Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let Me Tell What I've Been Up To!

On December 1st everything changed! I got promoted to general manager of the restaurant that I have been a hostess at. What a blessing! We thought about it, prayed and knew it would be difficult at first. We knew we needed to make sure the kids were taken care of first and foremost. There is a Christian school that Kira got into and Enzo finally got accepted to a Montessori preschool. Th e last few weeks have been trying and stretching. We honestly felt that God had opened up all of the doors and we just needed to have faith and walk through!

Boy oh boy! He has really come through on every little detail. I am working more obviously, but as soon as we are more on a schedule, I think it will be smoother.  Both of them start school on the 3rd of January and I feel like things will get more manageable. Since I will not be home as much posts will be few and far between while we are transitioning.

Everyone is excited about school. Kira has already started and loves her class, there are six other students. Enzo wanted to stay the day we checked out his school and his teacher is willing to met with his therapist too to see how much she can help in class with his left side.

I feel blessed and overwhelmed at everything so suddenly. However, I am so thankful for a God who is bigger than all of it! I am constantly clinging to Him for direction and patience.

Many blessings and love during this Christmas season to you and your family.
I hope to write our yearly update soon!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

I have wanted to try making this soup for a while now. 
The restaurant I used to work at had a butternut squash bisque and I loved it.
(Of course it had tons of cream and a bacon wrapped sea scallop, oh well.)
I knew I could make a soup comparable to the restaurants and way more healthy too.

I was so excited, it tastes just like the bisque that I remember minus all the bad stuff.

Butternut Squash Soup
2 Tb Earth best butter
2 large butternut squash
2 medium onions
1 shallot
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c cashews

In a large stockpot  melt butter and add onions and shallots. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add butternut squash and cook over low for about 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Add nutmeg and dash of salt and pepper. Let simmer for 20 minutes until squash soften. Remove from heat and blend in Vitamix or blender, reserve about one cup of broth. The second batch add cashews and blend until smooth. Pour all mixtures in the stockpot and season with s & p to taste. If too thick add reserved water.

Serve with dinner rolls or corn tortillas. Perfect on a chilly day or night.
I made this for lunch and Eric walked in and said it smelled like Thanksgiving! I agree!


Monday, November 8, 2010

I Won!

Tsh from Simple Mom just wrote a book and I won a copy!! I can not tell you how much she inspires me. I love all of the Simple blogs in her network. She is the first blog that I ever subscribed to via email/google reader. In fact, she inspired me to start Going Kiwi. I am so thankful for her words of encouragement and the simplicity of her posts. They really are simple, but meaningful posts. I think I have gleaned more from her blog and network than any other blog as a momma.

I really hope you will check out her book and support this amazing woman with a head full of knowledge!

This made my day!
Thanks again Tsh

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

 Mermaid, Cat Burglar and the Vampire

Jesse and Woody
 Yes, this was last years costume and I never got pictures,
thankfully they barely fit

 Mermaid and vampire
I was so excited how her skirt came out, 
I did not have a pattern.

 His cape was so easy and the perfect length

My little mermaid

They are already planning on what they want to be next year. I think we should do Princess Leia and Darth Vader. Who knows.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I started teaching a bible study at my house. We are going through the book of Ruth. Oh how, I love her story. Redemption, love and grace!  I am going to share this week on here. So this is just a little teaser of what is to come.

