Friday, December 28, 2012

(this moment): Cousins

A Friday ritual. A single few photos - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
If you're inspired to do the same, link your 'moment' in the comments for all to find & see.


                                                                                                                                   Joining Soulemama

Friday, December 21, 2012

(this moment)

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
If you're inspired to do the same, link your 'moment' in the comments for all to find & see.

Joining Soulemama

Thursday, December 20, 2012


We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

A few of this weeks treasures with some random musings along the way!!
 Oh... this photo. It wasn't until it was uploaded to the computer that I actually saw it. This boy. Not a baby, not a toddler, but a boy. I feel like he is 2 and 1/2 going on six in this photo.  ... and I love his eagerness to help. Trust me, there are many mornings when it is easier for me to just run outside "real quick" and do chicken chores. But having him in tow makes my heart smile... and makes him feel oh so important. And that alone is worth it. (and I think the girls like it too cause they got a lot more scratch when he's in charge)!

 I came across a montessori services school catalog and fell in love with so many of their products... but at closer look, I realized I was in love with the purpose of the products and found that I could replicate many of them by looking in my own cupboards. Avi loves it when we set up the 'pouring station'.

 On the seventh night, Avi and Ella lit the candles while Ella's mama, Laura, looks on. What is almost cuter is that they are wearing each other's shirts. They love to trade! I love how these two play together.

 Having neighbors the same age is awesome... especially when, on a saturday morning, we can spontaneously end up at the park. After running around like horses, tigers, bears, rabbits, and cats, Carter and Avi found their own special place.

 I've had a few opportunities to thrift by myself lately. It is good medicine. I found a huge bag filled with stamps and ink for $6.99!! Avi had quite the time. He liked seeing the stamps show up on the paper....

 ....but stamping all over his legs, hands, arms and face was way more fun!

 Impromptu sunday morning play date with Laura and Ella (again!) and we end up in the comfy corner table - the one with pillows - at the Dushanbe Tea House.

 I love mail. So does my wonderful friend Aimee Herman. And she is much better at making me smile when I walk to my mailbox then I do for her. Thank you friend.

And her words - so poignant, so inspiring as I have been writing a new book - in those moments after my head hits the pillow and before I fall asleep. She reminds me (always) that a lot of writing happens before the paper meets the pen. And...... the paper and pen have a date.

Friday, December 14, 2012

(these [Nine] Moments)

Another little bit of Thursday for Friday.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

We've been enjoying the kindling the Hanukkah candles since the first night. Avi loves it!

 Avi cooking in his new kitchen he got for Hanukkah from Grandma and Grandpa!! I'm not sure if you remember how good of a cook Avi is?

Avi's first trip to the ballet. We saw the nutcracker (during nap time, mind you) and he was a dream. 
He loved it! (sorry for the quality of this photo - but I had to include this).
 Here Avi is peeking into to a present from his other Grandpa (my dad). 

 And he loves what's inside (as do i)... this vintage block set and some books. Super Cute!!

 Avi fell asleep before his cousins and auntie and grandma arrived for fourth night dinner. 

 Spending more time at the habitat. I love how much it changes with the seasons.

 A little bit of swinging and a little bit of kisses! Avi and I were cracking each other up as we made up silly songs about roosters and the sky while he was swinging. What a day!! 

Avi's collected treasures from our walk to the habitat today. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

(these [Nine] Moments)

Where have I been? Working, Learning, Playing, Cooking, Teaching, Cleaning, Sharing, and sooo much more.
 I apologize for my lengthened absence. So here is a little bit of Thursday for Friday.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

 We had an excellent Thanksgiving Holiday in the rainy but beautifully green Pacific Northwest. Portland to be exact. Grandma and Grandpa (Jenn's parents) hosted a great family gathering and we ate and laughed and played and had sooo much fun that our cameras rarely came out (a blessing and a curse). Here is Avi playing with one of Grandma's awesome toys!!
 One disadvantage to traveling by plane at thanksgiving is that we don't get sent home with any leftovers. But our friend/neighbor Allie made a 28 pound turkey and shared some of lots of her leftovers. Avi and I got to work and made (for my first time) gluten free egg noodles for our turkey noodle soup. 

