Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I've MOVED...

to www.shesuggests.com
Visit now! Visit often!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

CrockPot Pea Soup

Finally pulled the (circa 1972) Crock Pot out of storage and made some pea soup. Start with about 16oz of dried peas, rinsed and sorted...

Brown some sausage (8oz?16oz? up to you) Chop up 1 onion, 2 ribs of celery, 3 carrots...
Add about 30oz of broth, a bay leaf (and your favorite soup fixins-pepper, chili flakes, etc) and cook on low for many many hours. My recipe said 4 to5, but it was really more like nine!
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Monday, May 3, 2010

Everybody Poops

READ THIS: the following post contains WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION. You have been warned.

Before I had a child I wondered, would I be a good (enough) mom? I had never bathed a child, dressed a child, or more importantly ever changed a diaper. I am, shall we say, squeamish? Whenever a not-so-sweet odor would begin to emanate from my otherwise sweet cousins, I would hand the child back to my aunt, smile politely and back away slowly making excuses to the tune of "Oh pardon me, I have to go feed my nonexistent fish, wash my hair and be on time for my root canal, buh-bye."

While pregnant (read: about to change a diaper whether I was ready to or not... and soon, very soon!) I confessed my fears to everyone who would listen. Everyone reassured me that once it was my own child it would be different. That I would bravely step up to the plate and look fear in the face, (or the derrière). And I believed them, even though all evidence pointed to the contrary. Compelling evidence. Such as running away when I went to the bathroom and summoning my husband in the horrific event that the toilet was clogged. But I believed everyone...

Well guess what? Everyone LIED.

Obviously not changing baby's diaper is not an option once said baby is here, and poopy, and hollerin, so you do what you have to do. But diapers are one thing and now that I am a parent I know there is an even scarier thing than changing a diaper. What is it you wonder? Well let's just say that up until now I had been spared and my cooperative and sensible child had not committed this oh foul of foulest atrocities.

But last night we were taking a bath (oh yeah I warned you!) and I said to hubby "oh cute she made bubbles" translation- farted in the bath. He didn't miss a beat and responded "you better hope that's all she did." At first I didn't understand. I naively looked at him and thought to myself "what else could she have done?' But I did not remain naive for long because my darling girl, looked up at me, grinned and pooped in the bathtub! At first I froze then I took control of myself, yelled at husband to get off the floor where he was rolling around and laughing his a$$ off to take the bewildered baby and proceeded to get the hell out of there..and into the shower for the rest of the night (or exactly two and a half minutes because of course once bathed, baby must be fed.)

Okay seriously folks this parenting thing is not for the faint of heart.

Because I'm sure you don't actually want me to post a photo of any of this, please enjoy a freshly bathed and non poopy baby picture.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Polenta, Salmon and Shrimp...the new holy trinity?

So my dad is a cookin' genius, he looked in my fridge and whipped this baby up in like half an hour! That's the good news. The bad news is the man never ever uses recipes and is terrible at giving instructions to us mere mortals who dare attempt recreating his culinary creations. So I can try to tell you all how to make this tasty trio, but I can't guarantee any kind of quality control, sorry.

Okay so here goes, the salmon was baked with a simple salt, pepper rub and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

The shrimp was pan fried and served with a sauce which I can only assume is part ketchup part garlic, part pepper, and all delicious.
Finally the Polenta (the organic Polenta that comes in a tube at your local Trader Joes) was also pan fried, served with feta cheese and sprinkled with dill.

Wish he could make my dinner every day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Peek a Boo

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Authentically Speaking...

I have a game that I like to play, (and all you wanna-be-Freud's can chime in if you like.) I like to pretend to go back in time and re-write my life. I take this game very seriously and carefully craft each aspect of my new life..my job, my place of residence, my fabulous new-found sense of style, etc., avoiding all of the 'mistakes' that I made the first time around.

Except something I began to realize in the last few years of playing is not everything in my life needs to be re-written, some things are pretty gosh darn great and I wouldn't' want to change them one bit. My husband for example? Truly, hands down the best husband in the universe, (and yes five seconds after I write this he will invariably do something to land on my shit list but so it goes...) And my brand new baby? She is amazing, wouldn't give any part of my mommy life for anything (poopy diapers and 3am feedings included)!

And there in lies the dilemma because as all of you know if you change one tiny thing your whole life could turn out completely different (as demonstrated in that creepy Butterfly Effect movie)

So something that occurred to me at 3 in the morning today (don't blame the baby she was sleeping like an angel) why oh why am I spending all of this time obsessing over a life that isn't (and never will be unless I invent a time machine) when I could pour all of that energy into authentically living the life I have (and kinda love most of the time)?

