Friday, June 4, 2010

Eating Induced Narcolepsy

I have a laundry list of good habits I would like to instill in Ava before our new bundle of joy arrives in December. One of them is learning how to fall asleep in her crib.

Ava started out being a great sleeper, but something went terribly wrong along the way...Thankfully, she has been sleeping through the night now that she has her own room. However, the two trips out of town to visit family and the move to a new apartment all within the matter of a month was enough to considerably upset her bedtime routine.

So we've been working on it. Stephen and I will stand with her while she tosses and turns until she falls asleep...which is usual a minimum of one hour later. A few times, I've given up because nap time has extended into meal time. And of course, this is what happens next:

Now I understand why our high chair reclines! And here's the groggy wake up shot:

I'm not sure why the high chair is such a comfortable sleeping location for Ava, and I hope that very soon she will be falling asleep in her crib without too much trouble - but for now, I've enjoyed watching her nod off into her sweet potatoes. Ok fine, I panicked the first time it happened. I thought she passed out or something. But now that I know she's still breathing, I think it's pretty much the cutest thing ever. :)

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday. Go visit Amy's blog and see what other fine things people are celebrating this week!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Years Resolutions Update

Soooo it's June - which that means we're officially halfway through 2010. I feel like this is probably a fitting time to sit down and review my New Year's Resolutions. Frankly, the scene is dismal. And that's why I need this public kick in the pants.

1. Read 24 books.

If we're halfway through the year, I should have read, what - 12 books by now? (I know my mommy brain gets a little fuzzy with the numbers sometimes, but I like to think I can still do the basic operations on double digits in my head.) Unfortunately, I'm still on #3. Pathetic. I don't even want to tell you that I listened to one of them on CD.

The good news is that we moved to a 2 bedroom apartment, and our big, comfy chair has found a home in Ava's room. I have been able to sit and read while Ava plays happily in her new babyproof space. I feel confident this number is going to be increasing a little more quickly in the near future.

2. Run a 5k

Hey, I'm pregnant - can I blame my condition for giving up on this goal this year? Ok, fine. I made absolutely no strides toward this goal before I had the bun in the oven.

3. Learn to do something new

Another fail. Haven't made any progress towards this one, except that I think I might be focusing on photography - pun intended!!! Ahahaha! Hahaha! Haha haha aha...ahem.

I'm going to start by actually reading my camera's manual (does that count as one of my books?!) and then start looking for some online resources to continue my education. If you have a good web site, book, or any of your own advice to share, please let me know!! (And I should probably get some lessons from my very talented sister Emily!!)

4. Get dressed. Every day.
This one might be the biggest FAIL in the history of...everything. Why is this so hard for me? I'm going to blame it on being homeschooled :)

I don't even know what I'm going to do to to improve on this one. I'm pregnant again, and my yoga pants are all I can fit into. I don't have a lot of money to spend on new clothes, and I'm terrible at shopping anyway. Maybe I'll dust off the sewing machine?

So there you have it, the public disclosure of my resolution failures. From now on, I plan on giving a monthly blog update in the name of accountability. How are you all doing on your resolutions? Here's to hoping you've had more success than me...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Birthday Party

This weekend, we attended a birthday party for Ava's friend Michael. It turned out to be a gorgeous day! A local photographer, Amanda Arnold, took some beautiful pictures that I wanted to share!

Ava and her friend Madison

Ava learning how to stand up!

A family shot :)

Ava being all cute and stuff...

The birthday boy!

Happy Birthday, Michael!! Thank you for a wonderful time!! I can't believe our babies are growing up...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Calling All Cloth Diaper Wizards

It has recently come to my attention that I am spending way too much money on disposable diapers and wipes, and I will soon be doubling that figure.

