by Margaret Cabaniss

Making Bread from a Starter
Baking homemade bread intimidates me. I can handle quick breads, of course, and I love everybody’s favorite no-knead recipe for being exactly as easy as it promises — but I start to get anxious when recipes call for proofing and kneading and the like.

Then, last summer, Ann loaned me a copy of 52 Loaves — the story of author William Alexander’s search for the perfect peasant bread recipe, baking one loaf a week for an entire year. It’s a great read, for one: There’s the fascinating history of bread (unlikely, but true!), the (seriously crazy) scientific discoveries behind the advancements in commercial flour and bread you find on the shelves today, and his own hilarious kitchen mishaps that make me feel better about my own past baking failures.

At the end of the book, Alexander shares his perfected peasant bread recipe, using his recipe for a homemade starter (or levain). The coolness factor of cultivating my own wild, local yeast for a bread starter was just too high for me not to try it — and to my total surprise, it was actually pretty easy to do.

Making Bread from a Starter
You start with a few chopped apples and apple peels in water. (I got mine from the orchard down the road.) That white haze you sometimes see on the peel? That’s yeast — and as it feeds on the sugar of the apples in the water, it releases alcohol (which gives the bread its flavor as it ferments) and carbon dioxide (which gives it lift).

Making Bread from a Starter
After a few days, you replace the apples with flour, stirring every other day and feeding it regularly with fresh water and flour. At the end of a couple of weeks, you have an established starter that can live indefinitely in the fridge with only weekly feedings, giving you a near endless supply of homemade bread.

Making Bread from a Starter
And the taste really is remarkable. The long-developed yeasty flavor is so much more complex than in regular loaves; I still make the no-knead recipe when I want something quick and easy, but the peasant bread wins hands down in the flavor department.

The other thing I love about starters is the “community bread” aspect: Every time you divide it for a feeding, you can give away half to someone else, so they can keep and cultivate their own. That’s how most starters are shared, really — I remember my mom inheriting friends’ starters when I was a kid — and I love thinking about how all those loaves in all those kitchens spring from a single source.

I shared my levain with a couple of friends, who have since made their own loaves with it (in fact, the photos of actual bread-making in this post were taken in my friend J’s kitchen) — and a good thing, too, because I managed to kill my own starter after neglecting it for a few weeks on vacation. Fortunately, I can just hit up those same friends to get some starter back and start the process all over again…

Making Bread from a Starter
I have to confess: The process is still a little fussy and stressful for this newbie baker (the dough is just! so! wet!) — it’s not exactly a “whip it up for dinner” loaf — but the flavor and texture keep me coming back. If you’re interested in trying your hand at your own starter and peasant bread — or just want a fun read where someone else does all the work — definitely pick up 52 Loaves. And hey, if you live close enough, I’d be happy to share some of my starter…

Anyone else have starters in their fridge right now? What are some of your favorite bread recipes?

Images: Margaret Cabaniss (with an assist from H and J)


Triple Bear Hug Detail
In honor of SlowMama’s third anniversary (and our 18th-month anniversary home as a family!), I’ve got a fun giveaway for you. I’m extra excited about this one, because it’s offered by the kind of people I love to support: a couple who took their experience of adoption and combined it with their artistic talent, good taste, and desire to fill a gap. Let me tell you a bit of their story before I give you the details of the giveaway…

Brough Family
Growing up, Misty Brough always wanted to adopt children. Then, at 18 years old, she was diagnosed with a sudden and severe autoimmune disease. Her doctors counseled her never to become pregnant, because she could lose her child and/or her own life. She decided adoption would be the best way to build a family — and Misty and her husband, Jordan, have since adopted two children domestically (and hope to adopt again).

After searching high and low for a family-tree print they liked that honored both birth parents and adoptive parents, they decided to take Jordan’s background in graphic design and Misty’s love for art and launch Adoption Arts. They design their own prints and look for other artists to partner with.

I love what the Broughs have created — letterpress prints that are beautiful and meaningful. I can’t wait to have one for our family! Here are the details of this giveaway:

The winner will be able to choose one print from the three options below. If you’re not an adoptive family, you can always enter to win one as a gift for someone else (or perhaps to donate). Frankly, the first and second prints would work for anyone! All the prints are 16 x 20 inches (a standard frame size). Here are the prints with descriptions by Misty:

Triple Bear Hug

Triple Bear Hug

“One of our most popular posters, featuring a very special bear family. You don’t have to look alike to be a family and belong to one another. This poster’s idea came from our many conversations about how we may not ‘match’ our children, but they definitely belong to us!” (A close-up detail of the smallest bear is above.)

