Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sleepless in the OC

It's the last day of 2011. 4:20 in the morning and I am once again sleepless. Why do all my pregnancies include insomnia? Lack of sleep makes mama do silly things, unthinking things, short tempered things.

How is a peaceful pregnant parent supposed to prepare when she is so sleepy? Well, I do have some tips... having done this a few times before!

#1 Do yoga daily- really it helps a lot. Need an inexpensive, easy to use resource? Simple Everyday Prenatal Radiance There now you have no excuse!

#2 Go to bed early, it's ok you won't miss anything really important. Sugar Daddy has made a few jokes about how out 10 year old stays up later than me- but really, they have enjoyed some special bonding.

#3 Watch what you eat. I'm one of those, "Hey I am pregnant- give me my banana split" type ladies- but with age (and apparently mine is an "advanced maternal age" this go around) comes wisdom.

#4 Give in and get up. Make yourself useful, it is quiet in these early pre-dawn hours, and I can get lots of writing, reading, or just gazing at the Christmas tree lights done without the usual gaggle of giggling wiggle-bots.

#5 Write a blog post- and try not to use it to sort through all the things you wish you hadn't said or done out of sheer exhaustion that week.

#6 Be kind to yourself- knowing your limitations and boundaries is what makes you a super mom, not being able to "do it all".

#7 Stay hydrated during the day, I wake up thirsty so often- and then if I quench that thirst I wake up to pee repeatedly, so I try to get my water in all day.

#8 "...think about that tomorrow." Embrace your southern belle and be like Scarlett, don't let your mental machinations make you mopey.

#9 Start your own "night night routine"- this is sorta silly but I believe the little child in all of us still wants a story, a little song and to be tucked in by someone who loves us.

#10 Remember that in no time at all these middle of the night moments will include a sweet little soul- make space in your heart for him or her with affirmations. (See #1, Simple Everyday Prenatal Radiance includes a great list, and right now it's on sale for about a buck- download to your PC, Kindle, Nook and do that yoga- your body will thank you!)

Well half an hour later- still before dawn, do I roll off the couch and do my asanas, go to the kitchen and grab a cookie, or try to crawl back in my bed without waking any of it's occupants? Guess I should practice what I preach... I can always have the cookie with my morning coffee. Yes I still drink a cup of coffee in the morning, I do have 3 other kids who need me whether I got any sleep or not.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Family Table

Eating around a table together, facing each other- emulating etiquette and talking about the day really is important. For my family it makes such a difference in the way that the rest of the evening unfolds.

Tonight J-cakes, my almost 4 year old, said "Milo, mommy" and I thought she meant she wanted to watch the classic movie that she and her sister love about the friendship of a cat and dog on a journey. A moment later I realized she was asking for "Hi Lo"- a tradition we started after seeing The Story of Us with Bruce Willis & Michelle Pfeiffer.

We all go around the table and share a high and a low from the day. J-cakes high today was when she cleaned her sister's room (on her own, just 'cause she wanted to). Her low was when her brother bit her. =(  [suggestions now being taken for stopping that bit of nastiness that he has been sinking his teeth into lately]

G-pie shared that the entire day was a high and her only low was when she heard Sugar Daddy and I arguing, and we apologized, it wasn't even a real argument- just tensions running high (plans to be made while toddlers are competitively vying for the sound waves). I told her that we probably need to listen to each other more, so we won't have to raise our voices- hmmm, I am one wise mama, aren't I?

My high? Watching as C-dough my almost 2 year old discovered his shadow and tried to play with it for a good 3 or 4 minutes- on the wall, on the floor, trying to tickle it and looking all around when it would suddenly disappear. Such pure wonder, delight and amazement. These are the days...

(Weird video but great song!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What is Art Club?

The first rule of Art Club is that there is no Art Club. Just kidding, it shouldn't be a secret- and so it shall be no longer- a secret, that is.

A few weeks ago, my almost 10 year old starting talking about wanting to do more art. She also wanted to see her friends more. With my pregnancy, adjusting after the move and Sugar Daddy still on the hunt for gainful employment our schedule has been erratic and she just wasn't getting consistent friend time.

So we conceived of a weekly Art Club where we could use the materials we have (many boxes of disorganized and mismatched arts & crafts supplies) and create works of art together with some friends. I wanted to do it at home for several reasons- mostly the types of project she was interested in, the fact that it is easier for me to keep up with my littles and still get some socializing in myself- and I'd read a post by one of my favorite homeschoolers about how she had game afternoons at her house with a small group during the early years of homeschooling.

Since if was G-pie's idea, I allowed her to choose 5 friends, feeling that 6 girls was the most that would fit comfortably in the garage space we dedicated to this endeavor. With their siblings and moms this turned out to be 18 people and our house is not large.

We never meant to be "exclusive" but we could not, of course, be totally inclusive- having met so many wonderful and enriching new friends. There are people who I have especially felt the sting of "leaving out" of this little learning cooperative, but as it has developed, I am cherishing what we have the opportunity to provide for our children- and am astounded at the unexpected rewards.

Tonight I accidentally created the next meeting as a public event on Facebook, so I am sure many of our homeschool friends saw it- a few of you have already inboxed me. I decided to turn to my blog - just last week this issue came up when one of my tender, loyal friends voiced her fears that we may cause hurt feelings in the community. I thought about it a lot and talked to G-pie and we decided it felt right to continue to provide this excellent atmosphere for a smaller group of kids and hope that our other friends will understand the need we are meeting, as we choose our path along the journey of alternative education.

To ALL of our friends, please know that we would have loved to be able to include everyone, but it just isn't feasible.  I would be more than happy to talk with you if you would like to know more about how we set things up and how it might work for you to create something similar based on your children's interests.

We have decided as a group to have structured art lessons and then free "creative time" afterwards. Being a collective of creative spirits -we have already had our ups and downs, the kids and moms have all grown in our group discussion skills and are learning a lot about the dynamic of a group-led effort.  I have so deeply appreciated that they all honor our original intent- to create art together.

My hope is to be able to blog about this experience, because I do see it as a special one as we continue, always learning, barefoot.

Love to you all- brightest blessings in this happy season.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cooking with kids.

IMAG2619 by barefootin
J-cakes is almost 4, and so helpful in the kitchen. She pulled leaves off a cabbage head, she skinned a carrot, she peeled garlic, she took scraps to the worm bin, she scooped and scraped when I needed an extra hand.

We made Curry Crockpot Cabbage Rolls, and her big sister gobbled it down- but her tiny toddler appetite appeared again tonight.

