31 August, 2010

tasty tuesday - crab lettuce rolls and chocolate torte

I tried out this 'crab delight' recipe, although I did not blanch the almonds, I did add a carrot, and I had to sub in 1 T of white vinegar for the 2 T of lemon juice. It came out really tasty; now Milt did not like the raw onion, although I honestly didn't even notice the taste, so next time I may set some aside for him before adding the onion.

nom nom nom

I also made this delicious pecan chocolate torte, to try out for Asher's birthday party. It is really really good, but very rich. It also did not set up completely, so we ate it as a sort of pudding. next time I think I'll cut the agave nectar in half, and use a little more salt.

so fantastic

Still deciding if that's what I want to do for his birthday, as well as figuring out what we want to serve in general. I'm thinking tostadas, but... I dunno. I feel less confident in my serving choices lately, as people are simply not willing to go outside of their food 'box'; a few months age Milt and I decided to make dinner for his family, so we bought a bunch of stuff: fish, potatoes, things for a big salad. His sister went out and bought chicken 'for the guys' and that's what basically everyone ate; they didn't even want baked potatoes. It was ... weird for me. Really weird.

I remember when I was young and my grandmother encouraged me to befriend a little girl who lived down the street. I wound up in inviting her for dinner,and she accepted, although her mom made her a white-bread american 'cheese' sandwich first, 'just in case'. Well, I could see why when she came to our house and my Mom offered to serve her some dinner- a cheese souffle. "ew, I don't like that." I was shocked; I could never had said something like that to a host. wow. My mom was surprisingly tolerant though, just asked her "do you like eggs?" "yeah." "do you like cheese?" "yeah." "Well, this is just eggs and cheese." " I don't like it like that." " have you ever had this?" "no." My Mom had me walk her home so we could have a peaceful dinner, as there was no point in having her just sit there and watch us eat. I never hung out with her again;
it was just too weird for me; I could not reconcile the way she had acted about food with having her as a friend. I'm not entirely sure why. and it isn't as if I had this surplus of friends, that I could 'afford' to be picky about making a new one. That, however, is a topic for another time.

Which is a really long-winded way to say that I feel awkward offering people food that they may not like, partly due to how I may feel about them afterward because of it, but I also don't like serving food just because it's 'expected': I am not serving chips, pizza, and soda. I'm just not; I'm not that person, we're not that family. Maybe it's weird, maybe not, eh, I can see I am getting way too stressed over this, so I think I'll go finish off some of that chocolate goodness and work out a birthday menu I can be happy about.


30 August, 2010

material monday: do fun stuff

So I had a whole post ready to go, and then I remembered what day it was, so here instead is a link to new album, just released today, called Do Fun Stuff, which was put together in order to raise funds for the study of Smith-Magenis Syndrome, and here is a link to what it is all about. ;)


26 August, 2010

thoughtful thursday: baking soda

After posting last night I walked into our bathroom and realised that not only did I have a project for 'working wednesday' but I had documented it as well! Oh well, it fits just as well into 'thoughtful thursday' so it will have to do.One of the ways I've cut down on toxic chemical usage (and poisoning incidents) in our house is by the obsessive and pervasive use of baking soda. Vinegar serves a major roll in there too, but today baking soda is the star. Back in, oh, maybe January, if not earlier, I decided to try out baking soda in self-care items. I had read about making tooth powder last summer and had come across mentions of homemade deodorant several times, and with both running low I decided, hey, " 'no 'poo' has worked for me, why not these as well?" So I mixed up a batch of deoderant and a batch of tooth powder, put them in some leftover jam jars and have been using them ever since. They both work beautifully; thedeoderant is certainly not an antiperspirant, although it does seem to help a bit with wetness, and it smells fantastic. Since using the tooth powder my teeth have been whiter and gums healthier and my sensitivity has diminished, although only slightly on that last point. Sugar and cold drinks still cause me a lot of pain!
This past week our baby tooth gel (Jason) ran out, and while Milt was in the store puzzling over the dizzying array of all-natural, fluoride-free toothpastes (we love Staff of Life!) I decided that it would be fun for Asher and I to make some custom toothpaste, just for him! I got together the ingredients and supplies:

coconut oil
baking soda
sea salt
clean baby food jar
small mixing bowl

smushed, in a messy kitchen

I measured out enough baking soda to almost fill the jar and put it in the bowl, then mashed in coconut oil until it reached a smooth paste consistency and was completely mixed. Then I had Asher smell the various extracts (peppermint, orange, almond, vanilla) and choose his favorite. He chose almond and dumped it in before I could stop him; luckily the bottle was almost empty so it wasn't too much, but that is some very almond toothpaste! I mixed in a pinch of salt, although next time I will leave it out, scooped it into his jar and we labeled it. Custom toothpaste! It's nontoxic, and good for the skin, so I'm not worried or annoyed with him sneaking gobs of it to sample or smear all over himself. Which he has done. Repeatedly.

