Friday, September 28, 2012

(these [Nine] Moments)

Okay, so it's becoming common practice around here -- 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

:: still enjoying these beauties.
 :: Getting yet another thing checked off my want-to-do list.
 :: Taking Making some time for myself.
 :: Creating my own treasure box.
 :: Avi eating pieces of my treasure box.
 This young boy's appetite for delicious, nutritious meals.
:: These two cuties.

:: Knife skills.  
:: More deliciousness from our garden.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Taste of Tuesday: No Sugar Added Applesauce

  • Make applesauce from apples picked from our trees.
  • Pick basil from garden and make pesto and freeze.
  • Turn over flower beds to ready for next year's garden beds.
  • Blog about each of the above.

I love it when the things on my to do list actually make it a "want-to-do-list". And I also feel stressed when these things get to feeling overwhelming. But The first one is now crossed off the list!! And the applesauce is delicious. I love sharing the bounty! I gave some to my gal Lisa and family as they welcomed their 2nd child when I brought a meal to them. (Always include a sweet treat I advised when I guest posted over at Little Coffee Beans). I gave some to our neighbor Sara to celebrate her birthday. I brought some to the Rosh Hashanah picnic/potluck in the park - so sweet to hear the shofar this year!!! (L'Shana Tova)! And I have a jar promised to some other friends and more apples waiting on the tree. 

I used a variation of this recipe from Marisa over at Food in Jars.

Spiced Applesauce: 
4 pounds apples
½ cup apple cider or water
Optional spices:
2 pieces star anise
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
She suggests quartering apples and leaving the skins on to fish out later, but because I have my peeler, slicer, corer - it was faster for me to use that. 
Slice, core, peel apples. I toss them into a bowl of salt water to prevent browning while I'm finishing my prep. Put them in a large, non-reactive pot. Add liquid and star anise (if using), put on lid and bring to a simmer. Let fruit cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, until the fruit has broken down. 
Remove star anise. Using a potato masher or immersion blender, break down the fruit until it has reached your desired consistency. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. 
Marisa has more instructions on canning the applesauce, but since we were using it and eating it up quickly, I didn't bother with that step this time. Maybe next batch. Nothing like the sweetness of applesauce in late January to make you feel alive again. 

I know I have raved about my Apple slicer, corer, peeler before, but I have to again this year. I LOVE this piece of kitchen equipment and it's worth the $20!! 


Monday, September 24, 2012

treasure box

The change of seasons. I can't talk enough about how much it's my favorite time of year. Early morning chicken chores now involve putting on sweats and a jacket, our evening walks include long sleeves and sometimes a hat. I am in love with this shifting. In this ever increasing lifestyle of living disconnected from the world, this shift wakes up our senses and forces us to notice... to reconnect with the natural world. 

I, like many, struggle of how to live with the conveniences/addictions of an iphone, this computer on which I'm writing this post, my car, plastic, etc. and my relationship with the great mother. I often experience cognitive dissonance as I "like" Tiny House Blog on Facebook and continue to live in a 2200 sq. ft. home with a family of three. Or when I take out the trash  --  I rest assured knowing we've separated recycle and compost, yet every week our trash bin is still full and I know that it ends up in the landfill. Or how our commitment to cloth diapers has gotten a bit lackadaisical in recent months. 500 years (or longer or never) it takes for diapers to decompose. FIVE HUNDRED YEARS and I'm playing a part. I think this cognitive dissonance is why I am so moved by the shifting seasons.

It is a sacred time to reconnect... to slow down... to remember.... to respect. And I want more then ever to help guide Avi with his connection to our Home... our Earth. When he was just a few months old experiencing his first change of seasons... summer into fall... we would lay in the cool grass and gaze up at the trees above and I would talk with him about the changing leaves and the cooler weather to come. We would walk and I would point out the dying back of plants and the squirrels busying themselves - readying for winter. When the first snow fell, we prolonged bedtime to let him experience a snowflake on his cheek. When his first spring was arriving we paid heed to the buds, blossoms, and leaves emerging. We watched the naked tree branches slowly dress into their spring and summer collections. He is learning the names of trees, plants, flowers, bugs, birds, wildlife, and I am so thrilled in his excitement. 

Last week we were playing outside and Avi was throwing his sidewalk chalk. I was trying to decide how to shift his play into something different. (While throwing chalk isn't so bad, it's not my favorite use of chalk). Suddenly, I had an idea. I ran inside and grabbed an empty egg carton, cut off the top and brought it to Avi. "Avi, look what Ema has for you... a treasure box. Shall we find treasures?", I asked him. His face lit up and soon we were playing together looking for treasures. 

Can you find a yellow leaf? 
A rock? 
Another rock smaller than that one? 
Some purple lavender flowers?
What other treasures should we find?
A pinecone?
A tomato? If we want to find a tomato, where should we look? 
A lemon balm leaf?

This went on and on.... after we had found a dozen treasures, we talked about them, making comparisons in size, shape, color, function, taste. I was actively involved as a parent and he was actively involved in discovering things about the natural world. When we were all done, I asked Avi if we should take some pictures of his treasure box. Then he went in the house and grabbed two wooden bowls from his play kitchen area. "One for Avi. One for Ema. Treasure boxes", he said. And we walked to the park to find more treasures.

We welcome Autumn!

