As I sit here, watching Daniel teach Katie to build a fire in the fireplace, I feel comforted by the fact that I will NOT be leaving the house today. Black Friday is not my thing, but I do understand the excitement about kicking off the holiday season and the joy of shopping for loved ones. So, in that spirit, here are three gifts I am giving this year.
When it comes to gifts, there’s nothing like handmade. Unfortunately, some of us are not gifted in the realms of sewing, designing jewelry, painting, or anything of the sort. But hey, who needs actual skills? Dragging and dropping photos onto the Shutterfly storyboard makes it a handmade gift, right? I used my hands!!!
Okay, maybe not. But despite their dubious handmade status, photo books can be very personal, thoughtful gifts. Last year I created brag books for both of Katie’s grandmothers to show off to their friends. This year I’ve documented a whole year’s worth of memories for the kids great-grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s. Though names and places have lost many of their particulars, Jewell can still connect emotionally with the images of her loved ones. I can already tell this will be my favorite gift selection this year.
And hey, until Dec. 1 you can buy one photobook and get one 50% off plus free shipping! Make one to give and then keep a copy for yourself.
The human foot at birth is not a miniature version of an adult foot. In fact, it contains no bones at all and consists of a mass of cartilage, which, over a period of years, ossifies to become the 28 bones that exist in the adult human foot. This process is not complete until the late teens, so it is crucial that footwear – when worn – is well chosen.
“Most children’s shoes ought to come with a government health warning,” believes Byrne. “They are like awful little bricks – too stiff, too rigid, with no flexibility at the sole and too much heel raise. This is of particular concern with toddlers learning to walk, because it causes them to bounce and tip forward,” she says.
Woodward agrees. “I have in my hand a Nike Air shoe for a three-year-old – quite an expensive item, I would guess. From the heel to the toe there is no ‘bend’ or ‘give’ in the sole. Completely rigid, this shoe will restrict movement of the forefoot to zero. Kids this age should be turning cartwheels, skipping, climbing trees, running around. A shoe like this would seriously restrict such playful physicality – make it less fun, less enjoyable.”
It amazes me how much power I have to influence my children in these early years. What I eat while nursing them will affect their palates for life. Allowing them to deal with illnesses will prep their immune system for future challenges. And as podopaediatric specialist Tracy Byrne explained above, even SHOES have the ability to influence structural and neurological development. It’s kind of overwhelming.
Fortunately there are some shoe companies out there that make shoes that mimic the barefoot experience, so that’s one less thing to think about. Pediped is a great company, but they can be pricey. Right now another great company, Preschoolians, is selling next day ship orders (in stock rather than custom made) for 60% off sale, though! I just found the $50 winter boots I ALREADY bought for Katie for $15! Ugh.
This gift will only be appreciated by other crunchies, but it really is useful. There is so much junk in water these days . . . runoff from pollution, pharmaceutical drugs, carcinogens, parasites and MORE. For years I’ve carried large jugs of purified water in my car, but that’s not always practical. A better solution is the BPA-fee Berkey Sport bottle, which has a long-lasting reusable filter built right in.
I’m giving a Berkey Sport to an adventurous friend that likes to travel to all kinds of exotic places. Hopefully this will increase her chances of actually enjoying her trips instead of fighting a case of Montezuma’s Revenge. It can be useful just about anywhere, though: at the office, in restaurants, parks or while running errands. Last month I bought one for each member of my family plus two to give away.
If you’re wondering about the specifics, it eliminates 99.9% of:
The season has officially begun, so this is the first of many times I will say HAPPY HOLIDAYS. Have a wonderful weekend!Read More »
Happy Thanksgiving!!! When Daniel and I were newlyweds we set a goal to create meaningful and unique holiday traditions. Here’s one we’d like to share with you. It’s our official Thanksgiving greeting, usually given as soon as we arrive to the feast.Read More »
Love the fragrance of buttered apples and cinnamon? Then go sign up for Jenny’s FREE Thanksgiving Mini-Cooking Course! I know it’s almost Thanksgiving and you (hopefully) have your menu set, but the Apple Crisp Recipe she includes is scrumptious enough to delight all season long. The best part? It’s frugal and simple. Any day can be a special occasion, even for busy families on a budget.