 It was okay. The noodles turned out pretty good for a rushed first time. But I used a few different recipes from the web and it was under seasoned. I froze the leftovers so I will add more seasonings before we eat the next batch. The cute part was watching Jenn get seconds and thirds the whole time saying how under seasoned it was. And she was probably on her thirds when she realized that when I said the gluten free noodles were homemade - that meant Avi and I made them. :)
 I have been struggling to balance it all. And even though my bedtime has been uber late in the past several months, I still wake up early. UGH. But I do get to see magical mornings like this! 
 Avi and his/our friend Ella playing together. We hadn't seen Ella and her parents in sooo long that Avi said he wanted to "go on the Ella plane".  It broke my heart and made me smile all at the same time - what else could be the reason we haven't seen her except that she must have moved so far away, we'd need to fly on a plane, he reasoned. (Less than five miles to be exact). Making this play-date happen (and later dinner with her mama too) was sooo much sweeter than this photo could capture. 
 I am in love with my growing boy. His language continues to grow and amaze me. "I think.... shall we go feed the goats?" When the goats didn't come to his calls, "Come here goats. It's me, Avi" (a rarity, they always come), he decided to pocket the bait. 
 If one flies often and looks closely, they might recognize that this photo was taken on an airplane. But I wasn't traveling back from Portland. This flight took me to Salt Lake City, Utah for a Training/Class through the VRS Interpreting Institute. I flew out (alone) on a Thursday and came home that Sunday. The longest trip I've had away from Avi thus far. It was bittersweet! Freedom and heartache all at once. (Yes, that is a Vodka Soda I'm drinking)
 On Saturday, after being in training all day, a handful of us took the train into Temple Square to see the lights. I had forgotten that saying, "When in Rome..." as I asked the hostess of a restaurant on the roof of the Joseph Smith Memorial building if they had a bar. 
 But the training was amazing. I came away from it with a whole huge heap of ideas to use in my class, a new found desire to get my Ph.D., and a gaggle of amazing interpreter educators from across the country that I can now call colleagues and friends...including the amazing Sharon Neumann Solow (above).
Coming home was such sweetness. My boy seemed changed. His face, his voice different. Taller. And when I arrived he said, "Ema, you all done with Salt Lake City!" Here he is helping me with dinner. Messy but worth it!

I want to apologize in advance for any future absences that might occur. I'm winding down my semester (read: lots of grading) and trying my best to sit down at the sewing machine to finish (and start) some holiday gifts. Chanukkah begins at sundown this saturday. I'm not ready for the holidays. It was 75 degrees here on Wednesday. Where is the snow? Where has the time gone? On December 25th, Avi will be 2 & 1/2. Where has the time gone? 

I will post as I can... and know that I'm missing reading all your posts as well. I hope to be catching up soon!

Friday, November 16, 2012

(this moment)

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
If you're inspired to do the same, link your 'moment' in the comments for all to find & see.

Joining Soulemama

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taste of Tuesday: GF, SF, DF Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Mmmm... it's that time of year, when squash are abundant and the chill in the air makes me crave soup. 

Looks to me like the tree of life. 

The thing with squash is the cutting it up. I wrestled with this butternut for the better part of an hour with two dull knives (Though squash is known to give even the sharpest knife a run for it's money). I was so proud of myself though when the outcome was a delicious soup. But the very next night, I met Mara Jane King -- "Just put the whole squash in the oven on 400 until your kitchen smells delicious", she said. I couldn't be more thrilled as I have made this soup several more times since - and who cares that we don't have a sharp knife in the house. It's sooooo easy!!!

I found this beautiful recipe from Karina over at Gluten Free Goddess. My edits in red.

Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free Curried Butternut Squash


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2-3 teaspoons mild gluten-free curry powder
4 cups (diced) butternut squash 
4 to 6 cups light vegetable broth (or fresh water)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or raw agave nectar, to taste
½ to 1 cup coconut milk


Preheat oven to 400. Put whole butternut squash on a cookie sheet and cook until your kitchen smells delicious (45minutes to an hour). Take out of oven, let cool until you can easily peel off the skin. Scoop out seeds and such. Cut up. 
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and curry powder; stir and cook until the onion softens. Add the squash and broth. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer.

Simmer until the squash is very soft and fork tender- maybe 30 minutes. Because I cook the squash in the oven, I simmer for about 10 minutes to meld favors.  

Puree the soup with an immersion blender till smooth. Stir in the maple syrup and coconut milk. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.

Warm through gently and serve. Enjoy!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

(this moment)

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
If you're inspired to do the same, link your 'moment' in the comments for all to find & see.
 Joining Soulemama

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nine: Halloween Edition

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

This weeks treasures and random musings are dedicated to Halloween. 

Some time ago, Avi had decided to be a black and white Kitty Cat for Halloween. Then, out of the blue, he announced he wanted to dress as a "Balloon Party" (we still are stumped where he even got this vocabulary). When he woke on Saturday, he wanted to be a Monkey and so dressed the part for our pal, Harrison's 1st birthday/halloween party. And between Saturday and Halloween, Avi juggled Kitty Cat, Trash Can (??), Balloon Party, and Monkey. Halloween morning he was back to the Kitty Cat. So, I finished my lecture, let my students out 15 minutes early, and raced home to get in front of the sewing machine before our nanny had to leave. I had about 30 minutes - and Voila - sometimes, it's all you need! Who cares if he is mistaken for a cow or skunk, he knew he was a Kitty Cat! (As I sit here and write this, Jenn is sweetly giving me some feedback about the round spots making it seem more cow and less cat... and if I had only...    I cut her off, smile sweetly and remind her that I had less than a half hour. He looked great)! I also texted my mom to tell her thanks for making my 3rd grade nun halloween costume the night before because I now understand how she was sure I would change my mind. A new insight as a parent!

A little bit of Halloween make-up makes the nose (which he rubbed off) and whiskers!

Now, if you remember from this post on the 1st of October, Avi's inspiration for his costume came from our neighbor's black and white cat named Boomer. Avi gets on his costume and a few minutes later who should appear? None other than Boomer.

