Once in a lifetime…

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Sometimes there are conversations that I have with my girls that I know I want to remember forever. I hope that this space can be a place for me to take note of some of them. The talks about our bodies, about God, about what nutrients are in our food, about where potatoes comes from etc.
Today’s memorable banter came from our 4 year old in the back seat of our car….
Miss 4: Knock Knock
Me: Who’s there?

Miss 4:Poop
Dad interrupts: That’s not a funny word
Miss 4: I mean underweeeeaarrr!
Me: Underwear who?
Miss 4: Poop on my underwear I love you ahhahahaha

Both Peter and I are silent, holding our tongues, then silently giggling in the front seats of the car. Peter says “Miriam, those words don’t even go together” and at the same time Charlotte (our 5 year old) chimes in saying, “That’s KIND of funny…”, which had the two of us front seat passengers in STITCHES, we had to turn the radio up so the kids couldn’t hear our laughing. We didn’t want Miss 4 to know how funny her ‘potty words’ were to us, since we’re trying to get the kids off of the subject of poop and butt related things.
I even got the girls a “knock, knock” joke book from the library this week, hoping that they’d scrub up on their joke telling skills….. We still have some work to do folks but for some reason “poop in my underwear I love you” was funny enough for us tonight. 

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Let’s do dinner! with REAL people

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It overcomes me sometimes. The urge to entertain, host, give gifts. It must be one of my love languages. So my idea came on Thursday- we should have friends over for dinner.
I made the call and around midday Saturday it was arranged. Friends! Friends for all! since our chosen dinner companions for the evening have littlies the same age as our older two girls, this was going to be a fun-packed night with high-pitched squeals, dress-ups and dancing going on upstairs, good food, wine and great conversation. Actually the conversation was what left me feeling revived.
I know that we fit when our conversations include the following:

Benefits of bone broth

Psychology of a toddler in regards to sharing

Beards

Beer

Awesome Ikea cheese graters

How having a home birth has changed you

What were you doing on 9/11/01?

How hard it is to find a babysitter!

Yogurt cultures from Bulgaria

Intricacies of Baby Sleep

Oh the list goes on….

But I feel revived.
I woke up this morning feeling less than revived after a very rough night with little G. My chunk of sleep happened in between the hours of 6am-9am, interrupted twice and changing location once but still better than the previous 6 hours. A big pot of Irish Breakfast Tea was waiting for me downstairs and after a bagel and a shower I felt like I could face the day. Then I started thinking about the real people we have as friends. People who come in to our home and feel AT home. Open our cupboard doors to get themselves a drink and grab a couple of our books to read to the kids. You know… no awkward tip toeing, just real. Reflecting on this made me realize that I waste a lot of my time getting sucked in to other peoples not-so-real life in the form of Facebook personalities.
Let’s face it. We don’t have to be accountable for much online and there are many persona’s on Facebook that are less than real. So, today… I cleanse myself of some not-so-real relationships by thinning out my FB contacts. If I haven’t had any interaction with someone in the last 12 months, and they don’t call me or wouldn’t talk to me if we saw each other in public? Then we’re not being real.
We are in the thick of Lenten Season right now. Forgiveness, cleansing, focusing on what is truly real and important, getting ready for Easter, letting go of things in order to make more room for God in our lives. This is what I think of for Lent. Did you give up something for Lent? Why?……
I haven’t chosen something to fast from for a few years. The purpose of fasting, alms-giving and prayer is to help deepen your faith and commit to living the Gospel.

In 2011 Pope Benedict addressed an audience explaining the lenten season, noting that fasting is not just to deprive yourself but to lead a more moderate life. He asked everyone to give alms and do good deeds for others. For the pope, Lent is less about the observed laws and precepts and more about the person coming closer to Christ.
The idea of giving up chocolate, or soft drink, like I did for many years, had good intentions but served no purpose really. Did it bring me closer to God? Did I feel more connected? Not really. So I gave up all together on the idea of fasting from something petty, actually on fasting from anything. Prayer always picks up during lent for me, so that is one thing that I’ve got covered but I really wanted to make an effort this lent to DO something rather than GIVE UP something. My choice: to spend more time outside.
This may seem lame to some, but this Aussie girl was not built for below freezing weather day in and day out, so the thought of going outside just to enjoy being outside rather than scrambling from the car to the front door of our home, had to be a conscious decision. I’ve included my girls in on this lenten movement also. They, like me, could very easily spend most days sitting cozy warm inside, playing board games, baking, watching movies and doing their ‘school work’. We talked about God’s creation, how God made everything they see. The pretty and the not so pretty, all have purpose. It’s been fun having these conversations with the girls. It feels real and we are definitely looking forward to spring. To new life! to Easter!!
Today, I feel revived from good conversation with REAL people. For lenten ‘fasting’ that feels REAL to me. For surrounding myself with a little less purposelessness. Is that a word? My computer doesn’t put a redline under it, so it must be real. Ha! lol
So here’s to being REAL, friends. No tiptoeing. If you were Jesus, I’d open my front door and invite you in. Offer you a beer and a home cooked meal. Just like we did last night.

