about the tow truck. She was in as bad a mood as I was, so it wasn't a particularly fun ride to get Jeremy. After we picked him up, we went home and I had to bake the seitan, and figure out a new dinner. I'd been planning on using the seitan, but since I was gone all day, I couldn't get it baked. So, today's dinner will be for tomorrow. Fortunately I had some Shepherd's Pie frozen that I could pull out and throw in the microwave and have dinner ready in 15 minutes. Of course, we blew a fuse or something, and now thde microwave isn't working.

After dinner, Leilani opened our Advent package. Homemade green finger paint to make handprint trees. Leilani's response was hilarious "Oh wow! It's green....stuff." But she and Natalia had fun putting their hands in the funny feeling paint and making Christmas trees.

The day may have gone horribly wrong, but it's ending nicely. If only this headache would go away. And tomorrow's going to be the strangest day of my life - Leilani's going to have to ride the bus because I won't have a car.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent: Day 9

Leilani is loving school again. I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. The kindergarten workbook I bought her is her new favorite thing to do, even over watching movies! She's been doing math, social studies, science and writing all day. And she's having a blast! We finished the Magic School Bus chapter book today. Leilani loved learning about the Solar System - as we taked about the Voyager space probe, I told her that her cousin A, G and L's great-grandpa worked on the Voyuager's systems and that it just left our solar system the other day. She promptly declared that she wants to build one. I told her she can do anything she wants to, if she puts her mind to it :) She also read me two stories today!

Our Advent project today was making salt dough handprint ornaments. Natalia wasn't very cooperative, but we managed to get both girls' handprints. I was going to dry them in the oven, but changed my mind and we're letting them air dry - that way we don't have to turn the oven on and can save on electricty *smile*.

I finally got a decent night's sleep last night, and my three-day headache seems to be subsiding. Finally. I'd almost forgotten what no headache feels like.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Advent: Day 8

Today, we had an indoor snowball fight. There was a picture circulating on Pinterest, and if you follow the link, it's to buy this indoor snowball fight bucket. So, instead, I scrounged up a bucket, found some old, mismatched socks that I stuffed full of stuffing, and - waalaa! - our own indoor snowball fight, for free. Leilani liked getting to actually throw stuff in the living room, but I think she had more fun disassembling the sockballs when she was done throwing them.

So far, so good - Leilani's been brushing her teeth, keeping her playroom clean, making her bed, putting her dishes in the sink, doing her homework and being kind for three days straight now. All to earn some fake dollars to buy real stuff with. She already knows what she's saving for - a needlepoint kit I got for her. Initially, I was going to put the kit in her stocking, but I thought she might appreciate it more if she had to work for it. She's bound and determined to get it, so she's cleaning her playroom as I type this. Fingers crossed that I found the secret to helping her learn to take responsibility, clean up after herself and learn about money all at the same time.

And one last thing - I LOVE her going to school! I could kiss her teachers (not literally, but I'm pretty excited here) - Leilani read me an entire little story. She sounded it all out, and read it to me. Super short, but the main thing is - SHE DID IT BY HERSELF!!!! I'm so proud, I'm going to share the whole story with you, and you can pretend she's reading it aloud to you *grin*

Dan and Jan
Dan ran.
Jan ran.
Dan ran fast.
Jan ran as fast as Dan
Dad can see Dan and Jan.

My little baby's learning! It makes me so happy, and reinforces that I made the right decision in putting her in school!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent: Day 7

Today was another accidental-sleep-in day. Oops. But after a rushed get-out-the-door, we made it in time. I have to stop this sleeping in on accident. I looked at the clock at 6:30, and the next thing I knew, it was 7:20. So I either need to get up earlier, or get everything ready the night before so I'm not running around like crazy.

After we dropped Leilani off, Natalia and I went to get some milk. Leilani has started taking an individual sized thing of chocolate soy milk every day, and dirnking most of it, so who am I to stop her from drinking some milk?

When we got home, we did some cleaning, cooking, vacuuming, cuddling, reading and playing. Natalia scooted backwards across the floor and sat up - under the tree! She looked so cute, sitting there, trying to grab the ornaments.
Then Natalia took a nap and I did some cross-stitching. I'm *still* working on Natalia's birth record, but doing just a little bit a day, I'm actually seeing some progress. And I have our Christmas stockings on their way, so I'm just adding to my project pile.

Leilani was so incredibly excited when I picked her up today - she got the sharing bag! She's supposed to bring in something to show the other kids, write down some clues and keep what's in the bag a secret, then have every one guess what's inside. She's been talking about the sharing bag since her first day, so this is huge to her. She's taking Mater, so we're going to work up some clues to write down.

Once we were home, Leilani opened today's Advent package - homemade red and green playdough. Natalia wasn't too sure what to do with it, so left it on the floor between her legs, leaned over and bit it. Needless to say, her playdough playtime was over. Her face was priceless, kind of like "feels weird and tastes disgusting!" Leilani on the other hand, flattened it out and put her footprints in them. Then she was done and had her snack.





Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent: Day 6

We all accidentally slept in this morning - we had around 30 minutes to get ready to go, and Leilani can take that long just to eat! We did get out on time, and got Leilani to school in good time. Natalia and I came straight home, had some breakfast, cuddled and then Natalia took a nap.

I came up with a payment system for Leilani to do chores - everyday she does her chores, she gets a fake dollar, and I have small toys and things she can "buy" with her "money". I put all the little odds 'n ends in a drawer and now she can start to learn the how work = money = getting things. Also known as the value of a dollar. I'm quite hopeful that this will motivate her and get her excited. As soon as I explained the system to her, she put her dishes in the sink and ran off to brush her teeth again, make her bed and make sure her play room was all cleaned. Of course, she got a bit sidetracked by the legos,(yesterday she made the Great Wall of China, and today I heard her say she's making the Eiffel Tower) but I'm still hopefull. After all, it's only 4, still time for her to play *grin*

Today our Advent package contained a book: I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown. Leilani was so excited, she wanted me to read it twice! We're also reading a Magic School Bus chapter book. And, when I went to the library yesterday, I picked up a few books she can help me read.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent: Day 5

Today was late start Wednesday. I usually try to do a special breakfast, but this morning, instead, we made more cake batter fudge. On a whim, when I saw an empty ice cube tray, I decided to use it to harden the fudge in and then I wouldn't have to do any cutting and would have even portions - it worked great! You can just pop them out like ice cubes, and there aren't any more uneven pieces *grin* I also made some bread dough for dinner tonight.

