Monday, August 30, 2010


Did you know that a belt is a fascinating and fun toy? According to Izzy, having a belt is the best thing since sliced bread. My baby boy LOVES to wear his belt. He is very independent, and insists on putting it on all by himself. He usually only inserts it through one loop, and the remainder of the belt is wrapped around his shirt. This creates an old looking effect, but whatever makes him happy...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Better Know a Dessert (because I am still not in a cupcake mood)

Remember all those carrots I told you about? Even after making vegetable soup (which didn't turn out that great), I still had quite a few carrots to use. So, being the chubby girl that I am, I decided to make a vegan carrot cake...Yummy! I really love carrot cake, so I was in hog heaven with this tasty dessert. Here is the recipe (just in case you love carrot cake too!).

This week I also made vegan blueberry streusel muffins for my husband. They looked extra yummy, and it was hard to not eat up the whole batch...I have been baking a lot lately (probably a little too much). Dessert seems to be the only meal that I look forward to. I have such a sweet tooth. It is the reason I will never be thin. I just love sugar too much.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We lost another animal this week. The past two years have been really difficult for us. We have lost 3 of our most beloved pets. This time it was our 15 year old male cat named Kitty.

It all started a few weeks ago when Kitty began peeing on the basement floor. I was getting really frustrated, because he was peeing right next to the furnace, which was dispersing the pee smell throughout my entire house. But after lots of cleaning, he stopped peeing on the floor in the basement. Instead, he started peeing on any rug he could find. He especially liked peeing on the rug in our living room. Ugh.

About two weeks ago, I found Kitty sleeping on the dog bed in a puddle of his own piss and shit. It was beyond disgusting. I threw the dog bed in the trash, and I had to wash my 15 year old cat. It was actually much easier than I had anticipated, but it was still annoying. After that day, I noticed a steady downward decline in Kitty's behavior, appearance, and eating habits.

In the past week, Kitty could no longer walk. He would stand up, take two or three steps, and then plop over onto his side. Over the weekend, Kitty developed some drainage from his nose. The mucous was so excessive that his paws and chest were sticky. In the past few days, Kitty stopped eating and drinking. He literally sat in the same position for nearly 48 hours.

I knew that Kitty would have to be put to sleep. He was an old and sickly cat. I could look at him and tell that he was dieing. Last night John finally took Kitty to the Vet. I think we were delaying the trip, because we both knew what the outcome would be. The doctor diagnosed Kitty with kidney failure, and he was put to sleep.

For 15 years, he was our wonderful pet. We couldn't have asked for a nicer, calmer, or more beautiful animal. Goodbye Kitty cat. We love you and miss you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


My husband just pulled all of the fingerling carrots we planted in our garden this year. We actually had a carrot mishap in the spring. While my husband was planting the carrots, Porgie decided to pick up the envelope of seeds. Of course they spilled everywhere. Have you ever seen a carrot seed? They are really really small. So, instead of a row of 10 carrots, we ended up with carrots EVERYWHERE.

To use my carrots, I have decided to make vegetable soup this week. I have actually never made soup before, which seems really strange. Apparently I like my soup out of a can. I found a good crockpot recipe, so it should be easy enough to make.

Speaking of food, I found this AMAZING recipe for lentil tacos. Low in fat, high in protein, and sooooo delicious! We made this dish last Saturday and everyone loved it (especially me - I am addicted to lentils). You should definitely give it a try!

P.S. The recipe calls for chicken broth, but you can substitute that with veggie broth.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Plans for the fall

Remember when I told you about the co-op we were going to be joining in the fall? Unfortunately, classes were canceled for the semester due to lack of enrollment. DARN! I was pretty disappointed. I really wanted to do more structured learning activities with Porgie this year.

After much complaining and whining, I decided to approach one of my friends about planning some educational activities together. To my delight, my friend was super excited about my idea! We are getting together this week to plan some September activities. Since Johnny Appleseed's birthday is on the 26th, we will be taking a "field trip" to the farm for apple picking! So, even though I am disappointed about the co-op, I am excited to have a friend who is willing to indulge me and play teacher too.

I also signed the kids up for a 10 week session of classes at a local nature center. The classes will be on Monday mornings, and we will be exploring all things biology. I am pretty excited about this new adventure too. The truly awesome part is that this class is designed for 2-4 year-olds, so Izzy will be able to participate too.

And finally, I am trying to get in the habit of attending story time again. We used to go every week, but I have been slacking off lately. Between all of these activities (and dance class too), I think Porgie will get more than enough social interaction, and I think she'll learn quite a bit too.

