Friday, December 31, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo, no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.-soulemama

xo m.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

sun tea


Ingredients
sunshine
a sterilised jar and lid
washed mint leaves
water
honey to taste

Directions
Put boiled and cooled water in the sterilised jar with washed mint leaves (it is important to keep everything clean and sterilised because the water will be at a warm temperature for a very long time which makes it a lovely breeding zone for bacteria- ick!). Let it sit in the sun for a few hours to steep. Stir in honey or some fruit juice and serve cooled with ice.

xo m.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

maaaaa!!

I have never really been a fan of dairy. My vegetarianism changes with the seasons of my life. I have been pescatarian, vegan, back to pescatarian...vegetarian... pescatarian while pregnant...vegan...vegetarian...etc. But amongst all this flippant behaviour, I have always made a very conscious effort to decrease the amount of dairy in my diet. The exception to this rule is goat's milk, goat's yoghurt and goat's cheese. Deliciously creamy and a much more healthy alternative to cow's milk, goat's milk is a beautiful and enriching addition to your diet, as long as with all things, it is consumed in moderation.

Please note, I always buy organic in the hopes and belief that organic dairy farmers take more responsibility for and holistic care of the animals.

Here are a few of the believed (and in my view, experienced) benefits of goat's milk:

*Goat's milk has smaller fat globules than cow's milk which is easier on the human digestive system. Because of this, it is believed that goat’s milk may reduce the possibility of allergies, asthma and other ailments. Children and adults who are allergic (lactose intolerant) to cows milk often thrive on goat's milk.

*Compared to (cow's) cream cheese, goat cheese is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol and provides more calcium and fewer carbohydrates.

*Goat's milk soaps is used to treat skin problems including eczema, acne and dry sensitive skin.

For some more very useful information on goat's milk, see this website for details. If you have any insights with your or your children's experiences with goat's versus cow's milk please share!!

xo m.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

birthday wishes and vegan chocolate cake

Happy Birthday to my Mama who is the light in my life and has never ever ever stopped worrying, working, caring, loving and nurturing me. I love you so much and every day I experience as a mother reminds me of how lucky I am.


Vegan Chocolate Cake- delicious!!

xo m.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

holiday postcards: day five

I am taking a sort of blogging vacation (my first since I started blogging 1 1/2 years ago!) until the 27th of December. Each day I will be posting photos of what we’ re up to with no written explanations- a sort of holiday postcard. Wishing you all a joyful and harmonious holiday season.


holiday postcards: day five


(knit animals from here)

(can you believe this is indi's grandmother!!)
xo m.

Friday, December 24, 2010

holiday postcards: christmas eve


I am taking a sort of blogging vacation (my first since I started blogging 1 1/2 years ago!) until the 27th of December. Each day I will be posting photos of what we’ re up to with no written explanations- a sort of holiday postcard.
Wishing you all a joyful and harmonious holiday season.

holiday postcards: christmas eve




Merry Christmas!
xx Meagan, Brad, North and Indi.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

holiday postcards: day three

I am taking a sort of blogging vacation (my first since I started blogging 1 1/2 years ago!) until the 27th of December. Each day I will be posting photos of what we’ re up to with no written explanations- a sort of holiday postcard.

Wishing you all a joyful and harmonious holiday season.


holiday postcards: day three


xo m.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

dairy-free wholewheat healthy gingerbread

Hello. Today I have written a guest post for the Modern Little Munchkins blog with a you my recipe for dairy-free, wholewheat and healthy gingerbread. Check it out to satisfy the sweet tooth without feeling guilty.


xo

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

holiday postcards: day two


I am taking a sort of blogging vacation (my first since I started blogging 1 1/2 years ago!) until the 27th of December. Each day I will be posting photos of what we’ re up to with no written explanations- a sort of holiday postcard.
Wishing you all a joyful and harmonious holiday season.

holiday postcards: day two

xo m.

Monday, December 20, 2010

holiday postcards: day one

I am taking a sort of blogging vacation (my first since I started blogging 1 1/2 years ago!) until the 27th of December. Each day I will be posting photos of what we’ re up to with no written explanations- a sort of holiday postcard.
Wishing you all a joyful and harmonious holiday season.

holiday postcards: day one




xo

Sunday, December 19, 2010

{wholegrain sundays}

'whole grain sundays', a weekly meme to show you all how we are trying to incorporate a multitude of whole grains into our daily lives. It's easy to get stuck in the the oatmeal/bread roll/potato mindset when it comes to providing your family with their daily carbohydrates. Each Sunday we will share a different recipe we have been enjoying while reaping the benefits of a variety of ancient and wholegrains.

Join us if you'd like to. Leave a link to your weekly grains in the comments section below.

