P is for Whale Bird

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We have this nifty book where pictures of animals slide back and forth to show the letter it starts with, then the name of the animal.

The other day, JBird decided to take it upon herself to spell out the names of the animals.

Ya know, what you do at 3.5 years old

Here’s what it sounded like:

A is for alligator. A-L-L-I-G-A-T-O-R. Alligator.

B is for bear. B-E-A-R. Bear.

So on and so forth.

Clever girl that she is, when she gets to Penguin she looks at the picture and says:

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“P is for Whale Bird. P-E-N-G-U-I-N. Whale Bird”

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Long pause

Mental gears turning

“Wa-wa-wa Whale Bird.”

“Pa-pa-pa P”

Another pause

(To no one in particular) “OH!! Haha! Penguin! Penguin starts with P!”

I went over to look at the picture once she had set down the book.

Yea, Whale Bird. I see it. Keen observation JBird.


Guilt and Parenting in the Digital Age

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thefeelgoodfoodieMy life is neatly compacted and compartmentalized within the plastic confines of my lap top. My business, my blogs, my musings, my social life, my thousands of Pinterest pins, my address book, my photos, my music, my recipes…all live in my laptop. It is my digital body. I would, in fact, be lost without it (or at the very least, totally screwed without it). This my friends is the reality of the digital age.

Now, we can take this reality and cringe or sneer, or throw up a little in our mouths at the thought of it; but it doesn’t make it any less of a reality. We exist physically and digitally.

When I entered into this grand journey that is parenthood over 3 years ago, I did not want this to be the reality for my child. Foolishly, I thought “oh yea, we can just pretend this whole digital age isn’t really existing around us”; but I continued to live digitally.

For well over 3 years now, I’ve carried with me an enormous amount of guilt regarding the influence of screens, computers, and televisions on my child. I felt like I was failing myself for not stopping the digital world from entering our doors. I mean, only a generation before me lived and thrived without all this digital junk; why couldn’t I?

In our home life, we are influenced by the asthetics of Waldorf education. It’s all so lovely and warm. Yet, I just cannot commit to a “hardcore” Waldorf mindset of zero screens. It absolutely does not work for our lives.

In our home, we make an effort to limit our use of screens for entertainment; much like we limit our consumption of sugar because too much of a good thing is never a good thing.

The truth is, I love technology. I freaking love it. I love everything that Apple makes. I love wi-fi. I love Google. I love Facebook.

I thrive on technology, and I am thriving in this thing we call The Digital Age. Blogs and business ventures and networking, oh my!

Why do I love technology so much? Here’s the deal: When you spend all day, everyday, with small children you tend to feel like you are going insane. This is not true for every day, but it is true for some days (and some times A LOT of days). On the days when I feel like a total crazy person, technology rescues me. Jbird quietly watches a show, while I fall into the black hole that is Buzzfeed.

It’s not perfect or even “ideal” (whatever that means), BUT it keeps me sane; and not losing my damn mind is pretty much my version of “ideal” right now.

So the next time you feel like you are being swallowed up by technology, know that you are not alone. It’s ok to unplug and walk away. It’s also ok to come back 5 minutes later to just check one more thing.

Do what you need to do. Don’t feel guilty. Keep on doing the best you can. Have a beer while you’re at it. You’ve earned it.

 

 

 


Pony Beads and Pipe Cleaners

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Sometimes I try and get really creative with activity ideas for Jbird.

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I had the brilliant idea to put some assorted seeds into a jar and have her scoop and sort the seeds. (when I say it out loud, I can see how boring that probably is. BUT THE KIDS ON PINTEREST SEEMED TO LOVE IT)

Yea, that went over like a lead balloon.

She looked at it and said “Seeds?!”…then walked away totally offended.

My bad.

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Then there were the marbles. Lord help me…how stupid could I be!

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Look! It’s marbles! and numbers! Counting! Sorting! I’m so clever!

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Nope. I was given a stare that is pretty much the toddler equivalent of flipping someone off.

Try again.

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If there’s one thing parenting has taught me, it’s this: Keep It Simple.

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Frustrated, I pulled out a few pipe cleaners from the closet; along with a jar of pony beads.

