Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Opting In: Having a Child Without Loosing Yourself

I just finished reading the book Opting In: Having a Child Without Loosing Yourself by Amy Richards and decided to share some thoughts about it since it got my feminist mama juices flowing. Let me just start by saying that I am a fan of Amy Richards. I think she has done some amazing work in the feminist community and she has been a role model and spokesperson for my generation of feminists, 3rd wave or 21st century feminists, whatever it is you may want to label us. She has been very outspoken on prominent issues in the movement and in her own life, and has taken her passion and activism for feminism to the pages and has written three books: Manifesta, and Grassroots: A Fieldguide for Feminist Activism, co-authored with Jennifer Baumgardner and her most recent book Opting In: Having a Child Without Loosing Yourself.

This book isn't that new of a book, it was actually published back in 2008. It was a book that I had read a review of it when published and wanted to buy, but put it on one of many book lists that have been lost or forgotten about. Recently while surfing Amazon, I came across this again and decided it was time to purchase it.

This book is an easy read, definitely not full of studies and academic jargon that will make your head spin. In my opinion is was written for new feminists and feminists who are new to motherhood. I say motherhood rather than parenthood because it really is directed toward mothers; even though she discusses issues such as the importance of partnership, letting dads be actively involved and the debate over using the word parenthood rather than motherhood, it is still intended for mothers to read. I also have to say that I believe the book is directed at heterosexual mothers. She touches on issues that may be important to feminist lesbian mothers, however, when discussing the role of partners, she speaks primarily from her own experiences which happen to be with a man and the father of her children. Even though this might be a turn-off for some feminists, I believe that the book would still be a worthy read since she does an excellent job of arguing this idea of "choice" applying to all areas of a womun's life; not just to reproductive rights.

She begins this book by approaching an issue that is difficult for many feminists - how to blend your feminist belief system with your own desires to become a mother. How to come to terms with "how such a political movement that is historically known to free womyn of feminine expressions can support such a personal decision that is seen as the ultimate feminine expression." She uses history, research, personal experiences of her own as well as friends and strangers (who have emailed her at AskAmy on Feminist.com) to demonstrate how motherhood and feminism can co-exist in a womun's life.

As she moves through the book she ties the idea of "choice" into many different topics that it should be applied to such as working vs. staying home, pregnancy & birthing choices and gender issues. She also discusses the history of feminism and motherhood, the truth about our biological clocks, relationships between mothers and daughters, and practicing our politics through parenting.

I could take up a lot space and time writing about this book and my own opinion and experiences as a active, third-wave feminist mom, but I have done some of that in past posts. And I am sure I will do some more writing in the future on how I have struggled with blending these two identities and how I have learned to navigate motherhood from a feminist perspective and how I continue to grow and learn how beautifully these two identities can mesh.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Menus

Monday: Menestra w/fresh bread

Tuesday: Grilled MI asparagus, eggplant & peppers w/ brown rice & fresh arugula salad

Wednesday: Greg's dinner night

Thursday: gazpacho w/tomato avocado salad

Friday: Mujudrah, spinach pies & Arabic potato salad

Saturday: MI Asparagus, Corn & tomato salad, quinoa black bean salad & tapas dishes

Sunday: Veggie Lasagna

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Everything Rhubarb

It is the time of year that rhubarb is in season here in Southeast MI and I plan to take full advantage of it! I love rhubarb and every since I made some tasty rhubarb turnovers last week, I have been itching to eat something rhubarb every day.
SO with the help from a friend who gave me 10 cups of frozen rhubarb from her freezer stash and the availability of it at the Eastern Farmer's Market I plan to definitely get my rhubarb fill.

Today I decided to bake a Rhubarb Crisp that I found on Mom's Kitchen, another MI Lady Blogger that has great food blog full of a lot of delicious recipes and information. I changed it up a bit by adding fresh minced ginger to the rhubarb mix rather than the ground ginger in the topping and I also used oat flour in the topping to make myself feel like this isn't that bad for me-fruit & oats are very healthy, right? :)

And here is a picture of it with a dollop of creme fraiche'...delicious!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fabric I am drooling over right now!

This is from Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow fabric line and I bought this fabric to make the Anna Marie Horner Multi-task Tote for my mom not anticipating how much I would LOVE this fabric...it is going to be very hard for me to let go of it!

This is from Laura Gunn's Poppy fabric collection and I AM IN LOVE!!! I have thought about all of the wonderful things I can do with this fabric and I am thinking of a few gifts for a few very special people and then a Multi-task tote for me. If I had a more money I would snag up every piece of this collection, so in love with it!

