Father’s Day Present

June 13, 2011

Mishy’s favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz. Yes, she loves the Wicked Witch and isn’t scared by anything that is shown onscreen – even the flying monkeys. The flying monkeys and the image of the projected Wizard’s head scared me when I was younger. She absolutely loves the film.

Babba and Mishy have been watching clips of The Wizard of Oz on Youtube over the course of  several months before we purchased a copy from Amazon. We thought we would stop and start and watch the film over a few days. Once it arrived in the mail, Mishy sat down with Babba and watched it straight through and the next morning, she wanted to watch in again. Soon afterwards, Mishy had a new nickname for Babba – Scarecrow. She also called me Lion and our cat, Tin Man.

A few weeks ago, I took Mishy to Scribble Press, a neighborhood shop which empowers children to make their own books, placemats, bookmarks and other fun things – you can even bring your children’s entire year of art projects and convert the images into a beautiful book. While I had no idea what we were going to make at Scribble Press, a fantastic new employee suggested a Father’s Day Book  and what a great suggestion was that! Mishy sat down and started writing and drawing about her father, entitling the book, I Love Scarecrow. After we made the book, Mishy and I read it over and over again in the car and I was so excited that when we came home, I told my husband we made him a Father’s Day present. That weekend, we showed it to him. Mishy and I both really wanted to share with him her present as soon as possible.

Mishy making her father's day present


Scribble Press

Two locations – one in Santa Monica and one in New York


My husband’s leaving on a plane and won’t be coming back for four days. He says it’s three days. It’s really three and a half days, but for my sanity, I am thinking it’s four because then he comes back earlier. My daughter recently has been calling him by his first name. When he was in Singapore, she said that he doesn’t love her and when he came back, she said, “He loves me, but he doesn’t care for me. He is not my father. He is a friend.” I’ve been telling her how much he loves her right after she falls asleep as part of sleep talking – which was mentioned by Jan Hunt in one of her articles. I talk to Mishy about twenty minutes after she falls asleep and first tell her I love her and then I tell her how much Babba loves and cares for her – he really does – and how he would love it if we could always travel together and we will travel together again very soon. (We’re going to Toronto and Montreal come April.) Sleep talking is a very gentle way of helping my daughter work things out. I used to sleep talk to her about going to the doctor – which helped a lot. We also played doctor so she became used to the experience of undressing, getting measured and weighed, and sometimes poked and prodded. It used to be traumatic. Now, she looks forward to it. It’s also helped that we haven’t given her vaccinations for awhile.

Another method I’ve used to help facilitate her understanding of her experiences is to write a book. The book is something I learned to do by a non violent communicator, Ruth Beaglehole – who is the executive director of The Echo Center, a center for non violent parenting, which she founded. The idea of non violence is in the same vein as Gandhi and Martin Luther King – peaceful communication. The book is a regular piece of blank paper, folded in half and we draw about a time that has some significance – it could be a visit to the doctor or a time at the playground when an infant was crying and the caretaker was ignoring the infant’s tears – any situation that has emotional weight behind it. We use stick figures because it’s easy and I can let go of the idea of drawing well. I’ve been thinking about starting to write books for myself because let’s face it – I get affected when someone cuts me off in traffic or when a grown man steps on my daughter’s foot and thinks it was her fault for being in the way. This happened when we were at the library. I’ve asked Mishy if she wants to write a book about the time Babba went to Singapore. She’s said no.

I read an article that children are affected greatly by how the parents feel about being apart. I admit it, I like my husband around. He washes the dishes, he does the laundry, he throws out the garbage and recycling. Most importantly, I can count on him – not to just do the bulk of the housework – I can count on him to be my mate, my partner in life, and a co-parent to our daughter. We’ve been together for almost 14 years. It hasn’t been an easy journey, being together, and there have been times when I’ve really wanted out of the marriage and we still have our disagreements and fights – yet, we are together and I like him around. I love him and I’ll miss him. And while he is leaving on a jet plane, he will be returning in sooner than four days…


Jan Hunt – Sleep talking in the article, When Will My Baby Soothe Himself To Sleep?


“Sleep talking” (talking softly to a sleeping child)2 is another helpful approach, during which a parent can ask the baby or child for help, provide explanations of stressful situations, apologize when needed, or simply express love to the child.”

