Festival Of Food – June Call For Submissions: Summer Smoothies and Mocktails

Welcome to the June Festival of Food Carnival, hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This monthly carnival will aim to bring together seasonal recipes, healthy food, and a diversity of flavours and techniques.

Here are the submission details for June 2013

Theme: Summer Smoothies and Mocktails

It’s summer time, and we all need to increase our liquid intake. What better excuse to mix up a glorious and refreshing smoothie or a mocktail (alcohol free cocktail).

We prefer recipes with low sugar or natural sweeteners and as few processed ingredients as possible. However, we understand that healthy differs for every family, so please share your favourite.

There are two ways you can participate:

EITHER: Link up your old post on the carnival day, or submit a new post for the carnival!

**Please note, by participating or linking up you are agreeing to visit and comment on at least two other submissions**

Deadline: 07 June 2013: Fill out the  web form below and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. GMT at festivaloffoodcarnival [at] gmail.com

Carnival date: 13 June 2013 . Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on 06 June 2013. We’ll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Please submit your details into our  web formThis will help us as we compile the links list prior to the carnival.

Please do: Write well. Write on topic. If you’re using very uncommon ingredients, write something about them so your readers learn something new, or at least link to some information of them.

Please don’t: Please don’t use profanity of the sort that might be offensive to more sensitive readers or their children. Please don’t submit irrelevant posts.

Editors’ rights: We reserve the right to edit your piece or suggest edits to you. We reserve the right to courteously reject any submissions that are inappropriate for the carnival. Please also note that since there are two co-hosts on different schedules and conferring over email, our personal response to your submission might seem delayed. Don’t be alarmed. We also reserve the right to impose consequences if the responsibilities of the carnival are not fulfilled by the participants.

If you have questions: Please leave a comment or contact us at diaryofafirstchild [at] gmail.com and hybridrastamama [at] Hotmail.com

Links to tutorials: Lauren, Dionna, and Dionna’s husband, Tom, from the Natural Parents Network have written several tutorials about how to schedule posts in advance, how to determine post URLs in advance, how to edit HTML — all for both WordPress and Blogger users. For these tutorials and more, please see this handy summary post at LaurenWayne.com.

Stay in touch:

Show off: Add the code below to your post to identify it as a carnival contribution:

Stay connected! Be sure to “Like” the Festival of Food Carnival Facebook page.

 

 

 

Being Prepared For Personal Disasters

When people say ’emergency planning’ we all tend to think about natural disasters and catastrophes but there are more emergencies in life than those. Not to downplay the effects of an earthquake, flood or tsunami, which affect the lives of the many, but sometime emergencies are small, affecting only a few, but those are no less debilitating or stressful to the few. In fact, in a huge tragedy, there’s often more help available, because there’s more attention drawn to it, but in a small tragedy, people are often alone, frightened and helpless.

 

Welcome to the May 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Emergency Preparedness

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their plans to keep their families safe. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

 

What are these ‘small’ tragedies?

How about the sudden and unexpected death of a spouse? The main breadwinner? A loved one? Or the unexpected loss of a job? Or a house fire? Or a malicious burglary? (i.e. where they don’t just take the TV and computer, but destroy all important documents and so on?) These are smaller scale emergencies, but huge to affected none the less.

My mother was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness – as it happens she’s defied all medicine and doctors are confounded as to why she’s still alive, but at the time of diagnosis when they gave her four weeks to four months, we didn’t know that was going to happen.

I’ve learned a fair bit from this experience.

For one thing, my mother was the higher wage earner at the time she was diagnosed. She suddenly had to stop working, and if her life insurance hadn’t covered the cost of their house, they would have stood a very good chance of losing it to medical bills. Having the correct insurance in place saved huge amounts of stress, and potential financial ruin. She’s not rich for having her life insurance paid out, but it’s given them private treatment options which is probably why she’s still alive.

Having a savings account with a few months worth of salary in it is essential. Don’t get excited though – I have a few months salary worth of debt, rather than savings, but I’m working on it. I went to Australia to be with my mother for six months, and wasn’t allowed to work. Savings would have helped us all out. Dave Ramsey recommends starting with a three month buffer, and working towards six months.

