Now it’s time for so long…

saaaad little D.A.!

saaaad little D.A.!

Okay, so, this is hard, but it’s necessary.  It’s time to start over, and there’s been too many changes since I started this blog.  This is part of my massive overhaul.  I’m not the same woman I was, and I don’t want to go through and edit or throw things away either.  the past few years of my life while I was writing this blog have been exceedingly hard.  Time for fresh starts, fresh breaths, and turning over fresh leaves.  I am, and will always remain, a domestic anarchist, but the title relates for me to a different time.  A time of love and loss.  A time that knocked me off my feet, and knocked the wind out of me.  A time that forced me to grow in ways I didn’t know I could.

And now it is time to end.  But every ending is also a beginning, and everything must first be broken down in order to be rebuilt.  so, thanks to my few friends that followed me, and also the few followers that I picked up in my short years of sporadic blogging.  It won’t be long till I form a new blog, I’m sure, and I shall be sure to post a link, so that you can all come see it.

Farewell,

The Domestic Anarchist

Personal Autonomy or “For Love of my Brewpub”

 

Okay, I am aware that at first glance “personal autonomy” looks to be a redundant statement.  However, it’s just the comment that this particular post is not necessarily a commentary on the autonomous collective of family, but my own personal autonomy and balancing my personal choices and rules with the rules that surround me as a member of society and the groups and collectives that I live inside of.

So, the primary collectives I’m part of are of course, first and foremost, my family, and then secondly, The Grove Street Brewhouse, which is my place of employment, and my home away from home (I’m writing this blog update here, and I’m here on a daily basis), it is the place I come for downtime, when I need to be able to flex my brainspace without the screaming of toddlers or ranting of video-gaming 8 year olds.  Let’s face it, no matter how much any parent loves their children, without the option of being ourselves OUTSIDE of our role of parenthood, we quickly disintegrate as individuals.

However, even here at The Grove, I’m not merely an individual.  I am a member of a team, personally doing my best to contribute to a business that I love and believe in.  My own autonomous rules that tell me how to function, do not necessarily tell me how to best function as a member of this said team.  We have to have our own rules that are also flexible to fit into the the structures around us.  This does not result in being mindless cogs, this results in the improvement and fluidity of our own lives.  To be independent and yet be able to function with a group is one of the most important skills we can learn.  For those as fiercely independent and anti-authoritarian as myself, it can also be one of the hardest skills to learn.

Obviously, this isn’t the first time I’ve been part of a “team” of employees.  However, I have little problem saying that this is the first business I’ve worked for that I cared about separately from the concept of “not shitting where I eat”.  Obviously, the more successful any business I work for is, the more successful I will be.  However, this place has acquired such value in my life, that I have to learn how to think of it during the moments where I’m not realizing that that I still reflect back on this business.  For the first time I find myself not struggling daily to assert my individuality despite all odds, but actually figuring out how to function more thoroughly as part of a collective that matters to me on more than just a personal level.  Which provides me with somewhat of an interesting quandary.

The balance, again, of finding the self-control to set aside my personal battle against authority and allow the love I have for an establishment to reflect in my behavior.  Reminding me, perhaps, that my personal arguments shouldn’t be brought up aggressively against people who help the fluidity of this business, and that, regardless of how much I love the beer here, tossing back 8 pints after I get off work might end up causing problems or embarrassment for this place I hold such high regard for, and want so desperately to succeed.

After all, though I am an atheist, beer is definitely the closest thing I have to a god, and in this small, sad, economically struggling little pacific town, the fact that we have a brewery at all is one of the few redeeming qualities.  But more importantly the people I’ve met through this place include many of the best people I’ve ever known.  From employees to Mug Club members, they’ve become people I consider family, filling out my fluid Ohana.  Being myself, this isn’t something I speak of real frequently (except in those embarrassing occasions where I’ve opted to toss back a few too many pints after work), but my soul feels enmeshed in this place, after only about 6 months.

I do hope to run my own sustainable brewhouse one day, and while I don’t really plan to run it in the same way as The Grove, I’ve realized that each place kind of has it’s own personality.  And the personality here just somehow feels like home.

This is the difference between working here, at a small, locally owned business, or at a large corporation, in my mind.  Large corporations function as machines, mindless, lacking in personality, and using people as cogs, small parts working synonymously to keep the overall machine plowing forward, with little thought or energy.  Small businesses, oftentimes, are more of organisms.  Employees are the microorganisms that live and stretch and flex within it, impacting and furthering the evolution of the organism, each part autonomous and individual, but reflecting the whole macrocosm.  This is the importance of craft beer, and brewpubs.  Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors are machines, not organisms, and the flavor and spirit of their drinks reflect that.  Let’s support organisms, not machines.

