Posted by: Sandra | August 11, 2012

My uniform

My uniform

Jeans + tank + flip flops, grab kids, a tutu = fun day.

Posted by: Sandra | August 19, 2011

Preparing a sibling for a home birth

For months we’ve been preparing our oldest for the birth of our second. And for the most part it’s been pretty straightforward.

She sees my belly growing and asks:

  • Where’s the baby mama? – In my tummy.
  • What’s the baby doing? – It’s sleeping. Growing. Kicking. (I describe what I think it’s up to.)

For us, the trickier part is preparing her for the home birth aspect. We have her birth video – do I show that? I get pretty loud in labor – do I demonstrate that?

I’ve settled on this approach: I tell her a bedtime story that involves some of her favorite characters from Cat in the Hat or Diego and weave in what I’d love to happen with our birth.

That her “Ami” (grandma) is going to be here to play with her, take her to the park, that mommy’s going to make roaring sounds and noises to help her get the baby out, that she can go outside or come back into the house any time.

She’s a bit scared of the roaring and so I’m happy that we have a back-up plan that involves her going to stay with my brother’s family.

I also found a lovely home birth video on YouTube that she asks to watch over and over:

I’d love to hear what you’ve done to prepare.

Posted by: Sandra | August 15, 2011

Toddler’s Choice: Confessions of a Permissive Parent

It’s nearly midnight. I hear: Mummy, come snuggle me.

I should say (from my own bed with no intention of getting out): No. Go to bed. I love you. We’ll snuggle in the morning.

Instead I say: It’s late honey, go to bed. As I walk towards my two-year-old darling who melts my heart, then snuggle in for the three hours it takes to coax her to sleep.

I’m weak. I know it. I’m not proud. It’s hard to say no. The kicker is this: I thought I’d be a hard-ass mum. Turns out, I’m not. My m.o. is, “sure”.

I justify it like this: If I put my foot down on every issue my day would be a marathon of mini fights that start the second my daughter’s cute little feet pad into my room, before my head lifts from my pillow. And so I give.

Do I really care if her pants match her shirt? No. Does it matter if she eats yogurt or cereal? No. Library or park? I say: Toddler’s choice. And so it goes. Am I too permissive? Maybe. There is one area in particular where giving in has been and continues to be a problem — for me and my daughter. Bedtime. She is nearly three and we still don’t enjoy consistently uninterrupted nights.

I waited until she was a year-old before I let her cry it out (she was still waking every couple of hours to be nursed – and yes, I fed her). Hearing her cry felt like someone was physically wringing my heart. My friend (and mother of three fabulous girls) came over to hold me down so I wouldn’t run to comfort my crying daughter. At this point, I felt letting her sort herself out was the only way for either of us to get the sleep we needed. And even though I felt it was the right decision, it was excruciating for me to bear. But I did. Without saying the words, I was saying “no”. No to giving in to what placated both of us in a sense, and yes to what made sense for our family.

Our generation of moms is given a hard time about being too permissive. The criticism is often warranted. But here’s the thing: Saying “yes” isn’t always easy. And saying “no” isn’t always right. The sweet spot is in figuring out which answer, when, then sticking with it. Have I nailed this? Well that’s easy: No!

Posted by: Sandra | May 6, 2011


I found my favourite bran muffin recipe and couldn’t be happier! It’s a recipe inspired by the Joy of Baking with some delicious mods:

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsps molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (can do half buttermilk, or mix nut milks, I use almond milk)
Cream the coconut oil, brown rice syrup and honey. Beat in one egg at a time. Add vanilla and molasses until well mixed. Add wheat bran.
In a large bowl whisk together the flours, oats, cinnamon, orange zest, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl combine the milks.
Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk to the bran mixture (begin and end with the flour mix). Cover and keep in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (I’ve baked a half dozen right away, and they turn out yummy too).
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Enjoy!
Posted by: Sandra | April 17, 2011

Favourite Kids Books

My cousin’s about to have her first baby and has a great idea for a baby shower – a book shower. So I compiled a list of our favourite kids books:

  1. Where’s Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz
  2. What Does Baby Say by Karen Katz
  3. Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton
  4. Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
  5. Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
  6. Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes illustrated by Annie Kubler
  7. Open the Barn Door by Christopher Santoro
  8. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.
  9. Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boon by Bill Martin Jr.
  10. Goodnight Gorilla
  11. I Spy in the Jungle
  12. Happy Baby, Sad Baby by Leslie Patricelli
  13. Time for Bed by Mem Fox
  14. Hug by Jez Alborough
  15. That’s Not my Puppy by Fiona Watt
  16. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
  17. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury
  18. Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
  19. Each Peach Pear Plum by Alan Ahlberg
  20. Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb by Al Perkins
  21. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
  22. How do Dinosaurs Eat their Food by Jane Yolen
  23. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  24. Are You My Mother by Eastman
Posted by: Sandra | March 14, 2011

Sleep time hall pass + eating rainbows

I’m cleaning out my drawers.

