Goals, Lists and Plans

When I first started reading blogs, I was a newlywed with no cooking skills so my focus was on blogs was whole foods, cooking and anything “green”.  Over time, I’ve really enjoyed a range of blog topics and in recent years, I’ve added blogs on parenting and home management to my reader.  My life has changed dramatically in the last 5 years.  I went from full time employment with a commute at a Contract Research Lab to full time as an Education Director at Sylvan in town.  And then, part time at Sylvan and parenthood.  And finally, I’m a part time work at home mom with 2 kids.  Everything can be a challenge.  It’s a worthwhile challenge, but a challenge nonetheless.  How do I function?  Lists.  Goals.  Plans.

I’m excited to share some of the plans, goals and lists here.  I have a binder with all of my vital information and work from it on a daily basis.  This works for me because I’m a very list-conscious person and I love organization, but it did take me almost a year to get the kinks ironed out.  My routine is fairly flexible just I have small children, but again, it’s what works for me.

Even thought it’s the end of February, I’m feeling very Springy.  It’s 49 degrees out and Sunny with a capital S.  The rest of the week is forecasted to be in the upper 40s and 50s.  I can’t believe it.  How strange our weather has been this year.  I tend to tackle big organization or cleaning projects when it’s sunny out.  And since the wind is pretty wicked, I am willing to just stay indoors and not blow away.  This week’s goals focus mainly on organization.  I started purging the basement storage area on Saturday and am proud to say that I’m over halfway to the 40 bag goal with a whopping 22 bags of stuff either donated or thrown away.   I need to finish the basement before our furnace arrives.  It’s primarily because I don’t want workers down in the basement tripping over the clutter, but also because the clutter embarrasses me.    And although I’d really like to list my giant to-do list and say it’s my goal for the week, I’m trying to be a little more realistic this year.  Nothing facilitates discouragement like over-extending yourself.  So for this week, only 5 goals:

  • Sort and organize the kids’ clothes, weeding out the things that are too small and makes notes on what is still needed for Spring and Summer.
  • Fix the chair in Liam’s room.
  • Sort and organize the living room bookshelves.
  • Make at least 1 trip to the VOA with donations.
  • SCRUB the kitchen floor.
Those are my goals for the week, do you have any?  Is there beautiful sunshine where you live inspiring you to get a jump start on Spring Cleaning?

Friday Quotidian

I’ve been thinking about doing a post on our daily life once a month in an effort to make this blog a little more personal and clear up any questions about how I spend my time.  Of course, the day I picked to be documented wasn’t a “normal” day, but that’s why we’ll check in again in a few weeks and see how that day goes!

615: I can hear Sylvi talking to herself.  Drat.  I was hoping to make it to at least 630 today.  I’ll just close my eyes again.

620:  Nope.  Wow this kid is loud.  I go into her room and she’s jumping on the crib mattress in anticipation as I come in.

640:  She unlatches, leans back and squeals at me.   This morning isn’t going to go slowly at all.  I get her dressed and note that I’ve got to make more wipe solution for her diapers.  Then, it’s off to get dressed myself and start the coffee for the day!  I throw a load of diapers in the wash.  I check the weather online and sit down for a few minutes to see what’s on my Blogger reading list.

734: I pull out of the driveway headed to the grocery.  I give myself half an hour.  I’m done and home in 24 minutes.  As I pull into the garage, I realize I forgot eggs.  That would explain why I got done so quickly.

840: Everyone is up and breakfasted now, and the diapers are in for another rinse.  Matt is working from home this morning and since Liam woke up in a moderately grumpy mood, he opted to stay home with Daddy instead of going to Mommy and Me Fitness class at the mall.  Liam was also concerned that when I asked if there was an elephant stomping around in his room, I was serious.  He set me straight before I left with Sylvi.

1010:  Phew!  Class is done.  I am sore.  A good sore, but sore nonetheless.  A friend shows up with her 2 boys in her new double stroller.  I ooh and ahh.  And then realize that she thought we were going to hang out for a while.  Since the stores in the mall are now open, we wander around for a little while and I buy Liam a tie to wear for our family photos and Easter.  Sylvi is content as can be in the stroller, sucking her fingers and smiling at anyone who makes eye contact.  An elderly lady comes over to ask how often we come to exercise at the mall.  She pats my hand and tells me that I’m going to “feel so good if I can keep it up.”

