Thursday, December 20, 2012

Humongous Holiday Post - Halloween

Humongous holiday post part one - Halloween. I just realized we are 24 hours away from the end of the world Winter Solstice and I can't post about it since I never blogged about Halloween, multiple birthdays, Thanksgiving, etc. So here ya go, a bit late, Halloween 2012.
 Jose as a Princess Fairy and Parker as Captain America. We found a bigger shield, but it didn't look as much fun and was wooden and super heavy.
 Waiting for Dema to get into the picture.
 Finally, the elusive Dema ninja joins them.
 Ninjas don't stay still for long.
 Josie showing off the wings Awesome Neighbor Margie bought for her.
 After the pictures we were off to one of Parker's school friend's houses for a Halloween party. Parker loved the neighborhood friend showed up with a homemade Mindcraft creeper costume. It was exactly what Parker wanted to make, but we were too lazy this year.
 Dema being a ninja and climbing up Parker's friend's cool rope and climbing structure.
 It was cold out, but that didn't stop the kids from running around until they almost collapsed.
 Parker as Captain America doing battle with a friend dressed as Dr. Who.
 Josie wasn't about to let the boys get all the fun. She was one of the last to call it quits and come in and eat.
 My fairy "flying".
 My happy ninja.
 The party had plenty of vegan food for us to eat (we were the only vegans to attend). Like these cool apple mouths with nuts as teeth.
 Snake breadsticks.
 Brain cupcakes.
 Yummy spicy chili that the kids couldn't get enough of.
 After a lot of running, eating, and watching movies, our fairy was worn out and ready to call it a night. It was so nice to get to know the parents better and it is so sweet that all his friends of his one year of public school last year still think to include him in everything. They are a great bunch of kids!
 On actual Halloween night, we had planned a party, but my fairy princess came down with a cough and I didn't want to expose all our friends. She did dress up. Parker went trick-or-treating with his friend who had the Halloween party a couple days before. It is the first time he's gone trick-or-treating in a different neighborhood. He had a great time. Ninja Dema went around with his best friend and neighbor, Ethan. 
 The kids really got into their characters this year.
 Our sweet high school friend and neighbor, Tessa, was brave enough to walk around the neighborhood with a coughing fairy princess so I could hand out candy to the 200 visitors to our house. It was so strange to have all three kids off in different directions.
 The Great Pumpkin left them presents that night in exchange for all their non-vegan candy. Josie received Hanna Andersson organic cotton pajamas (I buy them during their sales and usually give them for Solstice or Christmas, but this year I decided to go with Halloween), some gum, vegan chocolates, and a bank divided for spending/saving/giving.
 Dema received Story Cubes (he loves them at our Joy in Learning homeschooling group so I bought his own), Hanna Andersson organic cotton pjs, gum, vegan chocolate, and a Lego super hero. He shares the super hero with Parker and the story cubes with Josie.
Parker's last Hanna Andersson organic cotton pjs. This makes me a little sad and of course happy because it means he is growing up. I guess next year I'll have to buy him adult sized pjs so maybe they aren't his last. He also received a cube calendar, gum, and vegan chocolate.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wet Paint

We are not DIYers. I wish we were. I thought be might become DIYers when we bought this old house. I had daydreams of the boys (we didn't know we were quickly to become pregnant with a girl, we bought a house with lead paint thinking it was finally safe since the kids were past the putting things in their mouths stage) would help us demo, rebuilt, paint, etc. Now Josie is five and we have no excuse not to include the kids and become DIYers, but we still aren't. Thus, we haven't really done a lot to the house. Sure we had the  outside steps fixed when they spontaneously caved in, we put up a fence, we had asbestos removed before we moved in, etc. It isn't just the lack of this old house know how that has kept me from doing anything big. I feel a crazy obligation and responsibility to the previous people who have living in this house and those who will come after me. I don't want to screw anything up. In the end, it is our house and just like the people who have lived in it before us, the people after will wonder why we put that hook there or curse us for not fixing something or adding something we shouldn't have added. We live here now and I'm ready (I think) to put our mark on it.
 Drywall on the ceiling and an electrical outlet now. We are going to install a ceiling fan. The ceilings are kind of high and our house gets very hot in the summer and stays cold in the winter. I'm hoping ceiling fans will help.
 We put some insulation up before the drywall in order to keep noise down. Dema and Josie share the master bedroom which is right above our living room and we were told we'd miss the sound dampening of the plaster. So far, the drywall has been fine and we don't notice more noise, but we aren't using the living room yet.
 The walls were surprisingly good. Not many cracks at all. The worst part was over the fireplace, but Eric did his magic and it should look smooth.
 We love old windows and don't want to replace them, but we also like windows to open. We replaced the old broken rope with new rope and kept the weights.
 This is the type of thing that made me super sad to paint and almost had me ordering wallpaper. There is history written on the walls.
 If the walls tell the whole story. There has only been three layers of wallpaper in over 100 years!! The last installed when I was a toddler in 1973.
 It looked like a hazmat area when Eric was demo-ing the plaster and later sanding the walls. We had this mask for him that Rob bought when he was working on the basement. Eric kept the area amazingly clean and was all organized with bags of plaster. He went out and in the windows during the really messy part.
 Eric is meticulous and I love to see him making sure everything on the ceiling was level.
 1925 was the second layer of wallpaper (assuming wallpaper was what they covered the walls with when it was first built) and some plaster touch ups. 
 I am sad all these notes are gone as Eric sanded, primed, etc.
 I let go of the old and embraced a new. Yes, we chose green for the ceiling. Bold choice for both of us and I hope previous owners are not rolling over in their graves, but this is where we are now.
 We decided not to strip the molding around the ceiling and paint it another color so Eric didn't have to be too particular at the corners, but it looks good to me.
 The stripping of the woodwork around the fireplace has proven to be a messy affair and time-consuming, but I love getting back to the wood.
 It looked like many layers of paint on the woodwork.
 The walls are more neutral. We really wanted to use limestone paint from Unearthed Paint, but we were running short on time and funds. I really want to use their paints in the rest of the house. We ended up with Sherman Williams Emerald paint instead. It seems to cover well and so far we are pleased, but I don't love it like I know I'll love the Unearthed. The colors we picked remind me of the Common Ground Co-op. I didn't think of it when we picked them, but I took Josie shopping there this week and it hit me that we now have a living room that is like the co-op. I'm cool with that.
 I can't wait to see how the colors look with the green around the fireplace and I am eager to pick out window treatments and floor covering to bring it all together.
 If we were more organized, we would have done this project in the spring so we could sandblast the radiator and repaint it, but that will have to wait.
We were originally thinking red for the living room to bring color to our lives, but I think this color scheme is more relaxing. I know we'll enjoy many parties, countless games with the kids, endless hours of cuddling and reading in our new living room. Maybe we'll try to tackle one of the other rooms on our own.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Annie Jr.

