Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ian's first day: Part 2.

Perhaps I shouldn't write the summary of part 2 tonight because I'm pretty sure just writing it down is going to send me into another fit of tears.

Ian didn't have a very good day according to his report when he got home. However, he got a smiley face from the teacher on his daily report (as opposed to the indifferent face or the sad face) so I don't really know what to think. All I know for sure is that Ian was smiling when he got off the bus, but cried on the way home from the bus stop. I'm pretty sure most of his disappointment with day had to do with the unfamiliar and later on, being tired. And I'm praying he has a better day tomorrow. You should pray too.

I feel so bad for him. I wish I could have been there to help him through the frustrating parts. To reassure him that it wouldn't always be hard like that. I know I can't keep him from feeling bad forever, but that doesn't make a "bad" first day any easier to take. I know he probably won't remember this day when he's 30. (I don't remember my first day of Kindergarten, do you? I only remember my shiny new red back pack that was my very own...not a hand me down.) But I don't ever want him to be sad or frustrated or scared.

Onward to better days, Lord willing. Hopefully a good night's sleep puts a whole new spin on things in the morning.


Ian's First Day... Part 1

We had pumpkin pie and bacon for breakfast. We packed his lunch and snack and made sure he had all the things he was supposed to have. We drove up the hill together as a family and saw him off on the bus...and we'll see him again later when we go get him off the bus.

We miss him.





Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kindergarten.

For months, I've been trying to wrap my brain around Ian going to kindergarten this year. How can he possibly be big enough? He's still little.

Tomorrow morning we'll take him to the bus stop and wave goodbye for the very first time. And my heart is breaking.

As I was reading to and rocking Lauren tonight, I realized I was sitting in the same exact chair where I rocked my very first baby for the very first time. My baby who is heading off into the big world tomorrow.

He's excited. He doesn't seem nervous at all. And maybe that makes me even more sad? I like having all my chicks in the nest. I might complain about it sometimes and I might pull my hair out while being driven to the brink of insanity by them, but they're my chicks and I like them here with me.

I don't want to send Ian off to spend the better part of his waking hours with someone else. I don't want someone else teaching him, watching his little hands create.

I'm really, really going to miss him.

I think you don't ever fully understand until the moment you're packing that very first lunch, locating and labeling all the supplies, helping him pick out what shirt he wants to wear. It's the first day of the rest of his life... his life where he's apart from me. And it's sad for me. And I'll probably cry most of the night. Hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow with a brave face and at least wait until the bus pulls away to sob into Roger's chest. How can we be here already? The night before Kindergarten.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Thoughts on Cooking "Fresh"

With the explosion of blogs written by home-cooks (vs. professional cooks) and Pinterest, I have been tempted and lured by freeze-ahead meals and meal planning. Here's why I don't do many freeze-ahead and extremely pre-planned meals:

1. I prefer "fresh" meals. I prefer the taste and the variety of meals that are prepared from never-frozen, available-right-now ingredients. I prefer the ingredients I use to be as minimally processed and have as few additives/preservatives as possible. I prefer local ingredients. A lot of the recipes I've seen for freeze-ahead and pre-planned meals include highly processed ingredients. I don't like that.

2. I find that having a pantry with staples (pastas, rices, canned tomato sauce, whole grain flours, etc.) and a freezer full of real meat* that I buy in bulk when it's on sale is as much "pre-planning" I need. And it's way more versatile.

3. On any given day I may have a lot or maybe just a little time to prepare dinner. On any give day I may be in the mood for a certain dinner. Why lock myself into a prepared schedule of dinners with little wiggle room because my grocery list that week didn't buy the ingredients I needed for a certain recipe? I do like the idea (and we did it for awhile, probably should start doing it again) where I might plan 7 meals for each week, but not dictate specifically which day each meal will be prepared until the day I make it. That's fine. That amount of variety works for me. I'm too laid-back to be held to a rigid calendar of food preparation.

4. I keep a few frozen casseroles on hand in case of emergency/desperation. That's all I need as far as completely and entirely prepared meals.

