Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Cost of Pride

It's general knowledge to those that know me best that my father was not a nice man while raising us. You can read a bit about it here and here.

In the first post I said:

I'm going to pause in my story to make sure to everyone reading this that my dad is NOT like this anymore. He has learned to control his temper and let his funny, sweet, amazing side out. I really enjoy being around him now and feel comfortable when my children are alone with him. He has grown so much.

Well, it's not exactly like this. I have come the believe that it has been easier for my dad to control his temper because we grew up and are adults. See, my dad cannot STAND crying, whining, or tantrums. So he basically cannot handle children. He feels that all children should be able to stop those annoying tendencies on command. He feels that crying and tantrums are counter-productive and therefore should never take place, ever. Well, maybe at a funeral you can cry.

Okay, maybe I'm being a bit unfair, but I'm rather upset right now. He is more in control of himself than he has been, but he loses that control around little children. He loses his self-control because he has to be in control.

My dad has been increasingly meaner to BuggaBoo over time. He never takes situations into account, such as missed naps or hunger. He claims to understand why pressing circumstances can make it more difficult for a child to control himself, but my dad doesn't care about that, they should still comply. He also seems to take a perverse pleasure with maliciously hurting BuggaBoo's emotions during discipline. My father feels like he doesn't need to explain his actions to children, they should just comply, and comply quickly.

I should know all of this, this is how I was raised. I just wish that he was different now.

I am different than my dad, and The Hubby is certainly different than my dad or I wouldn't have married him. We listen to our children. We allow shows of emotion, especially sadness and anger. We do not spank, as we do not see a difference between hitting a person on their bottom or hitting them anywhere else on their body. We do not use fear to manipulate the behavior of our children. We explain, when possible, our reasons for doing things. We see our children as people deserving respect, no matter their age.

At the same time we do expect certain behavior from our children, and we try to respect societal rules while still respecting our children. If they are throwing a tantrum in public we will try for a few minutes to calm them down before removing them. We teach them patience and politeness. They know they can not always get their way. They know that tantrums don't get them what they want. Well, BuggaBoo knows all of this, Doozer is a bit young. But BuggaBoo can trust us to take his feelings and needs into account when a decision is being made. He know that we can't always comply with his needs, but for the most part we can come to a solution that does.

We do not agree with my father's discipline tactics. He uses shame and fear. He tells BuggaBoo not to cry and gets mad when BuggaBoo doesn't stop right away. He sets up artificial situations to create a discipline problem, such as offering BuggaBoo dairy ice cream when he knows we don't eat it, and then saying, "Too bad, you can't have it. Now stop crying." He threatens to spank BuggaBoo, even after we have asked him not to, and I cannot be completely sure that he hasn't spanked him when they have been alone together.

I have tried to bring these issues up in the moment, but my dad hasn't changed his behavior. He sets his jaw and says, "Well, this is how I do things."

Right after my last visit to my family The Hubby and I decided that we needed to sit down with my father during a calm time and bring this up with him. We were able to gather up enough courage to carry this out the day after Christmas. The Hubby led the talk to show that we are a united front (earlier conversations seemed to be daughter versus father) and we set down our rules:

  • My dad is allowed to make the rules in his home but we as the parents need to define the punishment.
  • My dad needs to understand that we parent differently, and needs to respect us.
  • My dad needs to realize that children are people just learning self-control and respect them and that learning process.
  • My dad needs to let us parent when we are there, and not go over our heads to discipline our children like he often does.
  • My dad needs to be nicer overall.
We made it clear that if he could not do these things he would not see his grandchildren. Without reliving the entire conversation this is what we believe about my father's feelings:

  • He feels children should comply at the drop of a hat to any command given by any adult, especially when they are being "annoying".
  • He feels that we are too soft as parents, and "can't understand how someone could grow up on a farm and parent the way [we] do."
  • He feels that children can get into a dangerous situation at anytime, so they must be trained in such a way that every encounter is a danger. Meaning, since a child can run into a road and they need to stop when we say, every time we say stop they need to stop, regardless of the actual danger involved.
  • He feels his home, his rules, and if our ways of parenting do not result in instant compliance, then his punishments.
  • He does not believe in compromise.
Also during the conversation I needed to beg him to stop throwing hay to the sheep and listen to me, and he nearly refused to stop feeding the animals to listen. He would have slapped one of us as a child for that kind of behavior. When he finally did stop to listen, as soon as he felt he heard enough he started feeding the sheep again. I told him I was not going to let him hurt my kids the way he hurt me. When we were done saying our piece he reiterated "his house, his rules" and said, "Well, if that's how you feel about it, that's that." And I said, "I guess so." Then I started bawling, we stood there a while with The Hubby holding me, then walked back to my parents' house.

We stayed a bit longer to longer to gather up stuff and let BuggaBoo play with his cousin. Dad came in, didn't say a word to me or The Hubby or anybody else. He only said three things while we were there, once to get on my niece's case for crying, once to point out how my niece was not playing with the toy BuggaBoo took from her, and once to refer to my son as a "dead carcass".

Today my dad showed up on my doorstep. I expected him since my sister told me he was going to be in Portland for his post-sinus surgery appointment, but he didn't call me. He always calls before dropping in. I almost didn't let him in, but I thought if he was here to apologize I better give him the chance.

He wasn't. He said we didn't give him a chance to speak his side, then proceeded to tell me how I was in the wrong, that basically he feels as though we cannot control our kids, and if I come to his house I need to follow his rules. There was a lot said, but I was able to keep my cool.

So, as of right now, because my father loves his pride so much, he is not seeing my children. I love him, but I love my babies more. I will accept him back into my life when he can follow the guidelines we've set.

I hope it's soon. I want my children to know my father. He could be an amazing grandpa if he let himself.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Puppet Master

I'm still officially on my blogging break, but this was too cute not to commit to the blog.

Recently, as in about four days ago, BuggaBoo has fallen in love. Deeply, irrevocable in love (at least, until he's grown out of this stage).

He loves puppets. Specifically, Duck Puppet and Striped Sock Puppet.