If this is any indication of what Jenny has to offer in her upcoming course, I think I’ll have to explore Christianity’s Jewish roots with a Hanukkah celebration. Hello jelly-filled sourdough doughnuts!
Are you convinced yet? Go sign up for that free mini-lesson! And please help me get the word out about Jenny’s course. For a chance to win access to the complete course just go to the Mommypotamus Facebook page and “share” this link. Add a comment when you share so I can keep track of entries, please! I’m not yelling, I’m just really excited!!!
*Contest ends November 28 at 10pmRead More »
Daddypotamus here. Some of you have asked what’s going on that caused Mommypotamus to cut back her frenzied blogging production last week. Heather felt she hadn’t clarified and might cause some of you to wonder or even worry, so here’s the skinny:
Yes. You read that right. After paying to have the house inspected, the buyer terminated the contract. No negotiating on price or repairs, even though the defects found were pretty minor. Just canceled. We have now had TWO contracts fall through since August. Our property is officially off the market while we regroup, cry, and drown our sorrows in a tub of crunchy peanut butter.
I am looking for enough contract work to replace the income I’ve been earning at my job these past two and a half years. I’m also talking to some companies about full-time employment.
We reached a place in the past couple weeks where my stress level was off-the-charts bad, and my physical health suffered for it. Now I’m seeking the Lord for the path that best suits me and our family’s needs.
I knew the job change was coming. The signs were leading to it. Unable to find qualified sales staff, the company wasn’t able to bring in enough new business this year to make up for the ones who backed out when the economy tanked. And then to hear a week later that our house contract was terminated was like getting punched in the stomach by someone you love.
On the flip side, I’ve known for months that it was time for change. Sometimes, I think God allows situations to escalate when we don’t take the hint and move on of our own free will. For the sake of my own sanity and personal growth, it was time for change.
There are moments in life when not just one thing goes wrong, but several things happen all at once. It’s a whirlwind. It doesn’t let you regain your composure or play it off as no big deal. You get raw, unedited emotions, and sometimes the worst come days later once recuperated from the initial shock.
I don’t claim that difficult circumstances come from God. That’s not part of my theology. But I know difficult times test our character and show where we’re really at. When you have your hopes set on an outcome, and that outcome is aborted halfway through, as in the sale of our house, you get to see yourself a little clearer based on how you react and respond.
I’m pleased to realize that our marriage has grown stronger than I realized. I’m pleased by how we’ve come together during this time. We’re not without our flaws, but I apparently underestimated us. Though no one loves trouble, I love what I see working in us through the troubles we’ve survived these past few years.
A bargain is not always a good deal. That’s a lesson to be learned from our experience. Over the years, I’m less and less proud of how we acquired this property. My negotiating tactics may have brought us a good price, but it was a taxing burden on the previous owners. God’s massaging my heart to desire to see both parties in every business transaction get a good deal.
I also think this plays out in our regrettable decision to go For Sale By Owner. I don’t really want to debate with anyone who’s had great success with it. The reality is that I have not. We’ve worked with these wonderful real estate agents to help us find a house for the past two years, and I think now I should have gone with them to help us sell.
The lesson is this: it’s not enough to pursue a bargain at all costs. Bargain acquisitions are not necessarily virtues. There are two sides to every business deal, and God has called us to love our neighbors not just in theory, but in our everyday transactions.
As believers, we are all stewards of God’s resources. We are not only recipients of blessing, but channels to pour out blessing and provision on others. And I now see that there are times when God has placed us in a specific position in order to bless someone else through a business deal. To be a channel of provision for them.
But how can we be a channel of blessing while we bleed the person dry? How are we being the light and love of God? How are we living like Jesus? My heart has been wounded by this lesson. I fear I have not loved others as I should. Generosity and love should not be relegated to charity and church. It’s place is front and center in our daily lives.
That’s about it for now. We’re growing and learning just like you. Thanks for being such amazing friends to our family. You are a consistent joy in our lives.Read More »
Confession: When I graduated from college, I couldn’t find a job. Given the lack of options at hand, I boldly went where far too many graduates have gone before. I took a job as a beverage cart girl at Cowboy’s Golf Course. Yeah…Hey, I can hear you snickering! Moving on! So there I was, the day before Thanksgiving, driving my beverage cart up to the next hole when a pack of turkeys bolted across tee box number four, gobbly gobbeling at the top of their lungs. True story.
