This has been one of the most amazing experiences since I began writing as Mommypotamus. Who needs sleep when I can troll my own blog for late night comments and conversations people are having on articles that didn’t require my brain power to get started?!?!
It’s more than a little intimidating, actually, to see how awesome each of you are. We all doubt the value of our perspective and our words at some point, and ya’ll almost forced me into a mini-identity crisis. Fortunately, I was too tired to be that dramatic, so I just grabbed my BreastFriend and nursed Micah until the oxytocin sent me to my happy place.
Right. Yes. What? Oh. The winner? Got it. Yes, we have one of those. Did I mention I am working on the sleep deprivation thing?
The winner of our amazing blog contest, with 90 unique commentors on her post, You’re Doing What?, is Dianthe Hall. That’s one influential momma!
There could only be one winner. But know that each of you who submitted a post for this contest gave one mommy some MUCH NEEDED rest and entertainment. You have done a service to the blogosphere. Hold your head up high. Be proud.
It was more than a contest. Trust me. You all gave me a gift that I savored every day. I woke up whenever I was able and found a new post waiting for me to read. I got to focus on what’s most important, yet I didn’t lose touch with our community. Thank you for that.
This week I’m gonna see if I have what it takes to “bring the heat” as a momma of two. And I am going to give some stuff away. Not to bribe you to read, of course! But you should come back and see what I’ve got in store. You don’t want to miss out . . . just sayin’.
Stay tuned for a look inside the remaking of Dianthe’s blog. I’ll hand over the reins to Daddypotamus here and there to show you what’s going on. Maybe this contest got you to thinking you’d really like your own blog domain and design someday. Well, now you’ll get to see a little of the process that goes into transitioning from a blogspot or wordpress.com to a self-hosted version. And we’ll definitely show you what Dianthe’s new blog looks like when it’s up and running!Read More »
Stacy: Wow, you got me thinking, I had a plan too, about the type of mother I’d be, what I didn’t plan on was the effect of years sleep deprivation would have on me. I didn’t plan on yelling at my children, I didn’t plan on being grumpy & cranky & I most certainly didn’t plan on being THAT sort of mother….I know I’m not always THAT mother but SHE is around way too often these days!
Maureen: I know what you mean about THAT mother, Stacey. I didn’t like her when she showed up through me at my sleep-deprived worst. What do you find helps to be the mommy you want to be? I’m trying to get back to yoga, but it’s hard to find (make?) the time.
If you have kids, you know who THAT mom is. She’s short-tempered, snappy, and she can’t string five words together to make a logical sentence. Her most defining characteristic? Chronic sleep deprivation.
There is a reason Guantanamo detainees were moved from cell to cell every 2-3 hours. Sleep deprivation is torture. Literally.
But that’s what we co-sleeping, attachment parenting, “cry it out” naysayers signed up for, right?
RIGHT! Wait . . . what?
I embraced attachment parenting because I want my kids to feel loved, safe, and connected to me. As a new mom to Katie, that meant my precious girl never cried it out. She was comforted to sleep on endless occasions . . . nursed, rocked, carried, driven in the car . . . WHATEVER IT TOOK.
And she paid dearly for it. This is where the truth gets a little inconvenient, because the truth is about me and it’s not pretty.
Chronic sleep deprivation seriously affects my parenting abilities. At my worst I am snappy and impatient. No, that’s not true. At my absolute worst I am nuclear meltdown crazy. Seriously, I would let ravenous dogs gnaw a limb off if it would buy me ten more minutes of sleep. On milder days I am simply incoherent and zombie-like. Either way, on those days I doubt my kids are having the “loved, safe, and connected” experience my heart desires for them. The things those “cry it out” moms say start to ring pretty darn true on those dark days. Things like:
You say we’re traumatizing our babies, but at least we are well-rested and able to interact with them throughout the day! We don’t want our babies to cry themselves to sleep, but if we let ourselves end up like you we can’t be good parents. Happy parents= Happy babies.
