Ital (eye'-tal): of or from the earth; vital; life giving; natural.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Traveling Momma

The Peaceful Housewife

We have recently bought our very first car! Hooray!! Mo and I love to travel and the new car means new adventures! This past weekend, we took our new car, whom we have affectionately named Friday, on our first of what we hope is many road trips.

We loaded up Friday with our bags and beach towels. We picked out a range of CD's to satisfy everyone's varied musical taste. We packed a bag of snacks and another of toys and books. Then we got in, buckled up and drove off.

Everything was going along smoothly until we were about a half hour away from our destination. Song woke up from her nap and began shrieking at the top of her lungs. She wanted out of her seat and she wanted out NOW!! Shine tried making silly faces at her. Earth Mother made soothing sounds to calm her. I reached behind the seat and held her fingers and tried to reassure her. Nothing seemed to work. The return trip was the same...

We are not parents who like to hear their children cry. We try our best to keep them calm and to help them through the rough patch by breathing deeply, tapping reflexology points and if they are able, finding the words to express their feelings. So what to do when you are in the car traveling??

Does anyone have any tips for dealing with wailing children strapped in a car seat? How do you keep your children calm while traveling?

A Happy Easter Weekend

Mom-in-law invited us to a retreat at Shaw Park Resort in Ocho Rios for a wonderful Easter weekend. We had an excellent time! It was great to enjoy the sun, sand and laughter of just being together. Enjoy the photos!

The lovely ladies

The men

Happy Easter!!

The elusive Warrior

Easter Sunday

Beach Babe

A Bindi and Strawberry goodness.


Making a sand car.

Lots of yummy food.

Beach Family

Let the fun begin!

Yeah for vacation!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Food Matters

The Peaceful Housewife

As I have written before, I am passionate about whole foods and healthy eating. Before I got married, I dreamed of settling down with a fellow veggie like me and raising a brood of veggie kids. Dinners would be variations of tofu flavored with seasonings from around the world...Morocco tonight, India tomorrow, Mexico somewhere in between...Our kids would not only eat kale they would ask for more! Homemade granola for breakfast and raw coconut-carob balls for snack. Aaah, yes, we would be a family of adventurous, healthy, vegetarians!

Then I met my carnivorous husband and fell in love. (He claims to have an extra set of canine teeth!) And then we had a son who refused (and still does refuse) to eat anything beyond peanut butter and chicken. My veggie vision went out the window!

I must admit that Mo is very open about food. I cook through the week and it is always vegetarian. He cooks on the weekend and he will often make himself and Shine a meat dish, but he will also grill me up a mean jerk tofu! And I cannot keep homemade granola bars in stock. The pan is gone in a matter of hours! He has even complimented my homemade rice milk which he happily eats on his cereal each morning. So, I am very grateful.

Shine's picky-ness has gone through cycles. Sometimes he is willing to try something new and sometimes not. I try really hard not to let it bother me and to remind myself that I was a picky eater as a child. But it does bother me...a lot. Especially when it comes to snacking. I will spend the morning in the kitchen whipping up homemade, wholesome goodness which he completely passes over. Then I go to pick him up from the neighbor's apartment and find him covered in florescent orange cheesy poof crumbs! He then declares that he is sooo full from cheesy poofs that he is unable to fit even the tiniest bite of carrot into his tummy for dinner.

In Brooklyn, I never had to worry about picking Shine up from a play date covered in neon orange "cheese". It was sometimes annoying the extent Brooklyn parents went to ensure their children had no artificial coloring, highfructose corn syrup, processed sugar or un-organic non-food of any kind. Really, I once was part of a conversation on the play ground where a mother was concerned about how many carrots her daughter was eating because carrots have an unusually high sugar content for a vegetable!! Seriously?? I do a happy dance whenever Shine asks for carrots. He likes to eat them (with peanut butter) as an "appetizer". I would feed the kid 10 or 20 carrots if he would eat that many!!

People here eat healthy, don't get me wrong. There are tons of vegetarians and raw food eaters.
But when it comes to kid nutrition, there is this feeling that healthy eating is not the way kids eat...it's a grown up thing. The logic is totally backwards to me.

I am participating in an upcoming Earth Day event and at a meeting where food was being discussed the idea of having vendors selling organic food came up. The overwhelming response from the other committee members was, "That's nice. But what are the school children going to eat?" The discussion then turned to a hot dog vendor who serves his dogs on whole wheat buns and a popcorn vendor who uses vegetable oil to pop the corn. I was dumbfounded.

For me, healthy eating habits start in childhood. If your body is programed to crave fresh fruit as a snack for in between meals, then there will be no "re-training" process that will have to happen later in life. It just makes sense to teach healthy eating from the very start.

As Easter is just around the corner and the mountains of chocolate and Easter candy fill the store shelves, I have been thinking about what will be in Shine's Easter basket Sunday morning. In the past, I have filled his plastic eggs with raisins and dried apricots. In his basket would be one bar of organic dark chocolate along with some homemade trail mix. This year we are off to a retreat in a resort on the North Coast. With all the excitement of the beach and swimming pool, the Easter basket may just contain muffins from the hotel restaurant...

