Thursday, December 11, 2014

squeaky clean

 photo photo4_zpscbb575ea.jpg

if there's one thing i love it's a well-stocked shower. i'm not the most loyal customer when it comes to bath and body products because i'm always game to try something new and have options to choose from when i suds up. but no matter what, i like natural products that smell nice – no heavy scents, no ingredients lists that read like a chemistry text book, you know.

so i was stoked to introduce a few new products to my line-up recently. now i have a new favorite trio  that meets – exceeds, actually – my criteria. and might just make a returning-customer out of me yet!

the star of the show is this rad lavender solid sugar scrub. it comes in handy little squares so you grab one and scrub away. it smells like a dream and is so rad for dry skin.
 photo photo2_zps5efa743b.jpg

and then there's the citrus shower gel that smells so good it's not even funny. then i follow it all up with a little post-shower lavender body lotion and my skin feels amazing and i smell like a spa day. 
 photo photo1_zps08f792a7.jpg

big thanks go to moxxie for treating me to a box of these beautiful products! i also loved their peppermint and tea tree room and body spray. i love giving the room a spritz when it needs a dose of fresh energy (so, you know, every day). they also have a peppermint body balm that's like a solid lotion that comes in a push-up dispenser which i'm setting aside for summer – cooling peppermint on a warm day sounds so nice.

thanks, moxxie!

Monday, December 8, 2014

first, last, winner, loser

in our last library haul (and i do mean haul: full bag with overflow in arms) we scored ourselves a little gem. one that'll surely find itself on the buy-it-at-the-bookstore-list. or at the very least the check-it-out-from-the-library-fifty-times list.

it addresses – and so perfectly, i might add – the i'm first, you're last, i won, you lost issue that comes up, oh i don't know, two or three dozen times daily around here. 

it's one of those books that has everything going for it: rad art, great story. so the kids love it and want to read it a million times but then i love it too so i'm happy to oblige. the first half-million times, that is.

hal and martha are brother and sister donkeys who are trying to out-do each other right and left. but then they're dealt a little change in perspective and sweetness ensues. if you've got siblings, this book's a must: me first, by max kornell. (crazy coincidental side-note: the author is from my hometown! max kornell, have we crossed paths?)

 photo mefirst1_zps08580c20.jpg

 photo mefirst2_zpsc3648235.jpg

 photo mefirst3_zps353d83c7.jpg

 photo mefirst4_zpsc495c26c.jpg

 photo mefirst5_zps8ee07eb8.jpg

 photo mefirst6_zps3f9e5c50.jpg

 photo mefirst7_zps8c0902cc.jpg

 photo mefirst8_zps066564a0.jpg

Thursday, November 13, 2014

a warm bowl on a cold day

so i'm taking that class on children's health which i've mentioned before – which has me on a bit of a kick. and in perfect timing, too: the sniffles have struck this house!

{before i dive right in, did you catch the free talk on fevers earlier this week? if you missed it but want to check it out, it's available until the 18th – go here. it was really good and totally worthwhile so if you're a mama who leans towards natural health, it will be time well spent.}

i always think about what the kids are consuming. and it might not always be the epitome of health perfection but it probably goes without saying that it's not just carte blanche around here. we go light on the dairy and even lighter on the sugar, no artificial colors and flavors, yes on the organic, in-season, pasture raised eggs and meat, blah blah blah. but, beyond really watching dairy (and sugar, always) when the kids are under the weather, i've never particularly categorized foods and their effect on the body: if it's healthy, it's healthy. but i'm now thinking about damp foods that create a damp environment in the body which is all too hospitable for germs to reside in – runny noses and mucus being a result. did you know bananas and avocados are culprits and should be avoided when germ bugs are afoot? i didn't. they're both so easy to get the kids to eat, healthy and readily available – i never considered them to be something to steer clear of when the littles are stuffy.

that's something i'm loving about the course – i'm learning about many things you can do to improve your child's immunity that don't require a long list of foreign ingredients or concepts. so often it's just about rethinking things, approaching them from another angle or just incorporating what you already have on hand in a fresh way.

and since it's that time of year, i decided to make congee – a rice porridge of sorts. it's one of those things that i've known about forever but never tried making and it's come up a time or two in the course so i figured now was the perfect time to make it. and, like i was saying, it doesn't require obscure ingredients. it's made up of staples – it's sort of comical that i haven't been making it routinely!

 photo photo4_zps4cc00c11.jpg

here's how:
1/4 cup medium grain white rice (i use organic basmati)
4 cups of water (i use half chicken bone broth)
small knob of ginger, peeled and smashed (optional but so good)
2 organic, free-range chicken legs, skin off, flesh cut in towards the bone (to make it easier to cook)

1. in a lidded pot, bring the water, rice and chicken (and ginger if using) to a boil.
2. turn down heat to medium-low, partially cover pot leaving ajar so some steam can escape.
3. cook for about an hour and a half (or more) stirring occasionally, until the rice is a creamy porridge-y consistency and meat is falling off the bone.
4. remove any remaining chicken from the bone and return to porridge and stir to combine.