Ugh. Is this really an either/or proposition? I don’t think so. Pretty much the moment Micah was born I began hatching ( I am so fertile! Hatching and birthing, birthing and hatching :)) a plan to avoid both sleep deprivation and letting my baby boy cry it out. In this series I’ll be sharing my plan along with the results in real-time. No secrets or fake solutions, I promise!
In the meantime, help me refine my tactics. Share your best sleep solutions below!Read More »
Daddypotamus: “This cannot be healthy.”
Katiepotamus: “It is helfee, Daddy!”
Daddypotamus: “It tastes too good.”
Munch, munch, munch.Read More »
Nash Farms in Grapevine, TX is hosting it’s 10th Annual Fall Roundup THIS SATURDAY!
Activities will include stick pony barrel racing, stick pony buckin’ broncs, hayrides, petting zoo, pony rides, blacksmith demonstrations and cotton picking.
Top 3 Reasons You Should Go:
Hours are 10am – 2pm
Call 817-410-3185 for more information
Nash Farm, 626 Ball Street • Near Historic Downtown Grapevine
Additional parking is across the street at Cannon Elementary & the Botanical Garden’s parking lot.
ENTER TO WIN THE HOMEMADE & LIVING SCARECROW CONTEST
CONTEST ENTRY FORM
Now that I have a toddler AND a newborn, I am officially a BUSY mom. What other kind of mom could leave the house only to realize in public that her daughter has two right shoes on?
That’s me. A busy, constantly hungry, tandem-nursing real food mom . . . on a budget. My proverbial plate is full, but that won’t feed my family:) That’s why this week I am focusing on easy, cost conscious recipes that don’t skimp on flavor!
A perfect complement to the changing seasons, this decadent soup is an “elixir filled with healthy vitamins, gelatin, protein and bone enriching minerals like calcium and magnesium . . . Onions are rich in sulfur and allicin which help maintain a healthy immune system. It’s origins are in the french countryside, where peasants had little and did their best to draw the nutrients out of everything they cooked,” says recipe creator Alex from A Moderate Life.
But enough about how good it is for you, the important thing to know about this dish it that it is mouth-wateringly delicious, inexpensive and easy to make. How much more perfect can a dish be?
Check out A Moderate Life for the recipe!
I live in the land of Tex-Mex. Beans are our specialty. Baked, boiled, refried . . . just leave it to us because we’re experts. When prepared properly, meals based on beans can be satisfying and frugal. Although prep for this dish is really quick, you’ll need to get started the night before with this refried bean recipe (if you prefer them whole omit the last step with the potato masher). From there, use leftovers or whatever you have on hand to:
A) Create a yummy masterpiece
B) Clean out your fridge
C) Save money by using ingredients you already have instead of buying more
For the rest of the recipe, check out Nourishing Days.
Inexpensive, nourishing and packed with protein, omelettes are just too good to limit to breakfast! If you don’t know how to make one here are some great instructions. A cast iron skillet is a great non-stick alternative to teflon.
Filling ideas are: pastured bacon, cheese, onion, spinach, mushrooms, diced tomatoes,
Topping ideas: salsa, sour cream, cheese, onion, chives
Bon appetite, ya’ll!
[info_box]Guest Blogger #14: Latisha Guthrie. Latisha, the HerbMother, is a mama of two earth daughters living and learning as an apprentice to mother earth. Join her for more fun with herbs everyday, every way: cook, clean, heal, and play.[/info_box]
Did you know that your roasted potatoes with rosemary could help prevent Alzheimer’s and that fennel hidden away in your pizza sauce is more than just the savory secret to your 100-year-old family recipe? Herbs. They are not only the difference between a good dish and a great one, but they have amazing healing powers as well. Natural medicine is becoming all the rage, but jumping in can be scary, expensive, and the herbs, hard to find. I mean, who’s ever heard of ashwaganda and does my basil need to be blessed to be holy? Echinacea and chamomile have had a rise in popularity, but I’d like to get even simpler than that. Most of your common culinary herbs may be all the medicine you’ll ever need. Come with me on a journey through the body and find out just how magical your spice cabinet can be.
