Friday, September 24, 2010


Thank you so much for all of your supportive comments about the whole raw business.


My final detox meal: cold apple spinach avocado soup.  I wasn't a big fan of the flavor of SO MUCH GREEN, but it kept me satisfied through most of the evening.

It was incredibly scary to face down those 3 days at the start, mostly because I didn't know what to eat.  Once I got the cookbook, things were a whole lot better, and by the third day, I started to understand how a raw meal comes together -- what goes with what, and such.  It's interesting, because I'm pretty damn good at putting together a "regular" menu, stretching whatever the protein is over a large number of people (rice!  potatoes!  bread!), but when it came to eating raw, I was just pulling up complete blanks...and therefore, had a rather hungry time for a while there.  On the upside, I had 10 lbs of baby weight that I haven't been able to let go of, so I figured that, while feeling hungry is kind of miserable, at least I knew that I was probably loosing a few pounds.  And I did.

For those of you who are interested in trying it, just try eating raw for breakfast or lunch once or twice and see what you think.  I just happen to be the sort of person who would find every loophole and end up having a "snack" of something baked or cooked in between meals, and not allowing the raw food to really work.  Plus, I wanted this to be a detox, and a detox is painful by definition.  The hardest part was dealing with the cravings for cooked and baked things, which made me believe that I was a whole lot hungrier than I really was.

Today I broke my fast with a banana blueberry yogurt smoothie (very light on the yogurt, heavy on the fruit), and, while it tasted great, it made me feel a little ill.


I made Almond Milk last night before bed, so I had some with my coffee this morning, and...I think it's an acquired taste.  I'll try it again a few times, but I'll probably start using cows milk again.

I ate a raw lunch today, then baked a loaf of bread and had two big buttered slices in the late afternoon.  Immediately, I felt like taking a nap.  I had a tiny bowl of lentils and rice for dinner, and once again, I don't feel so hot.  Reintegration is a bitch.

Thank you also to all of you who left kind comments on my new hair.  I am so excited to be back to short hair -- when I fix it in the morning, I feel happy; with this haircut I no longer have to spend FOREVER trying to come up with some new updo, only to feel vaguely dissatisfied with the look.  When I look in the mirror with my new (old! normal!) hair, finally, I look like me.  It's a good thing to see.

Today was Egg Drop Day at school, and the little guys and I went to support Andrew and Elijah and stayed to eat lunch.  I've got some supercute pictures that I'll post tomorrow.

 In the meantime, here's a pair of socks that I just finished up last night.


They're loud, and I LOVE THEM.  Except for that peach and gray part.  But I'm going to choose not to be picky and go back and rip that part out.  That would just make me sad.

Also, I finished this scarf last week, out of some yarn I had spun a few months ago.


I know, SCINTILATING NEWS.  Alright, I don't expect most of you who read this blog to be excited about my knitting, but there it is.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Detox time: what it feels like to go RAW

For the most part, I have a very good immune system.  My children and husband will all get sick around me, yet usually I just get a faint hint of the symptoms, or stay completely healthy.  Sometimes though, everything seems to go wrong.  I come down with one thing, and then, like dominoes, I get one annoying malady after another.  Recently I've endured a string of medications for various things, and one medical intervention seems to lead to another.  I decided that at last, I'd had enough.  My body needs a rest, and it needs a chance to heal itself.  To facilitate this, I've challenged myself to a 3-day vegan raw food "fast".

In the beginning, I was pretty certain that I wouldn't make it.  I felt panicky thinking about all of the things I WOULDN'T be able to eat...and realizing how wholly unprepared for this I am -- I don't generally eat almost ANYTHING raw.  Raw food tends to take longer to eat, and is less filling (an apple vs. a muffin?  The muffin wins every time).  With 4 children and an always hungry husband to care for, RAW just sounds like a terrible lifestyle choice.  However, I was getting desperate, so I on Tuesday, I took the plunge.

Added to the raw diet, I also decided to do a detox drink three times a day: 1 tablespoon maple syrup (supposed to be grade B, but I only had the grade A, so that's what I'm using), 2 tablespoons vinegar (the unfiltered kind "with the mother" still in it), a few healthy dashes of cayenne pepper, and a bunch of cold water to bring it all together.

Finally, I chose to cut my coffee consumption by a third. It's not much, but every morning I drink 3/4 cup of cold press coffee cut with 3/4 a cup of milk. It's delicious. I didn't want to go cold turkey and deal with the migraines on top of food cravings, so I decided to just cut my coffee to 1/2 cup of the cold press concentrate, and make up the rest in water (it never occurred to me to use almond or rice milk instead of the water. In retrospect, that would have been a better idea.)

Day 1: I felt hungry, weak, and had a lingering headache.  Oh, and did I mention hungry?  RAVENOUS.   All that I could think about was food...and all of the food that I could not have.  I had a banana for breakfast, and a small coldpress coffee. 