To be fair, there are plenty of deals to be had out there. True frugals would never pay more than 5 dollars for a jumbo pack. I just don't have the drive to play the drugstore game these days. I also try to stick to more natural, eco-friendly products for my little sweetheart's tush, and those obviously come with a higher price tag attached. Although I'd like to say I am purely motivated by a love for the earth and a desire to keep the approximately 1,000,000,000 diapers that will be used by all of my children out of a landfill, I am primarily concerned with the effect that harsh chemicals will have on Ava (especially since she has struggled with eczema). Of course, the fact that most "natural" products are usually eco-friendly is a huge bonus :)

But here's my problem: I have no idea how to cloth diaper a baby. And I'm pretty sure that's my only alternative (unless I want to potty train her at 10 months...but I'm going to go ahead and throw that idea right out.) Come on, YouTube! Why aren't there any videos of someone changing an actual poopy cloth diaper on an actual human baby?? Wet pails, dry pails, combo pails, tri folds, pre folds, post folds (ok, I might be making that one up...), all-in-ones, pocket diapers, soakers, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?! There are a few sites I've seen that include a cloth diaper vocaulary lesson, but I need pictures! Charts! Diagrams! SOMETHING!!

So calling all diaper wizards of the world - Do you know of a good web site, video, or have personal experience that you'd like to share on the subject? Where do I even begin??

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Pentecost!

Two years ago, I was confirmed in the Catholic faith. Looking back, that day seems like a lifetime ago! The days leading up to my confirmation were filled with so much anxiety and doubt. I felt sure of where I was being called, but so unsure of myself. There was (and still is!) so much left for me to learn about the Church and the great deposit of faith, and I thought that because I didn't know every last bit of Catholic theology, I was going to be a bad Catholic or that I was making an uninformed decision. There was so much unrest in my life leading up to that point, but the thing that stands out to me when I remember that day was the overwhelming sense of peace that I experienced. There was a calm that came me that morning like I've never experienced before - it was truly a gift from the Holy Spirit.

Stephen and I like to do something special to commemorate the anniversary of the day we received the sacraments. It's nothing too fancy, but tonight we made some delicious orange chocolate brownies and said a prayer for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which I'll share at the end of this post.

Today, I'd like to take time to thank everyone who prayed for me and mentored me in the days leading up to my confirmation - especially my wonderful husband Stephen, who was always there to pray with me, to answer questions about the faith, and to be a shoulder to cry on through all my difficult soul searching. Did you ever know that you're my hero?? :)

Happy Pentecost, everyone!

(And also, for those of you interested in learning more about the sacrament of confirmation, click here for a great overview that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know and more!)

Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all supernatural gifts, who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with such immense favors, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.

Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.

Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.

Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.

Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.

Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.

Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next. Amen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Our family is growing...

I'm sure most of you have heard the news by now, but I thought it was about time I made a blog announcement (also, it's about time to start WRITING in this blog again...)

The newest member of our family is expected around December 10th!!! Although if she's anything like her big sister, we might be waiting until Christmas!! And yes, the baby is a she until proven otherwise!! We'll be finding out for sure on July 19th :)

I was very bummed about not getting that cute little bump when I was pregnant with Ava until I was about 6 MONTHS along, but I don't think I'm going to have to worry about that this time !! I'm 11 weeks today, and I'm already hitting that awkward stage where I look like I just ate a few too many cookies. (And for the record - yes, I had already lost the baby weight from Ava!!) Check out the comparison:

This is most definitely my Finer Thing this week!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Anger Management

It's been a while. I've been dragging myself along the past few weeks, and blogging has been at the absolute bottom of the priority list. Ava is having some extreme sleeping difficulties along with some teething and nursing trouble. For the past few days, I've been slowly sinking into a pit of unshowered despair, convinced that this phase is never going to end.

And then I got angry at myself. Really angry. How dare I complain about a few weeks or months of little sleep? I have a perfectly healthy child, and I should be grateful that she isn't crying out in the night in pain or fear. How dare I complain about her nursing difficulties? I know that I have an abundance of food for her and she is in no danger of becoming malnourished. Why is my patience running so thin? I have a wonderful husband who is loving and helpful and encouraging, and I am blessed to be able to stay home with Ava during the day (which affords me the opportunity to sneak in a nap every once in a while).

