Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Pre-Game Photo Dump

Been meaning to post for a while...but been busy. Life has been good
in that happily contented way.
Time to catch-up now.
Thanksgiving was my first as a vegan/vegetarian. It was awesome.
I had a Tofurky turkey and it was okay. Just okay.
Wouldn't do it again...especially 'cause there are so many other goodies to eat.
I am all about the sides, anyway. Next year, I'll know.

Here are some pre-holiday photos of the goodness we've been enjoying in our little corner of the world. Me and my girl both LOVE everything about preparing for Christmas, so it has
been all about holiday songs, hot chocolate, advent activities, crafting, and the like!

Our holiday kick-off: We saw the Beach Boys at the St. George Theater.
John Stamos performed with them and it was magic.
We had a ball on cold Sunday night.

Our little white Christmas tree. I always dreamed of a white tree when I was a child, now I have one. It just reminds me of sweet confections, snow, and all yummy wintry things.
I love it. So grateful to our babysitter and my daughter for putting it all together this year while I was at a class one Saturday. It looks so pretty in our living room.

A sideways photo of an advent activity calender I made for my girl.
Each day she turns over a card and there is a holiday activity we will do together.
Tonight, it's singing a Christmas carol together. Tomorrow, we'll play Uno or Scrabble Junior and the winner will get a candy cane. That kinda thing...
She's lovin' it. This was so simple and easy...and sweet to create.

Still in love with this Martha Stewart holiday letter banner I made three years ago.
It's perfect on the bookcase.

Jumped on the "cover everything in yarn" wagon that seemed to have taken place around Thanksgiving. I'm going to make a yarn covered initial for my new niece. But to warm up,
I covered an olive jar. It's cute enough.
Thinking of making a few mini jars to go next to it in other bright jewel colors.

Lastly, this was my economical teacher-gift prezzie this year. I made up four of these and they are wrapped pretty in cellophane and satin bows. Two for my daughter's classroom teachers, two for my grandmother's home health aides.

Everything was purchased at the dollar store: pretty vases, silk holiday flowers, an ornament, and peppermint candies.

I thought they were pretty festive and practical, too.
My favorite kind of gift!

How are you all preparing for the holidays?

Things left on our list: Only two more gifts for Mama to buy, a trip to the tree at Rockefeller, a trip to the American Girl store 'cause Mama promised, a meal at my favorite vegan restaurant in the E. Village, more crafting...and our favorite activity...
Baking (vegan) Gingerbread for Santa!

Can't wait!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween was rather spontaneous this year. We had our costumes planned,
but did not know where we would go or who would be included
in the trick-or-treating candy parade.
Turns out it couldn't have been more perfect.
Isn't it always like that?
Little Cub, our "Spanish Flamenco Dancer" was joined by
her BFF "Princess Peach" and the rest of our neighborhood gang.
Even Daddy joined the fun!

I broke-out another homemade costume using clothes from my "vintagey-costume"
clothes bin in my closet.
Disco Zombie Mama. Although, Cub's daddy said it was more like
"Prom Zombie!" Either way, it was all good.

And Daddy got to carry her candy while I got to gab
with my mama friends while walking.

There was a delicious diner visit afterwards where lots of yummy food was enjoyed as we were all starving.
Then we ended the night with hot apple cider before dropping off Daddy at the bus stop.
It was a great little holiday.

Now looking forward to planning my first vegan Thanksgiving.
Can't wait!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Looking Ahead...

It's the time of year again...I get semi-excited for Halloween...but I'm already looking further down the road to the HOLIDAYS.

I know it's early. But I love to make handmade gifts for my loved ones and I'm already making my list.
Here is some of what I'll be making:

Crochet face-scrubbies- I'm already using them. Just whipped-up a weeks worth for myself in one night on the couch with a movie.
Planning on giving a set to a friend and a family member.
These are great for exfoliation and for toner. Think I'll gift them with an all natural face wash from Whole Foods.

I fell in love with this lovely night light project and if it is not too much trouble, just might have to make one for myself. Thinking about giving it to my brother and sis-in-law for my niece's (expected date of arrival, 10-27-11!!!!!!) nursery.

And no holiday would be complete without making something for my little girl.
She is all about her American Girl dolls this year and I know she will just love a couple of cute outfits. I'm definitely making this ensemble in her favorite color, RED with hot pink trim.

Another holiday tradition!
I've been making truffles since the my girl's first Christmas. Wow, that's almost seven years ago, now!
This year, they will be of the vegan variety.

