Monday, March 22, 2010

dear alanna's teacher

i just had the honor and privilege of typing up this letter for alanna to take to school tomorrow. yes, i am very proud of her, and the decisions she had made. go vegan!

Alanna Hart
4th Period

Dear Ms. McMillion:
I have just learned that all students in your class are required to participate in the dissection of a pig heart. My daughter Alanna will be unable to participate in the dissection, because of our sincerely held moral and ethical beliefs about the sanctity of all life.

I respectfully request that you provide Alanna with an alternative assignment that will not involve her direct or indirect participation in the dissection of any animal that has been killed for the purpose of a classroom dissection.
Lauren Hart
(letter suggestion and image courtesy

whimpy kid, food, family, & treats

we had a very low-key weekend, just hanging out with family and eating good food. i didn't really take any photos either, which is strange. but it was nice to not have to upload a bunch of photos here today, haha. friday we just hung out at home, and the kids and i did a little bit of yard work.

on saturday at noon, alanna and i went to see diary of a whimpy kid in the theater, while danny took malcolm to the park. the movie was so, sooo cute! i loved it. and i'm pretty sure alanna liked it a lot too (but maybe i liked it more than her?). it made me laugh out loud a few times. alanna has been reading the books for a few years now, and she said it was just like the story, but with a few extra added parts (and characters), which may have made it even better. if you liked the books, go see this movie, it was great! i can't wait for it to be on dvd, and for the next movie :)

after the movie, we all went to out eat at zpizza. our stamp card was full, so we got this huge delicious pizza for free! we also got a calzone, and our meal was great. maybe even the best pizza i've had there. they use gardein sausage, and daiya cheese, yum! and we had tons of leftovers, which is always a plus.

saturday night i made another batch of cupcakes. this time i tried the recipe for "chocolate and vanilla marble cupcakes", and loaded them with vegan fluffy buttercream frosting! oh man, that frosting could put you in a coma.

on sunday we met danny's family for lunch. it's always nice when we can all get together. everyone has such busy schedules, so sometimes his sister and her husband can't make it. but they did, and we all had a nice meal together. after lunch we went to a park near the restaurant that we've never been to. it had two nice playgrounds, but one was a little too big (for older kids), and malcolm hit his face coming off the end of a slide, and got a bloody nose. his first one ever. it was sad, and he cried a lot, so we left. bummer.

i spent the evening cleaning the house, doing laundry, and making a list of things we need before we leave for our trip on wednesday morning. danny went out for coffee with a friend, and when he returned he had a surprise for me. he went to target and bought me the dress that i wanted! (the one on my wishlist) what a sweet and sneaky husband! i told him that he should have waited to give it to me for my birthday, but he said he got it for me to wear on our date while we are in salt lake. how nice! he also bought himself a new shirt (but he didn't show it to me). the dress fits me good, but now i need a pair of black flats to wear with it ;)

i don't know how often i will be online while we are in utah, so i may not be posting regularly. and i don't know if i will be able to figure out my parents new mac? but i will try, so that i am not swamped with photos when i get home. i hope you all are enjoying spring so far, and mom & dad, see you soooon :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

friday favorite: bye-bye, big bad bullybug

my book pick for today is bye-bye, big bad bullybug by ed emberley. danny bought this book for malcolm when he was still pretty little. i had never seen or heard of it before he brought it home. but it quickly became one of malcolm's very favorite stories, and is definitely his go-to book on a daily basis. the pages have fun cut-outs, and the words are simple and silly. i use a funny voice (high pitched for the tiny bugs, and low for the bullybug) when i read it to him, and he thinks it is hilarious. maybe it's just a boy thing, but malcolm really likes bugs in general. these little bugs are really cute (plus one, who might be a little scary!)

have any of you read any of ed emberley's other books? are they any good? :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

in less than a week

we will be in beautiful salt lake city! i cannot wait, i am sooo excited to see my family!

and here are some things i am looking forward to (in no particular order):