When I first started this entry, I didn’t mean for it to just be a reflection on The Grove and my place within it, and my personal responsibility to protect and honor it, but that has become very much what it is.  Thank you to Tessie and Jeff, and everyone else here for letting me find my place within the organism which is the soul of The Grove, I hope to be a part of it for a long time to come.

So now, I’ll raise a pint of Big Tiny, smell the hoppiness, the rye-malt back, and drink a toast to everyone who’s found themselves with the opportunity to be an autonomous microcosm within the macrocosm of a brewpub, from Busser to Brewmaster; and also, to my own.  Grovestreet, long may your kegs be full, and your taps flowing.

 

-Domestic Anarchist

“Off My Chest”

I am so very ready for this year to be over.  Though I myself have made tremendous progress in this past year, and I believe The Husband has as well, it has been excruciating.  The concept I developed so many years ago of “forced evolution” has proven itself far more brutal than I realized.  I am no longer trying to throw myself into the arms of the universe, unworried of scars, but they keep coming.  My heart literally hurts and the losses I’ve experienced and the people I love have experienced are overwhelming.

The Husband is out of jail.  He is a free man, who has served his time, and has no further probation or legal pressures hanging over his head.  He was released early due to a family tragedy.

The Father-In-Law passed away.  …death is something I tend to touch with kid gloves, it cuts so deep.

I hurt, and the passing of the person who I accounted to be the closest thing I have to a father has brought up some shocking things for me.  The Husband, is of course, reeling.  I know it weighs on him.  I know he relives it over and over each day.  I know because I do, and my loss isn’t even comparable to his.

The Squid, has stopped mentioning him.  Stopped asking.  In fact, now she sort of pointedly avoids it.  I’m glad I’m in tune as I am with my kids and can see the moments when they hurt, since both of them have been hurt so much that now they push it aside.  I see The Squid’s head pick up and turn to the stairs in excitement, the second she hears the squeak of the door and the sound of someone whistling.  I also see it drop the second she realizes that it will not be her Pop-Pop.  Then I see her start to destroy things and whine immediately after.  The Wizard actually makes me a bit more worried, because he’s turned so far inward.  From all the craziness he’s lived in during his short life, and the excruciation of being torn between two families, his experience of pain is so disconnected.  …we all seem so disconnected from it.

It’s strange how we all don’t know how to say how badly it hurts.  This family is so accustomed to pain that we choke on it.  …I meant to say “choke it back”, but maybe this is more accurate.  Maybe we are just choking back our tears until we cannot breathe.

…I guess this is me trying to take a breath.

 

R.I.P. Big Sid

-Domestic Anarchist

Housewife, no. Anarchist, yes. Domestic…? Trying.

Since my last post, I have moved into a new apartment, briefly separated from The Husband yet again (he got to go on a bit of a soul-searching experience himself, spending a couple months training for forest fire training, and doing flood relief in North Dakota), and made some absolutely horrible life decisions.  While we were separated, there was a tragic loss of a much loved friend.  I dealt with it poorly.  I also realized the pettiness of so many of our arguments, and I urge all of my readers to try as much as they can to set aside the petty things, the beef that will inevitably arise between all of us, because without a moments notice, people whose presence we’ve taken for granted can leave us.  Arguments we assumed would be resolved can be left hanging forever, without us ever having the chance to say how we feel.

After The Husband completed his venture, he returned home to me and the children, and I am still amazed by how well we’ve done since then.  We still, of course, have our petty arguments.  But we now have the knowledge of their pettiness, and that no matter what happens, our family and our friendship, comes first.

So, now my beloved Husband finds himself incarcerated (apparently, doing public services and working on personal growth isn’t acceptable reasoning to the municipal courts to leave state while on probation, nor is honesty in court appreciated.), and I find myself struggling to balance everything.

I have left my previous bartending job, and acquired a position at The Grove Street Brewhouse, our local neighborhood brewpub.  I like it a lot.  It fits much better with my mindset, and hopefully all will continue to go well there.  I love the idea of DIY beer, and plan to start my own batch at home sometime soon, and being surrounded by this business that is truly an effort of people who deeply love  the process and culture of brewing so much that they’ve built a life around it is inspirational.

