pregnancy and anemia

anemia is a common problem during pregnancy, and even if your blood tests do not show it make sure to ask your OB/Midwife where you are on the anemia scale, if you are close they may not even say anything to you, but before you get to the point of taking iron supplements there are a few simple recipes that worked very well for me, and also the friends that I have passed them onto...I hope that they can help, but if your condition is extreme you should work with your OB/Midwife so that they know what is going on, but in general I have found that anemia can usually be healed through your food.

-eat steamed greens, I really craved these for breakfast with both of my kids, but you can eat them at any and every meal...

steamed kale with sunflower seeds
steam your kale, be sure not to over-cook, I steam perfectly when I start with cold water and a steamer, then as soon as I hear the water come to a boil I shut off the flame and let sit for a couple minutes and your greens should turn bright green (kale, mustard greens or better yet, daikon greens) in general you should cook with less oil and then keep a very good bottle of organic olive oil just to use as a condiment, on top, the more delicious the smell the better the taste. while you are waiting for your greens to steam, toast sunflower seeds in an iron skillet (dry) until they smell toasty and add a little bit of seasalt! just sprinkle them on top of your perfectly steamed greens and yum...

miso soup with daikon and wakame
4-5 cups water
1 cup sliced daikon
1/4-1/2 cup wakame, washed, soaked and sliced
barley miso
sliced scallions
place water, daikon and wakame in a pot. bring to a boil. cover and reduce the flame to medium-low. simmer until the daikon is very soft. reduce the flame to very low and add a small amount of barley miso to make a mild tasting soup. simmer 2-3 minutes longer. place in individual serving bowls and garnish with sliced scallions.

adzuki beans, squash and kombu
1 strip kombu, 6-8" long
1 cup adzuki beans, soaked 6-8 hours
1 cup kabocha squash, leaving the skin on the squash and cut into slices (or carrots in the summertime)
sea salt
place kombu on the bottom of the pot, and place the squash next then the adzuki beans on top of the squash. add water to just cover the squash. bring to a boil. cover and reduce the flame to low and simmer until the beans are about 80 percent done which will take about 2 hours. if additional water is needed while cooking, add only enough water to the squash and not the beans. when 80 percent done, season with a little sea salt and continue to cook until the beans are completely soft. (soaked wheat berries, fresh or dried lotus root, soaked, or soaked lotus seeds can be cooked with adzuki beans in the same manner as above. in this case add water to cover the beans.)

try one or all of these dishes to help make your blood stronger, if you have trouble finding any of these items in your local store you can check at the kushi online store and they may have them. I found these recipes in a wonderful book called Macrbiotic Pregnancy and Care of the Newborn by Michio and Aveline Kushi(it's out of print but you can find used ones on amazon)

if you are required to use an iron supplement a good one that should not give you constipation is Floradix with iron, it combines herbs with iron which makes it more digestible. which you can find at whole foods or any co-op (or online here).


even more travel....ideas: elevate destinations

thinking about getting away from it all....well how about seriously...getting...away! elevate destinations is a travel coordinator that has put together a family trip to africa (as well as other places)!! what a dream...don't just talk about the animals, pretend you are doctor doolittle and talk right to them, wouldn't your kids love that! elevate destinations puts together travel packages with a conscience, and each trip has a beneficiary so a percentage of profits goes to the protection of natural resources and community development in destination countries (which include: africa, india, south america and southeast asia) how amazing to travel while giving back to the country you are in...good idea!! although I haven't gone on a trip, they look pretty darn comfortable if you ask me, just visit the the website and see for yourself...they design trips that are educational, recreational and unforgettable...sign me up! (it's a dream!)

just let me be....

I was recently cooking dinner in the kitchen and as usual my kids were at my feet, "I want a snack" "I'm hungry" and on and on... then it became quiet and this is what I found on the floor, that's a garlic bulb, it took her about 15 minutes to tear it apart, even taste it (bbrrrrr) and roll around in it...wasn't that fun! normally I would have stopped it and got her onto something else, but this just looked like so much fun, life can be simple sometimes if you just let them go...


The nonchalantdad: The Birth of Free Will.

Like many parents in the world, my wife and I encourage freedom – we encourage decision making in our children. It is natural to want your children to eventually think for themselves. And, usually, without fail they harmlessly rise to the occasion. Not all occasions go so smoothly, of course. I’m thinking of when my little girl decides that she does not wish to finish wiping her bottom and bolts across the room with me chasing after her. Or, there is the decision by both children to pay a nightly visit at about 3am to Mom and Dad’s bed, where they promptly position themselves so that Mom and Dad are left hanging off the edges. But, usually they can make some surprising and enlightened decisions for themselves.