In Good Company In Good Company “Designed by my husband. We often talk about famous people who are adopted, and it became a popular topic with friends. We wanted adoptees everywhere to be proud of their history and know that they, too, can do great things! This poster features names of people (real and fictional) who were raised by people other than their birth family.”

In Good Company Detail

Adoption Family Tree Adoption Family Tree “Our genesis. Family is a huge part of what defines our sense of self. We wanted to honor our children’s birth parents and include them. This poster started our process in creating high-quality art work for adoptive families and adoptees.”

Adoption Family Tree Detail

Aren’t these prints lovely? And good news: This giveaway is open to all readers, anywhere in the world. Also, friends of SlowMama will receive 20% off any order this month by entering SLOWMAMA during checkout on Adoption Arts.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below and tell me which print is your favorite! If you follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, you may leave an extra comment each (for a total of four possible entries). I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday, April 23.  Good luck!

Images: Adoption Arts (vertical image of “In Good Company” via


by Ann Waterman

Writing Anniversary
Hard to believe that SlowMama is already three years old… That means that I’ve been writing for three years (see my fledgling post here), and Zoe’s post yesterday got me thinking about how I got my start. It really all began in high school, when a teacher told me I had a knack for writing and should pursue it. I was never any good at things involving my hands, like knitting or playing an instrument, so it was exciting to find something creative that I could be good at — in my case, stringing words together to create beautiful prose.

The plan was to get a degree in English literature and then write novels, but life happened — and the realization that I prefer writing non-fiction — and while I did a few freelance gigs here and there, nothing really came of it (aside from some well-received school papers and a little extra pocket change). Part of the problem was that I didn’t know what to write about: They say you should write about what you know, but at 21, I didn’t feel qualified to expound on anything. I shelved my writing aspirations, thinking I would come back to it eventually — though how that was going to happen, I wasn’t sure.

It was three years ago when Zoe told me about a new lifestyle blog she was launching and asked me to be a regular contributor. My initial reaction was excitement…and then fear. It’s one thing to have opinions and ideas in your head, but it’s quite another to put them down on paper in a coherent manner for everyone to read. I also worried about meeting Zoe’s expectations (and my own!) and whether I could be creative on a regular schedule and not just when inspiration struck.

But now I had a life experience and something to write about: my family. In fact, I loved nothing more than talking with other moms and swapping parenting advice, mulling over the challenges of raising kids in this busy (and sometimes scary) world, and talking about ways to make our lives better. I knew I’d always regret turning down this opportunity, so I pushed aside my fears and self-doubt and said “yes” to this new endeavor.

After writing here for three years now, I don’t once regret pursuing my dream. I’ve learned so much, not just about writing, but about myself in the process. I’ve learned that writing is hard. Really hard. It requires daily attention and introspection (something that’s hard for an extrovert like me). It also makes you vulnerable, opening yourself to the possibility that people — including people you know, like close friends, family, old classmates, your husband’s co-workers — may very well not care what you think, or find what you write is trivial, inconsequential, or (in my case in particular) just plain gross.

Writing also shed light on my perfectionism. I was on the verge of quitting several times because I spent so much energy agonizing over every little detail of my posts, which made writing feel like a burden rather than a joy. Zoe — always a counselor at heart — helped me to realize that my “good enough” was more than sufficient and that things don’t have to be all or nothing: If you’re struggling, sometimes you just need to step back, reassess, and make a few modifications to make things work. In my case, writing every other week instead of weekly seemed to do the trick.

Writing has been an incredible creative outlet for me, especially now that I’m a mom, and it’s helpful to take a step back and reflect on the joy, beauty, and importance of my work amidst the chaos of raising a family. In many ways, this was the perfect time for me to brush off my stored-away talent and put it to use.

Happy birthday, SlowMama, and thanks for the opportunity!

What about you? Is there a talent you’ve recently resurrected, or one you hope to sometime in the future?

Image: Ann Waterman


Spring Canopy
This month officially marks SlowMama’s third anniversary! It feels like I’ve been doing this for a while, but I was, in fact, a late-comer to the blogosphere; everybody had a blog by the time I started and blogging has changed a lot over the past few years.

