Saturday, April 30, 2011


I believe that God gives us little signs, hints as to which direction our life should be taking.  We can choose to follow or turn away.  Even if we are not ready to accept the signs, the hints, the direction markers, he will find a way to keep putting them in our path.  
Three days into my sugar detox, I stumbled upon this book; Babycakes, Vegan (Mostly) Gluten-Free (Mostly) and (Mostly) Sugar Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked About Bakery by Erin McKenna.  We were at Target and Lilah, my little baker, was browsing through a cupcake decorating book.  I was considering purchasing it for her when I noticed the book hanging out next to it, tucked up against the corner of the bookshelf.  It was like there was a spot light was pointing me to this book. I had just asked my Vegan sugar-free friend how to bake my favorite things sans sugar.  Agave nectar, honey and maple syrup are all new ingredients in baking to me and Lilah.  Although I rarely pay full retail price for books, here was all the information I needed to know!  Tucking it under my arm, it became mine ours.
I am reading this cookbook cover to cover.  After I stock up on the required ingredients, Lilah and I will begin converting our kitchen into Lilah’s Luscious Bakery and will provide reviews! 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sugar Free

When I went caffeine-free last year, I ended up at the doctor’s office.  My withdrawal symptoms were so severe that my husband was worried about me.  It was an awful two weeks complete with headaches and extreme fatigue.  I fell asleep at noon, on the couch while reading with Lilah.  I did not think I would make it through, but I was concerned at how much caffeine I was drinking (pots of coffee a day...not cups) and how miserable I was feeling.  Eventually the withdrawal subsided and I was left with not only physical relief but a profound appreciation for what an stronger addition; like that of heroin or crack, must be like.  
I did go back to coffee but not at full strength.  I mix decaf grounds with regular and limit myself to two coffee cups in the morning.  Before whenever Greg and I were out and about we never thought twice at popping into our favorite coffee shop on the corner for a coffee to go.  We would have coffee when we went out to dinner and always at friend’s homes.  I stopped all that.  Occasionally I will purchase coffee, like I did Tuesday when I spent a glorious afternoon outside with my friends sipping lattes while our girls attended their pottery class, but it was decaf.  Always decaf.
Now I have made the decision to cut out sugar.  It has been three days.  I made this decision for the same reasons I did with coffee.  Basically I felt like poo.  I have always had a problem with sugar.  I love it.  Chocolate is my best friend.  Ice cream and I have a love affair.  My desire to ingest it has not changed as I have aged, but it seems my body is no longer willing to process the amounts of sugar I have been consuming.  My stomach has been upset.  Nothing serious, just uncomfortable.  I don’t feel healthy.  I have been asking so much of my children when I have changed their diets.  I started to wonder just what I am asking of myself.  After Easter weekend, and two days of feeling like poo, I made the decision to cut it out cold turkey.
I have had no bread, no chocolate, no ice cream, no beautiful sugar in the raw sprinkled on my oatmeal.  This is coming from the woman who got busted for sneaking into and eating all of her children’s valentine heart chocolates.  I have been focused on eating with intention.  I love Lilah’s eggs for breakfast, or oatmeal, sans brown sugar.  For lunch Grace and I have ham and cheese quesedillas on corn tortillas.  Around 3:00 I have my green smoothie with a recipe I have perfected for me. 

  • Handful of chopped fresh organic spinach
  • Handful of chopped romaine lettuce totaling about a cup of greens
  • about a 1/2 cup frozen banana, peach and strawberry mix
  • Fresh pineapple with juice
  • Big splash of orange juice

I love love love this smoothie.  My friend swears that they have been vital in helping her to cut her sugar cravings.  Maybe it is a placebo effect but I swear they are helping me too.
For dinner we have had pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, rice, black beans, grilled veggie burgers and homemade meat spaghetti sauce with gluten free pasta.  I am not yet counting carbs so I know that I am not “technically” sugar free since I believe you can’t be totally sugar free without cutting out carbs as well but I am very conscious of them and keeping to low carb foods as well.  
Right now I am not feeling great.  I researched sugar withdrawal symptoms and I think I am suffering some of them like muscle fatigue.  I am more thirsty but less hungry.  All textbook symptoms.  I hope to emerge from this stronger, healthier and happier.  I want to go into my forties aware that it is disrespectful to expect my body to handle what it did when I was in my twenties.  In order to stay fit and energized I need to take my diet to a new level and I am proud of what I have begun.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stay Safe

My friend Karen spent a large portion of Wednesday inside a closet with her daughter and her dog.  The thought that through no fault of your own, no misdeed or accident, everything can be taken from you in a moment’s notice is not only terrifying, but humbling.  I am awed by the power of nature.  It has the ability to both inspire us to greatness and bring us to our knees in sadness.  It can stun us into silence through beauty and through destruction.  
While we in Connecticut are not being impacted by the front that has stalled out over the   southern states, we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.  Our news reported that a Trooper was killed shielding his daughter from a falling tree during a camping trip.  He willingly gave his life so that she could keep hers.  Tragic and beautiful.  It seems that nature is that way, both tragic and beautiful.  
Yesterday Grace took an online class titled Wicked Weather.  It was not planned that this class would be held during the tornado outbreak.  The instructor was located in one of the states affected and said she might have to disrupt the class if the sirens were to go off.  Our friends who spent most of the day in the closet were part of this class as well.  
However, the timing of this class did bring home the point that the more you know about weather, especially severe weather, the better able we all are to stay safe.
Stay safe.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