I checked the news to see if the pack might have been escapees from an overturned turkey truck somewhere, but no. They were real, wild turkeys. The next day I gathered around the family table. Unfortunately, my turkey encounter was the highlight of the meal. At least, it certainly wasn’t the food. My mom made “healthy” versions of our fave dishes, including pecan pie with stevia . . . blech! **We defined healthy differently back then***
Where was I? Right. Health. Now, I am all for healthy food, but there are some things that just shouldn’t be messed with. Like pie. And green bean casserole, stuffing, candied yams, cranberry sauce and gravy. Or should they?
Jenny at Nourished Kitchen has created a holiday cooking course featuring our favorite recipes real food style. And she’s giving away a FREE Mini-Lesson to prepare you for Thanksgiving! No refined flours, sweeteners, or oils. Just whole, nourishing ingredients. Unlike the stevia pie debacle, these recipes will undoubtedly melt in your mouth. Jenny is my FAVORITE real food blogger for one reason: Her recipes never fail me. Like, um, never. If she says I make healthy sugar cookies (class #3) that will delight my little ones, I know I can.
When Katie grows up and moves away I want to give her a recipe book filled with photos and handwritten memories: The carrot cake we made for her first birthday, her favorite rye crackers, fig canapes and more. Wherever she goes, she will be able to recreate a little bit of home. Unfortunately, most of the recipes from my childhood are full of JUNK.
Until now I’ve been able to eat the junk and leave it off her plate. But she’s old enough to notice now and it’s time to make a change. Tis’ the season for sugar cookies, pumpkin pies, and buttermilk gingerbread. We’ll doing the whole nine yards with Jenny’s help.
The full course includes more than 50 menus and more than 175 holiday recipes, plus shopping tips and video tutorials. You can pay to get the whole course (10 classes for $89). Use coupon code NK20 for 20% off
Sign up for individual classes at just $15 each.
Registration ends November 30, so go check out the classes and see what churns your butter.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Nourished Kitchen. Jenny is my favorite food blogger, but even though I send her fan mail I still have to pay for my classes ; – )Read More »
This creamy, luxurious bisque is full of vital nutrients like selenium, vitamin B12 and phosphorous. I’m telling you now, but I promise the first time your spoon touches your lips you’ll be thinking “Phospor what??? Who cares, I’m going to need a bigger bowl!!”
Note: This is a copycat recipe of the Crawfish Bisque from Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. I worked there when I was in college . . . and yes, I befriended the cook.
To boil shrimp:
To make the bisque:
Remember this difficult day as told by Daddypotamus? I’m kind of living it over again except it’s not our house this time. Sometimes we choose change . . . sometimes it chooses us. In this instance, change has come faster and harder than we were prepared for. I need to watch this unfold a bit more before I decide what I think about it all. When I know you’ll know. Deal?
Although The Bump’s Mommy Blog Contest was extended and I have not technically lost, I think I’ve spammed you enough with vote requests. THANK YOU for all your support. Yes, I saw you up last night doing last minute campaigning. I was up way too late trying to process coming changes, and there you were, stumping for me. And there I was, sitting in my living room alone . . . realizing that I am not alone at all. Thank you. Your kindness makes winning or losing an afterthought.
Our family is a bit emotionally frazzled right now, and in dire need of an extra nap or twelve. I’m taking the day to recharge for an unexpectedly challenging holiday season. See you soon.Read More »
[info_box]This sleep miracle was brought to you by Angela Aitken, who first shared this book with me on THAT Mom. Angela is just one of the many women here that have inspired, taught, and encouraged me. Thank you! [/info_box]
In a previous post I wrote about the disastrous results of attempting the 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program without, ahem, actually reading the book. Well, when the book FINALLY arrived I decided not to bother with it. My baby couldn’t stay awake for 90 minutes, so the theory was just another unhelpful fad . . . end of discussion, right?
After being clued into a possible cycle, I couldn’t help but notice that it kept popping up in real life. Micah would wake, fuss about one hour after being awake and fall asleep around 90 minutes. Nothing consistent, just some patches of pattern here and there with the occasional meltdown (his and mine).