Just goes to show you can lead child to vegetables, but you can't make them eat.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Art Studio

My new passion is our developing "Art Studio"- all my sweeties love to create, and having a place that allows some room for exploration, plus space to hang out together for inspiration and collaboration! I've been spurred on by so many great rooms while being incredibly productive Pinterest... you really should not click this link if you value your time on the internet, but if you are already a Pinner, well then don't forget to open the link in a new tab so you'll find your way back here to finish my fascinating blog post.

We made Koolaid Playdoh recently, and it has been a popular little brother occupier, while I continue to sort and organize and the girls paint, cut, glue, glitter, bead & feather. G-pie has drawn many a cat picture and once C-dough had cut all the playdoh in little tiny pieces with his little Mickey Mouse knife, he learned to sponge paint, hold scissors (he is definitely a lefty)- oh yeah... and pour rubber cement out all over his sister's bedroom floor (one of the major factors in the rush job on the Art Studio, by dear sweet Sugar Daddy on Wednesday night)!

Last night we fit in a little family style creativity before bedtime with a really fun game, it was surprisingly easy and the 6 resulting pictures were funny - one actually turned out pretty good!

There are so many studies on the benefits of art, I am blessed to have a family who is so talented and encourages me, the wordy one, to use more imagery and imagination when creating. We are lucky to have space dedicated to the messy business of creating.

And speaking of the messy business of creating, tomorrow I have an ultrasound scheduled, so the girls are doing an etching project discovered in the California Studies Weekly newsletter that we have been reading this year- it is fun, with crossword, trivia and interesting information delivered in a colorful, easy to digest format (and the state standards are covered for those using a charter school). Pics will be posted on Google+ and facebook soon...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our house is haunted!

The girls have spent the week sniffly and creating crafts to celebrate the spooky season- and making home made costumes...

Today these super easy, even for the tiniest tot, ghosts have been popping up all over the house.
All you need:
  • Two napkins
  • Plastic bread enclosing thingy (I compulsively save these, they make great race boats with a drop of liquid dish soap and a little engineering, but normal twist ties or a scrap of yarn would have worked great, too
  • Marker for faces
Ball up one napkin, open up the other. Put the ball in the center of the open one, wrap around to firm ghost. Twist the napkin at the "neck" and use pop on the neck band. Draw on face. These little spirits are even handy should a spill happen, amidst all the scary fun!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Here I am again, barefoot and ...

Maybe the moniker of "barefoot"OCmama was just too much of a temptation for universe, especially since I have been spending so much time in the kitchen (have you checked out my new foodie blog, 

How could this happen? 

Let me take a moment to explain. About 6 weeks ago, after we had gotten ALL the children to sleep at a fairly decent hour and had been involved in what a happily married couple should be involved in more often than we are... suddenly- well I'll let Grease take it from here.

Kenickie: It broke! 

Rizzo: How could it break? 

Kenickie: I bought it when I was in the seventh grade.

Well we weren't in the 7th grade, but let's just say I have been nursing or pregnant for over 4 years- so we haven't needed to even consider birth control- but we have held on the Costco size box of condoms we got sometime in 2005.

It broke. Really. Right after the dog ate my Dr's note excusing me from participating in this test of the emergency broadcast system.

So about 4 weeks after my 40th birthday I am due to have my 4th child. Seems like there should be a 4th "4" there... 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Aerial Arts Classes in Costa Mesa

My oldest sweetie, G-pie, has been in gymnastics on an off since she was 18 mos old. She has the build for it, and enjoys having goals to work towards while allowing her to energetically practice things she is already good at. Tonight she took her first Aerial Arts class with Ruby Karen. ( She liked aerial arts because it's "all bendable and I like climbing and hanging and spinning around, too."

We liked the little dance studio, Dance Asylum- it looks like they have some fun classes for all ages! Ruby Karen is a good teacher, a dynamic yet serious , encouraging yet challenging and it looked like quite the workout- the first half an hour was on the floor and looked almost Pilates like. I wasn't sure my 9 1/2 year old would appreciate how important that was to the work she did later on the hoop (which she says was actually pretty hard to balance)- but I was totally impressed!

She is eager to return- actually she wants to go twice a week! But we are thinking once a week is enough along with gymnastics and this weekend she is checking out a local theater program. More to come on that! But right now my little cloud loving*, paper folding, picture avoiding girl is eager to play Gin Rummy. Again.

*in case your kids (or you) are into clouds check out this cool link (


Monday, September 12, 2011

Powerful Fullness

Tonight- like most things is not at all what I expected or planned for. The moon is full and so were my hopes for an enlightening evening of mystical messages and metaphysical murmurings. Instead my daughter and I filled a bowl with water, sank a moonstone in it, lit a 3-wicked candle and blessed some of the herbs we had gathered. Simple, mundane tasks- although when shared with my newly interested offspring, it does make it just a little more special.

My dear friend, yoga teacher and future co-conspirator ( wrote about sharing this evening with her daughter and my spirit played with them in the circle they drew. I inspired my own mother to begin a blog, she found something incredibly poignant and beautiful to share about her evening walk under the Full Moon tonight ( I am thankful for both of their posts, their words so often fortify me in person, I am glad the rest of the world can share in discovering their special-ness.

Maybe for the new moon we will gather and peer into each other's mystical hearts...?  My own Harmony Angel reading tonight again called my attention to an unknown Leo who I seem to be ignoring... let loose your roar, oh lion of the stars- what are you trying to tell me!? Something big is about to happen... I am grateful for what is, the universe is exactly as it should be.

I leave you with my favorite participant in the Full Moon Blog-abration. Sometimes that star off in the corner of the sky catches your attention, with it's particularly sparkly sparkle...
Via Facebook comment:
I'm missing the moon bloggin' cause of my game... but you'll be pleased to know there is a full moon in Victorian London as well! about an hour ago ·  ·  1 person

Full Moon Blog-abration

Some friends and I were going to get together to share some magical, mystical moments- but the stars didn't align this full moon. So everyone is invited to share in the celebration! Many of us use different types of divination tools- cards, crystals, candles, stones, herbs, etc.

Tonight I will be doing my own Angel Card reading/ full moon meditation and blessing. I will blog in full glorious detail about it, and ask any of you who feel moved to share something, connecting us to this blessed harvest moon and each other as we transition into fall.

Please enter your blog information below - if you are on Facebook we are also connecting our notes through the virtual event I set up. Like this post and I will be sure you get linked in!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking back

Our first few weeks of 4th grade have been an enlightenment phase. G-pie has rediscovered self reliant time management (ie, managing boredom) while Sugar Daddy and I have researched and pursued business endeavors hoping to provide a life for our children, the snack pack has wrestled with their huge emotions, their tiny bodies and their jealous need for mama.