As I read other blogs, especially a certain one set in Florida (here) and a couple in Australia (here and here), I often find myself wishing that I lived somewhere with breathtaking beauty.   Then I realized I have to shift my thinking.  I live in New England and we just finished up a hard New England-style winter.   Connecticut in April/May is beautiful.  Everything is coming to life.  We get to experience the joy of rebirth every spring.  I feel it is especially poignant given that it seems so late in arriving this year.....

Today to celebrate the glory of our surroundings, we took the girls on a botany-walk.  I was chief photographer and they were supposed to point out anything they saw that related to anything that they have learned.  Did you happen to notice that they are wearing rain boots?  Who wears rain boots on a botany walk?  Girls who are more interested in splashing in water than recalling botany facts on demand!  Our walk was not for naught however.  We found moss and lichen, trees and shrubs in the process of pollination.  We discussed water pollination, wind pollination and how certain flowers are  pointed downward and those are usually for moths to find at night.  We talked about vascular and non-vascular plants.  We saw a ginormous snapping turtle and gave it plenty of space (it escaped into deeper water so I was unable to “snap” a picture!).  

The girls enjoyed exploring the water.  Since this is a man-made pond created in the 1920s, and not made by nature there is not as much wildlife as they would find in the woods.  That did not stop them from mucking about.  

We did all this in an hour.  Then the whole group traveled about a mile away to their pottery class.  And guess what happened????  Their instructor thought it would be a great idea to go into her glorious garden and take clippings to roll into their clay!  How cool is that!  Talk about cross-curriculum!  Art and science.  Hand in hand.  So Lilah took a bleeding heart and some leaves and pressed them into her clay.  Grace was inspired to free draw a leaf in her clay.  Looks like a fern to me!

What a glorious day to appreciate our life.  We were keenly aware that most children can only glimpse the leaves and feel the warm air from their classrooms and 15 minutes of recess.  We are free to explore, discover and wander about at our own pace, until we are content.  And content we are!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Peek into My Wedding Album

14 Years ago today I married my best friend.... 

.... I am thankful every single day.

Friday, April 22, 2011


We finished our second chapter of the week in SOTW.....I am so pleased.  In chapter 28 we learned that the Romans were the first to build modern roadways connecting their empire. Along the way, they used stones as mile markers, or milestones.  I explained that while our highways have mile markers as well, we use the term to mean a significant event or developmental stage in human growth and development.  In fact, we experienced a milestone ........our first green smoothie!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's a draw.....

Last night we got an unexpected phone call.  My sister-in-law was gifted a hotel room for the night and invited us over for an evening swim with her boys.  My girls can never refuse the offer of a swim, especially with their cousins.  I am not sure which they enjoyed more, playing chicken in the pool, or soaking in the hot tub.....From their smiles, I would say it’s a draw.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bonsai and Venus

Another day, more to do, more to see, more to learn.  I have been reading Story of the World at breakfast.  The girls listen while they are cooking, eating or cuddling with the dogs.  I am desperate to finish this book (Book 1) by the end of June.  It is a reasonable goal if we keep at it.  We are on chapter 28 of 42.  14 chapters, 2 a week and we are good.  We are beginning the Roman Empire.  Having spent so much time on the Greeks it was fascinating to us how the Romans adopted the Greek Gods. We picked our favorite God.  For Grace it was Zeus, a.k.a. Jupiter (which is now her favorite planet).  What is a study of the Roman Gods without breaking out a little Frankie Avalon singing Venus?  Got to love youtube.  They thought I was quite the dork dancing with my dog while Frankie poured his heart out to the Goddess of Love....I bet they will not forget who Venus is anytime soon!

Lilah decided to plant her Bonsai plant she bought in Chicago.  This led to planting many of the seeds we bought for botany.  Which led to the setup of the light-hut.  Grow little seeds grow!  I will wait patiently for fresh basil, fennel, lavender and thyme.......

Monday, April 18, 2011

Magical Monday

Today was a great day!  We started by reading a chapter of Story of the World in our new book.  Not new because we finished the book, but new because I  I can’t find it anywhere and I must have fallen out of favor with St. Anthony.  Can you overuse a prayer?
The girls took a cupcake class,

Picked up their gorgeous pottery,

Had a picnic with friends,

Noticed that our bean plant (from our botany experiment) is flowering!

Then came home for dinner and Lemonade Mouth with their buddies.

You just can’t ask for a better day!

Don't You Just Stay Home All Day?

It’s funny because last night at youth group some of the kids friends were discussing homeschooling and really truly felt that we stay home...