Is This The End, Feeding Little Foodies? And, Orange + Currant Oat Scones.

Is this the end of an era--well a two year stint, that is, of what was Feeding Little Foodies? Many of you know that I created and ran the web domain www.feedinglittlefoodies.com. It began two years ago shortly after Noah began solids as a place to share all of the yummy homemade baby grub that I was whipping up in the kitchen for him. As his palate expanded, so did the popularity of the site as it grew to include cooking tips and family-friendly dishes and a little homespun business formed--one that offered inspiration and workshops for families who wanted to learn how to feed their own little foodies. While in Southern California, business was booming but our move to Canada and the subsequent birth of Fern last May put a freeze on the site and workshops--and it never regained its once-bustling momentum.

With no time to take the photography I liked to pair with each recipe (most "share-worthy" dishes were prepared after sunset and I insist on natural lighting in lieu of the dreaded flash), there had not been a new post for many months. So when my domain was up for renewal this past January, I was torn with deciding its fate and figured I had time to hash it all out. Upon realizing that though there was no new blog content, visitors from around the world continued to maintain traffic flows by frequenting old posts in the archives. And as I was still receiving comments, messages, and e-mails regarding those, I decided that it was still valuable as a resource while I remained in decision limbo.

So when I logged on last night to pay the renewal fee, my stomach flipped, turned and then ached as I learned that my domain had been purchased by a blogger in Granada, Spain. Not only had my renewal lapsed, but it had become available for purchase by others. It's no doubt my fault. My indecision and lack of urgency resulted in the inevitable. It never dawned on me that the traffic I had spent two years building would be of interest to someone else--effortless and free advertising for them, score zero for me.

While I was unsure about the energy and interest I had in maintaining Feeding Little Foodies, I certainly wasn't ready to let it go--yet--especially so abruptly and involuntarily. It had become an inadvertent chronicle of my adventures in the kitchen from a novice to a rather competent and sometimes adept whipper-upper of fine fare. Over the years, I had invested much time and love into its creation and maintenance and it made me so very happy to know that it was continuing to inform and inspire hungry families.

Now its fate is in the hands of another. I wrote a heart-wrenching e-mail pleading the new owner to release the domain back into longing hands of its creator and choosing another of their own. The content of Feeding Little Foodies still exists. I can always purchase another domain ending in .net, for example, and release the site once again on the world wide web--but then it begs the question...is this a sign? Is it time to let go?

In the meantime, let's hope I am not forced into a decision. Perhaps my pleading will strike the heart strings of compassion and they will take pity and relinquish. While I wait, I'll bide my time with this gastronomical ode to my lost love with a fresh new recipe to fill the tummies of you and your family.

- - - - -

These are some pretty scrumptious little scones that Noah and whipped up for an afternoon treat while Fernie siesta'ed yesterday. They are an adaptation from a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers: 101 Cookbooks. They turned out deliciously and harbor the possibilities for so many variations. Try them smothered in butter, dipped in honey (our preference), or with jam. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Orange & Currant Oat Scones
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup *fresh or dried currants
  1. Combine and mix flour, sugars, baking powder and baking soda
  2. Add butter using a pastry cutter or food processor to create a coarse meal
  3. Stir in zest and oats
  4. Add milk and currants and stir until the dough just begins to hold together
  5. Remove dough bowl and transfer to a large floured surface
  6. Knead the dough several times (avoid over-working) and gently pat into a large round (if too crumbly, add more milk tsp by tsp--if too wet, add flour tbs by tbs)
  7. Shape into triangles and place on a baking sheet
  8. Bake @ 350 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown

*Note:  I used fresh currants instead of dried as the recipe called for so there was a bit of moisture in my dough requiring me to add a bit of extra flour during the last steps. Because of this additional moisture, I also had to bake them several minutes longer.


The Montessori Floor Bed: Connecting Space, Sleep, Play + Development.

