Running Around..

Guess What?

It’s Siah’s FIRST BIRTHDAY……..TODAY!

I can hardly believe that it’s been a WHOLE year since he was born…although technically he wasn’t born yet. He didn’t decide to make an appearance until around 3pm….I think?

So Cute

To be certain, I’d have to go back and check, but We’re headed out because some of our longest standing and dearest friends have moved closer and we are going to help them unpack.

I’m so excited.

I have pictures to post and thoughts to expound upon and endless drivel to blah, blah blah about and it will all be good – BUT….right now, I am in my pyjamas and we have to go in 40 minutes and I gotta do something about myself.

We are going to have a first Birthday party next Saturday, but we’re just trying to nail down a time….so, if you are family or close friends, please consider yourself invited. It’s more a time to celebrate “LIFE” and to get together and just be happy than an actual birthday party, but whatever it takes to call a party, eh???

Gotta go and get ready!

Happy Birthday, my son!

This day, like every day with you, is another day to celebrate life and to be so thankful…..so, so thankful.

It’s All A Bit Messy

Yesterday seemed to be a messy day.

Siah was into EVERYTHING.

I had given the kids a green smoothie with Breakfast, and Jeremy downed his and gave me the cup Xani finished hers and put her cup in the sink. Geli is my fussy eater, and usually needs a little encouragement to finish her green smoothie.

Apparently I never paid that much attention, and she left her cup on the coffee table in the TV room.

I came around the corner to this……

Found a Green Smoothie

Awesome, isn’t it?

Siah is not a fussy eater at all. He LOVES green smoothies.

But, seeing the slimey, slippey mess that is on his fingers…is it any wonder that this happened….

Dropped it

Love the face, though!

Then in the afternoon, Geli had made some peanut butter and honey sandwiches for herself and Xandra and I’m not sure, but maybe the cupboard was left open a crack or something because when I came into the kitchen….this was what i stumbled across.

Found the Bucket 'O Honey

Look at the look on his face. Cute, eh?

Well, I was even less impressed by than the smoothie. I mean, I did have to get out the steam cleaner to clean up the carpet, but HONEY…..YUCK! At leas it was on the linoleum and not the carpet, eh?

He was not too impressed that I was taking him away from his fun.

Not Happy

This picture was taken just before he had a full on back arching, screaming, melt down…because seriously. How DARE we take him away from his bucket of honey? He found it, so that makes it his, right?

Needless to say, it was a long day and I was thrilled when they were all asleep and I could just sit in the peace and quiet.

And now we’re doing it all over again…hopefully not!

Back to those Core Values

So, I’ve been wanting to do something with our Family’s Core Values…something like a big piece of Art or a poster or in a Picture Frame….something.

I picked up a canvas from Micheals on the weekend, and have spent the past few days working on it, and this is what Ive come up with.

It’s not exactly what I had in mind, but it will do.

I like that it’s BOLD and that it stands out. I might paint over top of it all and start again in a week or two, but for now…it stays.

I was wondering about adding something to it…something like this….

I wondered about adding an outline of a flower to it or something like that. What do you think? Would it add or detract or look okay or realy stupid? And if I were to add it, would I do it in black or in white or cream or brown or should I just scratch the whole idea all together?

Lemme know what you think?

ps. I just looked at the picture here on the blog, and it looks better in person than it does in this picture, so you’re ALL invited over to gawk at it. Wouldn’t that be fun? I guess it’s not going to happen. Oh well, you get the general idea.

A bit more still…..

Well, the title is completely unimaginative…is that even a word….but I thought and thought and thought and really couldn’t come up with anything terribly witty and I gave up because it was a waste of time to stall and I have very limited time at this point….you know with the baby and kids and all…

So, I made a mistake on Monday night and read my recipe wrong…or rather I didn’t read it, and thought that I needed a TON of starter, and doubled my starter and ended up with 2 swimming pools of starter and now I either throw it out – which seems like such a waste to me – or use it. I’ve opted to use it, but again with the limited time thing…that makes things interesting.

