I’m not sure how I managed to grow up in the South without discovering chicken salad. I guess it’s because even before I went “healthy” I wasn’t a big fan of over-processed mayo. It tasted fake to me.Read More »
That sometimes feels embarrassed by my inability to do it all/be it all: attentive wife, engaged mother, excellent cook and housekeeper, friend and more.
Since becoming a parent I have made lists, charts, and even spreadsheets. Why? To comb through each aspect of my day and find a way to get some time back, of course! Unfortunately, it often requires so much focus and discipline to get that extra time that I can barely relax when I get there. Sound familiar?
I’ll admit, in the last six weeks Gigi has freed up her schedule to help me get things done and life has gotten a lot easier as we prepare for this baby to arrive. I know this isn’t an option for most of you and it got me thinking about what life would be like without her.
Um . . . HARD!!! But not impossible ; – )
For me, planning and simple routines have made all the difference. Every Sunday I spend about an hour planning the next weeks meals. It doesn’t have to take this long, but I think the hunt for new, savory recipes is worth it ; – ) Since most of the recipes I use are online I just create a spreadsheet with links, like this:
|Baked Oatmeal||Leftover Baked Oatmeal||Bacon & Eggs*|
|Deviled Eggs||Leftover spaghetti w/ clams||Leftover roast chicken|
|Raw veggies w/ homemade ranch||Salad||Baked sweet potatoes|
|Spaghetti w/ clams and saffron||Roast Chicken||Lamb Korma (double recipe)|
|Summer Salad w/ Peach Walnut Dressing||Basmati Rice|
There are a couple of important features to this meal plan:
To many of you this may seem very OCD (“may”?), but this method makes my life MUCH easier throughout the week. I am able to easily meet the nutritional needs of my family without spending all day in the kitchen or losing my mind.
I am STILL working on a series that I hope will make life easier for you in the kitchen, but in the meantime I recommend that you visit Kat’s post, Get a Chef, A Maid or a Nanny by Creating Effective Routines for some inspiration.
But before you leave, please share your wisdom with the rest of us! How do you make things run smoothly when it comes to housekeeping, caring for children and meal prep?Read More »
When Daniel and I were kids (by that I mean married without children), the plumbing at our house blew up.
Okay, it didn’t blow up. But it stopped working. And going 24 hours WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO FLUSH A TOILET is bad for newlywed morale.
Long story short, solving the problem using an external cleanout would be a few hundreds bucks. Doable. Installing the external cleanout on our older home would be about a thousand. Not doable.
Another night without functional toilets was not going to happen, so I went to my boss and asked for to take some vacation time to go home and help my husband do the installation.
Boss: “I would never let my wife dig a sewage line.“
Me: “I would kill my husband if he paid someone else a thousand bucks to dig a simple hole.“
Back then, I thought there were two kinds of women. There were beautiful, petite women like this man’s wife. Women that needed to be taken care of. You might even call them “fragile” women. And then there were women like me – exactly like men, only with different “equipment.”
I was an idiot. First of all, how that mother of four managed to maintain her sweet disposition, stay fit, make time for her husband and manage one toddler, two grade schoolers and one pre-teen I’ll never know. She made it look so effortless I really thought it was. That takes strength.
On the other hand, I had not yet faced my real limitations as a person. Being a career bad@$$ is not so hard when you push all week and then crash in your bed for 15 hours on the weekend. Being a parent that never gets enough sleep, works longer hours and is constantly faced with new challenges is DUH, much harder!
To be honest, it really surprised me that motherhood is more difficult than having a career. What has surprised me more, though, is that while I do often feel strong and beautiful, sometimes I feel the urge to surrender.
Until about six months ago I don’t know if I’ve ever really acted on that urge. Late one night, following a traumatic day that had Daniel and I up arguing into the wee hours, I began having scary contractions. I was only a couple of months pregnant and they were so strong I couldn’t walk.
After we called our midwife and got instructions, my husband picked me up and carried my to a warm epsom salt bath. I was still angry, but I surrendered to him. Not walking and complete relaxation was the best chance our baby had to survive. The contractions came and went for well over an hour, leaving me scared and exhausted. Walking at all brought them right back.
For the next 24 hours Daniel carried me everywhere. To the restroom. To the bath. To the bed. I wonder how many of you will understand when I say that although I was scared for my baby’s life, I was deeply affected by my husband’s tenderness, attentiveness and concern. Although he had tried before, I had never let myself receive it because it conflicted with my perception of the type of person I am.
