A family friend, Paul, nonchalantly mentioned that leaving a film of Ivory soap under ones arms would result in a fever by morning.
For YEARS my sister and I tried in vain to get it to work. We hoped and prayed and (most of all) scrubbed in hopes of a sick day at home with mom, but all we got for our efforts were very clean armpits. Thank you, Paul, for understanding the magic of home in the heart of a child and using it to get us clean. I’m sure my mom loved you for that.
I’d like you to know home is still just as magical to me. There is more laundry than I remember but it is sweeter, too. When all Katie wants to do is play in the snow . . .
. . and sweet Micah scooches himself up to watch her . . .
I make myself a bowl of old-fashioned bread pudding and rub dirt on my armpits. Because seriously, every day is a day at home with mom now . . . only I am the mom and you’re a liar. So there.
If you’re not Paul, I’d like to share this rustic dessert recipe with you. I hope it fills you with warmth and reminds you of the comforts of home.
1. Melt butter in a saucepan, then add milk/coconut milk/half & half.
2. In a separate bowl combine sucanat, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Whisk until well mixed, then slowly add milk mixture.
3. Place bread in a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
4. Sprinkle with raisins, then pour batter on top of bread.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until set in center. Serve warm.
Bread Pudding Sauce (Optional)
Place ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding.Read More »
But there were no food stores in the town of Chewandswallow. They didn’t need any . . . The only thing that was really different about Chewandswallow was it’s weather. It came three times a day at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything that everyone ate came from the sky.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Gigi – What are you reading to her!?!?!
Me – What?
Gigi – Is that Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs? I LOVE that book! Haven’t seen it since you were little.
And then she promptly sat down beside us for storytime. That’s when I realized that EVERY mom (including my own) has probably fantasized about meals falling from the sky at one point or another. Even the most avid food enthusiast can just. get. tired. of. it.
For me, those slumps are usually due to stress. Like, ahem, waking up to assist my son every couple of hours because he keeps rolling over and getting stranded on his back like a turtle.
Busy schedules, illness and other interruptions make it really tempting to forego cooking, but those are the times when our bodies need a little homemade TLC the most. If you are in this season and you need to fill your belly without draining your wallet, check out this post about how to eat real food on a budget along with the recipes below!
A simple “set and forget ” crockpot recipe, this hearty stew is a protein powerhouse. Fatigue and stress often induce sugar cravings which tax the immune system and create more fatigue. Eating protein instead will help prevent that vicious cycle. In addition to the chicken, quinoa is a complete protein (meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids), so you can get away with using less chicken if needed.
Another fatigue fighting benefit is that kitchen cleanup is quick and easy, too.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this recipe is more like a list of suggestions than a step-by-step guide. Do you have leftover chicken, a dollop of sour cream or chives fresh from the garden? Throw them in! At just $.74 – $1.04 per serving (per Kimi), this recipe is already super cheap, but if you’re feeling creative this is a great way to get rid of leftovers, too!
Check out the recipe here.
“This recipe for Kale and White Bean Soup saves me in every way it can: when I’m tired and can’t cook, when we have even less money to spend on food, when I want something warming and nourishing.” ~ Jenny at Nourished Kitchen
We double (or triple!!) the butter, but other than that this is a perfectly satisfying meal for next to nothing.
Check out the recipe at Nourished Kitchen.
A short stack of these almond flour pancakes will load you up with protein, vitamin A, folate, magnesium, vitamin E and more. Though there are fancier recipes out there (like, um, banana chocolate chip pancakes), this basic version one of my favorites. We love them on busy weekday morning’s or piled up high at a leisurely Saturday brunch.
Serve with the traditional butter and maple syrup, or if you want to mix things up give these a try:
There are tons of possibilities, so have fun and get creative!
If you want to ditch your non-stick cookware but don’t want to give up perfect pancakes, hop over and check out this tutorial on breaking in a new cast iron pan. When properly seasoned, cast iron skillets work beautifully as an alternative to Teflon, and they don’t release the six toxic gases that have been documented with synthetic non-stick coatings, some of which are potent enough to kill pet birds. (source)
I love my trusty cast iron skillet, and I’m so happy I made the switch.
Makes 5 small pancakes
This easy paleo falafel, which tastes like a hush puppy with the added flavor cumin and parsley, is a favorite of both kids and adults.
You can’t get much better then a warm, ooey-gooey, chocolate chip cookie! This version made with almond flour is sure to be a favorite.