Now, the deal with the sourdough starter…it is really simple to make, but when you don’t know what you are doing, it can be a bit stressful, and I haven’t really found any place that shows you pictures of what your starter should look like along the way or when it’s ready to use. AND….I found nothing that talked about making a sourdough starter with Kamut or Spelt flour….which is what I wanted to use because those are our grain of choice around here.

Basically you mix water and flour and let it sit around, and it collects bacteria from the air, and ferments and becomes all bubbly and then rises. You have to “feed” it every 12 hours so that it stays alive…..that can get annoying. Then you have to store it somewhere. I keep mine in the oven with the pilot light on because it likes to be a bit warm. I read somewhere that it’s a bit like having a pet because you have to take care of it, and really, it’s true. I’m a bit sick of “taking care of it”, but I like the fact that I can make stuff that’s healthy for my family and that costs us considerably less than storebought stuff.

So far, I’ve made bread, twice; Pizza Shells, 3 times, and crackers, 3 or 4 times. There is definately a learning curve, and each time I make something – it gets better and better, so we are definately on an upward trend and that’s a good thing.

The first time I made the bread – I have no pictures – I made the fast bread. It required the most amount of starter and the least amount of time to rise. It made two little loaves that tasted pretty good. They had that nice sourdough taste, but they were SOOOOO dense. Read that to say thick and heavy…like a brick. They still tasted pretty good, and we are pretty used to thick heavy bread so it was okay.

Here are some of the loaves from the second time around (This was the medium time frame bread that took 7 hours to rise as opposed to 2 hoursfor the quick bread and 12 hours for the longest rising bread)….I know that it doesn’t look like it, but I promise you that these were ginormous compared to the first loaves.

Dense Bread

The recipe that I have says to slash the tops with a rasor blade, and I reluctantly did – I was worried about them falling, and..well…. they never did rise any more, so I might not try it the next time and I’ll just see if they rise any more than this current batch. I would like it to rise some more…..to be a little lighter and bigger.

See, here is a shot of those “slashes of death”….

The Stupid Slashes

So, here are the loaves, cut into slices. We cut the loaves up and then wrapped them and put them in the freezer. They have no preservatives, and so unless we plan to plow through all 6 loaves in the next few days, then I have to freeze some of them.

Bread Grain

Of course, I had a helper in all of this, and I must throw in a gratuitous shot of my baby, right???

My Little Helper

Look at those little lips… Isn’t he so darling? I could just eat HIM up, forget about the bread.

So, last night after all the little monsters darlings had been sent to bed, I decided that I would whip up some Pizza Shells because from start to finish it takes about 45 minutes, and I had that much time before I was headed off to bed, and for crying out loud, I gotta use up some of the “throw away” starter that I got sitting in a giant popcorn bowl in my oven.

Here is the stack of pizza shells after the first “pre-bake”.

Stack of Pizza Shells

There are only 7 in this stack although I made 8, Jon and I ate one last night, and boy was it yummy. These shells puffed up a bit bigger than the last batch I made. I rolled the last ones VERY thin, and it was more like making pizza on big round crackers.

Here you can see the size of them…they are a bit bigger than my hand, so the perfect size for a personal pizza.

Size of a Hand

And this is how thick, or thin – should I say, the suckers are.

Thin Crust

If you are interested in making your own bread from just flour and water, I am more than happy to just give you some of my starter, but I’d suggest that you google it, and read up on the effort required and what all is involved because it’s way different than just throwin some ingredients into a bowl and making bread and then putting it all away and enjoying. It’s easy, but a lot more effort. Oh, and I have a spelt flour starter…if that works for you…at least this one is.

Also, I want to THANK YOU for your comments, although I feel absolutely terrible, because as much as I LOVE to hear from the people reading, I totally didn’t mean that you who do read are not important or that I don’t appreciate you. I was commenting to myself – in a very poor way, but I did have the luxury of knowing what I was thinking inside my head – about how brutal and sporadic my posting has been. I’m trying to have grace with myself because I know that I am in a different phase of life than I was a year ago and 6 months before that and the years before that, but I “like” to write things out, and to keep a record, and to be able to “craft” a post so that it’s funny or makes you think or something, and yet recently – it’s basically just been throwing words on paper, and not in a good way, and not very often, and that bothers me, and I know that I’ve lost some readers over the past year, and I blame that on my crappy and sporadic posting.

