Our Vegan Life

Food, Family, and Fun

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

The Cat in the Hat Goes Vegan

Ok so maybe the Cat in the Hat isn’t really vegan…He is a cat after all. And Dr. Suess’ characters weren’t exactly known for their veganism. I seem to recall a “roast beast” mentioned in The Grinch That Stole Christmas…but in our household you are far more likely to see roast beets than roast beast. However, one of our son’s favorite characters is the Cat in the Hat, who he calls “Go-Go” (from the theme song of PBS’s “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That”), so when planning his 2nd birthday party, our minds almost immediately went to Dr. Suess (Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar was a close 2nd, because he also loves caterpillars and butterflies). With 2012 marking the 75th anniversary of the publication of Dr. Suess’ first children’s book, fortunately there were plenty of ideas floating around on the internet (especially Pinterest).

Here are some photos and ideas to share from our son’s Dr. Suess themed 2nd birthday party…

GAMES

Shannon’s mom, “Nana,” is an artist, so we requested her artistic skills in preparing for one of the games, Pin the Hat on the Cat. Nana drew the Cat and the cut-out hats. We added some poster putty to the backs and voila…a homemade game was made! Blindfolds were optional, much based on age, but everyone got a dizzy spin around.

Our son and his friend playing “Pin the Hat on the Cat.”

We found a link with a pdf file of this next game, “1 fish 2 fish” online, so we printed it out, put clear contact paper on it, and Shannon had already made homemade goldfish crackers for the party (with the help of a crafty friend who made the goldfish shaped cracker cutter). There are 6 goldfish bowls numbered 1-6 on each page. Each child counts out the number of crackers indicated on the bowl and places them “in” the bowl. The children at our party ranged from ages 2-6, so this was a bit of an advanced learning game for some, easy for others, and just right for those in the middle. In the end everyone won, because they got to eat the goldfish crackers! Also, each child got to keep her or his game page and a bag of goldfish crackers to take home.

Our daughter taking her turn playing 1 fish 2 fish with homemade vegan goldfish crackers.

FOOD

On the food table, we included a copy of the Dr. Suess book “Happy Birthday to You!” for guests to write a note for the birthday boy. Also on the food table were Hat Pizzas, 1 Fish 2 Fish Crackers, Strawberry Banana Fruit Hat Kabobs, and of course cake…lots and lots of cake.

The food table

Hat Pizzas: dough + sauce + Yves brand vegan pepperoni cut in half + Daiya brand mozzarella shreds

Strawberry Banana Hat Kabobs

1 fish 2 fish, red fish blue fish: homemade vegan goldfish crackers (Shannon tried to color some red and some blue, but they turned out more blue green and salmon colored – LOL!)

a sample plate of the food

Chad’s mom is an amazing baker! She actually runs a business out of her home, baking cakes and cupcakes for people in her community. So it’s pretty much a given that Grandma will be making the cakes for birthdays in our house, and we have never been disappointed. Her cakes are not only delicious, but their super cute! For our son’s birthday, she made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese (Tofutti brand vegan cream cheese) icing.

Birthday cake and cupcakes!

The decorations were made by placing 2 Dr. Suess character foam stickers back to back around a toothpick, and Shannon found the Cat in the Hat cake topper with candles online (but couldn’t find it again to include the link…sorry).

The birthday cake!

PARTY FAVORS

Shannon is by no means a sewer. She openly admits that her sewing skills typically end at sewing on buttons. But when she saw this idea for a library book bag, she just had to try it, and despite a few thread tangling mishaps, she was pretty proud of the end result. It was made by cutting out the hat shape in red and white strips of felt, and then loop stitching it onto a canvas tote bag. Then with a fabric marker, she hand wrote the Dr. Suess quote, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Since Dr. Suess was a children’s author, what better party favor than a library book bag for the children to take with them and fill with books a their local library! We also filled the bag with some fun Dr. Suess inspired items: a Dr. Suess character coloring/activity pad, crayons, Dr. Suess character foam finger puppets, and Cat in the Hat bookmarks.

Party favors: Dr. Suess/Cat in the Hat library tote bag filled with goodies

OTHER FUN ITEMS

We think those t-shirts with the sewn on ties are super cute, so when gathering items for the big day, Shannon started looking for a Cat in the Hat tie t-shirt. Lo and behold, she found one at an etsy shop. The super cute Cat in the Hat tie shirt that our son is wearing in the pictures below was purchased at Bella’s Sweet Boutique. (We’ve ordered other items from her since then, and she’s always been super helpful and accommodating. She even made a special order for us as a gift for someone.)

Birthday boy!

A Dr. Suess birthday party wouldn’t be complete without a Hat. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of our birthday boy with it on, but here’s one of Chad wearing the big red and white striped hat.

Chad sporting the Cat’s Hat with our little girl

MORE HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEMORIES…

Shannon helping the birthday boy blow out his birthday candles. He ended up blowing out one and she blew out one.

The birthday boy eating his cupcake with big sister showing the Cat in the Hat cake topper.

Is Breastmilk Vegan?

Today marks the end of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), a time to bring awareness to breastfeeding throughout the world. And so with breastfeeding on the mind, this seemed like a good time to address a question I have been asked on more than one occasion: “Is breastmilk vegan?”

This question may have crossed your mind, too, or perhaps this seems like an obvious answer. In actuality, the answer is a little more complicated than a “yes” or “no.”

The simplest answer, and the answer that probably most vegans would agree upon is an overwhelming, “Yes!” However, there are other, more strict vegans, who might answer that breastmilk is only vegan if the lactating mother follows a vegan diet. Both answers are actually right, and regardless of which answer one might lean toward, I think both parties would overwhelmingly agree that “Breast is best!

But I think what most people are really getting at when they ask, “Is breastmilk vegan?” is a confusion about the abstinence of the consumption of dairy products by vegans. There is an assumption that if vegans do not consume “milk” then we must be opposed to the milk of any lactating mother, animal or human. And so let me clear up this misunderstanding….

Cow milk is actually vegan, even by the most strict vegan standards…when it is consumed as nature intended. That is, cows are by nature herbivores. They are vegan. And cow milk is actually breastmilk, which nature intended to feed to baby cows. Udders are called udders to make humans feel more comfortable drinking the breastmilk of another species. Really, udders are just multiple nipples, and what comes out of them is breastmilk…breastmilk intended for the cow’s baby, not for humans. (The same goes for goats or any other animal whose milk humans may choose to consume.) And that is why vegans don’t drink the milk of another species. It’s not intended for us. (Well, that is part 1 of why vegans don’t drink the milk of another species. Part 2 is another conversation.)

In fact, humans are actually the only species that consume another species’ breastmilk. So the next time you see a mother breastfeeding her child and you (or someone around you) comments (or thinks) that it’s somehow “gross” or “weird” (or insert other derogatory comment), look at that glass of milk in your hand or that carton of milk in your refrigerator, and remember this image…..

And so to finally answer the question…Yes, breastmilk is vegan…but only for the species for whom that milk was intended.

a mother cow breastfeeding her baby

Me breastfeeding (and babywearing) my sleepy 2 year old son in the dairy aisle of the grocery store.

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