Thursday, February 28, 2013

Easy AND Difficult

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonJoin the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!

We're on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.

This week we're answering the question: What has been the easiest part of this challenge for you so far? The most difficult part?

You can see all the responses to this question on February 28 at the link-up post.

To join in the Six Ingredient Challenge anytime during the six weeks, visit the sign-up page for a list of posts and to link up!


For me, the easy part has been choosing items at the store with 6 or less ingredients. There has been some argument from my husband, but he even agreed to try a different brand of ketchup! <gasp> Admittedly, there is the search part, but once I find the items, I'm happy to choose them! I want less crap in our diet.

We have, however, had a harder time lately eating well. We've had trouble eating at home at all. I've been sleep deprived, which just does not lead to healthy, home-cooked meals. My kids have been lucky to eat. Pfft.

Are you having an easy time of the challenge? What has been hardest for you?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Guilty Children?

Welcome to the February 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Honesty

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through honesty. We hope you enjoy this month's posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Self-Expression and Conformity.


I once saw a documentary about how young children that lie are smarter than those that don't. The show didn't encourage lying, but made a valid point. The child that realizes they can tell you something that isn't true and you won't know otherwise has a good understanding on a complex idea.

I remember, as a child, being accused of things that I didn't do. How can you prove your innocence as a kid? This has had a huge effect on me, as a parent. If/when my children lie to me, I feel powerless to do anything about it unless I have undeniable proof of my accusation. This has been crippling as a disciplinarian. My husband helps to balance me, but I still strongly resist consequences for misdeeds that can't be proven.

Sasha thought she was in trouble
when I caught her "red-handed."

In general, we encourage honesty in our home. Consequences for a misdeed confessed are much easier than those for misdeeds discovered. If someone asks my opinion, I find a nice way to be honest. This is different than being blatantly honest. I think there is a fine line in realizing you can be honest without stating everything. What I mean is, if you have something to say that will be hurtful to me and not benefit me in any way, just keep it to yourself. (My husband does not hesitate to tell me when my armpits stink!)

So how, after all that, do I "do" Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? I've often considered not "doing" these things, but when the time comes for each I just can't seem to bare not following through. These are traditions we enjoy. I like to think of them as make believe rather than lies. When my children are old enough to ask me, outright, whether Santa (or another character) is real, I just ask them what they think.

I think there is a big difference between lying and making believe. Sasha is constantly pretending to be a cat, a dog or any of a plethora of characters. I have enjoyed watching her imagination blossom. What better way to show her that she can be anything she wants as an adult than by encouraging her to be anything she wants now?

Complete honesty can be difficult to maintain in a family. Do you think its necessary?


APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month's Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Six New Ingredients?

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonJoin the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!

We're on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.

This week we're answering the question: What new foods or recipes have you tried or discovered?

You can see all the responses to this question on February 21 at the link-up post.

To join in the Six Ingredient Challenge anytime during the six weeks, visit the sign-up page for a list of posts and to link up!


For some reason, we've had a hard time working out our weird schedule lately. (My husband works very early, so he needs an early dinner and early bedtime.) That has meant not eating dinner together. If we're not eating together, I don't usually make a big meal.

One thing I've started making recently is burgers! In the past, I'd buy a stack of store-brand flat frozen patties. Throw them in a skillet, sprinkle with seasoning salt, call it good. I'm not sure how many ingredients might have been in those patties... I should hope it wasn't many. Still, as part of my effort to use less (and trusted) ingredients, I've started making burgers from scratch.

There was a time when I would have needed very specific instructions with measurements to tackle something like this. I've gotten some general advice from friends that has helped me. I mix a pound of ground beef with about half a cup oats (run through the coffee grinder), an egg, and seasoning. Now if I could just get my family to eat "good for you" burger buns...

I've also been trying to perfect my own chicken marinade and falling quite flat! My friend made me these to help:

Once they're empty, I'll know how to make more!

Do you make your own marinade?
Are you having trouble replacing any items in your family's diet?

Sleep Troubles

Welcome to the February 2013 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Addressing Sleep Challenges.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about how they address sleep challenges in their homes.


Now this is a doozy of a topic for us right now! For starters, Spencer just cut 3 teeth. His Baltic Amber necklace helps a lot, but we also use Hyland's Teething Tablets when he is having a rough time. The roughest times are when he can't sleep. So... teething tablets occasionally administered during the night when he woke.

However, Spencer was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. (We've met our Endocrinologist and are headed for further testing.) We caught it very early and the doctor stated that Spencer didn't have any symptoms. Only... I then researched the symptoms and we have one: restlessness. Over the past few weeks it has gotten worse. Its worse than the teething making it hard to get to sleep. He often wakes every hour, but sometimes wakes as often as every ten minutes.

