Monday, March 31, 2008


I decided a little trip to Goodwill and the antique store would be a good way to start the week out.

Here's what I found at Goodwill:

A set of six plates big and small. My sister and I figured that buying plates (like Corelle brand) would be a great alternative to plastic plates and cups for birthday parties. The plastic versions are getting more expensive anyway and they create so much trash. The Corelle plates are usually under $1 a piece at thrift stores and are durable for kids. Just a quick wash and they can go back into storage until the next party.

A couple classic kids books...this one was in great condition.

A small glass dish. Too pretty to pass up for under $2.

Then we headed to the antique store:

Two little handmade nests perfect for spring.

A fun way to plant a little flower and hang it on the wall.

And this! An old handmade quilt in really great condition. I've been looking for one for awhile but they've either been in bad shape or too expensive. Sawyer and I can't wait to curl up with this one on the couch.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Afternoon fun

Yesterday afternoon we made a nut and seed granola from this book. With one hand Ian helped stir it and spread it on the baking sheet and with the other he grabbed bites to make sure it was coming together just right. It turned out really yummy.

Afterwards he got a bowlful of granola and gathered some of his library books and other favorite things and climbed into the shark that was currently taking up residence in our family room.

Sawyer wasn't about to be left out and spent his time grabbing Ian's book and trying to eat the granola.

Then he grabbed a chair and started pushing it around the room. He just started doing this about a week ago. It may be awhile still but I think he really likes this walking stuff.

I love days like this.

Uncle Tim's here again this weekend and right now he, Jeremy, and Ian are out to lunch and going to go see Horton Hears a Who. Ian follows Tim around everywhere when he's here so he was almost giddy getting into the car with just the boys to go see an elephant movie.

Thanks for all the comments on my last post. I'm so proud of Ian too for giving up his fire. Funny how this happens, but we've noticed he's talking a lot more now. :-)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Saying goodbye to an old friend

We made it official today. We said goodbye to Ian's pacifier. We had tried once before but Ian just couldn't part with it. He never called it a binky or paci or any other babyish name. He called it his "Fire". The 'fire' would go in and he would instantly mellow out. His hand would go to his ear and he would want to snuggle. We hadn't felt an urgency to have him give it up because he only had it at naps or at bedtime (or when he was hurt, feeling sad, upset, or generally happy really) and there didn't seem any harm in it.

Then we went to the dentist on Monday and while the main report was great (no cavities, healthy strong teeth) there was a side conversation about how maybe his pacifier use was causing an overbite. His dentist referred us to someone else to see how bad, if at all, it was. We knew then that it was time to say goodbye. We talked all the way home about what a big boy he was now and how he was going to start doing big boy things like his cousins. He seemed to understand in his own way. It's been two days now of naps and nighttime and no pacifier. He hasn't even asked for it which makes me realize that he must have been ready.

We saw the second dentist today and all is well. It's nothing that can't be reversed in the next 6 months now that he no longer uses one. So we made it official. We said goodbye and thanked him for being such a good friend and then we threw him away. Not the most pleasant send off but fitting for a used pacifier I guess. I'm glad he is dealing with it so well because I feel a little tugging inside myself wondering if I'm ready for him to give it up. I know I have to be but boy this growing up stuff is hard to do.

Goodbye Fire.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Happy happy (slightly belated) Easter. We headed to my sister's property in Scappoose for some good food (all vegan!) and fun games. It was a little cold and a whole lot a wet outside but the kids still got out to feed the ducks. We (oops) had forgotten to bring Ian's boots so Uncle Mark grabbed some bags and rubber bands and made Insta- boots*!

I can't tell you how happy I am to have a photographer in the family. Once again Nick...beautiful pictures!

*Insta-boots are perfect for keeping mud off the shoes and pants but, note, can be a little slippery.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Our package from Nova Natural finally came!

We needed some way to hold the roof of our fort up, some new blocks for building, and of course something fun to eat with. I think we'll be playing all day long.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

and then there's Jeremy.

I got a call this evening from Jeremy on his way home from work. He informed me that he had read my last blog entry and that he, politely, was not going to switch to almond milk.

*hee hee*

That man makes me laugh. And really he puts up with my food rantings and ravings and will eat nearly anything I place in front of him without complaint. So I give him his meat and potatoes kind of meal from time to time...and sometimes, on really special occasions, even with gravy.

Okay can have your milk however you'd like it.