I recall how entertaining it was the first time my son had to decide on his own whether to eat an apple or pear – when I asked him which he preferred he looked as though I had given him some kind of mathematical equation. An equation that he might have to refer to NASA experts, or in his case, that blue-dog-master-Sensei-thing on the Power Rangers. He chose the pear.

As with the apple and pear situation, my son was soon graduating into larger and more important decisions. One morning, early on, I gave him the choice of what articles of clothing he would like to wear to school. We were teaching him that he needed to begin dressing himself. After all, each morning was a battle of wills anyway between the ensemble I would lay out for him and what he might want to wear. A camouflage bathing suit is not very suitable for winter wear – even if accompanied by a t-shirt. As you know, the beginning is usually the roughest stage. He'd soon learn.

Eventually, by the age of four, he was dressing himself. Technically speaking, he was dressing himself. The rest is open to debate. He dressed himself efficiently and with proper consideration for practicality. His underpant was underneath his trousers, both his socks were carefully placed on each foot, and his shirt was in the correct position, teeth brushed, hair combed, etc. But, there was one morning when he obviously decided he was going to try something different. In the morning of hustle and bustle routines, he presented himself, without the slightest bit of self-conciousness, in the hallway to our bedroom. At 8:30 am the sight was more jolting than a strong coffee.

He was dressed from head to toe in the most spectacular arrangement of colours I have ever seen, with the exception of an earlier experience with Grateful Dead enthusiasts. The kid looked like Pippi Longstocking whacked out on LSD. In addition to this festive display of free will, he thought it prudent to add a badge pinned to his shirt declaring that he was a member of our local police force’s junior battalion. If only our local police force had such aesthetic imagination, I thought. As well, attached to his striped trousers near the front, which rose just high enough to reveal bright yellow socks underneath, was a replica model of the light saber used by none other than Luke Skywalker – a large plastic cylinder with a retractable green tube. Unfortunately, the green tube kept inappropriately extending because the button was broken. My son had previously used the saber as a hammer on the floor. I could not help but notice that the subtle balance accorded by his choice of accessories night have actually been
an intentional decision on his part. A demonstration of the higher forms of decision making or Free Will. His choice of the light saber’s position so perfectly accentuated the yellow socks - drawing the gaze gently up from the blue tennis shoes he was wearing and through the striped trousers, right into the hot red shirt with angel wings printed on the back – which was added to by the decision to wear a sleeveless waist coat adorned to look as though he had reincarnated a whole lamb on his shoulder. He looked the part, whatever that part might be.

In accordance with school rules, my wife and I had to ask him to remove the badge and light saber before he entered. In hindsight, though, we might have done him a disservice by doing so. He might have anticipated, in his advanced form of decision-making intuition, some trouble later with his outfit that required him to be well armed with a self-defensive weapon in preparation for those he would encounter unexpectedly who did not agree with his fashion sense. Heck, he had gone all out with this technicolour dream coat. He had singularly broken all fashion taboos, especially where we live. Girls systematically were to wear pink and boys were seemingly encouraged to wear anything that symbolized boyishness. My son smashed that preconceived notion with one motion…. he clearly fell outside the bounds of normal association. In my school days I remember seeing boys being singled out for far less. Thankfully, many of the kids in his school were so busy with their own immediate psyches that they would hardly notice the harlequin in their midst. My son would not have looked out of place among the crazy fashions demonstrated by some young people in the Harajuku area of Tokyo, or perhaps Carnaby Street in London during some previous decade. In the middle of farm land, this took some nerve.

We live in a fairly small town – and anyone with experience in such things knows that outlandish fashion sense is…. well….. usually confined to dressing rooms at the nearby charity shop. History shows us that society does not always take well to things that are not commonplace. Perhaps, his earliest foray was timely, he could conceivably get away with it!

So, little did he anticipate the gravity of his new decision making capabilities. And, I’m not the kind of father who wills on my son the kind of restrictive uniform associated with an assumed sense of manliness. So, I applauded his ability, whether planned or not, to just plain buck the trend. It would only be a matter of time when a decision such as his, made on a particular day, would be made with a lot more circumspection. I’m sure of it.

My son, dressed like some eccentric character, made sense to me…. And certainly, somewhere in his young and entertained mind, he made sense to himself. That is all my wife and I ask in this case. I even got caught up in the mood of things that day, inspired by his decision and his direction. I put on a green striped shirt instead of a white one – wore my seersucker trousers – no socks even! And I put on a risky pair of bohemian shoes. I turned the music up in my car just that much more…. Sang out loud in my awful flat tone …. I just didn’t care. I was going crazy. Or, I was going as crazy as a man my age could go. And I started to laugh. I hadn’t laughed like that…… with such abandon….. well…. Since I was a young kid. I made my way to the lumber yard in town. Why not go straight for the deep end. It wasn't going to be pretty, but who cared?

