Thursday, February 25, 2010


A lot of people have asked me for the recipe for the Coconutty-Almondy-Chocolatey-JOY in my last post about my battle against the void of refined sugar and flour, so I decided to take care of business with one post vs. numerous emails.

It is so good.


  • 6 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds

Melt (not cook, just melt) coconut oil in a small saucepan.

Whisk in vanilla, cocoa, and maple syrup until completely dissolved. Failure to do this will result in separation and an oily top.

Whisk in remaining ingredients, making sure they are completely incorporated.

Pour mixture into pan and tip to evenly spread. Use an 8X8 pan (or 9X13 for a double batch) - lined with parchment paper.

Place pan in freezer for 10 minutes to harden. ENJOY!

For those with little ones - this treat melts quickly when handled by warm little hands, so have them sit at the table while eating it.

In the fact that it is mostly coconut oil, Coconutty-Almondy-Chocolatey-JOY makes for a terrific dessert. That deliciously wonderful fat will help you feel satiated in addition to making the most of the digestion of the good meal you just ate.

Disclosure: I found this recipe online last fall, but could not locate the original site when composing this post. If anyone runs into it, please post the link in the comments so I can give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Representing the Friends of the Library, I presented our proposal to the City Council last night. I am happy to announce that they were extremely receptive - and impressed with the level of our preparedness and how thorough we were. We had spreadsheets, folks. Spreadsheets!

We had all the bases covered: evidence supporting our argument [that the library is too small], quotes, funding, the options, handicap-accessible requirements, and the quantified effects of our current situations. It was totally awesome, yo.

I am endlessly pleased, because...

  • They voted to move forward with the initial application!
  • They're calling an architect to come and look at the two options we presented!

Our current library is unbearably small; so much so, that there has been a decline in both circulation and patron visits since they moved to the "new building" in 2007 (formerly the City Office). These trends were magnificently illustrated in our illustrious presentation of The Spreadsheet. Quantified data: who can argue with that?!

[btw, before 2007, the library was in a slightly larger building with extremely poor air quality. People were getting sick and it was yellowing/putrefying the books. But circulation was higher, as were physical visits to the library.]

Here are the points that we honed in on:
  • We need a larger building for comfortable browsing and expanded programming.
  • It is not a matter of if, but when and how.
  • The time is now: we have funding available specifically for rural libraries.
  • We want to keep people in our town, patronizing our library and our businesses.

It was fist-pumps and happy-dances galore after the meeting.

We nailed it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Poetry for kids

I love, love, love this book of poetry for little ones. The poems are so fun to read aloud; they have a swing that is almost like dancing.

Yolen's compilation is wide and varied, which makes it all the more pleasurable. My boys enjoy the text and are intrigued by the rich and colorful illustrations. The poems vary in length as well, which keeps it exciting.

Go out and buy it, I say. It would be a lovely addition to a personal library or a great gift for anyone with little ones. Or at the very least, get it from the library.

It is delightfully charming.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Borealis: SIX - Competition: ZERO

One of my goals is to provide my little (and big) guys with wholesome, luscious desserts that blow the competition out of the water.

The competition being, of course, being the bank and post office, where they hand out endless quantities of candy, the allure of anti-nutrient laden pre-processed desserts and candies we, as a society, are surrounded with, and the void of desserts and treats made with refined sugars and flours.

I want them to taste the junk and recognize it for what it really is. Junk. A blackhole of cumulative ill health. And because my own palate is set for more savory than sweet, my previous tactics have involved avoidance and a lot of complaining. BUT. Since I am feeding three other people in addition to myself, I have decided instead to beat the competition silly with my mouth-watering sweet treats.

My arsenal thus far:
  • Baked apples, stuffed with cinnamon-spiced walnuts and raisins, sweetened with maple syrup, and drizzled plentifully with fresh cream
  • Chocolatey-Coconutty-Almondy-JOY - an amazing chocolately treat made with coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, chopped almonds, and shredded unsweetened coconut. Sweetened with 1 TBSP maple syrup.
  • Baked Custard - sweetened with honey, luscious
  • Tapioca Pudding - honey again, and the boys love the "balls" a.k.a. tapioca pearls
  • Homemade Jello - made from fruit juice and unflavored gelatin
  • Chocolate Covered Coconut Macaroons - pure bliss

We made the macaroons this weekend, thanks to inspiration from my friend's post over at Night Swimming. Yowzas!!! They were so amazingly delicious. And really simple to make. She, in turn, got the recipe from Cookus Interuptus. (Which looks like an amazing site in itself.)

A few years ago, my goal was to avoid refined sugar and flours completely - but I just wasn't sure how to do that and still satisfy the all-too-human sweet tooth. Now I am learning that it is entirely possible. Not only possible, but wonderfully delicious and knocking-our-socks-off.

I'm going to lay the competition out flat.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

They're so funny

"Did you know that Bob Sponge-ish is really made of cheese...?"
--Diego, while looking at the SpongeBob SquarePants soap dispenser at the library

"Dada, look! I'm a men!"
--Diego, holding his new printing calculator from the thrift store

"Hi Bunny Mama! Hehehe...I called you Bunny Mama."
--Truen, at breakfast

"I yike your neck-yis, Mama. Pwetty."
--Truen, sitting in my lap and facing me

Dada: "Why aren't you guys in the tub?"
Truen: "Because I'm too yittle."
(They're always escaping and running around nakey.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The ENFP in me

I have a lot going on right now, which is some ways is very fun. In other ways, not so much -- like feeling like I am ignoring my children, or scrambling to get food ready hours later than I should.

So here's what I'm up to:

1) Working on a proposal for our small town's City Council meeting next Tuesday.

For what? A USDA Rural Development program that provides funding specifically for rural libraries through low-interest loans and grants! Yesssss.