Our Advent package today had a clear ornament, a marker, and some glitter. We put the glitter into the ornament, and used the marker to write the year and some of the highlights from the past year on to the ornament. It was kind of a hodge-podge of ideas I saw on Pinterest and growing up. Leilani had a blast helping me remember big events.

Our "short list" of things we did:

Niagara Falls
Florida
Cleveland Zoo
Columbus Zoo
USS Cod
Cleveland Aquarium
Natalia was born
Marine Week Cleveland

After Natalia and I dropped Leilani off at school, we went to pay the water bill, then to Wal-Mart to get some allergy meds and warm clothes for Natalia. She only had one pair of warm pants that fit her, and two sweaters. Now, however, she has 4 warm outfits, 2 sweatpants, 2 new sweaters, house shoes, and fuzzy snow boots. I got Leilani a new sweater, too, so she and Natalia could have matching black sweaters with unicorns and hearts on them; and they now have matching house shoes. Leilani was pretty excited to see that when she got home. Natalia and I also went to the library and put lots of Magic School Bus books and movies on order. They're Leilani's new favorite things, and I like that they're teaching her science :)

Today in class, Leilani made the December calender with the school schedule.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent: Day 4

Naturally, Leilani wanted to sleep in today. I had to wake her to get her ready for school, and despite the somewhat rocky start, she still got a green card for good behaviour. She did have a slight meltdown, though, as I was picking her up. She cme out with tears streaming down her face, and through her sobs, it took me a while to figure out what she was tring to say. Apparently, the other kids got holiday pencils and she didn't. I asked her if she wanted to talk to the school counselor and tell her what had happened (since she had witnessed the whole meltdown and wanted to help) so Leilani told her and then got to choose a pencil. All was better and we headed home.

Leilani was super excited to open todays Advent package - it was the VeggieTales Nativity Playset. She and Natalia played together for a while, the we read some and danced to Big Band Christmas music. I think Leilani's favorite part was spinning around, and Natalia's seemed to be me boucing around with her. It was a lovely afternoon. After dinner we watched Beauty and the Beast, The Enchanted Christmas Tomorrow's "Late Start Wedsnesday" so I'm going to figure out something fun for breakfast, and Leilani wants to make some fudge so it's ready to eat when she gets home from school.

Feelings

So I'm feeling a bit depressed at the moment, and I have no idea why. Well, maybe I have a tiny idea. It might have something to do with the holidays and family and all that. Don't get me wronge, I love my girls, my husband, my life, I think it's just this time of year. I've been so excited for Christmas and this whole season, and now I feel a bit letdown. I can't shake this "blue-ness"...and I don't want it to pull anybody else down. Leilani's so excited, she wants to open presents right now, go through her stocking, do all the Advent activities at this very moment. And Natalia looks so cute, smiling, babbling, trying to crawl, learning so much, it's fun watching her and interacting with her. And me, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry, I don't know what to do. I'm taking vitamins and supplements, I'm eating healthy, I'm just not sure what's wrong. It may just be a case of the holiday blues.

I wrote all that yesterday (12/3). Today (12/4), after a nearly sleepless night thinking about it all, I think I understand better what's been going on inside me. I want the cozy feelings of my childhood, when I was little and thought te world was a fnatastic place, that my parents had only my best interests at heart, that my parent's love would last through the ages, and that my family was strong and indestructable. Time has taught me differently. My mom controlled nearly every aspect of our lives, manipulated us into becoming who she wanted us to be instead of allowing us to blossom into who we were, forged me into her best friend and made me her sole confidant. No daughter should have to know the things about their mom that I know about mine. I'm sad that my once apparently strong family is now splintered - my parents are divorced; my youngest brother, sister and mom haven't talked to me in what feels like ages (and at this point, because of how they've become, I've asked them to not have anything to do with my family, but that's a whole different post); my dad is remarried; and right now, I just feel kind of alone. I'm in a new city and don't know anyone; because growing up the only option for schooling was homeschooling, I'm feeling like a failure because I enrolled my daughter in school since homeschooling wasn't working. Instead of feeling like I've made a fantastic choice for our family, I'm feeling like I'm not good enough. I know that's my mom's voice from my childhood, telling me I'm "selling out". I mean, growing up, we were supposed to be so convicted about homeschooling that we were willing to die for it. How ridiculous is that? I mean, if you're dead, then you've got absolutely zero influence over your kids, you can't teach them what's important to you, what you believe, so that they can know and make their own decisions, instead, you'd just be gone. Seems legit to me. So maybe, these last few sentences have been me convincing myself (again) that I know I made the right decision about Leilani's schooling. Then there are other things I probably shouldn't blog about, but I just don't know what to do. I have no one here to talk to....Jeremy and I talk about it, sure, but I need a girl friend, someone I can meet for coffee, cry with, all that stuff. Something I've actually never had because, growing up, family was supposed to be IT. Family was supposed to be each others' best friends, and we were trained to never open up to anyone besides mom, dad, or siblings. Growing up, I always wanted a friend, someone besides my mom, but if I said that, all hell would break lose, so I kept my mouth shut. I wanted to go to school, but whenever I mentioned it, I got the same type of response, so I quit saying that after a couple years. I don't know, I know it doesn't help that I'm exhausted from lack of sleep. All this stuff, combined with the fact that Natalia's not night-weaned, has me sort of "zombie-fied" (new word, how do you like that? lol), and I know that's contributing to my mood. I just can't seem to shake it.

