CROOK

Peaceful Service

First of all, thanks for all the kind comments on my last post.  It's so nice to know I'm not alone out there in the "Why am I blogging?" world.

I am continuing on my journey to Piece Together Peace.
Last month's intention was clear and simple...or so I thought.
Become a focused and peaceful driver.
Ok.
Honestly?  It was really hard to remember to take my 3 deep breaths.  Most of the time I would take them while backing up out of my driveway (so doesn't count!).  About halfway through the month I got the great idea of writing a little watercolor card with the word breathe on it, all pretty and soothing like.
That worked well...until my 2 year old ripped it off and ate it (actually she just wiped her face with it - thanks!).  At the end of the day I do not think I'll be able to do the 3 deep breaths every time I start up my car, but it has helped me become a more focused driver, and therefore a more peaceful driver simply by making it a priority.

Novembers' Peace intention came rather easily. 
November is a month for giving back. 



Giving back to this beautiful Earth.
Giving back to the community.
Instilling in my children what it means to do true service.



Sure, we donate to charities and give cans to food drives all year long, but this month we'll go above and beyond. 



We'll do the beach clean up, we'll do the food basket preparations, we'll do the bigger, more meaningful service.  We will go home with peace in our hearts and hopefully it will radiate outwards.

Through our actions we will piece together peace.


**Pictures taken at Los Cerritos Wetlands where we participated in a clean up/restoration day, organized by Kim from Save Our Beach.**

...about that 5th pumpkin...

Hi.
I'm here.
Wherever here is, right?

There I was happily blogging about my 5 little pumpkins and then BAM!  It hit me.
Why?
Why do I blog?
I mean I've thought about it before and wondered about it, but just kept on typing away anyways.
I enjoy sharing my thoughts.
I enjoy documenting my family life.
I enjoy organizing my pictures and reflecting on them in this space.
I enjoy my blog friends I've met.

So it's Hallowe'en night and I'm about to sit down and type up my "5th Little Pumpkin" blog and I realize there's like 10 other things I'd rather do, not the least of which is hang out with my Mom (loved your visit Mom!).  The night comes to a close (the Pumpkin Fairy was waiting for me to fall asleep) and the next day is here.
Guess what?
I don't feel like blogging that night either!
Don't get me wrong....the pumpkin curry I will eventually post is totally tasty and worthy of sharing, but I just didn't feel like it.

At that point I decided I would shut down the blog.  I decided I was "over it".

Over the next few days life did what it always does and sent some signs. 
  • I ran into a few people who had read something or made some recipe they saw on my blog and had truly enjoyed it. 
  • I got a few emails from some mamas who had gleaned some sort of insight from my ramblings.
These few encounters reminded me why I started blogging in the first place.  To share.  To give back.
I myself have been inspired by so many wonderful blogs out there.  What if we all stopped blogging...how tragic would that be?!?

I get it...it doesn't have to be all or nothing.  I can post when I have the time and the inspiration.  Although at this point it's mostly a time management thing.  I've got about 20 posts in my head and in my camera...just no time to glue them together into a post.  I'm sure all you bloggers out there know what I mean.  Plus the ridiculously long handmade presents list I wrote last week is haunting me.  Great Grandma Jo might not get that handmade scarf this year...hee-hee.  That's why we have Etsy people!

How do you do it?  How do you find the time to blog when so many other things call you away?

So I am still here and I am at peace with blogging when I have the time. 
Speaking of peace...I hope to post this week about my Peaceful Intention for November..

~Peace Out~
:)

4 little pumpkins...

...sitting on a gate.

You know I love making my own dressings.  Economical, fun and yummy. 
Raw pumpkin in a dressing though?  Oh yes my friends.

It's spooky tasty on it's own as a dip, but when I tossed it with a fresh spinach, raisin, walnut, and roasted beet salad?!?!?  What can I say?  We ate it all!