I mix it!

My toothpowder is slightly different; it is just baking soda, some sea salt, and peppermint extract, added a few drops at a time until the mixture was slightly crumbly but not sticking together or wet.

The deodorant is equal parts baking soda and coconut oil; there are many, many good recipes out there that include more ingredients and I will probably play around with the ingredients next time I make a batch but this suits my needs just fine.

I love these because they cut down on cost, I can buy the ingredients without buying more plastic, and I am keeping chemicals off of and out of my body and out of the environment. All while smelling nice! :)

Now then, Milt has arranged to have the next 10 days off, so it is time to relax! Oooh, and we may be going to a Bar Mitzvah this weekend. Exciting!


25 August, 2010

working wednesday: random meme

Despite working extra hard today (why is it we are getting all our summer right now? 111 degrees? seriously California?) I didn't actually complete any projects, although I did get partway through quite a few; plus, the awesome tires I found for my bike got sold out, so now I am back to square one in the tire search. grr. Anyhoo! So I decided to do a meeeeme, since I haven't in quite a while. Here goes.

1. age on my next birthday
2. place (s) I would like to travel
3. favorite place (s)4. favorite food (s)5. favorite animal

6. favorite color

7. place where I was born
8. name of pet (s)

9. my first name
10. bad habit11. first job
12. Grandmother's names13. college major
well, that's it for today. Hopefully the temps are low enough tomorrow to really be productive; no a/c + high temps = lots of sitting around trying not to feel warm. yay popsicles!


24 August, 2010

tasty tuesday - sushi and 'rice'

I've been throwing in some raw food again, now that I'm feeling well enough to branch out from my tea+broth cold diet. I tried this recipe for cauliflower 'rice' and, well, I'm hoping I did something wrong because the texture was good but the flavor, hmm. I think maybe the cauliflower was not quite right? It started out kind of tasty, and then just kept tasting worse. It was not growing on us; quite the opposite. So I figured I would just try to use it in sushi instead, since the texture was good and when I rolled it up with some greens it tasted good. Well, the sushi came out quite tasty, and was really fun to make, but the cauliflower not only tasted off but I was quite nauseated for the rest of the evening. (irony: first night in a week I've had the opportunity to go to sleep before 1am, and I'm up because of my stomach. yeesh.) Still, I thought I would share what did work.

miso paste sushi nori sheets sliced carrots
sliced squash rice substitute avocado slices
smashed nuts

First I prepped all the ingredients and laid them out conveniently.

Mom, I can have?

Then, assembly! I smeared some miso paste across the nori, then spread out a layer of rice substitute (I've seen people makethe sushi without the rice sub, and it looked tasty, so I may try that next time!) Next some lines of carrot, squash, avocado, and nuts.

Asher likes to help.

ready to roll!

Roll up tight with the mat

all done!

Slice and serve. Yum!

Next I'm going to try raw tacos and rawvioli, and I'm trying out a chocolate torte for Asher's birthday. nom nom. :)


23 August, 2010

material monday: fighting the (virus) fight

Still fighting off this cold, it's a nasty one, but not completely immobilizing, which is a blessing. This is, also thankfully, just a cold and not Pertussis, of which we apparently have an epidemic currently. We also have one of the highest, if not the highest, pertussis vaccination rates in the country, so, interesting that. In case I have not mentioned it before, we do not vaccinate. It is actually contra-indicated for our children, but even if it weren't I don't know that I would, seeing as there ARE side effects and vaccination does not confer immunity. It does not. If a vaccine 'takes' it confers antibodies, but antibodies are not immunity. (they do help though, don't get me wrong.) So a vaccination will not prevent infection if you have a weak immune system. Good hygiene is needed as well. Interestingly, infection rates and hygiene practice are correlated. Almost give the appearance that vaccinations themselves don't do much?

Ok, ok, I'm not anti-vax. I am anti-baby-vax, and anti-bunched-vax, as I believe both are dangerous. I feel that mass vaccinations are a sort of stop-gap measure against poor hygiene, and I believe that adults who cannot avoid contact with people with poor hygiene (i.e., people who persist in coming into contact with the public when they are sick.) should get vaccinated. My Dad works in an industry that requires a LOT of travel, and a LOT of public contact, so he gets offered vaccines everywhere he goes, and he accepts them gladly, because he is around the babies occasionally and does not want to carry a disease that can hurt them. As he put it "vaccines were to inoculate the people who were carrying disease, so that children would not catch them."

That makes sense, since most kids are not going to go beyond certain spheres of community. It's the adults traveling between groups that really are the spreaders of disease. I'm not talking about once the disease has been introduced to a group, because once one kid has it all the other kids are going to get it really fast. The key is to prevent the introduction of disease into a group. So, if we can stop spreading disease between communities (good hygiene! and, yes, vax) then the kids can be safe and disease, I truly believe, can be obliterated.
But, HOW?

