Monday, February 25, 2013

All In A Sunday Afternoon

     Yesterday we went to mass and then ran a ton of errands. Usually afterwards, I'm beat and ready for a nap (I hate running errands), but yesterday I rested for a bit, and then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening working in the kitchen, made dinner, fit in a quick run, and gave all the girls a shower. The only way I can explain all this extra energy is that I went on a three mile run on Friday and the energy carried over throughout the weekend. Plus, I find working in the kitchen can be relaxing when you have someone to help with the kids! 
    I didn't run all last week. Consequently, my headaches were at a level ten (I have daily TMJ headaches), I didn't sleep well, and I was super depressed. I need to get my lazy feet out the door and remember to run at least every other day.
    Anyway, here are a couple of the things I made yesterday:


Hungry Man's Double Chocolate Trail Mix: Dark chocolate covered pretzels, dark chocolate covered raisins, dried cranberries, raw almonds, raw pecans. 

   Daniel is notorious for grabbing a handful of chocolate chips when he is hungry. This kills me because 1) Chocolate chips are for baking 2) There is zero nutrition in that and chocolate chips are not filling. I finally got around to making him this mix and stuck it where the chocolate chips used to be.

   We are trying to save money in every way possible. So I decided to be the biggest freak on the block and make my own dog treats. I realize dogs aren't vegan, but obviously, we only have vegan ingredients in our home, so these ended up being veg. Doesn't matter because she loves them. This was a fun project for Thérèse and me while Monique and Athena slept.

Vegan Pumpkin Doggie Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour (I used self rising flour because I've been trying to use it up)
2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed in 6 tbsps water
2/3 cup pumpkin purée 
3 tbsp peanut or almond butter 
2 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place flour, flax seed mixture, pumpkin and nut butter in a mixing bowl. Stir it together then add oil. Add more water if too dry, add flour if too wet. Stir and then knead together to form a dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch think. I used an empty spice jar to cut out 1-inch cookies. Keep rolling out and cutting till all the dough is used up. Place on a baking sheet, it's okay to crowd them since they won't be expanding. Bake for 25 minutes for crunchy cookies.

Tip: I used canned pumpkin purée from thanksgiving. Since I didn't use the whole can, I divided the remaining pumpkin into three zip lock baggies putting 2/3 cup into each one and freezing, ready for the next time I  make these. 


I also made bagels! What?? They turned out to be more like unleavened bread. Daniel figures there must be something wrong with the yeast (expired or opened to long) because I followed the directions perfectly and they didn't rise. I didn't realize till the last step that they were not shaping up to be the way they were supposed to be. Whoops. I was about to have a melt down, but Daniel gave me a lecture about how I can't expect perfection when I try something the first time. Apparently this is the same talk he gives his emotionally disturbed students everyday. Great.

 Here are some girl pics for you all:

Athena and Thérèse morning cuddles.

The four of us after our shower and so ready for bed!

After this busy weekend, I'm okay with it being Monday. Kind of. Kind of okay with Monday. You know what makes Mondays great? Freezer crock pot lasagna! All made and defrosting in the sink. I used one of my freezer slow cooker meals last week and was so excited by the zero work and five minute clean up! I was so pumped that I made two more meals Friday morning before I left town for a couple days. Why did I never do this before?

Monday, February 18, 2013

R&R Family Style

    Our family got to live life large with a four day weekend. Ordinarily, if we had time off, we would leave town or run errands or somehow find ourselves very busy. We are always so busy! This weekend we decided to take a mini family vacation in our own home. I mean much needed home family vacation. It was so relaxing. As relaxing as it could be with three little people, housework, cooking, bathing dog, Daniel doing homework and lesson plans...but all constant work aside, it was perfect. 
Every day is vacation day for this girl. Lucky...

     Saturday we went on a hike in Oak Glen. It was beautiful! So nice to get out and be away from the pollution. There was even some snow left over. We needed to take these girls to the snow before winter was over. Glad we get to check that off our list! 

     This is Mo in a nutshell. Really, I just asked her to smile. 

     Love how Thérèse is hiking up her pants to keep them snow free. 

     My view.

Post hike cuddles. 

     Today I found myself with some free time, hahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh my goodness, that was funny. So I decided to make up some crock pot meals. I really need crock pot meals in my life, especially on days that I'm busy running errands or cleaning. But on those days, I don't have time in the morning to stick my ingredients in the crock pot. Excited I now have them prepped in the freezer! I wanted to make more, but Wednesday is our food shopping day, so by Monday/Tuesday we are low on everything. I made what I could. We shall see how this works out for us and hopefully do this more often! 