Crooked Pumpkin Dressing

1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh pumpkin (peeled and seeded of course)
1 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs flax/vegan DHA oil (or olive oil)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbs Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 tsp curry powder
1 clove of garlic
pinch of cinnamon

Blend everything until smooth.

This tastes really good with every veggie I dipped in it (carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, jicama...) but I really liked it in this salad. 

Give it a try pumpkin head!

3 little pumpkins...

...sitting on a gate.

I love making raw food recipes for our snacks. Most of the time I just wing it and that's exactly what I was doing when I came up with these. Luckily for you I was taking notes, because these are good.  Remember all the fresh apple juice we made for the pumpkin soup?  Well, waste not, want not.  We put the "juicer poop" to use here in these cookies.  I was going to call them pumpkin cookies, but since they use apples, pumpkins and cranberries...I thought Autumn Cookies was more appropriate, not to mention fair to said apples and cranberries, eh?


Raw Autumn Cookies

1 cup (packed) fresh apple juice pulp
1 cup (packed) fresh raw pumpkin (peeled, seeded and grated)
1 cup oat groats (finely ground into flour)
1 cup flax seeds (finely ground)
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped fine)
10 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for at least 30 min.  Then drain and chop/mash them depending on how soft they are
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg



Throw it all together in a large mixing bowl and mix it with your hands.  I recommend using your hands because 1) it's fun 2) you can really make sure everything is incorporated well.
Then using your hands grab about 2 tbs worth of "dough" and form them into patties like so:

and about this thick:
Lay them on the mesh dehydrator screens and dehydrate at 115 over night, or for about 8-10 hours.

These were nummy.  Just sweet enough to be a cookie, but also highly nutritious and hearty.  I happily let the girls have "cookies" for breakfast.  Here they are dipping them in their tea at roughly 7am.  The smell when they woke up was too tempting and they had to have them right away.
Enjoy!






Wiggle Wiggle

**We interrupt this regularly scheduled pumpkin program to bring you breaking news**


Wiggle

Wiggle
Wiggle
POP!
and out it came.

The one on top she's had missing for a year.  She fell when she was two and the tooth died and had to be pulled.  But this was her first natural tooth loss.  It was wiggly for almost a month.  Finally I told her to just gently push it with her tongue and there you go.  Of course you'd think since I had so much notice I would have found time to make the tooth fairy bag I wanted to make for her, but no, I wasn't ready.  So we whipped this felt one up instead.

ready for the pillow on top

The tooth fairy brought a gorgeous crystal (we're sure it's from fey land since we've never seen one like it here) and I gifted her with a knit kerchief I had already for the occasion.

She is such a big girl, my little F.  The changing of the teeth...means so much.

2 little pumpkins...

...sitting on a gate.

Today I'm sharing a totally tasty, totally easy raw food recipe.  My daughter F's favorite cookbook right now is Raw: The Uncook Book.  We've been to his restaurant in Santa Monica, but really, she just loves the gorgeous photos.  While pouring through it, she asked if we could make the butternut squash soup, I said sure...but asked if we could make it a pumpkin soup since we had plenty of them on hand.  Being the sweet little girl she is, she agreed.  I ended up changing the recipe almost entirely, but still...it was my inspiration.



Raw Pumpkin Soup

4 cups apple juice (fresh)
3 cups raw pumpkin (peeled, seeded and chopped...of course)
1/4 cup coconut oil
10 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 tsp curry
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
few cracks of fresh pepper

Blend everything together.
Top it with raw pumpkin seeds and chopped bananas.
Eat it.

That simple folks!  I mean make it even easier on yourself and prepare the pumpkin and the fresh juice while the kids are napping or happily playing...then when the crunch of mealtime meltdowns start, you just whirl your blender and dinner is served. It takes about 1-2 min for a smooth consistency in my vita mix which is perfect since it warms it just a tad so as not to kill the enzymes, but it isn't "cold".  Making 4 cups of fresh apple juice takes a whole lotta apples.



