Monday, March 30, 2009

Off To A Happy Start!

Today was the first day of homeschooling all three kiddos since pulling my daughter out of public school kindergarten. It couldn't have been more inspiring! The kids wrote in their journals, read poems, stories and books, played educational games together, visited some math websites and sorted and classified some of their favorite toys. It was all child led by their individual interest and it warmed my heart to see the three of them working so well together throughout the morning and early afternoon.

Everything about this decision feels so right. Part of me wishes, I had made this decision sooner, but the other part knows that things unfold as they do for a reason. Either way, I am just thankful for this day.

After such a focused morning and some lunch, we decided it was time for play and headed off to our favorite playground in the Madison neighborhood of Seattle. We enjoyed some hot cocoa and goodies at a local cafe and then it was off for some serious play!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mystery Trip

This weekend my hubby & I surprised our three kiddos with a mystery trip. They had no idea where we were going or what was planned, other than it was going to be fun, fun, fun!

As the date of the trip grew closer, they managed to get out us that we were headed to Oregon, but they still had no idea where.

Then the day before, they managed to get out of us that we would be staying in Portland.

After even more needling (three hours to be exact), we managed to keep the big surprise a secret until we got to our hotel. We finally revealed that we were going to the big Lego convention in town, BrickFest 2009. Knowing they were in a hotel with an indoor swimming pool and on-demand movies was huge enough, but a Lego convention? Kewl!(as all the kids say/write). And it was so much fun hearing our three year say he couldn't wait to go to the "Lego combention".

While in Portland we ate at two really great vegan/vegetarian restaurants, Vegetarian House and Old Wives' Tales Restaurant:
I've got to give them each a huge shout out. We will visit both again the next time we are in Portland - so yummy and both had excellent, friendly service.

Without further adieu, some photo highlights of our weekend:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thinking About My Girl

I'm thinking about my girl on her last day of public school kindergarten today.

After today, she will join her brothers in their homeschooling adventures!

But first, a surprise visit to Portland, OR for the weekend, where there just happens to be a LEGO convention happening. We will stay at our usual digs - The Marriott Residence Inn on the River Walk. Can't beat that place with their wonderful daily breakfast buffet and dogs allowed policy. Should be a fun way to kick off having the whole family on the same homeschooling page!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

One more reason I love homeschooling

I love Thursdays. It's the day where we don't have to be anywhere and can go with the flow at home. Today was a perfect example of that. After breakfast, we played a few math games, read, learned about the history of Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and tried it out using a Shodo set while listening to Yo Yo Ma play Japanese Melodies over the kitchen speakers. My son said it was one of his favorite homeschooling experiences to date. Fantastic! Always love to hear that.

My youngest usually joins in on what we are doing in his own way or plays near us. Today I cozied up with him and read while my eldest son explored online at National Geographic for kids. All was flowing beautifully in our household...but as they say, this too shall pass...

My eldest son went up to his room to put something away and discovered that earlier his younger brother had completely dumped out his large US quarters collection map board. Not only had they been dumped, but many were missing. My 3 year old fessed up and promptly returned with his blue IKEA piggy bank & a butter knife in hand.

Then my two sons went to task at putting the map back together. They discovered they were only three states away from a complete map, so I brought out the loose change jug for them to dig through.

In the meantime, my eldest son found coins from France, Jamaica and Canada, which prompted us to look on our world map to see just where these places are. He taught his little brother the names of the different coins and together they discovered one more State quarter, they only need Oklahoma and New Mexico.

This is one of the many reasons I love learning at home...mishaps can turn into meaning and there is the time to slow down, work together and enjoy the moment.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Green Bouquet

I have been admiring the simplicity of this green bouquet that I picked up from my natural foods co-op a few days ago.

I like the way it brings spring into my house, reminding me that the real thing can't be too far away!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Another shout out for Remedy Tea!

In my former blog I raved about my new favorite tea cafe, Remedy Teas in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle

Well, since that initial visit, I have been back several times enjoying my tea in their modern, cozy cafe and always bringing back a few new teas for home too. My cupboard now has quite a nice assortment and I look forward to tea time every day, often through out the day, to be truly honest!

Today my hubby & eldest son headed off for some skiing and I decided to take my daughter and youngest son to Remedy Teas and then to a playground for some afternoon fun in the city. My 5 year old decided to pack her shiny silver purse that says "Fabulous" on it, complete with a coin purse packed full of coins, so she could buy her own tea cookies.