Have backups of important documents. Seriously. We have traveled a lot and one of the best tips I ever received was to scan and email all your important documents to yourself – at an easy to retrieve address, like Gmail. It’s no good if you can only access it from the home computer that was just stolen!  Scan your passports, visas, bank card numbers (but don’t put passwords and pin codes with it!), insurance information, birth certificate and all that information and email it to yourself. Our children’s godparents have copies of their passports, birth certificates and ours in case they ever need it for information pertaining to legal guardianship.

One of the hardest topics of conversation in mothers groups comes from the question: where do your children go if something happens to you. I’ve rarely met a parent who emphatically knows without doubt or concern who their children will go to if they died. It’s a horrible conversation. It’s also a really important one and a will is necessary to make sure that your wishes have a voice. I’ve had to think long and hard on this, and for me the decision is partially to do with which country I’d prefer my children raised in, since our family is split over three continents.

Also, in cases where one person is the primary financial managers for the family, it’s valuable to have an ‘in case of… ‘ file or folder somewhere – again, not locked behind a passworded computer! – that a spouse/partner can find important information, like life insurance policies, medical aid information and other important information at the drop of a hat. As I say that, I realise that I don’t even know some of the companies my self-employed husband works for. He is also password king, so I’d never crack his codes, and he would literally just drop off the grid! (Which in the grand scheme of things doesn’t matter, but it’s still polite to let people know the work they’re expecting isn’t coming!)

And finally, and I feel so strongly about this one, is contracts and agreements. No one gets married to get divorced. No one falls in love to simmer in hate, no one falls pregnant to be bound by a lousy partner. No one goes into a relationship, baring your vulnerabilities, weaknesses and heart to another person, expecting them to use those very things against you.

Unfortunately, just in this year, I have seen three cases where this has happened and one parent has used choices made with regards to child raising against the other person in custody cases.  Especially in the case of mothers, but not exclusively, I might add, we tend to make most of the day to day choices for our children. Of course we take our partners views into consideration, but often it is the mother that drives how things happen. I have seen court cases and custody battles involve breastfeeding, or a couples decision not to vaccinate being used against the mother, or a desire to homeschool manipulated by  lawyers into something it was never meant to be.

My husband and I have agreed, in writing, the decisions that we have made with regards to our children. We don’t plan to divorce, but should that ever happen, neither of us will be in a position to use our choices now against each other, even if we wanted to, because we’ve agreed it.

(It goes something like ‘I… and I… have jointly agreed to babywear, co-sleep, practice baby led weaning, etc etc [all stipulated] and jointly commit to raising our children present and future this way based on our individual and joint research into the varying styles and options available to us. We both feel that these choices meet the needs of all members of our family, as pertains to parenting and child rearing.)

We hope to never need to use this document, but I certainly never want to be fighting for custody of my children because of something we agreed on together – like co-sleeping. And sadly, as deeply as we love, so deeply we can hate, and the future is unknown.

So, despite this grim and downer post, remember that every moment is precious, and that life is in fact, very, very short.

 

 

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon May 14 with all the carnival links.)

 

Festival of Food Carnival: Child Tested Recipes

It’s Festival of Food time, and I’ve decided to share our Frozen Yoghurt recipe with you over on my new Keeper of the Kitchen blog.

As part of the carnival, my co-host Jennifer at  Hybrid Rasta Mama shares Coconut Milk Popsicles, a super easy creation that is customizable. Seems Jennifer and I have similar ideas on yummy healthy summer snacks for our little people!

Lindy over at the Poppy Soap Company shares some super tasty, super easy Granola Delight Bars inspired by her sweet son. Don’t these just look perfect for lunch boxes and lazy afternoons spent picnicking? 

Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a comfort-food recipe sure to be a future family favorite. Don’t miss this Grown-Up Mac & Cheese for You and Baby to Love. I wonder if this could convert my I – don’t – like – cheese – sauces husband?

Finally, Jorje at Momma Jorje has fun throwing together Monster Smoothies with her girls. The key is in the flexibility and you can use pretty much whatever you have available. 

Do you want to join us next month, when we’ll be talking Summer Smoothies and Mocktails. If so, follow our Facebook page to find out when the call goes out!