But it makes such a difference in taste.  If you don't have tons of apples, try to get fresh juice at a farmers market, or health food store.  If you're not going for the 100% raw thing, then just use the good, cloudy, juice from the store, not the see through stuff.
I made Carmella's Rosemary Crackers a few days ago, so we used them for soup dippers.
 
Love how E dives right in with her cracker. 
Um, yes!  She served up her own bowl, why do you ask?!?


1 little pumpkin...

...sitting on a gate.

In honor of one of our circle time songs I thought it might be fun to celebrate the coming of All Hallows' Eve by posting 5 little pumpkin recipes we've created.

I bought quite a few organic pumpkins last week and we've been up to our elbows in pumpkin goodness. 

I had to whip up a tasty, wholesome snack for E's playgroup last week.  I came up with a sort of pumpkin-biscuit-cookie thing that won rave reviews with the mamas.  Not too sweet, but not too "healthy" tasting either.  It's a good choice for playdates/playgroups/parties since it's soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free (if you use GF oats).



Vegan Pumpkin Haystacks

2 ripe bananas, mashed


1/2 cup pureed pumpkin

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed so it's no longer solid)

2 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup ground raw almonds (like an almond flour)

1/2 cup finely ground unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1 tsp baking powder

In a small bowl mix together the bananas, pumpkin, vanilla and coconut oil. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients (except the cranberries). Now pour the wet mix into the dry and incorporate. Add the cranberries. Drop about 2 Tbs sized balls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for about 12-15 min in a preheated oven at 350.

This makes a nice sized batch, so pop some in the fridge in a covered container and they'll keep for a few days...if they last that long!

In other pumpkin related news...I made the Pumpkin Lasagna from Kirsten's Kitchen and it rocked!  I know...pumpkin?...lasagna?...huh?  But really it was so good I had to hide a piece for Papa because the girls demolished it.  Making double next time.  I changed the tofu ricotta to a sort of impromptu cashew ricotta and I sprinkled the top with a mix of roasted pumpkin seeds (ground course), nutritional yeast and hemp seeds.  Go visit her site for a better picture, mine is kinda lame.


What are you making with your pumpkins?!?

Seriously?!?!

This is graffiti on a tree.
That's right.
A tree.
A Ficus actually.
Look how beautiful she is!

I am sad.

I cannot scrub it off of her.
I cannot paint over it.
I could strip the bark of of her, but that would be like a big tree ouchie.

I am sad.

I am sad because whoever did this is SO detached from a natural world, that these thoughts never crossed their mind. 
This tree is living, breathing...helping us breathe.

This tree is in front of my house...
so now every time I pull in/out of the driveway I am sad.

Autumn Circle - Apples and pumpkins and leaves...oh my!

This is our circle time we've been doing this month.  Go here to read the last one and to see where I get my songs/verses/stories.

Autumn Circle - Apples and pumpkins and leaves...oh my!

Oct. 4th - 29th

Opening Song:
seated
(our opening song stays with us all year)
Miracle
by:Renee and Jeremy

Centering Verse:
standing
(our centering verse changes with the seasons)

The Earth is firm beneath my feet
(bend down to touch the ground)
The Sun shines bright above
(hands reach up to the sky)
And here I stand so straight and strong
(step each foot into the ground)
All things to know and love.
(cross arms at chest)

Song:
standing
The apples are golden and ready to drop, uh-huh ready to drop
(Have a child stand in the middle of the circle as the apple tree)
There came an old woman to pick them all up, uh-huh pick them all up
(go around with other child/ren and collect the fallen apples)
A big apple fell and it gave her a knock
(tree lightly knocks the old woman's head)
It made the old woman go hippety-hop, made the old woman go hippety-hop.
(everyone jumps and kicks their legs out in front)
I laugh ha ha and I laugh hee hee, I laugh all day for it pleases me (2x)
(still dancing and kicking your legs out)

Verse:
standing
(join hands and walk around in a circle)
Autumn winds are whirling leaves
Across the ground so brown
But each one finds it's little nest,
(flutter down to the ground)
and gently flutters down.

