Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"I see a land bright and clear, and the time's comin' near"

Someone on the interwebs asked me a few days ago, what my goals are?

I mean, I spend lots of time doing weird stuff - like not shampooing my hair, and not eating meat, and not having cable. But why? Why would I? I mean, I'm not anti-establishment. I like clean things. I am (mostly) fine with eating stuff with a face. I still watch TV. Why am I bothering?

The truth is, I'm not sure I can articulate it. It just seems... I don't know. It feels RIGHT.

When we moved to SoCal, I picked what seemed to be a great area - super safe, great schools, walkable. What more does a parent look for?

Turns out, we're the land of the PTA mom. Where you are "asked" to contribute funds to a myriad of events. Where the room mom asks you to submit your cash donations in an envelope with your kids name on it so she knows who to include in the card.

What I've found, living here for a year, is that I'm not... one of Them. And I don't want my kids to be, either.

I'm not comfortable eating chemicals or modified foods, and if it's not good enough for ME, why would I do it to my kids?

I love to cook. I cook for people I love. Why would I half-ass it, and pour a bunch of weirdness from a box with an ingredient list a mile long and call it dinner, when I can take the extra 10 minutes (which I really love anyway) and chop, and dice, and COOK, with ingredients that I can buy at the farmers market, and more importantly, pronounce?

I want my kids to be self-sufficient. I want them to be able to take care of business should weirdness happen (TEOTWAWKI). So, I take them outdoors. I make them hike with me. We're starting to get into camping. I talk to them about geology, and the local plants, and what is edible, and what's not.

I like that my kids will sit with me and watch NatGeo (which, by the way, will continue streaming for EVER until you actually stop it). I dig that they'll watch a documentary about the Romanov's, and then Challenger, and Chernobyl, and ask questions about it.

So I guess what I'm trying to get at, is I'm trying to lead by example. I'm trying to lead the life that I want my kids to thrive in.

I don't want them to be slaves to advertising, or eating products with ingredient lists that are impossible to pronounce.

I want them to understand where our food comes from. I want them to be cognizant of their surroundings. To know that LIFE is about more than a tea party at school to discuss Becoming a Woman (curse you, IUSD!!), or who made your jeans. I'm proud that they can name almost every fruit, vegetable, or other weird thing that I can pick up at the Farmers Market.

I want them to understand that they have a responsibility to themselves, to the world, to be a contributing partner.

Jen at SimplyComplexJen has in her blog description, "Just trying to do the right thing in life for my daughter and the world around us."

Yep. What she said.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Love is all you need"

I may (or may not) have attended the simplest, loveliest wedding ever last week.

If such an event occured, the bride and groom may (or may not..) have picked up my kidlets because I was trying to get out of work, pick up camping gear, and Baby, and get to the beach for a 6:30 ceremony.
And on the way, I may (or may not) have constructed a pretty bouquet for a pretty bride.
And said cermeony may (or may not) have been conducted by our stylist, who had not (definitely not) performed any types of ceremonies prior to this... as evidenced by the stack of paper with various things highlighted that he was quickly shuffling through on the sand before he performed his first ceremony on his way to his dinner plans....

I bet Corona del Mar makes for a pretty wedding setting... if you were so inclined.

Just an idea.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind"

Prepare, this is gonna be long.

I've been slacking on this particular post, but I'd like to present....

Poo free hair, one month!

I have switched up my normal routine of a vinegar rinse, and moved to a rosemary rinse. And it's magical. And, the rosemary, is locally grown and brewed into tea at home. Win!

I tried adding grapeseed oil to my baking soda/honey mess, but it was creepy, and didn't make a difference in the hair. I DO use grapeseed oil for frizz control sometimes, and it is pretty great.


I've completed week two of no meat. Aside from a tiny sample of a chicken tamale at the Farmers Market the second weekend, no meat has been touched. Well, that's a lie, I cooked chicken last night, but didn't eat it. Veggie and brown rice stir-fry for me, thanks!

I tried a lentil sloppy joe recipe for the first time last week. I've never cooked with lentils before, so it was an experiment for me. First lesson, holy hell does 1 cup of lentils make a LOT of food. I made everyone stay out of the kitchen while I cooked, and waited until we were starving, thinking that would at least incent them to try it.

The devious plan worked for #2... She started chowing down immediately.

#1, however, poked it, and declined. Punk. I liked 'em, but I'm old and stuff.

A few days earlier, the kids requested tacos... so I made myself a separate batch of lentil... stuff. Lentils, onions, red peppers, purple potatoes, cumin, oregano, etc. Not bad, really. Everybody else looked at it all crazy like, but... their loss, right?

And, finally, succes part 3....

#2's birthday was last week, and I took advantage of that time to practice my baking. I'm going to digress a second, but when we moved, I was really worried about how they'd cope being... away from everyone. I mean, our entire family, both sides, live in Florida, so it's kind of like we're here, all alone, y'know? My cousins (the P's) came over, as did the Snorks, and we had a fun dinner, and opened her present, and played video games, and it was marvelous, and not the sad, lonely affair I was concerned about. I am so, so sappy happy. Anyway. /Digression. She requested a chocolate cake, with chocolate chunks, and chocolate frosting. Dear god, diabetes what!?

But I made it, and it was pretty rad. Mr. Snork babbled something about flour and eggs making good stuff and who knew, so I'm going to call it a success!

Which makes a great segway to... the Corona del Mar 5K that is quickly approaching. Snork and I have been running our route the last few weeks, and have improved our time each attempt, which I am super pleased with. I've gotten some new Brooks Adrenaline's from Runners High in Irvine, which are heavenly on my shin splints. I personally didn't need to be fitted, because I've been loyal to the same shoe/brand for ages, but I watched them fit some other people, and... these folks know their business.

