Monday, October 8, 2012

Meal Planing Monday 10/7-10/12

My family ran a race last Sunday morning, and while my hubby made awesome time, my meal-planning for the week didn't fare as well.  I use Sunday mornings to plan our menus and then go grocery shopping while he takes the Pickies to the gym.  That didn't happen last week and our entire week felt the pinch:  lots of take-out, not-so-healthy meals. 

My handsome running hubby  is a rock star!
My parents are coming this week-YAY!-so Thursday and Friday are up in the air.  

Monday
Smoothies and oatmeal
Red pepper and white bean soup, salad
Pumpkin and white bean lasagna, salad, bread

Tuesday
Smoothies and pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins (NEED baking powder!)
Leftover lasagna and salad
Black bean and sweet potato enchiladas, green beans, fruit

Wednesday
Smoothies and cereal
Chickpea salad sandwiches, fruit and salad
Hot and sour soup, edamame, rice, salad with miso-ginger dressing

Thursday
Smoothies and cereal
Out for lunch!
Tortilla soup and taco salad

Friday
Smoothies and coffee cake
Leftover soup and salad
Out (Birthday dinner?!?)

I forgot to mention that I have been loving my crockpot and the cookbook Vegan Slow Cooker.  Not only are the recipes delicious and pretty healthy, but some of them can cook on high for 3-4 hours, which is awesome when the littlest Picky is resting and I'm thinking about dinner in the afternoon.

Next week's plan should be fun because my mom is gluten-free, and that's always fun with a vegan menu, haha.  :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meal-Planning Monday IS BACK--9/24-9/28

And...I'm back.

So it turns out that when you do the school PTA newsletter, you don't blog.  And when you blog, you don't knit.  And when you knit, you don't read.  And when you read, you don't snuggle on the couch with your handsome hubby.  I guess it's about finding balance, right?  Anyway, I can't even begin to tell you the number of people who have asked about my blog these last couple weeks, and more importantly, they want to know what we are eating (which I find funny).

Let me tell you a little secret:  We have been eating out WAY too much, spending WAY too much, and eating WAY too much.  So now that I feel like we have established a good routine, I have been meal-planning.  As always, if you want a recipe, I'll be happy to share.  :)

Monday:
Shakes and cereal
Salad and tomato-macaroni soup
Chickpea piccata, cauliflower mashed potatoes and green beans

Tuesday:
Salad with quinoa and tempeh
Miso soup, stir-fry, rice and salad

Wednesday:
Shakes and cereal
Leftovers

Thursday:
Shakes and baked donuts
Out
Chocolate-orange pancakes, scrambled tofu, roasted veggies

Friday:
Shakes and cereal
Leftover tofu and quinoa
Homemade calzones, green beans and salad

And I am sure I will make these every night.  What are you eating this week?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beans for Breakfast? Who is this Crazy Woman?

I can't possibly be the only one.

Everyone else eats beans for breakfast, right?


OK.  I am fully aware that I may get the "weird award" for my breakfast preferences, but if you haven't tried eating them in the morning, you are missing out.


When hubby and I went vegan, I did my fair share of baking vegan donuts, pop-tarts and coffee cakes.  I have never been a huge breakfast eater, so most of the time I would skip it.  Or I would eat half a Larabar or an apple and a handful of raw almonds to give me the energy I needed for my morning workouts (I still do that sometimes).  I was never a huge egg person (blech), but I definitely missed the savory options in the morning.

And then my southern friend introduced me to garlic-y, salty, creamy grits.  And I was sold.  I started making them every so often with tofu and then one day I had leftover black beans.  They were delicious, although the grits were a bit heavy and the protein in the beans left me satisfied through my usual "snacky" times.