Anyway, how do you deal with picky eaters? What are your tips for dealing with grown ups who feed children junk food? What will be in your child's Easter basket?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Blog Party!

The Peaceful Housewife

Being new to the world of blogging, I've been shy to really put myself out there and join the big ole blogosphere. But the Natural Parenting Party hosted by Jenny of The Peaceful Housewife, sounds like a great way to introduce myself to other bloggers and to find new blogging friends who are passionate about Natural Parenting.

Jenny was nice enough to provide us with an ice breaker to get the party started, so here goes:
  1. How many children do you have, and how old are they? I have two children, Shine 4 and Song 6 months. I also have two step children, Warrior 13 and Earth Mother 11. (I use nicknames on the blog mostly to protect my step children and my husband.)
  2. Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent? I'm very lucky to co-parent with my husband of 7 years.
  3. What are your “hot button” parenting issues? Spanking. I vehemently oppose it!! I was in great company in Brooklyn where nary a parent would speak of it except to express complete outrage. Now that we are in Jamaica, I am finding that it is a common form of discipline used both by parents and primary schools. Thankfully, there have been a number of child psychologists and child advocates speaking out against spanking and heading outreach programs to educate parents and communities about the adverse affects of hitting children. There has also been a bill proposed in Parliament to eliminate corporeal punishment from schools.
  4. Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting? Yes, after many failed attempts at sleep training, we eventually let Shine cry it out. Thankfully we only needed to do it two nights for a total of 5 minutes each night.
  5. Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices? My mom. She is an extraordinary parent, educator and child advocate!!!
  6. If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use? Shine, brilliant. Song, cheerful. Warrior, worldly. Earth Mother, inspired.
  7. Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change? Yes! Before Shine was born, I had visions of raising a vegetarian family who ate only what our garden and local farmers could produce. It all went out the window when Shine turned 2 and discovered chocolate (and not the organic dark kind)...And he once sat at the table gnawing on a chicken leg while exclaiming, "I love meat!"
  8. Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at? Certainly! Patience...I need more patience!!
  9. Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day? Avocados and Tomatoes
  10. Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Ice cream is a rare treat these days but it is always CHOCOLATE!!
  11. What’s your guilty pleasure? Iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk.
  12. If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be? The only show I watched when we had a TV was LOST and I would most definitely LOVE to be a part of that show!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thinking Spring

The thing I miss most about the Northeast of America is the changing of the seasons. Jamaica has two seasons: wet and dry or Hurricane and Non-Hurricane, if you prefer. Winter is the dry season and it has been very dry the last few months. The beautiful mountains that surround Kingston have been brown since December. Rainclouds would form at the upper ridges, but they would float on by without releasing a drop of that sweet rain.

Now that April is here, the rains have come back. Bits of green are starting to sprout everywhere and as Shine happily noticed this morning, the trees are flowering.

I love Spring for the Hope that it inspires. It's a new beginning...an awakening after the sleep of Winter.

Monday, April 11, 2011

When Life gets Scary...

...I head for the yoga mat. Yoga has gotten me through some of the worst times. On the mat, the external world falls away and it is just me and my breath. I focus all my energy on my inhale and exhale...because that is how you have to move through the rough patch...one breath at a time. I move through the asanas, hang out on my head for a bit, sit quietly in the stillness...

It helps me to remember that life is flow and that "this too shall pass".


My immediate quality of life has improved with our move. We are putting things in place and moving in a positive direction which I am eternally grateful for. But when I look beyond our gate to the rest of the World, I can't help but feel like things are unraveling. Earthquakes, wars, radiation, hydrofracking, climate change, cancer...it's overwhelming and I wonder if "this too shall (really) pass"? And if we can get through these global crises what will be left?

I was feeling very rattled about the state of things this past weekend. My head was swirling with anxieties and so I grabbed my mat and went to a Sunday morning yoga class focusing on the Chakras. Chakra means "wheel" in Sanskrit and there are thousands of Chakras thoughout the body, however there are 7 main Chakras that are located along the spine. These whirling energy points move energy from one part of the body to another. They can become clogged or stuck and the result is illness, low self esteem, anxiety, restlessness etc. Through yoga, meditation, acupuncture and healthy eating the Chakras can remain clear and therefore the flow of energy throughout your body can remain unobstructed.

I feel like the World's Chakras are clogged. Collectively, we have forgotten that we are "Spiritual beings having a Human experience"...that our time here is brief. So why argue, why war, why greed, why hate, why destroy, why cry, why shout...?

Why not, dance, laugh, share, sing, pray, create, love, praise...?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Sunset along the North Coast

In a recent conversation with my sister, I gained a bit of clarity. (Sisters are great for that by the way...) I realized that this move to Jamaica was necessary so we could simply LIVE...not just exist and muddle through. Life, in this the physical plain, is much too short to waste even a drop of it. For so many years I had been in survival mode...just plowing through the days. I'm remembering now to stop and breathe...to laugh, to smile, to watch the sunset, to listen to the breeze blow through the trees, to hug my kids, to simply be...

Are you living to LIVE?