Rustic Pot Pie from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker
Lasagna (mixture) from Peta, but I added some tahini, miso and EVOO to give it more flavor.
Chili-Potato Gratin from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker

    Last night I started reading Wuthering Heights. I wish I had realized it was from the Gothic Period before I started reading it. I thought it was going to be all sweet and cute like the Austen book I just finished (yes, I stereotyped all female authors into sweet and cute. How terrible is that?) I started wondering why I was suddenly COMPLETELY TERRIFIED OUT OF MY BRAINS (I've gotten weaker since birthing children), but now I'm at a point that I have to finish the book because it is so darn good. It's going to be lots of long nights till then. 

     I want to say a big THANK YOU to all of my followers. It is so cool to see my little blog being followed from ten different countries! I've been having a lot of fun getting to write again and share our family with you all. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Dairy-free, Sugar-free Tea Party

    We had our first Valentine's Day Tea Party today. I broke out my 100+ year old china  from Germany, a wedding gift from my adopted Grandmother. The girls enjoyed drinking tea for the first time out of their little plastic tea cups and tea pot. I wanted the food to be as traditional English tea as possible, but kept it all vegan and sugar free! Love that. Still, I forgot how rich tea food is! Glad we had early tea so they could get all that sugar high out by nap time.

Note the clean shinny beautiful faces. Soon to be covered with chocolate.

I get a big girl plate. These shortbread cookies were to die for!

The Menu:

*  Raspberry Scones from Babycakes NYC Cookbook (Agave Sweetened)
*  Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Teacake from Babycakes NYC Cookbook (Agave Sweetened)
*  Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies from The Kind Diet (Sweetened with Maple Syrup)
*  Cucumber Finger Sandwiches with Chive Butter
*  Olive Cream Cheese Spread Watercress Finger Sandwiches
*  Farmers Market Sliced Strawberries
*  Chamomile Tea for the girls
*  Tazo Calm Tea for me

Substitutes: For the cream cheese replacement I used "This is not a tub of cream cheese" from Trader Joe's. Veganise to replace the Mayo and Earth Balance Butter to replace the butter. 

Favorites: I was in love with the cream cheese and watercress sandwich. I just followed the recipe (posted above) and topped with a bunch of watercress. SO GOOD. I think I will make this for myself on a regular basis. The shortbread cookies stole our hearts. I've tired to make these a couple other times and they didn't come out quite right. Today I actually followed the recipe very carefully. I took one bite and was transported. We all fell in love. Now I get what the whole short bread infatuation is about. So delicious. 

Special girl time with my crazy girls. They were excited about life. Monique always has some whack move going on. 

Thérèse was a little liberal in her tea pouring. Monique taking a sip. So cute!

Tea was followed with a dance party. Monique got in this position and danced around the whole room like this. It's what she does. 

Dinner! This was one of the best pizzas I've made. The dough was perfect and the sauce sweet. I've been working to perfect the potato pizza for a while now. Potatoes are a great alternative to cheese and vegan cheese. I paper thinly slice them and let them hang out in olive oil for a while. Once I get this recipe just the way I like it, I will share it. For now, it is still in the works. 

We served this with steamed very dark leafy green veggies called broccoli greens? Never heard of it. Got it at the farmers market and the girls like it! Love it when dinner is easy!

Tea party was fun. We will be having another one Easter Morning! Can't wait! For now, I'm keeping out one of my pretty cups for my quiet time Mama moments. 

Hope you all had a lovely St. Valentine's Day! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

So, What's the point anyway?

     A couple weeks ago, I ran my first 6k. Now, this is a big deal for me, considering all through high school I consistently made fun of runners. As far as my best friend and I were concerned, if a person was running down the street, he might as well have been wearing a sign that said, "Make fun of me, I'm running".
      "DAAAAA!! Look at that runner! Look at him running with his biceps and stuff. He thinks he's so fit. Te he he he."
      It may not seem funny to you, but we were always laughing pretty hard.

    And then I married a runner. Never thought I'd do that. Let's just say, we wouldn't have been friends in high school. "So you think your all big and bad 'cause you run huh?" Is what I would have said with my mind.