1. When there is an epidemic in our area, like the current pertussis outbreak, we severely limit public outings, and monitor our friend's health to prevent exposure. That means, the only shopping is for groceries and gas, and we limit those as much as possible and go during off hours to avoid crowds.

2. When we are sick, we do not go out. Asher's friend, who is only around a few days a week, came by yesterday and I had to say no to a playdate as even though Asher was ready to play he is still sick and this would not only set him back in his recovery but risk infecting his friend. It was sad, but he was pretty accepting of the situation. After all,he's had to give up cheese and ice cream because of his cold, so I guess he's getting used to it!

3. We do not go to work, or school, sick. When Milt is sick, he stays home. If he is out of sick days, he uses vacation days. Recovery is a lot faster when you stay home and take care of yourself, and forcing yourself to go and give 10% in a work/school setting while exposing everyone around you is just counterproductive. Either way you'll have work to catch up on, and if you just stay home you can get back to work sooner and won't have wiped out everyone who could have helped you who are now stuck at home (or out infecting the mall).

(I know that we only get a limited amount of sick days, and I think it is a travesty. It should be policy to not come to work sick, because then instead of one employee out sick you wind up with ALL your employees out sick, because they keep infecting each other. Just saying, it is time for reform.)

4. we FIGHT THAT ILLNESS! When I get sick the first thing I do is start megadosing on Vitamin C. I really mean MEGAdosing too. I also bundle up, as much as I can stand it, and drink lots of hot liquids (like tea and broth). Raising my temperature seems to help my body burn out the illness, and sweating is a good way to release toxins. Hot showers wash it all away, and I keep my trusty slippers on whenever I am roaming around. Yes, it can be a little uncomfortable to be all bundled up in August, but when I can literally FEEL myself getting better it is so much better than sucking down popsicles to soothe my throat while my head pounds and I shuffle around listlessly between couch and bed. The boys get the same treatment, along with somewhat paranoid monitoring for dehydration. Milt is a little stubborn when it comes to taking care of himself, but he will at least take vit C chewables when I remind him.

So that was a really long-winded way of getting around to my fight the illness kit:

from top left, clockwise:
my teakettle (used to heat water for tea and broth), a comfy not-too-heavy sweater, my cute and comfy slippers, vitamin C chewable, vitamin C energy booster drink powder, and Miso paste for healthy broths.

That's about it; I add varying amount of veggies to the broth, depending how much I feel like 'eating' as opposed to drinking, try to keep my temperature up and take vitamin C as soon as I start to feel tired or congested. Now back to tea-sipping!


19 August, 2010

thoughtful thursday: cloth diapers!

When Asher was still turning cartwheels in my belly Milt and I decided to go the cloth diaper route. We had several reasons for it, but it started when I was about 10 and our dear friend Miz Mac made a comment about how wild it was to realize that her son's poop was being preserved in the landfill. My own mother expressed regret about the amount of diapers she sent along to the dump through her three girl's babyhoods. We also were in Santa Cruz at this time, which led to a lot more awareness of diapering options, and the fact that I am a 'crazy hippie' and wanted to lessen our impact as much as possible. We went with a diaper service until he was about 9 months old, as it was convenient to have the clean diapers dropped off and the dirty ones whisked away, however, the cost was a bit more than we could continue paying and the smell of a week's worth of dirty diapers was a little overwhelming any time we opened the storage closet. Yes, we probably should have had a proper diaper pail, oh well.

I did some online research and decided that bamboo diapers were the way for us! The initial cost for 17 diapers would be recouped within 5 months of not paying for the diaper service, so we ordered them up and said ciao to the diaper people (who were super nice, btw). This worked out well for us, as we had purchased covers from the diaper service to go over the
ir diapers and they fit fine over our soft! adjustable! bamboo! diapers. Plus our apartment complex had heavy-duty washing machines in the laundry rooms, so those diapers got nice and clean!

Then we found out Adin was coming along and, with Asher still in diapers, figured that we needed more diapers. This time we went with a microfiber insert style, as Asher's 'products' were getting sticky and they liked to cling to the bamboo material. yuck. I ordered a bunch off of eBay, and while we like them a lot if I could do it again I would have ponied up the cash to get the real versions with organic materials, blah di blah, I'll have to blame pregnancy daze and a small bank account for that transgression into the world of Chinese knock-offs.

back row, l-r: bamboozle, knock off dipes
front row, l-r: cloth wipes, microfiber insert

Anyhow! The diapers were working out great until: we moved. The diapers started to smell. All the time. When they were drying the exhaust was tinged with ammonia. yuck. My sister commented about how my kids had the strongest-smelling urine EVER, and I should get their kidneys checked. Now, I'm not one to ignore possible illness, but I just didn't get the vibe that it was my boys that were the problem. No, those diapers were staying stinky, and I needed to know why! Also, those soft, soft bamboo diapers were getting crunchy. and stained. Boo! I thought, I guess they only last a year or so! what a waste of money!