Nut milk anyone? It's surprisingly good and very refreshing! Now that Ian is off all dairy products it's been interesting trying to find things to substitute for them. He likes rice milk just fine so I have that on hand too. I'm not a big fan of soy products so he's never tried the milk.

I'm cooking dairy free for all of us because I don't want Ian to have separate meals. It helps that I've already been cooking and baking a lot of vegan recipes (loving this book right now) which is automatically dairy free. Thankfully...the doctor told us that butter is fine for him to have, just no milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.

Just this past week I've been making the nut milk out of almonds. I had been reading about it for a couple of years now and then Annagrace mentioned it to me so I realized I had to try it.
It's easy too!

1 cup almonds (soaked in water for atleast 4 to 8 hours)
3 cups filtered water

Blend until smooth and creamy in a blender. Strain the almonds out and you're done! You can also add a little bit of vanilla and honey which makes a nice sweet drink.


My random thoughts on milk... When I started reading Nourishing Traditions two years ago I was shocked to learn about America's milk industry and not only how the cows are treated but how exactly our modern-day milk is made. While organic milk from free-range cows is better, especially for the cows, it's still pasteurized and homogenized which is one of the main reasons for milk allergies.

You can read about it on this site. I think it's important to first read up on the treatment of the cows which is touched on in the link. I'm finding it so heartbreaking and disgusting these days that I'm having a hard time eating meat at all. And I really believe that we need to know where our food comes from not only for our own bodies but as consumers.

My first choice for milk is raw milk. I think the pasteurization process isn't as important as the FDA likes to think it is and since it strips the milk of all enzymes and most of the vitamins and minerals (including calcium!) it can do more harm than good.

My second choice is organic whole because there aren't any hormones and whole milk because it's less messed with than 1% or 2% milks. Powdered skim milk is added to most 1% and 2% milks. And... "commercial dehydration methods oxidize cholesterol in powdered milk, rendering it harmful to the arteries."*

Also, I don't believe we should fear fat in our food. I would much rather drink full fatty milk and avoid sugar and white flour products than to eat any type of low-fat food in a package. It's all about eating as real and whole and as close to nature as we can.

I'm going to continue getting raw milk for Jeremy and I and probably Sawyer after he turns 1. But I may switch us all over to a non-dairy milk like almond milk soon. I'm finding that there are milk allergies/sensitivities with Ian and Sawyer's cousins on both sides of the family so we may not have a choice.

*Sally Fallons--Nourishing Traditions

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mumblings and recipes

Monday, monday. It's grey outside today, with some wind and little bit of rain mixed in. Not my favorite kind of weather but I don't seem to mind too much today. We had a good weekend, not fun necessarily in what we did, but happy that certain things are done. The upstairs is cleaned and scrubbed from ceiling to floor and it felt so so good this morning to wake up to a really clean bedroom and bathroom. And our taxes are done...or rather...the information is gathered and will be off to the accountant this week. A bit late for some people but a couple weeks earlier than last year and that feels good.

Since a lot of the chores were finished yesterday I think we'll spend today just relaxing and reading, curled up on the couch until we absolutely have to move. My new friend, Brother Cadfael is currently inspecting the clothes from an unfortunate soul found dead just yesterday and is waiting for me to return to find out the results. Just one more load of laundry and I'm so there.

In the's a couple of recipes that I have to share because I crave them often and really, they're just that good.


Corn Chowder

(My favorite corn chowder recipe because it's so simple but has lots of flavor and very fresh was great with the substituted rice milk too)

1 medium potato, peeled and diced small (about 2 cups diced)
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 medium stalk celery, finely minced
1 small red bell pepper, finely minced
5 cups (approximately 4 to 5 cobs' worth) fresh sweet corn
White pepper to taste
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil (or more, to taste)
1 cup milk, at room temperature

  1. Place the potatoes and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add the onion, thyme, and salt, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring. After about 5 minutes, add celery. Five minutes later add the cooked potatoes with all their liquid, the red bell pepper, the corn, and a few shakes of white pepper. Stir well, cover, and reduce heat. Cook quietly for about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Using a blender or food processor, purée about half the solids (about 2 to 3 cups--it doesn't have to be exact!) in some of the soup's own liquid. Return this to the kettle, and let it rest until serving time.
  4. Stir in the basil and milk about 10 minutes before serving time. Don't actually cook the soup any further; simply heat it--gently!-- until it's hot enough to eat. Serve immediately.
recipe from Mollie Katzen


Salad Pita Pizza

(This has become a favorite of ours! You can really do so many things with this recipe..this is my version.)

