Dear readers, I’m pregnant again. I wish I were saying this to elicit congratulations and by way of launching a new column about pregnancy -- and I am, at least, doing the latter, but the...
We like to eat whole foods, we really do. We won a small victory for whole foods, in fact, tonight when my son complained about missing a salmon, quinoa and kale dinner and had to eat “junk food” at a friend’s. “You know that’s my favorite!” he complained. It doesn’t always go this way around these parts, certainly not on tempeh salad night, or any night I even entertain the idea of cooking lentils but I’ll celebrate the victories as they come. Of course we helped him to a portion of the leftovers immediately. Occasionally, however, I’ll bring home something naughty. I try to keep it aligned with the diet restrictions we choose to follow - usually gluten and dairy-free, and natural sweeteners. Tapioca flour doughnuts, tempeh bacon, rice flour muffins, cheddar cheeZe... Some great, some not so great renditions of old comfort food favorites.
I’ve never enjoyed cleaning so much, honestly, as when I made my own brews -- and, while some lucky souls find cleaning meditative, enjoying it is very much a first for me. Homemade cleaners smell so amazing, and feel so elemental, this 30-Day Challenge has been right up my alley. My family is both stunned and thrilled by the outbreak of domestic diva. My husband, who has always been handy around the house, dear soul, took it the distance this weekend, and washed our sofa slipcover with the soapnut liquid wash yesterday.
There is nothing worse than teething, nothing. Except maybe when your baby topples over onto his head while trying to crawl, while teething and grumpy anyway, and ends up with a big red welt on his head. Then there’s something worse. Oh boy.
For Recipe Weekend, we’ve stumbled on a wonderful website, and a great recipe! When Maddie’s family woke up yesterday with post-nasal drip, we knew this was the perfect recipe to share today, by Amy Thompson from PlantoEat.com. It’s great for Springtime allergies and sinus complaints. I make it with a homemade veggie broth including leeks, carrots, the peel of onions, and the kitchen sink. The lemon, garlic, and ginger in it are powerful antimicrobials, so use them with gusto! I've also taken liberties and added shitake mushrooms, because they are amazing immune boosters, and because I feel about shitakes the way some people (like my 8-year-old-son, for example) feel about ketchup.
My father always says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He used to say this often to me growing up, mainly in response to my constant desire to buy new products at the drugstore down the street, and undoubtedly to curb my material appetites and incessant grass-is-always-greener desire for change -- but how could I resist the allure of new and improved shampoos, ointments, beauty products? (I was nine years old, and Longs Drugs was the only place I was allowed to bike by myself, besides the gas station for gum). The result? Do you have a cabinet filled with half-used cosmetics and potions? I don’t, but only because I finally heeded his sage advice after an unsightly allergic reaction to a new facial cleanser, at age 29 -- my old cleanser had been working flawlessly until then, but the package of this new one was...so pretty, with claims of organic natural goodness broadcasting from its label.
Today is a glorious day. We’ve been sitting out under our oak tree, both sons and I, in the afternoons -- until my older son sees his favorite playmate across the street, and my little one decides he needs a change of pace (at least that’s how I interpret his nonverbal objections). Today is no different, except that I am noticing how timely our latest batch of homemade bug repellent is turning out to be - just made on Friday at the first sign of trouble, I now am watching the bugs hover. The repellent is working, but leave one spot uncovered (the back of Aidan’s knees were left perilously unsprayed) and they are there.
There are a million great natural ways to ward off mosquitos and other bugs as the temperature rises... Okay maybe not a million, but at least as many as there are kinds of bugs to fend off ourselves and our young ones. That said, if you’re anything like me, you’d rather someone give you a favorite recipe -- and save your brain cells for harder questions like, “what was I in my past life?” (my eight year old), or “why is he not asleep at 11:30pm?” (me, regarding my five month old).
Well, it’s official. Sitting in the pre-tornado humidity of our Spring evening in Austin, it happened...my first mosquito bite of the season. Fighting back the urge to cry, “I’m not ready!”, I am reminding myself that this Friday for Recipe Weekend we’ll be posting a recipe -- and mixing up a batch! of natural homemade bug repellent that will hopefully make this first bite my last.
But I know that this first bite heralds the start to an entire post-Winter season - of camping trips, picnics, pool parties, trips to the park, summer vacations -- and general outdoor merriment that comes with the lurking dangers of everything from yellow-jacket-riddled trashcans to noseeums and sand fleas.
(Plus a Couple of Critiques from my Ever-Patient Husband)
Okay, so I’m loving the 30-day cleaning challenge -- because, as we’ve established, I love a challenge (at least, occasionally). And it IS a challenge. A challenge, for example, to convince my hubby, that streaky windows are a small price to pay for windows I’d let my loved ones lick -- come to mention it, that’s a tough one for me too. And tougher than tough to get him to buy any more of the recycled toilet paper -- because, as he puts it, it’s no help to the environment if he has to use a whole roll of thin sandpaper where a couple of pillow-soft squares would have otherwise been enough. This all makes him the perfect critic for the cleaning challenge.
I’m sitting at the table in my parents’ house - a rare moment when my older boys are on a road trip and the baby is sleeping - and I’m beginning to experiment with homemade bug repellents in hopes of getting a leg up on summer time mosquitoes. Actually, I’m just going thru the motions on this bug repellent thing, because I’m HUNGRY! Its funny how a parent’s house can take you back to your most fundamental, childish self...I’m sliding down Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as we speak. Well, I’m nursing, so maybe that’s it.
And the cupboard is bare -- or nearly so. I’m pretty fussy too, so this is an abysmal combination. What to do? Scrap the bug spray project, enter domestic diva mode. What better than to whip up a batch of cookies?
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