Thursday, March 31, 2011

Boost Your Buzz, $1000 giveaway!

How does a cool $1,000 in your paypal account sound?!



Enter the Boost Your Buzz $1,000 Giveaway! One lucky person is going to win $1000 USD paid via Paypal! No joke. And remember, SOMEONE has to win- it might be you! (I would know, last fall it was me. *wink*)
Gain entries in this giveaway by following Adventures in Green Living on  GFC, twitter and facebook!
The giveaway starts April 1st 12 am EST until April 15th 11:59 pm EST and is open worldwide. $1,000 CASH prize will be delivered via paypal as soon as the winner’s entry has been verified.
Boost Your Buzz can be entered on Survey JunkieSimply Stacie or Little Yaya’s (you only have to enter on one of the sites as the forms will be the same on each).
Good luck, have fun!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Monday!

Belated, but made it! Actually had it done yesterday but spent time with my mom instead of blogging. Last week I had a menu but it was a bit of a disaster. We had so much stuff happen that we ended up eating out not once, not twice, not even three times. FOUR! Four times! That is pretty off the charts for us. And again, a testament to the rotten week it was. This week just has to be better. I demand it!

Monday
B: Oatmeal, raisins and walnuts, oranges or blueberries
L: Calzones with spinach and mushrooms, applesauce
D: Egg drop soup, apples and crackers

Tuesday
B: Eggs, toast, strawberries, cheese
L: Sausage Kale Soup, bread, apples or grapes
D: Pa Jun, grilled fruits? TBD

Wednesday
B: Chocolate chip banana pancakes, extra banana and bacon
L: Burritos with lettuce, tomato, cheese, apples and carrots
D: Dad's/Papa's!

Thursday
B: Oatmeal with raisins and walnuts, oranges
L: Vegetable soup from the broth I'm going to make to use in a beef stew, bread and apples
D: Leftovers

Friday
B: Eggs, toast, strawberries, cheese
L: Alfredo pasta with salmon and peas, applesauce
D: Dinner with a friend!

A mostly simple week. Much needed. Still working on doing the bulk of my shopping Wednesdays as that is my local store's 10% off organics deal. It is really hard to switch gears from shopping on Mondays!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Dude, Where's My Car?


Where's my car, Dude?


Oh, it's right here!


Future heart-breaker!

Brazilian Feijoada recipe

While searching for recipes to use a hamhock, came across this gem on myrecipes.com. My husband lived in Brazil for a while so I thought I'd give it a try and surprise him!

Brazilian Feijoada


Ingredients

  • 2  cups  dried black beans
  • 4  slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 1  pound  boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3  bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed (about 2 pounds)
  • 3  cups  finely chopped onion (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/4  cups  fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (9-ounce) smoked ham hock
  • 1  tablespoon  white vinegar
  • 8  orange wedges


For the rest of the recipe, go HERE

I'll be honest, not a huge meat gal and this was a lot of meat. A little pricier dish than what I usually do, too! But the hubs loved it and said it was pretty close to perfect. Well, he really said it was perfect but I know it was a little off. For all of my culinary practice, I am not a good crockpot cook. Which may be in part due to the crappy crockpot we have(now had, thanks to my mom buying us a new one for our anniversary!). It always ran hot, even on low. Which makes for a lot of overcooked meat if you aren't super on the ball. Who is with kids?! Anyways, my only 'error' was upping the liquid to 2 1/2 cups. A straight 2 would have been better. And the meat counter was out of bone-in beef ribs so had to fudge with regular boneless ribs. Make sure those beans are in the liquid, too. They stay firm if not!

All in all, it's a good meal for the carnivorous sort. Won't be doing it often, but it's a nice treat for the hubs once in a while. Served with rice fried Brazilian style. Would be awesome with mango and avocado!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Chicken Curry recipe

Not sure how I found this one amidst all of the recipes out there, but so glad I did! It is such a unique mix of ingredients(in my opinion) and you just can't go wrong with curry!

Sweet Potato Chicken Curry


Ingredients

  • 2  teaspoons  curry powder
  • 1  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1  teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1 1/2  pounds  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2  cups  vertically sliced onion
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2  cups  (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
  • 3/4  cup  canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  cup  frozen green peas
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice


For the rest go HERE

The big change I made due to reviewers' recommendations was to switch out the chicken stock for a can of light coconut milk. Yum! Didn't have coriander on hand so used a teaspoon of Rogan Josh from Penzey's Spices instead. Also no fresh ginger, just used a little ground. Then in the end I forgot the peas and lemon juice due to the chaos of unexpected guests(ha!). Still was pretty tasty. Might up some of the spices next time as I really, really love Indian spices. But for the kids' sakes I kept to the recipe this time until I knew how they'd come through. In another curry recipe it calls for a rotisserie chicken, bet that would be delicious in this one, too! (Served with basmati rice, wished we had naan and a mango!)

