Tangy Fruit and Cabbage Smoothie


We make a lot of smoothies around here. During the school year they often serve as healthy, refreshing after-school snacks. I discovered a couple of years ago that a smoothie after school helped smooth out the transition from school time/behavior to home time/behavior. After-School Smoothies of Love (TM) also keep me from being (unjustly) perceived as the Bad Guy. So it’s a habit I embraced fully.

In summertime, smoothies often serve as breakfast. We don’t serve the kids eggs every morning in the summertime, though that’s generally the rule during the school year. A lighter breakfast is OK in summer because they are here and able to snack when they need to.

I’ve created a new smoothie recipe and thought I’d share it.

2-3 handfuls frozen mixed berries
1 banana
1 mango
1 to 1.5 c orange juice
1-inch thick slick of cabbage from whole cabbage head
Optional: Whey protein powder

Purée until smooth.

The cabbage adds a tangy quality that most berry smoothies don’t have. It also adds beta-carotene, vitamin C, and heaps of fiber. Several studies indicate that indole-3-carbinol in cabbage boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

Makes 3 to 4 12-oz smoothies.

Summer Kickoff!


What better way to kick off summer than to take a vacation? The boys and I drove up to South Lake Tahoe to spend a few days in the woods. Having some time with just the boys was fun, just as I’d hoped. It was special, since we weren’t at home like normal. Ian was able to join us a couple of days later.

I took some work with me—a project that didn’t finish up in time for me to be free and clear of it. Fortunately there’s a Starbucks where I could get my work emails, and download and upload files. Even better, my dear ol’ dad called the next-door neighbor and he generously gave me his wifi network password. It was a bit hoopty, but well worth it. I went out on the deck, pointed my computer at the neighbor’s home, and worked standing with the computer perched on the balcony railing (standing desk?) or sitting at a little iron bistro table. It was totally brilliant and I’m so grateful for this solution; my days with my boys would have been disrupted much more if we had had to spend hours and hours at Starbucks.



We brought the boys’ bows and arrows up with us, and every day we set up targets and practiced shooting. They both LOVE archery. And shooting arrows in an alpine meadow filled with blooming wildflowers and pines and aspens all around doesn’t suck, I tell ya. I’m proud of the boys because they seem really interested in practicing and getting better at archery. It’s a hobby that is well-fueled by their imagination, of course. Fantasy characters like elves and dwarves use bows, and that’s connection and motivation enough!


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Naturally we spent some time throwing stones into the creek.


See the caterpillar?

I was a bit nervous taking the kids out of town on my own, but this is my comfortable home away from home and there’s plenty to do near the “cabin.” I have many gorgeous memories of rambling up and down the creeks with my brother and sometimes my cousins. I remember searching for swimming holes, places to fish, and places to dam the water with logs or stones. I remember watching the minnows and dragonflies, of staying out too long and getting sunburned and so, so tired from our adventures. I remember getting lost in the woods and having to find my way back to the house, where my grandmother and grandaunt waited to scold us. Summertime in the Tahoe woods: I wanted to give my boys a taste of this. And I hope to come back and do it again and again.





We asked a local and found an amazing beach that allows dogs and we spent two glorious afternoons there, enjoying the beautiful lake and sky, and meeting plenty of doggie playmates for Solstice. Our sweet dog gets along pretty well with almost all dogs, and that’s a relief.


One animal was so totally wolflike that we were mesmerized by the way she moved. She was lean and furtive, and she wore a purple bandana around her neck; its purpose was clearly to communicate “I am not a wolf. I am a dog and I have people who love me.”

I’m continually surprised by what I don’t know about this beautiful area. We found the Tallac historic village (full of amazing rich people homes from the early 1900s). I had no idea it was there.

We stopped off on the way home at Wrights Lake for a picnic and a swim. This lake is just gorgeous and totally peaceful. Very few people were there and no watercraft with motors are allowed on the lake, so there was nothing to break the serenity of the place—except our own whooping and hollering …


… and Calvin-like dancing.


I took tons of photos for painting reference.



The only problem with this gorgeous campground and lake is that the mosquitoes are prolific and hungry.


