Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Well, not really but I did start making ornaments this past week! Parker is on the wait list for speech therapy (which is ridiculously long btw!) and while he's waiting, we joined a playgroup geared towards children on the wait list for speech. There's a lot of focus on language, signing, singing, turn taking, etc. Most of this we do anyways and I didn't think we'd go to more than a few classes but Parker really enjoys it. He really enjoys routine and loves anything repetitive which this group is all about. It's the same thing every week: same songs, same style of snack, same toys, same children, same routine, etc. It really works for him and he absolutely thrives in it! Plus it's really nice to get some one on one time with just him and I. :)

Tomorrow is the last class though and I know Parker's going to be sad for a little while. He always asks to go to "school" so I might find another music type class for us to do together during the week.

As a thank you to the wonderful playgroup leaders, Parker and I made a Christmas ornament for them. I've been into needle felting lately after buying a kit from the Sunrise Waldorf School winter festival. I find it to be so relaxing and love that I can finish something in one sitting. I lack the attention span for long term crafting projects: knitting is the worst for me!

To make these fabulous ornaments simply trace around a cookie cutter shape (I used a tree) onto pure wool felt and cut out (do this twice). On the front of one of the cutouts, needle felt on your design. On the back of the second piece, I needle felted on the year. You can either blanket stitch with embroidery thread or machine stitch along the edges like I did, making sure to stitch in a looped piece of ribbon to hang it by. Stuff the inside will wool batting (Parker loved this part) and stitch it closed. That's it!

(sorry the picture isn't so clear... I can't find my camera so I just used my iPhone)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snow Day!

Here on Vancouver Island we don't see alot of snow so when it does actually snow, the city all but shuts down. Which is both frustrating and kinda nice at the same time.
The last week, we've had many snowy days and Ally missed two days of school even! We spent alot of time playing in the snow, staying in our pjs all day, baking and drinking hot chocolate like it was going out of style.

And now a few days later the snow is mostly melted away, our snowman a small lump on the mostly visible grass which is just in time as we've nearly run out of cocoa! :)

Mushroom Barley Soup

We love soup so naturally I've made alot of soups over the years, some really good and some not so good. This recipe is hands down, our favourite soup that we've been enjoying over the years. It's good for you with tons of veggies and fills you up and like all soups, it's even better the next day. It's not GF but I/m finding that Parker can eat this with no issues later on. I have used millet in place of the barley before.

Mushroom Barley Soup

1 leek, halved and sliced
3 celery sticks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 lb mushrooms, sliced
1.5 cups turnips, chopped (I often forget to buy turnips so I use whatever squash we have on hand which is yummy too!)
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (I didn't get around to canning tomatoes this year so I've been using a bag of frozen tomatoes I chopped up from our garden this summer)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt and thyme
1/4 tsp pepper and caraway seeds
1 cup barley 4 cups fresh spinach, cut into thin strips (when I don't have fresh spinach I use frozen spinach from Europe's Best, it comes in  little pucks and I use about 6)

In a large soup pot, heat oil and add leek, garlic and celery. Cook until fragrant then add the mushrooms, turnips or squash and carrots. Cook until mushrooms are tender.
Stir in broth or water, seasonings and tomatoes. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until turnip or squash is tender. Add in barley and let simmer about 45 minutes or so then add spinach and cook just until spinach is tender. Discard bay leaf.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Operation: Organize the Cupboard!

Organization has never been my thing. I'm full of ideas and bursting with creativity but cleaning up afterwards: meh! But I get really frustrated when I can't find what I'm looking for or if I forget a project I was working on because it was buried under piles and piles of crap.

So my goal is to have this crafting/misc. cupboard and computer area cleaned and organized. By the end of Saturday. Which is only two days away. And I haven't even started yet. Yikes!

At least Sophie is excited about the project!

Then maybe I'll have the motivation to finish the million of projects we've been working on so I can share them all with you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bliss is right!

I've died and gone straight to ice cream heaven. Try this coconut milk ice cream from Luna and Larry's and you too can be in coconut bliss. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meal Plan Nov. 16-22

I used to post about our meal plan for the week and then that just sort of fell to the wayside. But I'd like to start again because we've been eating alot of new recipes and I'd like to be able to refer back to things we've eaten.

You'll soon notice that my menu plans are starting on Tuesdays which I know is a weird day to start a menu plan for a new week but Tuesdays in my house are like Mondays in everyone else's. My husband works Tuesday to Saturday so our weekends are Sundays and Mondays.

My meal plans are date specific but I'm very flexible in it and will swap days if I feel like it. I also leave one day a week blank for take-out meals or what we refer to as "fend for yourself" dinners.

So here's this week's meal plan:

Tuesday: Roasted Chicken with quinoa and some sort of sauteed greens.
Wednesday: Buddha Bowl (I love her recipes, they're great for families on a budget!) We stay away from soy in this house so I add cashews instead and make a few other little changes, stay tuned for my version of this yummy recipe!
Thursday: Eggs and Black Bean Salsa.
Friday: Chicken quesidillas.
Saturday: Mushroom Barley Soup
Sunday: leftovers

What's for dinner in your home?