Happy eating!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Little One Books review and giveaway


My family will tell you I'm not a big collector of trinkets and things, but when it comes to books I have a weakness. We just can't have too many. It is one thing I make space for in our tiny home! And green though I may try to be, just not sold on the whole Kindle thing, yet. Reading is such a tactile experience. I like the feel of the pages, they way they smell, the vivid illustrations. There's a certain joy in pulling out an old book my parents read to me as a child- sharing that very same, well-loved book with my own children.



Today I'm excited to introduce you to a great company that believes in making the process of choosing a great book(or two, or three...) easier for parents, grandparents, caregivers, everyone and anyone: 


Joan McCoy and Barney Cohen are the people behind Little One Books. They started their web-based store specifically to carry quality media for children birth through age five. My own kidlets are currently 4 and under, so it's really nice not having to wade through material that isn't age appropriate for them. They've taken the guess work entirely out of it as the site is organized by age! Joan and Barney are grandparents to five grandchildren under the age of seven; which of course means they bring plenty of experience and test subjects to find the best media for their customers. 


What I think speaks volumes(pun intended) is that they have personally selected and reviewed every product you'll find in their store. Going a step further- they've created a "Why we chose" section for each product. In this area their staff goes into detail as to why they chose the product, a few highlights about it and what the little people in their lives loved. Yes, their products have also been reviewed by kids!


The "Why we chose" section of each product page is simply brilliant. It is so helpful when trying to determine what book(s) would be most enjoyed by you and your family. Because let's be honest, while we'd like to buy them all(Oh, I would!), we must pace ourselves! Little One Books generously offered me the choice of one book to review. I completely relied on "Why we chose" to help narrow down and ultimately decide which book to request.

So what did we get? Thunder-Boomer, by Shutta Crum!



I opted for this book for several reasons. One, we're in the Midwest and thunderstorm season is fast approaching! My oldest is just now starting to show fear in various things(bugs, the dark, etc) and I suspect a good thunderstorm may scare her a bit this year. My hope is that by reading this book together often, it will ease some of those fears. I also liked that it takes place on a farm as my grandpa's farm is one of her favorite places to visit. Really, what kid doesn't love a farm? Add in some gorgeous illustrations by Carol Thompson, lots of fun sound words and a little humor- you've got one fantastic book that everyone in the family enjoys!

She was so excited to read our 'special book' together!

Little Lady says, 'Thank You!' for her new favorite book(So does mom).

I've actually ordered from Little One Books in the past and can say it was a pleasant experience. Their customer service is personal and superb. You can tell how much everyone there cares about children and their need for access to wonderful books. When I'm looking to add to our collection, I know I can trust the products they've chosen. And it is SO easy to just pop out to their site and select whatever age group is needed! 

Right now they are having a special promotion just for Adventures in Green Living readers- 
Buy any two Little One Books, get the CD Good Morning, free! 
What a great way to start your family's day with some of the most wonderful classical music written. 

BUY
You can purchase your own copy of Thunder-Boomer, by Shutta Crum, for $16.00

WIN
Little One Books is giving one Adventures in Green Living reader a $20 gift certificate!

Mandatory Entry:
Visit Little One Books and sign up for their newsletter(Top right- you will not get tons of emails, promise. I'm on it!)
'Like' them on facebook

You must do both and may leave a comment for each task(total of two)
Please leave your email in your comments for me to contact you should you win!

Extra Entries:
Follow Little One Books on twitter
Follow Adventures in Green Living on Facebook

That's it! 4 total entries possible(2 of those mandatory)

Open to US only. Closes April 1, 2011 at 11:59pm EST. I will contact the winner via email and post an annoucement on my blog after confirmation. Winner will need to respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn. Good luck!

***I received product to aide in giving a fair and honest opinion of this company. I have received no additional compensation and all experiences and opinions are my own.***

Sticks and Stones...

There's a babble.com post floating around in the interwebz that has elicited a very strong response from hundreds of people. Summed up, this mom thinks she might love her son a little more than her daughter. At first thought, it seems so wrong, right? And why would any mom voice those thoughts in a public place? From the comments that flood her post, most readers reacted as though she said she dreamed about her daughter dying so as to leave her with just her son. She surely must be a despicable person.

But if you read this post I wrote almost 2 weeks ago, you probably know I have have a little different take on it. Because I've been there. And I'd like to think I'm not a despicable person.

Good Reads: Poultry Industry, NBA Players, Worm Bin

Poultry Industry Smother Immigrant Farmers and Abuses Antibiotics

I considered just posting the above link, because I feel it to be another extremely important read. The subject matter really is applicable to many things we consume today. Or in general, the way the majority of American Consumers have been trained to think. Cheap has a hidden cost. Whether it's in a lesser quality product or jobs sent overseas, it has a cost. What are you willing to pay?

Players Chip in to Save Coach's Life after Clippers Decline Medical Coverage

I'm not a sports person at all. But this is a good read.