Anyway, I'm going to go lay back down with Natalia (we were sort of napping when the inspiration to write hit) and see if I can't grab some zzzz's and improve my mood. This post isn't supposed to be a pity party or cry for sympathy, just a way for me to get my feelings written down, and maybe start making some sense of them.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent: Day 3

This morning, before school, Leilani opened the third envelope - inside was a recipe for cake batter fudge. Leilani couldn't wait to get home to make it. Leilani didn't even want her usual after-school snack, but just wanted to immediately make the fudge. It was a super easy recipe (and something I found on, where else, Pinterest) If you want to check it out or try it for yourself, here's the direct link to the recipe. Leilani had a blast, but no patience waiting for it to chill. Once the fudge was cooling, I threw a couple spaghetti squashes in the oven for dinner. I'm trying a new recipe I found on Food Network's website.

Besides her excitement for making fudge, Leilani wanted to do extra schoolwork/homework, so I pulled out the workbook I bought for her and she went to town. We read a couple chapters of Charlotte's Web and then watched the movie from Netflix - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I have no idea how we got hooked back onto MM, but we did and both Leilani and Natalia love him.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent: Day 2

We tried a new church today, besides being rather far away, it just didn't feel right. When we got home, I made tofu filets - kinda like fish, sorta, and fries. So we had vegan fish 'n chips - I've been wanting fries because I just got some malt vinegar, and that's one of my guilty pleasures *grin*. After dinner, we did our second Advent activity - brownies! Chocolate Surprise Brownies, to be exact. The big surprise is that it's made with black beans - not that you'd know it. They taste fantastic and are one of our favorites. Even my dad, who kinda scoffs at being vegan, LOVES these brownies. It's another stay-at-home-and-be-cozy-and-warm kind of day, so after the brownies get out, I'm going to have a big ol' glass of soymilk and a brownie. YUM!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent: Day 1

Today, after finishing up Leilani's homework and reading some books, Leilani pulled out the folder with the number one on it. It was a recipe for cake mix sugar cookies, which we read through, then made. Leilani had a blast mixing the sprinkles in, them the wet ingredients. While the dough chilled in the refrigerator, Leilani colored, then she and Jeremy put the decorations up outside. I put Natalia in the Moby and took pictures. After dinner, we rolled out and cut the cookie dough. The cookies turned out really cute and taste just like sugar cookies. I didn't get any pictures of the cookies, but some of the decorations. *smiles* A nice day mostly relaxing at home with a lot of family time.

The last picture is of our Advent Activity Bucket




Friday, November 30, 2012

Advent Calender

I've made a kind of Advent Calender I found on, naturally, pinterest. I used the idea of getting a bucket and wrapping up things to do each day, trying to use things I already had so as to not spend too much money. In that strain, we used the packing paper left over from our move, red and green folders we've had for a looonnnggg time, and things lying around the house made into new things.

Each day, we're going to do something fun:

1 - bake cookies
2 - bake brownies
3 - make fudge
4 - play with the Veggie Tales nativity set
5 - make a "year in review" ornament
6 - read a book
7 - red and green playdough
8 - indoor snowball fight
9 - hand print ornament
10 - handprint Christmas trees
11 - Christmas jokes
12 - letter to Santa
13 - read a book
14 - make pine cone birdfeeders
15 - make gingerbread house
16 - make coffee mugs
17 - make snowglobes
18 - make snowflakes
19 - read a book
20 - Christmas bingo
21 - go Christmas light hunting
22 - make gingerbread cookies
23 - read the Christmas story
24 - Christmas Eve box

We're looking forward to having lots of fun this Advent season.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts! Over the past few weeks, a lot has happened for me to be thankful for

-We got a fantastic house with plenty of room. And, much to our surprise, we filled it without having to buy anything lol.

-After my grandpa died and that whole fiasco, the love and support that surrounded me was amazing.

-How much Natalia is growing. She's almost crawling. She gets up on her hands and knees, bucks, bounces, spins and backs up. SOOOOOO close.

-Leilani's love of learning. She loves learning, just not me teaching lol. So I'm also thankful for schools - she's been loving school. The last time I saw her this excited was during VBS when she was with friends and in a "school type" setting. I mean, she's bouncing off the walls she's so excited.

-A fully stocked pantry.

-Our Christmas tree! :)

-Netflix, for keeping Leilani entertained when I'm taking care of Natalia

-Getting all settled in

-Our family hike a couple weeks ago - fun and a real adventure. We took a shortcut that wound up being incredibly steep. While fun, I must admit there were times I was a bit scared, having to use a rope to keep on my feet and to get down then back up with the baby in the Moby - a bit stressful. But fun at the same time. Leilani loved it, and Natalia loved looking around and seeing so much green (we ARE in Washington State, and it's known as the Evergreen State for a reason, have I mentioned it's BEAUTIFUL here? Well, it is!).

-Leilani showing her love for her baby sister - it's so sweet to watch her hug Natalia, talk to her and be concerned when she's crying. Leilani is such a tender and sensitive child.

-Our safe journey here - it was a long trip, but some parts of it were so incredibly beautiful.

-Our first vegan Thanksgiving - it was a huge success, and even though Leilani had a case of the sniffles, we enjoyed all the food (and, for Leilani, the herbal tea for her sniffles)

-Natalia saying her first word "mama". It may be just making sounds, but hey, I'm counting it!

-Getting most of my Christmas shopping done. I can't wait to see Leilani's face Christmas morn, with all the fun stuff. Plus, I"m excited to see Natalia with her gifts - her own toy laptop so she can stop eating mine lol.

-the library. It's been fantastic for finding new books, and fun for Natalia and I.

-the new shop I found yesterday - a quilting/crafting shop, with tons of cross-stitch kits and equipment, plus quilting classes (which I'd love to take, we'll have to see if I can swing it *grin*)

-Natalia's cute personality and milestones - she threw her first tantrum today. Maybe not a huge positive, but it shows she has her own mind and knows what she wants!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Randomness

Just some health photos I've found on the internet. Good things to remember, especially during the holiday season!





Thursday, November 22, 2012

Natalia's First Thanksgiving

We're stuffed to the gills over here - tofurky, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, sweet and salty roasted chickpeas, and pumpkin pie. Not only was this Natalia's first Thanksgiving, but it was her first plate of food. She enjoyed playing with the plate more than eating the food off it. After she dropped the plate a couple times, I quit putting any food on it and she didn't even notice the difference; she just kept happily dropping it, smiling every time she heard it go plunk.