Our harmless experiment in free will did work afterall – both ways. We taught him…. And he taught us. Such is the joy of a free world – the freedom to make up your own mind! To just be yourself. Anyway, his teachers at school soon became used to it. And as soon as he arrived home again that day – on went the badge and light saber. Long live liberty! The birth of Free Will.


when in venice (california)...

next time you are in venice beach don't miss Tortoise on Abbot Kinney Blvd. I have to say that this is one of my favorite stores...ever! and when I go to California I never miss a chance to spend some time on Abbot Kinney, along with Tortoise there are quite a few interesting shops that young and interesting people are creating, but by far the best is Tortoise! if you visit their website you can sign up for their newsletter, it's almost as good as a visit to their shop...it's my favorite email! you can also shop on their website for wonderful things for the home, many are handcrafted by Japanese artists and if I want something special for myself I go straight to Tortoise! and if you plan on a visit make sure that you don't miss the best restaurant in the world...Axe...YUM! super good clean food that is really tasty!


a very familiar book!

karen sent me this wonderful idea on how to make your own book, so your kids can look at familiar pictures of family and friends. this will keep them occupied for hours...plus they can practice, daddy, mommy, nana, mor mor etc....!

first, take an old book that you aren't so crazy about anymore and figure out how many pages you have to work with and find photos of those special people, places or things that you want to put in your book...you will have to do a little fancy figuring to get them to fit on the pages but every job has it's tough part...and then use a glue stick (or that almond glue stuff for less toxicity) and glue them in. now take an exacto knife (it works best if you use those cardboard books) and cleanly trim off any pages and WHOLA! you have your very own book which your kids will love for ages...and it makes a really sweet keepsake!
she also makes these flip books for me all the time...when she finds she takes multiple shots of the same pose or a series of shots of Ida walking for example, she makes these wonderful "flipme" books ...they make perfect gifts for family and friends! thanks karen!! (karen is a wonderful artist friend of mine and you can see some of her one-of-a-kind pillows on nonchalantmom)



sweden is just filled with so many wonderful things for kids, kulturhuset, moderna museet (they both have kids painting and other fun things) and best of all junibacken! this is the house of astrid lindgren's pippi longstocking and all of her very special characters from her wonderful books...your kids can play all day at villa villekulla! ride on pippi's polka dotted horse and just have a blast...it's good fun and meatballs for lunch to boot! there is also gröna lunds tivoli...like disneyland but smaller and you can take a boat there from nearby the moderna museet...and my kids love to walk down by the water and look at all of the old boats, we choose which one would be ours if we could own one!

cute swedish dad's! (more on that at the park...)

in stockholm...svenskt tenn!

well I am always talking about svenskt tenn and you have seen photos of their fabrics all over our house so I just had to share with you some images from the store. I also purchased a book on Josef Frank that I love, with amazing images of all of his work as an architect and artist. I spoke to them about selling some of the fabrics in my store (for the hundredth time!) and alas they just like to sell in their own stores, but you can find some upholstered pieces at anthropolgie (they don't say they are svenskt tenn but they are suspiciously close)...otherwise svenskt tenn is open to sending things out if you email or call, so visit their website for more information. at the moment the store was all about one of my favorite print (which is not josef frank but estrid ericson) ELEFANT! it looked beautiful! their wonderful mixing of prints is so terrifically clever, you just can't go wrong (sorry for these cooky store images the colors are kind of off)


just about every house you visit in the country (and actually some in the city) have these wonderful playhouses for kids...my kids spent hours playing! it's the whole make-believe thing that is really wonderful! we are going to build one as soon as we can...these houses are usually delightfully simple and consist of a kitchen, dining table and that's about it! but it's their very own world and from time to time I stopped in for tea! (but usually I wasn't really allowed)

nusnäs...dala horses

a trip to sweden is not complete unless you visit the workshops of Nusnäs where those beautiful orange dala horses are from, the kids loved it and well, I just think it's simply cute. I hope that you guys don't kill me but I just had to write about Nusnäs. You can visit each section and watch as the horses are cut out of bricks of wood, then they are carved by hand, sanded, and painted ...and then it's time for the rosemaling...and it's all by hand! the traditional color is orange but now they have many colors and I fell in love with the yellow one! each town in Dalarna has horse that is painted differently, and the Leksands horse is beautiful as well. don't forget to take your picture with the big giant horse outside! find out more here and shop and I loved these super funny clogs