I am sleep deprived much of the time and driving to appointments has literally become a grave risk. Something has got to give!

Spencer, sleeping through a chiropractic adjustment

With the help of some friends, I researched Melatonin and asked the Endocrinologist and Pediatrician for their approval. Both signed off without argument. My doula, however, suggested Valerian Essential Oil in a base of coconut oil, rubbed into the soles of his feet. I liked the idea. The local store only had Valerian Root, though, no essential oil. We're trying it anyway while we wait for some Valerian Essential Oil that she ordered to arrive.

Then I happened to be looking in my "medicine cabinet" one day and noticed a product I'd forgotten we had: Calms Forté 4 Kids. Its also from Hyland's, a brand I already trust. I thought it might help both of my littles to sleep better. The first night I tried it was actually the night this post was due. Sasha (3½yo) absolutely slept more solid than she has in a long time! She didn't wake once! I saw some results from Spencer, but it was pretty minor. That is why I went ahead and got the Valerian Root.

Sasha asleep in her new bed,
when we started transitioning while expecting Spencer.

Spencer is still waking quite often through the night. Adjusting my own attitude and sleeping in pajama pants (rather than angrily pulling them on in the middle of the night to come downstairs with him) has made a big difference for me. He is falling back asleep faster, too. One of the most baffling points, though: Spencer wakes about 20 minutes after my head hits the pillow every night.

I am sorry to not have more results to offer yet, but am very much looking forward to reading other posts in the carnival as well!

What home remedies and/or natural products have helped you right your little ones' sleep cycles?


Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival!

Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 7

Day 41 - February 10

We took the littles to a birthday party for a friend,
a little boy from the DS play group also turned one year!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Maximized Living

Spencer has Pulmonary Hypertension. According to Hopkins Pulmonary hypertension - Increased pressures within the blood vessels in the lungs that can lead to difficulty breathing and right-sided heart failure.

Spencer had his Cardiology check-up at the end of August 2012. I expected a progress report. What I didn't expect was for our Cardiologist to recommend a heart catheter! I was terrified. I was in tears. They had kept telling us we'd keep an eye on Spencer's Pulmonary Hypertension. Never did they suggest that this might be coming!

This was not a "lets consider this" kind of suggestion. Our cardiologist was going to present his recommendation along with Spencer's file to the lead doctor to get his decision on it. (He would also be the doctor doing the procedure.) We were to return in two weeks for the decision.

Almost a week later, I attended the Improving Birth Rally. I got to see my birth instructor, my doula and my placenta lady. This is also when I met...

Wendy and Dr. Jannell Zimmerman of Sowing Wellness

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Six Ingredient Challenge Update

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonJoin the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!

We're on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.

This week we're answering the question: How is the Six Ingredient Challenge going for you so far?

You can see all the responses to this question on February 14 at the link-up post.

To join in the Six Ingredient Challenge anytime during the six weeks, visit the sign-up page for a list of posts and to link up!


I'm not thrilled with our progress so far, but I'm not crushed, either. I was giving myself some room for forgiveness, especially since half my family is not on board. I have, however, avoided buying any grocery items with 6+ ingredients.

I tried to make Lasagna Roll Ups one night... I had accidentally bought noodles you don't have to precook... but you have to boil them to make them soft enough to roll. And then there was a commotion I had to tend to... for a good 20 minutes. The noodles all fused together in the pot. They were ruined. I couldn't use them at all. I grabbed some penne pasta I had and then noticed... the lasagna had 6 ingredients, the penne had 7.

I was already crushed about my mess of a dinner, I was fine letting the extra ingredient issue go. So... we're cruising along casually with the challenge.

Have you had any Six Ingredient Meal Mishaps?
Have you bought any 6+ ingredient items by mistake?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 6

Day 34 - February 3

I finally made an activity bag, for the first time.
Sasha loved it! for about 8 minutes.

Made with Love (& Pain?)

Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. In celebration of Valentine's Day, we're sharing recipe ideas for "love foods" or foods to share with loved ones. Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you're welcome to join us next time, or if you have a previously published recipe you'd like to share, add it to the linky below.


I read somewhere that "Made with Love" means you licked the spoon while you were cooking. I like that. To me, "Made with Love" refers to something that isn't totally easy to make. It is a dish that can be a pain, but you make it... because you love the person that will eat it.

I know its not a spoon.
And no, it did not go back into the batter.

