Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Staring Contest.

Perhaps I jumped on this bandwagon quicker than I normally do. Perhaps it's a fad, perhaps I peeked at Vinepeek and couldn't bring myself to physically turn it off (Christopher did that for me).

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. ~ it's a Cake song, right?

If you have no clue what I'm talking about, Google: The Vine. OR... just trust my word that it's Twitter's new baby... a 6 second video sharing app.

Also, it's just kind of a lot of fun!

You probably aren't aware of this, but Roxy's Olympic size talent is Staring Contests. I don't think she's lost one, yet.

<3, Tabi :D

Monday, January 28, 2013

... and now I have a Seven Year Old.

I will not get sappy and talk about how much better my life is since this girl came into my life 7 years ago. Nor will I bore you with just how much she has taught me about life, love, spirituality, empathy and the magic in the universe.

But I will brag a little about what a beautiful, loving and kind little girl she has grown into over the past 7 years.


For her birthday, she wanted to do something a little different than the usual home or park party we usually throw with a bouncy house. Bouncy houses are hard to top, so I was a little nervous.

She asked about a gymnastics party at the YMCA and I was ecstatic to learn it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be. Honestly, we ended up getting much more than I thought out of it and maybe they spoiled us just a teeny bit.

A gymnastics party at the Y consists of an hour-ish in the gymnastics room. The kids get to run around an obstacle course and free reign at the foam pit. Not to brag, or anything, but I did overhear a few kids talking about this party being the best they'd ever been to.


After the kids are good and ready for replenishment, we got an hour-ish in the multipurpose room, which is decorated with pink and purple balloons, party plates and napkins, and time to enjoy some pizza, chips, popcorn, refreshments and CUPCAKES!

All of this, by the way, facilitated by two of the nicest party helpers ever. They not only helped lead activity in the gymnastics room, but also handed out pizza, drinks, party favors and cupcakes. See? Spoiled!

We sang Happy Birthday and I got the first ever group birthday party photo ever in the history of Deneweth birthday parties.


Then, of course there were presents... and, hey! Did you know Riley was there, too?

I present to you: Riley and Fifi, photo-bomber extraordinaires.


So, yea! I have a 7 year old now... It seems like just yesterday I ... okay okay (I won't get sappy).

<3, Tabi :D

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

In 6 years, I'm sure he'd kill me for posting this...

... but I've got to anyways.

I bought the Bear his first little boxer briefs today. And, boy did my heart go aflutter when he modeled them for me after shower tonight.

I was reminiscent of my second love, Mark(y Mark) Wahlberg.


Am I right??

Do I have a future Calvin Klein underwear model right here under my roof?

Sorry, Mark(y Mark) Wahlberg... we have history, but this little Bear is some kind of cute and has stolen my heart.

<3, Tabi :D

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gasparilla Children's Parade 2013 aka Family Time


On Saturday, we took the kids to the Gasparilla Children's Parade.

What in the what is Gasparilla, you say? Well, it's a pirate festival. I am proud to call Tampa my home, our yearly festival... is a PIRATE FESTIVAL!!! It doesn't get much cooler than that, you guys.

During the main Gasparilla event, there is an actual invasion, with a true to life pirate ship and the Mayor of Tampa handing over the keys to the city to the Pirate Captain. It's hard NOT to get excited over these things...

But this 'main' parade is generally and historically full of drunken debauchery and public nakedness (as it should be when pirates invade), so we go to the family friendly Children's Parade held the week before the invasion. There are still pirates and beads and loud music and coins, but without the public intoxication and debauchery.

To me, it means sitting on the grass on Bayshore Blvd. holding our ground in the hour or two leading up to the parade. In the waiting time, we've got the seabreeze, the awesome January Florida sun beaming down on us, $6 funnel cakes and each other. Then the parade starts, the kids wave and jump and scream for the 20 tons of beads we will carry back with us home. It means kids on parents' shoulders so they can get a glimpse of the pirates. And it means parents trying hard to duck and block the projectiles (beads) coming right at us and our toddlers. Before we know it, the 2 hours of parade is over, we are headed home exhausted and that means pizza for dinner. Mmmmm.

It's memories, it's adventure, it's fun and it's FREE! Arrrrr!

This is NOT a sponsored post (but it should be).

What is your town's yearly festival?

<3, Tabi :D

Baked Vegan(ish) 'Chik'n' Alfredo Pasta

Here's what I attempted the other night...

Check out How to Cook Baked Vegan "Chicken" Alfredo Penne Pasta by Nicole Rizzuto on Snapguide.


My Review...