When hubby and I went to Costa Rica, we had this incredible buffet at the hotel.  Obviously we didn't partake in the majority of the offerings, but they had these awesome potatoes and gallo pinto (black beans and rice).  We would eat it with fresh salsa and guacamole...seriously it was probably one of the best things we have ever eaten.  The great thing about this was that we would eat around 6:00am, go surfing, ziplining or work (apparently we had to work in paradise), and I had very little desire to snack until lunch time.  I wasn't stuffed, just comfortably satisfied.
Our unbelievable Costa Rican breakfasts...
So now, I try to eat beans for breakfast...whatever is leftover works for me.  My friend's mom made us her Arabic mjadra (lentils and rice) and I ate that for four days straight.  Yesterday I ate leftover chickpea piccata.  Since I have been doing this, I haven't wanted to eat everything not glued down.


So as Yo Gabba Gabba says, 
"Try it.  You'll like it."

What do you eat for breakfast?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mama's Making Some Meals 3/13-3/16

Another Monday, another mildly crazy week.  
Only this one starts off with a home-bound mama with a sicky Picky.  

I ran away to the grocery store yesterday afternoon after planning a few meals off Pinterest and I am hoping everyone likes them around the house.  I'm only planning dinners because we mainly rely on sandwiches, burritos and leftovers for lunch.

Monday:
Vegan pizza soup, salad and sesame soy green beans
This is most definitely not my picture
(I "borrowed" it from the link)...but it looks yummy!
Tuesday:

Wednesday:
Chili, cornbread and broccoli

Thursday:
Crock-pot baked potatoes with leftover chili, salad

Friday:
Homemade pizza, roasted veggies

What are you making this week?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Philanthropy Friday.

I know you're on Facebook.

I know you're on Pinterest.

I know you have the ability to click the little mouse on your keyboard OR hit enter on your phone.

If you literally have 30 seconds, you can make a difference, without giving up money, time or energy.  No volunteering, no signing over your first child (however, that may suit some of you on a Friday) and no annoying emails trying to get you to buy various magic creams or weight loss-plans.

I have two sites that I need you to visit daily for a short period of time and your click will make an impact.
Happy Philanthropy Friday.


I have a beautiful friend who lost her love way too early, while she was six months pregnant.  She is up for one of the Top 25 Inspiring Blogs and it would sure mean a ton to her and her family and friends if you could vote for her blog, Everyday Kings, EVERYDAY until March 7th.  Please click here for the voting link.


The Home Depot Foundation builds more than just home projects; they build futures for many people who need it by giving $250,000 to a deserving non-profit.  Please, click here, scroll down and vote for the Ronald McDonald House.  This is a non-profit who houses the families of seriously-ill children, while being steps away from the Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.  This money would be used to build a new roof and provide updates to continue their mission of caring about children.  Voting ends MARCH 31st, so I have plenty of time to harass you (I mean, give you gentle reminders).


The morning is just beginning; don't you feel like you have already done something good?  Please don't hesitate to pass this on!


Happy Philanthropy Friday.  

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Learn Something New: Car Seats and Coats

I am always surprised that someone allowed me to be a parent.  Sure, I do research and I have an elementary education background, but really, what do I know?

And while I am at it, where did I put that child-raising manual?  
I want a refund!

Anyway, it frightens me to think that although I have been a parent for 7 1/2 years, I can majorly mess up for the majority of those years...just because I was uneducated and inflexible to new ideas.

Let's talk car seats and coats.

All of our little cuties have sat in those super heavy car carriers or five-point harnessed car seats (keep them in as long as you can, people!).  And if you live anywhere that gets mildly chilly, I have a PSA for you...and read it LOUD AND CLEAR.

TAKE THOSE COATS OFF YOUR KID IN THE CAR SEAT.

Before you roll your eyes or pat yourself on the back, humor me and pay attention for a second.  Those carseat straps may feel super tight against the coat-wearing little bodies, but when in an accident, the coat will compress and your little Picky can slide right out of the car seat.  NO joke.  Give yourself four minutes and watch this video:

(please note that this is NOT me, haha)



I found this to be deeply disturbing and shocking. Now, my Pickies all take their coats off and snuggle up with them in their laps while driving. Much more comfy, much more safe.