Finally curiosity got the best of me. I picked up the book. Five pages in I was hooked. Dr. Polly Moore’s advice goes against much of what I was doing and most of what I’ve heard, but her research and reasoning is very compelling.
Specifically, she discourages the practice of waking babies up from long daytime naps to keep them from getting their “days and nights mixed up.” Baby’s neurological network is running a “system check” while they sleep, she says, adding that baby must be allowed to complete this task in order to achieve quality sleep. According to her research, the profound neurological benefits of uninterrupted sleep are worth the temporary day/night confusion.
I decided to give it another try. Disaster AGAIN. Micah was doing reasonably well up to that point, why couldn’t I just be happy with that? Why did I have to tweak things and mess up our routine?
Simply put, because I prefer to let nature take its course wherever possible. If there is an innate rhythm to babies sleep I want to know about it!!! But after that second meltdown I decided I was out on any more experiments.
As Dr. Moore explained her theory in more detail I began to reconsider whether those miserable two attempts were really failures. Apparently there is often a recalibration period that can be pretty messy. Maybe those miserable days were the beginnings of a transition to something better, so I decided to give it another shot.
WORST. DAY. EVER.
Followed by three days of bliss. It could have been five, but I’ll get to that. On the no good, very bad first day of the program Micah fell asleep every 90 minutes as predicted. However, he only slept for ten to twenty minute intervals all day long. By evening we were both on the verge of hysteria. As the sun set I laid down in bed with him, desperate for some rest after a day of non-stop nursing, rocking and walking. To my surprise, we both fell asleep.
He woke up a different baby. I have gone whole days with barely a whimper at naptime. I nurse, I rock. He stares lovingly up and me, smiling until his lids close and he goes limp in my arms. He sleeps deeply for long stretches.
It’s freakin’ beautiful.
I will say this, though: The first chapters extremely helpful, but I do not agree with later parts of the book in which Dr. Moore recommends teaching baby to “self soothe’ around the six month mark (she is pro “cry it out”). Fortunately, the 90 minute approach works without that aspect.
And boy does it work.
The other night I was rocking Micah. As his lids drooped closed I said to Daniel “It’s 6:10 isn’t it?” He looked at the clock behind me. “Yep. How did you know?”
“Because that’s when I predicted Micah would fall asleep.” Pretty cool, huh? The best part about discovering this rhythm is that I know where to focus my efforts. When Katie was a baby, I sometimes carried her for HOURS before she fell asleep. It would seem she was almost asleep and then her eyes would pop wide open for another hour of misery. Now when I soothe Micah I can see why. At the end of his wake cycle he gets a little fussy. He begins to squirm and whimper. With Katie I would take this as a sign that what I was doing wasn’t working and I needed to try something new (swaddle, unswaddle, change diaper, etc.).
Now, if Micah begins to fuss right before the 90 minute mark I don’t change a thing. Swaddling or changing him during the few minutes his body is most receptive to sleep wastes a precious opportunity. If I know I am in the sweet spot I just continue to soothe him. There have been times I thought, “This is not going to happen. He’s four minutes from the 90 minute mark and he’s wide awake.” But, believe it or not, he somehow settles down and sleeps. Here’s an example of how it went today:
1o:50 a.m. – Awake. Check time and determine the next sleep interval should be around 12:2o p.m.
12:10 p.m. – Smiling and cooing
12:15 p.m. – Body stiff while I walk with him, eyes WIDE OPEN
12:17 p.m. – Body more relaxed, sucking fingers
12:22 p.m. – Asleep
12:27 p.m. – Transfer from my arms to bed
I promised to share my experiences in real time, so here they are. However, I’ve only been doing this for about five days. What happens on day six is anyone’s guess.
I will say this: I went against Dr. Moore advice and tried to get Micah to nap “on the go” while Katie had a few playdates. His sleep during those two days was more disrupted than previous days. For now, I have decided to plan short play trips for Katie that don’t interfere with Micah’s naps. Hopefully when his naps fall into a more predictable cycle (around 3-4 months) I will try to push the boundaries again. For now, though, I think it’s worth it to stick close by.
These past few days have been incredible. My stress level has plummeted. I make scheduling decisions, like when to get Katie ready for a nap so we all fall asleep together, with confidence. It’s not perfect, but it’s better.
Again, big thanks to Angela for telling me about this book!