Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

When I saw Silvia Simpson's (of Silvia's Photography)  photograph of my daughters (above), I new it was time to start creating my vision of Sensational Children. The picture just screamed, "SENSATIONAL CHILDREN"and everything that needs to be done to make sure children remain sensational!

Dr. Gabor Mate writes about how the disfunction of the world can be mirrored in an individual (In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts). When I learned about my son's disorder, sensory processing disorder (SPD), I recognized much of what was lacking in society's common practice of child rearing….Sensational Children (for me) was always more than "just" advocating SPD. It's about treating all children with the respect they deserve.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to practice mindful parenting and consciously download (into our children) information that will serve our children? Much of what we do arises from automatic programming that bypasses conscious awareness and may even run contrary to our intentions. Decisions that we may believe to be freely made can arise from unconscious emotional drives or subliminal beliefs. They can be dictated by brain mechanisms programmed early in childhood and determined by events of which we have no recollection. In the real world, choice, will and responsibility are not absolute and unambiguous concepts. People choose, decide and act in a context. That context is determined by how their brain functions. Brain development is influenced by conditions over which the individual, as a young child, had no choice whatsoever (summarized from In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts). If we are responsible for the programs that are downloaded into our children, let's download healthy ones.

Through my parenting workshops, parents will learn the skills for supporting their most important work; their children. I'm certified to teach Positive Discipline, and the Bringing Baby Home and Emotion Coaching Programs from the Gottman Institute. I would love to teach them all….all the time….but as a parent myself, I'm balancing my love for sharing these wonderful concepts with others to implementing them with my children. And implementing them takes most of my time. My children need me. And my experience as a parent can only add to my usefulness as a facilitator.

Our children need us to be mindful of our parenting, they also need time to connect with others and time to unwind, time to integrate their experience while they play out what they hear and see; time and a safe place for their creativity to blossom. I want to create a space for children to do just that; and as a life-long artist, I can't think of any other place than my art studio. Elliot Eisner, Art Education Researcher and Scholar, says, “The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source.”  Through creativity, our children learn adaptability, what Dr. Shimi Kang (writer of The Dolphin Way) admits is the number one skill our children will need in the 21st century. Sensational Children would not be complete without Sensational Art. But I'm not sure what that will look like yet.

As I work through the licensing criteria (for my whole vision of Sensational Children), things keep changing. Doors close, but there are still so many open. The process of bringing my vision to life is not a straight path; it's organic and changes. As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” I trust my vision will take the shape it needs to; also, I trust that my journey (itself) will spark (in many) the realization that raising children (that children themselves) are THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Puffed Quinoa Nutella Balls

These were awesome, but needed a little tweaking. My plan was to experiment and post the final results…
maybe, one day…

Today, I'll give you the quick version of what I did and what i plan to do. If you get the right formulation, send it to me, please!

To make:

Carefully warm 1/2 cup of Nutella on medium/low heat. Remove from heat, Mix in
1 cup puffed quinoa
1 cup oats
2 tbsp chia
2 tbsp ground flax seed

 To assemble:

shape into round balls
place onto a baking sheet
pour melted dark chocolate on each ball


