My Unplanned Wedding: Part Two

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[Image Credit:  Father of the Bride film]

Dear Readers,

Click here, to read My Unplanned Wedding: Part One . . .

“They told me that it could not be done!”

I always did like that kind of challenge and, in the end, we proved them wrong.

This is the story of how My Professor and I planned our Wedding & Reception in just 30 days and for merely $500:

The Ring:

After the Unplanned Proposal, the first order of business, of course, was to select an Engagement Ring — and it was done — in a heartbeat!

Directly across the hallway from Morrison’s Cafeteria,  was Carlisle’s Jewelers.  

I told my newly-minted fiance that I wanted a simple setting, similar to my grandmother’s engagement ring, circa 1918:

 

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[Image Credit:  Orange Blossom]

And, lo and behold!  The very first ring that I saw, as I peered into the glass display case, was an engagement ring, which appeared to be inspired by my grandmother’s ring:

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[Image Credit:  Orange Blossom]

The jeweler asked us if we wanted to inspect the diamond, using the “loupe”  and the criteria of the “Five C’s”* of diamond selection.

We declined.  We were too embarrassed to admit that we had never heard of either the loupe or the Five C’s.

Shameful!

But what did we know?   And what did we care?

We were buying an enduring symbol — not an investment!  The ring would be an emblem of our life-long commitment to each other.

We were horrified when the jeweler assured us:   “Not to worry!  You can  purchase of a larger diamond ring, in the future, when you can better afford it.”

How dare he suggest that my diamond was small!  Would I ever part with the ring that my True Love bestowed upon me?!   Perish the thought!

The Theme:

If there was a theme to the planning our wedding, it would have been “Little Women.”  I was only eight years old when I first read the book, by Louisa May Alcott, but I have read it many times since.  The book’s philosophy of life, themes, ideals, and virtues have continued to give shape and form to my mind and life.

I could imagine no more perfect Wedding Theme than that of the simplicity and sincerity of the marriage of Meg March and John Brooke.  I perused no books or magazines on “How to Plan a Wedding.”  The book, “Little Women,” provided all the instruction and guidance that I would ever need:  Not merely for the Wedding Day but, more importantly, for the serious business of nurturing and forging a life together.

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[Image Credit:  Little Women film, 1994.]

Pre-Marital Counseling, a Minister, and a Church: 

Rev. George E. Nickels, our good friend, was also a minister and counselor and he graciously agreed to provide both pre-marital counseling and to officiate at the wedding.

He was the Director of Faith Counseling Center, located at Faith Presbyterian Church, where he arranged for us to have our Wedding Ceremony, in the Sanctuary, and the Reception in the Parlor.

The church was available on Sunday, September 2, 1973 and we decided that an Evening Candlelight Ceremony would be perfect.  We planned the wedding for “Half-past Seven O’clock.”

Budget:  $500

Like my sister and her husband, who were married in 1970, Stephen & I decided that we would pay for almost all of the expenses of the Wedding and Reception.  The two exceptions would be the fee for the photographer and the expense of the Rehearsal Supper.

At the time, my sister and I considered the planning of a low-budget wedding to be perfectly normal.  In retrospect, my sister and I could have co-written a book, “How to Have a Simple Wedding for Under One Thousand Dollars,”  if only we had known that we represented the last vestiges of an “odd normality.”

Wedding Attire:    

Dress:  Stephen & I went shopping at a little boutique and I quickly chose a dress:  It was on sale for $25 and fit perfectly!  It looked exactly like what Meg March might have chosen for her Wedding.

[On the day of the Wedding, I “did” my own make-up and hair — in the style of any regular day — as Meg might have done.  Simple.]

Suit:  Stephen wore the one suit that he owned.

Attendants:

I asked my college friend to be my one attendant and she chose a dress from her closet.  Stephen asked his friend to be his one attendant and he wore a suit from his closet.  Sadly, we have lost contact with both friends.

[NEWS UPDATE:  My college friend and attendant just found me, through this blog!]

Guest List & Invitations:  

Stephen & I composed the text of the invitation.  A friend and I hand-wrote — not only the addresses — but also the text of each invitation, on sheets of plain ivory stationery.  We invited 50 people and 35 of them were able to attend the Ceremony and Reception.

