Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's here!

The new blog is here!  Thanks for your patience as I navigate the fun new technicalities of WordPress.  You can now find me at: .  See you over there!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Changes Abound

Well, school is finally out, and the shape of my days is changing.  And that's not all!  This blog will be changing over to WordPress on the recommendation of multiple friends and family members.  While I am changing all of that, I thought I would change the title of the blog as well.  So keep your eyes peeled!  Big changes are coming...and they are coming fast.  See you over there!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Why I did not go to church on Good Friday

Today I wrote a guest post on the Living Stones Community Blog:

I spent the majority of my growing-up years in churches where, if you loved Jesus, you showed up "every time the doors were open."  If there was a service, you were there with a smile pasted on your face and a Bible under your arm.  Let's just say: it was a policy aimed at quantity rather than quality....

To read the remainder of this post, visit the blog here.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Tale of a Fateful Trip

You may recall our trip to Lowe's last year.  You would think we would have learned something about small cars.

Evidently not.

This year, determined not to make the same mistake, we engaged my sister-in-law and her SUV to transport the wood for our new garden box as well as Adirondack chairs we purchased in order to spend some time actually enjoying our huge back yard this year.  All went smoothly in the way of transportation, and we felt quite clever.

Then we decided to purchase soil for our garden box from a business that sells bulk soil instead of buying hundreds of bags from Lowe's.  Again, we basked in the golden sunlight of our cleverness.

However, in order to move the soil to the actual garden box, we needed some tools.  Namely, a wheelbarrow.  Which we did not yet own.  So off to Lowe's we went again, selected the smallest (and incidentally cheapest) wheelbarrow we could find, loaded it with mushroom compost (to enrich the soil), paid for everything, and headed to the car.

At this point, it occurred to us. 

We have a small car. 

Perhaps we should have realized this sooner, but...

The wheelbarrow definitely was not going into the car.  We tried it at a variety of angles, in multiple openings.  It just wasn't going in.

After several phone calls to people with larger cars (no one answered), we sat down to think.

My darling husband decided it was time to take matters into our own hands and Solve the Problem.  As it was the wheel of the barrow that stood in the way of our plan, we wondered if we might remove it.  After examining it, I found that it was only secured to the axle with a screw on either side of said axle.

Liam, the Problem Solver, announced that he would borrow a screwdriver.  I, of course, scoffed that such a thing would surely not happen.  But off he went, confident that there would be a screwdriver to borrow.  And, amazingly, there was.  We removed the wheel, proud of ourselves for being clever (starting to see a pattern here yet?), and attempted to shove place the wheelbarrow into the trunk.

It still didn't fit.

However, with the wheel removed, more of it was in the trunk than out.  So we decided to cut our losses and get out of there.  While returning the screwdriver, Liam found that there was twine by the door that was available for tying down trunks.  So we tied the trunk down and delicately drove home, with the barrow bumping the whole way.

And that is how we learned that cleverness is no match for a small car and a large wheelbarrow.  But a small car and a large wheelbarrow are no match for Liam the Problem Solver.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sarah Returns, Spring Break, and Sunrise Juice

Long time no see, right?
I apologize for my terrible blog-posting record the past couple of months.  Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was spending all of my energy corralling a large group of extroverted 2nd graders.  Yeah.  That didn't leave enough energy to put away my clean clothes, let alone write blog posts.  So, I am sorry, but it was unavoidable.
Now it's spring break!  And I have a highly efficient aide.  So hooray for sleeping in past 4:45.  And yippee for reading a book in longer than 10-page increments.  A whole week of Saturdays...  I am a happy girl!
Speaking of energy, have you ever tried juicing?  I was recently introduced when my sister and I took on this detox diet from Whole Living for the season of Lent.  Our first week, the only things we could eat were fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lentils.  Our breakfasts were either juice or smoothies.  So I borrowed my MIL's juicer for the six weeks, and experimented.
I stumbled upon this discovery.  Although it is not a detox juice, it is a delicious juice.  And it will give you an amazing spike of energy.  It's very seasonal during late January/early February if you live in Florida.  Probably later if you do not.  It is beautiful.  It is smooth.  And if you have a juicer, you must try it!  If you do not have a juicer, you should make friends with someone who does and convince them to make it for you.
Without further ado:
Sunrise Juice
2 oranges
12 strawberries
2 large or 3 small carrots
Cut carrots and oranges into smaller pieces so they will fit into the juicer.  Push all of the fruits and vegetables through the juicer.  Mix the juices together and drink immediately (if you like it chilled, add some ice).  Don't forget to clean your juicer before everything gets crusted on!
If you try it, let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Waiting: A Liturgy