While Dean and I have most often subscribed to Waldorf and RIE parenting philosophies over the last few years, many Montessori principles have occasionally intersected. When I was pregnant with Noah, I came across a Montessori article suggesting the use of floor beds in lieu of cribs. While it sounded appealing and in-line with the kind of natural child-rearing methods that we were in interested in practicing, there was something all too alluring and well-ingrained about a crib-clad nursery. So, when my grandmother offered to buy one for Noah, I eagerly agreed.

But, there it stood. Alone. Empty. Noah didn't do much sleeping for two long years. It wasn't until shortly after he self-weaned just before his second birthday that he finally began banking some real quality shut-eye. Thus, the crib was really never used. We co-slept until Fern was born this past May when he eagerly self-weaned, again, into his very own toddler bed. And, co-sleeping for my husband and I (besides the no-sleeping part) was wonderfully enjoyable, so we never considered any other sleeping arrangement when our little Fern came along--she would be our new bed-buddy until she decided otherwise, too.

But, Fern has been a different baby and I cannot emphasize the different part enough. Fern sleeps. She sleeps naturally, peacefully, without any voodoo, tricks, or trying. She has slept that way since the day she was born and just last week she slept, entirely of her own volition, until the wee hours of the morning with no nursing wake-ups at all. For us, this is HUGE. After a few nights of this slumber-fest, Dean and I began to wonder if moving her from our bed and into a space of her own might mean really restful deep sleep for the whole entire family--after a  v e r y  l o n g  three year hiatus. And, then I remembered the article that I had read so long ago (excerpt from The Joyful Child, Montessori from Birth to Three):
"Every child follows a unique timetable of learning to crawl to those things he has been looking at, so that he may finally handle them. This visual, followed by tactile, exploration is very important for many aspects of human development. If we provide a floor bed or mattress on the floor in a completely safe room—rather than a crib or playpen with bars—the child has a clear view of the surroundings and freedom to explore.

A bed should be one which the baby can get in and out of on his own as soon as he is ready to crawl. The first choice is an adult twin bed mattress on the floor. Besides being an aid to development, this arrangement does a lot to prevent the common problem of crying because of boredom or exhaustion.

It helps to think of this as a whole-room playpen with a baby gate at the doorway and to examine every nook and cranny for interest and safety. If the newborn is going to share a room with parents or siblings we can still provide a large, safe, and interesting environment.

Eventually he will explore the whole room with a gate at the door and then gradually move out into the baby-proofed and baby-interesting remainder of the house.

These are the beginning stages of independence, concentration, movement, self-esteem, decision-making, and balanced, healthful development of body, mind, and spirit."

It couldn't have been better timing, because just this past weekend Fern began to crawl. So, out went the (unused) crib and down went the mattress, onto the floor. Last night was the second night of experimentation and both nights have been the most truly restful in recent memory. But, even more important than continued sleep success, I am moved by how something as simple as this has inspired me to envision the connection of space, sleep and play in a way that fosters independence, confidence and the true freedom to explore, imagine and learn. Because sleep had always been such an "issue" for Noah and us by default, the ability to fathom this kind of autonomous sleep/play environment always seemed beyond all of our abilities to imagine--his, as a sleepless infant and us, as his bewildered and super-exhausted parents. But, after only 9 months of co-sleeping, our little Fern was apparently ready and we recognized the signs.

When Dean and I awoke this morning to the sound of Noah and Fern playing together in their room just across the hall from ours, I nearly cried. Fern had woken, crawled from her bed, chosen a toy, and began to play alongside her brother. Just this afternoon, I peeked into the room to observe her in her new space alone--with eyes still sleepy from a long morning nap, she cooed as she lay gazing at the mobile above and rolling from side-to-side. A few moments later she crawled off of the bed and over to a basket of toys nearby and began playing.