This was actually the best vegan Alfredo I've had to date. It was fairly easy, included the right amount of veggies, not a horrid big vegan mess (as I had anticipated) and was kid approved. Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of the finished product, since I was too hungry to think about photography and just wanted it in my belly, but here's a teaser... this beautiful photo of fresh broccoli and cauliflower florets sauteeing with my Quorn Chik'n (I know, Quorn is not vegan - it contains eggs - but we are cool with eggs... hence the reason we are veganish).


I found this recipe on Pinterest and it's the first time I've ever seen a recipe posted in this type of format, The Snapguide. While I loved the end product, I admit it was rather annoying not to be able to see the steps listed out like a regular recipe. I kind of wished there was an option to view it as a list or at least easily skip ahead and back. Anyways, for my ease and yours, I'm posting this recipe in traditional format for future meals.

Baked Vegan(ish) Chik'n Alfredo Pasta
based on a recipe by Nicole Rizzuto

Serves 6-8
(I doubled Nicole's recipe to fit my family, it served 6 of us & had enough leftovers for 2 lunches... depending on how hungry you are for lunch)


Ingredients:
  • 1 lb your favorite pasta. Penne was recommended, I used bow ties
  • 4 Cups Soy milk
  • 1/2 cup  non-dairy cream cheese (Tofutti)
  • 6 Tablespoons Earth Balance Spread 
  • Coconut/soy Creamer (optional)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Corn Starch (optional)
  • Salt & pepper  (or seasoned Salt)
  • Garlic Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 Cups Fresh Broccoli Florets
  • 1 Cup Cauliflower Florets
  • Mushrooms (optional), Spinach (optional) << I didn't use these, but I suppose you'd sautee them along with the broccoli/cauliflower?
  • 10 Soy chicken nuggets (or I used a bag of Quorn Chik'n Tenders) 
  • 1-2 Cups Daiya mozzarella cheeze (or handfuls, I didn't measure)
 
Instructions: 
  1. Fill a large pot with water and a pinch or two of salt. Put it on your burner to boil for your pasta.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375.
  3. Grab your favorite large saute/frying pan and drop in some olive oil, enough to cover your surface. Start your burner on medium heat.
  4. Get a medium sized saucepan and add in your milk, cream cheese, Earth Balance/margarine,  salt/pepper/Garlic Powder to taste, and add in your Soy or Coconut creamer to make as creamy as you want it. Put your pan on a low heat and stir occasionally.
  5. When your pasta water is boiling, throw in the noodles and set your timer!
  6. Prepare your veggies, chop them up as small or big as you desire. Throw them in your saute/frying pan and sprinkle on a little salt/pepper/garlic powder to taste. Saute until veggies are light brown.
  7. Keep an eye on that sauce! Stir intermittently.
  8. When veggies are sauteed to your liking, add in your chopped up soy nuggets or Quorn Tenders. I drizzled a bit more olive oil on top and garlic powder. Stir until chik'n is thawed and heating up. 
  9. Don't forget about your sauce! Stir it up and break up those cream cheese chunks. At this point, the sauce didn't seem 'creamy' or thick enough to me, so I made a little concoction of 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch mixed well with 1-2 tablespoons of soy milk and drizzled it into my sauce. That should work to make your sauce creamy as you want.
  10. The pasta should be done around now, drain in a colander.
  11. Mix everything together! A handful of Daiya Cheeze, your pasta, veggies + chik'n, and sauce. You can mix it in your drained noodle pot, your big frying pan or the sauce pan, whichever is big enough or you feel is easy enough. 
  12. Spray a big casserole dish (8 x 12 ish?) with light cooking spray.
  13. Spoon your mixture into the casserole dish. Sprinkle more Daiya on top to your liking.
  14. Bake for 20 ish minutes. The original recipe said 15-20 minutes, I cooked mine for 25 minutes... probably because I doubled the recipe.
  15. When the pasta looks a bit browned on top/edges, it's done. Remove from the oven.
  16. Enjoy and serve with some Crescent Rolls (vegan!).
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!!
<3, Tabi :D


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday Confessions.

  1. I am the world's BIGGEST procrastinator (I'm supposed to be working on an invitation right now.)
  2. Even though I stopped breastfeeding 9 months ago, I'm still lactating a little.
  3. I had to check Facebook to see if I showered yesterday or not. I seriously could NOT remember.
  4. I think my friend Sam has magical powers. She babysat our Leia Mouse for a week and now her super smell has disappeared.
  5. My kids went to bed 2 hours past bedtime tonight!!
  6. We gave up on our pool (since we are moving and won't be swimming in it again) and it is greener than the greenest part of Yoda's swamp on Dagobah right now. 
  7. Am going to hit publish right now without proofreading.
  8. ... for real.
  9. ...... so I can work on that invitation now.
<3, Tabi :D

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

small moments... That Night in the Hospital

I think it's the impatience in me that causes this... sometimes I have so much to say, so I kind of list out a bunch of awesome/meaningful things that happened, accompany a photo and move on.

