As a mom who doesn’t give her kid candy unless it’s dark chocolate, Halloween is a tricky situation (pun intended)… until now.
To tell you the truth, we have a lot of things we do to celebrate Halloween and all without the traditional trick-or-treating.
For starters, we begin the celebrating with decorations at the beginning of October. This includes wall clings, scary music, carving jack-o-lanters, hanging skeletons from the ceiling, and more. This starts at the beginning of October to ensure a healthy dose of Halloween-ness.
Halloween is a whole month celebration for us.
Kamea painting a small pumpkin for decoration.
When the actual day of Halloween arrives, we have a Halloween Hunt where we hide dark chocolates and little trinkets, toys, stickers, etc around the house (or where ever we are).
Another thing we often do is travel during this time to make it extra special… with costumes, of course.
Travel to Flagstaff, AZ. A spooky town.
What kid wouldn’t want to go to DISNEYLAND for Halloween?
16 months old, as a fairy while traveling to Sedona, AZ for Halloween.
WEAR COSTUMES MANY TIMES!
We don our costumes many times(!) during the weeks before Halloween. Myself included.
I wear this costume pretty much every year.
Halloween Headbands are awesome.
We check out the crazy Halloween stores that pop up every year. Sometimes we go more than once. #FieldTrip
Trying on a witch hat. “I’ll get you my pretty…”
We go to Halloween parties… like this one at her Karate Dojo.
Halloween Party with a light show and dancing.
MONEY FOR CANDY!
I remember growing up, my mom gave us money for the candy we collected trick-or-treating, which we always preferred over eating the candy. That’s another idea.
A walk down memory lane with Kamea’s first Halloween.
This was Kamea’s first Halloween costume. She was a Chipotle Burrito.
4 months old Kamea as a burrito: Halloween
We swaddled her in an organic blanket, first, and you can see the rest. Foil. Organic lettuce. I actually thought she’d hate it because she’s not big on the swaddle thing, but she was a real trooper in her costume as Greg took photos.
Halloween as a SCIENCE EXPERIMENT! From Mothering.com…
I loved candy when I was a kid, but when I became a mother, I worried about my kids eating too much of the stuff. Still, I’ve never banned it from our home. Now, when my children come home on Halloween night, examine their candy, and go to bed without asking to eat a single piece, it’s not because I’ve forbidden it. It’s because they have better ideas about what to do with it.
It began with a simple question three years ago, when I was overwhelmed by our collection of Halloween candy. An afternoon with too-generous coworkers, a church Trunk-or-Treat (i.e., collecting candy at every car in a full parking lot), and a subsequent trick-or-treating expedition up our street had provided my four-year-old princess and two-year-old cowboy with mountains of candy. But since the candies had been the gifts of kind friends, and of elderly neighbors on fixed incomes, I didn’t want to throw them all away. Instead, I decided to dole them out one piece at a time. Handing out pieces after lunch was painful—the bowl loomed enormous atop my fridge, and I knew that at this rate we’d be eating candy for months.
Then, as my daughter Katherine poured out a box of Nerds, she asked the life-changing question:
“What would happen if I put these in water?”
I almost missed the moment. I was cleaning up the lunch dishes, and didn’t want to get out another one. Besides, the experiment sounded messy and wasteful (even though I’d just been agonizing about how to get rid of the stuff). I brushed her question aside, hoping she’d forget it. Instead, she asked again. I got her a white, unspillable mug, filled it with water, and set it down in front of her. She poured in her strawberry Nerds, examined them, stirred them into something the color of raspberry lemonade, and examined the cup again. Then I dumped it down the sink.
Some of you don’t know there was a time when I was crazy writing two blogs. There was (and is) my blog you’re reading now, Kristen’s Raw.
I was also writing a Green Mommy Blog where I shared my “green mommy” ways.
Shortly after I entered motherhood, I realized that it was a wee bit nutz to maintain two blogs so I stopped writing the Green Mommy Blog.
