Saturday, August 29, 2009

blush frozen yogurt

Today we visited Blush Organic Frozen Yogurt in Dublin, CA.


This is not Yogurtland, TuttiFrutti, or even Pinkberry. And it's definitely not TCBY. There are plenty of pretty good yogurt places out there, and I've noticed a proliferation of them lately. But a lot of them have that same old artificial flavor, or leave a weird taste or feeling in my mouth, and they're just not as refreshing as you'd hope a frozen yogurt would be.

Blush is perfect! It's mildly tart, perfectly flavored, with real fresh organic food ingredients. You'd think it'd be a given that food should have real food ingredients, but sadly it's not. And this is important to me-- I like my food and my personal hygiene products to be truly ingestible, not chemical stand-ins, how about you? Anyhoo, the texture is perfect and it's *clean*-- no gross aftertaste or texture that you need to swish out with a little Dixie cup of water.

If you live in the East Bay, it's worth stopping by Dublin for it. If you go now until September 4, Mondays through Thursdays, you can get a small for .99, which is a huge deal considering it's something like 2.75 for a small otherwise (I think). Enjoy!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

harvest day!

Zillions of grapes on the vine are suddenly ready. Paloma helped Nana pick them. I don't know if we'll be able to eat all these, but that's why there's juicing and jamming...

I loved this shot of them holding grapes up like they're fishers with an amazing catch!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BPA Free for You and Me

Amy Smart and Dr.Greene were two of the high profile supporters at a rally today supporting Senator Fran Pavley's SB 797, which would rid California of the chemical BPA in baby bottles.

I was really glad to drive out to Sacramento to support this bill. It's ridiculous that we have to work so hard to get *unnecessary* chemicals out of our kids' products. Why are they there in the first place? There's really no better reason than it's a Giant Moneymaker for the chemicals industry. BPA isn't just in bottles, but lines almost every can of food (adult food) and infant formula. It is everywhere.

Yes, you can buy premium bottles that are BPA free. You can find these bottles at Target, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and Babies R Us. But not at dollar stores and not in many less-affluent neighborhoods, where Target is considered too pricey.

It's not right that people who can't afford the chemical-free products are forced to swallow the chemicals that industry sells-- simply because it boosts their bottom line. As the wise Gretchen Lee Salter of Breast Cancer Fund says, it's expensive to be poor.

What does BPA do, anyway? It's an epoxy resin lining cans, supposedly keeping food preserved better, and it's a key in polycarbonate-- all those pretty clear Nalgene water bottles. But it's also a HUGE endocrine disrupter, mimicking estrogen and causing hormone-like side effects. It is everywhere. And it's UNNEEDED. There are plenty of other materials out there right now. The only reason BPA is one of them is because it's produced in such huge quantities and makes so much money for industry that they don't want to see it banned.

It's like high fructose corn syrup. There's no reason for it to be in your tomato sauce or any other food, except that we make a gazillion tons of it yearly, and corn syrup sellers need to sell it, so they put it in everything. Hello, diabetes epidemic.

Let's get rid of BPA. Let's tell industry to quit poisoning us to make a profit. I went to Sacramento today. If you're in CA, can you call Sacramento and tell your legislator you support SB 797, Fran Pavley's BPA bill? (916) 322-9900 is the Capitol Switchboard. Thanks!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

parent hack Monday

They're the wonderful and fabulous and adorable girls upon which I try all my parenting tricks. :)

Ah, Mondays aren't so bad. I wonder what other bloggers have designated Mondays for. Twitter does Music Monday, which is fun...

Back to the hack-- I noticed that a recent status update on Facebook seemed to strike a chord:

Derek and I realized that pretending we have eight children, but six are being taken care of by someone else for the day, makes having two children somehow seem much easier.

I have to say, this principle is SO helpful. I thought of it because of this entry on the Bar Method blog, which talks about our minds can easily trick our bodies into feeling strong or tired.

So I went to class and tried pretending that when the teacher said "10 more!" we really had 80 more to go, so that when she said "All done!" I'd be like "but I was all ready for 70 more of those!" (This is kind of backward from what the Bar Method blog actually says, which is that we hold back too much until the end and then realize we could have been working that hard the whole time. Maybe I'll try that next time...)

And then I got home to the kids, meal making, toys strewn, etc. And I thought, "But hey! How much more full would our hands be if we had EIGHT kids? Think about getting baths and dinners for ALL of them!!!