There is even an empty storefront in town that is move-in ready and more than four times the size of our current library with room to grow (the entire upstairs could be remodeled). If one can even wrap their mind around it, the size of our current library is probably . . . 1000 square feet? Maybe less? And one-third is taken up by the bathroom and storage rooms. I know. Insane. It used to be the City Office.

All we need to do is convince our City Council that this is a good move for the entire town. Obvious, duh - but we are expecting the worst.

2) Following South Dakota's legislative season, specifically the Midwife and Birth Center bills.

The GREAT news is that two of the three bills have been "passed to the floor", meaning that the entire senate will have the chance to debate and vote on the bills. In years previous (since 1994, actually), the bills have never even made it out of committee in either the house or senate.

The third bill, SB107, presented this morning "as amended", is proposing a state-sponsored task force to get everyone at a round-table discussion about Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) in South Dakota and then draft legislation that works for everyone. Bills for CPMs licensure have been unremittingly batted down for over a decade now, so CPM advocates are changing their tactics, hoping they can finally work something out.

Predictably, all the medical lobby and Secretary of the Dept of Health were adamantly opposed to the bill "as amended", saying, literally, that there is no common ground [between the Dept. of Health and CPM advocates], the small number of homebirths in SD "aren't worth the cost" [of the task force], and that "There is no place for the CPM in the care of women and children in South Dakota".

The entire testimony can be heard at SDPB's STATEHOUSE. Scroll down and find "18th Legislative Day" and click on "02/10/2010 Complete Meeting" - the midwife bills start at 35 minutes and goes until the end.

EDIT: If you have trouble getting it to play on Realplayer, like I did, go with Option 2 on the SDPB's Help Site. It worked for me.

If you have any interest, it would be worth listening to. Especially the wicked opposition to the legal right of 26 other states (and counting): access to a Certified Professional Midwife. On a broader spectrum, I have learned a lot about how government works through listening to the committee meetings and the House in session.

3) Helping a friend start a thrift store in our small town.

She had the building anyway, so, logistically, it has simply been a matter of re-organizing and gathering stuff to sell. She is also aligning herself in a rotational basis with all area non-profits, giving them a percentage of her profits every quarter.

It has been interesting. She didn't know much about thrift stores, so we scoped the thrift shop my MIL volunteers at - then brainstormed prices, lay-out, and general rules. Since then, I've served as cheerleader, supplier (raiding our house for stuff to thrift), and zealous dumpster diver.

Love it. Dumpster diving comes natural to me! I've been finding treasures in other peoples garbage since I was little. And will tell you: I've been absolutely appalled at what is in our town's dumpster for rural residents. The dumpster is free, I might add, in a campaign to prevent garbage burning, a dirty habit of rural residents passed down through the generations.

Here has what I have found - in PERFECT condition, mind you.

  1. Dollhouse, complete with all dolls
  2. Barbie backpack with rollers and pull-handle
  3. Dora floaty-suit for a little one at the beach
  4. Graco toy stroller
  5. Child's sleeping bag
  6. A bag of clean socks and bras
  7. Stuffed pig
  8. Barbie horse trailer
  9. Several bric-a-brac figurines and candles
  10. Wall mirror

Monday, February 08, 2010

South Dakota's midwife-related bills

For those with the interest and time, you can listen to the Midwife and Birth Center bills for the state of South Dakota being discussed in the Health and Human Services committees, for both the House and Senate. It will be fascinating (seriously).

South Dakota Legislature - 2010 Session Committees

  • HB1123 - Birth Center Bill - Rm 412 - Tuesday, February 9, 2010 - 7:45am - House Health and Human Services Committee
  • SB96 & SB107 - Registration & Licensure Bill - Rm 412 - Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 7:45am - Senate Health and Human Services Committee
  • HB1230 - Decriminalization Bill (Tentative) - Rm 412 - Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 7:45am - House Health and Human Services Committee

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Punctuated with, "Really?" and "Yeah, that's a good one!"

Mama: "What would you want to name our new baby when we have one?"
Truen: "Mmmmm...Joey!"
Diego: "Colorado!"
Truen: "Puppy Dog!"
Diego: "No, I know what we can name her - Pretty Piggy."
Truen: "Baby Teebo!"
Diego: "No wait, you haven't heard this one before - Pretty Penny!"


Thursday, February 04, 2010

For the record

I quit reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
I just couldn't hack it anymore.

Monday, February 01, 2010

One of my letters to the editor

I will be very curious to hear the medical lobbyist’s arguments against the Midwife and Birth Center bills in the Health and Human Services committee hearing this year – SB107 and HB1183.

Last year, a medical lobbyist used a hospital-based statistic to “prove” why babies should be born in the hospital, not at home. His misuse of statistical data was downright deceptive, saying that over 25% of all babies born have “serious birthing complications”.

I beg to differ. If he were shedding light on hospital-based statistics in the US, and thus, why many women are choosing homebirths, he would have been more on target.

The truth of the matter is that the national c-section rate is over 30% and climbing; but Certified Professional Midwives, the midwives who specialize in homebirth, have a c-section rate of 3.7%. To help put these numbers in perspective, the optimal c-section rate recommended by the World Health Organization is 5-10%.

It is a moot point to apply the 25% “serious birthing complications”, a.k.a. - the 30% national c-section rate - to Certified Professional Midwives. Any individual can do the math and see that for a normal, low-risk pregnancy, a midwife-attended homebirth is actually the safer choice under current conditions.

My hope is that the legislators on the HHS committee will have done their homework and worked hard to see the truth vs. shady half-truths and slanderous misconceptions that the medical lobby would like them to believe.

Not everyone wants to have a homebirth, and that is okay; but South Dakota deserves access to Certified Professional Midwives.