For the chopped salad:

1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 shallot or small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
3 hearts romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
1 cucumber
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 ripe avocado, diced
5 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
8 to 10 fresh mint leaves , torn into pieces (optional)

For Pizza:
4 (7 inch) pita bread (pocketless if you can find them)
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated
chopped fresh garlic

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

To prepare salad, vigorously rub the inside of a large bowl with the garlic. Add the vinegar and shallot (or red onion) and set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the oil and season with salt and pepper. Add lettuce cucumber, tomato, avocado, and basil and toss well. I add more balsamic vinegar and/or olive oil until I'm happy with the salad.

For pizza: Bake pitas, in batches as necessary, on a heated pizza stone or pan for 3 minutes. Then add cheese and some chopped garlic, return to oven, and bake until cheese is bubbly and melted (2 minutes).

Mound the salad on top of the pizzas, sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Adapted from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Sawyer is 10 months old today. It's hard to believe in 2 short months we will be celebrating his first birthday! He's doing so good and I'm amazed at how much older he seems these days. He wants to be a part of everything and doesn't want to be left out of anything Ian's doing. He's starting to walk along furniture now and cruises all over the place at amazing speed. He's got a sense of humor too. If the gate to the stairs is open he immediately heads for it looking over his shoulder to see if I'm looking. Then he starts giggling and tries to climb them as fast as he can before I grab him.

At the doctor's yesterday he weighed 19lbs 6oz and is 29 1/4" long. He seems pretty average although he's already bigger than Ian was at 1 year old! He has one tooth on the bottom and a couple more on their way in. He's sleeping so much better at night and for naps which has made him a very happy baby.

I was looking through baby pictures and found this one of Jeremy and his brother Adam. I have always thought that Sawyer looked like Jeremy's baby pictures but I was surprised at how similar when I saw this picture. Jeremy is the younger one...


I took Ian to the doctor yesterday as well for a 3 year checkup and because he's had a lingering cough for a couple of months now. The boys see a naturopathic pediatrician and we really really like him. We believe in natural, holistic health and since we rely mostly on herbs and homeopathic remedies for our family I'm thrilled to have a pediatrician who believes the way we do.

I spent a full hour and 1/2 for the appointments and instead of prescribing Ian something for his cough that would just eliminate it, we talked about what could be causing it. We finally narrowed it down to a milk sensitivity. We knew that this was a possibility from a test he had done a year ago but his symptoms were mild and we thought we'd just "wait and see". Now that he's showing other signs (some fluid in his middle ear) we know we have to do something about it.

So... he's off all milk products for now. He's never been a huge milk drinker but I'm bummed because I finally found a raw milk source here in Portland (thanks Betsy!) and he loves it. So he'll have to settle for some rice milk and almond cheese for now... so far so good.

My chiropractor mentioned that goat's milk may be a great alternative so I may try that in a few months depending on how he's doing.

Other than that...the boys are healthy!

Monday, March 10, 2008


... the lovely sounds of spring. Birds chirping, a lawn being mowed, the crunch of wet grass underfoot.

I looked outside this weekend to see all sorts of birds flying around our yard looking for food. It seemed like a good time to make those pine-cone bird feeders. So we got out all the messy ingredients and smeared and dipped until there was sufficient amount of peanut butter and millet in just about every square inch of the dining room. Deciding to leave the mess until after we were done, we headed outside.

I got the ladder out to hang the bird feeders and hung them in just the right places that would be perfect for the birds to find. I reveled in the beauty of nature smiling sweetly to myself and watched the boys play.

Then Sawyer began crawling in the muddy grass and Ian started arguing with me because he wanted to climb the ladder. I was trying to ignore how cold, sticky, and sweaty I was becoming and tried to once again focus on those soon-to-be mama birds and the good deed we were doing. Sitting in the mud, Sawyer began eating twigs and, I was hoping, avoiding all the poop that the neighborhood animals usually leave in our backyard. Ian decided it would be fun to smack the new pine-cone feeders with a stick knocking all the bird seed on the ground all the while I was firmly asking him to stop so I could take a good picture to show how much fun we were having outside.

