Sunday, September 25, 2011

Social Consciousness, Developing Empathy.

Hubby and I have been on a path lately. Sometimes it feels like a warpath because of the amount of friction that any amount of mind and habit changing incurs, but mostly it's a path towards peace and love. (Well, we HOPE anyway!) It was really unintended, this new way we're walking, and it all started with our garden and our food.

We've been trying to instill a broader social conscience in our kids. They have so much and lately it seems like they are taking it all for granted. (not appreciating good, healthy food, misuse of belongings and abuse of privileges.) So, we've been talking about other kids in other lands that don't have even the simplest of the things that we think are rights, like clean water and food. As with most things I teach the kids, visual references are key, so we YouTubed a few videos that illustrated the hardships that most of the world has to bear. The lesson was meant for the boys, but all of us were moved and I cried myself to sleep Friday night, wondering what we could do to help the world and hoping for direction of some sort to come to me in my sleep.

So, yesterday morning as we were attempting to clear the front jungle--I mean MOW THE LAWN-- a neighbor came by to collect cans for the local Food Bank. Since we've gone Paleo and won't be going back, much of our very large "Apocalypse Now" non-Paleo food storage items were nearing their expiration dates. Husband called a meeting of the minds and after careful and thoughtful consideration over the course of 35 seconds we decided to donate a good two-thirds of our non-Paleo items. (I was all for donating everything, but Husband and Boy 1 still have this running thing about a potential Zombie attack, and apparently we'll have a better chance at survival so long as we have superfluous amounts of non-fat dry milk, canned white flour and dehydrated refried beans.) Anyhow, we packed up the food and the kids and drove to the Food Bank and let the boys unload our wares. We explained to them beforehand what we were doing and how this was helping other families in our town. I was proud of our little guys because there was a treasure trove of their old faves (peaches in heavy syrup, hamburger helper, Gushers fruit snacks, cake mixes, etc) that they cheerfully unloaded and donated with their own little hands and nary a wince or sniffle! That's pretty great for a 4 and 7 year old!

On our way home Boy 1 talked about how we could maybe give some of our money to the kids we saw on the YouTube videos. As a family we've now decided to clean out our house and donate all the things that we don't want/ need/have too much of to a yard sale. We will take a portion of the money made there and donate it to charities that we would like to support. So far, we have this one:

Friends of Kingston, A charity established in memory of my little cousin who was taken too early by a very rare auto-immune disorder that, up until 2 days before he passed no one knew he had. X-linked lymphoproliferative disease (XLP), which is also known as Duncan’s disease, is a rare often fatal disease that affects only boys. To date only about 100 families and 400+ boys have been diagnosed worldwide. It is likely, however, that there are many more cases where the correct diagnosis has not been made. This charity was formed to help families, like my Uncle's, who are affected by XLP.

We'd also like suggestions for a reputable charity that fights hunger/starvation and doesn't re-direct the money they receive. If you know of one, please let me know.

September Nook Look

Holy crap! It's been WAAAY over a month since the last Nook Look update! Let's hop to it and see what I did and didn't do, shall we???

So, I managed to get put away (stash somewhere else) most of the stuff from the last time we looked. Pantry and 1st aid kit were re-stocked, Xmas deco got put in attic (thanks Bill), I took kids to the waterpark one more time before Summer ended and the bills got paid. The 4th of July return was done, by a very patient husband who needs no praise, right babe? LOL. But the dress-up hat, parasols and weekly circulars that I was supposed to make a menu from were all just chucked in the garbage. The hat got shredded by a my little girl who hates hats and loves pink, so a green sun hat was no bueno. And the bulbs got returned to Costco, not planted. I've taken WAY too big a bite out of life lately, so I couldn't handle planting them. To do that would first require that I weed, mow and till the area. Not happening this fall. *sigh* I guess I will have to enjoy beautiful perennial loveliness NEXT next Spring!!!

So, as you can see, I've got a few new pet projects on my plate. There's non-Paleo food returns, charitable donations, a yard sale (100% of the proceeds will be donated to charity) and PTA! Oh, the PTA!!! LOL! It's been a great experience, I just didn't anticipate so MUCH experience! I will fill you all in about that later! But I AM very grateful for the other women who I am serving with this year, they are a great bunch!

OK, so we'll see how my Nook Looks next month, until then, chew on this pic of my partially painted porch. (Partially because there's another coat coming in the next 24-48 hours!)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Paleo Birthday Cake!