THANK YOU, seriously THANKS for your comments, but if I made you feel bad, then I APOLOGIZE, sincerely. I really do. Are we good? I hope so. Hugs, Kisses, loves all around.

Alright now, I’ve typed those last two paragrapghs with one hand because the baby was screaming himself silly – which for any of you who know him, that means he fussed two times – and so I nursed him to put him out of his misery and now he is almost sleeping and I gotta go and get some stuff done. Gotta make the most of my hands free time.

How About Some More Food…

….I know that’s what all 4 of you were desperately hoping to hear about….was more food, right?

Well, I’m gonna share about it anyway.

I’ve been working on making a sourdough bread starter with only flour and water….the first one I made didn’t work out too well….or something, BUT….

The second one I tried is going along FABULOUSLY…if I do say so myself.

I should probably take a picture, and I will tonight…of the 6 loaves of bread that I made this afternoon from 3 ingredients. FLOUR, WATER, and a pinch of SALT.

That is it. I’m thrilled. Seeing as natural sourdough bread is about $4 per loaf from the store, I have the means now to have delicious spelt or spelt/kamut bread whenever I want for next to nothing. The mix will always be a bit of spelt because I made the starter from spelt and so that is the base of it.

I currently have a swimming pool of starter sitting on my counter because I goofed up and read the recipe wrong and thought that I’d need 8 cups of starter for this one recipe that I have, and that I’d get 4 one pound loaves from that recipe, but no….it was 1 cup of starter and 8 cups of flour for 4 one pound loaves, and I doubled it and wsa able to make 6 one and a half pound loaves, but I have a TON of starter that I’m going to make into pizza shells to freeze so that we can make pizzas whever we want.

Pizza was actually the focus of this post, can’t you tell?

I actually made some pizza shells yesterday and we had pizza for dinner last night. It was SOOOO much fun and tasted SOOOOOOO good.

The recipe for the pizza shells called for the throw away starter oil, and flour. You basically mix 1.5 cups of the starter that you are not feeding (the throw away stuff) 1 Tablespoon of Oil and 1.5 cups of flour. I increased the starter and the flour to 2 cups and use a overflowing Tbsl of Oil, and made 8 personal small pizzas. I partially baked the shells and set them aside until dinner time (but you could totally freeze them, which is what I will be doing).

We cut up and prepared all the toppings. I made some chicken pinchos morunos (a spicy tapas Moorish dish), some farmer’s sausage, and some ham. Cut up some Yellow, Orange and Green peppers. Split some Kalamata Olives, and grated some cheese. I used a small can of tomatoe paste and filled it with herbs, and then with our pizza shells we were good to go.

Ingredients

We painted on some Olive Oil so that the shells wouldn’t get soggy.

Oiling Technique

Next came the tomatoe sauce….mmmmmmmm it’s looking good.

Tomato Sauce

Then we put the toppings on. I used the chicken with the pinchos spices and the kalamata olives, and I couldn’t wait to find out if it would taste as good in real life as it did in my head.

My Toppings

Can you see the little pile of cheese under my hand? We don’t eat Cow’s Milk, and so this is Sheep Cheese and it is DELICIOUS! WAY milder than goat cheese….it doesn’t taste so…so….well, it doens’t taste like you’re eating a goats tail – which in my opinion is NASTY!

Here is the gratuitous Family Smile shot…..don’t you just LOVE it….don’t we look like such a happy little group?

Making pizza's

Once we got all the ingredients on, into the oven they went. Here is Jeremy’s Pizza before the oven….He only threw on the two veggie pieces because we mae him and he grumbled about it the whole time….I guess in his mind pizza is meant to be ALL meat.

J's Pizza

Here we have Xani, completely enjoying her bite of pizza…eyes closed in the sheer rapture of the moment……

Xani enjoying

Even ‘Siah got in on the pizza action, although without the toppings, its more like a cracker or piece of bread than pizza.