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finding My Element

I know what I like to do….everything….and people who say there is always enough time for everything; don’t really know what everything means. Today, everything means I want to do pottery, paint in my art studio….which is a complete mess….I want to unpack ALL those boxes, organize ALL the contents, have the time to read through ALL those old books then write about how wonderful it ALL was. But my day will end soon and I will have to pick up children from their different schools and daycares. Then, I have to do everything for everyone else…yes, I know, I don’t HAVE TO; they are old enough to start doing things, but really, I do want a relationship with my children and hiding in my studio, pouring over "Notes To Myself" by Hugh Prather, isn’t really relationship building. So, let me add “have relationships” to the list of things I want to do. I also want to make an awesome supper, and have a spotless kitchen. And all of this must happen now.
            So I’m trying to do all of the above. Exhausted (of course) because my mind wants to do more than my body (and time) will allow. As I unpack and organize all the items of one box, I hold the book, Notes to Myself, and sit down….time to pour over Hugh Prather’s words. I open the book to page….? There are no pages in his book, but there is a bookmark marking a passage that reads, “There is a part of me that wants to write, a part that wants to theorize, a part that wants to sculpt, a part that wants to teach….To force myself into a single role, to decide to be just one thing in life, would kill off large parts of me.” Ta-da! My thoughts in someone else’s book!
            I’m becoming okay with wanting to do everything because I realize there is a large need for what I do. People want to buy my art (I’m having technical difficulties with my art website…ugh, that is something I do not want to do…but I WILL have a website for my art soon.). When I read, I gain new perspectives on THINGS and bring so much more to my parenting classes, parents need that. Most parents don’t have the time and don’t want to read and sift through all of the crazy information out there. I LOVE doing it and I LOVE presenting concepts and watching the a-ha’s in everyone’s faces. I love to teach. I love to support my children, I even like making supper for them (as long as they’re not whining and complaining!). And I want to support other people’s children. There is a huge need for an alternate form of daycare, lots of moms (and some dads) are at home with children and just want to get out and introduce their children to something meaningful. Not the noisy community centres with the structured activities that allow for no creativity. Come to my house, you can do whatever you want, with the security of knowing that the interactions and choice of activities are interlaced with a sweet theme that promotes social emotional learning.
            I’ve forgotten about that. The theme! I’ve been so busy looking for myself and “my element” as Ken Robinson refers to it, that I forgot to just be me and just do what it is I do. I used to write a phrase on the blackboard, our theme of the week, and we’d all talk about it. In the coming week (in my home) I’ll introduce the theme of “finding your element”. My kids are not too young to start being mindful of the activities they enjoy. This will lead them to better career choices in the future.
            So much to do….so little time….And I know, I don’t have to do it all right now. And I know, life will take me in so many different direction and it’s all okay. I love the fact that my life is not linear. As Ken Robinson writes in “Finding Your Element”, Life is organic, “My life, like yours, is a constant process of improvisation between my interest and personality on the one hand and circumstances and opportunities on the other.”

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Eye of Round Premium Beef Roast

Welcome Fall.
It's been raining in Vancouver….finally? We've had beautiful weather until now, but the rain started.
And I thought it was time to turn on the oven and prepare fragrant, comforting meals. I decided on roast beef. But, it's been so long since I last made a beef roast…I wasn't sure what to do. What type of beef cut to purchase, how to dress it, how long to cook it, etc.
It turns out the grocery store just had the one cut of beef (eye of round). (And I didn't feel like a special trip to the butcher's).
Now what? I looked through my cooking Bible, The Joy of Cooking, but couldn't find any information on how long the roast needed to cook. This was important, because I would be leaving it in the oven while picking kids up from school. I needed to know that I wouldn't over cook the beef….and I didn't think there was enough time for me to start the roasting after I picked up the kids from school. gave me the answers I wanted. It's awesome! I'm so glad I discovered it! How did I survive without this site? You have to check it out.
So I roasted my 1.1 kg cut of beef for 2 hours adding the vegetables to the pan 1/2 hour before the meat was done (when the meat thermometer registers rare, 140 degrees Fahrenheit). A butcher once told me to add a broth to cover half the roast…so I tried that and yum! So handy when you have kids. I pour the broth over noodles. And we have a complete meal! You'll find the recipe at the end if this post.
It needs gravy. 
I forget how much flour to add to the stock, so I look up Martha Stewart's gravy. I don't have drippings, as they get absorbed into the broth, but I make due. Here's my gravy: 

I usually have more stock than I need, so yesterday, I boiled Jane's flour noodles in the extra stock….she loved it!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chocolate - Walnut Cake

So my kids come home after spending a week with their dad at the farm. I'm handed a bag-full of walnuts from their walnut tree. Yum!!! And all I could think of was CAKE!

The recipe looks complicated, but it's really very simpleand the ingredients are similar to what you would find in a power bar - walnuts, dates, chocolate.packed with protein and (it has some) iron..and so yummy! 

Combine dates, cocoa and warm freshly brewed coffee. Let stand for at least 20 minutes.

Combine bread, walnut pieces, flour, and salt in a food processor and process until finely ground. Place crumb mixture in a large bowl. 

Combine the date mixture, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, oil, vanilla, and 1 egg in food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl once. 

