17.6.10

The Dilemna of Conscience

My laptop is convalescing.

It was overworked, I guess. Starting to experience dementia and general tiredness and anxiety. It's okay, I'm sure the "docs" will have her up and running around in no time.

In the meanwhile I'm using the kids computer, which has been around since the dinosaurs and is about as fast-moving as a tar pit.

Blogging, email, commenting, websurfing are all incredibly difficult.

Facebook, miraculously, seems to work even on dinosaur-age browsers.

And I did manage to at least get my column in this week.

I wrote it in part in response to this story about an eight year old boy here in Newfoundland that admitted to brutally killing his nieghbour's dog.

But that's only part of the story. I also wrote it in response to the things I see everyday.

Today I called Child Protective Services. After almost two years of suspicions and occasional debates with my husband I decided that I would narc out another parent for possible neglect.

The situation was getting out of hand and two boys that we've worried about in the past had to be told that they were no longer welcome at our house. That then put the fear into me: if they aren't here, where will they go? Certainly not home as they appeared to have little to no parental supervision after school and early evenings. I've always kept an eye out for them but I also have to protect my own children.

So I called, stated my strong suspicion that these two young boys were either without supervision or were being banned from their house. I told the social worker that they were mostly well-behaved and that I didn't thing the parents were "bad" parents but that there was obviously something going on.

And yet, it doesn't feel like I did the right thing. I do feel like a snitch and a nosy parker and everything else in that category. It's so funny that in the parenting world we all seem so eager to debate and confront other parents about how they feed their children or how they let them play at the playground or what TV they're allowed to watch, but we are so reluctant to engage and challenge them on the basic neccesities of parenting.

Anyway, here's my column. Let me know what you think.

7.6.10

Our Dad is Awesome

Just to get you in the mood for Father's Day:

3.6.10

A Recipe Fit for a Queen

Today I'm being honoured over at Naomi's blog as the Cool Whip Queen. I've opened a war on Jello and you ought to pick your sides cause the battle lines are being drawn. This will be bigger than Vegemite vs. Marmite!

In honour of this momentous occasion and in acknowledgment of Naomi's titillating dichotomy of Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip, I decided to invent a recipe. I tried it last night and it still needs some tweaking - there could be more chocolatyness and less texture to the organic cookie part. But the Cool Whip part came out grand, which makes me believe even more that Cool Whip is evil like Jello - rubbing my face in my flopped cookies.

Anyway. Here it is with suggestions for improvement in brackets.

Naomi's Honourary Organic Motherhood With Cool Whip "Ice-Cream" Sandwiches

Preheat oven to 350

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper

Take the following:
  • 1/2 cup - approx 8 whole - frozen strawberries, let thaw
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, let thaw and squeeze out extra moisture
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
And puree in blender

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together
  • 1/2 cup oats, ground in food processor
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour (perhaps increase white flour to 3/4 cup and cut out whole wheat entirely)
  • 1/3 cup organic cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

With handheld mixer, beat
  • 2 eggs
Slowly add
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Whip vigourously

Add
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
(idea to make more chocolately, instead of mixing cocoa with dry ingredients, dissolve it in 1/3 cup of coffee and add to egg mixture, cutting out the milk)
  • Strawberry/Spinach puree from above
Beat till well blended

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in egg mixutre. Fold and stir. It should resemble a dough slightly thicker than cake dough.

Drop by tablespoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake approx 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly on sheets before removing to wire rack.
Yeilds approximately 20 cookies

While cookies are baking, prepare the "ice-cream"
Take
  • 1 cup of cool whip
Fold in
  • 1/2 cup thick organic yogurt, flavoured or unflavoured
Once cookies have cooled completely, match them together in pairs by general shape/size. Place one cookie flat side up, dollop on the cool whip mix, put other cookie flat side down on top. Wrap securely and place in freezer overnight.

Make sure to tuck some at the back of the freezer so you get to try one.

I think the bracketed suggestions would make the cookies better. They're not bad as it is, but they're not amazing. You could also add chocolate chips. That would up the Cool Whip factor, though, and downplay the Organic Motherhood side a bit. But really, once there's spinach in your cookies you can add as much Cool Whip fun as you want! If  Strawberry allergy is an issue, you can substitute blueberries or any fruit really. I use the fruit as a sugar substitute and the vegetable as a fat substitute. In a traditional recipe this would have called for 1 1/2 cups white sugar and 1/2 cup butter.

NoteFor those of you new to my blog, I don't really advise hiding vegetables from your children. I do put vegetables into everything from burgers to banana bread because my eldest son has an issue with the textures of vegetables eaten in their unadulterated form. But I always tell them what's "hidden" in their food. I personally don't think they'll learn much if you just trick them into eating healthy. It's imperative to explain to them what's healthy and why. (Of course, after saying all that, I do admit to occasionally telling him the flecks of vegetable in his soup or pasta is "herbs." It depends on his mood at supper-time, really. And I'm pretty sure he knows "herbs" is my code word for "you're not going to like the thought of it, so don't ask")

**Confession**
Truthfully, neither my husband nor I could remember exactly what Cool Whip looked like and/or where to find it in the grocery store. Not that we're Cool Whip virgins; it's just been a long time. Long enough that the cherry on top could have grown back! So I directed my hubby towards that powdered Dream Whip stuff whilst calling it Cool Whip and he ended up bringing home Nutri-whip. So my recipe used Nutri-whip which I believe is more chemical-laden than Cool Whip. But I do know Cool Whip will work as back in my university days I made an "ice-cream" pie using this method.