 Do you have previously published child-loved recipes? Share them in our linky below!



Festival of Food – Child Tested Recipes – May Call For Submissions

Welcome to the May Festival of Food Carnival, hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This monthly carnival will aim to bring together seasonal recipes, healthy food, and a diversity of flavours and techniques.

Here are the submission details for May 2013

Theme: Child Tested Recipes

One of the many benefits of getting children involved in the kitchen is that they learn about food, where it comes from, and how to cook it. Making their own food helps them eat a wider variety and gets them involved. What are your favourite ‘kid tested’ child friendly recipes?

We prefer recipes with low sugar or natural sweeteners and as few processed ingredients as possible. However, we understand that healthy differs for every family, so please share your favourite.

There are two ways you can participate:

EITHER: Link up your old post on the carnival day, or submit a new post for the carnival!

**Please note, by participating or linking up you are agreeing to visit and comment on at least two other submissions**

Deadline: 3 May 2013 : Fill out the web form below and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. GMT at festivaloffoodcarnival [at] gmail.com

Carnival date: 9 May . Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on Wednesday 9 May. We’ll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Please submit your details into our web form: This will help us as we compile the links list prior to the carnival.

Please do: Write well. Write on topic. If you’re using very uncommon ingredients, write something about them so your readers learn something new, or at least link to some information of them.

Please don’t: Please don’t use profanity of the sort that might be offensive to more sensitive readers or their children. Please don’t submit irrelevant posts.

Editors’ rights: We reserve the right to edit your piece or suggest edits to you. We reserve the right to courteously reject any submissions that are inappropriate for the carnival. Please also note that since there are two co-hosts on different schedules and conferring over email, our personal response to your submission might seem delayed. Don’t be alarmed. We also reserve the right to impose consequences if the responsibilities of the carnival are not fulfilled by the participants.

If you have questions: Please leave a comment or contact us at diaryofafirstchild [at] gmail.com and hybridrastamama [at] Hotmail.com

Links to tutorials: Lauren, Dionna, and Dionna’s husband, Tom, from the Natural Parents Network have written several tutorials about how to schedule posts in advance, how to determine post URLs in advance, how to edit HTML — all for both WordPress and Blogger users. For these tutorials and more, please see this handy summary post at LaurenWayne.com.

Stay in touch:

Show off: Add the code below to your post to identify it as a carnival contribution:

Festival of Food Carnival
Festival of Food Carnival
 

 

Festival Of Food : Raw Cheesecake {{ Thermomix Recipe }}

*This recipe can be made in any high powered blender. I’ve made it in a nut crusher before, but that was about an afternoon’s work! In the Thermomix it takes a few minutes.

Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. In celebration of Spring, we’re sharing real raw recipe ideas.  Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you’re welcome to join us next time, or if you have a previously published recipe you’d like to share, add it to the linky below.

Cheesecake a la Charlotte

I adore cheesecake, but they’re a nightmare to make – I don’t like baked cheesecake, I prefer a fridge cake myself. They’re also full of things that aren’t great for my body, so when I saw a friend of mine make Raw Cheesecake – sugar free, dairy free, guilt free, I had to try it out myself. I used this recipe from The Rawtarian as a base, and made a delicious raw cheesecake for those evenings where I really want a snack, but don’t want sugar.

The great thing about a raw cheesecake is that it keeps in the freezer for ages, so you can make a nice big batch, and eat at will.

The bad thing is that it’s a pretty expensive recipe, but it’s worth it. I make it in a brownie pan, so its cut into 20 pieces, perfect snack sized portions.