  • of course, spending lots of time with my mom & dad, and brother & sister
  • getting to chill out at my parents house. it is so homey and comfy, and i miss it so much (even the smell)
  • enjoying the utah climate - i don't mind if it snows or if it is warm, either way, i'll love it
  • seeing many old friends, and meeting a few new ones too!
  • eating food that is not available out here. and lots of it. most importantly vertical diner, evergreen cafe, and del taco.
  • getting tons of treats from my friend kelly green at her amazing bakery and taking the kids to an "easter (no)egg hunt" also sponsored by kelly and cakewalk bakery
  • watching hgtv on cable at my parents
  • going on a date with my husband
  • taking the kids swimming at fairmont aquatic center with katie and her boys
  • hopefully taking a day trip up to idaho to visit my fathers roots
  • finally getting the little piece on my arm finished (tattooed)!
  • having my hair done by the fabulous jared gomez
  • taking malcolm to play at liberty park (and maybe a few others that alanna loved)
  • seeing alice in wonderland with alanna, mom, and natalie
  • maybe a trip to ikea?
  • grandma sycamore's bread

i'm sure there are a few other things that i can add... when i think of them. this should be a busy and fun-filled trip! yay for vacation!

a few lovelies

this week started off kind of dreary. it was cold and gray outside, and i was sort of in a funk. malcolm has been getting into everything lately. i feel like i spend the whole day cleaning up after him, and that the house is always a mess. every so often i get super anxious, because i feel like i never get anything done, and having a messy house drives me crazy. but then i vacuum, and do some laundry, and i usually feel much better. seriously, i kind of love doing both, and they seem to relax me, and correct my sour mood. these things have also made me happy this week:

beautiful pink popcorn blossoms all over the city! this is one of the trees that line the carpool circle at alanna's middle school. they are so pretty to look at while i wait to pick her up! and it is much nicer to have these to look at, rather than the ghetto houses and people that line the street everyday.

wow, look how big the blossoms on our front bush are now! they are beautiful! (i did not use a flash on this photo, that is really how bright they are)

this is our next door neighbors chow. she has just been shaved for the summer. look how little her body looks compared to her head, haha! she always barks at us and lucky dog when we get near the fence. but she is a sweet dog. and look at those pretty yellow flowers behind her. yay spring!

last night i tried a new recipe from the vegan cupcake book. i've never had a red velvet cupcake before, but i see photos of them all over the web, so i thought i would try the recipe for their version, called "Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes, with Old Fashioned Velvet Icing". they were a little more complex than any i have made before, but i had fun making them.

cutest packaging ever!

and they are deeelicious!

danny put extra frosting on his! he said it was like whipped crack, haha :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

the weekend

i will begin this post with this flower, which is growing on a bush in our front yard. spring is on it's way! we had a pretty chill weekend.

on friday night i made a cake. an old friend of mine from salt lake, had posted on facebook earlier in the week, about how he had made the same cake, but that it had failed. he wasn't using the original recipe, so i emailed it to him, and it inspired me to bake one too. for any you old school slc vegans that might remember, it was the Blueberry Lime Bundt Cake from Park Ivy Cafe!

i really should invest in a citrus juicer, because squeezing these babies by hand is really, really hard work!

and i guess i should also invest in a bundt cake pan too, haha, if i ever plan on making this again. but since i didn't have one, i just poured the batter into two shallow pans instead, and they turned out just fine!

malcolm liked it, but what treat doesn't he like?! (we shared that slice)

on saturday morning, we all headed downtown to the
north carolina museum of natural sciences for "reptile day". this museum is huge (4 full floors), and free to the public, which is always great! danny thought it would be fun to take malcolm there. but it was super crowded, and he just wanted to run around, so it wasn't the best idea. we only stayed a little over an hour, and left before he had a major breakdown.

alanna holding an nc
corn snake (malcolm didn't want to touch any of them!)

checking out some fish

in a bat "cave" (malcolm found a cave, in the cave, haha)

he loved running through this tunnel (there isn't really any water in there)

out of all the cool stuff to look at, he liked this fake tree the best! what?

yep, that's my husband :)

on our way out

the weather was beautiful outside. we walked past the capitol building on our way to our car.

and then we realized that we were heading straight into the (lame) st. patricks day parade. which meant that our car was trapped in the parking garage :(

so we headed up to where we parked on level four, and watched over the edge, until cars were able to leave the lot (over 30 minutes). the blue sky and clouds were awesome!

the building on the left is marbles children's museum :)

we are planning on moving as soon as we can find a new house. for the past month or so, i have been extensively searching the area for the right place. finding a rental house with 3 bedrooms, a fully fenced back yard, that allows pets, and is in an area for good schools, that is not totally ghetto or way overpriced, seems to be almost impossible. i look on craigslist (and about six other rental websites) everyday. i have probably driven past at least 30 houses so far, and most of them are in the sketchiest areas, or are tiny, or just don't have the right yard for our dog. and the few that i did find and liked, were already rented when i called on them. it's super frustrating, and totally time consuming, to say the least. luckily we don't have a time frame to be out of this place, so i will just keep searching.