Everyone knows that the best part of making cookies is sneaking a little of the dough before it gets popped into the oven. Inspired by that moment of joy from childhood, this almond flour-based recipe pairs browned butter cookie dough with the creamy goodness of vanilla ice cream.
Savoury sage & sweet apples make this homestyle stuffing a delicious, grain-free alternative to traditional bread-based dishes.
Ruby red strawberries folded into cakey batter and topped with a crunchy, crumbly streusel. Get the recipe here.Read More »
Last night I sat down and read your comments and cried. Thank you for taking up the cause of these children. It’s no feat of strength to type words out on a keyboard, but after yesterday I am going to step back for a day and rest. Tomorrow things will be back to normal, and because every child should have a childhood (including mine) I will continue to spend my days playing Go Fish and summarizing my kids lives in silly facebook updates.
But choosing to live my life does not mean I will “move on” from this.
It doesn’t matter that I didn’t carry them. My heart aches for their rescue all the same, and I will continue to find ways to be a part of that.
My sister-in-law left a great tip in the comments, but in case you missed it I’ve copied it below.
The child trafficking hotline number is 1-888-373-7888. Please add this number to your phone and call this number if you spot a questionable situation or a child in danger. Some children in this situation have already been spotted in DFW within the last week.
I did it. Have you?Read More »
Much of this blog is dedicated to the beauty and innocence of my children’s lives . . . the way Katie tells me “not to look” when she’s about to sneak a pancake or how Micah opens his mouth like a seagull when I walk in the room. I don’t want to mar that by talking about ugly topics and I have agonized over how to present this information, what to ask of you, and, more importantly, what to require of myself.
I’m talking about human trafficking.
It’s Superbowl week here in Dallas/Fort Worth. ESPN radio is setting up its broadcast in my favorite town square and Daniel is about to jump in the car and try to beat 300,000 or so extra drivers to downtown. The excitement is palpable. But if you know what to listen for there is also a disturbing silence surrounding this event . . . the silence of children who have been brought in to be bought and sold for pleasure and profit.
I grew up thinking that slavery ended in 1865. I was so, so very wrong. In the United States there are more slaves today than in Colonial times. And while some of these individuals are brought over from foreign countries, the majority are U.S. citizens kidnapped and held hostage against their will.
Most of them are children.
I wish I could say that as adults many of these children find a way to heal and recover from what what was done to them in their most vulnerable years, but statistically speaking these children lead short, tragic lives that never reach adulthood. The average life expectancy for a child forced into sexual slavery is 7 years¹. “Death comes through homicide, suicide, botched abortions, sexually transmitted and other diseases or through trauma to their underdeveloped bodies,” Alisa Jorheim of Traffick 911 recently told me.
We most often think of big, ugly issues being in far off corners of the world – in countries we can’t really find on maps. Major issues like trafficking, sexual slavery, and brothels filled with unwilling captives…that happens over there, right? We don’t have those issues here….
The big, ugly issues are not far away…they pass mostly unnoticed in our cities and neighborhoods throughout the United States.
In the U.S., 1 out of every 3 children are lured, tricked, and forced into prostitution with 48 hours of running away. National Center For Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 100,000 American children are victims of sex trafficking and exploitation every year.
I was pregnant with Micah when I first became aware of what’s happening in my city (and yours). As I muddled my way through potty training Katie, I couldn’t help but think this: While she is learning to control her body others her age are having their sacred little forms violated in ways they don’t even have the capacity to comprehend yet.
I am not a violent person, but that thought is enough to unleash things in me I never imagined possible. If you’re a mom you know what I mean. Even if these are not our children in the strictest sense, THEY ARE CHILDREN that need to be found, rescued and restored.
Although the method and means of exploitation are slightly different in this ABC report it is reveals a lot about how criminals get away with stuff here in the United States. I hope you have a few minutes to watch . . . it is sooooo inspiring.
I am not flattering you when I say that I believe you would have intervened. Through emails, real-life meetings and comments I have learned a few things: You are passionate, protective, courageous women. You are the advocate these children need.
When I was in the fifth grade we read about Harriet Tubman and all the heroic people that risked their lives in the underground railroad. I remember regretting that I’d missed my opportunity to be a hero.
I don’t want to be a hero anymore. I just want a solution to looking at my children and thinking that there are innocents out there being victimized on our watch. They may be powerless, but we are not. Mothers just like us are raising awareness via blogs, Facebook posts, whatever.