Festival Of Food : Raw Cheesecake {{ Thermomix Recipe }}
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 18
  • Serving size: 1/18th
  • Calories: 349.0
  • Fat: 24.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31.6 g
  • Sugar: 18.7 g
  • Sodium: 65.7 mg
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 5.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Recipe type: Desert
Cuisine: Raw Food
Take this desert out of the freezer half an hour before you expect to eat it and don't forget to return it to the freezer when you're done. If it's for snacks rather than dinner, freeze in single portion sizes
Ingredients
  • Crust ingredients:
  • 1½ cups cashew nuts
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • ¼ cup dried, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • White cheesecake filling ingredients:
  • 3 cups cashews
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup agave or honey
  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Up to a ¼ cup of water, as needed for blending
  • Fruit topping ingredients:
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup dates
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle coconut into a large glass dish to serve as a base for your cheesecake.
  2. In your food processor, place 1.5 cups of cashews, salt and dates, and blend to a crumbed consistency.
  3. Pour into dish on top of coconut and press down to form a good, firm base.
  4. Next, blend together the 'cheesecake filling, adding as little water as possible and as required to make your blender work. In the Thermomix you shouldn't need to add much water at all. This needs to be smooth and creamy in consistency.
  5. Spread the mixture on top of the base.
  6. Freeze for about an hour to allow it to firm up.
  7. When you're ready for the last step, blend the berries and dates until they are nice and smooth. Pour this mixture on top and freeze again for another few hours at least.
  8. Take out of freezer about half an hour before eating, so that it's still firm, but edible.

***********

Please take a moment to visit the blogs of our other Festival of Food participants. The links in this list will be live by the end of the day, as participants are all in different time zones.

  • Gone are the days where dairy-free, gluten-free deserts mean a fruit platter! This “raw” cheesecake from Luschka at Diary of a First Child is a wonderful introduction to raw food, and is pretty simple to make too! You can also find Luschka on Facebook.
  • Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares Tropical Twist Kale Chips, a recipe guaranteed to take your taste buds to the tropics! Kid love these tangy treats too!  You can also find Jennifer on Facebook.
  • Sarah at Why Food Works discusses the importance of fat and enzymes – and offers up a recipe for a raw, 5-minute blender gazpacho that’s perfect for warmer weather. You can also find Sarah on Facebook.
  • Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares tips for introducing Raw First Foods based on her experiences following baby-led weaning with her older son. You can also find Farmer’s Daughter on Facebook.
  • Destany at They Are All of Me shows to how she made coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut flour in her own kitchen, using whole coconuts. You can also fine They Are All of Me on Facebook.

Stay connected! Be sure to “Like” the Festival of Food Carnival Facebook page.

Vranameer Chicken : A Family Recipe

The moment I finished reading the topic for this months Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes, I knew exactly which recipe I would share: Vranameer Chicken.

Welcome to the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.

***

Translated from Afrikaans, Vra Na Meer means Ask For More. That’s what this is all about. Eating more cause it’s so yum.

Actually, some time after my mother’s terminal diagnosis, I sat down and asked myself what I would wish I could have asked five, ten, twenty years from now. One of the first things I thought about was this recipe.

My mother has never been big on food. She’s not much of a cook, and doesn’t particularly enjoy spending time in the kitchen – although she’s a fabulous baker! But this was a meal she would cook for us.

Be warned. It’s not what I would call healthy, although it could be made healthier, but it is really quick and easy and very, very, very tasty. It would particularly appeal to anyone who likes sweet and sour Chinese food.

I’ll have to try it again sometime with made-from-scratch ingredients.