but on the positive side, it is fun to drive around the city, and see new areas/neighborhoods that i've never been through before. raleigh really is a lovely place to live, and there are so many great houses here (if you are wealthy). on my drive around last week, i spotted a new park we've never been to, with a great playground, so on sunday we took the kids there to play.

malcolm loved playing on this new playground!

it was much cooler out than it had been the day before. danny didn't like this park, because it is surrounded by a frisbee golf course, and it is near nc state university, so there were tons of idiot college kids everywhere. plus the playground seemed to be surrounded on all sides by people smoking, which wafted right over to us. ewww. maybe i will try and take malcolm back on a weekday, when it is more desolate.

Friday, March 12, 2010

friday favorite: 10 little rubber ducks

earlier this week i drove past the nc museum of art (which is located in raleigh, right over near the fairgrounds and the flea market!) it has been closed for quite a few months while they completed a massive expansion project. so today i looked up their website to see what day the grand opening will be (april 24th), and much to my surprise, listed under the upcoming exhibitions, is this: "Fins and Feathers: Original Children’s Book Illustrations from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art"!! oh my goodness, i am oh so very excited! you know how much i love, love, love the work of eric carle (remember our amazing trip up to meet him?) and now i will get to see even more of his work up close and in person.

so in honor of this fun news, today i chose:
10 Little Rubber Ducks by eric carle. this is one of his newest books, published in 2005, and is based on the true story of a shipment of rubber bathtub toys that fell overboard from a container ship, and ended up in many areas of the globe - how cute is that?! it teaches numbers one to ten, and offers a very simple first view of biology and geography. plus the illustrations are wonderful. malcolm loves for me to read him this book. he especially likes the sneaky, squeaky surprise at the very end! he says "duck, duck!", and points to it on my bookshelf. of course the very hungry caterpillar is my favorite eric carle story, but this one comes in a very close second!

the inside front cover features a clipping of the original news story :)

this is my autographed copy! mr. carle even added that little blue eye on duck number seven! danny bought this copy for me in 2005, right after i had moved to nc. i remember we were pretty broke then, and i felt bad that we were spending money on a book, when we should have been putting it towards other more important things. but i am glad that we bought it. it lifted my spirits for sure back then, and it still does when i read it to malcolm now. thank you husbandito!

(i found this image on google)

Monday, March 8, 2010

taking full advantage

the weather this weekend was perfect. it was just what i have been waiting for, for months now. it was sunny and warm, but just cool enough to still wear a light hoodie and be comfortable. i love the spring and the fall, when you don't have to worry about slathering on the sunblock, or getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. we took full advantage of the beautiful weather, and spent most of the weekend outside. it was awesome. on saturday afternoon we drove out to lake crabtree park near the rdu airport.

danny and malcolm discovered their new favorite way to go down the slide:

step 1: climb the ladder

step 2: malcolm goes down and waits for daddy

step 3: Ka-BLOW!!

and again!

and a video! haha!

aren't we an attractive couple, haha?!

on sunday we drove out to the museum of life & science in durham. we packed a lunch, and spent the day playing and exploring.

we rode the little train

malcolm was super excited to ride it

our family snap-shot, courtesy of the friendly train conductor, tom :)

malcolm got a little scared when we went through a "tunnel", and all the kids on the train screamed

after the not-so-fun train ride, we walked along the new dinosaur trail

then we looked at the bears

after lunch, we went in the butterfly house, and malcolm got to hold one!

i'm not sure what type of tree this is (from brazil, i think?), but i loved how it was covered with these black bulbous berries(?)

there were birds down below it, eating the fruit that had fallen. very cool!

this moth was behind glass. it had just emerged from it's chrysalis that afternoon, and it was huge! danny pointed out that the tips of it's wings look like snake heads! so rad!

there it is above alanna's head

i loved looking in this window

ewww, my worst nightmare! :(

this cow liked to lick alanna's arm. he was cute, but he looked pretty sad in there.

we headed inside for the last hour, before they closed at five.

alanna and i liked watching this ant habitat. they sure were busy lil' workers in there.

and there was an area for little ones (under age 6), so malcolm got to play on his own for a bit before we left.

we had a great (and exhausting) weekend hanging out as a family. i am grateful that danny is able to make his own schedule, which usually includes lots of weekend family time.