Rescue organizations are popping up all around the country. There are several right here where I live, because Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is becoming a major hub for human trafficking. Alisa Jordheim, whom I mentioned earlier, works to develop safe housing options for those rescued from slavery. She helped me put some facts together in preparation for this post. At the end of our exchange I laid it on the line.
“I’m a stay-at-home mom on a budget, ” I told her. “I am heartbroken for these kids but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do. It’s not like I can hit the streets and search for these children block by block. How can I make a difference?”
This is what she told me. “First and foremost, bring awareness about this horrific issue. Most of us in America believe this is just an international issue – it’s not! The number one destination for Americans seeking sex with children is the United States. Speak with friends, neighbors or anyone who will listen, if we all share within our own spheres of influence soon all will know of this crime against our own children.”
So that’s what I’m doing. I consider you all friends. It wasn’t fun having this conversation, but I’m really glad you listened and I hope you’ll speak up in your circles. That’s all I’m asking. I don’t have 10 step plan or a charity I’m going to launch next month. If this issue really moves you and you want to do more, here are a some ideas. Or for more information and a list of reputable anti-trafficking organizations throughout the U.S. visit Traffick 911’s resource page.
To be silent is to be complicit.²
**If you feel the urge to grab your little ones and hug them with all your strength I won’t blame you, cause that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Resources & Information
This is the trailer for “Playground,” an independent film about trafficking. It’s pretty gritty, so be prepared.
¹According to the Dallas Police Department
Photo credit: Pernell GoodyearRead More »
Remember how I said there are so few real surprises in life? I was wrong. Last night while I was sipping a local shiraz with Daddypotamus a purple dinosaur showed up at my front door. Actually, it was a massage therapist but I would have found the purple dinosaur more plausible. Then . . . . and I promise I didn’t rig this . . . I drew the winner for the contest. Have I have been kidnapped in my sleep and taken to an alternate universe?? Because I have no other way to explain this:
Cindy welcomed her second child, Ellington Grace, on Christmas Day. Ellie’s gender was a surprise so this is the perfect prize! I’ll wait until the next birth story bash to let Cindy share her story, but her slideshow is here. I have never seen images like the ones where Ellington is crowning. Absolutely captivating.
If you didn’t win I have good news! Not Finding Out gives away tons of stuff on Facebook all the time . . . in fact they are giving away this Barefoot Dreams Chic Cardigan and Hat in pink, blue or cream ($55) right now. Go “Like” them so you can keep up with all their giveaways and promotions!!
. . . I was running through an airport with a wedding dress over my head. By sundown I’d left my old world behind, and within twenty-four hours I had a new last name and a marriage certificate more colorful than an Olympic logo. (Certain stateside organizations still refuse to acknowledge it. It’s in Spanish, not Klingon!)
I think I was in shock that it was actually happening. But as we swung open those mahogany reception doors and laid our eyes on the feast set before us things started coming back into focus . . . cornish hen with a local squash and fried plantains over coconut creme brulée . . . wine . . . laughter intermingled with blessings as the candles melted into stumps. I remember that meal like it was yesterday.
Since we can’t skip over to the Martineau Bay Resort to relive that night I’ve been working on a coconut creme brulee of my own. This recipe is a rich, maple-infused version with just a hint of tropical flair. Enjoy!
* The amount used will depend on the surface area of your ramekin. You can use sucanat but it burns much more easily.
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place six ¾ cup ramekins in large roasting pan.
2. Pour cream, coconut milk and vanilla into a saucepan – heat until it barely begins to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. While you’re waiting on the cream to warm up, begin separating your eggs. Place yolks in a mixing bowl with maple syrup and salt. Whisk until smooth.
4. S-L-O-W-L-Y pour the cream over the yolks while gently stirring. Don’t rush, because adding the cream to quickly will cause the yolks to curdle. Add salt and stir gently.
5. Transfer the liquid into the ramekins, dividing equally.
6. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set in center, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool until custards are at room temperature. Chill overnight.
7. To create the carmelized sugar topping: Preheat broiler. Place custards in a roasting pan. Pour enough ice water into pans to come up halfway the sides of the ramekins. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar evenly over each. Broil until sugar browns, rotating roasting pan for even browning and watching closely so the sugar doesn’t burn. Chill custards at least 1 hour before serving. (Can be broiled, then chilled up to 6 hours ahead.)