Vranameer Chicken : A Family Recipe
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 3 - 4
  • Serving size: 1
  • Calories: 439
  • Fat: 5.3
  • Saturated fat: .3
  • Carbohydrates: 89.5
  • Sugar: 33.8
  • Sodium: 1146
  • Fiber: 3.2
  • Protein: 6.7
  • Cholesterol: 11.9
Recipe type: Main Meal, Chicken
Cuisine: South African
You could make this recipe healthier by making the mayonnaise and chutney from scratch before hand. The chutney you use also makes a difference to the flavour. Traditionally you use Mrs Balls Chutney (Amazon US), but any sweet fruity chutney works.
Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 chicken portions
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup chutney
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs to taste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C
  2. Brown the chicken and set aside in an oven-proof casserole dish.
  3. Sauté the onions gently for 10 to 15 minutes until they are soft and has a golden colour. Add the water and mix to make a 'soup'.
  4. Mix onion with chutney and mayonnaise, and pour sauce over chicken.
  5. Cover casserole dish and bake in oven at 180°C for an hour.
  6. Serve with fluffy rice and fresh, mixed salad.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • German Red Cabbage: A Family Tradition — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares her favorite dish and a part of her family’s history.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipes for Meal Planning — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares a new recipe that is in her family’s meal-planning rotation. Check out how she uses a rotisserie chicken to get through the week.
  • Grandma Wicken’s Sugar Cookies — Jana Falls at Jananas talks about how special her Grandma’s sugar cookies made her feel.
  • Recipe: Seed and Bean Burgers — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings shares one of her favourite frugal recipes that is also super-healthy and totally delicious.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich — Lisa at The Squishable Baby PULLS dinner together for the kids.
  • The Best Banana Muffin Recipe (Gluten Free & Vegan) — Dionna of Code Name: Mama’s adventures in gluten free baking have not been 100% successful. But today she is guest posting at Fine and Fair to share a banana muffin recipe that will knock your socks off!
  • The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies! — Bianca at The Pierogie Mama shares her family’s recipe for strawberry pierogies…a sweet, summery version of the Polish dumplings that she affectionately named her daughter after.
  • Mom’s Cookbook — Tree at Mom Grooves digs into the big book her mom created for her six daughters and shares a favorite family recipe.
  • Crispy Duck Confit — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes the liberty of starting a family recipe tradition with this super simple, totally delicious crispy duck confit.
  • Stovetop BBQ Chicken — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares a yummy BBQ chicken recipe that you can make on the stovetop in less than 25 minutes, fridge to table!
  • Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Casserole w/Bacon — Martine at Whey Beyond the Naked Truth shares a naked food twist on an old family favorite!
  • Strawberry Panna Cotta — KerryAnn at CookingTF.com shows you her favorite dessert, a quick and easy Strawberry Panna Cotta that she enjoys so much, she had it instead of a birthday cake this year.
  • Special crepes for a special day — Mikko at Hobo Mama is learning to cook his grandma’s signature holiday meal alongside his dad.
  • Three Favorite Family Recipes: To Eat, To Wash, To Play — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings is back with three family favorites: gluten-free shortbread, DIY powdered laundry detergent, and something fun for the kids: homemade “Flubber”!
  • Black Bean Soup Forever — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a soup recipe that’s been around forever.
  • Do you want to know a secret? — SRB at Little Chicken Nuggets lets go of her mac and cheese recipe, a comfort food favourite for friends and family for years.
  • Creating Our Own Family Recipes — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM shares how she’s trying to create meals that her girls will want to pass down to their own children some day.
  • Vranameer Chicken: A Family Recipe — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares a recipe that reminds her of childhood and more specifically, of her mother. It’s a South African take on sweet and sour chicken and what it lacks in healthy it makes up for in tantalising to the taste buds.
  • One Recipe, Three Uses: Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Dish Soap, and Hand Soap — If you love saving money and time, you’ll love this green recipe from Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network.
  • Our Family’s Favorite Pies — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares recipes and tutorials for the quintessential American dessert.
  • Deliciously Easy Crock Pot ChiliLactating Girl shares her crock pot chili that is not only quick and easy, but awesome.
  • All-Purpose Crock Pot PorkCrunchy Con Mommy‘s simple “recipe” for cooking perfect pork in the crock pot is for whatever mood her family is in!
  • Family Rules: A Recipe for Harmony — Cooped-up kids + winter weather + frazzled parents can all blend together into a recipe for disaster. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares what brought back the peace in her house.
  • Favorite Healthy Family Recipes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s healthy eating experiences along with links to free printable vegetarian recipes that her family has created with love.
  • Grandma’s Banana Bread — Megan at The Boho Mama has early and fond memories of her grandma’s banana bread. It’s love in a loaf!
  • Family Comfort Food — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares a recipe handed down that moms have made for their kids, for regular meals as well as to comfort.

 

Festival of Food – Real Raw Recipes – April Call For Submissions

Welcome to the April Festival of Food Carnival, hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This monthly carnival will aim to bring together seasonal recipes, healthy food, and a diversity of flavours and techniques.

Here are the submission details for April 2013

Theme: Real Raw Recipes

Have you ever tried Raw Food? Do you have a favourite recipe? Or is this something new you could consider for your family? Raw Food involves substituting ingredients, for example courgette/zucchini for spaghetti, or cashew nuts for cream cheese. If you’ve found a favourite recipe, we’d love for you to share it with us!