I am looking forward to the fall and starting a new "school" schedule with the kids.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tiny Dancer

As you know, Porgie took ballet lessons last year. The monthly fee for the classes was expensive, the recital costume was outrageous, and even the recital tickets were pricey. To top it all off, I am not entirely convinced that my daughter really enjoyed her dancing lessons. I said that I wasn't going to enroll her again, but at the last minute I changed my mind.

Dance class gives Porgie an opportunity to interact with other kids her age, listen with other adults, and learn to participate in a group. These are all valuable lessons that are not easily taught at home. Additionally, I want to her to stick with dancing for a few years to see if she really likes it. I won't push it on her every year, but one more year of dancing won't hurt her.

The big difference this year is that in addition to ballet, Porgie will also be taking tap dancing lessons. I ordered her spiffy new tap shoes online last week, and they arrived in the mail today. Porgie was overjoyed! Look how adorable they are...

Miss M practiced her tap dancing all afternoon...

She is so darn cute!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I am currently trying to encourage my daughter to practice writing her letters. She has been able to write her name for a while, but she has shown little interest in learning how to form the other 20 letters in the alphabet.

Last weekend I bought Porgie a dry-erase book that allows her to practice both uppercase and lowercase letters. She really loves this book. During the course of the week, Porgie spent countless hours tracing letters. She is quite the perfectionist, and gets easily frustrated if her marker deviates (even slightly) from the dashed line. I have tried to assure her that the letters don't have to be perfect, but she just sulks and pouts while tracing the letter K for the 100th time...

It is hard watching my baby girl struggle to acquire this new skill.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Home stuff

I like schedules and routines. Although I do tend to slack off sometimes, if I have a routine established, I am much more likely to get stuff done. Because I am always interested in hearing about other people's schedules, I though I would share some of our daily/weekly routines.

I vacuum every morning. Our animals seems to be really prone to fleas this year, so vacuuming the carpet everyday is very important if I want to have a pest free home. I usually vacuum while the kids are eating breakfast. And oddly enough, it no longer feels like a chore. It is now just part of a normal day.

Dishes are also a daily chore. We don't have a dishwasher, so I have to hand wash everything at least twice per day, or the mess is overwhelming. I usually do dishes at lunch time and then again at dinner time. During the week my husband will sometimes do the dishes after dinner, which is really nice and helpful.

Laundry has also become a daily task. Before we had children, I would do all the laundry on Sunday. But now we seem too have too many clothes for just one day of washing. So, I have started throwing in a load or two everyday. The thing that gets me is folding the laundry. I just can't bring myself to fold laundry EVERY SINGLE DAY. I usually let the laundry pile up until the weekend, then I fold everything in one morning. I need to get better about folding clothes.

Until recently, I would clean up the kids' toys everyday. It was just easier for me to do it, so I didn't really ask the kids to help much. John decided that this needed to change (and I agreed). So, the kid are now responsible for cleaning up all the toys before they go to bed at night. Holy crap! Why didn't I implement this sooner? It is so nice to have a little help around here!

As I mentioned before, Monday has been designated as my baking day. I usually bake two loaves of bread (we only eat homemade bread now! Are you proud of me?) and a batch of muffins. Depending on what we have in the freezer, I will often make pizza dough and freeze it. Many of my desserts are usually made on Mondays too.

And finally, Friday is my errand day. More specifically, this is my Target day. We usually spend at least 2 hours in Target getting all of our essentials for the upcoming week. This is also the day I usually make a trip to the craft store for yarn and whatnot. When we get home, I try to clean the house good, because I usually take the weekends off. Mama needs a break too!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3 of the 4 seasons

We went to a really fun playground yesterday called Smith Memorial Playground. SUPER FUN! The park is located in Philadelphia, has 6 acres of playground space and a 24,000 square foot playhouse. And the best part - it is FREE. If you live in the area, or will be visiting Philly soon, I highly recommend it. They have lots of cool stuff like a huge wooden slide, a mini town to "drive" around (complete with parking meters), and even sprinklers to run through!

After playing outside all morning, my son came home with a nasty heat rash all over this chest and back. I have been encouraging him to run around naked. I think we might stay home today to give his skin a chance to cool off. It has been unbearably hot this week. I am soooo over summer. Fall sounds like a little piece of heaven, right here on Earth.

Because I am longing for colder weather, I have been busy crocheting again. My new specialty is winter hats. This is my latest creation...

