Every day starts at around 5:45 a.m. It’s nonstop talking unless he’s eating or sleeping.
“Grandma?” Which really sounds more like “Grand-maw” if you’re sounding it out.
“I’m hungry. Let’s go in the kitchen and I’ll sit on the big stool and watch you make my breakfast.”
“Grandma? Why is it still dark out? Why do you love seashells so much? Can I have this rock? Why do you cut up my apple like that? Why do you make me oatmeal? Why is the stove hot? I burned myself one time and Mommy put ice on it. Why do you put cinnamon in it? I wish I was in a rocket ship and could fly off to space.I didn’t wet my bed last night. I’m wearing my Batman undies. Look, Grandma, look at me. Why do you love me so much? I’m your first little boy, Daddy is your second little boy. Right, Grandma? Right? Grandma, are you making coffee now? Why do you do that? That’s the same kind of coffee you get at MY house. We have a Trader Joe’s there, too. Is this safe, Grandma? (As he jumps from the chair to the sofa, and back.)
“Be ever so careful, my favorite boy!”
Silence as he’s eating his breakfast. But not for long…
“I’m really smart, ammnt I, Grandma?”
“Yes, T?” “Is that a TV screen? I only get to watch it for special. When do you watch it, Grandma? Why are you so small, Grandma? Daddy’s big and you’re small. You’re my little Grandma. I’m going to be bigger than my Daddy soon. Like when I’m six or twelve. I will, I really will. I’m not kidding. For reals. My Dad is SO strong, right, Grandma? Why did your little boy grow up, Grandma?
That one got me. “Hmmm”, I said. “I think about that too, T. Sometimes I wish Daddy was still a little boy and then I think that he grew up so he could have a little boy like you and make me so happy. What do you think?”
“I think….I think that I want a breakfast burrito now. I’m still hungry.”
Yup, he’s his Daddy’s little boy, that’s for sure. No doubt about it.
The questions have been coming fast and furious as soon as he turned three.
It started with ” where do sloths live?” and I said, “Let’s go to the library tomorrow and do some research.”
The next day we went to the library and checked out a few book about sloths.
After that it was “let’s do research” about everything that had been cooking in his brilliant little mind.
“I love the solar system, my favorite planet is Neptune, I love Neptune because it has rings. We live on planet Earth. I want to know about astronauts.”
Another trip to the library; more books. When he learned that astronauts wear diapers in space, he had to repeat that fact at least a hundred times.
“What happened to dinosaurs?” “Why aren’t there dinosaurs anymore? Why are they only in museums? Why are they just skeletons now?”
“What’s lightening?” “How does electricity work?” “How does a volcano erupt?” “How do bees make honey?”
That question couldn’t be answered very easily with a book, so we did something really special: computer research. We found a video that explained it in a way a toddler could understand. I have to admit that I didn’t know exactly how bees made honey and what we learned made me appreciate the importance of bees even more than I did before. For example, did you know that forager bees have two stomachs, one just to capture the pollen that will eventually turn into honey? Or that some of the jobs that other bees in the colony have is to vomit the contents of their stomach into a succession of about twenty other bees’ stomachs so that certain chemical changes can take place? Or that all the bees work together to flap their wings and evaporate the liquid when first placed in the comb and that when the liquid becomes thickened—well, that’s the end product—honey. In order to produce just one pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey. One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year. An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. I’m THIS MANY YEARS old and never knew all of that. It took a brilliant 3.5 year old child to teach me!
Finally, my very observant little grandson said this… “Why don’t you eat meat, Grandma?” When I gave him a simple answer about how I love animals and don’t like to eat them, he said he didn’t like to eat animals either. His mom told me that later that afternoon, he asked her why Grandma doesn’t like to eat animals.
I’m so grateful to be able to generate a thought process like that. We are in desperate need of his generation to make the world a better place. Kinder, more compassionate. More empathy for all living creatures with whom we co-exist on this planet and learn to become better stewards of our oceans and the air we all breathe.
He’s so adorably exuberantly awkward in his joie de vivre. But me? I’m beyond exhausted with so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
Taking a minute to breathe before heading to the airport to claim Angel Boy 2.0. I suppose I’ll have to tote my son and DIL home too, as 20 month Theo is still too young to fly to me by himself, but they don’t really matter. HAHA. No really. They.Do.Not.Matter.
For all the years that my laser focus was directed at the original Angel Boy, I bet if he had known that the way stop me from being a drone and hovering and helicoptering was simply to procreate, he might have done it YEARS AGO.
