Monday, December 24, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like ....a mess

It's baby's first Christmas and I wanted to delve into tradition. I was ready to incorporate Christmas-y goodness, things that my daughter will do with her children one day. One of these traditions was baking and leaving milk and cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve. I usually make a wide array of Christmas cookies and wrap them up nice to give to family members.
But as you know it's tough to make Ramen noodles with a baby, let alone bake a batch of cookies. I bought cookie mix (i know.. but it said "homemade cookies" on the bag...) and had nearly forgotten about them.
The other day my cousin called and said she wanted to bake brownies.  I remembered the cookie mix and we decided to bust that out as well.
Seeing as she is nearly 6 months pregnant and I have a 4 1/2 month old... well... let's just say our brain cells aren't necessarily functioning in their highest capacity right now...

I should have known by the way we started out... I put the brownie mix in a 9x13 pan.
Me: Uhm... are you sure this isn't supposed to go in a smaller pan?
Cousin: Oh, oops, I guess it is ..but trust me i've done this before, they'll just be super thin.

On to the cookies...
I read the directions for the cookie mix and it calls for a stick of butter and an egg. Mix together. Idiot proof right?
We wanted to cut the cookies into cute little shapes though but the batter was so sticky. I look at the bag again and it says:

"If you want to make cookies into shapes, use 1/3 less butter and add a tablespoon of flour."

Oops again... but we'll just add two tablespoons of flour and it'll be alright. It was still such a terribly sticky mess... So we add a few more tablespoons of flour..

adding flour...

Then we had a brilliant idea! Why don't we make it into one big cookie and then we'll cut the shapes out after!!!
yep. this happened.

Needless to say they didn't turn out, and tasted strangely like flour. My cousin texted me after this debacle and said: "I'm baking some homemade cookies and bringing them over so that your husband doesn't think any of this was my fault."

Sorry Santa......

Merry Christmas to all,

and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

To birth a child

A fellow mom once told me "there are different shades of green." Meaning, my green lifestyle can mean buying organic green lettuce, while you're in your backyard making deodorant from dirt and your unshaven leg hair.
There will always be extremists, but the issue that's been weighing on me is the judgment that is cast on women about their birthing choices.
So many times do I hear that hospitals are evil, homebirths are the way to go, doctors are the devil, and you should eat your own placenta (seriously).
And there are women who feel guilty, read that again feel GUILTY, for having birthed their first child in a hospital, and then experiencing the holy grail of childbirth at home with no medication and whatever else.
Or worse yet, make other women feel guilty.
I have many problems with this: first off, no woman should ever feel guilty about birthing a child, a healthy one at that, ever, in any scenario.
I'm a nurse, so I may be biased about the whole home birthing thing because I know just about every single thing that can go wrong, however I did play with the idea of getting a midwife/doula, having a non-medicated birth, etc.
But the thing that I really want to stress to all you mama's is that you have choices.
The reason I decided to really address this is because I read a lot of blogs, and I read a lot of b.s. on these blogs. And the one that really got to me is a post I read the other day where a pretty popular blogger said " ...and so I told my friend that she didn't have to be induced and that I'd walk with her tomorrow, and to just tell her doctor NO."

Sighghgh... where do I start with that? I was overdue with baby. (and just for the record, I walked my happy ass around my neighborhood every single day, on our most record-breaking summer with 103 degree heat...and still nothing..not even a measly contraction) She came 10 days late, a product of cervidil, pitocin, an epidural, and a vacuum. ...go ahead, gasp... I'll give you a minute to compose yourself...

Back? ok. Moving on. And here's the thing.. I had the most AMAZING, peaceful, wonderful, beautiful birth experience, and I certainly don't feel like I missed out on anything. And my baby didn't come out in a drugged up stupor. And she nursed like a champ right away. And later she developed jaundice (potentially because of the vacuum). But she was fine, and healthy, and beautiful and people were commenting about how alert she was.