Regardless of my contentment with my employment, I’m struggling financially, and have used my poverty as a silly, silly excuse to let my domestic tendencies slide.  Of course, the concept of poverty preventing domestic tendencies completely collides with everything I’ve ever said.  I’ve just been slacking.  This is something that I desperately need to get on top of in the next couple of months, since I plan to start school in winter Quarter, attending Evergreen State College in an attempt to acquire my bachelors degree in Social Anthropology.  Hopefully I won’t butt heads with too many trustafarian hippies.  …yeah, right.  We all know I will.

It will, however, keep me busy while waiting for The Husbands release.  But my goal now is to balance it all.  I have to balance a semblance of single-motherhood along with a fairly full work schedule and education… is it possible to continue to create a creative, encouraging, thought-provoking environment for my children?

I believe so.

Am I going to undertake the challenge?

HELL YES!

Am I going to continue to log my socio-economic experiment in parenting while supporting an anarchist mindset?  …I shall at least thoroughly attempt!

Thank you for everyone who continues to read my staccato blogging.  This post is dedicated to my Husband, the love of my life, father to my children, a man who stands up honestly for what he thinks and could never be anyone other than himself.  My lover, my best friend, and the finest person I have ever known.

You are so fine to me, my love.  See you friday.

-Domestic Anarchist

Housewife No More

I know it’s been a wicked long time since updating has happened here.  So, here goes the backstory:

in September of 2010, I re-acquired some suppressed memories which required significant dealing with.  These memories at first shed a whole new light on my life and worldview, and then immediately buried me within a deep dark pit of cynicism.  They shook me to my core, and at the same time, allowed me to connect more thoroughly with myself than I ever have. My sense of myself as a survivor, as a woman of power and strength, battles frequently with the self-loathing that I know is unjustified but cannot help but rise during flashbacks.

I gutted my impressions of myself and started over from scratch, seeking to find myself as a person who was more than just a product of a corrupt and sick environment.  Every time I attempted to engage in activities I enjoyed, I found myself questioning and re-examining.

Do I still enjoy this?  Do I still agree with it?  From everything from political interests, to cooking.  From concerts, to video games.  Am I really this DIY feminist “suburban subversive” I had come to define myself as?

I find now my definitions to be less harsh, less desperate, less pleading.  My perspectives have changed in several ways, I no longer feel an imminent need to change the world, though I still have the instinct to live in it as though it will change.  I have accepted that even with my anarchism, I am very fond of technology, and have been enjoying touching back with that, roots I hadn’t really felt around with since I was probably about 13.  I still have stances about health, though my raging fear of carcinogens and all processed food has evened out a bit.

One of the most drastic changes was that in the process of gutting things and finding myself, I gutted my relationship.  The Husband was not prepared for the shocking and brutal tearing down of everything he knew about his wife, his marriage, and his home life and our marriage went on hiatus for more than six months.  This, naturally, put a rapid end to my experience of housewifery.  Which, along with the fact that The Husband took The Laptop, put my blogging also on hiatus.  I hopped around through a few different theories of employment, no longer really wanting the stress of teaching preschool, and the frustration of not being able to school crap parents on their crap parenting.  I was briefly a grill chef, and then I was a waitress at a 50’s diner and pho restraunt.

I’ve now settled quite happily into a bartending position, which, aside from the mixology, is actually not much different than teaching preschool, but a lot easier to leave behind me when I leave work.  The availability of a shift shot when I get off also eases this transition.

So, now you see my quandry.  If I’m no longer being a housewife, and this blog was formed to document the fascinating situation of  a feminist woman finding herself in the position of being a housewife, should the blogging continue?  What will I blog about?  However, I am still an anarchist, and I am still quite domestic, though my domesticity has gone through some changes.  I find myself being more feminine, though it’s still quite tongue in cheek.  I’m still opinionated, though less fanatical, and I’m less angry.

The Husband and I are still working through our issues, though our time apart let us come much closer together, a time filled with mistakes on both sides, which forced us to admit our own humanity, our need for compromise, and our love for each other, that through all the changes, failures and growth, has not dissipated, no matter how much we tried to make it.

It’ll probably be about a month before I update again, the changes in our lives have forced us to admit we are living above our means, and we’re working on moving into town, selling our car, and trying to consolidate our possessions from a 3 bedroom apartment and large storage shed into a two bedroom loft.  I am looking forward to the ease of commute, and also having a smaller area in which to be domestic, with the decreased time I have to be so.  I shall update again though, just thought I’d let my small following know that I am in fact still alive and kicking.