Perhaps equally as exciting as our being rockstars and kicking a 5K's ass, is Mr. Giraffy and Mr. Snork have been practicing "together"... by which I mean that they run separately from us, and hang out at the finish line bonding until we are done. Admittedly, our time might be better if we stopped petting flowers and trying to take pictures of humming birds, but... then it wouldn't be as much fun, right?

I made my regular run to the Farmers Market Saturday, with just Baby - 1 & 2 have decided it's no longer fun. I just adore this market - there's something comforting about know exactly where your food is coming from, and when it was picked, and how it got there, and talking to to the dude who knows that this batch of tangerines is a little rough, and he might only have one week left on them.

Baby goes to help me pick flowers.

I'm super excited that my friend Squirrel is coming to visit next week (NEXT WEEK!) for Weekend of Awesome... I intend to try to get her to stay in OC this trip... it might work this time. She's also raising money for AHEPA to run in the 2010 Athens Marathon. She's remarkable, and, I've said it before, but when I grow up, I want to be her. Donations accepted by clicking this link, if you're so inclined.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time."

My quote title really has nothing - at all - to do with my post. I just liked it, and it was relevant to some stuff I was thinking about earlier today.

I wanted to update on The Plan, and it's success so far. I started on Sunday, so that puts me at day... 5. And I'm doing pretty well. I say pretty well, because as I type this, I'm eating pizza from Pizza Hut. I mean, its veggie pizza, but I kind of started all of this because of my Idea that I'd eat local, fresh foods exclusively. So... win by the letter of the law, fail by the spirit of the law.

I skipped yesterday, so on the menu Wednesday was...
Breakfast - whole wheat toast with pb&j (shocking, I know), ftons of coffee
Lunch - fried rice, 1/2 pita with hummus, baby heirloom tomatoes, and blackberries
Dinner - tortilla pizza
snacks - 1 chocolate chip cookie, and a honey tangerine

Today was:
Breakfast - I'm not even going to. Just assume it's the same as yesterday. I'm not really a breakfast person, y'know?
Lunch - spinach salad with beets, radishes, broccoli, black olives, and green onion, and half of an egg salad sandwich on wheat (made without mayo)
Dinner - my veggie pizza fail

My sister told me my menu looks bland. I think she's just wrong.

Giant salad from Monday

Pizza with fresh red sauce and fresh basil...

And my beloved bento...
My bento I'm especially pleased with, because (1) it was packed well, and (2) I used up leftovers that I would have otherwise tossed out. Win!

Tomorrow, I'll be repeating the same breakfast and lunch menu. Maybe that's boring, but it works for me. I am not super picky about daytime food... I save all my pickiness for dinner. And dinner, tomorrow? Homemade spinach ravioli. I expect great things to be happening.

Edit.... I just finished my Pizza Hut pizza. Vile. I'm not sure why I did that. Gross.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Vegetarianism -- You are what you eat, and who wants to be a lettuce?"

I am two days into The Plan, and it's going so well. I'm pretty pleased.

Saturday, I hit the magical Farmers Market with Snork, and stocked up - kind of. We got there kinda late, and Baby had a potty emergency, then by the time we got back, isht was closing down, so I missed out on some things that I wanted to get. Bummer.

Anyway, what I ended up with at the Farmers Market was:
Beets (shared with Snork)
Green Onions
Rosemary (for The Hair)
Rainbow chard
Pita and hummus
Blood oranges
Lemons (for food and The Hair)
Mushrooms (shared with Snork)
Purple potatoes
Salsa Verde

That's all I can remember off hand.. I'm sure there was more. All told, I was in for $35 at the FM.

I picked up the balance of what I needed at Sprouts and Trader Joes.... onions (which I missed at the FM, darn you late start!), apples, tortillas, milk, eggs (could have been gotten at FM, but I can't stop balking at the price. Sigh.), crushed tomatoes, lentils, quinoa, wonton wrappers... That was another $40 between the two stores.

So, should I STICK to my meal planning, I'm in for $75 for the week.

My menu for the week:

  • grilled veg quesadillas
  • stuffed peppers
  • lentil sloppy joes
  • stir fry
  • spaghetti
  • spinach ravioli
  • pizza

We've done a lemon pasta and the pizzas already. The lemon pasta caused 1 & 2 to freak out... which is odd, because I purposely started with that because I've made it before and it was familiar. Weirdos. Pizza is always a win. I'm concerned about the slippy joes, so I'll be waiting to try those on a night I'll be home with them and can prepare a second choice should it be a complete flop.

My intake the last two days....
Breakfast - blueberry pancakes
Lunch - egg salad sandwich, fries, vanilla coke (Johnny Rockets... yum!)
Dinner - rotini pasta, green beans, lemon butter sauce, garlic bread

Breakfast - pumpkin loaf and coffee (Starbucks will be the end of me one day)
Lunch - GINORMOUS, never-ending greek salad (seriously)... red and green leaf lettuce, purple potatoes, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onion, beets, peppers... no dressing. Naked salad FTW!
Dinner - Individual pizzas.. on tortillas... black olives, sundried tomatoes, and basil.

Breakfast - whole wheat toast, 1 tsp peanut butter, 1 tsp strawberry jelly (Hello, HFCS)
Lunch - veggie wrap - tortilla with hummus, spinach, sundried tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and a hard boiled egg. I am unimpressed with this lunch. It was 4 hours ago, and I'm starving. And, I had a yogurt in between.

I need to figure out something more filling than what I had today. Maybe add a salad or soup to it. Hm.


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