Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dresser Do-Over - Crushing on Community

I asked one of our generous neighbors, Vicky and Greg, if they had a dresser they weren't using. We have been trying to minimize things in our lives and this includes clothes. Josie has more clothes than the rest of the family added together (thanks to more generous friends!), but we are still slowly shrinking her staff down to something reasonable. She had a beautiful dresser (we bought from another neighbor friend when they left the area), but it wasn't meeting her needs well. It was too deep and long so it took up lots of space and didn't allow her to see all her clothes at a glance. We have more friends moving from our neighborhood (don't get me started on the topic of loosing more neighbor friends) to Colorado and they could use the original dresser. I am so happy to pass it along to Gita and family because it was well loved by our previous neighbors, Katie and Ian. I feel like it will have an even better home and stay in the 'hood family.

So, the fabulous Vicky said she did have a dresser at her father's house
which was sitting around unused. Bingo! Josie took a look and was happy to take it off their hands. Well, not so quickly. Vicky and Greg then proceeded to give the dresser a complete make-over and they included Josie in most of the process. She went to the hardware store with them to pick out paint colors, she picked out special order pulls, she helped paint, drill holes, screw in pulls, etc. How fun at seven to be able to work on such a project! Greg and Vicky said she was a natural, but I know they put a lot more work than they should have into the dresser.

Now she has a perfect sized dresser for her needs, a piece of furniture she loves to look at, and memories to last a lifetime. We are so fortunate to have such talented, generous, and sweet neighbors!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Power of Social Media, When I'm Hungry

We only have two vegan restaurants in our little college town. This is somewhat disappointing in this day and age, especially since college towns tend to have more veg options. Still, it is better than twenty years ago so I won't complain. We visited one the oldest veg restaurant in our area, The Red Herring. This place is non-profit and run by students at the university. The hours fluctuate from year to year and so does the food, but over the last couple years they have made a big effort to have hours in the evening, weekends, and even during the summer. The Red Herring will always have a special place in my heart. We weren't even thinking of going out to eat on this particular evening, but a picture of deep dish pizza, salad, and watermelon came up in my Facebook feed and I knew I had to get the family together to go. Poor Parker was busy and missed out.
We orded a big bowl of tomato bisque for the table. Josie and Dema almost ate it all.
Josie getting ready to eat her gluten-free pizza, salad, and watermelon.
According to FB, the pizza had a wheat-free garbanzo flour crust, local veggies (peppers, tomatillos, zucchini, and onion), olives, vegan cheese, and tomato sauce made with local tomatoes. Caesar salad made with vegan dressing (which was so yummy even Dema ate his salad), garlic cornbread croutons and farmer's market watermelon. Dinner was tasty, nutritious, and not too heavy. Exactly what I was looking for on this late summer evening.
Dema said the dessert was number one. He talked about it for days.
The dessert was also big enough to share half with his sister.
Since my pictures ended up pretty blurry, I've added the picture from FB which lured me out for dinner.
Dinner picture from The Red Herring FaceBook page.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Friends Don't Let Friends Wallpaper

Parker removing wallpaper from the dining room wall.
When Rob leaves for business trips, I always get inspired to work on the house. A few years ago, I decided to pull up the carpet upstairs. We live in a 100+ year old house so it seemed cray cray to have  ugly dirt trapping carpet on the floor when we had awesome hardwood floors underneath, but I am still running into a carpet staple here and there that I missed.
Secret notes left by the original builders or owners.
I assume this means there is money hidden in some ice box inside the wall. If only!
Happy helpers or child labor.
What a difference a few years makes. My almost eight year old is always begging to help with any house project, but my eleven year old might need some coaxing (bribing).
More crazy drawings left by people who worked on the house many years before we bought it. 
Maybe a mock up for a window that never came to exist?
Rob is back, but I am still working on taking wallpaper off of the walls in Josie and Dema's room now. This is even a harder task since the glue used seems to have a life of its own. Seriously, wallpaper is a pain in the butt. Please don't use it!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Getting Off to a Lazy Start

