Tag Archives: working mom

On Loving the Season You’re In.

Sometimes I feel really in sync with my kids. It doesn’t happen every day, but sometimes it’s like they really, really know that I need something and they just come through for me in a big way.

Like today. Elliette slept all night last night, and then she took a long nap this afternoon while I worked in the kitchen. My husband took my son for a nap ride, so I had a couple of hours to myself, baby girl sound asleep and swinging next to me, to enjoy a little kitchen therapy. Not just cooking, exactly, but the careful practice of working through the things in my kitchen. Using my fresh ingredients, planning meals for the week. Making things we love out of things that would otherwise be thrown out. It’s an art, really – the art of homemaking. Being a homemaker. I’ve always been pretty good at it, but I’ve not always been able to put it into practice. Especially these past several years, as my career took off a little and I found myself borrowing from one important part of my life to pay off the other. 

It’s the beginning of the growing season for us, and that usually starts off with 2 things: spinach and rhubarb. I get so excited to see them that I nearly forget each year that I’m not that crazy about either spinach or rhubarb. I’m just so damned happy to see them, and they serve as such a wonderful sign of things to come, that I don’t even care. In early spring, it’s not so much about having what you love, but loving what you have. So today I loved spinach and rhubarb. I stuffed as much spinach as humanly possible into a huge pan of ricotta shells (along with some parsley I bought from a local farmer) and I boiled the rhubarb into syrup for spritzers and ice cream. The remaining pulp will make great breakfasts slathered on toast, and watching my son eat it will be even better than eating it myself. For Finn’s lunch tomorrow, I  boiled our older eggs instead of throwing them out. I’ve been meaning to do that for months with the eggs we don’t get to, but I never have time. For months, I haven’t had time to boil eggs. What the hell does that say about my life? Continue reading

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Filed under Parenting & Family, The Everyday

Our big announcement: 3+1=4!

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have already heard the news, but if not…

We’re expecting!

That’s right! I’ve got a bun in the oven! Baby #2 has decided to join our family, and not a moment too soon. I had planned on having my babies much closer together, but this baby took his (her?) sweet ol’ time and made us wait. We’re about 13 weeks along, and it looks like we’ll be welcoming our new little bundle toward the end of February, 2013. We couldn’t be happier! Continue reading

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Filed under Green Living, Parenting & Family

Could you eat the same thing every day?

When I talk about cooking in batches so that my family can avoid fast food and eat well even when our schedule is out of control, I often get the same response:

“Oh, I couldn’t do that. I can’t eat the same thing 2 days in a row.”

Really? My first reaction is “Sheesh. Picky much?:roll:

Not me. In fact, back when my relationship with food was, well, less than healthy, I ate the same exact thing for 12 weeks straight.

Yup, every day, the same food. I figured out the calories, and in my mind, I couldn’t go wrong. Here was my menu (I don’t think I’ll ever forget it):

  • Breakfast: One double fiber English muffin with one Morningstar Farms meatless sausage patty
  • Lunch: One frozen diet entree (approx. 300 calories)
  • Dinner: 3 oz tilapia and one bag of Steamfresh broccoli

That was it, for 12 weeks straight. It worked, too – I lost a good 25 pounds!

Since then, however, I’ve learned that such monotony is no way to live, and that kind of restriction and deprivation aren’t healthy for my body, mind or spirit. Losing the processed foods and experimenting with more whole ingredients reminded me of the wide world of beautiful food out there that I was missing, and I’ve been on a new, much more balanced path ever since…

But, one aspect of the diet stuck with me: How EASY it was! Admittedly, it was no way to achieve and maintain good health, but knowing exactly what I needed at the store, and exactly what I would be cooking each night, took a ton of weight off my shoulders!

So, now that my schedule is beyond maxed out, I’m calling on the better parts of my old diet plan to help me stay on target! Those prepared, processed and even “drive-thru” foods look SO good on nights when it’s late and I’m tired, but they sure don’t make me feel good at all (and now that little man is eating with us, I have to plan meals with as many natural and organic ingredients that he can enjoy, too.) So my new mission is to write up a menu when I get a little time during the week, shop on Sunday, and prepare as much as possible in advance to help my weekday self out!

Last week’s plan? I roasted a chicken on Sunday and served it with homemade gravy, smashed potatoes and spinach from our winter garden.

On Monday, shredded chicken was tucked into tortillas with a touch of cheese to make quesadillas. We paired them with some fresh organic salsa, guacamole, hummus and a touch of plain Greek yogurt (all of Little Man’s favorites! You should have seen him chow down!

On Tuesday, the small amount of remaining chicken was sauteed in a skillet with some garlic, then layered in a bowl with black beans and the remainder of the salsa, guac, and yogurt.

By Wednesday, we were ready for something different, so we had easy baked salmon, leftover black beans and steamed veggies (an extra salmon filet doubled as lunch at Grammie’s house for 2 extra days!)

Thursday? Pizza piled high with mushrooms and diced veggies from our summer garden harvest. For Little Man, some lentil veggie blend that we had on hand for him (no pizza for him just yet!)

(Sure, you could argue that chicken 3 nights in a row is a lot, but to make a chicken stretch that far, the actual portion sizes need to be really small. We do a lot of meatless nights, but when we do eat meat, we try to make sure it is only a small component in the meal.)

