Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Mission

Today I asked myself,

"What is your mission within your passion to have your own design business?"

I think a mission has to be bigger than yourself.  If you're just working for your own glory, then I believe you'll be continually frustrated and defeated. At the same time, I wasn't just going to make something up... like people who sell plastic toys, but give 1% to save the whales!  A mission can't be fake just to make you sound better.  I think I got it...

My mission is to empower and accelerate the dreams of passionate people through excellent design.

I imagine the "power bar" of video games over the heads of people who are willing to dream big... they have the idea and the motivation, but they need that super charge blast of something special to go, "Buurrrr-ZING!!" and make the dream GO.  I think I do that.  When I deal with small business owners, I have the vision, the creativity, the practicality, the marketing-mindedness, and the mad skills to take their concept and make it concrete... sexy concrete.

Branding for a business is like wearing the right clothes to an interview. Sure, you may be a professional on the inside... but you're not really going to make it until you're professional on the outside.  Your dream may be 100% radical on the inside, but if it looks like a cheap clipart disaster, other people aren't going to catch the vision.  Being radical on the outside matters too.

That's my mission. My vision. My dream. I've already gotten the chance to live it out on a few projects this year... and I  know that I'm going to do it on a bigger and better scale every year for the rest of my life.

The KawaMama

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

6 Month Blooper Reel

Ooooh My Goodness!  So, I did a little photo shoot with Eames to celebrate his 6 month birthday.  There are so many BEAUTIFUL ones that I'm still working hard to narrow them down.... buuuuut.....

The blooper photos are CLUTCH!  I thought I'd share a couple to give you a giggle this evening.

In reality this is Eames' "something in my nose is tickly" face. He's started making it in the wake of the recent Pollenpocalypse.  But when you capture it on camera, it is just outlandishly funny. At least to me.

The KawaMama

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My First Woven Wrap

I took the leap and bought my first woven wrap!  AHH!  This is a big deal!  Mostly because it's a big investment... (woven wraps can range from $75.00 to $1000.00 new.) 

For being "just a piece of cloth" baby wraps are a surprisingly complicated web of options.

You've got your basic preferences: color, pattern, and texture.  But there are also decisions to be made about material content, thickness, pliability, hand, and size.  I determined that I like wraps instead of buckle carriers or ring slings. I decided I like long wraps that are more grippy than slippery and silky.  Since I live in a very hot climate, I got a linen wrap because they are supposed to have great breathability. I'm very sensitive to color and pattern so I searched for a wrap with a beautiful texture and weave but no visual imagery or color.  This also gives me the opportunity to dye it later if I want to.

How did I determine all this stuff?  I'm a part of a great local babywearing group!  We have a lending library, an information forum online, and we have meet-ups in the park where you can try out different wraps from everyone's stashes.  This is an invaluable resource!  It's like test-driving a bunch of cars before you find the right one.

This is the beauty I settled on...

A Didymos Indio, Size 6, 100% Linen in "Natural Sand" color.

PLUUUUS....  I bought it from a "Wrap Swap" group that I'm a member of online. Women trade and barter their wrap stashes with each other.  If you're looking for an amazing deal, I recommend going this route.  I got an almost $200 wrap (before shipping) for $100 shipping included!!!  Yaaay!!!  Plus, if you don't like what you got or want to try something else down the line, you just swap your wrap for something else or sell it for what you paid in the group.  Wraps don't really lose their value. They're a good investment if you're a part of a wrapping community.

I am completely confident that I got a great deal.  Plus, the thing that makes a wrap awesome is when it is fully broken in and deliciously soft... so part of that break-in process will already be completed for me. Booyah!

Blair's Golden Rules For Buying a Woven Wrap
1) Test Drive Your Options
2) Don't Buy New
3) Accomplish 1 & 2 by finding a babywearing group and learning from them.

I can't wait to share some action shots with you when it arrives in the mail.

The KawaMama
(Image via

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Moonshine... Just Kidding (PART TWO)

If you've been following, you know I'm growing a little something in my kitchen... Details Here.

As promised... some updates!!  I promise it is totally not as gross as it looks.  Although, I admit, there is a bit of grossness involved. (My mom stopped in this weekend, and she thinks I'm a little crazy... but she's intrigued.)

So that's the little SCOBY, about a 1/4 inch thick.  It grew nicely across the surface of my starter tea. 

The first time I touched it, I had no idea what to expect.  It is actually VERY firm and rubbery... like... well... rubber.  The best thing I can associate it with is a floppy Frisbee disc you might give your dog.

