Saturday, December 20, 2014

Morning in Wyoming

Friday, December 19, 2014

Phone Photo Friday: 12.19.14

Hello! Happy Friday! Here is my latest offering of phone photos.

We went to a huge Polar Express Party and parents took the girls around while I helped out with crafts. The girls had a fantastic time and Cordelia told me it was the "best night ever."

At the end of the party they had a "snowball fight" where the kids broke into teams and threw wadded newspaper and used copy paper at each other it was madness, there were so many children. When it was time to pick up they had each team race and try to clean their side up by putting all of the paper into recycling boxes. Awesome idea

Bumblebee had surgery last week for a tumor removal, hopefully this will be 
benign like her other tumors. We await results and in the mean time we laugh at her cone.

Sunday evening we decorated the tree with my parents, my youngest brother, his girlfriend, and borrowed sister Laura. 

Look at these two!

After a weirdly warm few weeks we got snow.

This is Elise and her friend Charlie. I watch Charlie once a week for about an hour while his mom, a friend of mine, teaches Spanish at the preschool. 

Elise and Charlie have a lot of fun together.

Here is a random pic of Cordelia eating dinner.

This photo requires a bit of an explanation, my brother Ben sent Eric this gigantic dragon mask. The other day Eric and the girls had played with it and left it on the floor. I went to put it away and had a better idea, I tucked it into bed. When you have been married for as long as we have you must work hard to impress your spouse. 

Santa is not our thing at all. We have never pretended about Santa as a general rule we are direct and honest; we want them to always know we will tell them the truth. So when "Santa" came to preschool we talked with Cordelia and told her that it was fine and fun to pretend, but that it isn't her place to tell her friends that Santa is only make believe. She has it down. Anyway, here she is on "Santa's" lap. Apparently she asked for My Little Pony records.

Ha ha.

Cordelia and I have been working on fractions. Elise is happy to scoop beans for now.

Opening a holiday package that arrived.

Wiped out at the end of the day, after writing and painting Eric and I collapse onto the couch and talk or watch a movie.

Home made Christmas card.

Shopping with Elise while Cordelia was at school.

Actors dressed as a pirate and Elsa showed up at the preschool to present bikes that had been auctioned in order to raise money for a family in need. I was given a head's up so Elise could get in on the surprise.

Elise sang, "Let it Go." We explained to her that it was a woman playing dress up, but I am not sure she really understood what was going on---she was happy about it whatever she thought was happening...

Cordelia went right up to this woman and felt the beading on the bodice of the dress and hugged her. They were thrilled by the experience. Cordelia has once again requested an Elsa crown and high heels (?) for Christmas. And now we have the Frozen soundtrack on repeat, again. Ahhhh!

Here is a very poor photo of Frisbee the squirrel who lives in our cottonwood, his/her nest can be seen from the girls' room. He/She runs to the apple tree and eats the rotting and fermented apples that we couldn't reach. Drunken squirrel?

Last night I finished my final art class until next fall, at the art museum. I have been teaching a group of high school kids and it has been so rewarding. I will miss them!  I took this pic of the museum tree on my way out.

Lucy, just attacking the tent.

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Little Extra

It is the time of year when I am reminded that sometimes giving a little extra effort can make all of the difference. Packing presents I am always trying, with varying degrees of success, to make the presentation beautiful and thoughtful. This season is so steeped in ritual from the things we do to the way we decorate.

This is also a challenging time to have vegan kids. There is junk food everywhere. People are just shoving candy into my kids hands, seriously like the random dude at the store who gave them candy canes (they were deposited into the trash as tearful ladies looked on). Great lesson about taking things from strangers.

I don't love all of the sweets that come out during this season, but I also don't want the girls to feel like they are always missing out. So we approach the issue on a thoughtful basis. Mostly Cordelia knows that she cannot always eat candy, but that she does get to have treats.

So when those treats do come I try my best to make them a little extra special. Today she is having a party at her school. There will be cupcakes. Her teacher is so great about keeping me in the loop and will even text me with vegan questions, it is so appreciated! She let me know that cupcakes will be given out at their holiday party and it was up to Eric and I to bring a vegan cupcake.