Rehearsal Supper:  

In those days, invitations to the Rehearsal Supper included only the Bridal Party and the Immediate Family Members.  We chose Garcia’s Restaurant [now Cypress Restaurant], made reservations, and just “showed up.”  There were no decorations, no program, and no “toasts” [that I can remember].  After supper, three family members each insisted upon paying the bill:  Stephen’s mother, my father, and Stephen’s grandfather.  I do not know how they resolved it.

Florals:

The Faith Presbyterian Church Flower Guild agreed to leave the floral arrangements from the Sunday Morning Worship in the Sanctuary; we needed no other decoration.  The Sanctuary, with pipe organ, stained-glass windows, and vaulted ceiling, provided all the beauty and grandeur that one could imagine or desire.

From Elinor Doyle Florals, I ordered seasonal floral bouquets, a wreath for my hair, and a centerpiece for the Reception Cake & Punch Table.

 Candles:

My parents brought from their home a brass candlestick holder, which held three candles.

By now, you have perhaps witnessed so many “Unity Candle Ceremonies”  that you have grown weary of them.  However, we were one of the very first couples to introduce this enduring ritual.

Ceremony Liturgy & Music

The Liturgy was straight from the Book of Common Prayer and the Order of Worship for a Wedding, which provided suggestions for Scripture Lessons, Prayers, and Hymns.

George delivered a Wedding Sermon.  If he were still alive, that dear man, I would ask him for a copy of that Sermon.

My friend, Karen Jackson, played beautiful harp music for the Prelude, Procession, Recession, and Postlude.  She chose classical sacred music selections for the harp [Bach] and the congregation sang hymns from the Hymnal:  “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”  is one that I remember.

Reception Catering & Cake:

A friend recommended “Mrs. Roberts,” who suggested a menu of cake, punch, nuts, and mints.  As a luxury item, I also agreed to the suggestion of sandwiches, cut into quarters and served without crusts:  chicken salad, egg salad, and pimento cheese.  I ordered a Publix  cake, specifying cream [not white] icing.

Photography:

Richard Parks Photography:  My father paid for this luxury item and the photographs were lovely.  However, sadly, Stephen & I could not afford to buy any of the prints!  [I should not have to point out that, in 1973, all cameras used film and photographers retained the rights to all images.]

Fortunately, my father was an excellent photographer and I cherish the images that he captured on our Wedding Day.  These are the ones that I will soon share with you!

. . . To Be Continued:  The Un-Planned Honeymoon and the First Apartment . . . . 

 

*”To establish a diamond’s quality, you must examine each of the Five C’s:

  1. Carat Weight
  2. Cut
  3. Color
  4. Clarity
  5. Certification

It is the overall combination of these that determines the value and beauty of a particular diamond.”  [International Diamond Center]

 

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My Unplanned Wedding: Part One


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[My favorite scene from “Father of the Bride,” 1991:  “Bryan McKenzie” and “Annie Banks”]

Dear Readers,

The charming 1991 film, “Father of the Bride,”  first introduced me to the concept of the Professional Event Planner:

“Franck Eggelhoffer” [pronounced “FRAHNK”] [Martin Short] and “Howard Weinstein” [B. D. Wong] were the stylish Coordinators for the Wedding Ceremony and Reception:

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But “Oh, my Kleenex!”

Even the trendy “Franck” might not have predicted the news that, twenty years later, Event Planners will stage your Engagement!

This new development in “staging” prompted me to remember August 1, 1973:  That was the day when My Future Professor and I became engaged, without the benefit of a Consultant!

We were each living and working in Tallahassee for the summer.  In the Fall, I planned to complete my Senior year at The Florida State University  and he planned to return to The University of California at Berkeley, to complete his Senior year.   We were young [21] and had never dated anyone else, since our high school days in California.

He had some doubts about his program:  He said, “It seemed as if every other student in my UCB Electrical Engineering courses had already taken the class!  I have to compete with those students for a job!”  