Friday, September 21, 2012

(these [Nine] Moments)

Yes, once again... 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

 A walk up to the grocery store: leads to an impromptu play date among the curly hairs!
 Everbearing Strawberries: and our daily visits to the patch to see which ones have ripened. 
 My best helper: gathering weeds & dumping them 17 times in 10 feet before reaching the compost bin.
 My best indoor helper: shortening the pole on the swiffer to make it just his size. Avi loves to mop!
 The too do list: at least this reminder on the counter is nice to look at. 
 Two of our neighborhood deer: they even know to cross in the crosswalk. 
 The neighbor's cat: and Avi trying so hard to make friends - squatting down and calling out, "Here kitty cat"
 The results of picky chickens who don't eat the sunflower seeds in their scratch: and the bees!
 Chicken sitting for my sister's two chickens: meet this lovely and her floppy comb. 
A play date that bleeds into nap time: God was on my side!! 

Friday, September 14, 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, September 13, 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 how I love thee... let me count the ways! 
I just can't seem to get enough of him! Since I've started back at work I find that our time together is more balanced. Playing together instead of me feeling like I'm always saying, "in just a moment". Parenting is hard work. Parenting and keeping the household - harder. I love the days when I can text Jenn before she arrives home from work with the warning, "the house is messy". Then there is no cause for concern. (But who is getting dinner on the table? oh yeah, me!)  It's all about balance and I'm finding more these days - even with less time. 

 My neighbor Sara said it best about our boys: "two year olds for hire"
 Riding high with mama in the Boba: sharing his farmer's market carrot with Ema.
 This sweet sign: and meeting baby Linden, who it's for! Welcome to the world little man!
 Trampoline fun with Avi: and his hair!! 
 This smile. Period.
 Apple harvest: time to start making applesauce and pies and crisps and and and...
 Wednesday's forecast high of 61, overcast, rain: long sleeves, long pants, socks... first time this season!! I hear people saying that summer is over.... NO!!!!  It's late summer!!!  And it's one of my favorite parts of summer. 
I found some patience this week in the kitchen: and Avi used his mad skillz to help make his french toast. I love that I can find the places where I can allow my 2 year old to be at the hot stove. It is with guidance and supervision that our kiddos can learn where to touch and where not to touch. Things that are "hot" or "dangerous" don't always have to be off limits if we can find the patience and time to really be there. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Come Find Me: Guest blogging elsewhere today

I'm so happy to be a guest blogger for my friend Lisa who welcomed her second baby into the world this past weekend.  
Find me today over at little coffee beans.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kale Smoothies Baby!

Back on the first day of the year, I set my intention to embrace food. We started our day with a smoothie -- nothing like drinking your greens! And eating them too... spinach and chard in our smoothies and salads. Nutritious eats. Delicious eats. But it wasn't long before the high oxolate foods (swiss chard being the worst at 645mg and spinach at 600mg) caught up to my already-prone-to-kidney-stone kidneys. Ugh. So my motivation to eat healthy waned... and I nixed the greens, lost sight of almost all vegetables and fell back into the habit of sugar. Horrible for the rest of my body, but not a high oxalate food. And then came the dark chocolate (daily) and suddenly I'm not only not eating well (because I was avoiding those high oxalate foods) but now I'm not eating well and eating high oxalate foods (chocolate 117mg).

And to give a little bit of perspective: 
'Very high oxalate food' contains more than 90-800mg. 
'High oxalate foods' contain between 26-99mg. 
'Moderate oxalate foods' contain between 10-25mg.
'Low oxalate foods' contain between 0-9mg. 

I have to say it is extremely frustrating when you try to do something healthy and then your body backfires on you. And it sucks even worse to look at a chart that says:

Beets, Chard, Spinach, Almonds, Rhubarb = the worst

Brown rice flour = bad.                              White bread = good.
Granola = bad.                                            Apple Jacks and Frosted Flakes = good.
Lentil Potato Soup = bad.                           Cheese soup = good.
Black Pepper = bad.                                   Corn Syrup = good.
Cinnamon = bad.                                        Ketchup = good.
Tea (black or gren) = bad.                          Pepsi = good. Coca-cola even better.

Right now, I only crave those foods which are bad for my kidneys. But it's due time I get over this bump. There are nutritious and delicious foods I can eat - some of which include: asparagus, avocados, broccoli, cherries, melons, mangos, peaches, fish, eggs, cheese, and most herbal teas. I need to do a bit of detox in my gut as well as the fridge and pantry. I'm back at the gym 3-5 days a week and that feels great. But it's time to quit being punched in the gut by dumb charts and figure out good, healthy, low (to medium) oxalate foods that I can eat and feel good about.  I'm also seeing a holistic nutritionist to help guide me through the process.

So I started with a kale/berry smoothie. Avi loves the blender and it's an easy no stress kitchen adventure we can do together. Kale is moderate at 13mg and so are the berries you see below but they are worth it if I don't overdue it. I can't drink a kale/berry smoothie every morning, but I can once in a while. Any of you have ideas for a green smoothie that is also good for the kidneys?

1 cup strawberries
1 cup blackberries
the rest of the blueberries in the fridge
1 avocado
a bunch of kale from the garden
1 Tbsp flaxseed (we keep ours in the freezer to retain freshness)
1 Tbsp hemp protein
one hungry boy who wants to help!
add ingredients into blender, add water (we fill 1/2 way)
blend, pour, enjoy!!

Avi wanted his in a bowl... and eventually wanted it topped with granola. Check out the first bite (clean pj shirt) to last bite (can you say bath after breakfast?)!!