It's bittersweet really, as all transitions in parenthood are. I thought that I would have her tiny soft body snuggled right beside mine much longer...the soft whispers of her deep sleeping breaths and her warm nose nuzzled close as she suckled at my breast. Last night as Dean and I crawled into our cold, empty, childless bed, I asked him if he thought we made the right decision and if he missed her as much as I did. Yes, and yes, he said.

It could all change at any time, I realize. Sleep, with kids, is elusive and something that is in constant flux. Noah still occasions our bed and I am sure Fern will too--and they are both welcome, anytime, always. But, nevertheless, I have spent the last day or so preparing the kid's room for the change--creating a low shelf with just a few simple objects that I will rotate weekly and ensuring that the space is inspiring, as well as, safe for independent unassisted exploration. There are still so many things that I need/want to add to Fernie's sleep nook--a mirror next to the bed, a homemade felt story board on the empty wall above the toys on the floor, framed pictures--but it's a start.


Love Is . . .

apple lentil & walnut muffins with beet-dyed cream cheese

cotton yarn in terracotta

fresh berries in february

his favorite chair

knitted valentines

gifts for sweeties

vitamin d in the wintertime

Happy Valentine's Day!



He Knows Clothes.

Noah has an unwavering affection for fashion...which is ironic, really, considering he is often known to many who know him as more often than not, naked. But, winter in Canada is here and clothes are just more than practical, they're necessary tools for preventing frostbite. 

A friend and I chuckled yesterday as we spied him eying a little guy's runners at the library storytime--silently coveting the double blue suede velcro clasps. There's no doubt about it, Noah Finn likes clothes. He changes--up to 10 times a day, everyday. It's gotten to the point that I have had to set some ground rules. For example, he gets up to two mama-helped changes a day after the initial morning dressing (correcting an inside-out shirt, getting his huge melon head through a tight neck hole, etc.). After that, if the mood strikes for new attire he's on his own. Crumpled and only briefly won clothes adorn the house floor from downstairs to up. I never know if they're dirty or clean.

I am not by any stretch of the imagination calling him fashionable. No, he has the typical three year old penchant for mismatched madness. Among his favorite duds most recently are pajamas, sweatshirts that he's long since grown out of and most recently, dress shirts together with rain pants. He rarely selects from more than just a handful of things that have usually been categorized by me as "play clothes".  All of the stuff that mama considers worthy of a trip out and about, stay perfectly folded in the back of the dresser drawer until they're outgrown.

Today he wore a pair of sized 18-24 months striped cotton stretch pants to his tumbling class. Thank goodness there were no busted seams during his somersault routine. Risk in the name of fashion is apparently the name of his game.


Busy Hands, Happy Heart.

Living in Canada has gifted us a few things-- an appreciation for true seasons, an intimate understanding of numb toes, "free" health care and most applicable to this post, a knack for crafting. I don't mean the popsicle stick and construction paper variety either. I am referring to the type that requires various needles, practice and patience--lots of patience.

My very sweet friend (and first crochet and knitting teacher), Asami, told me just before we moved that I'd return to Los Angeles a clever and crafty crow in the arts of knitting, crocheting and sewing. I chuckled then with doubt and chuckle now, again, at my error. I am still a novice, an amateur, a consummate beginner, but I have begun to fill the home with lots of handmade goodies as I putter along the long road to learning. She'd be proud.

Most recently, I finished a crocheted heart garland to don some mantle or window of the house for the month of February and just last night, I put the *finishing touches* on a re-purposed cotton sweater dress for little Fern after being inspired by these super sweet sweater pants (which are also on the "to-do" list--I am quick felting an old sweater of mine in the wash as I type). It took only two (late) nights and, et voila! It's plenty far from perfect--it's super bulky, the fabric lining has drastically limited the natural stretch of the cotton knit and as time passes I have already devised two revisions that I will make in the coming days--but it was fun to make and very fulfilling to complete something so functional with my own two hands.

Be on the look out friends (ahem, Dean)...you may be receiving knitted underwear for the holidays this year.



lazy saturdays

first sewing project

measuring fern's caboose...


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