When I decided to pop open Google reader during one of Ava's increasingly rare naps this morning, I knew it was no coincidence that one of the first posts I read was this.

Wow. How pertinent that her anger was also directed towards herself. (I also love that it touches on the issue of complaining, which is one of my Lenten resolutions. You can probably guess how that is going for me...)

I'm going to be meditating on this quote today.

"The beginning of freedom from anger is silence of the lips when the heart is agitated; the middle is silence of the thoughts when there is a mere disturbance of soul; and the end is the imperturbable calm under the breath of unclean winds."
~St. John Climacus

And if that doesn't work, maybe I'll just hang this in the bathroom:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Unintentionally Vegan Pizza

Well I may not be a vegan, but I sure have been eating like one lately! Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Marilyn, I whipped up some delicious dairy and soy free pizza for dinner. It was actually a random coincidence that after she mentioned her favorite pizza toppings - sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and caramelized onions - I found them all on sale at Safeway (all in on spot on display, too - it was DEFINITELY a sign.)

I have a confession to make - I had no idea how to caramelize onions. I am, however, an expert at burning them :) Thanks to, I muddled through it! I LOVE that site!!

It's like I've been doing it my whole life!!

I used an old focaccia bread recipe I had for the crust (I took a cue from Buddy the Cake Boss) and the pizza was absolutely delicious. I can't take credit for the crust recipe though, it's from Breaking Bread with Father Dominic. The recipe used to be posted online, but I can't find the link anymore so I'll go ahead and share it with you! For the record, it's slightly altered because I don't have a bread machine and it was originally intended to be a loaf, not pizza crust...

Focaccia Bread Pizza Crust

1 cup + 3 Tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons rosemary
3 cups flour

Mix yeast and warm water together. Stir in oil, salt, and rosemary. Slowly add flour until dough forms an easy to handle ball. (I mixed with my hands at the end.) Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface; cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Form pizza crust on pan greased in olive oil (I made two personal pizzas, but you could very easily make one large crust). Cover and let rise in warm place for about 30 minutes. Add desired toppings, and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.

I think the only thing I will change for next time is to make the crust thinner. What can I say - I'm from New York! Enjoy!!

Kidnapped: Kitchen Edition

I've been taken hostage by my kitchen, somewhat willingly. I'm here to share what I've been doing in my absense from blogging and to try to explain to my mom why I'm too busy to call to her when she knows I'm snowed in :)

3 dozen dairy & soy free banana muffins, 6 loaves of banana bread, and a loaf of italian bread in my freezer

Chicken and rice soup with italian bread


Italian bread

Chicken and squash over penne with basil sauce

Homemade Gnocci

Chicken in mushroom sauce with garlic hasselback potatoes

Bourbon chicken over brown rice

Penne with homemade pasta sauce

Failed italian round loaf

Homemade pasta sauce, simmering

Dairy free oatmeal bread

Acorn squash, roasting in the oven

All I have to say is a LOT of work. Especially when it has to be dairy and soy free (yes, that's right...we've added soy to the off-limits list...the rescheduled allergist appointment is on Thursday, but since the roads aren't clear and we're anticipating 10-20 more inches of snow tonight, there's a good chance that's not going to happen). I'm pretty proud of myself though, and I hope it will all get easier as I get more practice in the kitchen.

In other news, I plan on migrating to wordpress in the very near future, so after that is done we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming around here, including a bread down on all the cooking/baking! I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping we don't lose power around here during the Snowpocalypse...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Adventures in Veggie Land

Last week, I decided to switch it up a bit and head down to Harris Teeter for my produce. I usually only shop at HT during super double/triple coupon weeks, and never for produce. I felt like I was walking into a new world...Goodbye, wilted greens and hello fresh local produce and giant organic selection!! They even have a "reduced for quick sale" section where I found some GREAT deals on apples and oranges, and there were a few big bags of limes for a dollar! It's a little out my way to shop there every week, but after that trip I'm going to have a hard time going back to Safeway.