Thank GOD it's not slimy and slippery... I could NOT handle that.  Ok, let's be honest, this is how we're all feeling right now... (see face below)...

AAHH!  Alien being!!

It goes without saying (I hope) that we handled the SCOBY with extremely clean hands.

Before adding the additional tea that will ultimately become our bottled Kombucha, we slipped the little buddy back in there.  He sank.  Which, for some strange reason, I found very reassuring. If it was all floaty and weird, I feel like I wouldn't really believe it was safe.

Something else I learned.... we have some red wine that's gone sour. I wanted to make vinegar.  So I did some research about whether or not I can use a Kombucha SCOBY to turn the wine into vinegar.  Apparently the answer is "Not really."  You are supposed to have a "Mother of Vinegar" which apparently has some different enzymes. So, yeah, now you know.

The KawaMama

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cup o' Joy

Many people say, "Food is just for fun before 1."  You are often encouraged to nurse exclusively until 6mo minimum. Of course, some go much longer and some stop sooner. We're rapidly approaching 6 months. And I just can't BELIEVE it!!!!  I just can't BELIEVE that its been almost half a year that this little man has been with us. 

We're still exclusively breastfeeding. We're doing a modified version of "Baby Lead Weaning" at the moment... basically we're waiting for him to initiate interest in food before starting to replace breast milk with it. 

While food seems to hold basically zero appeal for my little chunk, he is totally entranced with the idea of cups and spoons. When he sees a cup or a spoon come out of the cabinet he goes nuts!  So we thought it was time to get him his own.

After a brief demonstration, he seemed to know exactly what to do with it.

Ah HA! Gimme!

Wait... what did I do?

Ok, ok, Oshkosh... we'll do it. We'll be your official corporate sponsors... twist our arms!  *wink

In all honesty, I am completely dreading the switch from nursing to food... but that's a whole nother topic!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hair Haze

Gotta brag on the little man.... his balding issues are finally (slowly) starting to resolve.

Today I finally looked at his head and thought, "Well would you look at that! A solid haze."

With the arrival of hair, I have to finally admit.... this child looks like me.  Dad's head shape, eye spacing, and lips... but this little buddy looks like mama.

Also, I went to a business meeting this morning.  It ended up taking upwards of three hours.  I was missing baby boy so badly by the end of it that I was reminded how thankful I am that I get to work from home and stay with him all day.  Thank you, David! 


Saturday, April 6, 2013

He Prefers "Big Boned"

Remember this?  3 months... still had hair... modestly portioned...

Whuuuuuudda you lookin' at?!  I LIKE MILK!!

Somebody is about to outgrow his baby tub.


The KawaMama

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ahh, Ambezza

It's the little things.

It's the teensy weensy punctuation marks that slip into the regular fabric of our lives.  That's why Starbucks has been such a success story, right?  It's just a cup of coffee... but its at the next level.

I'm not really in a position to be buying Starbucks at the moment, but I LOVE fine teas.  There's no point in buying crap tea.  It's so dang cheap at the end of the day.  Harney & Sons are my go-to.  They just came out with a new line...

Packaging? Branding? Obsessed!!!!

I spent about 4 months in Kenya/Tanzania/Uganda... so I was really excited about these flavors.  

It is expensive at first blush... $6.99 a box.  But you get twenty satchets and because it is a metal tin, the tea keeps longer. The flavor profile is light years better than a Publix brand or Twinnings.

Just add water...

Just the right thing to treat yourself to during a quiet hour in the afternoon... wherever you may be.

PS - Ambezza means Lion in Swahili  I love how the African languages are so round and warm. It's not Ah-bezza or Uh-bezza.... It's AAAMMM-bezza.  Just a side note. 

The KawaMama

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Frustration Is Ok

It's ok to be frustrated.

(This a frustrated Eames face.... usually I'm not snapping pictures when he's hopping mad, so this is just "mildly annoyed.")

Some mothers go to great lengths to make sure their babies never experiences frustration.  I, myself, have made a personal policy (yes, even at this young age) of allowing frustration to work itself out with my son.

I don't jump up to solve his problems. I let him find a solution that can he can settle with.  My hope is that if my baby can learn by experience that problems take time, patience, and thought to achieve resolution, then he will carry this ever-present truth into the rest of his life.

When he is yelling at a toy that won't go in his mouth, I will tell him with a gentle smile and compassionate eyes, "It's ok to be frustrated. You can do it. I love you."