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Have you ever been to a party where the hostess disappears into the kitchen and never returns? And your thinking “Why am I here? And where’s the food???“
If you’ve been feeling that way around here, maybe it will help to know it’s temporary. I’m whipping up something in the back and it’s taking most of the time that I normally have to write, so my contributions have been on the lean side lately. No worries, I’ll be back to the party soon. And no, it’s not babypotamus 3.0, but that’s all you’re getting out of me.
Speaking of surprises, I LOVE them. Specifically, I love the kind where you puke and sweat and push with all your might and then someone shouts “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” Hopefully not both unless you have twins, though.
I haven’t always loved surprises. There was that time I came home from the gym and peeled off my sweaty shirt only to have about 30 people jump out and yell SURPRISE!!! Uh, yeah, happy birthday to me. (I did have a sports bra on!) And there was that other time that, oh wait, I don’t think I have the courage to go on with that one.
Needless to say, the virtues of planning are not lost on me, so I always thought that when I got pregnant we’d find out the gender. Then I ran across some scary studies about ultrasounds and we changed our minds.
I’m so glad we did, because not finding out reintroduced me to the fun of surprises. Apparently a lot of other people feel that way, too, because these days lots of parents are opting out of the standard 20 week unveiling.
Being surprised at birth is no biggie for a mom like me (we co-sleep so there’s no nursery to decorate). There is this one problem, though . . . most gender neutral stuff is awful. Not all of it, but unless you’re okay with 10,000 yellow ducks parading around your house on jammies, blankets, and all the other stuff that comes with babies you are going to need some gender specific stuff. If you decide to be surprised collecting that stuff after baby arrives is a HUGE hassle. I should know.
When Katie was just one day old I send Daddypotamus out for something pink. He came back with bow and an unidentifiable piece of clothing covered in taggies. Long story short, Katie went naked for the first few weeks of her life until I could get out of the house and shop properly for her.
Then I suggest you register at Not Finding Out!! This online boutique is THE place to register if you’re letting gender be a surprise . . . or even if you’re not cause they have super cute stuff. But back to the original scenario: Let’s say you want a cute cuddly hat for your newborn (I know more hats! I need an intervention!!). Should you go with the butterfly or the dog? That’s rhetorical, of course, because you don’t know. No problem, just select the NFO (not finding out) option. Once baby arrives all you have to do is call their hotline with the news and they will OVERNIGHT baby’s hat along with all your other goodies!
As an eco-conscious, crunchy mom I rarely find items I consider worth purchasing at places like Babies R Us, so when Calley from Not Finding Out contacted me I was over the moon excited by their selection of truly useful gifts: moby wraps, diapees and wipees for you cloth diapering mamas, BPA-free Klean Kanteen sippy cups, Earth Mama Angel Baby body care, even Sophie the Giraffe.
Want to try some of these items out? Good, because Not Finding Out is giving away an incredibly generous gift package of fun products for a girl or a boy (your choice)!! Clockwise from left we have a boppy slipcover in pink or blue ($20), Aiden + Anais Towel and Washcloth Set ($30), Organic Moby Wrap in coconut ($60), Maison Chic Giraffe or Brown Monkey ($20), Babylegs in Touchdown or Flower Mill($14) and a Grobag Swaddling Wrap in pink or blue polka dots($22). If you are doing the math in your head yes that is over $165 in products!!
If you are pregnant or may become pregnant (does this sound like a prescription drug commercial or what?), please enter!! If you just KNOW someone who is pregnant you should enter, too! Even if none of these apply the very fact that you are reading a mommy blog means that SOMEONE you know is or will be pregnant soon, so enter for them. Or you could win and give it to me.
Whether you’re entering for yourself or a friend, how about we make this contest useful for first time moms?
Leave a comment below recommending one MUST HAVE product all first moms should have but probably don’t know about. Maybe you figured it out by baby #3 and wish you’d known with #1. Now’s your chance to pay it forward.
If you’re a first time mom you can enter by just letting us know. No advice needed!
Want a second entry into the contest? Go to the Mommypotamus Facebook page and click the “Share” link to share today’s contest with all your friends. Leave a second comment and tell me you’ve shared this post on Facebook.
Entries will be accepted until Thursday January 27th at 10pm. Winner will be selected via Random.org and announced on Friday the 28th.
*** This giveaway is now closed***Read More »