Thursday, June 30, 2011

Best Easy Summer Dinner Ever

Okay, so I had to complement the previous post with this recipe from tonight's dinner, since this is much more representative of what we've been eating for dinner.

The genesis for this recipe:

1.  I had "cooking onions" that I bought at the farmer's market last weekend.

2.  Jellybean Mama made a great looking hobo supper for the big campout last weekend.

3.  I didn't want to heat up the house by cooking inside so I was looking for something to make on the grill.  Other than meat (for that, see the previous recipe).

So while at the grocery last night, I picked up little red potatoes, baby carrots, and chocolate milk.  The latter item is not essential for this recipe, but is essential for the well-being of my household :)

Tonight I made a little foil packet of the chopped farmer's market onions, red potatoes, and baby carrots.  I added a bit of olive oil and butter, then trimmed some herbs from the garden (marjoram and oregano, but I think marjoram and thyme would have been better.  No thyme in my garden.  Le sigh.)  I didn't feel like getting the leaves off the stems and chopping them, so they went in whole (just push them to the side when you open up the packet).  Salt and pepper.  Grill for 30 minutes.

I thought I might want something to make it a bit more hearty.  While grilling, I found some awesome cheese in the fridge that I got at Whole Foods last week (Havarti with Dill, how freaking awesome is that?).  So in the last few minutes of cooking, I put a thin slice of that on top.

It doesn't heat the house up, but DOES make your house smell like you've cooked  a gourmet meal when you open that packet up and dish up some steaming veggies.


The big space is the huge spoonful that became my dinner.

NOT a Project Veg recipe - Cheddar Wurst

 So, it's summer.  I haven't bought meat in over 6 months.

It was time.

The one thing I couldn't give up was my summertime craving for cheddarwurst and sauerkraut with spicy mustard on a bun.

Sorry, my wee one was trying to wrestle the camera from my grasp.

Why, yes, this is a photo of my garbage.  I was trying to show what kind of brats I was using.

Put in a large pot.  Add beer.  Boil.

What, you need more instruction than that?  What kind of beer?  Something nutty and brown, or belgian.  Or cheap, whatever.

Boil about 30 minutes (longer if you start with frozen meat, about 45 min then) then grill for about 5 minutes to make them all crispy on the outside.  They're really yummy that way.

Mmmmm ... summer.

With spicy brown mustard and kraut on a bun.

Other Than Pink

So, my mom bought my kid the Pinkalicious book, took us to see Pinkalicious the musical, and then bought my kid a Pinkalicious sticker book.

From all of this pinkaliciousness, my kid seems to have internalized the message that she "should" want pink, or that everything "should" be pink.  She has started getting upset if we use the yellow bath towel in the evenings after bathtime (we have three yellow towels and one pink towel.  Odds are, the pink one is in the wash.)  She even gets mad if she doesn't get a pink plate to eat off of - and there are no pink plates at my house.  I asked her why she didn't want the purple Dora plate that had been her favorite and she said "pinkalicious".

I told her "pinkalicious" would forgive her if she didn't eat off a pink plate, then I distracted her with the very coveted blue "Pooh" plate that she gets to use occasionally.

So I'm combing Amazon for other books about girls and colors OTHER THAN PINK.  I found Ann Likes Red and ... yea.

Anybody got a book on the shelf that says "sure, pinkalicious is great and all, but you can use a yellow bath towel without throwing a damn fit"?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Nightly Ritual

Some time back I started a blog about books.  It was really a way for me to reflect in essay format on how certain books were impacting me personally.  Unfortunately, I didn't save the posts or the blog, I don't remember its title, the email I used to create it, or much of anything else about it.  It only had two or three posts.  I think blogger probably trashed it.  I thought it was called Book Gurl or something like that.  I have been unsuccessful in finding it.

But one of the posts that I did write and post was related to some insight I gleaned from Nathaniel Branden's How to Raise Your Self Esteem.  In it he discussed how people with high self-esteem are mentally in the present, while people with low self-esteem tend to relive the past in their minds or spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about the future.  And usually, it's both.  I believe there were some exercises for helping yourself to remain focused on the present.

Then in another book, I also read about ways to boost your self-esteem, by reviewing your actions and activities at the end of the day.  It connects with what this book discusses about self-esteem and growing being related.

So fast forward several (!) years and we have me still trying to shore up my sometimes shaky self-esteem, but now with a daughter in tow.

So every night, after reading books and before saying prayers, we review our day.  We (okay, I) talk about the things we did that day, they way they made "us" feel, the things that were good, and the things "we" could have done better.  Now that she is understanding that process more, I can ask her what her favorite part of today was.  If there were discipline issues, I mention them very briefly and then just as briefly mention how "we" can do better tomorrow.