Then, during our trip to PR (during which we put the boys in biodegradeable, compostable, relatively non-planet-killing disposables) I looked up the bamboozle website and, voila! The explanation! Turns out our new, high-efficiency washer simply doesn't use enough water to get the diapers clean. ew. Also, many 'brightening' detergents work by depositing a film of light-reflecting chemicals on the fabric, so the fabric looks clean but, in reality, IS NOT. So, every time the diapers got wet the smell of all the old urine was being mixed with the new, resulting in very stinky boys. I was furious! Thankfully, we were on vacation, so it was pretty easy to calm the heck down :)

So we came home and made a few changes. I now clean the diapers with baking soda and a vinegar rinse, and we put them through two cycles. This does not help with water consumption, but until we can get a washer that will actually clean these guys in one wash that's just what we have to do. I also threw all the diapers in the bathtubwith oxyclean, baking soda, and HOT water and soaked them for an hour. I had to do this4 times before the water was not murky and disgusting. How awful, that I was essentially putting my boys back into dirty diapers.

So, what's the takeaway on this?

1. Some people say that having to wash the diapers repeatedly is bad for the environment. They use the same excuse for not using cloth napkins. Fact is, manufacturing paper uses a lot of water too, so even if the water used were equivalent (it isn't, manufacturing paper uses more) with cloth products you aren't filling up a dump, and buying more. planet and wallet both win!

2. My boys have never had a diaper rash from their diapers, (even when they were not getting completely clean) which cannot be said for disposables. The chemicals used to keep those baby bottoms dry in disposables often is very irritating to their skin, or worse, and are toxic, both once they are released into the environment after being thrown away and in those cases when the diaper gets ripped open. (Those little round gel beads? Not good.)

3. We have only ever had one blowout with cloth diapers, and that was due to user error (ours, not the baby's), while with disposable we got blowouts all the time. Now, all babies are shaped differently, so some diapers will 'leak' with some babies, while others won't. Fit is key!

4. Cost, cost, cost. Cloth costs more up front, but by the time your kid is potty-trained the savings over disposables can be enormous. I think we've spent about $600 total on cloth diapers, plus diaper service, so I'll give a high estimate of around $1000. After 3 years of diapers, with two in diapers for two of those years, which would have been in the neighborhood of 10,000 diapers (that's a low estimate; my boys like to use those diapers!) the cost if we were using disposables would have been in the neighborhood of about $2500, and that's if you get diapers on sale, like .25 cents apiece on sale. Plus, to get them cheap you need to buy in bulk, so if your baby has a growth spurt (which they seem really good at doing) you are left with a bunch of 'too small' diapers all of a sudden. (Please donate these! Organizations like emergency shelters, women's shelters, foster homes, and help a mother out help those who cannot afford diapers keep their babies' bottoms diaper-clad.)

5. Waste: with cloth, you are not filling up your local (or not so local) dump. Think about it! One kid = ~5000 diapers thrown away. That's huge! Instead, you can have 20 cute, soft, cloth diapers sitting in a drawer, waiting to be used.

6. (slight) convenience: if you forget to buy more diapers for your kid, and you go to change that bottom in the middle of the night only to reach into an empty bag. CRISIS! Off to the (hopefully open) store you go to buy (hopefully on sale) diapers! If you forget to wash the diapers, well, you've got about a 2-hour wait. We've made due with a hand towel and a diaper cover in those situations. (It took us a whole to remember things like "bring a diaper bag on outings!" yeah. ) Yes, it is easier to just be able to chuck the whole mess in the trash and be done with it, but chucking it into a bag/bucket/whatever and then washing a load at a time isn't that much harder than taking that trash bag out to the curb. Believe me, if we can do this, in an apartment with a laundry room that gets locked at night, then just about anyone can. (If you are reading this post, there is a 99% probability that you can, just based on having internet access, so relative affluence...etc. yanno. )

Ok, well I am suffering through one awful cold so back to bed I go. Going to megadose Vitamin C and hopefully I'll be up-an-at-em in the morning!


18 August, 2010

working wednesday: surprise house makeover

Since the three-wheeled bike is on hold until the wheels come in, I am going ahead with another huge project. See, my Mom is in Hawaii for a couple weeks, and I figured now was a good time to get some home improvement type things done. Why now? Mostly because my Mom is the kind of person who, well, dithers. I don't. Hence, conflict (mostly silent and passive-aggressive) occurs. She's been talking about painting over the (very, very dark burgundy) kitchen/dining/family area for a long, long time, and it needs to happen so they can sell the house. Also, so I don't go crazy, because the dark walls just make the room SO dark, and the light so weird and the clutter so overwhelming that I literally could not stand it anymore. I wound up popping the boys into the stroller and walking down to buy the paint myself. secretly. because I am a ninja. Also, she was out of town for a week.

begone, dark walls! please ignore the mess.

