Friday, May 28, 2010

Raw Milk?

I was going to leave these thoughts in comment-form on a blog, but…I have a bad habit of starting fights with what start out as simply curious questions.


Her blog post was simply a small rant on how ridiculous it is for Big Government to swoop in and tell us what we can and cannot eat (raw milk, in this case). Her point was that if she did her research, and believes the pros outweigh the cons, why SHOULDN’T she be allowed to choose what she eats?? (The sale of raw milk is illegal in her state. She loves raw milk and wishes she could still buy it.)

It got me thinking, though (and I’m going to word this carefully so I avoid weird Google hits), but don’t you think there are a lot of people out there wishing THEY could buy OTHER “illegal substances” and believe the pros outweigh the cons (medical m*riju*na anyone?)


I have not looked into raw milk at all, and I agree that if people would like to drink raw milk, then they should be able to drink raw milk. (I also think, just off the top of my head, that there had better be some guidelines for how that milk is handled, prior to sale.) What do you guys think? Are you pro raw milk? Even if you’re not, are you frustrated that somewhere in Iowa a room full of lawyers and judges pleading the case that consumers should not be able to buy the foods that they want?


I can kind of see both arguments. Let’s put a different spin on this. Instead of raw milk, something a little more familiar? Wild mushrooms. How about that.  Let’s say I love wild mushrooms. I do my research, and I go foraging. I am good at what I do, and I do just fine. Let’s say another woman DOESN’T do her research, and goes forth to forage…and ends up poisoning her family. Should there be a law in place to ban future families from gathering wild mushrooms, to avoid the same mistake? Or should we just chalk it up to Darwin’s Law already being satisfied and continue to allow the foraging of (possibly deadly) wild mushrooms?


Alright. Discuss. Thoughts on Raw Milk, and thoughts on Government Control over foods that we buy and consume. Go.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Childhood Obesity

We’ve all heard about it. Michelle Obama has launched an all out war on it…and still. Still. Something here doesn’t sit right with me.

Certain Food Industry Leaders have agreed to cut calories in their products, to help reduce childhood obesity. That’s great! I can’t help but think, though…there are so m any more things that need to change. Fewer calories in a Lunchable, or a smaller slice of Kraft cheese is interesting, but it won’t fix the problem.

Let’s assume for a moment that our Model Child eats two meals at home a day, and a third at school. For our purpose here, we’ll assume the parents are too busy to pack a lunch (just go with me here) and that this child eats their mid-day meal (five days a week) off of the Lunch Lady’s cart. That leaves breakfast, and dinner, under the Parents’ direction.

Kids don’t buy groceries, parents do. My kids can only choose to eat whatever is already in the cupboards.

Part of the problem, I think, is that as parents, we’ve forgotten what “food” is. When I was first married, my sister gave me a cookbook that was basically a collection of “recipes” for doctoring up boxed mixes. “You use those sort of things, right?” I remember her asking. At the time, I said yes. I did!

Now? Not so much. Food is made from ingredients, not pulled out of sacks, wrapped in paper. Those are called “treats.” Fast food is tasty – that’s why it’s so popular. That doesn’t mean it’s “food.” I will occasionally eat leftover pie for breakfast, knowing full well that it is a once-in-a-while thing, and a “treat.”

As parents, we need to teach our children what Food looks like. I’m going to go all crazy here for a moment, and say that as “housewives”, it’s our job to feed our kids? Yes?  That’s why we’re the Mommies? Right. Glad we’re all on the same page.

Our children need to learn the difference between Food and Treats, and learn to eat all things in moderation. If you told me to get rid of all the junk food, candy and sugary things in my house, I’d be the first one to raise my hand and call you crazy. It’s there, and the kids like it. They are also equally crazy about bananas and grapefruit (true story!). As soon as I put a food off limits, it becomes a Holy Grail, and there is no peace until that bag of chips is empty, or that entire can of soda has been guzzled.

What say you, Moms? How do you handle this in your house?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just Getting Through It

Hi. We’re moving. Like, next week. Did you know?

It’s hanging over our heads, and coloring every decision we make. Are we going grocery shopping? Nope! There’s a FREEZER full of food, and it’s got to be gone by next Tuesday, or it will be thrown out. What can I make with all that pumpkin? Frozen spinach? Chicken breasts? (Turns out, I canNOT cook a decent chicken breast, unless it’s attached to a whole chicken. *sigh* We’re having a lot of rather DRY dinners. There was one rather notable Tikka Masala dinner last week. Maybe I’ll make that again.)

