It's February. My birthday is tomorrow. And I am SO GLAD!
You guys, January was no joke. Thinking back, I say that every. single. year. This year was no different. Nothing major, just every little thing that could go wrong did, and it was obnoxious. But now it's February! So from now on, I say that February first is when I begin my new year.
Happy New Year! Last year I hopped on the bandwagon of picking a word/words for the new year. For 2014 I chose peace, joy, and simplicity. It felt really good to focus on those things all year. I feel like peace and simplicity were really present in my mind through the year. Joy was there, but it was sort of in the background. This year, I'm going another way and it feels a little like returning to my roots. For 2015, my words are INTENTION and ACTION.
I love the idea of living intentionally, making decisions based on my values. Sometimes it feels like life is just happening to me. Slowing down to really consider the daily choices I make and how they fit in with my larger beliefs is a goal I have for 2015. I think this process will bring me tons of joy!
I've been missing action lately. Not the kind of action that comes with having a two year old boy...I have plenty of that! I mean action that comes from inside myself. Action from a place of belief. I used to actively DO THINGS to make a positive impact on the world. Since taking a child-care leave from my teaching job, I haven't been doing much outside of my role as wife/mom. That has been awesome up until now, focusing on my family and making positive changes to the way that we live in the world as a unit. Now, though, I'm closer to where I want to be in the realm of family and I'm ready to radiate out a little more. So there is my other goal for 2015.
Anyone else picking words for the year? How about voting to skip January altogether and just start each year with February? That can't be just me!
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Some days are fantastic.
This was not one of those days.
It wasn’t a terrible day. Not the worst day we’ve ever had, by a long shot. Actually, no one really even cried. Nope, it was just a regular kind of day. The TV was on way too much for my liking. Alice refused to nap and made an incredible racket building a fort with the furniture in her bedroom. The living room was a disaster. All. Day. Long.
A regular day. Far from beautiful, nothing creative, and chalked full of the small annoyances of life. As I filled a pot with water to boil for our (unremarkable) spaghetti dinner, something dawned on me. This is exactly the sort of day that I will remember years from now. I will remember Ethan saying “No no no” every time anyone asked something, because he is almost two and that is pretty much all he says all day long (except for “GUH GUH!” when he demands to nurse). I will remember both kids chasing each other with sticks, knowing in my mind that it was sure to end badly. I will remember glancing at the clock every five minutes or so, counting the minutes until my husband calls to say he is on the train coming home. Parenting at 6pm is SO MUCH EASIER when you’ve got back-up.
Yes. A regular day. It’s not exactly how I wanted it to be, but there wasn’t anything that I regret. I was here at home, with my kids, thinking often of my husband. I didn’t yell and the kids didn’t fight. At the end of this ordinary day, I am grateful that we are all healthy and safe, because that basic security is not a given for every family.
So tonight, I will do what I presume most mamas are doing. I will tuck in my babies, read some stories and sing a bunch of lullabies (or, more accurately, the same lullaby a bunch of times). I will kiss their foreheads and think about tomorrow. I will shake my head at the dishes in the sink, walk past the mountains of laundry to be folded, and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. After all, maybe tomorrow will be as ordinary as today. And wouldn’t that be awesome?
Monday, July 28, 2014
Slowly, slowly I am inching myself back towards being vegan again. I was vegan beginning in college and it lasted for a good 9 years. It was such a huge part of my identity, affecting everything from the food I ate to the shoes I wore. My reasons then were purely animal rights related, but at this point it’s much more. The reason I stopped being vegan was because, during that season of my life, I fell back on highly processed convenience foods (lots of ‘tofurky’ and frozen burritos). At this point, I know more about how to cook real food from local sources and I have much more time to plan and prepare nutritious meals. In an effort to move slowly (read: not crash and burn), I’m simply creating vegetarian options for myself in this week’s plan. My family isn’t with me on this just yet, but that’s totally fine. Free thinkers and all :)
Plain yogurt with fresh berries (and a little maple syrup) mixed in
Cereal or granola and fruit on the side
Eggs (for the kids), sesame banana berry smoothie for me
Falafel with hummus, tabouli and tzatziki
Homemade veggie burgers and salad (I'm making the burgers less spicy for kids)
Beans and rice
Tuesday- Tacos (black bean for me, ground turkey for the rest of the fam)
Wednesday- Spaghetti (with meatballs for the family), bread, salad
Thursday- ‘Tofu Joes’* and roasted veggies
Friday- Pizza and salad
Snacks are chia pudding, homemade granola bars, and lots of veggies/pita dipped in hummus. I also found a recipe for vegan chocolate chipcookies that I want to try!