When I got home, I took Sunny Anderson's advice to heart and decided to prep all my produce as soon as I got in the door. I got a lot of stuff...and it was a lot of work. But wow, was it worth it! When my blood sugar is low and I head to the kitchen, apparently it's too much work for me to wash and cut an apple or green pepper or carrot or whatever. I realize how pathetic that sounds, but it's true. When I open the refrigerator now and see a bag of veggies all cut and ready to snack on, I take them out and eat them, often passing up the cookies on the counter or tortilla chips in the cupboard. (Ok, ok, sometimes I eat them AFTER the veggies. The point is I'm eating the veggies!!) It has most definitely saved me a ton of time to get all my cleaning and chopping done at once, and I love that I'm not pulling out my cutting board every single day! That gets SO old.

While I'm on the subject of cleaning and prepping veggies, I've been doing a little research on the best way to be doing the cleaning. My mom has been telling me to fill a big bowl with water and vinegar and let them soak, and then to rinse them off with water. I know you should ALWAYS listen to your mom, but even she tells me I should use Google before calling her :) I found an article on the NPR web site detailing some research on the best way to clean your produce, and sure enough, vinegar is the winner! Mom, you've been doing it exactly right. Imagine that...

I leave you with a shot of a few of my beautiful veggies in their vinegar bath.

I'm curious, how do you all clean your veggies? Any other methods out there I don't know about? I recently watched an episode of Taboo where some freegans washed their produce in a bleach solution, but I personally can't see myself feeding Ava food with possible chemical residue...

Call me crazy, but I think it's a miracle...

Either I was imagining tooth pain, or I've been miraculously healed.

I showed up at the dentist last week to have him poke and prod around in my mouth asking "Does this hurt?", "Does that hurt?", "How about now??". The answers were no, no, and a big no. I felt a little silly...Now it's no secret that I have slight hypochondriac tendencies, but I've been stiff in my resolve to avoid Ibuprofen while nursing until this toothache came along. Doesn't that prove that this was serious stuff?? The dentist suggested it might have been sinus pain causing the ache, but I'm just going to go ahead and chalk this one up to a miracle. Thank you very much to everyone who prayed for me :)

My tooth is better, but I've still been on and off with this pesky fever that has been plaguing me since Christmas. I went to the doctor again last night, and she suggested what I was already pretty sure of: I'm tired and run down and I'm catching every little bug that comes my way. She told me one of my ears isn't looking good and there's a good chance it will be turning into an ear infection, so I've got her direct number for another antibiotic if the need arises. Wahoo. As I've said before, I'm very thankful that Stephen and Ava's immune systems are handling things better...

Speaking of Ava's immune system, she has been sick exactly one day of her life so far. Of course, that day happened to be the same one as her appointment with the allergist that we've been waiting a month and a half to see. We rescheduled for this month, but I have no news on the allergy front other than it seems to be flaring up again suddenly, so I'm just hoping and praying no other allergies are making an appearance. I've been forced to get even more creative with my cooking and I've been taking plenty of pictures, so hopefully I'll have the run-down for you later this afternoon!

Stay warm, everyone...

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Apparently, my immune system decided to take a vacation for the winter. That's all well and good, but couldn't it have taken me with it?? Yeah, I'm sick again. And to add to my discomfort, I also have a toothache which I'm assuming is due to a cavity. Luckily, I was able to get an appointment with the dentist tonight. I know this sounds lame considering I recently gave birth unmedicated, but I'm mildly terrified. I did have a cavity filled in a baby tooth, but I haven't had Novocaine in at least 15 years. (Wow...I can't believe I'm old enough to have memories from 15 years ago...)

I don't mean to be whining so much. After watching a few episodes of "Taboo" on Nat Geo yesterday, I am most definitely counting my blessings. I have insurance, a well trained dentist, painkillers, and absolutely no reason to be complaining.

I'll keep you posted...I mean, nobody has ever died from getting a cavity filled, right??

