April 2012

Recipe Weekend: Jane-of-All-Trades Silky Homemade Hand Cream

It looks like the homemade hand cream wins today for my Recipe Weekend project, mainly because I’m still in the land of avocado and bananas with my baby (for which I don’t need a recipe), and my hands still feel the toll of last night’s culinary creations. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you are undoubtedly not alone; for more on this, and what inspired the red-hot debate on the topic for this recipe weekend, check out this blog post. In short, I was trying to decide whether to explore the world of solid foods today or the world of homemade cosmetics to cure my case of dishpan hands -- clearly, beauty won over function.

Introducing Solid Foods: The Beginning

It’s 1:20 in the morning, and I’ve just finished making 5 batches of abelskivers for my 2nd grade son’s Danish festival tomorrow - as in, Denmark, not the pastry (and 6 batches if you count the batch my husband polished off single-handedly). I’m not Danish, so there was quite a learning curve. Ugh. Did I say that? I meant...yum.

I’m thinking this means I’m done with all mama-related responsibilities for a while and it’s time to settle in for a bath and a cup of tea before bed -- and then I realize that I’ve only fulfilled my food-related duties toward boy #1 -- and boy #2’s needs are a lot more difficult than Danish pancakes. First of all, there’s the 2am feeding -- which I love, I don’t mind it at all, but then there’s the 4 o’clock and the 6 o’clock lately too, which is new. The boy is HUNGRY.

Coffee Talk: Does Coffee Help or Hinder Mama’s Health?

I am sitting in my son’s martial arts class this afternoon, chatting with another mama. “I should have gotten a coffee today,” she says. She doesn’t need to say why. It is, after all, the end of the day, at the end of the week, and she’s the carpool gal today. “Mmm. Sounds good. Why didn’t you?” I ask. “No food or drink dojo policy,” she says. “Plus, I shouldn’t anyway. It’s not good for me.” I nod in understanding, but the truth is, not even a full hour prior to picking my son up from school, I read another article on the merits of coffee -- this time, significant correlations are mapped between coffee drinking and decreased heart disease in women.

Recipe Weekend: Tummy Trouble Tea

We like to eat whole foods, we really do. We won a small victory for whole foods, in fact, tonight when my son complained about missing a salmon, quinoa and kale dinner and had to eat “junk food” at a friend’s. “You know that’s my favorite!” he complained. It doesn’t always go this way around these parts, certainly not on tempeh salad night, or any night I even entertain the idea of cooking lentils but I’ll celebrate the victories as they come. Of course we helped him to a portion of the leftovers immediately. Occasionally, however, I’ll bring home something naughty. I try to keep it aligned with the diet restrictions we choose to follow - usually gluten and dairy-free, and natural sweeteners. Tapioca flour doughnuts, tempeh bacon, rice flour muffins, cheddar cheeZe... Some great, some not so great renditions of old comfort food favorites.

Our 30-Day Cleaning Challenge Is Officially Over! Here’s What We Found:

I’ve never enjoyed cleaning so much, honestly, as when I made my own brews -- and, while some lucky souls find cleaning meditative, enjoying it is very much a first for me. Homemade cleaners smell so amazing, and feel so elemental, this 30-Day Challenge has been right up my alley. My family is both stunned and thrilled by the outbreak of domestic diva. My husband, who has always been handy around the house, dear soul, took it the distance this weekend, and washed our sofa slipcover with the soapnut liquid wash yesterday.

Natural Remedies for Bumps and Bruises: #3 in our First Aid Series

There is nothing worse than teething, nothing. Except maybe when your baby topples over onto his head while trying to crawl, while teething and grumpy anyway, and ends up with a big red welt on his head. Then there’s something worse. Oh boy.

Recipe Weekend: Healing Spring Soup Discovered

For Recipe Weekend, we’ve stumbled on a wonderful website, and a great recipe! When Maddie’s family woke up yesterday with post-nasal drip, we knew this was the perfect recipe to share today, by Amy Thompson from PlantoEat.com. It’s great for Springtime allergies and sinus complaints. I make it with a homemade veggie broth including leeks, carrots, the peel of onions, and the kitchen sink. The lemon, garlic, and ginger in it are powerful antimicrobials, so use them with gusto! I've also taken liberties and added shitake mushrooms, because they are amazing immune boosters, and because I feel about shitakes the way some people (like my 8-year-old-son, for example) feel about ketchup.

Soapnuts and Soapnut Soak: A New Addition to our Cleaning Challenge

My father always says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He used to say this often to me growing up, mainly in response to my constant desire to buy new products at the drugstore down the street, and undoubtedly to curb my material appetites and incessant grass-is-always-greener desire for change -- but how could I resist the allure of new and improved shampoos, ointments, beauty products? (I was nine years old, and Longs Drugs was the only place I was allowed to bike by myself, besides the gas station for gum). The result? Do you have a cabinet filled with half-used cosmetics and potions? I don’t, but only because I finally heeded his sage advice after an unsightly allergic reaction to a new facial cleanser, at age 29 -- my old cleanser had been working flawlessly until then, but the package of this new one was...so pretty, with claims of organic natural goodness broadcasting from its label.

Natural Bug Remedies -- For Your Garden, Your Kids, and Yourself

Today is a glorious day. We’ve been sitting out under our oak tree, both sons and I, in the afternoons -- until my older son sees his favorite playmate across the street, and my little one decides he needs a change of pace (at least that’s how I interpret his nonverbal objections). Today is no different, except that I am noticing how timely our latest batch of homemade bug repellent is turning out to be - just made on Friday at the first sign of trouble, I now am watching the bugs hover. The repellent is working, but leave one spot uncovered (the back of Aidan’s knees were left perilously unsprayed) and they are there.

My Favorite Homemade Natural Bug Repellent for Babies and Kids

There are a million great natural ways to ward off mosquitos and other bugs as the temperature rises... Okay maybe not a million, but at least as many as there are kinds of bugs to fend off ourselves and our young ones. That said, if you’re anything like me, you’d rather someone give you a favorite recipe -- and save your brain cells for harder questions like, “what was I in my past life?” (my eight year old), or “why is he not asleep at 11:30pm?” (me, regarding my five month old).

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