I decided the front tree needed one too so off we headed to the front, a muddy Sawyer in one arm and a rickety ladder in the other while holding the string of a goo-covered pine cone in my mouth. Ian thought it was funny to shake the ladder while I balanced on the top and I silently cursed a bird and it's chirpy little song as it flew by.

Finally... all the feeders were up and I sat down to catch my breath for a moment. Ian joined me on the porch while hitting everything in sight with a stick and I gave him the evil-eye warning him about swinging it too closely to my head. I tried not to think of the mess in the house or the muddy clothes of the boys wishing we were back inside.

Suddenly I saw a metal water hose sprayer he'd been playing with earlier flying through the air. And as these things seem to go... the only place it deemed worthy of landing was directly on the soft sweet forehead of Sawyer. *Whack.* His head flew back. There was blood. There was screaming. I rushed over to see how bad it was and to comfort him when Ian started crying. So I took both boys, screaming, back into the backyard, gathered the ladder and camera and headed inside. They were muddy and cold but I was worried about Sawyer so I forgot about the mud for awhile. Sawyer seemed fine so I comforted Ian. Then I spent the next hour cleaning up mud, peanut butter, and bird seed all the while thinking that those soon-to-be-mama birds better be really, really, grateful for all that food.

P.S. Sawyer was fine. He perked up soon after and even smiled a little in his sweet way when I took this picture.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Self-portrait friday

Okay...technically it's not a self-portrait since I'm the one with the camera but just work with me here. I'll come up with something better soon.

Happy Friday from monkey-boy and his cohort.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A love of books

"If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever."

-Winnie the Pooh

We love that little bear around here. My sister got Ian the 80th anniversary edition at Christmas and it's a true work of art. A beautiful classic that shines far above the Pooh that Walt Disney gave us.

Every week the boys and I head to the library to stock up for the weekend. Ian always leaves saying "I YUV BOOKS!".

Some of his favorites right now besides Winnie the Pooh are Little Bear and Corduroy. Notice a theme? Also the Big Red Barn and anything involving animals.

"Tucked into the deep white folds are the farms and villages, the houses neatly plumped like white-feather pillows; red barns sing their color to the snow and challenge the brightness of the cardinal flying across the unbounded blue."

-From The Four Seasons of Mary Azarian. One of our library picks this week. It's beautifully illustrated with woodcuttings that are breathtaking. And what little writing there is, is just as engaging.

Aside from my ever growing list of cookbooks, health books, and how-to-make-that books that I'm always reading. I'm just now starting the brother Cadfael books. If you want a suggestion for a really good read...try The Poisonwood Bible. I love the way the author writes.

There's not much in life I crave more than reading a really good book. Thankfully Jeremy loves to read just as much as I do so we always have our noses in one, or...five. And we have stacks of books at various places throughout the house so one is always within reach for the boys to look at. My favorite time of the day is when Ian climbs into my lap with a book and a blanket and asks me to read. A love for reading is a gift we can give them and one they will appreciate for a lifetime.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bluesy weekend

I painted all day Saturday, in stages, and finished two coats. It's definitely blue. I normally choose warm colors to paint, like yellows, browns, and greens. So it's a bit of an adjustment to see such a cool blue when we open the front door. I'll be honest, I didn't like it at first. But it's growing on me, especially when the sun is shining, so I think I'll keep it around for a bit.

And just for fun....breakfast by candlelight.
My attempt at German pancakes from Annagrace (the recipe is near the bottom of the post if you can make it through all the yummy pictures of food without heading to the kitchen to eat), with frozen blueberries, thawed, and this deliciously creamy, ooey gooey good for you sauce.


Celestial Cream


1/2 - 3/4 cup pure maple syrup (see note)
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread (or other nonhydrogenated
vegan margarine) *** I used regular butter
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pckg (12oz/349g) silken firm tofu
1/4 tsp (little scant) sea salt

In a saucepan on low heat, combine syrup and margarine, and stir until margarine melts. Add vanilla, silken tofu, and salt, and with a hand blender or in a blender, purée until very smooth. Taste, and stir in additional maple syrup if desired.

Note: When using this recipe as a dessert topping, use the full ¾ cup maple syrup. However, for crêpes, use ½–2/3 cup maple syrup so the sauce is not as sweet.


I used the leftover celestial cream in oatmeal this morning and it was really yummy. Seriously....does it get any better when eating tofu for breakfast?

Celestial Cream recipe from