Thinking these for my beautiful sis-in-law as she loves chocolate.
Also, my aunt...another chocoholic in our family!

I began making this very scarf for myself last year and ran out of yarn for the fringe!
Then, I wasn't into the peacock-blue color that I chose for it!
Too bad, because I really like this pattern.
Going to splurge on some fancy yarn and make this for my aunt.
Thinking black...or a pretty pastel.

That's it for now.
I'm still trying to figure out what I'll be making for the baby.
I'm thinking a cute cardigan with matching hat and booties.
I can't wait to meet and LOVE my niece.
I am just overjoyed with the
anticipation of her arrival...
and daydreaming about all the goodies I'm going to make for her
this holiday season.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The words of my seven-year old...

When we are not laughing, eating, or adventuring together...


Me and my girl have so many amazing conversations.
Some, I want to remember forever.
Like the one we had tonight.

Here is just something she said before bed this evening.

(After I finished reading Chapter 1 of The Boxcar Children to her...)

"Mom, I know why some people don't like children.
It's because they didn't have a happy childhood.

But me, I'm reeeeallly enjoying mine.

Life is gooooood."

Mama is not surprised you said it...but Mama is so happy you feel that way, my Girl.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vegan Mama

I went vegan the first week in July this past summer and it has been one of the BEST
decisions I have ever made. I have seen the benefits of this way of mindful eating on every level of my being: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. For me, it is the
healthy & compassionate choice and it just makes sense.
For me.

There has been a TON of cooking and baking...but right now, here is some of what
we've been enjoying in random order.
Vegan = the most delicious, healthy meals to create and devour!

Vegan French Toast with Agave and Fresh Berries.
Vegan Lo Mein

The most scrumptious Vegan Berry Muffins, made by my Cub!

Typical Simple Summer Meal: Garbanzo Oat burger with corn on the cob.
Fresh-squeezed lemonade & a salad was also somewhere in there.

Summer Breakfast: Usually consisted of a quick bowl of some sort of organic cereal and organic berries with oat milk, rice milk, or occasionally vanilla soy milk.

Stay tuned for my post about the vegan Rosh-Hoshanna dinner I prepared tonight to take
to my aunt's apartment in the city tomorrow night.
There is usually a lot of meat there...and I wanted to make sure I had something tasty...that I could share with everyone.
I made Stuffed-Cabbage style vegan meatballs and chopped "mock" liver.
Wanted to make sweet potato kugel but I became exhausted after the third hour of cooking
after work.

Here's to good health!

Monday, September 26, 2011

One of A Kind

I am in love with this for the following reason:

1. It was made out of melted Ring Pops, so iconic in their own rite.

2. Of course, the words go without saying. No explanation needed.

3. Reminds me that sometimes it's those little unexpected expressions of another's creativity that makes me so happy.

(Thank you, Julia Chiang, artist.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The A-Z's of Moi...

Thought I would jump on the tell-all train and complete this little interview. This A-Z OF ME seems to be all over the blog circuit lately. I conducted an interview with my Cub this week that I'll post later on. So for now...Here I go:

A: Age? Timeless

B. Bed size: Queen...but it is not a good bed. I don't like it. I desperately want one of those new fancy beds with the pillow top and king-size would be nice, too.

C. Chore that you hate: Doing dishes. I am forever cooking; therefore I am forever doing dishes.

D. Dogs: Never. Highly allergic. Don't believe in keeping domestic animals, either. Sorry pet lovers.

E. Essential start to your day: Prayer, Coffee, Kiss my daughter

F. Favorite color: Turqoise

G. Gold or Silver: Gold girl.

H. Height: 5'6"

I. Instruments you play: Still can play piano a bit...Have studied piano, violin, clarinet...and soon guitar!

J. Job title: Mama to Girl Cub, English teacher, occasional Seamstress/Costume Designer... but I'm not finished yet! In the future I hope to answer this with "Birth Doula, Yoga Instructor, Author, Vegan Chef & Instructor, Nutritionist."

K. Kids: My Beautiful 7 year-old daughter. Soon there will be more...Another post for another day!

L. Live: Don't make me write this. Okay, Staten Island, NY. Hopefully we'll be living happily in the seaside town we've been dreaming about by next summer. We're getting closer...