That day set something in motion. My weakness had made me vulnerable enough to accept his help, and he touched my heart.
I have learned about a bazillion things from watching my daughter interact with her daddy. When she says, “Daddy, I need some holding,” I see the expression on his face. That request is one of his favorites. A delight. A privilege.
From time to time, we should all have the privilege of doing this for another person. And we should give others the privilege of doing it for us.
Being carried doesn’t mean we’re not strong, or brave, or capable.
It means we’re loved.
Read More »
Growing basil in Texas is a beautiful experience. While most of our gardening efforts have been destroyed by birds and pests, the basil continues to produce . . . and then produce some more. Our only problem with basil around here is what to do with it all!Read More »
I can’t knit little hats. Or sew my own ring sling. I wish I could, but . . .
YOU KNOW WHAT??? I can makes lists of great stuff other people make!
With your help, of course. Would you please tell me what YOU found essential in the early days of mothering? Even though this is my second baby I am still mystified by some of this stuff. Case in point: I didn’t have a good rocking chair with Katie, so I held her and nursed/paced the floor while she fell asleep. Until she was sixteen months old. This time around I’ve decided to save myself the chiropractic bills and just buy a rocking chair. But which one? I need your help! Here’s what I have so far. Let me know what you’d add/change/omit!
UPDATE: I no longer recommend lambskin rugs. Find out why here.
I don’t think Katie has ever napped anywhere but at home and in the car. It’s not too difficult to arrange my schedule around one child’s nap. But two? With different schedules???
For the first year I’d basically be stuck at home from about 10am-4pm everyday. No thank you.
My solution? Get Babypotamus to associate sleep with something comforting and portable.
A lambskin woolie is like a lovie only better. By nursing/sleeping on it with Babypotamus it will have my scent.
Lambskins were originally used to reduce discomfort for long-term hospital patients. I think its cushioning prevented bedsores.
Plus, “Wool is nature’s insulation keeping baby warm and cozy in cold weather. In hot weather wool absorbs moisture which is then released into the air, leaving baby drier and more comfortable.” – Bebeco
Mommy’s scent + Snuggly Factor + Climate Control= Babypotamus Takes Naps Away From House (I hope)
Just FYI, the Bowron I linked to earlier is probably the favorite brand in the U.S.. I’ve done a little research, though, and the Kaiser Mimosa Lambskin looks like a good one, too. It is processed without any chemicals at all. Has anyone tried either of these? I’d love your feedback!
Pass the prefolds, please! If there’s anything I’ve learned in my cloth diapering days it’s that what worked for Grandma will work for me (with a few modifications, of course). Fancy microfleece /multi-layer/ all-in-one varieties need not apply.
Natural fabrics beat synthetic ones when it comes to breathability and freshness (synthetic fabrics hold stink . . . blech!)
Back when our parents were slapping prefolds on our parents bottoms everything was cotton. Now there’s hemp. Cha-ching! Katie has some hemp liners for her nighttime panties . . . super absorbent and non-stinky! Love them ; – )
I’ll leave the diaper pins to nostalgia, though. Snappi’s are wonderful.
I’m also looking forward to giving wool covers a try. The lanolin from the wool makes them naturally water resistant. Plus, they’re breathable, naturally antimicrobial, and cute!
If Babypotamus doesn’t do well with wool I’ll go back to Thirsties. They’re synthetic and not extremely eco-friendly, but they really work!
I am “The Princess and the Pea” of rocking chairs. My first chair, a Craigslist regret, was generously picked up and delivered to my house by Gigi. When she tried it she loved it! When I sat down in it all I noticed was the rough bumping motion it made mid-glide while going “CLICK!”
Every time I tried to settle Katie to sleep in that blasted thing it went like this: “HUMP . . . CLICK . . . . You’re never going to get this baby to sleep . . . BUMP . . . CLICK . . . I’ll help you count the seconds as they stretch into eternity . . . HUMP CLICK . . . I can make this noise forever lady and this baby can stay awake just as long.”
So, with that said, I want a GOOD one this time. Unfortunately, the big comfy gliders are expensive, and I’m afraid to invest too much in a rocking chair that Babypotamus may not like. Suggestions for finding one that is affordable? Any “must have” features? I know ya’ll are going to help me figure this out!
Then, while watching another mom discreetly cover her nursling with the tail of a ring sling I had a revelation:
I’ve got to get one of those!
Oh, to be able to nurse discreetly while chasing my toddler around in public. Sounds a lot more fun than suffering through the hungry cries of a precious baby that has to be put on hold too often.