Please, please, please pass this on!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dinner Plans 2/27-3/2

I had to take all three Pickies to Whole Foods yesterday...on a Sunday afternoon.  I think I deserve a medal or at least some delicious chocolate cake.  They can be super helpful, picking out the exact tortillas we need or loading up the cart with various colored bananas, but having three Pickies wander an already-crowded grocery store is...well, an adventure.  Thankfully we don't have to do that often.

This week is a crazy one, so I only planned the dinners and figured we will be in survival-mode for the rest.

Monday:
Breakfast for Dinner:  pancakes, yogurt, fruit and maybe some scrambled tofu

Tuesday:
Chickpea cutlets shaped like veggie tenders, roasted potatoes, green beans

Wednesday:
Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

Thursday:
Chickpea picatta, mashed potatoes, salad

Friday:
Homemade pizza, salad, green beans

I let the Pickies each choose a dish this week and I am often surprised when the seven year old picks "chickpea picatta"...really?  What kid does that?  She likes capers, which I find extremely delicious as well.  Weirdo child.  ;)

What are you eating this week?

Friday, February 24, 2012

I May Be a Bag Lady

Honestly, why on earth do I carry a big purse?  

All I do is fill it up with junk, necessities and "No, thanks, I don't need a bag" purchases!  Really, this borderlines ridiculous (with the border being completely ridiculous), and boys listen up:  
This is why you never look in a woman's person.  God only knows what you will find.

The Bag.  

Oh, so cute.  I bought this across-the-chest bag at Whole Foods a year or so ago for $15 for a trip to Atlanta.  


It's a perfect bag for toting stuff around and I'm pretty sure at this rate, a small child could fit in it.  

The Contents.
Oh, let me list the full contents for you.

1.  A Super-why coloring book
2.  Various broken crayons, pencils, pens and markers
3.  Thomas the Train CD
4.  Two Jane Iredale concealers--two different shades
5.  Aveda hair product
6.  Brand-new mascara
7.  An empty Kombucha tea bottle (that's right-a heavy GLASS bottle)
8.  1/2 eaten Pure bar
9.  Empty iPhone case
10.  Various papers, including a funeral program
11.  This knitting pattern
12.  Wallet (well isn't THAT handy?!)
13.  Empty compact

Now seriously, why do I have so much stuff in my purse?  
I think I may have found a pug in there.  ;)  
What's in your purse or backpack?  'Fess up!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kids are Funnier Than Most Sitcoms

These past few weeks have been packed with kid stuff:  Valentines Day, the middle Picky's 6th Birthday, a 125-person breakfast for art kids and their families, paper-mache in the kindergarten classroom.  LOTS.OF.KIDS.

But man, these little guys are funny.  

As we were prepping for a long weekend costumed as a "Mid-Winter Break", Picky #1 started to talk and ask about our plans for President's Day.  She wanted to bake a cake and Picky #2 said:

"Am I going to get presents, too, for Present's Day?"

Awww...sweet little guy.  I had to tell him that no, he wasn't going to get any presents and didn't he just have a birthday?  


When I was in Kindergarten class, I helped a sweet little boy wash his hands of all the paper-mache gobbly-goo that was on his hands.  This was our serious conversation:

"I don't like hot water in my bath."
"Really?  Why not?"
"It hurts my skin.  Especially my privates."

Ohmygosh, I just wanted to burst out laughing because he was so completely serious, so the only response I could fathom was this one:

"I totally can understand that.  You're right, little man."
But inside, I totally lost it.

Winnie, Dog #3 (and also a very playful puppy) finds Picky #3 to be a suitable play-friend.  She will chase, nip and knock him over just like she does with the other dogs and most days, he plays right back.  A little while ago, I heard a nervous wail from the other room:

"What's wrong?!?"
"Weeenie!  WEENIE.  BIT.  MY.  BUTSY!!!"