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever.


The raw beauty of the liturgy gripped me that day.  I was present in church in a way I never before had been, my feet rooted to those wooden boards, my knees gravity-tugged to the ground.  When I stumbled into the sunlight afterwards, disoriented, I could hardly answer the question: "How did you like it?"  I knew then.  God was there.

View the rest of this guest post on the Living Stones Community blog here

Friday, February 1, 2013

You Need This in Your Pantry!

Let me introduce you to an ingredient that will change your life!  I am not even kidding you -- you need to buy this right away.
Navitas Raw Cacao Powder
It is a raw version of a cocoa powder that does not have the nutrients cooked out of it.  It is categorized as a "superfood," but that's not why I love it!

The taste is amazing!  It is a rich chocolatey taste, deeper and more nuanced than a regular cocoa powder.

Use it in ice cream!  Use it in cookies, hot cocoa, brownies, will kick up the taste several notches.  If you love chocolate, you will adore this.  If you like healthy foods, you cannot live without this any longer.

It is not sweet, but it is the ultimate in chocolate taste.

I buy mine at, but you can probably also find it at a health food store.  Go forth and find it!  You won't be sorry!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wherein We Ask, Who Is My Neighbor?

A man in Jacksonville, Florida, got on his motorcycle one beautiful spring Sunday morning, and headed toward I-95. He was totally looking forward to a visit at St. Augustine National Park....

Read the rest of this joint writing effort with my mother, Susan Price, on her blog here.

Be sure to let me know what you think!

Monday, January 28, 2013

5 Reasons to "No 'Poo" Your 'Do

Besides the fact that you get to say "No 'Poo Your 'Do" with a straight face, I've been considering whether there might be advantages to giving up shampoo.  Now that I'm a month into my "farewell to shampoo," I have some insight for those of you who might consider trying this.  And also for those of you who would never consider trying this.  Maybe even for the occasional person who doesn't care either way.  So read on...

5. If you get some of this "shampoo" in your eyes, it will still sting, but they won't get as red as they would with regular shampoo, and they will recover sooner. This reason may sound rather lame to some of you coordinated people out there, but to someone who always used to come out of the shower looking like the morning after overindulging in alcoholic beverages, this is a big deal. 

4.  Build upper arm strength!  You may not think so, but holding your arms above your head long enough to thoroughly massage baking soda solution into your hair will require more muscle tone than you already have (unless you're a body builder or something).  Now you can be buff and have gorgeous hair at the same time!

3.  Apple cider vinegar is apparently great for eczema.  If you have sensitive skin, you might be surprised by how much it clears up when you use this shampoo (or lack thereof) routine.  I was.

2.  You get a head massage every time you wash your hair. True, you have to give yourself the massage, but kinda beats lazily relying on suds for their cleansing power. Also, it is said to stimulate blood flow to your brain cells. I can use all the help I can get!

1.  You could have a volcano in your shower -- every day! That's right! You get to use the very same ingredients used to make an elementary school volcano model to clean your hair. Not that you would make a volcano...but it's nice to know you could.

All of this and soft, shiny, chemical-free tresses?  It's all true.

Intrigued?  You should be.  If you are completely convinced that you must rush out and try "No 'Poo" this very day, be sure to read my original post explaining how to do it here.  Then revel in your coolness.  Go forth and enjoy your head massage!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I get a little carried away...and my husband rescues me.

