Lift. Pull. Flop.

Have you ever read “The Missing Piece Meets the Big O” by Shel Silverstein?

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O

It’s basically about a triangle shaped piece that tries to fit into a Pac Man shaped piece so he could roll along with Pac Man. But eventually he realizes that it’s better to roll along on your own and not have to depend on Pac Man to get you where you need to be.

But he’s a Triangle. Triangles don’t roll.

So he sits there for a long time and then finally decides to try rolling, but it ends up really awkward and bumpy.

Lift. Pull. Flop. Lift,pull,flop. Liftpullflop.

In time, he starts to wear off the sharp corners and starts to roll a little easier and eventually becomes a circle so he can finally roll along on his own, along side the Big O.

It’s probably better the way Mr. Silverstein tells it.

Anywho…

Lift,pull,flop is an awkward time. It’s awkward for Triangle and it’s awkward for anyone watching you lift,pull,flop. Lift,pull,flop is not pretty. Plus, it’s hard for Triangle. Triangle has other things to do besides lift,pull,flop, and it’s tricky to do all of it at the same time. And it’s embarrassing when insensitive Pac Mans or even other Triangles laugh, point or roll their eyes at you for even trying to lift,pull,flop.

But guess what?

I have had it with Pac Man. (And this is NOT a metaphor for my husband in case any of you were wondering.) :) It IS a metaphor for everything that we look toward to make us happy or to do for us when we should be doing it ourselves or to sooth ourselves when we feel agitated or stressed.

We don’t need Pac Man. We need to muster up our own strength and LIFT. PULL. And as much as it pains me to say it… FLOP. (Flopping is really hard for a recovering perfectionist.)

And then LIFT again. PULL again. Very likely FLOP again.

It’s going to be awkward. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be ugly at times and scary at times and painful at times. People won’t recognize you anymore as you lift,pull,flop along your path. Some people will like who you are becoming and some people will be upset about your new shape. They may even try to mock or bully or otherwise manipulate you into stopping your lift,pull,flop so they don’t have to be uncomfortable with any more of your changing.

IGNORE THEM.

You do not need your Pac Mans. You need YOU. You are the one you’ve been waiting for.

Be patient with your lift,pull,flop. And please be patient with mine.

– The Conscious Mom

 

 

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Delight in Disorder

Here’s a little something something I thought you might enjoy for Valentine’s Day. It’s a poem by 17th century clergyman and poet Robert Herrick. (Before you roll your eyes and yawn, don’t let his clergyman status fool you… his poems were a little obscene for the early 1600s.)

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Delight in Disorder

By Robert Herrick

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

.

So show yourself a little love, and chill out about whatever you might be fussing about today. Let your hair down. Revel in a little wild civility.

You don’t have to be Barbie. You get to be you. My bet is that your certain someone will like it even more if you’re not perfectly put together.

Love,

– The Conscious Mom

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Stop Hating Vegans

Several months ago, someone spray-painted “vegans” at the bottom of the stop sign in my neighborhood. It made me chuckle a little. And then roll my eyes. Every time I see it, it reminds me — and maybe others who drive by the Stop Vegans sign — that people are super judgmental.

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know that I have fairly recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, and I’ve been trying to heal the damage in my small intestine using food. I’ve been working with a dietician, and over the last several weeks, we have taken out one food after another, trying to come to a point where what I am eating does not aggravate my innards.

Last week, as my dietician and I came to the conclusion that I should also cut out meat in addition to gluten, dairy, eggs and other foods, I realized that essentially, I need to go vegan. Really, it’s more like something I might call Vegan Plus — a gluten-free vegan who also eschews corn, onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and now not even quinoa or a handful of other normally totally fine fruits and vegetables.

It’s a difficult place to be — in a world where everywhere you turn, there’s a commercial for Chili’s or Papa John’s, or smells of homemade chicken soup at the Harmon’s deli. You really can’t escape it. Delicious-looking and -smelling food is everywhere. And it almost always includes at least one of the items on my “do not eat” list.