How to Start a Worm Bin

We hope to get one of these up and running this year! When we do, I'll be sure to share the process with you. Anyone can do this regardless of space!

Spinach Black Bean Lasagna recipe

Apologies as I took no pictures(of any dish this week!) but still want to share the wonderful recipes we tried. The first up is this Spinach Black Bean Lasagna found on myrecipes.com.

Spinach Black Bean Lasagna


Ingredients:

  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1  (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1  (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 4  cups  (16 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers, divided
  • 2  (16-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (2-pound, 13-ounce) jar pasta sauce
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 9  precooked lasagna noodles
  • Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro
Go HERE for the rest!

I used a slightly larger pan and had 4 noodles across, but then only ended up with two layers of noodles needed. There were only a couple of things I did a little different. One, didn't mix in the monterey jack cheese into the ricotta mixture. I just put it on top of the ricotta/spinach mixture and then on top of the whole thing(so two layers of the shredded cheese). Two, added a little garlic now. We sort of put garlic on everything! Three, had some mushrooms on hand so chopped those up and mixed into the pasta sauce This is a really easy dish that you can easily customize to your taste preferences!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Belated Anniversary & Whoa! Two Date Nights in a Weekend Row!

The 4th of March was our 5th wedding anniversary. He's a good man. A while back I remember explaining to my friend(who was struggling at the time with her relationship) that I must have lucked out. Because I married my husband knowing his potential, not because he was perfect in our relationship at the time. We certainly had our rough moments in the beginning! The man never *actually* proposed to me. He's been threatened told gently that one should still be forthcoming.

You may have heard the story of how we met before, but I love to tell it again anyways.

My first memory of my husband is of him chasing me around a pear tree at his parents' house and me being exceedingly embarrassed at the attentions of a boy. I was around the age of 6; he was 8 or so. My mom and his mom sewed and canned together. One of his sisters has my exact birthday and we played together, too. We went to the same church and small town school but he readily admits, he didn't know it until he was a senior and I was a junior! It was a fairly typical setup. He was a kind of jock; I was a total nerd. After that pear tree incident, I spent the next 15+ years wishing he'd notice me again. But at the same time I spent a lot of energy trying to blend in at school to avoid being teased from (insert anything and everything kids tease about). So it wasn't really his fault. It wasn't until my senior year that I began to stretch my wings a bit and step out of the wallpaper.

We went on one date when I was 20ish. He never called me back! Apparently while I was intimidated by his hotness, he was a little intimidated by my perceived smarts and um, opinions. We hung out a couple times after and always had fun. But it never seemed to be anything more than friends. When he called me up around Valentine's Day '05 (after getting my number again from my mom, HA) and invited me to a movie, I thought why not? We are just friends! A couple of weeks later he informed me it was actually a date... I still remember the goofy, 'Yessss!' he exclaimed after our 'relationship talk'. Did I mention he turned out to be an even bigger nerd than I am?

February- started dating. November- engaged. March- married. We figured since we'd known each other so long, not much point in dragging things out! There was initially a 4 year plan before having kids. That I negotiated to 2 years. That became 4 months when I got knocked up. Funny how those things go!

So there's a little story of how our family began.

And yes, we've managed 2 date nights in a weekend row to celebrate our anniversary! Thanks in large part to having so much family nearby. My dad and stepmom had the kids the first weekend. We went to our local Science Center to visit the traveling Da Vinci exhibit and watch the Van Gogh Imax documentary. Then out to dinner. I thought I'd find the Da Vinci exhibit the most fascinating but ended up being more interested in the Van Gogh doc. If you find them available in your city, please go visit!

This past weekend my hub's parents watched the kids while we went to TRON at the Imax(mostly for the hubs but in truth, I loved it. Awesome way to see that movie!) and then out to dinner again. I should note, we just happened to have gift cards to both restaurants, the exhibit and one Imax show so all in all, it was a cheap extended anniversary celebration! We probably went out more in the past two weekends than we usually do in 3 months. A girl could get used to such fancy shenanigans...

5 years down, countless more to go. Love you, babe!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Monday!

I'm up way too late but by golly, got the darn menu done for the week! Here's to hoping I can will myself out of bed in the morning to make a quick run for a couple day's worth of stuff. I'll be attempting to switch the bulk of my grocery shopping over to Wednesday. My local grocery store has a 10% off their 'Health Market' aka organic stuff on Wednesdays. Not terribly convenient for how I like to set my week up but then again, if it were Mondays they'd probably lose more money, right?! Ah well, after a quick common sense calc in my head I realized doing this could save me 300+ a year. That's motivation enough for me!

