Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kid Convos: February 2015

This is more for me, so that I can remember some of the silly things the kids say.

I apologize to anyone who comes across this if the dialogue is a little bit TMI for you.


George: Mommy, I need diaper.
Me: What do you need a diaper for? Do you need to make stinky?
George: Nooooooo. No stinky.
Me: Are you going to go and take a nap?
George: Nooooooo. No nap.
Me: Then no diaper. You need to wear big boy underwear.
George: No, not big boy underwear. I need diaper!
Me: What do you need a diaper for?
George: I wear my diaper and go be so warm with my blankey and watch movie.


Me: Hi, Liam!
Liam: *baby sounds*
George: Mommy, Liam no talk. He need baawees (batteries).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Week in Review: Bird Watching and More Snow


We experienced more snow this week. This time it was of the fluffy variety, rather than the icy stuff we had last week. Before the snow came, we had a few visitors in our backyard. George called me to the back door to look at the birds. He does this often and I figured they were random birds he was looking at, but when I got to the door, I saw the strangest birds, with very long beaks and plump little bodies. I posted a picture of them on Facebook, asking friends to identify them for me, and learned that they were American Woodcocks and are rarely seen in the wild (at least by folks around here, including a bird enthusiast). We felt ourselves lucky to watch five or so of them digging for food in our backyard. We have not seen them since.

Then the snow came. My parents came over in the afternoon and my dad wanted to take the older children outside to play in the snow. We were unprepared, and could not find George's gloves so he ended up wearing an extra pair of his sisters gloves, and poor Bridget only had a pair of yoga pants to put on to keep her legs warm. But we made it outside. I also bundled Liam up to take some pictures of him in his first snow (again, last week was more of an ice storm and I don't count that as being his first snow.)

Once out there, Bridget attempted to show my mom that she could swing and didn't think before sitting down on a snowy swing. Needless to say, she quite literally froze her behind. The only picture I got of her was right after this happened. She was not very pleased. Shortly after, she went inside.

I laid Liam down in the snow and he proceeding to flap his arms and legs, making a baby snow angel, but also had snowflakes falling in his face. I quickly snapped the picture and got him out of the snow.

George stayed outside much longer, hitting the swing set with his bat and watching the snow fall, and running around in the snow. My dad finally brought him inside when he figured George's hands must be frozen. They almost were! But he had a lot of fun.



We continued on with our states study and learned all about Pennsylvania. I made my own states worksheets to include facts I wanted to cover and Bridget is excited about putting together her states notebook.

We also made Philly Cheesesteaks for dinner. Bridget loved them. George was more interested in the cheese sauce.


Bridget does so well memorizing her poem to help her read. She knows the poem "The Five Vowels" and we are now working on "The Consonants Rhyme", both of which are found in this book. This is the same that  we've been doing but I am including it here again since Bridget wanted to have her picture taken with our board. One doesn't realize how crooked their writing is on the whiteboard until they snap a picture and post it on a blog.


We finished Grimm's Fairy Tales this week and began The Secret Garden. We are still sporadically reading Animal Stories.

Bridget prefers these non-picture books and has not asked me to ready anything else but these. George listens sometimes, but he's still very much into picture books. I am thinking of getting him a boy-themed book in this same series to see if that will get his attention. But he just turned 3 so it may just be an attention span issue.

Fettuccine Alfredo
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Tomato Soup with Israeli Couscous
Philly Cheesesteaks

Final Thoughts

We had a fun week. Homeschooling with a three-year-old and seven-month-old can be rather stressful at times and I feel like I don't accomplish what I want to with Bridget by the end of each week. I just need to keep telling myself that she's doing fine, we're doing fine, and we'll get it done... some time. Housework can wait. That sounds like a good plan.