Grace Bonney at Design*Sponge wrote a very thoughtful essay recently titled “State of the Blog Union: How the Blogging World Has Changed.” If you’re a blogger, engaged with social media, or just plain interested in the topic, I highly recommend it. Reading about how a long-time, high-profile, successful blogger has struggled the past couple of years to keep her blog viable and adapt to change gives bloggers like me some perspective, as well as helpful insights.

One of the big changes that Bonney (among others) noticed in 2013 was that comments basically died:

Without noticing it, a lot of us were experiencing the huge tidal shift in the way readers were engaging with blogs. After years of having the luxury of running websites that were the sole place to comment, participate and engage on a certain topic, we were no longer the only outlet. Social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest offered new options for people. They not only offered new options, they offered completely customized options that made it easy to pick and choose the content they liked and take it into their own (online) backyards to comment and curate as they saw fit. Instead of coming to hang out at our houses, they were dropping by quickly, taking a few key pieces with them and leaving to comment and discuss those things in their own living rooms.

Bonney points out in her piece that blogs can no longer be the sole way of communicating and engaging with readers. Bloggers need to change, or be left behind.

I’ve certainly noticed that many of my favorite long-time bloggers have significantly beefed up their social media presence over the past year, spending much more time engaging people on other platforms, and diversifying the way they bring in income. Even though SlowMama is a relatively new kid on the block, these shifts have affected things here, too: Traffic has grown over these three years, but comments haven’t all that much. Also, most readers now come to SlowMama posts through a social media platform like Facebook and not directly to the blog itself.

Growing a non-specialized blog like SlowMama is a slow process (no pun intended); I totally agree with Bonney when she says that early adoption of a new technology is generally a big key to success. Given that I entered the blogosphere when it was already saturated, I’m rather proud SlowMama has managed to grow.

I’ve been thinking a lot about SlowMama’s future over the past couple of months. Are there other ways I might want to engage people in the virtual world? Are there current or new platforms I’d like to venture into? I don’t know — yet. I do know that I love this little spot in cyberspace, and as a writer and a mom, blogging is a natural fit. But I want to think creatively and strategically, so I’m mulling over where SlowMama might go from here. I’ll definitely keep you posted, and hope there will be some new and exciting things to share before we reach our next anniversary.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the blogosphere right now. How do you like to consume blog content? Where do you spend most of your time online these days?

Image: Zoe Saint-Paul 


Pull Up a Chair

April 11, 2014

Mary Poppins Happy Friday! Any exciting plans for the weekend? It’s supposed to be warm and sunny here, so we’re tossing around ideas like hiking in a nearby state park — anything that will get us outside. We’ve lately been trying to institute a family movie night on weekends, but since our girls are pretty much terrified of anything that provides dramatic tension, it’s been hard to find anything that fits the bill.

The writing was kind of on the wall when we took them to a documentary about beavers building a dam in the Canadian Rockies. We thought we’d finally found something sweet and innocent; instead, the girls sat stone-faced the entire hour and then declared it “very scary.” It was an iMax movie, so maybe it was just the enormous screen, but beavers have remained on their bad list ever since.

B probably scarred them for life when he downloaded a documentary called Chimpanzee — again, thinking it would be a winner. Turns out the baby chimp’s mother gets killed by another tribe, and a chimp war ensues. The girls got so upset we had to turn it off, and any mention of the movie sent them yelling, “No, angry monkey!” and running from the room.

We weren’t giving up, though, so last weekend we decided to try Mary Poppins, hoping it would be a safe bet. We were right: They absolutely loved it. All of us did, in fact: Somehow B and I had made it this far in life without ever having seen it (I know, weird), so it was kind of awesome to be watching it (and enjoying it!) for the first time together. It will definitely be a staple now, and hopefully we can find a few more.

For today’s drink, I’m going with a dubonnet, a classic English cocktail (and Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite, in case you were dying to know). Here’s my high and low this week:

Low: I was supposed to be interviewed by video for an online show yesterday, and after planning my afternoon around it, making childcare arrangements, washing my hair, putting on some actual makeup, and feeling proud that I was ready on time, I waited and waited and eventually learned that the producer missed the email about my being a panelist. Sigh. She was very apologetic and they may call me again, but it was all pretty anti-climactic.

