when we were young…

writing with passion, living with vision and acting with intention


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Using milk that doesn’t come from an animal that says “moo”

It’s trendy to have a specialized diet.

Currently, here on the west coast, we’re all over the gluten-free, dairy-free and down with the chia, hemp hearts, coconut oil and quinoa.

I like to eat healthy. I’m one of those seed consuming hippies and I’m always looking for a way to not add granulated white sugar to my baked goods. Some people say all these “in” foods are just a passing fad, like “got milk?”

Speaking of milk….

Up until recently, I enjoyed cow’s milk on my cereal daily and nae a problem. But, I stopped buying it about a year ago because as my son began to consume it, his bowels, over the next couple of weeks, became whitish grey. My doctor thought that it might have switched him too suddenly. A couple times after that and now just over the last couple of days, I gave him just one cup of milk and over the next couple days, I recognized the same paleness in his poops. So that’s him. As for me, I figured I would use up the rest of the milk in the carton over my cereal. After a couple nights in a row of enjoying a familiar evening snack, I began to feel extremely bloated, gassy and ahem, I’ll spare you the rest. Also, that itchy rash in my elbow crease went away when I cut out dairy for a few days.

It’s clear that we have some dairy issues although not severe by any stretch.

Maybe what’s trendy is taking more interest in how certain foods could be making us feel like crap and which ones make us feel like the blood is flowing and the nutrients are being absorbed.

So that leads me to share with you a new favourite dish that I just made last night. I do love my cream sauces but I am nervous about how much I can handle without a undesirable trip to the lou.

This is DELISH and dairy-free. And for you hunter/gatherers, it’s right up your Paleo valley.

Paleo Beef Stroganoffpaleo, dairy-free, yummy, new favourite recipe

1 lb grass fed ground meat (but I love added hormones in my meat don’t you?)

1 sweet onion, chopped

1/2 cup Portobello mushrooms, sliced (or the regular kind we all buy…)

1 tsp thyme, chopped

1 tsp rosemary, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp organic tomato paste

1 Tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch…)

1 cup low-sodium beef stock

1/2 cup coconut milk, full fat

Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

2 Tbsp coconut oil

Instructions
  1. In a skillet on medium-low heat, melt the coconut oil.
  2. Add the mushrooms and onions, and sauté until slightly softened and browned around the edges. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add another Tbsp of coconut oil and brown the ground beef. Return onions and mushrooms to pan. Add tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle arrowroot powder over meat and add the beef stock. Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes until sauce thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk then plate.
Recipe by Paleo Valley
Do you eat dairy-free? How do you get around not consuming beloved milky products?


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How, now?

Like the kind that actually makes some cash to deposit into the humble bank account?

Up to this point, I have literally been Oliver’s lifeline – bottles are toys, not providers of sustenance. The last couple weeks, however, he is chowing down on pretty much anything we give him. I can almost hear your cheers of shared joy in the newly added hours of time that I can be away from him at a stretch.

But like most young families I can think of, this symbol of freedom comes with a few strings attached. In my case, we’re going on two months of unemployment for my husband and while he has managed to use his trade to his advantage and do some side jobs, it’s getting tight financially. That point together with snippets of conversation here and there, learning how other moms are/have contributed financially to their families has cultivated some angst and restlessness within. You might say it’s the universe telling me it’s time to take the next step.

So I am left with the questions of how? Questions with an ‘s’ because it isn’t even as simple as “how can I make some money?” That may solve one problem but give way to expose a few more. If I work, who looks after the boys (assuming my husband gets a job in the near future)? How do I continue to breastfeed my nine-month old when I am unable to pump more than a couple ounces at best? How do I support furthering our goals with where I am working?

And that is the biggest ‘how’ of them all. Here we are; five years in to our married lives, two children, 16 months apart and trying to figure out how to make ours and our children’s futures secure. Unemployment certainly doesn’t lend much to feeling that we are drawing closer to our goals each day.

And so, this is what we are setting out to do (in addition to finding work!).

planning, list, furthering goals

It is a series of some small, some big steps that we NEED to take in order to set the ball in motion.

It’s pretty hazy looking out right now, trying to see how things will play out. The fact is, we really don’t have a clue. It gives new meaning to that bit about resting in God’s will and believing that he is already in our futures. There’s a thought, that time is not linear. I subscribe to that belief.

