Everyday, Moms Are Human, Parenting

Every Mother Needs a Wife

March 26, 2015

A few years ago, someone said something to me that resonated so deep within my heart that I will never forget it: Every mother needs a wife.

Yes. That. All of That.

That simple phrase is the key to surviving motherhood (especially in those early years).

I am one of the lucky ones who has about six wives.

Don’t get me wrong, husbands are great. I would be totally lost without my husband. He is a great provider, a perfect parenting partner, and all around awesome…

…but sometimes a mama just really needs a wife.

My husband travels a considerable amount for work; leaving me to rule to roost with a stubborn dog and two very outspoken young ladies. If it were not for the amazing tribe of women, who have banded around me and supported me during his times of absence, I would probably be locked away in a padded room somewhere. They have become  my life blood during those weeks when it’s just me and the kids. They are undoubtably my lady soul mates; my sister wives.


What is a Sister Wife?

Well, I think technically it’s a term used to describe a polygamous marriage partner BUT I use it to describe my closest of friends. That’s what they are to me. They are my sisters. They are my wives. They are my true kindred spirits.

We cook for each other. We look after each other’s children. We lend compassionate ears when one of us needs to share deep dark secrets or just vent about wiping butts 100 times a day.

We are intertwined in each other’s lives. We love each other; honestly and truly love one another. We understand each other and accept each other’s crazy. We talk of living in a sister wife commune together; or at the very least taking a sister wife vacation to somewhere tropical and full of chocolate (and booze).

When we first arrived in Wisconsin 4 years ago, I did not know a single person. Then, one by one, the universe brought these women into my life. Each was an instant bond; something totally unique and nothing I’d experienced before. It’s all very cosmic and amazing. With my sister wives I can share wild and crazy ideas and they typically respond: “ ME TOO!”

Sometimes plans change. Sometimes, people move away.

Maybe not today.

Maybe not tomorrow.

Maybe not even 1 year from now.

…but one day I will pack up my home and my life, and move away from them.

It’s the nature of life; always fluid, always changing. I take comfort in knowing that physical distance between our homes will not impact our love for one another.

Friends float in and out of your life; sometimes leaving a lasting impression, other times, not so much. But a sister wife is more concrete than that. Miles cannot separate the bond and love of a sister wife.


To my Sister Wives: Thank You.

I am the mama and the woman I am today because of your love, support, guidance, and inspiration.

You motivate me to be a better person and a better parent.

Thank you for the endless love and support when I most needed it.

Thank you for loving my children as if they were your own.

Thank you for never judging me or my parenting choices; even on the days when I feed my children boxed mac and cheese and plant them in front of a screen.

Thank you for encouraging me to spread my wings and soar; and for being there to pick me up when I crash and burn.

Thank you for not thinking I am totally crazy for being in love with my dog.

Thank you for putting me on my current path.

I love you all.

Forever and Always.

…And to think, just 4 years ago, these women were strangers to me.


Give It Away

March 23, 2015

Remember that Red Hot Chili Peppers song: Give it Away?

You know the one.

It came out in the early 90’s; from their Blood Sugar Sex Magik album.

It was the time period of the tube socks.

Here’s a refresher:

Was this video shot at Burning Man ’91? So much body paint! But let’s be real, those mirrored pants are amazing. I also love the glittery lips. Can glittery lips be a thing again? Let’s make it a thing!

Recently, I came across an article that talked about the origins of that song. According to internet lore this article, Antony Kedis wrote the song after being on the receiving end of an altruistic gesture. Simply put, he admired the beloved jacket of his then-girlfriend and she in turn gave it to him. He asked her why she would part with something she loved so dearly, and she replied that by giving away the things she loved, she was opening herself up to good things (positive energy, good karma, good fortune, etc). *heavily paraphrased…but overall that was the message*

This silly/ random/possibly untrue internet article totally sent my head reeling! A painfully obvious lightbulb went off. Take what you love and give it to others. Spread that love around!  Make other people happy by giving them things you love dearly! Give away your awesome jacket to your couch-surfing boyfriend who has beautiful long hair!