BUT. I knew my choices. I knew that my doctor doesn't let you go over 42 weeks. So I knew I was getting induced. I did my research about cytotec vs cervidil and when I asked my doctor which one he was going to use he told me that most prefer cytotec because it works better. I told him that cytotec was not FDA approved - and his open jawed blank look confirmed this - and he said fine, I'll put cervidil on your chart instead. I went in without a birth plan, my plan was to get this baby out safe and healthy.
I labored in the tub, on the ball, and walking around before I asked for the epidural 8 hours later. I had at least met my goal, which was to make it til 8pm before pain medication.
I pushed for four hours until the doctor got the OR ready and said, ok if she doesn't come out with the vacuum you'll be a c-section.
I knew the risks of a vacuum and told him he had one shot to try and get her out ...and he did.
And my beautiful perfect healthy 7lb 12oz bundle of pure heaven was born just a few short minutes later.

Basically, not everybody is a candidate for a home birth or any certain type of birth. Try as you might, you will possibly have a c-section. You may want a pain-med free birth only to realize that the pain is too overwhelming and you need them anyway.

And all of that is ok. It is ok to have pain medication, it is ok if you have to have an induction or a c-section, or a vacuum or forcep delivery. It does not make you weak. Know your options, know what you're willing and not willing to do and then go with the flow a little bit. Do not grieve your delivery. The thing that makes me so incredibly angry is when women who birthed HEALTHY CHILDREN say that they grieved the birth because they did not get to do it the way they wanted to.

Here are my rules of birthing a baby:
1. Have a plan
2. Be prepared to throw said plan out the window
3. Have a good support system, be it your partner, your mama, your neighbor, or the guy that fixed your furnace last year.
4. Know your options. Do your reasearch.
5. Enjoy! It is the most beautiful, wonderful, amazing experience in the entire world.

After all was said and done, I felt empowered and overwhelmed with love. Which is what you should feel after giving life to a baby, no matter how your little one came out.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I smell poison

Boy did I just get a swift kick in the behind from the Living Green Fairy!

Let me just tell you about my array of cleaning products... I have a ton and they are all terrible life-sucking, cancer-causing bottles of doom. I decided I was going to make my own cleaner (and I did), but that I wasn't going to throw anything else out until it's been used up. Why waste it right?

So Husband started cleaning the kitchen sink a moment ago, and I hear him hacking out a lung like an 90 year old life-long smoker. He comes in the living room, takes a big breath, and says "man that stuff is strong."
I knew he was going to use it and I didn't stop him. Here's the thing..we have hard water, so after a while our sink will start to have rust stains on it. It's made out of I have no idea what really, but it's not metal or ceramic, so it takes a harsher chemical to get out the rust stains.

Then my throat started to burn... the smell started permeating the entire house. And then a nightmare-ish thought hit me... we wash our baby's bottles in this sink!! And he was cleaning the surrounding area where the bottles are sitting... And stuff is probably spraying everywhere without him even knowing it! I'M LETTING MY BABY DRINK POISON!

Baby and I escaped into another room and I yelled, "we're never using this crap again!" as my husband shook his head.
This is what we consider good cleaners?! It's really not cleaning anything. It's eating my sink, causing it to suffocate, and die a slow death. Disgusting.

Friday, December 21, 2012


I was judgmental. Oh, was I ever. Why isn't the mom in the grocery store spanking her kid? ...What??! Your three-year-old still sleeps in bed with you? YOU STILL BREASTFEED YOUR THREE YEAR OLD? Ew! The list can go on.

But then I had my perfect, fuzzy, chubby, little bundle of joy and (much to my husband's disdain) everything I said I'd NEVER do went out the window.

Whether you need a name or not, it's attachment parenting. Read up on it, but it's basically reading your child's cues when she's hungry or tired, breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping (though we room-in instead), and whatever other kind of label you want to put on it.
I see it as this: A mother's primal instinct. I know what's right, I know it is, deep within me, and I know this sounds asshole-ish, but I really don't care what anyone else thinks!

I get angry when people tell me that she doesn't need to be held all the time, I get angry when people tell me that she doesn't need to be held for a nap, and I get angry when I'm told that I need to be away from her. Basically, I get angry a lot.
But, who made up these rules anyway??? Society!
And society, you are wrong! Oh are you wrong!