So that's it folks I am making a New Life Resolution (it's like a New Year's resolution but grander and more fancy sounding) I resolve to life my life and tell the tale! So what if I have an MBA but no career, or any prospect of a career per se? So what if it's going to take me the length of three pregnancies to lose this pregnancy weight? So what if my dog will never be trained enough to walk properly on a leash (or my husband be trained enough to put his dirty clothes in the hamper!)? And so what if people think I'm a little ridiculous? I kind of am! And I kind of like it that way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Day in the Life...

As a parent of a six week old.

ie if you think having a baby is all cuddles and coos, do not proceed...

I thought it might be "fun" to see what life is really like with a baby. So I'm picking a random day (Wed April 7th) to keep track of all that goes on- the good, the bad, and the very smelly. I'm planning on repeating this at different ages and stages of Aliza's life to see if my job gets any easier or harder. Any bets?

The short version-

soiled diaper units-15
nursing units dispensed-13
coffee units consumed-0 mg
time spent day-dreaming about consuming coffee units- approximately 2 3/4 hours

The long version-

12:00am (yes your days officially start at 12am now that you are a parent) Aliza, who sleeps right next to me for now, is awake! Hubby changes her while I get ready to nurse. Poor guy wouldn't even have had to wake up but darn puppy needs to be let out to go potty too (it's like they're conspiring against us)! I nurse le bebe while Hubby starts a load of diapers.

3:01am Change & nurse.

4:45am Change & nurse.

7:09am Wake up (for real this time) Hubby changes le bebe, I nurse her (yay for division of labor!). She then sleeps on Hubby (at this stage she only sleeps on one of us or in her stroller ONLY while it's moving) and in the meantime I make breakfast.

8:20am Just to see if she'll sleep I put her in her (barely ever used) crib, she wakes up within minutes quite angry! I nurse her for a bit, she proceeds to throw up most of it. I change her diaper and rush to get dressed and leave the house.

9:01am Arrive at Stroller Strides for an hour workout while baby (mercifully) sleeps.

9:58am Back home,I manage to shower in under three minutes, change the baby, nurse her, pack my lunch and snacks for the day.

10:51am On the road again to a "playdate" (I use the term playdate loosely since Aliza is obviously too young to care about any babies that may be playing in the vicinity)
4 diaper changes, 3 feedings while on playdate with awesome mommies!

3:51pm On the way home I pick up puppy from daycare (yes we send our dog to daycare whenever we can it results in one tired puppy and one happy mommy)

4:25 pm Change diaper, nurse, change diaper, nurse (this kid sure can eat!)

5:14pm Put in her bouncy seat and she actually stays calm! Manage to unload dishwasher & reload it, tidy up in kitchen for a bit!

5:35pm Her calmness doesn't last long so I stick her in the Ergo and bounce on the exercise ball until she falls asleep. With arms free I dump photos from the playdate and begin editing.

6:00pm Diaper change, & nurse.

6:15pm Hubby is home!!! Do a happy dance.

6:25pm Hubby changes a diaper (because let's face it he's been dying to all day) while I hang out at the computer then we switch off and I hold her and continue to edit photos while he makes dinner.

7:10pm I put her in the bouncy and she hangs out while we both attempt to scarf down our dinner...peace doesn't last long and he goes off to change her diaper again.

7:45pm I put her in the Ergo and bounce on the exercise ball until she is asleep! It is glorious! I finish editing all of the photos, catch up on emails and watch the cast of Glee perform on Oprah, cannot wait for that show to resume. Hubby finally has time to shower! He tell me he thinks he hasn't showered all week...umm good thing we're not in the same bed for now!

8:45pm I nurse her again and we all go to bed...until the cycle starts over in just a few short hours.

Goodnight moon!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Challah French Toast

How have I gone this long in life without trying this? Soooo good!
To make some at home (once Passover is over) take four large eggs, 1 cup of milk, dash of salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar, some vanilla extract and cinnamon (if you like that kind of thing)
Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup or whatever else floats your French toast boat!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On my own

All of my helpers have officially left the premises as of Monday 3/21/10 4pm. (That's hubby the first two weeks, my mother in law week three and my mom week four)

Now it's just me, puppy, baby and the judgmental conga line in my head...

