Friday, June 29, 2012

Garden in early summer

Before we left for this trip, I took an overdue trip to the garden I share with another family to see how the spring had treated it. Turns out: really well. How is your garden growing?

Here's a little tour through mine in June:

garlic — early summer garden June 2012

I planted these garlic bulbs last fall and had no idea how it would turn out. I bought them, probably too many of them, as a splurge from Territorial Seed Company when I was buying row covers anyhow and thought I'd throw in something fun. I tucked them in pretty much everywhere.

Well, one of Sam's and my favoritest spring treats is garlic scapes – the tender tips of the garlic plants. Imagine my surprise when I headed over to the garden and saw a bucketload of garlic scapes, all (past) ready for harvest! How did I not realize what a bounty I'd be producing for myself? (This picture is post-scape snipping.)

Since we were leaving on this long trip just a few days after the harvest, we ate a lot of garlic scapes that week. Garlic scapes sauteed with other veggies, with Landjäger sausage, with parsnips and carrots, with pasta and ground meat. It was a good, garlicky week.

scallions — early summer garden June 2012

These scallions were another successful overwintering. I love spring harvests — they feel like bonuses!

spinach — early summer garden June 2012

This spinach sure is happy! I got a lot of leaves from these plants and left plenty more for when we get back.

cabbage — early summer garden June 2012

These cabbages are growing nicely. There's something so pretty and satisfying about the whorls. Must be the math of the spirals.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Little apes

On a recent trip to the zoo…
boy reading map at Woodland Park Zoo Seattle
Mikko reads the map. Sometimes right side up. He could unerringly find the food court, no matter what else we were aiming for!

boy at Woodland Park Zoo Seattle

boy and baby at Woodland Park Zoo Seattle

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to make your park America's favorite!

boy blowing big bubbles and spinning at a barbecue

Have you chosen what park to back in the America Is Your Park program? watermelon at a barbecue park picnicLive Positively will give the winning park a $100,000 recreation grant to improve or maintain a beautiful gathering place for the community. The second- and third-place parks will take home $50,000 and $25,000, respectively. Watch this inspirational video to see what's possible for your personal favorite park:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day in the life of a parent

It's that time again! You might remember the great post in December 2011 that highlighted the Natural Parents Network volunteers' most popular or favorite posts from the year. Or what about the March 2012 post that featured do-it-yourself projects, how-tos, tutorials, and recipes? Well, we are back and this time we are bringing you a collection of posts that focus on what our lives really look like!

Yep — we are giving you a sneak peak into things like a typical day in our life, special or fun outings, or photos that show all of you what parenting looks like for us. Basically, we are keeping it real!

There are a lot of really wonderful posts here that show that even though we blog about our parenting ideals, we really are just regular mamas, getting by one day at a time! So enjoy seeing a typical day in the trenches!

Laura at WaldenMommy: Life Behind the Red Front Door shares "Just Another Monday." This post appeared in March of 2012 and is a typical busy day with the Herd. You can also find Laura on Facebook.

Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares a typical day in her life, complete with a blood test, a stop at the thrift store, and lots and lots of books. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares A Day In The Life: Two Years Old, a photo journal commemorating her daughter's second birthday by attempting to capture a sense of the daily routine at this busy stage. You can also find Vibrant Wanderings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

Laura at Pug in the Kitchen shares A Busy Day in the Life of her family. This post is a whirlwind look at life two children under the age of 3. You can also find Laura on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Momma Jorje: a slightly crunchy mommaMomma Jorje shares Typical Visit to the Pediatric Cardiologist + Results. Read her post to see what it is like to take her infant son for regular visits to a cardiologist. You can also find Momma Jorje on Facebook.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Surf: California dreamin'

Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

We're on a road trip right now, visiting bucketloads of extended family in California. I'm really tempted to find someplace with a roller coaster soon… And tomorrow we should finally get to visit San Francisco, or as Mikko calls it, Scan Ferskisko.

baby EC in grass at rest stop boy on bench at rest stop
Rest stop!

For now, I can offer links to read:

Carnival news:

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama
  • Please write for the July Carnival of Natural Parenting — due July 3 — The topic is Family Creations, and we're looking forward to what projects and tutorials you post!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Calling for submissions for the July Carnival of Natural Parenting!

We continue to be delighted with the inspiration and wisdom our Carnival of Natural Parenting participants share, and we hope you'll join us for the next carnival in July 2012! (Check out June, May, April, March, February, January, and a summary of all our 2011 posts if you missed any.)

Your co-hosts are Lauren at Hobo Mama and Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

Here are the submission details for July 2012:

Arwen with Paper flowerTheme: Family Creations: Whether it’s a mess in the kitchen, a sidewalk chalk collage, a family play on video, a letterboxing stamp, or something else, create something with your family this month. Capture it in a post — feel free to make a tutorial or simply share the product. Show off your family’s creative side!