Another blogger put it best: Mom's in the stone ages slept next to their babies so they wouldn't get eaten, they put them in a sling and carried them around with them because that was the only way.. etc. And though we're not in the stone ages anymore, nobody texted baby in utero and told them.... (ok that's not a direct quote, and if I had the link I'd totes stick it in here, so dear blogger if you're the writer, e-mail me and I'll source ya!)

Anywhoo my point is this: Babies still have this primal need. And thank goodness my primal instinct kicked in and I woke up from all the bullshit that society makes you think is "right." Babies need all of these things, and call it attachment parenting or not, it's what's right for my baby and I!

All of the studies that have been done on attachment parenting show a benefit (!) in the development of the baby. (Imagine that!)
Guess what: Attachment parenting actually promotes independence.. hmmm!
There are so many benefits. psychological and physiological, and I will leave links at the end if you're interested in further reading.

  • is more trusting
  • feels more competent
  • grows better
  • feels right, acts right
  • is better organized
  • learns language more easily
  • establishes healthy independence
  • learns intimacy
  • learns to give and receive love
  • become more confident
  • are more sensitive
  • can read baby's cues
  • respond intuitively
  • flow with baby's temperament
  • find discipline easier
  • become keen observers
  • know baby's competencies and preferences
  • know which advice to take and which to disregard
Parents and baby experience:
  • mutual sensitivity
  • mutual giving
  • mutual shaping of behavior
  • mutual trust
  • feelings of connectedness
  • more flexibility
  • more lively interactions
  • brings out the best in each other

So don't you "worry" your pretty little head;
She is not going to become overly dependent, she is not going to breastfeed until she's 9, and she's certainly not going to be sleeping in my bed at the age of 21.
But she is going to grow up a confident, smart, secure, independent young woman.

I will not be told what is "right" by society's standards, and I know I will make mistakes as a parent, but I will parent the best way I know how: from my heart!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

The heavens have parted, the angels are singing, and pigs are flying...not really, but pretty darn close. My mom, The Cook, asked ME for a recipe. And no, not out of pity!

Normally I make what I lovingly dubbed "unstuffed peppers" meaning I throw a bunch of tomato sauce, peppers, meat and rice in a pot and serve it with a heaping side of mashed potatoes.

side of mashed potatoes. seriously.

In order to try to make things a little healthier, I tried something new. I know things can be even more healthy, but that's not the point... baby steps!
Also, disclaimer: by no means is this a food blog, so don't expect any spectacular pictures like over at my mom's blog.


4 Green Peppers
1 cup rice (i used jasmine, brown would be better, none would be best)
1/2 can corn
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. Taco Seasoning ..I made my own
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lb. ground beef (or ground turkey if you prefer, but I do get all my meat from a local butcher and it's all hormone-free)
1/2 onion
Shredded cheese - I used Mexican 5-cheese
Green beans

Preheat oven to 400. Brown meat and cook rice. Chop onion and throw in with the ground beef so it softens.
Prepare your green peppers, cutting them in half length-wise and de-seeding.

Brush the peppers with olive oil and stick 'em in the oven for 20 minutes.
Now that your meat is done, pour can of tomato sauce in the pan, some salt and pepper, and the taco seasoning and mix together. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl combine cooked rice, meat mixture, corn, and black beans. My husband hates beans so I smushed them up with a fork, and he never noticed.

Stuff peppers with mixture and put back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until peppers are soft. Cover with shredded cheese and leave in oven until melted. Serve with a side of green beans. Yum!

You can find many variations of homemade taco seasoning online, but here's the recipe I used:
Equal parts cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder, and 1/2 part red pepper. Mix together and store what you don't use.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My husband ate lettuce!

Let me tell you something: Aside from green beans, Husband refuses to eat anything remotely green. So when I suggested that we eat lettuce wraps, and he agreed, I practically fell over and ran out the door to gather supplies for dinner, lest he change his mind.
I ground some chickpeas in the food processor, made a dijon mustard dressing (dijon mustard, olive oil, cumin, and paprika), and Husband made the chicken.
He did also make green beans as a side. We wrapped it up nice and snug into a lettuce leaf and it wasn't half bad.
At least it was a good protein kick, if nothing else.
Few things I wish I'd have done differently:
1. Different sauce - the dijon didn't do it for me and I wish I had some Tahini, I think it would have been perfect.
2. More veggies - I forgot to get tomatoes, and didn't have enough green peppers (saving them for stuffed peppers later this week). Baby was unhappy since it was past her bedtime, so we got too lazy to cut up the onions once we calmed her down.
3. Avoid chickpeas - they weren't terrible, but I've never cared for them. The only reason I threw them in is because people seem to love them and put them in practically everything. I don't get it.