1130: Errands run, diapers changed, diaper load on it’s last rinse, Sylvi nursed, mail sorted, I attempt to get lunch put together and eaten so we can stay somewhat close to our normal day.  Today, Sylvi got to have some hardboiled egg for the first time.  She wasn’t really into it, but ate most of her millet patty.  Liam declared his egg “yucky”.  Vito was more than happy to take it off his hands.

1250:  Sylvi has usually been down for a nap for about 45 minutes by now.  We’ve finally gotten into a comfortable routine and naptime has been so nice for the last week.  Today’s didn’t turn out like usual because I ran around after class and Daddy was home.  Liam and I will have to spend some of our quiet time together later since I think it’s going to take some serious convincing for Sylvi to wind down and sleep.

100: Liam refuses to have me read him a story, tuck him in, or snuggle before nap.  He wants Daddy.  I leave the room and hear Sylvi squealing in hers.  I peek in to see her standing up in her crib and pulling back the curtain and blinds so she can look outside.  It is the funniest thing to see this tiny little person being so nosy so I sneak away to get my camera.  By the time I come back, she’s laying down.  Darn, that would have been such a cute photo!  I head downstairs to put the diapers in the dryer.

145: Sylvi was a little wound up.  You know, the bouncing and squealing while rubbing your eyes wound up?  It took 23 rounds of the lullaby from Lady and the Tramp before she settled down.   Liam is sound asleep and Daddy is gone to the office.  I sit down to figure out what I need to accomplish this afternoon.  I didn’t get anything done last night since I was so exhausted after our day in Columbus, so the house is a train wreck and there’s laundry on almost every available surface.  I’d also like a shower.  And to finish my cup of coffee that has now been reheated 3 times.

315: Liam is up from his nap and not happy.  I curl up on the couch with him and fall asleep.  He wakes me up to tell me he peed on the couch.  Argh.  Cushion covers in the wash, hysterical, embarrased toddler placated with a movie, I restart folding laundry and resign myself to the fact that Liam is in a mood that will probably make for a very difficult evening.

400: Sylvi wakes up and I get her changed and curl up in the rocker in her room to nurse.  I make every effort to nurse her in her room in the late afternoon.  She is just too energized and excited to see her brother after naps to settle down and actually nurse if we’re in the living room.  Once she’s done, I head out to the living room to let her play while I start the dough for pizza and breadsticks.

430: I put Sylvi in the doorway jumper since she apparently wants to jump and I can’t supervise her on the trampoline (which she thinks she can do all by herself).  The dough is almost ready for me to start the toppings, so I set things up and realize that Liam is pulling the doorway jumper back as far as he can and launching his sister into the air.  Of course, both of them are laughing.  I don’t react well to this clear safety hazard.   I throw together supper quickly so I can play with the kids… and referee a few inevitable fights over cars.

600:  Pizza and breadsticks are cooked, broccoli is steamed and Daddy is finally home from work.  Both kids are crabby and as a result, so is Mama.  Sylvi shoves as much pizza with sauce in her mouth as she can.  Her bottom 2 teeth are so close to coming in, but still not there and sometimes I get really nervous about her eating.  She gets really mad if I ration the food on her tray.  We all finish supper at different times, Sylvi being the last.  She picks every single last crumb up off her tray and lap before she lets me clean her up.  Apparently dinner was a hit with her.

645: I’m still folding laundry and haven’t yet managed to get the diapers out of the dryer.  Matt and the kids are playing contently so I make a trip to the basement for the diapers and put the couch cushion covers in to dry.  Gah!  And then I remember that the dogs haven’t been brought in from outside yet!  They are barking right outside the laundry window otherwise, I may have completely forgotten about them.  When I step outside, I discover the patio to be icy and a nasty mix of ice, snow and teeny hail to be falling.  Good thing we don’t have plans tomorrow!

