Stories for Free Children – A Must for Any Child’s Library

You'll have to get a used copy. This book has been out of print for a while.

You’ll have to get a used copy. This book has been out of print for a while.

Stories for Free Children is one of the best collection of short stories, fairy tales, and fables I’ve ever come across for children. It emphasizes non-sexist, multi-racial and multicultural themes, but in a natural, non-preachy or judgmental way.

Compiled from the features in Ms. Magazine from 1972-1982, the book is divided into three sections: “Fables and Fairy Tales for Everyday Life”, “Famous Women, Found Women” and “Fun, Facts and Feelings.” In the first section you’ll “find stories that both escape the bounds of the here and now and help children cope with their own here and now with fresh insight”. In the second, stories introduce the reader to female heros both known and “almost anonymous.”  The last section “deals with everyday reality, the people children know, the circumstances of their lives, the problems they face, and what they think and feel about it.”

Totally thought this story was going to end differently...

Totally thought this story was going to end differently…

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Restaurant Style Thai Iced Tea from Scratch – No Artificial Dye

Thai Iced Tea

No petroleum based dyes for me, thanks!

Every once in a while I get hooked on something that is really, really awful for me. Hot wings, deep fried pickles, honeycomb ice cream, boba tea….The list is endless. This past week I’ve been hooked on Thai Iced Teas. Seriously hooked. I must have had at least one a day since coming home from vacation last Tuesday. And I know why I can’t stop. Sugar + caffeine is making it possible for me to stay awake.

As much as I despise my quick sugar pick-me-ups, I absolutely cannot stand that I am ingesting dye when giving into these cravings. (FYI, FD & C Yellow No. 6, the dye that gives Thai Iced Tea its orange hue is a petroleum based dye and banned or restricted as a food additive in Norway, Finland and Sweden.) So, when I awoke yesterday morning to find that there was no more milk in the fridge for a cold-brewed coffee, I did what any half crazed mother who needed a jolt and happened to have evaporated AND sweetened condensed milk on hand for an emergency such as this–I made Thai Iced Tea sans dye and congratulated myself on averting a crisis.

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DIY Diaper Rash Butt Spray (aka My Version of CJ’s BUTTer Spritz)

DIYButterSpritz

My homemade organic version of CJ’s BUTTer Spritz – I dare say it’s better since it contains aloe vera oil.

Am I weird because I love diaper changing time? I’ve used the RIE approach to diaper changing since Faye was born and it has paid off big time. It is all about slowing down and giving the child gentle, undivided, unplugged attention. Ask for their help. Ask for their permission. Sure, it may take 15 minutes, but sometimes, those 15 minutes are the highlight of my day.

I also have fallen in love with my DIY version of CJ’s BUTTer Spritz. Its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties keeps diaper rash away and softens skin. The dispensing via a spray method versus dipping your fingers into a tub keeps it sanitary and my hands goop free. Plus, it smells great. I always spray one or two pumps into my hands, rub my hands together and then put them to my nose and inhale deeply. I then give my hands to Faye to smell and she raises her eyebrows as if in agreement it smells lovely. I never actually hear her inhale though, so I whole heartedly believe she is screwing with my head.

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Slow Roasted Pork Soup with Kimchi (aka What to Do with Bo Ssam Leftovers Soup)

BoSsam Soup

A healthy dinner for four from leftovers in 6 minutes flat.

After making that 10lb Bo Ssam dish, you may be left with a little bit of meat and a tiny bit of accompanying sides and no clue with how to use them to feed more than ½ a person. This is exactly the predicament I was in 3 years ago after our 20lb Christmas Bo Ssam Feast. A quick soup was a simple solution to using the stray bits and pieces. It comes together in approximately 6 minutes and reheats quite well. The soup can be easily stretched to feed more people by adding more stock or a few more ingredients here and there. If you don’t have one of the leftovers listed, just leave it out. I honestly think the soup would still be lovely.

Note: I always make the noodles in a separate pot because 1) they are easier to distribute amongst bowls and 2) if you have leftovers, the noodles will soak in all of the broth and turn your soup into a wet sponge.

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Bo Ssäm, David Chang Momofuku Style

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David Chang’s version of bo ssäm is easily one of my favorite meals in the world. His somewhat American BBQ style spin to the traditional Korean dish creates an immensely satisfying and memorable meal with such a minute amount of prep it’s ridiculous not to make this the next time you are having friends or family over for dinner.

Marcus and I first experienced the wonders of this dish 3 years prior when I made 20 lbs of pork shoulder (twice this recipe) for a Christmas Day feast. It has lived in our hearts and minds, as well as the hearts and minds of those who partook in its fabulousness since that time.

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Roasting Hour 4 of 6.

Maybe it’s the cold; maybe it’s cabin fever; maybe I’m just really bored these days and need a new hobby–who knows–but I couldn’t get the thought of this succulent, crispy, gooey, salty and sweet loveliness  out of my head. For weeks I had been talking about bo ssäm–I just needed an excuse to purchase and make 10 lbs of roast pork. When a back-to-back dinner for four on Thursday and for five on Friday presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity.

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DIY Crinkle Tag Toy

DIYCrinkleTagToy

DIY Crinkle Tag Toy

Over the past several weeks Faye has become increasingly fond of tags. Apparently this is some sort of baby OCD milestone.

In order to fully support her craziness, during her afternoon nap I made her a crinkle tag square to chew/pull/manipulate. The moment her eyes fluttered opened they were met with my creation. I’m happy to report my endeavor was a success. She’s been playing with it non-stop.

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