Friday, April 25, 2014

Gloria's Enchiladas

A photo collage of my morning cooking with Gloria. Sometimes things just go really well for me and someone comes over and cooks for me! Okay it has only happened this once, but boy I can't stop talking about it. What a nice gift to give someone!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Perfect Sized Popsicles!

Everyone wins with this snack! It's a popsicle. What kid doesn't like that? And, it's healthy. What mom wouldn't approve?

- mini silicone popsicle tray (I have Zoku Mini Lolly Maker Set)
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup blueberry juice or juice of choice

Make this in minutes and let your kids snack on these all day guilt-free. They're so healthy it's like eating a bowl of yogurt with a tiny splash of juice. I have used both vanilla yogurt and plain yogurt and West (pictured here) didn't notice the difference. When picking a juice, consider the color as that's the biggest role the juice plays here. These have been a hit in our house for months, and it's winter in California!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Try Chopped Brussel Sprouts

Chopped Brussel Sprouts

So I've come to notice that when I finely chop brussel sprouts, they are really, really good. Heat up some olive oil, put the chopped sprouts on top, mix it around, add a little salt, and voila! Watch the edges darken. These darkened areas are yummy but you don't want to over do it or it's more like burnt, finely chopped brussel sprouts. Chopped small they cook fast, but they do well on low heat if the rest of your meal isn't finished. Just don't over cook them at the start if you're going to need to keep them on low for a little bit. I'm always scooping up mouthfuls with a spoon while I'm cooking. They would be gone if I didn't hold myself back.

Side note: I just inserted this picture and I think that I need a new cutting board. It's a good visual of what wood looks like after something hot was placed on top.

Update: My mother-in-law informed me that I can sand down my cutting board add mineral oil and save myself the cost of a new cutting board.

Update: Why am I cooking with olive oil? Coconut oil is better to cook with because it oxidizes at a higher heat than olive oil. But olive oil at low heat isn't that bad. It isn't the best but it isn't the worst. It oxidizes more quickly than coconut oil but not as quickly as corn or sunflower oils. The oxidization happens depending on how high the heat is and how long it is being cooked. I normally cook these at non-boiling point for less than 5 min. I think it's 200 degrees Celsius or 392 degree Fahrenheit that it starts to let off toxic smoke. I just really like the taste of olive oil with vegetables.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Lunch Box Struggle

How do I reduce waste, have enough room for the right amount of food, decide on the number of compartments in a lunch box? It's maze.

We were very happy with PlanetBox until it never came back from school. In an attempt to not pay another $70 for another one, I went searching elsewhere for something cheaper. I found myself at LunchBots.

LunchBots is stainless steal and has compartments like PlanetBox. It's $20. I bought the three compartment one and the two compartment one. They're working great. Their small size takes up less room in the backpack. I think that I'll buy the four compartment one when it's back in stock on 11/18/13.

I do still miss the PlanetBox's hinged lid and there was something perfect about the compartment sizes. Sometimes I wonder if Nate is getting enough food with the LunchBot. He says he does.

Lunches! The amount of thought and energy I put into them, really can't be normal.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Our Latest Pet: Tobacco Moth

Tobacco Moth

I can't say that I'm too happy about keeping a caterpillar as a pet. It's sort of like a fish from the county fair. The kids must have it but then who has deal with cleaning the tank and feeding it. ME! So now, in addition to two fish (one from this summer's fair), we have a VERY BIG caterpillar. It's container got pretty smelly and I threatened to release it if someone didn't clean it out. It's clean and back on our eating table. It's interesting to watch him grow despite the extra animal to deal with (and I include my children in the count). Not sure what's going to happen when it turns into a huge moth. I guess I'll find out soon enough. I'm obviously not ready for a dog yet.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Magic Of Eating A Banana

My essay is the featured piece on Wild Violet Online Literary Magazine. No, I don't have a third child. Just remembering back when...Read it, pass it on, thanks for your support!!!

To follow my writing career, please visit my website and join my newsletter to get the latest updates.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Do You Use Cloth Napkins?