Friday, January 22, 2010

Finer Things Friday: Dairy Free Pizza

Today, I am joining Amy at The Finer Things In Life in reflecting on...well, the finer things in my life. And today, it may seem shallow, but one of those things is pizza.

Stephen and I typically have been excessive pizza eaters. I'm not hyperbolizing when I say the first month I moved to Maryland, we ate nothing but Pizza and Chinese takeout. Since Ava has dairy issues and I am still nursing, I have not had a slice of pizza since before Thanksgiving. (And let me tell you - a dairy free diet is a quick way to lose baby weight, especially when you eat as much butter as I do did!)

Yesterday I was perusing the special foods section at Safeway, and I happened upon an incredible find - Amy's dairy free pizza!! I guess I never realized there was such a thing, but I'm very glad I found it. It was manna in my dairy free dessert!! Ahahaha...ahaha....I'm such a nerd.

But seriously, it was good. If you're going dairy free for any reason, I'd definitely recommend giving it a try!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

6 Months

My sweet little Ava turned 6 months old yesterday! Everybody warned me about how quickly the time goes, but I don't think you get it until you get it. You know? I was shocked to find out she was only 14 lbs. 14 oz. - I thought for sure she would be at least 25 pounds. I must be getting wimpier, because I feel like she's getting waaay to heavy to be carrying around all the time :) You may think 25 pounds is a bit excessive, but it's really not...see below.

This is a picture of me and my mom when I was 2 MONTHS old. Don't you just love my chins? By 5 months, I had racked up a whopping 21 pounds. Wolfram Alpha projects that my adult weight should be 398 pounds...I guess I'm still young, but I'm pretty sure I've hit a plateau...

Of course with every doctor appointment at this age comes shots. I am pleased to report that both Ava and I did remarkably well this time around :0) I was downright sick before the 4 month shots. Thankfully, Ava handled them like a trooper, instantly calm once I shook her favorite monkey toy in her face a few times. The aftermath at 4 months was a little rough though - she had a bout of hypercrying once we got home and a fever for quite a few days afterwards. This month, I held it together much better. The monkey toy didn't cut it this time, but she didn't cry for long and she had absolutely no fever or any other symptoms this time! Wahoo!!

Next up, allergy testing on Tuesday...:(

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New York, New York

We're finally home from a nice long weekend visit with my family up in New York! (Ok, ok...we got back Monday night. I've been catching up on laundry!!) It's always a great time being with family, and it's SO hard to leave. I so wish we could all live closer...if you live near your family, enjoy them!! Not everyone has that privilege.

Me and Emily

We pretty much took it easy during our visit (a 6 hour drive with baby wears me out, and I don't even do most of the driving!!) and spent our time together as much as possible. One of our fun activities was salsa making. To sum up using the old adage, "if at first you don't succeed..." Yeah, big fail. But at least we learned to use less onions next time!

Onion Soup Salsa

Our good friends the Crane family (including the new Humphrey branch! So good to see you guys!!) stopped by as we were finishing up the salsa, and so they became the unfortunate victims of the onion soup. However, Mr. Crane suggested a little trick that made the salsa much more manageable...sugar! (A spoon full of sugar works for more than just medicine apparently...) It was definitely more edible after the addition, but I think our salsa was just too far gone to be salvaged. However, if the ratio of onions to tomato was slightly more intact, I think the sugar could have really saved the day!! Just thought I'd pass that handy tip along...

Well I've got plenty to catch you up on, so I'll be back with more soon!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dabbling in the organic

Well my adventurous spirit is officially gone for the week. We played it safe with the tilapia last night and breaded/baked it. (And Stephen, being a wonderful husband, ate it anyway...) I had grand ideas about this mango salsa topping for it, but I went to my freezer and discovered I must have already eaten all the mango in my sleep. It was pretty bland because I definitely didn't season it enough, but it was edible and didn't taste terrible (it really didn't taste like much of anything...Anne, I wish I would have read your suggestion sooner!!) Tonight's dinner was also extremely pathetic - thyme and rosemary chicken with boxed potatoes and canned green beans. Big fail. (I'm telling myself that we needed to use up that nasty stuff so we can move on to the fresh produce...)

