Saturday, June 20, 2009

Craft-y? Me?

I wasn't always. I'm still inclined to say that I'm not. Yet somehow craft bunnies keep exploding their population in my head. Just got back from Michael's (and Old Navy, Target and Great Clips). There, I picked up 150 blank heavy cardstock cards and envelopes, a punch that can make 1"x1 1/2" envelopes, and a couple of mini-punches - a cupid and a dove. They are added to the Martha Stewart Double Craft Elephant Punch I got this week. What about paper? I have near unlimited access to 80# cardstock that was already bound for the recycle-bin, so my punches will be "upcycled". My husband already has an alphabet stamp set (he's always been the crafty one), so I'm about to embark on a new world of card and DIY supply making.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Pancake/Mini-muffin Hack (Recipe)

1 1/4c Bisquick Heart Healthy Pancake mix
1 egg
1/2c 2% organic lactose free cow milk
1/2c coconut milk
1/4c hemp milk
1 jar banana & peach stage 2 baby food
1 tbsn sugar
pinch salt

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Spray a 24 muffin mini muffin tin ALL OVER (not just in the muffin repositories) with Pam
3. Spoon mixture into each repository
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a fork comes out of a muffin "clean"

Makes 24 mini-muffins.

Ok, so the ingredients and this recipe need an explanation.

First the recipe:
Em has become a bona fide meat-atarian, and getting her to eat vegetables or fully eat fruit is a challenge most of the time. Things that she loved when she was younger, or yesterday can be rejected for no particular reason. We also have about a dozen and a half jars of baby food that were graciously donated to us from a mom of a baby girl a few months older than Em. But, since we never really did jarred foods, they've gone uneaten.

SO! I thought, well, I can mix a jar or two into pancakes and those can be good healthy snacks for her. Last night while mixing up the batter, I was irritated by the thought of getting out the griddle, "slaving" over the pancakes and moreso by the necessity of cleaning said griddle after the cooking.

SO, I thought: mini muffins! I added the last two ingredients to get closer to a muffin/quickbread recipe, but I suspect they're not really necessary.

Ok, now the ingredient explanation:
1. Pancake mix - this is what we had in the house.
2. The various milks - the recipe called for cow milk, I'm trying to get rid of the coconut milk and we're weaning Em onto hemp milk. So, I just mixed them all in.
3. Peaches & bananas seemed a more likely complement to pancakes than squash. But, make no mistake, I plan to use up the squash and carrot jars too. I think the recipe could stand to have another jar of food in it if the milks are reduced.

These were good, and Em and I shared two mini-muffins last night before bed. 2-3 muffins would make a perfect snack for either one of us. I'm looking forward to making these again.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One year later...

I'm reminded that I should probably do a recap on where I am in the "not that crunchy" world...So, this is an update on this post. It was made a month before baby girl was born, so even I'm interested to see if/how I've changed. EDIT: Before typing this up, I was pretty sure that I've mellowed out. After, I know that I have. And my pre-becoming-a-mom self would have been pretty irritated at mellowing. Post-becoming-a-mom? Mellow is GOOD. :)

Home Births: I'm still about the same. Lots of respect for moms who were able to swing them w/no problems.

Breastfeeding: I'm even more adamant about how important this is for all babies. I'm still not going to harp at someone who through whatever decision process has arrived at formula. But I'll be darned sure that I've provided all the support I can to avoid it if possible!

Babywearing: Great if you can do it. We tried all sorts of slings, and other baby-wearing items. But, every one was uncomfortable/impractical for a variety of reasons. The good news is, we still carry baby girl everywhere, so she still gets the benefits of babywearing - we just lose the benefit of having both hands available for other things.

Vaccinations: We are still following a stagger, refuse and/or delay schedule. I'm well aware of what is required by state law to enter school and I'm planning to that, but still on our own time.

Male Circumcision: I'm more against it now than I was a year ago, but I'm still of the opinion that its not my business to sway somebody one way or another. We all choose different things for our families.

Female Ear Piercing: I've decided to wait until baby girl asks for it. And I will take her whenever that is, whether she's 2 or 12. More than anything its having seen her play with her ears all the time without earrings that's been stopping me. Still have no problem with it on other girls whether they're 3 months or 3 years.

