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Category Archives: Food

Uncommon Thanks #4

1)  After many attempts, I have finally found a green smoothie that Norah loves.  She asks for it everyday.  It isn’t anything special but the combination was right for her:  hemp powder, frozen peaches, 1 banana, 1tbsp chlorophyll, 2 cups spinach, and water.  Who knew?

2)  My husband is a creature of habit and, like Norah with her smoothie, wants to eat the same thing everyday for lunch.  Bonus:  it’s healthy and simple to make.

3)  Thrift stores.  It is like a treasure hunt and I’m always surprised with something.

4)   This nifty contraption my husband made.  I smile every time I use it.  It is a latch that holds up our homeschool table.   The original latch was prone to break and the table would crash down.  Not to mention the wood came from my dear friend Abby in Vermont.

5)  Freshly-made cranberry sauce.

Uncommon Thanks #3

#1:  That this guy,

turned into this guy,

#2:  Eating at The Lazy Goat with girlfriends!  I finally tasted brussel sprouts I like.  Butter and bacon are important.

#3:  The Dark Mint Chocolate bar from Night Own Chocolate.

#4:  Time for myself.  At a SPA!  Made possible by my amazing friend, Erin, who kept my children.

#5:  Norah’s diverse fashion style.  Some days, she dresses conservatively in a long skirt, head scarf, and cardigan.   And other days, she rocks out a 70’s style romper and tie-dyed thigh-high leggings.

October 10 on 10

9am:  I bribed the girls with a promise of hot chocolate for breakfast if they would just let me sleep until 8am.  It worked.

10am:  Surveying the homeschool mess from yesterday.

11am:  Power smoothie

12pm:  My cheat sheet to remember that King Philip comes over for good spaghetti.

1pm:  Sneaking a peek at Cedar playing My Little Pony while wearing little boy undies.

2pm:  Flying homemade kites with friends

3pm:  Guinea pigs!

4pm:  Learning about static electricity

5pm:  Introducing two new caterpillars and a chrysalis to our home (hopefully they will live longer than the last ones)

6pm:  Pies ready to go in the oven.  I have two first-time mamas due and it doesn’t hurt to sweeten up my family before I disappear indefinitely.


ten on ten button small


It was fun.  It was exhausting.  I think we’ll stick with vacations away from home in the future.  Here is a summary (pic heavy):

  • Cider doughnuts
  • Lazy mornings
  • Paddling

  • Mimosas
  • Bounce House
  • Fort Building

  • Pancakes
  • Apple picking

  • Thrift stores
  • Slushies
  • Roller skating

  • Brie and baguettes
  • Sleeping until 11am one morn (thank you, Scott!)
  • Aquarium

  • Candy shop
  • Swimming

  • Mexican food
  • Keeping Cedar from falling into the sea urchins

  • Toy stores
  • Skating rink pizza
  • Soda shop

  • Strong coffee
  • Camping

  • Playground
  • Art

  • River tubing
  • Campfire popcorn
  • Dolphin show

  • Miles and miles of driving
  • Poprocks
  • Yoga with penguins

  • Not charging my phone (pretty sure I lost a voicemail from a person who needs a doula.  If I haven’t called you, call me back!)
  • Daddy lovin’

  • Not charging my iPad
  • Silliness

  • Strolling
  • Fiction, in teeny increments

  • Mountains
  • Marshmallows

  • Margaritas
  • French press (thanks Noelle and Zach!)

  • Bicycles
  • Learning here or there

And a tremendous, tremendous mess

Why can’t we have a tuk-tuk?

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Traffic in Phnom Penh. 

After the initial shock passed, I began to understand how Cambodian driving worked.  Through my American lens, it should never work.  Every third car/tuk-tuk/bike should be an accident.  A big accident (*).  But in Cambodia, it works and here is why:  drivers yield.  There is a hierarchy.  Big trucks, SUV’s, cars, tuk-tuks, motos, bikes.  The little guys yield to the big guys.  The way I see it, Americans have some, er, entitlement issues.  No one should ever cut in line, pass us, slow us down, jam traffic, etc.  And we’re certainly not going to yield just because someone is bigger than us.  No sir.  What I observed was an absence of road rage.  I guess it happens here and there.  But if Americans drove in that sort of traffic every day, we’d implode or hurt someone.  

And to give you a snippet of what I’m talking about, here is a clip of our tuk-tuk making a left turn.  Notice no one in our party even notices the oncoming traffic.  Because we know it will yield. 

Now crossing the road on foot was a different story!  A nightmare sort of story.  Still, the traffic somehow always yielded and somehow we always made it across safely.  I may have closed my eyes once or twice.