 He was in the far corner of our backyard when Avi opened the door and said, "Boomer, I'm a kitty cat." Boomer, who is sometimes shy and stand-offish, leapt over the brown stalks that were once black-eyed-susans, ran through the grass, came up the stairs and right up to Avi...

...and into our home. Avi was in heaven! The boy and his inspiration!

 It wasn't long before Boomer was bounding up the stairs and into our bathroom shower. Avi was quick to follow.

 The two of them hung out for a bit in the shower and Boomer meowed up quite the conversation which Avi seemed to take in without hesitation. Maybe some pointers on being a feline?!

Avi showed off his tail to Boomer before we led him back downstairs to head outside.

Soon we noticed yet another friend outside. Avi joined Forrest in his kitty cat ways out on the deck. Who knew our son was the cat whisperer.

And finally an evening of trick-or-treating* with our neighbors, Carter, the monkey and his baby sister, Kate, dressed as a bear (who isn't in the picture because she was being worn by her mama). These boys had quite the night!

*A note on trick-or-treating: I struggle with the whole candy aspect of Halloween -- partially hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, and sugar. Avi still doesn't completely know what candy is. He knows about chocolate and knows he can have it when he is older. So in effort to keep Halloween from becoming this candy focused holiday, we brought along Lara Bars and other healthier snacks to sneak to the eager candy givers to give to Avi. This lasted for a few homes, but seeing his friend get to pick candy, Avi wanted to as well. In comes the wonderful story of the Sugar Sprite. I came across this idea from other bloggers (sorry, I don't remember who and where). Children collect candy on Halloween and leave it by their bed. The Sugar Sprite comes in the night and takes the candy leaving behind another small gift (stickers, for example) as a thank you. Then the Sugar Sprite uses all that sweetness to sprinkle into kiddos dreams - keeping their dreams sweet. I love this. The Sugar Sprite was mildly introduced to Avi this year... but we will definitely be continuing with this tradition!!  

I wonder how you all handle Halloween. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taste of Tuesday: Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free Apple Crisp (and contemplations on food waste)

The average American wastes more than half a pound of food per day (source). 

This whole idea of food and waste has weighed on me for years. I shop with the intention of cooking up that bok choy only to find it rotting weeks later in the back of the fridge. I try to be a conscious consumer but I'm still guilty. I think I'm most especially effected when I see the food we have grown with our blood, sweat, and tears go to waste. But this year, I was trying my best to put all of our food to good use... and this is coming from someone who hasn't yet learned how to can. The basil got made into pesto which is now stored in cubes in the freezer. I picked all of the tomatoes (including the green ones) in the moonlight before the first frost. And the apples -- cortland and golden delicious -- harvested from our trees and sorted into two piles: apples for eating and apples for baking. In the past, I would have overlooked these worm laden, rotted spotted, mushy apples. Or I might have picked them all with the intention of using them, but watched as the fruit flies swarmed while they rotted in the garage or on the counter. Not this year!! I made applesauce and lots of it. But I still had apples left. And the kicker was that I was doing an intense nutritional program in which I cut out sugar, gluten, and dairy. So pies and crisps seemed out of the question. Until...

I saw this post from my friend Lisa over at Little Coffee Beans. She had concocted a crisp without sugar. Now, to go back a little, Apple Crisp... I grew up on it. Ate it for breakfast (alongside the fruity pebbles) topped with a huge blob of vanilla ice cream. I have monkeyed with the several crisp family recipes over the years and even created a gluten free version. Then a better gluten free version. It's probably the only thing that I can bake without a recipe. But I had yet to experiment with how to make this kid friendly - meaning without sugar. So Lisa inspired me to create my own crisp -- a crisp that I could enjoy even while doing this intense nutritional program and a crisp that I could share with Avi - a boy who eats his veggies and doesn't get sugar. 

So I took a bit of her concoction and tinkered with it to make it not only sugar free, but gluten free and dairy free as well! And because this isn't too sweet, it's actually great for breakfast... far greater than that sugar laden one I ate as a kid. 

Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Diary Free Apple Crisp
  • Lots of Organic Apples. Cut into chunks, skins left on. (I used cortland and golden delicious).
  • 1 Tbsp organic fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp arrow root powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp of organic coconut oil
  • 3/4 (or more) Tbsp organic cinnamon
  • 2 drizzles of organic maple syrup
  • 1 Cup gluten-free oats 
  • 1/4 Cup brown rice flour (though I may try coconut flour next)
  • Large handful of your favorite coarsely chopped nuts or seeds

Preheat oven to 375. 

In a glass baking dish (8x8 or larger if you have more apples) combine apples, lemon juice, arrow root and cinnamon together with a drizzle of maple syrup. In a separate pan melt coconut oil and stir in the oats, flour, and any nuts or seeds you are using and another drizzle of maple syrup. Once mixed together nicely (about 2 minutes), remove from heat. Spread mixture evenly over the apples. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. If browning too much, cover with foil and then cook for another 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!!!

What are the favorites from your childhood that you have remade?
What are you doing to lessen the wasting of food?