Thursday, April 23, 2009


This post is at the request of my mother, who does not want to see the word "damn" at the top of the page every time she visits my blog. (Oops, there it is again. Sorry, Mom!) But seriously, this is long overdue. I have just been really scattered lately and unable to focus long enough to compose a coherent post. So here instead is a random assortment of thoughts, musings and news. Better than nothing, right?

-Soren has peed in the potty twice. (Scott and I told ourselves that we would never use the word "potty" but I just can't help it. Really, it just rolls off the tongue: "Pee in the potty." Perhaps it's the alliteration. I will, however, stop short of saying pee-pee.) Unfortunately, he has also peed on the floor, the couch and our bed. They really should make toddler-size diapers harder to remove.

-Scott is still doing well in school and is maintaining his 4.0 GPA. He will be transferring to PSU in the fall and then hopes to go into the Medical Laboratory Science program at OHSU. Not bad for a high school dropout, eh?

-Yesterday, people kept asking me what I was going to do to celebrate Earth Day and, although it sounds completely cliche and silly, I just wanted to say, "Every day is Earth Day to me." I appreciate that we have this day because it gets the attention of people who wouldn't normally think about alternative energy sources or waste reduction. But (and I warn you that I'm going to get preachy here) we really need to think about this stuff every day or it's not going to make a difference. Of course, now that reusable lunch containers and homemade cleaning products are Oprah-endorsed, there may be hope.

-Am I the only person who thinks that it makes sense to let people OFF a train (or elevator) before people get ON? And while I'm on the subject. is it really that hard to say "thank you" when someone holds the door for you? Or to move over to one side of the sidewalk when you see someone approaching? OR TO GET OFF OF YOUR CELL PHONE FOR TWO MINUTES WHILE YOU ORDER A CUP OF COFFEE????? Okay, enough ranting for today. I'm starting to get all red-faced and sweaty.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Don't Try This At Home


Damn those Girl Scouts and their fatty, preservative laden yet utterly delicious cookies. I walk out of the store with a stroller full of fresh vegetables, whole grains and lentils only to be assaulted by their deviously cute little faces imploring me to buy a box. How can I say no, knowing this is my LAST CHANCE for an entire year? This is the greatest marketing strategy ever.

In other news, Saturday was my first foray into the wonderful world of homemade shampoo. I had found several recipes online, but they all required lots of exotic ingredients and cooking and straining and waiting, which all sounded very expensive and messy and time-consuming. But then I thought, "Hey, if baking soda works so well on my bathtub, why not try it on my hair?" So I made a paste of baking soda, lemon juice and a little water. When I rubbed it into my scalp, it felt gritty and weird, with a disappointing lack of the sudsy bubbles that I am used to. But I persisted, and when I rinsed it out, my hair felt softer and cleaner than it had in a long time. It was really remarkable.

Then I decided that I needed a conditioner as well, and this is where everything started to go horribly wrong. There were several conditioner ideas online, but after raiding my kitchen the only ingredients I could find were bananas and yogurt. I smushed these together and got a gloopy mess that I tried in vain to spread evenly onto my hair. It was gelatinous and gross and the smell reminded me of a dentist office, but the absolute worst part was that IT WOULD NOT COME OUT! I rinsed for over twenty minutes and used up all of my hot water before finally giving up. I then forced Scott to go through my hair with a fine-toothed comb looking for "banana boogers". Twenty-four hours later I was still picking rogue bits of banana out of my hair.

So what is the moral of the story? If you ever get an urge to slather your hair in bananas, do not do it! But do use baking soda and lemon juice as a shampoo, as it works wonders.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm Back...


(So, I bet you were thinking that since I hadn't posted anything in over a month, I had given up on blogging, just as I had predicted I would. Not so fast! I haven't actually given up - I just spent the last few weeks composing, revising and eventually scrapping several posts in my head, until I came up with the perfect one. Of course, now that I told you this, you will be expecting to be blown away and will be sadly disappointed. Don't say I didn't warn you...)

I am not one of those radical environmentalists who vandalize SUVs or spend a year living in a tree. (Not that there is anything wrong with this. I mean, tree-dwelling is a perfectly valid lifestyle choice; it's just not for me.) However, I do feel that our bigger-better-faster-more mentality is harmful, not just to the environment, but also to our physical health and mental well-being. For a long time I felt that I had been "doing my part": I don't own a car, I recycle, I've been a vegetarian for nearly eighteen years. But lately I've started to realize that every choice I make, no matter how seemingly small, has long-lasting and far-reaching consequences. So, I decided to institute several changes in my family's lifestyle in order to make us more conscious consumers.

Some of these changes were so ridiculously easy and cheap that I am almost embarrassed for not doing them sooner:

-Give up paper coffee cups and plastic water bottles. I was lucky enough to have a collection of Starbucks mugs that I have "acquired" over the years. (Hey, what else are you supposed to do with the used mugs that picky people have returned because they are too small, too red, or don't "fit their mouth right"?) Not only are these mugs environmentally friendly, they are also very travel-friendly. As anyone who has spilled soy chai all over themselves while trying to balance a coffee cup in one hand and push an unwieldy umbrella stroller with the other knows, paper cups are most definitely not. I did have to dole out some cash for a pretty, shiny blue aluminum Sigg water bottle which I am now enamored of, so it was money well spent.

-Give up shopping bags (both paper and plastic). Reusable shopping bags cost about a dollar at the grocery store, although we usually just throw everything in the basket in the bottom of the stroller.