Now, it’s in my nature to be a bit of a hoarder. Maybe this is a trait common to most people; something that is deeply embedded in our primal being. For me, I don’t want to part with things I have attached sentimental or nostalgic significance to. Nor do I want to part with the things that *might* be of importance to me later.

My brain tells me to save it. Keep it. Store it away. WHAT IF you want that someday. Better pack it away in the closet, or in a box, for the day when you might want that special thing again. Surely I am not the only person who does this.

But, what if I stopped hoarding things for myself?

What if I stopped holding on to material possessions for the sake of nostalgia?

What if, instead, I chose to give the things I love and admire to other people; so that they too can love and admire them.


Real life example:

We recently parted with all of our cloth diaper stash. All the diapers, except 1 that held sentimental value to me. This diaper is the last remaining physical evidence that we cloth diapered. I remember buying it on a trip back to NY in 2012. I remember how cute this diaper looked under sun dresses that the girls would wear; and how cute it looked attached to crawling baby butts scuttling around the house. I wanted to save this weird memento with the mindset that one day I will give this diaper to my girls and say: Here! This was yours when you were a baby! Take it and love it!

Now, if my girls are anything like me, their response (when given something they wore as a baby…and something thats sole purpose is to contain poop) will be : Ew! Why do you still have that? Why would I want that? You are so weird! I can’t believe you kept that! Thank you, but Ew. 

A few weeks ago, best friend had a baby girl and asked to borrow this diaper for a photo shoot. She loved the pattern but could no longer find it in stores because it has been discontinued. She had spent many an hour scouring used diaper forums and eBay in search of this diaper with no luck of finding it; a very odd thing that only fellow cloth diaper users will understand.

Of course I let her borrow the diaper, but a part of me felt that gollum-esque feeling of I Want That Back!

How stupid is that? A diaper!

When I stopped by her house several days later to drop off new baby goodies (and to pick up the borrowed diaper), she remarked how frustrated she was with herself for not purchasing that particular pattern when it was released a few years ago.

In that moment I thought of Anthony Kedis, painted silver, telling me to: Give It Away, Now!

So I told her to keep it. She would obviously get more use out of it than I would over the next few years. But above all else, I wanted to give her something that I loved and that held a good deal of nostalgia for me. Why? Because I love her, and want to give her the things that I hold dear.

What if we all did that?

What if, every time someone remarked how much they loved or admired something of ours we gave it to them.

No questions asked. Just: Here, take it! I want you to have it.

The truth is, even when we give away our nostalgic goodies we still have the memories (and maybe a few photos saved on our computer) to remember that thing by.

…and if we’re not sure we’ll be able to remember that one-special-thing if we were to give it away, maybe it’s not actually as special as we think.

Maybe that’s where true happiness and contentment live; not within the things that we hold in our hands, but within the people around us whose hands we hold. Their happiness = Our happiness.

Maybe it’s true that we allow more room in our lives for good things to happen when we open up more physical space and free ourselves from our possessions.

All very deep, right? Half-naked, silvery, Anthony Kedis thinks so.

Life Lesson: Listen to more Red Hot Chili Peppers and give more stuff away.

Foodie, Main Eats, Recipe, Sweets

Breakfast Cookies

March 22, 2015

breakfast cookies

Cookies for breakfast?! 

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a cooking strike. Well, not so much of a cooking strike as I am on a once-a-week cooking kick. I spend one day during the weekend (usually Sunday) making food for the week; including these cookies that we’ve been eating for breakfast for the past few weeks.

I’m absolutely addicted to them. I love them. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover how great life can be when you eat cookies for breakfast. Plus, they taste amazing with that first cup of coffee in the morning.

I also love that there is zero flour in these too. If you substitute gluten free oats, then these are easily Gluten-Free Breakfast Cookies; but we aren’t a gluten-free house so I buy regular rolled oats.

Now, stop wasting time and go make yourself a batch of these to eat for breakfast during your week!