My Roxy is in the first grade, and in their educational first grade journey as little writers, their teacher is trying to teach them to write about small moments, instead of listing out every single thing that happened in their beings. Writing about small moments means focusing on the details and really painting a picture of a memory with their words.

Here is my attempt at a small moment.


It was a week ago yesterday that Christopher had surgery to get his gallbladder removed. Two days prior to that, he fell ill. Early Saturday morning it started. I could tell he was in a lot of pain, yet it took me until midnight that night to convince him he needed medical attention.

The night before his surgery, he had been in the hospital all day. I visited him briefly earlier in the day with the 4 kids, but we had a full day as Sunday was also the day my parents arrived in town from Maryland. He asked me to come visit him to say good night after the kids were in bed.

So I did. I finally got the kids down. This was not an easy task. It was the first school night in over two weeks, Daddy was in the hospital and Mimi, Poppy and Lala were in our house. You can imagine their little brains were a bit tweaked.

Driving to the hospital for the 3rd time in less than 24 hours, I was exhausted. You know that kind of sleepy state where you are almost hallucinating things? That was me. Somehow, I made it to the hospital, parked properly and didn't even get lost in the hallways to his room.

As soon as I saw him, there in that hospital bed, I kicked my shoes off and climbed right in. It was the first time in forever I felt at ease. I could tell he wasn't in so much pain anymore, he was on a morphine drip. I've never had the stuff, but I hear it works pretty good. I cuddled up, we turned on my laptop and watched an episode of The Walking Dead.

He was so warm, the hospital bed was insanely comfortable at that moment. If there were other people in the room, I'm sure I totally ignored them. It felt like it was only Christopher and me there in that hospital. Christopher, me and the zombies.

We didn't talk about the IV, we didn't speak about the doctor, I did give him the Panda-Bug Roxy commissioned I make for him. I knew everything was going to be okay, it is an odd feeling for me to be in a situation where anxiety is warranted and not have anxiety.

When the show was over, he politely kicked me out so he could get some rest. I kissed him twice. I packed up the laptop and put my shoes back on. Then I kissed him again before leaving. His lips were warm and not even dry or crackly (as I had expected).

Then somehow, all of a sudden I was home again. I don't even remember the walk to the car or the drive home. I walked in, my Mom presented me with a Christmas gift she didn't know how to wrap - a cake plate with a dome. And Zoie yelled at me until she finally passed out at 11:30.

<3, Tabi :D

photo an hour // Our Saturday

I'm not sure if it was holiday stress or what, but it seems as of late November up until now, my days have gone pretty much like this: I wake up, rush to get kids ready, breakfast made, blur - blur - blur, figure out dinner, cook, clean up then fight kids to get to bed, so I can veg on the couch for a bit to catch up on some things or just decompress.

Things aren't going to slow down around here anytime soon, so I've got to figure something out. Something... so I don't go insane.

One idea I had is to force myself to take a Photo An Hour once per week on a different day every week. The point? To prove to myself that there actually is something going on in my days in between breakfast and bedtime. I will have actual photograph evidence of this. Hopefully, it will clear up the blur for me a bit.

This set of photos is from last Saturday (1/12). Saturdays are generally days filled with lazy, large breakfasts, no laundry, no school, no work. Sometimes I feel pressured to have something fun and amazing planned for the children, but this day I was particularly exhausted and just wanted to savor the 'day off'.


So what if I didn't take a photo every hour on the hour... hey! I'm a rule breaker. Plus, you get the idea. :)

We had a lazy-ish morning, and filled our bellies with pancakes. The kids played and I caught up on a couple of things on my laptop.

Then, we all were ready to get out of the house. Getting out of the house for me is a necessary thing for my mental health sometimes. We hit up a local show featuring the Buckshot Cloggers at a library. A little known fact about me: I was a clogger in my Maryland life. I danced from the time I could walk up until I was 17 years old. So, I enjoyed this immensely.

After the library/dance show, we hit up the park so Christopher could play with his toy he got for Christmas from Mimi and Poppy. He sure does love that helicopter! The boys played with the flying contraption while the girls and I did some swinging.