Honestly, I can’t think of a nicer way to start the boys’ summer vacation.

I hope you too are enjoying long, lazy days in nature.

Super Father’s Day


Happy Father’s Day to the two men who mean the most to me!

To my Dad, who is my foundation and my safety net, I am very happy we are so close! I love you Dad. I hope you enjoy your potato bush (Lycianthes rantonnetii) and that it flowers like crazy. Thanks for teaching me to stop and smell the flowers.

To Ian, my husband, you are everything to me and a wonderful father to our boys. You inspire us, support us, and are always so much fun! Thanks for all that you do, day in and day out, to keep us safe and comfortable, and striving and living life to the fullest. Our children have an amazing role model in you and we are so proud you are ours.


We spent this morning at the Superheroes 5K in Sacramento, at Ian’s request. This is how he wanted to spend Father’s Day. How could we deny him this?! Ian is Captain Paisley; I was Vigilantia; Asher was the Red Knight; and Lucas was Wizard Runsalot.


The boys ran the entire way, and left me in the dust. Lucas’s time was 32:32. We had tons of fun and there were hundreds and hundreds of people there in costume. Sacramento represents! Fantastic!


Superheroes 5k

Finally, I just have to say that I’m glad that the boys were game to give this a try, and not too cool to be playful. I’m grateful that the axe I made out of cardboard and aluminum foil was well received by Asher. I’m glad that they were comfortable making up their own superheroes. Lucas is interested in doing more runs like this. Thanks, Ian. That’s your good influence right there.


Happy Father’s Day!

HPV Vaccine


I love vaccines. I love that we have them, that my sons will never have measles or diphtheria, will never die of whooping cough or worse—from some Dark-Age disease that we can prevent.

Today, we went for vaccinations. (This does not make me the most popular person in the family, but that’s OK. I have broad shoulders.)

Today, my son received the first of three anti-HPV shots. (HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, or STI; about 20 million Americans have it, with 6 million more infections occurring each year. HPV causes cancer. It causes cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women. Almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV. Cervical cancer is the second leading  cause of cancer deaths among women around the world; 12,000 women in the US get cervical cancer each year and about 4,000 are expected to die from it. HPV also causes anal and oropharyngeal cancers in both men and women. Plus genital warts and throat warts.)

These vaccines (Gardasil is the kind available for girls and boys) are effectively the first anti-cancer shots, folks. Hopefully they are the first of many future anti-cancer vaccines. Go Science! Go Science!

I know some people debate against vaccines. Not me. I know some people have a hard time confronting the idea of STIs in relation to little children of 10 to 12 years of age. Not me. The point is to get them protected before they become sexually active and exposed to the HP virus.

I love that because of this vaccine my kid will face one fewer obstacle in what I hope will be a long and healthy life. I love that he will never catch or spread this virus to a future lover. We will have plenty of challenges to face as he grows through his tween and teen years, and I’m quite happy to take this one off my worry list.

I’m a Waldorf mom who is decidedly pro vaccines.

Shamrockin’ Half Marathon and Crockpot Lamb Stew


Our St. Patrick’s Day was really different this year, although we did do some of our traditional family celebrating, such as creating this cool party space for the leprechauns.

Ian ran in the Shamrockin’ Half Marathon—his first—and so our boys had an overnight with their besties while the leprechauns partied in our front yard. They all had a blast it seems (boys and leprechauns). Ian and I woke up bright and early on St. Patrick’s Day to make it to Raley Field for the half marathon.


I am so proud of him. Seriously, I am amazed. He’s awakened early nearly every day for five months to train, in part for this event. He’s run in the dark wee hours of the morning, in the winter cold and rain and fog to do this.


13.1 miles. In a row. His time: 02:00:56. Awesome! This is my best shot of him crossing the finish. Bunch of people were in my way, even though I had the best seat open to the public in the whole stadium.


I’m so proud of you, honey!


Afterward, we celebrated with some friends, eventually collected our children, and then came home to this:

Leprechaun gold



Leprechaun gold and golden chocolate coins! The leprechauns must have enjoyed the goodies we left them. And then we ate an Irish family feast.