Siah's Pizza

Here is a shot of THE MOST DELICIOUS PIZZA IN THE WORLD. Yup, it’s the one I made, and it was even better in real life than it was in my head. So, So SO good!

The MOST Delicious Pizza

I’ll definately be making this again. I think that the nicest part of this was that we could all have pizza. It didn’t cost us a fortune. There was nothing in the ingredients…in any of the ingredients that we couldn’t eat (no dairy, no sugar, no wheat…etc) and we had as much fun making the dinner (as a family) as we had eating it.

And, seeing as I have an overload of the starter, I’m going to be making up a bunch of the pizza shells and freezing them so we can use them whenever. YAH for quick, cheap meals.

I might talk a bit more about the whole Sourdough Starter tomorrow and why I’m even doing it, and show you if my 6 loaves of bread worked (or not) and then I think I’ll talk about some other stuff…not food related. (but i won’t forget about the spicy peanut noodle salad…I promise)

Alrighty, well. Siah is screaming his head off and as fun as that is to listen to, I guess that means that my computer time is finished for now.

ps. you can click on the pictures to taje you through to see the whole pizza set…if you want?

How About Some Potato Salad?

So today i whipped up some potato salad for dinner.

I had boiled some potatoes last night and hucked them in the fridge to cool. So, making up the salad was super easy.

This is not your typical potato salad. I didn’t use any egg….I know….horror, how can you possibly have a potato salad without egg in it…well, I did, and it still tastes delicious, sans egg.

Here is the picture that I took of the fabulous salad.

The ingredients for this salad are:

6-8 Red Potatoes
6 inches of a Daikon
1 Zuchinni
4-6 Green Onions
Dairy Free Mayo (approx 1/2 cup or so)
2 Tbsp or so of Dijon Mustard (heavy on the or so)
TONS of DILL (maybe 2 Tbsp or more)
2 Tbsp Relish

I woulda used plain pickles instead of relish, but I didn’t have any and so I used crappy not-health-food green sweet relish.

I didn’t have any celery on hand, and figured that the daikon would add the right amount of crunch as well as some tangy flavor. The zuchinni was for filler and I figured that it was healthy and once covered with mayo and dill would be unrecognizable. The Green Onions were a familiar flavor, and well…it wouldn’t be potato sald with out the potatoes.

I dumped everything into a bowl and once it was all stirred together, I used my potatoe masher to smoosh it together (I just mashed it a few times, just to moosh some of the potatoes) so it was a tad bit creamy.

Even Geli, liked it…Jeremy was my one hold out….he licked his finger that he touched to one potato, but oh well. For an eggless, celery less potato salad it was really delicious. Actually, it was just really delicious….I think that the only thing I might do differently next time is to actully use pickles, and to use a touch less mayo, but still…another big hit at our house.

So, next time you are wanting to make something…think outside the “normal box” and see what substitutes that you can use and still retain the idea of it all.

I did make a TON of crackers today, and they are also delicious. I should go and take a picture so i can share them with you as well.

Not that this is a food blog or anything.

Jon and I are headed into Vancouver tomorrow to spend the weekend at my In-Laws, and I’m looking forward to the change of pace that staying there brings…

I’m not at all packed or ready to go and so that chould make tomorrow morning a bit stressfull, but I’m jst gonna try to “flooooooow” with it. The kids are already packed and so that makes it a teeny tiny bit easier, because I just have to do Siah and myself, and all the food.

On that note, I think I’m gonna go and talk about our food for the weekend with Jon.

Talk to you soon.

Oh, do you have a favorite Potato Salad recipe that you could share? Or one that I could adapt to being dairy free….lemme know…or heck, even just any fun salad recipe….I’ve got a spicy peanut with rice noodle one that is AMAZING and the kids are asking for it so I will be making it sometimes soon…are you interested in the recipe for that one?

I Hate Feeling Useless…..

I’m not really certain how I’m doing right now.

I’m feeling like I’m at the end of my rope. We’ve had a bunch of stuff that we’ve been dealing with for a long time, now, and I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for far too long.

I feel like I just really need a break, and I have absolutely no idea when we are going to get one, and that in itself is really crushing.