My sweet family.
The goal this summer was to orient ourselves and become fully engaged in life, lay a stable family foundation for our childrens' (and our own) journeys of self discovery through community based education, and our socially productive pursuit of happiness. Albeit a migratory one in our case... this was move number 11 for us as a couple.

But this month Sugar Daddy has been doubling his efforts to find a job- the license/ lapse of consciousness issue still looms and with nothing good to report. But we cannot wait for the Department of Morons and Villains to make their assessment (especially since our medical "professional" will not fill out the stinking form!)... so he won't be looking at any outside sales jobs- but I diverge, and my blood pressure rises and I start to breath erratically....

The day I started this post was an archetypal lazy summer day- it was HOT. I stayed in my pajamas all day. J-cakes in her bathing suit, G-pie sequestered in her room, hibernating in the cool darkness of the shadiest room of the house. C-dough was on change number 5- and had just unplugged my power source calling to mind the reminder to schedule myself an eye appointment as the screen dimmed...

And here we are 4 days later on this somber Sunday. Thursday, we enjoyed perfect weather, dinner guests and vision building, Friday we met and played with our friends at the cool, shady park, Saturday we were awoken by a thunder storm, cleaned house and went out a date (I kid you not!), and here I am (Air Hockey Champion, thank you very much!)  as I return to the pleasantries of capturing my own musings for the amusement of some.

We have been through a lot in the past 10 years since "the world went crazy"- that surreal day, I was pregnant with G-pie, planning for our future. I was filled with fantasy about family life and prepared to be a perfect parent. So much has happened in the world and in our life during this roller coaster decade.

It was hard to imagine bringing a child into a world filled with the horror I felt when terror struck- we sure didn't know what the reality of our future would be, but I am thankful that we had one- and I am sad as I think of all the lives lost, the children orphaned and parents who must mourn their progeny. Life is precious, it is never what we expect, it is miraculous and stunning and absurd and sometimes it just is- indefinable, without label and I find myself totally without understanding, so I breath in and out and it goes on.

Throughout I have been Learning Barefoot, alongside my children, about myself, about relationships- about how humans learn, how they fail, how they connect. About how I function in intentional tribes of mamas bound together by a desire to do some things a little differently. The "rules" are different, the technology is AWESOME, food is medicine (we are over medicated!) and media is EVERYWHERE.

Information age enlightenment, evolved social structures and tolerant living styles have been our environment, and we have indulgently explored family style learning (aka homeschooling). We have made so many friends, so many connections to other humans.

Humans are pretty spectacular specimens when you study them closely- and that is the subject matter for us moms- humanology. What makes a human, what should we feed it, teach or share with it, how should it sleep, how should it spend it's time, what makes it feel loved, accepted and supported? How does a human become an adult human and what will it need to adapt along that evolution?

Something big is about to happen- we have incredible opportunities, intriguing options, and inspiring offspring! My mind has been swimming with the things that I have learned about attentive, peaceful parenting- anecdotes and advice from our first 5 years of alternative education. Fun, creative ideas that I hope will inspire and inform many a new mama as they fantasize about the moments they will spend with their adorable, aware and always amazing adolescents. Courage building basics that will edify empowered parents as they enter the early years. It will all be in my book, and it is on it's way.

Memorials of tragedy and loss fill the airwaves today, and we humans reach out to share our stories of that day because we care about each other and we want to feel connected. We explained a little more to G-pie today, it helped me put things in perspective as we used terms an almost 10 year old could understand.

Raising humans is the coolest thing to do on this planet- except maybe making them. =)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Staging, Strewing & ideas for Vegan Stewing?

Homeschooling, heck parenting as a whole, is so much about setting the stage ["and cleaning up the spills that occur" the madwoman inserts as she leaps out from underneath her laptop in an attempt to save the family calendar from the tiny toddler with a cup of water obtained from mysterious sources!]- something my new bosom friend and kindred spirit, Kate, calls "strewing".

As I was clearing the clutter and sorting the soiled from the scattered clothing in the littles room last night I was suddenly aware of the fact that "staging" is what I do for my small learning humans, often unconsciously- pulling out a book on a recently experienced discovery, like ladybugs, piling all the stuffed dogs on C-doughs bed because he like to use them to bark at the Barbies when G-pie is playing with her little sister, and putting the puzzles with numbers on top of the dresser since J-cakes is totally into counting right now.

Really it just stems from paying attention to what your child is into and being less impressed by your own ideas of what you think they should learn from you and more interested in their ideas of what they think you should play with them. 

Yes, go back and read that last sentence again- it is a very important point. (I have to change a poopie diaper anyway so there is going to be a natural break in the flow of words pouring forth from my fingertips!)

So applying the same logic to my 9 year old- my job in her education is to create an environment and provide sustenance- till the soil and mix in some good compost for a fertile brain. Throw in some great companion plants, watch for weeds and pests - which if you choose the companion plants carefully, will be minimized, and water liberally. I mean that literally. My opinion is that water is an essential ingredient in a child's life. Drinking, playing in and with, visiting large bodies of, witnessing the changing forms of and very important- learning conservation. Lots of sunlight, a little pruning here and there- and then watch that little sprout thrive!

The most important things I can do for my children- provide a welcoming, accessible space to discover the things I "strew" about, pay attention to their interests and partner with them to find great resources so that they can pursue their passions, take them places that allow their imaginations to soar and give them lots of food that composts well!

Topping mamas list of skills to develop this fall- better, simpler, housekeeping tactics, everything there is to know about social media and continued growth as a yogini and fresh food fanatic! [again she leaps off the couch as the taller toddler gives herself away as the source of the mystery cup of water, bringing a freshly reFILLed cup to her thirsty brother!]

Doing the research to start filling my freezer with some delicious Vegan stews for the coming frenzied fall, suggestions welcome! Although I am following Gluten-free, Vegan recipes, I am still eating some chicken and fish, and beef jerky- and the occasional piece of Costco birthday cake, because really who can resist? It's called the barefootOCmama diet.

Here are some new favorite foodie blogs:

Happy Sunday!! May your surroundings be pleasant, your thoughts full of light, your companions refreshing and your nourishment enriching to your body and soul.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Getting all political on you!

 Those of you who (thank you!) regularly read my blog know that I don't often get into politics- life is stressful enough without trying to figure out which liberties (other than to a night of sleep) and what laws (other than those of gravity vs a toddler atop a play structure) are being violated and which are moving mankind forward.

This whole BART vs the tower of cell service issue has my panties in a bit of a wad. We as a society expect our government to act on any information they receive to keep us safe, but when they do something to inconvenience us in the process we suddenly call it a violation of our human rights. When did our digital extension of ourselves become entitled to an immediate gratification of any and all expressions?