Usually this review segues nicely into our prayers, since our prayers start with "Thank You God, for Today" and then Thank You for the things that were wonderful about our day.  Then Blessings, and then Please Help Us with ... unless the kid starts yawning and needing to get into her bed.  So some nights we just say a bunch of "Thank You"s and a bunch of "Please Bless"s and I have to think that God likes to hear those kinds of prayers.

So between the daily review and the prayers, I am hoping that I'm teaching her the skill of looking back over your day.  What worked, what didn't, and what to work on for tomorrow.  Not in a guilt-inducing way, just in "being present" and "growing" kind of way.  Which, according to all the books, is one of the basic skills of self-esteem.

Won't it be wonderful if it works?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Great American Backyard Campout

(Um, that's what it's called, Jellybean Mama! he he)

So I wasn't sure how into this we were going to get.  I still hadn't actually, you know, FOUND the tent in all the crap in the basement.  I still hadn't actually, you know ORDERED the anti-mosquito stuff I saw in an expensive catalog.  I wasn't planning to, you know SLEEP OUTSIDE WITH A TWO YEAR OLD.  Right?

Or was I?  Because you know, I was actually looking forward to this.

I used to camp all the time.  With a dog.  We camped in the cold (okay, so one night we slept in the car with the heater on), in storms (okay one night we slept in the car since I thought the rubber tires would protect us from lightning).

But a toddler?

MY toddler?

My toddler whose favorite things are (1) yelling "no", (2) yelling "mine", (3) throwing herself to the floor in a fit, and (4) NOT SLEEPING? 

Well, hell, what's the difference between not sleeping inside and not sleeping outside?

So the day of, I located the tent, dragged it out, and waited until she was napping to put it up.

And I will admit taking a very LONG moment to soak up the atmosphere from this spot right here.  Breeze, sun, tent.  It really does make everything right with the world.
With the tent hidden from view by the back door blinds, we ran to the grocery for cookout stuff, and then back at home I unveiled The Tent.

Which, if you come by, has to be called a "tunnel", just so you know.

She loved it.  She laughed when she saw it.  Out loud.  Then she called it a tunnel.  I tried talking about "the tent" but got "TUNNEL" yelled in my face, so we didn't call it anything after that.

Tent Self-Portrait!
Oh, I so regret showing her how to zip/unzip the door

Grandparents and family friends came so she got to show them.

We ate meat, a rare occurence around here.

Mmmm, cheddarwurst boiled in Honey Nut Brown Ale then grilled.
Despite Deep Woods OFF, we still got mosquito bites.  By then she was ready to call it a night - inside.

But not before posing/mugging on the sleeping bag.
So we got all the fun and benefits of a campout - good friends, good food, adult beverages - but then we got to sleep in comfy beds indoors.

Hey, we're doing this in stages, leave me alone :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I'm a Freaking HERO Mom

I don't like bugs.  (There are certain people who know me well who are rolling around on the floor laughing their asses off at the sheer understatement of that sentence.)

I have been known to shower in a different (much smaller) bathroom because a bug is slowly dying in my main shower because I don't want to kill/touch/deal with it.

I have been known to scream bloody murder at the sight of a harmless little spider.

I have been known to try to bang a bug with something heavy, miss, crawl up in a ball on the floor and cry until someone else kills it and removes the carcass.

(Yes, I am a Biologist.  I'd rather deal with people's body parts and microscopic organisms than a bug any day of the week.  Thanks.)

However ...

I now have a daughter.  And a house with a basement.  I can no longer scream bloody murder when I spy a bug.  In fact, I have been trying to calmly hide all fear of things-with-more-legs-than-me-that-can-move-faster-than-me-and-chase-me-in-my-nightmares from my daughter.  I don't want to teach her to be afraid - if she's going to be squeamish about bugs, she can find that out on her own.

But then, I went a step further.

I bought a Bug Kit.  A plastic box with a magnifying glass in the lid, a net for catching flying insects and little plastic tweezers.

I had put it away with some post-birthday stuff and she found it one day.

I took her outside and helped her look for bugs.

I even picked up a worm and a bug with the tweezers and put them in the bug box.

See, magnifyer.

The bug kept flipping over on its back.  I put the leaf in there to help it stay upright.

The worm was stretching out and showing off for the camera.
Then when she lost interest in the bugs, I put them back in the garden.

Then I scrubbed my freaking hands until they were red.

And had a nightmare about a tarantula.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


So, do you know the story? (Totally not sure why I can only find the Spanish edition on Amazon.)

Well, a local playhouse was putting on the show.  My mom bought us tickets, so last Saturday morning we loaded up and headed out to see the show.

A certain Wee One had her pink on:

It was rainy, and had been storming the night before.  As we pulled up to the front of the theater, a woman told us the power was out and they were asking guests to wait in the car.  We got a decent parking spot and kept our eye on the front door.