I don’t just mean a vacation, but I mean a period of time when the stresses of life actually seems to catch up with life and we are able to live in a semi-stress free zone……..free from squashing financial issues, free from communication issues, free from ADD/ADHD issues, free from dairy intolerance issues, free from……

It’s not even that I want to be free from those things, but just that they wouldn’t seem to be sitting so heavy on us and feeling like they are crushing us under their weight.

I keep trying to think about what I could do to change how I’m feeling right now, and I can’t come up with anything. I know that this post may have a few people contact me all worried, and I don’t know what to do about that.

I am feeling overwhelmed, but I don’t know that there is anything that you can do for me. I’m not opposed to having help, I just dont know what that “help” would look like. I hate that my house feels cluttered. I hate that my brain feels cluttered. I hate that there are things that I would like to do and I have neither the time, nor the energy, nor the means to make any of it happen….that leaves me feeling pretty freakin’ useless.

I HATE FEELING USELESS!

I really hope that this is just a phase or a “moment” and that this moment will pass sooner as oppsed to later. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

How about a subject change….just for fun?

I made this “Summer ‘Slaw” yesterday, and it was DELICIOUS! If I do say so myself, which I do.

It was very easy to make; and good for you, too.

Here is the list of ingredients:

2 fresh beets
1/4 head of purple cabbage
2 carrots
1 chunk of Daikon
2 Tbsp of Newman’s Own Dressing (the original oil and vinegar)

I chopped up the beets, carrots and daikon into 2-3 inch strips, and chopped up the purple cabbage into shredded pieces. Threw it all into a bowl and added approx. 2 Tbsp of Newman’s Own Salad Dressing, but really any oil and vinegar dressing would do. I will be making some as soon as I use up this bottle, but for now it was quick and easy to just dollop some on. Tossed everything and set it on the table.

The sweet of the beets is complimented by the tang of the Daikon and it’s just the perfect amount of crunch.

I had pulled out a small bowl and set aside some before I poured the dressing on – to appease Angelica and Jeremy who both seem to have some weird sauce thing going on, but seeing as the “weird sauce issue” probably came from me….I try to work with them…SOMETIMES! Other times, I just make them try it and choke down a few bites. Usually by the 4th time that I serve something, which means that they have to try one bite everytime…they’ve managed to overcome whatever issues they had in the first place…either that or they just give up on whining about it.

But regardless of my kids weirdnesses…..give this salad a try. It’s delicious and we’ll be definately be having it again sometime soon.

I also want to talk about the flour and water sourdough bread starter that I’ve managed to make, and how I should be enjoying fresh bread sometime very soon. And…how I used the starter that you throw away at each feeding to make some crackers for the kids and how those crackers are a HUGE hit. It fact ALL the crackers that I made last night are already gone…..but I gotta get the pics off my camera first….and I haven’t done that yet.

Oh well, I’m off to make some more crackers for tomorrow.

So, how are you doing? Do you have any good healthy salad or summer recipes that you love to make?

Location, Location, Location

We are staying in town at Jon’s parents this weekend, and it’s been such a nice day.

We took the kids to the pool, stopped at Choice’s Market, picked up a swim suit for Geli (and boy was that fun), had a barbeque, and now the kids are all in bed – Jon is chatting with his brother, and I am plunking away on the computer.

We have to be up bright at early tomorrow to be at a 9am service – fun, fun, fun.

I’ll be around a bit more next week and I think that I’m going to plan for some “down time” as last week ended up feeling way to rushed and busy.

Jeremy is finished his first full week of Summer School, and has gone from entering the program and reading at a level 14 on Monday to reading at a level 8 on Friday. This kind of bugs me a bit because I’ve never thought that jeremy was as “behind” as they figured he was. He has always read for me, at home, way better than they had indicated at the school. Once we put jeremy on Ritalin, the Learning Assistance teacher tested him and he was at a level 14/15 – this is when he was signed up for the Summer camp program….withint the last few weeks of school they tested him again, and he was at a 16, and the they tested him once more and said that he was at a 17 and maybe they could have pushed him once more up to an 18…..