First, let’s go back to those potatoes. Roasted potatoes in olive oil with a little sea salt and fresh rosemary must be one of the oldest dishes on the planet. In my house, we enjoy this at least once a week. More than just the perfect compliment to a tiny sweet red potato, rosemary finds many medicinal compliments with our noggin. It has been used for many years to help improve memory. A common remedy for sinus headaches, I have used it many times as a tea and felt immediate relief. Simply steep a few sprigs in an 8 oz glass of boiled water, covered for about 10 minutes and enjoy. It is also a wonderful treatment for dandruff. You can rinse your hair with the tea once a week or make a rosemary olive oil to rub on the scalp. Rosemary is also said to help you concentrate, so next time you’re having trouble getting that blog post written, lay a few sprigs on your keyboard and give em a rub once in a while to release their fragrance.
Getting to the throat. Sage is the perfect winter savory herb. Used often with fall vegetables, it appears in your kitchen just in time for those wet sore throats. Sage tends to be a drying herb that made as a tea with honey will soothe your sore throat so you can quickly get back in the kitchen.
Getting to the heart of the matter (sorry, I had to do it), the best thing you can do for your heart is to eat lots of garlic. I know you Twilight fans may be trying to avoid it, but it may be worth it: it both lowers cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
Breathing in a fresh sprig of thyme, I am instantly transported. When I was little and anyone had any issues with the lungs, my grandmother always made a tea of thyme. As an adult, I haven’t actually tried it, but everthyme I’m tearing off those little leaves to rub on my chicken I get nostalgic for a soupy cough. Thyme can be used for many other things as well. It can help bring on sweating, alleviate diarrhea, and ease headache tension. Do be careful not to use this herb for a prolonged length of time, however.
Moving down to the tummy. It seems everyone I know has some sort of trouble with digestion these days. There are many popular remedies for this. I’ll mention my favorite. Fennel tea. Take about 1 tsp and gently crush the seeds with a spoon. Pour 8 oz of boiling water over them and let steep, covered, for at least 10 minutes. As a nursing mother with a colicky baby, I drink two cups of fennel tea per day. I can eat most any food without upsetting my babe. If I get a little too garlicky with my hummus, I will give her a ½ dropper-full every half hour. It usually only takes one or two doses before she burps and is calmed. As an added bonus it is said to promote lactation, as well. If you don’t have fennel, many of the seed spices will do: dill, coriander, anise, caraway or cumin.
Jumping down to the knees, legs, and other muscle aches and pains, cayenne comes to mind. It contains a natural pain killer, which when rubbed on sore joints and muscles will immediately alleviate pain. Sprinkle a small amount in some olive oil and rub on affected area. Take care not to use this on any area with sores or mucous membranes.
Finally for relief from tired feet, try a peppermint foot soak. Muddle a few peppermint leaves in some cold water and enjoy! I’ve even been known to use peppermint extract, when I don’t have any fresh mint around.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our little adventure with folk kitchen herbals. I’d love to hear some of your old thyme kitchen cabinet cures.
A gently caution and bloggy disclaimer: Though all of the herbs mentioned are completely safe when used liberally in cooking, do take care with them as medicine. If you have specific health conditions, are taking prescription drugs, or using them on children make sure you feel confident there are no contraindications. I am not a medical professional, and this information is presented solely as an account of personal experience. Please use herbs safely and wisely and when in doubt seek professional care.Read More »
I’ll admit, I was skeptical when Daniel first proposed the Blog for Mommypotamus and Win Your Own Blog Contest. I wasn’t sure if anyone would enter, or if my lovely readers would “connect” with the author. Silly me!
You have connected.
You have empathized.
You have laughed together. And you have argued.
You have intimidated me off my own blog!