Status report day one- everyone has survived without any permanent damage, despite no internet, no TV and no electricity during lunch. Let's see how this brand new momma fares during the rest of the week.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Five things I thought before I became a parent

Before I became a parent I said some silly, silly things...here are some of them in no particular order:

On baby necessities-
Then: Who needs a glider rocker? I mean what a waste of money on a butt-ugly-doesn't match-anything-you-own piece of furniture.
Now: Dear, wonderful, (lent by my neighbor) rocker, I love you, please don't ever break, I don't know how I would nurse without you.

More on baby necessities..is it necessary to have all of these necessities?
Then: Diaper wipes warmer? I mean seriously? This baby is in need of her butt wiped by warm wipes instead of regular ones?
Now: Umm can we warm the changing pad we put her on? (Anything to stop the screaming.)

On balancing the needs of a dog and a baby-
Then: (commenting on suggestions on how to prepare your dog for the arrival of a new baby) Having a screaming toy baby to prepare your dog seems a little excessive, I'm sure our furry baby will adjust to a human baby just fine!
Now: Why is our dog hiding under the kitchen table refusing to come out? Why is our dog running into the walls on purpose? Uh-oh.

On parenting-
Then: All I'm going to do for the first six weeks is feed the baby booby, I'm sure my husband can do the rest.
Now: Cue obnoxious laugh track. Delusional mommy to be, what were you thinking?

On my appearance-
Then: I won't worry about losing the pregnancy weight until at least six weeks postpartum, I mean they don't even clear you for exercise until then right?
Now: Must break every mirror in house. Must not wear clothes...just get a muumuu for now and all will be fine.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Developmental milestones....

A: dude I'm three weeks old? Did you expect me to walk and talk by now?

Aliza is three weeks old now and there are no significant incidents to report...and no news is good news right? And while it would be nice if she would learn to change her own diaper (or at least stop screaming until she turns purple while we change it for her) overall life with a brand new baby is pretty swell. We did not put our baby "on a schedule" but she seems to have one of her own, at least for now. And I could report that she only wakes twice at night and lets us sleep for three or four hour stretches at a time but I don't want the other mothers to stone me. Other than that we poop and such, eat and such and fuss and such. She is super duper close to smiling at us, for now she smiles absentmindedly during feedings and sometimes right before she starts to wail! I can also report that she has more control over her eyes and responds to sounds as well, this is both good and bad news as every little noise can wake her up. My favorite newborn reflex is the "stick em up" hands that she exhibits every time she is startled, like a little bandit, pretty hilarious.

Cloth diaper report- we are using two dozen infant Chinese pre-folds (from Nicki's Diapers), five x-small Thirsties covers (three from Nickis and two bought in a panic when we realized three just wasn't enough from Sew Crafty Baby- an awesome mommy run store with free shipping!) We are washing them on a Whirlpool front loading HE machine and are using the "whitest white setting (which includes an extra rinse) with BioKleen detergent...everything is going pretty well in this department, once you get the hang of it cloth diapering is easy and baby seems pretty content, everyone should try it, it's not that hard!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Two Weeks Old

I still can't believe we made one of these littly itty bitty beings from scratch, from scratch people!

Aliza is two weeks old today and to celebrate we took some newborn photos of her with this talented lady, Eden Thome. Eden was so patient with us as the session took just a little longer than expected...okay so our booger cried for three hours before settling down enough to allow us to take photos of her and Eden just smiled through it all and reminded mommy to be patient.

The best part was that Eden was able to capture this smile from her, now to be fair she is not smiling consciously yet but still, how cool is that? Right before this photo was taken I asked my sweet little daughter to grace us with her first smile. Her response? A loud fart/poop! And about two seconds later this happy with herself little grin! Yup, nothing wrong with her sense of comedic timing.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to make Gangsta rap child friendly

Our little bundle requires lots of entertaining input to maintain an appropriate happiness output, so I find myself singing to her a lot (and wishing I had taken those singing lessons when I had the time.) And while I can Doo-wop and I can Disney, I absolutely draw the line at Barney, which is what I almost caught myself singing to her the other day...you know the one "I love you, you love me"...ugh. I think our young one would benefit more from Mommy's old school Gangsta rap favorites than Barney! But making Tupac and Ice Cube child friendly can be a challenge. Here's my take on the chorus to Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice:

"Rollin' down the street in my stroller
Sippin' on booby juice
Laid back, with my mind on my mommy and my mommy on mind"

What do you think? Would Barney rap that?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

And on the seventh day...

We rested! Finally!

Today's is Aliza's seventh day and since she so thoughtfully gave us the gift of sleep we shall return the favor and give her the gift of recording random ramblings that will embarrass her one day in the all-too-near future.