What a bummer.  he quickly got over it, but Hubby and I have been laughing about it for a while now.

The Perpetrator
When these vacation breaks get stressful, listen to the kids.  
They can provide you with lots of comic relief.  
What are some of your funnies?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Meal Planning Monday 2/20-2/24

Wow, these past few weeks have been crazy and I'm looking forward to a little bit of chill time; the kids are out of school for a so-called "Mid-Winter Break"...when in all reality it is just a long weekend. That's OK, I'll take a few days with no huge plans and rushing around trying to get three Pickies out the door by 8:30am.  :)  I'm really excited to try some of these new recipes this week.  :)

Monday
Smoothies and cereal
Leftovers
Crockpot Cherry BBQ tofu, quinoa, salad, green beans

Tuesday
Chickpea cutlets with mustard sauce, mashed potatoes, salad

Wednesday
(did you know that cooked butternut squash can be swapped with pumpkin?)
Bean burritos, veggie sticks and apples
Crockpot African Peanut stew, roasted potatoes, biscuits

Thursday
Smoothies and muffins
Grilled cheese sandwiches, carrots

Friday
Smoothies and cereal
Leftovers
Tostada pizza, green beans

Friday, February 10, 2012

Traditional Values

Like most Americans, I love Ellen.  She is funny, inspirational and kind to others.


Oh, and if everyone cares, she is gay.


As the new JC Penney spokesperson, there is a whole bunch of people who decide they aren't shopping at JC Penney because Ellen is gay.  If you haven't seen this, take five minutes and wait to be inspired:



"I want to be clear and here are the values that I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need. To me those are traditional values. That's what I stand for."
--Ellen


I think Ellen should run for President...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Must.Drink.Coffee

A busy mom of three needs her coffee, 
especially when they are in full Picky form.


I didn't start drinking coffee until the 2nd picky was born;  I guess that having two children 18 months apart forces you to the dark side.  Hubby always drank his morning brew and I would have a diet coke or Mountain Dew; not exactly the poster board for morning nutrition.


I have come to love and appreciate my coffee; I don't want it to light or too dark.  I would rather pay more money to ensure that it is Fair Trade and I adore my vanilla coconut milk creamer.  I understand that there is quite the culture when it comes to coffee drinkers and although I am not too picky, there is something I do not understand:


Why do people love their Keurig Coffeemakers?


To me, it tastes like coffee flavored water, nothing more than a replacement for Folgers except with a really expensive coffee maker and cups that pollute our landfills.  Obviously, many people disagree with me because the Keurig Coffee maker is one of the best-sellers and really, you can now get K-Cups anywhere.  But man, does the coffee ever not taste like flavored water?


We have a Keurig and it is reserved for when my mom comes and needs decaf (it used to be in hubby's office but now he works from home), so it is sitting on my counter, occupying even more space and tempting the Mister to make an afternoon cup.  Well, then I got lazy and forgot to buy a bag of whole bean coffee (and by "forgot" I, of, course mean "wasn't told we were out of coffee") and we have been drinking this coffee-tinged water for a couple days.


I woke up at 5:30am this morning with the smallest picky whispering to me, "Mom.  Guess what?  I go to school today." and I looked forward to the new coffee I bought yesterday.  I come downstairs, my good-looking barista handed me my coffee in my favorite mug and boom...it tasted like sweaty water.  Yes, my friends, the damn Keurig struck again.  I poured it down the drain and happily made a fresh pot of coffee.  Peace.


So, Keurig Coffee drinkers, prove me wrong.  
Explain to me how those magic K-Cups are filled with morning magic and motivation.  
I just don't get it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Meal Plan Monday 2/6-2/10

Meal planning hasn't been going so well at our house ever since I got sick, so I took this weekend as an opportunity to start fresh.  I'm tired of spending money eating out when I could be cooking; don't get me wrong, I love eating out with a purpose.  But it seems that those "I'm too tired to cook" days are far too often right now.  