All in all, a half-way successfull "healthy meal of the week". Now that I know Husband actually liked this, I'll try it again, with a few different ingredients. Lettuce wraps can be pretty versatile and I'm excited to see what combo we'll come up with next!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I've never nursed in public. I think it's perfectly acceptable, I just wasn't brave enough.
I was envious of Beyonce nursing in public, I mean she's Beyonce! She has papparazzi!!
I don't take bottles with me because I wouldn't even know what to do with them. Baby only gets bottles when I'm at work, so I can't say I've ever even prepared a bottle for her. And, what am I supposed to do anyway, walk into Kohl's and be like "excuse me, can I just plug in this bottle warmer you have on display here?"
I digress. Normally I'll stop what I'm doing when baby gets hungry, sit in the backseat of my car, and feed her, or we'll schedule things around her feeding time.
We were out to lunch today, and she started fussing. I tried rocking her and distracting her, to no avail. It was her lunch time, too.
The food was about to be out, and I really didn't want to go out in the cold car just to feed her. Bravely I say to Husband "hand me the apron!" (nursing cover) ...He looks at me like a deer in headlights and says ""
"Yes, here! She's hungry, I have to feed my child" I say proudly, and then whisper to him " omg, I'm nervous, I mean, I've never done this before...."
Pictures start flashing through my head about a disgusted waitress and glaring customers that ended with us getting kicked out of the restaurant.
Baby starts eating and the waitress approaches. I hold my breath. "Would you like more salsa?" she says with a smile.
Slowly I look around the restaurant and find.....

....that no one is paying any attention to me.
I was proud of myself for doing what I find to be completely natural and beautiful, even if it did take me 3 months to build up the courage.
In the end I was upset nobody said anything ..I was so ready to chastise them with my best breastfeeding is natural!!! speech.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A setback

I was reading an article today about unsafe foods. Microwave popcorn was on the list, just don't tell my best friend, she thinks it's a food group.
I always thought of popcorn as a light, low-cal snack that I indulge in every once in a while. Apparently the stuff from the bag leaches into the popcorn.. and you see where this is going..
Ok, so popcorn may not be the best choice, but tomatoes? Tomatoes are incredible for you and I love them in just about every form. I don't can my own tomatoes (who has time for that?) but I thought I was doing something good for my family by making my own tomato sauce. It's rare, but when I have time I've made it for pasta, sloppy joes, and even my ratatouille.
Well, apparently I've been poisoning us instead. The acidity from the tomatoes makes the stuff from the can soak into them and stays in your body for years affecting your hormones. Wonderful.
I sat here getting angry, thinking, "is nothing safe anymore????" "Why am I even trying?? Does it really matter? But everyone else uses them." etc. etc....
I was ready to give up on it all and go chew on some plastic, but as I went on feeling sorry for myself I realized I will never be perfect, and the point is to make better choices, not live in the woods.
So on a scale of eating ramen noodles to composting in my backyard, I strive to be somewhere in the middle. I want to know what is going into my body and into my home. I know I will never be able to get rid of everything bad and toxic, but I will do the best I can for my family, and most importantly, my daughter.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Small changes

Normally when I delve into something, I go at it full force. I've had to step back a bit with wanting to change our lifestyle because, well, it can't be done overnight. It is a commitment and an ongoing learning experience and I feel like if I change everything all at once, it'll be too much and I'll give up. But this is important to me to make a better life for my daughter and for husband and I's quality of life as well. I want it to be second nature for her to pick veggies over french fries when we go to a restaurant.

