Sunday, March 23, 2014

Coconut Filling and Rose Flavored Dark Chocolate drops!

I'm so glad that I developed a palate for diverse tastes. My friend Terra's birthday was yesterday ( March22) and I decided to make her some chocolate bon bon style candies. I'm sooooo happy she liked them! I wasn't aware that she was a fan of rose flavoring either. That was a bonus! I used dark chocolate ( 60% cacao) the higher the percentage, the more bitter, lots of flavonoids and antioxidant packed. I remember Sunshine's pediatrician recommended giving her a piece of dark chocolate ( at least 60%) for a dry cough that she developed. Great benefits! Anyhoo, here's the chocolates with coconut filling and rose water! Delish! Stay tuned! I'm going to make a variety of flavors!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lickin' The Beaters

My good Canadian friend Siue Moffat ( who flies to the U.S just to visit our Southern California beaches!) published a book entitled Lickin' The Beaters ( Low Fat Vegan Desserts) in 2003.She gave me a copy and I haven't tried one recipe yet, but that's about to change. I was never a baker...only thing I baked growing up and on my own were oatmeal cookies. As of late, I've had the desire to explore baking...besides my Aunt Connie and my cousin Shari are some great bakers. Here's a pic of Siue and I at Laguna Beach in either 2004 or 2005. Siue and I still write to each other on occasion( the old fashioned way). Last year Siue and I met in Corona Del Mar and she got to meet Sunshine! We sat in a Starbucks and chatted for a couple of hours.

I Put Up The Canopy and Added Some Fabric

Last month,I decided to put up our old canopy that we've had since 2008. The weather had been Summer-ry and hot although it was still officially Winter. I originally purchased the canopy for a pot luck that I hosted for my younger brother when he re-enlisted in the United States Army. Now the canopy will provide shade for Sunshine and I while crafting, eating fruity popsicles, or drinking some of my handcrafted herbal tea. I got the fabrics from a yard sale that our neighbor had last September.

Check out the pile of yard sale goodies in the picture below. Sunshine had a ball going through all the fabrics, hats, sequin, pompoms, hula hoops, etc.

Pre- Birthing Ceremonies

I love it when people step outside of the box and do something creative and different! For example, I had a non traditional baby shower in September of 2009. Fire dancers, belly dancers, poets, a dee jay/disc jockey, and vendors were present. The ambiance/setting was Moroccan style. This beautifully decorated belly to the left belongs to one fierce mama, my friend Celine M. Celine is on the founding team of Latch & Link Long Beach. Sunshine and I attended in August of last year. I wrote about it here. Latch & Link is a pro-breastfeeding organization, its events provide resources for mothers, children and breastfeeding. Celine decided to celebrate the future birth of her child in a non traditional manner: "I simply wanted something floral - and rose even (my grandmother loved roses, and she passed away Jan 2013) - to honor my belly. The henna was done as part of my Mother Blessing Ceremony, which was facilitated by another friend (who is also a doula and Sacred Pregnancy teacher), Tanya Comerford.

I had a more traditional baby shower that my sisters threw for me - it was much like my first - coed, family-friendly, fun, raucous and full of family & friends... games, gifts, etc. It was more of a celebration of/for baby. I decided with this pregnancy to have a Mother Blessing, which is a much smaller, much more intimate and personal gathering. And definitely focused on honoring the mother as mother/sister/woman, and supporting her specifically as she makes her final steps towards birth. That was in my home, just maybe my 10 closest women (my two sisters, my mom, my super tightest homegirls), and there were so many beautiful and intensely personal parts to it... sharing advice/wisdom from our mothers, naming our mothers/grandmothers/great grandmothers & paying homage, offering blessings to the baby, offering blessings to me, naming our fears as mothers/women and releasing them, etc. It was wonderful and I SO wish it for every pregnant woman."

Belly Belly http://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/blessingway-what-is-a-blessingway#.Uu_v7oWROXU .