Caring for your amber necklace

Parents are ditching chemical relief for their teething babies and are instead taking a more natural approach. Teething  baltic amber necklaces are super popular right now with good reason. Amber has succininc acid which relieves inflammation and provides pain relief when the warmth of your baby's skin releases the oil.

Parker's been wearing his for about two years now and Sophie's been wearing hers for about 6 months and they both benefit from wearing their baltic amber teething necklaces. I love them, they're super cute and they really do provide relief to my children which then provides relief for me. :)

But did you know that you need to take special care of your amber necklace? Amber should not be worn in chlorinated swimming pools, when bathing or when wearing sunscreen or lotion. The chemicals and soap will create a film on the beads over time, keeping the oils from being released.

Don't fret if you've been forgetting to remove the necklace when in the bath or out at the beach... you can wash your amber! Take a clean toothbrush and using only water, lightly scrub each amber bead until clean.

You can also recharge your amber necklace by placing it in a sunny spot for a few hours. I did this last summer after Parker was struggling with his two year molars coming through. I cleaned them with water and put them on the deck for the afternoon in full sun. Doing this made the necklace like new again and Parker was able to cope again with teething.

Friday, November 5, 2010

2 and a half, baby!

Parker is 2 and a half... I can't believe how much he's changed since he his birthday even! His personality is really emerging and I get glimpses of who he will become as he gets older. Fascinating to say the least. :)

Since we started a GF diet for him just after his 2nd birthday, his behaviour has really evened out. He's no longer the constantly raging baby. Looking back on his first two years, my heart just breaks for him and all the pain he was in. No wonder he wasn't a happy child. But now even though he has his rough days (don't most of us though?), his happy days are much more regular.

We're thinking that in addition to a gluten intolerance, he has sensory issues as well. Well, I know he has sensory issues. The more I read about sensory processing disorder the more I'm convinced this is what's going on. And you know what? I fully blame the 10 ultrasounds and his 2 month vaccinations for it. There's research out there now that shows that excessive ultrasounds can cause neurological damage, same with vaccines. I feel guilty but more than that, I feel anger that my caregivers during my pregnancy pushed fear on me and used that to bully me into tests and procedures I wouldn't have otherwise agreed to....

But that's all for another post I think.

This post is about my little man turing 2.5 and celebrating all that he has accomplished since his second birthday. :)

At 2.5 years, Parker:
~ is a very affectionate and loving child. Cuddles are always guaranteed when Parky is in the room.
~ still nurses on occasion but I think he'll be done before he's three. And in all honesty, I'm ready for him to be done.
~ uses the toilet when we're at home with very little accidents. Still working on ditching the diaper for naps and public but no rush.
~ His vocabulary keeps exploding but his pronounciation needs some work. Also, he tends to stick with 2 word sentences, sometimes 3 word sentences. We're on the waitlist for speech which he'll hopefully recieve before he's 3.
~ He and I attend a speech focused playgroup on Wednesdays for an hour. He looooves it, especially the circle time.
~ adores his sisters. He often gets annoyed with Sophie bothering him but he's protective of her and enjoys giving hugs as long as it's on his terms. Ally is his best friend for sure... he could spend all day following him if she let him. :)
~ Loves to go on nature walks, leaf picking is his new favourite activity.
~ loves loves loves music. He loves action songs, seeing people play musical instruments and putting on a show for us.
~ He sleeps in his bed in his room for about half the night. Sometime around 2 I find him laying in his makeshift bed (a bunch of blankets and a pillow) on the floor beside me.
~ He naps for about 1.5 hours a day but if I nap with him, he'll nap for 3 hours sometimes more.
~ loves brocolli, nutritional yeast, beans and yogurt.
~ loves to make pretend tea for everyone and insists that we pretend that it's too hot. He loves all imagination type play.
~ loves to be read to. He's really liking Robert Munsch's "I love you forever" and Strega Nona.
~ loves to be around me or his dad. He's a great helper who insists on doing everything by himself. "no me do" is his new favourite phrase.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Neck Point Park

The little ones and I went for a walk through Neck Point Park today. I love going there, there's beaches to explore, forested trails and sunny trails to walk through and it's a short drive from my house. I brought the buggy today instead of wearing Sophie so we were a bit limited in where we went. But we managed to spend about 2 hours at the beaches and walking through the trails.

Parker loved collecting fallen leaves and he quickly filled up the basket of the buggy. We also saw lots of mushrooms, most of which (okay all) I had no clue as to what they were. Learning more about mushrooms and being able to identify what's edible and what's poisonous is something I'm really interested in. But like most things, I never seem to get around to actually doing it!

Here's some pictures of our day. If you can identify some of the mushrooms for me, please do!

 Parker and his giant leaf!

"more gross" as Parker calls it.

Sophie enjoying the beach.

Walking on the trail.

Throwing rocks.

Sophie and Parker sharing a seat on a log.

Weird, eh? I think it's called a false morrel or a brain mushroom.

Apparently these are not rolling stones. :)