730: Sylvi is in bed for the night (I hope) and we start the bedtime routine with Liam.  He likes to join in on Sylvi’s stories before bed and get at least another half hour of his own.  Liam loves books and can’t get enough of being read to.  He’s been like this since he was months old.  I love to watch him lay on his belly and flip through the pages of a book.  We usually let bedtime be his time with Daddy so I sit down to try and work on Sylvi’s photo book of her first year.

845: I downloaded the Blurb program, I uploaded my photos, and then worked for an hour on layouts.  Satisfied with my work, I close the program and check my email.  It is then that I realize I never saved any of my work.  In fact, according to Blurb, I don’t even have a book.  Hmmm.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have been trying to do anything that requires concentration while tired.

930: Well, I’m now sacked out on the couch with Matt watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.    Eh.  I’ll finish the laundry tomorrow and restart the photo book and write.  It’s been another one of those weeks where Matt and I don’t see each other, so laughing to the antics of Barney Stinson seems to be a nice way to end the night.

1000: Bedtime for me, I’m beat.

1115:  Sylvi’s up!

1230:  Yay!  Sylvi’s up again!

200: I wake up to Sylvi crying, but she falls back to sleep on her own.  I get up for a snack and note that Matt is still awake, playing online with his friends.

330:  Sylvi wakes up again and I go in to try to nurse, but she falls back asleep almost as soon as she latches on.  I put her back in her crib, snoring.

400: Matt comes to bed.  I really hope our taxes did get finished after I went to bed.  🙂

515:  Sylvi is bouncing in her crib waiting for me.  I regret having let her stay up to 730 last night.  Anytime I let her stay up “late”, she’s up super early after a less than restful night.  She falls asleep nursing, so I sneak back to bed and hope she’ll stay asleep a little while longer.

630:  Good morning!  Time to start the coffee and spend some time with Sylvi before the day begins.  And I wonder what it will turn out like?


Laundry day

It’s Wednesday and at my house, it’s the day of the week that I do the bulk of my laundry during the winter.  Come Spring, it will get spread out a little more throughout the week since my line only holds 2 full loads at a time, but for now… the morning after a hard leg workout in my Mommy and Me Fitness class, I struggle up and down the stairs in the name of keeping my leg muscles warm.  Anyway, in light of what I’m doing today and a recurring theme on laundry at the Green Phone Booth lately, I thought I’d make today’s post about laundry.  Visit the links if you’re looking for ideas on how to reduce your laundry or what environmentally friendly detergents to use.

Kelly posted about how to reduce your laundry load with 8 simple suggestions.

EcoYogini gave a review on 2 of her favorite eco-friendly detergents.

RetroHousewife talks about Soap Nuts (a regular in our laundry room).

Homegrown Mama (that’s me!) talks about how to keep your washer clean without drowning it in bleach.

Since there’s a lot of laundry in this house, there’s bound to be stains.  Spaghetti stains (Sunday night), blood stains (yesterday morning), paint stains (this morning) seem to be attracted to Liam’s clothes.  And Sylvia’s, too.  Did you know that banana slices leave marks?  Oh yes.  To combat the stains, I mix up a concoction of 1 cup water, 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide.  I keep it in my bathroom and shake very well before each use.  I’m a little bit of a recyclables horder, but after a few tries, I discovered that the salad dressing bottles made by Kraft are perfect!  (I do reccomend running any bottles through the dishwasher prior to filling with your stain remover, though.  Even if it has been over a year since you last used that Catalina salad dressing purchased during a pregnancy craving, there’s no reason to have little bits coming out because you were in a hurry to clean your clothes!)

And with that, I’m off to fold laundry before the kiddos wake from their hard-earned naps!


Meatless Monday… with Millet!

To be completely honest, millet doesn’t normally equal yummy in my mind.   It’s all in the preparation, I know this now, which is why, when I opened up my copy of Clean Eating and saw the recipe for millet patties, I decided it would be something I wanted to try.   I’ve been looking for good source of whole grain that will cover the nutritional bases and still fill me up pretty well.   The original recipe calls for the patties to be cooked in a skillet and then baked, but I just baked them.  And I swapped out the sunflower seeds for flax meal.   It turned out pretty tasty and paired just great with kale and goat cheese.  Sylvi ate right up and was a little mad at me when I ate the last bite.  It’s a great change from couscous and vegetables for any lunch! 