Also in Mom To Mom: Jan Hunt:  http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/wendy_cook_interview.html

“I would also like to include another tip called sleeptalking, which is simply talking to the child while they sleep – it seems to reach the child on a deep level. It can be especially helpful for subjects that are hard to discuss during the day or if the child is just too young to communicate well around a particular topic. You can talk about anything… it’s not just person to person, it’s more like heart-to-heart or like “ageless soul to ageless soul”. They seem to understand anything this way so it can be very helpful. For instance, you can say, “I’m really puzzled about (some new behavior) and I’d like to understand more about that. Could you find a way tomorrow to let me know how I can help you with that?” You can also use it to explain difficult situations. I’ve had clients going through a divorce who have found it very helpful to explain in sleeptalking that are trying to make the situation as easy as possible for the child, and that they will always be there for them. That kind of reassurance can really get through.

There’s a fascinating website on the subject by pediatrician Rhodora Diaz. She offers short scripts for her patients, which include love statements, explanations, reassurances, and offers of help. Lots of my clients have been amazed at how helpful it can be. I often mention it because so few people know about it.”

Jan Hunt is the author of the book, The Natural Child: Parenting From The Heart and is also webmaster of The Natural Child – a website which is full if insightful and helpful articles about raising children. She comes from an unschooler’s perspective

The Echo Center


Peeled Snacks – Giveaway

January 17, 2011

Mishy enjoying her pine-4-Pineapple Peeled Snack

We just got samples of Peeled Snacks in the mail today. Mishy was very excited to taste them. She tried all of the six varieties – Cherry-go-round, pine-4-Pineapple, much-ado-about-Mango, Banan-a-peel, Apricot-a-lot & Apple-2-the-core. Her favorite was pine-4-Pineapple, a close second was Apricot-a-lot, followed ever so closely by Apple-2-the-core – well, frankly, she loved them all and she really has a worldly palette – having traveled around the world and a half in her 2.11 years of life. I do trust her palette because there have been any times when she would try something first and tell me it’s delicious or not and sometimes when it’s not, I’ll still eat it, but she won’t. (That was the case for dinner tonight.) The dried fruit in Peeled Snacks Organic variety pack are incredibly fresh, full of flavor, sulfate free and organic. My favorite is Cherry-go-round. (I didn’t get a chance to try the pine-4-Pineapple because Mishy ate it all because I could even ask for one.) I also like much-ado-about-Mango, Apricot-a-lot – well, I too like all of the flavors and I am sure I would have liked pine-4-Pineapple as well.

Our Peeled Snack Organic Variety Sampler which was quickly opened and eaten! You've got several more life long customers now.

They come in colorful convenient packs which are perfectly portable and yes – when we are traveling and I need a snack, I will buy these – especially when we are in the airport and there are very limited healthy food options. That is one of the reasons why I am glad there are Starbucks at airports – I can always get a herbal ice tea when I am craving something refreshing, not sweetened, and healthy. Now, I will grab a pack of Peeled Snacks or two or three for my journey.

Peeled Snacks are 100% all natural tasty treats of dried fruit and dried fruit and nut mixes with no added sugar or fat. They’ve been featured in O Magazine, Family Circle, Self, Gluten Free Living, Good Housekeeping, Rachel Ray Magazine among others. Good Housekeeping magazine choose Peeled Snacks as a healthy kid-friendly snack “a perfect alternative if your child is tired of raisins — contain one serving of real fruit each and no added sugar or oils. ” They are available at all Starbucks in Canada and the U.S. and I have the pleasure of being able to giveaway an  “Organic Fruit Picks Variety Pack” to the winner – this contains 12 individual snacks. Theses have a retail value of $23.99

The giveaway  is for US addresses only.  You may also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and their website.





To enter, please make a comment. If you like them on Facebook, you will get an additional entry. If you follow them on Twitter, you will get another entry. If you click on to their website, you will get another entry. If you click on to Starbucks’ website, you will get one more entry  – which means you can have up to four entries! (Please comment separately for additional entries.)

Good luck! The contest ends midnight, Feb. 1st, 2011.

UPDATE: Congratulations, Marie. You’ve won the organic sampler pack!

Scholastic Storybook Treasures

December 14, 2010

I was recently given samples of three Scholastic Storybook Treasures. These are children story books brought to life on DVD. While we are not a huge DVD watching family, there are some DVDs which are a welcome addition to our very small collection. These are some of them. What does Mishy love about them? The stories are from books she already knows and loves, they are cleverly narrated and accompanied by fun music which makes her laugh, and they introduce her to a different element of story telling – more visual, but still word focused.