It's about the small changes; first off, I want to try to eliminate as much plastic as I can from our home. When I saw my measuring cup start to crack from overuse, I could just picture all the toxic chemicals leaching out of it.
I bought a glass one and if one can be in love with a measuring cup, I am.
Also, I was keeping frozen breastmilk in the freezer inside a tupperware container. It was way too small, and I kept having to use multiples. In search for a bigger container, I also bought glass.
I know that as small as it is, it is making a difference and before I know it, it will become second nature to me as well.

As far as healthy eating goes, to me healthy eating is not about fat-free foods and shredding calories. It is about eating clean food, knowing where it comes from, and minimizing/eliminating boxed foods that have ingredients no one can pronounce.

If you're wondering what happened to the avocado from last week, it never did ripen: It eventually grew some things, and walked itself to the trash can.
Since it's college football day at our house, I was determined to give it another go. I found ripe avocado at the store today (though I'm willing to bet it was the same avocado that was sitting there last week) and made yummy guacamole. My husband doesn't like guacamole, so I made buffalo chicken dip for us as well.
To my surprise, I preferred the guacamole over the dip and devoured the whole thing.
Husband tried it and said "it's not horrible." I assure you that's a small victory.

Knowing my kitchen history, I'm sure you're dying for a recipe from me, but I didn't actually have to cook anything so it doesn't count. ;)
I didn't measure anything, but for one serving I used:
1 avocado
Juice from one lime
a pinch of salt and pepper
about 1/3 cup of chopped sweet onion
One small tomato, chopped
a pinch of cumin and chili powder (this was a new addition for me, and is a combination of two different recipes I found for guac, I think it made a huge difference in taste from my previous guac)
Mash the avocado, mix all ingredients together, enjoy!


Friday, November 16, 2012


You're hoping that I'm talking about the movie... no such luck. I know I know, by now you'd think I'd have learned my lesson and just stay out of the kitchen already.
I won't give up in my quest for healthy eating and as I was telling my husband last night, we're going to be in for a rude awakening once baby starts on solids here in a few months. Let's just say there aren't going to be any pureed french fries and chicken nuggets... my little nugget is only going to get the good stuff!
Anyway, the ratatouille wasn't that bad. It was a learning experience, and I know what to do differently next time. I did throw it in the oven (like in the movie, though not as pretty) rather than doing it on the stove top and using a bunch of oil to cook the veggies. 
The recipe called for a seasoning called herbes de provence.. I had never heard of it, but happened to have it in my spice carousel we received for our wedding. So I generously dumped sprinkled it onto the veggies.
I proudly made the tomato sauce myself, and it tasted delicious... it was the only thing that was delicious.
The veggies came out of the oven and the colors were beautiful and vibrant. As I poured it onto our plates for dinner I could tell the texture was perfect. And then we bit into the yummy goodness...
...and almost spit it riiiight back out. Husband and I looked at each other and he said "this has a really weird taste." Yup.
It was the seasoning...I used quite a bit and it made the dish taste very bitter.
Next time I'll stick with basil.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I was nursing baby and she was just about to fall asleep when BEEP! ...what in the world is that?! It sounded like it came from the kitchen. Another minute later, BEEP. Ugh, this is going to have to be investigated. Baby is still nursing and if I put her down, she will scream like she hasn't eaten in 4 days. So I get up, baby to boob and walk around the house.. shockingly none of this phased her. BEEP. I text husband to call me, and he doesn't right away.
Doesn't he know this is an emergency? So I call his work.
Husband: what's up.
Me: The house is..BEEP.. beeping, hear that? Is it the smoke detector?
Husband: Probably low on battery. Change it.

This requires climbing on a chair so I put baby down since she is half-way asleep at this point. BEEP.  As husband is walking me through what to do WAAAH! hold on I say, let me get the pacifier. BEEP. Uh..... oh, geez!

Eventually I took the dang thing down and switched out the battery and as it's sitting in my hands BEEP.

The previous homeowner was a fireman so there is a fire alarm about every 7 inches throughout the house.
Shoot, I got the wrong one.
Husband says there's one in the office, one in the nursery, and one in our bedroom as well.
I go in the office and BEEP. AH-HA! Gotcha, sucker. Took it down, took out the battery, BEEP!
You've gotta be kidding me. Third time is the charm I guess.
I go to put the other two back, and can't figure out how to screw them back into the wall. Husband, this is now your project. I hope the house doesn't burn down while we're napping.