When tuk-tuk riding wasn’t putting Cedar to sleep, she and Norah were interacting with other drivers.  Or Asher was throwing things out of the tuk-tuk.  Or everyone was partying with the grandparents. 

I also loved how kid-friendly both Thailand and Cambodia seemed.  Children were expected to be children –noisy, wiggly, clumsy, curious.  But in other ways, kids were treated with respect and expectation.  At the restaurants we visited, kids were served out of the same tall, unlidded glasses as the adults.  My girls fell in love with iced coffee with condensed milk.  And flavored steamers.


Norah was also welcomed and gushed over when she went to language school with Noelle.  Norah was able to go to two classes and Noelle’s instructor spent time teaching her Khmer. 

And the girls loved getting pampered at spa that provided skill-training and employment for at-risk girls. 

Noelle says it isn’t unusual for a server at a restaurant to pick up Asher and walk around with him when he gets fussy.  If that doesn’t work, they’ll start giving treats. 

I think I’ll do one more post about Zach and Noelle’s home and neighborhood.  Then back to regular birthy talk!  I’m working on a post about the Jedi Midwife and a little something about Dr. Polo Shirt.   

* If Noelle has never told you about the time she tried to drive a moto into a busy Cambodian street, you should really ask her about that…

Dolphin Bay

In Thailand, we stayed at The Juniper Tree which is about 3 hours south of Bangkok.  It is located on a quiet stretch of the Gulf of Thailand.  It caters to missionaries and their families; accepting only donations for room/board.  

We stayed in a 3 bedroom cottage.  Outside our front door was a grassy playground and a pool.  The pool was somewhat scary since there was no gate.  But we didn’t lose any kids. 







Beyond the pool was an exercise room, a kids activity/video room, dining hall, and then the ocean.  We were served a yummy breakfast with french press coffee, fresh fruit, eggs, and assorted goodies.  Lunch was a Thai meal.  Dinner was western style food.  Ice cream, coffee, and tea was available all day!

Norah made friends within hours of our arrival.  Here she is with her twin from Sweden.  I bet you can’t even tell them apart.


Sunday school on the beach:

I loved that it was ok for kids to be kids.  The missionary kids were free-range indeed!  More free-range than I’ve ever witnessed in America.  When they finished eating, they left the table to play while the adults talked.  I wasn’t quite ready to send Norah to the beach by herself but I probably would have gotten there with a little more time around these families. 

We traveled by song tau to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.  A song tau is a pick-up truck with benches in the back and a metal covering.  Super cheap and fun transportation.  The girls adored the lack of carseats or seatbelts.  And I witnessed Noelle nurse on a song tau, fishing boat, tuk-tuk, plane, elephant.  Ok, I’m just kidding about the elephant.  We didn’t ride any this trip.

The national park was lovely.  The name translates “mountains of 300 peaks.”  We climbed and climbed, saw monkeys, played in the sea, took a boat ride, got really dirty and sweaty.  Asher and I napped on the beach while Noelle and Zach went caving for an hour.  At least that is what they said they were up to.  We ate food that I thought was a little sketchy.  Oh, and I threw a stick at a dog that was looking at me funny.  Then I had to search around for another stick because he was still looking at me funny.  Lesson:  don’t throw your weapon.  Especially if you’re going to miss. 

In our leisurely moments (which was all the time!), we played.  Scott kayaked in a crappy, beat-up rental.  It cost like a dollar to rent the thing. 


And we rented a moped to scoot about when we could escape the kids.  See, if I’d fully vested in that free-range thing, we’d have just left them to their own devices!  We also fell in love with Blue Beach, an outdoor restaurant down the road.  They served the best Thai food with mostly organic ingredients.  And they served alcohol, had wi-fi, and toys/bikes/rabbits/koi pool for the kids.  So we opted out of a few meals at Juniper Tree to splurge on Blue Beach. 

There was one disaster.  Asher got a zhu zhu pet stuck in his hair.  After many tense moments and screaming, he was left with a bald spot.

Thailand Summary:  we lazed around (as much as parents of little ones can), ate lots of food and ice cream, drank gallons of strong coffee, explored a few places, talked and talked and talked.  Norah made lots of friends.  Cedar and Asher played.  We were so spoiled.  The Juniper Tree even did our laundry.  Scott wanted his shirts sent to the laundry just so they would be pressed “for once in my life.” 

I don’t iron.  I don’t.  Don’t judge me.

Next up, either the Thai tooth fairy, or cloth diapering away from home, or traveling with kids.  Not sure which I want to tackle next.   


How does my garden grow?