Simple Summer Quinoa

Ingredients
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 bunch fresh, roughly chopped mint
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
Olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Make sure quinoa is cooled enough that the mint won't wilt at all when incorporated. Stir the dressing together and put aside. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl, add dressing, toss and serve with grilled tempeh, veggie dogs, veggie burgers or any other vegetable protein you choose.

xo

Saturday, December 18, 2010

the most lovely sharing ritual

We had a lovely visit with our friend, Katie and her sons yesterday. When we were about to leave Katie explained that since they were lucky enough to have so many toys, they ouften invite friends who come over for a play to choose one toy to take home and borrow for a little while. I absolutely love this idea. It gives a child a real sense of what sharing is about- seeing the joy and happiness in giving. It also teaches children to be less possesive and attached to their material possessions. This is definitely a family tradition we will work into our lives. So, thank you Katie for the inspiration.


North with the toy he chose to borrow- a silver mini with a bonus driving dinosaur.

Have a lovely weekend.
xo

Friday, December 17, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo, no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.-soulemama


xo

Thursday, December 16, 2010

guest post at Marvelous Kiddo



Indigo's birth story is being shared at the inspiring blog,
Marvelous Kiddo today. If you haven't already read, it head on over, bout regardless check out this wonderful site!

xo

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

nature walking



Happiness, sunshine and adventure on a wild and tangly path. What more could a toddler want?

A treasure hunt of course.

We walked and discovered, listened and learned. I thought we might wander down to the beach, hence J for jellyfish. We didn't get that far, and let me tell you, North was not impressed. Seeing a jellyfish is definitely on the to do list now.

Do you ever adventure with your little ones instead of heading to the playground for the umpteenth time? What do you get up to?




xo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a tv-free childhood update and an inspiring read




I wanted to share with you a few quotes from the book I just finished, Calm and Compassionate Children- A Handbook by Susan Usha Dermond.


“Inner calm needs silence and solitude to develop. In my many years as an educator, I have noticed that families whose children are calmest usually have a common characteristic: their parents have given them the gift of silence. To have time for their own thoughts, to get in touch with their own feelings, to imagine- for these pursuits children need quiet time. Media-saturated children seldom have the quality of contentment, and, unfortunately, most American kids are media saturated. Babies and toddlers are comfortable with silence but as they grow older some become addicted to constant audio stimulation…

If we want our children to become more aware and compassionate, we need to carefully select what they hear. A backdrop of TV and radio constantly playing leads to the exact opposite of expanding awareness. Children who are immersed in constant noise learn to block some of it out. This suppression of awareness leads to a contraction of the consciousness and sensitivity to the environment and others…
The underlying message from virtually all media is that satisfying material desires and looking good will bring fulfillment. A child who watches a lot of TV also puts much time and energy into begging for the latest toy, snack item or computer game. When she gets it she’s excited and happy but… This emotional high is not the kind of calm joy that comes from inner contentment…
I can often tell right away whether the child has been exposed to a lot of media. In those children, there is a restlessness, a discontent. They are constantly seeking fulfillment outside themselves. They cannot sit still; their eyes shift from object to object because they are so conditioned to flashing images that their brains have difficulty concentrating on one thing.
Contrast this to children who live in homes with little media exposure. They play “pretend” for hours with a few blocks of wood and stuffies, creating wonderful fantasies. These children have patience and an ability to concentrate…”


North has been completely TV-free for 8 months now minus the very occasional 20 minute DVD at his Grandparent’s house or borrowed from the library as a special treat. When I decided to be “one of those mums”, I didn’t realize just how hard it would be at the start. I was clearly addicted to having the television on for brief spurts to ‘baby-sit’ him while I had a quick shower or got dinner on. Meanwhile, North was becoming increasingly attached to the lull it put him in, as well as emotionally attached to the characters on the shows he understood so little about. Even to this day he has seen about 3 ‘Bob the Builder’ episodes at his Grandparents and he has attached himself to the branded images of Bob and his friends, as well as memorized the theme song! I’d say about 5 months into our television-free days I stopped thinking about it. When North was being difficult or tired or hanging off of my legs while I was trying to get something done, I didn’t automatically think, “I’d really like to stick him in front of the TV right now to keep him quiet and calm”.

Although many people warned me that I would want the TV around when our newest addition to the family arrived so that I could feed her in peace, this wasn’t the case at all. I had already abandoned any attachment or reliance I had on the zombie-state the TV put my son in. Now, when North gets overtired or grumpy, I tell him to go lie down and have a rest, or to read a book. Quite often when he starts to sook (complain) he’ll tell me himself that he is tired and he wants to lie down in his “Niy-niy bed”. When I feed Indigo he often lies in bed with us for the first few minutes and then wanders off to play on his own until I am finished and Indigo is asleep. Of course other times he acts exactly as a two-year-old should act: he’s loud, obnoxious, rough and vying for my attention. But we get through it and Indigo is used to some commotion here and there.