At the gym on my stationary calisthenic machine, it seemed that the only things on TV were commercials for FOODFOODFOOD.  That was a little rough.  For dinner, I made my family tacos, which I can do in my sleep, and according to Greg (since I did not taste it), did a good job of seasoning by eye and by smell.  Score one for me.

I ate several salads throughout the day, the best of which was a cherry tomato, avocado and radish salad with a bit of crushed garlic, extra virgin olive oil and some sea salt.  I didn't feel hungry for about an hour, which was kind of huge.


After a tossed green salad for dinner, I snacked on grapes before bed, but still fell asleep feeling hungry, not even wanting to imagine going through two more days of this.

Day 2: I had ordered a book on raw food from, and it was supposed to come sometime that day.  ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WAS GETTING THAT BOOK.  I ate yet another banana for breakfast (and yes Becca, I didn't gag on it -- amazing how good a banana looks when there's not much else!) before going to the gym (along with a small cup of cold press coffee cut with water), and this time noticed a good deal of energy. It was like I was burning "clean" fuel instead of feeling my body fight through the digestion of my usual breakfast (2 slices of homemade bread with butter, a coffee with milk). About half-way through the day, the much anticipated book landed at my doorstep:

Raw Food Made Easy For 1 or 2 People

Hope sprang anew! There are beautiful color photographs sprinkled throughout, and I felt like life just might be worth living again. (Have I ever discussed how OBSESSED I am with food? No? Remind me to bring it up sometime.)  Most importantly, this book does not require that you have all sorts of Raw Foodie tools (such as a dehydrator).  Also, the ingredient lists are pretty standard to your average household, so overall this is a great book for beginners in this sort of cuisine.

After making a big pot of garlicky lentils and rice for Greg and the children, I made a warm bowl of Miso soup for myself, from one of the recipes in the Raw Food book. I'm not sure if it counts as a totally raw recipe, since the carrots and spinach are soaked in freshly boiled water for 5 minutes, but MY GOSH it was good to have something hot and filling and NOT SALAD.

As an evening snack, I made a pecan pate and scooped it atop some fresh greens, as one might do with tuna or chicken salad. It was filling, and rather tasty.

Day 3: This morning, once again, I was not super groggy as I woke up. I mean, I felt sleepy and hungry, but not wiped out like I usually do when I roll out of bed. A banana and coffee for breakfast again, and a workout at the gym.

For lunch, I had some leftover pecan pate, so I spread spoonfulls of it on slices of vine-ripened tomato, showered some alfalfa sprouts over it, and lay some slices of black olive on top.

This was a riff on a recipe "Tomato Stacks" from the raw cookbook . I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of this "raw" business...and lunch was pretty filling and delicious. I sprinkled the dish with flaky Maldon sea salt for added texture. It was a thing of beauty.

After lunch, I felt like it was about time that I had something sweet. Using the raw cookbook once again, I followed the recipes for chocolate mousse and vanilla cream (with flecks of vanilla bean), and put it together with some sliced bananas as a parfait.

Lavella ate the chocolate mousse all by itself and kept asking for more.

She could never guess that the creamy body in the dish is actually avocados.

I'll never tell.

(Jonah was taking a nap at the time of these pics, but he "helped" me to process these, and kept scooping giant heaping finger-fulls of the mousse into his mouth as I worked. I would call that a success!)

Overall, this has been an eye-opening experience. I feel more energized and healthy, and as long as I drink enough cups of water, have been able to have a pretty good attitude about this whole adventure.

Cons: Raw nuts and seeds are the "meat" of a raw vegan diet, and can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, although the produce side of it really isn't all that pricey. Also, I really, really miss bread. Really. This is not a very filling diet.

However, I think that it might be a good idea for me to continue to incorporate more raw into my normal diet, perhaps eating only raw for breakfast (but supplemented by a little yogurt and such) and mostly raw lunches, and definitely more raw snacks and desserts.

The idea of going completely vegan and completely raw in the next foreseeable future doesn't completely appeal to me, since I really like to eat meat, and also, dinner is a big way that Greg and I like to enjoy life together and connect at the end of the day. If I went totally raw, his cooked meals would get much more boring because I wouldn't be so compelled to try out new interesting things. Plus, it's pretty challenging to properly season something without taking a few tastes of it! I can see the benefits of a raw diet though, so I will continue to work it in where I can, as often as possible.

For now though?  I am REALLY looking forward to a non-vegan breakfast tomorrow.

But don't worry!  I'll break the fast slowly.  Promise.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A change of hair

Most of you who have known me for more than 4 years will remember something: I'm actually a Short Haired Girl. It was only when I became pregnant with Lavella that I decided to start growing my hair out so that I could opt for the super easy ponytail in the mornings. However, I no longer have a tiny baby in the house, and I actually sleep through the night, am not feeding anyone with my body, and other such novelties.  I think I can manage to style my hair into something a little more interesting now.