Gianna is a-movin’

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8 months. The same age as her sisters, Gianna has worked out how to get from A to B but I don’t think we can call it crawling just yet. Gianna LOVES paper and she is determined to get her hands on every last piece she finds. This led Charlotte to come up with the idea of using paper as G’s motivator and it worked! The slippery floors help too. This video is of her first success getting to where she wants to go. (sorry the sound doesn’t work. We are in need of a new camera, obviously.)

Muesli!….. but now I call it granola OR ‘just call me a hippie’

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I make my own hummus. It’s yum and a superfood and my kids love it.
I choose to wash the diapers our baby wears rather than throw them away. Cloth diapers look so cute and come in fun patterns and colors now. They’re stupid easy to use too. (Maybe another post subject one day)
I don’t let my kids eat food that contains food dye. It’s bad for their developing brain.
As a family, we don’t eat much meat.
I often pay a visit to our local food co-op.
We don’t use bleach and you won’t find any product in this house that contains Sodium Lauryl Sulphate. Here’s why.
My kids have never had a dose of antibiotics (yet, at least. I know this may be unavoidable one day).
I’m already planning what we can garden in the spring.
Wanna give me a title? Stereo-type me?
Go ahead.
If you say hippie, I’d love it. My understanding of a ‘hippie’ is someone who makes intentional choices about their health and lifestyle, stands up for human rights and social justice issues and sees the good in others. This would be an honorable title for me to strive for. I still have far to go though.

Add to that list, ‘makes own granola’ now. I just made an irresistible recipe of granola. My favourite snack before bed, which helps me get through a night time full of breast feeding our babe, is granola mixed with plain or vanilla yoghurt and a little spoonful of my Mother-in-law’s fig preserve stirred in. SO. GOOD!

I can’t keep it to myself, so give it a try.

1/4 C oil (I used olive but I may try coconut next time for extra flavour. Here you’ll find a great oil comparison chart)
1/2 C maple syrup (or honey)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
2 C chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts)
6 C traditional rolled oats
1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
2 Tbs brown sesame seeds
Cinnamon

In a small saucepan, heat the oil, maple syrup and salt. Sir in the vanilla.
Place the nuts, oats, coconut and seeds in a large bowl and mix. Sprinkle some cinnamon on the top.
Stir in the warm liquid ingredients and mix it up with your hands until the dry ingredients are evenly coated. Spread the granola on an un-oiled baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake for 30minutes in a preheated oven at 350F degrees stirring after 20minutes. Remove from the oven and stir often if you don’t want chunky granola bits. We love chunky granola bits so I just let it cool in the pan and then stir it up before I transfer it to an airtight container.

*recipe adapted from Moosewood Restaurant ‘Cooking for Health’ cookbook.

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Daddy-O

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This song comes up on our Pandora channel that we listen to throughout the day and the kids love it. It’s Daddy-O by Frances England from her Fascinating Creatures album. Charlotte had the idea to record it for our Daddy-O. So here it is….

A week of recipes- Tuesday (Rice Pilaf)

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Tuesday brings us Sesame beef and broccoli.
My kids used to eat broccoli and call it a tree or a flower. This made it ‘fun’ to eat broccoli but they were only eating the florets. This trick also only lasted so long. I’ve been having more luck, recently, getting the girls to eat the broccoli stems by cutting them julienne style or in rounds. What they don’t know is that there are more nutrients in the broccoli stem. Mwahaha!