Monday
eggs, bacon, oranges, toast
tilapia, mixed veggies, applesauce, foccacia bread
spinach calzones with blue cheese, apples

Tuesday
cream of wheat, berries, walnuts, honey
PBJ, carrots, celery, banana
Brazilian Fejoada, oranges, rice, sauteed kale

Wednesday
pancakes, bananas, berries
spinach black bean lasagna, applesauce, bread
Dad's house for dinner

Thursday
cream of wheat, berries, walnuts, honey
sweet potato chicken curry, basmati rice, naan, applesauce(would rather a mango but near impossible to get a good one here!)
leftovers, oranges

Friday
eggs, bacon, banana, toast
falafel in pita pockets with cucumber dip, red and yellow bells slices, oranges
The Hubby's Grill Night- he's in charge. I said whatever, just grill it!

There you go! This week's menu is all fresh(no frozen leftovers) so mama's going to be a busy lady. But after a week of leftovers last week I promised the hubs a stellar menu for this week. The Brazilian Fejoada is a surprise for him. Hoping I make it right and he likes it! The grocery bill is most likely going to be a bit more than usual, too... Yikes.

Happy Eating! Once I try out some of these new dishes I'll report back with what was delicious!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Good Reads- Local Harvest Newsletter

Today's Good Reads is a simple one, because I hope that more are encouraged to read. I think it that important. This line in particular struck a chord with me: 


'When "But I paid for that!" moves me to the phone, and "But that's not right!" doesn't, that is a problem.'

Local Harvest News- Feb 24, 2011 newsletter

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just a couple changes...

I've been doing some thinking the past couple of days(frightening, yes,) and have come to the conclusion it is not mentally possible for me to attempt posting every day on my blog for a bit. 'But Stacy, you don't post every day!' I know, I know, but I try and feel bad when I don't! My family requires some extra attention right now and we're not sure for how long. I already take the weekends 'off' but not thinking that'll be enough. While you might notice some decrease in post frequency, I'm not going away. I'll be posting Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; if able to do more, that's just gravy. We'll still be doing the usual reviews, giveaways, information and recipe type posts.

So stick around! There's still plenty more I have to learn and want to share. I just *know* ya'll are dying to see my gardens in a few months, right?

Thanks for your support and patience.

Giveaway: Win One Of These Kids Dress From Shabby Apple!

Did you know Shabby Apple carrier kids' dresses?(And maternity, too!) Stop over at Mogul Baby for a chance to win a cute girl's dress!

Giveaway: Win One Of These Kids Dress From Shabby Apple!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Itsy Belle: Grand Opening Giveaway!

Do you have a birthday coming up? How about some fun things from Itsy Belle for your little man or little miss! I'm going to try and be creative this year for my daughter's and would love to use a package like these!


Itsy Belle: Grand Opening Giveaway!: "I am so excited to announce the Grand Opening of Itsy Belle on Etsy! We are finally up and running and to celebrate we are having a giv..."

A Story About Birth and Forgiveness

We're little more than a month away from my daughter's 4th birthday now. It doesn't really seem so long ago I was in this exact spot- stretched out on our bed and even with a laptop on my lap!

I think back to how unprepared I was for her birth despite best efforts. Oh, we had the nursery picked out, the crib together, clothes washed and hung up on little hangers, the car seat properly installed and inspected. We had her name chosen. I had a 'birth plan' all checked off and printed. My hospital papers were sent in early as they suggested. We took a few birth and baby classes. And yet when it came to it, neither my husband nor I were truly prepared for birth.

I thought my OB would deliver her for me. It sounds silly but that's the best way I can think to describe it. There was no real realization that I would be the one giving birth- that I would be the key player calling the shots. We had a fairly drama-free, healthy pregnancy and when our due date rolled around, I woke up that morning in what was finally understood to be real labor.

Despite the birth class and breathing practice, we put none of that to use and went in to the hospital too early. We sat in the triage room for a couple hours while they checked, tested and tried to determine whether or not to admit me. I could tell my water was leaking but they couldn't get 2 out of 3 tests to come back positive for amniotic fluid and I wasn't dilated very far(not even a 4?). Thankfully the triage nurse got me finally into a room. About 30 minutes after that, my water broke.

We were blessed to have my sister in law as a labor and delivery nurse. I'm sure she played a part in keeping things from escalating due to how slow I was progressing. At that point in my life I had no desire to attempt a drug-free birth(the crazy green mommy came long after the birth!) and requested an epidural. All in all, my labor was 12 hours to the minute. For a first baby, that's not too bad. The back-up OB waltzed in at the end in a foul mood, possibly because the on-call OB was stuck in another Cesarean. I remember him telling me sternly to stop pushing and me responding with something along the lines of, 'Is there an On/Off switch to this thing?' Because at that point my body was doing everything on it's own. I was not pushing. It was in fact, the first time I considered my body and this process might be amazing. That my body knew exactly what to do.

The first thing I thought when my daughter was born: 'Oh my gosh, I gave birth to my sister!' She looked so much like my little sister had as an infant. For 5 seconds I had her on my stomach, in total disbelief that this entire person had been inside me. Smiled, blinked. Then she was whisked away to the corner.