I love that it is finally raining and cold by the way :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Raisin Cookies

I subscribe to way to many other blogs in my Google reader and my email. Every once in a while a real gem comes through and today I hit the jackpot! Kitchen Stewardship always has great posts about healthy food and healthy living and today was no different. She wrote about pumpkin cookies. Now I am not a huge pumpkin fan. I think since my brother's favorite dessert was pumpkin pie and for his birthday (Christmas Eve) we would always have pumpkin pie instead of cake, I guess I just got burnt out on all the extra pumpkin pie and such. Don't get me wrong I love the pumpkin ravioli's from my last job but because they were savory not sweet. Something about the texture or maybe too much spice or something I just turned me off. But I know the kids like pumpkin and so after it finally getting a little cold here on the Central Coast, around 75 degrees, I thought I would actually turn on my big oven for the first time since February.
I made banana bread muffins and these little beauties

Yummy yum is all I can say but my mouth is full with one so I probably should not say anything. :)
Anyways here is how I made them

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies
2 cups Earth Balance Butter
1 1/2 c turbinado sugar
16 oz. can pumpkin
2 Tb Cornstarch and 4 Tb warm water mixture (2 eggs substitute)
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups Gluten free flour mix
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 cups raisins

Cream butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, cornstarch mixture and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients except raisins. Add to pumpkin mixture; mix well and fold in raisins.

On a greased baking sheet drop teaspoonfuls about two inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

*I initially baked them for 12-15 minutes but mine were not done all the way. So I adjusted to 15-20 minutes. I like them a little crispy on the bottom. Fool around with the time and find texture you like.

Thank you Kitchen Stewardship again for such a great recipe!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Amazing Vegan Mac n Cheese

I love mac n cheese and who doesn't!?! When we first went off cow dairy products I made my mac n cheese with goat cheese but since we are off animal products I have stopped making it for some time. We went to Trader Joe's they had their pumpkin puree out in front and it reminded me of yummy mac n cheese. I bought some and made it last night. I used nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese and it was so good! The family gobbled it up with fresh green beans.
Here is the recipe:

Vegan Mac n Cheese

Bag of Trader Joe's Penne Rice Noodles cooked according to package
3/4 can of pumpkin puree
3 Tb nutritional yeast
~1/2 c rice milk
1 Tb earth balance butter
Mary-Ann's seasoning salt or pinch of nutmeg and salt & pepper

Cook noodles according to package (for rice noodles I usually cook them 9-10 minutes but not more since they will fall apart). Drain, lightly rinse and return to pan. Add the pumpkin immediately. Then add nutritional yeast, rice milk and butter. Mix until blended well and add salt to taste. You might need to keep warm over low heat in order to mix well if noodles cooled down too much.

Serve immediately with a yummy green vegetable like broccoli or green beans.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Feeling Hot! Hot! Hot!

The clock in my bedroom

Well, I do not need to tell some of you how hot it is here but ugh!
 It was 108 at the pool here on the Central Coast and boy did the pool deliver! 
I am sticking to the couch as I type and my wrists are sweating as they rest on the laptop.
We do not have air conditioning and 99% of the time I could care less about a/c but the last two days it would have been nice for sure but then the electric bill would come and I would faint with sticker shock.

We had physical therapy today and Enzo's PT was a smart cookie and had the water table for him to play with. We caught the bus and headed to the pool (thank you Shelley!!!).
We got home and even though the house was closed up and dark it was still 92 degrees in my room. Right now it is 94 degrees but it is almost cooling off at 6:30 pm.

Besides the pool, ice cold drinks and doing much of nothing, how else to you cool down

Can we have ice cream for dinner?

Friday, September 24, 2010

#5 on the List Done!

Nightgown for Sadie

Goodness, I finally got this puppy done on the List!
I started before and messed up so bad for some silly reason and 
this fabric is not forgiving when you re-sew over a couple times. I got frustrated and walked away.
I found super cute hot cocoa fabric on sale a couple weeks ago. 
So yesterday instead of cleaning the house, I decided to sew it.
Sewing all seams and going over with the serger was so nice.
The ruffle turned out better than expected and I just used the serger on it, so easy!
I admit my arms and neckline could be better, there are a few puckers.
But on the whole I think it will look so cute on the little Miss.
Kira modeled it for me and said "Is this for me?"
I replied "No, but I have enough fabric for one for you too."
"Yeah!" she exclaimed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

