Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fall on Your Knees: Book Review

Ann-marie MacDonald's "Fall On Your Knees...
Image by wynlok via Flickr

Fall On Your Knees is a whirlwind book. The plot has so many twists and unexpected events that it can give your brain whiplash.  That said, maybe your brain needs a little whiplash. The book is certainly refreshingly unpredictable. 

The book centers around one family living in Canada from the early to mid 1900s.  The parents, James and Materia Piper, have a complicated relationship at the best of times. Their daughters are the true stars of the story. Beginning with the luminescent Kathleen with the voice of an angel and the glittering quality of a star and also a yearning for something more, MacDonald weaves a story that is equally character- and plot driven. Her characters are so moving and fully fleshed, that when you finish the book, you might mourn the loss of them. Yet MacDonald isn’t too attached to the characters that she doesn’t allow the story to flow in painful and shocking directions. 

This book isn’t for the faint of heart as it has controversial and sometimes horrid events in it. It is still, despite that, a powerful and compassionate story of a family torn apart and in the end, somehow patched together again.


This Week’s Menu

Here is this week’s Menu Plan Monday. Enjoy!

As always, I use the weekly Publix ad to make my list to help save money.

Monday

B – Oatmeal with Mango

L – Cheese Quesadillas with Oranges

D – Mexican Rice and Beans with sour cream

Tuesday

B – Cereal with strawberries

L – Leftovers

D – Chicken Tricolore with Corn on the Cob

Wednesday
B – Cereal with Strawberries
L – Garden Vegetable Soup with Peanut Butter Sandwich
D – Caramel Apple Breakfast Casserole, Glazed Bacon and Fruit Salad (meal for friends who just had a baby)
D – Eggs and Bacon with Toast (for us)

Thursday

B – Greek Yogurt with strawberries

L – Pasta

D – Sweet Ham & Cheese Wraps with Roasted Cauliflower

Friday
L – Eating out with Lori
D – Dinner out – Celebrating our anniversary

Saturday

B – Breakfast at B&B (anniversary trip!)

L – Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches with Pretzels and Apples

D – Pasta with Sauce with Green Beans and Garlic Bread

Sunday

B – Scrambled Eggs

L – Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup

D – Southwest Chicken Salad

Snacks: Hummus with Raw Veggies, Cinnamon Almonds, Green Smoothies, Fudgy Brownies

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


Top Natural Parenting Posts

I volunteer at Natural Parents Network and so do a lot of other great women! As a way to introduce you to all of them, here are the best posts written by each of them.

Joella at Fine and Fair writes about an unusual gripe she has with the breastfeeding doll, Bebe Gloton.

Amy at Innate Wholeness offers simple tips to be present with family whether you’re having fun and want to soak it up like a sponge or would rather run and hide in a cave.

Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares sound bites from her miscarriage journey of forgiveness and gratitude.

Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses the overuse of the word “no” and offers some aid in finding creative ways to avoid “no.”

Melissa at The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps gives her case for instinctual mothering.

Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares a comprehensive list of all the food she keeps on hand.

Suchada at Mama Eve talks about sleep, crying, and balancing closeness with boundaries.

Shannon at The ArtsyMama tells us ten things she wishes she knew before her son.

Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings gives tips and tricks for babywearing with twins.

Emily at Embrita Blogging shares 10 things that make her happy.

Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses how sex changes after having a baby.

Amy at Anktangle writes about a daily ritual she has adopted to help her maintain balance in her life.

Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife is reminded that while the days may sometimes be long, the years are short, and after a rough day the best thing to do is give thanks for the best parts and try again tomorrow.

Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers 7 Alternatives to Good Job: “Good job’ing” kids can be a mindless habit to fall into. Instead of using a generic “good job,” try one of these ideas to really connect with and nurture your child.

Darcel at The Mahogany Way has the ultimate boredom busting activity for children of all ages.

Alicia at Lactation Narration discusses the long journey of child-led weaning, during which she thought several times that her child was weaned before she really was.

Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children tells how letting go of the illusion of control opens up an entirely new world.

Luschka at Diary of a First Child talks about the battle between breastfeeding and formula feeding mothers and the industry that stokes the flames of a war on mothers.

Mary Michael at The Accidental Natural Mama recounts her journey to Mamahood.

Sheryl at Little Snowflakes talks about the benefits of nursing a child to sleep.

Rachael at The Variegated Life meditates on the moment when she first saw herself fully embodying her life as a mother.

Jorje at Momma Jorje shares some good news and important information about Lindane and Lice.

I hope you enjoy all of the great posts from the women I volunteer with! I learn a lot from this group and think you will, too.


Easter Menu Plan Monday

This Sunday is Easter Sunday so we have a special menu for that day. I have included all meals again for this week. Enjoy!

As always, I use the weekly Publix ad to make my list to help save money.