Actually, he thinks of puppets as strange beings that are their own entities but have to be controlled by parents. They are his new best friends. He will tell the puppets anything.

He will do anything the puppets tell him to do.

Is he throwing a tantrum because his parents told he couldn't have candy AND chocolate pudding? Is that tantrum lasting longer than 45 minutes? Have the parents explained over and over again that he had a choice between the two and he chose candy and CANNOT HAVE PUDDING!? Well, Duck Puppet can tell him, and BuggaBoo will accept it. Just like that, all done, no more tantrum.

D0 we, the parents, want BuggaBoo to pee in the toilet even if he is wearing a diaper to catch accidents? Too bad, he won't. But if Duck Puppet asks him to, he's all over it.

BuggaBoo doesn't want to brush his teeth for bed? Sock Puppet can accomplish the feat with minimal protesting.

So we, the parents, are actually enjoying the Reign of the Puppets. At least we get to speak for the puppets.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Blogging Break

Just as a heads up I will be taking a short break from blogging, a few weeks at most. I have a lot going on with my life including a final project for my pattern drafting class, designing and drafting AND constructing a matron-of-honor dress for my sister-in-law's wedding, a sick husband, and assorted other time-suckers.

Don't worry, when I come back I'll have a lot of stuff to share, including a tutorial of sorts. So don't write me off, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Quick One

Sorry, I haven't given you guys a real post in a long while, but life is, erm, complicated at the moment. Not complicated like, oh, I don't know, space aliens, but complicated like my brain is full and my mind wants to explode out my ears.

So, um, did I tell you guys I want to start a pattern line? I know I've told some of you, since about half the people who read this are family or close friends, but let's pretend we're all internet strangers. Yeah, I want to start my own pattern line of breastfeeding clothes. Which sounds simple enough, especially because I have some great ideas. But then I make things more complicated because "Oh, I should totally do some breastfeeding PLUS maternity wear, because I coulda used some of that during Doozer's pregnancy," and, "I absolutely have to add plus-sized patterns to my line because I have so many gorgeous luscious girls in my circle and they deserve hott clothes, too," and "Hey, I need to make a sloper that will work for the average postpartum body!" and then I have a minor anxiety attack. And that's not including all the business stuff I need to do.

So, simplify, right? As of now I'm attempting to make my trains of thought link up into one express line and travel in the same direction. I'm trying to focus on my pattern drafting class, especially because there isn't much of the semester left and the pattern I need to develop for my final is supposed to be the dress I want to wear for my sister-in-law's wedding that's in four weeks since I'm a matron-of-honor and HOLY CRAP WHAT AM I DOING ON THE INTERNET??!!!??!11??

Signing off.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


You know it's been one of those weeks when you wake up thinking it's Saturday, but it's really just Thursday...

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I made bread today. Even went the extra mile and added tons of wheat germ to healthify it.

What I forgot to add was salt.

Have you ever had no-salt bread?

I like I said, bummer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fabric Pumpkins for Autumn!


Yes, this post needs exclamation points. Why, I'm not sure, maybe I need more excitement in my life.

A few days ago I mentioned I had made some crafty pumpkins. Over at Small Fry & Co. there is this super adorable and easy tutorial for making pumpkins out of sweaters. My sister Jillyn sent it to me and I immediately fell in love with the simple shabby chicness of it. Which is funny, because my decor style is more Asian zen than country cottage. (Tangent, do you think I could ever get the two styles to live harmoniously? Because I really love them both...)

Once I decided to make them I took inventory of my sweater stash to see if I could recreate this. And I hated the combination of sweaters I was willing to cut. Then I remembered I have tons of knit scraps from my friend who makes some amazing nursing covers. So that's what I used.

I sewed tubes of fabric in varying sizes, then ran gathering stitches around the tops and bottoms. After that I cinched the bottoms closed and sewed them shut on my machine. In my opinion, the less hand sewing the better!

After the bottoms were secure I poured in some gravel for weight and then stuffed with Polyfil. I found to get a good rounded pumpkin you stuff it, then stick your hand in the middle of the stuffing and make a hole. Then wad some more Polyfil to medium density and put it into the hole you made.

Gather the tops of the pumpkins and knot the tails. Hand sew the tops shut, I used a ladder stitch. Then grab some yarn and stitch the top and bottom together as described in the Small Fry tutorial. This is how they looked after all of that:

Oooo, dreamy lighting. Because I wasn't working with sweaters I was missing the prominent ribbing that make the pumpkin stripes. Since BuggaBoo has been on a paint-everything kick I decided to paint these babies with watered down gold acrylic paint. I was a selfish mommy and let him help paint only one because he wasn't painting how I wanted him to. Because the paint was so watery the pumpkins were still moist even after drying all night. So they took a quick trip in the dryer with some towels. I'm surprised they survived the journey.

Then we added the stems and leaves and got this:

Can you tell which one BuggaBoo painted? And can I say that I love living in an area where finding lichen- and moss-covered sticks is as easy as walking into your front yard? Here are some detail shots:

So, I plan on leaving these up until it's time to break out the Christmas decorations. Especially after all that work.

What Shall I Sew?

We are so fortunate to have many friends that have given us hand-me-downs for the kiddos. We have boxes of kid clothes from newborn to ~3T for boys and girls. This is even after donating what we could not use.

However, we've discovered that Doozer's wardrobe, though not lacking in quantity, is lacking in diversity. The size she is now is basically all summer weight, and a very hot summer at that.

So the other night while BuggaBoo was painting I decided to do a little craft project of my own and stamp some deep brown knit:

Innit key-ute? Sorry for the horrible picture, is IS supposed to be pink diamonds with white "stitching". I forgot to take a picture in natural light, so this is with the flash, yuck.

The design was super easy to stamp. I have some lame dollar store sponges that are foam instead of cellulose (ugh). Since I prefer the cellulose sponges for my dishes, so I decided to use the foam ones for craft use. I cut a diamond shape and stamped out the pink diamonds. After they were dry I came back and "stitched" in the white. I mixed my pink acrylic paint with fabric medium, but I didn't want to go to the trouble with my white. I've noticed that, for my needs, fabric medium isn't necessary. It may fade after a few washing but then the design will just have that coveted vintage feeling.

