Monday, January 30, 2012

a perfect day

for our baby who is now FIVE....
How did the time go by so quickly?
And suddenly she's such a little lady.
Her words of wisdom, love for the Lord and nurturing heart 
never cease to amaze me.
She is one of a kind I tell you.
And this was her perfect day.
Here she is before church.
But before we left she got to open her gifts which included
her very own big girl bike with a carrier for her baby.
We celebrated with lunch and vegan gluten free brownies
that were actually quite good.
Her big wish was to go to the Noah's Ark exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Mimi & Pa drove up and joined us.
She loves all the interactive parts of the exhibit and seeing all the creative animals
made out of upcycled materials.
 The art area included a chance to decorate your own 'pearl of wisdom' ... more on that in a bit.
 This is what she chose to say, "Love the world with all your thoughts" and she signed her name.
 Both girls loved the art room where they got to use recycled materials to make their own dragons in celebration of the Chinese New Year.
The "Pearls Of Wisdom" exhibit was one done by women and children who have survived domestic violence.  The theme was chosen because just as a grain of sand acts as an irritant and becomes a pearl, so the trials these women and children have gone through have made them stronger and through their experiences they've gained pearls of wisdom.  A beauty for ashes.
 It's through a program in Venice, California that uses art at a form of therapy. 
Something I wholeheartedly believe in, and something I plan to help with one day when my kids are older.  It might take till they're all grown and out of the house, but it's a dream of mine 
to give back in this day.  
Their work was beautiful, and inspiring and if you stare long enough, you just might start to feel
what their lives must have been like, and the journey of healing they are on.
It felt like one of those perfectly special days.  Just family, just taking our time, just enjoying the exhibit and creating together.
And most importantly celebrating our special FIVE year old who truly 
embraces everything with a spirit of wonder and joy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

bowling extravaganza

We celebrated this little lady turning 7 this weekend.
It was a fun and sweet celebration with just a few friends.

I got all crazy on the morning of the party and decided to do some printables.  I don't advise starting the morning of the event.
You know when you say you're not going to do it.
You're going to keep it simple.
And then you do one thing and that leads to another...and another?
Does that happen to you?

It kind of happens to me.  Ok, it can really happen to me.
Because the design I liked on etsy was kind of a high price for just the banner
which made me decide to spend some time making my own.
Which then made me think, oh I'll just try to quickly do
the cupcake wrappers, toppers and drink wrappers.
But you know nothing is quick about anything with design.
I did my best, but let me tell you I had my mom and every one of my kids
helping in the assembly line that morning.

And it came together just in the nick of time.
Ironically, someone who was at the bowling alley to
book their own party liked what I did,
and hired me to do a custom design for their son.

So I just sold my first birthday party printable kit.
My wheels are turning a bit on this avenue.

But first and foremost you may have noticed I've been a little more quiet around here.

I've just really felt the Lord telling me to focus right here at home.
To make things run smoothly and to not feel like I'm going in a million directions.
My prayer has been to have energy to really pour into my kids in the ways they need me.
And my husband too for that matter.

Because this time is fleeting and the things they need help with are really important.
There will be more time for the creative things.
So I'm squeezing them in when I can, but I'm not staying up till all hours anymore.
I'm needing to find a better balance so I'm not running myself into the ground in order
to make all the ends meet.

My father in law's recent health scare has sent his whole family on a mission
towards healthier eating.  There are praises all around in this.  My husband began watching
documentaries like Forks Over Knives, The Beautiful Truth, and Engine 2.
He had them all watching them too while he was there.

They live deep in the country and thought ok.  We get it, but how do we eat this way here.  So I went on a mission to try to find them organic farmers and co-ops and health food stores.  I was sending emails and recipes and web addresses all to encourage and help them map this out.  I know it can be overwhelming.  But it's worth it.