Here is the incriminating evidence.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The disaster that's my kitchen

I was going to post a yummy guacamole recipe today, since our normal go-to snack on football sundays is queso from a jar. Queso from a jar has 26 ingredients, half of which I can't pronounce.
I knew when I bought the avocado yesterday that it wasn't quite ripe.. none of them were.. no big deal. I thought they'd ripen some in a day... so I go to cut into it and cut all the way through...and  cut through the pit ..eeeh.. that's never happened before. I poke the avocado - rock.hard. crap! So I google how to ripen avocados quickly.. someone said nuke em in the microwave for 1 minute...ooooook.. (didn't work). Someone else said put lemon juice on em and stick em in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap... currently waiting to see what will sprout out of my surely not going to get ripe avocados. sigh....

Fast forward to this evening.
Me to husband: We've got those two bananas that are getting pretty brown. Maybe I should make banana bread?
Husband: I don't think you should do anything pertaining to cooking.
(is it that bad?)
Husband: I'd rather eat brown bananas, I don't want you to ruin them. But at least set the timer this time.
(it is that bad, apparently).

SO, I'm determined to make a healthy version of banana bread and lo and behold I found this recipe.
I didn't have whole wheat flour but didn't think it was a big deal, I'll just sub all-purpose. Also, I don't have those cute bundt pans, so I halved the recipe and stuck it in a loaf pan. I go to get the greek yogurt and don't have an original one... only strawberry and blueberry... umm, I guess it's going to be blueberry-banana bread.
In goes the blueberry yogurt. On another note, I guess I could have just scraped off the top since the blueberries are on the bottom...hindsight.
Baby was screaming and didn't want anything to do with dad, so I mixed ingredients while holding her...and since I only had one hand, the measurements probably weren't as precise. But at least she was happy for the time being, and enthralled with what I was doing. (see where this is going?)

Baby went in the bath, and we smell something burning. ...not again...
After the bread cooled off husband was the first to try it.
Me (anxiously awaiting): aaaanddd?!?!!?!?
Husband: you try it....

Whatever. It was edible... though a little chewy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Just a dab of formaldehyde

Way before I was pregnant, I dreamed of all things mama. I perused the aisles of the baby section imagining all the things I would get my little one. For some reason, the one thing  I couldn't wait to use was all the divine smelling baby shampoo that was sure to make my little one smell heavenly. Oh, Johnson and Johnson, you tease! I got about 6 or so bottles of J&J shampoo, lotion, and body wash. When I delivered baby, her first bath in the hospital was given by the nurse who used Johnson and Johnson products on my little one. Mmmm, I could eat her right up.
A few weeks later I was perusing the internet and noticed an article saying that J&J baby products contained carcinogens. Surely, not! They are  reputable, well-known, and most popular among baby products. And, what doesn't have carcinogens in it these days? Even the air we breathe does. I didn't think much more about it until I came across another article a few days later from Johnson and Johnson addressing the issue...stating they will slowly phase carcinogens out of baby 2015. Whaaat? One of the carcinogens in question? Formaldehyde!!! You know, the stuff that preserves that precious frog you're cutting up in science class! The stuff that has a BIOHAZARD sticker on it, saying "do not get on skin." 
ohhh, is that why baby skin is wrinkle free?
There are other questionable, carcinogenic ingredients as well.
You see, maybe it used to be "johnson and johnson - a family company" but is now  a multi-million dollar fortune 500 corporate giant that continues to expand globally and produces "pharmaceutical, diagnostic, surgical, biotechnology, and personal care products." To me this would signify a loss of quality control. ( This is my personal opinion. Don't send me any angry e-mails.)

Anywhooooo, my point is this: What am I putting on my child's skin?
I started using California Baby (organic), and so far have been happy. Baby's skin is happy, and although it doesn't smell like J&J baby shampoo, it still makes my baby smell good, and it's good for her!
Recently they have re-formulated some of their products ( I had already bought mine before I found this out) which caused some ruckus in the mom community.