High: I think spring is finally here! (Don’t tell my Nova Scotia family, though.) I don’t believe I’ve ever been this glad to welcome spring in all the years I’ve been in Maryland. Now if it can just stay lovely for a while before the heat and humidity move in… (I know, I shouldn’t be tying my moods to weather, but it’s hard not to sometimes.)

Bonus question: What’s your favorite classic movie? I must admit that I don’t tend to watch many older movies — they’re usually too sentimental and sappy for me. But the exception is my all-time Christmas fave: It’s a Wonderful Life.

Please grab the queen’s fancy and tell me about your week! Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.

Image: Disney


by Margaret Cabaniss

16 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas Friendly PSA time: Easter is only a week and a half away. In an effort to help the time pass more quickly (I’m hoping the Easter bunny brings some proper spring weather with him), I’ve rounded up some of my favorite egg-decorating ideas I’ve found around the web. If you’re looking for some inspiration, these should do the trick…

17 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
The local eggs I like to buy may be delicious, but their brown shells aren’t the best for dying. I love these painted eggs (from Joy Ever After) and twine-wrapped eggs (A Daily Something) for being so simple and natural.

17 Egg Decorating Ideas
I experimented with natural food dyes a couple years ago; who would have thought purple cabbage would give you such a lovely blue? Arranging them in ombre order would make a neat display (Country Living) — or, if you’re looking for more colors, check out Better Homes and Gardens‘ food dye color chart.

17 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
These striking black-and-white eggs are a great change from the usual Easter pastels — and all you need to make them is a Sharpie. Geometric doodles from Obviously Sweet and handwritten eggs from Alisa Burke.

17 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Of course, if I tried to write on an egg, the results would be…less than lovely, so I’m all about these calligraphy eggs from Oh Happy Day. The trick is using printable tattoo paper: Simply download the (free!) Easter-y quotes, print, then rub on the eggs like any other temporary tattoo.

17 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
You can also use tattoo paper to make these decoupage-style eggs (via Country Living) — and be sure to check out the kid-friendly “bug and superhero” version at Brit + Co. For a similar effect, try printing on tissue paper and applying the image with Mod Podge, like with these old-fashioned silhouette eggs (Rook No. 17).

17 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
For something a bit more modern, use stickers to create these New York subway eggs (The Soho) — or any other high-contrast design — or skip the dye and simply wrap with colorful washi tape (Creative Living).

17 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Come on now, these are just adorable. Mr. and Mrs. Egg by Say Yes; colorful Sharpie egg designs (that chick!) at

17 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Dye the leftover shells from your morning scramble and turn them into tealight holders! Genius (via Little Inspiration). And honest-to-goodness golden eggs from 79 Ideas. These would make a gorgeous dinner table display.

17 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Last but not least, I couldn’t do an egg-decorating roundup without a plug for one of my first SlowMama posts, and still one of my favorite Easter projects ever: these hollow egg ornaments and candy-filled surprise eggs. The post explains how to blow out your eggs and sanitize them, too, which is handy for a lot of the non-food-safe ideas above — or if you just want all your decorated lovelies to last.

Do you decorate eggs for Easter? Any fun new ideas for this year?


H & S
It’s been a while since I shared an update about our family. This Friday marks 18 months we’ve been home together, and some people are curious about how S and H are doing now, what has changed, how B and I are doing as parents, etc.

If you’re new to SlowMama, you may want to start by reading this post about what the new normal was like around here when our daughters first came home. I must admit, I have almost no memory of our first three to four months. Snippets, yes, and some general impressions, but one giant haze pretty much engulfs that period. Not surprising, since I was mostly sick, mostly beyond exhausted, and mostly dealing with tantruming, regressed four-year-olds who couldn’t speak English. (I still marvel at how I survived without any family help and B working, but I am woman, hear me roar.)

Even with all the craziness at the beginning (and apart from a two-week period where we wondered what had possibly possessed us to do such a thing), B and I have always felt incredibly fortunate that these particular girls became our daughters: By disposition they’re naturally happy; they’re very healthy; and they were receptive and eager to attach to us from the beginning. They’re also perfectly suited to us — their quirky senses of humor, personality traits and habits. I know many adoptive families struggle so much more to attach, to adjust, to cope, to even like each other sometimes. We’re very grateful.

Crazy S and H
That doesn’t mean we don’t have challenges, and I’m often reminded that even people we’re close to still don’t understand what it’s been like, or why we still do things the way we do. As I see it, however, our struggles are within the “what you can expect” range when it comes to being a new family by adoption, and that helps keep it all in perspective.

