Monday, December 30, 2013

The New Year’s Non-Resolution - Emily Bartnikowski

Monday December 30 The New Year’s Non-Resolution (Emily Bartnikowski) This year, I’m not resolving to do anything I haven’t already been doing – or trying to do. This year, I am resolve that I am enough as I am; resolving to enjoy where I am at more; and just breathing. Read about my heartfelt goal for the New Year at Natural Parents Network today - The New Year’s Non-Resolution.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

5 Winter Traditions for Everyone at Natural Parents Network

***I promise to blog HERE in the New Year. And over at my photography site that is still under construction. But MORE. MORE MORE MORE. Happy Winter!****

  Natural Parents Network: 5 Winter Traditions for EveryoneI have a post today at Natural Parents Network about "5 Winter Traditions for Everyone." 'Tis the season for many, many things. For some people there is a lot of travel and for others there is hunkering down to survive winter weather. Some people see an uptick in religious holidays, and some people go to the movies more. Regardless of where you are or what your calendar might look like, here are 5 things that everyone can enjoy this season. Continue reading at Natural Parents Network ››

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mama-Led Weaning, Sometimes It's The Best Choice, at Natural Parents Network

Natural Parents Network: Mama-Led Weaning, Sometimes It's The Best ChoiceI have a post today at Natural Parents Network about "Mama-Led Weaning, Sometimes It's The Best Choice." I nursed my first son for 14 months, and am in the 13 month of nursing my second. And I'm finished, mamas. I'm just finished. I've had mastitis more times than I can count (I stopped counting at 12 the first time around and 6 this time), I've got systemic thrush, and I seem to be allergic to all of the treatments available to me. So I've decided it's time to wean. Don't get me wrong. I loved nursing. I love the snuggles and the knowledge that I was doing the best I could for my sons before I was able to expose them to the wide and luscious variety of "Big People Food." I loved the convenience and the oxytocin surge. I loved the immune boost. I loved the magical sleeping effects it seemed to have. I even loved vaguely scandalizing people as I nursed my sons on demand. (Honestly, though, I live in San Jose and I never got so much as a side-eye for nursing in public. I love that bubble I live in, too.) But now — chronic mastitis and even more plugged ducts, thrush, cracks, teeth, diminishing supply, and an insatiable baby…I could try more approaches, I could eat more lactation cookies (or bacon cheddar lactation muffins), I could do any number of things, but Walter eats more People food than my 3.5-year-old, and I'm pretty sure that, aside from the midnight session, nursing now is mostly for comfort. Continue reading at Natural Parents Network ››

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ethics, A Budget, and Your Taste Buds: Pick Your Pleasure at Natural Parents Network

Natural Parents Network: Ethics, A Budget, and Your Taste Buds: Pick Your PleasureI have a post today at Natural Parents Network about "Ethics, A Budget, and Your Taste Buds: Pick Your Pleasure." True story: While chatting in a group setting a few weeks ago, a friend brought up the subject of frying her food and which oils are best for frying. She was talking about chicken, and I am Southern. She was bemoaning the price of olive oil and then someone brought up canola oil. Because I Know Everything, I jumped right in: "When deep frying anything, you should just use straight vegetable oil because it has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor and it's not too expensive. The flavor will be best the second or third time you use it, but don't use it many more times than that because the smoke point lowers pretty quickly. But don't use canola because it's a GMO, and unless you're buying pretty close to the source for your olive oil, it's hard to be sure it's 100% olive…." And then someone — in a nice way — told me to put a sock in it and further explained that vegetable oil also contains GMOs and can contain many different oils, some of which are from areas that are being exploited. I haven't researched her claims because, frankly, I just can't. I have reached Ethical Eating Fatigue, people. And I bet you have, too. There is a list as long as my arm concerning the health and ethical grey areas surrounding the food on our plates, and it's enough to overwhelm a person. Off the top of my head: Pesticide usage poisons the farmers, the laborers, the ground water, the wild animals, and is causing colony collapse, and who knows what else. Growth hormone and antibiotic use in livestock is causing early puberty in children. Groundwater runoff is causing e. coli outbreaks. Monocultures are going to lead to another dust bowl. Palm oil (which is in everything) is causing the destruction of the rainforest and gorilla populations. GMOs are going to kill us all. Honey isn't actually honey. Olive oil isn't actually made from olives. Chocolate is being harvested by child slaves. Cows are having unholy things done to their bodies in order to be able to live on diets they are not designed to consume…including candy. Chickens are being bred for their breasts, which means their legs can't support their weight. Eating food out of season and from halfway around the world contributes to our dependence on oil and potentially takes food from famine-ravaged countries. Etc, etc, etc. Overwhelmed? Take a breath. Continue reading at Natural Parents Network ››

Monday, August 26, 2013

On Being Good Enough

So...a million years ago when I was in high school (college?) I had a steady gig and after I put the boy to bed I would watch Touched By An Angel while I did my homework. The only thing I (mis)remember from the entire series was a single conversation where the red headed angel and her boss are talking and the conversation went something like this:

Red Headed Angel: "I don't like singing as a human. When I was part of the heavenly choir my voice was angelic and now it's awful" 
Boss Angel: "Girlfriend, He said make a *joyful* noise, not a good one."