    Daniel didn't run when we were getting to know each other or when we were engaged. But after we got married, he was ready to get his shoes back on, and I saw it as a way to spend time with him. So I would jog with him down the street, stop at the corner, try to catch my breath, and try to remember the last time I smoked, "I'm not a smoker. I must be though because I can't breath" and he would be looking at that dumb running watch saying, "We've only run a minute, you got to keep going." As if.

    I kept up with running and got semi better. I ran a 5k when I was pregnant with my first daughter, took a break, and then after I had Monique, I ran in the L.A. marathon. (THAT is another story. If you think I finished, you think wrong.)

    I picked up running again after I had Athena (my last baby). Daniel was working at a running store. As is turns out, he found great enjoyment out of buying his very pregnant wife running clothes. Why? Oh the guilt. Now I HAVE to run. He made a deal with me that I'd get a dollar for every mile I ran. Cheap? Yes. But hey, it totally worked.

    Then he told me about a 6k near my parents' house and I figured why not? We'd have babysitters, and I am already running 2-3 miles everyday anyway. So we signed up for it.

    The night before the race, Daniel asked, "So are you going to run fast?" What? Yes, I had signed up for a race, but running fast had never ever occurred to me.

    " was just going to run." Oh yeah, I had signed up for a race...why did I think this was going to be relaxing?

     "No, Arisa, when you run in a race, you are supposed to push yourself and see what your best time is".

     That sounds like, a terrible idea. Someone should have told me that,  before we paid.

     The morning of the race, we wake up early (which I actively avoid) grab a banana and go. We get there, get signed in and Daniel tells me, "Okay, so I want you to do 9 minute miles, k?"

     "Yeah, sure." In one ear and out the other that went. Dude, I spend every day of my life trying to keep a house in respectable order, keep a massive dog semi-tame and keep three midgets alive. Running 9 minute miles is THE LAST THING I'm thinking about. This was supposed to be fun. Almost sure this was supposed to be fun.

    The worst part of the race was that half of it was up hill. UP HILL. I tried not to laugh when the guy in front of me grabbed his buttocks. Sore there buddy? Should have worked on that stair master. But I listened to Daniel who also told me to just be in tune with my body, pushed myself, and surprisingly kept up a pretty steady pace.

     The race went out two miles, and then had us turn around and double back. Two miles in I see Daniel coming up in the lead. Just as he is about to pass me, I try to whack him in the butt and he tried to give me a high five. (Note to self: in races you give high fives, not butt whacks.) But clearly I was trying to say "You are hott" not "Good effort chump".

    It was downhill on the way back to the finish line, but it didn't matter, cause I was dying. A mile away from the finish line I realized, "Why am I doing this to myself?!?! I'm going to Disneyland tomorrow and I'm going to be so sore!" Thankfully, Daniel ran back to find me. "This is stupid" I told him. Deep emotion and emphasis on "stupid".

   "You are at the end. Give it all you got."

    So without even thinking, I took off (where did that energy come from) to try and catch this lanky girl I had a vendetta against because she had the audacity to pass me. As soon as she saw me, she took off, and I didn't have a chance. I crossed the finish line so frustrated and pretty sure I was going to throw up.

    Unfortunately, I'm really competitive, so I had a lot of fun. Lame, I know. Daniel told me not to worry about that girl beating me, since her legs went up to my ears, and I ran 9 minute pace, which he wanted me to do, so he was super proud of me. It ended up being a really fun date for both of us. We ate gigantic bagels and fruit. He got first place (came in four minutes before the guy who got second) and I got second place in my age group!!! Who knew, right?

   I'm starting to appreciate running, because I sleep so great at night, and have so much more long lasting energy during the day, which makes the sacrifice of running so worth it. I hope I don't give it up again! Maybe more cute running clothes would help...

   After our race, they gave us hats instead of medals because we placed. I love that! I can use a hat! We don't need more medals. Btw: I always grow a little tummy when I run. How is that even fair?!

   This past weekend, it rained and we had a crazy cold front. Daniel mentioned, the way I mention he needs to buy bananas at the store, that he was going to wake up at 5am on Saturday, and run up a mountain by our house to the snow. I didn't argue with him because, are you ready for this? That is how he gets his kicks. I know, I mean, I'd rather sleep in on a cold Saturday morning, but hey, if you want to run up a mountain, then how can I come between him and that dream? Round trip he ran 15.3 miles covering 3,500 feet of climbing. That's amazing! I would love to be able to do that, but, no. I don't think I'm being negative when I say, I do not have the ability to achieve that! Check out these spectacular pictures he took.