We prefer recipes with low sugar or natural sweeteners and as few processed ingredients as possible. However, we understand that healthy differs for every family, so please share your favourite.

There are two ways you can participate:

EITHER: Link up your old post on the carnival day, or submit a new post for the carnival!

**Please note, by participating or linking up you are agreeing to visit and comment on at least two other submissions**

Deadline: 4 April 2013 : Fill out the webform below and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. GMT at festivaloffoodcarnival [at] gmail.com

Carnival date: Wednesday 10 April . Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on Wednesday 10 April. We’ll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Please submit your details into our web form: This will help us as we compile the links list prior to the carnival.

Please do: Write well. Write on topic. If you’re using very uncommon ingredients, write something about them so your readers learn something new, or at least link to some information of them.

Please don’t: Please don’t use profanity of the sort that might be offensive to more sensitive readers or their children. Please don’t submit irrelevant posts.

Editors’ rights: We reserve the right to edit your piece or suggest edits to you. We reserve the right to courteously reject any submissions that are inappropriate for the carnival. Please also note that since there are two co-hosts on different schedules and conferring over email, our personal response to your submission might seem delayed. Don’t be alarmed. We also reserve the right to impose consequences if the responsibilities of the carnival are not fulfilled by the participants.

If you have questions: Please leave a comment or contact us at diaryofafirstchild [at] gmail.com and hybridrastamama [at] Hotmail.com

Links to tutorials: Lauren, Dionna, and Dionna’s husband, Tom, from the Natural Parents Network have written several tutorials about how to schedule posts in advance, how to determine post URLs in advance, how to edit HTML — all for both WordPress and Blogger users. For these tutorials and more, please see this handy summary post at LaurenWayne.com.

Stay in touch:

Show off: Add the code below to your post to identify it as a carnival contribution:

Festival of Food Carnival
Festival of Food Carnival
 

Festival of Food: Best Ever Vegan Chocolate Cake

Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. In celebration of the tradition of Easter chocolates, we’re sharing recipe ideas for healthier alternatives – sweets and treats featuring real cocoa. Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you’re welcome to join us next time, or if you have a previously published recipe you’d like to share, add it to the linky below.

First off, I must come clean and say this cake isn’t exactly healthy as such, but at least it is Vegan, which is more than you can say for most incredibly delectable, tasty, yummy and to die for chocolate cakes. Now, if you follow closely, you’ll know I’m not actually vegan, but this is a brilliant recipe to have on hand if you find you have no eggs, and even when I do have eggs, I often have this cake because it’s just. that. good.

Initially from Instructables, this has become a firm favourite for us, and it actually featured as the Vegan cake for Ameli’s 3rd birthday, and will be Aviya’s birthday cake this weekend too. (My baby is 1 today, say WHAT?)

Festival of Food: Best Ever Vegan Chocolate Cake
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Desert, Cake
Cuisine: Vegan, Chocolate, Easter
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The best ever chocolate cake, that happens to be Vegan too. Remember if you're making this for Vegans, most regular sprinkles aren't actually Vegan due to the food colouring used in them. You can also make it without the glaze and decorate with a regular butter cream icing. Made with coconut oil, however, the glaze is so tasty
Ingredients
  • Cake Ingredients:
  • 1¼ cups plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil (or margarine)
  • 2 tbsp soy milk/almond milk/rice milk
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180C)
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the cake and blend well.
  3. Pour it into your baking dish or shaped silicone mould.
  4. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick popped in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Take out and allow to cool totally.
  6. For the glaze, in a small saucepan, bring sugar, coconut oil (or margarine), milk, and cocoa to a boil. Stir frequently; then reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. It'll look gloppy, but it's just the bubbles!
  7. Remove from heat and vigorously.
  8. Add vanilla, stir, and immediately pour onto cake.
  9. The glaze dries really quickly, so spread it immediately and add any sprinkles now.
  10. Leave aside to cool thoroughly, about an hour.
  11. Enjoy!

 

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Please take a moment to visit the blogs of our other Festival of Food participants. The links in this list will be live by the end of the day, as participants are all in different time zones.