I can’t tell you how many times in the past few weeks I have considered closing up shop after this contest. The fact is, ya’ll are interesting people . . . it’s kind of a tough act to follow. If that was your master plan don’t celebrate just yet. I started blogging to keep my brain cells from going to mush amidst the daily routine of caring for a young child. Now I have TWO children and I’m more vulnerable to mush-disease than ever! So I will continue to write if only for my own survival.
Please give us a few days to tally up the unique comments for each post and determine the winner. In the meantime, there are a few things I’d like to say before I wrap this up.
To all of you that took time out of your busy lives to share your thoughts with us:
To those of you that interacted via comments to support your family/friends, or even someone you’ve never met.
Thank you for helping to keep this community going while our family welcomed our new baby. This is what community is all about . . . blog or real life. I love all of your faces, even if they are virtual and sometimes resemble Spongebob Squarepants. I love your comments and the little bits and pieces you share about your lives. I love the emails you send that make me want to fly to wherever you live and take you out for coffee. If you’re new, I’m so glad your here and I hope you’ll stay awhile. If you’re a long-time reader, thanks for sticking aroundRead More »
[info_box]Guest Blogger #13: Elizabeth Evans. Elizabeth is a single mom living in Longview, WA, a small city in the southwest corner of the state. Her blog, The Cowlitz Locavorian, covers her adventures in local and nourishing real foods.[/info_box]
I used to laugh at myself when I bought Cheetos from the vending machine at work. “Cheetos are good for you,” I would say. “There was actually real cheese in the same room when they were made!”
I get serious cravings for salty snacks and cheesy snacks, even though I know Cheetos and Cheese Nips are a classic example of what Michael Pollan calls “edible food-like substances.” It’s been a while now since I had one, and I might be able to resist if someone waved them under my nose.
For a long time, I just tried not to include edible food-like substances into my diet. I would stand in the store holding a box of Cheese Nips and muttering “edible food-like substance” and on days when both my resolve and my budget were strong, I would buy Triscuits and Tillamook cheddar cheese instead. (Tillamook medium cheddar is a standard grocery store buy in this area, frequently on sale. The cows are partly grass-fed, and it is made within 100 miles of home. It’s my minimum quality standard cheese for cooking.)
Just leaving the bad stuff out isn’t always enough. Sometimes you need to add the good stuff in as well.
Good cheese. Extraordinary cheese. Miraculous cheese. A good sharp Cheddar like Cougar Gold from the WSU Creamery is just a starting place.
My son Nathaniel doesn’t share this craving. It took years of patience to get my son to accept that Tillamook medium cheddar is “normal” cheese, instead of the American cheese he was used to from school.
Since I have to cook for both of us, my quest for cheese became a quest for cheese that he would eat as well.
Then I stumbled across the Pacific Northwest Cheese Projects, a blog that strives to list every artisan cheesemaker in the Pacific Northwest.
Only one was available in my home town, Blue Rose Dairy, which was sold at the farmer’s market and in one health food store. At $16 a pound, I couldn’t buy it very often.
My son turned up his nose at their chevre, which was fine with me. More for me. But it meant I couldn’t cook with it.
He thought my pizza with chevre and beets on a whole wheat crust was just weird. He ate two bites and left the rest for me. I have to admit it wasn’t very pizza-like, but it was tasty.
I don’t leave town just to shop, only when I have to travel anyway. A trip to Vancouver costs me $10, to Portland or Olympia more like $12. So I was elated the day that I managed to get a visit to the Olympia Food Co-op worked into a necessary visit to Olympia. Several of the Washington state cheeses listed on the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project were available there.
I came home with organic blue corn masa, my first-time-ever quart of raw milk, and three little packages of cheese.
Valentina cheese, from Estrella Family Creamery, changed my view on the cost of cheese vs. cheese-like foods forever.
Valentina is a raw cow’s milk cheese, a sharp, well-aged Gruyere-type cheese named after one of their cows.
It was so good that I moaned when I tried it. The little sliver melted in my mouth in a cascade of flavors — sharp, salty, fruity, nutty, wine-like.