Beyond just a spring clean, it’s become a necessity because my “junk” drawer is overflowing and unfortunately with things like important documents – not just junk. As I was unearthing tax receipts and forms and mortgage statements (joy) I also came across some old magazines (weeeeeee!). So instead of doing the thing I’m supposed to (collect tax info, ugh), I started leafing through mags and drinking a cup of tea.

Of course I came across some great ideas and started ripping out pages of crafts, recipes, how to get your kids to stay in bed tricks and other gems. I realized though, in ripping out the pages, I was just creating more clutter and so thought of my poor neglected blog.

I’m going to share some of these great inspirations (from Disney’s Family Fun magazine) – partly to share, but mostly (selfishly) so I have them written down somewhere, so I can recycle the torn out papers and declutter some more.

Getting kids to stay in bed

Super easy, right? Right. We’ve been struggling with this since N started climbing out of her crib at nine months. (And it wasn’t so much climbing as it was head-first launching). Anyhow, now at two and a half, we’ve got the falling out of bed under control, but the wandering around is a tricky one. A mom suggested this: Give your kid a “hall pass” that she can use once a week to get out of bed. She even created a cute card and laminated it. I love it. I think I’d add a time limit for the pass, maybe 15 minutes. I think it’s a great idea, especially with older children.

Getting them to eat veggies and fruit

Sometimes easy. Sometimes not. So to inspire a healthy diet, there’s this chart that encourages kids to eat fruits and veg of all colours (which is a great way to sneak in a wide variety of produce, and not just stick with the typical peas and carrots….though who doesn’t love peas and carrots). It’s called, Today I Ate a Rainbow!

I found other tid bits, crafts, and I’ll definitely share more later. But I’ve procrastinated long enough and need to get out for a walk…I mean, file my taxes.

Posted by: Sandra | May 28, 2010

Oatmeal cookies

A cup of tea, Glee and a plate of oatmeal cookies. So good.

Nadia can’t keep her hands off this batch I just made either. We’re having a kind of unofficial competition over who can eat more of these.

Nadia’s Lick out the Bowl Oatmeal Cookies (a recipe from our kitchen)

  • 2 cups whole oats
  • 1/2 cup flour (I mix flours, this time I used a bit of coconut flour and unbleached white flour. I also love teff, garbanzo bean, oat, etc.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 dashes cinnamon
  • 2 dashes nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.

  • 1 medium-sized apple, grated with skin on
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (and cooled so it doesn’t cook the egg when you mix it together)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix wet ingredients and add them to dry. Mix.

  • 1/3 cup nuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins (or chocolate chips)

Add nuts + raisins. Mix some more.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 F.

This was my first go with this recipe. Next time I might halve the maple syrup and halve the butter and add another apple. Also thinking, if I used chocolate chips, it’d be good with two bananas instead of the apples. If anyone gives these a go before I do, let me know how they turn out. I made one batch of adult-sized cookies and another of small bite-sized ones to freeze for Nadia’s lunches + treats. (Though, I’m kidding myself really. I’ll get to them before she can!) Enjoy.

Posted by: Sandra | May 5, 2010

Preschools in Portland

There’s no shortage of great preschools in Portland. Though somehow they fill up quickly. Obviously, there’s no shortage of kids either.

We checked out a few in our neighborhood and really liked these:

  1. Dragonfly
  2. Escuela Viva
  • They both emphasize creative play – which I love. At two-years-old I’m not worried about the university she’s going to go to. I really just want her to play…she’ll learn plenty having fun.
  • There’s storytime, puppets, dress-up, painting, singing, park time, etc.
  • I liked the organized yet warm feeling I got.
  • I also love that Escuela Viva is Spanish immersion. I wish there were more immersion programs (especially for school-aged kids).
  • The prices at both are also reasonable.
Posted by: Sandra | April 21, 2010

Considering meat CSA

I love meat. Roasted chicken. BBQ spare ribs. Lasagna. Mmmm. We eat a lot of vegetarian meals, but I just love meat too much (bacon-wrapped dates with water chestnuts) to give it up. But. I’ve also been thinking a lot about eating meat in a more sustainable way. Less of it. And the stuff we eat, I want to know how it was raised and where.

I’ve found the Deck Family Farm near Portland that has “healthy happy animals” that are pasture raised. I’ve tasted the beef and it’s really good. So I’m considering getting all our family’s meat from this farm. I love knowing the people who are responsible for my food. I love that they don’t use herbicides, pesticides or antibiotics on their farm. I love that the animals eat what they were meant to eat. That they can roam. Live their lives. And then know that my family is being nourished by animals who were treated with care and respect.

Posted by: Sandra | April 5, 2010

How to appreciate what we’ve got

Nadia’s in bed. I should be napping (to get over this silly cold), but I can’t help myself. I’m addicted to watching TED Talks.

This TED Talk by Rory Sutherland is brilliant – called, Life lessons from an ad man.

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