What do I love about them? You may read along with the stories, the images are true to the original book, the themes of the story are age appropriate and most importantly, Mishy loves them.

Each DVD features questions you may ask your child about the story, which generates a gentle discussion and deeper understanding.


The Boy Who Cried Wolf and more children’s fables. This DVD features 5 stories which are narrated by Michael York, Peter Scolari, and feature illustrations and work by Tomi dePaola and Marcia Brown. The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a new story for Mishy and she had many wonderful questions about why he cried wolf and what happened to the sheep afterwards – why the sheppard couldn’t find his sheep. I enjoyed listening and facilitating her understanding.

The True Story Of The 3 Little Pigs and more animal adventures, which are narrated by Paul Giamatti, among others. The True Story Of The 3 Little Pigs is a clever re-telling of the classic story – The Three Little Pigs. Mishy loved this re-telling and was glad to know wolves are simply mis-understood.

Click, Clack, Moo: Animals That Type… and more amusing animal tales. This collection of three DVDs is filled with 17 stories which are fun, inventive and amazingly well spirited for the 3-8 year olds in your life. This collection was by far Mishy’s favorite because it features Mishy’s well loved story – Dooby Dooby Moo. Randy Travis narrates Dooby Dooby Moo and other stories written humorously by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin. He provides just the right amount of laid back Southern charm, swagger, and fun to this joyous collection of animal tales.

Cooking Playdates

November 28, 2010

I’ve been gathering supplies to start having cooking playdates for Mishy and friends. Here are some of my favorites.

Kitchen Utensils:



These child sized kitchen utensils are made of silicone, have posable arms and legs, and even suction cups so they can stand and be decorative when not in use. They are also excellent toys. For the next day or so, gaggle of chicks is having a 33% off sale on these items. If you are not a member of gaggle of chicks, here is my member code:


Amazon is also having a special on them – buy three, get the fourth free. These items are not cheap, but I do believe they are worth the price and fun of having them around the kitchen. That is why I also love that they are sales on them right now. I have been wanting these cooking utensils for Mishy for over three months, just hoping they would be having a sale on them.


Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson – by the author of the Moosewood Cookbook series. This bookcook specifically for preschoolers and up have simple and inventive recipes which are fun to make and yummy to eat.

HandStand Kids – Mexican, Italian, and Chinese – by Yvette Garfield. These cookbook sets have simple recipes which are tasty too. Perfect for children who like to experiment in the kitchen. The Italian kit comes with a chef’s hat, the Mexican Kit comes with an oven glove and the Chinese kit comes with chopsticks.

Here are reviews of the Italian kit on Amazon:


Right now, zulily is having a sale on these kits – instead of $28 for the Italian Kit on Amazon, it’s $13.49. Free shipping is included if you spend $50 or more on the site. Here is my invitation link to join this site:


Everybody Eats Lunch – created and written by Cricket Azima, art by Titus V. Thomas. This inventive book, which is in the shape of a lunchbox, is a travelog of eating around the world. It stops in four different continents – Asia, North America, South America, and Africa where you meet children from that place and find out what they eat for lunch. Recipes included.

Here are more reviews of this book on amazon:


Happy cooking with your children! Mishy and I love to make, eat, and most importantly, experiment in the kitchen!

A Day Of YES!

November 14, 2010

When John Lennon met Yoko Ono, she was busy setting up her exhibit while he was walking around the art gallery, looking at her exhibit. He saw a ladder. He climbed the ladder. On top of the ladder was a hanging magnifying glass. He took the magnifying glass and looked through it to see what was on the ceiling. It was one word. The word was: Yes. That was the beginning of their courtship.

A challenge : see if you can have a day of yes – yes, even as a parent. Children hear no so often, imagine if they only heard yes for a day. You don’t have to tell them, let them discover it on their own or just keep it as your little secret. I understand sometimes you have to say no – especially when it comes to safety – but try to see if it is possible to say yes in a creative way, instead of no.

I challenged my husband to say yes for 24 hours on our last day of travel. (We just returned from hiking in Machu Pichu in Peru and travelling around in Spain.) My husband believes I never say no, especially to our daughter. I do say no, but I try to say no in ways that are yeses. I’ll give an example. My daughter wanted to have ice cream in Granada, Spain. We were rushing to get the airport bus. We didn’t have time for ice cream. Instead of saying no, I told my daughter I would love to get her ice cream. My concern is time. The bus comes every hour and if we miss it, we would have to wait for the next one. Would it be possible to get ice cream in Barcelona? She said, Yes! We were in Barcelona for two days and while we searched for delicious ice cream – we ate delicious tapas – we couldn’t find a place so I asked my daughter if we can have ice cream in Santa Monica. She said yes again. Now that we are back in Santa Monica, she has had small amounts of her favorite chocolate coconut ice cream. She loves Luna & Larry’s Dark Chocolate Organic Coconut Bliss. It is blissfully delicious and non-dairy – another bonus because my daughter has a slight allergy to dairy.