At some point she had inhaled some fluid. Thankfully not meconium, but they told me she had fluid in her lungs that they needed to suction out. For a half hour we watched them work on her in the corner. No one updated us. She screamed and cried, they laughed as she batted their hands away while keeping one eye open through the goop. After a half hour they called the NICU nurses in; those nurses worked on her for an hour more. The entire time she screamed and fought them. No one told us what was going on.


(We'll just leave out the part where the delivering OB cut me despite instructions otherwise and pulled my placenta out for no reason, losing the handle and having to retrieve it. It wasn't until much later I learned that could have killed me or left me unable to have more children. The stitch up job was done with the same grace and care he showed the rest of the process- none. Thank God that epidural was still working.)

Finally they stopped. The NICU nurse said they'd try leaving her with me rather than take her to the NICU. By the time she was handed back, she was exhausted and I was in shock. We tried to breastfeed but she wasn't interested and just wanted to sleep. I was starting to swell up from all of the IV fluids received during labor. When I walked, the tops of my feet jiggled.

Unfortunately, those weren't the only things that were over the top swollen. When she did wake, there was no getting her to latch. But we kept at it and finally, finally she was nursing when a lactation consultant walked in and unlatched her without asking me so she could put us in the football hold. Then later that day, one of the floor nurses threatened me if I didn't get her to nurse for 20 minutes straight, she would give her a bottle. This same nurse told me I couldn't use the nose-sucker to suction out my baby's nose(she said it was bad and would make things worse) despite the fact I thought her latching issues were aggravated by her nose being so stuffy she couldn't breathe while at the breast.

We did not make the 20 minute requirement. I was crushed.

Fast forward to going home and adjusting to life with baby. Before she was born I would have told you without a doubt, I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Most of my life I wanted to be a stay at home mom, save for sharing time at school when it was more 'exciting' to say a teacher or veterinarian. After my daughter's birth, wasn't so sure. In fact, I wasn't so sure I really liked her. When my husband was home he gave her all of the bottles (we were supplementing as latch was still a problem) and changed her diapers and clothes. I looked at her a lot. But I didn't really want to hold her.

Maybe in retrospect I was suffering from postpartum depression. Or even PTSD. I opted to return to work while my sister, mother and husband shared shifts caring for my daughter. For a whole month I went back. During my pregnancy, Thursdays were always Throw Up Thursdays. After returning to work, they were always Crying Thursdays. Because by Thursday, I had no idea what my daughter's schedule was like or what she needed. It only took a few of these to realize if it bothered me so much, I must like her and want to stay home. By this point my milk supply had dried up at the end of 3 months.

Things were not magically resolved when I made the choice to stay home. While I knew by then I loved her and cared for her well being, there was no attachment. For the first couple years, all I saw was how she preferred her dad or grandpa over me. So I busied myself in cleaning and organizing, eventually stumbling into craigslist, cloth diapers and a whole new world of 'green', handmade, frugal living.

Initially I didn't acknowledge what happened at her birth. It didn't occur to me to question what had taken place. Why would I? Like many others, I'd been taught to trust my doctor and any medical person. Eventually I did question it. And then got mad. The more I figured out what went on that shouldn't have, the angrier I got. After a poorly managed blighted ovum by the same OB office, I left their practice. Then midway through a third pregnancy(my son), I changed medical direction and went with a midwife group and natural birth program in an effort to avoid a repeat experience. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Sound familiar?

I grieved for my daughter's birth. It took me almost 4 year to realize it. Four years of carrying guilt for feeling unattached to my sweet, intelligent, beautiful, strong-willed daughter. I didn't even understand that was what was going on until after I had my son and felt what it was supposed to be like, how I could feel as a mom towards my child. One day while going over for the millionth time in my head what was wrong, why couldn't I feel attached to her the way I did my son, why was I such a bad mom, the words and emotions finally met:

'Five seconds into Motherhood, I failed my daughter.'

I should have told them to stop(the medical personnel that later reviewed her birth file stated they excessively suctioned her). Should have told that lactation consultant to get the hell away. Should have 'fired' that nurse and demanded a new one that would support my efforts to breastfeed. Should have, should have, should have. And I didn't.

And I know it was not my fault. I did the best with the information I had at the time.

I'm not sure why that's all it took. But at the very moment it was thought, the strings to the giant balloon I'd been dragging around were cut. My body felt physically lighter.

Even better than losing the weight of guilt- I have begun to feel attached to my daughter. It was almost instantaneous. I can look at her and smile with a joy no longer muddied by my own self-doubt or self-loathing. Oh yes, I hated myself for my failures. And every new perceived failure built on the last. Don't get me wrong, my Well O' Patience is not suddenly bottomless; she's not suddenly minding all the time. She is after all only (almost) 4!

Where I used to worry that some day she'd notice something wasn't quite right, that something important was missing, now I have hope. I hope maybe I won't screw up being a mom as bad as I thought. Or at least, she'll recognize despite the mistakes made, I love her wholly. So much so that I desperately want to ensure no one else within my sphere of influence goes through what we went through.