The kids…they’re a little weird. Couple the impending move with random half-packed boxes appearing all over the house, and stories of the Great! Wonderful! Things! waiting for us There…and they’re kind of weird.

I have times, every day now, where I just wander through the house yelling. I grin at my kids, so they’re not scared (goodness knows, they’re used to Mommy yelling!) but sometimes it’s the only way to get the Anxious out.

Do you know what this feels like? I’m nesting. (Although I don’t remember being quite! this! anxious! last time I was pregnant.) I’ve got a queen-sized quilt top halfway pieced, hanging over my banister. I have half-packed boxes. I’ve unloaded over a dozen bags and boxes of things on Freecycle.  I have yards of fabric to make new pillows for new couches in the new house, but I can’t make them because I’ve never seen the new house (true story!) and we haven’t picked out the new couches yet. I’m nesting.

Share, Mamas – how did your family handle the stress of your last move? (Or your last baby? Because, apparently, it’s the same thing.)

We ARE excited to move. I’m really excited to see my new house, and be close to my family, and see old friends again. We’ve just got to get through one more week.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What Does Your Day Look Like?

I'm a very visual person. I think that's what you call it. I need to VISUALIZE what has to happen before I can make it happen. (That's probably why I can't follow recipes or tutorials...I just skip to the end and guess how to get there.)

That said...motherhood? Isn't very straight forward. I suppose my goal is to raise a couple of humans that other humans enjoy being around. Good manners, law-abiding, all of that. How to get there kind of escapes me. I have a three and a one year old. I would assume that all they want to do is play, but...that just doesn't seem to be the case all the time. We need a schedule...but it needs to be flexible.

I need to play with them, to make sure the house stays relatively sanitary, to get food prepared for the hungry bellies that live under my roof and to carve out some time for me to work on my crafts. (No, that last one probably isn't a Necessary Item...but, for right now, it's a Sanity Saving it stays.)

What am I missing? What do Moms DO all day? Yes, we're busy. Yes, we're raising the next generation. But...what do we DO.

So, here's an invitation - I would love to know what you do all day. Especially moms with an all Pre-Kindergarten set...but I know I won't be in this stage forever, so tell me what you do anyways. WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY.


PS - If nobody comments to my satisfaction, I WILL hunt you down for "interviews." Be warned. If you could see me right now, I've got that Crazy Glint in my eye...and I won't rest until I get this question answered!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Being Mom is Hard, and Beautiful

Have you seen this video yet? Stephanie Nielson, of NieNie Dialogues, is the subject of this film. It’s heartwarming, and might just make you cry. My favorite part is at the end. She says something along the lines of “I am not my body.” So interesting!

I mean, it’s true…and it’s not. You know how when you’re in high school, and your Mom says “You’re beautiful! This is the BEST you will ever look!” Or maybe it’s just me. Anyhow – I DIDN’T BELIEVE HER. Not for a second. I was a work in progress…one continual round of dieting. I assumed that would remain the case for the rest of my life!

The day I got married, I have to admit – I looked pretty smokin’. I was too nervous to eat during the month leading up to the big day, which took care of my waist. Oh, and a healthy round of birth control took care of the girls! My dress fit like a glove.

Then I had kids. After my first, I somehow managed to cling to an extra 10 pounds. After my second, those ten pounds were gone. Yea for a great nursing baby! I was back down to my wedding weight. And I should have been thrilled.

WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME! Oh, wait. They did. I’m back to the same weight…and it just. doesn’t. matter. There is no way I’m ever going to look the way I looked the LAST time I saw those numbers on the scale.

And you know what? I think I’m ok with that. My body shows proof of some of my proudest accomplishments in life. And yet, I am not my body. I am beautiful. We all are. Just in different ways. Different from each other. Different from how we were. Different from how we will be. Our grandkids will think we are beautiful, because we will be Grandma. Our husbands think we are beautiful, because we are theirs. Our kids think we are beautiful because we are the ones that sneak them fruitsnacks during church.