Meanwhile, this Wee One was playing in the car.
People were walking up to the door, and were being turned away, back to their cars.

Still playing.
Finally, some people were leaving.  We assumed they were upset at the long wait.  It had been almost 40 minutes, by that point.  There were two people from the theater walking around in the parking lot with umbrellas, stopping to answer questions when people flagged them down.  We were told they would try to start the show at 10:00.

Still playing.
Still working.

"I get OUT!"
Finally we overheard a conversation in the parking lot that informed us that they would not be serving the breakfast included with our tickets, that we were encouraged to go get our own breakfast and they would try to start the show at 10:00.

I was pretty peeved.  Here there are representatives from the theater wandering aimlessly around the parking lot, but not going car-to-car to inform the guests of what the plan is.  Apparently someone found out something because there was a mass exodus of cars/vans/SUVs a little while earlier (we found all those people at McDonalds when we went to get our own breakfast).  The woman who answered our questions did manage to bitch that her pant legs were all wet from walking around the parking lot, but didn't mention to us to go get our own breakfast?  Thanks.

So we pulled out of the parking lot to head to McDonalds.  Can you imagine the tears and screaming from my kid?  Who has been talking about Pinkalicious all morning long and has had to sit in the car for 45 minutes in the rain?  I finally calmed her down by explaining that we just had to go get some food, and we would come back for the show.

After our McDonald's run, we come back to a much lousier parking space.  Another conversation in the parking lot told us that the show was being cancelled, and rescheduled for Monday.  (One of the few days of the week that I can actually get my shit-ton of work on online classes and faculty hiring done.)  So, again, we pull out of the parking lot.  With a disappointed kid.

Monday morning we repeat getting ready.  We repeat talking about Pinkalicious.  We repeat putting on the pink.  I called daycare to tell them she would be arriving at lunchtime, and again we headed to the theater.

This time we got out of the car.

Went inside to stand in line to get our table.

Met up with Nan.

Had breakfast.


Took our token picture on the edge of the stage (similar to last time).

And finally we got to see Pinkalicious.

So now my Wee One's favorite color is pink.  If you ask her what she wants to drink, she says "pink".  If you ask her what she wants to eat, she says "pink".  I'm so freaking sick of reading that damn Pinkalicious book I could throw it out the window.  Then tonight she wanted to sleep with it.  But it was worth it, and I bet it will be something she remembers!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fatherly Advice

The best advice my father ever gave me was sometime either during the summer before I left for college or sometime during the fall that I left.  Or maybe the summer after.  During my sophomore year?

Okay, that part isn't important.  It's what he said that's important.

"My hope for you is that you find something that so captures your imagination that you want to spend the rest of your life learning about it."

This was sandwiched between him trying to talk me into going to Officers Training School in the military and telling me that if I chose to get married while in college, it better be to a rich guy because he would be responsible for paying for the rest of my education.

It's that part in quotes that has stuck with me.  It was really good advice, and I've passed it along to others.  I'm hoping to pass it along to my wee one. 

Because it really is true.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Genius

Okay, I hope Miss Lori forgives me for this.  This violates every kind of copyright violation, I know.  I hope she doesn't stop posting our photos on FB after this.  But I just HAD to show you ...

My girl.  I simply love this arrangement of all these photos together.  Seriously, if you're planning to vacation in the Southern Indiana area this summer (because, I mean, it's the place to go, right?) then please go see her.  Tell her we sent you.  (Ignore the large photo collage of my kid in the lobby.)

Other posts about (and work by) Our Miss Lori can be found here and here.  (And here.  I can't believe I put that thing about the underwear on the internet.)  Oh, and birthday party invitations here and here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Prefolds - Action Shots

One of the posts that brings people to my blog is my CD 101 post on prefolds.  I have always thought prefolds and covers were one of the simplest diapering options, and it is still one of my favorite parts of my stash.  If you're looking for cheap, if you're looking for easy, if you're looking for all the benefits of cloth diapering, look no further than prefolds.

But looking back on that post, while it has some great information, it still makes prefold diapers sound kindof complicated.  I wrote about different types to try to help explain options.  Likewise with folds.  I hope it doesn't discourage any mamas from trying prefolds and covers - it really is quite simple to cloth diaper with prefolds.  I probably would have never switched from prefolds as the main part of our diaper stash if it wasn't for starting daycare (where we need to use pockets).

1.  Pick a cover type and size.  If I had it to do all over again, I would go with Thirsties Duo covers in snap versions.  Two sizes cover the range from small babies to potty learning.  Those covers weren't out when I started, so I used Thirsties sized covers.  Which are still awesome, and we stopped at size Medium, but that still means we've gone through three sizes of covers (XS, S, M) and it would be four if my kid wasn't so darn petite.