While I sense a slight, very slight wistfulness in his voice sometimes because it’s ALL ABOUT THEO, I know he’s very proud of his accomplishment in whatever part he played in the creation of Theodore. Just to see him play with Theo brings tears to my eyes.
Did you know that AB named Theo? Years ago, he shared an experience with his best friend in Greece where they were climbing Mt. Olympus and didn’t realize how very far it was to go up and then down, a miscalculation on the part of those (then) undergrads.
I don’t remember all the details, but just as they were near exhaustion, out of nowhere, a truck appeared, stopped, and the driver took pity on them and drove them to the bottom.
As they thanked him profusely, my son asked his name. In broken English, he said he was called Theodore, which means “god’s gift”.
Apparently, that kindness stayed with my son all these years, and that’s how Theo came to be.
My break is over. I’ve already made the stuffing, apple and pumpkin pies, kugel, and fresh cranberry sauce, filled the wading pool with water, and set up a little sandbox. I wanted to get as much done as possible in advance to have more playtime for me and Mr. T, and since I make everything from scratch, it helps to prep early.
It’s going to be record breaking heat today in the 80s at the beach.
Time to go to the airport!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and I’m sure you can figure out what I’m grateful for.
When Food for Life sent me a box of assorted breads to sample and review, I couldn’t wait to begin to experiment with recipes for Thanksgiving.
We are thankful to enjoy a meat-free, cruelty-free Thanksgiving dinner.
We LOVE bread and as tasty as these breads are on their own — stand alone goodness — I wanted to craft a few recipes and share them with anyone looking to eat healthier and of course, vegan.
These breads are gluten free, vegan, and USDA certified organic.
My family especially enjoys the bread toasted, which brings out all of the unique flavors. They are amazing simply with hummus or in veggie sandwiches.
For holiday baking ideas, here’s one dessert bread pudding, one savory bread pudding, and my version of a vegan stuffing.
1. Vegan Bread Pudding (Sweet)
*****This is a MUST for you to make. It’s so unbelievably good, I ate the biggest bowl as soon as it came out of the oven. OK, to be honest, I ate TWO bowls. (That’s like half a loaf of bread haha). It was even better than I had anticipated.
The blueberries and apples are key to the whole moist yumminess and the slight toasty crunch of coconut is amazing. Next time I’ll add a tablespoon of orange zest to brighten the fruity flavors.
One loaf Food for Life Sprouted For Life Bread Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin with sprouted chia, quinoa, and millet. (The Almond version would be awesome, too.)
2-3 cups plain or vanilla almond milk, really SOAK the bread
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried blueberries
One apple, peeled, diced
Ground cinnamon Toasted coconut for topping
Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Grease a nine-inch baking dish or casserole dish.
Tear the bread into rough cubes.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cinnamon, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the bread, let sit about 10-20 minutes, or until bread is soft and has absorbed most of the milk. Add the raisins gently mix. Don’t over mix.
Scoop into prepared pan.
Lightly sprinkle top with a little more cinnamon and the coconut.
Bake 30-45 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and it’s a puffy golden brown.
YUM! Just TRY to stop eating it.
I think it’d also be awesome with your favorite sauce
or a scoop of vegan ice cream.
I don’t have pics of the next two because I didn’t want to prepare them too far in advance, but I wanted to share the recipes so you’ll all have enough time to shop for the ingredients.
2. Vegan Bread Pudding (Savory)
One loaf Food for Life Sprouted For Life Bread Gluten Free (Flax Seed is the one I’ll be using.)
1 bunch Swiss chard, kale, or spinach (about 1 lb.)
1 cup almond or soy or rice milk 1 cup vegetable broth (low sodium) 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups cubed bread
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Option: Add tofu cubes
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove and discard ribs from Swiss chard or kale. Rinse with cold water; drain and coarsely chop. If using spinach, wash and chop.
2. Whisk together milk, broth, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Stir in bread.
3. Sauté mushrooms, onions, garlic, red pepper in hot oil until tender and soft. Stir in chard, kale, or spinach, and sauté 2 minutes. Fold vegetable mixture into liquid/bread mixture.
4. Top with thinly sliced tomatoes.If you have a vegan cheese that you like, crumble a few slices on top of tomatoes.
5. Pour into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Let stand 5 minutes.
Vegan Stuffing (Dressing)
Yummy to stuff green or red peppers or baked butternut squash, halved. I serve with my homemade cranberry sauce. No one misses the meat and if they do, they know better than to mention it! This recipe makes enough to feed our family and have leftovers the next day.