I like to make things a bit special for the girls so they won't feel that they are missing out by having vegan food, because they aren't! So I like to put a little extra effort into the presentation. It is all about exclusivity people.

So this morning Cordelia is taking her own royal cupcake to school and she is very excited about the whole thing! Sometimes, usually, being different is cool.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vegan Recipe: Broccoli Bites with Avocado Cream

Now let me start off by saying that I enjoy broccoli, but even I was skeptical about my own recipe. I mean...putting it into the oven I was concerned. I just thought that I had created some freaky gunky Frankenfood. I expected to pull it from the oven, take a bite and gross out. I am not sure why. Perhaps because it looked UGLY.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when this tasted sooooooooooooo goooooood! Like for really yo!

Broccoli bites with avocado cream by
Try it. I insist.

2 medium-sized broccoli heads, florets only
EnerG Egg Replacer Equivalent to 4 Eggs (1 1/2 tsp replacer +1T warm water= 1 egg)
1 c your favorite vegan cheese (I used Daiya)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 c quick oats
1/4 c sunflower seeds

For the Avocado Cream
1 avocado
1/4 c vegan sour cream
juice from 1 half lemon

1.Preheat oven to 375. Lightly oil a muffin tin.
2. Toss the broccoli into a food processor and process. Add the cheese, sunflower seeds, oats, garlic powder, nutmeg. Process, scrap down the sides, until well mixed.
3. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin filling about 2/3 full, gently press down. Place into the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Remove from heat and let cool.
4. For the avocado cream put the avocado (skin and seed removed) , sour cream, lemon juice into the cleaned food processor. Process until creamy.
5. Gently remove the broccoli bites. You may need to loosen by running a knife around the edges.
6. Serve with a dollop of cream. BOOM!

~Maria Rose

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Weighty Issue


While driving Cordelia home from preschool I am used to discussion time. Usually she comes back from school ready to talk. Sometimes she wants to talk about school stuff, but other times she just seems ready to ask any question that pops into her mind. Elise quietly listens, absorbing it all. I love this time, but it is often challenging as kids are wizards at asking tough/confusing/weird/uncomfortable questions. I am careful to pause a moment and consider my answers to the more challenging questions.

The other day we were driving and Cordelia asked me why some people are "fat." We never ever use the word "fat" to describe people to our children so I assume the word came from a discussion with her friends. We had just been talking about the snow monster from Frozen, so it was a rather abrupt topical shift and I wanted to be sure that I said the right thing.

Finally I said,"Well, people struggle with their weight for a lot of reasons, but mostly they are overweight---which is what we say instead of fat---because they have trouble listening to their bodies and they eat when they don't need to eat or make unhealthy choices and don't get enough exercise."

Then I was peppered with follow-up inquiries:

"Why don't we say fat?"
       "Because it makes people feel bad. Being overweight is something that most people don't want to be as it is hard on their bodies."

"Why don't people listen to their bodies?"
        "For a lot of reasons. Sometimes people eat too much when they are bored or sad. Some people have health problems that keep them from being able to stay healthy. Some just never learned how to eat healthy."

"Why do people eat when they are sad?"
"List three ways that people have sickness that makes them not listen to their bodies?"--She really talks like this.
"Is riding my bike exercise?
Why don't people want to be fat?
"How are people unhealthy when they weigh too much?"

It went on for some time and I tried to focus on the value of healthy eating and exercise, always listening to what our bodies are telling us. I told her that healthy people can come in all different shapes and sizes. I tried to shove all of the body loving goodness I could at her. Additionally I tried hard to emphasize that it is not our job to judge other people who are having difficulty making good choices. Who knows how much sunk in, what she and the eager eared Elise took in on that drive? Hopefully I said the right things.

Then, recently we were at an event and I noticed that Cordelia was really scoping the scene. Eventually she loud whispered, "Look mom, none of these people are listening to their bodies." I looked out at a sea of people who were very overweight and couldn't really deny that fact. Later we talked about it again and it was clear that she was feeling empathetic to people who might be unhealthy or uncomfortable, but I also emphasized that people are so much more than just one thing. Who knows? Parenting is tough. What are your thoughts on the issue?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Snow Well

We had a few weeks of unseasonably warm weather. December in Wyoming with bike riding and light jackets was a strange and thrilling experience. Everyone in the community updated their Facebook profiles and Instagram feeds with screen shots of the current temps, in the mid to high 50sF. 