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Here! Play with these!

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…and she did. For HOURS.

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Carefully choosing colors that would look nice next to each other.

Carefully threading them on to the pipe cleaner.

Then, once a pipe cleaner was totally filled with beads, it was my job to join the 2 ends and make it a proper bracelet.

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I even got some new jewelry out of the deal.

Maybe one day I’ll learn.


Far From Perfect

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Sometimes, our house is an organic bounty of local goodies from the co-op.

Sometimes it’s fueled by $1.50 hotdogs from Costco.

Sometimes our house is filled with the beautiful sounds of classical music.

Sometimes the house is silent because a child is engrossed in the glowing screen of an iPad.

Sometimes 6 whole servings of fruits and vegetables are consumed in a day (this is a rarity…but it does happen).

Some days it seem like her diet consists of bunny crackers and string cheese.

Some days sharing and compromises make my heart sing.

Some days are perpetual meltdowns.

Some days we go outside.

Some days we don’t.

Some days I have the patience of a saint.

Some days I really really want to yell and scream and flail about.

Some days we go at a slower toddler pace; letting her lead the way.

Some days tiny bodies are hurriedly put into car seats.

Some days I encourage and embrace the messes.

Some days I get frustrated with the messy chaos.

Some days I come up with endless games and activities.

Some days I just want to lock myself in my room because my brain has shut down for the day…at 10am.

Some days I work out during nap.

Some days I eat a dozen cookies during nap.

Some days naps don’t exist and I eat 2 dozen cookies.

Some days we win.

Some days we keep winning.

I don’t let the burden of parental perfection weigh me down anymore.

I’m over the guilt.

We do the best we can each day.


5 Months Old

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Today, we celebrated 5 glorious months with our Baby Love.

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She is so incredibly sweet and happy. This mama is blessed beyond words.

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Plus, the chub. Seriously, I am in love with the chub.

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Those rolls. They kills me.

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She is so lovey and snuggly. Again, I’m a blessed mama.

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Even Big Sister (who half the time pretends that Baby Love isn’t around) can’t help but get the giggles when this fat little baby starts laughing. So cute.

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Life is absolutely perfect. Can’t get much better than this.

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Can It Be Friday Yet?

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It’s only Tuesday, but it feels like it should be Friday.

DSC_0962I’m solo parenting while Daddy Bear is away on business, our washing machine died mid-load today, and my head strong toddler is being particularly stubborn about everything.

DSC_0921I’m tired and cranky.

DSC_0973I’m planning my dream spa getaway when the day finally comes when I can actually getaway (I predict 2 years from now, give or take).

DSC_0922Did I mention that I’m tired?

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But, despite these not so great turn of events, I still get to spend my days with this crazy crew.

DSC_0924Still better than a 9-5 job.

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Now, I just need to muster up the mental strength to survive until Friday. Piece of cake, right?

…famous last words.

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Blueberry Hand Pies (on 3.14)

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blueberry-hand-piesHappy Pi Day!

I nearly forgot that today was 3.14 (March 14th).

I threw together these hand pies in a matter of minutes (thanks to my trusty kitchen helper and napping baby)

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Here’s What You’ll Need:

For the filling:

-2 cups fresh blueberries

-1/2 cup water

-1/2 cup raw cane sugar

-3 tbs cornstarch or arrowroot powder (This is what I used. FYI: it can get a bit gummy if you heat it too rapidly and for too long. Don’t worry if this happened, It’ll still taste fine.)

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp vanilla

-dash of cinnamon

-zest of one lemon (optional) *I didn’t have a lemon on hand, so I skipped this bit*

For the crust:

-2 cups all purpose flour

-1 tsp salt

-1 tbs raw cane sugar

-1/2 cup coconut oil; room temperature

-5 tbs unsalted butter; chilled and cut into pieces

-1/2 cup of ice water (plus more if the dough seems too dry)

-1 egg: beaten (this will be used to brush the tops of the pies after they are assembled)

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Start with the pie filling: In a medium sauce pan, add water, sugar, and cornstarch. Over medium heat, stir mixture until sugar is dissolved. Add blueberries, salt, vanilla, lemon zest, and cinnamon to the pan. Cook until the filling mixture begins to boil; stirring often. Once the mixture begins to boil, it should resemble pie filling (that’s how you know you’re doing it right!). Remove from heat and set aside.