Then I was looking at the brick fireplace and thought to myself "wow, that is really ugly brick." ( I mean, look at it! ug-ly, yeah?) So I told my Dad I had decided to paint the brick white. He was really happy. I remembered halfway through that they may have had several conversations about how much he hates that brick and how much she wants to "no, don't take it, I, um, want it." (Not like, just want, no one knows why.) Oh well! Too late now!

Then, as I am painting away, I thought that perhaps painting the hearth would be a bad idea? Due to flammability? So I was thinking, hey, I could use some of my leftover engine enamel, but then I would have to mask off, well, the entire room. THEN I remembered all the leftover tile from redoing the bathrooms and, eureka! Here is my idea for the layout.

hello, little car! why were you in the fireplace?

Here it is right now, with the tiles in front waiting to be put in place. (also, all the walls have been painted over except behind the fridge and the stove, and I am leaving that wall above the fireplace as an 'accent wall' for now. We'll see.)

mad thinset skillz. maybe.

I've applied the first layer of thinset, I'm going to apply the second layer and tile this evening after the boys are abed, and then I can grout tomorrow. I hope we have grout. hmmm. Oh well, we are visiting friends in Santa Cruz tomorrow, so the worrying can wait! What was it I said last time about planning ahead? oh well!

Some of the best parts of this project have been the using of 'leftovers': a can of paint, a can of primer, and the tiles. awesome! (heehee, the boys are watching Shaun the Sheep on netflix, enthralled. I think I'll join them.)


17 August, 2010

tasty tuesday- carrots and squash

I'm back on the RAW bandwagon, just barely! but more on that later. See, I keep returning to eating RAW because of how much better I feel, but mostly, because of how much worse I feel when I don't eat this way. (Avoiding pain is one great motivator!) It's reminiscent of how yoga has been for me; it has helped my stiffness and joint issues so much, but when I don't do it for a couple days MAN am I in pain. As I told my Dad, "It's amazing how easy it is to get used to feeling bad, I can't believe I used to feel like this all the time and just didn't notice."Well, the downside of taking care of yourself is that when you DON'T you really feel it. ouch! Now that I've been eating RAW the allergies, cold symptoms, sluggishness, muscle pain, fatigue and irritability are so incredibly unacceptable, mostly because I now know what it feels like to not feel those things. WOW.
Ok, on to food.
For breakfast we (the boys and I) had some fruit and then snacked on homemade trailmix throughout the day: dried raisins and blueberries, cashews, almonds, pecans and walnuts. When I can't think of what to eat or just feel 'munchy' this is what I grab.

For lunch I made a raw carrot 'soup', out of:
1 (slightly squishy) tomato
2 carrots
1 onion
1 beautiful golden beet
the juice of a (slightly squishy) lemon
some saltsome pepper

threw it all in my vitamix and blended away until I got this!

a drizzle of evoo, a celery stick, and thou

super tasty!

Now, for dinner I nearly threw in the towel. We have some GF pasta in the cupboard, and I just couldn't figure out dinner. Then I read Sayward's post about vodka sauce, found some mystery squash and started peeling. Then I realised that I did not have the right ingredients for any of the sauces. gah. I was ready to give up again, until I realised, hey, I'm an adult! I can handle this! I got the boys ready, drove to the store, and got what I needed (in this case, sundried tomatoes) and some fruit for the next day. Now, I cringed at the cost of the tomatoes ($3 for a small bag) especially since our favorite grocery has sundried, local, organic tomatoes in bulk, but that is the price I pay for dithering around and not planning ahead!

Anyhow, we got home, I threw the sauce ingredients (along with the leftover carrot soup) in the vitamix (yay!) and in minutes dinner was ready to serve. It was delicious! However, it was really unappetizing in appearance and the light was awful, but here you go.

not nearly as attractive as it was tasty

For actually appetizing photos of RAW pasta go read Sayward's blog, Bonzai Aphrodite, about it. (Can I just say here, she is one of my blogging heroines? Yes indeed, inspirational)
Now we only used about 1/3 of the sauce, and it is delicious, so I need to figure out what to
do with it tomorrow! Also, I really, really need to plan further ahead.


16 August, 2010

(im)material monday: random

Not much of a 'stuff' update today, because our roommate moved out and we moved all the boy's stuff (not beds or clothes) into that room, which is now an AWESOME PLAYROOM, and I am painting the kitchen/dining room/family room, which is currently a deep, deep burgundy, some lovely beige tones.
Now, I love color, but that dark color makes the room, which is the biggest one in the house, like a cave. Plus, my family is peopled with packrats, and clutter+dark rich wall colors = overwhelming. The new colors are much lighter, help take advantage of the great afternoon light in there, and make the clutter much more bearable. Of course, I've been 'packing away' some of that clutter as I go; we'll see what my Mom thinks when she gets back! ;) (She is currently in Hawaii for two weeks, and has no idea I am doing this. She'll be really happy, really annoyed, or both when she gets back. I'm banking on both, as that's just how she is.)
Now I had better get to sleep; half way done!