School and Morning Snack-Banana Bread Muffins

Well I guess I have been busy since it has been since August for a post....opps! I have been very busy but loving every minute of it. Kira has started school at home and loves it. We started Zoo Phonics in the summer when my sister brought it over from NZ. The kids love it and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a phonics program. It is fun and interactive for the kids, while teaching them (and me) phonics. I did not learn phonics as a kid, so it is interesting for me to learn the process. We started to read a couple little easy reading books, cat on the mat etc. Then she wanted to read more. So we read the first two pages of "The Fire Cat". She did great and loved every minute of it. She is getting some sight words and wants to learn more. I love seeing her excitement and do not want to drown it out with constant lessons and pounding it into her brain. But rather take our time and let her lead the way with the speed of learning. As long as she wants to keep reading in a session, we will.
I guess I am doing a mixture of traditional schooling but with a small part of unschooling in it too. The whole unschooling idea intrigues me. I love the idea of them studying what their interests are and as a parent you can lead the learning by certain books. I read this one blog on how the mom would put out a book on insects on the kitchen table in the morning and then the kids would go through it and it would produce the appetite for more. The kids would go outside with jars, shovels and magnifying glasses then have a day full of learning all untraditional. Anyways, I want to incorporate that type of freedom in teaching Kira and Enzo and encourage their interests to come out!

I have been baking more now that is is a little cooler...not that it ever really got hot this summer. There were a few days here and there but nothing crazy. I just realized that I do love to bake and I know why now. When I have something baking and the kids smell it and I overhear them talk to one another about it in wonder, it is so cute. In example, I was baking banana bread for our neighbor and Enzo and Kira are coloring in the living room. Enzo turns to Kira and says "Kira, do you smell that?" She replies "Yes, what do you think it is?" He replies "Something yummy!" Then they came to me and asked when it was ready and when could they eat it! It was so great that their senses were heightened and it peaked their interest! So cute! So I guess I am a baker after all.

This recipe is great, easy and quick. For some reason I thought banana bread was more labor intense than this. It is also vegan which is great, but full of flavor! I have tweaked the recipe a bit, it originally had one cup of sugar and it only needs 1/4 cup because the bananas are so ripe and sweet. I want to mess around more with it but for now this recipe is great!

Gluten Free Banana Bread Muffins
3 ripe bananas
1/4 c oil
1/4 c cane sugar
2 c GF flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c chopped walnuts

Mash bananas and mix well with oil and sugar.
In a separate bowl sift flour, xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda.
Mix banana mixture and flour mixture.
Fold in walnuts
Using 1/4 c fill muffin tins about 3/4 full.
Yields 12 muffins

Bake at 360 degrees for about 20 minutes.
I bake them in my toaster oven for about 16-18 minutes.
My oven heats up the whole house and I not ready for that kind of heat :)

Kira does not like walnuts but Enzo does. So I split the mixture and only use 1/2 c walnuts in Enzo's and top the muffins with walnuts so I know which one is which. It just takes a second to do and then I do not have her picking apart the muffins :)


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Veggie Enchiladas

I made sweet potato and black bean enchiladas last week and thought I would try another recipe.

I used zucchini, carrots, red potatoes, black beans and onions.
Obviously, if you use sour cream these are not Casein free or vegan but you can use a sour cream substitute.

Veggie Enchiladas

Corn tortillas
2 carrots-sliced as big as potatoes
1 large zucchini sliced
1/2 med onion- cubed
5-6 red potatoes- large cubes
1 tsp Cumin
salt and pepper
1 cup cooked black beans
enchiladas sauce and/or
sour cream sauce- 1 part water 2 parts sour cream mixed

Bring potatoes and carrots to boil until fork tender about 5-10minutes depending on size of chunks. Meanwhile saute onions and zucchini with salt and pepper until tender. In a blender puree potatoes, carrots, zucchini, onion and black beans. Season with cumin. Warm corn tortillas on a skillet. There are two ways of doing enchiladas.