The protesters who gathered in response to the decision to cut cell service- I mean really folks, that is all we are talking about, nobody in particular was silenced, a mouse could have nibbled the wires and caused the same effect- but those who gathered the next day obviously had ample time to go down and protest on the platforms- they kept families apart, made employees late, and interfered more in the general operations of this PUBLIC transportation system than the slight inconvenience caused by BART when they cut power to a cell tower. A cell tower that resides on their property and is leased by a private provider that charges the general public far too much to use...

And who is to say that a catastrophe was not averted? Two groups were planning a flash mob style protest, and when you get a bunch of youth together via instant message- well the rioting in London comes to mind. If I and my children were depending on public transportation and a group of passionate, masked, youth who had recently hacked and released personal information of 2000 innocent riders of the transit system were due to descend upon the platform we waited upon- I would say, shut my fucking iPhone off, man. (ok it's true I use an Android device, but iPhone just sounded better)...

Now once again, gentle readers, those of you who regularly read me know I am not one for profanity. But I, obviously the first to defend freedom of speech, my absolute favorite thing- am appalled at the sensationalistic tactics of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who the hell are they, anyway? (I must clearly state that next week it is totally possible that I will be promoting and defending them at all cost, because- I really don't know who the hell they are...)

People want to get all up in arms because they THINK they are being suppressed, because our pop culture media tells us so. Well in this case, I don't think so. But that is just my humble, and probably half informed opinion- because to be honest I only had moments to read about the FACTS- between diaper changes and discussions of why we have to wear panties in public, and questions about marine life seen at the CSULB Hall of Science today, where I was free to educate my child as I see fit.

All in all, I am pretty freaking disappointed in the government that I am aware of- but sometimes I wonder what truly important things I am being distracted from. It is a well known tactic of those in power to fuel a small fire in order to call attention away from a truly important discovery or idea. That is history. Fed to us by the victors.

Anyone still need an invite to Google+, apparently I have 142 left.... happy Tuesday to everyone from a mama who overdrafted her bank account today,  hasn't washed her hair in 31 days, locked her keys in her car, saw that she gained 4 lbs, and is currently locked in her bedroom allowing her incredible, amazing, Sugar Daddy to put the little buggers to bed.

Yoga tomorrow morning? The universe is perfect.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Drishti. At mama yoga I often focus on this...

Drishti. At mama yoga I often focus on this one particular leaf out the window of Laura Jane's sacred space. It is there week after week, on a vine growing out from her neighbors hedge or, is it any ivy covered wall- funny how the surrounding details are elusive.

The leaf itself - it draws my attention weekly. It's barely perceptible movement in the breeze, it's color distinction, it's shape and shiny surface. When I gaze at this leaf it helps me balance, or endure, or align, or breath, or center my thoughts. It's not that everything around me goes away, I see the curtain wafting in the breeze to my left, and feel my toddler leaning against my leg and hear the baby banging train parts on the hardwood floors, I sense the other mams and their energy surrounds me in support. My eyes invariably soften, my jaw relaxes, I feel my neck lengthen and my body stops fighting gravity (no I don't fall down!)- my muscles stop quivering in exertion and I become still, fully present in that moment.

My current path of personal & professional growth (beyond being barefootOCmama- oh yes, there is more to life than blogging) is challenging, I have to reach out of my comfort zone, practice perseverance, steadily move forward and confidently act out the vision I have for my life. I have big ideas. Huge.

What has happened so often in my past is that I diverge when I connect with someone and see their vision, too. More big ideas- and I think I need to change what I want to be when I grow up.

Now I have a focus, a drishti, my leaf in life- Bellah Bellah Ballyhoo. Ballyhoo allows me to balance, endure, align, breath and center - marriage, kids, housework, homeschool, friendships, family, volunteering, networking, planning, living- fully present in each moment.

And now it is ok to allow myself to "get distracted" by others' visions for their life, it is more than ok, it is my job to be able get caught up in the excitement of doing what they do!

bal·ly·hoo  noun [bal-ee-hoo]
1. a clamorous and vigorous attempt to win customers or advance any cause 2. blatant advertising or publicity.
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Following-my-own-advice salad... a sliced...

Following-my-own-advice salad... a sliced baby persian cucumber, half an organic navel orange, sections thirded, 1/2 yellow squash, sliced and quartered, quartered yellow cherry tomatoes, 5 fresh mint leaves from the garden; tightly packed into a 1 cup bowl with a lid, add half a diced avocado just before serving. So good it's weird.
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my first blog post using Circles...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wipers work for both!

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. Today I was splattered out all over the clear glass, still clinging for life as the winds whipped past. Life with small children is very nerve wracking for those of you who are beyond the blessed cycle of foggy brained forgetfulness that comes with bearing children.

"Human Jungle Gym" was my alter ego today while I tried to attend to the needs of my body and mind with some gentle style yoga ala the peaceful Laura Jane, who teaches far more than yoga to the mamas who want to practice radiantly living. Finally as C-dough whimpered and pulled at my shirt, I gave up and attended to the needs of my littles instead and took my yoga to go.

While trying to accept some sage and sassy advice having to do with a dark lord and the end of the world (not really, but if you insist I will tell you- it was... are you ready?

"don't compare your insides to their outsides..." anyway the wiggly worms decided my clothing (and Laura Jane's dining area) needed some post modern hummus splatter and a collection of carrots in the corner...

Upon arriving back at the castle of chaos, ahem calmness (I am learning to reframe my reality) my attention was undivided-ly given to Sugar Daddy who regaled me with tales of high adventures and dubious doctors. By the time C-dough awoke I was daydreaming about Calgon (or some cowboy) taking me away!!

So I whipped out my yoga mat, and I breathed in and I aligned and I posed and I breathed out and I planted and I balanced and paused at the top of the breath to feel the arch in my cat and at the bottom of it to let out my cow. Then I wondered if I had my breathing backwards- but I noticed that I (and my body) remembered more than last time I tried to do the practices at home. I was given a great image to work with- the windshield wipers wiping my mind.

So I will start tomorrow with a clean windshield, so at least if I am the bug I'll be able to see the happy family in the minivan clearly.

Day 10 of the no 'poo experiment- not liking the feeling of my hair, it isn't so much an itchiness or dirty feeling, just a general fuzziness. Thinking of trying an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse or perhaps doing more of the conditioner thing... (I have been using a little on the ends for smell and control) - BUT dreads are being seriously considered... and lots of cool hair wraps... and beads... and feathers! I'd look like a cool "Captain-ess Jack" - oops almost put the "ess" on the other word =)

Meditating Parent Project Update
For 4 out of 5 days I meditated specifically on listening to my inner voice for parenting, and voices around me have often brought out things I needed to consider. I had a productive discussion with Sugar Daddy on a specific difference of parental opinion- and I am eager to read, discuss and further enlighten myself as we both examine our conscious thought process. Wow that's wordy, huh?