-Domestic Anarchist

Healthy Meals for Toddlers

The Squid enjoys her Widget French Toast

The Squid enjoys her Widget French Toast

It’s too easy as parents to get in the habit of serving our toddlers quick and easy foods, which are frequently lacking in nutritional value.  The most common vegetable eaten by toddlers is potatoes, which is resultant of their high french fry intake.

Why?  The obvious answer is that feeding tiny people is wicked inconvenient.  Unless working in a daycare center, or taking care of quintuplets (in which case you’re so busy and frazzled that you probably don’t want to cook anyhow), you’re putting effort into turning out extremely small servings, which are likely going to get picked apart and abandoned.  Toddlers are also fickle.  The food they love one day, they could loathe the next.

Thusly we find ourselves picking up frozen nuggets of this and that, and serving our kids meals based on convenience, instead of nutritional value.

So, how do we make sure that our kids can get the nutrition they need?  The toddler years are debatably the most important time for good nutrition.  Our kids are expending more energy than they ever have before, their brains are developing constantly, and their emotional crises are rarely alleviated for long.  How do we tempt that toddler palate enough to get our kids to stop going long enough to get the nutrients they need?

In all honesty, extended breastfeeding is the best answer.  No matter how picky an eater you have, or how hectic your schedule, nursing your toddler lets you know that they are still getting the necessary nutrients to develop a healthy brain, body and immune system.  Allowing your child to miss out on these benefits out of fear of societal judgement blows my mind.  The Wizard nursed in the evenings until he was two, and The Squid is still nursing several times a day. 

However, I don’t think this means I can get away with loading them up on junk the rest of the time.  It is a nice safety-net though.  But as far as actual meals go, we need to prepare things that we and our other family members are going to be interested in as well.  This not only ensures that our toddlers are going to receiving complex meals, it makes it so we’re not just preparing tiny frustrating meals and dirtying endless dishes for one very small and unappreciative person.  There are many things we can vary in order to be toddler-sized or toddler-appealing.

Secondly, things that can be given in small, convenient servings and offered repeatedly through the day.  Toddlers have very small stomachs, and smaller attention spans.  Sometimes when your child stops eating it may not be that they don’t like the food, it may be that they’re full or bored.  Let them get down and play for a couple hours, and then re-offer the foods as a snack.

Thirdly, they need to be easy to eat.  Another reason toddlers may not finish a meal is not because of frustration.  Foods that are too large, too tough, or difficult to handle, are in a toddler mind, which doesn’t understand the importance of a balanced diet, not worth the effort.

Foods that are convenient to make, easy to eat, and enjoyable for the rest of the family?  Sound like a tall order?  Not so much.  They might need to be somewhat different than the food the rest of the family eats, but easy to prepare at the same time, with similar tastes.

The best way to explain is to demonstrate, so here are some of my (and The Squids) favorite recipes.

Bitty Bruschetta

I thought of these when I encountered at the grocery store a bag of marked-down whole grain “party bread”.  Bruschetta is one of my favorites anyway, and these soft little slices of bread were perfect for making The Squid her own option.  They bake along with the rest of ours, and sometimes I just make a bunch of the small ones and join her in a snack.  They can refrigerate during the day, but don’t hold up as well overnight.  The bread gets mushy.

6 party bread slices

pesto, marinara or garlic sauce to taste  (you can be sneaky with your pesto and work in zucchini, spinach, or whatever nutritious vegetable your widget is not inclined to ingest).

desired toppings (olives, tomatoes, etc.  if any meat is used, make sure it’s pre-cooked.)

about 1/4 of a cup of medium-soft cheese (mozzarella works best, but I’ve also had success with colby jack.)

1. Place party breads on a baking sheet, or a plate if you’re going to be microwaving (not recommended).  2.  Spread pesto, or desired sauce on top, and then sprinkle with your toppings.  3.  Put a pinch of cheese on top, or to make it a little more fun, you can slice the cheese and use cookie-cutters to cut out shapes to decorate the brushetta with.  They hold up surprisingly well.  4.  Pop in the broiler on “low” until cheese is melted.

Macaroni and Cheese Bites

2 cups pre-prepared macaroni and cheese (from scratch or box both work fine, but if you do them from scratch Bertolli has come out with a new line of mini-pastas called piccolini.  They’re adorable.  For very, very small children, you can even use pasta stars.)

1/4 cup cooked veggies (broccoli, peas, carrots, etc.)

1/2 cup medium hard to medium soft cheese  (mozzarella is again, my winner here, but if your kid is a cheddar fan, that works fine too.)