Fingerplay:
seated
5 Little Pumpkins

5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
(1 hand up, all fingers showing)
The 1st one says "oh my, it's getting late!"
(1 finger up)
The 2nd one says "what's hiding over there?"
(2 fingers up)
The 3rd one says "there's something in the air."
(3 fingers up)
The 4th one says "let's run and run and run"
(4 fingers up)
The 5th one says "get ready for some fun"
(5 fingers up)
Then WHOOSH goes the wind
("whoosh" with your hands)
and out goes the light
(close hands in a tight ball)
and the 5 little pumpkins roll out of sight.
(roll your arms around and around while you bow to the ground)

Verse:
seated
The leaves are green, the apples are red
They hang so high above your head.
Leave them alone til frosty weather,
Then they will all fall down together.
(each child gets a red/green/brown silk to flutter above their heads and then drop at the last line)

Song:
seated
I'm a pumpkin large and round, sitting on the cold cold ground
Now it's time to leave this place, take me home and carve a face.
Make some eyes
(clap clap)
and a nose
(clap clap)
and a mouth
(clap clap)
I'm a Jack-O-Lantern now, not a pumpkin on the ground
Put a candle in for light, I will glow throughout the night.



Story:

The Apple Elves
by: Suzanne Down
Closing verse:
standing
I can turn myself and turn myself

and stop me when I will

I can reach high on my tippy toes

and hold myself quite still.

Our morning is done

but not our day

for what is life

when there's no play.

Anyone else walk around the house this time of year and find these poor little half eaten apples?




Winner for Fairy Bottle Give-away!

Ok, so I really enjoyed reading all of your ideas for the cute little bottles I found.  We are already using one as a vase.  I wish I had 26 left to give one to each of you, but alas...I have only two.
I enlisted the help of my 5 year old for pulling the names since this was her idea in the first place.

And the winners are:

"I would fill it with the teeny peridot nuggets I was given when my mother died (it was her birth stone).

Your rose salve sounds lovely! Being the mother of three boys, "ouch cream" is always being used around here! (: "

and

"I am wondering what my girls would want to put in the bottle. They would probably fill it with bits of flower petals and seeds, they are quite the autumn treasure harvesters these days.

Rose salve sounds wonderful but lip balm sounds most practical so I will say that, since we are still not making our own, but you sure do inspire me to get started. Thank you!"

Congrats ladies, I'll be contacting you to send you your goodies.


**If you didn't win this time around I'm thinking of hosting a monthly herbal give-away, so it's all good.**

It also makes a really good playscape piece apparently...

Little fish, big fish swimming in the water....

Hi all.
First of all, I am loving all the great ideas for the cute little fairy bottles.  If you haven't already, go enter in the give-away.  We choose the 2 winners tomorrow morning.
Secondly...I am so glad I am not the only one who didn't know they were the same song.  Phew!

Now, here's another post full of super cute crafts from a Bits of Goodness swap.
This was the Water Swap.  For my items I knit these wool fish.  I found the pattern here.

Felt-A-Fish bath toys.  You can use them in the bath as wash mitts and the warm water and soap naturally felt them down.  Fun!  Just make sure to hang them out in the sun to dry so they don't get all funky.  Or pop them in the dryer for faster felting.

I've ferreted away most of this for little E since she is quite the water lover and her birthday is coming up soon.
That funky camera my friend lent me was perfect for the watery themed photos huh?  Go visit these fellow crafters and see what else they're up to.


Sea Horse by Goldie



Knitted Squid by Hallie



Fishing toy by Robin



Felted ball by Brynn



Shark bath puppet by Deb

Come on over and craft with us so you can get some sweet packages in the mail!
xo






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