*Tofu Joes are something that I thought my friend and I invented when all we had in the cupboard was barbeque sauce, peanut butter and tofu. Turns out, it’s an actual thing from the cookbook Let Them Eat Vegan and the author calls it BBQ Sunflower Tofu. My version is literally to cook some extra firm tofu, dump in some BBQ sauce, and then spoon in creamy peanut butter until I like the consistency. Then I put it on some burger buns and it’s like a vegan sloppy joe! Oh man, I can’t wait for Thursday.
So what are you eating this week? Any thoughts on vegetarianism?
Friday, July 25, 2014
I’m having one of those days. Everyone in my house is a little grumpy because we didn’t sleep well last night. Luckily it’s “Freedom Friday” and we have a completely empty schedule, so I can sit here on the couch during nap time and chill! I’ve got Bob Marley on Pandora. I’ve got some chips and extra hot organic salsa to snack on. Ahhhh, feeling better already!
Since I grabbed a few minutes for blogging today, a Friday Five seemed like a quick task. Here are five things I’m enjoying these days:
1. BOOK: Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider. This book is so incredible. If you are at all interested in simplifying your life, it’s a must read. Tsh Oxenreider is the main lady in charge of theartofsimple.net, a fantastic blog. She has lived a very interesting life full of travel, humanitarian work, and writing. She is also a homeschooling mom of three kids. Her ideas and thoughts are practical and fun to read. Check it out from the library!
2. MOVIE: Tiny- A Story About Living Small. I found this little documentary on Netflix a couple of weeks ago. It’s a cute, slow story of a guy and his girlfriend building a tiny house on a trailer (so they don’t have to worry about building codes). Have you heard about tiny houses? It’s actually a thing. This movie made me look around my house, again, and think about why in the world I have so much STUFF.
3. CD: Ozomatli presents OZO KIDS. This CD is super cool! It’s a kids’ cd, but doesn’t really sound like it. Good, rockin music for summer driving (including Moose on the Loose, which gets stuck in my head all the time).
4. ART: wet on wet watercolors. I found this technique on a Waldorf blog last month and we’ve been using it every Friday since then. Basically, you soak some heavy watercolor/marker paper for a little while and then paint on in with watercolors. The result is very soft and lovely. Alice loves to see what happens to the lines she makes they sort of melt into each other.
5. PLACE: The pool! I know, I know, shocker right? But really, this is kind of a new development since taking two kids under five to the pool by myself has just recently stopped making me a nervous wreck. The trick is snacks. Ethan will sit next to me on the towel and eat popcorn or berries while I watch Alice play in the kiddie pool. When he’s ready to go in, we can all venture into the wave pool (so cool- the waves are turned on every 10 minutes or so) and splash around together. This method is much more relaxing than arriving at the pool and having 2 kids immediately run in opposite directions.
What are some of your favorites these days? I’m always looking for suggestions. Happy Friday!
*Please note: this post contains no affiliate links because I have no affiliates :) I just linked to things so they were easy for you to find! If I ever affiliate with anyone, I'll let you know!
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I’m changing up the format of these posts…simplicity, people!
Breakfasts this week are:
- Plain whole milk yogurt with berries and a little maple syrup mixed in
- French toast (with homemade bread)
- Scrambled eggs
- Pancakes on Sunday
Lunches will hopefully be:
- Make your own tacos with beans, cheese and tortillas
- Stir fry with tofu, veggies and rice noodles
- Pepperoni, cheese and crackers
- Peanut butter and banana slices on crackers
- Broccoli cheese egg bake
Monday- Whole chicken (the cayenne pepper makes this AMAZING) and veggies in the crock pot, rice
Tuesday- Spaghetti and meatballs with bread and a salad
Wednesday- Braised chicken and spring veggies, rice
Thursday- Spinach, bean and cheese enchiladas
Friday- Homemade pizza and a salad
Saturday night we have a BBQ and Sunday is leftovers night.
A few notes
-I haven’t bought sandwich bread since I started baking my own whole wheat bread about 2 months ago! We make a couple of loaves each week and I pretty much melt from joy each time I slice off some freshly baked bread and spread a little strawberry-rhubarb jam from the farmers market on.
-I do buy the bread that we use with pasta, though. I discovered the half-baked loaves at Trader Joe’s and my family absolutely loves them. So they come in a pack of two and we use one a week. They keep well in the fridge, FYI.
-I’ve started making two pizzas each Friday so that we can have some leftovers in case of munchies during the week. Also in case the hubs is running late for work, he can still have something to grab for lunch
-Alice is now eating 2 bowls of salad each Friday, and only one slice of pizza…this makes me super happy. Not cus she’s eating so much salad, but because I can eat more pizza now! *Just kidding. Sort of.
Happy meal planning! What’s on your menu?