There was one thing about which he had no doubt:  He had predicted, when we were both 18:  “Someday we will be married”  and his resolve had never wavered.

I was not too keen on the commitment of marriage.  I had, sadly, observed only a handful of happy marriages in my lifetime.  However, my sister was married in 1970 and she and her husband seemed happy.   Besides, I could not imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else besides my high school sweetheart.

We spent an enjoyable summer, in 1973, working and playing tennis together.  Soon, he would return to California, where 3,000 miles would separate us, once again.

The moment that would change our lives forever occurred in the most mundane of venues:  Morrison’s Cafeteria, at the Tallahassee Mall.  Sadly, the cafeteria has since disappeared:

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As we waited in the line, I was thinking about having the “Liver and Onions.”

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It was at that moment that he turned to me and said, “Well, I guess I could stay here and finish a degree at FSU and we could be married.”

I said, “Ok.” 

And that was it.  Un-staged, un-planned: no romantic setting;  no garden nook or ocean sunset; no candles, wine, flowers, or love poems — not even a ring!

And no observers or participants, unless you count the folks in line at the Cafeteria.

Just supper at Morrison’s Cafeteria, where we sat down and began to plan our wedding.

For reasons I cannot now remember, we decided that Sunday, September 2, 1973 would be our wedding day.  We had just thirty brief days to plan it . . .

Click here, to continue the story: My Unplanned Wedding: Part Two

Coram Deo,

Margot

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The Egg and I: Fuss-Free Fajitas

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Image Credit:  wikimedia.com

Dear Readers,

“The Egg and I” is a series of blog entries, where I share easy, no-fuss ideas for food.  I can always find a way to make a recipe more simple:  Here, I do not use a grill or a skillet.  

You can learn more here:  Fajitas.

You will need the following items:

  • Crock Pock or Slow Cooker
  • Stove-top sauce pan
  • Glass measuring cup for liquids
  • Several small bowls OR a tray or dish with divided compartments.
 

This recipe serves 8:

In a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker, cook on High for one hour [or until they look “sautéed” but do not over-cook!]

1 large or 2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced

2 large or 4 medium bell peppers, thinly sliced

1 [8 ounce] pouch Frontera Classic Fajita Skillet Sauce  [www.fronterafiesta.com]  [free of gluten and preservatives] OR

1 [1.25 ounce] package of Wick Fowler’s All-Natural Taco Seasoning Mix and 3/4 cup water  [1.25 ounce] [www.wickfowler]

Add one of the following to the Crock Pot or Slow Cooker and cook on Low for one hour [or until meat is done but do not over-cook!]

1 pound fowl, beef, or pork, sliced into 1/4 inch strips:  boneless, skin-less  chicken or trimmed skirt steak or flank or round steak or pork tenderloin

[Note: I used Orchard Pond Organics Certified Natural Angus Beef for Fajitas [free of antibiotics and added hormones; all vegetarian feed; humanely raised, on an environmental and sustainable farm:  www.orchardpondorganics.com.]  This is from a local Tallahassee farm!

Prepare the rice on the stove-top:

Tex-Mex or Spanish Rice:  I used Seeds of Change Certified Organic Cuban Style Rice with Brown Rice and Black Beans [5.6 ounces] [www.seedsofchangefoods.com]:  Follow directions on box.

After rice is cooked, add one can of black beans, including the liquid:

I used Certified Organic Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Organic Black Beans [15 ounce] [www.westbrae.com]

Assemble these toppings and spoon them into small serving bowls [with matching lids] OR into a divided container or tray:

Shredded cheese:  I used Certified Organic Valley Fancy Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese [6 ounces] [no antibiotics, synthetic hormones, or pesticides; no animal rennet.]

Sliced black olives:  I used Field Day Natural California Ripe Medium Pitted Olives [6 ounces] [www.fielddayproducts.com]

Plain “full-fat” organic Greek yogurt:  I used FAGE Total All Natural Greek Strained Yogurt, plain.  [If you use “full-fat” Greek yogurt, you will never miss the sour cream.]