If I ever come off as a loon when it comes to being informed in birth and breastfeeding, please understand I don't mean to offend. Nor do I think I have all of the answers. You don't need to have a natural birth with hippies tossing flowers all around you while Matthew McConaughey beats a conga to avoid what I experienced. You just need to be informed and feel empowered to stand up for yourself and your child. I believe we have an obligation, as mothers, to share our experiences and information with others(gently as possible) so as to aid in making the best choices for ourselves and our families. Speak up, ladies! If we remain silent, we cannot support one another as sisters in what is arguably one of the most rewarding and challenging periods of our lives.

I see these pictures, and I have no memory of what she was like at that age.

I think, 'Oh, she was so cute!' And I want to remember. But I can't.
I don't want any other mother to experience the pain of detachment.

Menu Monday!

Whoo, she's on a roll! Yet another Menu Monday, on Monday! The goal for this week is cheap and easy. Thanks to my trusty freezer, it will be just that.

Monday
Breakfast- PB toast with banana and honey
Lunch- Chickpea fritters with salad, apples and walnuts
Dinner- Kale Goulash with applesauce and bread

Tuesday
Breakfast- Cream of wheat and berries
Lunch- 6 Bean soup with bread and oranges
Dinner- Filled Rolls(new one for us) with applesauce and corn

Wednesday
Breakfast- Eggs, english muffin, cheese, banana
Lunch- Turkey dumplings, apples(lots of veggies in the dumplings)
Dinner- Dad's

Thursday
Breakfast- Cream of wheat and berries
Lunch- Wild rice squash soup, apples and bread
Dinner- PBJ, banana, carrots and celery

Friday
Breakfast- Egg, english muffin, cheese, berries
Lunch- Spaghetti, applesauce, bread(lots of veggies in the spaghetti sauce)
Dinner- Beef stew, bread and oranges

There you have it! Over half my grocery list is produce. The grand total was: 48.00. I got a couple extra things for the pantry or it'd have been more like 40.00. Still, not bad for a week's worth of organic groceries to feed 4+ mouths.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chicken Corn Chowder recipe

My first foray into the world of cream soups... thanks to Our Family Treat! It. was. amazing.

Chicken Corn Chowder

Serves 6-8
Ingredients:

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 onion, chopped
6 potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cans chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese
2 cups frozen corn
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste


For the rest, go HERE.


I actually came across this recipe because I was looking for something to do with the frozen corn we have in the freezer. We canned it 2 falls ago and there is some remaining that needs eaten. Even better that I also happened to have copious amounts of chicken leftover from that oven-roasted whole chicken made last week. Going all out, we got a bag of organic red potatoes, heavy cream and cream cheese. In my experience, organic dairy makes a huge  difference you can taste. And the soup did not disappoint! It was amazing. I sprinkled a little cheese on top and then realized I really wanted something green, so chopped up some cilantro and piled that on. Served with apple slices(we eat a lot of apples!) and French bread. The only way this could have been any better is if I had made the bread fresh that same day! 



Friday, March 4, 2011

Changing How We Look at a Fever

I came across a great article a while back by Sherri Tenpenny, DO, titled 'The Importance of Fever.' When our kids get sick we worry; when they have a fever we seem to worry more. But according to her article, we shouldn't be so quick to try and reduce that fever.

You can read her article HERE.

While we've tried to back off the pain/fever reducers while my son is teething, I don't withhold it from him when he is in a lot of pain. Nights are the worst as he can't be distracted with kids and playing like during the day. We also love using Camilia to naturally manage the worst of the pain(cheapest to buy on Amazon!). It seems to help him sleep better both at night and for naps. I love the single dose tubes and carry them in my diaper bag at all times. He actually likes taking it!

What things do you do to help your child manage teething pain or fevers?

*Please consult your doctor with any concerns*

Sayings of a 3 year old

Gems from my Big Girl:

We all have boobs. We all have butts. We all have faces.

We don't eat people. That's yuck.

We don't eat poop.

I don't poop or pee on the floor. Just in the potty.

Mommy, you're so cute.

I'm going to go down that hole to China. And bring back some stuff for Mommy, Daddy and Brother.

(after passing gas) Oh grandma, that's just my butt sayin' 'Hi'.

Grilled Veggie Quesadilla recipe

I *heart* me some EcoKaren and her lovely recipes! This week I tried the Grilled Veggie Quesadillas and another sandwich(I'll write about that one in a bit).

Grilled Veggie Quesadilla

Ingredients


1 green zucchini – sliced lengthwise
1 yellow zucchini – sliced lengthwise
1 yellow pepper – quartered
1 red pepper – quartered
1 bundle asparagus – ends chopped
8 flour tortilla
1/4 C chopped cilantro
2 avocados – pitted and sliced
1 C of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 olive oil
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp coarsely ground peppercorn
1 Tbsp coarsely ground sea salt or mineral salt



For the rest, go HERE.