Cloth Diapering: Same. I found a place that delivers in the area finally, but ran the numbers and saw that we are actually saving money on diapers, since baby girl only goes through about 4-5 a day. We'd be going through more with cloth and have to deal with making sure we keep up with deliveries and leaving the old diapers out.

Homemade Food: This is where I changed most radically. Upon moving to baby girl's 6 month birthday the more research I did, the more I realized that Baby-Led Weaning was for us. Its easy, its gloriously lazy, and it is so much fun. I couldn't fathom the idea of laboriously making food just to have it refused and/or wasted. And this way, baby girl gets to really participate in meal times.

Stay-at-home parenting: Its working for us. Finding the balance is the hardest part. Some days we're there. Other days, we limp towards slightly off-kilter.

Co-sleeping: More than a few handfuls of times, baby girl did sleep in bed with us when we felt like she needed the added security. She's still in her crib in our room and the next stop is moving her to her own room. Here's hoping both she and I can survive it.

Homeschooling/Unschooling: I've also changed up a bit here. Though my stepdaughter will be homeschooled, we've decided that a public charter school will be best for baby girl. Unfortunately, it only goes to 6th grade, which is the only reason my stepdaughter couldn't apply (she'll be going into 9th!). I'm SO excited about getting her into this school. They have Latin & Greek studies, but more than that, a much richer curriculum AND higher ratings in all the standard school criteria than any of the public school district schools in our area.

So...I'm still not that crunchy, but I think I've crunched up a little bit in some areas and softened even more in others.

Baby girl's stats @ birth: 6lbs 13oz, 19.5in
Baby girl's stats @ 12 months: 19lbs 8oz, 29.5in

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We're weaning to hemp milk. Here's why:

- I've pumped for her (EPing), for her whole life, and figured that if she hasn't had the need for formula at this point in her life, why start now?

- Baby girl is lactose intolerant. We'll try cow milk again when she's older to see if that improves, but I'm not going to deal with immediate nasty diapers every time we give her any significant amount (1oz or more) liquid milk products right now.

- I have issues with soy due to thyroid problems in me AND the family, so I won't give that to her.

- Rice milk is all carbs, and no protein or fat

- Coconut milk is all fat, and no protein or carb

- Raw milk (cow or goat) is hard to come by for us and is super expensive.

- Goat milk is pretty expensive, and also not the easiest to come by.

- We have obesity, cholesterol issues and heart disease in the family. When babies older than 12 months have a family history like that, the AAP recommends 2% milk instead of whole cow milk.

- Hemp milk's nutritionals (calories, fat, protein, carb) are similar 2% milk, and has natural omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids in addition to a good spectrum of vitamins also similar to cow milk

Just wanted to share our process of deciding what to wean to. At the moment, I'm still providing 15oz of EBM daily, but starting next month or so, I'm going to start dropping down the amount we give her so that I can start stashing enough to get her to 2 years after I'm done pumping.

I know its been a while since I've posted. I'm hoping to get into a regular groove.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Flying with Baby

We flew ALL carryon. If I had to do it again, I would still fly ALL carryon, but I would re-evaluate what I was taking with me and how I was carrying it. We had:

1. The stroller, which I think I could have done with out (I HATE strollers, so it could just be my bias)
2. A giant 2200 cubic inch backpack which housed toys for the plane ride and my pump
3. My messenger bag which had the Baby B'air (LOVED IT!) and the diaper wallet along with my phone, wallet, camera and GPS
4. Giant duffel bag which had all clothes, shoes and toiletries.

Flying from DFW to NY was not bad. We woke up early and drove to the airport while Em would have been asleep. After I declared both, security @ DFW wanted my pump and EBM out, and the security guard held Em while I worked on unpacking and repacking the bags. They didn't even ask about my liquids, because they saw that I was just a mom traveling with her baby with no help.

At the gate, I let Em cruise around and a group of high school girls were apparently riding with us to NY for a choir competition. They not only kept her entertained, but watched my bags while I went to change her as she had pooped 10 minutes before boarding. By letting her get her energy out, she fell asleep before we even took off and slept for 2 of the 3 hours on the plane.

The last hour, I fed her cheerios one by one, and attempted to entertain her with a toy. It was thrown to the floor three times, and I realized the "wisdom" of bringing her a toy for every half hour was the stupidest thing ever. At least for her.

She started crying before the descent was announced, and I popped in the paci. Worked like a charm.