Monday

B –  Plain Greek Yogurt with Granola

L – Leftovers

D – Spicy Tuna Melt Pie with Corn 

Tuesday

B – Peanut Butter Toast with Strawberries

L – Tuna and Apple Salad on 100% Whole Wheat Bread with Pears

D – Poppyseed Chicken with Havarti

Wednesday
 
B – Plain Greek Yogurt with Mango
 
L – Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Strawberries
 
D – Slow Cooker Ranch Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Celery Sticks and Ranch

Thursday

B – Oatmeal with Blueberries

L – Garden Vegetable Soup and Peanut Butter Sandwich

D – Cheese Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce with Spanish Rice

Friday
 
B – Scrambled Eggs with Cantaloupe
 
L – Totable Tea Sandwiches with Cantaloupe
 

Saturday

B – Scrambled Eggs

L – Southwest Chicken Salad

D – Dinner out

Sunday

B – Caramel Apple Breakfast Casserole

L – Ham with Potato Salad, Watergate Salad, Baked Beans and Rolls with Earthquake Cake and Carrot Cake Bars

D – Leftovers

Snacks: Hummus with Raw Veggies, Cinnamon Almonds, Garbanzo Crunchies, Cheese Chips, Grapes, Pumpkin Flax Bars, Green Smoothies

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


Epidurals, Fruit Juice and Household Toxins – Sunday Surf

Babies and Birth

And This is What It’s Like… – “I think it’s really important for those who have loved ones struggling with infertility to understand, at least on the surface, what it’s like.”

Ask Me About E’s Birth When You Have a Few Hours…. – “It is about the hours upon hours I sat with my midwives preparing mentally, physically and emotionally for his birth.  It is the almost 2 days I labored with him.  And yes, it is also the cesarean delivery.  And the triumph I felt afterwards. “

My (Birth) Partner: How I Know That Some Men DO Belong in a Primary Support Role – “…he was a fantastic doula. Top-notch. And we feel infinitely closer now, having shared that experience, having been together with my body in that way.”

Epidurals: A Feminist Issue – “At the risk of sounding outrageous, it is my belief that the way that we approach birth in our society–uninformed, relying on the experts, medicated, numbed, unable to walk, unable to feel our body’s urges and power, fearful, unsupported, and ultimately perhaps cut open–is a major contributor to the oppression of women today, and a powerful force in silencing our voices.”

Christianity

Where Were You, Jesus? – “And another voice whispered, ‘I understand. I too watched a Son suffer‘.”

Food

The Juicy Details About Fruit Juice – “Did you know that one glass of apple juice can contain as much sugar as fourteen Pixy Stix?!”

Cleaning

Nontoxic, Homemade Oven Cleaner – Will It Work? – “I’m 36 years old. Would you like to know how many times I’ve cleaned an oven? Never.”

Moving Away From Household Toxins – an Update – “As we’ve made these changes in the kitchen, I have been getting a little shocked at how much fake food we’ve consumed without question…it’s becoming quite disturbing to me.”

Parenting

Your Children are Listening – “Don’t be surprised if a child acts upon what they are exposed to. Because these ‘cool’ songs, make it seem like the ‘cool’ thing to do.”

Being Baby Led – Twin Style – “It can be very easy to lump them together as ‘the twins’. But they aren’t a pair. They are 2 seperate beings that just happened to inhabit my womb at the same time with their own needs and body clock.”

I Never Wanted to be “THAT” Mom – “The thing is, the mom I thought was so cooky actually has a few things going for her!  She is informed.  She doesn’t just blindly follow the pack doing what everyone else does because, well, that’s what everyone else does.”

Thank God For All I’ve Missed – “My time will come. It will, because I’m determined to reach my dreams. I have a fire in my soul and I have no doubt that I’ll one day share that with the world. But that time is not now. Now is my time to give to my family.”

Check out Adventures in MommyhoodAuthentic ParentingBaby Dust DiariesChildOrganics,Cloth Diapering MamaFabulous Mama ChroniclesHobo MamaI Thought I Knew MamaMama and Baby LoveMama EveMaman A DroitMomma JorjeMonkey Butt JunctionMotherhood MomentsMy Inspired BabyNavelgazing, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


Natural Parenting Blog Party

I’m very late but I’m finally here and I’ve answered the Day 1 questions below! I’m looking forward to reading all of the other participants answers and the rest of the party! Not sure what I’m talking about? Go check out this post at The Peaceful Housewife.

1.How many children do you have, and how old are they? One in heaven, Shannon, would have been 4 this April and one on earth, Marcella, just turned 2 this March

2.Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent? I am married to my husband and we are about to celebrate 9 years of marriage this April.

3.What are your “hot button” parenting issues? I would say I’m passionate about breastfeeding beyond infancy, baby-led weaning (in regards to starting solids), cloth diapering, bedsharing/co-sleeping and natural childbirth.

4.Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting? I had thought I would stop nursing after my baby turned 2 but so far we’re still going strong and I don’t have any plans to wean.

5.Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices? I couldn’t point to just one book. I have read several and they all have affected me in different ways. Some have made me aware of things I hadn’t thought through and others have clearly shown me what I definitely did not want to do! I know the Baby-Led Weaning book very clearly affected my decision on how to start solids with my daughter.