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup butter

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 and butter a muffin or mini-muffin pan.  2.  Mix the vegetables into your macaroni and spoon into muffin pan.  3.  Top with cheese.  4.  Melt the remaining butter, and add to your bread crumbs.  5. Top your macaroni and cheese with bread crumbs and pop in the oven til it’s looking golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes.  These hold up alright in the fridge AND freezer, so after you put ALL the effort (ha) into making a batch, you’ll have several easy meals prepped and ready to go.

Widget French Toast

Just came up with this the other day, already a favorite.  Obviously, when I’m feeding the whole family, I just add in a couple of the party breads in with the regular bread, but when it’s just me and The Squid, I munch the widget bread too.  It’s an eye-baller, the measurments are slightly different every time, and I tend to add varying spices depending on the day.

10 party bread slices

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

natural sweetener (agave, honey, stevia or the like) to taste

teaspoon vanilla

cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to taste

1.  pre-heat griddle or frying pan to about 325, or medium heat, lightly grease. 2.  mix egg, milk, sweetener, vanilla and spices in a small bowl.  3.  add party bread, about 4 at a time or so, make sure egg mixure coats both sides.  4.  fry for a couple minutes on either side until golden brown.

Vegetable Curry

Cooking a bit of apple in with the vegetables adds a slight sweetness and some extra vitamins.  Use a nice firm apple that won’t break down.

1/4 cup each of peeled and chopped potatoes, carrots, apple and zucchini

1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock

2 tablespoons mild curry power or garam masala

1. Bring the stock to a boil in a small saucepan.  2.  Add potatoes and carrots.  3.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.  4.  Add apples and continue simmer for about 5 more minutes.  5.  Add zucchini and simmer until all vegetables are tender, this will vary depending on how finely your vegetables are chopped, which should depend on how big of pieces your child can handle.  6.  You can either drain the remaining stock, or keep it and use it to make a light sauce.  …obviously, the sauce is messy, and you may want to serve it with bread or a sandwich to sop it up.  7.  Add curry powder and stir til everything is coated and mixed together well.  Cool, and serve!

Some of you may be thinking “I thought these were supposed to be healthy meals!  Look at all these fats and carbs!”

Well, yes.  An “Atkins” type diet would be very unhealthy for a child.  We ALL need fats and carbs, but especially children.  Carbohydrates are where we get our energy from and there are good and bad carbohydrates.  Carbs that take a while to break down can give us lasting energy and keep our blood sugar balanced, which is very important for a child.  Fat is necessary for both muscle and (!) brain development.  Again, it’s the kind of fat.  It’s not something to be gratuitous with, but olive oil and butter are both very positive sources of fats, and there’s many more, though it might require some more research on your part.

Alright, that was my first soap box.  Here’s my second one.

If you’re going to feed your children meat or animal biproducts (milk, eggs, cheese and butter having all been included in this post), you should know where they’re coming from.  The fact that animals are tortured for human convenience is disgusting, but even if you don’t care about that, the hormones that are pumped into these animals are ingested by your children.  This causes an early onset of puberty, as well as aggressive behavior and obesity.

Think about it.  The hormones that are given these animals to keep them producing eggs and milk at an unnatual rate, are obviously going to attempt to do the same to your children.  The hormones that are given to them to get them to grow and pack on weight (to make them more profitable to an industry powered by greed) are going to do the same thing to your children.

Also, it’s known that emotions that we experience are literally chemical interactions in the brain and body.  So, when animals live miserable, torturous lives, and then die in terror and suffering, these chemicals are FROZEN in their bodies.  And then, yes, ingested by our children.  There is enough stress in our kids lives without passing on the tension of a deceased bovine.  Seriously.

I’m aware that free-range and organic milk, meat and eggs are very expensive.  But the grocery store is not the only place to get food, and is really the last place we should be purchasing it.  Farmers Markets and www.craigslist.com are both resources to try and find farmers and a trip to the farm or Farmers Market to acquire these biproducts is an experience that your children should have.  Many kids don’t understand that their hamburger used to be alive, or that their grilled cheese or scrambled eggs came from an animal.  How are we supposed to teach our children to think freely and make their own life choices without informing them of the basic backstory required for moral thinking?

If there is no available farms or farmers markets, and you can’t afford to buy the free-range meat in stores, maybe it’s time to start seriously considering a vegan lifestyle, or at least cutting way back in your intake of hormonally and chemically polluted food.

Okay.  So, some recipes and a rant.  I’ll get back off my soapbox now.

