Saturday, September 15, 2012
For a long time I'd keep searching the same drives over and over again. But I'm now bucking up and starting over. This time, I'm using Google Drive to keep the information. That way, at least the recipes are accessible, even if the pictures aren't.
How do you keep track of your favorite family recipes?
Saturday, September 8, 2012
All four of her grandparents are telling us she's teething. She hasn't actually cut any teeth yet, but they independently swear it's true. I'm so not ready for that yet.
Now that *B*'s income is the only thing sustaining us (aside from a small sum I earn from weekly tutoring), we seem to be eating much more healthfully and happily. Last night, *B* cleaned out the basement while I organized the freezer and pantry yet again. We've determined that I have to be the only one to put food away, or else the organizational system falls apart and we never know what we have.
We have a fair amount of meat from a cow we got last April. I'm trying to use it up since we got another cow right after Miss F was born. I wanted to make beef stew, and I found this amazing recipe from Pioneer Woman. So I dove in head first without reading the recipe well. We had no beef consume. And it turns out, no red wine either. But we did have some strange ziplocs that *B* had labeled "beef juice/gravy" and "beef soup base" in the freezer. I threw them in instead, and oh.my.gosh. That was the best beef stew I've ever had. It was somewhat like beef bourgignon, somewhat like stroganoff. And it cleared out all the leftovers we had hanging around.
We also had two roast chicken carcases in the freezer and a ton of beef bones. Today, I made both chicken broth and beef broth from scratch. It smells heavenly in my house. Now that I've gotten back in the swing of real cooking, I'm looking forward to awesome meals again.
Since Miss F was seven weeks old, I've been attending a class called Stroller Strides. I really need to get back into shape, get out of the house, and to meet friends. This seemed like the best option to accomplish all my goals. I've been going for three weeks, and I really feel like I'm on the way to better health. Friends of ours also generously gave us a treadmill that they didn't use, so I'll be able to get back to running once we get it over to our house. My weight hasn't really changed yet, but it must only be a matter of time.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
We've had hot drinks (chai and cocoa) a lot more than usual. We had an amazing chicken tamale bake early in the week. And I'm seriously considering making a pot roast before the week is out. I think that fall might be heading our way a little earlier than usual. Given that the winter was so warm, I'm not really surprised.
The change in weather reminds me that Miss F's first summer is almost over. Miss F is eight weeks today, and things are still dynamic between us. For a while, it seemed we had things figured out. Then, around 6 weeks, she started getting fussy at night. During the day, though, she's fairly happy. I don't know if I'd call it colic, but it definitely isn't fun. But she continues to grow and change.
We even got a bedtime routine down. She gets changed, but in a sleeper, nurses, and I put her to bed with a lullaby CD. She doesn't seem to need the pacifier to sleep that way. We can't swaddle her because she doesn't like it, but we tuck her blanket into the sides of the crib so that her arms are free and her feet can kick. She seems to be happy with that.
Ever since she went into her own room, she's been sleeping until 5-5:30 am. That works out perfectly since *B* gets up for work at 4:45 and leaves by 5:15. I'm actually starting to wonder if she wakes up because he does. We'll find out one way or another this weekend. But even at 5 am, I'm getting about SEVEN hours of sleep, which is wonderful. That's what I would have gotten by going to work anyway! I've heard of something called the four month wakeful period, so I'm not counting on getting this much sleep forever, but I'm definitely taking advantage of it now.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I'm making it my goal to knock out a big chunk of my to do list this year. *B* has been instrumental in this task. While he was home on paternity leave, he pulled out our wedding photos. While they're not as great as I would have liked, they're all I have. So I'm in the process of framing them and putting them into albums. The other night, we hung our quilt.
Last week, my younger brother helped me move all of my belongings out of my dad's house. I sorted through five or six totes full of tchotchkies, keepsakes, and memories from my high school days. I put everything into piles: keep, toss, and donate. I whittled a mass of belongings down to a select pile of things to keep. I was able to donate a huge box of old belongings.
I'm happy to finally start chipping away at this massive list and feel productive in this year "off".
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Now that Miss F has come along, we find ourselves spending much less quality time together. Many days I hand her off to him and work on house work I couldn't get done with her, or space out if it's been a rough day.
The one exception has been Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, we walk to the local library, then to the farmers' market. It's a nice time, but the farmers' market isn't open year round, and at some point it'll be too cold to walk. To complicate things, I plan on going back to my part time job in a couple of weeks, and *B* starts school again soon. So one evening a week is really going to be the most we get together.