Stay connected! Be sure to “Like” the Festival of Food Carnival Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

Talking To Children About Death

Six months ago, my mother was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma and told that without treatment she would have four weeks to live. Our visas were taking longer than that to be granted – my mother lives in Australia, I live in England, and the Australian government had no sympathy or compassion and made it as hard as was legally possible for us to get the visas for reasons I’ll never understand. My mother decided to have chemotherapy so that we’d make it to her, to say goodbye, and we arrived in Australia the day before her second round of chemotherapy, a treatment that nearly killed her.

Between my mothers diagnosis and our leaving, I wasn’t very emotional about it.

That’s what I do. I go into ‘how can we solve this’ mode, and I need time to process what I’m feeling. People who know me well know that the things I’m talking about I’ve normally dealt with. It’s when I go quiet that I’m not really coping. When I don’t know what to say I haven’t processed it yet. Really, it’s when I go quiet on a topic that those closest to me know to start worrying about it.

So, between those two dates, I was given a copy of the Mother Magazine, which had the article A sacred transition: children and the death of a loved one by Starr Meneely, of Gentle Mothering. Her mother had recently succumbed to cancer, and she had flown half way across the world with her children to be by her side.

Her words wrenched at my heart, and my emotions broke. I sat in the corner of the room at our mother’s circle and sobbed. It was the release I needed, and it provided the gateway to being able to talk about it.

I guess, then, the first lesson I learned about talking to children about death – specifically a long, protracted, pending death, rather than an accidental or sudden passing, is having at least in part dealt with some of the emotions yourself.

If I had broken down that way in front of Ameli, I fear that she would have looked at death as something to fear, something painful. (Of course, it is these things, but it also isn’t, and I think the best thing under the circumstances is to introduce death as something not to be feared.)

Telling Ameli that Nana is dying was interesting in itself. How do you convey meaning in a word that has no context? Hot you can explain by providing low heat. Run you can explain by demonstrating. How do you explain ‘say goodbye, because we are going away for a while?’ And how do you explain going away for ever? How long is for ever?

These are vague concepts, mere words, to a child.

I told her Nana was going to die and we wouldn’t see her here on earth again. She said she didn’t want Nana to die. I said none of us want Nana to die, but we all die eventually, and it’s okay.

She tried to rationalise it in her mind.

“I have a good idea! Maybe we can go visit Nana when she’s died.”

“I’m afraid we can’t visit where Nana is going. We’ll miss her sometimes though, and that’s why Mama’s a little sad.”

“It’s okay. We can just look at photos of her. That will make us feel better.”

“That’s a very good idea, I think.”

“Can I have some juice now?”

While she hasn’t been able to experience the finality of it, and doesn’t have the apprehension of the longing, it’s impossible to explain.

In fact, I’m 30 years older than her, and I find myself trying to imagine what life without my mother will be like, and I can’t really imagine it. It’s the closest I’ve come to imagining what life with a child will be like, versus what life with a child is really like. It’s oddly the same process. Simliar to our five stages of grief, Ameli seems to have traversed the stages too, but without the sense of fear or loss. She’s faced:

  1. Denial – “no, she’s not dying” – I’m afraid she is, darling, even though we don’t want her to. 
  2. Anger – “I don’t want her to die!” – None of us do, but sometimes things happen, even if we don’t want them to. 
  3. Bargaining – “I know! We can just take her to the hospital. Then she’ll get better” – Not this time. This isn’t something the doctors can fix.
  4. Depression – “I don’t want Nana to die {with tears this time}”. I know darling. Neither do I. It’s okay to be sad. 
  5. Acceptance – “When Nana dies, we won’t be able to see her anymore, but that’s okay, because one day we will be with her again and till then, we can just watch our videos of her.” – That’s a good idea girlie. Do you want to watch one now?

Something that has been helpful has been allowing her to ask questions, make {crazy} suggestions, and at times be almost hurtful in her throwaway comments – I wont miss Nana. I don’t mind if Nana dies. I don’t want to see Nana.

Separating her child behavior from my loss has been essential in gently explaining death to her. You can’t fear loss if you’ve never felt loss, so expecting an adult level of saying the right thing at the right time from a child only sets you up for pain.

I remember when my dad’s grandmother died. I didn’t really know her, and I didn’t have a relationship with her. I was really upset that I had to cancel my 13th birthday party. I saw it only in light of it’s impact on me, but having never known the loss of a loved one, I didn’t understand.