13 August, 2010

follow-up friday: #2

I'll miss these blue skies.

ok, goal rundown!

-still listing patterns on eBay. The whole process takes a stinking long time. I'm listing the rest on Monday, so that my auctions end on Sunday. Apparently that makes it easier to sell?
-getting ready to put my flower essences on Etsy: I'm thinking September 1st, we'll see! Just need some input from my energy-attuned sister :)
-put together 2 bags of clothes to give away, looking for more! I want to be able to fit all our stuff into a U-Haul trailer. My parents did that with 3 kids, so I figure we can too!
-vitamix - I am sad to say I only used it once this week, to make a smoothie, although the good side is that it was because we were eating so many leftovers! So, saved on groceries and food spoilage this week. I am also going to recalculate the 'savings' so far, but let's just hover at that $499 to go mark until then :)
-switched over to Sprint, dealing with all kinds of craziness in the moving from AT&T, keeping phones, keeping numbers, or not, etc. It's been interesting!

-got hit with some weird migraine type thing, feel like I have a cold but not quite. Here's hoping for an improvement next week!
-thyroid function seems to be improving, as in less fatigue, not struggling to lose weight, hair is not falling out. good times!

-got the low-down for donating milk, just need to find the right 'officials' to sign off. bleh.
-spreading cloth-diapering awareness! Hope it doesn't come across as overbearing ;)
-looking for a new community in (a mysterious new location) by the end of the year! Just figuring out down payment, actually finding a house, Milt transferring/switching jobs, getting in to school up there (he is applying to 4). Involved, but awesome! Whenever I think about it I say "I'm so excited!" at this point people don't even really ask what about, they just nod and smile :)

well, I guess that's it for this week.

12 August, 2010

thoughtful thursday: the CSA

this week's CSA share

We are signed up with Two Small Farms CSA right now; and it's for various reasons.
1) fresh, local, organic produce means the best nutrition for us.
2) supporting local agriculture without paying for the 'middle man' means more income for the farmers and a local economy boost, as well as helping to ensure a continuing source for #1.
3) they actually deliver to our area!
4) the farmers are interesting, genuinely nice people
5) the prices are comparable (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less) to store prices, both large chain stores and our favorite local market,which I will highlight later on :)

For approximately $20 a week (depending how long the season goes) we get a nice big bag of produce. This week we got corn, tomatoes, potatoes, beets, celery, parsnips, chives, and strawberries. In the past we've also received squash, cucumbers, parsley, onions, fennel, and lots of other tasty things that I can't remember right now. :)

all wrapped up for the fridge

This week we are trying out green bags, to see if they work, as even though I do try to eat through everything before the next week our very generous family often brings in MORE food (food=love with us, what can you do?) so we get spoilage, which is awful. We are hoping these bags give us a few more days to eat through all our goodies. :)

When we move (which I will also write about later) I am planning on putting aside a little of our grocery money each month so we can pay for a CSA share up there (mysterious!) on our own, as this is a big way of voting with our wallets to improve community and health, and with just a little bit of preplanning it is definitely doable. Yes, $700+ dollars at once is a big investment, but if you look at it as saving $50 or so each month during the off season it's a lot easier and definitely worth it. That said, we will shop around, not only for pricing but for reviews by customers, because part of this whole enterprise is having a relationship with the farms you are supporting, and if you don't like the farmers, well, it's kind of silly to hand them your money, right?

ok, well, I had to post this really late due to the most bizarre migraine headache ever, but it's up, it's done, moving on to the next one!


11 August, 2010

working wednesday: the 3-wheeled bike part 2

Here she is, all masked off (and protected from ...exuberant children) after finishing the paint job! Still have to order tires ( I found white-wall tires for a good price), brake lines, and I'm figuring out the seats. I am really, really happy with how this is turning out!
In the background you can see one of my old bikes, a red men's bike that I am fixing up for Milt. I'm thinking maybe blue? In that case, thankfully, the only things needing replacing are the tires and seat, and the tires I should be able to salvage from one of the other bikes around here, as they are the standard size.

hmm, that newspaper seat is quite chic, yes?


10 August, 2010

tasty tuesday - mostly an update

first, a breakdown of my juice fasting: progress
wednesday: am saline flush, 1 c. carrot juice, 2 c. carrot+apple juice, 3 c. peach juice, 3 c. water
thursday: am saline flush, 3 c. peach+pear+celery juice, 5 c. beet+carrot+parsley+celery juice, 3 c. orange juice
friday: am saline flush, tomato+parsley smoothie, gf crackers (yum!), gf challah,
saturday: shabbat! yum food time!
sunday: weekend! still yum food time!
monday: leftovers from the weekend! Really starting to feel bleh.
tuesday: rice and beans

eye color: still becoming more blue, although brown clouding around the iris is becoming more pronounced with the influx of dairy
energy: up in general, starting to slow down after 4 days of cooked food
allergies: nonexistent on raw days, much diminished otherwise
movement: again, beginning to slow down, strange soreness, diminished flexibility

One tasty side effect of the juicing is baby food! I've found that the vitamix 'juice' is just way too pulpy for me (and I like pulp; I would buy the pulpy orange juice! yay fiber!) so I decided to strain the juice with a mesh strainer. Well, the resultant juice was a LOT easier to drink, and the resulting fiber pulp looked remarkably like baby food. So Wednesday Adin got carrot - apple - peach cinnamon oatmeal. yum! I am thinking of making fruit leathers from the pulp too. We'll see!