As of this morning, this is how long I had managed to grow it:

To donate your hair to Locks Of Love, your need to be able to cut off a ponytail of at least 10 inches:

Here it is, pre-dye:

And then after I'd treated it to a POWER RED:

(Feria color "R68")

It feels good to be back to normal again. :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Little Person Medley

"ABC", "Blah Blah Black Sheep", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and "You're A Grand Old Flag You're A HOP ON The Flag".

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Last week, I finished up a button-down sweater-shirt that I'd been working on (well, mostly NOT working on) for the past two years.


(More pictures and details on my knitting blog if you happen to be someone who cares about that sort of thing)

After such thin yarn and small needles, I decided that I needed something thick and quick.  So I grabbed a skein of fun handspun (which I spun a few months ago), and cast on for this crazy scarf:



It was flying along, and I was enjoying every part of the project (One Row Handspun Scarf) -- mindless, relaxing, fun!  But...well, this is where the story gets a little sketchy.  Take a quick look at the little face below.


She's either being smug or sweet, I can't tell.

Anyway, on Thursday after nap time, Lavella and I began having something of a...challenging day.  She had been practicing her Little Girl Scream, which I have a zero tolerance for (a good shout is fine on occasion, but the ear-splitting, glass-shattering shriek?  Not in this house.), and had shredded the cover off of her favorite board book (Good Dog, Carl), as well as other grievances which thankfully, I don't still remember.  It was the last straw when, in the evening as I was running out the door to Knit Night, I discovered that MY NEEDLES HAD BEEN PULLED OUT OF THE SCARF.  This was not an emergency, but I was still upset.  The children all know that one of the most important rules of this house (according to me) is DO NOT TOUCH MOMMY'S KNITTING.  EVER.  I confronted her about it, and she started crying and said she was sorry.  It was only when I actually arrived at Knit Night that I discovered:


The end of one needle had been CHEWED OFF.  And the teethmarks in the wood were pretty small, indicating that either she or Jonah had snacked on it.

It was not until the next day that I discovered the truth (or possibly the truth.  With these little people, it's hard to be sure.)  In passing conversation the next day, she calmly told me about how Elijah had pulled my needles out, and then Jonah had "tried to draw with them", and then "tried to eat them".  And yes, I did have some strong words with Elijah later on that day about letting someone else take the heat for your own mistake.  He MAY have learned his lesson.

Overall, Thursday was so stressful with all of the misbehaviour and destructive action (disciplining each time, but seemingly with no change), so I knew what we needed to do on Friday: An intensive Lavella and Mommy cuddle/fun day.  I shelved all of my projects and plans for the day, and we played with play dough, colored, built blocks, and then when Jonah went down for his nap, I kept her up for a little while, gathered her into my lap with a quilt around us, and we read some books together, just the two of us.  As I tucked her into her bed for her nap a little while later, she looked up at me with the sweetest, most satisfied face -- the face of a little girl who knows how loved she is.  And I knew that it had been a day well spent.  Her nap that day was long and deep, and she woke up in a beautiful mood.  Peace, my friends.  You simply can't put a price on it.

P.S. I've got new needles on order, and I'll be able to resume work on the scarf next week.  Because I know that you were worried.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Happy birthday, Andrew!

Dear Andrew,

On Friday, September 3rd, you turned 7 years old.  I remember being pregnant with you, feeling your wild little kicks, and wondering what sort of a person you would be?  What would my child even look like?  And then you were born, and I could not stop looking at your perfect little face.  We spent a lot of time just staring at each other, you and I.  I would kiss your tiny lips and feel the impossibly soft fuzz that topped your head, and shake my head in wonder.  And immediately, I loved you.

Now, at the age of seven, I look at you, and I am so happy at who you are becoming.  In the past year you have become so much more confidant in yourself, self-assured.  Even though we butt heads more and more, I am so glad that you know what you want, and that you're learning how to handle yourself and communicate what you feel.

I love it that you chose "jam cakes" (a.k.a. thumbprint cookies, inspired by the book "Mary Poppins" that we're currently reading together) for your school-birthday-treat instead of the usual status quo cupcakes that all of your friends ask for:


(I used this recipe from, but added the jam afterwords, bringing the jam to a simmer first so that it would set in the indentations)

Eating lunch in the school cafeteria -- I "stole" Elijah from his class table so that we could sit together on Friday

Your creative process always intrigues me, and it makes me so happy to see you running free with your imagination, building villages in the sand, drawing endless pictures of different scenes from your own original stories, dreaming up complicated adventures for your siblings and friends to play with you.


Building a very complicated village in the school sandbox during recess -- Andrew had me wear his birthday hat so that I could ensure that the wind did not take it away.

I feel so unbelievably privileged to be among the first to know you, and watch your personality unfold.  Your freckles, your pale blue eyes, your shy little smile continues to charm me.  I am so glad that you are my son.


I love you, my little friend.

Love forever,