Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Yes! You CAN Raise a Daughter Who Loves Her Body!

[Note: This is a guest post from an amazing woman I met via twitter. I'm super excited to share her writing and her message! I think it is a CRITICAL message for everyone who has a daughter. Give Hilary a shout out via twitter or in the blog comments if you agree!]

If I had read the title of this post a few years ago, I would have had two reactions: ‘that’s not possible’, and ‘tell me more.’ I would have been split down the middle between believing that we exist in a world where loving our bodies as women is nearing impossibility, and wanting desperately to know that it didn’t have to be that way.

But all of that doubt changed a few years ago. When trying to pick a topic for my master’s thesis, I kept coming back to the fear that I would one day have a daughter who struggled with her body in the same way I have. So, my supervisor and I set out to find young women who loved their bodies, and learn from them and their mothers what went right.

Over hours and hours of conversation with these women, and their mothers, we learned two very important things.

First, it is possible for young women to love their bodies, and their mothers absolutely had a role to play in that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

You're Responsibility Vs. Deep-fried Twinkies....

After what seems like a very long hiatus, I’m back at it. I haven’t abandoned you my Kid Friendly Organic Life people! In fact, one of my New Year’s resolution is to get back to blogging regularly here.

Honest confession – it’s not just that I’ve missed you (I have! I have!), but also my jeans are getting a little tight and there’s just a bit too much white sugar creeping back into my world. My excuses are long and layered, but they amount to nothing more than distraction and laziness
I have discovered that I write about what I most care about, and lately that has been rescue dogs, fiction writing, and my own navel. Not that those are bad things, but it’s time to turn back to my health. I’m turning 50 this year which is a shock to me. Instead of running from that fact, I’m embracing it and that means getting serious about staying healthy.

We should all be serious about our health. There’s much too much taking-it-for-granted-until-it’s-too-late happening. In honor of that, I thought I’d tackle the NEW nutrition guidelines that have been behind a flurry of redundant filler articles turning up in every news outlet in town
Dietary Guidelines for Americans is published every 5 years for health professionals in light of the latest and greatest nutrition science. This momentous occurrence just occurred as the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines were published this past fall. If you want to read it in full (it’s long and has many, many tables and appendixes, but it’s very clearly laid out and not too governmenty) click here.

For the rest of us normal people, here’s the shortened version of the guidelines:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How I Grew the Biggest Lemons in Pennsylvania!

About seven years ago, I ordered a lemon tree through the mail. 

At the time, I was seriously over the edge in terms of doing EVERYTHING organic and decided that growing my own organic lemons was a good idea.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I live in Pennsylvania. Not Florida.

But the optimistic website assured me that I could grow lemons ANYWHERE. So, I said, “Awesome! Send me a tree!” (I’m sure that’s technically historical fiction, as the facts are fuzzy these many years later.)

The tree arrived and I carefully followed the directions and planted it in a humongous pot filled with wood chips mixed with soil (per the instructions that came with my tiny little tree).

For seven long years, I tended my plant. It grew and grew, eventually sprouting long sharp spikes that poked us when we passed too closely. One year, my angry husband cut all the spikes off the tree, but even that didn’t deter it. It just grew new spikes.

We moved it inside each winter where it proceeded to be forgotten for weeks at a time, only to be rescued from death by heavy watering, removal of all its dead leaves, and being doused with a seaweed fertilizer concoction.

Anyway – all that is to say – it’s not been an easy life for our little lemon tree. And for six long years it produced not one lemon.

But this year everything changed. This year we grew lemons! Really, really, really BIG lemons. Grapefruit sized lemons!

Early in the summer they were tiny little green balls, more like limes.

Somewhere about August they began to swell to epic proportions. So much so, that I took to Facebook to see if anyone knew what I was growing.

After much serious and some not-at-all-serious-but-very-entertaining discussion/speculation, it was decided that what I was growing were indeed lemons, but they wouldn’t be fully ripened until Thanksgiving, maybe even Christmas.

And what do you know? This is the lemon I picked from my tree last night.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cara's Famous Fabulous Clean-Out-the-Fridge Dip

Thanksgiving is upon us, and with it, perhaps a few house guests? A few gatherings? That’s the drill at my house. Lots of extra people, lots of extra food, lots of wine, lots of cooking, and hopefully, lots of other people in the kitchen besides me to load the dishwasher!

My family has a tradition of everyone helping with the big meal. This means that cousins and friends will arrive with bags and coolers of food. Space in the fridge will be at a premium. 

So, this week one of our most important tasks will be freeing up some room in the fridge. Here’s one of my favorite solutions (beyond just several nights of everybody-eat-anything-you-want-in-the-fridge) - The Clean Out the Fridge Dip and/or Cheese Spread.

Let me explain.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Garden Hacks

At the beginning of the summer when I realized I had NO TIME for my garden, I thought, I’ll figure out some garden hacks and then I’ll blog about them. Sadly, not all my hacks worked, but there is still potential and the information is worth sharing, so here we go….

Let’s start with the biggest flop with the potential to be the biggest success. I do think this one is a keeper, but it needs some modifications and a lot more attention.

Gutter Step Garden
Nick built this lovely idea for me last year to house the strawberries. We had to relocate them so we could tear out the garden that was their home of the past twelve years and replace it with an expanded driveway. They were happy in the gutters and looked beautiful all summer and fall.

The garden is basically four gutters with caps on both ends mounted on a set of stair stringers and then given a frame to add stability. We didn’t poke holes for drainage because the caps were not a good seal and they leaked beautifully. Also, the gutter step garden is on a slight slant, so the water naturally drained off one end.

Lucky for me, I didn’t put all my strawberries in the gutter garden. I sagely planted half of them in an inground garden. Why am I lucky you ask? Remember last winter? The seven-month-long bitter, miserable slog through below freezing temperatures, daily record breaks, and endless snow? Why yes, that winter. By spring my strawberries in the gutter garden were dead beyond dead.

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Life is In The Weeds.....

Hello Kid Friendly Organic Life readers! Did you think I’d abandoned you? Never! However, I have been more than a bit distracted of late. Here’s why -

My novel was published just this week by The Story Plant. I’m super excited. Between promoting I’m Not Her and writing (and re-writing) my next novel for Story Plant, I’ve had very little time for me (and you). Here’s what my gardens look like –

See if you can find cucumbers, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, one pepper plant, sweet potatoes, and popcorn hidden in this garden.....
And here we have a zucchini not minding the weeds one bit, and behind that are tomatoes completely swallowed by weeds and blight, sunflowers towering above the wreckage with a watermelon somewhere in that mess...