What transformations are happening in your life, I would love to know that I am not alone in facing my imperfections and improving my fates!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tiggerific Tuesdays!!

Consider yourself pounced upon!!
Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

Day 4 of the Meditation/ Parenting connection experiment. Didn't meditate Day 3. It was apparent, I was short tempered and caught up in aches and pains and third world problems.

Day 9 of the no 'poo process. Last night as I combed my messy tresses, I considered my impact upon people who are meeting me for the first time (and these occasions abound this week- Star Children, Unity Next Generation, Homeschool Community at large)- my hair is a sorry sight, but I really believe in this and if not now, WHEN?

Truly it is just another cause for creativity. Although it cracks me up- the rooster feathers in my hair. It's like putting a vase of roses on a counter filled with dirty dishes! But I will find a way to make it work, I will wear a style that supports who I am and how I show up in the world- dirty haired trend follower that I am.

So bounce on over to some of the other blog hoppers- check out the current list here

What blog rings do you follow?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Food, glorious food! My Top 10 Thoughts on Eating

As of late, several dear women have sought my input on eating Vegan. Of course, I am far from an expert- I fall off the veggie wagon all the time (I especially regret when I land in a bag of Hershey's kisses!), but I can offer a few tried and true tips and tactics.

As Nature Intended- but bite size!
Sometimes simplest is best- fruit and veggies can be eaten plain- slice up a cucumber and dip it in soy/wasabi sauce, peel a carrot and keep using the peeler on it to create ribbons which are fun to snack on or throw in salads, pull out that Apple Peeler Corer Slicer you bought at the Pampered Chef party I made you go to years ago and use the darn thing- the peels mix in great with those carrot ribbons and a handful of raisins! (contact my friend, Jennifer if you need one of those nifty devices-

Grow a little herb by the kitchen sink.
My garden usually contains, thyme, mint, basil, chives, tarragon, oregano and lots of interesting tomatoes and peppers (currently we have heirloom pinneapple cherry tomatoes and in the past we have enjoyed chocolate bell peppers). I find that keeping a small pot in the kitchen with my current favorite- you can get them at most grocery stores these days - helps remind me to use it, and the others! Then it goes into the garden or sometimes it just gets used up!

Follow flavor favorites
My tastes tend to vary a lot, but I find that I go through phases of favorite flavors- and it works for me to go ahead and eat it up! For example, I am totally into Spike right now- so I am trying it on everything! And if you are craving something- figure out which flavor you really want and try to create that, for example if I want a cheeseburger, I grill up a slice of squash, sprinkle it with Spike and sesame seeds, add avocado, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard and onions wrap all that in a freshly warmed corn tortilla- not the same but oh so reminiscent!

Enjoy eating
Gather your family together at the table and pay attention to your presentation. You don't have to be fancy- one of my favorite ways to find a little festivity is to make it Mediterranean style platter with assorted veggies, olives, etc. I add some crackers, cheese and salami for the family- and a bowl of berries or sliced apples. We all gather round and chit chat like we are mingling at a party! Finger foods, family style, fast cleanup!

Leave off labelling yourself
Recently I have toyed with being Vegan, Vegetarian, Lacto-Vegetarian, Ovo-Vegetarian, Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian, Paleo and Gluten Free. While researching and trying the recipes I found (here are some links I enjoy www.vegweb.com I realized that focusing on the vegetables satisfies almost ALL the eating styles out there- whether you choose wheat (vegan) or meat (paleo) I find that fruits make a great dessert, avocado is a sensational treat, and we should really avoid or limit eggs, dairy and processed anything.

Photo your food
This is a tactic that is a little silly, but if you have the ability to brag and show off what you are eating, it motivates you! I share with Facebook, post on my blog and have also played with other photos sites like and This also helps me remember that garnishes aren't just purty they usually enhance the flavor greatly, and I always want to add something special when my food is about to have it's picture took!

Break with Tradition
Broccoli for breakfast? Beautiful! Frozen treats for dinner? Fine! Liquid only lunches? Lovely! not the kind you shake not stir and garnish with 3 olives, ladies).

Find a fork you like
Another odd habit I have that I find makes me want to eat salad and other forkables- I really like this one particular fork I have. It doesn't match my flatware set, I don't even know where it came from, but it feels great in my hand, it provides perfect size bits and it looks great in my salad bowl!

Be an Iron Chef
When things get a little boring, send your hubby to the store and ask him to get all the things that he can remember you usually use, as well as anything he things you should try. Then go in the kitchen and see what you can make using 2 or 3 of the ingredients he brings home as the center of your meals.

Recipes are great and I would be happy to share some of my favorites, (I have them all over the place, but someday I will collect them into one central accessible e-location!) but being creative and cooking contentedly or preparing peacefully- these are the things that make all the difference in following a satisfying, healthy and stress free menu plan (oh I don't plan my menu, anymore, ever! It is too rigid and my choices are already so limited I hate being told what I am supposed to eat- even if it is by my past self who made a perfect plan!)

One more thing- do yoga. Yes, yoga. You will see what I mean.

PS Beets. Learn to love them.

This post linked to for Top Ten {Tuesday}
(I know I wrote it on Monday, but it was really late, and besides I didn't know about Top 10 Tuesdays until today which is Tuesday so this is an after the fact, edited in link...)

crossroads for this mystic

Day 7 of my no'poo attempt, day 2 of my commitment to meditation.

Wow the spirit really moves when you just get out of the way and let it.

My life is never dull (although my hair is right now)! I have been in negotiations with a local school of metaphysical teachings that could provide a new location for a little part of the S.C.H.O.O.L. I started building last spring.

On the flipside, the opportunities involved with the School of Multidimensional Healing Arts and Sciences have their own merit. Perhaps the living of a dream. To be involved in the ascension of the spirit, to connect others who can help each other. Establishing an educational option that is unique and cohesive yet rare and inclusive.

At Unity of Tustin I have found a sacred space. It calls to me, I am compelled to seek my future at this place.

This week includes many opportunities to experience spirit and engage in service to the greater good. I eagerly await the aha moments and synchronicities that will no doubt occur. From the Star Children meeting to the Next Generation Unity Visioning- I see so much potential.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Meditation experiment- day one.

Ok so I must be frank with you gentle readers. Today began my journey into how meditation helps parenting. I have made a solemn vow to meditate at least 5 minutes a day, for the duration of my attention span for this experiment.

