Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Graduation and Popsicles

Kinder graduation was decidedly upbeat and fun. Onwards and upwards, right? While I can't believe Jackson's school year went by so quickly, I am super proud of him for all that he has learned and accomplished. He had a wonderful teacher who pushed him to do his best!

During the graduation ceremony, each class performed a couple of carefully-choreographed songs, and some children received awards. Then we returned to the classroom for the class party, where Jackson's teacher handed out some additional, more personalized awards. Here is Jackson with his Progress in a Dual Language award from the principal, and his Math Wiz award from his teacher. 

Then it was party time! It was a spy party and the kids had to practice their CIA stealth moves.

Celebrating at home, we made a couple of popsicle recipes from Plant-Powered Families. Jackson requested vanilla, so I made the Fudgesicles but left out the cocoa powder. Perfect! The cashew butter made them so rich and creamy. They tasted like the vanilla Jell-o Pudding Pops of my childhood, only without the creepy Bill Cosby connection. 

Of course Olivia requested the "Pink-sicles," made with fresh watermelon and strawberries. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Goodbye to Freddie's Place

Freddie's Place is closing at the end of June. It was good for the occasional lunch playdate thanks to a big outdoor seating area that included a playscape. Since I had an expired Groupon (you still receive the cash value) I took the kids for one last lunch. On our way there we got distracted by a giant butterfly.

And also distracted by utility poles with all kinds of random decorations. Is it a coded message? I have no idea.

I liked the unicorn on their sign but I will pass on the authentic waitress-worn commemorative tees.

My children introduced themselves to some other kids and immediately sat down to share their table. I have no idea where their extroversion comes from.

Hummus and pita, that was my lunch. Freddie's was pretty vegetarian-friendly but not so much for vegans.

Here's hoping the new owners will keep the play area and offer more vegan options!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sparkly Loch Ness Monster

This evening I took the kids to the Thinkery, as it had been awhile since our last visit. 

Jackson went straight to work on the gears.

Olivia made patterns with the hot wax machine. 

They managed to hang out in the water room for awhile without completely soaking themselves and everyone around them. Aw, they are growing up!

Making sounds with water.

After the museum closed, we headed across the street to Mueller Lake Park to play for a bit. This sparkly Loch Ness Monster statue is new.

You can't see it in the pics but there's a sign across the sidewalk from the statue that says, in small letters, that children should not climb on the statue. I wonder if it's meant as a joke? Good luck installing a sparkly Loch Ness Monster directly next to a playground and expecting kids not to crawl all over that thing.

The kids wore themselves out on the playground and we headed home for baths and bed.

I had a quick dinner of salad mix, a Costco veggie burger, and Annie's Goddess dressing. Good night!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Drawing Lessons

I attempted to make overnight chia pudding with chia seeds, almond milk, and blackberries. It didn't really gel and I realized 'llI need to add cashew cream or something to thicken it into an actual pudding. So my breakfast was blackberry milk.

Morning snack, lemonade with chia seeds. This I love.

Lunch, avocado toast with basil and hemp seeds. So...I'm weird about foods not filling me up. Like I'm always complaining about quinoa...I eat it and I'm hungry again and hour later. Well friends, this was so good and so damn filling.

Dinner, baked falafel from Appetite for Reduction, tabouli, and lemon tahini dipping sauce. Satisfying in spite of the fact that the tabouli was made with quinoa.

Tonight I took Jackson and Olivia to a drawing class at the library. The teacher is fantastic with kids; she also runs the farmer's market at Jackson's school.

They drew several different dinosaurs and learned to use a grid to keep things proportional. An educational and fun evening.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Speed Skaters

Some friends in the neighborhood are avid speed skaters, and invited Jackson and Olivia to attend a speed skating class.

Getting low, apparently, is the key to speed skating success!

Can you even see them or are they just blurs? Lightning fast! Ha ha!

They loved it, obviously. Now they want inline skates because then they can go faster. I said maybe for their next birthday. In the meantime they will have lots of time to practice. Skating is free for kids during the summer. I love our rink for offering that. It is such a nice heavily-air conditioned place to hang out all summer.

I finally got to try a vegan food trailer I've had on my list for ages. Unity Vegan Kitchen is in South Austin and I don't get down there too much these days since we moved further north. But it is well worth the trip and I can't wait to try more of their specials as well as the regular menu items! The special I had was the fried pickle po'boy. It came with thinly sliced seasoned tofu, arugula, cashew cheese, mustard, and of course fried pickles, with additional pickles piled on the side as you can see. It was amazing! I have never had such tasty tofu, just packed with flavor. And, I admit, it hadn't occurred to me that fried pickles weren't typically vegan. But of course, they are usually dipped in egg before being battered and fried.

The trailer park had a mellow vibe and a game I had never seen before that involved throwing dog toys (I think?) and getting them to stick to a fence. The kids loved it, so it should be easy to convince them to make a return trip soon.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jester King

Like probably 97% of Austin males aged 21-60, Tony is a craft beer connisseur, so he had been wanting to make the drive out to Jester King brewery compound for awhile. One Saturday afternoon we met some friends there. The grounds are sprawling, with whimsical touches like chandeliers hanging from tree branches.

The sun was bright, so we situated ourselves inside the barn.

Although I am smiling in this picture, I did not like my first beer at all. It was way too bitter. Then I switched to a raspberry beer and it was like the clouds parted and the cherubs started strumming on their little angel lutes.

Jackson and Olivia hung out all afternoon in the sand pit with their buds.

Olivia actually asked to be buried up to her neck in the sand, this was all completely voluntary, although I feel like it looks otherwise in the pictures.

Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza is the only on-site restaurant and they seem very meat-oriented, I suppose I could have just special ordered a marinara pie with some veggies on top, but I didn't feel like messing with it. Once we got home I made a quick stir-fry with tofu, rice, a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, and hoisin sauce.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Aztex and Teacher Appreciation

Awhile back (before the field you see below, completely flooded during the May storms, yikes!) Jackson and his soccer teammates attended an Austin Aztex pro soccer game and had the honor of walking the team out onto the field.

We watch soccer on television, but this was Jackson and Olivia's first time at a live game. They were pumped!

The kids also got to have a scrimmage on the big field during halftime.

The Aztex ended up winning, yay!

My handsome husband chillin in the beer tent.

Prickly pear beer! I support this.

Slushies for the kiddos.

It was also around this time that we had Teacher Appreciation Week at school. One morning a bunch of us moms made breakfast for the teachers. I made chocolate chip banana bread pudding...

coconut almond granola from 1000 Vegan Recipes...

and blueberry muffins!

The granola is now my go-to granola recipe; I have been making big batches of it for Tony to take to work in the mornings.

Also, I didn't have any overripe bananas lying around, so I tried baking some unripe ones, and it totally worked! They look ridiculous, but on the inside I assure you they are soft, sweet, and ready to throw into some delicious bread pudding.

Another day, we catered a lunch for the teachers. I made my favorite pasta salad, the Goddess Rotini Salad from Vegan on the Cheap...

and the Arabian Lentil and Rice Soup from Appetite for Reduction. I got so many comments on this soup! It is so good. I think the key is using lots and lots of lemon juice.