-Make my own cleaning supplies. Sure, you can buy those "all-natural" cleaning products, but why spend the money when all you need is baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice?

-Make my own granola. This sounds about as hippie as you can get, but it is easy, healthier than anything you would buy in the store and oh-so-fun. Even Soren loves to help. After much trial-and-error, I have come up with a basic recipe that is very adaptable and yummy. Here it is, for anyone who is interested:

4 cups uncooked oats (I like the extra thick ones; they are so cheap in bulk)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Any or all of the following:
Unsweetened coconut
Sliced almonds, cashews, pecans
Wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seeds, sesame seeds
Dried fruit (Trader Joe's sells a mix of cherries, raisins and blueberries that works wonderfully)

Preheat oven to 250-300 degrees. (Most granola recipes I found say 300, but I have found that it is too hot; maybe it's just my oven.) Melt the butter and honey on the stove top. Combine all other ingredients EXCEPT THE DRIED FRUIT in a bowl and add the melted butter and honey. Stir and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about half an hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven, add the dried fruit and eat with Nancy's Plain Organic Low-Fat Yogurt. That's it. Really, it's that easy. Also, if you want to make it even healthier (or vegan) and give it a fruity taste, substitute 1/4 cup frozen juice concentrate and 1/4 cup canola oil for the butter. If you do this, you should also cut back on the honey a little so it's not super sweet and don't melt it first. Either way, it will be so good, you'll never buy boxed cereal or granola again.

Other things have been a little harder to implement:

-Give up all pre-packaged foods, including chips and crackers. I have a "salty-tooth" and have been known to consume an entire bag of Sun Chips in one sitting, so this has been an unsuccessful endeavor so far. I have attempted to make my own crackers, but they have never turned out quite right. I just got a new cracker recipe from Trista (aka The Baking Diva) so I am hopeful.

-Make my own shampoo and other beauty products. I have just not been able to sacrifice my deliciously fruity smelling Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner. I'm working on it though, and will keep you updated.

I dream of the day that I have my own house with a garden, compost pile and (in my really crazy dreams) solar panels, but for now I am taking it one step at a time. If anyone has any tips, advice, etc, please let me know. And don't worry, I will chronicle all of my adventures on this blog for my loyal readers (all two of you). Now I must go make Potato-Edamame Samosas with Coconut-Mint Chutney from a recipe out of my new vegan cookbook. Yum.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Once upon a time, I was what you might call a movie fanatic. A connoisseur of film. At least three times a week, I would get off work in the early afternoon and immediately run to the theater to watch a matinee. I saw everything: the good, the not-so-good and the monumentally bad. (Anyone else remember Loser? Head Over Heels? I didn't think so.) When I went back to school, I had to ease off my movie-watching habit and after Soren was born, I basically went cold turkey.

I didn't realize how much this had affected me until I was reading my latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (or, as we like to refer to it around my house, "The Bible"). In it there was a list of "The 25 Movies You Need to See Before Oscar Night." As I read the list, I realized that out of the 25 movies I had seen only three, and one of them was an animated movie that I had watched on DVD with Soren and his little cousins. I was completely horrified and immediately rushed out to see Revolutionary Road.

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I loved Kate Winslet's performance and it was a well-written screenplay and a solid cast. But when you only get to see four movies a year, you want to be wowed, and frankly there was no "wow" to be found. Here's what I did love, though: instead of ignoring the fact that his two lead actors had starred together in the highest-grossing and arguably most romantic movie of all time, he played with it. He cast Kathy Bates. He filmed a racy scene inside a car and included a moment in which some one's hand slaps against the window. It was as if he was trying to say, "Look, this is what would have happened if Jack and Rose had both made it off the boat. This is what happens after the happily-ever-after." And that was devastating. Plus, Kate looked as stunning as ever, and that is always a good enough reason for me to see a movie.

Speaking of beautiful people, I finally figured out how to upload photos and so will now post a few of my darling little boy. (How's that for a segue?) Incidentally, he will be turning TWO YEARS OLD in less than a week. Seriously, where does the time go?

Oh, and one more thing: Amber, I believe that there was a typo in your post dated January 13th. You mistakenly wrote that you would be going on a New Kids on the Block cruise. Please correct this egregious error in judgment immediately.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


So, my New Year's resolution is to write a blog. This, as anyone who knows me can attest, is absolutely ridiculous because a) I don't write blogs, b) I don't make New Year's resolutions and c) even if I were to make a resolution to write a blog and actually follow through with it, I would lose interest after only one or two weeks. So basically what I'm saying is that this may be the one and only post that I ever write on my blog. Enjoy...

I got the blog idea from my sister Amber who has been doing this religiously for about a year. Apparently, blogging is the new scrap booking; I had no idea. And I don't know how she finds the time in between Pilate's classes, book groups, recipe clubs and raising two young girls. (Yes, I am making fun of her, but just a little. She knows that I always tease her for being a "Suburban Mom" but only because I am in awe.) Anyway, you should definitely be reading her blog instead of mine. There are many more insights and humorous anecdotes to be found there. (Hopefully, if I can figure out all of this high-tech stuff, there will be a link to her blog somewhere on this page.)

So, what can you expect from this blog (other than a very short lifespan)? I'm hoping that it will be an account of my family's attempt to live a simpler, healthier and (though I hesitate to use the word) "greener" lifestyle; a forum for various rants and raves, stories and movie and book reviews and a chronicle of my recipe attempts and disasters. And of course it will feature tons of pictures of my adorable son. If only my internet would stop going all wonky every time I try to upload a photo...