Monday:
Smoothies 
Rangoli buffet to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday
Tomato-rice soup with roasted garlic and navy beans, kale salad


Tuesday:
Smoothies and cereal
Sandwiches and fruit
Leek and bean cassoulet with biscuits, green salad


Wednesday:
Smoothies and chocolate oat bars
Enchilada casserole with spinach and corn, tortilla chips
Cauliflower and kidney bean stew with coconut milk, green beans, cornbread


Thursday:
Smoothies and cereal
Leftovers and fruit
Whatever we can scrounge up because it is a crazy busy night for us!


Friday:
Smoothies and banana millet muffins
Pizza lunch for the middle Picky's 6th Birthday
Homemade miso udon soup (his pick), rice edamame salad


Extra's:  
Birthday School Treat--Chewy chocolate raspberry cookies
Pretzel bites
Hummus


Yes, the six year old picked out miso soup for his special birthday dinner.  Silly kid.  :)  Looking forward to trying out a bunch of these new recipes!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hey, Mom, You Probably Won't Read This, But "Happy Birthday", Anyway!

I am so happy and grateful to be spending the day today with my mom.  Sadly, we have to spend the day at a funeral, but today is her birthday and we never really get to spend it together.  

I don't have any presents ready, I don't have a cake baked, but I am really looking forward to getting to spend some time with her on our car trip.


I hope that I can have as caring and giving of a heart as my mom, and I hope that my daughter and I have a close relationship like ours...
Happy Birthday to my magnificent Mom!  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meal Planning Monday 1/23-1/27

Ugh, I'm sick and completely uninspired to do anything in the kitchen or anywhere else.  My appetite is "eh" at best, so making this week's meal plan was a challenge.  So I relied on the Pickies and their favorites with a few of my own, and we are calling it a week.


Monday:
Smoothies and cereal
Sandwiches, crackers and fruit
Grilled hummus wraps, pineapple (mom and dad out, if I feel better!)


Tuesday:
Smoothies and banana "ice cream"*
Mac and cheese, apple slices
Jambalaya, rice, cornbread, salad


Wednesday
Smoothies and banana chocolate chip millet muffins
Burritos, "ants on a log"
Spaghetti and black bean meatballs, salad


Thursday
Smoothies and toast
Leftovers and veggie slices
Chickpea piccata with steamed kale, cauliflower mashed potatoes, salad


Friday
Smoothies and cereal
Leftover piccata and sandwiches for the Pickies
Pizza night with green beans and salad


*Banana "ice cream" is the easiest, most fun thing to eat.  You take bananas, peel them and freeze them in halves.  When you are ready, you let them sit out for a few minutes and put them in the food processor.  Process them until smooth, like ice cream.  Top with various fruits, nuts and sauces.  Who says you can't have ice cream for breakfast?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happiness in a Box and an Oven

I must have known it was coming a few days ago.  The oldest Picky was home sick (kinda) and I made one of the best soups I have made: Chicken-less Noodle soup.  I ate a couple bowls of it and sure enough, I am sniffling with a scratchy throat.  I can deal with it because I haven't really been sick for about a year (yay, vegan diet!) but man, now I want more soup.  But it wasn't just the soup that made this meal so extraordinary and sick-worthy:

It was all about the oyster ranch crackers.

My friend's aunt used to make these beloved crackers every year at Christmas time and we would eat bowls of them.  Now that I won't touch those artificially-flavored ranch packets, I came across the homemade recipe on my new favorite website.  And now I will share it with you.  

The entire recipe was not NOT gone within a couple hours.  
(please note the double negative).

Oyster Ranch Crackers
Recipe from Peas and Thank You

2 t. garlic powder
2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. dry mustard
    1/2 t. dried dill
      2 t. dried parsley
        1 t. salt
          3 T. oil (olive oil, canola, grapeseed, etc.)
            One 8 oz. package oyster crackers 
            (or any other cracker...even Gluten-Free!)

            Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
            In a large bowl, combine garlic powder, onion powder, mustard, dill, parsley and salt. Add oil and stir to combine.  Pour in oyster crackers and toss to evenly coat.  Transfer crackers to a baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
            The disappearing oyster crackers...picture courtesy of Mama Pea 

            TRY THEM NOW!  

            Monday, January 16, 2012

            Meal Plan Monday 1/16-1/20

            And here I am again, planning the meals for the week.  It's a lot like laundry; I think I'm done, take a good little break and then it's time to start all over again.  And then I think I can just make do with staples from the pantry and brainstorm ways to keep my grocery trip super low but that NEVER happens.  It's always those weeks that I have to stock up on vitamins, vanilla extract or spices.  But still, no matter what, it is cheaper to shop at Whole Foods then for me to take our family of five out a few times a week.

            Monday:
            Smoothies and cereal
            Lunch at Miguel's
            Teriyaki Tofu, quinoa, pineapple and salad 
            (I ran out of tofu last week.  Really.  Who runs out of tofu?)

            Tuesday:
            Smoothies and oatmeal squares
            Easy enchilada casseroles and veggies
            Chipotle-lime tempeh tacos, taco salad, fruit

            Wednesday:
            Smoothies and bagels
            Chicken-less noodle soup and ranch oyster crackers
            Grilled cheesy hummus wrap, tomato soup

            Thursday:
            Smoothies and cereal
            Soup and sandwiches
            Jambalaya, cornbread, roasted carrots and apples

            Friday:
            Smoothies and banana chocolate chip millet muffins
            Burritos and applesauce
            Homemade pizza pockets (calzones), salad and green beans

            Extras:
            Cinnamon vinaigrette
            Sugar cookies (I swear I wasn't putting them off.  OK, maybe...)
            Ranch oyster crackers

            I'm still cooking out of my Peas and Thank You cookbook.  Although I feel that some of the organization could be better, I love the recipes and the attitude of the book.  They are very kid-friendly and the Pickies have been a lot less whiny at dinnertime.  And for that, I am very appreciative.

            Have you seen this new "Healthy Eating Plate" that Harvard has recommended for our daily eating?  What do you think?

            Friday, January 13, 2012

            My Week in Gratitude

            I have been meaning to blog a little more this week about the things that inspire me and make me feel grateful.  It turns out that I probably should keep a little inspiration journal that can house my sudden thoughts so that I don't forget them.  In reality, I forget a lot of them because I have a lot to remember between snow gear, homework and whether the oldest Picky's American Girl Doll has been properly tucked in for the evening.


            My Week in Gratitude


            1.  My littlest Picky generally dislikes trying new things; in fact, he will scream and run the other way.  I ended up making a Thai-style Veggie Burger (I was out of black beans for the black bean burger) and we strained our eyes looking at him side-wise as he actually tried it.  He did not prefer it, but he tried it.  And in my house, that is a miracle.


            2.  We had our typical monthly PTA meeting last night and hubby and I were dragged out to have drinks and snacks after-wise.  Socializing is good for the soul, especially when it is with new people.


            3.  The Pickies and I hung out with some new friends yesterday.  Love the promise of new friendship.


            4.  I picked up some new resale shop finds!  I now have a new sweater dress and a shirt.


            5.  My niece had her baby yesterday.  Honestly, it feels like yesterday that I was a teenager dressing her up in princess costumes and plotting the next Barbie Doll or bead set I was going to bring her. She is a lovely woman and I cannot wait to meet that sweet baby.  Babies are a complete blessing.