Our home is near the middle of this photo. Love the snow in contrast to the green valley. 

Just him and the coyotes. 

This is my favorite. It reminds me of 'The Road Not Taken' by Frost, which is our poem. 

That is so amazing! Seriously, I would love to do a trail run. Maybe in twenty years when I have time to get in shape.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Best Fried Vegan Eggplant

    Now that Daniel doesn't work on Saturdays anymore (we are still getting used to this greatness!) we are able to get down and party on the weekends! Which is why I spent all morning in the kitchen on Saturday. I made quiche, date bread and fried eggplant (all vegan). My in-laws took the girls for a couple hours and it was so great getting to cook without interruptions. Super therapeutic. So glad I got married so I could be forced to cook, so I would learn I love to cook! 

     Did you get your party moves on this weekend?

      Oh, just so you know, sensory boxes are made to be played INSIDE OF. I know, it's confusing since we were always taught sensory boxes were for senses connected to your hands, but as it turns out, it is much more fun to get inside of a sensory box and pick the beans out of your toes. This is the only way to do it folks. 

      I was out of diced tomatoes, so my eggplant was sauceless. I actually ended up enjoying it this way. I was able to appreciate the flavors of the eggplant and pasta more. This is the best my eggplant has ever come out. Yesssss, I'm actually getting better at this! Love it!

Fried Eggplant

1 Eggplant sliced
1 cup rice milk
2 cup flour
4 tablespoons Italian Style breadcrumbs
Olive Oil for frying

Spaghetti and fresh parsley for serving

1) Rub both sides of your eggplant slices with salt. Lay them on a cloth in a single layer and let them sit and sweat it out for a good hour.
2) Mix together your flour and breadcrumbs. Heat your pan up. 
3) Dip your eggplant in milk then in the flour mixture. Fry on lightly oiled pan at medium high heat till crispy, about 5 - 10 minutes, turning once. 
3) Serve on top of spaghetti pasta lightly tossed with EVOO (optional) and sprinkled with fresh parsley. 


    I'm incredibly boring when it comes to my hair. I have a messy bun look and a down look. That's it. Today I decided to live a little and I did an up-do that I found on Pintrest. I'm definitely going to be doing more of these. I loved that it was out of my way, the baby couldn't grab it and I was semi stylish. Thank you Pintrest!

   Papa's Toolshed Mama's Kitchen now has a Pintrest page! Scroll to the top of our blog and click to follow us! Great way to track our recipes and DIYs.

   Have you reached a sad point in your life when you are excited to go to bed at 9pm? Not sad. Just full. I live a full life. With my fools. Okay, I'm stopping now.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Life isn't worth being mad over

   "Don't get mad, don't get mad" I kept repeating to myself as I looked down at the keys in my hand. SOMEBODY had detached the house key from the car key. In a frenzy to get out the door I didn't realize it until I had pushed everyone outside and shut the locked door behind me. Just at that moment when I could feel my blood pressure rising and my panic mode setting off, our new dog jumped gently over our six foot fence to be with us. Fantastic. So now, not only do I have three little people locked out of the house, but I also have a massive Golden Retriever moseying around our front yard too. Ten years ago I would have flipped out. I mean, flipped out! Broke down, melt down, big major crisis. But now I know that everything has a solution. Or at least that is what I try to tell myself when I'm in these situations. I took a deep breath, shuffled everyone, including the dog into the van, and proceeded on our merry way to the park as planned. Only this time I was way stressed. I had had little motivation to do anything all day (thanks to little people who kept me up last night) so the stress tensed up my whole body and made me want to yell at the world. This was supposed to be a quick, simple trip to the park. 

   When Daniel and I were first starting off our relationship and he did something senseless (like detaching the house keys from the car keys. Who does that?) I would freak out on him. I would call him up in hysterics over how could he have possibly have the nerve to make such a thoughtless mistake. Didn't he love me? Didn't he care about me? My feelings? My needs? My emotions? Clearly not, otherwise he would not have done this. And then I would go crazy woman on him and go on and on about how, oh, if only he loved me. Well, good to know now before it's too late! And we would have a big unnecessary fight and he would tell me I'm making a big deal over nothing and that people make mistakes. I've been told that my whole life, from my brother and mom, that I'm "too harsh on people". That's what I tried to remember when I was at the park with the girls; there has to be a reasonable explanation for the keys, and people make mistakes. And, don't be mad. Don't get mad. Don't be mad. 