I've loved food pretty much as long as I've been alive.

My mom likes to tell stories about how I started eating table food so young (to supplement my diet of breast milk) -- I wanted broccoli before I was supposed to have it (and she gave it to me... I loved it then and still do).  My first word was a food word ("bread" in Portuguese), not Mama or Binky.  I was messing in the kitchen as soon as I was old enough to stand on a chair to reach the counter.

What can I say?  One of my favorite TV shows is Chopped.  I read more nonfiction books about food than pretty much any other subject.  And the list of food blogs I follow grows and grows.

So it's no surprise that the list of recipes I want to try keeps getting longer and longer.  And with teaching as my main job, I don't have a lot of free time, which means my only day to experiment is Saturday.  Sometimes, when I've been really busy, my desire gets pent up until it bursts -- I spend my entire day planning and executing projects of cookery.

Like today.

I started off with roasting some beets for next week's lunches.  Meanwhile, I also baked an acorn squash that had been moldering in my fruit bowl for over a month.

I the made my first foray into homemade ice cream.  I got an amazing deal on an ice cream maker early in December, but with the cascade of junk food that bombarded the Christmas holidays, I had not done anything with it yet.  I made my ice cream base, and put it in the fridge to cool.  Then, I realized you are supposed to freeze the ice cream bucket before you make the ice cream.  Whoops.  Oh well, ice cream, to be continued.

At the same time, I cleaned and started to roast brussels sprouts from my Farmer's Market trip to make this recipe from Peas and Thank You.  Chocolate creme anglaise and brussels sprouts might seem like an odd combination, but the smooth, sweet velvet of the ice cream base, and the crispy outside, soft creamy inside of the salt-and-pepper-and-oil sprouts were a perfect compliment.  I went right from licking out the pot from the chocolate back to "taste-testing" the brussels sprouts (I taste-tested about half the pan!).

Then to make the vinaigrette/glaze for the brussels sprouts.  By this time my feet were aching and I was getting slightly cranky.  Also, the romance of the kitchen was wearing off a little.  I may or may not have snapped at my husband, who was only trying to make dinner.

Then I had a minor meltdown over a perceived slight (not to mention the fact that dishes were piling up, and I still had one kitchen project to go).

My husband, who is sweet, did not get mad.  No -- he washed the dishes.  Then he washed the dishes again.  And folded the towels.  And washed the dishes again.  And told me it would be ok.

I worked my way through my last project, healthy rice krispy treats (made with brown rice syrup and brown rice krispies and almond butter -- see the recipe here), a long awaited birthday present promised to my father (who celebrated 60 years on January 7 -- yes, I'm just getting to his birthday present -- I told you teaching keeps me busy).

As I coated the cereal with sticky, gooey yum and coated the sticky, goey yum with warm chocolate and almond butter mixture, I breathed deep.  Yes, I got a little carried away.

But my day was sweet...bitter...salty...tangy.  And it ended in peace.

*This post is dedicated to the patience and practicality of my husband, without whom it surely would not have materialized as I would be a melted puddle of boohooing on the kitchen floor, and my father would have to wait another week for his birthday present.*

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Roasted Veggies? Yes, Please!

At long last, the first of the promised recipes!  This has been one of my favorite ways to eat veggies this winter.  The difference roasting makes in the flavor is amazing.  Broccoli that has been roasted is like candy -- I bet you can't eat just one.  And the other veggies are beautiful, too.  This week, I roasted my purple cauliflower, but you can also use this recipe for broccoli, carrots, eggplant, etc.

You need to make this today!  You won't be sorry...

Roasted Vegetables

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Cut the roasted vegetables into similarly sized pieces.

3.  Lay the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet.

4.  Spray them with olive oil spray.

5.  Sprinkle them with the seasoning of your choice (tasty ones are salt, pepper, garlic powder, season-all, rosemary, thyme, etc.)

6.  Roast them in the oven until they are slightly brown and crispy around the edges.  This will be between 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces and the type of vegetables.  If you are not sure if the veggies are done, taste one -- if it is incredibly delicious and you want to eat just one more, they're done.