But enough on dinner, back to Monday's shopping trip. Along with buying adventurous cuts of meat (wow...did I just call my cuts of meat adventurous?? I really need to try new things more often...) I also bought organic when the option was available. I never thought I would care about buying organic, but it's amazing what happens to you when you become a parent!! I've read a lot of anti-organic articles citing that organic produce is no more nutritious than regular produce and that pesticides stay on the outside of many fruits and veggies so as long as you're not eating the skin, you don't need to buy organic...but the fact is, even if the levels of pesticides you consume are well below the human tolerance threshold, you are still consuming them. And while that might be fine for me and you, it makes me nervous to feed them to my sweet baby girl :) (As my brother pointed out to me earlier, you also have to consider the environmental benefits of organic farming...)

The real kicker for me was the milk. While picking up Stephen's half gallon, I noted organic milk in the case. Since almost everything else in my cart was organic, I said hey - why not? I've heard great things from people who drink organic milk. And yet, I've never bothered to ask...what IS organic milk, anyway? Once home, google gave me my answer. According to this article, there are four requirements for milk to be labeled organic:

1. Cows must not be treated with bovine growth hormone (BGH)
2. Cows must not be treated with antibiotics
3. Cows feed must be grown without pesticides
4. Cows must have access to pasture

I've always preferred buying free-range chicken eggs, but I never saw "free range cows" labeled on milk jugs so it's nice to know that by buying organic milk I can be supporting better living conditions for cows. However, other than #4, the benefits of organic milk seem to be just as controversial as the produce. (Google "organic milk" and grab yourself a snack, because you're in for a looong evening...) I'm intrigued by this article's claim that organic dairy products may have an impact on allergies and eczema, and it makes me wonder if Ava's dairy troubles could have been avoided. Additionally, organic milk is usually ultra-pasteurized, and it seems like this could potentially damage even more of the valuable nutrients contained within. Of course, anyone can make any outrageous claim they'd like on the internet (by the way, did you know I invented the internet??) and much of the information you'll find is not cited. It's definitely something I'll be doing some research on, so I'll let you know if I find out anything good. For the record, Stephen gave the organic milk two big thumbs up...

I'm curious to know if anyone reading this blog drinks organic milk (or has a compelling reason why they don't...) What do you think??

Monday, January 11, 2010

Confessions of an aspiring chef.

One of my unofficial resolutions for this year is to branch out in the cooking (and eating) department, and today I tried to make good on my goal. I head confidently into the meat department, found some good looking cuts on sale, then turned to the checkout counter.

And then I got home.

As I stared at the packages, the realization of what I had done quickly set in. For starters, I specifically sought out tilapia in the seafood department because that is the only type of fish that Stephen likes...the problem is, Stephen does not like tilapia. He likes haddock. And I realized this as soon as I saw that beautiful package of fish sitting in my refrigerator.

I also realized I had no idea what I on earth I was going to do with this meat. After months of trying to plan meals and then buy my supplies, I decided to throw it all out the window and take a cue from some of my fellow frugal mom bloggers who advocate buying what is on sale and planning meals around that. So I bought meat that was on what? I picked out the package I wanted to start with, and then stared at the meat for a few minutes...then I walked to my computer and did a few google searches...then I went back and stared at the meat again...I repeat this cycle several times before deciding to clean up the apartment while I "thought about it" (translation: my fight or flight response kicked in, and I chose flight).

Surprise, surprise, Stephen came home from work before I finished "thinking about it" and happily rescued me from my inner turmoil. He took over the meat (a thinly sliced top round roast, in case you were wondering...he fried it up in some butter and onions and garlic...mmmm) while I chopped and steamed some green beans and peeled potatoes. The end result was quite delicious, but sans potatoes. More about that tomorrow...In any case, all's well that end's well, right?