One of the culprits is sodium benzoane. California Baby claims that it is certified for use in organic products, and I say, I will pick my battles. Formaldehyde, anyone?
That being said, there has been some more controversy regarding the new ingredients which I won't get into here, and I will probably make a switch to something else once I run out/

Resources: I use their ratings (with a grain of salt) when purchasing products, as well as She is amazing, and my go to for better alternatives. Check out her Cheat Sheets.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Feeding the Fam.

I've never been a good cook, nor have I ever considered myself a cook to begin with. I find the ingredients are too many, and trying to do multiple things to make them all finish at the same time, arduous. I don't find it enjoyable, and actually prefer baking. I've never been the "a pinch here, a handful there" type, and my controlling mind likes the constructed measuring of baking ingredients. I don't like getting my hands dirty, and as mentioned in a previous post, have an aversion to handling raw meat. And though I hate the process, I get a surge of pride at the finished product, at producing a meal for my family.

My mother, on the other hand, comes alive in the kitchen. She never taught me to cook, partly because of my disinterest, and partly because she is the stay-out-of-my-kitchen type of cook. She glides effortlessly through a kitchen, chopping here, stirring there, tasting one thing, and checking on another. She is in a different world. She cooks from passion, not from necessity. Step into her kitchen while she is cooking, and you will certainly feel that you are in her way. Some of my fondest memories are sitting just outside the kitchen watching my mom cook and having a heart to heart with her.

Earlier in the week I blogged about wanting to cook a healthy meal. I knew I wanted to make a succotash, but needed help with the rest. Mom brought over tilapia and I had some extra spinach in the fridge that we decided to throw with it. So last night my parents came over for dinner, and entertained the baby while I started dinner. But I had never made tilapia before, or non-frozen spinach and kept peeking my head out asking for help. She finally joined me in the kitchen and I thought for sure I'd be exiled. But then something magical happened. We chopped and stirred and tasted and glid ....together. We belonged in the same space and cooked without getting in each others'way, talked without bickering, and she taught me without taking over.
What resulted was a wonderful barley, squash, and corn succotash with tilapia and spinach. ...but it was so much more than that.

And here is the finished product. For some of my mom's cooking check out her blog at Not always healthy, but always delicious.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A sign?

 I stood in my high heels and betty crocker apron lovingly mixing muffin batter as my clean kitchen sparkled in the background....
 I stood in my pajamas with spit up on my robe dumping muffin "powder" from a box into a bowl. Thinking that it seems strange that this magic powder could turn into yummy banana bread muffins in just 12 minutes. Where is this banana flavor coming from? And the walnut flavor? I don't see any bananas or walnuts in there. What is really in this so-called batter? Plus I'm trying to live a healthier life and I'm sure muffin mix from a box is not condusive to that..
I thought back to the time I made a yummy caramel apple cake from scratch for a work carry-in. A few weeks later, I wanted to make some for us, but didn't feel like messing with all the ingredients so I bought a boxed one. It smelled the same, but when I bit into the cake, I spit out this rubbery looking piece. Eeeeew what was that? ..It was supposed to be the "apple." Who knows, maybe it really was rubber... back to the muffins... I stuck them in the oven and started feeding the baby. Baby sweetly fell asleep on my lap and I started catching up on my reading. About half an hour later an unpleasant smell started wafting in through the kitchen... Oh crap, the muffins! They were unsalvageable. I'm taking it as a sign from my healthy living muse that I shouldn't have eaten those anyway. From now I'll be making my own batter... and setting the timer.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

8 legs too many

We were heading out of the house today and husband was putting baby in the carseat while i was getting my shoes on. I was going to carry baby out to the car while he got his shoes on. As I lifted up the handle of the carseat I came face to face with a massive, elephantine, formidable, hair-raising arachnoid. ::shudder::

I glared at him with my two eyes, and he glared back at me with his six. He wins.
"husbaaaand. spider! on the seat..! spider! hurry!" I shriek while jumping from leg to leg. Finally, after what seems like minutes, husband meanders over: "where?"
"RIGHT THERE!" ..husband stands there and inspects spider. "what in the world are you doing??!! go get a paper towel and kill it!"
The spider snickers and taunts me as he saunters around my sweet baby's car seat handle, probably depositing 34,000 of its offspring. ewgh! Just you wait, I think. After the spider is finally gone, husband says: "glad you saved the baby." ooooh shut up!