I was sure to stamp this far enough from the bottom of the fabric I can use it for anything. I am going to have the argyle going across her chest. Any article of clothing I make will be winter appropriate with long sleeves. So, what shall I sew with it? Below is a poll, please use liberally. And if you want to comment, do so! I love hearing from my minions, I mean, readers.

What Type of Clothing Does Doozer Need?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

From Tigger, Piglet, and Krista-pher Robin

This Message Brought to You by BuggaBoo

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Kind of Math

One seitan stew from scratch


Two parties visited


Three costumes whipped up


Four dozen popcorn balls


Five crafty pumpkins


A very tiring day!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things I Swore I'd Never Do

The kiddos are watching a color-changing nightlight, so let's see if I can hammer this out before they get bored with it.

Okay, those-without-children, are there parenting practices you've promised yourself you'd never do? And, those-with-children, did you HAVE things you'd promised yourself you would never do, but you do them?

Here's my list:


When I saw parents do The Count I always snorted, mostly internally, and I swore I'd never count to my kids.

Well, we count. BUT! We don't do this count: "Okay, Johnny, you come here right now. I'm going to count! One, two... No, okay, I'm serious, come here! If you don't come here by three you're going to be in trouble. One, two, two-and-a-half... Johnny! Come here now!" Ugh.

But, like I said previously, we do count. BuggaBoo has a hard time transitioning. Seriously, what toddler doesn't. So we count to give him a concrete time to be done. Baths, nursing, playing with friends, it works for a lot of scenarios. It's become a useful tool for us.

Not Spank

I used to be all about the spanking. I was spanked, I'm fine, it's how you control kids. Well, we've changed about this, too.

Our personal philosophy is we try to teach our kids to not hit other people, even when angry, even if the other person did something wrong. We teach them to use conversation skills instead, and if that fails then get a grownup to mediate.

So, in our opinion, if we were to spank it would send the message to our children, "You don't hit, but if you're bigger, or in control, or angry, or didn't like what the other person did, or if you tell them you're going to hit them, that's okay."

Also, me coming from an abusive background I've noticed that allowing myself the opportunity to use physical punishment for discipline can be a slippery slope to adult temper tantrums. So for myself it doesn't work.

Co-Sleeping and Cry-It-Out

I was adamant our babies would sleep by themselves, all the way until halfway through my pregnancy with BuggaBoo. Then I read "Our Babies, Ourselves" by Meredith F. Small. Talk about a complete paradigm shift for me. In this anthropologically based book Small talks about the need babies have for primitive parenting. So, we changed our minds about that.

We also realized that excessive crying, especially cry-it-out, was not how babies were programmed to work. So we (try) to comfort every cry. As our children get older we do realize the differences between cries, such as pain, hunger, frustration, anger, etc. With our older children we respond differently to different cries, but when they're young each cry is attended to.

Extended Breastfeeding

I always knew I would breastfeed my babies to a year, but no longer than that! It was weird, unnerving, sexually wrong, and just plain spoiling them. Then I read "Our Babies, Ourselves" and decided that extended breastfeeding would be okay, but only until about age two.

BuggaBoo will be three soon and he's still going strong. He certainly nurses as often as Doozer. And I'm okay with that. The Hubby and I have decided that he can nurse as long as he wants to. I understand that extended breastfeeding, or EB, is not for everyone. But it totally works for our family.


So, sweet readers, what beliefs do you hold dear? Those with babies, did you change your mind at all? How has it impacted your life? Oh, and if you do things differently than us, that's totally fine. Every family is different and I have a firm faith that parents do what's best for their children and themselves. So polite debate is fine, but try to keep any comments out of the realm of rude.

Oh, and if you guys are wondering if the kidlets were entertained the whole time, think again. We've had a scuffle, a crying jag, and a little boy standing IN the toilet whilst trying to write this. But that's okay!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I inherited some cast iron from various sources the last few years. My favorites are the frying pans and skillets that used to be my Grandpa's.

Anyway, they were all rusty when I got them. Well, I've been working on them this year and I'm glad to report that the pan I use the most has finally been seasoned to a non-stick surface.

I am so happy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bumpy Road Ahead

So my brain is feeling a little fried. I'm still having emotional upheaval in my life, but it's becoming more complicated. I'm realizing many things about myself and my family dynamics and I've come to the conclusion that I need to work through my childhood before progressing positively with my life. And, ugh, how cliche is that?

After The Hubby and I got married we took nightly walks down by the river while I ranted, yelled, and cried about my childhood. When The Hubby joined my family they dynamics had settled down quite a bit, so I was opening that filthy chasm into my past so he could understand me. Together I healed enough to have a pretty amazing marriage. I thought that chapter of my life was closed, that I was "over it."

Kids enter stage right. Now I know that my past hurts have not been resolved, that things still aren't optimal between The Hubby and I, and that I am so child-like from my wounds I am not fully able to parent my children. If it had just been us two adults I think everything would have been okay except for the occasional meltdown. Well, that's not exactly true. I've been reading a lot (which is what I do when confronted with a problem) and I now know that though I love The Hubby like a spouse and lover, I was/am expecting him to fill me with the parental love I didn't get. And to quote my older sister, "Who really wants their husband to love them like a parent? I mean, when you're actually being logical?" I don't.

In case you're interested, here's my reading list, plus my thoughts on the books.

Bad Childhood---Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood, by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Okay, I know not everyone loves Dr. Laura (I hate some of her advice), but this book was pretty amazing for me. It was hard to read, it was hard to put down. I remember reading it a few years ago and thinking, "Eh, I'm over all this so this isn't for me." Now I want to read it again and take notes. I had some pretty big revelations through reading this book, but I think they deserve a post of their own.