Remember, ladies. You are your body...and you’re not.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mommyhood and Creativity

Have you seen this? If not, please take a moment to do so. I agree with this video whole-heartedly..and it has definitely changed my view of myself.

I'm a mother. It was my choice, my dream, and my goal. I've always wanted to be a mommy. When I entered the workforce after college, I just couldn't find my groove. I took no pride in the filing and data entry jobs that came my way. (Looking back, I realize it's because there was no creativity involved...just drone work. If I had been doing something like working in a craft based shop, the story might have been really different!)

Now that I'm a Mom,'s so easy to get overwhelmed. I think that's why I started to craft. Playdates and kid-approved dinners can only get you through so much. I needed to create something that couldn't be eaten, torn apart or smashed. Something that would beautify my surroundings...and the fact that I could now make gifts for only a few dollars, instead of a few tens, didn't hurt either!

I craft for other reasons, too. There's something very soothing about hiding out in my craft room and sewing yards and yards of straight seams for a quilt, while I listen to the kids play (or fight?) downstairs. I need that escape coupled with a sense of accomplishment sometimes!

Sometimes, there are other distractions. Last Friday, a good friend and I ditched our kids and homes for the day and took off for an amusement park. All. day. long. We spent ten hours riding roller coasters, eating burgers, screaming and laughing. It was absolutely amazing - by the end of the day we were holding each other up and acting like (rather tired) high schoolers again. Good times, my friends.

So what do you do? I think all women are creative, to some extent. Some of us sew, some crochet, some paint, some just make a mean PB&J. What do you do to unwind and add to the world?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Family Recipes as Family History

This video is long (about 9 minutes, 45 seconds) but I really enjoyed it. In case you don't have 9 minutes ad 45 seconds to devote to watching YouTube...I'll break it down for you. Miss Schenone had a deep rooted jealousy for people with old "family recipes", and she wished that she could unearth one. As it turns out, she could. Kind of. Miss Schenone had a grandmother, named Adelle Giza (I have no idea how to spell that, but it's pronoused Ah-dell Jee-zuh). Adelle used to make ravioli, using an enormous 3 foot rolling pin and a lot of elbow grease. By the time Miss Schenone developed an interest in things Family History related, Adelle Giza had already passed on, leaving behind only the memory of her ravioli...and an enormous rolling pin. Through three separate trips to the mountainous regions of Italy, Miss S. learned how to make ravioli using this enormous rolling pin, plus Grandma's ravioli cutter (unearthed by a kind cousin). She made ravioli every day for a month before she could say that she had mastered the recipe. And now? It's hers. She can make up that little bit of family history every day if she wants to. It got me thinking – how do we preserve our family heritage?

Preserving my husband’s heritage is almost easier – it’s so much more DEFINED. He was, after all, born in China. We are teaching our children to speak Cantonese, and celebrate the major festivals, and eat the foods common in China. (Currently, my daughter’s favorite is teeny, tiny dried fish, steamed and served with soy sauce. My son is grooving on tofu – he’s big on flavor, not on chewing, so it’s a perfect match for him.)

My family, on the other hand, hails from a handful of European countries, with all immigration ending about four generations back. We have long since lost the ability to converse in foreign tongues, and don’t even serve the foods anymore. The closest we can come is serving up Southern Food, hailing specifically from the poor regions of Choctaw County, Alabama. Hush puppies, collard greens and banana pudding all hold special places in my heart. Unfortunately for my kids, I never find myself cooking these things. Banana pudding calls for a list of store-bought, shelf-stable ingredients that I usually don’t have around the house. Collard greens are not sold where we live. Hush puppies would require me to heat up several of inches of oil hot enough to make things crispy…and I’m just not willing to clean up the mess afterwards, or “waste” that much oil. (But I’m willing to mix it into my food and eat it? Weird.) I know that I could make my own versions of all of these dishes..but that’s not the point. It wouldn’t be how Grandma Made It. If I remember correctly, she had an ancient, tiny, FryJunior in her cupboards. I used it once, about 10 years ago, to make hush puppies for a big family dinner. (They were quite a hit, as nobody had eaten them outside of Alabama in years.) Perhaps, for old times sake, I could ask my Grandfather if that little piece of history could live in my cupboards for a while and churn out a few more memories this summer.

What about you? What recipes do you remember your grandparents cooking? Is there anything you can learn to make, now, that would help pass on those great memories?