Tuesday, December 9, 2014

why is there such a lack of diversity in children's literature

I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but a lot of the books out there that we read to our children are pretty problematic in regards to diversity and it's starting to REALLY bother me.

I want Liam to read stories of same-sex families, adopted families, bi-racial families, different cultural identities and practices and well... add a kazillion more isms and ologies and so forth to the list and you'll start to get an idea of all the things I'm looking for in my kid's literature.

Because right now we have 2, yes only 2, books geared towards toddlers (in other words a board book that he can't tear apart) that hint at a reality that is different than an all white majority. One measly Thomas the Train book that has 1 black passenger on the train (one book out of a set of four, with one passenger) and one Polar Bear, Polar Bear, which is mostly animals until the very end when a bunch of kids wearing masks have different skin tones.

Ironically, I think that many authors/illustrators try to get around the diversity question by using animals instead of humans.

And I think that this is pretty damn unacceptable. And that it doesn't reflect the reality he is growing up in at all. On our street alone, he experiences more diversity than what is shown in his children's literature. I can't help but wonder, what is the impact of this? What narrative does it tell him, and other children for that matter, if white stories are the only ones that matter enough to get air time?

In fact, after scrolling through 10 pages of the Amazon site of baby books, board books, etc, I only found 2 stories that had a bi-racial narrative that seemed to be featured in the tale:

What about all the other stories out there? What about the babies of my friends who are not white, blonde and blue-eyed like my son? What does it mean for them that they don't seem themselves reflected back to them in constructive ways? Why does it require a special search query to find alternative (but very modern, every day) narratives for children?

I don't know about you, but this really upsets me. So if you have some great suggestions of publishers or books that will teach my son about different lifestyles, cultures, skin tones, etc, etc, etc, please let me know because I'm now on a mission to diversify my son's library so that we are already starting a dialogue on privilege, reality, and diversity in our home, right from the get go.

Friday, August 8, 2014

5 Current Health Goals

So now that I'm back to work and not at home (read constantly surrounded by food temptations), it's time to get by butt in gear and lose some weight.

Food. Exercise. Health. Wellness
Google Images

I know, I know. I've talked about this before. And I'm not going to talk about it at length here except to say that I'm setting the following goals (and declaring them publicly so that I have to hold myself accountable to them):

  1. Get out to yoga at least once a week. I recently made use of this groupon for Moksha Laval. I've gone once this week and am headed back at least 1 to 2 times more, yoga burn permitting. 
  2. Cut my sugar and junk food intake. This killed me while I was at home. Especially while Liam wasn't sleeping. I'm actually doing one of those weight drink thingies to help out with it. I never thought I would but hell, I figure I need all the help I can get these days to curb my sugar addiction!
  3. And because I'm using their product, I'm going to blog about it. Cause that's what I do. Blog a lot and share too much of my life. But it's also a way to share about the weight issue/health goals without overtaking this blog (which is supposed to be mostly about creativity). If you're interested, the info is here: PlexusQuebec.
  4. Get out of the office at lunch and go for walks. Or the gym. This year I'm reclaiming the noon lunch hour so I can partake in work fitness programs. Think I'm going to instagram my walks from time to time (cause you know I'm a little compulsive about the documenting). If you're curious it'll be here: lotustreecrafts
  5. To lose 10% of my weight over the next few months. (Yeah, I'm good with overall fitness too but I need to lose a few lbs, minimally). One of my friends in a mom's group made this her goal and I like the idea of it. I tried to do it with my friend Karen in July, but honestly, Liam's sleep was crap so I totally failed. So I'm back on the wagon. 10% club here I come. 

So yeah. That's that. I'm trying to get healthier. I'm tired of complaining about my health so it's time for a change. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

post maternity leave wardrobe update

I've been looking forwarding to non maternity clothing for a while. You know, tops that aren't stretched or stained from breastfeeding. My longstanding joke is that I'm going to start dressing uber conservative post breastfeeding just because I crave high necklines! I'm quite tired of my breasts hanging out.

Yup, you read that right.

I'm tired of having my boobs hanging out. I long for high necks, long sleeves and full coverage. After a year of feeling like my breasts are always on display, I long for inaccessible, high neckline clothing. I'm ready to reclaim the girls, put them back in their pretty bras, and just start feeling a little like, on some small level, my body is my own again!

