The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

fresh friday: buttercup squash soup!

Autumn has arrived! Falling leaves, chilly mornings and crisp cool air…
Isn’t it just amazing how a change in the air can control your cravings? For me lately it’s been buttercup squash. We love it roasted and mashed with warm freshly roasted garlic! It just tastes like fall! There’s also apples, pumpkins and classic fall spices. And hot cider… and baked goods… and red wine… Fall sure is delicious!

For fresh Friday this week I am sharing a scrumptious fall soup recipe. To be honest, I’m not a huge soup fan. Except in the fall, when flavors such as these are at their peak.

buttercup squash soup


  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 medium onion, coursely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, coursely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 1 large buttercup squash, peeled, seeded & cubed
  • 4 c. stock or water
  • 1/2 c. cream

Melt butter in a large pot. Add onions and sauté until tender. Add potatoes, carrots and jalapeño and stir to coat. Add buttercup chunks, followed by stock or water. (For this batch I used Pacific organic free range low sodium chicken stock. Just be aware of the sodium content if you choose to use a chicken or vegetable stock.)


Bring pot to simmer for 30 minutes. Transfer in batches into blender or food processor and purée. Return to a large pot or, in this case, a crock pot. Once everything has been puréed, stir in cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy hot!


This is such a fantastically tasty soup! I can’t wait to enjoy some… tomorrow. This batch is going to a Harvest Moon Celebration that we will be attending tomorrow! I can’t wait to share it. Perfect for a crisp fall day. For maximum enjoyment, devour with some crusty bread and Octoberfest! Yum. Fall flavors at their finest!

Enjoy and happy Friday!!


26. near. # fmsphotoaday


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24. 3 things. #fmsphotoaday


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why does teething have to be so hard??

No, I have not dropped off of the planet. I’m just fumbling around in a bit more of a haze than usual lately. You see, it appears to be that time again. That time when my delicate little princess becomes a whiney, pain ridden, sleep refusing handful. This doesn’t really seem to be fair. I know, I know… life isn’t fair. But does it really have to be so unfair at such a young age? It’s a great thing that we don’t remember this excruciating pain from baby-dom or the world would be full of horribly bitter adults.

I’m sort of easing back into this whole blogging thing now. I was on a roll for a while. Generally, I would take some time to myself as Schy napped, but lately I haven’t been so lucky. Naps have been non-existent, short or extra clingy. Sometimes I am just not allowed to leave her side and, by all means, if the choice is lay there so that she gets some semblance of a nap or leave the room with a writhing, over exhausted baby, well, the choice is obvious, no?

I’m not quite at my wit’s end with this because I truly feel for her. This is something that is completely out of our parental control and is probably going to last right up until and possibly beyond her second birthday. I’ll deal. I just wish that there was some way that I could help her deal. I’ve tried the Hyland’s natural teething tabs, which do seem to work, but for a very short time. And we do occasionally bust out the pain reliever, but we don’t want to overdo it with the meds. Not to mention that’s another thing that she despises. I don’t blame her, really. The thought of swallowing medicine makes me gag, especially any sort of syrupy substance. Ew. Then there’s the old “just rub some whiskey on her gums! That’s what we used to do…” from anyone and everyone a generation or more older. I don’t really want to give my baby whiskey. And that advice is difficult to take from someone like my mother who rarely drinks and has considered each of her children to be a lush at one time or another for partaking. (None of us are or have ever been a lush to my knowledge. College students? Yes.)

So, what’s a mom to do, really? Just wait it out? This has proven to be one of the most difficult parenting tasks for me. I feel so helpless. We have these few tricks to help ease the pain, but they all wear off eventually. And as much as I don’t want to rush things and wish that she would grow up even faster, I cannot WAIT for these days to be over. I know that there will be a next thing and one after that… but at least she will be able to communicate her little feelings to us. It’s so hard to understand what could be bothering her at any given time. Can you imagine how hard it must be for her to not understand why the hell mommy isn’t doing anything about it?!?!? sigh.

So we wait and we comfort and we reassure and we soothe… and we hope one morning to wake up to a full set of chompers. The end.

(As always, suggestions welcomed!)


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journey to a chemical free home – part two

We are still on our mission to rid our home of chemicals.  Unfortunately, our inspiration for this mission is super active and getting into everything these days, which generally consumes most of our time!  And this is EXACTLY why it is so important that we make this happen.  While we all do our best to keep our little ones safe, sometimes accidents happen.  I heard someone say recently that if it can’t be ingested, it shouldn’t be in the home.  It seems daunting when I look at all of the bottles under our kitchen sink.

Is it really possible to replace all of these things with effective natural alternatives?  Yes.  Today our journey continues with [simple] homemade toilet bowl cleaner and disinfectant.

You will need just three ingredients. That’s right. Three!

  • 1 c. baking soda
  • 1 c. white vinegar
  • 10 – 12 drops of tea tree oil
  • other essential oils (optional)
  • mixing bowl
  • spatula or popsicle stick to stir concoction with

Amazing.  This “recipe” has been derived from various sources online.  This mixture worked extremely well for us!

You’ll want to do this in close proximity to the toilet to be cleaned… In a mixing bowl, combine one cup of baking soda and 10 – 12 drops of tea tree oil. I had a wooden popsicle stick handy to stir with. Next add your vinegar, stir quickly into baking soda and pour into toilet bowl. Let sit for a minute or two and scrub with toilet brush.  Sparkly!

This worked just as well as any toilet bowl cleaner that we have ever purchased!  And to be honest, it smelled much better too.  The acidity of the vinegar is an effective solvent, deodorizes and effectively kills germs while the baking soda acts as a mild abrasive.  Tea tree oil has natural anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. You can refer to journey to a chemical free home – part one for a list of other effective oils.  This cleaning method is also great for septic systems, which we currently have.  And of course, there are no harmful fumes for you and your family to breathe in.  Mom approved!

You can safely use this natural cleaner on all surfaces of the bathroom including the outside of the toilet bowl, sink and other surfaces.  I seriously can’t believe that it took us this long to use this method.  It is so easy, inexpensive and most importantly, safe for your family!


Stay tuned for a really great green product review in part three!

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