Before you go saying, 'But I don't like asparagus!' keep in mind these are customizable. We followed the recipe pretty much to a T- even got fancy with homemade tortillas- and while they were delicious, I'd still change them up a bit next time. I loved the asparagus. Loved loved it. The balsamic vinegar is a must. I think a red onion or mushrooms would also be a yummy addition or substitution for something else. Of course, you can easily add a refried bean spread, hummus, chicken or shrimp to these and that would also be tasty. One thing I realized after making these is that I prefer an open-faced sandwich. So next time I'll be skipping the top and eating it more like a pizza! (Maybe that takes the 'dilla' out of the Quesadilla?!)

Either way, it was fantastic to open up the grill and throw some veggies on. I forgot how much I missed them!

Half-way created, minus the zukes as they were still on the grill!

Good Reads: (Mostly) In the Kitchen

A handful today on some good topics:

How to Tell if a Product is Really Organic


Simple Steps for a Greener Lifestyle- Add More Vinegar


FDA Urged to Prohibit Carcinogenic 'Caramel Coloring'


Newly Identified Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Leach into Food Packaging

Happy Green Living!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Creamy Pesto Pasta recipe

This was a super yummy and easy dish to make- the kids loved it!

Creamy Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

Pesto Sauce

1 cupfresh basil
1/2 cuppine nuts
4 clovesgarlic (I cheat and use the stuff in a jar)
1/2 cupshredded asiago cheese (non-processed parmesan is fine too)
1 tcoarse ground black pepper
to tastesalt
1/4 cupextra virgin olive oil

Alfredo Sauce

1/4 stickbutter
1/2 cupmilk
1 Tflour
1/2 cupshredded asiago cheese (or freshly shredded parmesan)

Pasta of choice (our favorites: ribbed penne or capellini)

Click HERE for the rest!


I used the honeycomb type pasta because the kids love the shape. Then toasted walnuts to put on top. Sliced pink lady apples on the side and some homemade crostini with a sun-dried tomato bruschetta. All in all it was pretty good. The sauce I had doubled and it was a pretty fair amount for the half a box of pasta I made. The color to me isn't that appealing so next time i might do the pesto with the pasta and then keep the sauce pure and drizzle on top. Would also be yum with maybe spinach, or mushrooms, or sun-dried tomatoes. Almost forgot! I think the cheese could be reduced. Maybe add some garlic? Can't put my finger on it but something was missing... Still a great dish to play around with!

Car Seat Safety Webinar- Hosted by Britax

A few weeks ago I attended a webinar on car seat safety hosted by Britax! Yes, I just talked about updated car seat safety on Tuesday, but there were some additional things not included in my post I'd like to share with you that were covered in the webinar. Bear with me as I'm going off of chicken scratch notes taken at that time!

1. Kids are 5 times safer rear-facing through their 2nd year of life.

2. When rear-facing, there should be 1 inch space from the top of their head to the top of their seat. If there is less, you would need to purchase a seat that allows for greater height while rear-facing or turn them forward.

3. Car seats are only tested for frontal impact.

4. It is best to use your car seat to the maximum's- both for rear-facing and forward-facing. Do not base on child's age.

5. When rear-facing, the strap height should be at or below their shoulders. When forward-facing, the strap height should be at or above their shoulders.

6. It is legal to turn your child forward-facing at 1 year AND 20 pounds but it is best practice to remain rear-facing.

7. To check that the harness is adjusted snug enough, attempt a vertical pinch of the strap near the collarbone. The fingers should slide off. If you can pinch any material the straps are too loose.

8. Chest clips are always to be at the armpit level. The purpose is to keep the straps on their shoulders so the child does not eject from their seat in the event of a crash.

9. A booster seat should only be used with a lap and shoulder belt- not just a lap belt(like in the center of some older vehicles). It is how they were tested.

10. Keep the booster secure whether or not the child is in the car. In the event of a crash it may become a projectile and harm the other occupants or driver.

11. A child is ready for a regular seatbelt when they meet the following requirements:

  • Tall enough to sit without slouching
  • Back is against the seat back
  • 4'9" and age 8
  • Their knees are bent over the edge of the seat and feet are flat on the floor

Basically, the law is the legal minimum requirements. The safest practice is to base the proper car seat setup for your child on height, weight, age and body development.

The webinar instructor was:

Sarah Tilton
CPS Tech. Instructor
Britax Child Safety, Inc.

USA.SafeKids.org

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shh... because I like ya...*Awesome* Giveaway site

Are you as enamored of Etsy as I am? Are you in total awe of so many talented people in one place? Could you spend just about every last cent there? (I sure could!)

