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Holidays

A Valentines lesson in conscious consumerism

Conscious Consumerism, Holidays, Parenting By February 12, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments
Elijah's Valentines this year

Elijah’s Valentines this year

I have never been big on Valentines. I don’t know why, I used to claim that it was because of feminism or commercialism, and even that it reminded me of the pain of growing up not being conventionally pretty and not feeling like I had the hope for romance the holiday celebrated, but maybe it’s just that I don’t like this time of year. Its cold and snowy and I just want to start planting stuff so bad. Who’s bright idea was it to put a holiday exclusively about romance in the middle of a season where it’s too cold to wear anything pretty or sexy on a date? (Probably someone who didn’t live in USDA Zone 4-5, I guess) It just seems like a holiday that shouldn’t be that big of a deal, like St. Patricks Day or Groundhog Day, but that people get waaaaay too obsessed over. As an adult, the part of Valentine’s Day that bugs me the most is the school party. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about holiday parties at school, but I just don’t like Valentines Day. The era of Pinterest has only made school parties higher pressure than ever, and I can manage that at Halloween (because I love Halloween), but Valentine’s Day? Blech.

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Stocking stuffer ideas for gardeners

Gardening, Holidays By November 30, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments
Boy uses refractometer

Elijah uses a refractometer to evaluate the nutritional content of a strawberry! A super fun gift for the veggie gardener!

Have a gardener on your shopping list? Or are you a gardener and want to drop hints as to what you want for holiday gifts? Here’s a handy list full of ideas for small gifts and stocking stuffers for green thumbs!

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Hosting a Rocking Thanksgiving – Part Two

Family Life, Holidays, Home cooking, Music, Recipes By November 25, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

It’s Wednesday, and I feel like I’ve wasted all of my break.  I know I still have several days in which to accomplish more of my non food related goals, but it doesn’t seem like enough time.  Maybe once the semester is over …

In any case, I’m at least being productive about getting our Thanksgiving meal in order before the big day.  Here’s what I accomplished today.

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Hosting a Rocking Thanksgiving – Part One

DIY, Holidays, Home cooking, Recipes, Social Justice By November 24, 2015 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

It’s fall break!  Which means the kids and I (Jessica) am home all week.  Usually, I spend this week dicking around, avoiding homework, and then rushing around last minute getting ready for Thanksgiving almost entirely on the big day it’s self (to include cleaning), but that sucks so this year I vowed it would be different.  I’m going to be productive (which means there will be more on my plate than just Thanksgiving dinner) and I’m not going to spend the whole day on Thursday cooking my ass off so that my back is killing me and I just want to go to bed by the time everything is ready.

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Halloween class war

Community, Current Events, Holidays, Social Justice By October 31, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Recently an advice column has been making the rounds on social media, in which a person asks for advice on what to do about poor kids coming into your neighborhood to trick or treat. The writer was pretty harshly criticized, and given how they talked about how their street isn’t that rich, they’re just doctors and lawyers and business owners, I’d say justifiably so. But it did make me think about some stuff.

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Fall prep

Community, DIY, Food Producing Animals, Gardening, Holidays By October 21, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments


Obviously summer is over in the northern hemisphere, where I live, so I am currently engaged in preparing my garden for winter. This used to be a much less involved task, but now that I’m a year into my horticulture program I know a lot of stuff I didn’t previously. Here’s what I’m doing to get everything ready for winter.

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New Years Resolutions

Activism, Community, Holidays By January 2, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

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I do not like New Years. I don’t mind it changing from one year to another but I’m just not in to how it’s celebrated. It’s not my thing. I don’t totally get it, because time and dates are really kind of arbitrary, it seems to me like its some kind of Christmas after party if you weren’t satisfied with Christmas festivities. Whatever. I don’t do staying up late, that’s not my thing. And all the drunk people? Annoying. But the thing I hate most of all is resolutions.