The Sesame beef and broccoli recipe from Jessica Seinfield’s ‘Double delicious’ cookbook was a bit disappointing. It involved adding a carrot puree to make up the sesame beef sauce, along with beef broth, soy sauce, ginger root, sesame oil etc. Once it was time to eat, it surprisingly had very little taste. After tossing in some salt to draw out the flavor, the dish was a little better but not great. The effort V result led me to put it in the ‘glad I tried it but probably won’t do that again’ pile.
The hit of the night was the rice pilaf recipe I made. This also came from Seinfield’s cookbook.
This recipe asks for brown rice which, as a family, we have been trying to switch over to. Our go-to was always steaming basmati rice and I was excited to find a brown basmati rice at our local store. I’m learning how to cook brown rice, retaining the nutrients but cooking it long enough to lose that crunch in the center. This is the tastiest I’ve created so far.

Rice Pilaf -(serves 5… apparently! But I’ll be doubling the recipe next time. My kids were asking for seconds)

  • 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1/2 cup of cauliflower puree
  • 1 1/4 cups sodium-reduced Chicken Broth (if you don’t have any homemade, this can be a tricky thing to buy. I like the ‘Imagine’ brand of organic Chicken broth that is free of MSG)
  • 1/4 tsp salt.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute the garlic in the olive oil until it just begins to brown at the edges. Add the uncooked rice and toss to coat. Approximately 30 seconds.

Add the cauliflower puree, chicken broth and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook with the lid tightly in place, approximately 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Do not stir!

Let the rice stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

HINT: If you don’t have tightly fitting lids, place a tea towel over the saucepan and then put the lid on to help with the seal. You may need to add a little more water to the rice as the towel can absorb some in the steaming process. A trial and (hopefully not too much) error process.

Cauliflower puree is simply cutting the florets and discarding the stem of a head of cauliflower and steaming it for 8-10minutes. Throw it in a food processor for 2 minutes adding a teaspoon or two of water to create a smooth, creamy texture. This can be added to mac n cheese too! Cauliflower is full of good stuff that the kids don’t have to know about.

A week of recipes- Thursday (Pancakes)

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Thursday morning started out less than pleasant. Short tempered preschoolers and a tired Mum was not working very well. We spend our entire Wednesday out of the house (this is why there is no Wednesday recipe) and a lot of time in the car, not getting home until around 10pm with exhausted, sleeping children in the car, every week. This sets us up for a day of rest on thursday to recover. My almost 4 year old started asking for pancakes. Pancakes! In all this crazy mess of tears, stomping feet and pouting from the two kids (and maybe from me) you’re asking for pancakes this morning?!
It WAS on my list for the week and I had a sneaky suspicion that it had the potential to put us all in a better mood, so I reached for the flour and eggs and proceeded with the pancake idea.

The recipe is from ‘Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health’
Whole Grain Pancakes
Serves 4-6 / yeilds about 8 large pancakes / Time: 25mins

  • 1/4 cup whole flaxseeds (I used milled flaxseeds)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water (I always end up adding a few tablespoons extra for a thinner batter)

In a blender or spice grinder (FYI my husband hates it when I use his coffee grinder lol), whirl the flaxseeds and oats until they reach a consistency like cornmeal. Place in a mixing bowl. Sift in the whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk (I used yogurt), oil and water. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir just until combined.

Warm a lightly oiled skillet or griddle on medium-high heat. When a drop of water ‘bounces’ on the hot surface, ladle on about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on the top, a minute or two. Turn the pancakes and cook on the second side until golden brown, about a minute.

HINT: If the batter thickens before all of the pancakes are cooked, add a few tablespoons of water to thin it. Keep the cooked pancakes in a warmed oven until you are ready to serve. To freeze, place a stack of cooled pancakes in a freezer bag. When you’re ready for them, separate the pancakes while they’re still frozen.

Sometimes working with whole grain recipes, the pancakes (from my experience at least) can turn out rubbery or dense. These were perfect though. Fluffy, light but hearty. Adding a dash of vanilla extract or a sprinkle of cinnamon to the batter would be tasty too. After devouring these our day got a WHOLE lot better. It was like a re-boot to the system in this house.

We made these again on Friday morning to share with Dad, since he is home with us every Friday. I made a double batch and froze the left over cooked pancakes ready for Miriam’s birthday breakfast the next week. This worked out so well. They separated easily and we warmed them in the oven. No mess or dishes on her birthday morning but awesome pancakes. We serve them with maple syrup usually but have you tried an Aussie traditional pancake topping of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar? Yum!

Miriam on her 4th birthday….

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