Behind starburst eyes

Chocolate Transforms Chickpeas!

So dear readers I’m sitting here eating my second cupcake, knowing that I won’t be sick from it because it’s gluten free (it’s also dairy free) as I was making a tester batch of cupcakes for a friend’s upcoming handfasting that are both gluten free and dairy free, to ensure that some of the guests can still enjoy them as well. I topped them with a chocolate hummus instead of icing to continue the dairy free theme, and fresh cut strawberries. SO GOOD!!!

Let me tell you, these are without a doubt the BEST cupcakes I have ever had in my life, and trust me, I did NOT get this curvy from avoiding delicious baked goods ūüėČ

While I’m posting a link to the recipe, please note that I did make a few changes for mine:
1) I used applesauce instead of oil
2) I forgot the water
3) I used soy milk instead of cow’s milk.

http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2011/07/gluten-free-chocolate-cupcakes-made.html

I started with the chocolate hummus recipe found at the bottom of that same page, but made changes, I added about 2tsp more cocoa powder as I like a really rich taste, I added a 1/4 cup of coconut milk powder, and I used pure cocoa powder (from before they add milk ingredients to it) instead of nut butter.

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Summer Solstice Strawberries & Our Virtues

Every year we pick strawberries on the first day of summer. We make various jams from them, and put some in bags in the freezer for delicious smoothies. We also talk while we’re on our way there, and during it about a few things. We talk about how it’s the first day of summer, which means it’s the longest day of the year. We talk about all that Mother Earth has grown since the first day of Spring. As well as all that we have grown in our lives. We discuss that which is ready for harvesting in our own lives as well as what we need to further nurture and grow more before it’s “ripened” in our lives. We talk about the unintentional “plants” we’ve sowed (such as being argumentative, or jumping to assumptions, or whatever it is that each of us has been “growing” in our lives.) The good and the not so positive all get reflected upon. Then we decide what we shall continue to nurture and what we shall “pull” or “weed out” of our lives and ourselves. I started doing this with the kids as well as myself when C was very young, because I feel that regular introspection and honest reflection about ourselves is one of the ways we can help ensure we are growing in the ways we want to be. Conversely, it means that the things we don’t want to be “growing” within ourselves can be “pulled out” faster, when it’s had less chance to grow unchecked. It’s easy to say we’re going to do _____ and ____. It’s a bit more challenging to really look at oneself and see where we’ve perhaps gone off the path we’d prefer to be on and admit ownership of our “flaws” or less than virtuous aspects. But with regular honest, open reflection on who we truly are at that point in time and how it fits with who we aim to be we can foster the traits we most admire like honesty, patience, selflessness, honor, etc with better results than if we leave ourselves “unchecked”.

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Dust bunnies versus sticky fingers

‚ÄúSometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.‚ÄĚ by Jonathan Safran¬†Foer

The above quote was found unexpectedly while I was looking at a sweet story about a dad that was going the extra mile to ensure his son had a wonderful Halloween. There right beside the heartwarming story was that quote, separate from the story.

I read it, and I felt like I had been punched in my solar plexus, it resonated SO deeply within me. I am often bothered by all that I haven’t accomplished, by all that I have not yet done. I try every day, but there’s never enough time, and there’s always something that needs doing that I hadn’t expected. I’m in my 30’s and I feel like all of those 3 decades have passed in a blur. Each year fluttering past in wisps¬†of color and opportunity¬†too fleeting to catch or hold on to. I try to make every day count, but I find that the¬†mundane things often get in the way, like cleaning. It does not seem to matter what I try it always takes me ages to get the house cleaned every single day. No matter how spotless it is one day the next it’s a mess again and again I’m forced to choose between cleaning or adventure. I know I have to be the responsible¬†adult and clean, but I want to just experience each short moment I have with my kids, I want to play with abandon with them, and laugh¬†with joy at their discoveries, I want to go on “treasure hunts” and nature walks, and trips to the library and read under a tree from books about anything and everything to them. I want to be able to be present in the moment with them and not always “in a minute” “after I’m done the dishes we’ll ______” etc. A great deal of the time I do say “piss on it” to the housework and the time that gives me to just experience little hands fluttering across my triceps as I walk for 2 hours with N in the hiker as I walk to get him a donut and back home is priceless. Just sitting here, I can still feel the warm sun on my face, his icing covered fingers lightly touching my triceps as he yells his excitement at an orange jeep that drives past us. I treasure those moments more than I can say, they ARE what make me “me” each of those memories.