*Note -- watch them carefully after the 10-min. mark because they will burn quickly.

7.  They taste best when they just come out of the oven, but they are also good cold or reheated.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Enjoy your veggies!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Week 2: No Coupons

The experiment continues!  Saturday was very busy, so I am a bit late this week.  I am also very ashamed to confess that I backslid a bit this week.  I actually used 3 coupons at Publix this week.  However, we also did quite well at the Farmer's Market.

We got:
1 half gallon raw goat's milk
1 head hydroponically grown organic purple cauliflower
1 bunch hydroponically grown organic bok choy
4 hydroponically grown organic kirby cucumbers
2 heads organic broccoli
1 bunch organic green onions
2 lb. organic carrots
2 baking potatoes
2 locally grown navel oranges
1 avocado
3 limes
1 gardenia bush

...and a partridge in a pear tree!  Just kidding about that one, but we spent right around $25.

At Publix, as I confessed, I couldn't quite stay away from the coupons this week.  Back in my Weight Watchers days, I became shamefully addicted to the WW novelty ice creams.  They were BOGO this week with a $1 off coupon, which made them about $1.50/box.  Too good to pass up.  Yes, I know they are terrible, and no, I did not read the ingredients list, nor do I care to.  We all have our vices.  This is mine.

I also got a banana, some apple cider vinegar, some dijon mustard, and several boxes of tissues (a necessary casualty of my violent sneezing cold last week).

Ah well.  Coupon recovery is not as easy as it seems.  But I'm looking forward to using those yummy veggies this week.  Stay tuned -- more to come!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Farewell to Shampoo

My name is Sarah, and I have not used shampoo for three weeks.

Ok, I know it sounds gross.  You may already be thinking, "Who knew Sarah was some kind of crazy hippy chick??!?"

Before you click off and go read the blog of someone with impeccable hygiene, wait a sec.  I am not being gross (at least not purposely), and I'm definitely not a hippy chick (my husband would have a cow).

I simply have opted out of the world of shampoo craziness.  My love-hate relationship with shampoo proceeded as follows.

1.  I used whatever cheap shampoo my mom bought for me and didn't care how my hair looked because I just wasn't like that (ages 8-12).
2.  I spent large sums on various types of shampoo, switching every couple of months because they seemed to stop working after a certain point (ages 13-26).
3.  I stocked up about a dozen bottles of various types of shampoo -- whatever was on sale with coupons that I could buy for around a dollar a bottle.  I used them all with varying success (ages 26-28)
4.  Finally, I got fed up with all the craziness -- the expense, the lack of effectiveness, and worst of all, the super-scary ingredient lists, and started researching natural shampoo alternatives.

I came across something known as (no joking), the "no 'poo" method, involving the use of baking sode for cleaning the hair and apple cider vinegar for rinsing/conditioning the hair.  Some of the more extreme proponents use this is a springboard to go totally "no 'poo," using only water to clean their hair.  I'm not going there.

After working through some logistics, I decided to give this baking soda/apple cider vinegar hair cleansing method a shot.  And surprisingly, I kinda liked it.  My hair has been much more balanced without the build-up that certain shampoos make so much worse (I'm looking at you, Pantene), and I feel much better about what I'm using to clean my hair.  Not only that, my sensitive skin that is prone to eczema has cleared up about 90%.

So, in case you're crazy like me and want to give it a try, here's the routine.

You'll need:
1 box baking soda
1 bottle apple cider vinegar
Some essential oils (I use lavendar)
1 cup measuring cup
2 bottles, one with a spray top (plastic is ok -- I bought some aluminum bottles)

First, put a tablespoon of baking soda in the measuring cup.  I usually eyeball this, but if you are uncomfortable doing this, feel free to measure.

Second, put 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar in the bottle without the spray top.

Third, in the shower, fill the measuring cup to the top with water.  Swirl the baking soda around with your finger until it dissolves.