            6.  Knitting class this week was good for my heart although 3/4 of my project had to be ripped apart.  It was great to be able to chat with my buddies while teaching them the ins-and-outs of Pinterest and they gave me incredibly thoughtful Christmas presents.  One of the presents has to be made, go figure, but take a look at this awesome iPad case my knitting teacher made me (in full fall Amanda-like colors!):


            7.  Although this morning has entirely consisted of bickering, the middle Picky just belted out a rendition of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" with a full-on table drum solo during breakfast.


            8.  I changed my schedule up a little bit and was able to help out in the elementary school classes this week. It was really great because I haven't been able to get it together all year and the expressions on my little Pickies' faces were priceless.  It was a good reminder that a little bit of time (and effort!) goes a long way.


            9.  Daddy told the littlest Picky that he should hurry so he can see Miss Karen at preschool and he whispered enthusiastically, "Can I wear my green preschool shirt?!"  He loves his preschool shirts.


            10.  I am looking forward to ending the week with a date night and a pizza night with dear friends we haven't seen in a while.


            It seems that the things that made me the most happy this week had to do with conversations and socializing with friends, both new and old.  Maybe this is a reminder to take the time and nurture these relationships, even when life gets a little crazy.  

            Tuesday, January 10, 2012

            Making "Imaginary" Friends Real...


            I read a powerful article on Huffington Post last week called "The Internet Rescues a Family" and I could really relate to it.  No, I have never experienced a terrible gut-wrenching house fire like the subjects of the article nor have I personally had an entire community made up of strangers come together to help my own personal family (thank goodness!).  

            But I have seen magic happen through the internet.

            I have seen bloggers come together to raise money for one lovely local woman who lost her husband and the father of her children.  Pennies on a Platter selflessly set up her blog so that any advertising profits for a month went directly to Everyday Kings, a woman and family she had never met in real life.  If that isn't pure magic and kindness, I am not sure I know the appropriate definition anyway.

            Me and My Fabulous "Imaginary" Friend!

            While most new or expecting moms have moments of panic or feelings of isolation, I have had a fabulous group of ladies from all over the world to help me through my parenting moments.  Our "Stay-at-home Mom" forum has allowed us to help one another with normal, everyday stuff and has also seen us through very personal, intimate and sometimes painful parts of each other's lives.  Have we all met in person?  No.  But I did meet one of my Internet "friends" a couple years ago for the first time, and I am proud to say that she is as every bit lovely as the person on the screen and a wonderful friend.  Is it actually physically meeting someone that gives you a true connection?  No. It's opening oneself to another in any form.  

            Hubby and I were watching 60 Minutes last week and we saw a story about kickstarter.com; it is a website that allows people to pitch their creative ideas and ask for financial backing within a certain time period. I already was well aware of this website when my two friends, Keisha and Kwaun Musical Ministries made a video asking for funding to produce a (stunning!) devotional album.  Almost 60 people came forward and raised $8705 for the extraordinary duo; $700 more dollars than they asked to raise.  All because of beautiful people who came together for a sole reason:  TO HELP.  And now these kind, beautiful ladies will be able to explore their dreams.

            I am completely overtaken by  kindness and compassion thriving in our world.  All it takes is someone who cares to have an idea, an inspiration, and the ability to nurture it with some hard work, networking and passion.  

            The world can be such a lovely place.  
            Even if it is on the internet.






            Sunday, January 8, 2012

            Mama's Making Some Meals 1/9-1/13

            Last week's meal-planning went awesome with my new cookbook, Peas and Thank You. The recipes were terrific and the older Pickies actually ate with minimal complaining (littlest Picky didn't complain; he would just walk away). All of the recipes were a hit and I even went on the blog and found more recipes.  I'm also repeating a few from last week. Good stuff. 