You’re Welcome.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-3 1/2 cups of rolled oats

-2 tsp baking powder

-1 cup flax meal (sometimes I do 1/2 flax | 1/2 oat bran)

-1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

-3 tbs Chia seed

-1/2 cup of salted grass-fed butter; softened 

-2 cups of all natural peanut butter 

-1/2 cup packed brown sugar

-1/2 cup (real) maple syrup

-1/4 cup black strap molasses

-3 eggs

-2 tsp vanilla

-2 cups chopped nuts and seeds (I like to do a combination of pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pecans)

-2-3 handfuls of dark chocolate chips (or 4 handfuls. I added 4. Don’t judge.)

*if using raw, unsalted nuts, add about 1/4 tsp of salt to the dry ingredients*

Preheat oven to 400° F

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, baking soda, chia, flax, and coconut. Set aside

In another large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the maple syrup and molasses and mix until well incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time; mixing slowly. Add the vanilla.

Add the peanut butter to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

Now, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix slowly until a ‘dough’ forms (it’ll be much stickier than regular cookie dough). Add the nuts and chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

Cover dough and chill for at least an hour.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, add scoops of dough (walnut-sized) and press flat.

Bake for 12 minutes. Let rest for at least 1 minute on the warm baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

*I typically make a double batch of these cookies. I bake half, and freeze the other (pre-formed) unbaked cookies. They can be baked directly from frozen; which is awesome. 400° for 12 minutes. *



Don’t forget to like the new Facebook page for Growing Roots and Wings!

Book Lists, School Room

Spring Inspired Reading List for March

March 10, 2015


There is something so wonderful about the last few weeks of winter. The snow starts to melt, the smell of mud and dirt is in the air, the robins return, trees are being tapped for sap, and winter boots are traded in for rubber (pink sparkly) rain boots.

I know there are still a few weeks left before Spring is officially here, but I think it’s safe to say that everyone is officially OVER winter. This week, we are lucky enough to have temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s, so it seems fitting to share a few of the books we will be reading this month to celebrate the changing of seasons:

Flannel Kisses – Linda Crotta Brennan (one last Winter book)
Millicent and Meer – Richard Byrne
Fairly Fairy Tales- Esmé Raji Codell
Doodleday- Ross Collins
Maple Moon – Connie Brummel Crook
And Then It’s Spring – Julie Fogliano
Planting the Wild Garden -Kathryn. O. Galbraith
Rapunzel – Sarah Gibb
The Spring Equinox – Ellen Jackson
Too Many Fairies – Margaret Read macDonald
How Robin Saved Spring – Debbie Ouellet
A New Beginning – Wendy Pfeffer
Maple Syrup Season – Ann Purmell
Mud – Mary Lyn Ray
Spring Song – Barbara Seuling

Book Lists, Parenting, Parenting Resources, School Room, StudioLab

Favorite Parenting Books for Creativity and Learning

January 21, 2015


(*this post contains affiliate links)

I take a creative approach to parenting. This probably explains why I’m drawn to parenting books that encourage parents to get creative in order to evoke deep thinking in their children. We’re a very sensory and play based home. There are lots of happy messes, art projects, and various play scenes constantly being built up (or torn down) in every room of the house

In a tech heavy world, I still get most of my parenting inspiration from actual books. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Pinterest and use it frequently to get ideas for daily activities, but it’s just not the same as flipping through beautiful pages of carefully designed book on creativity. With a real book, I can feel the author’s creativity jump right off the pages and into whatever plane of existence my own creativity is pulled from; something I don’t really experience from staring at a computer screen.

When I was just starting out on my mama journey, I found You Are Your Child’s First Teacher to be incredibly influential. It helped to cement in my head just how important and special these early parenting years are. It also gave me some great ideas for play activities with a baby who was only a couple of months old at the time. Sometimes, when I’m feeling too scattered and exhausted to make another day at home count, I check out this book from the library and feel a great sense of reassurance wash over me. It’s an awesome book.

I frequently reference Seven Times the Sun for daily rhythm ideas and it was my main inspiration for putting together Mealtime Verses and a Healing Basket. I stumbled upon the book in a thrift store, and knowing exactly what kind of treasure it was I bought it as quick as I could.