-Domestic Anarchist

struggles in the life of the homemaker anarchist…

so, it’s been over a month since I blogged now, and it hasn’t been that there’s been nothing to say.  we’ve had alot of experiences in the past month which could have easily been blogged about.  The Wizards 7th birthday, our overnight trip to the Seattle Folklife Festival, the beginning of summer break, and the air show would have all been good ones… then there’s been the random posts that have been drifting through my mind… the evils of fluoride, my frustration at summer “homework”, functional substitutes for formula supplementing, the top foods for kids and infants, recipes, causes to get children involved with…

my excuse?  well, things haven’t been going exactly smoothly in my little anarchist corner of the universe here.  in just my small circle, in two months, we have had four deaths of both friends and family members; three of those very premature (one, my friend’s daughter, who didn’t even make it to one month of age.).  my moms cancer battle, The Husbands struggles at school, The Wizards anxiety, The Squid learning to walk and injuring herself on everything she possibly can, our financial strain, and the cold I’ve been fighting for over two weeks now are just cherries on top.  just when I think I’m starting to pull through, something else will happen and I’ll let myself get dragged back down.

…last night, we left the bedroom door open, and when The Husband awoke in the middle of night and glanced over to check on The Squid, Dita, our cat, was sleeping on top of her.  he pushed the cat off and woke me up, and it took a second, but The Squid woke up with no ill effects from her close call with suffocation.  …close calls are terrifying, and remind me that while we may be lucky, we are not exempt.

…I always thought, that somehow, if my children were in real danger I would know.  Somehow I would just know.  the fact that my daughter was in very real danger and I just slept through it, shocks me.  I am eternally grateful that The Husband did wake up when he did.   however, the awareness that as hard as I try, I don’t have the ability to guarantee safety for my children, or anyone else, is painful and shocking.

there are, of course, little windows of brightness here and there.  The Husband and I, when we aren’t fighting, seem to be drawing closer in the face of adversity.  The Squid learning to walk (at nine months!) fills her and all of us with such pride, and now that The Wizard is out of school, we can spend far more time together.

so, I cannot say that everything is shit.  but my mental health currently has not lended me the ability to go quite beyond the every day tasks of just taking care of my kids.  even that is a struggle.  I’m trying to take my St. Johns Wart and Vit. B. daily, and sleep enough but not too much…

so, yes.  I’m still here.  I’ve just got to get past this depression before I can get back my drive to blog.  so, I’ll be back.  but it may be another minute before another parenting rant commences.  I have some shit I need to come to terms with.

-Domestic Anarchist

Sushi Party!

Yesterday was my birthday, and we had a family sushi party.  We made maki-sushi (rolled sushi with nori, or seaweed), and spring rolls (sushi that’s rolled with spring roll wrappers, which are made from rice, as opposed to seaweed).  I got the spring roll wraps because I was worried The Wizard wouldn’t like nori, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  In fact, he kept a piece of nori that he just ripped pieces off of to munch on, and The Squid loved it as well.  I’m so lucky with my gorgeous kids who love chlorophil!

I was amazed by how easy it was.  The Wizard had a blast, and it was so QUICK.  That’s the best part.  You can eat each roll as soon as it’s ready, and the longest part is the prep work, and as most of the vegetables can be grated, how long does that really take?  You can keep things prepped and in the fridge, even put together in a little “sushi kit” of rice, grated veggies, and desirable seafoods (I’m personally anxious about feeding raw fish to my kids, so we used shrimp and imitation crab).

It’s fun, fast and easy, and it’s something the whole family can do together, collectively.  For the littlest family members, who may choke on an assembled roll, everything is already in pieces, ready to enjoy.

So, I didn’t manage to get any pictures last night, but here’s basically how to assemble a spring roll, which is what I had for lunch today.

okay, so here’s my spring-roll station, all set to go.  fried tofu, spinach, grated carrots and cucumber, and the spring roll wrap.  I also added some crumbled gorgonzola that’s not in the picture but made them awesome.  the bowl of water is for softening the wrap.

1: put the spring roll wrap in warm water just until it’s pliable and you can work with it.  don’t leave it in there too long, or it gets floppy and then it’s a pain in the ass.  careful to lay it flat, or else it sticks to itself.

2: arrange your filling on your wrapper.  think of a soft taco, with everything more or less in the center.

3: fold the bottom of the wrapper up over the filling, as snug as you can to make for easy rolling.

 

4: fold up the ends so nothing falls out while you’re rolling.  just like swaddlin’ a baby.

