An Explanation and some Pie

May 17, 2012

I am really not sure where to begin this post. To be honest, I thought that this was going to be goodbye. Over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of thinking about life: mine, my children’s, life in general. I am not sure what prompted this latest round of self-reflection (let’s face it, I do a lot of self-reflecting), but this one has been a little harder to get past. I think that it began for me when I was taking photographs of my boys while they were putting on one of their famous family reading parties a few weeks back (more on this next week). We were having a great time: food, books and fun all around, when my oldest son Jacob began to tell me that perhaps he should stand in a certain way for a good photo, or we needed to put the food on the bed for a prettier shot. It hit me in that moment that he knew where these photos were going, and rather than just enjoying the moment, he was staging the event to seem better than he thought it was.

I was so taken aback. Over the past few months I had begun to have concerns about the level of exposure that I was giving my children, and if that was really fair, but this was something I did not see coming.

I began this blog (5 years ago!) as a way to document our day-to-day life for our family and friends, and over time it has morphed into a space where I have explored my love of crafting, homeschooling, and exploring with my children (and a bit of yoga here and there). This has been an intensely personal space for me, and one that has never been a burden, but always a place where I found a sense of peace.

The one thing that I have always taken seriously is keeping an authentic voice in this space. I hope that one day my boys look back on my writing and feel as though they have a history of all the cool things that we have done together. For me, this is where the good stuff gets documented, the truly sweet stuff in our lives that I want them to remember forever.

I think that is what made Jacob posing for the picture so tough for me. When they look at the photographs that I have taken, I don’t want them to see a staged event, I want them to see us living. I want them to know how important their yoga practice was to us, and how much we loved to cook. I want them to see the way we valued art and the journeys all around our beautiful state we took. I do feel strongly about the subjects that I have written on, and I hope to spend a good part of my life writing on them in greater detail, but I still want that to always be real for them. I never want them to believe that we did what we did for a blog post, but rather that we were lucky enough to live in a time where our lives could be shared with others.

So that is where I have been, some where deep in my head pondering the issues of childhood and blog writing. I wasn’t sure where to go with all of this, or even if I should. I feel blessed to have Rhythm of the Home as a project that fulfills me, and I wondered if it was time to let that be my main source of writing. I am completing an amazing project with my friend Stacy that has me filled with gratitude, and the Rhythm of the Home book is a blast to  put together. It should be easy to let this space go, right?

Apparently not. Every time I thought about saying goodbye, my heart dropped. I have come to rely on this space, and it just isn’t the right time to let it go.

It is, however, time to get back to my roots, so expect some crafty goodness and lots of food to be coming soon.

Now, I promised you pie.

I have written before on the changes that we have made as a family over the past few years, and our recent dive into Heather’s Whole Food Kitchen course. Through that course I was introduced to a heavenly treat that has now found its way onto our table at least a few times a month: Raw vegan pie. Somewhere around the 7th week of the course, Heather introduced a raw chocolate torte that was truly heaven. I made it right away, and lots since. It is simple, and creamy, and not too sweet.

I have a pie kind of family, and I really thought that my husband, whose addiction to chocolate cream pie is legendary, would be totally put off by cashews, dates and cocoa powder. To my surprise, he fell in love as well.

That one slice of pie has transformed our kitchen, and given us yet another set of treats to indulge in without sugar. The kids have loved coming up with new combinations, and we have been playing around with different crusts and fillings. One recent success was a raw strawberry cheesecake with a simple strawberry sauce (when I say simple, I mean put strawberries into a blender and add agave. I can’t claim credit for that one). The ingredients are simple and clean, and the taste is refreshing as strawberries find their way into season.

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup walnuts
1 cup almonds
1 cup dates (pitted and soaked for 20 minutes)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp agave nectar

Filling

3 cups of whole cashews (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup agave nectar
4 dates
6 cups slices strawberries

Directions

Place your nuts in the bowl of a food process and process until finely chopped. Add your dates, coconut and agave nectar and process until combined. Press into the bottom of a 10″ pie plate or free form pan and freeze while putting together the filling.

For the filling, place all of the ingredients into a high powered blender and process until smooth and creamy. Add to your crust and freeze until desired firmness.

We enjoy this pie with the simple strawberry sauce mentioned above, or for some added yumminess, this simple raw chocolate sauce.

Raw vegan pie is easy to put together, a great source of vitamins and protein, and a really great way to end just about any meal. My boys would encourage you to play around with whatever fruits, nuts and extras you have in the house. Up next, they have asked for lemon cream pie with a blackberry sauce. Stay tuned.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah Cornelius May 17, 2012 at 7:17 am

This pie looks amazing. I cannot wait to try it.

P.S. I don’t comment often but I do follow your blog and I am glad you are going to stay.

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Meryl May 17, 2012 at 9:18 am

It’s wonderful, this blogging thing, but it’s also hard. I never worried much about putting our lives “out there” until we had the kiddo. It’s a slightly different concern, but particularly with my job…ninety-nine percent of the people I work with are good people who just screwed up, but the other one percent gives me pause sometimes….In the end, it’s always Sweet Husband who talks me down, “You love writing, and if someone wanted to track you down, they wouldn’t need the blog to do it.”

But the staging (or trying not to) is hard too. Pausing dinner for just a few seconds to snap a picture of the food gets a chuckle from Sweet Husband, but I wonder if the Kid will feel the same way when he gets older? It’s a lot to reflect on, but I’m glad you’ve decided to stay!

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gretchen May 17, 2012 at 9:35 am

Heather

what a great heartfelt post. my computer was broken for a few weeks and it was a nice break, but i missed the journalling and creative aspects. so it is a question of balance, and trusting your gut. and keep in mind–there are two ways of viewing your son’s comments—you could be raising a budding photographer!