So among other things that I have to do cleaning is for sure one of the most time-consuming, so any tips dear readers? Please keep in mind I have a house with 3 adults (my mother is NOT able to help due to her health, and I’m just happy to have her company) 3-5 children, 2 of which are on the spectrum, of those two one that needs constant attention and assistance, and the other one¬†is homeschooled by me and therefore needs time every day for that. As well as¬†one that is not yet walking, but does love crawling everywhere she can.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a kid on a leash!

imagesCA0TBJHUWell tonight I finished modifying N’s little blue backpack into a harness style backpack complete with a “tether strap” as it’s called when one is selling it apparently. (I looked online but figured why pay that much money for one when I’ve got everything here to convert a regular toddler sized backpack instead) In reality it’s a leash and it’s attached to my child via the backpack. I have fought doing this for a while, and each time we went out I would faithfully ensure¬†I had the stroller and he was buckled in. Once in a while¬†I’d walk holding his hand, but with his aversion to touch so often holding hands is NOT something he’s in to doing, and letting him just roam and hoping I can catch him when he darts out onto the street in less time than it takes for a car to hit him is NOT something I’m cool with. In fact it terrifies me, and while I KNOW I’ll get the inevitable backlash for “treating my child like an animal” (trust me I had this reaction with C, and I hated it. I hated that no one could see I JUST wanted to keep him safe.) And I know I’m going to upset people with doing it with N.

Here’s the thing though, I can’t NOT do it. Well I’m sure I can in fact, but my heart is pounding from the moment we walk down our front steps. I’m sweaty and nervous as I carefully grip his wrist/forearm (he won’t hold hands at all) I’m watching every direction, frantically¬†looking all around us and trying to watch him at the same time. All the while I’m still holding onto him for dear life. I try to get to our destination as quickly as I possibly can get him to go, and frequently ask him if he wants me to carry him. Why because he doesn’t understand danger, and that makes me terrified. He runs towards moving cars because he’s so fascinated with cars in general. And trying to just say “No” or “Stop” does NOT work with him. especially since he’s often overloaded auditory wise and covers his ears, but doesn’t ever stop moving.

Now, tonight we went on a little walk with his new modified backpack. I held his forearm while he was walking down the stairs and then I let him just walk. He got to choose where we went because¬†I was just enjoying watching him finally have the opportunity¬†to discover his neighbourhood at his own pace. We stood at one point and watched a cricket and I told him about how the cricket makes music. He loves his backpack, and insisted we put cheese in it for our walk ūüôā He’s not upset by it, even when he tried to dart towards the street and it stopped him (he didn’t fall or anything, he just couldn’t go any further than a few feet from me) he just looked back at me and then pointed at the cars speeding past and smiled saying “brooms!” which is of course his word for cars. So yes¬†I loved the peacefulness with which we were able to just “be” together, in each other’s space, experiencing an evening walk together, marveling at all the things that I would have forced him to miss in my haste to get him somewhere safe prior to his new backpack.

Alright dear readers, I’ve taken a deep breath, let me have it.

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A blue hiker, red hat, and yellow pants

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Well today C played most of the day at his friend M’s house, so it was mostly just N and G with me. I decided that I needed to get N a new sun hat as he’s fair and burns easily and already the one I bought¬†a few months ago is too small. In keeping with trying to exercise regularly I decided that I’d not only walk with the two of them but that I’d put G in the single stroller and N in the blue hiker that I haven’t used since right before I found out I was pregnant with G. N was¬†a great deal lighter then! A two-hour walk with 30+ pounds on one’s back when you’re not used to it is definitely a work out lol.

 

 

 

 

After visiting a couple of stores we finally found a hat N liked, a plain red fisherman style one that I promised him I’d put a truck on. Of course while at the store N pointed out every single thing that was “lello” because everything yellow is somehow exciting. Not denying that yellow is a fantastic color, just not sure where his recent love of yellow has¬†come from. For the last few days when I get him dressed in the morning he keeps saying “lello¬†pansh” (yellow pants)

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Once home I sewed on a patch that had a big 18-wheeler on it onto his red hat and he seems happy with it, which is great! Then I decided I’d go through my bins of fabric, convinced that I had some yellow cotton somewhere. Indeed I did, and so I proceeded to make him some yellow pants. He was thrilled when I told him I was making him yellow pants. He watched me cut the fabric, he insisted on sitting on my lap the entire time I sewed his yellow pants. Pleased with myself at making him something he so clearly wanted I presented him with the finished product. Only to watch him have a meltdown because apparently the pants I made are NOT what he imagined when he kept asking for yellow pants. Now I’ve made dozens of pants for C, myself and many others so I know it wasn’t that I didn’t make them correctly in general. So I now have a pair of¬†yellow pants that he refuses to wear, but¬†hey in another year or so they should fit G¬†lol. ¬†

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Two Seagulls, a payphone operator & chick peas

¬†“I’m not laughing at him, just the fact that you can’t make shit like that up!” ~ My husband after I was finished telling him the craziness of my afternoon with the boys.