I’ve never had anything against vegans. As long as I could still enjoy my bacon and eggs every once in a while, I was fine with them enjoying their vegan bacon (a.k.a. fakon) and tofu “egg” scramble. While I’ve been open to trying a vegan dish here and there (my extended family even had a vegan Easter last year — just for fun), I’ve never really been that interested in pursuing vegan recipes with any sort of gusto. You eat your thing. I’ll eat mine.

But now that I’ve been trying to find recipes that will fit within the parameters of my healing diet, I am not just indifferently aware of vegans, I am SUPER GRATEFUL FOR VEGANS!

Thank you vegans, for posting your recipes for broccoli soup. (I just omitted the onion, and added more salt, and it was still pretty tasty.)

Thank you vegans, for giving me a list of dairy-free ice creams I can make for my lactose-intolerant soon-to-be 2-year-old’s birthday party. (And then I can have a little too!)

Thank you vegans, for vegan cream cheese. (I’m super excited about this recipe and this website.)

Also, thank you cabbage. I had no idea I even liked you. :)

Anyway, last week, after a particularly productive day on Pinterest printing out basically a whole new binder full of new recipes to try, I decided I had had enough of the Stop Vegans sign in my neighborhood. In an act of extremely mild civil disobedience, I taped a friendly edit to Stop Vegans sign:

New Camera 2014 046It’s just paper, and it fell apart in about a day, but hey. It was an attempt to diffuse a little of the hatred and judgements that exist in this world. And to give a little shout-out to my vegan peeps who have helped to feed me in the last several weeks.

So to whoever (or whomever, I never know) vandalized this sign in the first place, stop hating vegans. Stop hating anyone. There is something good for everyone to contribute to this world, including you.

Peace out. Hippie love. Namaste. :)

Love,

– The Conscious Mom

 

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Disclaimer 2014: Imperfection is the New Awesome

I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason I was able to write every single day in November for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) was only slightly related to the fact that I had made a commitment to do it. The bigger reason I was able to complete the task was because part of the rules for NaBloPoMo were basically this:

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be done.

So here it is, well into the month of January now. Several weeks after my grand accomplishment of writing every day on this blog. And as much as I wanted to continue the streak, or at least continue writing fairly regularly, like 3 times a week or something, I have found excuse after excuse to not write, mostly because I want my writing to be perfect before I post.

In November, I knew — and so did you because of the disclaimer on November 1 — that the experiment of daily posting would not necessarily be earth-shattering reading every time. And somehow, that knowledge made it much easier to just put something out there, even if it wasn’t exactly how I wanted it.

So now I’m going to try another experiment, this time for the whole year. For 2014, I’m just going to write when I’m inspired to write, and my motto will be: It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be done. As much as I’d like to commit to the 3 times a week that I’d like to be posting, I’m just not ready for that yet.

But I am ready for imperfection. I will no longer think, “I don’t have time to write that post because it will take me too long to get it right.”  This year, I will think, “Hey, that might be fun to write about. Let’s see what I can come up with in 30 minutes.”

Are you ready? Am I ready? Maybe not. But here’s to a year of imperfection.

– The Conscious Mom

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Quinoa Granola, My New Love

I’ve been trying to find something, anything, that will satisfy my cravings for something crunchy to snack on that does not include gluten, corn, onion, garlic, egg or dairy. (Not that dairy is necessarily crunchy… but still…my list of acceptable foods is seriously dwindling, and it’s really taking a toll on my snacking problem.)

It’s been a challenge.

quinoa granolaThis recipe for Quinoa Granola (thank you Hungry Hungry Hippie!),  has been really nice to have around since my breakup with pizza. I modified it to fit what I had in the pantry, and it was a hit! Even my 4-year-old, who is reluctant to try anything new, and even more reluctant to like anything new, loved it so much that he had two helpings, and said, “This is so delicious I almost forgot about my trains!”