5. I like cooking. I would miss it if I prepared every single meal in the crock pot or in bulk ahead of time. Cooking is a stress reliever for me and I don't want a reason to stop spending those minutes each day doing it. A from-fresh-ingredients, home-cooked meal doesn't have to take hours. In fact, some of our most favorite dinners take less than 30 minutes. Even the busiest of people can do something like that.

6. I enjoy crock pot meals and when I was working full time I used my crock pot a lot. Well, a lot more than I do now, but even then, I prepped the crock pot in the morning before I left for work (yes, at 6:00am, while Roger was still snoozing away). I guess I'm just not a freeze-ahead girl. I certainly see why some would choose to be freeze-ahead-ers, but it's just not for me. Since I've been asked so much recently about the topic I decided I'd just put this out there.

*Real meat. Perhaps deserves a blog post of its own. Roger and I over the course of the last year or so have really decided it's worth it to buy local, free from saline solution, free from antibiotics, free from additives of any kind, never-frozen meat as much as possible. It tastes better. It feels better to know that we're eating better. It's a bit of a financial sacrifice, but to us, it's worth it.

Don't even get me started on the state of the food system in America. It's bananas. Highly processed, genetically modified bananas.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Blessings of Being a Stay at Home Mom

I read this post the other day and my reaction wasn't positive. I get what the author was saying, but in my opinion, there isn't really anything to feel guilty about. Of course I've felt the same way she does on certain points, but instead of letting myself feel guilty, I choose to count myself blessed beyond what words can convey. So I offer to you this:



The Blessings of Being a Stay at Home Mother
I feel blessed for being able to sit here and write.
I feel blessed when I texted my husband that my babies rolled over for the first time.
I feel blessed as I feel the sunshine boldly on my face while my children ride their bikes in circles around me.
I feel blessed for being able to paint pictures and play soccer with my children.
I feel blessed when I will watch my son's Kindergarten concert--sitting alone.
I feel blessed while I sip my morning coffee and check my emails.
I feel blessed while I go shopping and spend money that I did not earn.
I feel blessed for wasting my college education.
I feel blessed that I get to stay home while many other mother's have to go to work.
I feel blessed.
I feel blessed.
I feel blessed

The only other thing I have to say is that I don't feel guilty about spending the money that Roger earns because I feel that my contribution to our family right now is worth more than the money I might earn working outside the home. It does make me more conscious of how I spend money.
I'm not even sure why reading the "Guilty" post made me feel so passionately that I needed to write a response, but maybe the author will read it and realize that she shouldn't feel guilty about being a stay at home mom, she should feel blessed. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Peach Ice Cream

What is more delicious than making ice cream out of a fruit that is currently in season in your area? I'd have to say nothing! Right now, peaches are ripe in our area and boy are they tasty. I know some of you might not have the love of those golden beauties that I have, but you're going to have a hard time convincing me that they don't at least taste wonderful in ice cream.

Here's a quick recipe for you to try:

Susan's Peach Ice Cream
4 very ripe peaches
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Wash, peel, and puree the peaches. Stir in sugar, cream, and cinnamon. Stir until well combined. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Freeze using the directions on your ice cream freezer.



All natural. Homemade. Enjoy!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Pin-Spiration: Homemade Iced Coffee

It used to be that I had to have a piping hot cup of coffee in the morning before I could really function. Then I was pregnant in the summer.

Now I'm just hot all the time and the thought of further heating up my body by drinking a hot drink in the morning just makes me...sweat. Enter the iced coffee. I came across this pin for easy cold-brewed coffee (no special tools needed!) and homemade coffee creamer too!





It's a pin-win!