And my husband – did he meet the challenge of saying yes for 24 hours? He did! We were at the airport. It was a long day of travel. There are no non stops from Barcelona to Los Angeles. It was a full 20 hours in transit, including 3.5 hours for our one stop over. He was tired because he didn’t get any sleep on either of the  flights. There were some moments when he wanted to say no. I saw his face, but he didn’t. When we were at the airport in Barcelona, I wanted to get my daughter a magnet. We have a loose tradition of getting fridge magnets from wherever we go. He didn’t want to get that fridge magnet because, let’s face it – buying things at the airport is traditionally much more than you would buy on the street. Instead of saying no, he said, “I’m not saying anything.” He then passed me his remaining Euros and Mishy and I went and bought the magnet.

Another time that was trying for him was when we got some water. Mishy drank out of the bottle and then I drank out of the bottle too. I didn’t ask her. She likes to have her own things right now so she wanted us to buy another bottle of water. Instead of saying no, my husband asked Mishy if we would get her own cup. She said yes.

See if it’s easy or difficult to say yes for the day to your child(ren). If it’s easy, try a week of it. If it’s difficult, think about the times you were said no to when you were a child – write about it, express how that was for you.

Would you like inspirations to saying yes? Here is a book suggestion:

The Year of Yes by Maria Dahvana Headley


Some fun yes quotes:

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.
Eleanor Roosevelt

I only have ‘yes’ men around me. Who needs ‘no’ men?
Mae West

For another perspective – read Scott Noelle’s Rich With Desire Daily Groove:


Using the giraffe ears to help the flow of empathy - giraffe's have the biggest heart

Now that I am back to blogging, I will be posting posts that have been accumulating in my draft box. Though they are about a month old, I think the information is still enjoyable and relevant.

As part of my volunteer work with the yahoo group I co-moderate, Natural Parenting LA, I organized a talk by Bill Stierle, a Non Violent Communication educator, at the end of March. NVC, for short, is inline with Ghandi and Martin Luther King. It is about utilizing change in a non violent way and communicating your observations, your feelings your needs, and your request as empathically as possible. Some argue since this way of communicating was used/started  politically, it can be artificial and overwhelming for children and in everyday life. There are many ways to express NVC and it is important to be age appropriate in using any parenting tools. Since there are 7 ways of non-verbal communication, NVC for infants would look like Attachment Parenting.  For toddlers, you can introduce feelings and needs, in a simple, general way – to what feels comfortable. For adults who have mutually agreed on the language of NVC, it can an incredibly effective way of communicating and resolving past issues as well as helping ensure small arguments not spin into something much larger. For our purposes, Bill agreed to have the children present and made it into a living workshop. When issues arose during the discussion, he attempted to resolve them and help the parents facilitate their own awareness of how they can be peacefully handled in the future.

The children participated in the discussion too and were fascinated by him. Mishy adores him and even has a Koala bear she calls Bill.

A child playing while a question is asked about needs.

During the workshop, when two children were fighting over food, Bill became the middle man by holding on to the food and letting the children take turns eating from the container. Sometimes, it can be that simple and effective. In the heat of the moment, it is often hard to come up with those ways of resolution since we, as parents, sometimes take things personally and feel uneasy that their child is not sharing. Developmentally, children don’t have a concept of sharing until, some experts say, they are seven or eight years old.

A living workshop

After the event. Mishy wanted me to take a picture of him solo to remember him while we're away in NYC.


Bill Stierle


11500 W. Olympic Blvd suite 400
Los Angeles CA 90064
888.316.8383 fax


Mishy snacking while Momma cuts an x in bottom of the brussel sprouts

Here is a link to a fascinating article in the New York Times.

6 Food Mistakes Parents Make


Mishy has always been an adventurous eater, but this article got me thinking about how to continue foster her food curiousity since the article states, “Young children are naturally neophobic — they have a distrust of the new.” Other articles I’ve read highlight that food neophobia is especially heightened from when children are 3-6 years old. Because we travel so much, it is important to me that Mishy continues to eat a variety of food. Here are some things we’ve implemented after reading the article.