Yeah, it’s that good.

I substituted more oats for the buckwheat, used hazelnuts instead of walnuts, and even left out the dried fruit on occasion, so I would say you could be pretty flexible with the recipe too and modify it to fit your needs/tastes. It’s really all about the cinnamon and the maple/coconut flavor combination.

Here’s the recipe with my modifications:

Quinoa Granola

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole rolled oats (certified gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/3 cup quinoa (I used 1/6 cup each of red and white quinoa)
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees F.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine everything except the maple syrup and coconut oil. Mix well.
  3. Add melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Mix well.
  4. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes at 225 degrees F.
  6. Let it cool and then break apart. (You probably won’t need to actually break it. It crumbles pretty easily if you just bring the ends of the parchment paper together.)

Maybe someday I will learn how to add a really cool recipe app or something to my blog so you could just print it easily, but for now, you’ll just have to copy and paste it. Sorry.

But on the bright side, you now have a super-delicious way to use all that quinoa you bought at Costco. :) Enjoy!

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To Pizza, With Love

Dear Pizza,

It’s been several weeks since you’ve been at my house. I know we decided that it was not good for us to be together anymore — at least for a very long time while I take time to heal.

Pizza on metal dish and vegetableI was hoping that the time was coming soon that I could at least have some version of you back in my kitchen — a gluten-free crust? A non-dairy cheese? But I have some news for you.

I have realized recently that there are other things about you that are just not good for me. Your onion and garlic, too, are wreaking havoc on me on the inside. I’m sorry to say it, but pizza without bread or cheese OR onion or garlic is just not pizza.

It’s better for me anyway to just drop all the foods I like and just become a raw vegan. I’ll be better off. And you’ll find someone new, I’m sure. Someone who you can share Friday nights with and celebrate with at parties. Someone who can truly relish your chewy crust and perfectly spiced sauce.

It’s looking like we may not ever be back together. And it’s cool. Whatever. I don’t need you. And I ain’t missing you at all.

Love,

The (Hungry) Conscious Mom

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Congratulations from Buddy the Elf!

Well, I did it. Every single day for a month. EVEN THOUGH during this month I hosted an artist open house, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and our car was stolen. It just proves (to myself anyway) that if you really want to do something, you can just do it, and anything you let get in the way is just an excuse, not a real reason to have not done whatever it was.

So I will end this 30 Posts in 30 Days Challenge the way it started. With Buddy the Elf.

(Buddy also says, “Congratulations! You did it!” to all the other NaBloPoMo bloggers out there who completed the challenge as well. Good job, you guys. It was fun to get to know more of you in blog-land.)

Thanks for making the 30-day journey with me everyone! It’s certainly been real. From now on, I promise to write less often than every day (so you can know that when I post something it will be much more likely to be worth your time to read), but more often than once a month (which was my previous, pitiful track record).

Until next time…

– The Conscious Mom

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Not. Giving. Up.

My husband’s car was stolen a couple of days ago, and I am at the very Very end of my VERY frayed rope. I have spent the day car shopping with three kids and getting the auto loan pre-qualification papers rolling…among other things that may or may not include gluten.

But I am not giving up on this daily post thing. I am SO close to actually completing my goal. This post is for me, so sorry for wasting your time again. :)

One. More. Day.

keep-calm-and-don-t-give-up-28_original

– The Conscious Mom

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Five Dollar Christmas Challenge

five dollar billI used to love Christmas when I was single. Decorating the tree, putting up the lights, wrapping and shopping for all the gifts. But that was before. Before kids and mortgages and the stress of being a responsible adult in times of economic (and other kinds of) uncertainty.