It all started out innocently enough, G was napping and so I took the two boys to the YMCA for Family Gym time. They had a blast, as they always do ūüôā Well there was a bake sale helping to raise money for a local school to buy new sports equipment, and the boys wanted a cupcake each. Totally reasonable, only I didn’t think when I used all my change to donate for the cupcakes that I still had to¬†call home when we were done to be picked up.
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We go to the payphone and I realize, I just spent all of the cash I had on me so I tried to call collect, it wouldn’t let me, got an operator on the line and was told my number was blocked from accepting collect calls. SO I tried to do a third-party¬†billing first to my home phone and she wouldn’t let me do it cause it was the same number for billing as calling so I tried to call my sister-in-law with my number as the one to pay the charges only to be told her number doesn’t exist. I beg to differ, I call her every day of course her number exists!

 

 

 

 

 

MH900227656So fine, we’ll walk home I decide since I can’t call home to get a ride. We get outside, N starts to run, wipes out on his head, his cupcake goes flying, two seagulls swoop down from nowhere and gobble up his cupcake, and while I’m trying to deal with the scrapes on his head he’s bawling “cake, cake, no¬†bid no!” (Bid is his version of bird right now) Back into the YMCA we go, and I tell the receptionist what happened, she sees his head and kindly lets me call home. My mom brings $5 for me to donate for the new cupcake I get N.

 

imagesCAM66FYAWhile getting N’s I see a sign in front of some chocolate cupcakes that says gluten-free. SO deciding I need a treat as well I grab one, the guy tells me they’re made from chick peas. Now my darling, lovely, wonderful husband has made me food with chick peas in it before and to be polite we’ll just go with “its¬†not to my taste” so privately I’m thinking I am going to totally NOT enjoy this cupcake now, but being polite I smile and say “oh wow, that’s fantastic!” and then I ate it. OH MY GODS! Whoever made those was a culinary GENIUS! They were the most delicious chocolate fudge cupcakes I have ever had in my life! And let’s be¬†honest dear readers, these curves aren’t ONLY from pregnancy, they’re also from a deeply committed relationship with chocolatey goodness ūüėČ Now I am on the hunt for chick pea chocolate cupcake recipes because those will be the new chocolate cake/cupcakes that are made in this house!
If any of you happen to have a recipe for gluten-free¬†deliciousness please pass them along ūüėÄ

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Time in a bottle

I’ve always loved the song “Time In A Bottle” By: Jim Croce I used to sing it to C when he was a baby. I never knew he wrote it after his wife told him she was pregnant with their son Adrian in 1970.¬† It still rings so true to me almost 9 years later, there never is enough time and if I could I would live every moment I’ve had with my kids again. We get so little time¬†(oh how I wish I had a Tardis ūüėČ and I want to fill every moment with as many memories as possible because time is so increadibly precious.

“Time In A Bottle”
If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty, except for the memory of how
They were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go through time with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO1rMeYnOmM is a link to hear him singing it.

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Pick me up

When I’m in a bad mood I’ve long been of the practice to do something for someone else to help lift my own spirits. Years ago before they had to start refusing such offers I’d bake for homeless shelters and soup kitchens as a way of creating beauty or good energy when I was upset about things I could not control. (They now have to refuse them due to health code regulations, unless you are an actual business that has been okayed by the health department)

Tonight I was not in a great mood. Nothing really wrong per say, just feeling blah and a bit down, a touch of restlessness had settled in and I felt a bit constrained. SO I thought I’d take the boys for a walk, and on our walk we brought sidewalk chalk. We had an amazing time! C and I wrote inspiring messages at random spots, things like “You are special”,¬†“Life can be GREAT” “You are loved exactly as you are” and so on. N “helped” us to write the messages and was fully loving being completely included, so a few of the messages may not be super clear lol but it was a lovely experience for them and for me.

By the time we came home I was in much better spirits, and both boys were in lovely moods. It’s funny the messages were supposed to be for other people, random strangers to see, to take in and to perhaps offer them a spark of positivity. While they just still might, those messages definitely gave the 3 of us writing them a whole slew of positivity too. ūüėĬ†

I’d like to think that they did, and that the ones C and I wrote together will do the same for someone seeing them come morning. ūüėÄ Have any of you dear readers seen sidewalk affirmations at one time or another? If so, did they indeed offer you a spark of positivity that day?

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