Cloth Napkins on Nails
We do! But I got tired of having a gazillon napkins on the table and not knowing who wiped their nose on which one, so I got organized! Now, we all have a napkin hanging on the wall right next to the table. When we need a napkin, instead of grabbing a new one from the drawer, we grab our napkin from the hook. Nate corrects me, "those aren't hooks; they're nails." Well yes that's true, but hooks would probably be better. 
West's Cup Has A Snail On It At School
I got this idea from watching how West's preschool handles cloth napkins and drinking cups. In the picture, West is showing us his snail. The snail is how he knows which water cup is his. When he gets thirsty during the day, he reuses the snail cup. Now if only I had a good set-up for cups; that would save some washing.
West's Picture of A Snail

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Whipped Cream Cone

Raw Milk - Whipped Cream on Gluten-Free Cone
with Chocolate Sprinkles

Fun for everyone! Ice cream really isn't so bad for you if you make it at home, but it does take some effort. So when I don't have homemade ice cream on hand, I make these whipped-cream cones. Everyone loves them and we've managed to stay away from all those random ingredients in store-bought ice cream for one more day.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My New Website Has Launched!

I'm so happy to announce my new author website. I've got my publications up there; plus, I'm holding writing workshops for young people and helping businesses with their writing needs. Spinach and Honey will focus on food while my personal journey as a writer will move to Subscribe to my newsletter to receive updates posted on as they'll be different than here. Thank you so much for being a reader. You inspire me!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Perils of Writing Memoir

I'm so excited to have a writing piece of mine published with Literary Mama this morning. Would love your support with my writing passion. Please read and share! 

What do you do when your family is hurt by what you’ve written? Thais Derich shares her experience in this guest post. - 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Speaking with Ina May Gaskin

credit: Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore

Today is my big interview with Ina May Gaskin. My intension is to stay present and centered and to provide her with a safe place filled with love and kindness so that she feels comfortable to share honestly with moms who have had a previous cesarean.

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Web Site Launches Fall 2013!

I'm either moving out of the small children stage or maybe I just found my passion, but things are shaking up for me.

I love writing and I love kids so I'm mixing the two and starting a Young Writer's Workshop next fall including a fun Start A Blog Workshop at the Mill Valley Community Center. Anyone can come even if you live outside of Mill Valley.

The Young Writer's Workshop starts September 11 @ 3:30, Ring Mountain School, Mill Valley, CA. Anyone can come to that too!

The Start A Blog Workshop is being scheduled right now. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates about new classes and times.


Also I'm updating my website at to describe all these fun things for our budding authors. Check it around the beginning of September or sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you an email when it launches! I can't wait!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Interview with Sara Lamm, Co-Director with Mary Wigmore of Birth Story

Sara Lamm filming Ina May Gaskin at the Farm
photo credit:

Thais Derich

On May 14, 2013, Thais Derich from the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) speaks with Sara Lamm about her recently released film Birth Story. The interview took place online with voice and video for ICAN members.

ICAN: How did you make a film with small children?

Sara Lamm: It was grueling to the degree that I’ve never experienced in my life. I’m answering this honestly because I feel like the question was asked very honestly. The key is to be working together. Because I have a directing partner who is also a mom. We understand each other and we give each other a lot of room. Like today I’m going to do twice the amount of work because tomorrow I’m going to the school play. The schedule is so much more flexible and it’s rooted in the fact that we have each other’s backs. That’s been a big part of it. Emails get sent at 9, 10, 11, 12 o’clock at night. I wouldn’t trade the experience.

ICAN: Can you comment on Ina May’s comment about her husband in your film? She said that his support freed her to be a fierce woman.

Sara Lamm: In the 70s, there was some issue at the Farm around marijuana and Steven (Ina May’s husband) said this is a community and if you’re going to arrest somebody, you’re going to arrest me. Steven went off to jail and Ina May really stepped in and did a lot of leading at that period of time. That’s a really interesting chapter of her growth as a leader. We weren’t able to include that in the film. But when I asked him about it he said it’s like stepping out of the way of a moving bus.  There’s no choice. They all worked really hard to create a culture that respected women, respected women’s bodies, and acknowledged women’s power. At the time, maybe he would talk about the Divine feminine and honoring that in men and in women. It really informed the whole way that they structured their society. The midwives were a treasured, treasured part of their community, as I would hope that they would be in all communities.