            This week I gave Picky #1 and #2 each a turn with the cookbook and three sticky notes. They each picked out a breakfast, dinner and dessert. They were really enthusiastic and you could tell that they felt empowered with their menu choices. :) 


            Monday:
            Blackberry smoothies and blueberry streusel muffins
            Quesadillas, tortilla chips and salsa
            Black bean soup, taco salad


            Tuesday
            Smoothies and cereal
            Mac and cheese, apple slices
            Black bean burgers, sweet potato fries, steamed broccoli


            Wednesday
            Smoothies and bagels
            Hummus, fruit and veggie sticks
            Teriyaki tofu, quinoa, pineapple chunks and salad


            Thursday
            Smoothies and chewy energy bars
            Grilled cheese, veggie sticks and hummus
            Chipotle lime burritos, spanish rice, green beans


            Friday
            Shakes and cereal
            Bean burritos, applesauce, cheddar bunnies
            Homemade pizza, green beans


            Desserts:
            Banana chocolate muffins
            Sugar cookies (sigh.  I am the WORST sugar cookie maker--EVER).


            What are you making this week?  Trying any new recipes?

            Thursday, January 5, 2012

            Oh Sweet Beauty...

            Hubby and I just absorbed this entire video...so beautiful and profound.


            Words can be completely transcendental.


            I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
            I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
            Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
            The tools and gifts we got, we got a lot at stake.


            Take a few minutes and play this video.  Take the time.




            Aren't you glad that you stopped and appreciated some beauty?


            Wednesday, January 4, 2012

            A Childhood of Nonchalance

            It amazes me how easy children can brush things off like it's no big deal.  Hubby or I fall and we can't walk for weeks without whining and taking ibuprofen.  Littlest Picky, after seeing a "Wipe-out-like episode", runs straight into the doorwall and he cries for maybe three seconds (and hopefully will never ever EVER do that again).  
            What gives? HOW are kids so resilient?

            I lose a necklace, a bra and a pair of jeans and I search EVERYWHERE.  Under the bed, in the laundry, in drawers, behind the washing machine and I am so sad about my missing things.  Middle Picky misplaces his brand-new DS case with four of his games within a week of receiving them, shrugs his shoulders and says, "Oh well.  At least I have my 3DS and one game".  

            WHAT?  Why can they just move on without these items driving them crazy or walk away injury-free?  

            Thankfully, our children can get up and move after falling down,  with little to no injuries, but hopefully lessons will be learned (doubtful).  And maybe I need to take away some of the attachment that goes along with my material possessions and adopt my children's nonchalance.


            Ugh.  I guess.





            Monday, January 2, 2012

            Meal Planning Monday: 1/2-1/6


            I knew that I needed to start meal-planning again, so I used my new cookbook, Peas and Thank You, as a great opportunity (excuse) to test new recipes and feed the family.  I love a good cookbook and this one in particular is easy to read, funny, beautiful and has all sorts of little kid quips and stories.  I first found about this website and "Mama Pea" from this Vegetarian Times recipe (which was absolutely delicious!) so I am so excited to try out the other recipes.

            Oh, and a disclaimer of sorts:  We make shakes EVERY morning out of almond milk, fruit, chia seeds, raw protein powder and an occasionally veggie.  Read more about it here.

            Meal Plans Week of 1/2-1/6

            Monday:
            Shakes and leftover blueberry pancakes
            Sandwiches and fruit
            Black bean soup, taco salad and steamed broccoli

            Tuesday:
            Shakes and cereal
            Hummus wraps,  fruit and salad
            Spaghetti and black bean "meat"balls, green beans and french bread

            Wednesday:
            Shakes and blackberry cinnamon rolls
            Homemade mac and cheese, applesauce
            Spicy African Peanut Slow cooker soup, quinoa, salad

            Thursday:
            Shakes and toast
            Sandwiches and leftover soup
            Tofu ricotta gnocchi (leftover marinara from Tuesday), mixed veggies, salad

            Friday:
            Shakes and blueberry streusel muffins
            Bean burritos, fruit and veggie sticks
            Homemade pizza, salad, another veggie of some sort

            I am feeling quite pleased about this week's food but the real trick will be to see how the kids do!  
            Is meal-planning one of your 2012 resolutions?

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