"But it's just these two right now. The other six are at camp. What a breeze!"

Suddenly, I swear, getting them into their carseats, getting to the potty, fixing meals, doing bathtime seems easier. Like, appreciably easier. Ah, mind games, I love them.

Got any parent hacks to share this fine Monday morning?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

thankful Thursday

Can't be in this beautiful place without feeling grateful. I don't want to sound like some pageant queen, but I really do try to take time to be grateful everyday. Here's why (it's decidedly non-pageanty): I would probably go batty otherwise. There are countless annoying things that vie for my attention daily, but I just let them slide across my radar screen and focus on the awesome. Why? Because it is more fun that way.

Here is some awesome stuff I am grateful for:

- I mentioned being in a beautiful place. We are in the Sierras, invited by some friends who rented an amazing "cabin" (if by "cabin" you mean 7500 square feet of space on a lake, a couple kitchens, a couple dogs, a hot tub made of stone and an infinity of stars, then yes. We are staying in a cabin.). I am so grateful that a place like this even exists, let alone that I am allowed to set foot on it.

- The stars, of which there are many millions more than I can see.
- The trees, which have their own languages.
- My Derek, who loves me and our kids.
- My kids, who are thriving and healthy. Even when they're screaming, I am grateful that they are alive and well, and that I'm alive and well enough to hear them.
- The coffee our friends brewed this morning
- The ability to laugh at myself, my naivete, my silly ideas and mistakes without berating myself too much. Grateful for the energy to make the effort to improve.

Would love to hear some of your thoughts on gratitude too!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

self sufficient kids?

I was reading the fabulous PunditMom, who wrote a thoughtful post on raising kids and having hope. She linked to a post by a mom visiting Rwanda, who essentially asked the question, "Are we [in the US] doing too much for our kids?"

Her musing was inspired by seeing 10 year old girls in Africa who are self-sufficient enough to get around town on public transportation by themselves, buy food, bring home water, and generally help take care of things in a truly substantive, needed way for the family.

So- do we overprotect? Do we keep our young ones from doing for themselves all that they might?

The comments were interesting, and I could see everyone's point. On one hand, yes! We do coddle. We do protect. We maybe worry too much. We take every safety precaution and then some. No bathing alone until age 6, no crossing the street alone until age 10, no dating alone until age 16, no driving alone until age 18. It is a privilege, a luxury, a burden, a blessing.

On the other hand, maybe not. Maybe this is just our culture, what we value and what we do. It's not overprotection, some said-- it's just how we parent, how we choose to create a childhood. It's what we think a childhood should look like.

And then there was another aspect that wasn't touched upon, which was that in many pockets of American culture, in the salad bowl that is American culture, there are plenty of 10 year olds who are very self-sufficient. I bet you could go to farms across the US and find 10 year olds ably contributing to the smooth function of the operation. You could go to inner cities and find 10 year olds who could ride buses and transfer with their eyes closed, bringing home a quart of milk from the corner market and dodging trouble on the way.

So maybe it's just the privilege of suburban life that's being questioned?

Personally, I believe that the more my daughters try and do, the more confident they'll be. I don't want to push them to do more than they have to before they're ready, but I don't want to hold them back either. For me, it's about constantly -but gently- but constantly- pushing that boundary of comfort and safety. Gently, but constantly. Helping them gain confidence as they grow, try, fail, try, fail, try, succeed.

Monday, August 03, 2009

surfing reawakened

It's been years and years since I've been surfing, and I use that term loosely-- more like attempted surfing. I think the last time might have been in Maryland when I was still in law school.

But Sunset magazine has not only reminded me that I want to go, it's given me ideas for how I can actually get back into it.

1. Stand up paddling. This looks like such fun! I watched a grizzled guy hanging out on the waves for a couple hours a few weekends ago in Santa Cruz, enjoying stand up paddling and chatting occasionally with the surfers and a nearby seal. I could see myself doing this, it's so mellow.

2. Go to Bolinas! There *is* a northern California beach for those of us who aren't Mavericks-bound. Bolinas is beautiful and relaxed.

Ah, Sunset, it gives so much, asks so little (besides my subscription fee, which I've renewed for years to come). Totally the best mag to get inspired-- not only do I know my next steps for getting back into the water, I also know what wine to follow it up with. ;)