So cute and so easy to make! I am thinking about doing a craft show again. I talk about this every. single. year. Despite all of my talk, I have never actually set-up a booth at a craft fair. Apparently, I just like talking about it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Better Know a Dessert (because I am not in a cupcake mood)

Remember when I told you guys that I was going to make 75 different cupcakes this year as part of my Better Know A Cupcake series? Well, I burnt out on cupcakes quicker than I thought I would. However, I have been baking sweet treats on a regular basis. So, I thought I would start showcasing some of my other yummy desserts.

This week's treat is near and dear to my heart...
This is pineapple upside down cake. My mother used to make pineapple upside down cake every year. Actually, it is the only cake I ever remember her baking. A few weeks ago I started craving this yummy cake. I found a recipe online, and I veganized it by substituting eggs with applesauce and milk with soymilk. It turned out GREAT. At first I thought there was a little too much of the caramelized topping, but it tasted perfect. I wouldn't change a thing. Soooo delicious.

I also made a new muffin this weekend....This is an almond lemon muffin (also vegan). Yummy! I never would have thought that almonds and lemons would make such a great combo, but they do.

Have you been baking any sweet treats lately?

Monday, August 16, 2010


After the horribly hot and dry summer we have had, our garden is finally starting to produce actual food! I am a little disappointed that many of our crops didn't make it (onions, green peppers, most of the herbs, and pumpkins). But I am thankful for what we have successfully grown...




Banana Peppers

Friday, August 13, 2010

I hate teeth

I had another Ortho appointment this week. Not good friends. Not good. The doctor told me that my teeth are moving at a very slow rate. Much slower than the average person. After looking at my before pictures, he confirmed what I had suspected. My teeth really haven't moved much at all during the last four months of treatment. So, he told me that my treatment plan will likely take longer than the original estimation of two years.

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I felt like crying when told me that I haven't made much progress. I look like a moron, my teeth hurt a lot, and I can't eat anything. Additionally, I paid $5,400 for these fucking braces, and I want to see some damn progress!

So, I am feeling a little melancholy today. It seems like nothing is ever easy. I am frustrated and disappointed. On the bright side, having braces on longer means that I'll have more time to save money toward my 5 dental implants. But thinking about the dental implants just depressed me again, because they cost a fortune. I am glutton for punishment.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Boo boo

We drove to the beach. As soon as we got out of the car, my son tripped and fell in the parking lot. His face smacked against a piece of wood that trimmed a grassy knoll. For a split second, I thought he had knocked out his front teeth. So this nasty bruise around his eye seems minor in comparison.

My poor baby boy. He is the most accident prone kid ever. Fortunately, he is a tough little guy, who rarely complains.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How did that happen?

Last Friday we received our electric bill. Gulp. Our bill was over $300. I am sick to my stomach about this HUGE bill. We have never had a utility bill that high before. It has been exceptionally hot this summer, but I still think our bill is ridiculous. The part that really pisses me off is that I have been going out of my way to make sure that our electric bill isn't too high.

In previous summers, I always set the thermostat to 73 degrees. This year I moved that number up to 79 degrees. I thought I would see a big difference in our bill. Not so much. I also have been keeping all of the blinds drawn during the day to block out the sun and heat. I thought living like a hermit would save us money. Not so much. And finally, I have been super strict about keeping the doors closed. I am constantly yelling at the kids for standing in the doorway, letting hot air into our house. I thought this would help us keep down reduce our bill. Ummm...not so much.

So, I am kind of pissed off at the electric company right now. Short of unplugging everything in my house and turning off the A/C, I am not sure what else I can do. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


All of my dreams just came true.

Frugal living

As you know, we have been trying to live a frugal lifestyle for the past 8 months. It has been hard, but we are now credit card debt free! And I don't intend to ever use credit cards again. Our next debt goal is paying off a home equity loan. Although I am excited to start our next adventure, I have been feeling a little burnt out on living frugal. I just wanted to go out to eat. And maybe buy a new shirt or two.

Since we decided to stay home for our vacation, John and I splurged a little. We drove to the ocean 4 times and to the lake 2 times, and spent a ton of money on gas for the van. We ate out 5 (!!!) times, and I didn't agonize over the cost. I went to Old Navy, and I bought the kids some new clothes for next summer. I am not going to lie, it felt good to spend money. Maybe a little too good.

I find it disturbing that I get so much joy from spending money. But I definitely feel happy when I am shopping. This week we are back to the daily grind - living frugally, eating at home, and limiting our out-of-town driving. I am kind of excited to get back to normal, because spending all of that money last week felt a little reckless.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Getting back into the swing of things

Well, the vacation was fabulous. I am happy to report that I did not cook dinner during the entire week. We did lots of fun stuff, but oddly enough, I don't really feel like writing about it. So, I'll just share some pictures instead...

And a good time was had by all!