As told from Aliza's perspective (we have almost a Betazoid-like telepathy with our child and can therefore interpret her thoughts and desires)

Day One (Friday, February 19th, 2010)
Birth! Pretty exciting stuff. Mommy seemed upset that the doctors were cutting me out of her so I decided to poop on them as a form of revenge. When that didn't seem to do much to cheer her spirits I peed on the floor (all while my head hadn't been born yet) and that really did the trick, Mommy found that hilarious! Afterwards I went to the yucky nursery with Daddy, the mean mean nurses didn't let me see Mommy for three whole hours, I rewarded them by being the loudest baby there! The rest of the day was pretty uneventful and I got to eat some booby and chill with my new parents, they seem ok so far, only a tad neurotic.

Day Two (Saturday, February 20th, 2010)
I'm kicking butt and taking names...so far the names are Mommy and Daddy...you two didn't think I was going to let you sleep did you?

Day Three (Sunday, February, 21st, 2010)
I was pretty ready to get the heck out of this place and go home! We made it safe and sound despite the "blizzard" outside and I was greeted by all of my grandparents and my furry big sister Rory.

Day Five (Tuesday, February, 23rd, 2010)
Our first outing as a family- Mommy, Daddy, Rory and me! It was pretty great, even if it only lasted ten minutes.

Day Six (Wednesday, February 24th, 2010)
Back out into the world and off to my first doctor's appointment. It didn't seem too bad, especially since Mommy fed me booby the whole time, that Mommy she is pretty awesome.

It's not easy being green

aka more witticism from tired parents

As you all know we decided to cloth diaper. We figured since neither one of us has ever changed a diaper before we would have no bad habits to break. I would love to tell everyone that it's going great, but really I wouldn't know because I am absolutely terrified of changing her diaper, I have bargained with hubs that I will start changing her diaper as soon as her cord falls off and until then I will sit in the corner eating my elbows.

This is the conversation I overheard between hubs and Aliza yesterday as he was changing her diaper...

(We put her in a disposable diaper for our first visit to the pediatrician, we figured it would be a little easier and it was, so when we got home we changed back into cloth)

Hubs: Isn't this better than those nasty disposable diapers?
Hubs: (dismayed at her unenthusiastic response) Don't you feel green?
Aliza: (louder now) WAAAAAAAA
Hubs: No? You feel pissed off?
Aliza: (in agreement) WAAAAAAAA
Hubs: It's not easy being green!

And so maybe it isn't easy being green, but so far the diapers have had one blowout (our fault not diapers) the disposable which we have used a fraction of the time (mostly during the hospital daze) had two! They seem more absorbent and once we know what the heck we are doing just as easy to use as sposies. We may very well consider adding some all in ones to the mix once that dreaded cord falls off.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

our brand new life

Aliza Marie, just minutes old...

how sleep deprivation leads to mis-understandings/ some notes on our first days as parents

hubs: (in response to baby fussing) check her arms
me: they seem fine
hubs: no, her lower arms
me: um, you mean her legs?
hubs: oh yeah I forgot there's a name for those

hubs: what do you want for breakfast?
me: english muffin
hubs: butter? honey? (meaning the condiment)
me: butter, honey (meaning just butter, honey-term of endearment)
breakfast outcome questionable

me: I'm so glad you get to stay home with me, it's like a vacation, like a honeymoon!
hubs: yeah you are preoccupied with something the whole time and you don't get any sleep
me: (dreamy, doped up on baby love hormones) yeah...
hubs: (sarcastic, bleary eyed monster) yeah...

many more witty discussions to come

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blueberry Yogurt Cake

Another tried and true recipe from Smitten Kitchen....that I managed to somehow destroy!
The original recipe can be found here and I'm sure would have been just delicious if I left well enough alone...