Friday, February 8, 2013

February Taboo Carnival Call for Submissions

Jorje from Momma Jorje and Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama are pleased to present the second quarterly edition of The Taboo Carnival. This Carnival will be held four times yearly (February, May, August, and November). The topics will be wide and varied but focus on subjects that are typically not discussed in the natural parenting/mindful living world of bloggers.

The February Taboo Carnival topic is:
Responding to the Natural Parenting Community!

There is often a lot of criticism of the natural parenting community both from those
parents outside of it’s perceived borders as well as those inside the community

To those parents on the outside, the natural parenting community appears to
be some sort of exclusive clique, where everything is “our way or the highway.”
You are either all in or completely out. No middle ground. These same parents
may feel that those in the natural parenting community are judgmental bringing
condemnation and hatred down on anyone who does not parents by their rules!

Within the natural parenting community, there is often just as much of the
“outside looking in” mentality. While some parents practice most of the natural
parenting tenants, there are a few that just do not fit with their lifestyle of personal
beliefs. Other natural parents are rather militant, condemning those who do not
embrace natural parenting it its totality. And the variations of this go on and on.

This month, we would like you to respond to the Natural Parenting Community.
While this topic might seem rather broad, we would like to offer some suggestions
for post topics:

  • Are you a parent on the outside looking in? Are you feeling like you cannot make the transition to natural parenting for fear that you will be rejected by those already in the community?

  • Have you been hurt by a member or members of the natural parenting community?
    What was the situation and how would you like to respond?

  • Are you a natural parent who feels like the community as whole is too militant? Too lacidaisical?

  • What is your overall perception of natural parenting and how it is presented to the public?

  • What do you think about the term “natural parenting?”

  • Is the natural parenting community too exclusive? Does it really set other parents up to be guilt ridden if they do not meet the natural parenting standards? Are there even true natural parenting standards?

Remember, these are just our thoughts and idea to get your creative juices flowing. You are welcome to write about anything responding to the natural parenting community. A BIG REMINDER – BE RESPECTFUL! This is NOT going to turn into an attack on natural parenting or the natural parenting community. What we are hoping to do is open up a new conversation in an effort to begin putting an end to all of the parenting wars out there!

We understand that some of these topics might be sensitive or too personal to share on your own blog. Therefore, we will have a “post swap” option where another blogger will host your post anonymously and you in turn will host another blogger’s post. We will handle all of the details of the post trade once we receive your submission. The host blogger will never know by whom the post was written.

Submissions Deadline: Tuesday, February 19, 2013.

Fill out the webform (at the bottom of this post) and email your submission to jorje {at} mommajorje{dot}com AND jennifer{at}hybridrastamama{dot}com by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time.

Carnival date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013. Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on February 26th before 8am PST and email us the link if you haven’t done so already. Once everyone’s posts are published, we will send out a finalized list of all the participants’ links to generate lots of link love for your site. We’ll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

A few housekeeping items:

  • Please write a new, previously unpublished post for the carnival.
  • We will email you with specific instructions on posting before carnival day.
  • Please do not post your article until the carnival date.
  • We reserve the right to accept submissions based on relevance to the topic and quality of writing.
  • Please refrain from using profanity, poor spelling and grammar, and vicious personal attacks.
  • We will NOT be editing your post so please proofread and run a spelling and grammar check.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us vis email!

Copy the Taboo Carnival badge and add it to your sidebar:

To stay connected:

We are so looking forward to reading all the contributions for the Carnival!

~ Jorje and Jennifer

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Six Ingredient Challenge

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonJoin the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!

We're on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.

This week we're answering the question: Why do you want to participate in the Six Ingredient Challenge?

You can see all the responses to this question on February 7 at the link-up post.

To join in the Six Ingredient Challenge anytime during the six weeks, visit the sign-up page for a list of posts and to link up!


I've actually been planning to start eating more whole foods or foods closer to their natural state when we knew we'd be moving (into a home with an actual kitchen). I've been wanting to start my own container garden (this year!) and compost (started last month!). One step I took recently was not purchasing any products containing HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup). Wow, that is in a lot of stuff!

I think I opted to participate in this online challenge because it gives me a little accountability for sticking to it. I know we won't be 100%, not in the entire household. My husband and oldest daughter are not fully on board. But if we don't try... where does that leave us?

I've started getting food from Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op.

I look forward to learning from other participants and seeing that I'm not the only one that's human in our efforts. Sometimes I think it would be easier to move out of the country... to some place that doesn't use Red #5 as an ingredient.