We let the girls spend as much time outside as possible. We even did yard work! It felt like March. It was a rare treat for us northerners, but tempered with fears about a low snow pack which could lead to drought and a very intense summer fire season. 

The last two days we have woken to colder temps and a fresh blanket of snow. A bit more like normal for this time of year, just in time for a white Christmas.

Slow driving and lots of layers of clothes are on tap for the next few days.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Quote: Go to Sleep Darlings

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and the fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says,"Go to sleep darlings, till the summer comes again."
~Lewis Caroll

Saturday, December 13, 2014



Last week I had my first cup of caffeinated coffee in over six years. While going to college I had formed a pretty serious coffee habit. I would drink between 4-8 cups of coffee a day, often more than that! Sometime during grad school I cut waaay back to a cup of coffee in the morning and then a cup of tea at work. After a miscarriage in 2008 I cut all caffeine. I know that it is perfectly fine to have an occasional cup of coffee while pregnant, but I was pretty much determined to do anything I could to prevent another miscarriage, even if science wasn't entirely supportive of my fears.

Once Cordelia was born in 2009 I decided to stay away from coffee until she had weaned, but then I just decided to wait as we were planning to have one more child. No point in returning to caffeine only to break from it again in a few months. So I maintained my caffeine free life until Elise weaned, but then it was weird to think about caffeine again. I didn't really want it, as I like running on my own steam. I don't want to go back to the place where I feel that I need coffee to start my engine in the mornings. Although I will admit that there were times when I certainly could have used a caffeine jolt in early motherhood.

Caffeine hasn't really been a temptation for me at all.

Yet, I decided to revisit the idea to see how I felt about it after several years. I could continue on with a self-imposed ban or I could drink coffee. I finally settled on the issue last week. I don't like the idea of of banning anything from my life unless, like veganism, I feel a strong moral inclination to do so. I am more interested in self-control and listening to your body. I simply don't have strong feelings about caffeine, as long as it is taken in moderation. So, I had my first cup of caffeinated coffee in over six years. I have had a couple of more cups over the course of the week and its fine, take it or leave it I guess.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Phone Photo Friday

Another week another phone photo drop. Brace yourself, there are a lot of photos this week. 

Betty and Bumblebee want food. Every morning after we eat breakfast they remind us that it is time to feed them their breakfast.

These girls! What are we gonna do?

Like seriously, what are we gonna do? They are such characters!

The weather has been unseasonably warm and we have taken advantage of the opportunity to be outdoors.

She wanted to catch somebody, anybody, at the bottom of the slide.

This is a photo my mother sent me while she was watching the girls on Friday.

Eric and Elise waiting to get ready for the fashion show last Saturday.

Cordelia, having her hair curled for the first time. She was loving it, all of it!

Elise was sooo into it! She just wanted to dance.

They put makeup on her! Ahhhh! It was so weird, but the mascara on her already long eyelashes was crazy! The teen years will be here too soon. 

Eric and I were ready to strut...or whatever.

Here is a photo that our friend Rebecca took of the family. We were just about ready to do our model thang.

Sunday I volunteered at the Humane Society as per my usual. I like to post photos on Facebook of some of the sweeties that I meet there, hoping that someone will fall in love. 

Monday we took a family walk/ bike ride/ skate by the river. The warm temps have everybody in town completely confused, it feels like March. We even did some yard work this week. We are used to being iced in from November through March, so this short break in the season has been a real treat!

Eric and Cordelia. She kept trying to race Eric.

Elise was content to ride in the stroller as she knew we would stop at the park after our walk.

Eric skating

The girls hanging out with me in the studio a lot this week. I have been working on many projects. I will often set them up with something fun to do while I squeeze in a bit of work.

Smooching sisters

Cordelia and Bumblebee (wearing a cone as she had a tumor removed).

How was your week?

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