Today went beautifully, a cartoon morning with lots of amusing moments resulting from a lack of coffee and breakfast supplies. Then an afternoon of homesteading- hubby gathering provisions with 2/3 of the sweeties and I with the napping dough boy, catching up on the dishes that have been accumulating since Monday. Seriously.

A simple dinner of tuna fish and strawberry balsamic salad (made balsamic glazed sunflower seeds for the salad- yummy) and then Frisbee in the backyard.

The littles fell asleep, astonishingly easy. Hubby and I both had a nice "feet up the wall" meditation, and a prophetic Angel Card reading.

Then I ask Sugar Daddy offers to rub my back- after all the dish doing I did.  Thirty seconds later, I realize I am already pretty melted. All those pesky tension inducers had been smoothed away and I felt in touch with myself and my deepest desires... suddenly this stress relieving massage turns sensual.

...well if day one is any indicator... meditation will improve my love life at least! Being comfortable in my own skin sure does make that skin comfy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Living the Life

Do you love the sounds a guitar string makes when it is perfectly plucked?

Do you like the feel of warm sand between your toes and a baby boy cuddled up sleeping on the towel next to you?

How do you feel about carne asada tacos, perfectly marinated, with cilantro, fresh corn tortillas, diced tomatoes and super spicy salsa?

How would you like to hear a tiny three your old voice, say "You're the best mama ever" as you carry her down to the waves for a splash in the cool Pacific waters?

If this sounds like a nice day- you'd like my life then. I do most days, too.

Notes to self:

  • Three hours is not enough time to run 3 errands in the OC on a sunny Friday afternoon- and Wal*Mart's garden center is apparently where everyone is headed to!
  • Salt Creek Beach has a lovely spot for weddings- the floors of the bathroom are, however, pretty gross... (barefootOCmama will not leave her flip flops behind next time she rushes off to take J-cakes to the potty)- but we should go to the beach more, it really is worth the work.
  • Northgate Market has marinated, ready-to-grill carne asada- and it is delicious.
  • My middle neice is 11 now. Time it does fly... take time to watch, even the flights of fancy.
  • Ask Sugar Daddy to play guitar more often.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Live from the Apple store

So G-pie is having a great time playing with an iPad making a movie at Apple Camp- a free and FUN experience for us both.

Took some photos with my phone, which my lovely Incredible automatically uploaded to my Google+ page... Now the challenge is how to get them inserted here. Seriously do this many people want to buy a Mac today?

There are like 40 adults, 20 kids and- I am not exaggerating- 35 employees. But the guy next to me has now been waiting for almost 17 minutes, he is not playing with the very cool device he is presumably here to purchase... Merely impatiently leaning against the counter, gasp! with his back to the iPad!

Help has arrived, and now she has scurried off after mumbled apologies for the wait and he leans again- arms crossed this time. She is back and he purchases his $9 accessory... Was it worth the wait?

Now back to my photo retrieval ...
Making movies, making friends!

If you are interested in Apple's free summer "camps" be warned, they fill up fast- 
and it is not a drop off thing, they expect parents to stay in the store.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Social Circles

So the whole Facebook vs Google+ debate is in full scale heightened media frenzy- and they are neck&neck in shamelessly promoting- each other!

So here goes, randomly jumping betwixt the two, here's what I see...

On Facebook we are either Friends or not. And you have to accept my request to confirm that relationship.

With Google+ I can add people to circles and they don't have to add me back- I have created circles like "random", "Flavor of the Minute", "Inner Circle", "Music Appreciators", "My Main Mamas", "PCA's" etc... this way I can easily share the stuff that is effortlessly (automatically) uploaded from my Android device, like photos & videos. (*Pop Culture Addicts)

On Facebook I can  update my status, upload photos, share links, videos (after a lengthy upload) and categorize my Friends, as well as comment on their status updates, see their latest pics and invite them to Events.

With Google+, sharing what's new... photos... links I like... and even my location is highly selective, enabling me to quickly share with my Inner Circle anytime the baby does something cute. While just as superfast-ly I can share something with the Public from my (Google) Docs, Calendar, Reader or searches. Or I can share pretty much anything with people who choose to still use that old fashioned communication method, (e-mail) -once they are in a Circle they are included where they Google+ or not- very cool!)

On Facebook I Like things- witty quips, funny photos & fascinating facts. I can also Like businesses and blogs and bands and other such organizations. Then they will Feed me with their Most Recent News.

With Google+ there is some sort of score being kept, and I get to add a +1 whenever something strikes my fancy [insert Vegas slot machine noises here]. A Stream of information appears from all my Circles or just the ones I click on. And in place of a bunch of awkward apps are some Sparks- information about my interests!

On Facebook... is where my Friends are, so there I shall stay. But every day my Circles grow!

With Google+, you should be. (Yoda says so apparently.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tonight's post is brought to you from... bed, where I must rest my weary self. Happy Friday, be well and sleep peacefully.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm IN!

Google Plus.

Who's in, who wants in, who cares?

Me! I must admit I find it thrilling to be in so early, but it feels a bit like Facebook did for the first 3-4 months when I joined, a year after it opened up for anyone with an email address. We all sorta saw something, but wondered what the heck the point was... and then there was a shift and suddenly I was addicted. What happened?

People I sorta new in real life became my Friends and suddenly I felt more connected to the social tapestry. Old high school buddies are certainly fun to reconnect with, but the magic of Facebook is it's ability to infiltrate actual, current social networks- their events, photos and thoughts are broadcast for all to see... and the rest of their world, too!

Google+ allows more control over what you broadcast to the world, allowing you to quickly and easily choose who sees, knows (and can comment on) what!

Plus it automatically loads my photos taken with my Android- now that is COOL!!! Now I am wondering if the calendar integrates easily for events to be shared, now that would be uber-fantastic!

So I guess I wait for everyone to come on over to Google+.

Will it eventually replace Facebook?

Or will I just be twice as distracted now?

The click and drag features are smooth. Nice.

What do you think of Google+, had you heard of it? Will (or have) you join(ed)?

Can anyone and everyone get in now?

Women are Fabulous Creatures

Tonight I wanted to blog about something deep and mystic, something that would make you, my appreciated readers, think and wow and connect to me. But as I tried to narrow down the anecdotes from the day and glean the lesson learned from my travels- I kept thinking about these amazing souls I had connected with throughout my very long day

It all began with yoga- and I truly believe that is why it ends with blissful recollection.