My husband who has benefited from my vegan cooking, but wasn't really on board with much of my label reading now totally gets it and is a transformed man.  He really didn't know how to navigate through a store to find the right things on his own.  So one day alone they called me a  half a dozen times from across the country, with five grown adults all asking questions about quinoa and chia and where to find this and how to do that.  I'm by no means an expert, but this health journey of my own has definitely educated me.  In a way, their father and father in law's illness just may be the impetus for a lot of lives changed.  I'm so proud of them for taking charge and making an effort.

So I've been taking a lot more pictures of the foods I make and the ingredients to share with them.
wraps using collard greens

Chia Pudding, my picture may not look that great,
but it's yummy & good for you too!

cauliflower soup & vegan grilled cheese
I'm not a strict vegan by any means and am not with my kids.  I want them to have eggs and a varied diet because I think they need it.  But I don't think they need a bunch of additives and poisons that are put in so many things if we don't read the labels.

I recently found a new to me website I'm really excited about with lots of kid friendly recipes.
These rainbow wraps were a hit the other night.  Only we used peas instead of edamame.
Eating well and feeling well and finding ways to treat our kids to healthy foods while still being yummy. It takes effort and some time, but it's so worth it knowing we're nourishing their bodies.

Lately I've been asked a lot about recipes.  I put together an email for family and friends.  I thought I'd list some of the websites I go to or have their feed emailed to me so I can find new inspiration.  Some of these links have been shared with me by other bloggers too.  I'm always excited to find new sites, feel free to comment with any favorites of yours!

This list are some of my favorites, but I'm sure I'm forgetting some too.  Not all are vegan, but all have healthy recipes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

living gifts

A little while ago I hinted at some DIY gifts I was working on for Christmas.

My dad is a fly fisherman and loves his garden.  He's also a sort of hard person to buy for.
He really doesn't want much, and if you get something he doesn't need or want it'll sit there. Forever.
I don't like that.

So I saw this on pinterest (the source was from here - although this item is no longer showing up) awhile back and thought it would be a perfect combination for my dad.
A fishing tackle box turned mini easy care garden.  Perfect.

And if I was at the garden store, I thought I'd get enough to make my mom one of these to match.

I found the idea on pinterest, from this site where she explains that she uses clippings from all of the succulant plants she had on hand.  I did not, so buying the plants from scratch did kind of add up, but it was worth it.  They didn't have all the amazing colors she had in her collection, so I had to stick with mostly green.  
I picked up some reindeer moss to fill in the holes.  I loved the different tones of green and was so happy with the end result.  

I had my husband drill six holes between the two different levels of the tackle box.  Three on top and three on bottom for drainage.  While I was putting it together, I put some press n seal on the bottom to keep the soil from making a mess.

But let me tell you, I was making a mighty big mess of my kitchen on this eve of Christmas eve.  I don't think I know any other way to create.

I'm not so good at tutorials because I never want to take the time to stop what I'm doing and take pictures.  But I tried here, with my cell phone to give a little tutorial on the wreath.
I had a wire frame from Michaels already in the closet from some long forgotten craft idea.

The directions called to soak the sphagnum moss in water for 5-10 minutes.  Then you begin putting it in between the wire of the wreath frame, on the backside.  

Using floral wire or clear fishing line (I found some at OSH where all the wires are) to wrap around the entire wreath.

Once this is complete flip the wreath over and start filling in the moss around the front and repeat with the wire/fishing line and tie in knots securely to hold the moss in place.

Now comes the fun part.  I used the eraser end of the pencil to put little holes to 'plant' the cactus plant inside.  I first had to get all the soil off of it and take the root and press it deep inside. 
The handy trick prudent baby suggests is using bobby pins to help hold the plant securely in the wreath.  You don't poke through the plant, but sort of wrap it around the sides.  It worked perfectly.

All in all, I was really unsure about taking this project on just before Christmas.  So when it came out looking half way decent I was really happy.  
And happy it's a gift my parents can enjoy for some time to come.