Here is a list of my favorite parenting and teaching resources:

Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments- Mike Adamick

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher- Rahima Baldwin Dancy

The Creative Family- Amanda Blake Soule

The Handmade Home-Amanda Blake Soule

Rhythm of Family- Amanda Blake Soule

Playful Learning- Mariah Bruehl

Festivals Family and Food- Diana Carey and Judy Large

Seven Times the Sun- Shea Darian

Tinkerlab-Rachelle Dooley

Maker Dad- Mark Frauenfelder

The Write Start- Jennifer Hallissy

The Artful Parent; Jean Van’t Hul

Baking Bread with Children- Warren Lee Cohen

Junk Drawer Physics-Bobby Mercer

Show Me A Story- Emily K. Neuburger

 Beyond the Rainbow Bridge-Barbara J. Patterson and Pamela Bradley

Art Lab for Little Kids-Susan Schwake

I usually have a combination of at least 5 of these books checked out from the library at any given time. My favorites are: Play Learning, Rhythm of Family, Tinkerlab, and The Artful Parent; with Playful Learning being my go-to reference book when I feel like I’m in a creative parenting slump or need some new ideas for play space layout. It’s a beautiful book.


Foodie, Main Eats

Real Food Fruit and Nut Yogurt Bowl

January 20, 2015


One of my favorite quick and easy breakfast (or lunch) solutions is this awesome yogurt bowl. It’s chock full of protein from the greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, and chia. It has just the right amount of sweetness from the fruit and honey. Plus, it keeps your belly full for several hours.

This is my go-to post workout meal choice. The protein and fat content are great for muscle recovery.

*I cannot stress enough how important full fat dairy products are. However, it’s almost impossible to find full fat AND organic varieties of greek yogurt. Ideally, you can just make your own (but even I don’t make yogurt). I almost always choose full fat over organic when it comes to yogurt. End Rant.*

Here is what you’ll need:

-1 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt; full fat variety like Fage

-1 sliced up peach or a handful of berries

-1/4 cup of mixed nuts and seeds; my favorite is chopped walnuts with raw pepitas and raw sunflower seeds

-2 tbs chia seed

-1 tsp of raw honey; local is the best. Go find a good “Honey Guy” this week. 

*add more or less sweetener depending on your palate. I like the tartness of the plain yogurt, so I only add a scant amount of honey. However, some people may prefer their yogurt bowl a bit sweeter.

Throw all the ingredients into a bowl. Devour.

yogurtbowl 1


Name Change | Game Change

January 19, 2015


What’s in a name? Well, it turns out a lot of inspiration (or lack there of) is tied up in a name and blog identity.

After nearly 4 years of blogging with The Feel Good Foodie, I hit a wall. I just couldn’t find an ounce of inspiration to write from. I grew resentful of the name and identity I had created for myself. I no longer thought of myself as The Feel Good Foodie; making it nearly impossible to write from the perspective of my former self.

Truth is, a lot has changed in my life since rolling out The Feel Good Foodie in August of 2011. I still spend most of my days cooking, or thinking about food, but it’s such a small part of my everyday life. It didn’t feel right having a blog dedicated to all things foodie when I no longer cared as much about foodie stuff.

But just to be clear, I still care about food. I really love food. 

I felt like I painted myself into a corner and was stuck. I threw around the idea of stopping all blogging for a few years, archiving the foodie site, and not thinking about writing until I could figure out what in the world I wanted to write about.

That seemed a bit extreme, so I tried to think of ways to reinvent myself.

I wanted to have a blog that reflected my day to day passions, and show people what our life at home with kids looked like. At this stage in my life, raising our girls is my top priority. Sure, I still do all kinds of other awesome stuff; but creating a home environment where they can flourish is my current calling.

Out of the ashes of The Feel Good Foodie blog,  Growing Roots and Wings was born.


Look! I kind of know a thing or two about design now too!


A few years back, I heard a quote about parenting that struck a chord deep within me:

There are two gifts we should give to our children.

One is roots, the other is wings.

It perfectly sums up how I want to raise the girls.