Guacamole:  I used Yucatan Organic Guacamole [gluten-free]

Salsa:  I used Garden Fresh Gourmet’s Jacks’ Cantina Style All Natural Salsa

Optional:  corn, diced tomatoes, sliced and seeded jalapeno peppers, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, diced onions.

Garnish:  fresh, sliced limes and fresh cilantro sprigs

Set out:

Warm, soft flour tortillas, large [or soft non-gluten tortillas, large]:  I used Maria & Ricardo’s Tortilla Factory White Flour Tortillas for Soft Tacos [www.Habar.com]

Each family member or each guest makes his/her own fajita!

 

Enjoy for your family, for company, or pack it up and take to a family in need:  See http://www.takethemameal.com.

Simply yours,

Margot

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The Valley of the Flowers – Part One


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Dear Readers,

You may describe the “picture postcard” memories of your childhood — but just try to compete with mine:

I spent my idyllic childhood [1958-1962] in  “The Valley of the Flowers,”   Lompoc [LAHM-poke], California.  This small town and valley boasted the title of “The Flower Seed Capital of the World.”

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The air was pure and fresh because of the ocean wind, the small population, and the absence of industrial commerce:  At that time, the region was mostly agricultural.

In addition to flowers, the region now boasts of  vineyards, which flourish in this lush, fertile, golden valley.

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After the Spanish conquered California for God and King, the Spanish Friars established 21 missions, along the coast of California.  Lompoc was the site of Mission La Purisima Concepcion, providing the source of the name of the region:  “Point Conception.”

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Mission La Purisima Concepcion

“Point Conception”  jutted out into the Pacific Ocean.  [See the red star, below].  Strong winds from the ocean were invigorating and bracing.  A protective blanket of dense fog rolled in every night and dissipated every morning.

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The cool, Mediterranean climate of the region did not offer regular seasons and the weather was unvarying.   The annual average temperature range was between 50 degrees and 70 degrees and the average rainfall was 16.11 inches.  Of course,  there was never frozen precipitation.

I remember frequently wearing a “car coat”  but that was the warmest piece of over-clothing that I owned.   Our homes did not have air conditioning because the temperature rarely rose above 70 degrees.   There was one hot spell per year, however, when the “Santa Ana Winds” rolled in from the desert.  This was our one chance to wear shorts and sleeveless tops and retrieve our window fans from storage.


 

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I live in North West Florida now.  Every summer, I grow homesick for the climate of my childhood:  I yearn, once more, to wear a car-coat in July;  to walk on the crunchy, brown sand of the beach;  to hear the crashing, booming waves of the ocean and the plaintive cry of the sea gulls;  to wade in the cold ocean water [where no one would dare to swim without a wet-suit];  to smell the scent of sea air, sea weed and kelp;  to feel the wind and sea mist on my face and in my hair; and to look up and see the protective dome of the overcast sky, which protected us from the sun.

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Surf Beach, Point Conception, CA

I long to play all day at the beach, with no sunscreen, and to return home without even the barest hint of a sunburn.


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The sweet fragrance and vibrant color of those flowers represented my ideal childhood.  I lived in a landscape filled with softly undulating hills of beauty, in orderly rows of contrasting color, as far as the eye could see.

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The tranquil beauty of the valley’s contours  provided the memories and dreams of my childhood.

The intrusive nature and shape of the events which invaded my ideal childhood is what this series of blog entries must tell.

Coram Deo,

Margot

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Introducing Gwen Stellamaris

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Gwen:  Immediately after birth.

Dear Readers,

Our third grandchild was born on May 30, 2013, at 7.41 AM.  Her name means “fair star of the sea.”

She weighed 7 pounds and 4 ounces and was 20 inches in length.  She has lots of dark hair and has milky brown eyes.  She reminds me very much of newborn Lucy.

She arrived after twelve hours of labor, at the hospital.  Daniel’s husband was the “coach” and I was the “doula.”

Mother and baby are doing very well.  Big brother, Benjamin, and big sister, Lucy, were thrilled to welcome her home.

Coram Deo,

Margot

 

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Help! I Am a First-Time Grandmother-Doula!

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“There is always room on Marmee’s lap!”

 That is what I tell my grands, anyway.

