mama's village


Monday, August 13

Full Circle

the kids are just about to turn 6 and 8 I am more in love with them everyday, their jokes, their wit, the way they hug me when I least expect, but most need it sometimes I want to ask them if there's things I can do to be a better mother, a performance appraisal of sorts, but I'm not thick skinned enough to hear their innocent observations sincere comments that could stab me deep [so early in the journey of parenthood] Last week we were about to hop onto our bikes and head to the local pool when a mom we know from the kids' school walked by our house and said 'wow, you guys are the picture of summer'-- bikes, swim noodles, tanned toes in tattered flip-flops, kids in bathing suits ready to jump into aquatic fun I was zapped alive by what that mom said it was as if she secretly knew about the performance appraisal I'd been wanting. Some days I do nothing but worry that our house isn't clean enough, that there are too many little piles of things that need to be filed, that it's almost 5:47pm and dinner is the last thing on my mind, there are so many shoulds humming through my brain...the reason these things aren't done is because we've opted to go for a long adventure walk, or to satiate my wanderlust we hop on the streetcar to visit a new park, or we cram the day with back to back visits with friends. I have infused the kids' vocabulary with the word gentle, and the act of gentleness, and the importance of being gentle to people, animals and the planet, but, I realize I am not often gentle with myself. I don't appreciate what I give them, and instead focus on what I'm not giving them. Today this ends. Today I will start again. A full circle, mentally, emotionally, physically. I am grateful to that gentle, observant mom, who pointed out our truth; she wasn't judging my dusty shelves or the overflowing laundry bin, she was reminding me to celebrate the beautiful moment I was sharing with my kids.

Friday, March 11

best marinade (for life)

On Feb 16, I attended Cookbooks, Cocktails and Cupcakes, a life-changing event.

"Life changing".

To some, those words may carry a lot of dazzle and flash. To me, life changing' = much inconvenient effort that yielded enormous returns that can't be calculated in $. What happened that night was so magical, that to deconstruct it step-by-step turns it into a manual, a how-to, it sucks the poetry out of life, and I'm not doing that, ever.

What I will tell you is that Jodi Lastman is a community-building maven. Her and I go back almost a decade via writing-social media-motherhood, and we're both on the same page when it comes to honesty: we use it, whether people like it or not.

Jodi's got T-O-N-S of friends, and the ones I've met are solid. The kind of people you can't help but fall in love with because they are sooo passionate and generous. They're culinary tourism experts, food activists, they write incredible food blogs, they publish out-of-the-box magazine, they run bakeries in west Toronto, they run independent bookstores (that takes huge _ _ _ _ _), they run bakeries in east Toronto, they self-publish books, they're fundraisers, and they do so much more(!!!) ~ and the glue that binds them, us, is that they showed up.

Remember that great Woody Allen quote about success:
Eighty percent of success is showing up

I almost didn't go,
because of babysitting issues,
because my husband always has to work late,
because I hadn't rehearsed my Cupcakes for Haiti cookbook story,
because it's such a long streetcar ride across the entire city.
But something was pulling me there.
As I took the streetcar back home I knew what that thing was, it was the energy of my tribe, the one that stands behind, next to, onto its people.

Thank you Jodi and everyone that night who shared, clapped, and celebrated together. Honoured to be a Woman in Food.

Thursday, November 11

Remembrance Day, 2010

We will remember.

Monday, October 4

You are invited to a street party!

WHAT: Cupcakes for Haiti Cookbook Launch & Leslieville East Corridor Street Party!

WHEN: Saturday, November 6

TIME: 2-4pm

WHERE: From Voulez-Vous Café
1560 Queen St. E.
Beaufort Décor,
1576 Queen St. E.

Friday, October 1

What is community?

Photo on the cover of the book features Angel Riccio's Brownie Heart Cupcake, pg 2 (more on Angel below).

"There's plenty of intelligence in the world, but the courage to do things differently is in short supply."
Marilyn vos Savant
Columnist, Author and Lecturer

Great quote, isn't it!

It resonates with the book we produced because our courage was a collective one,
thus, the more people, the more courage, and ultimately a courageous project =
more effective in getting our message across.

Our message is this: the people of Haiti still need our help.

Sure, we all gave $ to a charity back in January, but now, 8 months later that $ has been spent by MSF Canada and FINCA Canada, and they need more to continue their aid work.

The Interprovincial Group printed 1000 copies of Cupcakes for Haiti, for free. Free takes a lot of courage.

Rachael Muir designed the January cupcake bake sale poster for free, then went on to tackle the design of the book, for free. She is a very busy Art Director, mother of two, wife, philanthropist and wonderful friend. Free time is scarce and takes a lot of courage.

Brian Gahan photographed the cupcakes over a period of three weekends. He is a very busy partner at an ad agency, he's a father of two, awesome husband, philanthropist and supporter of many local and international causes. Like Rachael, his free time is scarce. You may think I'm partial to his charm, but it's authentic, and I have loved him for over 12 years because of his courage.

I define community as the people who you can call on the phone, near or far, people we bump into on the street daily, or yearly, people we include in emails, people we've never met in person but chat with on twitter, the word community is endless, like a circle, to me, courage and community are inseparable. Thank you for everyone who has been a part of the Cupcakes for Haiti community, and those that are yet to join the circle.

The Cupcakes for Haiti community is growing day-by-day, here are a few links to get you acquainted with some of the courageous people that enrich our cause (see sidebar for more). Follow these people, learn about them, support them and your community will grow too.

Kari @ ActivekidsClub

Brandie @ Parent Central and The Star.