I want them to be independent, free-thinkers who are not afraid to go out into the world and shake things up a bit.

But I also want to provide for them an environment where they always feel loved, supported, encouraged, and “home”.

Even if the location of our family changes, our home will always be there for them to come back to.

So there is the long and short of it. Stay tuned for exciting posts, lots of pictures, and creative ideas for everyday life.





Book Lists, Homeschooling, Parenting, School Room

January Reading List

January 17, 2015



Happy 2015! I thought I’d kick off 2015 with a January Reading List!

Here is a a list of the books we are reading this month in our home:

Animals in Winter- Henrietta Bancroft

Iggy Peck, Architect- Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere, Engineer- Andrea Beaty

A Perfect Day- Caron Berger

Snow Moon-Nicholas Brunelle

When It Starts To Snow-Phillis Gershater

Toby and the Snow Flakes-Julie Halpern

Angelina Ice Skates-Katharine Holabird

Lemonade in Winter-Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas

Over and Under the Snow-Kate Messner

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold- Joyce Sidman

Ladybug Girl and Her Mama- David Soman and Jackie Davis

Ladybug Girl Dresses Up- David Soman and Jackie Davis

Ladybug Girl Makes Friends- David Soman and Jackie Davis

Cold Snap-Eileen Spinelli

A Little Bit of Winter-Paul Stewart

Flannel Kisses-Mari Takabayashi

When Winter Comes-Nancy van Laan

When Blue Met Egg-Lindsay Ward





Being Present

December 3, 2014


In case you haven’t noticed, I never finished that photo-a-day project.

I found that the more grateful I felt, the less I wanted to spend time online. I wanted to spread that gratitude around in the real world. So, after 15 days of trying to follow through on a project 1 put down the camera and decided to be present.

You know what? It was liberating.

Even now, I really don’t want to be sitting at my computer writing this. I want to be quiet and still. My own form of hibernation.

Our little family is preparing for a simple and quiet holiday season, and a possibly chaotic 2015 with lots of travel. In order to prepare ourselves for that, I’ve decided to put all other projects on hold.

Blogging is on hold.

The photo business is on hold.

Craft projects are on hold.

Planning elaborate ANYTHING is on hold.

Running ourselves ragged is on hold.

We’re going to focus on being together and enjoying the present time.

I may touch back in before the end of December…but I may not.

Enjoy the remainder of your year. Reflect on all that you have accomplished this year, and all the ways you hope to grow in 2015.

Don’t be afraid to hibernate. It’s kind of awesome.





Grateful Project: Days 11-15

November 16, 2014

Day 11) Healthy Kids


I am grateful to have children who are so robust and healthy. I think JBird has only been sick about 5 times in her little life; which still feels like a lot but is a drop in the bucket compared to so many other children. I just love their little rosy-cheeked, glowing faces.

Day 12) Bond of Sisters


I am grateful for the love that Jbird and Moon Baby share.These past few weeks have been really something in our home. The girls are becoming real playmates and companions. The sisterly bond that these two share is magical and makes my heart sing. Sometimes I’ll catch one of them snuggled up next to the other; gently playing with her sister’s hair or rubbing her back while the other plays quietly or flips through a book. Don’t get me wrong, they still scream at each other plenty.

Day 13) Breastfeeding Journey


I am grateful to have been a successful breastfeeding mama for over 4 years. I nursed JBird until she was 2.5 years old with only minor hiccups along the way (early issues with over production). After 1 full year of nursing, Moon Baby is still going strong and will likely continue nursing until she is 2 as well. Extended (and exclusive) breastfeeding has been more difficult mentally than it has been physically, but I’m so happy that this has been a part of my life for so many years now.

Day 14) Giving Back


I am grateful to be in a position in life where I can give back to others. I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of no strings attached generosity and thoughtful charity, and it feels really good to give back where I can.

Day 15) Food In My Fridge

day15I am grateful to open my fridge to find it full of healthy, real food to feed my family. I take for granted my full fridge and our full bellies everyday.

(And yes, that is a 3lb box of uncured bacon in my fridge. YOLO).