    Truth is, it was hard being mad while watching the girls. Athena was super chill, as usual, and Monique and Thérèse were walking around the park holding hands and hugging. That was weird, the hugging. Thérèse is not affectionate. But she was so happy about me making her a preschool homework packet, that she was drunk off of excitement. And that dog, the dog was just sitting in the van driver seat looking at us through the windshield like it's her everyday occupation. 

   Not being mad was hard to achieve while waiting to meet my father-in-law so I could get our house key from him. "Why why why why why why why why why why??" Was my text to my husband while we waited. These girls were supposed to be taking a nap right now, not locked out of the house. 

   When we finally got into our house, I gave the girls a snack and put them all down. Thérèse can always tell when I'm stressed. To ease her I told her, "I'm sorry I'm so bent out of shape right now, but you girls have been so so wonderful, you have helped me out so much!" Her face completely changed into pride and peace and I realized that most of the time I'm stressed, it's because of Thérèse or Moniuqe or Athena, the three people I dedicate my life to. The ones who I'm teaching the importance of maintaining healthy relationships. Yet they are the ones (especially Thérèse because she is so much like me) that I hold a grudge and lose my patience with when they don't act the way I expect them to. Daniel has taught me that he makes mistakes, and I need to accept him with all his perfection and all his carelessness. But now I need to accept my daughters in the same way, and not get frustrated when they don't take their naps for days, or complain about teething all week, or relentlessly suck their thumb. 

    Thankfully they all went to sleep and I sat down on the couch to watch some t.v. and stress eat. This is the one time stress eating actually helped me. I think it was because I was so hungry and just needed to sit down and have a few minutes of quiet time! 

    When Daniel finally called, he dropped a hint that he was expecting to talk to a crazy lady, but that lady didn't show up. I had relaxed, I was upset and tired, but mistakes happen and I was ready to get the explanation for the separated keys. But I didn't get one. He doesn't remember doing it, he doesn't remember why he did it. Terrific. Such an annoying situation, but at the end of the day, thankfully it wasn't that big of a deal. 

     After we talked about how big of an obstacle my day had become, Daniel told me a story about one of his students that finally made me laugh. He teaches emotionally disturbed 2nd and 3rd graders. One of his students (lets call him Jeremy) is itty bitty. He's a tiny little guy. Today they were working on an assignment and in the sweetest voice Jeremy says, 
             "Mr. Daniel, can you please come and help me with this?" 

              Daniel replies, "Sure Jeremy" goes to sit next to him, "What do you need help with?" 
              With disgusted strong emotion Jeremy spits out, "Get away from me you stupid idiot". 

Now these boys are emotionally disturbed, so they don't really understand what they are saying and how what they say affects other people. So this statement is actually nice compared to other things Daniel is told throughout the day. If I worked there I would be on the floor crying everyday, completely crushed. But Daniel just says, "Okay, let me know when you are ready for my help".

                Jeremy, "Mr Daniel, can you help me?"

                Goes to sit down with him, "Sure Jeremy, what can I help you with".

               "Get away from me you stupid idiot!"

This story made me laugh so hard. Daniel was laughing too. But the only explanation I have for my laughing exceptionally hard, is that the evil, crazy woman inside of me, was living vicariously through Jeremy. 

   Thankfully I do know the consequences of words, and Daniel knows the benefits of a hearty apology and our marriage grew because of this situation. Glad we have gone this far, looking forward to growing with the girls now too.

   These are the moments that keep me sane, and the people that make it worth it.

    Athena is beginner crawling. How 'bout that drool, huh? 

      Thérèse found her father's running hat and got to work on her homework. She took both to bed with her tonight.

       This picture kills me. I always find Monqiue cuddling with Saddie. Look at where the dog's left paw is.

Yesterday I complained that I only had time to exercise my right leg. Well today my right leg is super sore, which makes me not want to exercise my left leg. Will anyone tell that they are different sizes? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Organic, Local, Veg Heads

   It's Wednesday! The day I finagle my hair into some sort of mom-do to make people believe it might actually be clean, watch the house go to shambles as I shuffle everyone out the door and put on my mom attitude face that says, "Driving a mini-van is too cool for you" (oversize sunglasses are a must). Translation: Wednesday is errands day. Trader Joe's, Target, Costco, Fresh and Easy, chiropractor, whatever needs to get done, we do it. But the highlight, is Farmers Market. O yea. 