We started off our day with fresh baked cinnamon rolls. Leilani ate one and a half, and Jeremy ate three (I ate two, but we're not telling anyone), so I'm thinking everyone liked them. That was kind of sealed when I was told they were better than my moms. That made me happy *grin*.

The tofurky got mixed reviews. I liked it, Jeremy didn't, and Leilani loved the fact that she could call it turkey and yet it didn't need a turkey to be killed for us to have it. Natalia just threw hers on the floor, as she did all her food.

The mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and dinner rolls were a huge success. Natalia actually had a bite of the potatoes, and a gnaw on the roll. The pumpkin pie and coconut whipped cream were a huge hit, too.

I printed off some Thanksgiving coloring sheets for the girls. Natalia pretty much just banged her crayon thing on to the paper and tried to eat the paper, and Leilani lost interest after a while. A very short while, but at least we got a few cute photos.

After dinner, and before dessert, Natalia settled in for the traditional "after Thanksgiving dinner nap". All that plate dropping, crayon banging, watching mommy cook and nursing really wore her out.

We went through our Thankful Tree and saw what we'd been thankful for over the past month. Here's our list (in no particular order), followed by pictures from our day:

Leilani:
-the world
-the sky
-the Christmas tree
-the water, sun, stars, snacks and ants
-the "Jonah" movie
-having a house, my sister & mommy & daddy
-my sister Natalia, my mommy, and Pippin
-our backyard
-for getting the mail
-the backyard
-the trees
-for our Christmas tree again
-for the hike
-the trees
-the sunshine, hugs from mama, and sister kisses

Me:
-schools
-Leilani had a great first week at school
-Natalia napping in the car
-family time, our beautiful hike and the Moby
-Leilani learning and getting worksheet practice
-Leilani's 1st day of school and getting time with Natalia
-doing crafts with Leilani
-my two beautiful little girls
-being able to make choices
-naps
-sleeping in
-my friend and her help and advice about schools and family, right when I needed it
-the amber teething necklace and technology for getting things taken care of
-a good nights' sleep
-putting up the tree








Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Baking Day

Today, I knocked out the rest of my baking - coconut whipped cream (sooooooooo yummy - Natalia loved it too, she licked the spoon clean!), vegan cream cheese frosting for the cinnamon rolls, vegan green bean casserole (made the cream of mushroom soup, which was super easy and tasty), dinner rolls (my wonderful husband bought me the dry container for my vitamix, so I used it to make my rolls, so much fun *smiles*). Tomorrow morning, I'll bake the cinnamon rolls for breakfast, then start the Tofurky, get the green bean casserole to room temp to bake, make mashed potatoes and gravy. I know tomorrow's probably going to be a little emotional, it being my first Thanksgiving without family, but I'm excited to get to try so much new stuff and I'm focusing on the positive.

I had to stop by the store - again! - to get some olive oil and I got some guacamole, which I gave to Natalia while I did some baking. She was a mess, but had such a blast with it. We also went to the library (I think Wednesdays may become our library day) - I had a few books on order (Magic School Bus for Leilani) and found a guide to Doctor Who episodes. I have a book for me on order - JKR's new book The Casual Vacancy which I'm excited to read.

I made a lovely present for my in-laws today, but since I know they read this, I'll not say what it is - just know that I think they'll love it *grin*.

Leilani has mixed feelings about no school for four days, she wants to go to school but is excited to not only have so much time off, but eat all the yummy food I've been baking and put all the Christmas decorations up outside.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Leilani's Thanksgiving Book

The Thanksgiving book they made in class today (and I would never have come up with something like this) (also, page 5 wouldn't scan, but it had a fish, an ear of corn and said "Friendly Native Americans showed the Pilgrims how to catch fish, pick berries and plant corn")





(insert imaginary picture of fish, corn and a berry with the text "Friendly native Americans showed the Pilgrims how to catch fish, pick berries and plant corn")


Leilani's also been singing this little ditty they learning in school today
Way up high, in the apple tree
Five red apples smiled at me
I shook the tree as I could
Down came the apples, mmmm, they were good
Pretty much non-stop, but she sounds so cute when singin *smile*

Leilani's been having a fantastic time. And I've been using the extra time to a)keep my sanity, b)play one-on-one with Natalia c) clean, and d) get my Thanksgiving baking taken care of. So far, it seems to be a win-win for all involved *smile*

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Monday

Well, it's Monday again, and that means Leilani's back to school - she's been wanting to have pumpkin pie, so after Natalia and I got home (and napped) we made one big pumpkin pie and a dozen individual pumpkin pies to fit in her lunchbox. To make the individual pies, I just used a cookie cutter and put the crust into a muffin tin. The pumpkin pie turned out super yummy! Vegan and easy to make, even Natalia loved the filling - she ate her entire spoonfull *smiles* I had a hard time making myself stop eating the little pies, I never knew I liked pumpkin pie before.

Speaking of Natalia eating - she loves crackers, she gums those little things to death. And while we're on the Natalia subject - she has the most beautiful smile. Her eyes light up and shine. She loves it when I read to her and she has this absolutely adorable way of bouncing up and down to try to get ones attention when she wants to be picked up. While sitting on the couch next to me, she grabs onto my arm and bounces into a standing position. She's crawling backwards super fast, and occasionally taking a tiny scoot forward. She's just weeks from actually crawling.

Leilani had a bit of homework tonight, which we knocked out as soon as she got home. Leilani loved the pumpkin pie, and has been eating tons of bananas all day. She's still loving school, but was a bit disappointed today, since it was raining, they couldn't play on the playground but instead had to play in the covered area. She said it was too loud and she couldn't hear the bell, but was so sad she didn't get to play longer. (Her exact wording, there) We've been reading a chapter of Charlotte's Web a night, and she got her first book from the school library today, which made her incredibly excited! She loves books so much, which makes me happy, too. Yesterday, she read the first BOB book, with just a bit of help. Natalia was fascinated by her sister reading to her.