 

5:  roll it on up!  the snugger the better, but don’t worry if your kids roll ’em loose.  they’re still definitely edible, and still definitely tasty.  just somewhat messier.  you might have to get this started for little kids, but rolling is totally the fun part.  and VOILA!  there’s your springroll.

The awesome thing (other than pure easiness) is you can individualize these so much for each family member.  you can make them with rice, noodles or just straight up veggies.  they can be vegetarian, vegan or omnivore.

a note on tofu:  if you want to replicate my spring roll, make sure to get extra firm tofu, and I fry mine with a little olive oil, rice vinegar, pepper and garlic powder.  make sure to drain it when you’re done.  spring rolls should only be greasy if they’re deep-fried.

Just to add some cuteness to this post, here’s The Squid, signing “eat”, ready to dig in to her tofu and grated veggies.

-Domestic Anarchist

Walking with Children

now that the weather is beginning to warm up a bit, we’ve started making a regular habit of walking with the kids.  The Squid and I often go for walks during the day, with her either in her sling or mei tai, either napping or observing.  she loves being outside.

The Wizard, on the other hand, is becoming less interested in just walking for the sake of walking, and now for him it’s all about exploring and challenging himself.  any hills or bolders we encounter he must conquer before we can move on.  and he always looks for the most complicated way to do so.

this is doing more than just getting out of the house and getting exercise.  as humans in our culture, we’ve become so accustomed to being in houses, places we seldom leave except for set activities, such as shopping or soccer games, and then we travel in a car.  we’re disconnected from the reality of the world.  we don’t think of it as a huge interconnected organism, we think of it as a number of places, conveniently attached together by roads.

getting out in the wild, exploring the world around us, gives children a sense of not just the earth, but themselves and their place in it.  that place should be a connected, living space.  a space where they’re aware that while we’re part of a much bigger picture, we contribute to it.  we’re part of it.  finding frogs and climbing trees and splashing our way through rivers and creeks, picking up contributions from beavers, we find ourselves reconnecting to the truth of what we are and what’s around us.  in lands that have no ownership, we have the same right to be there as every bird, deer or bug that crosses our path.  we are all equal and we all belong.  our heads lift, our breath becomes deeper.  when at last our bodies begin to tire and we push through, we learn of our own strength, the hidden strength within us and the power we can draw from the universe around us.

Cloth Diaper Revolution!

The Squid sportin' a Flip cover and Econobum prefold.

The Squid sportin' a Flip cover and Econobum prefold.

last thursday, I got my May/June issue of Mothering.  as always, it had some awesome articles, and really great encouragement for alternative parenting.  but what I was most excited about was the article about cloth diapering.  now, we’ve been toeing around with cloth diapering since before The Squid was born.  the first couple months of her life, we weren’t able to do much, as we had just moved and didn’t yet have a washer and dryer.  once we did, we started switching back and forth from the few fitted cloth diapers we had, and a few Gdiapers, which we’d gotten at our baby shower, as well as the occasional disposable.

now, it’s been primarily, “well, we still have Gdiapers left…” and “oh, we can’t really afford to get a bunch of cloth diapers right now…” but after reading the Mothering article, which made a few points about Gdiapers that I hadn’t known about (A. they still contain SAPs, which are toxic, petroleum based, and one of my issues with disposables in the first place, and B. while they claim “compostable” they shouldn’t be used on vegetable beds, due to the SAPs, which never completely break down.  however, they are making cloth inserts now, good for them, check ’em out at www.gdiaper.com), so, I ran to the compost bucket, pulled out the inserts, which were by then covered in coffee grounds and veggie scraps, and threw them in the trash.  then I sat down and had a talk with The Husband, about our diapering options.  which went fairly well, til I mentioned ‘carcinogens’ which he’s been teasing me about since the first few months we were together, when I spoke of them so frequently.  every time he asked me “why don’t you use…” the answer was usually “carcinogens!”, now he breaks into song, listing off various things and following them with “carcinogens!”, as in: “deoderant, carcinogens!  sunscreen, carcinogens!  diapers, carcinogens!  william shatner, carcinogens!”

eventually, though, we agreed it was time to switch over, and I went to do some research and try to track down some semi-affordable cloth diapers online.  all we’d encountered up til that point was fitted cloth diapers, which are wicked expensive, and the random store-bought prefolds pinned together and covered with plastic pants, which wasn’t really the route we wanted to go either.  so, during my internet search, I discovered a diaper store in Olympia!  Simple Cloth.

my friend Danielle had mentioned it to me before, but we had no money to spare at the time, and so I promptly forgot.  this time, however, I was going to Olympia with my mom the following day, and so we stopped by.  we had a limited time frame, since the Wizard gets home from school at about 3:30, and we were at the store at about 2:20, and it’s more than a half-hour drive away.