Jenny Ahn: http://awakeningyogi.com/service/belly-blessings/

Tanya Comerford: http://www.sacredpregnancy.com/instructors/tanya-comerford/

Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers

I'm so excited to find out that my essay entitled "Ode To Fenugreek" will be included in the anthology "Free To Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers published by Praeclarus Press and edited by Anayah R. Sangodele-Ayoka and Jeanine K. Valrie. Fenugreek worked wonders for me. I drank a cup of fenugreek tea, if I remember correctly, every other night when I breastfed. Fenugreek is known as a galactagogue. It stimulates the mammary glands and promotes lactation.

Instructions

Purchase seeds at your local spice store. Fenugreek seeds are used to flavor curry and artificially scent some of the less expensive maple syrups. It's grown in India, Egypt, and Morocco.

Use about a tsp of fenugreek seeds and add to two cups of boiling water.When the water turns golden. It's ready to drink.

If you want stronger tea, then add more seeds, but I recommend just using a small amount first. If you're diabetic, it's best to check with your doctor, because fenugreek also regulates blood sugar levels. But it's best to check with your doctor first anyway. As soon as the book is available for purchase, I will post it!

Oh and there are other galactagogues, however, I found that Fenugreek had no injurious side effects and is safe to drink without other herbs or combos. For example, blessed thistle is believed to be a galactagogue but is recommended that it is used with fenugreek. Blessed thistle acts as a diuretic ( which is kind of defeating the purpose) and can also dry out the liver if overly used.

A Doc McStuffins Themed Birthday Party

This past weekend Sunshine attended her classmate Kennedy’s 4th Birthday party. Kennedy’s mom should have received an award for “Best Set Design.” It was so awesome. Oh and for those of you who have no idea who or what Doc McStuffins is, click here. Doc McStuffins is a very positive role model for children, but especially African American little girls.

Kennedy’s mom, transformed one of those mini outdoor sheds into a clinic for the children to play doctor. There were rubber gloves, gauze, bandages, stethoscopes, tongue blades, plastic urine cups (sterile of course! lol) etc. In fact, Kennedy’s picture was on different colored M&M’s candies that served as “antidotes.” There was a face painter there too, she was more than just a face painter, she was a talented artist! Check out the image she painted of Doc McStuffin's assistant, Hallie The Hippo( voiceover done by one of my favorite actresses, Loretta Divine)(below). This skilled face painter was so good, some adults wanted their faces painted. If you're in California or want to pay for her airfare to work at your child's party or heck even an adult party, connect with her here>>>professionalfacepainter@gmailcom

Strawberry yorgurt was placed in oral dispensers. The kids really loved those. The kids played "pin the bandage on a Doc McStuffin character" ( Sunshine won this game) Check out Sunshine's cool prize below.
There was an automatic bubble machine dispensing bubbles, a cool slurpee machine churning cherry or pineapple flavored drinks. There was even Sangria for the adults. It was good food, good music, and good people. Also, I have a couple of cousins attending the party. One cousin hadn’t seen Sunshine since she was 2, and the other cousin hadn’t seen Sunshine since she was born.

Construction Themed Toddler Birthday Party

I have some really creative friends ( birds of a feather flock together right?) Last month, Sunshine and I attended the 3 year birthday party of the son of my friend Larryssa. Thank goodness I looked at the online evite the night before the party, otherwise, we would have arrived when the party was over! This was probably the earliest birthday party I’ve ever attended. It was 10am to 12pm. Chase ( the birthday boy) and a few of the other toddlers present still took naps, so it worked out. Besides, we didn’t have to leave right at noon. I actually hung out for a couple of more hours and spent time chatting and cleaning up with Larryssa and one of her college friends.

Anyway, Sunshine was pretty prepared for the festivities because she already had a tool set, and I had a construction hat ( although it was kind of big) and I had an orange fluorescent vest. When we arrived to Chase’s party, his guests were already in 5th gear playing and involved.

Larryssa gave Sunshine an appropriate sized construction hat, a kid Home Depot vest ( Larryssa’s said she got these free) and a tool belt. There was a huge tub of dirt with several toy dump trucks. There was an area where the kids could hammer “nails” which were actually golf tees into a simulated wooden board. The wood board was foam wrapped up in wood grain contact/drawer lining paper. There was section of boxes stacked atop each other. Oh and plastic bottles filled with different color water to spray on a white hanging sheet. Every station was busy! The kids were so into it.