Thursday, April 29, 2010

Returning to Those Three Things

Way back in October, I reflected on the three things I said I would never do as a parent. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

While the television is mostly off at our house, it does somehow get turned on almost every day around 4:30. We watch the Sprout shows (although they have recently added dirtgirlworld to their line up and wtf is up with that huge eyed character..ugh). Milo actually prefers the pink puppet host who announces the shows rather than watching the actual shows. The television being on, coupled with the allure of the remote usually can buy me enough time to get dinner started. I'm not proud of the television watching, but I figure he isn't watching more than an hour per day (where I think research has shown the harm can come in). He doesn't eat in front of the television and most of the time he wanders away from it. We read a lot, and play for the rest of the day, so I am rationalizing this little bit of television as being okay in the bigger picture. I'm also very aware to not let the habit grow.

Due to Milo's allergies, the processed food bit has kind of taken care of itself. No mac & cheese is even allowed! He also has not had a chicken nugget nor a hot dog. He has had pieces of a bratwurst though. And he is a big fan of tater tots. Otherwise we do lots of fruits, some veggies, lean protein, beans, rice, bread, pasta. There are a couple of things I give him, which I probably shouldn't: animal crackers and yellow corn chips are included in that list, but otherwise we're doing pretty well on the nutrition aspect.

Habitual co sleeping went by the wayside around December. Little man seems to prefer his own space now, which is great because our bed is a haven for dust mites and cat dander. I try not to bring Milo to bed with us, but sometimes the siren call of my bed is too much to stand. On the (increasingly) rare occasions when he wakes up screaming, I do sometimes take him to bed with me. I then immediately regret it because Milo sees the cat and starts screaming cat, cat, while crawling over us to get to her. Limbs are everywhere, Prada is meowing (but refusing to move) and Milo thinks it is the BEST THING ever to have a cat in the bed and consequently none of us are sleeping.

It's funny the things we think are a good idea before we actually carry out the plan.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Somewhere between becoming pregnant two years ago, gaining 50 pounds, having Milo and eventually losing 60 pounds, breastfeeding for a year, quitting my job and staying home full-time, I have lost my sense of style. To be fair, I'm not sure I ever really had a defined sense of style, but the issue certainly has me thinking a lot more now than it ever has before. Suddenly most of my clothes don't fit or don't fit well. If they do fit, they don't really seem right for where I am at in my life right now.

Plenty of work clothes are sitting around my closet, but black pants and cardigans don't seem to gel with story time and the playground. On the other hand, I would like to be more pulled together than the comfy sports bra, shorts and sorority shirts from 10 years ago. It's a fine line for me to walk to stay comfortable and look presentable at the same time.

Plus, clothes and accessories are a way of presenting who you are to the world. I don't like to admit that sometimes what I throw on in the morning, isn't so much who I want to be. Coming across as a fun, caring, somewhat hippie like, approachable and confident mom is the image I am going for. I think I achieved it in the picture above - funky sun glasses, pedal pusher shorts and a fair trade flowy top. Getting the look down isn't an every day thing though, so this weekend a friend / personal shopper is going shopping with me. She's an expert at sorting through second-hand stores for deals and always looks great herself. I'm looking forward to the trip to see what's out there and what will work for my new look.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gardening Time Again

While we are not totally out of the woods for a hard frost quite yet, it is still time to think gardens. Technically for those who take gardening more seriously, thinking gardening should already be done and seedlings should be sprouting happily from indoor planting. For those of us without the space for sprouting our own seeds, though, now is the perfect time to get going.

So far this year we have cleared out what has traditionally been our lettuce bed. It is now planted with spinach, mesclun mix lettuce, leaf lettuce, peas, broccoli and kohlrabi. Everything is up except the peas and either the broccoli or the kohlrabi (we'll have to wait until harvest to figure out which variety it is since I planted in the same row). These seeds have been in for almost three weeks, so we will probably plant another batch of all the same things next weekend to extend our spring harvest.

We are also planting potatoes this year. Milo helped to clear the bed and Chris built a potato tower. The seed potatoes are in the ground and have been in for almost two weeks, but I have yet to see any progress. Fingers crossed.

I'll wait until the traditional Mother's Day date to put in tomatoes and peppers. Last year we had Swiss chard which was nice and we will probably do that again. As much as I love fennel, I have not gotten a good bulb in the last couple of years, so I don't think I will plant it again. Then we need to decide what vining veggie we want to put in this year because we really only have room for one. I'm leaning toward the butternut squash again as that worked really well last year and froze beautifully to eat throughout the winter.

What are you planting this season?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My New Muffin

Cooking posts, I told you! You might remember this muffin I made quite a bit when I was pregnant. While certainly edible, the recipe never quite created a fluffy bakery type of muffin. Plus, those two eggs aren't possible now with Milo's allergy. So when a nut, dairy and egg free morning glory muffin crossed my reader from the Food Allergy Mama recently, I thought I would give it a try. I'm glad I did! The muffin looks more tradtional muffin like and is quite tasty, but still not overly sweet. Original recipe is at the link above and my changes are below. All three of us have been enjoying these and I'll be trying more variations (adding in some wheat germ, trying coconut, adding in nuts since we don't have a problem with those and this summer subbing zucchini for the carrot).