i serve a scoop in a bowl and drizzle it with a tiny amount of soy sauce and sesame oil – and down the hatch it goes. it might not win gold in the looks-department but who cares:
 photo photo5_zps7baaa5ce.jpg

it's such an easy, healthy meal. and one of those things that you can just think of as a base – it can be taken so many directions and flavored however you like. i think it would be so amazing with a pile of cooked veggies, fresh cilantro and a drizzle of miso sauce. now i'm hungry.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

findings and happenings

chirp chirp.

it's been quiet around here. life has been so busy and i'm just not finding (making?) the time to do some of the things that i love to do – like keep this little boat afloat, for one.

so here's a little recap about what's been going on around here. the latest findings and happenings:
 photo photo3copy_zps509f76f4.jpg
well, we had another fun halloween. bonz was a robot, mushy was a mousie. i freezer paper stenciled a hoodie, stitched on some dryer vent arms and suddenly he was transformed to bonz-o-bot. i knit him up a hat and attached a very sophisticated radar antenna. you know, silver pipe cleaners. then i knit mushy a mousey hat and freezer paper stenciled a shirt for her to seal the deal – a mousie tummy on the front and a mousie tail on back. our friends at 100 layer cakelet did a costume round up and we were quite flattered to be included again this year (last year's here) thanks, guys!
 photo mushymousie_zps94a8892f.jpg  photo robotmouse_zps4b27fca2.jpg
but, my favorite memory of this halloween had nothing to do with costumes. we're in the midst of a serious drought here in santa barbara and the forecast called for rain on halloween night. mother nature held off until about 9 o'clock then absolutely drenched us. bonzo was just crawling into bed (it was a late night for him!) and fell asleep in my arms under the open window to the sound of pouring rain. it was heavenly.

i've also been wonderfully busy taking an online course on children's health. i have to tear myself away from the materials because it's so interesting – i keep wanting to eek out just a few more minutes listening and reading along. if you missed it, i talked more about the course a couple weeks ago – i would highly recommend signing up for their upcoming free talk about toddlers and fevers. you won't regret it. bonus: the free talk comes with a free gift. and it's great.

the calendar might say november but it was in the 80s today. i'm pretty sure that by the time it feels like fall, it'll be winter. but we've been trying to force some fall vibes regardless. our favorite after school snack is air popped popcorn drizzled with olive oil, nutritional yeast and sprinkled with herbamare. so good. then at night after the kids are asleep, i've been treating myself to hot cocoa. i heat up almond milk in a saucepan and add spoonful of maple syrup and unsweetened cocoa powder. then cozy up and watch the voice, which i'm obsessed with.
 photo photo5_zps3823687a.jpg mushy's new one is wanting to whisper things to me. she comes close and says, "gonna whisper to your ear, mama" then she presses her ear to my ear, her cheek to my cheek and whispers. i can't make out of word of it because, well, we need to work on our positioning but my goodness it's dear.

then there's these two. there are plenty of squabbles, believe me. but there's so much more sweetness. they're such buddies and i love watching them pal around.

 photo photo3_zps724268d2.jpg

so yeah. we've been busy but life's been good. it really does go by too fast, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

in bounds

 photo boundariesandtrust_zpsdb739dbd.png

at a parents meeting at bonzo's rad school a couple weeks ago, his teacher led a discussion about boundaries – and how important they are.

it's a topic that i've written about a few (hundred) times around here but i felt so re-inspired and invigorated about the whole idea because of the way it was presented.

bonz's sweet teacher asked me to join her in the middle of a circle of parents-sitting-in-small-wooden-chairs. we faced each other and she put her hands up in front of her and asked me to push against them and i did. she asked me to do it a couple more times. easy: i lift my hands, place them squarely upon hers and push.

then she asked me to close my eyes and try again. but she moved her hands. and i was trying to find them so i could place my hands on hers and feel them there, supporting the weight of my push – only they weren't where i expected them to be. they weren't where they were the few times before.

i thought it was such a great exercise – even if a bit abstract – in the security that boundaries provide. how when boundaries are in place, predictable and reliable, there's ease. and in their absence – whether they're missing altogether or they're just shifting from what we knew – there's an unease, insecurity and confusion.

it can be easy to forget how important boundaries are for the grown-ups, too. yes, they're vitally important for us to provide for our children but sometimes i get so busy putting the focus on the kids that i don't think about how much i need them, too. boundaries for me might look different than boundaries for mushy and bonz but, without them, i'd feel pretty adrift.

the act of looking for hands with my eyes closed (in the middle of a circle of onlookers no less) made me feel vulnerable and a bit wobbly even though it was just an exercise – or a physical analogy – and  i could have guessed exactly how i would feel without having to actually do it. but the actual doing was just a nice way to re-frame the concept.

and it really made me think about how i know i need boundaries to feel secure as a thirty eight year old mama. i've never doubted for one minute how important they are for my kids but it gave me cause for pause: their lives without boundaries would feel crazy. so unpredictable, so uneasy. like a free fall. how could they ever feel comfortable?

i just love when something reinvigorates me and reconfirms what i know to be true.

on a side note, you know how i put these little visuals together for janet lansbury – quotes from her books over photos? two things: first, her newest book is out and it's a slam-dunk. if life could just slow down for a second, i could pour my heart out about it. soon. second, this quote (above) is just too appropriate not to post for this post. sometimes i have to stop and take inventory about how well boundaries work because they're just not being tested repeatedly. sure, new boundaries are being created and put to the test – it's never ending in the most expected and constructive of ways – but when i take a good look, i always see progress.