I followed the recipe precisely the first time I made it (as I almost always do) and it came out awesome. After that I made some adjustments to suit my personal preferences. For instance, I don't have a pan or pot big enough to do an entire gallon, so I do a half a bag of beans and fill my big soup pot up to the brim. It's still plenty strong. Trust me. (The first time I made it with the full gallon and split it between two pots, but that's just more dishes to do and I really don't mind making it more often. Let's keep it fresh, people. I also use a reusable coffee filter because I find it a million times less messy than disposable coffee filters and a mesh strainer. Here's something similar to what we have:


On the creamer side of things, I discovered one day when I was out of creamer and about to make another batch that I didn't have any more evaporated milk. I used regular milk. Obviously this affects the expiration date of the creamer, but that's ok. I also store the creamer in a recycled store-bought creamer bottle. Finally, I use the fat-free versions of sweetened condensed and evaporated milks. It doesn't change anything but the fat content.

Recently I've taken to just a small spoonful of sugar in the coffee instead of creamer. This home cold-brewed  coffee is really that good. I recommend you try it!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cloth Diapering a Toddler: Switching to Bamboo Fitteds

It's different than cloth diapering a baby.

None of my cloth diapering mama friends were surprised to hear last month (just before Lauren turned 2) that our nighttime diapering situation drastically changed. We were Bumgenius 4.0 people. We have some other kinds of cloth diapers, but hands down, my favorite cloth diapers have been BG 4.0 (in snaps, fyi). I'm a Bumgenius fangirl. I'm not ashamed. Lauren wore those pocket diapers with just one microfiber insert (no doublers necessary) for almost two years without any problems at all. It was rare to have any leaking issues, even at night.

Imagine my surprise when she woke with a sopping wet bed and pajamas one morning. I thought it was a fluke and put her to bed in a regular old BumGenius the next night. And again she woke saturated. What was going on?

Turns out that toddler diapering is much different than infant diapering and we were actually behind the curve when it came to needing to change up the nighttime cloth system. We needed more absorbency. STAT.

Along the way, I picked up a pair of Bumboo Fitted diapers intending them for little brother in the fall. I'd never been keen on the idea of fitteds and covers, but I decided to give them a try. Bingo! It worked. Bumboo fitteds are made by Earth, Mom, & Baby and are made from Bamboo woven into silk. Bamboo is super absorbent, naturally antibacterial, and sustainable... like a cloth diaper wonder-fabric. The only downside is you do need to use a leak-proof cover over top. I've tried both Thirsties and Sweet Pea brand and I like the double-snap security of the Sweet Pea covers. They're a little cheaper than Thirsties too.



We also have two Babee Greens hemp diapers, but they're itchy to Lauren's sensitive skin and I have to include a fleece liner between the diaper and her skin. I was already annoyed with switching to a fitted and a cover, I don't like adding a liner in too. They are very absorbent, but I don't like them like the bamboo diapers.

We'll continue to use Bumgenius 4.0 during the day because I still love them. When little brother gets here, we'll diaper him in 4.0s too... until that fateful day when we wakes up saturated. If you're having nighttime wetting issues with your cloth diapers, perhaps you should give bamboo a try?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pin-Spiration: Travel Lego Box


I'm not going to lie. I'm hooked on Pinterest. I love it. When I joined, I thought it was just going to be another one of those things I joined, but never paid much attention to...boy was I wrong. It really is a great place to get ideas and save the ideas you come across. I mainly use it for recipes and craft ideas. I've been trying all sorts of cute and tasty pins this summer and I decided to share them with you... obviously, some don't work as well as others and that's something I'd like to share too. Here's one of my favorite pin-spired projects:








Our's isn't exactly the same. The main problem was procuring a slide-top box. I eventually found a photo-holder box that would work at a local craft store and then more on Hobby Lobby's website. I followed the rest of the instructions exactly. We painted it red, we used scissors to cut the blue Lego plate and I used regular old Krazy Glue to attach it. The project was finished in one afternoon and Ian absolutely loves his "little lego" box. He plays with it at home and also takes it to restaurants and on trips in the car.

This pin is a win! << So cheesy, I know, but it really is. If you have a little one who loves to do Legos and are looking for an interesting way to store them, this is a quick and easy idea for you! There's also the bonus that Ian watched me make it for him and seems to really appreciate the effort in "handmade by mommy." Awesome.