Tomorrow I'm planning on making cinnamon rolls, which I'll bake Thursday morning, then I'm going to make dinner rolls. I'm really excited to have my first vegan Thanksgiving - I've wanted to try a Tofurky for years, and now I finally get to *smiles*.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday

I can't believe how quickly we're adjusting to Leilani going to school. She wants to leave earlier and earlier. Natalia and I are having a good time having one-on-one time. Today I've managed to get the kitchen and dining room mostly clean, done some dishes, and laundry.

I gave Natalia a bath today - I did let her bathe a bit longer than five minutes, I put Aveeno baby eczema oatmeal bath stuff in it. She was just so happy, grinning, splashing and playing, I decided I'd just slather her up with extra lotion. She had a little turtle toy that she was banging into the water, then she hit a duck with it. When the duck fell over she turned it right side up to knock it over again. It's safe to say, she thoroughly enjoyed her bath.

I've decided to start using the green/yellow/red ticket system at home. Leilani's teacher uses it, and Leilani's so excited toi get green tickets, because when she gets ten of them she'll get a special prize out of the treasure chest. It makes her so excited that I think it's going to help her behave well at home. I'm not sure what sorts of prizes I'll use, but I'm thinking something along the lines of mommy-daughter dates, extra TV time, little things like that, that would make her super happy and wanting to obey.

Leilani's been doing brilliantly - she got a green ticket everyday this week! Jeremy got home early, so he was here when I brought Leilani home. He asked her if she'd learned anything today, and she said "no". He said "well maybe we shouldn't send you to school, then". Leilani had the brilliant response "I don't get sended like I package, I get taken to school!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Going to School

Yesterday was Leilani's first day at a real school. She loved it, and did pretty well, too. There were a couple mishaps were she got into the wrong line (and consequently wrong classroom), but other wise did pretty fantastic. Did I mention she loved it? She gets to play on the playground with lots of kids, has structure, and wants to get ten green tickets to get a prize out of the treasure chest, which means she's obeying and not whining. At least, as of day two, she is *smiles*.

She loves getting her backpack and lunch bag (both of which are Hello Kitty) and taking them. She loves wearing her backpack so much she wore it in the car this morning, while buckled. She loves having a say in what's going to be in her lunchbox (today it was a heart-shaped sandwich - she wants a pumpkin shaped one for tomorrow). She likes having her name on everything, too *grin*.

When she gets home, she's all tired and hungry, so she gets a snack, which makes her awfully excited, too. Today, after her snack, we put candy canes up on the tree then read a few books.

Natalia and I have had some fun bonding time, too. We've read books, played with toys, giggled and watched some Sesame Street. I also got the living room straightened and vacuumed! I got most of my Thanksgiving shopping done, I just need to grab a few things from the grocery store that the super Wal-Mart doesn't carry (like vegan cream cheese and silken tofu). I also did some Christmas shopping today - it'll be nice to actually be able to surprise Leilani this year, since she's not going shopping with me.

Today, for me, was a bit harder than yesterday. As I watched Leilani go into the school, a lump jumped up my throat. Yesterday was all excitement, today was more emotional. I think it seems more "real" today.

It'll be fun seeing how she grows, how Natalia and I do, and where life takes us. It's the beginning of a new path on our journey!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Past Week in Status Updates

November 4 - Natalia loves Marmite...go figure lol

Day 4: I'm thankful for the beauty of nature. We went on a hike, collected a few seashells from the Sound, used a rope to go down and then back up some steep areas, and enjoyed the beauty around us and the time together. All with Natalia in the Moby - something else I'm thankful for :)

November 5 - Day 5: I'm thankful for Natalia's new amber necklace - best night of sleep we've had in who knows how long! She's only had it for 12 hours, and already acts like she's in less teething pain.

insurance....such a pain.

Doctor Who!

November 6 - Day 6: I'm thankful for the ability to get out and vote. Even though I voted early with an absentee ballot. Voting, it's an amazing thing!

Natalia's at the age thaat she loves being thrown into the air, but she's so heavy I can't do it for long...20 lbs is a lot to toss up repeatedly lol

let the fun begin - Leilani broke the first ornament of the season and is having incredible tearful remorse.

November 7 - Day 7: I'm thankful for friends and family who love me, help me as I work through the crazy stuff from my past, talk to me and listen to my complaints and problems. I value you guys so much! Thank you all for being there and helping me.

Okay, Dora, if you're going to teach my kid Spanish, at least teach it correctly

Well, now I know why Vesuvius blew, thanks to Doctor Who. Also, I'm not much fond of Donna. And I can't wait to watch the next episode: "If your ood is happy, then you're happy" Yep, I'm officialy a Whovian :)

November 8 - well, it's official. We just went school supply shopping, I'm filling out the registration and Leilani should start on Tuesday. She's so excited she's bouncing off the walls and has been talking non-stop for three days now. Not that that behaviour is in any way out of the norm, it's just been amplified lol

Day 8: This one’s gonna seem strange to those of you who’ve never been in my situation, but I’m thankful for the ability to make choices. Choosing which brand of peanut butter, pasta, sauces, etc.; choosing what to make for dinner; choosing what brand of diapers and type of diapers to use on Natalia; choosing a doctor; choosing my beliefs; choosing how to school my kids; when to put up the tree, all sorts of things. It’s an amazing thing, especially when your whole life has been controlled down to the type of toilet to buy. Choices are amazing things. And until that right has been taken away, you don’t realize how important it is.

November 9 - Day 9 : I'm thankful the registration is done and Leilani definitely starts school on Tuesday. She is beyond excited!

November 10 - Day 10: I'm thankful for my husband, Jeremy. He helps out around the house A LOT(awesome, I know) and this morning he kept Leilani occupied and quiet so Natalia and I could sleep in. Thanks, honey. I love you ♥

well, Natalia's crawling, just the wrong way. She can do a backwards scoot pretty darn fast :)

vegan egg nog, roasted chickpeas with cayenne pepper and the Avengers. :)

November 11 - Day 11: I'm thankful for central heating on this cold day. Brrrr.

migraine, migraine, go away
don't come again another day!