Linking up with:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recipe: Vegan Philly Cheesesteaks

Vegan Philly Cheesesteaks

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 large portabella mushroom caps, sliced
sea salt and pepper to taste

Vegan Cheese Sauce

sub/hoagie rolls (toast these, if desired)

In a large frying pan, heat oil on medium-high heat and add the onion and bell peppers. Sauté for a few minutes and just as the vegetables start to get tender, add the vegan Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sea salt and pepper. Just before the onion and bell peppers reach their desired tenderness, add in the mushrooms. Sauté these just until they start to break down and release their juices.

Meanwhile, prepare vegan cheese sauce.

Prepare sandwiches by first adding the vegetable mixture onto the bottom half of the roll. Then, top with cheese sauce. Place top half on sandwich, or prepare both sides as an open faced sandwich, and enjoy!

Recipe: Vegan Cheese Sauce

Being a vegan, it is difficult to make comfort foods involving cheese that taste close to the real deal. This cheese sauce does it for me. I've used it on chili-cheese fries, Philly cheesesteaks, and anything else requiring a cheese sauce.

Vegan Cheese Sauce

1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. water
2 Tbsp. vegan butter (Earth Balance Buttery Spread)

In a saucepan, combine dry ingredients.

Whisk in water. Continue to whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat.

Stir in vegan butter until melted, then whisk together.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Recipe: Fettuccine Alfredo

Who doesn't love Fettuccine Alfredo? It was on my top of my list of things to order whenever we were at an Italian restaurant. But it usually left me feeling greasy and overstuffed. This recipe is a new favorite in my family because we can have a large serving of it but not feel like we just ate a stick of butter. The best part? It is only half the fat compared to the real thing.

Fettuccine Alfredo
Recipe Source: Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli

1 lb. fettuccine
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 10 minutes (this is essential for a creamy sauce)
2 c. water
2 tsp. white miso paste (optional)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook according to package direction. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and let cook until soft. Add garlic and let cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat.

In a blender, combine onions and garlic, cashews, waster, miso paste if desired, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Process on high until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

Toss hot pasta with sauce until noodles are evenly coated. Adjust seasoning to taste. If sauce gets too thick, add a little water, 1 Tbsp. at a time. Garnish with parsley and serve.

 Note: Blanched almonds may also be used in place of the cashews. Also, if using a Vitamix or other high-powered blender, you can skip the soaking or boiling step for the cashews.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Week in Review: Frozen in the South

This week was full of holiday festivities. Saturday was, of course, Valentine's Day. Bridget made daddy spaghetti for dinner. He gave her pink roses. They're a perfect match and so cute together.

Tuesday was Fat Tuesday, or Malasada Day. We had malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) for breakfast and throughout the day. You can learn more about malasadas and see the recipe here.

The remainder of the week was not so exciting. We haven't left the house since Monday! If you didn't notice in the previous photo of the children, the ground outside was covered in snow/ice. We live in the South and this isn't supposed to happen. It's very pretty but too cold for me. Here are a couple of photos I got just from stepping out the front door. Every plant and tree was covered with a layer of ice.

We've read a number of stories this week (when my voice lets me... the heater constantly running has dried up the air, thus making my throat very dry). Bridget's favorite right now is the Grimm's Fairy Tales (I read these to her, as they are advanced). She is blown away with the stories of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and how different they are from the Disney movies. It's almost as if it were an entirely new story. She is also doing well with only listening to the stories. Our Grimm's Fairy Tales book has no pictures, but she does well with her imagination. I think she also listens to the details of the story more.

Bridget is also advancing well with the BOB books. She gets frustrated from time to time, especially when I refuse to tell her what a word is and make her sound it out. It takes time but she gets it.

Bridget is also baffled by the sound the letter C makes in words like cat, cup, and can. She knows those words start with a C, but she wants to know why. Why not the letter K? I have a feeling we'll be having this same discussion as we continue through our reading lessons.

In other news, Liam has been performing a new trick these past few days. He'll do it again and again as long as you keep clapping and cheering him on.

It is a freezing 14 degrees this morning but we are looking forward to temperatures in the 50s this weekend. Only in the South.