The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrums, and Tears, by Elizabeth Pantley

This little treasure helped to reaffirm my parenting ideals while giving me practical tools to carry out said ideals. It also gave me the confidence to realize that my son is not a brat, no matter how much certain family members may think so. Basically this book reiterates for me that my goal in parenting is not to have a perfectly behaving child, it's to help form a fully functioning, independent adult. An adult who can make their own decisions in life, not just what I tell them to do. It also has a section on what to do about parental anger. Hint: anger happens, it's how you deal with it, and everyone makes mistakes.

Giving the Love That Heals, By Harville Hendrix, Ph.D, and Helen Hunt, Ph.D

We're getting books that's I've started, haven't finished, but like what I read so far. This one contains informaiton on how giving approprate love to your children can help heal your childhood wounds. I want to read the companion book, "Getting the Love You Want".

Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, by Karyl McBride, Ph.D

This is a good book so far, I think it would help my mom out more in dealing with the relationship with her mom. I'm only halfway through, so I can't give a complete review on it, but I'll finish reading it, so it can't be horrible.


So there we go, that's what's on my bookshelf. Have any of you read any good book on dealing with your childhood? Care to share?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dairy-Free "Sausage" Gravy for Biscuits

Okay, Jillyn, this one's for you.

I'm been making dairy-free gravy since I went vegan, but I've never felt confident sharing it with too many people. I mean, The Hubby and I thought it was amazing, and the kids don't count because they've never had dairy, but what about other people? You know, those that still eat dairy.

So I tried this out on my little sister since her new li'l one can't tolerate dairy in the breastmilk. And Jillyn loved it. Since I usually just eyeball this I actually sat down and figured out measurements so I could share with with you. You're welcome.

I'm going to talk first about making the sausage flavored TVP, then how to make the sunflower seed cream, and then how to make the gravy.

Serves four-ish.

"Sausage" TVP

1/3 cup boiling water
1 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
a few shakes of cumin
a few shakes of red pepper
1/2 cup TVP

I like to grind my fennel seed, but you don't have to. Also, I like to add my fennel to the water before boiling it to soften the seeds, but once again, optional. Mix all of the above. The TVP will not be fully reconstituted, it will finish reconstituting in the gravy.

Sunflower Seed Gravy Cream

1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels (no shells)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

If you need to grind your seeds in a coffee grinder first, do so. I take the lazy route and blend the seeds with about 3/4 cup water in my blender until it's smooth. Then I add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.


3 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp flour

Put the oil in a pan, add the reconstituted TVP. Fry for a little bit. Add the flour, stir until combined with oil. Slowly whisk in the sunflower seed cream, creating a white sauce. Cook until as thick as you like it. I like my gravy pretty thick. If you want a thinner gravy use less flour and oil. If you want it thicker, like a brick, use more. After you're done cooking add:

1 tsp liquid smoke

Taste for salt and other seasonings, then serve over biscuits.

Whew! I hope that wasn't too confusing, it's actually pretty fast to throw together. You can make this gluten free by using cornstarch to thicken the gravy instead of the roux. I really like using sunflower seeds for my gravies and cheeze sauces, the flavor seems just right after cooking, since it's a bit sharp. Yum.

A Sunday Update on Life

So, where to begin?

We recently started EC'ing with Doozer again. We promptly stopped after starting because life became hectic. However, she is now big enough to use a toilet seat insert and she loves it. As evidenced by this picture of her loving it:

And how about another one? This time, cute, chubby, nakey baby:

She still wets diapers at night but always pees and poos in the morning. She is, ah, demanding to use the potty about 60% of the time. It's been a lot easier using the seat insert rather than holding her over the sink.

A while ago The Hubby purchased a wagon and the kids love playing with it.

You may notice our kids are starkers a lot. Well, a lot of that is due to having to change or potty Doozer often, and BuggaBoo has been potty training all summer. He has a nearly perfect track record if he's naked from the waist down. This has apparently caused distress among some of the neighbors, since BuggaBoo will play in the front yard while in an undressed state. We live in a somewhat cul-de-sac produced by the apartment parking lot, so it's not like he's running around town like this. And last time I checked he was, uh, two. I don't know maybe I'm missing something. Dear Readers, what is your opinion on this? At what age does public nudity become a cultural sin? I'm feeling around 3.5 to 4 years old throw some clothes on the kid for normal play, and I'm okay with a 5 year old being naked for water play. What do you think?

Anyways, back to the cute happenings of my family.

Oh, this happened several weeks ago. Broke my heart.

I mean, how pathetic. I assure you I swiftly swept her into bed.

Buggaboo was so proud yesterday for reaching this screen in his game he made me take a picture of it.


And, I think that's it. So enjoy your Sunday, I hope it's a great one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cabbage Leaves Stuffed with Hazelnuts and Sprouted Lentils

This last Saturday we bought a gorgeous cabbage from the farmer's market. I was seriously excited about it because it still had its outer leaves on it. They don't sell cabbages like that at WinCo. I decided to make some cabbage rolls in the crockpot since we had a busy day running errands and later attending my pattern drafting class I'm taking Monday nights.

I was influenced by Jennifer McCaan's recipe but altered it to use ingredients I had on hand. So here we go!


  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup sprouted lentils, chopped
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • water to moisten
  • cabbage leaves for stuffing (Go to Jennifer's recipe to read how to prepare the leaves.)
  • tomato sauce (I used leftover spaghetti sauce from a can. High class, I know.)
Mix everything but the cabbage leaves and tomato sauce together. Add just enough water to create a mixture that will stick together when pressed. Create stuffing logs that will fit comfortably into your cabbage leaves, leaving about an inch on each side of the leaf to tuck in, like a burrito.

Spray your crockpot with oil and put one or two tablespoons of tomato sauce on the bottom. Put in your cabbage packages seam side down.

So pretty!

Spoon you tomato sauce over your cabbage rolls. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, until filling is cooked through. Enjoy eating these, because they're mighty scrumptious.

What I would do differently next time is add cooked rice, which I didn't do this time because I didn't want to go to the trouble to prepare the rice. Also, I think some sauteed garlic and onions and other veggies would be quite at home in this. I wish I had Dijon mustard to add, because dang that would have been good. I think throwing some sauerkraut in the pot around the rolls would be divine. Basically I don't think you could do these a wrong way.