Millet Patties (adapted from Clean Eating Jan/Feb 2012)

  • 1 cup whole millet, cooked
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup zuchinni, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. flax meal
  • 1/4 cup. finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley (or 2 Tbsp fresh if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil
In a large saute pan, pour some olive oil and bring to a low heat.   Saute the onion until translucent.  Add in the carrots, zuchinni and garlic and continue to cook until fragrant.  Stir in the millet and heat through.  Then, mix in the rest of the ingredients and form  into patties (use a 1/3 cup measure to scoop out the mixture to keep it uniform in size).  Chill in the fridge for about half an hour so the egg gets a chance to solidify the patties.  Then, in an oven preheated to 400 degrees bake the patties for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

Sunday Snack

Ahhhh… Sunday night.  Matt and I try to not have anything on our plate for Sunday afternoon or evening.  This way, we can just hang out as a family and be calm before another hectic work week begins again.  I like to start my week with a clean kitchen, full coffee pot and lunch packed for Matt.  Once all that is ready and the kids in bed, I end my weekend watching Once Upon a Time with a bowl of popcorn.  

I don’t remember microwave popcorn until I was in college.  How many students live off popcorn their freshman year?  Just me?  Ok.  Well, anyway, I have always noticed that after eating your everyday microwave popcorn, there’s a film on the roof of my mouth and my tongue feels strange.  I stopped eating the popcorn for a while because it was just too strange.  Oh and then, ConAgra was boldly stamped on the bottom of almost every bag I looked at.  Another strike.  And then… I realized the strange film might be due to the fact that microwave popcorn has a Teflon chemical, Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in it.  Awesome.  So, I threw out the popcorn and resigned myself to only having it when visiting my inlaws since my sister-in-law has one of those stovetop poppers.  We have a ceramic top stove and I really didn’t want another small appliance in my kitchen.  

One afternoon, I was wandering Pinterest I noticed a pin that was about popcorn in the microwave… with just a plain paper bag!!!  And it’s true.   Just plain old paper bags that you’d pack lunch in, 1/3 cup popcorn kernels and 2 minutes in the microwave and you have fluffy popcorn without scratching the top of your stove or taking up valuable counter space with another appliance.  I pop up a batch and then toss it in a few tablespoons of melted butter seasoned with either sea salt or a sundried tomato dip mix I found at the bulk foods store.  It’s wonderful.  It’s fresh.  And it comes free of Teflon and weird film on the roof of my mouth.

Why I used to hide the formula box

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions with Other Parents

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.


*Heavy sigh*  Interactions between parents can be tricky.  I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve sat in a conversation with my spine tingling with frustration and the urge to jump up and contradict the other mother (typically).  It would seem that in the world of parenting, it’s always one against another.  It’s the moms who have a c-section vs. the natural birthers.  It’s the natural birthers vs. the home birthers.  It’s breast feeding vs. formula feeding.  It’s co-sleeping vs. cribs.  It’s Cry-it-out vs. many, many sleepless nights.  The comparisons extend to schooling, feeding, television time, even inane topics like how much time outdoors your child should spend!

I remember being told that these differences existed and that I’d soon experience them when I was pregnant with my son.  For some silly reason, I thought it wouldn’t be an issue.  Even if I don’t agree with you, I very rarely will broach the topic unless you ask for my opinion.  I don’t really like to argue or debate, so if there’s a difference, I respect it while we are in your home, but I demand the same respect in my own.  I don’t criticize you, so don’t do it to me… I won’t put up with it.  However, 2 and a half years ago, I didn’t feel this way.  Every time someone felt differently for me, I took it personally.