6.If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use? Energetic

7.Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change? The first thing that comes to mind is actually something during the birth I wish I would have done differently. I fully intended to delay cord clamping until I found out they would not be able to type my daughter’s blood if they waited the full time for it to stop pulsing. Without knowing her blood type I would not know if I needed an RH shot after birth. So, we opted to not cut immediately but also not wait until it completely stopped. I feel like this was just really selfish on my part looking back. I don’t know why I ever thought that was a good idea. The irony is I ended up having to get the shot regardless because the lab took so long with the results and I would not have needed it after all. Next time I will just get the shot and let the cord stop pulsing. No need to know the child’s blood type right away.

8.Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at? I’m not patient….at all.

9.Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day? I love cheese!

10.Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Definitely vanilla. I’m not a fan of chocolate.

11.What’s your guilty pleasure? Internet time…I spend way too much time online.

12.If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be? I don’t watch a whole lot of TV so I don’t even know!


Favorites at Facebook

Yellow daffodils - floriade canberra

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s another round of Facebook questions and answers. I ask questions throughout the week, fans answer and I pick my favorite to post on the blog each week. We’ll play again next week so become a fan and join the fun!

Here are this week’s questions and my favorite answers:

Q: What’s your best housekeeping tip?

A: I’d rather spend time playing with my children than doing dishes. But when I do clean in other ways, I try to get [my daughter] to help me so at least we’re doing something together. – From Amanda of Let’s Take the Metro

Q: Have you had any recipe disasters lately?

A: – Becoming Crunchy and I discussed her black bean brownie recipe. (I didn’t realize I needed to let them cool BEFORE letting my husband try them. :))

Q: What’s your favorite flower?

A:  Daffodils – From Emma

Q: Favorite natural remedies?

A: I find an ice pack on the forehead for a bit can really help with a headache. – From Becoming Crunchy

Q: What do you do special from your anniversary?

A: We, um, breathe air. A lot. All day, in fact. – From Let’s Take the Metro

Thanks for all those who participated! Come play with us next week!


A Miscarriage Poem – Thoughts on Four

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is a poem I wrote for the PAD challenge.

Mockingbird in the cherry tree

Image by Vicki's Nature via Flickr

You started out smaller than I could see.

God knit you perfectly.

We saw your tiny heartbeat, white on the screen.

Perfect.

Then the day came. The doctor wanted to take you from me.

But she coudn’t.

Only God could.

We saw you. Almost smaller than we could see.

But we saw.

Your eyes. Your hands. Your feet.

I’m sure I saw your smile.

Perfect.

We buried you under your tree.

It’s blooming now for you to see.

If you were here, you’d be past 3.

Four years.

We celebrate you on earth, but one day we will celebrate you there,

perfectly.

 


The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography – Book Review

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

by Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier is an unparalleled talent on the Hollywood screen with amazing movies such as Lilies of the Field (for which he was the first African American to win an Oscar), To Sir, With Love and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. His “spiritual autobiography” is essentially a journey through his life that emphasizes his thoughts even more than his actions.  It begins with the idyllic Cat Island where Poitier was born and lived in childhood.  The island has a magical quality and the chapters dedicated to it are also magical.

Cover of "The Measure of a Man: A Spiritu...

Cover via Amazon

Poitier’s family’s move to Nassau brought with it the promise of a job, but also the poison of racism.  Poitier will then immigrate to Miami where racism plays a major role in his move north to New York City.  He will find his biggest enemy to be the winter that his Caribbean blood is unprepared for.

Throughout the book, Poitier offers spots of wisdom based usually on his experiences.  One such gem is:

“…I’ve learned that I must find positive outlets for anger or it will destroy me. I have to try to find a way to channel that anger to the positive, and the highest positive is forgiveness.”

The book does tend to become a stream-of-consciousness mental conversation towards the end that frankly, is rather tedious.  Poitier’s charm as a writer comes through his stories and what he learns from them.  Whenever he veers from that, the writing weakens.  The memoir feels like a conversation with an interesting and intelligent man and is a conversation worth enjoying.


Ode to Mom at Greenbrier Farms

Do you have a mom in your life that enjoys local food? I have the perfect Mother’s Day gift for her then! Greenbrier Farms is putting on a spring harvest dinner called “An Ode to Mom”. I know I’d love to go (hint, hint if my husband is reading this. ;))

On the menu will be ingredients all from Greenbrier Farms, except for the cheese which will come from Split Creek Farm. What mom wouldn’t enjoy some fresh and delicious farm-to-table fare?

The event itself is casual so mom and can sit back and relax. As Amy from Greenbrier Farms tells me, “It is all about the food and time together. Nothing pretentious or fussy.”

The meal will be served family style in their beautiful barn area that overlooks the pond and farm. Amy says, “The idea is to pay homage to Mother’s Day and also Mother Nature and the bounty she has provided.” She assures me though, “You don’t have to be a mom to come; it is just a tribute to those things.”

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, tickets are $75 a person. Hurry and RSVP because there are only 50 seats available! You can RSVP to amy@greenbrierfarms.com. There’s also a Facebook invite you can check out. Cash and check are accepted.


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