Rolling is easy but a little time consuming, especially with trying to get the leaves off the cabbage head in one piece and blanching them. To save on time I might try shredding my cabbage and mix it with half the tomato sauce. Then I would put down a layer of cabbage, a layer of filling, and then another layer of cabbage. Top it with more tomato sauce, cook it, and serve it like a casserole.

And that it for this. Have a great night, I'm going to go snuggle in bed with the family.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Off-The-Cuff Broccoli Soup

So for breakfast I decided to make some pureed broccoli soup to use up some questionable produce in my fridge. What, don't you have soup for breakfast? Also, I wanted to put some veggies in my kid since yesterday was firmly in the all-he-ate-was-french-fries category. *hangs head in shame*

I had part of a broccoli crown, a broccoli stem, and some collards that needed eating, so I whipped this up and was surprised. This was so good! I want to eat it all but must restrain myself so that The Hubby can has his share. I really have to do this because it was so good I sneaked him a bite while he was sleeping off his night shift. Lesson learned, if I want more soup I can't share.

Look at that gorgeous green!

I didn't measure, but I hope that won't deter you. Also in the list of hopeful-non-deterrents is the sprouted lentils. I had them on hand because they're useful. Soak them for about eight hours, drain, then put them in a container with a lid to keep them moist, rinsing at least once a day. This is my second day sprouting this batch.


  • Water, not too much
  • Salt
  • Broccoli equitable to one crown, chopped
  • Four collard leaves turning yellow, ends discarded and chopped. I keep my stems, why waste good food?
  • One medium potato chopped, for smoothness
  • A good handful of sprouted lentils
  • Another good handful of raw sunflower seeds
  • Nutritional yeast
Simmer everything except for the nutritional yeast because heat will destroy the B vitamins in the yeast. When things are tender but not falling apart puree the soup in batches. Keep the center portion out of your blender lid and use a towel to cover it. Watch out for steam! After the soup is smooth taste for salt adjustment then add nutritional yeast to taste. Ladle up, adding more nutritional yeast as a garnish if wanted.

BuggaBoo likes it, Doozer loves it, and I'm hoping to make it again soon. Yum! This is obviously vegan but also gluten free, so all ya'll of my friends that have a hard time finding good quick gluten free recipes, try this out. Tell me how you like it.

BuggaBoo was excited to eat his soup with a straw. He also requested nutritional yeast, Diaya cheese, AND a spoon.

Because everything tastes better with more stuff. This is the first time we've ever owned Diaya cheese, it was purchased for a date and we're so stingy with any processed vegan faux food that we still have some left, even after making a pizza with the leftovers. BuggaBoo is, of course, in love with. It's okay, it's stringy like real cheese but not worth the cost, in my opinion.

So go look in your fridge at those languishing veggies and cook up an imaginative soup. Come on, I dare ya. You can even eat it with a straw if you want to.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why I Blog: The Second Introduction

First, a retraction: In my last post I brought up the fact that when I visit my family I have the tendency to slip into old behaviors that I don't like. While that is true I shouldn't have left out that being with my family is also a positive experience, not all negative. I love being with my family and there is so much good that goes on. There is a lot of growth I see in everyone, there are new and old babies to love, a huge farm to run around on, and family that loves me. I just happened to be focusing on the not-so-pleasant at the time.

On another note I hear an imagined chorus whilst typing such posts. What is this chorus saying? "Okay, Krista, get with the happy-making. Enough with this doom and gloom stuff, this isn't why I came here, I visit this blog to read cutesy updates of the kiddos. Or tutorials. Or there better be at least pictures." If you're coming here for that kind of stuff you'll need to glean it. I actually started the blog to document my life and the changes I'm making. The Hubby and kids happen to feature prominently in that life, so they will make steady appearances. But the bulk will be personal revelations and doings, often in a navel gazing manner.

See, I approach my blogging as an open journal. Maybe I should be keeping a private journal, but something about reaching an audience is so tantalizing that it keeps me writing whereas a traditional journal would not. Having this audience also makes me aware of my writing process. I need to be absolutely clear about my meaning so others can understand me. By being so clear for someone else I help to sort my thoughts for myself. Many times I've come to epiphanies through explaining my thoughts.

These personal thoughts of mine help me, but I hope that they help others. This is the second reason why I blog, and do so with boldness. One motive for keeping a journal is to help others in their journey. Well, with the danger of sounding prideful, I would like to help others now. And many of my friends, both in the blogging world and in real life, have expressed gratitude for sharing my struggles and triumphs.

I may not speak kindly or positively about those in my life. When I first set up this blog I wrestled with the decision to share it with my intimate friends and family for fear of hurting their feelings. I especially worried about my mother and father reading since so much of my growing has to do with overcoming childhood pain. In the end I decided to include everyone. I know that even though I will try to be tactful others' feelings may become hurt. However, I believe that most times hurt is necessary for growth, for both parties involved. I believe that true understanding can help. I do not claim to always take the higher moral ground, as I will have times of passive-aggressive moments where I will bring up personal hurts here instead of with the responsible party. I'm trying to do better. Sometimes the issue has already been brought up but I'm still sorting it out in my life. So I will journal it.

I hope that all of you reading up on me will appreciate my postings. I feel honored that so many want to know what goes on in my life, the good and bad. I am grateful for the outpouring of support shown to me and the sharing of personal stories. I'm excited to get to know you all better, whether you've been in my life this short while or with me my entire life.

So buckle up, this ride is gonna be ca-razy.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm in a dark mood so this will be a dark, if ironically an enlightening, post.

I spent the last week at my family's place. I went to help my li'l sister out with her new baby because her hubby was leaving to Denver for some job training.

Visiting my family is hard. I love them so much and when I'm living in my own world I enhance the good things I miss. When I'm with my family then I'm also confronted with all the hard, and I regress to what I've been trying to leave behind in myself.