Since we let go of the television North’s imagination has soared to great heights. He has imaginary friends, he uses puppets and toys to speak to one another, and he tells himself stories about cars, trucks, builders and ferries. He’s started making up his own songs and jigging around while singing them. Everything and anything can and will at some point be deemed, a “baneela” ice cream, which he will offer over and over again. He can lead himself in imaginary play of all sorts for up to 25 minutes without any input from me. I’m not saying that children who watch television don’t have this kind of imagination, but I do wonder if it is hindered by all the flashing lights and puppets and people doing all the imagining for them while they sit there still and wide-eyed. Above all else I have noticed North’s appreciation for silence and quietude. When Indigo was born and our home was filled with grandparents, visitors and nurses around the clock, I quickly noticed North’s temperament was thrown not only because he now had a new baby sister, but because he hadn’t had as many silent moments to himself as he usually enjoyed.


North carries with him a calm peace. Knock on wood, but he has never acted aggressively towards another child unless seriously provoked. He’s also not yet (never say never!) thrown a tantrum or anything of the like. The closest he gets to a meltdown is when he becomes emotional and teary as a result of being overtired. You may think we’re just lucky to have such an easy child, or that part of his personality is a result of our upbringing, but I honestly believe so much of his calm, peace and compassion is a direct result of him living tv-free and instead living and experiencing himself in each and every moment.

Even if you are not as stringent about turning the television off as I am, I urge you to give your child some time each day to play quietly, to read, to sit, to reflect and to talk and play with herself without any interference. Try it for a week and see if you notice any positive differences in her behaviour and demeanor. I am quite sure you will.

xo

Monday, December 13, 2010

tonging

Thought I'd share a simple way to entertain and educate when you're at home with a little one.


Tonging is often a part of the Montessori pre-school curriculum. Children must learn to hold the tongs steady and to maneuveur them to pick up small objects and drop them, which helps to develop fine motor skills. North absolutely adores this simple but satisfying work. He tongs all of the pom poms into the wooden container and then tongs them back, colour-coded into the sectioned wooden plate. When he is a bit older we will also incorporate counting in this activity.

xo

Sunday, December 12, 2010

{wholegrain sundays}

'whole grain sundays', a weekly meme to show you all how we are trying to incorporate a multitude of whole grains into our daily lives. It's easy to get stuck in the the oatmeal/bread roll/potato mindset when it comes to providing your family with their daily carbohydrates. Each Sunday we will share a different recipe we have been enjoying while reaping the benefits of a variety of ancient and wholegrains.

Join us if you'd like to. Leave a link to your weekly grains in the comments section below.


spelt shortbread with chocolate thumb prints
(dairy-free, egg-free)

I would call these vegan, but I used icing sugar which some argue is not vegan.

Ingredients
1 cup vegan margarine
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 bar dairy-free chocolate
1 tbs of non-dairy milk (soy, almond etc.)

Directions
Cream the margarine and sugar together with electric mixer, slowly incorporate flour until you have a soft dough. If the dough is too soft add a bit more flour and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll into bite sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Press your thumb into the balls to create a thumbprint (which will flatten the cookies to an extent). Bake at 170˚C for 15-20 minutes until just golden. Then remove and while they are cooling heat the chocolate with the soy milk in a pan on medium-low until melted. Spoon chocolate into thumbprints and let it set.

These are perfect to freeze. You can eat them right out of the freezer without any of that frozen taste. They're just cool and delicious.

xo

Saturday, December 11, 2010

salt dough ornaments

Some little salt dough ornaments to go with the tree.


I'll save the painting for a rainy day when North will be looking for something interesting to do.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

xo

Friday, December 10, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo, no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.-soulemama


Thursday, December 9, 2010

an easy, energy-packed, healthy kids snack...

I cooked up a big batch of sushi rice this morning to make sushi over the next few days. It's such a versatile and healthy meal that you can whip up with no fuss. North will eat any vegetable if it's in a sushi roll. Of course North insisted at 9:30am that he wanted some rice, so I came up with a quick and easy snack that he loved. (Not that it's that original by any means.) You can substitute brown rice for the sushi rice, but as a vegetarian it's advised he actually has some refined carbs because his diet is already so high in fiber.

japanese inspired rice balls


Ingredients
1/2 cup cooked sushi rice
1 tbs or so of sushi vinegar (rice vinegar, sugar and salt)
1 1/2 tbs of sesame seeds, black sesame seeds and shredded seaweed ( you can usually buy a mix like this premade in health food stores)
tamari for dipping

Directions
Pour the seeds and seaweed into the rice and combine
Roll a golf ball sized amount of rice in between your hands to form a ball
Serve with avocado, cucumber, carrot and tamari

The verdict?

xo