Now for the pie crust: In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt, Add coconut oil and butter. “Cut In” using a pastry cutter; until there are no more large pieces of butter or coconut oil. Add 8 tablespoons of ice cold water. Gently work the dough until a soft and crumbly dough forms (take care not to over work the dough). If the dough feels dry, add another tablespoon of cold water. Form into a disc, place between 2 pieces of saran wrap, and roll out the dough until it’s your desired thickness (somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch..or about 14 inches in diameter).

Using a small bowl (I used a soup crock), cut circles for your hand pies. 6 inches in diameter is a good size (since you will be folding them in half). Place circles on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Spoon a dollop of pie filling on to one side to the dough circle (about 2 oversized tablespoons). You want enough filling to be a tasty hand pie, but not so much that it oozes out the sides.

Fold the circle in half and crimp shut with a fork. Repeat until all the circles are filled and folded.

Brush tops of hand pies with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes; or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before eating.

Makes 6 hand pies (with leftover filling ftp top pancakes, waffles, or ice cream.)

 



Busy Busy Busy

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Well, February seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye.

I feel like I’ve been out of touch this month from all my bloggy-duties. Apologies.

To say I’ve been “busy” this month, would be a gross understatement.

After several big signs from the universe, I finally took the plunge and started my own photography business

Everything is still in the very early stages, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Most of my free time has been spent tweaking the website, looking into photo labs, wrapping my head around marketing and packaging, and setting up introductory meetings with potential clients.

It’s a bit terrifying, but I feel like the timing is kind of perfect.

I never imagined I would consider myself “good enough” to  be an actual photographer (you know, the kind that people actually hire); but if I don’t believe in myself, who will?

I still have a lot of growing to do. I’m looking forward to where this year will take me; as far as professional development is concerned. I’m excited for the journey.

Since we’re in the final stretch (month) of winter, I find myself needing to keep busy in order for my cabin fever to stay at bay.

These cold days are driving us all a bit stir-crazy. JBird and I have been doing copious amounts of painting and baking to help make our days a bit more enjoyable.

This week, I’ve been motivated to really clean and organize the house.

I dragged bookcases around the downstairs, went through most of our rooms and filled several garbage bags to the brim with items to be donated. I’m in full-on Spring Cleaning mode.

On top of the new business, and all the cleaning, I’ve also been working on bringing together an Alternative Schooling Panel for this year’s Natural Parenting Expo.

I’ll check back in, in the beginning of March.

Until then, there’s much more work to be done! (like about 7 loads of laundry)


Homemade Fruit Snacks

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homemade-fruit-snacks

I’ve always been a bit of a fruit snack addict.

Now that I’m older, my teeth cannot handle all the sticky sugar (and my body can’t handle the junk).

A good friend made a batch of these in the summer and they totally blew my mind. So simple, and so tasty.

I used to use the standard Knox gelatin, but I recently switched to Green Lakes brand (which is a high quality gelatin made from grass-fed animals). I made the switch because I wanted to get the full benefit that gelatin has to offer, without any added junk (or even low quality ingredients).

Gelatin has NUMEROUS health benefits (I highly recommend a quick Google search on the matter); joint health, collagen boosting, immunity boosting, etc.

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If you want gelatin, skip the yucky stuff that’s in Jell-O, and just make your own using fruit and juice!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-1 cup of juice (I use pomegranate juice)

-3 cups of frozen berries

-5-6 tablespoons of gelatin (I use Green Lakes gelatin)

-coconut oil for greasing your dish/mold

In a medium saucepan, add the juice and berries. Heat for several minutes; until the berries soften. Add to a blender and purée until mixture is a smooth consistency. Add the powdered gelatin and blend for 15-30 seconds until it is fully incorporated in the fruit purée. Pour into greased dish and let chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Once the gel has set, cut into pieces or with a shaped cutter. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


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