This time was especially hard because I hadn't balanced myself from the three-week stay in July when I went up for my brother's graduation. Because of reverting back to my former self I've been raging against my little family and myself, but BuggaBoo is getting the brunt of it for the sin of being a willful toddler. He has taken to tracking my moods, asking me dozens of times a day if I'm happy, and if I answer otherwise he starts crying.

So today The Hubby took the children out for a long walk and I tackled the kitchen, listening to music cranked way up (sorry, neighbors). Today must be "ballads about horrible relationships" day on Pandora, and that got me thinking about my parents and their marriage and how we were affected. Two songs in particular really hit me hard, "Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem and Rihanna, and "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. And, please trust me, they may be rap and pop songs and the Lady Gaga song may be mostly frippery, but they at least started the thoughts rolling around in my head.

My parents don't have a very good marriage. It's the elephant in the room we're not supposed to point out. So while doing the dishes I was ruminating on how my siblings and I have a hard time in our marriages and sometimes with our kids. We want to have different experiences in our family but we don't know how because the omnipresent example was how our parents interacted with each other an us. We know what we want to be but we don't know how to get there.

And then I realized that my parents' relationship has nothing to do with us. Let me say that again, with caps: IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH US KIDS. My parents' marriage was about them, their individual relationships with us had to do with us. If we had never been born or had been different people it would have been the same between them. We never had the power to control their emotions, actions, or reactions. No matter how good or bad we were they CHOSE to have the marriage they have.

I am not laying blame at the feet of my father and mother. Just in the way that I can not control their actions they cannot control mine. And also, just in the way that I do not know how to act because of their example they do not know how because they never had a good example, either. My father never learned how to show any emotions except for happiness or anger. Even the anger he could not show as a child, but learned that the fear of anger can make a child comply, that the strong (his father) use that technique, and so that how he handles us. My mother did not learn how to react to a frontal attack because her parents did not act that way, her mother uses guilt to mold her children. And so my mother will use guilt with us. And this is how they treat each other.

So, what do I do? I am breaking the spirit of my son because I don't have myself under control. I feel the rage creeping up wanting to take over, wanting me to hurt my child. I abuse him emotionally but stopping short of physically doing so, but just barely. What is it about this small, beautiful child that makes me so angry? That makes me want to harm him?

Honestly, there is nothing about HIM that MAKES me do anything. Just as I do not have control over my parents he does not have control over me. I am trying to excuse myself by saying it is his fault. It isn't. It isn't my parents' fault. It is mine. As my brother said this last week I am an adult now, what happened as a child is done.

So, I am writing this out for me, to be able to look back and remember that I said this: I am owning my problem. This is about me, I need to find a way to fix it. I don't know how yet, but I know why and when. Why, because I love my babies and The Hubby and I don't want to hurt them. And the when is now. This starts now.

So, Mom, I know you're reading this. Stop feeling guilty. No, you're not perfect. Neither is Dad. But Dad and you didn't do this to me. I am doing this to myself, but no longer.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Twilight: The Nursing Years

So it's official, I live with two vampires of the milky variety. Between the two of my chilluns I've been sucked dry, mostly of my emotional sanity. Don't worry about my milk supply, I honestly think I could support triplets.

Doozer is teething/growth-spurting/mastering the new skill of pulling herself up. This leads to nursing and holding marathons. She usually sleeps long stretches at night, but because of the aforementioned reasons she is staying latched on nearly the whole night with a 1-2 hour break in the early morning.

BuggaBoo is driving me crazy with the nursing. I'm torn about this, because when I dig down deeply I know that I love our nursing relationship, but his lack of patience is wearing me thin, thin, thin. He had been eating a lot of solids a few days ago, horking down as much food as we, the parents, do, but now he is back to mostly nursing. I'm afraid to cut him off, however, because his vomiting episodes usually follow a nursing marathon.

To show you how stressed I am, here this is: Although I am a strong believer in child-led weaning I have thought about weaning BuggaBoo completely. But it's not time, his nursing need hasn't been fulfilled yet. Nursing is the most important thing to him, he'll will choose it over almost anything. He will choose it over cookies, ice cream, and frosting, which are his favorite desserts.

As more evidence I'm going to relate our night-weaning experience. When I was 3 months pregnant with Doozer BuggaBoo was about 20 months old. He was still nursing every hour or two at night and staying latched for 15-45 minutes at a time. I was exhausted from growing a new baby and decided to night-wean the boy. Our agreement was he could nurse to sleep and nurse in the morning (loosely, after 6am) but that was it. Well, it was a month of screaming and crying and holding my breasts and touching a mole on my chest (he always touches it while we nurse) and going crazy. But after the month he was night-weaned and would ask to nurse at night about once a week, which I declined.

So by the time Doozer was born he had been night-weaned for six months. He still sleeps with us on a twin bed next to our queen. Well, it started when she was born and still continues to this day: BuggaBoo hears Doozer nursing and asks to nurse. He cries when I say no. Still. It's not every night, but it's often enough to be annoying.

So, to sum up the whole story, even if I were to wean BuggaBoo right now it would be absolute hell for the both of us because I'm still nursing Doozer and he would feel (rightfully) hurt every time he saw her nurse.

So we plug along. I don't do much in the way of housework. I'm feeling pressure from some about that because doncha know that a clean house is the good mark of a mother? I feel all touched out by the end of the day, and being touched by anyone else *coughTheHubbycough* gives me the skeevies. Oh, heck, even the kids touching me gives me the all-overs. I usually can't take a bath without one or the other in there with me, nursing away and splashing water all over the book I happen to be reading at the time (I try not to take library books in with me).

But the worst part of it all is I often feel like I've cheated BuggaBoo, that we had Doozer too soon for his needs. If it was just him then we could nurse whenever, without having to share or wait or scream. Nursing wouldn't be a battle of the wills, it would be me and my baby. Sometimes I feel Doozer could have waited.

Which then makes me feel guilty, because I LOVE this little girl, and I'm so happy she's here so then I think if BuggaBoo wasn't around so much then I could just have a relationship with her, and she's being shafted because BuggaBoo can't leave me alone.