After heading home from the park, cooking dinner, bathing the children and putting them to bed - I talked Chris into helping me freshen up my hair a bit. So, I had to watch football in the bathroom with him. I was okay with it, though. By the time 11:00 pm (ish) came around, my hair color was all wrapped up in plastic, a shower cap and bandanna (I didn't want to risk waking up to pink dyed sheets!) and I was ready to crash.

That's my Saturday, folks. 

<3, Tabi :D

Sunday, January 13, 2013

5 Things.

Today is Sunday & not Friday but I'm still doing a 5 Things post.

It's been 10 days since my last post. Things got crazy. Here are 5 things that happened while I was absent minded.


1. My husband got sick. He thought it was heartburn... that lasts 24 + hours. WebMD and I diagnosed him with a Gallstone Attack. I finally convinced him to go to the ER. Guess who was right? Yep. I'm pretty much on par with Dr. House in my diagnostician skills. So, he got a 2 night stay at the hospital and came home a man in a lot less pain and one unnecessary organ short.


2. My Mom, Dad and Lala came to visit us. They were driving down from Maryland when the whole gallbladder thing went down. The kids started school back up on Monday and it was the first time I had to deal with school drop-offs/pick-ups/lunch making/homework/bedtimes all on my own without a partner, so BOY WAS I HAPPY to have my parents + Lala in town at this exact moment. Plus, I haven't seen them since August and I missed them a lot.


3. We ate out A LOT. My Dad also at this very exact time of craziness was fighting a contracted case of salmonella and/or food poisoning. They are meat eaters and we are not. He had a sensitive stomach and my gallbladder-less husband was trying to get his appetite back. So, food was a bit of an issue. Eating out made things a little easier. One of those dinners, we ate out at a Japanese Steak House, more specifically, the fancy new one at the mall.

It was on this night, that I had an epiphany.

I came up with a brand new diet idea. I call it: The Chopstick Diet.

This diet is for anyone who is struggling with portion control, and it's simple... Eat all meals with chopsticks. No cheater chopsticks, the real deal.

You will learn to savor, to eat slow, and you will stop eating when you are full.
This is my contribution to our rising obesity problem. You're welcome, America.


4. I made some things. The pirate penguin was a DIY Etsy knockoff I made for my little sister (who loves pirates and penguins). You can buy the real deal here, or buy a pattern and attempt to make one yourself (like I did) here. The little raggedy monkey was me learning the hard way you shouldn't make felt plushies with fabric other than felt (he's still kind of cute, though). I got this awesome book called 'The Cuter Book' (Aranzi Aronzo) and can't wait to make every single cute little thing in it!

5. I rocked my first attempt at this hair style. Seriously, not only do I have mad WebMD/diagnostician skills, but I can whip up a halo braid like it's nobody's business. This was hella easy and so cute! I'm definitely putting it in our rotation of every day hairstyles.

So, here we are... kind of/sort of back to normal. Chris went back to work today, my parents + Lala have been gone since Friday and I have my partner mostly back to help with the normal every day of school days. Phew! I realized just how lost I am without him.

Okay, new week. Bring it on!

<3, Tabi :D

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday Confessions.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
and welcome to my first post of 2013

I have a few confessions to make today:
  1. I am horrible with resolutions, I'm better with goals. I did make a lucid decision to activate the activist in me. I've always wanted to fight for the things I believe in. While I don't have a solid plan on this yet, I do "resolve" to do this in some way shape or form. I started (sort of) by sharing this video>> Detox Fashion
  2. I kind of gave up going to the gym for almost the entire month of December. I need working out in my life. Not because I'm getting fluffy, but mostly for my mental health. "Siri, let's squeeze the gym back into my schedule."
  3. Today is January 3rd, and today I plan on working on my Christmas gifts to my Mom, Dad, Sunshine and Lala. It's not as bad as it sounds. We will celebrate 'Christmas' when I see them next week.
  4. In my plan to get up and cook an awesome breakfast before our dentist appointments, I was crazy grumpy. Sorry, guys...
  5. I've been promising my husband a fresh batch of homemade donuts for like a week now. Today's the day. (maybe) (hopefully)
  6. I made a kick ass dress out of a t-shirt + tank top. I didn't have much confidence going into the project, but I love how it came out. Are DIY easy peasy dress tutorials okay to post from a girl who's teaching herself the art of sewing? 
  7. I've been pretty hard on myself these past few weeks. I'm so mean to me. 
  8. I think our mouse has a B.O. problem. Do mice hit puberty??
  9. I wear my R2D2 shirt way more than I should. ( I just love it so much!! )
<< outtie. >>

<3, Tabi :D
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