I know he doesn't understand these words. I know we're not actually having a direct teachable moment... but he does respond to my demeanor & my facial expressions.  He receives assurance that nothing is actually WRONG in this situation.  Nothing is BAD that he needs to be saved from.  Mommy doesn't need to swoop in and FIX it.  Plus, I am practicing responding to screeches and screams with calm equanimity and confidence-building-patience of my own.... so when he's 4 years old and we experience the same thing, hopefully I'll respond the same way.

We applied this theory to helping him learn to sleep also.  It's been very successful.

The key here is "Helping Him Learn."  Life is full of lessons.  We don't need to teach them all.  We DO need to let the learnings sink in.  So... it's ok to be frustrated.

The KawaMama

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Mustard Seed

I'm baby sitting.

My friend is starting over 100 different little bitty baby herbs.

They're sitting on my kitchen table by the window where they can get the most sun.
She made these sweet little sticks with the names of each plant.  Here is some mustard...

Interesting thing about mustard... if you were a Sunday School attendee as a youth, you've probably heard the little bit about, "Faith like a mustard seed will move mountains."  The point being, mustard seeds are very very veeeeeery small... even a speck of faith can be powerful...

While these plants have been growing, we've learned something else about mustard seeds.... they grow quickly and they are the heartiest of all.  Mustard was the first to show its head out of the ground, and it is the largest and most vital of all the little sprouts to this day.

Let's have faith that begins small, grows quickly, and stays vital.

Sage is nice too.

The KawaMama

Monday, April 1, 2013

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

This is a Thai inspired soup that is very light but also very "comfort foody" at the same time.  It is one of the things I make that I seriously think tastes better than any restaurant dish.

In the middle of making this soup I thought, Oh! Duh! this needs to go on the blog!  I started snapping photos half way through, so I missed a few steps (like shredding the chicken, which isn't pretty anyway.)

To begin.... let's assume there is already about two breasts worth of kitchen in there. I don't like the texture of stringy shredded chicken, so I usually chop and then smush rather than shred.  (Smush is a very technical kitchen term, as I'm sure you're aware. *wink*)

We like to make our own stock in large quantities and then freeze it in plastic containers.  When we make soup, we just have to pull out a frozen block of homemade stock and plunk it in.  That's the giant ice cube floating in there.

Add a can of coconut milk to the broth and simmer it on low.  (I made a large quantity here, so I used two cans.) You really can't use too much coconut milk. Sooooo gooooood.

Unfortunately, last time David made stock something went awry and it is almost completely flavorless... more like colored water... So to bolster the flavor, I relied on a pantry essential for me... "Better Than Boullion"

A tablespoon or two of this semi-liquid substance, and it tastes like the best broth ever!  Highly recommend you buy this little jar for your own kitchen.  We also have "Better Than Bouillon Beef."  Great for french onion soups.

Basil & Lemongrass... roughly chopped.  I put these in early on so all their flavor can be extracted and they can get tender.  (PS - You don't actually eat the lemongrass.  It just sort of soaks in there.)

Squeeze a big lemon or a couple of limes in there too.  This is an essential step.

As you can see, one of the lovely things about this dish is the colors!  It is bright yellow in the end... much owing to the amount of curry you put in...

I never measure anything when I cook, so unfortunately I can't tell you how much to use.  All I can tell you is, "Add a lot of curry!!"

If you're cooking in a large quantity, you should always add a bit more than you expect to need because the flavor will cook out.  (I have this on good authority from NPR's American Test Kitchen.)

You remember that there's already chicken in there, right?  Well there is.

Next add mushrooms.  It's really great with portobello mushrooms or with a blend of shittake and all those unusual things. But all I had on hand were white mushrooms.  That's works wonderfully too!

Cook them up lightly in coconut oil.... partly because it adds a lovely, bright coconut flavor, and partly because it's more healthy for you anyway.

Doesn't that look tasty?

Just let it simmer and fill your house with the most delicious aromas.  Eat it when you feel like it.  It keeps beautifully for left-overs.

I know I'm supposed to take "presentation" photos... wouldn't that be nice?... but I didn't.

I like to cook black rice and put a spoonful in the bottom of the bowl and then serve the soup over the top.  The color contrast is beautiful.  The texture is fantastic.  But if you're doing Paleo, just skip the rice and you've got a top notch grain free meal.

The KawaMama
(I forgot to photograph the lemongrass myself... so I borrowed this from Tish Boyle.)