ICAN: Were there vaginal births after a cesarean (VBAC) on the Farm?

Sara Lamm: People across the country have different access to VBAC. Even in places where there are practitioners who are willing to do them, a woman has to know what she’s asking for or she’s likely to be discourage from even trying. We only filmed two births at the Farm but we got to meet a lot of pre and post partum clients.  We filmed a prenatal visit and she was having a VBAC and then visited her after her birth. She had a really powerful experience. I know that they definitely do VBACs at the farm. They’re careful with the way that they do VBACs. They trust the body. They trust woman’s ability to birth. They don’t start from a negative place. They start from a positive place. You can do this and we’re going to make sure that we take care of you and keep you safe.

ICAN: I was wondering if you could talk about the choice to include a breech birth in the film?

Sara Lamm: My directing partner, Mary, would have a lot to say about that because she had scheduled cesarean breech for her first baby. The shame is that there is not often a choice presented. And it’s quite difficult now a days to find practitioners who have breech skills. Our motivation in showing it was to support the movement that’s out there that’s saying let’s not lose these skills. Ina May was just at a breech conference. As soon as you start saying that a breech is automatically a C-section than the C-section rate goes up automatically. Then you’re saying VBACs aren’t allowed and now we’re at a 33% C-section rate. Ina May points to the shift in breech culture as contributing to the increase in the C-section rate. If we can show a breech birth, it can become a little more tangible. It starts to feel doable. The hope is that the breech scene opens the idea a little bit more. On a care provider level, if you’ve never seen anyone do it you’re going to feel a lot more afraid of it than if you do see someone perform a breech birth.

ICAN: Ricki Lake praised your film. Has she given you any advice or help with your film? What has that been like?

Sara Lamm: She has been really lovely. We had a party for Ina May at my house. We showed Ina May a rough cut of the film. We invited Ricki who we knew through our doula Ana Paula. We’ve been in touch with Abby Epstein the director of Business of Being Born. They’ve been so lovely. Talk about women who get the idea that we have to support women. Abby has tweeted about it and put stuff on facebook. They gave us that beautiful press quote. She’s come to see the film twice already. Ricki brought over a huge gorgeous bottle of pink champagne to my house to share with Ina May and that was really so touching. We saved it and drank it after the premiere of the movie. They really paved the way in helping to create media that really is reaching a lot, a lot of women. Almost everyone who gets pregnant seems to find their way to The Business of Being Born. Because of that film and the information covered in that film we were able to make a film, a different film.

ICAN: Your film doesn’t do that back and forth with statistics like Born in the USA. How would you respond to the critics?

Sara Lamm: We talked a lot about that in the edit room. We really felt like there’s a lot of that out there. It’s not the style of filmmaking that interests us and it’s not the style of filmmaking that we think ultimately connects with people’s hearts. We wanted to show the birth culture as we found it when we went to the Farm. So, we took our cameras and that’s what we saw. There wasn’t anyone showing up at the Farm saying that this is really not safe. We don’t believe in this. Or, here’s the statistics of why this isn’t a good idea. We didn’t find that. These women lived in comfort and in security knowing that what they do is the right thing for them and the women that they’re caring for. That particular conflict we would have had to manufacture. And, we didn’t want to. That didn’t feel authentic to what the experience is like in being there. That said, we make sure that the Farm outcomes are in our press kit and on our web site. We had to recognize that we think birth is totally normal but there is the rest of the world where people think it’s incredibility dangerous and needs a particular style of care, and so we had to open up the dialog around the film to help speak that.
The next speaker series event will be July 9, 2013 at 5pm Pacific with Ina May Gaskin. A registration link will be posted on the ICAN website on July 1st (

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Literary Mama Accepts My Writing Piece For Publication. Coming July 22!

So excited! Literary Mama, Winner of Writers Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers, has accepted a writing piece of mine. It will be published July 22. Great website for moms out there and even better for those moms who write! Thank you Elizabeth Stark for helping me get it to publishing quality, thank you to my family for putting up with me writing about them, and thank you to Karna Converse, Literary Mama Blog Editor, for publishing my piece.