Marmee, Benjamin, and Lucy:  November 2011.


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Benjamin, born 2009, snuggling with Marmee.

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Lucy, born 2011.

Dear Grandmothers-To-Be:

Proviso: I am not a certified doula. If your daughter requires a certified doula, see the website, http://www.dona.org.

I am a grandmother and volunteer doula for my daughter.

I have experience in the hospital setting, with an attending midwife.  I have not yet assisted at a home birth.

 

IF your daughter invites you  to serve as the “doula,” please do not panic!  It is a great honor for your daughter to ask you to fulfill this role.

If she does not invite you to serve as the “doula,” please read this article:  “Dueling With the Doula.”

If you are able to remain stoic, calm, patient, quiet [and mostly invisible] during the labor and birth process, you are a good candidate to be a doula.

I am a grandmother of two, with one on the way:  I have been my daughter’s doula for the two previous births and I am currently packing my “Doula Bags” for the third birth.

I will provide you with guidance:  I will describe how I prepared for the blessed events and I will provide “Marmee’s Doula Check List.”

 

 

What Is a Doula?

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[Image credit:  www.allomother.com]

The babies in my parents’ generation were born at home.  [My parents were born 1918-1920].  In attendance at these home births was a midwife or a family doctor.   A close relative probably fulfilled the role of the doula:  perhaps a mother, mother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, or an aunt.

During the next generation, we lost the knowledge of the assisted home birth because of the shift to the “medical model,”  when hospital births replaced home births.  This transition occurred a decade or two before I was born, in 1952.

Thankfully, today we are reclaiming the knowledge and skill of the midwife and doula.  Grandmothers are perfectly suited to step into the role of doula, in this reclamation.

Doula” is a Greek word which means, “servant:”    “Doula” is “one who serves.”

The doula’s role is to provide comfort, support, and encouragement to the mother — before, during, and after the delivery of the baby.  

The Birth Team:

The husband coaches the mother.

The midwife guides the birth process and offers medical advice, knowledge, and skill — and instructs the hospital staff.

The doula does not interfere with either of these other roles:  She assists the husband and midwife, if asked to do so.

She is responsible for offering a variety of “comfort aids” to the mother.  [More about that later.]

Travel:

If you are traveling to a different city, ask your daughter if she would like you to arrive one week before and to stay one week after the “due date.”

Making plans ahead of time is tricky:  The midwife will advise, as the due date approaches.

If possible, plan to drive instead of to fly.  You will have more flexibility and more room to transport your “comfort aids.”

The Birth Facility:

Your daughter will choose either a home birth [with midwife], a “birth cottage” [with midwife] or a hospital birthing facility [with a midwife].

It is appropriate, at any one of these settings, for the grandmother to serve as “doula.”

Before the baby is full term:  

  • Learn the route to the birthing facility.
  • Arrange a tour of the birthing facility.
  • Ask prior permission to use the kitchen, during the birthing session.
  • Arrange for authorization, if necessary:  You will need a valid driver’s license.
  • Secure a copy of the house key of the parents-to-be, in case you need to bring an item to the birthing facility.

Educational Resources:

As soon as your daughter asks you to serve as the doula, order your educational resources and begin your study.

I recommend these three resources as absolutely essential:

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DVD:  Comfort Measures for Childbirth, by Penny Simkins

Happiest Baby

CD, DVD, and Book:  The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Harvey Karp, M. D.

The Birth Plan:

The father and mother will provide you with a copy of their Birth Plan, which the midwife will require.

Marmee’s Doula Check List:

Personal Items for the Doula:

  • toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth rinse
  • hard candies, cough drops, breath mints, gum
  • zip lock bags, thick freezer type:  small, medium, and large; black Sharpie pen [for organization]
  • toiletries
  • clean apron, with pockets
  • backpack [to transport the comfort aids]
  • fanny pack [to keep essential items at hand]
  • iPhone and re-charger
  • fresh change of undies & clothing; sweater
  • lined notebook, pen, and pencil:  to record the Birth Story

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  • shoes: clogs that are comfortable, waterproof, and washable:  Birkie Classic Clogs — http://www.birkenstock.com   — OR
  • shoes: comfortable athletic shoes, with good arch support
  • sox

Comfort Aids for the Mom:  [See Penny Simkin’s DVD for details.]

