Thursday, January 31, 2013


Guess what happened to my blog? Facebook, that's what!

This blog used to be the way I would communicate with my family and friends, in addition to the world at large. As such, I would put photos up from trips and holidays and all that. 

But now I'm connected with my family and friends on Facebook, so I put photos up there. And no offense world-at-large, but I just plain forget to put the photos up here, too. 

So my posts have been a bit more cerebral in nature as of late. And that's fine with me if it's fine with you. Actually, it's fine with me either way (again, no offense).

But I occasionally need to remind myself of why I started this blog in the first place. First and foremost, I wanted to show the world my healthy and happy vegan family. I wanted to show how we exist within and contribute to our culture while abstaining from certain aspects of that culture. I wanted to contribute to the normalization of veganism in general, and vegan families in specific. 

Because I do feel like part of a normal family. So normal, in fact, that the average blog reader may find us boring. Which may, in part, explain the lack of photos and posts about our familial exploits. 

Anyway, enough of that. Here's a bunch of photos taken within the last few months.

Liam with a sword.

Liam with Darth Maul's double-bladed light saber. The kids have been big into Star Wars as of late. 

Took a trip to Colorado to visit family for Thanksgiving. Here, Anna and Liam duel their older cousin Noah, who wields the double lightsaber with great skill.

First big snow of the year. Anna builds The Serpent's Pass from Avatar: The Last Airbender. That show is awesome. Jen and I loved watching it as much as the kids, if not more.

Liam bought Saesee Tiin's Starfighter with the money he got for Christmas. It was a pretty big set and he put together about 90% of it (with my help, but he put the pieces together by himself ... I just sort of directed him and helped him understand the directions).

Anna and Liam were pretending The Empire Strikes Back. Here's Anna's best "Han in carbonite" pose:

And some original lego creations. This one by Liam.

This one is Wolverine's House by Anna.

And one more by Liam. These are 100% their own creations. I love seeing what they come up with.

After a trip to the children's museum. According to Liam, one side of his face is Zuko from Avatar, and the other side is The Emperor from Star Wars. 

Anna put together one of Liam's birthday presents. That's an AT-RT.

Finally, we went to Minnehaha Falls last weekend. It was frozen and awesome. We tried getting behind the ice, because it's like Superman's fortress of solitude back there, but it was too dangerous. Maybe next time...

Hey, that wasn't so boring after all. We should do this more often!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lego Birthday Party!

Liam's Lego birthday party, to be exact.

My newly four year old son loves Legos, and this is probably the last big themed party that we're going to do (actually, we never did a themed party for Anna ... Liam's Star Wars themed party last year was the first time for us, unless you count the hospital-themed birthday party they each had when they were born). So we went all out (or at least our version of "all out") and dove headlong into the theme. I've been a big fan of Legos for most of my life, so that may have something to do with my willingness to put in time and effort.

Here's a hot tip for Lego parties: Just buy yellow things and draw little smiley faces on them like this.

Kids' cups, gift bags, etc. Easy peasey.

We bought a couple lego molds online and had fun with them. The bricks on top of these cupcakes below (which are topped with the cookies and cream frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) look like plain chocolate, but I actually put a small layer of chocolate down in them, then a layer of crushed oreos and then another layer of chocolate. So basically, you have oreo candybars on top of a sugarbomb. We don't roll this way often, but when we do, we do it right.

And yeah, I need to perfect making candy with chocolate. I guess I need to learn how to temper chocolate?

We bought a minifigure mold, too. I made one batch of chocolate minifigures in it and then made the mistake of melting crayons in the mold (I didn't get a photo of them, but we sent two minifigure crayons home in each party bag), thinking I'd make more chocolate guys later. Well, after making the crayons, I couldn't get this white film off the mold, except for with Goo Gone, which then left a horrible orange smell (and probably toxic chemicals) on the mold. So yeah, no more edible minifigures coming out of of that mold. 

It was pretty easy to put a Lego twist on party games. This is Pin the Plunger. I built this on a baseplate, and the goal is to put a lego plunger (you know, those long skinny round pieces with a single round convex peg on the end of them? ... I really should have taken a picture of the plunger ... oh well) as close to the middle as possible. Blindfolded, of course. The winner got a little Lego set. 

Guess how many legos are in the jar. Spoiler alert: It was something like 152. Again, the winner got a little lego set or a minifigure. 

And that was it for games. Which is OK, because we brought a bunch of Legos for the kids to play with. And they did. (Megablocks for the little kids, regular Legos for the bigger kids.)

Even the utensil holder was made from blocks. Liam and I made this one together. 

The food spread. We did make-your-own bagels this year. In addition to veganizing the two recipes from here, we cut up some cucumbers and tomatoes and had some Tofurky slices. We also made a delicious Maritime Chickpea Salad (that's what I call it, since I dislike the phrase "mock tuna") from Yeah, That Vegan Shit (I smile every time I see that blog title). And some fruit, peanut butter and jelly, and babka from Breadsmith. 

What Liam looks like when everyone sings Happy Birthday to him:

What Liam looks like when he blows out all four candles from almost two feet away:

Like I said, I didn't get a photo of the party bag contents, but it was two minifigure crayons, a homemade Lego coloring book (do a google image search of "lego coloring pages" to get an idea of what was in there), and a mini Lego set.

So that was our Lego party. And now Liam's awash in new Legos and everyone's happy (including me ... because Legos are awesome). 

Um ... but with all that said, go check out this Birthdays Without Pressure page. As awesome as this party was, you really don't need to go stressing yourself all out in order to have a great time. [end of hypocritical PSA]

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Veggie Nugget #35

"Take the broad view of what veganism stands for - something beyond finding a new alternative to scrambled eggs on toast or a new recipe for Christmas cake. Realise that you're on to something really big, something that hadn't been tried until sixty years ago, and something which is meeting every reasonable criticism that anyone can level against it. And this doesn't involve weeks or months of studying diet charts or reading books by socalled experts - it means grasping a few simple facts and applying them."

-Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society.

That quote is from an interview with Watson which you can read here. When I feel down about the prospects of a widespread movement toward veganism, I think about Watson, who died only 8 years ago. The man invented the word "vegan."