Deadline: Tuesday, July 3. Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CarNatPar {at}

Carnival date: Tuesday, July 10. Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on July 10 and email us the link if you haven't done so already. Once everyone's posts are published on July 10 by noon Eastern time, we will send out a finalized list of all the participants' links to generate lots of link love for your site! We'll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Can you spare $1 to help Baby Sean?

On June 10th 2012, Baby Sean was born. He is truly a miracle baby and both he and his family need our help.

A fellow blogger with Natural Parents Network shared Baby Sean’s incredible story with us and asked if we could reach out to our friends and fans. Jennifer of Hybrid Rasta Mama is hoping to raise $1,000 over the next several days to help both baby Sean and his family as they face the lofty challenges in front of them.

Please take a moment and read a little about Baby Sean’s journey and needs as shared by Jennifer.

From 2001 until June 2011, I was fortunate enough to have five of the most caring, uplifting, generous and supportive people caring for my grandmother who suffered from dementia. This family literally fell into our lives and because of their selflessness, my grandmother lived 94 wonderful years. Without the care and support she received, I doubt that my daughter would have had the opportunity to spend two years with a great-grandmother who loved her, even when she did not have a clue who she was.

Caroline was my grandmother’s main caretaker but her entire family (husband Tony and their three young children) did everything that my family could not. They bathed her, they cleaned up her bathroom accidents, they fed her nourishing foods, they told her stories, they took her to concerts, they took her camping, they took her to family events, and the list goes on. They lived with her 24 hours per day, 7 days per week with no time off. They embraced her and together, they become an expanded family.

After my grandmother passed away in June 2011, I not only mourned her death but I mourned the loss of my extended family. Although I knew we would keep in touch, it would still be different.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Who's ready for summer?

baby boy eating watermelon

Oh, I know. Some of you are already experiencing summer.
We in the Pacific Northwest are waiting patiently.

But today my little family of four is driving down the coast to California.
That's right, folks: Summer is ON.

baby boy eating watermelon

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Surf: Natural Parents Network edition

Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

boys at Panda Express smiling in monkey shirts
Two monkeys
Not sure why it's so hard to get Sunday Surf done around here lately. It's after 10 p.m. here and this is the first time this weekend I've had a chance to write.

Next weekend we'll be traveling, so I'm not making any promises for getting right back on track…

Mikko is super excited about our road trip. We're driving to California for a family wedding. We'll see how two kiddos do in the car for so long, but I'm excited about it in general. Any tips to pass along? Places to stop between Seattle and San Francisco? Car-ride distractions? Hotel-living advice? Ideas for cloth diapering and ECing on the run?

Since I couldn't get into Natural Parents Network last week (server hiccup), I've decided to devote the space to catching you up on what's been going on at NPN!

(The last set I stole from Anktangle, because I wasn't able to grab them myself! If you look at the slide in her post, it's the first one Mikko went down as well at about that age, in our nearby playground. Or maybe he was older. He's not that athletically inclined, heh heh. I remember being just as excited, too!)

Carnival & bloghop news:

It was Carnival of Natural Parenting week, and we had a wonderful variety of positive birth stories — C-sections, unmedicated births, medicated births, homebirths, hospital births, unattended births — you name it. Some of us are healing from painful experiences, and some of us look back with wholehearted joy, but either way we all found something to appreciate and love in our birth journeys. Please read and enjoy the many links.

It's time again for the NPN Blog Hop!

The theme is Summer Fun for Children, and it's hosted at ChildOrganics.

Hop on over this week to link up your new and old posts on the subject! You have until next Sunday, June 24.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Giveaway: Everyday Minerals - $41 ARV {6.23; US/Can}

This is a joint giveaway with Hobo Mama and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.

Everyday Minerals is offering our readers a giveaway of their award-winning makeup; specifically, a base ($13), a blush ($6-10), and two eye shadows ($5-$9 each), a total value of up to $41.

Everyday Minerals sells organic, vegan, eco-friendly makeup at an affordable price, and in a variety of colors to flatter every skin tone.

From our reviewer, Lauren B., an NPN volunteer:

Since the birth of my daughter two-and-a-half years ago, I've become a stay-at-home mom and have largely given up on wearing makeup. There was just no need for it on a daily basis, and as I went without, my skin improved and I got used to how I really looked. But recently, I've been wanting to try some light makeup again here and there, and my old stash wasn't cutting it. The Bare Minerals make-up I'd been using, which I'd liked, were now a bit too dark and almost gone; when I looked into ordering more online, I was pretty turned off by the price. I headed to the drugstore to see what sort of natural options there were - very few, as it turns out.