With all the brands and variations available, though, I’m not sure what to look for. Should I get one with a padded shoulder? Who has the best prices? Better yet, who is finished with theirs and wants to sell it to me???
One essential didn’t make the list because I already have it. How anyone swaddles a baby without a Miracle Blanket mystifies me. I am a swaddling moron. Oh well, as long as it gets done and baby is happy I’m okay with that.
Unfortunately, the one I have is pink. If Babypotamus turns out to be a boy I’ll have to get another one or be forced to write another post about why that won’t actually affect his sexuality, either. Just kidding, even I think dressing little boys in pink is weird. SEE?? I do have limits!
Another item we have is the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper. We didn’t use it much with Katie, but I think we will more this time since we want to keep Katie in bed with us while setting aside a safe place for baby.
A couple of things that did not make the list are a double stroller and baby swing. Do I need these? If so, what should I buy?
That’s my list so far. What would you add/change/omit???Read More »
Dear Lonesome Lizard,
We’re sorry about your floor. Really, really, we are. Here is our very nice review.
Located in Old Town Keller, The Lonesome Lizard is a rustic little establishment that was named after its patron of sorts:
The restaurant was named “Lonesome Lizard” during a front patio brainstorm session. We have a burnt stump transplanted from Evant, Tx. Shortly after the stump arrived we noticed we had company. After some research we found out our new friend was a female “Texas Spiny Lizard”. She loves to sun bathe on the stump and was always alone i.e “Lonesome Lizard”, since then she has posed for many photo shoots for locals and passersby. So come by and see her on a sunny day and get a picture with her!
Chef Nate, the owner, stopped by our table to talk ingredients. Like most restaurants trying to use local, organic, and pastured ingredients, their menu is a work in progress. During the spring and summer months Lonesome Lizard buys as much produce as possible from Homestead Farms. In addition, Chef Nate has plans to incorporate items from Latte Da Dairy soon and is already using a local supplier for their salad dressings. Really local, in fact. Just two doors down, Olivada Gourmet sells olive oil from Texas growers (and some organic stuff from California), tapenades, pesto and more. While the chicken on the menu is your ordinary mainstream variety, the beef is sometimes grass-fed (depending on what’s available) and the buffalo is always grass-fed.
We started with the Good Ole Mushrooms — stuffed with buffalo and sausage, then topped with candied jalapenos and herb butter — which Daniel really enjoyed. For our main course Daniel opted for the not-so-local fettucini alfredo (his kryptonite, to be sure) and I ordered two salads featuring local ingredients. Both were delicious. The Local Salad, which was a bed of lettuce from Homestead Farms topped with a crabcake, was spicy and delicious. Nate’s Pecan Spinach Salad, featuring Texas grown spinach and house sourdough croutons, was sweet and savory.
Although we were enjoying ourselves immensely and considering another course, Katie cut short our date by announcing to Daddypotamus, “I’m teeteeing!!” It took Daniel a split second to comprehend what she was saying. All I heard was, “Nononononono!” I knew what that meant.
After grabbing napkins from the restroom and doing our best, we made our way to the door as quickly as possible ; – )
So… sorry again, Lonesome Lizard. Your crabcake IS wonderful.Read More »
So, my friend Erika sent me this video. It’s twenty-one minutes long, which in mommy land is time for me to get a shower (including shaving my legs), brush my teeth, do my kegels AND transverse abdominal exercises for my diastasis. Since I rarely do all of these things in the same day (yes I skip the shower A LOT), it seemed like a really good idea to pass on the video.
But I didn’t. Because Erika is not the type to send me a montage tribute to puppies, no matter how cute they are. She is a woman of substance. The last time we had dinner she had just returned from living in a war-torn section of the Middle East. Her more recent adventures? Bangkok and a strip club (no, it’s not how it sounds).
So I watched the video. If you have the time, you should to.
Isn’t that just amazing? Stuff is designed to wear out, break or become obsolete so that we, the consumers, will never run out of shopping errands.
To be perfectly honest, I could do with a few less shopping errands. I would also be more than happy to live without the guilt of what my $5 radio is costing some six-year old factory worker in South America. Like, their childhood.
In the hopes that someday soon (this year would be nice) we’ll have a new home to decorate I’ve been looking into ways to repurpose trash into treasure. I’ve found some great ideas, like this cupboard door Monica at Crafty Nest found at a salvage yard and turned into a serving tray.
I’ve also run across some small but really practical ideas, like:
For some kitchen ideas that will inspire you, check out the photos at Re-Nest.
Read More »