Here are a few fun fabrics that I couldn't resist. Starting from the left is a fabric by Alexander Henry Fabrics in the 2D Zoo collection, then there are the luna moths from the Flora & Fauna collection by Patty Young, Garden Party by Anna Marie Horner and then the snails from the Shade Garden collection by Michelie Engel Bencsko. These are basically for baby gifts, well except the garden party material...I bought that to make gorgeous napkins to go with my Fiestaware collection!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Menus

Monday: Left-overs for Mother's Day dinner out :)

Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner at the family's request- scrambled eggs topped w/ goat cheese & sauteed red onion, tomatoes, spinach w/ home fries

Wednesday: Carrot ginger soup w/spinach salad (recipe posted)

Thursday: Egg Noodles, kale sauteed w/ raisins & pine nuts, sweet potato fries

Friday: Quinoa burgers

Saturday: Taco night

Sunday: Whole wheat pasta w/homemade sauce, fresh arugula & pine nuts & tomato, cucumber & feta salad

Carrot Ginger Soup

1 Tbsp. butter- DO NOT substitute
2 shallots minced or 1/2 small onion-although I would highly recommend using the shallots
1-2 tsp minced fresh ginger, I use closer to 2 tsp. since we love ginger
1 1/2 cups of chopped carrots
1 1/2 tsp. light brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups of veggie broth
2 Tbsp. white rice

Melt butter in large sauce pot over medium heat. Add shallots and saute' stirring often, 3-5 minutes, until translucent (I highly recommend using the butter w/shallots because it gives the soup a soup that is very smooth and elegant).

Add carrots and ginger and cook stirring often for another 5 minutes.

Add sugar and stir constantly for 1 minute and then add the orange juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Cook until liquid reduces by 1/2, approx. 3 minutes.

Add broth and rice and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste and reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the carrots are very tender, about 40-45 min.

Use food processor to puree' mixture until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.

* I always double this recipe because we love it so much my family complains if they don't have enough for lunch the next day!

Friday, May 7, 2010


As a womun and as a feminist, choice is a topic that has been very important to me. It is a topic that I have struggled with, pondered upon for hours on end and have spent many hours soul searching over this issue of what "choice" means for womyn. As a young, budding feminist in college this idea of being "pro-choice" became important to me and as I have aged and transitioned through life it has become even more prominent in my own life, especially when I became a stay-home mom, or what I would like to call myself, a radical homemaker (excellent book by on this topic by Shannon Hayes that I will blogging about soon!)

Two years ago I wrote and submitted a piece on choice for an academic journal that was looking for entries on many different topics from mothers who considered themselves third wave feminists. Around this time I was really exploring this idea of choice and how I felt based on my own experiences. I believe that in my generation of feminists we have fixated too narrowly on this idea of "pro-choice" being equated with only reproductive rights and have ignored the other dimensions that choice embodies. I discussed how womyn in the second wave marched, demonstrated and fought hard for choice-not only reproductive choices, but also the right as a womun to choose our own path and destiny. Yet, as I graduated college and began to make MY own educated choices about MY future, I was met with opposition and felt ostracized many times. I didn't realize until many years later that my definition of choice was much different than the feminist womyn around me, as well as the feminist movement that I identified with.

It is now 2010, and I am STILL milling over this idea of choice in my head. It is always there hanging around, but lately keeps hitting me in the face and challenging me on my own ideas of choice and what I believe it to be for womyn in the 21st century. Do we really have the freedom of choice? Or do we think that we do, but still play into what society expects of us as womyn and as mothers, wives, partners, etc.? And are we (feminists) foolish by believing that all womyn have this right to choose their paths or destinies?

So many fragmented thoughts right now swirling in my head regarding this concept of choice, primarily pertaining to marriage and motherhood. I must say this is just beginning entry on a series I will start on this issue. But for now back to an excellent book on feminism and motherhood by Amy Richards, Opting In: Having a Child Without Loosing Yourself.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy Birth Day my little gurl!

Today my little gurl turned six years old!!! I am in awe of this fact, but even more than that I am in awe of her. When I was pregnant and my belly was big and round and full of life I sat many times dreaming about this child. Would the baby be a gurl or boy, strong-willed or meek and quiet, look like me or Greg, so many questions. And of course your baby is born and as the days, months and years quickly pass by you start to see the answers to all of those questions you once had asked yourself unfold.

I watch this kid of mine, because she is now a kid...no more diapers, teething rings or baby necessities, no more toddler or little childish toys, books and sayings...she is a full-blown kid equipped with the missing teeth, the nose buried in a book and the attitude and confidence the size of the state we live in! She is 100% Taurus and as we like to say in our house, "You mess with the bull, you get the horns!" And that is the truth. And I love it! Now, don't get me wrong, not all of the time; most days it gets very exhausting and frustrating having to try to negotiate and lay down the law with her since she seems to think she knows more about anything and everything than I do, but at the end of the day I remind myself...this will serve her well. I wanted a fiery, independent, strong-willed, no taking shit daughter and that is EXACTLY what I got!

Last year she was miserable on her birthday dealing with some serious sinus and allergy issues and I am happy to report that this year she sailed through the day feeling great and looking absolutely beautiful. She had a day full of love from her family and friends and received many amazing and unique gifts including 5 homemade outfits- 3 from grandma and 2 from me. And of course the cake of her choice which was a Tres Leche Cake this year, which I decided last minute to do as a Quatro Leche Cake and it was DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!! Happy Birthday K.N.S.!