The reason why this ugs me is because the level that they expect you to finish off Grade two at is level 20….Jeremy is 2 levels away from that once week into Summer School. Now I’m sure this is a great program, but I’m also equally sure that it’s not that great, that he’s just flying through the levels because of their great program.

So, I wonder at the necessity of the program. Now, I know that it can only help, and that it won’t hurt for him to have the extra 5 weeks of teaching, but it sure is bothersome to me.

We have to be around to drop him off at 9am, and to pick him up at 2:45pm and to read with him for 15 minutes before we can leave. It means that I really can’t go anywhere during the day. And that sucks!

I know it will be good when he goes back in the fall, but whine, whine whine…it sucks now.

Well, that is about the extent of the words that Ihave to share right now.

Gonna go and post on the other side about some family member…..you could check it out…..if you wanted to.

Behind the Scenes

From the looks of this site, one of two things is happening. One, either we are so boring that I have NOTHING to share or Two, We are so busy that I have no time to share.

It’s mostly number two, although throw in a healthy dose of sleep deprevation (that I keep banging on and on about) and you about have it pegged.

We’ve been SOOOOO busy and that’s a good thing sometimes (like when you are busy working and hoping that your clients will pay – sometime soon, for goodness sake already) and some times it’s not so great, like when you’d just like to have an evening when your husband wasn’t working or wasn’t even thinking about working….do I hear any amens….

Well, about two weekends ago, Jon and I did take a weekend and we sat down and shut off our computers and just took some time….and the result of that time…..is that I’m pregnant again….HA HA HA HA HA JOKE! I’m totally kidding on that one.

Let me make it very clear….I AM NOT PREGNANT…it’s not possible – and lets just leave it at that.

That weekend we came up with something that is or was or something….one of the most pivotal things that has happened in our family. Jon and I have come up with a set of our Family’s Core Values.

This is a list of values that we are choosing to live our lives by. It’s not the end all and be all, and it can change as we change and as the seasons in our life change…maybe we’ll add to it or even drop certain things, but for right now it’s kind of a launching point for us.

This is our Families Core Values….

1. Honor God
2. Live Simply
3. Develop
4. Build Relationship

What we want to do is to run things through the grid of “Do the different things already in our lives and the new things that come up fall into line with our Core Values?” If the answer is yes,then YAH and continue on, and if the answer is NO, we need to re-evaluate.

1. Honor God

I think that this one is pretty self explanatory. If the way we are conducting ourself or the things that we are doing or are asked to do don’t bring honor to God, then we need to not be doing those things.

2. Live Simply

We have been trying in so many different ways to simplify our lives. This is related to our health, our food, our home, our belongings, our time. I could go on and on about all the different ways that we could live in a more simpler fashion, but really when it comes down to it, as long as I understand the value that’s what really matters.

3. Develop

When Jon and I were talking, it became clear to us that continued growth or development was important to us, and in a focused and purposeful way. A weed can grow and plants left to their wo devices can grow, but how much more amazing is it when you cultivate a garden as opposed to just letting it run wild.

4. Build Relationship

It is important to us to build relationship with people in our lives. This is not to say that we are looking for Quantity, but rather for QUALITY. We want to be continually asking ourselves if what we are doing is building realtionship with the important people in our lives. And to be thinking about which relationships are important and what we can to do to be working on building those relationships.

Life has been really interesting since we have come up with these Core Values. It’s been interesting to asses the different things that we come up against and to ask ourselves, “Does this line up with those Values?” It has really made it easy to assess different things and to be able to confidently move forward with pupose.

Do you have Core Values?

13 Years…..It sometimes seems like much longer.

Hey! Guess What?

Today is Jon and my’s anniversary.

Happy Us!

I’m super tired. Siah’s being a little bugger….teeth or something. I’d apologize, but I’m too tired to even care that I haven’t posted and that I’m getting further and further behind and am getting a HUGE backlog of things that I want to record and share, and….well….I’m tired.

Later!

Hopfulley sooner, rather than later.

Here, get a good laugh at our expense….aren’t we babies?

I threw in the picture with these guys included so that we can ALL have a good laugh…and not just at us, but also at them too…Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha….’cause it’s like “double the pleasure, double the fun, right?” Dont we look darling?