In general I would say the juice fast was a success, but I am going to stick with eating raw for a while rather than continue juicing for now, just because I was so darn HUNGRY the whole time. This is probably due to still nursing; won't be able to prove or disprove that hypothesis for quite a while though! After eating 'regular' food all weekend I will say I do not feel good. Not sick, just not good, and these foods do not taste good anymore! What a letdown! Even pizza was just 'eh'. Fancy cheese is still delicious though, so at least one thing is still enjoyable as a special treat. :)

Since I'm feeling bleh from so much cooked food, and the CSA share is still 2 days away, I'll just leave this short. Tomorrow I am definitely going back to raw, even if it means eating trail mix all day. need more energy! Plus trail mix is tasty!


09 August, 2010

material monday: guitar and patterns

We had a fantastic weekend! A nice, slow Saturday, and then Sunday we got up very early and went up to Roaring Camp Railroad because:
Mr. Conductor waving at Asher

Thomas the Tank Engine was visiting!!!! I loved Shining Time Station as a kid, and Asher adores all trains, especially Thomas, so it was a HUGE hit. I got the earliest ride I could book, which wound up being the 9:30am, which worked out great because by the time we left the mobs had descended, and the misty morning had turned to blustery, drizzling afternoon. It was so much fun, all these little kids running around having a blast, as did we, as did my parents, who had joined us for the day (the tickets were their birthday gift to the boys). So fun!

Ok, on to stuff.

Last week I went to Goodwill and came home with this!

so pretty!

Here's the story: I was looking for a juicer, and on our way into the store I happened to glance over and saw two guitars in the display case. Seeing that one was a child's guitar I mentioned how I had been looking at them online for when Asher was a bit older, but they were too expensive. We wandered around, I found some really neat stuff (including some awesome patterns, which I will be using ASAP!) but no juicer, so we went to get in line. I decided to just 'take a look' at the guitar, pulled it out, and saw that beyond a few dings, and needing new strings, it was in good shape, BUT, there was no price on it. The other guitar was around $70, so I figured it would be out of my price range, but I asked the cashier about it. She called over her manager, who took the guitar and said she would make a phone call. I wandered off, and in the meantime the manager came back with the guitar, told my Mom the price (she heard "$49.99") slapped a sticker on it and walked away. Which, you know, $49.99 isn't bad for a child's guitar. Then we looked at the sticker she had put on it. $4.99!!!! I got this guitar for $5! It was insane! I'm going to take it to one of our local music stores and see about strings and maybe a case, but wow! $4.99!

Ok, that was a long story. A long, exciting, story. Of how it pays to ask questions!

Second order of business, see this box of patterns?

they look so enticing, I know.

They are going on Ebay today. I hope to have them all sold by next week, and then on to the next batch of stuff to go. Cross my fingers!


06 August, 2010

follow-up friday: #1

getting ready for shabbat, but first...

time for my first friday follow-up!

1. vitamix: initial cost: $535; has saved: $35.32; has made: 14 glasses of juice ($28) + 6 servings baby food ($6) + 4c. oat flour ($.32) + yummy mash ($1); only ~$499 left to go! awesome! Although, that means our food costs would have been REALLY high this week. hmmm. I may need to adjust my calculations...or my food budget.
2. sold a book! yay!
3. got an awesome fantastic deal that I will share on monday :)

1. general: energy is UP, movement is up, headaches/joint pain down. irritability also up; not good.
2. weight: dunno, need to put batteries in the scale.
3. went for 4 bike rides this week, 2 long walks, and did yoga every morning and belly dancing almost every day. I can do a pretty awesome chest camel now.
4. I broke my fast at lunch with a smoothie, and since then have snacked a bit. This weekend I'm going to go mostly raw, but not completely, and I'll see how I feel Monday, if I want to do another mini-cleanse. Right now, I'm thinking no, but we'll see.

positive impact:
1. found a Medela breast pump,(brand new!) at the thrift store for a dear friend who is expecting in December. Initial price:$250+. thrift store price: $15!!! Bonus: prevented the purchase of a new item, which was not as awesome any how and would have eventually gone to waste, and freed up the money that would have gone to a new purchase for other baby essentials. (or frivolities, whichever. I think we lose all common sense when it comes to babies. it's just so darn happy!)
2. bmilk collected for donation: 3oz.
interesting note: I cannot collect milk that is supplemented by mother's milk tea. weird!