Store Review: Simple Cloth gets 5 out of 5 for Badassedness!

in the short amount of time I had there, they were incredible.  the woman who helped me make my selections was thorough, friendly and demonstrated everything to make sure I would know exactly what I was doing.  also, now that I know they’re there, I’ll be in more frequently, because they offer, not just a huge selection of diapers, baby carriers and cool natural toys, but also nursing areas, changing areas and a play area, which are available for use whether or not you’re doing diaper shopping that day.  how cool are they?  they also have an online store, so even if you’re nowhere near Olympia, WA, you can experience their awesomeness for yourself!

Diaper Review: Econobum gets 4 out of 5 for badassedness!

and a huge vote of badassedness to Bumgenius, who started their new line of diapers, Econobum!  they’re prefolds and covers, made with the bare-minimums, not trying to be fancy or shmancy, with plain white adjustable covers and prefolds that fold two ways to guarantee they grow with your kid.  and, you can buy a diaper and cover together for just $10, or a box with a dozen diapers and 3 covers for $50.  I was a little nervous about going the prefold route, especially after she warned me that the Econobums, aren’t quite as easy to use as some of the others (most of the other covers have pockets on either side to hold the prefolds in, while the Econobum covers just have elastic), but I haven’t had any kind of issue with them, or with putting them together.  obviously they’re not as easy as the fitted diapers, but the covers fit just fine over the fitted diapers as well, which is great.  I did get two Flip diaper covers as well, which work with the Econobum prefolds and our fitted diapers, and they do have the flaps, so they’re a little easier to use, and still have the adjustable snaps.  …they’re also wicked cute.

all together, I got the Econobum pack, 2 Flip covers and a little hemp pad to go over the diaper at night to increase absorbancy.  which came out to almost $90.  it sounds like a lot, until you think about the fact that we could probably get by without having to buy diapers again.  (that’s a lot of laundry though, so I’m thinking I’ll probably get another Econobum pack when we have some extra money.)

now to commence the rant.  most kids go through about 6-7 diapers a day (roughly evened out.  more when teenie, less when a bit bigger), until they’re at least two and a half (The Wizard decided he was thoroughly potty-educated on his 3rd birthday, and never looked back).  so, that’s… 2,520 diapers a year, for 2-3 years, which is between 5,040 and 7,560 diapers.  holy shit.  so, disposable diapers are about 25 cents apiece.  that works out at… $630 a year?  and up to $1,890 before your kid is going to be using the toilet regularly.  (unless you opt for Elimination Communication, which sounds brilliant and I’m going to try to implement part-time.  upcoming blog, probably.  for now check out www.diaperfreebaby.com)  all of a sudden throwing down $100 for cloth diapers doesn’t sound so bad, does it?  a family with just one child in disposable diapers throws down over $50 a month anyway.

plus, not only are you paying money for these things, these toxic, plastic things that you’re strapping on to your childs most vulnerable places, each and every one of those 7,560 diapers ends up in a landfill.  a baby in disposable (what a stupid word.  we don’t “dispose” of anything.  we just bury this toxic SHIT in our already overloaded earth, and then try not to think about it.) diapers has an ENORMOUS carbon footprint.  diapers are petroleum based, made with 7 billion gallons of oil each year.

they’re a non-renewable resource, that we’re taking from the earth, and the closest anyone can figure to how long it’s going to take these things to actually break down is HUNDREDS of years.   the children who’re wearing these diapers aren’t going to last as long as they do.  why the HELL are we making a “disposable” product with a longer lifespan than it’s consumer?  just for the purpose of catching shit?!  god.  check out the video at www.gdiapers.com to see just how well disposable diapers break down.

we live in a disposable culture.  there is so much we throw away.  if we want to be revolutionaries, if we want to dream of a future, any future at all, we need to man up and stop throwing stuff away simply for our own convenience.  the biggest reasons that people give for not using cloth diapers are: “it’s gross.” and “it’s too much work.”

come on, people.  this is our kids we’re talking about, and our planet.  honestly, it’s NOT that big of a deal.  it’s not that gross and it’s not that much extra work.  diapers are small.  throwing them in with the laundry you’re already washing is not that terrible of a hassle.  what’s REALLY gross is letting our non-biodegradable shit-catchers pile up for hundreds of years.  once you throw a disposable diaper in the garbage, you can’t take it back again.

ever.

-Domestic Anarchist