Fast forward to today and I decided to (soon) close that blog, but not without sharing some of the gems of posts. I’ll be updating the information, as well as including some of the helpful comments people wrote. Here’s the first article.
You probably wouldn’t expect me to admit that, but here I am… admitting that. Frozen food? Ewww. But, yeah.
Here’s the short of it.
I’m a mom. I make most things from scratch three times a day. I’m effin’ tired. The end.
There, see? I need a break and I need something at least somewhat decent to feed my kid because she’s just not into green smoothies or protein shakes that much (<– those are quick things that’s why I mention them).
Enter: Amy’s Frozen Mushroom Risotto
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t have any canola oil in it. (<– you know how hard it is to find frozen food without canola?). And, although this particular frozen food has a cheese in it that is probably not grass-fed, I’m not freaking out about it.
Here’s how I make Amy’s more acceptable. I add things to it, like grass-fed butter, and I don’t microwave it.
I get a little soup / sauce pot. (I adore that little pot. I use it to heat water for tea, make sauces, and, well, as you can see, I use it to warm up frozen food from the store.)
Isn’t it adorbs?
I add a few splashes of homemade bone broth and a couple tablespoons of grass-fed unsalted butter. The bone broth adds nutrition and helps it cook in the pot, and the butter adds good fat and nutrition.
Before you know it, I’m getting ready for dinner and I’m realizing that in the day I might have only had a serving or two of leafy greens or veggies.
It’s true, there are times I have a green smoothie or salad at lunch, but that’s not all the time. And besides, those are raw ingredients… with the green smoothie, I tend to make them with things like avocado, celery, cucumber, herbs, lemon or lime, and a light leafy green (romaine, broccoli sprouts, etc). That doesn’t help if I want to get some more (cooked!) dark leafy greens in my diet outside of dinner.
Easy 1-serving spinach ginger soup
I found a solution.
I have an easy way to incorporate cooked, dark leafy greens in my diet (like in the picture above) more regularly.
“Golden” Bulletproof Coffee made with Bulletproof cubes.
I sound like a broken record by frequently blogging recipes and variations for how I drink Bulletproof Coffee™.
For those of you who don’t know, Dave Asprey created Bulletproof Coffee, which is coffee blended with butter and MCT oil. Or, more specifically, his recipe calls for using his Upgraded (mold-free) coffee beans to brew the coffee, which is then blended with grass-fed unsalted butter and his Brain Octane (a special amped up version of MCT oil that is supposed to give more brain power).
Here’s Dave making his delicious Bulletproof Coffee in a video.
I love Bulletproof Coffee and find myself making it in different variations to increase the nutrition, as most of you have seen over the years.
Anti-inflammatory coffee recipe. It’s Golden.
My one complaint about my process is that adding the extra nutrition boosters…. takes extra time. Before I know it, I have 6 or 7 jars on my counter with spices, fats, etc. It can be messy and time consuming.
I had a lightbulb moment.
I thought, “What if I mixed the ingredients together, including all those extras I add… and froze them?”
Epic fun house from popsicle sticks and creativity.
My husband gets credit for this post. Using popsicle sticks to create what has turned out to be an epic fun house was his idea. He wanted to teach Kamea a bunch of skills and concepts in a way that’s accessible to a 4-year-old, as well as convey that activities don’t all have to be pre-packaged, that you can do big amazing stuff with simple objects. He’s very big on teaching her to use things for their unintended purposes (to teach lateral thinking), kind of like “coloring outside the lines” on steroids. Also, he wanted her to engage in a multi-month project to augment the single-serving creative sessions we usually do. There’s something about seeing a project grow and expand over time into wild directions, some planned and some unplanned.
And, so, I share this crazy fun idea with you, parents, out there if you’re in need of a creative activity and long-term project for kids. Keep in mind though, it requires some participation from you, the parents, but it’s easy and relaxed fun. Even mindfully meditative, at times.