Recipe & Revisions
what you need:
  • 1 1/2 cups & 1 tblsp all purpose flour, I have been using unbleached
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, but I'm sure regular salt is ok too!
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 cup & 1 tblsp sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons worth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, I know what you're thinking a Smitten Kitchen recipe without butter is almost an oxymoron
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed, our local Cosctco now has organic frozen blueberries! Scoop these up for the half the price of Trader Joes or Whole Paycheck!
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice. And here is where I think I made THE big mistake, I think I told the hubs to just squeeze all the juice out of the two lemons we used for zest because I figured I love lemon flavor so more juice can only add to that lemony goodness...umm no, this made the cake way too tart! So be warned don't go overboard no matter how much you think you like lemons.
what you do:
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2 inch loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease and flour the pan.
  • Sift 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl and in another whisk the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet.
  • In another bowl mix blueberries with the reserved tablespoon of flour and gently fold into the batter...I still don't quite know what "gently fold" means so I pour the blueberries and say "gently gently" as I mix the two together.
  • Pour the batter into your prepped pan and bake for fifty or more minutes until a toothpick placed in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  • And while that's a bakin'...threw the lemon juice and 1 tblsp sugar into a small pan and cook until sugar dissolves and mixture is clear...I think we really should have increased the amount of sugar we used, we tried to make it proportional to the extra lemon juice we used but clearly we failed.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then let cool on a cooling rack. While the cake is still warm, either poke holes in it with a toothpick or use a pastry brush to add the lemon sugar mixture to the cake, make sure there is something underneath the cake to catch the drippings! Cool and slice up to enjoy. Take outside, put it on a table and take pictures of it before the snow melts. Eat.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How to make a major decision (like which diapers to use)

I'm someone who needs to absorb as much information as I can get my hands on before I can make a decision. I also need to delay making the actual decision for as long humanly possible...commitment? yikes!

For example, as someone who didn't start college knowing exactly what I wanted to do (you pre-med crazies that practiced surgery on your dolls at the tender age of four know who you are) and I'm not they type to just dive in and take classes willy nilly (and yes, I still regret not taking tractor driving) I had to develop a systematic way of making this monumental decision(sarcasm implied). I looked through the entire college catalog and made a list of anything that sounded remotely interesting and still in the realm of possibility given my academic abilities (anything involving math? I think not.) Then I noted all the prerequisites my choices had in common and started in on those classes first. That way I could still change my mind before any major commitment had been made.

But I digress...now that I have a college edumacation (and even a masters) all of my knowledge and my finely honed decision making skills can be put to the test and I can make all kinds of important decisions...like what kind of diapers to use for little jellybean (who will be making her debut shortly.) Sarcasm about becoming a stay at home mom aside, choosing what kind of diapers to use is actually an important decision, both for economic reasons and environmental ones. Hubby and I knew we wanted to cloth diaper but I knew nothing about this mystical world when I started my research. Weeks of diligent research later I came across several websites that organized all of the information out there. Like this one, and groups like this one. Did you know there was several different cloth diapering systems? I didn't when I started.

A fabulous website that has helped me make sense of it all is Babyworks. They explain the plethora of choices as two basic systems- diapers that are used inside of a cover and diapers with a waterproof layer built in.

These can be subdivided further. There are three kinds of diapers that are used inside of a cover- prefold, fitted, and contour. These types of diapers are all different types of an absorbent layer that is then used inside of a waterproof cover. There are also different options for what to use as the waterproof cover. These vary by what kind of material the cover is made out of (synthetic, wool, etc) and how the cover is closed- velcro, snaps, or pull on.

Then there are two kinds of diapers with a waterproof layer built in- a pocket diaper and an "all in one." Pocket diapers are two piece units- with a waterproof outer layer that has a pocket in which the absorbent inner layer insert is placed. Finally, "all in ones" are diapers in which the absorbent inner layer and the waterproof outer layer are attached, so when you change the diaper you change the whole thing, just like a disposable!

Okay now how do you choose from all of these options? Some are more expensive than others, some are more labor intensive, some offer "cuter" design choices (like we care at 3am) and so on. This is what I am going to do. I am fortunate enough to have received a sample pack from a friend (that ultimately chose to go the disposable route, score for me) so now I have a sample of each type of diaper- prefold, fitted, contour, pocket, and all in one so I can play a little and see which baby likes best. And even though I just mocked the whole concept of design when it comes to diapers, I admit I'm a little bummed that this sample pack is all boyish colors. Please feel free to call me a hypocrite and throw things.

But in the meantime I still need a system (because the system of diapers then dictates the pail you get and the laundering system you use, no seriously there's so many choices!) and I am going to choose....prefolds (these kinds) with covers (this kind.)

Think that's all there is to it? Then you haven't been paying attention. I still need to figure out how I'm going to store all of the dirty diapers, how I'm going to keep these puppies so fresh and so clean clean, and whether I am going to use disposable wipes or cloth ones. There are even choices within choices- make your own wipe solution? Use a wipe warmer? Use natural detergent for laundering? Dry them on a clothes line? The list goes on and on.

As I embark on this adventure I plan to share my trials and tribulations with you readers (aka mom) and hopefully help to simplify the process for someone out there considering cloth diapering.