Right now, I am getting back to my gf mini-challahs. yum.

so cute! and fluffy.

and that's it until Monday!

05 August, 2010

thoughtful thursday: donating milk

Back when Asher was born we wound up in the hospital, where he got an infection and had to spend a week in the NICU. That was where I learned about milk banks, and decided I would donate. Well, a year went by, Asher weaned, and I never donated. Even though I have a fabulous Medela pump, since the lactation consultant helped me get one through MediCal in order to provide the NICU with bottled milk when I couldn't be there.
This was a huge missed opportunity, especially knowing that preemies really need the breastmilk that their mom's bodies simply aren't ready to produce yet. Anyhow, here I am on round two, Adin is still nursing strong and I, thankfully, still have the goods to donate. So I looked up my local milk bank (local is a relative term, I know) and I have started putting aside milk in the freezer for when my blood tests clear and I can donate. I'm thinking a month at a time, as they can use milk that has been frozen up to five months, and that gives me a good amount to drop off at once. Plus, my milk is going to be relatively lower in chemicals (I only eat organic, and I have been a lacto-pescatarian, with the majority of my diet being produce, for over 17 years) and higher in nutrients,which has GOT to be a boost for those babies, right? So what am I waiting for?!?!


04 August, 2010

working wednesday: the 3-wheeled bike

it's day 1 of my cleanse and so far...nothing interesting to report. oh well! :)

I am currently working on restoring this little beauty.

Can you believe there is white paint under all that rust? So far I know I will have to replace the seat, the tubes (if not the wheels!), the brake lines, probably the rear-view mirror, and the paint job. chrome and aqua, maybe? I am going to get lights for this one too. In fact I need to get lights for my other bike (Penelope) as well, so I better get started on that. I am also going to retrofit the basket to hold one of the boys. Trying to figure that one out, but it looks like I'll have a while before I need to worry about that!

To be honest though, I would LOVE a Madsen bucket bike. wow. dare to dream, right? In the meantime, I'm going to save this one from the scrap heap. What should I name her? I am thinking Adelaide, but suggestions are welcome.


03 August, 2010

tasty tuesday - jumping in

On the health front, I've been dabbling in raw food. That is, when I am preparing the meal, generally for myself, it is raw. When others prepare it, it's generally been cooked. Ironically this has happened more often than usual since starting my raw food interests, as we've had visitors galore these past few weeks. Although I did manage to make a group meal of squash 'linguini' with a basil pesto and aside of sesame carrots. YUM!

It's been really awesome, having all these people around, but I've noticed major differences in my health and energy levels when I've eaten cooked versus raw, and I am really liking the effects of raw. Plus, my 'brown' eyes (which I've always called hazel) are changing colors again. Now, I've gotten to a green ring around the outer iris before, with cutting out dairy and consuming lots of water, but this time it's getting some blue in there. I haven't had blue eyes since I was a crawling baby, so this is HUGE.

Clearly I am FULL of toxins (no cracks about my personality, thank you) so I have convinced my mom to go on a cleanse with me. Now, rather than do the Master Cleanse, (I felt this was a little hardcore and perhaps ill-advised as I am still nursing) we will be doing a juice fast aided by a.m. saline flushes and senna tea. To that end I looked and looked and looked for a juicer and then I went to Cost-to-the-co to buy vinegar and... boughtaVitaMix. aaaauuuuuugghghghghg. Honestly I'm still hyperventilating a bit over the cost. I do that whenever I spend over $100 at one time, so you can only imagine the state I am in right now. So, I will be keeping very careful track of that machine's usage and when it has paid for itself,well,I am going to celebrate! I'm not sure how yet. Maybe a cookie? Anyhow, wish me luck on the fast, and I'll update as time marches on! (and saline flushes out? eew)
sorry for the lack of pics! tomorrow, I promise.


02 August, 2010

material monday: new lunch box and new project

As mentioned before, I am trying to limit and decrease the amount of stuff in out lives. I am also trying to increase the quality of the remaining stuff, including upcycling, which is always fun.
This past weekend we hauled out my parent's old tv cabinet (and I mean OLD - this was given to my grandfather in the 1950s) in order to try yet again to sell it in a garage sale.

Well, we had a few nibbles, no bites, (although I did manage to sell my side cabinet; woohoo!) and as I looked it over I suddenly had a flash of inspiration: Play Kitchen! and thus begins another project. :) This is going to be awesome! It also means the current play kitchen is going out the door. yay!

my boys on tv! (That's my Dad's arm, removing the broken handle.)

In other 'stuff' news, I got a shpiffy gift from my mom: a new lunchbox! I've had my eye on these stackable types for a looong, looong time, and could never justify buying one, based on a)lack of space and 2) my bento box collection,but the other day my mom presented me with this lovely number!

I am so excited, and grateful! Now to pack it full of delicious food and go eat! somewhere. hmmm. backyard picnic? This does mean I'm going to pare down my bento collection. at least a little bit. Maybe I'll post about that next Monday!