Saturday, April 16, 2011

Green Smoothie and Homemade Baby Food

Over the past couple of years I've been hearing about the Vita Mix Blender.. I guess it has been around for quite a long time.  I decided to look into it as I am about to jump on the bandwagon of making our own baby food.  The thought of buying baby food no longer appeals to me..not so fond of processed foods..even organic processed foods.  The Vita Mixer sounds like a good quality appliance..expensive, but it seems like it is well made and can reduce the need to have "several" appliances.  (sometimes it is better to get the "better" blender..rather than one that will burn out in a couple of years..The hope is that it will last a very long time..

  It also seems it can work not only as a blender, but as a food processor, grain grinder, dough kneeder,  juicer, and soup maker..  It seems to be better than a juicer as it can grind up both the fiber and the softer part of fruit and vegetables. In any case, it seems like a worth-while investment.  And I believe it will basically pay for itself if I use it to make baby food rather than buying all the jars..which really add up..   At the same time, I am reading about the "green smoothie"..  a very interesting concept that I am aching to try..  I think it'll be a way to get more greens into our diet..and make it palatable for my kids especially.  I'm not even close to being a vegetarian or vegan or a raw foodist, but I can't deny the appeal and the argument for integrating more raw foods and greens into our diet.  Just thinking about sipping a green smoothie gives me a feeling of clean-healthy refreshment..that sounds cheesy saying that... If I had the time to review and rework how I describe it...but as cheesy as it sounds...I can tell my body craves the nourishment from what a green smoothie could give to me..I can feel that my body needs it..  on a cellular level.  I have a lot to recuperate from..having a baby and c section and currently nursing..  I can't wait to start making them..  I am really looking forward to when our mixer arrives! and I am hoping to get those greens into my children too..  We do try to eat our fruits and veggies every day, but sometimes it is not easy to get enough of it--especially get my kids to eat enough of it!  This seems like a really good way to do it.  (we'll see) I'll have to update this when we've been trying it for a few weeks.  (btw: the author/creator of the green smoothie is from Oregon!)  (-;

Another plus is that a green smoothie is a quick easy snack/meal that is healthy and nourishing..  quick and easy often equate to fast food or microwave meal..   so I am happy to find something I can make quickly when I am strapped for time or low on energy.

15 Minutes a Day

I've been adapting to life with 3 children..or I should say 2 children and a baby.  (-;  I have a new routine and limitations as to what I can get done in a day.  I am back to not being able to spend more than a few minutes at any one task, so I am finding ways to adapt to that.  It forces me to have to make the most of each moment..

When I go to the gym, I bring a book along and right now I am reading Sink Reflections and I have only read the first couple of chapters, but so far, I am inspired..and hopeful.  The main advice I have picked up so far is to spend 15 mintues a day on any one task and to do it every day in order to keep up with the cleaning..  (but first she emphasizes taking care of yourself and getting dressed, making yourself look nice before taking on the cleaning)  I have to confess that I am not very good at keeping up with the everyday upkeep..and by the weekend, the house looks like it has been hit by a tornado.  And I am still a packrat..and I not not a very good "minimalist"...there is too much clutter in our home and I have a hard time letting things go.  I think I would love to have a peaceful home without the clutter, but at the same time still have all of our "stuff"..  Still, there are many things that we own that I nor anyone else really value too much and it is those things we should donate or find a home for, etc..  The "flylady"  gives the adice of spending 5-15 mintues a day attacking the purging part of the process.  (I keep waiting for when I have a whole day to work on it)  That is often how I prefer to work..being able to spend large chunks of time cleaning/purging, so that I can have an equal amount of time to "play or be with my family later"  The truth is, though, that I am not going to have large amounts of time any time in the near future...  The 5-15 minutes a day is much more realistic at this point while I have a baby in tow..and (at times) some very needy older kids..

So, I made a spreadsheet of the chores I need to do daily so I can try to keep up with the basic maintenance and I cross them off each day so I can see and feel good about what I've accomplished.  I also try to include a little gardening in there too, or blogging, or reading.

This was my first week and I was actually really worn out from my attempt..  But, I could be worn out because I need to exercise and eat a little better too.. (I've been drinking too much coffee lately)  Still, I'm hopeful.  Seems that authors make it seem so much easier than it is in reality..or I'm still trying to do too many things..(I'm never going to be truly at peace as long as I hold onto too much of the stuff and desire more of a minimalistic atmosphere)

The culture here in Portland...has me striving to become more minimalistic..It is a praiseworthy goal..But, the truth is, I am not really a minimalist in behavior..I like the peacefulness of a simple home, but I also love the gadgets and toys..  It is a standard of is one of my biggest challenges..

But, I am going to try the Fly Lady approach..and we'll see how it goes!  Baby steps..perhaps may be the only sustainable way I can hope to achieve it!  This is also how I hope to get some gardening done too.. I have to find ways to be happy with the 5-15 minute stretches at one activity/project..But if I can do that every day, I might make some progress..  Like water dripping..It is amazing how powerful water can be..even a steady after day can create a canyon eventually.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Loss and Strength and Love: Japan and Here.