145 Morning Muffin

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup non-dairy "milk" - I used hemp this time around

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tblspn. pineapple juice from can (not syrup)

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

sprinkle nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 can of cubed pineapple, chopped

Mix all ingredients together (whisk wet ingredients first and then incorporate dry ingredients; adding fruits last). Bake in preheated 350 oven for 20 minutes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Let's Talk Cooking

It has been at least several weeks since I have posted any type of recipes on here. Lest you think I'm not cooking, here is a recent favorite dish we've been eating quite a bit lately and are having for dinner again tonight. We've been doing a fairly good job of planning a menu for the week and sticking to it, which is such a better way to go than the constant what's for dinner question.

I'll need to switch my cooking over to spring / summer flavors soon, but in the meantime there should be a couple of cool days to enjoy this yummy roasted chicken dish.

Roasted Curry Chicken With Vegetables

1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs*

2 sweet potatoes

1 large baking potato

1/2 onion

3 or 4 carrots

1/2 head of cauliflower

Curry seasoning (not paste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

After cleaning the chicken and all the veggies, throw everything into a large baking dish. Drizzle with a healthy portion of olive oil. Sprinkle liberally or to taste with curry, salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven at 400 for about 30 - 40 minutes, stirring about half way through and adding some chicken broth if anything is sticking.

*Note: I suppose you could do this with chicken breasts, but the dark meat of the thighs adds more flavor and stands up better to the high cooking temp. I'm a recent convert to thigh meat. It doesn't add that much fat or calories, adds more flavor and is less expensive than breasts.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

13 Months

So I've decided to keep going with the monthly updates...for all of you, but mainly for us. I was able to make a special photo book on one of the photo sharing sites using the monthly pictures and notes from each blog post. Since I am not the scrapbook type, this has morphed into our baby book. The final product turned out great even though it wasn't what I originally had in mind. So on we march into the second year!

Milo is a talker! Well, he still babbles quite a bit. Recognizable words include cat, dad and ball. He can also repeat several words after I do, but he does not use them on his own or in context. I've been a little slack in the signing department, but he uses the sign for eat quite regularly and has his own version of all done. Overall we have seen a much better communicator evolve in the past month - whether we are just finally getting his meaning or he is more adept at conveying his wants is up for debate.

Crawling is still Milo's main mode of transportation and he is fast! He does great pulling up to stand and cruising the furniture. When the mood strikes him he will walk with me holding onto my hands. Each day he can stand on his own not holding onto anything for longer and longer amounts of time. He can also climb the stairs, which he first discovered at the playground and was quite pleased to see we had a set in our very own house.

Although my kitchen tools are still his favorite toys, he is tuning in a bit more to actual toys. He is able to do some of the shape sorter and knows what toy pieces go which toys. Books are still a big hit, especially his touch and feel kitten book and his Elmo's colors book. We read each morning and afternoon before nap times.

I'm continuing to wean the little guy, who has good days and bad days with the whole idea. We're down to one nursing before bed and usually one sometime during the night. This past week he has had a stomach virus so we loosened up on the weaning a bit, but are still aiming to be done breastfeeding totally by June. Taking the place of all the nursing is a lot of cuddling. Milo loves to be held and close. He's great at wrapping his little arms around necks and giving the sweetest hugs. All the people he loves most regularly earn hugs, but so do a variety of stuffed animals and the Boppy pillow. He's a giver.

This past month having an official one-year-old has been lots of fun (other than the week long stomach virus we just lived through - which the picture is from this time period and he wasn't feeling well). I look forward to watching his sweet, silly and fun personality develop even more throughout this year.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mommy Track

Surfing through the headlines at Slate yesterday morning, this article caught my eye and has had me thinking. Having been a sophomore in high school when the term Mommy Track was coined, this was all new to me. Turns out more than 20 years ago, an article in Harvard Business Review warned companies of turning off well-educated, high performing women with non-family friendly policies. Some women of the time opted out of the workforce all together, preferring to stay home and raise families to working full time. Thus, the original article suggested a "mommy track" for those women who had children and wanted to work part-time, or job share or have flexible hours. Feminists went wild saying this would be a step back, but some women and some companies made it work.

This is obviously a topic close to my heart since I have also opted out of the workforce (at least for the time being). I never set out to be a stay-at-home-mom and there are still times when I wonder how I got here. Although, I treasure this time at home and right now wouldn't trade it for anything, there are times I worry about what my options will be when I do decide to opt back in to the workforce.

What bothers me about the mommy track, though, is that does sound demeaning. In a perfect world, this would be the everybody track and it wouldn't need a special name. Companies and employees could work together to make sure the work was done and there was also a balance of personal / professional life. That only happens in a perfect world and that doesn't seem to be where we are in this country and this economy.

I've heard the White House convened a panel to discuss work place flexibility, which is a great start. An open dialogue could lead to some real change which could lead to some women not feeling as though the best option is to just opt out (and I do believe these moms have a lot to offer the workplace).