Right now, there is a lovely article directed to mothers who have had c-sections circulating the internet.  It’s popped up in my facebook feed 6 times today.  Some of the comments I’ve read from those I know have been laced with hurt and some have been celebratory that regardless the method, they got to have their sweet babies safely in their arms.  Quite frankly, that’s all it’s really about.  It’s your body and your decision.  You need to make the best decision for yourself.  Just because I had a homebirth, doesn’t mean that I think you’re less of a mother because you have a different scar than I do.   The author very kindly stated that “nothing in life goes as planned”.  It’s true.

After my son’s birth, I suffered from Postpartum Depression.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be completely honest with how awful it was.  PPD is not something you can explain, and I’d never, ever wish it on someone.  During that time, I was struggling with my milk supply.  I thought I was educated on breastfeeding, but looking back on it now, regardless of my education, the perfect storm was circling around me.  Breastfeeding, I’ve been told, can be an amazing experience that some women just adore (and an experience that has been very positive with my daughter).  With my son, I sobbed through almost every feeding.  He would scream and cry.  He was colicky and miserable.  I felt like I was actually going crazy.  With each day that passed, I got more and more depressed and after several weeks of looking into his crib and seeing him as though he were lying in a coffin, I finally sought help.  With that help came medications that couldn’t be taken while breastfeeding.

Life didn’t go as planned.  I came home from the hospital feeling as though every other mother was looking at me and judging me.  Those who were not yet mothers made comments that made me feel as though I were weak.  Older mothers didn’t understand why I couldn’t just “deal” with his colic and move on.  And mothers who were my peers who had never struggled with breastfeeding didn’t get it.  I was so ashamed of having to bottle feed my son that I wouldn’t do it in public.  I actually hid the box of formula so people wouldn’t see it if they visited.  I have only one photo of myself giving him a bottle… I’m crying in it.  During that time, I had friends who were still breastfeeding their babies who were unable to grasp the difference in our lives.  One friend did not speak to me for 3 weeks and quite honestly, our relationship has never fully recovered.  Other friends who had stopped breastfeeding earlier than I did welcomed me with open arms into the circle of moms with bottles.  And there was one friend who stood by me, no matter how many bottles I had to feed in front of her.

That experience had changed how I feel about interactions with parents.  I don’t care how different we are, I will not criticize you.  I may feel differently, and you may realize that we have differences, but I won’t tell you that you are wrong.  Why?  Because for 2 years I felt the pain of someone not handling a difference kindly.  I have friends who have had c-sections or bottle feed or (gasp!) use disposable diapers.  We a