(for the record, baby was never in any danger, and I held my hands over her face so that spidey wouldn't eat her cute little button nose...! also, I may overreact a bit).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two words

I'm pretty sure every working mom knows the two words I'm talking about... mommy guilt. Tomorrow I go back to work for a full day. For the last two weeks, I have been working only a few hours here and there, to dip my toes back in the proverbial pool.
But instead of returning to work full time, I will be working two 10.5 hour shifts. I'm lucky that I have family to watch her and that I get to have 5 days at home with her, but I've never left her for that amount of time before, and I'm a worrier by nature. I'd love to stay home with her full-time but the grass is always greener...  I know this is a good thing, I still get to bring in an income, she gets to spend time with someone besides me (which is good for her), and I still get most of the week with her . It still doesn't make it any easier, especially that dreaded first day.
So yesterday I held her all day. I figured she's only this little for a short time, so why not? I held her while she napped, while I ate, while I read to her, talked to her, stared at her, and played with her.. all day. When I went to put her in her bassinet so we could go to bed .."Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah." Hm.. maybe she's hungry. Fed her, changed her, she fell asleep. Back in the bassinet: "WAAAAAH." Uh oh. I glance over and husband is glaring at me. "You're creating a monster." Maybe so, but a cute one.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Healthy Eating

We are making progress with this whole healthier eating thing. We had french fries and brats for dinner tonight.
 I rarely have time to make dinner, my husband and vegetables are like oil and water, and lately he has been taking care of filling our bellies while I tend to the little one. So normally our dinners consist of something quick, and quick tends to be synonymous with unhealthy.. maybe it doesn't have to be? So why doesn't he take care of baby while I make dinner? Weeeelll, I have this aversion to handling raw meat (that I reaaallly need to get over) and hubby just finishes dinner once he's started. To me eating healthy has always seemed "hard."Or maybe it isn't and it's just unknown territory. Either way, I'm determined to turn our eating habits around. I figured it would be too much to just purge everything out of our pantry, so I will try to implement at least one healthy meal in my meal plan for the week. Sounds easy enough? The problem is I need it to be quick, healthy, and husband friendly. I don't want to get rid of alll the "good stuff" either, I have a guilty pleasure for nice, wholesome comfort food. And since I don't know how to cook healthy (or how to cook much of anything, ahem), this will require some research on my part.
I'll start with my meal plan for this coming week, wish me luck, I'll be posting an update!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Squeaky Clean

It's almost bedtime and my 2 month old needs a bath. Ewww the tub is dirty. Ugh, I can't give her a bath in this! I need to clean the tub before I give her a bath, but am leery to use the scrubbing bubbles bottle I've got in the closet.. I just don't feel comfortable sticking her in the tub right after using it. Sure, it'll get the job done, but it'll stink up the bathroom and surely there will be some residue of the chemicals in the tub, even after a good rinse. Our water drips, so there's some rust at the base as well. So I scour the internet for a more natural solution, and came up short. A lot of the diy cleaners called for borax..which I didn't have at home..and what the heck is borax anyway? After a little research, I found that it's certainly safer than scrubbing bubbles and not actually toxic, but exposure can cause respiratory and skin irritation. Uhh, no thanks!
I did finally find a solution, and was surprised at how well it worked. I really thought the toxic, nasty stuff was superior. This solution not only took the grime off with ease (with the help of a scrubbing brush), but also removed the rust and soap scum..I actually kind of think it worked better, and my baby didn't have to inhale toxic, potent fumes or have that yuck on her skin.
Here's what I used:

You'll need:
A spray bottle (it makes enough for future uses)
Baking soda
Dish soap ( I use 7th generation as it is more natural)

Add 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and a tablespoon of dish soap and put into spray bottle. (This is the solution you'll have for future uses)
Take some baking soda and spread it on the bottom of your tub. Spray enough solution on top of the baking soda to make a paste.. Scrub with a scrub brush. Rinse tub once clean.
Enjoy your clean fume and toxic-free bathroom!