So, since we've gone Paleo this year each of our kids have had a birthday. Girl was the 1st, followed by 1st boy, and finally 2nd boy, yesterday. I made Paleo cupcakes for the girl's birthday, cheated with a flan for the 1st boy's, but yesterday I wanted to make sure 2nd boy didn't feel like the forgotten middle kid, so I went all out. I made a grain free/gluten free/dairy free/sugar free double layer German Chocolate Cake and Paleo Berry Ice Cream (my own recipe for a future blog) for his birthday. It was a big hit, despite all the "frees"!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Primal Instincts

Anyone who's been in my home since late May will notice one glaring deletion from my pantry. Grains. Of any kind. Yes, we decided to ditch the grains and go Primal after seeing the wonderful changes in energy, skin tone/texture and general shape from my dear friend, Cherie.

It was tough stuff in the first week, as we entered into the "carb flu" stage where your body starts wigging out about the fact that you're no longer pumping it full of the shit and toxins that it's become so used to. It's like withdrawals from drugs. I didn't have it so bad, but my kids were a mess. Luckily they pulled through with enough Paleo/Primal goodies. The changes in my family have been astounding.

1. The kids LOVE their veggies. Seriously, my boys will plow through a green salad with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and carrots in no time. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumbers don't stand a chance when placed in front of them. (Corn and peas are out of out lives. Corn is a grain and peas/beans of any sort are not on the approved list of foods.) They still need some convincing when it come to asparagus, but c'mon....they're kids, not super humans! :)

2. The kids think that FRUIT is a tremendous treat! If I offer my kids an apple, orange, banana, grapes, etc for snack, they are ecstatic! And if I REALLY want to impress them for dessert, all I have to do is bring over a HUGE plate of strawberries, cut melons and pineapple and all of a sudden I'm the best mom ever! Of course they'd still devour a cupcake if given the chance, but they don't turn their noses up anymore at the sweet, natural deliciousness of any type of fruit.

3. The kids have all toned down their craziness and toned up their shapes. My kids were never fat, but they had a bit of kid chub on them. Skinny fat, yunno? Now my little guys look straight up strong. And the fits/freak outs are a lot easier to manage than in the past, you can actually talk them down from the ledge! In the past, once they decided to jump on the crazy train, they were unstoppable. Now, you can actually reason with them.

I'll post more benefits later, but I'm running out of time allotted for this post, so I'll share a glimpse of what my wonderful friend, Cherie, made for dinner while she was in town visiting us.
These bad boys are primal Spicy Bacon & Chicken Poppers and this picture has been borrowed from You can find the recipe for these amazing pieces of heaven here. They are so amazing, I seriously almost cried when I tasted the first one. One of the best things I've ever had in my life. Make them, now.

My friend, Cherie, is just so fantastic. I swear I try to copy her in everything I do, she's just a phenomenal woman. I've copied her in polymer clay, home improvement projects, beloved authors, the list goes on and on. But of all the things that she's every introduced me to, I have to say that I am most appreciative of this lifestyle. I've never felt my body run so cleanly, so efficiently as now. And my skin glows, my shape is slimmer and I am feeling a lot more even keel than in the past. Thank you a thousand times, mon ami!

Monday, August 8, 2011

How Does My Nook Look?

Welcome to my entry nook, cozy, huh? This is the spot where everything I'm meaning to get to in the immediate(ish) future gets put so that I don't just plain forget to do it. If I put stuff away, I tend to forget to get it done. Lists work great for me too...when I can find them. I am the queen of writing amazing lists, with time frames, budget projections, the whole nine. Then I promptly tuck my wonderfully organized masterpiece in a nice, wrinkle free folder and put it in a safe place I am sure to remember.....only to forget where such a safe place is. So, this unkempt nook method is not great, it DEFINITELY needs re-tooling, but it's kinda what I got right now.

So, you can see from the photo and my notations (aren't I fancy??) that I've got a real mix of projects going on right now. Some are mundane, like tidying up, and grocery shopping. Some are fun, like the water park and crafting. Some are downright painful, like paying bills and returning stuff. *SIDEBAR* I hate buying something that doesn't end up working out. Not only do I feel the letdown of seeing that my vision of beauty failed miserably, but it also adds another errand to my task list to return the item. I always forget too, even if I put the object in my car and drive directly to the store with the specific purpose of a return. If I have kids with me, they distract me with all the buckling, unbuckling, fight to get in the shopping cart, etc. By the time all that ruckus is finished, I've got laser vision for just getting my herd into the store safely and without screaming my head off in the parking lot to get it done. If I DON'T have the kids with me I'm so shell shocked at my new found and short-lived freedom that I forget (or just plain ignore) the fact that I've got a return. I mean, who wants to stand in a long, boring return line when I've got FREEEEEEEEEDDDOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!! Not me. No way!

