Sunday, February 26, 2012

Party Planning Mode

Recently introduced to Pinterst, I have been sitting here tonight between loads of laundry gleaning ideas for Miss Roo's First Birthday party. The bittersweet reality that my second baby has almost reach a year on this planet is still settling upon my heart. The enjoyment of brainstorming is a nice way to distract myself from the impending transition into toddlerhood. Miss Moo's First Party was at our home with food, favors, and a lot of stress on this then pregnant Mama. Our house was new, we were announcing our pregnancy, and we were still adapting to a new city.

Roo's first birthday comes at a very different time in our lives. This birthday is in the spring, so we're planning on having the celebration at a local park that we used for Moo's last party. The "Happy Birthday Park" is small, toddler friendly, and part of our county parks and recs system so we won't be giving money to some fancy pants money pit. This event will also be the first that is centered around Roo and not Miss Moo. I am trying to be sensitive to the notion that Miss Moo may be jealous of her baby sister while acknowledging that big sisters sometimes have to step aside so their siblings can shine. Still on a learning curve myself, I can only pray that we will all be able to experience, celebrate, and evolve.

This birthday will also be an attempt to spend less, reuse more, and create elements at home. I've been looking into ways to have healthier foods in smaller amounts. Decorations can be made from our stash of construction paper, tissue paper, and scrapbook paper. "Favors" this time will be a little token of appreciation created by the birthday girl. Roo seems to favor all things rainbow and monkey these days so I am trying to compile some ideas and consider what would be the most fun for her.

I also want to be sure that we all take something away from this celebration. Too often we come together for special moments in life far too worried about the decor, gifts, and quantity of visible wealth. I know that I won't be able to prepare for this party without some degree of materialism, but I pray that I won't focus on it. Instead I want to not only watch my children play but to really see it. I want to listen to their laughter and hear it. I want all of those present to benefit from being part of the community cultivating these young lives.

This birthday we are at a different place. We are standing at the center of a village that my daughters have built.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I love Eve Ensler!!!

I had 5 minutes this morning to hide in the bathroom with the Netbook. (No, seriously). Pinterest led me here. How wonderful for women to hear!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tamari? Check. Tahini? Hrmmmm....

Yesterday was the first module of the wonderful online workshop Whole Food Kitchen and I was ready!! Since my huge weight loss in 2006, I have been constantly reading, researching, and updating my way of living and eating. Now that I am a wife and mother of two, this has become one of the main focuses in my life. When I learned of this workshop and asked for it for Christmas I was excited. This past weekend I was even more excited. Yesterday felt like the first day of school!  Last night I sat down and went through the entire module - the posts, the recipes, the video, the recipes ;), and took it all in.

Then, I made a grocery list! For some reason, I greatly enjoy making grocery lists and organizing them as if I am walking through the store. The only stores that we tend to shop at are Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  I am somewhat proud of this fact - partially because we have cut out mainstream stores and their junk. However, I wish I had the time to shop around for local stores and markets. We love our Farmer's Markets and all the local goodies they offer.  In the colder months I struggle with insulating and transporting two wee girls for the small winter markets in the area.  As the girls grow older I plan on exploring more markets and cold weather options. But we are grateful to have a little rhythm that works for us.

This morning, with list in tow, Miss Moo and I went to Whole Foods to gather ingredients for a few recipes and some staples. (Miss Roo stayed at home and enjoyed a brief snooze.) Once inside the store Miss Moo, naturally, wanted a snack. What type of snack you ask? Why, CHEESE, of course! To the back we go for the organic string cheese singles. Check. Onto the list.

Moo and I breeze around the store.  Produce for berries, bananas, veggies, and herbs. Bulk foods for nuts and seeds and non-wheat whole grains.  Whole Body for hemp seed. Bay leaves from the baking isle. Frozen pineapple and mango. I glance at the list - check. check. check. Oh, wait. Tahini. Hrmmmm tahini.

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It's used in a lot of Mediterranean and Asian foods. Ever had hummus? Then you've have tahini. Off we trot to the ethnic isle. We scour it. Nothing. Okay so let's check with the olives. Nope. Tomato sauces? Nuh-uh. Perhaps the mayonnaise? Not there either. *sigh* We locate a very friendly young man who doesn't know where the tahini is but will find someone who does. The next guy? He doesn't either. We all went to the same three places. Three times we struck out. So, next point of escalation- the shift manager.

Any guesses where the tahini lives?? With the peanut butter! I would never have thought of that! Ahhh tahini!

This evening I cleaned up and gathered my ingredients for the first new recipe. I took pictures all the way through and the end result was a GORGEOUS dish that was equally as delicious. Served alongside a bowl of mixed berries and some broiled, seasoned chicken we delighted in the first of many new high protein feasts to come over the next 12 weeks.

Laid out and ready to go!

 Red onion in.

 Quinoa going.

 Prepping while the onions and quinoa do their thing.

 Cutting pineapple a little smaller.


Seasoning some chicken with Bangarang!

Sauteed the kale.

Almost yummy time.

And there it is! Sauteed kale with pineapple and caramelized onions. Served with quinoa and garnished with pumpkin seeds. 

Tomorrow I have big plans for another dinner feast as well as a breakfast switch up - smoothies!