Crockpot Lamb Stew

This is a recipe for a crockpot Irish stew I found and then altered. I don’t have a pretty photo of it, so you’ll just have to trust me. I made this crockpot version because I needed something that would cook itself while we were at the Shamrockin’ Half Marathon. It was delicious.

1.5 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cubed and browned in a skillet
1 14.9 ounce can of Guinness stout
4 to 5 medium russett potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
2 onions, chopped
2 to 3 medium carrots
8 ounces of sliced crimini or shitake mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 or 3 stems of fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 bay leaves
10 ounces frozen peas
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

Last Step: I’ll just put this right up front because this is the type of thing I always miss when reading and (not) following recipes: Add the peas in the last hour of cooking.

OK, First Step: Brown the lamb in a skillet. Add it to the crockpot. Add the Guinness, onion, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper, and tapioca. Stir a little. If your Guinness isn’t almost covering your lamb and veg items in the pot, add a cup of water or more Guinness.

Another Tip: Quick-cooking tapioca will make a really thick, luxurious gravy. I had never used it before. I found Kraft Minute Tapioca did the trick. It looks like Bob’s Red Mill also makes some tapioca products.

Cook your lamb stew in the crockpot for 10 to 14 hours. (I cooked mine for 8 hours. Then slept. Then turned it back on before we left for the day to cook for another 6 or 7 hours so it would be ready to eat for St. Patrick’s Day dinner.) I don’t think the extra cooking time harmed it at all. I think you just have to make sure your lamb is tender. Again, add the frozen peas in the last hour or so.

Makes 8+ servings. Enjoy!


The Miracle of Eggs

Two days' worth

I get it now. Although I’ve always loved Easter and the springtime, I think I really get it now. I’ve studied Christianity and the goddesses of world religions and I’ve done my share of pagan festivals. The rites of spring have always been glorious and inspiring.

But I really get it now. The miracle of eggs.

I keep hens, and I currently have 15 beauties in my backyard. They range in age from 5+ to 1 year old. All are mature enough to lay and their eggs are delicious.

Sweet hens Feeding time

In the wintertime, the hens stop laying, or slow down to an unbearable trickle. They slow down so much that it’s frustrating to be feeding them all winter long and getting so little—especially when the chicken run gets cold and sloppy with mud and manure and I have to tromp out there daily to make sure they get fed and watered, and to collect my rare, occasional egg. In the wintertime, I buy eggs at the supermarket and I buy feed for my chickens.

As February arrives, the hens start laying a little more. Some days I get two or three eggs. Some days it’s back to one.

It’s March now. It’s the Spring Equinox and the girls have fully ramped up. In the last 24 hours I’ve collected 15 rainbow-hued eggs. Just in time for Ostara. Just in time for Easter egg rituals and children’s hunts. Just in time for the eggs to take their exalted place in our cultural observances for one day.

Rainbow Eggs

So let’s look at that a moment. All winter long, if we were subsistence farmers, we would be eating mostly last year’s food—stored or preserved food. When it comes to protein, that means either a winter slaughter or dehydrated, salted, or frozen protein. What if we, like previous generations, didn’t have freezer technology? That leaves us with the risky expenditure of energy on hunting for fresh meat, dehydrated or salted protein, or the sacrifice of a valuable animal.

Signs: Eggs

But with the coming of the springtime, the eggs return. The flow of fresh, nutritious protein begins again. Bellies get full. Muscles get stronger. People can return to the hard work of living because they’ve got the fuel to do so, and it comes in safety-sealed, perfectly portion-controled little packages— boxes without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.

And so the egg is naturally the symbol of renewal, of hope, of plenty. Chicks hatch from some, and that’s delightful because they are cute and fluffy (and because when they fall asleep they instantly flop over and doze, awkwardly and ridiculously, however and wherever they fall). But really, baby chicks mean more eggs will come.

Lucas in the school orchard #waldorf #spring

Eggs aren’t the only symbol of springtime renewal, of course. And we honor them all: workable earth, seeds for planting, tender sprouts, fresh edible greens growing where there had been snow. Flowers mean bees and bees mean fruits. Pregnant livestock give birth. Milk and honey flow.