To follow my writing career, please go to and subscribe to my newsletter for the latest posts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Listening to Mothers Survey III

Dawn Thompson, Cristen Pascucci, and Rebecca Dekker analyse the results from the Listening to Mother's Survey III. Information from Improving Birth:

"Most women (two-thirds) thought it was best to wait for labor to begin on its own if the pregnancy was healthy, but almost eight out of ten women (79%) also incorrectly identified “early term” or “pre-term” weeks of pregnancy as “safe” for delivery. The timing these women most identified is associated with increased risks of harm for babies."

This is why March of Dimes is highly active in preventing unnecessary cesareans. Induction is the beginning of a cascade of interventions that can lead to a cesarean and premature delivery.

Two-thirds (67%) of all mothers agreed with the statement “if a pregnancy is healthy it is best to wait for labor to begin on its own rather than inducing it or scheduling a cesarean.” But a substantial number of the 40% of women who said that their care providers tried to induce their labors were induced for non-medical reasons. Some non-medically indicated reasons cited were things like convenience, reaching the estimated “due date,” wanting to end the pregnancy, and the care provider suspecting a “big baby.”

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Speaker Series with Sara Lamm, Director of Birth Story

The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) is excited to announce the kickoff of its Speaker Series.  Please join me as I interview Sara Lamm, Director (with Mary Wigmore) and co-producer of Birth Story on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. 

Birth Story has been screened in over 200 locations worldwide including several locations hosted by local ICAN chapters. Birth Story is a documentary that examines Ina May 

Gaskin and her work as a midwife on The Farm.

The speaker series is FREE for members. Membership is $30 a year. The
cost for non-members is $20 per event.  To support ICAN's mission by
becoming a member, visit our homepage at  To register
for the event go to

The vision of ICAN is to make the Speaker Series a monthly event.
Our host will be examining current issues around maternity care in a
fresh thought-provoking format by interviewing a variety of childbirth
experts. We will post a recording of this event on the ICAN website. The next event is scheduled for July 2013.

Sara Lamm is a Los Angeles-based writer, director, and performer whose
documentary film, DR. BRONNER’S MAGIC SOAPBOX was released
theatrically in 2007 and had its television premiere on The Sundance
Channel. Her work has also appeared at MASS-MOCA, The American
Visionary Art Museum, on Public Radio, and in performance venues
throughout New York City. In 2010, she was one of 25 emerging artists
recognized by AOL’s 25 for 25 grant. For five years she produced and
performed in Dog & Pony, a live NYC variety show featuring sketch
comedy and multi-media performance. She has two children, birthed with
the help of an extraordinary midwife.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Day With Joyce Maynard

Joyce Maynard and Thais Derich

I couldn’t remember if food was provided, so I packed an almond butter sandwich just in case. And then, I headed out on the curvy, redwood trimmed road up to Joyce’s house.  I parked where she recommended since there'd be a fire drill on her street that day. The dirt lot was many houses down the hill from her house. I saw cars pull up and stop around the same time. It was early Saturday morning so I presumed that they had come for the same workshop. But instead of waiting, asking to be sure, and awkwardly striking up sleepy conversation, I walked alone up the shaded road.

Joyce wore a homey 1950s style dress with flowers and a Latin American apron. The patterns clashed but mingled together well like old and new friends. I saw her drying her hands with a dishtowel before opening the door.

We shook hands and smiled.

The bright kitchen windows had an unobstructed close-up view of the top of Mount Tamalpais. The smell of homemade poppy seed cake, coffee, onion quiche, and watermelon danced around the old house. One workshop writer washed dishes and confessed that she was addicted to Joyce's workshops.

When I left her house just before nine o’clock that night, we hugged, maybe twice. I walked back to my car in the company of four other women. Buzzed on chocolates and not too much wine, we talked quietly and excitedly about the day, promised to keep in touch, and work on our stories. I dug deep in my purse for my keys and my hand pressed up against my squashed, uneaten sandwich.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Once a Cesarean Always a Not-By-Choice Cesarean

Make some noise before cesareans are the norm and VBACs disappear altogether.