ll get along.  We don’t bicker.  We don’t always agree, but that isn’t what is really important.  I never want anyone to suffer at the hand of my insensitivity.  I could never tell you what to do because I don’t live your life.  You do.  I want to respect you, so I will support you and love on you, no matter how different we are.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • How to Respond Respectfully to Unwanted Parenting Advice and Judgment — AtNatural Parents Network, Amy (of Peace 4 Parents) offers some ways to deal with parenting advice and criticism, whether it’s from your mom or the grocery store clerk.
  • Judgement is Natural – Just Don’t Condemn — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shared her views on why judgment is unavoidable and why the bigger issue is condemnation.
  • Four Ways To Share Your Parenting Philosophy Gently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares tips for communicating with fellow parents in a positive, peaceful manner.
  • When Other Parents Disagree With You — Being an attachment parent is hard enough, but when you are Lily, aka Witch Mom, someone who does not enforce gender roles on her kid, who devalues capitalism and materialism, and instead prefers homeschooling and homesteading — you are bound to disagree with someone, somewhere!
  • Mama Bashing — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on the hurt caused on the blogosphere by mama bashing and pleads for a more mindful way of dealing with differences.
  • Accentuate the Positive — Joella at Fine and Fair shares how she manages interactions with the parents she encounters in her work as a Parent Coach and Substance Abuse Counselor by building trusting relationships and affirming strengths.
  • The politics of mothers – keys to respectful interactions with other parents — Tara from MUMmediaoffers great tips for handling the inevitable conflict of ideas and personalities in parenting/mother’s groups, etc.
  • Trying to build our village — Sheila at A Gift Universe tells how she went from knowing no other moms in her new town to building a real community of mothers.
  • Internet Etiquette in the Mommy Wars — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses how she handles heated topics in the “Mommy-space” online.
  • Parenting with Convictions — Sarah at Parenting God’s Children encourages love and support for fellow parents and their convictions.
  • How To Be Respectful Despite Disagreeing On Parenting Styles… — Jenny at I’m a Full-Time Mummyshares her two cents’ worth on how to have respectful interactions with other parents despite disagreeing on parenting styles.
  • Public Relations — Momma Jorje touches on keeping the peace when discussing parenting styles.
  • Navigating Parenting Politics — Since choosing an alternative parenting style means rejecting the mainstream, Miriam at The Other Baby Book shares a few simple tips that can help avoid hurt feelings.
  • Hiding in my grace cave — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants to forget that not all parents are as respectful and tolerant as the people with whom she now surrounds herself.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting – Respectful Interactions with Other Parents — Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles explores how her attitude has changed regarding sharing information and opinions with others and how she now chooses to keep the peace during social outings.
  • Empathy and respect — Helen at zen mummy tries to find her zen in the midst of the Mummy Wars.
  • Not Holier Than Thou — Amyables at Toddler in Tow muses about how she’s learned to love all parents, despite differences, disagreements, and awkward conversations.
  • Nonviolent Communication and Unconditional Love — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment reflects on the choice to not take offense as the key to honest and open communication.
  • Respectful Parenting As a Way of Life — Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about using her parenting philosophy as a guide to dealing with other parents who make very different choices from her.
  • Homeschooling: Why Not? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how parents can often make homeschooling work for their family even if, at first glance, it may seem daunting.
  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice… — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her philosophy for online and offline interactions … a philosophy based primarily on a children’s movie.
  • Different Rules for Different Families — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how differences between families affect our children, and how that can be a good thing.
  • Respectful Interaction With Other Parents — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares the ways she surrounds herself with a like-minded support network, so that she can gently advocate in her dealings with those whose opinions on parenting differ vastly from her own.
  • Parenting as a mirror — Rather than discrediting others’ parenting styles, Kate Wicker discusses why she tries to focus on doing right rather than being right — and why she’s also not afraid to show others that she’s a heartfelt but imperfect mama just trying to be the best mom for her family.
  • The One Thing {Most} Parents Have In Common: They Try Their Best — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry finds interacting with other parents easier once she accepts that they are all just trying their best, just like her.
  • Finding your mama-groove: 5 ways to eliminate judge/be judged metality — MudpieMama reveals 5 ways of thinking that have helped her find her mama-groove and better navigate tricky parenting discussions.
  • Speaking Up For Those Who Can’t — We’ve all had those moments when someone said something hurtful or insensitive, or downright rude that just shocks you to your core, and you’re stunned into silence. Afterwards, you go home and think “Gosh, I wish I said…” This post by Arpita at Up Down, And Natural is for all the breastfeeding mamas who have thought “Gosh, I wish I said…”
  • Thank you for your opinion — Gaby at Tmuffin shares her go-to comment when she feels like others are judging her parenting style.
  • Mending — A playground conversation about jeans veers off course until a little mending by Kenna at Million Tiny Things is needed.
  • The Thing You Don’t Know — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about what she believes is one of the most important things you can consider when it comes to compassionate communication with other parents.
  • 3 Tips for Interacting with Other Parents Respectfully When You Disagree with Them — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about respectful interactions on her parenting journey.
  • Peacefully Keeping My Cool: Quotes from Ana — How do you keep your cool? Ana from Pandamoly shares some of her favorite retorts and conversation starters when her Parenting Ethos comes into question.
  • Kind Matters — Carrie at Love Notes Mama discusses how she strives to be the type of person she’d want to meet.
  • Doing it my way but respecting your highway. — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle is determined to walk with her family on the road less travelled whether you like it or not!
  • Saying “I’m Right and You’re Wrong” Seldom Does Much To Improve Your Cause… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how living by example motivates her actions and interactions with others.
  • Have another kid and you won’t care — Cassie of There’s a Pickle in My Life, after having her second child, knows exactly how to respond to opposing advice.
  • Ten Tips to Communicate Respectfully, Even When You Disagree — What if disagreements with our partners, our children or even complete strangers ultimately led to more harmony and deeper connections? They can! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares ten tips to strengthen our relationships in the midst of conflict.
  • A Little Light Conversation — Zoie at TouchstoneZ explains why respect needs to be given to every parent unconditionally.
  • Why I used to hide the formula box — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen finally talks about how judgement between parents changed her views on how she handles differences in parenting.
  • Assumptions — Nada at minimomist discusses how not everyone is able to nurse, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
  • Shushing Your Inner Judgey McJudgerson — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction knows that judging others is easy to do, but recognizing that we all parent from different perspectives takes work.
  • Respectfully Interacting with Others Online — Lani at Boobie Time Blog discusses the importance of remaining respectful behind the disguise of the internet.
  • Presumption of Good Will — Why — and how — Crunchy Con Mommy is going to try to assume the best of people she disagrees with on important issues.
  • Being Gracious with Parenting Advice — Tips for giving and receiving parenting advice with grace from Lisa at My World Edenwild.
  • Explain, Smile, Escape — Don’t know what to do when you’re confronted by another parent who disagrees with you? Amy at Anktangle shares a story from her life along with a helpful method for navigating these types of tricky situations (complete with a handy flow chart!).
  • Balancing Cultures and Choices — Dulce de leche discusses the challenges of walking the tightrope between generations while balancing cultural and family ties.
  • Linky – Parenting Peacefully with Social Media — Hannabert’s Mom discusses parenting in a social media world.