Sixth grade school lunches look different for Dema than they did for Parker. Parker loved leftovers and he didn't attend a nut-free school. Dema can be particular about his lunches, he cares what other people think more than Parker ever did, and the foods he loves at home may not be best for lunch since they are not served hot. I also haven't really gotten into the swing of school yet and still feel very much in summer mode. Here's some of the lunches Dema's enjoyed so far. He eats every bit, even if he finishes it on the walk home from school or as he does his homework.
Chickpea salad with chipotle Vegenaise and mixed greens on sourdough bread, organic carrot sticks under organic red grapes, and black pepper Snapea Crisps.
Black pepper Snapea Crisps, sundried tomato wrap with hummus over organic red grapes, sunbather and fruit spread sandwich on sourdough bread.  
Organic apple slices, farmer's market strawberries, Gardein black bean burger with sauerkraut, mixed greens, mustard, and chipotle Vegenaise on rye bread.
 Since Dema has been eating all of his lunch at school and is hungry on the walk home, I decided to add a little more. We bought a new PlanetBox launch lunchbox and bag to match his new PlanetBox backpack. His old carrying bag from PlanetBox had a zipper malfunction after a couple years of use. I like the new design better.
Sambazon Blended Breakfast smoothie, organic cranberries.
 The cranberries come in a resealable pouch and I leave it in the velcro section of his lunch bag throughout the week. He doesn't eat the whole pouch in one sitting. It is more of a sweet treat after his lunch and as he walks home.
Farmer's Market strawberries, Italian Tofurky deli slice with mixed greens, chipotle Vegenaise, and mustard on rye bread.
Fridays are usually pizza day at Dema's school so I try to pack something pizza-ish on Fridays.
Organic carrot slices (Dema prefers bite size slices to sticks when eating at school), organic red grapes, and Tofurky Pepperoni hot pocket.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Walking Down Memory Lane

Dema on his first day of 6th grade.
Dema showing off his new PlanetBox backpack. Review coming soon.
Dema started sixth grade this year and even though this is his third year in private school, it takes me back to the one year Parker spent in public school. I have fond memories of walking to and from school with Parker (and often one or two of his friends) each day of his sixth grade year. That was also one of the best years of homeschooling for Dema. We were still car-free back then and the walk too and from school was the only one-on-one time Parker and I had during the day and it was precious. Now, I am determined to make walking a part of my routine with Dema this year. So far, it has been really great for both of us. We have our dog, Gracie, with us some of the time so it is good for her too. Dema gets a non-rushed completely focused time to chat about whatever is on his mind, and boy does he have a lot going on in there!
Dema walking on the brick wall on the way home from school.
So nice to take some time to unwind after a long day.
Rob works some days in an office a few blocks from Dema's school. This is a nice change from Rob working at home full-time. So some morning I run into Rob walking the dog and Josie or heading into work as I walk back from dropping Dema off. Some days Rob walks to pick Dema up from school and spends the rest of the day working from home. One afternoon, Dema went to Rob's office to do homework before I picked him up. It is nice to have options and some really nice family time that I've missed since we bought a car. I love taking the slow lane when we can and getting out of the motorized boxes.
Meeting up with Rob, Josie, and Gracie one morning after dropping Dema off at school.

Parker's first day of public school and sixth grade.

Here is a post with Parker's last day of sixth grade and public school.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Asking Questions, Changing the World

All three kids were fortunate to be asked to be part of an ad for our local university. It was really fun for all of them and the director, Anne Lukeman, has a passion for education and is fabulous with kids. Dema (he is part of the experiment) and Josie (you can't see her face, she is one of the audience members) were in the scene with the physics experiment and Parker is in the scene with the elephant's toothpaste (an experiment we actually performed in our homeschooling group last year).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I was chatting with my eleven year old, Dema, the other day and he mentioned a craving for root beer. We aren't soda drinkers, but root beer is a once in a while treat when he goes to the movies or at certain restaurants. I mentioned root beer floats. He'd never heard of one, but he immediately knew he wanted to try it. I finally got around to buying the vegan ice cream and the natural root beer. They were a hit with the kids, but I have to admit they didn't taste as good as I remembered from my childhood. That's probably for the best.
Parker with his first ever root beer float.
Speaking of floating, this is how Josie spent a good portion of the afternoon this Sunday. Thanks to our fabulous neighbors for the use of their pool and mini kayaks. Josie clearly has too much energy and competitive drive. She made Rob time her over and over until she could across in ten seconds. She went back and forth countless times. Going from the deep end to the shallow was clearly harder since she couldn't really push off. She often creates games like these and competes against herself. If only I could harness this energy somehow.