Linking up with:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Recipe: Tomato Soup with Israeli Couscous

This is one of my family's favorite soups. It is so simple to make and fast, too. I serve it with a sliced baguette or French bread, drizzled with olive oil and toasted.

I stay true to the recipe, as it is perfect just the way it is.

Tomato Soup with Israeli Couscous
Recipe Source: Mayim's Vegan Table

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 to 2 carrots, diced
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1 to 1 1/2 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
2 to 3 mint springs, chopped
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro to about 5 springs, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and carrots, and cook over medium-low for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes, half of the garlic, vegetable stock, couscous, mint, cumin, and cilantro.

Bring the soup to a boil, add the remaining chopped garlic, then lower the heat slightly and simmer gently for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the couscous is just tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Week in Review: Ballet, Dentist Trip, Real Food!

In school, we did our usual, math, reading, writing, etc. We spent the most time this week on reading. I start with our lesson from The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (I cannot say enough how much I love this book!), and then we move on to reading our BOB books. This is when Bridget gets some good practice with very simple books. We could probably breeze through the books faster but I'm very insistent that she is able to read each book without mistakes. If she has trouble with a word or two, I throw the book back into the pile and we read it again the next day. The books she reads well we put aside.
We've slowed down on math since we are getting close to finishing the book. I think I may end up getting the next level before the school year is over, as I don't know how much longer I can drag on the lessons. I need to find more drill worksheets to fill up our day.
As for the other events of our week, we started off by giving Liam his first taste of rice cereal on Sunday. He grabbed the spoon right out of my husbands hand and gave himself his first bite.
You could tell he was very interested in the texture and taste, and didn't push it out of his mouth too much. On Monday, however, he realized that the rice cereal is not very tasty. On Tuesday, I gave him squash with his rice cereal. Oh boy, did he love this! He wants to feed himself mostly, but in an effort to keep things clean and tidy I try to feed him myself. Occasionally he grabs the spoon and won't let go. I let him have it for awhile to avoid tears.
Bridget's dance academy had their parent's week so my husband and I were able to watch what she has learned throughout the year. She adores her teacher, even though it does not look that way in the photo. Having mom and dad there makes her a little nervous.
George had his very first dentist appointment on Wednesday. He is the complete opposite from Bridget, who had to sit in my lap while the hygienist could only brush her teeth. George on the other hand climbed up into the chair on his own and the hygienist was able to use all the tools she needed. It was a successful examination and he has no cavities. He was not afraid even once! (I also had my teeth cleaned and am happy to give a good report on that as well.)

For dinner that night, I prepared fresh asparagus to go with our chickpea filets. I am always trying to introduce new vegetables to the kids and I'm surprised I had waited this long to introduce asparagus. George instantly fell in love. He appreciates good food and makes this face when he is eating something tasty. He savors every bite. He's saying "Mmmmm mmmmm! That sooooo good!" in the picture.

Linking up to:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Recipe: Strawberry-Banana Smoothies

We love smoothies at our house, and they are so easy to make. One of our favorites is Strawberry-Banana, and we make it often. The kids love to help and we take turns adding the ingredients and pushing the buttons on the blender. I imagine it won't be long and they'll be making it all on their own!

Strawberry-Banana Smoothies

Makes 3-4 servings

2 very ripe bananas (if they're not ripe enough, you may need to add a bit more agave or sugar)
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup soy milk (or vegan milk of choice)
2 Tbsp. agave
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.


Note: Sometimes I add a spoonful of ground flaxseeds into the blender if I feel the kids need an extra little boost of nutrients. It does not change the flavor but it does add more texture.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recipe: Coleslaw

It's been a while since I've had a good coleslaw. Thanks to Vegenaise, I can now enjoy it again. This past weekend we had very nice weather (the temperature had gotten into the upper 60s!) and so for dinner we had BBQ veggie burgers, French fries, and coleslaw. We are very ready for summer to get here!