I have some sweet sweet friends who have been going through my worst fear..  My heart aches for them every day..and in the reality that life and death live side by side and that life is always in flux..our physical existence is not something we have complete control over.  The earthquake in Japan is but one reminder of the fact that our homes are built upon a thin crust over a hot liquid that can move..and shift..and no where is truly safe from that shifting. (or other kinds) Nature is not always many ways..

One of my dear sweet friends who used to babysit my children, was pregnant the same time as me..and due just a month after.  About a month ago, she gave birth to her sweet son, and he was born not breathing..  We went to his memorial this weekend.  I am repeatedly touched by their resolve through this and the wisdoms they shared.  For one, this incredible soul-mamma spoke before us and said that there is nothing to fear..not life or death and that her son taught her that..that life and death exist together..She quoted from the Bible of the Kingdom..  She spoke with beauty and love and sincerity.. She spoke of her son's fiery and brave spirit.  I am in awe of their courage.  They believe that their son's short life was to open them(and others) up to burn away what is false (at least that is my interpretation of what they have said)..  They said they are no longer afraid of grief/loss.  They have not been afraid to share in the beauty of their son and the loss and pain they experience.  I haven't seen anything quite like the glow I feel from them right now..  the beauty in their love is surrounding them right now.  Yet, it truly is pain....but the burning pain of a sacrifice..and when I feel it, I want to hold my little daughter close..(I am afraid of grief and loss) and I desperately don't want to experience that kind of loss..  Can't imagine..don't want to imagine what it has been like for such a mass loss as in Japan..But I feel some comfort in watching this family go through this..some hope that in knowing I can't control the forces of nature..or God's will..that when loss does visit, it can be met with such strength and love..

I have another friend, who 10 months ago lost her 16 year old son.  He drowned in a river nearby..  The other day, we had coffee together and she described also with pain and in beauty of her love for him and a belief that he is with her still.  She said she is still standing there in that place when she first found out..she is still there screaming outside calling him home when he did not arrive home when he had said.  She had known before she was told..that she was not going to see him again in the physical..But she was and still is outside (metaphorically) screaming for him to come home.  I can't imagine a pain harder than this...the agony of being separated from your child.  

In the Baha'i writings, it is said that the next world is closer to us than our life in "reality" there is no true separation..  There is so much comfort in this, but it still hurts..hurts at the thought of it.  

I've been reading some of the writings of the philospopher, Epictetus.  The basic idea (which I'll have to insert the quote here when I find it) Is that it is not the events to be afraid of..nothing truly hurts us..It is our perception of those events that hurt us (or help us)..  We cannot control the events..but we can control how we perceive them.  We should focus on what we can control..(which is our perceptions)  I was also touched by a blog/email shared on FB by someone who was living in Tokyo with her little daughter during the time of the earthquake..and how she dealt with the "fear"..and how she was able to move beyond the fear..described how it was time to do something..and get out of the fear mindset.  How To Stop Being Afraid—Even When The Whole World Thinks You Should Be

The media portrays horror in relation to tragedies such as Japan..But I bet if we were there..yes, there is horror, but I bet there is a way of looking at it in a different way..The media shows the "physical horror of it" over and over again, but it does not show, the courage and the healing and the love adequately..the spiritual growing that can come from it.  or the beauty of the souls passing into the next world..the light they must see as they pass on..the love and light..that my dear friends have been experiencing in their loss of their baby-son..  The agony comes from the PTSD reliving of the horror-moment-physical-nature over and over again.. But there is another reality happening..I think the reality that God wants us to see.  The REALITY that my dear friends can they experience their deepest of loss.  

When I lost my mother, I experienced this too...The PTSD feeling of the horror of losing her/how she was lost..but also the feeling of love and light..and the celebration of HER..and the love for her and her for me.  And the feeling of her spirit of who she was and IS..  and the reality that she is not gone..she is in my mind and heart somehow..close to me than my life vein.  I don't feel the PTSD anymore..But I did for quite a long time, but I do know the feeling LOVE of when she passed from her/for her and from my family and community who came to LOVE me and her and my dad during that time period..and from people who mention her who knew her and loved years later.  

There is more I could say..but I think that I have said what I needed to..for now.

Except that I encourage my readers to donate if you can to those who need help:  being a part of a world community, we cannot ignore those who are suffering...

You can also, if you feel inclined donate to the family who I mentioned who lost their baby.  They have some big medical expenses to pay off.  You can use paypal to:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Learning to relax Expectations

There is so much I would like to I blog one handed on my phone with a baby in my lap..spent ten dollars on cookies because don't have time/energy to make them..I tried to weed my strawberry and asparagus beds during a sunny window yesterday when husband took kids out for a bit but didn't make much progress.the time was a teaser.  Feel  I'm falling short in some of my commitments to my sustainability goals.. I'm not saying this to complain can I when I feel the squiggly warmth of my child in my lap right grateful for nice to have her in our family.  Wouldn't trade holding her for anything.. I hope I am able to care for the gardens too, but this time with her as a baby is so short..there will be other years to garden. 


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