Being around 3 year olds for a week improved Em's walking (and trotting!) skills considerably, so I worried about my gameplan for the trip back. At NY's La Guardia, I did NOT have to take my pump and milk out even after I declared it, nor did I have to take out my liquids. Again, I think it was seeing me struggling with all the stuff that I had (it wasn't bad, but it sure looked it!) kept the security guards from going crazy with the screening.

I got to the gates, and saw that another flight to DFW was taking off in a few minutes, so I asked about any extra seats. Not only were there seats, but we got a whole row to ourselves.

Thank goodness that we did. Because we didn't get a chance to burn off energy at the gate waiting, the novelty of being on the plane wore off in about 30 minutes. The takeoff was fine. The snack was fine. And then she started crying for about an hour. I can't even imagine trying to deal with her with somebody next to me. Nothing worked - paci, toys, food.

She'd been fed EBM before we left for the airport, but I went ahead and gave her the bottle that I was saving for the landing. Even with that, she kept popping off to cry. I finally gave her a dose of tylenol, and rubbed her gums with a good helping of baby orajel, and after a while she finally fell asleep for the rest of the flight. She was so out that I was able to lay her down on the seats while I gathered all of our stuff.

SO to recap:
1. Let them burn off energy for the flight.
2. Keep food, and drugs on hand just in case.
3. Don't be afraid to ask for help from anyone around you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fat Free Falafel + Cucumber Yogurt Dressing

2 15oz cans of garbanzo beans
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tspn cumin
1 tspn curry powder (recipe called for tumeric - I was out)
1 tspn salt
1 tspn black pepper
1 tbsn dried minced onion
1 tbsn dried diced parsley
2 tbsn lemon juice
1/2 tspn cayenne pepper
1/3 cup flour

0. Preheat oven to 400F
1. Drain garbanzo beans well.
2. Combine ALL ingredients except flour in a food processor or a bowl until mashed.
3. Add flour and process/stir until batter is uniform. (batter can be saved in the fridge for about a week, but there's not a whole lot, so why?)
4. Roll batter into balls (maybe about the size of a half dollar?) and place slightly flattened onto a baking pan lined with silpat.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. They will be golden brown.

Serve in a pita with fresh veggies and Cucumber Yogurt Dressing.

Cucumber Yogurt Dressing:

1/2 c fat free plain yogurt
1/4 c diced and seeded cucumber
1/8 c onion
1 tspn lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve falafel.

This was very yummy. I skipped the onion in the dressing though.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Yeast Rolls/Kolaches

This is a hack from a Paula Dean recipe. I've of course, improved it. I also used my Kitchen Aid mixer, but a bowl would be just fine.

3 c all purpose flour (recipe called for 2 to 2-1/2c - Not enough.), divided
4T sugar (recipe called for 2. NOT ENOUGH!)
1tspn salt
1 envelope Yeast
1/2c milk (I used whole organic w/DHA)
1/4c water
1/2 c butter or margarine (recipe called for 2T, I say that's not enough!)


0. Start about 2-3 cups of water in a pot or tea kettle on the stove to boil.

1. Mix 3/4 cup flour, sugar, salt, and undissolved yeast.

2. Heat milk, water and butter to 120° - 130°F.

(I did this in the microwave in three separate containers, didn't take the temperature just checked if they were hot and added them in one at a time, mixing in between.)

3. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer.

4. Add 1/4 cup flour. Beat at high speed of electric mixer 2 minutes.

5. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough.
(I think I stirred in about 2 more cups about a half a cup at a time.)

6. On floured surface knead 2 to 3 minutes.

The dough will be warm. I added at least another 1/4-1/2 cup of flour here.

7. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces.
For ROLLS: Shape into balls. Place in greased 8-inch round pan or ungreased silpat. Cover.
(With what? I don't know. Other recipes have said plastic wrap. I'll go with that.)

For Kolaches: Flatten each piece and wrap around sausage. (I used Ekrich's Cheese Sausages) Lay evenly apart on a flat pan covered in silpat. (I used 2 pans, and I probably should have covered. Forgot.)

8. Pour a 1-inch depth of boiling water into large pan on bottom rack of cold oven.
(I used a glass casserole dish.)

9. Set rolls on rack above water. Close oven door; let rise 30 minutes. Uncover rolls; remove pan of water.

10. Turn oven to 375°F. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until done. Remove from pan. Serve warm.

These were GOOOD.