9 cups pre-shredded cabbage* (mine included some red cabbage and carrots as well)
1 cup Vegenaise
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seeds

Place shredded cabbage into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together all other ingredients. Pour over cabbage and toss until cabbage is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

* I prefer to use the pre-shredded cabbage instead of shredding my own. It tends to bruise and by the next day, the coleslaw may look brownish and gross. Not very appetizing. So unless you're a pro at shredding cabbage and have never had this problem, I strongly advise you to just by a bag of pre-shredded cabbage. I purchased a 2 pound bag from Sam's Club for just under $2.

Note: As the coleslaw sits, it wilts down and the extra dressing falls to the bottom of the bowl. This is fine. If you want to add more cabbage, go right ahead. There is more than enough dressing. My coleslaw kept for 3 days and by the time it was all gone, I had added the entire 2-pound bag of shredded cabbage to it. It was just as delicious on the third day as it was on the first.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Week in Review: Silly Animal Stories, Liam is Up!

Our week started off on a low note when our friend Phil the Groundhog predicted that spring would not be coming early this year. Bridget woke up early and was so excited about seeing Phil. She didn't quite understand why I looked so disappointed. She still adores the little critter, but I on the other hand am having to rethink our relationship.

On Tuesday, we began reading a new book called Animal Stories. When we finished reading the story of how the elephant got its trunk, Bridget informed me that it was not true. But we did agree that it was still a good story, as silly as it was. While I read it again the next day, she drew a picture. I'm not sure why she colored the elephant's trunk red (maybe she figured it was bloody from being in the crocodile's mouth). After retelling the story back to me, she then drew eyelashes and earrings on the poor elephant.

During play time this week, the kids spent a lot of time dressing up. Bridget has a lot of princess dresses to wear and George has his one dragon costume from last Halloween. He has worn it every day this week. I think he likes how warm and cozy it is. It's rather cute to see a little dragon going from room to room.
The boys went to the doctor on Thursday morning for their well-care visits. They're both healthy and growing well.
I'm lacking in pictures this week, but I did grab the camera this morning after Liam successfully made it onto his knees after days of failed attempts. Then he did it again. And again. Then I grabbed the camera. I'm so glad I did. Here are three of about twenty pictures that I took. Oh how we all love this cute little guy.

We're all looking forward to some warmer weather this weekend. Sunday looks like it will be in the upper sixties! This time, it won't be raining. I hope we are able to play outside for awhile after church. We all could use a bit of sunshine.
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Recipe: Hawaiian-Style Tofu

When my husband finally decided that tofu really isn't all that bad (this took him 9 years), I knew I had to come up with more tofu recipes to change things up a bit. Sesame tofu is delicious, but I knew we'd get tired of it if it was the only tofu dish I made.

When I create new tofu dishes, I think of the flavors I enjoyed when growing up in Hawaii. I grew up eating meat and so the flavors I remember were often paired with chicken or beef. But I didn't let that stop me. I attempted a sweet/sour type of tofu using combinations of recipes I found on Pinterest. While good, they were lacking. It was more of a Chinese-style and not my beloved local Hawaiian-style. After a few alterations, I finally got the flavor I was going for.

Hawaiian Style Tofu

2 blocks extra firm tofu
3/4 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 15-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice

Cut tofu into 1" cubes and prepare as desired. (Some choose to deep fry the tofu, others may prefer to pan fry it, and some prefer to just heat it through. For this recipe, we've tried all variations and they're all good.)

In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, sugar, vegetable broth, and corn starch, until well combined.

In a wok, add garlic and bell peppers with just enough oil to coat the bottom. (If using a non-stick pan, omit the oil). Cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat until the bell peppers just begin to get tender.

Add liquid mixture to the wok. Combine well. Then add the can of pineapple, including the juice.

Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking to the wok. Let boil for a minute or two, then lower heat and let simmer until the sauce is thickened.

Serve over brown rice.

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