M. Mother’s name: Jo-Ann.

N. Nicknames: Cyn, Cyndells, Sis, Sprouts & Smeautiful.(both by the ex)

O. Overnight hospital stays: Birth of my daughter by c-section.

P. Pet peeves: People who talk about themselves incessantly...or when someone feels the need to tell others what a "good" person they are. (Um, why?!) OR the opposite end of the spectrum: those who don't communicate at all. Hmpf.

Q. Quote from a movie: "Stay gold, Pony Boy. Stay gold."

R. Right or left handed: Right but can draw & eat with my left pretty well if necessary. And I have a major weakness for lefties.

S. Siblings: My magnificent younger brother, Peter--who is in every way my compliment and my heart.

U. Underwear: comfortable, cotton, simple but girly.

V. Vegetable you hate: Never met one I hate, but allergic to a couple.

W. What makes you run late: Everything. Character-flaw alert!

X. X-Rays you’ve had: teeth, breasts, sinuses. Do sonograms/ultrasounds count?

Y. Yummy food that you make: Everything I make is yummy. Seriously. My Pinto Bean Carrot Cake is pretty kick ass and I make some out of this world vegan soups.

Z. Zoo animal: "Zoos are terrible. It's prison for animals." I have to agree with Kara, here. I never take my daughter to the zoo. She has only gone twice with her father's family.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Taking it all in...

Cub puts a flower ring on every finger at a jewelry sale.

Mama eats a veggie taco salad at the beach.

Beautiful fall berries inspire future crochet projects. I couldn't stop touching these...

Something a bit magical, comical, and eerie about these formations down by the pond.
We have commented on them and stopped to say hello each time we've been there.

Loving the natural world...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Day In Our Life: Saturday

We headed back to work and school this week. Overall, it went well. Cub looked exhausted both days when I picked her up in the afternoon. At night while putting her to bed, she told me she had missed me and wanted to go home. I felt similarly during the first day back at work, too.
On Friday, I just stopped for a second...and my mind was not occupied with students, rooms, attendance, lesson plans...and I just remembered, "I have a daughter who is at school today and I miss her a lot. I wonder how she is doing right now?" I don't like being apart from her for so long, but this mama has to pay the bills, so right now there is no choice.
One day, maybe my dream of homeschooling my children will become a reality. I'm hoping it will be after she completes fifth grade, so I have four years to make it happen.

This morning, Cub's violin lesson was rescheduled and we ended up treating our tired selves to Starbucks and pedicures. I love that they are right next to each other. Certainly makes it easier to do the double indulgence thing. Afterwards, we went over to the home of Cub's "bff," which I'll call House of M on this blog to protect their privacy. While the girls played together I took off for the farmer's market sans Cub. There is something I love about buying fresh produce from the market and then going home to cook afterward. I made an Israeli couscous salad with collard greens and carmellized onions. It was delicious. Too bad the Black Bean Brownies were not as yummy. I will no longer use a whole mashed banana plus olive oil for egg replacers. Serves me right for straying too far out from the original recipe. Later, I walked the few blocks between our place and House of M and watched a touching and thought-provoking documentary about a charter school in Harlem, "The Lottery" with S.

Tonight, I am typing from House of M where I'll be watching the kids while my sweet friends; E's parents get to enjoy a night out on the town. So, its pizza, crocheting, and movies with the girls for the duration. Baby M is already sleeping in her mama's bed and Boy M is at a movie night down the block. I love our friends and their big, relaxed, intelligent, kind family. I love that we are friends as well as neighbors and that our kids love each other and are classmates. There are always things to talk about and do together. It is just comfortable with them. We are blessed.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our Endless Summer: Catching Up - South Fork, LI

While texting a friend from our camp site last night I found myself telling him what I've been saying for weeks now: This was the BEST. SUMMER. EVER.

Yes, we have been living our summer life to the fullest...and there has been one adventure after the next. I'm taking photos but haven't found the moments needed to upload and post. So, this will be the first of a series of catch-up posts.
#1: Long Island, Terrell River County Park- We took off one Sunday for a spontaneous hike along a section of the south fork in Long Island. We hiked a short mile through what felt like an enchanted forest until we emerged at the shoreline.
We ate a delicious lunch at the old school diner on Main Street, hiked, explored, bathed our hair in the water, lounged, talked, shared a delicious bar of organic dark chocolate & made some new friends, too.

It was a magical, serene & restorative day for me & Girl Cub.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cooking/Diet Inspiration

A trip to the local library with my Cub and her sweet friend allowed for time to browse my fave section of the library-the cookbooks!