First is the prep before if you are not eating right away: in a baking pan pour enchiladas sauce or sour cream sauce and place warm corn tortillas in sauce covering on both sides one at a time. Once tortilla is saturated, spoon on about 2 Tb of potato mixture. Roll up and arrange neatly in pan. Cover with remaining sauce and cover with foil and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Second prep is for immediate enjoyment. Your potato mixture is hot and tortillas are warm so you will need to warm up your enchiladas sauce or sour cream sauce. On a large plate assemble the tortillas with the filling. Pour the sauce on top and serve.

You can add black olives, green onions, cheese or even jalpenos to top of the enchiladas.

The kids ate these up and Eric even said these tasted like a meat filling. I think the cumin is the trick. You could use any taco seasoning too.


You get veggies in there and the kids have no idea, I love it!

**If you want an easier recipe use two large sweet potatoes cubed instead of the red potatoes and carrots**

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bonjour Butterflies

Okay I am really going to get all of our vacation pictures up I promise.
I have a check up appointment on Friday with my OB/GYN and
we are going to talk about getting a second opinion.
But for now enjoy these pictures!

Here are the butterflies we saw at the Science center

Enzo is standing next to a little butterfly on the right
Close-up of his butterfly

They look like eyes

One just like this was on Kira's head but flew away before I could get a picture

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where Do I Begin?

Well, where do I begin? First off, I thought I was pregnant, which would have been amazing but not so much in our plans. I was a little excited and nervous thinking we just sold all of our baby stuff so it figures I would get pregnant. I decided I better go get tested and I might as well get my yearly out of the way since it has been two years, opps. I made my appointment and went in for my yearly OB/GYN last Friday. I went in and the pregnancy test came back negative, whoa, as I am wiping the sweat off my brow. Next we move onto the ever so delightful breast exam. "Hmm, do you feel that?"  I thought to myself, huh?! As I feel around, I say "Uh, isn't that my rib?" She replies politely, " No, see it is not connected, it is not a rib". Sheepishly, I start to wonder I guess I am not that great at going my quarterly monthly self exam, what the heck?! She tells me I need to get a mammogram, oh great, cause that sounds like so much fun. We finish up all the fun and she gives me numbers for different diagnostic centers.

Wow! I am floored right now. I thought I was pregnant but really it looks like there is something wrong with the ladies. I call Eric and I am trying to keep it together. I walk down to the park with the kids because I promised we would go after the appointment. Dazed and confused I made my way down there. I made a few phone calls and got an appointment for a mammogram on Wednesday. Now let me remind you it was Friday. That means I had Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday to endure and then Wednesday for my appointment. Really?

Good thing I had to work Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday night otherwise I probably would have thought about it way too much. It is good to be busy and have to think about others rather than yourself when you are going through something unknown.

To be totally honest I was not too worried if it was cancer. If it is cancer I know I could handle it but the not knowing and waiting was killing me! I had to really concentrate on the Lord and His peace. Obviously, I needed to be in His arms. I know I need to be there all the time but how often do we wander off think that we are okay. He gently reminds us that we need Him.

By Saturday I was feeling emotionally better. I felt the prayers that were covering me and it was nice.  Sunday morning came and our pastor was talking about trials....hahaha. Nice coincidence! He talked about Abraham and Isaac. How God had promised Abraham:
     I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. Gen 12:2
But then He commanded:
Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." Gen 22:2

It was crazy how Bryan was talking about the promises and commands of God and how we should have faith to follow His commands even though they might not seem to directly coincide with His promises. The whole sermon was great and I could relate.

I just tried to stay busy and when I found myself thinking about it and worrying I had to remember to cling to Him. I definitely had all of the "what if" thoughts but I found peace no matter what. Finally, Wednesday morning arrived and my appointment finally was here.