Stephen and I come from very different "food backgrounds". I am firmly ingrained with the idea that dinner consists of a meat, a starch, and a vegetable. When our potato plan failed, Stephen suggested replacing them with fruit. Fruit?! Fruit is what my grandma serves for dessert (of course she always has a few cookies waiting in the wings for her favorite grandchildren...:) Apparently, fruit is something that Stephen's family usually ate with dinner. My family ate a lot of venison, lots and lots of potatoes, and always a healthy serving of vegetables. His family ate a lot of chicken, pasta, and as we now know, fruit. I think it's interesting to see how our tastes and our backgrounds have melded together to form our new family's food style, especially since when I first moved to Maryland our food style was "pizza or chinese". We've come a long way, but we're not done yet! Check back for the rest of this week's dinner adventures...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bread crumbs, bananas, and green beans

Thankfully, I'm feeling much better today and was finally able to test out our new food processor! This thing is great, just like we knew it would be. (Just like we knew it better be, for the price... :)

First, we threw in the slices of bread that had been drying on my counter since we ordered it a few days ago:

Then presto chango:

Awesome!! Let me tell you, trying to do this in a 2 cup processor was...not my favorite thing in the world. The Cuisinart makes this a breeze (and it's quiet to boot!)

Next, we moved on to the baby food. I chopped and steamed some beans, and once again, the before:

And after:

Woohoo! We also did some bananas, which turned out fabulous (it was Ava's first time trying them tonight!)

I got a call this afternoon in response to an email that I had sent Cuisinart a few days ago, and I'm happy to report that the plastic mixing bowls contain no BPA. Good job, Cuisinart. No, I'm not being paid to write this entry...but I should be, right??

Hangin' with Heloise

Well after 2 weeks of being sick, I'm finally getting back on my feet again. It's probably at least partially my fault that it dragged out so long, because I can be ridiculously stubborn when it comes to accepting help and taking it easy. However, my wonderful husband finally insisted that he would take Ava duty for a night and that I stay in bed for a full day. (And since I haven't had the forsight to buy any formula in case of emergencies, that included a messy nightime rice cereal session. What a guy!!)

A day in bed is a mild form of torture to me. And how did you pass the time, you ask? Why, with my good friend Heloise of course :) On one of my visits back home to New York, I came across a very old book of hers and "borrowed" it from my mom. (Mom, you know you're never getting it back.) I'm not sure what attracted me to this book, but as soon as I started flipping through the well read and well marked pages (including old newspaper clippings of her column, thanks, to my grandma!) I was hooked. More on Heloise to come!

While I was sick, I also came up with the random and borderline insane idea to have a "raw food" week. I'm going to chalk this one up to the fever. With all the excess time I had in bed to ponder on the great mysteries of the universe and our family's terribly unhealthy diet, I decided we have been eating far too many foods from a box or a can. Also contributing to this revelation is Ava's unconfirmed milk allergy (we see the allergist in the 26th, more on that later). As I've been eliminating dairy from my diet, I've been forced to read the labels on those boxes and cans, and frankly...I'm mildly disturbed. Why is there milk in my oatmeal and Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix?? So basically, this is going to be an experiment to see if we can actually go a week making all of our food ourselves, using only the raw ingredients. Now I know what you're all thinking, but not to worry - I've already found this homemade twinkie recipe :) Luckily, Stephen is always very agreeable to my crazy ideas. He's a great cook, so I have confidence that we can muddle through this. Tentative date is set for the beginning of February...stay tuned!!

Last but not least, our new Cuisinart food processor was delivered today!!! Sadly, after so much anticipation, I'm feeling pretty lousy tonight and we decided to put off testing it out until tomorrow. I'll be sure to share my baby food puree pictures tomorrow! Until then, goodnight!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Win a Baby Bjorn Travel Crib!