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Awful, stunted tomatoes, one pepper, one okra (!), and pitiful yellow squash. 

Ah, but the zucchini.  I am eating it for breakfast (really, as we speak), lunch, dinner, and dessert. 

 Attack of the Squash People (by the incredible Marge Piercy)

              And thus the people every year
              in the valley of humid July
              did sacrifice themselves
              to the long green phallic god
              and eat and eat and eat.
              They’re coming, they’re on us,
              the long striped gourds, the silky
              babies, the hairy adolescents,
              the lumpy vast adults
              like the trunks of green elephants.
              Recite fifty zucchini recipes!
             Beg on the highway: please
             take my zucchini, I have a crippled
             mother at home with heartburn.
             Sneak out before dawn to drop
             them in other people’s gardens,
             in baby buggies at churchdoors.
             Shot, smuggling zucchini into
             mailboxes, a federal offense.
             You give and give
             too much, like summer days
             limp with heat, thunderstorms
             bursting their bags on our heads,
             as we salt and freeze and pickle
             for the too little to come.
(full text here)
My favorite way to eat them this year:  chop and cook big chunks in garlic, olive oil, salt, onion, and fresh basil.  Eat on whole wheat angel hair pasta with crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce.  Oh, how I wish my own tomatoes were thriving this year. 

Never brag on the firstborn. It will bite you with the second.

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Me:  Girls, what would you like for breakfast?

Norah:  Plain green peas, steamed broccoli, and do we have any cauliflower?  Oh, mama, can I please, please, please, have an orange??

Me:  Of course!  Cedar, what would you like?

Cedar:  Nandy.

Me:  We don’t eat candy for breakfast.  I’ll make you a cheesy egg.

Cedar (screaming, snorting, stomping, and maybe spitting):  Nandy!  Nandy!  Nandy!

Why are children so different?

The weird one at the homeschool co-op

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I have often felt out of place in our homeschool co-op. Like the one time a bunch of the moms were standing around talking and it came out that I was the only one who had gone to public school. (P.S. I loved public school and I’m thankful my mama didn’t homeschool me.)  I tried to blend.  I didn’t even wear a single hippie skirt all year long!  But I noticed the blank stares when I asked certain questions. 

The event was Field Day. Here are the top three ways I felt weird.

1) The kids did a relay race involving a plastic spoon and a cheese ball. *Sidenote: the kids were warned not to RUN with the spoon. I chuckled over that one and considered sending it in to Free-Range Kids.  But that isn’t what I’m blogging.  At the end of the race the kids were allowed to eat their cheese ball (as long as it hadn’t fallen on the ground…again, chuckle).  Norah had never tasted a cheese ball.  I know, I’m an awful mom.  She crinkles her nose, smells it, touches it with her tongue.  Then gleefully eats it.  And she begins loudly gushing to everyone within earshot, “I’ve never HAD a cheese ball.  Mama, have you ever had a cheese ball?  Oh it is so good!”  Seriously, she hasn’t stopped talking about this glorious experience. 

Perhaps I should have a food tasting day in the privacy of our home.  She’ll taste her first poptart, moonpie, dr. pepper, fruity pebbles, grape crush, easy cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, spaghetti o’s.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s had plenty of junk food.  I just see now that there are missing elements to her repertoire.

2)  Then we had lunch.  I let Norah pack her box.  She chose green peas, half a cheese/lettuce sandwich, a carrot, and edamame.  Almost every other family ordered Papa John’s.  Can you say “sore thumb?”

3) The Grand Finale:  the ice cream truck arrived.  More than a few moms glance at me with concern or ask “Are you going to let her get ice cream?”  Of course I am!  She chose a cotton candy twirl popsicle.  Then announced to the whole group, “I’ve never gotten ice cream from an ice cream truck before!”  Ok, that is simply not true.  Rascal!

I loved the event.  And I’m thankful to the moms who organized it.  Norah and Cedar had a great time.  Norah loves her friends there.  And so do I.  I’m proud of Norah for making healthy choices (she even does it when I’m not around).  Homeschool is so new to me and I’m overly observant–mostly of myself.  I also see that I don’t neatly fit into a group.  

But then again, when does one neatly fit into any group?

Easter Traffic

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Two of my old posts always get loads of traffic around Easter:

Natural dyes for eggs


Cadbury Eggs

Update:  it looks like Cadbury Eggs in the US are still slave-made.  What can we do??  Global Exchange has some great ideas including a printable coloring page for children to mail to Hershey.  I’m considering throwing together a screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate to share in my community before Easter.  We’ll see if I can pull that off.  What will YOU do?