So, here’s the lowdown on S and H after 18 months home: They’re thriving. They speak fluent English, though their vocabulary is still expanding and sometimes words get mispronounced and misused. “Soaking wet” is “smokin’ wet,” for example, and there’s a lot of “Us is going upstairs” and “I doesn’t really want to.” Sadly, they’ve lost pretty much all of their native language (Tigrinya). It wasn’t realistic to expect them to retain it since we can’t speak it, they rarely hear it now, and from the get-go they wanted to let it go and embrace English. Their overall adjustment tracked right along with their ability to understand and speak English, which makes a lot of sense.

Saint-Paul Family
They’re deeply attached to both of us — especially to me, who’s been the stay-at-home parent. They still need one of us to fall asleep with them, but now Daddy can do it, which gives me a break half the week (and allows me to be out past 8:30 p.m. every so often — yay!). They’re back in their own beds now — mainly because our new king mattress was getting cramped with all the fetal-position sleepers around here — though frequently the girls call for me in the night and I need to crawl into bed with them. They eat like champs, have grown a ton, are extremely creative and entertaining, are close to being caught up with their peers in kindergarten, attract attention where ever they go, and have a zest for life.

Some days it feels like we’ve been a family forever, but other times I’m reminded that it isn’t so. We still see the signs of trauma and effects of the past, and though attachment is strong, it’s not as rooted as it would be if we had all been together since birth. They are still learning many things other kids their age have been exposed to for years, and we’re still learning to be the kind of parents they need.

I’m also still learning not to expect to “arrive” at any finish line. Change is the only constant; healing is a long and mysterious process, and “normal” isn’t really applicable here. (What is that, anyway?)

So that’s our 18-month update in a nutshell. Is there anything you’re curious about when it comes to our adjustment as a family or adoption in general? Feel free to ask!

Images: Zoe Saint-Paul


Peru from Above
What are you up to this Earth Day? Saving whales? Installing solar panels? Banning paper towels in your home for good? Me neither — though more power to you, if you are doing any of that. Instead, I’m aiming for something a little more doable right now: planning a few activities and projects to help my children think more about what it means to take care of our planet, appreciate nature, be less wasteful, and be good stewards of our natural resources. Here are a few things on our list:

A neighborhood trash pick-up. My daughters already point out garbage to me on the streets all the time; they know that littering is “not good,” and we talk about it a lot. Baltimore isn’t one of our nation’s cleanest cities, and whether it’s the high school kids across the street throwing their wrappers on the sidewalk, or neighbors’ garbage blowing around when they set out their bins, the trash can pile up. This week we’re going to put on some gloves, grab a bag, and pick up a little.

Making a paper-mache planet. I haven’t done a paper mache project with my daughters yet, so if I can find round balloons somewhere, we’re going to make an Earth and talk about its components: oceans, mountains, deserts, plains. We’re already learning about these things in our geography studies, so it will fit in with our homeschooling nicely.

Planting seeds. It’s that time of year, and I’ve been wanting to plant something together that the girls can tend and watch grow. We’ll need to rig something up to make sure the squirrels can’t get to it (they’ve defeated me and my little container gardens time and time again), but I’ve purchased some seed packages for herbs and flowers — plus some cat grass, which I love.

An up-cycling project. We’re going to take something we might otherwise throw away and create something new with it. This needs to be simple for five-year-olds — no turning old sweaters into trend-setting dresses or anything — but given how imaginative my daughters are, I think they’ll enjoy choosing something from our recycle bins or giveaway bags, and making something new.

Are you doing anything to mark Earth Day? Got any new habits you’d like to start when it comes to being more green-friendly?

Image: Lisa M.


Opening CraftersCrate Box
It’s no secret that I’m not terribly crafty, but my girls love arts and crafts and I’m always looking for ways to help them be creative. So I was excited when I received a box from CraftersCrate to review–a craft kit designed for girls ages 5-10.

CraftersCrate Box
Opening a box with goodies inside is always fun, and this little craft box didn’t disappoint. The contents were wrapped up in tissue paper with a pink bow, and my girls were excited to look through the different crafts and decide what they wanted to do first. I was impressed with the quality of the materials; there was no “made in China” feel to this box — it seemed more like something you’d get from a professional etsy shop.