We mothers are great about bringing on the guilt trips.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Because You NEEDED to Know

Okay guys, I love sushi. I can eat a lot of it. A. Lot. Several rolls. But I would like to let ya'll know that homemade brown rice cucumber-avocado rolls are soooooo much more filling than their white rice counterparts that you find in restaurants. So if you want to go for the whole grains and use brown rice you can totally try my recipe out, which was inspired by Susan at Fat Free Vegan and Jennifer at Vegan Lunchbox/Shmooed Food.

1 cup short grain brown rice
2 Tbsp amaranth (it makes the rice "gluier")
3 cup + 3 Tbsp water

Throw it all into a rice cooker, let the appliance do it's thing. Use your favorite sushi rice flavorings (the above links have good ideas). Roll some sushi. No, I don't have pictures.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pass the Chalk

BuggaBoo has become quite the artist. He is loving his chalk, both outdoors and in.Because of the best daddy in the world BuggaBoo has a huge chalkboard in our kitchen, created with some blackboard paint. Very cool stuff, we'll need to take pictures sometime.

Anyway, back to the budding artist. All of this kinda started with his obsession of adding eyes to everything. Here's his first gallery. Surface, asphalt; medium, washable chalk.

"Circles and Triangle and Cute Little Toes"


"Three Fish"


"Ring Around the Chalk Pile"

"Concentric Circles with Foot for Scale"

The artist himself, age 2.5 years

The hand that created it all

The little sister, who burbles,

and laughs,

and who can't


sit still.

And the Mom.

And a sighting of Bigfoot.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More Witty Remarks From the Boy

(We enter the scene with BuggaBoo, Doozer, and Mommy watching Daddy play "Heroes of Might and Magic 5", a fantasy game...)

BuggaBoo: (seeing some minotaurs) What are those?

Daddy: They're half bulls, half people, they're called minotaurs.

BuggaBoo: Are they like cows?

Mommy: Yes, they're like cows.

BuggaBoo: I'm talking to Daddy.

Daddy: Yes, they're like cows.

BuggaBoo. Oh. (to Mommy) They're like cows, Mommy.

Mommy: Oh, really...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Very Quick Update

We went to the pediatrician today for Doozer's 6 month appointment, everything is doing well. But I just wanted to let ya'll know that BuggaBoo's ultrasound came back clear, so as far as we know right now there isn't a "structural" reason for the vomiting.

There is a college of naturopathy in Portland, you're able to see three student naturopaths for $20 (or so we've heard). They're overseen by their teachers, so it's a good way to get quality naturopath care for not a lot of money. I think we'll take BuggaBoo there next to rule out food sensitivities.

So, there you go. That was a quick update, wasn't it?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Momma's Marine

I stumbled across this picture today and found it beautiful. Look at that mother's face, she adores her son. She is so proud. I hope all mommas can look at their children this way, no matter their age.

Now, go love your babies.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pop Quiz: Bike Etiquette

Our car is fixed now, but it was broken down for a while. This was really no biggie, we often walk where we want and we also live near a MAX stop But we decided to take this time and get our bikes in running order. We've started biking more, but I'll save all that jibber-jabber for another post. This time I want to quiz those motor vehicle drivers. Yes, you, this test is for you. It's multiple choice, so it should be easy. All questions are asked from the driver's point of view.

1) You're coming up on a four-way stop and so is a bike. You'll stop first. What do you do?

a) Encourage the bike to go first, because that's polite.
b) Remember that a bike is a vehicle, too and the bike rider is probably waiting for you to go because it's your turn and they don't want to have to put their foot down.
c) What bike?

2) There's a bike in "your" lane. The rider is trying to stay to the right as much as possible, but there is oncoming traffic making it hard to pass. You

a) Don't slow down and just whiz on by, that stupid bike shouldn't be on the road anyways.
b) Slow down and wait for oncoming traffic to let up before passing. Also realize that the bike rider knows you're there and will try to accommodate you as soon as possible.
c) What bike?

3) You see a bike hauling a trailer. You

a) Assume the trailer is empty, they all are, and don't act any differently.
b) Assume the trailer has children in it and understand the parent might be nervous and so you act accordingly.
c) What bike trailer?

4) You see the bike with the trailer. You decide to rev your engine at it while going by because

a) It's funny! And it'll teach that rider a lesson for taking up *your* road.
b) You want to terrorize little children and cause them to scream and cry until their mother can stop and calm them down.
c) What bike?

5) You see a bike rider and they have their arm held out at a ninety-degree angle, hand up. This means

a) Even though their hand is stationary they're waving at you. How nice! Wave back or talk to them out your window.
b) They want to turn right. Remember, you had to know hand signals to pass your driver's test.
c) What bike?

6) You're pulling out of a parking slot from the side of the road. You are near a farmer's market, a place generally known to attract pedestrians and bike riders. You

a) Pull out without looking. Everyone should get out of your way, even other cars.
b) Look! Know that during this time of the week and day there will be increased traffic of smaller vehicles.
c) What bike? I didn't even see them when they pulled back in front of me after having to swerve around me.

7) You see a female rider wearing biking shorts. You should

a) Give her the up-and-down. That's why she's dressed that way, for attention.
b) Realize that she's wearing that get-up to reduce chafing.
c) What rider? I missed it?

All correct answers are "b". If you answered "a" at all you need to pick up a bike law manual from your local DMV. If you answered "c" I might yell at you while riding.

I know it will cause my mother to worry, but all of the previous situations have happened to me in the last two weeks. And I live in one of the most bike-friendly areas of America. Sad times.

Preserving: A Way of Life

Today I bought two boxes, about 22 lbs, of peach seconds for $16.00 at the farmer's market. I have been trying to snag some all season but they're always sold out or I walked there without a wagon. This time I brought my bike and trailer. Still, it was two trips, one to buy the buggers and another to leave the kiddos with The Hubby and pick up those peaches.