Want to take action? Link to this article on your blog or Facebook page. Find out if any of your local hospitals has a VBAC ban and if it does, push it to reverse its ban.  Pressure your doctor or midwife to speak up for VBAC and for lowering the primary cesarean rate. Click on this link for ways to start making your views known to your elected officials. Or get involved with your local ICAN chapter or other birth advocacy group.

Read full article at:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cesarean Awareness Month

It’s Cesarean Awareness Month. Check out this interview with ICAN’s president:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reading Our Writing in Berkeley

Thais Derich

Something about going to Berkeley made this really fun and comfortable. it wasn't at all odd to read from our books at the bustling Saturn Cafe in Berkeley. Another wonderful event put on by Elizabeth Stark and Angie Powers founders of the Book Writing World.

Elizabeth Stark

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Lisa Epsteen Story: Is Medical Inaction a Crime?

Lisa Epsteen’s baby boy was born healthy via cesarean section days after her doctor threatened to drag her to the hospital in handcuffs and put her four other children in child protective custody.

Ms. Epsteen knew the risks of delaying her cesarean and she made a choice to have her cesarean on a different day than what her doctor wanted. She weighed her doctor’s advice and also her own opinion. But Dr. Jerry Yankowitz, didn’t like her decision and tried to convince her otherwise in an email with threats of police and taking away her children.
"I am deeply concerned that you are contributing to a very high probability that your fetus will die or your child will incur brain damage if born alive. At this time, you must come in for delivery," Yankowitz wrote. "I would hate to move to the most extreme option, which is having law enforcement pick you up at your home and bring you in, but you are leaving the providers of USF/TGH no choice," he continued.
The doctor apologized after Ms. Epsteen contacted a lawyer from the New York-based National Advocates for Pregnant Women who demanded that Dr. Yankowitz "stop immediately any further threats or actions against Ms. Epsteen."
"Pregnant women are no different than anybody else in terms of their constitutional and human rights," staff attorney Farah Diaz-Tello said. "The threat he was making was both legally and ethically unjustifiable."
With cesarean rates in the United States soaring past what is recommend by the World Health Organization, how can mothers decipher what is truly emergent and what is coercion?

When, if ever, should inaction be criminalized? Are we, as a society, prepared to drag women into hospitals, strap them to operating tables and force them into surgery?

The autonomy that a woman expects when deciding about medical care that affects only her seems to blur when she is acting against medical advice and a child or dependent is involved. It is in these situations that opinions clash.

Lisa Epsteen was allowing the normal course of events to happen. In the end, she chose medical care. Let’s not forget that asking for medical care is a choice. If she had not chosen to have a cesarean at all, would that make her a criminal?

Just as some teens find themselves in a legal battle with their hospitals after refusing chemotherapy, pregnant women who don’t take their doctors’ advice find themselves on shaky ground. I wish the Lisa Epsteen story was a rare case but doctors pull the “your baby is in danger” card a lot. All they have to do is tell a mother that her baby is in danger and most of the time, she’ll do anything they say, even without informed consent.

In 2006, I gave birth via cesarean section to my first son. It was offered to me after three hours of pushing. My doctor didn’t even have to go as far as to tell me that my baby was in danger. She even told me that my baby was fine, that I was fine. I had a cesarean because “it was time; time to get this baby out.” When I asked at my post-natal appointment how I could have avoided my cesarean, my health care provider said that I could have pushed longer. My cesarean was not an emergency nor was it medically necessary. It was just time.

How can women trust their doctors and hospitals when more and more stories like Lisa Epsteen’s are making the news?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG National) committee on ethics published an opinion paper in November of 2005 saying that
“Recent legal actions and policies aimed at protecting the fetus as an entity separate from the woman have challenged the rights of pregnant women to make decisions about medical interventions…”
ACOG goes on to say that “Efforts to use the legal system to protect the fetus by constraining pregnant women's decision making or punishing them erode a woman's basic rights to privacy and bodily integrity and are not justified.”
If we can be put in jail for inaction, how can we find the confidence to seek medical advice if we fear punishment for disagreeing and doing something different? Death is scary, “frightening,” but jailing people or forcing them onto the operating table because they choose to allow nature to take its course is a slippery slope. Do we have the final say about our bodies or does the government? Is refusing medical intervention a crime?

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