Ok for everyone reading this who is NOT a parent, please pardon the diversion. I was recently visiting Thrify and Chic Mom and saw that she is giving away a Baby Bjorn Travel Crib. I had never seen this travel crib before, but after watching the demo, I was practically drooling. I think Stephen is actually more excited about this than me, since he is the one who has to assemble and disassemble and lug around the co-sleeper every time we travel.

We bought the co-sleeper thinking we would use it for the first few weeks so I wouldn't have to be getting up and down so much at night while recovering, and also that we could use it for travel and as a play yard as she got older. As it turned out, Ava much preferred the crib (and I actually found it easier to set up and turn my body to get out of bed rather than reach over to the side and pull her into bed at night to feed her.) It's a nice, sturdy piece of equipment, but it really is a pain to set up, tear down, and move around (not to mention quite heavy!!)

I thought all you mommies out there would love to hear about this crib, and also be leaping at the chance to win one!! Go here to find out more details and to enter!

New Years Resolutions: 2010 Edition

Happy Twenty Ten!!

Despite being sick (I've had a fever for a week now and have been feeling pretty crummy these last few days...) I made it 'til midnight to ring in the new year with Stephen and Anne and my beautiful baby girl who woke up about 15 minutes before we tossed the confetti. Ok 'toss' might be a strong was really more like 'sprinkled it from one hand to the other'. Stephen had to keep me in check this year, since I am notorious for making a horrifying mess of our living room on new years eve. Twice, the National Guard had to be called in to bulldoze a path through the paper litter. True story. (It helped that our paper shredder died earlier in the week...)

You may have noticed my new years resolution list on the left side of my blog has been growing. Here's the scoop:

1. Read 24 books.

Reading used to be hands-down, my all time favorite hobby. Growing up, I was one of those nerdy kids who ALWAYS had their nose stuck in a book, who begged to stay up 5 more minutes to keep reading, and who kept a hidden flashlight under their pillow to read under the covers once mom had shut the door. Then one day, I just stopped. I'm not sure how it happened, but I don't remember the last time I made it through an entire book. I think it's probably been years.

24 books really isn't that many, but honestly - the idea of trying to complete 2 books a month is sounding pretty daunting to me right now. I have a few books in mind that I'd like to read, but I think for the most part I'm just going to wing it. I do have my first book picked out - "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes". Ok, technically this is a collection of short stories. I'm not going to count them individually, don't worry :) I've never read any Sherlock Holmes, and I'm interested in seeing the new movie. Maybe a movie date night with Stephen will have to be my reward for getting through my first book of the new year...

2. Run a 5k

Several years ago, I attempted to run a marathon through Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and promptly got hit with mono as I began my training. Running a marathon is still definitely on my to-do list, but I did have the revelation in my first few running sessions before getting sick that maybe I should have started off a little smaller...after all, I am the ultimate couch potato.

I don't have a particular event in mind that I'm training for right now, I thought I should make sure I can actually walk 5k first. I've gone to the gym a handful of times since having Ava, and 30 minutes of walking is about my limit (I make it approximately 1 mile in that 30 minutes. Yeah, yeah...cut me some slack, here! I was on bed rest for 2 months.)

3. Learn to do something new

To be fair, being a mom requires learning something new just about every day: How to feed your baby rice cereal without getting it stuck in her eyelashes and behind her ears, how to shave both legs in the shower before your baby wakes up, how to stack your groceries in a pile around the car seat in the back of the shopping cart without having them all collapse on her head...these kind of skills aren't what I'm talking about, though. I would like to learn a skill that I'm interested in that is not simply one that is necessary for my day-to-day survival as a mother. I haven't officially decided, but one thing that is definitely on my top ten list is debate. I would love to find some sort of debate class in the area, but so far I haven't had much luck. I'll keep you posted on this one...

4. Get dressed. Every day.

Ok, day 1 and this one's already busted. You're going to have to give me a break, though...I'm sick!! The point is, I've been wearing yoga pants every day for nearly a year now and IT'S GOT TO STOP. I'm breaking the cycle...starting tomorrow. Probably.

So what are your resolutions?