Here are some pictures from Parker's first musical. He played Drake (the butler) and Mr. Buddles (the laundry guy) in Annie Jr. I don't think I have any pictures of him as Buddles...too bad because he was really cute. I love his hair. We might have to invest in some mousse.
 Josie went to the opening night with her Aunt Karen and Uncle Stuart, but we all went as a family to Saturday's matanee. I worked stage crew all week so Saturday was my first chance to see the performance from the audience. It was so much fun! Dema and Josie were happy to have Annie Jr. t-shirts to show their support for Parker and the rest of the cast.
 Between the 2 and 7 o'clock shows on Saturday, we had about an hour to eat so we went out to Thara Thai to celebrate.
 He is happy to go a long time without wearing make-up again. Parker had a great time and can't wait to work on another play soon. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

(Home) School Lunch Tuesday

Once a month our homeschooling group has "pizza day". The participating families bring money and order from Little Caesar's Pizza. While Little Caesar's has information on their website for vegetarian and vegans, which is very cool, we opt to make our own most months. Lately, I've just been cooking up a Bold Veggie Lovers Pizza from the freezer. Or really three of them since each kid can eat their own. Josie and Dema usually are too quick to leave their lunch and go play so they have leftovers, but those are soon devoured on the way home.
 Their PlanetBoxes don't hold an entire pizza well and the kids need more than pizza for lunch so I use our To-go Ware. The pizza fits in the bottom, carrots sticks, soy yogurt (in a PlanetBox Big Dipper) with berries and flax seeds (sorry I left the top on the container, but you know what it looks like), carrot sticks, and Late July chocolate cookies.
 Josie liked this picture because she thinks it looks like the container has two huge eyes and carrots for hair. I love all my stainless steel food containers and use them all the time.
 I used a PlanetBox Launch Satellite Dish for the boys' yogurt and it wouldn't fit inside the To-Go Ware with all the pizza and carrot sticks so I put the To-Go Ware with the dish inside a Built NY lunch tote and it worked perfectly.
 Since Josie's all fit inside the To-Go Ware, I used their carrying bag (with her spoon in the little pocket on the side).
 Another pizza day, but this time with Tofurky Italian Sausage Pizza and carrot sticks in another To-Go container.
 Pizza and carrot sticks.
I put the pears, Lemon Cranberry bar, and Late July chocolate cookies in a separate Eco Lunch Box (I bought mine at Common Ground Co-op).
Kids can not live on vegan pizza alone, so here is another week's lunch in their PlanetBoxes. Alive and Radiant Southwest Ranch Kale Krunch, Artisana pecan butter and fruit spread on Rudi's whole wheat bagel flatz, carrot sticks, homemade hummus with artichokes (Common Ground Co-op offers an awesome hummus with artichokes so now I throw artichokes in my homemade hummus), and a dark chocolate square.
 Dema's Lauch PlanetBox with carrot sticks, homemade artichoke hummus, Health Warrior Chia barAlive and Radiant Southwest Ranch Kale Krunch, dried mangoes, and Hilary's Eat Well Adzuki Bean Burger on a whole wheat bun with unsweetened ketchup, Vegenaise, and mustard. 
Parker's Launch PlanetBox with pretty much the same as Dema's minus the dried mangoes and with greens, relish, hot sauce, and avocado added to his burger and no ketchup. Yes, the kids help make their lunches.