A yogi (or is it yogini?) who pulls together friends and other ya-ya's to transcend time and space for 60-75 minutes weekly, whilst children scuttle in and out and slam doors at precisely the right moment to call your attention to the pain in your shin that says adjust, wise yogi, adjust that posture- and her calm voice validates that decision, intoning peace, a sacred space within a happy home.

The bloggy buddy D, who offers essential adjustment advice in the arrow pose and shares of herself and her struggles openly and honestly- a mom with small children who took the time to make a feast for the potluck, and breathed through her practice in a way that was musical and whimsical.

Musical mama, M, proud parent of a particularly gifted girl who inspired my own with song. G-pie kept humming a tune I didn't recognize, come to find out it is an original song, by my 9 year old's almost birthday twin.

Mother of 4, wholehearted and fully living- all hail K! for she is my hero, (not to be confused with the man in black who said "Flush me, J" - rent it. Will Smith is cool.) anyway, she seems to be fully invested, well balanced and openly accepting of any adventure that arrives- including fondue. So freaking cool!

Then there is E, who fascinates me- she is what I fancy myself to be: vivacious, witty, flirty and fun. She makes me want to laugh and linger- while she liltingly tells her tales- listening to her adventures and marveling at her lust for life.

Then this evening, H, who hosted humbly, my oh so honest friend who attributes her attitude to her Aspergers, but I admire as an old fashioned heart of gold. The guests at the gathering go a long way to show how her first year in the homeschool world have blessed us and brought us together.

A bosom best buddy who has been like a ship passing in the night as we have both experienced so many similar experiences in marriage, parenting, spiritual seeking, moving and making new friends... kittens, preschoolers... husbands on unemployment... LOL.

Then there is C: witty, wordy, wonderful and wise... the mother of the great instigator, the first domino to fall in the Warriors windstorm. Such a warm and whimsical woman, faithful, forthcoming and full of fun!

But then the journey asserts itself and I, counting to 143, while my struggling son surrenders into sweet slumber, marvel at the marvelous mamas I shared air with today. I am one lucky lady- look at all these loving, intelligent, assertive, imaginative, creative, sexy, gorgeous, generous, accepting and absolutely admirable mamas.

Am I really counted amongst their numbers, are these fabulous creatures my peers? Yes, yes they are.

Oh, there you are Perry.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Your topic is Paleo Diet- GO!

Have you heard of it? Is is just a trend?

It's like the Zone Diet for Vegans who really miss meat. Like me. No grains, legumes, dairy (except butter) and no sugar- "basically if you can hunt it down or knock it off a tree or bush", said the startlingly beautiful, trim, but buxom, blond who I want to look just like. Ok tell me how you eat, lady!!

Not that my primary concern is image related, I am really more interested in being healthy and enjoying eating. I lost 45 pounds by eating Vegan, mostly raw foods, and NO FAT. I felt fine, I found things I super enjoyed (my salad making skills are to be envied- go ahead envy them!) But I did feel deprived... and often unprepared to eat the foods I felt I should be eating. 

So today at a homeschool park day I chatted with some perfectly pleasant and down to earth women (literally since we sat on the grass!) and my spirit was refreshed. These very real, genuine, lovely and down to earth mamas were sharing with me about the Paleo Diet, among other things involving the care and feeding of ourselves and our offspring, and my interest is piqued... but at the same time tonight for dinner I had no idea what to feed my kids. So they ended up with green beans and Chef Boyardee lasagna because I spent a little too much time researching this Caveman Diet.

Google it. You know you want to. And since I have to turn my attention to the three delightful children squealing deliriously as daddy does the dishes, will you please let me know what you find?

Happy Monday!


"...whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things." Philippians 4:8

The power of positive thinking... "the Secret"... the Pollyana principle... new age philosophy... call it whatever you will, it means that humans NEED to see something beyond the (largely physical) first world problems that occupy our conscious minds.

When I was a Bible banger, Philippians was my favorite book of the new testament. Short, to the point, personal and REAL- Peter's letter even addressed an agelessly common problem, by calling out Euodia & Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.


Why can't we all just get along? (Did you know that is not the actual Rodney King quote- just a Mean Girls interpretation?) What is it that causes us to personally battle each other on things that are not true, worthy of respect, just, pure, lovely.... blah, blah, blah- YKWIM, right? 

The funny part is we all feel that way.

We don't want to disagree, we don't really think that our point of view is untrue, unworthy of respect, unjust, impure, unlovely- but we just can't see past our own shame, fear or pride to connect with the other woman's sense of self. Our own sense of self inflates our image, incites our ego and evokes impressive excuses as to why our POV is more rational, more excellent or more praiseworthy.

Today I visited a Christian based religious organization... yesterday I was entranced by a pagan homeschooling mama blog- can I even reconcile my own life with my belief system? Do I make any sense at all, if taken in my entirety or am I just a paradox of peculiar interests and interesting peculiarities? 

Well, whatever... is true.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What's on my mind...

So I have recently discovered baby cucumbers, slice them, sprinkle them with pepper and dip in soy/ wasabi sauce... so very delicious. Eating healthy sometimes means staying simple- today's lunch:, sliced snacking cucumbers, carrot sticks, apple wedges, a spoonful of peanut butter- AND a handful of Popchips, YUM!

Also, did you know- short hair is perfect for little girls in the summer- I am currently pondering if it good for mama, too? Speaking of mamas- the coolest site I wish I had more time for is, so much stuff, so little time to photograph it... but so much waiting to be swapped for!

My recent yoga practice has expanded to include mudras- such a simple and effective way of coping with my first world problems. Also called hand postures, these surprisingly effective "exercises" are amazing, and if you would like to learn more about how you too can benefit from having your hands connect you to more than just the things they touch, you know what to do on the string of letters & numbers that follow this run on sentence

Today I did one of my favorites mudras while watching the girls play at a local splash pad- Sigler Park.

Another sure fire cure for the doldrums of child rearing, take one of them out- just one (in our case the oldest) to a good movie- or a decent movie, anyway. Discount theaters are great- for less than the price of one ticket at a regular cinema, we all got to visit our beloved friend, Jack Sparrow. We (along with a packed theater of other budget minded Pirate lovers) were well entertained by vampire mermaids, softhearted scallywags and men of action clashing with passionate people of faith and fascinating figures of patrimony. For the fourth in a franchise this sequel didn't disappoint- but merely met muster.

PS Need a little boost in the bedroom? I recently read that moms who read romance novels feel sexier and have more satisfying sex... this made me think of this fabulous concept, it is such a fun idea!

Now off to explore Google+ my high school buddy hooked me up and I am feeling like I won the lottery, well at least like I won another ticket with a $3 scratcher! Happy Saturday.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Settling in, belonging

Homeschool support groups are so amazing!