So how do you plan for success? I would love to hear your story of how you overcame uncertainty in your circumstances.


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Pictures of the week.

I have so many thoughts running circles around my brain, begging to be released into coherent thoughts on the unscripted spaces of my screen. How does one decide which one to focus in on and put to words? What helps you?

I think I shall start by acknowledging the present so that these moments may not pass me by without deserving reflection as they are tucked away to bring smiles to my face in days to come.

discovery, explore, best friends, snow stomping

Five days left in February and the snow made another appearance much to the happy delight of these two.

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Not so much this one.

foggy glass, smooshed face, frosty days

He preferred being on the inside looking out.

crawling, cutest babies, besties

Or crawling down the hallway with a friend.

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And yes, that is a strong willed child “reading” a book on how to deal with the strong will child.

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Notice anything in particular about these footprints?

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And finish things off with a dip in the sink! Who says he’s too big for sink baths?


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Fruits and veggies at my door!

In the spirit of shopping locally and sustainably, I received my first delivery of organic fruits and vegetables, yesterday. You read correctly, delivery.

This was the bounty is from my bi-weekly $25 small order from a small local business called Coastal Organics.

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It turns out, after examining a month’s worth of grocery receipts, I do spend around $50 a month on produce (and that’s not all organic neither!) so I’m thinking what I got here is a pretty good deal.

There’s a lot of banter on the subject of organic and for good reason. I like to think that the fruits and veggies that got delivered today are of better quality in more ways than one but even beyond the organic bit, there’s a few other great reasons for choosing something like this over shopping at your neighbourhood grocery store.

1. Um, remember that part about delivery? As in, it’s included in the cost! Pretty sweet deal!

2. It’s supporting a small, local business and thereby your local economy which is pretty crucial where I live.

3. You’re likely more inclined to eat all the fruit and veggies – something about spending all that money on said organic bounty compels me to get my healthy on.

I really want my lifestyle to support a more sustainable manner of living. This is one way that I am trying to do that. I do my best to make healthy choices in the food I buy, as little processed goods as I can get away with (munchy food is another story, that still holds a enjoyed place in our lives), whole grains as opposed to enriched starch and eggs from the neighbour’s chicken coop down the road. I’ve even gone healthy with my cookies! Check out these bad boys made with applesauce, chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and coconut.

cookie with seeds, coconut, chia, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds

My husband made a rather insightful comment about my cookies. He said that they embody the wealth that is at arm’s reach for many Canadians as ingredients from around the world are brought together to produce a nutritionally rich and tasty treat. How blessed we are to afford such luxuries. But that opens a whole ‘nother can of worms. Why are these ingredients affordable? In my case, Costco is the provider for things like chia that would otherwise cost an arm and a leg. If I really delved into the gamut of who what and where the food came to be at the wholesale giant, what would I discover? Part of me doesn’t want to know for fear of my ethical reasoning telling me that I cannot support it. But on the flip side, maybe there are jobs being provided because of this industry that wouldn’t be had otherwise.

I’m learning what it means to live sustainably and if there’s one thing that seems to be the most important aspect, it is summed up in simplicity. My boy has a choice of five different crackers in our cupboard, none of which I made of course. If I wanted to reduce my carbon foot print, I would buy a cracker from a company that makes them here on the coast. But one, I don’t know of such a company here and two, it’s a lot easier to not pay more than five bucks for a box at the IGA down the road. First world problems…

My husband crochets. He has made toques for all of us. If I could just get him to start on the rest of my wardrobe and the boys’ now, we’d really be on our way to hippie ville.

hand made toques, crochet, self-sustaining

The last bit is a joke seasoned with truth. I really would like to revive age old skills that people have utilized for thousands of years to provide for themselves. For some reason though, in our society, that makes you someone who is out of touch with reality or something. But that’s another post for another time.

I’d love to hear if you have discovered ways of shopping locally that doesn’t leave your pocketbook depleted and your cell phone providers cutting off service because you can’t pay the bill! 😉

fruits, veggies, organic, delivered, good deal


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Brain chatter

Somehow, this post belongs on this blog more than my other blog

mootable

If it could be summed up in a phrase, mothers’ thinking is borderline ADD. As if a woman didn’t already have a flurry of brain activity going on with just looking after herself, throw in a couple kids (three if you won’t to count hubby). The result: a wired individual whose thoughts do not stop darting in an unpredictable but nonetheless, methodical manner.