Don’t get me wrong, I still loved giving presents to my friends and family. But when my husband and I were first married and had added a whole new family of in-laws to buy presents for, it started to become a bit of a financial burden.  We tried drawing names, but that really seemed to take all the fun out of it for me. I still wanted to experience the joy of giving to everyone, not just one or two people in my family, but it was simply too much to take financially.  There seemed to be a lot of pressure to be able to afford society’s expected dollar amount of a “decent gift,” and if you couldn’t afford it then you may as well not participate in giving.

Plus, it started to feel like we were just exchanging mone­­y— I’ll trade you my $35 Barnes & Noble gift card for your $35 Amazon gift card. It was a little ridiculous.

Finally, a few years ago, I was inspired by a wonderful little book called Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas by Bill McKibben to try to bring back the true meaning of Christmas to our family gift exchange.  The book, and the ensuing changes in our Christmas gifts that year, totally changed my perspective.  It made the gift-giving so much more fun, not to mention allowing us to get to know each other better in ways we never would have expected.

Instead of drawing names, each of us wrote a list of 25 lesser known things about ourselves—things like, “I can’t get enough of mechanical pencils,” or “I love to make lists” (guess who wrote that one?).  Using only the lists, $5, and a little creativity, we came up with a small but thoughtful gift for each person in the family. It could have been anything — new, used, handmade, found, re-gifted, dollar-store brand, etc.  But the point was to use the lists to get to know each other better and then give something you thought they would appreciate without breaking the bank.

My husband’s family loved it.  We gave my brother-in-law a bunch of old records from a local second-hand store (which he loved), and we sent another brother-in-law a box of miscellaneous household supplies that he always seemed to run out of (like batteries and dryer sheets).

We had the idea for another brother-in-law (who we found out loves museums and would love to take his kids more often if it weren’t so expensive) to give him a list of all of the free museums in the area, as well as discount days and passes that were available to him.

Christmas became more about showing love and not about feeling stress about how much money we were spending. Giving and receiving gifts became much more meaningful when we took time to think about the other person’s wants and desires, and then did something about it to show them we cared.

I found a quote once that said, “Friendship isn’t one thing. It’s a million little things.” It was the same thing for our five-dollar Christmas. When we refocused our thoughts on those endearing little things about each other (instead of worrying about finding that perfect gift we would spend all our money on) we began to understand and love each other a little better.

And that is what Christmas is all about.

So if Black Friday 2013 is stressing you out, take a minute to reconsider how you want your Christmas season to go down. If you are up for it, take the Five Dollar Christmas Challenge. It takes a bit more thought and planning, but if you start this weekend, I know you can totally do it.

There are only two rules: Pare Down. Show Love.

This is YOUR Christmas. Do what works for you. You can coordinate with your extended family, one side, both sides, circle of neighbor friends, or just decide on your own that you want to see what you can do with $5 for everyone on your list. The point is to get back to the true spirit of Christmas. It truly is the thought that counts.

Comment here or on The Conscious Mom’s Facebook page to let us know you are participating in the Five Dollar Christmas Challenge. And if you feel so inclined, we’d love to hear how it goes for you!

Happy shopping/crafting/finding/making/giving!

– The Conscious Mom

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The Quiltmaker’s Gift

Have you seen this wonderful little book? It is perfect for sharing on Thanksgiving. The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau is a beautiful story, both in its core message and visually stunning illustrations, of a greedy and dissatisfied king who learns the source of true happiness and the value of giving through a magical old woman who makes quilts “only for the poor or homeless.” (Read the full review here.)

The Quiltmaker's GiftIt is the perfect Thanksgiving story to read to your kids (or to yourself) this holiday because its message combats the materialism that is so rampant in our society, especially this week with all of the Black Friday shopping that will be going on.

So get out there and buy this book! :)  Or borrow it from your library. You will not be disappointed.

I’m off to the kitchen for the day now. I cannot focus on anything else until the basic food needs of my Celiac Thanksgiving are met. Happy reading!

– The Conscious Mom

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