*Update: While the rest of us slept this morning, my 5 yo son snuck out of bed and ate three of the six cookies left on the counter. So despite my thinking they were maybe a little off in the texture, if he thinks they're sneak-worthy that's a good thing. It was great fun to tell him he had snuck spinach for breakfast!

2.6.10

Top 10 Reasons to Use Organic/Natural Household Cleaners

A very wise woman once told me that to clean your house you need nothing more than regular vinegar and baking soda. She then added that for that extra germ-killing boost, a dash of vodka was good: one for the kitchen counter and one for you.

It's so true, though. Okay you do need soap for dishes and laundry and as soon as I perfect my laundry and dish soap recipe I'll share.

But you might wonder why you should ditch the chemical cleaners for the more natural approach. So here are my top 10 reasons:
10. Money: Vinegar and Baking Soda are much cheaper than Sani-Foam and Mr. Clean
9. Convenience: If you run out you can just mix up more.
8. Health and Safety: Fumes from chemicals=bad. Fumes from vinegar=bad smell. Child playing with Comet powder=trip to Emergency room. Child playing with baking soda= trip to bathtub.
7. Your Appearance: Vinegar actually softens skin and has been reported to reduce wrinkles. Plunging your hands into Mr. Clean does not have the same effect.
6. Your House's Appearance: Even baking soda will not usually scratch finished surfaces, commercial cleansers often will.
5. Reduce Chemical Impact: Those chemical's going down your drain can kill baby fishies. Think of the baby fishies!
4. Reduce Packaging: One large container of vinegar and big box of baking soda means a lot less packaging and processing than 10 different chemical cleansers.
3. Space: Instead of 10 different bottles on your shelf, you'll have more space for those important things like the box of chocolates you're hiding from the kids.
2. Bragging Rights: Come on, you know you're going to let it slip at playgroup that you're one of those enlightened, environmentally friendly moms saving the planet for future generations and keep a clean and chemical free house. You know you will. Heck, you might even blog about it.

And the number one reason to use vinegar instead of Mr. Clean  . . . drum roll please . . .

Facilitating Child Labour

In a completely natural way!

No chemicals means no guilt about getting your kids involved in the cleaning duties.

1.6.10

Husband is Crazy; Kids are Cute; Mornings Are Nuts and the Baby is Allergic to Nuts

His Royal Highness and the Princess have been fighting a lot lately. A LOT. I'm not sure you understand. They even fight in their sleep. (Seriously. I discovered The Princess sleepwalking into HRH's bedroom and trying to get into his bed while he sleepily tried to push her onto the floor.)

This morning, HRH was getting ready for school. I had laid out his clothes and lunch and was in the bedroom feeding The Good Child (that label might change when he starts talking). Anyway, I hear Big D asking him "where's your other sock?" HRH replies there was only one. I call out from the bedroom to say they were both there earlier this morning. But Big D doesn't hear me because HRH and The Princess are arguing - again.

Then HRH calls out. "Oh Silly Me! I put two socks on one foot!" (how he even managed that when these socks are small enough that I could probably be reported to Child Protective Services for making him wear them, I don't know) But Big D doesn't hear that either because the kids are bickering.

So Big D forages through the landry room and locates another matched pair of socks (don't ask me why he didn't check the drawer first, probably he knows better).

He comes up the stairs and sees HRH standing there with one sock on and one in his hand (please note, at this point they're about 10 minutes late leaving the house, which is actually pretty typical around here).

Big D proceeds to - in a very BIG voice - inform HRH that he's not happy with him, he wasted his time, they're going to be late, blah, blah, blah (and we wonder why our kids tune us out). AND CAN YOU TWO PLEASE STOP FIGHTING!!!

HRH comes into the room sobbing and saying Daddy hurt his feelings (please note the sock is still not on). He doesn't receive a lot of sympathy from me, I have to say.

So The Princess takes things into her own hands.
Princess: "You can play with my toys all day. I'm sorry I was teasing you"

HRH: "You weren't teasing me."

Princess: "Oh. I'm sorry I was mean to you."

HRH: "You weren't mean to me. I was mean to you."

Princess: "Oh. Are you okay? You can play with me all day. I love you."

HRH: "I love you too."

And yes, Daddy apologised too.

PS: What do you think of the new pseudonyms for the family? I'm thinking of going back and taking their names out of previous blogs. When I first started this blog I figured I'm not hiding my name so there's no point changing theirs, but I'm beginning to think they may not want people googling their names years from now and discovering posts about bedwetting and constipation.