It’s freaking amazing. I read a Facebook status this morning that went something like: shaved legs while holding soother in crying baby’s mouth, dressed a crying toddler while rocking baby in rocker with foot and continued to console children simultaneously throughout the day.

What that status didn’t include was the hundreds of thoughts racing through that mom’s mind. Having two under two myself, I can use my imagination…

Brain chatter while mothering babies and toddlers

“I got to call Nana and Evie after this, can’t forget.” Toddler…

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Last week I made wontons and other goodies

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My husband picked up some discounted wonton wrappers the other day at the grocery store so we thought we’d give it a go. They were surprisingly easy although a bit time consuming as I worked on perfecting my folding. Thanks to YouTube, I got the hang of it fairly quick.

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I followed a pretty basic recipe and modified it a little.

Wontons:

1/2 lb. ground pork

2 cloves of garlic

1/3 c. diced onion

1 tsp. (or so) or grated ginger

2 Tbsp. of soy sauce

1 tsp. rice vinegar

1/4 tsp. sesame oil

1/4 tsp. salt

dash of pepper

1 tsp. cornstarch

Combine ingredients. Holding the wonton wrapper in one hand, scoop a small amount of pork mixture onto the wonton and fold as directed in this video.

For the soup:

5 c. of chicken broth

2 c. water

slices of ginger (as many as desired but two or three seems to lend some good flavour)

1/2 c. of chopped bok choy

1/4 c. of diced carrots

1/4 c. of diced onion

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, keeping soup on a low boil. Drop a few wontons in at a time and cook until no longer pink inside. Enjoy!

In other news, my boys play together!

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This corner has been a great spot for my boys to play during these cold and wet winter days. The shelf seen in the photo was given to us by dear friends as well as the parkade which seems to be Shae’s number one play item next to his kitchen (also given to us by mentioned friends, geez they are good to us!). This room is right next to the kitchen so I can cook or clean while they play and make sure the little on isn’t getting anything too small in his mouth.

The boys and I stayed over a couple nights in the city this past week with my brother and his family. Shae adores his older cousin, Abi who is six. I was missing my camera for too many cute moments but here’s one shot of the three cousins together.

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And the final highlight of my last week – a girls’ night out for which I got all dolled up (thanks to earrings and dress lent to me by my sister-in-law). Pretty sure the last time I got that dressed up was at my husband’s work Christmas party not last year, but the year before, and I was four months pregnant. So all in all, a pretty decent week. 🙂

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Ready to have your bubble popped?

Life is beautiful ugly.

This paradox is so dumbfounding to me – to wrap my head around how I can scroll through my photo viewer looking at pictures of my precious boys, my generally happy life and then see photographs that bare testimony to how my comfortable existence is at times, directly linked to the suffering of millions of people in our world.bubble popped

I cannot ignore it.

I can’t even change it – not all of it.

I can acknowledge it and do what I can to live responsibly and with compassion and humility. It is no easy task for someone like myself who has grown up in the privileged first world where I can live freely. Freely – what does that even mean? Sometimes, we Canadians even start to feel oppressed – our government doesn’t have our best interest in mind; we are charged inflated prices for our electricity and hydro not to mention what the cell phone companies slam us with.

And it is injust, it isn’t right. But I am reminded again and again that these types of struggles can either serve to spawn more dissatisfaction, more grumbling, more anger, more unhappiness….or, they can be reminders that we have the luxury of living with such amenities! Again, not so easy when you open your $200 cell phone bill and $76 internet charges. But it’s all distraction because as long as we’re absorbed in our first world issues, we don’t have the time or energy to realize that we’re buying clothes from a line that pays pennies to workers as young as 12 years old in Bangladesh. And those people are the paid, to say nothing of the millions of people who are slaves all day long, every day of their lives.

And yet, we would rather not see this? Because it makes us uncomfortable? Because we cannot do anything about it?

YES, WE CAN.