There are few things more comforting than a slice of homemade bread, fresh out of the oven.  I love homemade bread.  However, I do not love that I’ve never had great success with sandwich breads.  I can make a fantastic French bread and a melt-in-your-mouth Brioche loaf.  But a basic slicing bread to support my son’s peanut butter and jelly habit has been somewhat ellusive.

However, this recipe has enough liquid in it to bind together the grains without making it heavy.  I use my stand mixer to do the kneading and it has proved invaluable.  If you also choose to use the mixer, make sure you set the lock on it, as the dough comes together rather solidly.  Once baked, allow to cool briefly before turning the bread out onto a cooling rack.  The crumb is very moist and tender and best of all, when sliced, this bread retains it’s structural integrity.   This means that no matter how much of my homemade strawberry jam Liam insists on piling on his sandwich, it’s not going to crumble in those chubby toddler hands before he gets to really enjoy it.

Whole Grain Sandwich Bread

  • 5 tsp. active yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup local honey
  • 2 Tbsp. flax seed
  • 2 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (plus an additional half cup or so as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the mixing bowl during kneading)
  In the bowl of your mixer, put the warm water and the yeast.  Let it set from 5-10 minutes; the yeast will get frothy and smell, well… like yeast.   Add all the ingredients through the all purpose flour and mix using a dough hook.   When the dough begins to come together, start adding the whole wheat flour.  Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, knead using the dough hook and run for about 10 minutes.  Then, roll the dough into a ball and cover for 35-45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.  (I try to make my bread in the morning on a sunny day.  This way, I can set the bowl of dough on the dining room table for the sun that comes in through the large window to keep it warm.  I know it’s about done when I can smell the yeast in the dough.)
Divide the dough into 2 portions and briefly knead each one.  Shape the dough into a loaf and place in a well greased bread pan.  I use my mother’s glass pans from the 80s so my loafs are a bit shorter than those made in more recent years.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.
This recipe is adapted from The Organic Family Cookbook.  It makes 2 loaves so I freeze one and keep the other out.  If stored wrapped well, the loaf will keep nicely on a shelf for almost 2 weeks.  Of course, it almost never lasts that long here!

The Plague

It’s here.  I posted on The Green Phone Booth that I hadn’t needed to use my homemade VapoRub yet this year.  Rookie mistake, I know.  And we are paying for it this week!  2 sick kiddos and a pug with a sprained ankle (I know, it’s absurd, but he’s limping like it’s his job!) so we are spending a lot of time curled up on the couch reading, cuddling and watching endless episodes of Mighty Machines.  Maybe a walk in the unseasonably warm weather this afternoon will help us kick this thing!