   I used to get really annoyed when people talked about Farmers' Markets. What's all the hype? I thought it was just a passing craze. Let me tell you, I was wrong. Now I hope it becomes a way of life for everyone, because it insures you get the best quality ingredients, picked at just the right time, at a reasonable price.

   A year and a half ago, I read an article about how many hundreds of miles our food travels to get to our plate and I was appalled. Gas emissions aside, when food is prematurely picked and takes days to get into your kitchen, it is not going to contain many nutrients. So why am I suffering through this veggie to get nutrition that isn't even there? Since then we have bought our produce exclusively at farmers' markets, rearranging our schedules and going out of our way to shop there. There have been a handful of times we have had to shop at a traditional store when we've been out of town. Those are the times I realize why America does not eat enough veggies; they look so lame, dull, gross and tasteless! Yes, I'm biased. Farmers market veggies just don't compare. Everything is so plump, bright and fresh. Plus, studies show that people who shop at FM's are happier than people who don't because of the satisfaction that comes from helping a family owned business.

Does your plate know the colors of the rainbow?

   Yup, we eat lots of veggies here. You put life inside you, you will be full of life! This red leaf lettuce was picked this morning! So fun shopping for beautiful things! 

    This morning I tried to fit in Goop's 15 minute workout. I didn't even make it through the first five minutes, which means only one leg did major leg lifts. Which means my right leg feels like it belongs on Captain America and my left leg feels pathetic. I feel like I have an identity crisis. Oh, never mind, just a mom of toddlers. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Valentine's Day Photo Shoot

Thursday I threw a meal in the crock pot, completed all our laundry (seven loads), took Valentine's Day photos, went for a run, put all my contacts in my new phone and made spinach artichoke dip for date night with my husband. NOT.

What I did do was realize I wasn't going to have time to throw ingredients into the crock pot, did one and a half loads of laundry, completed all the props for the photo shoot, took the photos, freaked out at how messy my house had become from neglecting it so I could have some creative time, forced the girls to clean up their toys (which is equivalent to asking them to cross a barren dessert without food, water or shelter), and crashed at 2pm. sit again....everyone took a nap at the same time! So I read 100 pages of Northanger Abby on my Nook. I really should have slept too, since my eye was twitching, but I can't sleep when I have to pee and I couldn't pee cause I was terrified I would wake up my girls. And thus is life.

Daniel came home shocked at how messy the house was. What? We just "cleaned" it. He vacuumed the house and then he finished, yes finished, the laundry.

Bonus: We went on a family walk and I got my run in. Let me just say that I started running and I'm basically a completely different person because of it. My energy levels are unstoppable. Better than coffee! Don't look at me like that, I mean it.

I also taught my girls what chocolate dipping is. They started chanting "Chocolate dipping chocolate dipping" before they even started eating it. They knew it was going to be amazing. They ate their tempeh tacos, red leaf lettuce and broccoli without a fuss. Always looking for easy fun deserts to reward them.

Okay, so I didn't tell them we had chocolate dipped left overs. I enjoyed them all day Friday. Perk of being THE MAMA.

Heavy handed chocolate dipped pretzels, pecans, bananas and strawberries. Living in Southern California means it is the beginning of strawberry season at farmers market!! Shut-up! What? Didn't the season just end in October? Yesssssss!

Here are some pics of our Valentine's Photos. This photo shoot taught me that when it comes to toddlers, you need one person to take the picture and one person to make them smile. Get that? IT TAKES TWO PEOPLE TO TAKE A PICTURE. 

This picture cracks me up. They are so not into the Valentine spirit. I just look at Thérèse and I think, tortured much? Athena has her hands on her hips like, really lady? This again? I ain't smiling.

Monkeys aside, I am very proud of my assembly. Total cost $3. For the cupcakes. Oh come on! You want me to put this shoot together, make the props, keep three people alive AND make the cupcakes? I think not. I justified the purchase by buying them at Trader Joes. So they can't be that bad...right?  

I had fun making all the props from recycled materials from around our home. I really love the look of the pink flower made with the two different shades of pink tissue paper. I would love to do more creative activities like this. 

Why is Monique holding her foot?

Oh, if you put infants on the grass, they will make this face.