1. Sending children out of the kitchen

We have a small kitchen. When Mishy helps with the food preparation, she certainly eats more of it. Tonight, we had brussel sprouts. She sat down in front of me, noshing on cut fresh pear as she watched me cut a x in the bottom of the sprout. (It helps it cook faster.) She peeled away some of the older leaves and passed me the sprout to cut the x in. We use a splat mat which we lay down on the floor and sit on. If we end up making a mess, I easily spray it with vinegar for a fast clean up. Other friends, who have the luxury of space, use the Little Partners Learning Tower or a Guidecraft Kitchen Helper. Both have gotten plenty of positive reviews on amazon.com.

Prior to reading the article, Babba played with Mishy while I made dinner. (Babba does the dishes and laundry. That’s how we divide the domestic responsibilities.)

2. Pressuring them to take a bite

If Mishy doesn’t want to try something new, she doesn’t have to, usually she does without any coercion. We are lucky. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss is one of her favorite books. She loves the part when the person tries it and says, “Say, I do so like green eggs and ham!” When we catch ourselves not wanting to try new things, Mishy reminds us about Green Eggs and Ham. So far, so good, but we still let it be when she just doesn’t feel like it.

3. Keeping ‘good stuff’ out of reach

We don’t have chips or cookies or cakes at home. I do have dark chocolate in the freezer in the week coming up to my monthly cycle. So far Mishy does not know this. So far Mishy hasn’t eaten cake or chips. This “mistake” will be the hardest for me if she ever wants to start eating cakes or cookies or chips.

4. Dieting in front of your children

I am nursing. No way can I afford to diet. Before I got pregnant, I spent a lot of energy making sure my calorie consumption was on par with my weight because of my acting career. I don’t think I will be doing that anymore since I don’t have the time anymore!

5. Serving boring vegetables

We put butter on the brussel sprouts. I never ate my vegetables with oil or butter before. Mishy loves butter. That’s that.

6. Giving up too soon

Here is an excerpt from an article in the Boston Globe. “Allison Lauretti, lead clinical psychologist in the Optimal Weight for Life Program at Children’s Hospital Boston, says children often need to be exposed to a new food a full 15 to 20 times before it’s clear whether they don’t like it or are simply reacting to unfamiliarity.”

I keep that in mind when I try something new and don’t like it. I believe for adults, it is 7 times.


Splat Mat


Little Partners Learning Tower


Guidecraft Kitchen Helper


Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Boston Globe article: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2009/11/04/kids_menus_should_grow_up_to_be_as_interesting_as_their_parents/?page=1

Mishy trying on shoes I had bought online - how do we know if they fit?

This past Saturday, Mishy, Babba, and I went to see one of Santa Monica’s foot doctors, Dr. Noah. He hosts monthly Kid’ Shoe Outings where he gives an informal and highly informative talk about which shoes to buy for your children to help their feet grow and develop. He is an extremely enthusiastic man and passionate about the care of children’s feet. He does say wearing used shoes is like giving someone your prescription glasses and it can have detrimental effects, especially on children’s feet since they are developing. He also mentioned the main function of children’s shoes until they are 8 years old, since a foot arch is usually not developed until they are eight, is to provide protection when they run and walk outside. Inside, it is best to have them barefoot or with socks so their feet are not encumbered. (Plus, having them shoeless does limit the dirt that gets in from outside.)  You want as flexible a shoe as possible for children. Flexible enough that you can make a fist or ball with the shoe. (This amount is not ideal for adults since we do need more support.) Also, a round foot is ideal – the shape of our toes – and if you align the shoe to the box, the center of the heel makes a straight line to the second and middle toe, the shoe is wide enough for healthy development.

His discussion is 15 minutes in length and afterwards, he measures your child’s foot. Since he devotes 2 hours to the shoe outing, and if there is time, he is willing to look at the parents feet as well. (His associate does provide adult shoe outings as well.) Most of the adults present had their feet informally examined. He did say he will probably find a problem with our adult feet because we usually have them and that is his work. My husband was terrified to hear his 8 mile/day jogging habit has severely limited achilles tendon and he might need physical therapy to remedy this. (Yoga will probably help as well.)

For more information, his website is: http://www.thedoc4feet.com

Here is a link to his handouts which includes a guideline for finding shoes for children.


After the shoe fitting, we bought her new shoes at Payless.