I found three books that I am really enjoying. I've listed them in order, saving the best for last.

The Everything Vegan Cookbook is a great basic cookbook that reinvents the classic comfort foods (like "Deli Macaroni Salad") and some yummy desserts for this sweet tooth ("Sweetheart Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes!")

The Everything Vegan Cookbook [Book]

The Daily Bean : I never met a bean I didn't like and I have been eating them almost daily for protein as well as enjoyment. I love this book. It is divided into chapters according to bean variety. So far, it all looks very yummy...especially the desserts. This evening, I think I'm going to have to try out the "Pinto Bean Carrot Cake." It just looks so good.
And my Cub loves her carrot cake!
The Daily Bean: 175 Easy and Creative Bean Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner....And, Yes, Dessert

This is a book I have been wanting to read for the looooongest time and just have not had the chance. I will definitely buy it.
After some resistance, I have come to really admire Alicia Silverstone.
Yes, she has come a long way since Clueless!
I read this book in one day and made a lot of notes about diet and food in general.
The Kind Diet focuses on diet, eating for optimum health and self-improvement with respect for all living beings on our planet.
She breaks everything down in easily understandable terms and gives a lot of medical/nutritional information to support her food choices.
I highly recommend it...and the recipes look tasty, too.

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone: Book Cover

To me, a person who reads cookbooks and recipe/food blogs for fun...there is nothing more inspirational than expanding my knowledge of the food I eat
and refining my skills to make each meal beneficial
for the greater good.

Blessings and happy eating, Everyone!

Monday, August 15, 2011

One of the Best Compliments

My little J swatting at seagulls on our beach vacation in August.

I received one of the nicest compliments yesterday from a new friend I both love and admire.

She said, "You make it look so easy."

I don't think she had any idea..while we were driving through the rain with our little ones in the back...(for a "girl's day out")
just how much she touched my heart.

But really I have to say...My GIRL, she makes it easy.

I feel like the luckiest Mama in the world.
But I know we are all blessed: both mamas and daughters of this world.
I am not unique just because me and my daughter have a beautiful relationship.

Love & hugs to all the mamas who are taking good care of their little ones.
God bless.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just a few highlights of our Summer! So far...

Best. Summer. Ever.

Went on the most amazing, fun, relaxing, beautiful vacation to the shore
with my favorite person...for a week!

Oh, and fell in love with instagram while I was there.
(Separate vacation/instagram post soon to come!)

Me and my other half on the first day in our hotel.

Lots of new and exciting interests and hobbies for both me and my girl.
My cub is taking violin lessons and LOVING it!
She came to me, "Mom, I'd like to play the violin."
And I swooned.
This is my little virtuoso at her very first lesson.

Re-committed myself to 90% vegan diet...10% vegetarian.
I've been experimenting a lot with new recipes and learning a ton...and we've been eating
really well as a result!
Here is a veggie lo mein I made for lunch at Grandma's after shopping at the
local Asian market, H Mart.

Dancing at (still) our favorite picnic spot on SI.

Typical after lunch picnic scene.

Lake Sabago in the Catskills with our besties at the beginning of summer!
My cub swam on and off for FOUR hours. Yup!

It has been a blessed season for us.
So many wonderful adventures with our loved ones by our side.
We couldn't ask for more, really.

And tomorrow my baby turns SEVEN, 7!!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Sleep Over

My girl finally got together with one of her besties.
They met in the "baby room" of the day care six years ago.
Different schools, different neighborhoods, all around life-busyness make it more challenging to get together these days.
So very happy to see that they are still like sisters.
An extended play date turned into an impromptu sleepover because
they were having THAT much fun.
Pedicures were given that would put any nail salon to shame!

Love these two.

(Popcorn remnant still lingers...)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Lovin'

As soon as we are moved and settled, I am piling up the blankets in the living room of our new place and having a good ol' fashioned Girl Scout-style party with my girl.

And we will make...

Friendship bracelets: I've always wanted to make these and wear 'em on my ankle. This is a tutorial I finally understand!

(I LOVE this photo so much, I'm thinking of getting it blown up
to hang in our new place. I adore it, actually.)


S'mores Bark: Need I say more?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

She Finds Along The Way

1. Driving home from being out East.
LIE Sunset Forever...

2. Tattoo

3. Mama's Rescue Classic Guitar

4. Mother/Daughter Vintage Dress Finds

5. Psychedelic Donut

6. Exit to India

7. Neighborhood Flag