2 medium onions, diced
6 stalks celery with leaves, diced
4 carrots, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Two loaves of Original Three Seed Sprouted for Life Food for Life 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 teaspoon celery salt 1 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 1/4 cups hot Homemade Vegetable Stock or a good quality low sodium purchased veg stock
1. Saute onion, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. (Vegetables can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before continuing.)
2. Transfer to large bowl and add stuffing cubes, parsley, celery salt, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in 1 1/4 cups hot stock.
3. If stuffing peppers or other vegetables, stuff lightly and bake for about 30-40 minutes.
4. If baking entire recipe as side dish: Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 3-quart casserole or 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Transfer stuffing to dish and drizzle with 1/2 cup hot stock. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is slightly crisp and golden, about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.
Of course you can add or detract any vegetables your family doesn’t like (our DIL doesn’t like mushrooms so I’ll make a small batch for her without them) and add more herbs and spices depending upon your own personal tastes. We like it rather peppery with bold flavors since it’s more than just a side dish.
Even though I haven’t eaten any meat or poultry of any kind since 1971, I used to continue to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving for my son and guests up until a few years ago when I learned about the horrors of factory farming.
Now I tell everyone if they want to eat meat, they can do it someplace else. I haven’t lost anyone yet, so I guess the food I do serve is tasty enough to keep ’em coming!
Angel Boy and DIL have gone back to their own lives and my tugboat man and I didn’t have many leftovers because we packed them up with the kids — all except for the roasted yams.
I’m a frugal and thrifty gal when I’m not shopping, really I am. Honest. I swear. For reals.
Here’s what I did with them and it was soo easy!
I used my tried and true recipe for banana bread but replaced the bananas with mashed up yams (you could use sweet potatoes or pumpkin too, of course).
Look how moist and yummy it looks along with oatmeal raisin cookies.
So simple; one bowl; you don’t need to bring out the big mixer for this one.
Leftover Sweet Potato (or Yam or Pumpkin) Bread 2 cups flour (I use 1/2 whole wheat)
1 cup sugar (brown and white)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
Mashed yam/sweet potato, about a cup
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2-3 TBS milk (or plain, unflavored yogurt)
1 tsp. vanilla (optional: 1 TBS pure maple syrup)
1/3 chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
Mix oil, eggs, vanilla, milk. Add sugar(s) and mix well.
Add mashed yam and mix well. I use a fork; it’s so easy!
Add flour combined with other dry ingredients and nuts. Mix well.
Turn into a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about fifty minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
When cool, I make a little glaze with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 TBS orange juice. It adds a nice sheen to the top of the loaf.
Super delicious with an afternoon cuppa. My fave is ginger tea. Enjoy!
Today at Casa de Enchanted Seashells, we’re packing up to drive the eight hours it takes to get to Sacramento so I can testify at theFish and Wildlife hearing on Friday to protest the delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species List.
However and whatever…
I’ve got a new black suit, AMAZING heels, and a speech that I hope will make a difference, ‘cos that’s what it’s really all about.
While we’ve been getting ready, I noticed a magnificent plant blooming and crying out for attention.
My bright little pot loves to sit in our kitchen window for most of the year; when I see the red buds at the tips of the leaves, I know it won’t be long before the massive butterfly blooms emerge.
I love to say “zygocactus” like ten times in a row cos it feels so good as it rolls off the tongue, plus it’s really easy to grow!
Schlumbergera truncatus blooms closer to Thanksgiving while Schlumbergera bridgesii blooms closer to Christmas, but through hybridization there is a certain overlapping of blooming times.
This is the most intense pink; the flowers feel kind of waxy or fleshy.
Schlumbergera are epiphytes (tree-dwelling) originating in the mountainous rainforests of Brazil.
It’s excellent as hanging basket plant on a sheltered patio, or can be brought indoors in a bright area with excellent airflow.
Think about how lovely a blooming plant will be as a gift to bring joy for many years.
I’ve had pretty good success propagating these beauties by snipping a cutting at the natural “joint”, letting it dry out for a couple days, and then planting in sandy soil, keeping it only slightly moist until roots appear.
Don’t make the same mistakes I did by letting it get too wet or it’ll rot and die.
The next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Sacramento, meeting other wolf advocates and giving my two cents worth to a panel of Fish and Wildlife members who have blood on their hands from the senseless deaths of hundreds of beautiful wolves.
However, they have yet to hear from Princess Rosebud.