My husband bought a bunch of popsicle sticks, and he started gluing them together with Kamea (she’s five years, but this project started while she was four).
Excited to get to work on the fun house.
The house started to really take on quite a life for itself and they started to decorate it with paint, stickers, markers, clay, found objects from the recycle bin, and much more. They also incorporated colored popsicle sticks. It’s become the center of attraction for play-dates as kids stare at it in awe. In fact, so do the parents!
I’m blogging a quick description on the best way to peel an avocado, because, crazily(!), I just learned this.
I figure there’s someone else out there who needs to know, too.
Ready to peel an avocado?
Cut the avocado in half.
Twist it to open it.
Take out the pit with a knife by gently, but effectively, tapping the blade into the pit. Be careful.
Are ya with me so far? I knew those first steps all along… it’s the next bit that I didn’t realize.
Now, cut each half… in half again so it’s quartered (as pictured above – you see three avocados in my picture).
Grab a bit of the peel with a couple of fingers and peel the peel off like you would peel a banana. THAT’S the brilliant part – it’s so easy. You get ALL of the avocado with none left behind as can happen with a spoon scooping it out (and, now, you don’t have a spoon to clean). Plus, you get a good look to see about any bruised pieces you want to discard.
Best way to peel an avocado.
PLUS, most of the nutrition of the avocado is supposedly right in that dark green part next to the peel so don’t leave any behind. Peeling an avocado as I do now, I get maximum nutrition.
We’d like to call ourselves a camping family, but I’m not quite there yet.
Greg has a history of camping since he was a kid. (He’s slept on pyramids in the jungle in Guatemala, so a Coleman tent is a bit Four Seasons to him.) I, on the other hand, only have a few trips under my belt so I’m still working on my camping legs. We’re really enjoying ourselves though, in spite of the uncomfortable sleeping, cold weather, dirty everything, yadda yadda yadda… cuz… it’s NATURE! Feels so good.
Check out our sleeping quarters in the picture below. Air mattresses supposedly make it more comfy. Our 8-person instant tent is not really instant… or for eight people. I’d like to see that happen. Wait, no I wouldn’t.
In spite of going to the gym for an hour a day, most days, I feel like my life is missing more movement. But, how could that be? I go to the gym almost daily. Surely that’s adequate.
Or, is it?
I took a look at our lives recently and realized there’s just too much sitting… whether it’s eating food at the table, working on computers, playing video games, watching TV, or reading, I had to admit that we’re members of the species homo sedentarius.
Sitting this much just doesn’t feel right. And research says that “sitting is the new smoking,” meaning deadly… even for people who exercise daily! Yikes.
So, on a whim I suggested to Greg that we get rid of our couch, which would make us move more. It was just an idea that made sense to me.
He wasn’t buying it. I mean, who doesn’t have a couch?
Well! Turns out, I’m not the only one to think about this. Apparently there is a movement (pun intended) known as “furniture-free” and I can’t help but be intrigued. There’s even experts on the topic. When Greg heard Katy Bowman, ummm, an expert, he realized it wasn’t just a crazy idea of mine – people are doing this.
Long story short, we got rid of our couch. (Gasp!)
Mom’s Secret Zen Garden – a place for play, imagination, or meditation.
Mom is taking Kamea for the night, which really means I get all day today, all night, and most of tomorrow to be child-free. Kamea loves going to mom’s sort-of citrus orchard, especially now that they’re creating a zen secret garden of it – statues, wind chimes galore, and hummingbirds a plenty.
So, what shall I do today? My list is long with much that I can blast through… things like…
Follow up emails
Make new recipes for my maybe new book
Make kelp capsules
Go to Trader Joe’s
Make liver pate
Read about qigong, yoga, and meditation
Shower and blow dry my hair
Dinner alone with Greg
I could just lay lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling for 30 hours.