2.  Pick a prefold fabric.  I prefer hemp because it's so darn absorbent.  But that also means expensive.  (Thirsties, Knickernappies, Baby Kicks, or my newest fave, Hemp Babies are my recommendations for hemp.  Panda Tushies is my recommendation for bamboo.  Little Lions or Econobum are my suggestions for cotton prefolds.)

3.  Pick the size prefolds that you need to fit in your chosen cover type and size.  (Preemie sized prefolds worked in XS covers, infant size worked well in S covers.  GMD reds work well in size Medium covers, but by then I had moved on to hemp.  Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefold in size 2 works magically in Medium covers.)

4.  Trifold the prefold.  Lay in the cover.  Fasten cover around baby.

That's it.  Prefolds boil to down to simply that.

Trifolding works awesome because it puts the most fabric in the wet zone.  I've tried - and describe in the prefolds post - a couple of other folds.  I've come around to the conclusion that trifolding is the way to go.

And now for some action shots of prefolds in covers on my kid.  Maybe she's so cute, she'll convince you.

Most recent shots of prefold in cover in the backyard swimming pool are here.
Prefold in cover on the beach can be seen here.  The green snap cover is a Flip with a prefold in it.


Econobum cover.

Purple Flip cover.  Doll stroller.

Econobum cover.  Grandpa shoes

Econobum cover.  Messy kitchen.  Melting down kid.
 As always, feel free to email or comment with questions about prefolds, cloth diapers, or anything else.

The Circle of Blankets

Gifts come in, gifts go out ...

Hopeful responded to my post by giving me both her email address and her home address, so I could stalk her send her a baby gift.  Two essentials: Aden+Anais swaddling blankets, and Babylegs (well, the Target version).  I also almost sent her a copy of Happiest Baby on the Block but I couldn't find it on the Target website.  She loved the gifts (yay!) and I know she's going to get good use of them.  I have followed her journey from Thinking to Becoming, and it's so exciting that her bedrest is almost over!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, while I have tons of useless crap in my house, I gave away almost all of the cheap receiving blankets I had when the Wee One was really wee.  The couple that I have she loves to use as blankets for her baby dolls, but they keep getting left in the car or at Nan's, or get dirty in the outside play.  I tweeted that I was kindof cursing myself for not having the foresight to keep them as doll blankets, when another mama that is part of my online circle came to my rescue.

Thank you to @StumblingGrace and Isa, the blankets are much appreciated.
Because doesn't every mother wear sunglasses and vamp for the camera when swaddling a baby?

And Hopeful, don't worry, you get the hang of swaddling pretty quick.

Thank you, God, for my Circle.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Well, He's Somebody's Daddy, Just Not Yours

So, Father's Day is this weekend, apparently.  Who knew.  Anyway, apparently they have been "discussing it" at daycare, because my kid has been all about "Daddy" for days.

I've tried "we don't have a daddy at our house.  We have a Mommy.  And a Nan and a Grandpa that love us very much."

I've tried the above plus "every family is different.  Some families have just a mommy like ours.  Some families have two mommies like (name-of-kid-at-daycare)."

She's been out-of-the-blue saying "Daddies".  When we sing "Wheels on The Bus" we ALWAYS have to do the Daddies Go Read-Read-Read part.  (What, don't mommies read on the bus?  WTF?)  Sometimes I just let it go, and sometimes I try to remind her of the above conversation.

This weekend, she called my father "Daddy" from another room.  We jumped on that with "Grandpa?  Do you need Grandpa?"

Today at dinner, out of the blue she said "Daddy".  I said "we don't have a daddy, honey" and she said "Two Mommies" (from the aforementioned conversation). 

At this point, I'd rather talk about "two mommies" than "daddy".

If I just didn't have so much guilt about depriving my kid of a father, these conversations probably wouldn't bother me so damn much.  I hope I'm doing it right.  Suggestions?


One evening, while having couscous and vegetables for dinner, my kid saw two bunnies in the backyard.  She then had a fit about the two bunnies in the backyard.  So I drug out the camera, and you get inflicted with get to see the rest:

The Great American Backyard Campout is coming up.  I've been dying to take my kid camping, but I haven't camped in a couple of years.  I used to think it was challenging to camp with a dog.  I had no idea.  I think she'll like the backyard campout.  I think it will be a good test to see if my tent is still seam-sealed.  And if it goes horribly wrong, we can just come inside.  Right?

Is anyone else doing Great American Backyard Campout?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's Hot, The Sequel - A Story in Five Acts

Remember last summer when it was really hot?

Somehow it seems to have done the same thing this year.  It went from very cold and raining to very hot and dry.  Thanks, Mother Nature.

So to keep cool, we play with water in Nan's Backyard.

(Yes, we have cloth swim diapers.  Both were at home - I never seem to come prepared.  She just kept her regular diaper on, and I changed prefold + cover after the swimming was over.)