Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beautiful Imperfections


                



Christmas is in full swing in the Shaw household {and everywhere, really}. Tree up- check, Our family Elf on the Shelf Oswald {Ozzie} is in town- check, shopping done-almost check, lights up-check.

I let Bailey help me decorate the tree this year. No big deal, right? WRONG. Those who know me well, know that I can be a perfectionist, to say the least. I like walking in and seeing things pretty and realizing the pictures in my head.

The kids are getting old enough that I thought, it's time they get to participate. {I let Bailey help with the tree while the others napped. It's all my nerves could take}.

I'm not going to lie, it drives me dang near INSANE to see that tree look like its been ransacked, {it looks much worse now, than it did in those pictures} literally gives me anxiety if I think about it for too long.

However, when I look at it I also think it's beautiful. She was so proud of herself for putting on the ornaments by herself and stringing the bead garland on. It's memories like this that she will remember when she is grown. She will {hopefully} be grateful she got to be a part of holiday decorating, without me harping at her about doing it all wrong... even though I felt the urge constantly. It's those memories that will inspire her to share and make her own memories, when she has her own children.

I'm grateful that my mom included us in these things. I'm glad she put forth the effort, it takes a lot of patience, that I just don't have. She does it with my kids, too. That quality time makes such a difference. Seriously, My kids are different kids when they are out at my moms.

 I need to be better at it. I remember decorating the tree and stringing popcorn and cranberry garlands {and eating the popcorn off}, baking treats, making decorations {snowflakes, dough ornaments, etc}, and Dollar Store shopping for each other, to name a few.

The inclusion created/creates an anticipation of the season and helps it to feel magical for kids. I get lazy with the Santa facade sometimes and just want to tell them the truth. Then I remember the many Christmas Eves my brothers  and I would spend wide awake, going back and forth between our rooms and taking turns checking the tree, to see if Santa had come and snooping to see if we could tell what he had brought us, in just the dim colored lights of the Christmas Tree, and without making the set up look disturbed {close longest run-on sentence, ever}.  Some of the better memories I have from my often contentious childhood are during the holidays and I treasure them.

Those memories are much more beautiful than a picture perfect Christmas tree and/or decorations... and they make the lurking panic attack go away.

I'm making it a point to include the kids more and be more pleasant.I'm trying not to worry about the insignificant and focus on what matters... quality time. I'm not always successful, but I get an E for the effort, right?? RIGHT??

Go make some memories!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mugs on Monday


I saw this posted on Pinterest a while back {and pinned it}. I thought I'd let the kids have a little fun. I needed SOMETHING to entertain them.

I have all white dishes and they have dwindled down to only 3 plates left, 6 or 7 saucers, 6 bowls, and a full set of mugs {until today}.

Since mugs aren't used that often, I decided to bust out the colored sharpies I got during back to school and let the kids have some fun. My table was a casualty... Bailey decided to execute a late Picasso-like piece of work on it. So much for selling it, like I'd planned. Anyhow, I baked it in the oven, just like it said to. My oven only goes down to 170 degrees, so that's what I baked it at for about 20-30 minutes. I didn't actually time it.

They came out, and the sharpie came off when my nail accidentally scratched it. I'm going to try again and see if it will permanently set. I put them back in later on at 350 for about half an hour and now it is set and doesn't scratch off. So easy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Feta-Spinach-Quinoa Salad


This is AMAZING. I actually bought the Quinoa to mill it and make flour for the kids. It's high protein and low carb. I got a 2 pound bag of organic Quinoa for $5.00 at BJ's. That's a pretty dang good price.

So I decided to put some chicken stock in a pot and cook some. I had a ton of spinach in the fridge that needed used, so I made a little salad... spinach, tomato, and lots of feta cheese {my favorite is the Garlic & Herb flavored}, and then tossed in a good bit of Quinoa. To compliment that I tossed a couple chicken breasts in a pan with a little olive oil, added half a bottle of Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette and let them cook a while, flipping  after a few minutes on each side and then again about 10 minutes or so in.
This was AWESOME. The chicken is great, but nothing new, I do that a lot.

But the Quinoa salad. MAN, it was good. I seriously almost devoured Jeffrey's too.

It was sitting there, staring at me, as he spent some quality, keep-her-from -crying-long-enough-so-I-can-eat-time, with Adeline.

It took serious restraint. Definitely a new favorite. AND it's Gluten Free/ Casein Free.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sneaky Leeky Potato Soup! {GF/CF/SF}

 

Guys- this stuff is YUM.

Let me just be honest for a minute... once everything was in and it was cooking... it didn't smell like it was going to be very good. In fact, I texted Mr. Shaw on his way home and warned him that it probably was a botched dinner. True Story. Remember... I'm not very good at experimenting with food. I also don't like to taste as I go along... I go by smell. I also am scared of dairy free products... no lie. OH, the irony.

However, it tastes exactly how I wanted it to! Warm, rounded, rich flavor... but it's way healthier than you're average potato soup. Also, its, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free!!! Meaning, my entire family could eat this {if only they would}. Bailey and Callen tasted it and liked it.

Don't get freaked out by the ingredients... I promise, it's good. I have pretty high standards, and I'm super picky, though, everyone has their own taste buds... I guess. 

Ok. Here you go.


Ingredients:

1 qt. SWANSON'S Veggie broth 
1 qt. SWANSON'S Chicken broth
1 qt. Blue Diamond unsweetened, original almond milk
a bunch of po-tay-toes, peeled and dice {prob 10-12) I used russet, it's what I had
2 leeks sliced thinly and rinsed {green part and all} 
2 C. cauliflower chopped fairly small {I didn't actually measure it.. but it's approximate} 
3 cloves whole garlic, peeled
a dash or two of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-3/4 C. Earth's best vegan spread {i use the soy free one}
     I'm going to refer to this as butter- but it is not.... it's just shorter to type.


Directions: 

{DON'T skimp on the Swanson's... it really makes a difference!}

Melt the butter in the bottom of a stock pot. Add the sliced leeks, some salt and pepper, thyme and the garlic. Let them cook down on a  medium or med/high heat {between 7-10 minutes or so... I don't keep track}.

Add the chicken and veggie stocks, potatoes, cauliflower and let boil until it starts turning mushy... adding some salt, pepper and thyme to taste as you go. Probably about 30 minutes. 

Stick that junk in the blender and pulse a few times... {I had to do two batches} and then put it back in the pot. OR- If you have an immersion blender... thats the easier way to go! It will have a similar consistency to mashed potatoes. 

Put it back in the pot and add the almond milk until it's the consistency you want. Let it heat through {it will probably be hot enough you won't have to worry about that}

BAM! You're done. 

You can thank me later. 

OH. This makes, A LOT. I made a lot so I could freeze some in a ziploc for a quick lunch or dinner another time.

I just busted some leftovers out the other day and had them for lunch. And it was awesome all over again!