I asked a group of friends one day how you deal with this type of death, and how you explain it to a child. Most of them agreed that the children tend to accept death as another part of life. It’s just something that happens, and while they may have vague fond memories of the person, and might even ask for them, for the most part, life goes on. (Assuming it’s not a direct care giver, I think!)

Of course, in our situation, despite the terminal diagnosis my mother is still going strong, making the concept even harder to explain, but when we arrived in Australia, and the chemotherapy was eeking the life out of her faster than the cancer was, it was simply a matter of reinforcing, explaining, reminding what was going on.

Now that she is on so-called alternative therapies and thriving, getting stronger and even thinking of returning to work, it all seems a bit confusing, but, with the true resilience of childhood, Ameli carries on.

How to talk to children about death:

  • Talk to them when you are calm and relatively controlled in your grief
  • Talk to them at a good time, when there aren’t distractions and they aren’t tired or hungry
  • Explain in age appropriate terms, and according to your beliefs. We believe in heaven, so we were able to explain that we will see her in heaven again one day, once we’ve died too. 
  • Allow for questions generally based on the stages of grief – this is a good measure of their understanding too
  • Don’t take hurtful or insensitive comments personally. 
  • Be led by your child. Don’t put your feelings and emotions on them, and don’t expect them to have an adult understanding or response to your grief.

How do you talk to children about difficult situations? Do you remember when you first lost someone? How was it dealt with and how do you think it could have been handled differently?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn’t Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she’s explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she’s learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren’t so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she’s had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller’s Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter’s horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges–when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who’d want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn’t have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.

 

Festival of Food – Cocoa Creations – March Call For Submissions

Welcome to the March Festival of Food Carnival, hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This monthly carnival will aim to bring together seasonal recipes, healthy food, and a diversity of flavours and techniques.
**Apologies to those who submitted in February and had problems with the forms. We trust that we have now resolved those issues. Please get in touch if you have any problems this month!** 

Here are the submission details for March 2013

Theme: Cocoa Creations

It’s Easter soon and whichever version of the long weekend you celebrate or not, there’s bound to be plenty of sugary, palm oil rich chocolate all around you. We’re looking for the recipes you use to participate in the chocolatey goodness, without indulging in too much sugar, and all it’s side effects. Sweet or not, share your Cocoa Creations with us.

We prefer recipes with low sugar or natural sweeteners and as few processed ingredients as possible. However, we understand that healthy differs for every family, so please share your favourite.

There are two ways you can participate:

EITHER: Link up your old post on the carnival day, or submit a new post for the carnival!
**Please note, by participating or linking up you are agreeing to visit and comment on at least two other submissions**

Deadline: 7 March 2013 : Fill out the webform below and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. GMT at festivaloffoodcarnival [at] gmail.com

Carnival date: Wednesday 14 March . Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on Wednesday 14 March. We’ll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Please submit your details into our web form: This will help us as we compile the links list prior to the carnival.

Please do: Write well. Write on topic. If you’re using very uncommon ingredients, write something about them so your readers learn something new, or at least link to some information of them.

Please don’t: Please don’t use profanity of the sort that might be offensive to more sensitive readers or their children. Please don’t submit irrelevant posts.

Editors’ rights: We reserve the right to edit your piece or suggest edits to you. We reserve the right to courteously reject any submissions that are inappropriate for the carnival. Please also note that since there are two co-hosts on different schedules and conferring over email, our personal response to your submission might seem delayed. Don’t be alarmed. We also reserve the right to impose consequences if the responsibilities of the carnival are not fulfilled by the participants.

If you have questions: Please leave a comment or contact us at festivaloffoodcarnival [at] gmail.com

Links to tutorials: Lauren, Dionna, and Dionna’s husband, Tom, from the Natural Parents Network have written several tutorials about how to schedule posts in advance, how to determine post URLs in advance, how to edit HTML — all for both WordPress and Blogger users. For these tutorials and more, please see this handy summary post at LaurenWayne.com.

Stay in touch:

Show off: Add the code below to your post to identify it as a carnival contribution:

Festival of Food Carnival