My husband says we vote with our pocketbook. The day we refuse to buy Joe clothing or any other line that justifies the means by which it obtains its merchandise, even through the blood, sweat tears and yes, death of others, that is a day that humanity is one step closer to reclaiming the piece of us that is not superseded by selfishness and apathy. It is the day we demand to know not just what country our goods come from, but what type of working conditions produced them. It is the day we pop our “ignorance is bliss” bubble and seek to make a difference in our own lives as small as it might seem or be.

How does this make you feel? What will you do next?

Shine a light, take a stand, don’t turn a blind eye.

slavery


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What skinny looks like now

I’m one of you, the moms with the post-pregnant bodies where perky bottoms have given way to saggy behinds and boobs that have followed suite unless filled with milk. But where many women I know are trying to lose their pregnancy weight, I am trying to gain back some.

No, I’m not actually all that lucky.

I weigh now, less than I did when I was 18. When I look at my body, I feel anything but beautiful. My legs, once slender but toned are now marred with varicose veins and resemble the limbs of a certain large bird. A line of separation indents the loosened muscles of my cushy abdomen. My once sculpted arms – all I can see now are large veins coursing down my forearms and branching off following the small bones in my hands. When I turn sideways, my once perky bottom has deflated to little more than a bump between my back and legs. The longer I stare, the the more dissatisfied I become so I cover myself up and get on with my day.

This new body image has come as a bit of a shock for me. Call me naive, but I guess I just didn’t think that age and having babies would already impact my body this much. You see, I have always been one of the lucky girls. I could eat whatever I wanted, exercise as little as I wanted and I never felt truly dissatisfied with my body.

The thing about being naturally “skinny” in our society is we aren’t allowed to complain. The media have done a bang-up job of convincing women for decades that any and all fat is bad, skinny is beautiful. It doesn’t matter that I feel less womanly because I look more like an adolescent girl than a grown woman, I don’t have those undesirable love handles, muffin top or cushy thighs so I have nothing to feel insecure about. I can’t tell you how much I would LOVE to have some extra padding around the middle to shed or even just to keep! I don’t say this to make light of the struggle many woman face as they try to lose excess weight but rather to shine light on my own struggle with feeling like I’m a few pounds away from looking emaciated. I can eat half a dozen cookies, enjoy a macchiato and munch on some chips and still, chicken little.

The good news is I have started working out with a friend and I joke with her saying that I gotta keep my eyes on the blonde chick with the soccer legs in our work out video for motivation. I’m not under an illusion that I can look just like her but I figure, she wasn’t born with those legs, she worked to get them looking like that. I aim to put in an honest effort and reap some benefits because I am not ready to throw the towel over my body. I have some of the best years of my life still ahead and I want to look and feel good.

Before you get all judgmental on me and feel inclined to remind me that I should be more concerned about what’s on the inside rather than the outside, let me share one more thing.

Before I first became pregnant, I was at my fittest, strongest and healthiest. I hiked often, I danced, I ate well. Because I was engaging in physical activity, I felt more vitality and strength and when I looked in the mirror – I felt beautiful. I could feel confident during intimacy with my husband, no need to dim the lights, no nagging worry in the back of my mind about how unattractive I must look right now. I can have all the head knowledge there is about how he thinks I’m beautiful no matter what and it’s what’s in my heart that makes me beautiful, but if I don’t believe it about myself, I can’t enjoy the fullness of making love with my husband, not completely. That’s just me.

I know babies have forever changed my body and I am okay with that. I just want to feel beautiful and I want to impress my husband with a body that I am caring for. I don’t have to be overweight to feel the urge to look better and be stronger.

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Mishaps and perspective

It has been the kind of day that you need to end quickly before you break a bone – oh probably too late for my big toe.

If it wasn’t leave a box of clothes I forgot behind the car and then preceded to back up over it, it was leaving my cell phone out on the hood of the car while I was shopping. But you know how it goes so I won’t drone on about all the other mini catastrophes throughout my day.

My boys were both cranky today but that’s got to be a given with the already described events.

The truth is, I’ve been cranky today too which is probably why I left a trail of mishaps in my wake. So, it’s a good time to remind myself of the things that did make me smile today.

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The Velcro on the wooden birthday cake piece stuck to Oliver’s head

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This is actually a daily occurrence – my kid love books.

Bedtime, T-minus 30 minutes. Over and out.

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