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Lena W. May 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm

So very happy, you decided to stay- for selfish reasons- as I love reading your blog….thank you!

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clarice May 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Oh the joys of having a family and blogging. It is such a fine line to walk. I know many days I do not feel like I do a good job walking that line but then everyday is a fresh start xox Clarice

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Jardinière d'Eveil à la Douceur de Vivre May 18, 2012 at 3:29 am

I totally understand what you wrote here about picture of your children. It’ about not loosing spontaneity and joy of life in the moment… On my blog (which is half personal, half profesional as I talk about my work with people and our way together in elf-reflection, creativity, relaxation, well-being, therapy), I put only very few pictures of my son and my husband. And I choose to put little pictures, not big, most of the time.
I prefer sharing with words our family life. For me that was the best solution.

I hope you’ll find your own way, with joy and blossoming :-)

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Stephinie May 18, 2012 at 7:04 am

Oh Heather. I adore you ~~
xo
~Stephinie
p.s. thank you for the pie recipe too… my 13 year old & I are going vegan for the month together 😉

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Brooke G. May 18, 2012 at 10:35 am

Heather, I totally understand where you are coming from. But being aware of it probably will help. Your pictures are always so beautiful and your son probably recognizes that and, like you, likes to make it look beautiful. I find my kids staging shots with there things all the time…. And I rarely stage shots for my blog!
I love coming to your space and seeing what you guys are up to! We are making our first trip to Colorado this summer, and from seeing your pictures of it, I know I will not be disappointed!

That pie looks spectacular! It is on the menu for next week (I am taking Heathers 30 day vegan!!) so excited!

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Danij May 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Glad to hear you’re staying. This blog has always been a grounding read for me. Truly inspirational.
I imagine the difficulty (which is why I have never been able to make my blog public), but congratulate you on being able to get through it and keep this space real.

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Teri May 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I think that your blog voice is extremely authentic – it’s one of the reasons I enjoy reading it so much. Perhaps your son is expressing his own creativity and aesthetics in staging or rearranging photos? Just a different way of thinking about it!

I just made Heather’s Raw Vegan Chocolate Torte last weekend, and my entire family loved it (despite their initial reluctance). I am also looking forward to her 30 day vegan as well. And I appreciate that your pie is so fresh and fruity – I think I’ll give it a try this weekend with the last of our frozen strawberries!

Thank you for sharing your world in such a beautiful and honest way.

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Jen May 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Thank you for sharing all that you do. I’ve been inspired and learn so much from your words and photographs.

I made the pie today and it is amazing. Thank you!!!

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sherene May 19, 2012 at 4:21 am

Yes, I would have a lot more pictures on the blog if I would take the time to take the picture. But sometimes- the food is so good we just want to eat it! I really like that the girls are picking up the camera now. I can sometimes get a picture from them and their perspective- so I didn’t have to ask everything to stop or wait. But I did have to ask Hazel for that picture of her kissing my belly. It is something she does all the time and I wanted to remember- but not an easy shot to get without some staging!

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geek+nerd May 19, 2012 at 6:02 am

Oh Heather, you are so not alone in the blogging self reflection. I see similar thoughts popping up on my feed right and left, and recently I decided to take a mini break from blogging to think about what I REALLY want to write about and what purpose Geek+Nerd really serves in my life. Know that I will be delighted with anything that you choose to share here – because I know that whatever you do decide to share that it with be authentic and truly “Heather.” And in my opinion, those are the best blog posts to read, (including this one). Sending you peace :)

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Mama Ash Grove May 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Oh, I can totally understand these feelings. Over the past year, I nearly left blogging too, for the same reasons. I did not want to, so I changed my blog in a huge way- and focus less on the children- honoring their privacy. I do less photos of them, much less discussing them and what they’re doing (I keep it simple), do not talk very much about our home schooling, gave them alias names, do not delve deep into their personalities, and ask their permission if I would like to post something that is personal to them, such as art they have made, or a cute game they are playing. In many ways I wonder if this has made my blog less interesting- and it definitely makes it harder to come up with daily posts so I post less- but my children’s dignity is important to me and I wonder how they’d feel someday if I posted more about who they are. I am most definitely authentic, but at the same time don’t talk about everything.
Anyhow, I am not doing a good job explaining it, but had to respond in some way.

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Tricia May 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Heather, thanks for deciding to keep blogging. I just found you recently and have your book. I would hate to not have your blog to check in with every so often now! I can understand your feelings and thoughts though. The cheesecake sounds yummy, too.

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Earth Mama 101 June 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I wonder if that’s why I find myself taking pictures of my younger children so much more…and feeling more comfortable posting them. My older kids seem to be often off in a world of their own, while the younger ones are still mostly under foot, aka within easy camera shot. As our children age and become more self aware of themselves in general…naturally, I find it time to back off a tad from their space too. But it makes me wonder about the little ones…I mean they are always in a natural state completely unaware of where our pictures are going. I could spin off here wondering if that really makes it okay or not, but I’m not going to go there. I love taking pictures and I know you do too. And it is focusing on the true beauty of life…nothing more nothing less. I’m glad you’re here to share. Been thinking lots of you.

:)Lisa

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AG Ambroult June 17, 2012 at 6:57 am

mmm. yep.
My kids have exclaimed, after I take pics of them, “and don’t put that on the blog!” It cracks me up but yes, I too have wondered if I am doing the right thing. The thing is, I know I am being authentic, and in the past year I have really stepped back from blogging, after my little one complained that I was on the computer so much (reading other’s blogs etc..).
I sure am glad you decided you stick around, because to me, coming to your blog is like a mini vacation, full of ideas, inspirations, and joy. So thanks for a few years’ worth of that! And thanks for more to come, friend.

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