Tonight those bruised and somewhat *cough* moldy beauties are being transformed into peach butter using my favorite method, overnight crockpot cooking. I would have taken pictures but:

1) I was trying to do this with a toddler and baby in tow and
2) I'm pretty un-squeamish when it comes to how many bruises I leave in my fruit, but maybe someone would take offense to it. All the moldy parts were cut out, scout's honor.

Speaking of having babies and trying to preserve food I often think, "How did the pioneers do this? And preserve enough to eat all winter?" The answer, they didn't. They all starved to death and we are descendants of an invading alien tribe.

Actually, all joking aside, I think they enlisted more help from their little ones than we modern parents do. I'm sure at 2.5 years old BuggaBoo would have some pretty important jobs on a frontier farm, including taking care of his little sister. But I wonder if they really had a childhood? I'm not saying our way is better or worse, just different. We have the luxury of allowing our children to be children.

Anyway, back to actually making the stuff. I first cut out pits and bad spots. Then I just cut them into smaller chunks and throw them in my blender, skins and all. Then I put them in my crockpots with spices and cook them on low all night with the lids propped so the puree can reduce to a butter. For more detailed instructions click on the link above.

I chose to make butter this time around rather than jam because I didn't want to be boiling substances around Doozer (she was on the counter in her Bumbo and she has quite the reach), so I'll process the butter tomorrow when The Hubby can help me out. Also butter doesn't take pectin, so it's that much cheaper to make. Also also I don't like to use a lot of sugar because of The Hubby's diabetes and with butter you can get away with not using a lot of sugar. I do have some no-sugar-needed pectin (thanks Mommy!) but tonight I just wanted something tried and true.

So if you want, sometime this winter come on over and I'll cook up some amazing fluffy pancakes and dollop some peach butter on top. If you can handle the fact that it was made with bruised fruit.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's the Small Things

Okay, enough gloom, here's a quick rundown of little events that have made me happy.

Yesterday, I dumpster dived food.

Okay, it wasn't in the dumpster, it was in a pile behind my favorite grocery store. But it was technically expired and free. I scored three boxes of organic spinach, four boxes of organic spring mix salad, a bag of organic arugula, two bags of organic salad mix, two containers of organic herbs, several containers of pre-cut watermelon, and three perfectly good mushrooms.

I whipped up some coconut butter, and it wasn't hard!

Using this recipe from Coconut Mama I made some sweet coconut butter, which is like peanut butter. She uses 2 cups dried coconut in her food processor, I used 3-ish cups in my blender to be sure I had enough butter to clear the blades and still move around.

Seeing Doozer love food so much.

It's a little heart-paining for me because I wanted to exclusively breastfeed for a year, but Doozer has been demanding solid food since she was 4.5 months old, I finally gave in at 5 months. She loves bananas, homemade hummus, curried chickpeas, and berries.

She does not like spinach or rice. She'll try to eat everything, even contraband items like peanut butter and wheat and soy. Heck, plates of food on the ground are her strongest motivation to crawl. It's truly a joy to see her discover food.

Making and eating some truly amazing gluten-free flat bread.

And it was quick! And chewy! And bendy! A total of 20 minutes to mix and bake and then BAM! Some really yummy bread. I found the recipe over at Gluten Free Gobsmacked, but replaced the sorghum flour with teff flour and made my own millet flour and replaced the potato starch with cornstarch. I also didn't use milk powder or replace it with anything. Oh, and I only did salt as a seasoning, but I'll be sure to try out other spices. I'm craving some good caraway bread, so that might be next. BuggaBoo loved it and kept asking for more bread. When I put it away he was so sad because he thought it was all gone.

Well, that's all I could think of right now. And reading over the list does make me feel happier, maybe I should do this more often. DO you guys have anything small pleasures to report?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sick Little Boy

This post will lack literary sparkle, my apologies.

BuggaBoo has been sick. He started vomiting the 25th and didn't stop until the 30th. This is the fourth time he's had a vomiting episode in four months, the last one was the first week in August. Each episode is characterized by the fact that he can't keep anything down, not even breastmilk or Pedialyte.

Friday night we had to take him into the ER for a bag of fluids and some IV Zofran. He weighed 26 pounds with clothes and shoes on, which he usually weighs 27.5 pounds naked. They also pulled a vial of blood because BuggaBoo had petechiae on his chest and neck, which can be a sign of platelet problems. Thankfully they were a result of his forceful vomiting. While we were at the hospital Doozer started throwing up, she stopped the 31st. But this is the first time Doozer has been sick with a stomach thing.

So we took BuggaBoo to his pediatrician Monday to see what we could find. His weight was up to 28 lbs clothed. The doctor found it to be an interesting coincidence that the vomiting episodes started after BuggaBoo swallowed the bobby pin. Also, the blood work from the ER noted that his bilirubin levels were slightly elevated but his liver enzymes were normal. So now we begin to test for things.

BuggaBoo had an x-ray on Monday which was clear. He fasted and went in for an ultrasound on Tuesday. They looked at his stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, and bladder. We'll get results in a few days.

So right now we don't know what's up. Hopefully it's just monumental bad luck. All I know is I hate it when my baby looks like this:

Monday, August 30, 2010

For Your Viewing Pleasure

BuggaBoo chose to watch this video tonight. I think it's a winner.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Montage in Red

All pictures taken at my parents' home.

Be aware there might be more color montages. This was probably inspired by the lovely Darling Petunia.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lady in Red Shoes

So a while ago I felt I needed a pick-me-up for my feet. But, who wants to spend money? Not me! So this is what I found in my closet:

I bought these wedges a while back from Target for five bucks and I love them. Obviously, though, they've seen better days, probably because I love them too much. The first thing I did was take some E6000 glue and secure the peeling edges. Then I sanded the wedge part to get ready for painting. After sanding I wiped the wedges down with nail polish remover to get all the grit off. It made the surface sticky, which made it better for the paint to stick. I love it when things work out like that.

I picked out the perfect candy-apple red acrylic paint from my extensive paint stash and slapped on 4-5 coats of paint. Then I sealed it with 3 coats of glossy Modge-Podge. Voila! New-lookin' shoes.

Lemmie tell ya, I *strut* when I wear these babies. And what could be better than red?