A Word About Safety:

  • Place layers of sterile towels over hot/cold comfort aides, before placing them on the mom.
  • Disinfect all surfaces and comfort aids:  before and after each birth session.  I use Seventh Generation Disinfectant Wipes.
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For Labor Positions: 

* http://www.gaiam.com

  • *Pilates & yoga floor mat with carry bag or strap; blocks [2]; stretch bands; belt
  • a sarong  or “rebozo:”  a long piece of sturdy, woven cloth

 

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Image Credit:  Mexican Art Show

 

 

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 Image Credit:  www.BirthingNaturally.net

  • *ball or sphere for birthing  [also known as a  Swiss-, physio-, or exercise- ball or sphere ], extra inflating pin, “Faster Blaster Hand Pump,” and carry straps

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  • a waterproof garden kneeling cushion/knee pad [Use this as a waterproof bath pillow, for laboring in the hospital bath tub.]
  • GNP_2

For Massage:

  • cornstarch [organic]
  • massage rollers
  • oil, organic:  without or without essential oil
  • pure cotton socks, extra-large, organic
  • three tennis balls

For Comfort: 

* http://www.target.com

  • heating pad, electric
  • rolling pin:   [Note:  www.Tupperware.com no longer sells these.  Google “Tupperware Rolling Pin” to find a “vintage” one.]
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  • two pair:  100% pure organic cotton socks, extra large, with NO elastic Spandex [You are going to place the rice inside the socks and then heat them in the microwave, at the Birthing Location.  The socks will give off a strange odor, if they contain elastic or Spandex.]
  • 4 cups of raw rice, organic:  [I used Jasmine.]
  • frozen bags of peas
  • eye pillow
  • hand-held fan:  I chose this one:  It is a Fair-Trade hand-woven fiber fan with leather handle, from Ghana. To order:  Google African fan or Ghanan fan or Ghana fan.

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Aromatherapy, if desired [ask the mom]:

+www.auracacia.com

  • cotton balls for essential oil
  • squirt or “spritz” spray bottle, filled with distilled water and essential oil
  • organic 100% essential oil [let the mom choose her favorite single-source or blended oil]+
  • organic oil for massage:  grapeseed, evening primrose, or almond

Personal Care & Comfort:

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  • pillow, travel, waterproof, inflatable:  for mom to cradle her head, in the bath
  • brush, comb, stretchy head band and/or pony tail bands [to get hair off of mom’s face]
  • homeopathic Arnica Gel
  • arnica-gel
  • homeopathic  Rescue Remedy Spray by Bach
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  • emery board or nail file
  • two pair of soft knee sox [the mother’s legs may get cold]
  • lip balm [organic & for sensitive skin]
  • wash cloths: thick, dark color
  • OTC pain relief for Dad [Advil or Tylenol]
  • Sea Bands” and/or “Preg Pops,” in case mom has  nausea
  • sea-band-morning-sickness

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Nutrition and Hydration for Everyone:  You may need to bring a small ice chest.

A Note on Nutrition:

Since babies invariably arrive at odd hours, the hospital cafeteria may be closed, after the baby is born.  However, the new mom will be famished!

So, plan ahead and provide nutrition and hydration for her, as she will need to quickly stabilize her blood sugar, be able to sleep well, and fortify herself for nursing.

I did not plan ahead and all I could offer my daughter was two white-bread sandwiches from the all-night deli, at the hospital.  [She said that they were delicious, anyway.]

[Note: the kitchen will have cups, straws, spoons, water]

  • bottles of pure drinking water:  labeled for each person
  • “Emergen-C” powder packets:  contains electrolytes
  • organic milk and protein powder
  • nutritional bars:  meal-replacement; energy; power
  • organic snacks:  sunflower seeds, almonds, crackers & almond butter; granola bars; fruit [cut-up]
  • “Honey-Pax:” individual servings:   http://www.honeypax.com
  • sandwiches
  • “Mom’s Milk Tea” to fortify mom, for nursing

Dad & Mom May Wish to Bring From Home:

  • toiletries
  • pillows & pillow cases
  • blanket

Before the Due Date:

  • Keep your vehicle filled with plenty of fuel.
  • Go to the bank and get a quantity of single dollar bills and quarters [for parking and vending machines].
  • Pack your vehicle with everything you will need, in duffle bags, and in your back back.