Well, some brilliant person(or two) put this awesome blog together specifically to help find handmade giveaways all across the web. Trust me when I say, there is probably more out there than you or I have time to enter. This setup is fantastic as it's spotlighted several artists I have come to love that wouldn't otherwise know were out there. I'm all about trying to support handmade as much as possible but have to know who/where they are, right? Etsy(and other similar sites) can be a bit daunting to comb through sometimes. Not that I don't enjoy procrastinating a little on the dish washing or laundry folding to 'window' shop... *wink*

Ok, Stacy. Link me to this magical site!

EtsyGiveaways.blogspot.com

Make sure to sign up for their emails. You'll get a new list every day. It's kind of like Christmas!
I would love to hear back if you happen to win anything or if you find an artist that you particularly love!

You CAN Teach an Old Mom New Tricks... Tips on Nose Wipes and Naps

Motherhood is an amazing adventure full of learning at every turn. Just when I think I know it all (HA) something surprises me! There are two things in particular that did just that recently- one with my big girl and one with my little guy.

1. Flexing for Baby- Mom, don't wipe my nose! Or face! 

(Hoping I haven't already posted this but pretend it's new if you've read it before)

No kid I know likes their nose wiped. At least by age 2 or 3 they know it's inevitable and don't put up the huge fight that a strong willed 14 month old can. We used to dread it, trying a distracted sneaky nose wipe or a surprise attack that my son loudly protested. Using a cloth wipe helps some but even that wasn't making things easier for us. Then one day for some reason I changed my approach. Moving slowly towards him with the hated wipe I quietly said, 'Gentle, gentle, gentle.' while very softly wiping his nose.

Sort of like how you walk around a horse.

Oddly enough, it worked. Nose wipes? No problemo! Now, face wipes with a wet cloth(even warm) still a no-go, but we're working on it.

2. Flexing for the Big Kid- But Mom, I Don't Wanna Nap!

My almost 4 year old has taken a 2+ hour nap almost every day since she was 18 months. Before that, she took 2 2-hour naps a day! Now we're in the crazy transition stage where she thinks she doesn't want to nap but can't quite make it to bedtime without melting down. It's become a daily struggle to get her to stay in bed and not do everything in her power to stay awake(singing, playing with our lovie, looking out the window, etc). Finally this week I got fed up with her waking up the little man and had her lay on the couch. If nothing else, I thought she'd get some quiet time in and maybe that would get us through the day.

Then she fell asleep. I kid you not.

The Big Girl that refuses to nap in my bed or her bed will fall asleep easily on the couch. Wondering if it was just a fluke? We've done this now 3 days in a row. I can't tell you how pleasant it is not to have to remind or scold or get frustrated with my sweet, still needing a nap daughter(at least over this!). She's snoozing peacefully on the couch 10ft from me as I write. Have to admit, I benefit not only in getting a break myself but also getting to watch her beautiful, sleeping face. I know you know what I mean. It's the only time we get to study the incredible people we grew that are now in constant, blurry motion.

So what exactly are my tips and tricks? Approach your baby like a spooked horse when it comes to nose wipes? Try napping your big kid on the couch? Not necessarily. My tip is just to be flexible and willing to try something new when the usual method isn't garnering your desired results. And think outside the box! You might just be surprised what works for you!

Wordless Wednesday- Creative Banana Eating

What happens when you leave a bag of bananas on the floor?




(Daddy was changing LP's stinky dipe when I took grabbed the camera- hence the weird angle!)

And yes, I did open the banana for him properly. Then he didn't want it. Go figure! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Leksi Designs...This Handmade Life: Firedaughter Clothing GIVEAWAY!

Are you a runner? Or do you just love comfortable clothes that look great and make awesome statements? Check out Firedaughter! I so want the 'Give More' hoodie!

Leksi Designs...This Handmade Life: Firedaughter Clothing GIVEAWAY!: "Hey blogger peeps! I know I haven't been posting as much as usual, but time is very limited for me right now. I have had some major life cha..."

Cheddar Biscuit Cups recipe

Sunday night we threw together a dinner of grilled pork chops, sweet corn, grilled potatoes and applesauce. I knew I wanted a quick biscuit to go with and came across this delicious recipe that took no time at all.

Now in the comments people suggested some flavor additions, so I tossed in a teaspoon of dried parsley and a half teaspoon of poultry seasoning. Might have added a little garlic powder, too. We were pleased with the results! You can really play around with this basic recipe and adjust according to your tastes.

Cheddar Biscuit Cups

yields 5-6 servings


Ingredients

  • 1 cup self-rising flour*
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

*As a substitute for 1 cup of self-rising flour, place 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup.

For the rest of the recipe please go HERE.

Now in the comments people suggested some flavor additions, so I tossed in a teaspoon of dried parsley and a half teaspoon of poultry seasoning. Might have added a little garlic powder, too. We were pleased with the results! You can really play around with this basic recipe and adjust according to your tastes. Also, we found the mix filed 6 cups well enough and cut the bake time by a few minutes. 


Happy Eating!

 
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