If I'm honest, it's part of going to back to work that I'm really looking forward to. It's totally trivial but there you have it.

So I keep eyeing up clothing, looking for items that meet the criteria. But here's the kicker: now, when I don't need it, I feel like everything I see is breastfeeding friendly whereas last year this time I couldn't find tops anywhere. Go figure.


So if you happen to see some really sweet high, funky necked tops at a decent price, let me know. Cause I'm in the market. Just saying...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

reusuable food pouches

A while back, this blogger wrote about the hidden environmental costs of using baby food pouches. She made some great points, from the market creating a need that doesn't really exist, to the fact that all these pouches are a nightmare in terms of waste. She also pointed out some good things, like the organics and food combos to introduce little ones too.

But as a mama who is particularly concerned about the consumption culture that surrounds little ones, I had already made a move towards buying my own reusable, refillable pouches through my local mom's co-op (have I ever told you how much I love my local mom's co-op and how dangerous it is at the same time?!) from Nourish.

I'll admit, for a long time I didn't use these pouches as Liam just didn't seem to get how to use them independently. And since he won't let me feed him anymore, filling them with foods I need to spoon feed him isn't an option.

But frustrated with his resistance to cereals and running low on finger food inspiration, I thought I'd try mixing his cereal/smoothie into the pouches and try again now that he's almost the big ONE.

I won't lie. There were a few mishaps. One that involves a certain mama losing her cool, scooping goo up from everywhere, and the need to pull apart the high chair to throw everything, straps, seat cover and all, in the wash machine since the thorough scrubbing hasn't done the trick...

But guess what?

Yesterday he got it. And he was adorably pleased with himself when he realized that if he sucked on the spout, food came out.

Yum, blueberry, banana, oatmeal, yogurt, chia mix!

Look mama, clean hands (sort of)

I admit, I'm pretty stoked that he's figured it out as it gives me a way to get those veggies back into him. Since moving to finger foods, making sure he's getting enough veggies has been a bit more challenging because it's just easier to hand him raw fruit and I forget to steam veggies in advance. Now I can pull out the kale, peach, yogurt mix to add into his cereal.

Random tip (especially if you have a trouble maker like I do): make the mix thicker, not too liquidy, because then they can't just pour it out!

Product Review: I like the pouches. They're relatively easy to use, clean, and fill. Customer service was great. The only thing I would have liked would be for the bags to have a double ziplock for the more precocious child.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fruit Monster

Since Liam's birthday had a monster theme I decided to make a fruit monster.

Here's how I did it:

Cut off bottom so it sits on the tray...

Cute out mouth and hollow out watermelon

Use creativity to make face and load with fruit

Enjoy the cute treat!

Friday, July 11, 2014

diy microwave popcorn

Who doesn't love popcorn?  I know I do. But I don't love microwave popcorn bags. They're expensive and full of junk. I miss the hot air popcorn maker that we had growing up, but honestly, don't really want to buy yet another kitchen gadget.  So when I came across this tutorial to make your own microwave popcorn, I was sold.

I gathered up the supplies:
  • popcorn
  • brown paper lunch bags
That's it. (Oh, and a microwave).

I poured in my 1/4 cup of popcorn and folded the bag over 2x and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. (I used my Quick On button, so I imagine that's high power). Paul mocked me saying that he thought that it was going to come out of the bag, but it didn't.

And here are the results:

 Honestly... not a single kernel burned AND most of the kernels popped. I was pretty impressed. This is WAY cheaper and healthier than your store bought bag.

And since I'm looking to make healthy popcorn, I decided to try my own flavourings (I have a coworker who rocks at this, so I knew they could be tasty). I took mine from this blogger.

For the sweet tooth: Mexican Chocolate

Mix of icing sugar, cocoa and cinnamon

For the savoury tooth: Italian and Parmesan

Mix of Parsley, Basil, Garlic, Onion and Parmesan

Best thing about the mixes? I doubled the popcorn for both bowls (1/2 cup total*) and used about 2 tsps of butter, just enough to coat the popcorn and catch the seasoning. So overall, WAY healthier option!

And voila. DIY healthy microwave popcorn!

* I don't recommend trying to pop the 1/2 cup in one bag, all at once. I did it twice, in two 1/4 allotments because the bag really isn't big enough to hold the doubled amount.


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