Looking at this picture, I'd swear I was a few vinyl records and a bag full of aluminum cans away from being featured on an episode of Hoarders. I really need to find a better system. Or watch a few more episodes of Hoarders so I can scare myself straight for a few more hours. I'll probably just get fascinated with other people's problems and fall to sleep on the couch with lots of resolve to change and then wake up to crying babies with markedly LESS resolve. I'm just being real. :/

Tune in to Nook Look next month to see what I got done!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

If I tell you ONE MORE TIME!!!!

GOOD LORD!!! Today has been a day! Yesterday was a day! Hell, this has been a week! One of THOSE weeks, where the kids decide to test boundaries, barriers and mom's patience!! When my kids are at their best, they are seriously golden. So shiny and cute that I almost think I should snatch pieces of their DNA to start cloning them and giving those clones out to good families for the general betterment of the world. Well...except for the whole soap opera aspect of things where two of the clones who never knew they were genetically brother and sister might accidentally fall in love with each other, never finding out they were biologically related until too late. Broken hearts and in-bred progeny are never really a mother's dream for her kids, so it's good I didn't get my PhD and don't have ready access to any scientific labs. I'm sure I'd be one of those crazy docs who acts first and thinks later, never assessing the downside of the experiment until AFTER my skin turns bubbly green and my hair falls out from drinking my magic elixirs. Yeah. Ok, anyhow....

Then days like these happen and I'm slapped into the reality that these poor children have MY DNA in them as well, which means they are predisposed to tempers, stubbornness and the occasional bout of kooky behavior. Poor babes, they never had a chance! Anyhow, the 3 year old boy is taking a cue from all the middle children in the world before him by acting out in sporadic ways to garner the most attention possible for his actions. Details will be spared, but I am sure that parents everywhere with more than two kids know what I'm talking about. The middle kid that feels the need to march to the beat of a COMPLETELY different drummer, lest they be mistaken for any other ORDINARY sibling. Not the oldest, not the youngest, the middle child is typically NOT OK being the "middle-est" and tries their hardest to make their own mark. I mean, I get it. At least, I think I get it....

I was an oldest, so I'm not really able to personally identify with his plight. To understand my boy more I'm going to have to put a call in to my youngest brother, who is also a middle child. Hopefully he'll be able to give me some insight on how to deal with my littlest guy. I've left him a voice message, but he is a very busy musician, so he may not get back to me until for a while. In the meantime, I'm going to have to be creative. Are any of you out there middle children and, if so, do you have any advice to give?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Woman Who Did Everything & Nothing All At Once!

Incredible, isn't she? The stay-at-home-mother (or father) who takes her job as the homemaker seriously. Like, super seriously. Like, CEO seriously. She's where Martha Stewart meets Julia Child meets June Cleaver meets Oprah. She's a sweet and powerful woman. She's the woman many of us aspire to be the minute our little bun pops out of the oven and into our arms. Well, I haven't actually met her in person, but she's always in the corner of my mind, pushing me to get out there and tend the weeds. Reminding me to get a healthy dinner on before my baby birds stop their chirping and start their screeching. Nudging me to mind my budget instead of splurging on endless wants. Whispering to take time to feel like a woman, to exercise, to play, to do the million things I want to try and hopefully master before my days in this life are done. I have never met her, but this blog is completely devoted to my attempts to become her.

It's Everything and Nothing, All At Once because anyone who has ever attempted to be a house spouse knows that most days you just go, go, go. Never really stopping, arms full, laundry going, pot boiling, vacuum running, always working on something but somehow at the end of the day it feels like very little progress has been made. Mostly because there are anywhere from 1-19 (depending on the family) little imps undoing or completely destroying any progress you've made. Mais, c'est la vie! Move on to another day!

It may seem like I'm jumping all over the place or that I've got some pretty lofty goals, but it only seems that way because it's true. :) I never said my attempts will be graceful, or even successful, but they will be made.