I got to the diagnostic center and tried to keep it together. I was not allowed to wear lotion, perfume or deodorant. Now, I do not wear lotion or perfume so that is no problem but deodorant?!? If you all do not know I sweat, a lot, no really a lot. I do not smell but I sweat. Since this happens to be on  When they called me back the nurse told me on the way to the mammogram that I would need an ultrasound too. Yeah, not only are they going to squish my right breast but I get to have the ultra sound wand wandering all over it too. It just keeps on getting better. I will say the staff was outstanding and very sensitive to me.
By the time this the appointment came to and end I was left in the ultra sound room in my beautiful new gown waiting for the doctor's assesment. I was a little overwhelmed but at peace at the same time if that makes sense. I eyes welled up a couple different times. I kept thinking of scriptures and would not let my mind wander to the bad or the what if's. Obviously, our minds gravitate to those but dwelling on them is not what I wanted to do. Instead  "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil 4:7 came to mind and it did.

The nurse came in and told me everything looked normal. The lump was just tissue. It was not a cyst, mass, cancerous etc. just tissue. Now that we know it is there just keep an eye on it. I was relieved. To quote Tom Petty "The waiting is the hardest part". My nurse at the doctor's office called later that afternoon to check up. She was saying that the mammogram does not always detect everything and wants me to see a specialist. Hmm, not ready for that bill, but I will see you for a free check up in a week. So as for now I feeling good with the doctor's decision and we will see next Friday about anything further.

Thank you to all of you who prayed and for words of encouragement.
Love you all!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Seattle Day 2

Enzo discovered all of the Legos at my aunt's house

Seattle Center

Okay, Stike a Pose!

Space Needle

Gorgeous Day in Seattle

We head over to The Pacific Science Center

Circus Circus
Enzo the Lion Tamer and a clown
Enzo the lion and now I am the lion tamer

A garden maze

Control panel for the Dinosaur
The electronic dinosaur
Dinosaur footprint

I remember coming here and sitting this capsule as a kid

Inside the cockpit

There was a whole insect exhibit, Enzo is riding the caterpillar like a horse, Giddy Up!
Butterfly Exhibit
I have about fifteen butterfly pictures and will post in a different post

Kira finds the one computer in the whole science center, of course!
A huge tree ring
Enzo, Cousin Cadence, and Kira
The power of water, the guns shot at pinwheels.
It is crazy to me how inconsiderate people are,
the guy in the red shirt was on that gun with his son for about ten minutes.
There was a line of kids and he was oblivious to the fact.
Common Courtesy is not so Common any more!
Huge granite ball
A water wheel, it took three of them to get it going
Well deserved snack with Cousin Shayli

A fabulous Salmon dinner with the whole family
Sheri(my new SIL), Terah(my sister's daughter), Papa Andy(my step dad),
Bethany(my cousin), Jenny(my SIL), Jacob(my brother)

Jenny, Jacob, Mimi(my mom in the red), Jebraun(my sister standing), Aunt B(in the black), Josh(my cousin's husband), Eric(my husband), Kelli(my SIL) Christian(my borther, back of his head, sorry)
The girl's table!
Cousin Jessica, Cousin Maile and Kira
Jessica is Jacob's daughter
Maile is Christian's daughter

Monday, August 9, 2010

Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Ships Day 1

We made it back safe and sound. What an adventure we had! It was fun, beautiful, full of good food and a little trying with the kids but over all absolutely fabulous! What kind of trip does not have ups and downs, we had them all and even some 360's too.

The trip began with an adventure, we left Wednesday night. The Beast (our 1991 Suburban), decided to overheat on the way back from Trader Joe's. I was stocking up on snacks and it red lined. Luckily, we have AAA and have not used a tow the whole year. The tow truck picked me up and got the burban back to our house around 9:30 pm. We called a taxi to make sure we did not break down on the way to the train station and miss our bus. We got to the bus station at 11:30 pm and the bus was scheduled to arrive at 12:00 am.