The creators of CraftersCrate are, in fact, a husband-and-wife team in Boise, Idaho, who wanted to develop a product they love and run a family business from home. (They also employ a few stay-at-home moms.) The couple comes up with the crafts themselves and decides what pieces will be needed, and then they mass produce them. Each box has a surprise theme and typically includes a jewelry or accessory craft, a painting or art craft, a sewing craft, and sometimes something related to food or science or a paper craft. The creators choose what to include based on the month’s theme and what they think girls will have fun with.

CraftersCrate Sochi Box
The theme for our February box was the Winter Olympics — Sochi 2014, and the creators did a great job with the accompanying crafts: an olympic torch, a snowboarding figure of paralympian Amy Purdy, an ice skating pendant, and an olympic medal. Of course, we got two of each. (The girls had fun making Amy jump off pieces of furniture on her colorful snowboard — and now they know who Amy Purdy is and are pretty impressed.)

Making Amy Purdy

Amy Purdy Craft
As far as any drawbacks go, or things I didn’t like: As much as I loved the box, it was anticlimactic to receive it after the Olympics were over. My daughters still enjoyed doing the crafts, though, and I could tell how much fun it would be to get one of these at the right time. I also would have liked it if the individual craft kits stayed intact a bit better: The supplies are contained in a simple plastic sheaf, which is stapled to the instruction sheet, and these came off easily, which scattered some of the materials around the box.

That said, the instructions were clear and everything in the box is well-organized and colorful. Any little girl would be thrilled to get one in the mail, and they would make a fun gift for a child, grandchild, niece, godchild, or friend. Beware that younger children will need more assistance: At 5 years old, my daughters are in the younger targeted age range for these crafts and definitely needed my help — which was fine, because it was fun to do them together. But an older child could probably do them pretty independently, depending on their crafting ability.

H Wearing Ice Skate Pendant
To sign up for a CraftersCrate box, you can go to their website and choose how often you want to receive one: just once, for three months, or for six months. (For gifts, they offer the same options, as well as a yearly option. Gifts are a one time payment that doesn’t renew.) You can also sign up for their newsletter, where you can read hints about upcoming themes for the boxes. I’ve been told next month’s theme is super secret, but it will have at least one craft to make a Fathers Day gift for dad.

CraftersCrate is offering SlowMama readers a special $10 discount on any subscription. (Thanks, CraftersCrate!) Be sure to use the promo code SLOW10.

Do you enjoy doing crafts with your kids? Would a monthly craft box service like this interest you, or would you consider it for a gift?

Images: Zoe Saint-Paul

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Pull Up a Chair

April 4, 2014

Ringling Bros. Trailer Every spring in Baltimore when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus comes to town, the elephants leave their stalls and make their way up a downtown street to the historic Lexington Market for an enormous vegetarian lunch. Then they march right back with clowns and a Dixie band helping them along. I’d always wanted to see it, and when I found out it was happening this week, I knew I had to bring the girls.

S&H Circus Trailer
Never mind that our car was in the shop; I decided we’d be adventurous and take the bus. Well, two buses. And I forgot that when we need to be somewhere by a specific time, that’s when the girls need to use the bathroom and whine about being hungry. I also forgot how long buses can take to show up. Despite my determination, we arrived about 15 minutes too late. No elephants.

Thankfully, the girls rolled with the punches and we made the best of it. We wandered around downtown for a while, found an interesting sculptural playground for the girls to explore, discovered a beautiful fountain, and chanced upon a Brazilian food truck where we grabbed a late lunch. (Have you ever had a Brazilian croquette? Holy moly.)

At Darua Food Truck
I’m still thinking about that Brazilian food, so my drink selection for our virtual chat today is a caipirinha made with cachaça, a distilled spirit made from sugarcane that is popular in Brazil. Here’s my high and low this week:

Low: Half of my day yesterday was the worst period I’ve had with my kids in a very long time. I was so frustrated I ended up in tears — and believe me, I don’t cry easily. I knew something needed to shift for us all, so despite the fact that we still had no car and our local park is all torn up at the moment, we managed to get our shoes on and grabbed a bus to another park, and everyone’s outlook improved thereafter. I was thoroughly worn out, though.

High: There were little things sprinkled through the week, but what comes to mind at the moment is watching our daughters go to town on sashimi, seaweed salad, and shiitake mushrooms at a Japanese restaurant Sunday night. They’re such adventurous eaters now, especially when we’re out.

How was your week, friends? Grab a drink and tell me all about it!

Images: Zoe Saint-Paul