They welcome you in, "Like" you, share their lives, beliefs, kittens, birthdays, food, homes, businesses, sweaters, experiences and sunny days. Since our move we have been to several new park days- we have made new friends, and met people we have "Like"d for years.

G-pie has made new friends: sweet, generous, accepting girls- who "appreciate" that she has changed her name recently! They have so heartily welcomed and included her, quickly and with a curious and genuine nature. C-dough and J-cakes have initially stayed close at the 4 new parks we have visited over the last couple of weeks- but have confidently ventured off in search of events as they sensed the comfort mama felt among like minded families and inviting environments.

Belonging is not the same as "fitting in"- we belong here, no need to try and fit in.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cooking Couscous is Cool

Couscous is such an easy and foolproof side item for kids to cook. We find all sorts of ways of sprucing it up- the Kitchen Assistant added Curry, Clove, Nutmeg, Apples and Raisins tonight. While the spice was a little heavy handed- it had potential.

Before the spice bath...
Hub-ster made himself frozen chicken Teriyaki from Costco, and I made a baked head of cauliflower basted in curry, cumin, coriander and canola oil, with apples, onions and raisins nestled in the hollow created by cutting out the stem. As it turned out all three items, stirred together = fascinating flavor!

G-pie and I learned a lesson in the use of spice tonight, and as a whole the idea of experimenting with seasoning was explored thoroughly. We discussed how flavors are enhanced by others and agreed that cloves should be used VERY sparingly. 

We also decided salad and couscous is the perfect base for a meal, add steamed asparagus, wok'd broccoli, cooked carrots or a hearty yam and yukon stew, with baby peas and peal onions and finish with fruit. Once grilling season hits, we'll have veggie kabobs, grilled eggplant and zesty zucchini.

Last night G-pie made a stellar salad from romaine, raddichio, herb mix, carrot coins & jicama chips chilled with 1/2 t each dill & ginger, chopped apples, a pinch of cinnamon sugar and northern italian dressing. She did a great job of chopping everything down to bite size or smaller and tossed it all together with the perfect amount of moisture. A promotion may be in store for the budding culinary apprentice...  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Grab & Go Breakfast Logs

Was trying to make cookies- my Kitchen Assistant suggested they were more like Breakfast Bites, and I reshaped the next batch into logs, I plan to keep these babies on hand! Throwing a few in the freezer today to see how they fare...

Basically I blended peeled, cored and sliced organic apples (3 gala and 2 granny smiths) with 1/2 c water from boiled beets and 1/4 cup honey, until it was smooth. Then I added 1/2 cup canola oil and blended with a whisk.

In another bowl I put 2 1/2 cups oats, 1/2 cup spelt flour, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup all purpose flour, along with vegan egg substitute (Ener-G Egg Replacer powder) and a few shakes of salt.

We combined the wet & dry ingredients then folded in 1/2 cup raisins and swirled in 1/4 cup peanut butter.

This recipe is VERY loosely based on Oatmeal Cookies from Rodale's Naturally Great Foods, a cookbook I have been reading- it has a lot of information and tons of recipes... but it isn't vegan- nor even vegetarian. Labels. schmabels, it has good eats!

We also experimented with drying beets again, my Kitchen Assistant thought we could try a salty-cinnamon-sugar, and it turned out surprisingly good. Still need to adjust something as they are a bit chewier than I would like. Mary Bell's Dehydrated foods suggested boiling first, maybe I didn't do it long enough- it was a big beet! The skin came off much easier after boiling.

Many of the things we did the recipe came from ideas inspired by the newly learned cooking terms my Kitchen Assistant has added to her vocabulary. G-pie totally wow'ed me with her already accumulated knowledge of cooking terms! (I am creating a soon-to-be-downloadable homeschool cooking course as we go- see tag KitchenAsstLP for posts with resources and materials).

We reviewed the 44 words on her word search - and she knew half of them! We also colored our Farmer's Market Veggies and arranged baskets of colorful vegetables- this turned into a great time for G-pie to teach J-cakes her colors and she ended up making a flashcard set to aid in her very-seriously undertaken duty.

Hmmm... I think we need a mentoring class at S.C.H.O.O.L. Session 3 Schedule is due to be published with our newly designed website by Sunday night- we have new classes for older kids (6th - 8th grade) and more options for Science and Drawing.

My lovely Mother In Law is bringing us a meal today, I have been blessed by the outpouring of love (and food) as I heal. Today we will be having a fabulous salad from Rutabagorz- yum!

Happy Friday!

Monday, March 14, 2011

My new Kitchen Assistant Starts today!!

My first born and always eager 9 year old daughter wants to learn to cook. This came, just after I told her how I got paid an allowance to make dinner from the time I was about 11 on. She is ready to start her training. As Executive Chef of Chez Bellah, I have determined she should start as a kitchen assistant and start with prep work.

Being focused on natural and living foods, means that our kitchen processes LOTS of fruits and vegetables- one of the things that often slows me down is the peeling, seeding, chopping, slicing, dicing and storage of our fresh produce. We use our dehydrator some and have been known to freeze ahead for smoothies, soups and "personal packets" (easy to grab and reheat or thaw items pre-portioned for 1-2). We could do both more to ensure that we use all parts of our fresh produce before it goes bad. I also like the variety these items provide.

We are making aprons (well decorating ones I saved from various server jobs in restaurants over the years) and I think chef's hats would make it fun... and of course the three year old gets to join us for this activity. The girls are charged with finding any toys games or puzzles about food, and collecting all the toy food and cleaning the play kitchen today, as well.

Here are some resources I found to help me in lesson planning.

A fun word search for cooking terms and recipe terminology.

Free pdf downloads, although I would love the book just can't afford it right now!

This one is college level, but has lots of useful info and can be scaled down easily- I like the flip book activity and the writing worksheet for creating a descriptive menu.

From just these three sources there is plenty to cover a couple or weeks of daily activities, and I am sure I will be finding more!
Oats & Quinoa soaking overnight.
Wow- amazing what a delicious and nutritious breakfast does for you, huh? This morning I had Oats & Quinoa with dried fruits. Soaked both overnight then brought to a boil, simmered for 10 minutes, and added a splash of almond milk. Simple, satisfying and sweet!

Dried fruits awaiting re-hydration.
The quinoa adds a wonderful chewy "pop" and complements the re-hydrated cranberries perfectly. Next time I don't think I would use any raisins, maybe some dried mango instead?

This recipe is inspired by one in Vitality Foods for Health & Fitness by Pierre Jean Cousin & Kirsten Hartvig. I have also been perusing another favorite because I love the idea of having my own dried fruits on hand next time- and I do have a dehydrator after all!
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