All of these are longed-for signs that life will continue, that mothers and fathers can feed their babes.

Happy Ostara!

Recovery and Thanks


Hello, I’ve been absent from this space due to a nasty virus, which is lingering and has entirely overstayed its welcome. I came down with it on Valentine’s Day, which is a special kind of meanness, in my opinion. It has caused me to need extra rest this past week, and since I’m still working because of deadlines despite being sick, it’s my fun blogging time that gets cut, unfortunately. But, I’m on the mend.

I just want to officially thank everyone for voting for Love in the Suburbs during the Circle of Moms Top 25 Creative Moms blog contest. Thanks to your support and diligence, I was voted into the Top 25! In fact, I landed at position 10, which is just staggering to me. Thank you again for taking time to vote for me—and for reading here in the first place!

Signs: Chinese Fringe Flower

I have a few posts brewing, so I hope to share them with you soon. In the meantime, I want to share simply that Eileen, of Little Acorn Learning, and I are hard at work on our next e-book about Spring Festivals. We’re hoping to release it in about a week.

Blessings and good health to you!



Winter Hikes


This is the beautiful Auburn Recreation Area, which is just 25 to 30 minutes’ drive up the hill from where we live.


We went hiking there with the boys in early January. It was a beautiful day and we all had lots of fun.

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We found some glorious rock formations right at the river’s edge that looked like a huge castle. The children naturally climbed to the top immediately.

We were reminded that we all feel good when we go on nature walks together; we get out of our house and routine, we leave the argued-over toys and housework behind, we get to bring our fluffy friend Solstice along, and we can be together with a little buffering space between us. The boys like to roam out far ahead and that’s so good for them. Ian and I can have a conversation. It’s inexpensive. Overall, it’s really a great solution for family fun.

upload upload upload upload upload Stone colors

We tossed stones, looked for dragons’ eggs, found great sticks, climbed, and explored. Perfect.

We have been having really nice weather (if a little cold for my taste), and that inspired me to ask my dear friend Nicole to go on a local hike with me on the American River parkway while the kids were at school. As much as it is good for my kids to be out in nature, so it is also good for me!


We went on a Thursday in the middle of the day. We walked for two hours, got just a bit happily lost, and then found our way back again. This is an amazing pond area we found right near my kids’ school, isolated from the running river. I don’t think this body of water is there during the summer, but I could be wrong. I’m hoping I can find it again.

River hike Fishing boat

Fair Oaks footbridge

This is the iconic Fair Oaks footbridge.

Pond upload My beautiful hiking buddy, Nicole Reeds


Such a pleasant way to spend a few hours! We are going out again this Thursday—grown-ups and no kids. But you can bet Ian and I will be doing another winter hike with our kiddos soon enough!

How are you enjoying nature this winter? Are you skiing? Snow-shoeing? Playing on the beach?



I’m not going to get anything done today until I write a bit. I am all pent up and my feelings on all subjects are all over the place. They’re mixed up because I haven’t been writing, which is my process for sorting things out, for determining what matters, what to hang on to and work on, and what to let go of. I’ll try not to make this too complainy because there’s really tons of good stuff.


I am very busy with work; I have three projects going full speed ahead. Well, the truth is two of the three projects are taking up so much time that the third is languishing and I hope to get back to it ASAP. I don’t know when that will happen and it’s worrying me. I hope it goes without saying that I’m very glad to have the work. I am. Really.

Pretty computer. So new, there is no dust!

My computer died last Wednesday. My main, desktop, do-everything-on-it computer. I will spare you the emotional trauma of this and just say that I have a new one now. It’s a great new machine and my old data is fine. “Hard drive is robust like ox,” said my tech support queen. This is a VERY HAPPY thing. I am still tweaking and finding workarounds to this happy thing, however, as the happy thing is far from optimized at this moment and I don’t have time to optimize it … yet. Nevertheless, all of this will be better soon. In the meantime, I’ve struggled to keep those three projects moving forward.