Bonus? There was almost nothing last week that my husband couldn’t help prepare! There wasn’t one night all week that either of us spent more than 10 minutes preparing dinner!

This week? A turkey! I’m thinking sandwiches, followed by soup with lots of fresh veggies!

As a blogger and admitted foodie, I’d much rather be preparing interesting meals off the cuff each night, based on what’s fresh and seasonal and what “food mood” I might be in at that particular moment, but right now it just isn’t an option, and I have to be realistic. There have been too many nights when the day’s gotten away from me and we wind up with no plan for dinner, and that’s when unhealthy foods infiltrate my kitchen. I have a responsibility not only to my family, but to myself as well, to make good, real food a priority.

And to those who say “No” to eating the same thing a few days in a row, I would just say that I’m very thankful to have the choice!

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Do you ever cook in batches, or plan your meals in advance? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food

Cloth Diapering: The Adventure Begins…

Yeah, baby! Our first shipment of cloth diapers has arrived! Let the games begin…

I will admit without shame that I am intimidated. No doubt. The thought of swishing these things around in a bucket full of vinegar and poop is not helping me sleep easy at night… 8O

Little did I know when I first decided to try cloth how much research it would require, and how much learning I’d have to do. These things are not cheap, and I sure didn’t want to spend money recklessly on diapers that we wouldn’t end up using. Plus, I just really like lots of information :)

My two main sources of info were, of course, the internet, and the incomparable Mothering Magazine. I found that there are several different styles of cloth diapers: flats, prefolds, fitted, wraps and covers, pockets, all-in-ones, hybrids–and they all come in a variety of fabrics: cotton, organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, polyester, etc. With each, you can opt to add additional liners, inserts, stuffers and doublers, also available in a variety of fabrics.

Once you choose the style of diaper you want, there are no less than a billion different makers, including: Bummis, Bumkins, Fuzzibuns, Mother-Ease, BumGenius, Flip, Imse Vimse, Gdiapers, Smartipants, Thirsties, the list goes on and on and on…

And then, you have to decide where to order them, because you can’t just go to the store and pick them up. I did a search of the entire Central PA area, and the only ones I found without a minimum of a 2-hour drive were Gdiapers (a hybrid), sold at the Babies R Us about an hour away. You may have more luck if you live in a more populated area. (Wal-Mart offers a few options through their site-to-store feature, and they don’t make you pay shipping, but I prefer not to shop at Wal-Mart.)

(Just FYI: We started out by registering for Gdiapers when I was pregnant. I got several from a friend who buys the best gifts, but we found that the snaps and waistband irritated our baby’s skin. I wish we could have figured out the problem, because they’re super cute. They are currently for sale on eBay, and I’m sure someone who uses them will gets lots of use out of them. So we did actually have reusable diapers since he was born, but found ourselves not using them in favor of disposables. That’s why we are considering NOW to be our first real foray into the world of cloth…)

I found way too much info to share it all, so I’ll share what we decided on. Because cost is an issue, we decided to go the old school route and try prefolds (the type used by diaper services) in organic cotton. We purchased 8. Pros of these seem to be affordability, proven track record and durability. Cons seem to be bulkiness, the fact that they have to be carefully folded, and, well, I haven’t used them yet so I don’t really know what else…

This is what they look like. They have to be washed 3-5 times before use to quilt them up and establish absorbancy. I will use the dryer to shrink them up as directed, but after that they will be dried on the clothesline!

As soon as I noticed how soft these were, I felt reassured that I had made the right decision for my baby’s bum. They are big, though. I’m a little nervous about how I’m going to make that fit…

Now we needed something to fit over the prefolds. After weeding through the mountains of options, I chose one Flip cover in Moonbeam (Blue), adjustable so one size fits all, made of polyester. :? We also got one Imse Vimse cover, size large, in organic cotton with a cute farm animal print. 

Personally, I’m rooting for the organic cotton cover for obvious reasons, but I’m keeping my mind open. I would love to love both.

I ordered from BananaPeelsDiapers because I stumbled upon a $5 off $50 and free shipping code in Mothering Magazine, and that was the best deal I found. Customer service was great and shipping was prompt, so I would definitely order from them again.

They included a free sample of Punkin Booty Bits in Breezes and Sunshine scent. How nice to get an added bonus! (LOVE FREE SAMPLES!) You just melt them in hot water and add them to a container full of reusable cloth wipes or folded paper towels for soothing, homemade, all-natural wipes that smell lovely and keep your baby’s butt soft and clean. Perk: They don’t contain any sulfates or phthalates, and are made with essential oils. Yummy butt! 

I want to try different online sellers, and Kelly’s Closet is offering a free All-in-One diaper with a $25 purchase, so our next order will be placed with them!

I’m currently in laundry mode, but I’m anxious to start diapering in the next few days. I plan to use the jelly roll fold to start. Ha ha, I love the way it sounds like I know what I’m doing!

I’m starting to hate even looking at those yucky old  ’sposies. 

Stay tuned for our Adventures in Cloth…this could be entertaining… :P

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Do you use (or plan to use) cloth diapers? Were you as clueless as I am when you started? How is it working out?

Please feel free to share any tips or recommendations! I would appreciate the help of any and all seasoned cloth users out there, mommies OR daddies!

***Giveaway notice! The Progressive Pioneer is giving away a gift certificate to the Vintage Pearl here. Beautiful stuff!

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, Parenting & Family, The Everyday