Raising better human beings

Of course preparing myself to have a baby boy has me thinking of a lot of different ideas. I always thought it would be easier to raise a girl than a boy — for the simple fact that I am a girl and it felt more relevant to me. Having said that I have never really been a girly girl (nevermind the few years growing up that I was adamant that my sister play Barbies with me). Then I had to grow up fast and, well, my most girly girl self was replaced with real live survival.

Of course I enjoy a bit of dressing up — you know once every year, where I bring out those uncomfortable high heels, and Chris oohs and aahs, and then those shoes collect dust in the back of the closet. I am and always will be most comfortable with myself when I am comfortable. Flip-flops, comfy outfits, and hopefully all that just falls in the background so that others see just me. Not what I am wearing or how it fits. As none of that really matters. I digress — this blog post’s intent is nothing about that at all.

Over the weekend, I came across this article “Why Boys Need To Play With Girl Toys Too” and I thought I wonder what Chris thinks of that? No matter at the moment, because whether he is okay with it or not, the message that I left with that I want to bring in to our parenting (we’ll talk Chris) is that I want to teach my son to care. For some that may mean a boy playing with a doll, or maybe it is about nurturing an animal or pet, whatever the vehicle I want to make sure to show my son how to care. That in my mind starts with Chris and me. For a long time he will watch us, emulate us, and learn the way of the world from our example. If he wants to play with dolls and we do not let him, that sends him a message. You get the point.

And in the end, while I have not really even started this raise-a-child thing, I can tell you I was one (with not the best childhood), and I spent from the age of 9 – 23 babysitting, working in day cares, and nannying — what matters most is that you show them you care. You do this by being present, listening, and appreciating what they have to say. By showing you care, they respond and show that to others. To me that is what matters most.

Random Recipe: Flourless Pumpkin Muffins with Mini Chocolate Chips

It is that time of year again. I loath the thought of putting away my flip-flops, and yet I savor the idea of all the pumpkin recipes I want to make in the coming weeks. That and the occasional Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. As you can see — I love pumpkin in the fall. If I have to give up my flip-flops, pumpkin might be the only thing to sway me.

These muffins are kind of dense because they do not have flour and instead have oats, making them a bit heavy. The pumpkin flavor is good, but you have to decide if flavor/texture/weight is more important than having a healthy-good-for-you option. You pick which is more important to you, but if you want a good flavored, healthy option then this is a recipe you should try.

Flourless Pumpkin Muffins w/Mini Chocolate Chips

Ingredients (for 12 muffins)

2 and 1/4 cup oats
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons almond butter
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips (we used minis)


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and then line a muffin tin for 12 muffins.
  2. Place of all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a blender or a food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  3. Gently stir the chocolate chips into the batter. Pour the batter equally into the muffin tin. Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before shoving them in your mouth.

Random recipe: Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie

In Portland, summer is often equated by sun. Yes, when the flip-flops come out and day after day is blue skies and no rain. Usually in Portland it is a given that you begin to have that AFTER the Fourth of July, and ends sometimes around Labor Day or after. Often I think why do I live here? I love sun. But. I also love Portland. This summer, however, it has been gorgeous out, between 80-90 degrees and sun, sun, sun.

When it is sunny out, everyone wants a refreshing drink. Right? We have been exploring new, refreshing recipes for the summer, especially ones that hit the spot. This one is tangy and sweet all in one glass.

Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie [Adapted from Kitchy Kitchen]

1 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup sweet coconut flakes, packed
2 1/2 cups hot water and 1 1/2 cups cool water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Toast the coconut on a baking sheet for about 6 minutes, mixing them up after 3 minutes. While the coconut is toasting, juice the limes in a blender. Put all of the used lime halves into a separate bowl along with the coconut and vanilla bean and then add the hot water.  Let it soak together for about 10 minutes. Strain into the blender and add the cold water and agave nectar. Blend! Pour into a pitcher and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. When ready, add equal parts of the limeade and ice into the blender to make your slushie!

Enjoy drinking in the sun with your feet up this weekend!

Valentine’s Day Half Marathon

Last Saturday was a gorgeous day in Portland. It was sunny and nearly sixty degrees. While the other side of the country in New England was about to get another downpour of snow, there were folks in Portland wearing flip flops. I was not one of them, but inside I cannot wait for the day for my toes to spread wide and enjoy some warm sunshine. After a day of hopping around to a few of my favorite places in Portland, we came home so I could go for a run.

A little background — my treadmill died recently. Either I ran on it so much that I broke the main support bar, or Nordic Track just makes shitty treadmills. In any case, the only two options to fix it were to have a welder come out to our house, or for Nordic Track to replace the treadmill. Note to each of you that might be as crazy as I am, if you use a treadmill often, purchase the warranty. In October, we decided to extend the warranty. The treadmill fix it guy frequents our house a few times a year, and with the $150 a year warranty we do not pay for a single part or his time. If we had not paid the $150, we would have had to shell out the cash for a brand new treadmill.

So Saturday. Chris drops me off at home so I could go for a run, and he heads off to do a few more errands. I am in the middle of a really good book, and after hitting 8 miles, I feel great, Chris is not home yet, and I am loving the feel of my new treadmill. So I keep running. By mile 10, I am reminded that Sunday morning is a half marathon that I wanted to do in a neighboring town. I realize I never registered, and even if I had, I should be taking a chill day before a race. So since I have already run 10 miles I decide I might as well just keep going. Chris still is not home yet, and I still feel great, and I would love to finish my book.

Chris drives into the garage as I hit 11.5 miles, and cannot believe what I am doing. His happy, crazy wife. I finish my book at 12.5 miles and push through to 13.1 miles to complete a half marathon on my treadmill. Definitely easier than around the city, but still a good, solid workout. 1 hour 41 minutes is not too shabby.

Look nice or be comfy?

I read an article yesterday about looking nice while traveling on an airplane, and my first thought was: “Hell No!” Apologies if you feel that it is kind to dress up for your fellow passengers. I think about the miles you sometimes have to walk to go from one terminal to the next, often running to catch a plane on a layover. I am amazed when I see women do so in five-inch heels. I can barely make it a few hours at an event while in 3 inch heels, I cannot imagine doing it while traveling. Next, you sit for hours. Whether at the airport waiting for your flight, and then to take off, during your flight, and often waiting on the runway once you have landed. Why, oh why should we be dressed up?

I for one feel like there is a happy medium. I want to be comfortable at all costs. Think about it. You are in a pressurized cabin, things contract and expand. All the more reason that I want to have an elastic waistband. The temperature goes hot and cold and you have no way to regulate it. I want breathable fabrics. Depending on the size of the plane your floor area might be freezing and the ceiling much hotter. I make sure to wear layers, and have a pair of socks, and a jacket if needed.

I think back to a recent TV show called: “Pan-Am” that truly showed and reminded us of the glamour associated with flying the friendly skies. This Boston Globe article brings that idea to life. Men in suits, women in their own form of suits. Dress codes. Can you imagine today if there was still a dress code to get on a plane? In some ways, maybe it is not such a bad idea (I know we have all seen a scary sight on a plane, even smelled some too), but if dress and style supersede comfort, than I would take comfort any day.

The Boston Globe article mentions how you dress is how you get treated. Yes, but remember we are not going into a five-star restaurant. An airplane is no longer a place to be seen. I am the girl with the flip-flops, and while I am not wearing my pajamas, I am wearing comfy tights. Should the conversation be more about hygiene than about clothing?

That just covers style, comfort, and clothing. What about the food?