Before You Leave for the Birth Facility:

  • Bring your keys, driver’s license, sunglasses, purse, cell phone & re-charger, and frozen bags of peas.

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Filed under Birth of a Grandchild, Child Birth, Doula, grandchildren, Grandmother, hospital

A Friend In Need: Take a “Comfort Supper”

Meatloaf

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Dear Readers,

I received an invaluable gift from my mother:  She modeled for me the custom of taking a meal to “a friend in need,” due to illness, a death in the family, a new baby, or  “moving day.”  On Vandenberg Air Force Base [VAFB], where my family lived for ten years, there were frequent opportunities for my mother to exercise her “gift:”   families frequently transferred in and/or transferred out.  She raised four children, during those years, but she always carved out time to help “a friend in need.”

My mother’s “go-to” entree was an Italian dish, “Talarigni,” which she served with a fresh, green salad and Italian bread.  This was a “comfort supper,” of which I have fond memories.  However, I offer here a simple and comforting menu that is gluten-free.  When you have a “friend in need,” take this “comfort supper” and be sure to pack the supper in containers which the family does not have to return!

Or, serve this menu for company.  It is a supper that all ages will enjoy!

A Comfort & Company Supper Menu:

Meatloaf

Mashed Potato Casserole

Green Peas & Pearl Onions

Kefir & Fruit

Notes:

All ingredients are from New Leaf Market, Tallahassee.  All ingredients are organic, and are local, where possible.

This menu includes all the four food groups but is not low-fat.  It is, however, relatively low-carb.  I do not include bread and dessert.

You may wish to subsitute baked sweet potatoes and steamed green beans, if you want a menu that is lower-glycemic.

Dairy products: I recommend full-fat or low-fat but never no-fat.

Legend:  C=cup; t=teaspoon; T=tablespoon]; EVOO=extra virgin olive oil]

 

Rector’s Meatloaf [“Old Faithful”] [4-6 servings]

From:  Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook:  A Kitchen Reader  [With modifications by Margot Blair Payne]

 

Vegetables: wash and chop:

½ C onion, sweet

1/2 C sweet pepper, red

1/2 C sweet pepper, green

Moist ingredients: Mix well together:

2-3 large eggs, beaten

8 ounces Pacific Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

1 T Worchestershire sauce [non-gluten]

Seasonings and oats:  Toss together and add to liquid ingredients:

2 t. sea salt; 1 t. black pepper; ½ t. season salt

1 C uncooked rolled oats, non-gluten

In a very large bowl, add the above ingredients and mix well with the meat: 

1 pound ground round

1 pound ground turkey or chicken

Topping:

½  C Annie’s Naturals Organic Ketchup

¼ C Tropical Pepper Company Steak Sauce

Preheat oven to 350.  Coat glass casseroles with EVOO.  Press mixture into casseroles.    Bake one hour.  Remove and spread topping on top.  Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives: [6 servings]

1/4 C butter, softened

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, small

2 t sea salt – divided

1 & ½ to 2 C total of dairy:  sour cream and/or Greek yogurt, plain

½ t black pepper

1 T finely chopped chives, dried

1/2 C shredded carrots [optional]

½ C fresh Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded [optional]

Oil a 9×9 glass casserole with EVOO.

In a large pot, boil the potatoes and 1 t. salt in water, until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

Mash potatoes with butter, sour cream, 1 t. salt, and pepper. Mash in the chives.

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.  Spread the potatoes into the casserole.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle cheese over top.

Bake until golden and crisp, 30-40 minutes.

Steam the [frozen] Green Peas & Pearl Onions:  “Organic” is hard to find.  

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Mix in a ratio of 1:1:  plain Kefir and Kefir with fruit.  Garnish with fresh fruit.

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