After buckling everyone into the mama van, off we went, over Lake Washington and into Seattle. 35 mins. later as we pulled onto 15th Ave in Seattle, I realized that I left my purse at home!

Crapola! No, I did not say that in front my children, but I sure did think it. Well...perhaps a little more R rated than that, actually. Anyway, as I proceeded to hunt through old receipts, wrappers, kid art, napkins, diapers, wipes and toys looking for possible cash, my daughter said, "Mommy, it's okay, you can use my money. You don't even have to pay me back." sweet! That lil' girl is indeed Fabulous! I knew she had about three dollars in change and I found another $3.00 in change. So, all together we headed into the cafe with $6.00 which could easily buy us some tea to share and maybe a cookie.

When we walked up to the register I suddenly got the wise idea of calling my hubby. If I could catch him before he was on the mountain, I might be able to get our CC number...if the cafe would be okay with that. I noticed that the Anthony, the owner, was there and I explained my situation. He was so nice and gave me the phone saying absolutely. He was even thinking he could figure it out so I could get cash back if I needed that in order to get around Seattle for the rest of the day. Okay, Remedy Teas...I already loved you before, but now? It's for keeps!

So, we settled in with a kids tea service featuring Blueberry Cheesecake Rooibus, a pot of Roasted La Creme Green Tea for me, along with a vegan chocolate brownie and a few tea cookies to share. As always, the tea and bites were divine. And after the purse mishap, the warm welcome at Remedy made me feel like I stopped by a friend's house...a friend with great style, really cool decor, and a tea collection way larger than mine, that is! ;-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Vegan Cowgrrrl Cookies

You gotta love the oxymoron factor in the name "vegan cowgrrl". I just love that!

This is my new favorite cookie. I saw the recipe in Jae Steele's Get It Ripe cookbook.

In her book, she writes that it is difficult to find a good vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe that isn't too oily or too dry. I couldn't agree more, having had my share of vegan cookies that disappointed. This one, however, has the perfect texture and the flavors compliment each other so beautifully. The best test of all, however, is to take vegan cookies to a party full of non-vegan eaters and see what happens. That is just what I did and wound up photocopying the recipe for several people who asked. Can't get a more honest review than that!

Here is Jae's recipe with a few of my own preferences and modifications. For example, the recipe calls for raisins, which I was out of, so I substituted goji berries instead and liked the zing of flavor they gave...not to mention all the health benefits. Jae said you could use coconut oil or sunflower oil and I will always choose the coconut oil because I love the hint of coconut flavor and think it compliments the walnuts & chocolate perfectly.

Vegan Cowgrrrl Cookies (makes about 3 dozen)

2 cups spelt flour

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/4 cups non-dairy chocolate chips

1/2 cup gogi berries (I soaked mine in water first and then patted dry)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 (scant) cup softened non-hydrogenated coconut oil

1 cup organic sugar

1/3 cup room temperature applesauce

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and soda, and salt in a large bowl. Toss in the chocolate chips, goji berries, nuts, and cinnamon. Stir to combine, then set aside.

Mix the oil and sugar thoroughly in a separate bowl (use an electric mixer if you have it). Add the applesauce and vanilla and mix again until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to wet, and mix just until flour is absorbed. Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto an unoiled baking sheet (you may use parchment paper , but it's not necessary), spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 13 minutes, until golden.

Jae suggests you eat 'em warm, or allow to cool completely on a rack before storing in an airtight container. Go, vegan cowgrrrl!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm Nesting!

I flew the coop over at Vox ( in the hopes of connecting with other vegan, homeschooling, tea drinking, politically liberal, Catholic, oxymoron-loving, blogging moms.

What? ...That's not you?
Well, how about 5 out of 7?
How about 3 out of 7?
I bet that's a possibility.
And even if it's not, it is our differences that make life more interesting!

I have noticed some gorgeous blogs here (lots of great photography) and thought it would be fun to venture out of voxland where it is pretty difficult for non-voxers to comment on posts. I'll soon be transferring over some posts from Vox, but mostly starting anew and blogging on the topics I listed as well as anything else that enters my sometimes random mind.

Hope you enjoy my new nest!

Mrs. Soytastic Who Looks Forward to Tripping the Light Fantastic