Have you had any luck improving your household's diet?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mamatography 2013 - Week 5

Day 27 - January 27

I washed, cut up and then dipped our gorgeous co-op strawberries in chocolate!
I also did some grapes, pineapple (also from co-op) and banana.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mommy Dearest or Darling Daddy?

The Taboo Carnival

This post was originally published at Lets Take the Metro as a part of the August Taboo Carnival. Our topic last summer was PLAYING FAVORITES! Participants reflected on favoritism in relationships with children, parents, siblings, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


My parents divorced before I can remember. Knowing the two of them, I do not know how they ever managed to last as long as they did! All growing up, I had to listen to the two of them bad mouth each other constantly.

On the way to my dad's (in his truck), I'd stare out the window as he went on and on about how she was taking all his money. I've heard stories about her spending all his money when they were married, too. How she was book smart, but had no street smarts. He always referred to her with foul language, too, of course.

As soon as I'd get home, I'd hear it from my mother. I heard tales of how my father fired a gun aimed all around my mother's head when there was a window behind her and my brother was outside. Her stories all sounded really crazy, but my father owns up to all of them!

When they got divorced, my brother was asked where he wanted to live. The story goes like this: My father promised him it would just be the two of them and would be so much fun. Soon after, they were living together with my soon-to-be stepmother (and my mother's former best friend) and her 3 kids. Not the dream picture offered.

My mother had to fight for custody of him for several years. When he finally came to live with us, they fought a lot. He would only wear name brand jeans and shirts.

I lived with my mother until I was 14/15 years old. We got into a big fight and she basically kicked me out. And then she had me arrested as a runaway. She told the detective that I was suicidal, which prompted him to walk my papers through the system. I was arrested within 24 hours. However, in order to report it in the first place, she had to sign a form stating that she could not control me. My dad knew she had no way to win. He picked me up the next day and I went to live with him.

1967 photograph of Mom and Dad
My parents, together, in 1967
All this to say, neither of my parents were saints. I didn't get much approval from my dad, though. If I got an A, he'd ask why it wasn't an A+. Short version: his lack of time, affection, and approval resulted in my desire for approval from men... men that looked, basically, like him.

Once I became an adult, I gave it some thought and figured: I'd be sad when my mother passed. I would be crushed when my father passed. I spent some time obsessing about cherishing every moment with my dad. Thankfully I got past that because it is not a healthy state!

My mom passed away last year. I was sad. I miss her. Often. But I wonder if I called it. I don't know if I'll be as crushed as I predicted when my dad goes. I've known him longer now. He has done a lot for me, but... well, he is a personality. You would just have to meet him. People either love him or hate him - no middle ground.

Overall, I think my father has been my favorite parent. I think it would hurt my mother to know that. If the tables were turned, I doubt my father would be hurt, but he'd sure complain about what an idiot I was. Why was he the favorite? My mother and I were very close for short bursts of my life, namely while I was pregnant with Ronni and Sasha. She was incredibly supportive.

Are your parents still together? I wonder if that has any bearing on how strongly a favorite is... favored. Do you prefer one parent over the other?


Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the Taboo Carnival (this month)! Enjoy the posts from the other August 2012 Carnival participants!

  • Playing Favourites — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school looks at how her intense parenting style has created what 'looks' like favourites but is more causal than reality.

  • Taking Longer to Fall in Love with My Second Baby — Dionna at Code Name: Mama fell helplessly, powerlessly in love with her first-born. Love with her second-born has not been as easy, but does that mean #1 is her favorite?

  • Yes, Parents Have A Favorite Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her thoughts on parents having a favorite child and how this may have long term effects on both the favored and unfavored child.

  • Money and Equality: Should All Your Kids Get the Same? — At Authentic Parenting, Laura investigates whether or not we should provide exactly the same for our children financially.

  • More Than the Kid Sister — Amy of Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work always felt that she lived in the shadow of her older brother's accomplishments, until her parents made her aware that her personality and passion have always brought them joy and pride.
  • What makes a favorite? — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders what caused her grandparents and parents to choose favorites. She also considers possible causes for her own favoritism.

  • There Are No Favorites (I Hate You All The Same) — Amy at Anktangle guest hosts about it being easy to see how a cycle of conditional love can make a mother keep her children at arms reach.

  • Mommy Dearest or Darling Daddy? — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro guests hosts about every parent having faults. Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders why she would prefer one parent over the other and whether this applies to every situation or can it vary?

  • On having two kids & not playing fair — Lauren at Hobo Mama learned from her mother that you don't raise children based on what's fair but on what's right for each child.

  • My Kids Totally Play Favourites — Amber at tries hard not to play favourites with her kids - but they make no secret of which parent they prefer.
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