I just fell in love all over again. #violin #waldorf #home #son

The boys are doing great. Lucas is adapting gradually to the greater expectations of fifth grade. (I have a whole post on this topic brewing in my head.) Lucas is really enjoying both soccer skills practice and his twice weekly karate class. Asher is zany and clownish and enjoying the hell out of life, it seems. Both boys are healthy and happy. Managing them is like herding cats, or monkeys, um—good-natured, sometimes-disdainful-or-obstinate, constantly forgetful catmonkeys who are generally too busy singing or shouting or bickering or spilling or bouncing through the house to listen to you. Or me.

I’ve gone over to my sister-in-law Kellie’s house a couple of times to help out a little with baby Jack, her newborn son. He is beautiful in every way—utterly perfect—and is finally seeming to get a handle on this breastfeeding thing. Some babies are stubborn like that. Holding a teeny baby has got to be one of the best joys of life. I only have to hold him a moment before he has cast a dreamy spell on me and I find that everything else fades away. Still, I did that so-familiar thing of holding baby and editing one-handed. It brought back so many memories and feelings from when my babies were small. Anita Martin, the charming and talented photographer who took Matt and Kellie’s wedding photos has taken some gorgeous shots of them with new baby Jack. They are truly spectacular. Our love goes out to Matt, Kellie, and Jack during this difficult and wonderful newborn time.

Harvest Faire  and the Walk Now for Autism Speaks events both happened last weekend. (I’m planning to write more about this.) It was community service weekend, to be sure. Consequently, it felt rather like no weekend at all. Today, Friday of the following week, I am running on fumes. (Return to the first paragraph under “Lately.”)

I’m also supposed to be writing a book. I hope to get back to that ASAP before my coauthor disowns me.

I love the fall. Can’t wait to hit the pumpkin patch and start work on those Halloween costumes.

I miss painting sooooo bad. It’s been too long and I now feel fear when I think about picking up a brush. Isn’t that the way of it? I’ve lost my momentum and with it some confidence. It’s a thing I have to correct at the soonest possibly opportunity. Must buy that fancy light so I can paint in my house at night. Must get back to class. Mustn’t forget what I’ve learned so far.




Tough Mudder 2012


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Once again, my dear husband tackled a huge dragon and completed the Tough Mudder in Patterson, California. He trained hard for it and had a great time. Somehow this was a kind of birthday celebration for him. I don’t know. He’s kind of weird. (That is a safety pin in his mouth, not a piercing. He was pinning his number onto his shirt when I snapped the photo above.)


Ian joined our friend Cherylyn and her family’s team, the Jog-or-Naughts. They were all in pink, and Ian gamely donned their color for the event. I was able to follow them from the start and to the first couple of obstacles.


We mistakenly thought it would be relatively flat terrain. Wrong. Tons of climbing through hot, dusty hills.


I soon lost track of Ian and the team because I couldn’t follow. I spent my time eating a hot dog, drinking a beer, and taking photos of hunky hot athletes. That was just fine. The mud spatters on my clothes were worth it. I got some terrific photos.






It was a very hot day, 95 degrees or more. I never really could check because I had no Internet connection. Unlike the previous Tough Mudder he did in Squaw Valley up on Tahoe, in Patterson the water/mud events were actually a little refreshing, and not freezing cold. I sat a very long time by this muddy pond to wait for my Mudders to swim and wade through here and to get this one close-up photo of Ian. I also got a stinky, muddy kiss for my troubles. After hours of waiting while my friends were miles away, climbing hills, slogging through mud, going over and under umpteen yucky, dangerous obstacles, I was very relieved to see them coming down the hill and entering this gross pond, hale and safe.


Here is the last obstacle, named “Electroshock Therapy.” Those are electrified wires hanging down and the Mudders have to run (or fall, slip, crawl, and slide) through them, getting shocks all the while. This was the second obstacle with electricity. Ian had already gotten shocked pretty bad, which he says felt like being kicked in the head.



All six of our Mudders completed the course. What I like about this event is the emphasis on camaraderie and helping one another through it. Our Jog-or-Naughts stuck together and everyone tackled the obstacles that were right for them.


Here is their celebratory beer, which I am told, never tasted so good. I am terribly impressed by all of them! Congratulations, Ian, Cherylyn, Kimberly, Cybil, Susan, and Nina!

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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