The bus was full and some inconsiderate guy was sprawled out with legs up on the table in the seats for groups of three or more asleep. Eric sat in the front. The kids and I sat in two seats, with Enzo in my lap. He fell asleep fairly quick but Kira was wide awake. The gentleman across the aisle from us was clearly intoxicated or mentally ill, either way it made the trip interesting.

He sat by the window and proceeded to eat crunch on chips and slurp on soda as loud as humanly possible. Then he practically sucked the skin off his fingers getting the chip remnants off. Remember it is in the middle of the night and everyone else is either asleep or trying to sleep. He continued to talk to himself, more like mumble throughout the trip. At one point the sleeping guy in front of inebriated guy wakes up suddenly. He looks around and hands a phone to inebriated guy. Obviously, confused he loudly asserts "Hey man, this is not my phone....but I keep it!" At the next stop the sleeping guy wakes up and realizes it is his stop. Looking around and searching the seat for his phone, he because concerned about his lost phone. Inebriated guy shouts again "Hey, I have your phone, you gave it to me for some reason!" Sleepy guy thankfully takes his phone and gets off the bus. Finally, we stopped in King City for about a fifteen minute break. The driver announces possible food accommendations and time limit. Inebriated guy starts to have a conversation with himself.
    "Oh, we stopping. Ah, a chocolate chip cookie sounds good, yeah that does sound good. Let's go get one! Yeah, okay"
Kid you not, that was the conversation and then he comes back with an ice cream sandwich! You have got to love public transportion. Needless to say I slept a total of about an hour in the four hour drive.

We pull up to the train station around 4:15 am. I did not think the trains or buses would not be running for some odd reason. So we took a taxi to the airport. We arrive at San Jose airport and they just finished this beautiful new terminal. We get in line at Southwest at 4:30. Now they suggest you arrive at the airport about two hours before your flight. We had a 6:30am flight, we were right on time. We were the second in line, sweet! However, the counter did not open up until about 5:15am! Really, really?!!? We became great friends with our fellow passengers and shared our traveling stories and finally they opened up the counter.

We checked in and headed through security, which was not very long of a wait. I do not know why but I always get nervous going through security. What if I forgot about something hidden in a one of the bags and they freak out on me and take me to be searched further.....arggh! Thankfully it was not the case.

We got on the plane and it was not a full flight so we had two rows to ourself.
Mimi put together crayons and coloring books for the kids-Thanks Mimi!
The kids were great and it was a quick flight, about two hours.
We kept busy snacking and drawing
 Enzo did get a little cranky when we were descending and his ears were popping.
 But through and through the kids were angels.

Kira and Enzo reading over the emergency information

We got in Seattle and my sweet Aunt Carolyn picked us and took us to our hotel in Lynnwood. My brother works for Marriot and we get a family discount. Praise God! We were able to stay in hotel rooms that normally cost $200 or more a night for only $59.00, sweet. Kira and Enzo were so tired. They fell asleep on the way to the hotel. Little bub stayed asleep from 9:30 until 2:30. Once we were at the hotel, I googled Mexican restaurants in walking distance. Taco Time came up and I google "gluten free menu". Yipee, they had a huge gf menu. I grew up with Taco Time and have not eaten there for at least thirteen years. I buckled and ordered their tacos. Oh yum! I figured on this trip we would eat healthy but I was not going to kill myself over it. Clearly, we have to eat gluten free but if we were not 100% plant based, I was okay with it. We hung out in the hotel room most of the day and caught up on sleep. Then we had dinner with some dear friends who live in Arlington. We went to the Lynnwood Mall and ate dinner and walked around. Since I grew up in the Seattle area I remember the Lynnwood Mall well, but I did not recognize it until we came to the middle of it and the fountains. The fountains were just how I remember them and it all came back to me.
We had a great visit with our friends and fabulous weather, I do not need much more than that.....well maybe more sleep. What a long day and full of adventures, we headed back to the hotel and all four of us crashed out.