November 12 - Day 12: thankful for well checkups, doctors, and meds :)

Natalia got ahold of the Wii remote and decideed we needed to watch Andy Griffith, it had barely loaded when she decided "nah", fast forwarded through the whole thing, and has been browsing through the movie options since lol

Poor Natalia, did NOT like her shots, plus she has incredibly dry skin so I have to get different eczema cream for her - hopefully this one will work! But I think the worst part is, that now she's only supposed to bathe 3 times a week for no more than 5 minutes a bath, and she LOVES baths :/ Poor baby, it's not been a fantastic day for her

Oh, yeah, Natalia is in the 95th percentile for both height and weight. I knew she was a big baby lol

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Setting Up the Tree

I told you I'm seriously in the Christmas mood! We set our tree up today, Jeremy and Leilani set the tree up while I cooked and took care of Natalia, then Leilani put up most of the ornaments with occasional help from me, Jeremy, and even Natalia (who more chewed ornaments rather than putting them up, but still...). Now Leilani's ready to wrap presents and put them under the tree *grin*

I eventually want to do once-a-month cooking, but for now, whenever I make a meal, I'm making double and freezing the second batch. Just trying to do little things to make life a bit easier.

Natalia's been ALMOST crawling all day. She gets up on her hands and knees and bounces, turns circles, and kicks. She's so close!

I know we did more than that, today, but the day got a bit derailed by Leilani throwing a massive fit and spending a lot of time in time-out. It sort of works, time outs. I'm not really sure what works with her, I just know that this isn't a particularly fun aspect of parentingh, but an incredibly necessary one.

Bnh jbn7vnmn87m - this is Natalia's contribution to today's post *grin*

We're still doing our Thankful Tree, it'll be fun to go over it on Thanksgiving and see what we've been thankful for :).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween pt 2

Well the church thing was a bust....it was more of a haunted house than a trunk or treat, so we walked around the neighborhood and Leilani had a blast ringing doorbells and saying "Trick or Treat" and "happy Halloween". She also sang a halloween song she learned from Little Einsteins, which got her two pieces of candy *grin* Natalia was so cute, dressed as a unicorn. Both girls' looked adorable! Leilani had a couple suckers and some crackers, and tomorrow she's going to get to choose a few pieces to keep. And yes, before you ask, I did raid her candy bucket...a parents' privilege, right?


All in all, a pretty good Halloween - now, on to Christmas!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween pt 1

I started off the day by making Leilani the breakfast she wanted - pumpkin shaped pancakes (used the "bisquick" mix I made the other day). I had no syrup, so macerated some strawberries for a fresh fruit syrup.

After breakfast, we knocked school out because I'd told Leilani she couldn't put her costume on until she was done with school. So school pretty much took no time flat. We all donned our costumes (mine is literally just a witch hat) and headed off to WalMart. I've been getting most of our fruits and veggies frozen, because they're cheaper and more economical. I mean, if I don't use an entire bell pepper, I've just thrown away money, but if I have pepper strips, I can just pull out what I need, no waste.

I had all the best intentions of making Natalia's baby food, but reality is biting me in the butt - Natalia won't let me put her down long enough to make her food. I wound up buying the best option they had, organic, and on the vegan options, it even says vegan, how cool is that? After I got all the groceris put away, I un-costumed Natalia and fed her. I've never seen a baby so excited to eat "real" food.

Staying in our vegan-ness, did you know oreos are vegan? Well, they are, and it's Halloween, so I got Leilani and I each a small pack. You know, the individual size servings. Hardly healthy, I know, but it's probably going to be my only treat today. And Leilani can eat hardly any of the candy she'll be getting, what with dyes and animal products and all. I'll proably relax the animal product thing, but can't really relax the dye thing, since she seems to be allergic to them.

We're planning on going to a trunk or treat at a church that's down the road. It should be fun, and I'm hoping it's mostly indoors since it's supposed to be raining off and on all day. I'll blog about that tomorrow, and have pictures :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thankful Tree

I made another project I found on Pinterest. I just went off the picure on the pin, didn't actually go to the website it was from, but if you want to check out the original, it's here. I'm doing mine a bit different, since I don't have the time to sit down and cut out all the leaves at once, we're going to put the leaves up each night and I'll cut them as we need them. Each day during November, we're going to each write something we're thankful for and tape it up, then on Thanksgiving, we'll go through them and see what we've been happy about over the past month.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Living Frugally

We're trying to cut our expenses, so we can get out of debt and start some savings. In the spirit of frugalness, I've been doing all sorts of money saving activities.

First, I've been making our own bread, well, until my bread maker conked out on me. Right after I threw out the sourdough starter, of course. Then, since we eat quite a few beans and bean products, instead of buying cans of beans, I bought dried beans in bulk on amazon, and have been cooking beans everyday in my slow cooker for the past five days. I figured that I'll save around $150 over the course of the beans' life. That adds up to quite a significant savings! I also want to avoid cans because of the BPA in the lining, I don't want to put that into any of our bodies. SO between trying to save money and cut out icky chemicals, I have my work cut out for me *grin*. I made my own "bisquick" mix today, it only took about 3 minutes.

I've also been reworking our leftovers into new meals. Like on Saturday I made baked potatoes with "cheezee" sauce and broccoli,so Sunday I took the potatoes, cubed them, tossed them with some frozen broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots and squash and roasted them. Then today, I took what was leftover from that, seperated out the potatoes and blended them with some soy milk, mixed it all back together, heated it through and - waalaa! - potato-vegetable soup.

Then, I'm going to use all our boxes left from the move to make different decorations and artwork to put up around the house.