I thought, "what the heck?" and just bought conventional makeup. The Revlon product looked good on, but I could only tolerate it for about 10 minutes before it stung and became uncomfortable. Next I tried an Almay product and that was a lot better, but it still made me a bit tingly and didn't look as nice as the Bare Minerals had. I started looking at the Bare Minerals site again, thinking I'd just have to tolerate the cost, but then this review opportunity appeared and I jumped at it.

Everyday Minerals has just as many color options as Bare Minerals, but with better ingredients and at half the price. I chose the Original Glo Base in Linen as my foundation and after describing my coloring, asked them to choose a complementary blush color for me. They sent Shimmer Blush in Pink Ribbon, which was just perfect. I also received two eye shadows: In the Garden in Pearl, and All Spice in Shimmer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's your favorite park? Vote to make it America's favorite!

Seattle Seafair Pirates Landing at Alki 2011 — boy scratching digging in sand on beachThis is the third year of the inspiring America Is Your Park program. The park I'm going to vote for is my own local favorite, and you can choose one that means a lot to you. As you and your family head out to enjoy green spaces this summer, let's join together to support the places that provide our communities with dedicated room to gather and play. Read on for more on the park I'm voting for, and how you can vote for yours.

It is with great joy I state the following: I live by the beach.

I had always dreamed of living near water, but in that kind of never-gonna-happen state we sometimes put ourselves in. Then our old apartment flooded (that wasn't the kind of living near water I was thinking of), and we ended up moving right across the street from Alki Beach Park. It's an urban Seattle beach and on the Puget Sound, rather than the ocean proper (before you get any grandiose ideas of what beaches should look like). It has gentle salt waves that roll softly into shore, and a stretch of gray sand that's perfect for digging. At low tide, or if you're lucky or looking hard, you can find the sea life: barnacles, seaweed, crabs and clams, a baby seal pup resting on shore, and orcas swimming out in the deeper water.

Boy on driftwood seesaw on the beach with father

Summer brings a different sort of sea life: people. Throngs of sun-seekers and beach volleyball players and sidewalk strollers. Kids splashing in the frigid Arctic-fed waters, guys showing off their ability to not wear shirts, families and friends throwing impromptu picnics or planned barbecues on the sand. And the fire pits glow deep into the night while everyone laughs and toasts marshmallows.

boy playing on alki beach at sunset

And we are there year-round with our two kids, joyously throwing crusts to seagulls and pigeons who neither need nor deserve such largesse, braving getting our shoes wet for a bucket of water to build a sandcastle, running around and chasing each other across the sand, and seeing who can find the most interesting driftwood or shell or rock to toss in the water. I spent a good part of my labor with each of them on that beach, hearing the waves roll in, resting on a convenient log as I waited.

Wordless Wednesday: Family portraits at 1 & 5

Here's our do-over of our family portraits for Alrik's one-year and Mikko's five-year milestones. We got a photographer we connected with, and we really love these ones.

family portrait

family portrait

family portrait
Ok, this one just made us laugh. Vampire bat!

family portrait

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Redeeming an unexpected hospital transfer

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

The birth of my second son was healing for me. It allowed me to birth on my own terms, as I'd tried to with the birth of my first. I was able to have a peaceful, unhindered water birth in a dim and quiet room, unattended by anyone but my partner.

Alrik born into his parents' arms

But even without the second birth to make things all better, I can still look back at my interrupted first birth — the one that lasted 42 hours and ended with hospital indignities — and sense the grandeur and euphoria of it as well.

Mikko born into an unfamiliar nurse-midwife's hands — but what an ecstatic experience all the same!

For one thing, I gave birth. I pushed an 11 pound, 13 ounce, baby with a huge head and nuchal arm out of my body — all under my own steam — without medication, and with only minor tearing. That was an accomplishment, and as someone's who's always had a tumultuous relationship with her own body and its modest potentials, I am proud of myself.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Surf: Celebration extravaganza

Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

fifth birthday sundae
Celebrating with a free sundae for my FIVE-year-old!
Well. It's been an eventful past couple weeks. I missed last Sunday Surf because my computer died. As it turned out, it was an $18 fix, but several days in the making.

Alrik and I had taken the bus to Portland to visit Ms. Amy Anktangle (yes, that's her real name),1 so when my computer went kablooey, I just had to chill out, disconnect from blogginess, and help her with her garden and enjoy her lovely family. (Can you tell I wasn't too sad?)

In the meantime, two more occasions joined Alrik's first birthday: Mikko's fifth birthday, and Sam's and my fourteenth anniversary. So yesterday we had a beach party to celebrate it all!

Despite the sunburns for the pale folk among us, and sand in strange places, it was a supremely lovely time. I just can't believe I have a five- and a one-year-old!

The links! Lots and lots of goodness saved up for you all:


Flack vs. Flak