I have been mis-quoting* that Boss for the better part of a decade (mostly as justification for some really bad singing) and I feel it can apply in this class, which is thus far mostly a giant affirmation and kick in the pants to run my freak flag up flagpole.

In case you (like me) don't have psalms at your fingertips, I googled:
Psalms 98:4 (King James):  

Make a joyful noise unto the lord, all the earth
make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praise

As part of my homework for my most recent workshop with the Define School, I made a little graphic, put it on instagram, printed it up, and put it around my house. They make me smile. And remind me not to be too concerned in general.

*the real quote is:
"He never said make a beautiful noise unto the Lord. He said make a joyful noise." -- in the episode "A Joyful Noise"

** I do plan on writing a little review of Michelle Gardella and her amazing class. I'm still trying to find the right words for it. It was amazing, when I can stand for long periods of time again, she's getting poundcake.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Be Safe In The Sun!

Be Safe in the Sun! 5 Easy Ways Kids and Adults Can Protect Themselves from Skin Cancer and Wrinkles

Be Safe in the Sun! 5 Easy Ways Kids and Adults Can Protect Themselves from Skin Cancer and Wrinkles

 It's that time of year again . . . time for fabulous hats and flip flops and sunscreen. (At least, it is if you're in the Northern Hemisphere.) It also means it's time to talk about the Big C: Cancer. (And the lowercase w: wrinkles.) How can you protect yourself and your kids? I've got some fun and easy ways everyone - regardless of complexion - should be protecting themselves every day. Come check out my post on Natural Parents Network today to learn more, Be Safe in the Sun! 5 Easy Ways Kids and Adults Can Protect Themselves from Skin Cancer and Wrinkles.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bacon Cheddar Lactation Muffins

You read that right. I made BACON CHEDDAR LACTATION MUFFINS.

At Christmas, my friend Melissa at Leche Love sent me a goodie box with the dry ingredients for her bacon maple lactation muffins. They were quite tasty (and that's the ingredient list clipped to a cookbook down there - lucky me!)

As I was eating them, however, I was thinking they needed more bacon. And cheese. Because we've got The Gourmet Toaster Oven Cookbook and it has a fabulous recipe for Bacon Cheddar Muffins. Also, almost everything is better with more bacon and more cheese, amirite?

I felt I needed to meld the two into bacony-cheddary-lactationy-goodness.

What? I'm just shredding bacon...

Ready for the oven...

Voila! YUM!

A few notes, because people keep asking me what makes them "lactation muffins" - and the answer is: Brewers Yeast, Rolled Oats, and Flaxseed meal. Not to mention the calories. Milk-making Mamas need as many calories as they can get. My research has turned up that roughly 500 calories are burned daily when an infant is exclusively breastfeeding. And when you consider that breastmilk *needs* to be fatty for brain and body development and that everything gets routed to the milk first - mamas need to basically inhale everything in sight not to just walk around as sleep and nutrient deprived zombies.

Unfiltered Wheat Beer also helps with milk production. In case you're feeling a bit thirsty after eating the dozen muffins produced by this recipe.

Bacon Cheddar Lactation Muffins
adapted from The Gourmet Toaster Oven Cookbook and Leche Love

Makes 12

1 1/2 cups AP flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs flaxseed meal
1/4cup quick cooking rolled oats
2tbs brewer's yeast (soak this in ~2tbs warm water for about 5 minutes before mixing it into the batter so the yeast has a chance to bloom)

6 slices of bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped
1 cup grated sharp cheddar (I'll add another 1/2 cup next time I make it. But I feel most things are better with more cheese.)
2 eggs
2-3tbs oil - like veg, coconut, olive, grapeseed, etc (add 2, then a 3rd if you feel the batter needs a bit more moisture.)
1 cup buttermilk

Maple syrup for dipping if so desired.

Mix using the muffin method: mix the dry ingredients - add the bacon and cheese and mix in thoroughly.
Whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and then stir into the dry mix.

Pour into muffin cups/tin (if you don't use paper, make sure you butter/spray the muffin tin cups!)

Cook 10-15 at 350 (my oven is 40 years old and haunted, so take that temp and time with a grain of salt. It's a good starting place, though.)

They're done when a toothpick emerges clean from the middle muffin.

allow to cool a bit

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