Basically, I'm just trying to look at things we don't use on an everyday basis and see how I can rework them into something we need and would use more often. And eliminate as much waste as possible. It's a good exercise for all of us in being content with what we have and creativity.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Girls' Bathroom

The girls' bathroom already had a jungle theme - from the previous tenants, I guess - so I decided to just go with that. I had pinned some silhouette things on Pinterest so decided to use that idea to spruce up the room and make it more relaxing. I cut out eight elephant silhouettes and hung four to a ribbon, then cut out a monkey, giraffe head, parrot and lion head silhouettes and put them in some frames with a backdrop of some of Leilani's art from when she was littler. It's definitely original :) The shower curtain and border were already up, and the lion trashcan and monkey cup were left here, too, so got incorporated :)






I'm not sure how I feel about the lion head, I think it looks more like a bush, but I think the rest of it turned out cute :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Show-and-Tell Saturday

Natalia has started doing this hug thing. She puts her arms around my neck and holds tight, it's so cute. She also knows who she wants and when. Like if Jeremy's holding her and she wants me, she'll lean as far away from him as she can and reach for me. Or if he's holding her and trying to give her to me and she doesn't want me, she leans into him and away from me. Or vice versa. If she wants you to pick her up while she's sitting on the ground, she'll lean far forward and put her arms behind her, almost like she's trying to take off. She's a bit sneaky, too. Like if I put her down to go take care of something really quickly, she'll send up a cry like she's hurt or scared to get me to come running and give me the hugest grin when she sees me. Almost like "you've been punked, mama". She also gave her first kiss Thursday night. As soon as daddy got home she went to him and puckered her lips and leaned forward.

Leilani's adding 1's, 2's and 3's and seeming to love it. She's also blending a few consonanats with short vowels. She learned five new sounds this past week. We made an obstacle course on Thursday using our little exercise trampoline, kiddie picnic table, kiddie lawn chairs and small slide. We jumped on the trampoline, went over the picnic table, weaved in and out of the chairs and went up and down the slide. Afterwards we made a strawberry banana smoothie. Leilani's new favorite game is sliding down the stairs. She's pretty fast! Nothing like stairs to keep a five-year-old occupied.

I decided to scrap the sourdough starter. It was too much work, especialy since using the breadmaker I can throw together a loaf in three minutes while holding a baby, then push a button, and forget about it. For where I am right now, it's what works.

I did some stuff I'd pinned on Pinterest...the girls' bathroom has a jungle/safari theme, so I cut out silhouettes of a giraffe head, lion head, parrot and monkey to put along one wall; then I cut out elephant silhouettes to put on the other wall. Once I get my camera charged I'll see if it's working (it, too, got water spilled on it) and get some photos of the finished project.

I made baked potatoes with broccoli and "cheese" sauce for dinner - quick, easy and cheap :). Leilani loved the sauce, she was eating it by the spoonful.

We're slowly getting through the boxes. The kitchen, living room and dining room are box-free. Finally. I have about six boxes left in the library/school room. I've found a few more toy boxes, so the playroom nearly has all its toys in it. I've been working on a cleaning schedule to keep the house clean, something nice and easy so I'll actually do it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Funny Card

As I was unpacking the whole half a box I got done today, I came across a card my grandpa gave me for my graduation from Le Cordon Bleu. It was probably the cheeriest card I've ever received *heavy sarcasm*. It reads:
Dear Elizabeth,
Congratulations on your graduation. I'm sure sometimes you felt it would never happen, but you kept going. Your grandma was watching over you all the way. On to bigger and better things, and it may not get much easier.
Love from both of us,
Grandma and Grandpa

Actually, for my grandpa, that was a really sweet, sentimental and optimistic card.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Addition

Today, we tackled addition. Yikes, I'm so not ready for this! Fortunately it was 0+0=0 and 1+0=1. But I'm still having a hard time believing my little girl is old enough for addition!

I got a few more boxes done this morning since Natalia slept in. They're broken down, put in the garage and everything! I'm to the point that I just can't stand the boxes anymore, but still can't get them put away since Natalia's always wanting me to hold her. Not moby her, that's not good enough apparently, but actually hold. And as I keep reminding myself "Babies don't keep". I made up for it by putting her down to nap (which means shorter naps) and getting stuff done. So really, I'm feeling pretty good about the amount I got done. We even walked down to the mailbox. Leilani complained that she was chilly, so I taught her a new word - "nippy". She then said "nippy" the rest of our walk.

I took the taco "meat" from the other day and the cheezee mac from yesterday and mixed them together to make a casserole. Threw it in the oven and topped it with some bread crumbs and tada! Less waste :).

Speaking of less waste/saving money, I finally found all the cloth diapers. While it was nice having the military move us, the packers put the cloth diapers and wipe in three - yes, three - different boxes. I was getting pretty frustrated, trying to find everything.

I found the Christmas stockings my sister-in-law crocheted for the girls, so yesterday I stitched their names on them and I'm planning on putting trees and other things on them. I think it's so awesome my girls will have hand made stockings from their aunt. And yes, before you ask, I'm so ready for Christmas! Now that we have room, I can't wait to put up the tree, decorations and everything. Do you think the day after Hallowe'en is too soon?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Busy Day

We managed to keep pretty busy today. That sourdough starter I started just a few days ago is already ready to use. I must've made some really strong wild yeast! So this morning, I made up a batch of sourdough bread and refrigerated the starter, because I don't think we're going to be making that much bread! Leilani knocked her school out fairly quickly (the promise of hair gel and Backyardigans when she finished really worked lol).

We made Cheezee Mac for lunch, added in some frozen pea and diced tomatoes for a bit more nutrients. Leilani ate two bowls, so I'm guessing it was a big hit. We'll probably be eating it for the next few days, as it made a HUGE batch.

After lunch, we made pumpkin brownies, something I found on Pinterest. Just take a can of pumpkin and a box of brownie mix and waalaa - pumpkin brownies. We did amp ours up a bit by using a pumpkin cookie cutter to make them truly pumpkin brownies. They were a bit chewy, more like fudge, but turned out really cute.

The bread tasted amazing, just like sourdough should. And it's whole grain, so less guilt *grin*

Both the girls have new favorite shows (yay for Netflix...mommy has new favorite shows, too). Leilanis is Wonder Pets (not my favorite, but the melodies and harmonies are pretty good) and Natalias is Sesame Street (big surprise, right?). My new favorite shows, well, there are quite a few - Doctor Who, Downton Abby, Sherlock Holmes and Lost.