Pour a small amount on your scalp.  I like to start at the top, then do the sides, then the back.  You will want to concentrate on your most oily spots.  The baking soda/water combo will not sudse, but it will feel a little slippery or slimy.  Massage it into your scalp very thoroughly.  You can leave it in your hair for a couple of minutes, then rinse.  Your hair will feel very clean.

Then fill the vinegar bottle with approximately twice as much water as vinegar.  Swirl it around to mix.  Rinse your hair with the mixture, concentrating on the ends.  Your hair will feel smooth at this point.

Leave the vinegar in for a couple of minutes, then rinse it out.

After you dry your hair with a towel, you can put several drops of essential oil in the spray bottle.  Dilute the oil with water until the level of scent is comfortable for you.  Use the spray top to spritz your hair.  This helps cover up the smell of the apple cider vinegar, which will linger until your hair dries, but not after.

So there you go.  You, too, can be a crazy hippy chick.  Just don't tell my husband....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Inhabiting a Habit (...or "An INFP is Converted")

I've been thinking about habits a lot lately.  Thinking being the key word, I guess.  You see, over Christmas break, I read this book: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

You have to read this book!

It was a truly eye-opening exposition on how habits are formed, why starting one good habit can lead to other good habits, and how to get rid of bad habits.

If you 've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably remember my original post about routines, in which I ranted about how difficult it is to enjoy routines as an INFP because they can be, well...boring.

This guy made the point that habits are not controlled by the same part of your brain as thinking and memory -- they are located in the more primitive part of your brain.  So doing something like putting your coffee cup instead of the cream in the refrigerator is just a result of your brain being on "auto-pilot" without input from your higher-level thinking.

In other words, if you are bored by a routine it's your own fault.  Rethinking routines lets me see them as an opportunity to let my body and lower brain automatically do what needs to while my higher-level thinking processes pay attention to something much more interesting.  Win-win, right?

I just have to stick with the habits long enough to let them become automatic...ah, there's the rub.

I am starting simple with two things.  1: Making the bed every morning.  2.  Putting my things away when I come home from somewhere.

Sounds simple, no?  We shall see.  I don't know how many times I've gotten to the end of the week and found piles and stacks all over the kitchen table (because it is right by the door and the first convenient place to dump things when I walk in).  And it's been a long time since I've been a regular bed-maker.

But I am looking forward to the day when I won't even notice that I am doing these bland chores because my mind will be off cavorting somewhere pleasant... like admiring a sunrise...

...while my lower-brain limbic system slaves away unnoticed.
 Poor thing...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Week 1: No Coupons

Due to an unfortunate coupon incident, I am taking the month of from couponing and focusing on buying local, healthy food at the Farmer's Market as much as possible.

This week, I cheated a little.  My husband and I had previously agreed that we would visit the grocery store for his father's weekly banana (long story).  This week, we had to get not just the banana, but the month's worth of cat food cans, and some brown basmati rice for a chicken and cabbage meal we'll be making later this week (recipe to come).  So we ended up spending a total of $9.67 at Publix.  Also, my sister is picking me up some blueberries and blackberries from Aldi for a total of $2.50.

Now on to the Farmer's Market!  We spent a total of $24.50 on the following:

1/2 gallon of raw goat's milk
1 bunch organic celery
1 head organic hydroponically grown cabbage
1 head organic hydroponically grown butter lettuce
1 bag organic hydroponically grown spinach
5 organic hydroponically grown tomatoes
2 organic sweet peppers
1 box organic grape tomatoes
3 organic parsnips
3 organic baking potatoes
1 head organic broccoli
1 avocado

So far, so good.  Now to use all of that yummy produce!

And it was actually easier on the budget than doing a full shopping with coupons.  (Let me just take this moment to say that this would obviously not be possible without a small stockpile created by the use of coupons.  I am not totally against the use of coupons.  This month is just for taking a break from the craziness and trying to eat a cleaner, less-processed diet without spending a lot of money.  *commercial over*).

Later this week, I'll share how we used some of this produce.  See you then!