Add the date mixture to the crumb mixture, stir well.  

Beat egg whoites with a mizer at high speed until soft peaks form.
Gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. 
Gently stir one-fourth of the egg-white mixture into the batter; gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture. 

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until cake center springs back when lightly touched. 
Cool in pan, on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and remove wax paper. Cool completely. 
To prepare glaze, stir chocolate and cream in a small heavy saucpan over low heat until melted and smooth. Spoon over cake.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Summer Garden

Our landscaping is still a mess!

Okay, it's not this bad anymore, 
but I'm assuming it'll take the summer to get the yard in order, so 
I'm growing a little garden in pots…

View THE BEGINNING at my summer garden page

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm Back….with barbecue ribs!

My parenting workshop was great….i loved preparing for it, leading the discussions….and blogging.
But everything else…housework….personal blogging….trying out new recipes….was ignored. Reminds me of an article on "Balance" from Life Simple Magazine that I wanted to blog about…maybe, one day. 
Today….I am back with a recipe! Awesome recipe! My daughter, Kate, wanted ribs for supper. Most store-bought barbecue sauces (maybe, all of them) have cornstarch and other preservatives that we've eliminated from our diet….so I had to make a barbecue sauce from scratch. And after looking through my recipe books and google picks for barbecue sauces, I picked my favourite ingredients and the simplest cooking method and …

(as Jane would say….) 

Ta Da!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Parenting The Positive Discipline Way

positive discipline
register now for the workshop starting next week at 
(new time!! 7:30)

CE Hours Granted

May 6, 2014 - 7:30-9pm

May 13, 20, 27 2014 - 7:00-8:30pm

Elizabeth Musto Room, 1950 Marine Drive

Positive discipline is based on Adler's belief that all human beings are equal and deserving of being treated with dignity and respect.

Parents (and teachers) have an obligation to provide opportunities for children to develop responsibility and motivations. We can turn the challenges we have with our children into the opportunities to develop the characteristics and life skills we want our children to possess. We'll learn how in the 4-part workshop series starting next week at 7:30!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Positive Discipline Workshops

Summer’s Coming!
Are you ready? 

for the....
whining.... temper tantrums.... power struggles.... sibling conflict.... THE ATTITUDE....
....and the shouting, nagging, bribing and punishing?

or is it time for a change? 
start this summer differently.... 
Learn some common sense solutions....
In a four session parenting class based on 
the best selling Positive Discipline books by Dr. Jane Nelsen.

Tuesday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm
May 6, 13, 20, 27

single $80; Couple $120

Not Sure?
Try the Free Introductory Class
April 29, 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

DIY Terrarium

So we bought a house with an overgrown garden that (really) is a treasure box of interesting plants. After researching terrariums on the web, (inspired) the kids and I (bucket in hand) went hunting for plants and pretty rocks….
following Michelle's (from 4 Men, 1 Lady) photo below

we lay down our treasures…. 

and we created our terrariums!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Valentine's Day Menu

This was the menu for Richard's birthday, but I thought it would also make a great Valentine's Day Menu. It's super easy and quick, but also elegant and special!

For the Grilled Lobster with Lemon Parsley Butter, all you need is in the photo below. 

Mix the lemon, parsley and butter together.

Add half the butter mixture on the lobsters.

Grill the lobsters (I've done it on the barbecue or in the oven at 400 degrees). 
Melt the remaining butter.

Cook the fettuccine as directed on the package. Drain in a colander that has spinach in it. This will cook the spinach sufficiently, then toss the noodles with some of the melted butter. Serve the remaining Lemon Parsley Butter with the lobster. 


Enjoy the Lemon Tiramisu for dessert!

You'll find the recipes on my food page. 


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Spilled Milk

We were having breakfast and Jane looked at me with her glass of milk. She wanted to pour it on the table and from her expression, I knew she was asking. I panicked and was impressed at the same time. Impressed that she was little two year old is asking permission to make a mess. Panicked because I was afraid milk would spill over the table and onto our plywood floors (yes, still unfinished floors!). It's not easy cleaning plywood! 
I yelled, "no!" And then caught myself.... "Not on the table, dear, let me get you a tray."

Kids learn so much when they're given the opportunity to play with their food!