Anyway, we're off to watch some Sesame Street.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

More Unpacking....

We've been slowly unpacking. I'm still working on the library/school room. Natalia will only let me put her down for like five minutes at a time, which means I don't get a lot unpacked before I'm holding her again. I ordered a jump-a-roo, which should get her by the middle of the week, and I'm hoping that will buy me time to actually unpack and put away.

Honestly, as I look around, I wonder how on earth we managed to fit all this into a tiny two bedroom apartment, and then I remember, we were tripping over stuff and around half of it was in the garage. It's so nice to have room to spread out and have everything in its own place!

I made a sourdough starter a few days ago, and it's going quite nicely. I've fed it once, (last night) and it's doubled in size, so the wild yeast is nice and strong. I'm going to feed it again before I go to bed, and hopefully we'll be having fresh sourdough bread pretty soon!

Leilani and I got our hair cut yesterday....Leilani's hair chopping of the other day led to an unexpected pixie cut for her, and the anticipated pixie cut for me. I've gotta say, I love my new 'do. Leilani looks super cute in hers, too. All her hair was hiding it, but she has great cheekbones *grin*

Natalia ate some baked potato for dinner. I was going to make tacos, but after I made the veggie meat (seasoned already, naturally), shredded the lettuce and diced the tomato, I realized "hey, I don't have any tortilas or shells" so I baked up some potatoes and used the taco fillings as toppings. Natalia loved her quarter of a potato...ate the entire quarter, actually! Then she topped it off with some breastmilk and took a little nap :).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Playroom Done!

Today my new washer and dryer were delivered! The first thing I washed (with the sanitize cycle) were Natalia's diapers. I was ridiculously excited to get them nice and clean. Then I washed the clothes. Super exciting, right? But since the appliances were supposed to be delivered between 9 and 11 I kind of wasted my morning waiting and playing on the computer. I made up for it, though, by getting the playroom done (besides the few boxes that are in the wrong places, so are yet to be found). I got some done in the library/school room, too. Hopefully I'll get that room all done tomorrow. Especially since I'm planning on starting school back up on Monday.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Unpacking

It's hard unpacking boxes all by yourself. Jeremy had to go in to work (big surprise, righ?) so I was on my own with the girls and around three hundred boxes. Since I got most of the kitchen done yesterday, I decided that today I'd concentrate on the play room so Leilani'd have a place to play, especially after yesterday (which I'll
get to in a minute). I got through about fifteen or so boxes, and now the room looks like it qualifies as a national disaster area. I'm organizing as I go, so it's taking me a bit longer, but in the end will save me a lot of time. Well, as long as Natalia isn't as clingy as she was today.

Now, about yesterday. I guess Leilani decided Rapunzel and her long tresses were just so last city because she came out from behind some boxes and announced she'd cut her hair. At first I didn't take her seriously, thinking she just meant she wanted either me to cut it or to go get it cut. I continued unpacking and Jeremy continued taking care of Natalia. A bit later, Leilani came out again, and said the same time. This time, I actually looked at her. What she had done wasn't so much cut her hair as it was chop. It's butchered. It doesn't even reach her shoulders anymore. And in some places it's as short as Jeremy's. Or Natalia's for that matter. We're going to have to go to a salon to get it styled. Since I've been wanting to get a pixie cut, I'll get mine done at the same time.

Today we got paid (finally!) so had to restock our pantry. I know I made Jeremy's day by waiting until he got home to go shopping, but I figured with the girls and the amount of stuff I needed to get, there was no way I was going to be able to do it with one cart or by myself. So we now have a full pantry. Well, almost, I decided amazon's prices were better for beans, some nuts, and other things, so they'll be arriving sometime next week. I did use a trick I found on Pinterest to keep the fridge clean. We'll see how it works. I took Glad Press 'n Seal and put it on the shelves to keep the fridge itself clean and cut down on cleaning time, because all I'll have to do is peel the old stuff up and put new stuff done. Should be easy-peasy *grin*

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Exhausting Day

The movers arrived bright and early with all our stuff. Jeremy took the inventory while I directed boxes to their proper homes. Because of the pay issue (which is almost resolved) we were running low on food, so I bundled the girls up and we ran to get bread (this WalMart has the coolest vegan bread!), peanut butter, jelly, apples, bananas and almonds. We now have food to eat, even if it's the same thing again *grin*

Then I found out my grandpa died so spent the whole afternoon trying to find out if that were true or not. It is. And my owm mother didn't let me or any of the family know. So I've been dealing with that on top of having to unpack and get things put away.

I'm exhausted. Hopefully a good nights' sleep will help me feel better.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting All Moved In

Tomorrow, all our stuff will be delivered! I cannot wait until we get all our stuff and get completely settled in!

Today, we had to get a washer and dryer because the house didn't have one, and we desperately need one. No way can I go to a landromat with dirty diapers every two days. We got one that sanitizes, so Natalia's diapers can be super duper clean.

I've figured out what each room is going to be...there's a room on the main floor that counts as the fifth bedroom, but really seems more like an office, and I'm going to use it as our library/school room. There are four bedrooms upstairs, obviously, one is the Master suite. The 5-piece master bathroom has an absolutely amazing soaking tub. I've already tried it out, naturally. The walk-in closet is nearly as big as Leilani's tiny bedroom at our old apartment. There are three other bedrooms upstairs, one has it's own bathroom, and that one will be our guest room (and I'll also use it for yoga and pilates and stuff, after all, I don't think I'll be having stay-over guests every day). The other two bedrooms will be the playroom and girls' room. The bathroom between them already has a border with safari animals, the matching shower curtain, and trash can.

Downstairs there is also the great room, a decent sized living/family room, gourmet-type kitchen, with all black appliances (a side-by-side fridge/freezer, electric stove, microwave, and very new and very awesome dishwasher), a dining area, laundry room/pantry and garage. I love this house. It even has a medium sized back yard! And, the price is really fantastic, cheaper than some of the smaller houses we were looking at. Granted, it's a bit farther away from work, but I think that's a fair price to pay (especially since I'm not the one driving it *cheeky grin*)