Kathleen @ good egg communications

Amanda @ FamilyNature

Amanda @ Desmond and Beatrice

ActsofSweetness @ Acts of Sweetness

Joanna @ InsideToronto

Rick Declute @ Team DeClute - RE/MAX Hallmark

Shirley @ Beaufort Decor

Angel @ Shine Blogspot

Thanks for listening. XO

Wednesday, September 8

treasures that we seek

creating space


one-foot-in-front-of-the other


wide open sky


uncontrollable giggling at inappropriate times


blank pages, blank canvasses, just dough -- then time, and air, and heat and pieces of life and it becomes something large enough to heal any wound, sing any song

Tonight I am very inspired and grateful for my friend & neighbour Diana and her Chair Cozy. Her creativity astounds me, and her sense of giving and community fuels me.

Tuesday, August 31

Cupcakes for Haiti fresh off the press!

Cupcakes for Haiti cookbook is fresh off the press! So many generous souls created this, so grateful. XO Launch party in the works, but if you want a copy sooner of course you can scoop one up.

Tuesday, August 10

cucumber, an urban fairy tale

I made up a story for the kids last week, on our walk home from a birthday party.
Like all kids, they love made up stories about themselves, their friends, their environment and things they know. Here's a slightly different version of CUCUMBER: An Urban Fairy Tale.

Once upon a time, actually, just last month
there lived a five and three quarter year old boy named Sebastian who only ate cucumbers.

For breakfast he'd make cucumber, milk and water smoothies,
while his little sister preferred berries and bananas in hers.

For his afternoon snack, he'd politely ask his mom for cucumber coins,
while his little sister preferred fresh baked muffins and mangoes.

One Friday afternoon he received an invite to his friend's 6th birthday party.
The party was on August 7, from 10:30am to 1pm. Although he didn't like to eat cake, Sebastian could not wait to see Sunil's cake.

The party plans included playing at the wading pool, lunch, then playing at the park.
When it came time for lunch, there were no cucumbers in sight, only baby carrots, watermelon and sandwiches.

Sebastian had never eaten a sandwich before, but after playing in the hot summer sun with his friends, he was very hungry. So without a fuss, he picked up a sandwich just like all the other kids had. He closed his eyes, took a small bite of the crust, chewed quickly and swallowed. He heard a small voice coming from his belly that said 'that was great, can I please have some more'. So he took a bigger bite, chewed less quickly, swallowed, and then a huge, enormous, gigantic, uncontrollable smile spread across his face. He had no idea what the sandwich was made of, all he knew was that he
wanted more of the delicious new taste.

He politely asked Sunil's father is he could have another, and the answer was 'Absolutely! We've got a cooler full of lettuce sandwiches, eat as many as you like'!

And you know what, Sebastian did just that. He ate a total of 6 lettuce sandwiches, one for every year of his life.

Later that afternoon, his mother asked him to pick a cucumber from their yard, but instead of a cucumber he came back with a red pepper. THE END.

Sunday, August 8

Summer Salad for the Man I Love, Poem

the longer I toss the undressed salad with my bare hands
the stronger its scent cuts through the hot summer breeze
August ripe cucumbers sweat out their crisp grassy song,
cilantro's sizzle and then silence seesaws back and forth

I've washed, chopped
every part of this meal
with thoughts of
touching you

when you experience these flavours
I want you to feel a zing
light fill your mouth and travel
through you
like a wet kiss promising more

Summer Salad for the Man I Love, Recipe

1.5 cups of cooked brown rice
3 hard boiled eggs, rough chop
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 orange pepper, diced
1 field cucumber, diced
1 green zucchini, diced
3 carrots, finely diced
1/3 cup feta, crumbled

I cook the rice, and boil the eggs in the morning. I also make the dressing early so its flavours marinade all day. Late afternoon I wash & prep all the veggies.
In your largest bowl layer all of your ingredients, and toss by hand (trust me, it's good for the soul) once everything looks nicely incorporated add your dressing (now it's ok to use a big spoon or tongs)
I made this salad twice last week. It was the only thing B and I ate; each salad lasted us two nights.
This is a fantastic salad to take along to a BBQ, a potluck, or give as part of a meal basket gift. Fits perfectly into a 2L covered pirex.

Summer Dressing for the Man I Love

in a mason jar add:
10 tblsp olive oil
3 tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
sea salt and fresh ground peper to taste
dried sage to taste
2 cloves of crushed garlic
cayenne pepper to taste

Friday, August 6

smoothie recipe: fushia!

The kids have been making breakfast smoothies all summer long. I love to watch their excitement as they tear apart bananas, dump frozen and fresh handfulls of fruit into the glass blender jar, take turns pouring milk, juice, maple syrup and their liquid vitamin into the mix. They also get a huge kick out of the varying shades of red that their delicious drink turns into.

Smoothies are fantastic because there is so much room to experiment!

This morning they both agreed that the smoothie was 'fushia'; not only is a fushia coloured smoothie gorgeous to look at, it's yummy to boot. Here's the recipe:

3 bananas
drizzle of black cherry concentrate (approx 1 tsp)
handful of frozen berries (approx 1-2 cups)
drizzle of maple syrup (approx 1 tsp)
drizzle of kids liquid vitamin (approx 2 tsp)
splash of vanilla almond milk
1 cup water
1 cup of yogurt

dump everything into the blender jar
we blend on low (because our blender is noisy) - we tend to like to let the blender whir 'round and 'round for about 3 minutes
pour into large clear glasses and enjoy!