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Healthy Halloweens are bullshit

Holidays, Social Justice By October 20, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

As culturally embraced sizism becomes more and more prominent in society, I’m starting to see a big trend towards healthy Halloweens.  My first exposure to the concept of healthy Halloween was when Elijah was a baby, and I had joined the local chapter of a national club for crunchy moms.  These moms were mostly concerned with pesticide residues, genetically modified organisms, and trans fats in treats, maybe a little with the working conditions of the people working the cacao farms, and all of that seemed reasonable to me.  I could envision a future in which all Halloween candy was fair trade and organic, but I still bought my sacks of Hershey’s and Mars sugar and hydrogenated fat because, really, who can afford a ten pound sack of fair trade mini candy bars?  Not lower enlisted, single moms, that’s for sure.

Over time, however, the concern out and about as well as in the group became primarily sugar, and how sugar is just like cocaine and is killing us all very slowly.  I was all for trying to get away from the crappy candy I still begrudgingly bought even though I knew that doing so was supporting slave labor, and even making the holiday a little healthier with some home made treats, but this movement advocated for no treats at all.  Or, rather, lousy treats that only the most sheltered and deprived kid could truly get excited about.  A clementine with a sprig of celery in the top to make it look like a pumpkin is no treat at all, especially given that they aren’t in season yet in October and most likely will taste like crap.

Look, I get it.  Sugar is not great for you.  Especially all that highly processed crap, packaged up with hydrogenated oils and gmo soy lecithin.  I don’t like that shit either.  But it’s one night a year (and maybe a few days afterwards), I swear to god it’s not going to kill your kids.

It’s no coincidence that the rise of healthy Halloweens have coincided perfectly with our culture’s war on obesity.  It is our great fear of the worst fate ever, being fat, that drives this trend.  Better to ruin a holiday for our children than to, god forbid, have them grow up and possibly have love handles!!  Oh, the horror!!  The agony!!  Why, given that inevitability, letting your child have even one fun size Snickers on Halloween is tantamount to child abuse.

The whole idea of healthy Halloweens is steeped in fat shaming and fear mongering.  It is not even based in any kind of reality.  Here are some facts, if you are paranoid about letting your children have treats on one measly holiday.

  • We don’t know what causes people to be fat or thin.  The reasons are likely a lot more complex and multifaceted than just calories in, calories out, or even more complex issues like insulin resistance and inflammation.  Therefore, we cannot assume that fun sized candy bars are the culprit either.
  • Fat is not necessarily a health risk.  There are plenty of healthy fat people out there.  In fact, using our current BMI standards, the people with the longest life span are those in the overweight range.  Obese people and healthy weight people have about the same lifespans, statistically speaking.  The very obese have slightly lower life spans than the obese or healthy weight.  Underweight people have the lowest lifespans of all.  Given this knowledge, if what you are trying to do is ensure your child the longest life possible, it might be in their best interest to gain a little bit of “extra” weight.
  • Even the most calories in, calories out focused doctor would concede that a few treats one night a year is not going to make your kid fat as long as they are eating a balance diet the rest of the year and leading an active lifestyle.  In fact, your kids will probably be safe from the dreaded fat menace even if they eat candy on Halloween and cookies on Christmas!
  • Fat people are at lower risk for many health conditions, including depression (which, yes, takes lives every single day).  I would hypothesize that children who don’t get to eat candy on Halloween are at higher risk of depression, so maybe letting them gorge on chocolate one night a year could actually be good for them!

More importantly than all of this, fat people are human beings who deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect that any other human being should be treated with.  Striking fear of becoming fat into our children’s hearts is setting them up for being sizists and cruel bullies to those who are fat, and increasing their risk of having their own body image issues.

Look, I get it, I do.  I’m all about feeding kids a healthy diet.  I just think that some occasional splurges are part of an over all, holistically healthy diet.  I’m not saying let them gorge on nothing but candy all night Halloween, and all day for as many days afterwards that it takes them to run out of candy.  By all means, fill your kid up with a healthy dinner before you go out trick or treating, ration treats on November first and beyond, arrange a visit from the Switch Witch or donate the bulk of your candy to the troops (I can tell you from experience they love that shit, even though most of them do have access to all the candy they want at the PX) or the homeless or something.  But let them have Halloween night as it traditionally is, because while candy might not be good for your kid’s health, cramming your own issues with fat and body image problems down your kids’ throats is worse for them.

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