It has become my standard for cheese flavor. No cheese has ever measured up to it. I don’t have a large sampling for comparison, but not even imported Parmigiana Reggiono or Asiago quite measured up.
And no Cheeto ever came close.
When I first tried it, I just sat on the couch for about a half an hour, carefully shaving off slivers with a vegetable peeler, placing one sliver at a time into my mouth, and moaning and rolling my eyes in ecstasy as one brilliant but elusive flavor melted into another.
Nathaniel, then about 15, said it was “OK.”
“OK” means he will eat it without significant protest as long as I don’t layer it on too thickly.
I did try cooking with it, with the first delivery from a new CSA, grating a little onto a bowl of white bean, squash and kale soup, and it was excellent in that role, enhancing the soup without either the soup or the cheese being overwhelmed by the other.
He thought the soup was “OK,” too.
The other cheeses? He liked the Adelle from Ancient Heritage Dairy. This one is a soft, ripened sheep’s milk cheese. “It would be good on crackers,” he said.
We were making progress.
And the family Bible study we attended they enjoyed a little round of Cirrus from Mt. Townsend Creamery, a Camembert style cheese. “I don’t know anything about these gourmet things,” said our leader, but a young man who had visited Europe went nuts over it…he had no idea anything like it was available in the U.S.
That was a couple of years ago, during my mis-timed participation in the Pennywise Challenge for locavores (I was only a year late! – no need for Nathaniel to get in such a huff over it when I figured it out).
I haven’t had many opportunities for cheese exploration since then. Trips to Portland have been centered around Shriner’s Hospital. Trips to Olympia have been centered around college campus visits and shopping for special shoes for him.
But I am convinced that the quest for wonderful cheese is worth continuing.
And on a cost comparison basis?
An ounce of a good artisan cheese (at $16 – $19.95/pound) will cost $1.00 – $1.24. A 2-ounce bag of Cheetos costs somewhere around a dollar. Both measures are light snack sizes. In terms of either nutrition or pleasure, a good cheese wins every round.
I might not want to put the more expensive cheeses into a casserole…but even without finding another cheese to equal the bliss of Valentina — I would much rather spend my $1.25 of snack money on really good cheese. A little goes a long way, especially if you slice it with a vegetable peeler!
And Nathaniel? This summer we finally found a cheese he was enthusiastic about.
At a family reunion, my dad brought out a Stilton cheese and a bottle of port on the last evening. He announced that he had been hearing all his life what a great combination this was, and he had made up his mind that one of the things he wanted really to try was Stilton and port.
I knew just what my dad meant. I read lots of books set in the Regency/Napoleonic wars era. The gentlemen in these novels always round off their dinners with a fine Stilton and a bottle of port, while the ladies retire to the drawing room. I think Bunter served up this classic pairing to Lord Peter Wimsey in Dorothy Sayers’ novels as well. So it felt like a taste of both history and literature, as well as cuisine.
It may have been the effect of letting him sample the port (powerful, rich, and silky smooth), but my son loved the Stilton!
He went around the room with a little plate and fork trying to persuade all the younger kids to try it. “Go on,” he said, “it’s a little strong but it’s really good!”
If only Stilton were local…but since it’s both imported and famous, I can probably buy it at a well-stocked Safeway!
NOTE/WARNING from Elizabeth: I found this news shortly after sending my entry in. On September 4 the FDA issued a press release with a safety warning on possible Listeria contamination in Estrella Family Creamery cheeses. Apparently it was found during testing on cheese from one cave and none of the contaminated cheeses were actually released to the market. Here’s the original FDA release and a story that does a good job of telling the dairy’s side of the story –which is that there was not, emphatically not, an actual recall (which is what happens when contaminated food is actually sold). In fact, this may prove to be a good example of the food safety system working as it should…vigilant attention to safety catching problems before they reach the market place, instead of, say, 15 million eggs later.
NOTE FROM MOMMYPOTAMUS: Leave a comment below to help Elizabeth win the Blog For Mommypotamus and Win Your Own Blog” Contest!Read More »