My mom took Miss F for the night on Friday, and *B* and I got to have that quality time once again. It was amazingly refreshing. It really helped us solidify the fact that we need to be purposeful in our time together. While Miss F is too young for family board games, we can try to come up with things that the three of us can do together. For a little while during *B*'s paternity leave, I would listen to him read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to Miss F. That might be our FHE until we can come up with a new plan for FHE with a wee one.
What did you do for FHE when the kids were little?
Monday, August 6, 2012
Saturday, August 4, 2012
The diapers are driving me crazy. One is orange and the other, brown. They were in the picture from my cloth diaper post, which was taken three weeks ago. So sometime since July 15th, they sprouted legs. I've torn apart every room on my house, and I can't find any of these things. If you happen to see them, let me know :o)
Monday, July 30, 2012
We asked for FuzziBunz on our registry and received twelve of them.
as you may remember, gave us an insane number of inserts for them. We wanted more diapers, but buying more FuzziBunz means getting more inserts, which we didn't want.
It turns out that the FuzziBunz inserts can be used with other diapers, specifically Flip diapers. In this way, they can be used with the same shell a number of times. The only thing is that you have to use a liner between the insert and the baby.
Miss F in a Flip:
We also found that disposable wipes are a pain to use with cloth diapers. We'd have to find a place to throw them out. More often than not, they'd end up in the washer. So we just decided to use cloth wipes as well.
We use a peri-bottle that I got at the hospital for the diaper bag because it closes tight. At home, we use condiment bottles that we got for a dollar each from the grocery store.
So far we've had very little in the way of leaks and issues. Between gifts and what we've spent ourselves, it cost us about $200 to create a large diaper stash that will last us through multiple children. With Pampers being roughly $0.20 a diaper, we'll break even at 1000 diapers. Given that Miss F can easily go through 10 diapers a day (and has been going through many more than that recently), we'll break even in about three months. I'd say that's a worthwhile purchase!
Sunday, July 29, 2012
I've been trying to do more research on Montessori for the under three age range, but I haven't found much. I found Chasing Cheerios, How We Montessori, and Feeding the Soil. For now, it seems I only need to consider mobiles, rattles, and room arrangements. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it's been stressful and frustrating. I want someone to explain how and when I can implement these things, but usually I'm just pointed to a catalog. Everything in those catalogs is so expensive. Luckily, we've been able to make the mobiles.
The next mobile in the series is a Gobbi mobile. It should look like this:
Easy, right? So I thought. I bought some papier mache ornaments from Michael's.
I started to make one more mobile, but it really doesn't fit in with any of the development milestones.
I might finish it and put it over Miss F's cradle because, though it's not ideal, it's better than the blank wall she stares at now.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Our nursing problems appear to be fixing themselves. Well, I don't know if I'd put it that way exactly - both Miss F and I have worked hard at them. But she seems to be much more content, as am I. We've even got a very small supply of stored milk in case I need to go somewhere without her or vice versa.
Another amazing find today was a sling for Miss F. We have a backpack-like carrier, but she hates it. I couldn't justify spending $50 for a piece of fabric that she may or may not like and be able to fit into for very long. *B* and I went to the consignment store in town, however, and found a very nice sling for only $15! While it's pinky and flowery, *B* wore Miss F while we went browsing our local antique shops today with *B*'s sister and her husband.
Tonight was also Miss F's first bath ever:
Friday, July 20, 2012
She was holding Miss F upright and she made a strange discovery: my baby has a HUGE lump between her neck and shoulder. I never saw this thing before! Her chubby chin covers it in most positions. Immediately I thought of permanent disfigurement, or worse, a tumor. We got into the pediatrician an hour later. The lump was non-moveable and very hard.
The pediatrician was really nonchalant. Apparently Miss F broke her collarbone when she was born! She didn't cry when people moved her or pressed on it. But that knot is the bone mending. I've been going over every interaction we had with her trying to make sure that a) I didn't cause it after she was born and b) I didn't unset it by being less than absolutely careful with her. I knew being a parent would be scary and full of bumps and bruises, but I didn't think I had to worry about broken bones this soon!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
We had her pediatrician appointment yesterday, and at 18 days old, she hadn't gotten back to birth weight. She was 9 lbs 5 oz. She had also spent the previous night and that morning screaming uncontrollably. She nursed every hour, but wasn't comforted.
At the pediatrician, we tried everything to get that one ounce to get back to birth weight. I nursed her, but she had been cluster feeding so there wasn't much there. Despite having nursed so much, my supply seemed low. The pediatrician had us give her some formula and she immediately stored screaming, but then she wet a diaper, so the weight gain was negated.
Starting last night, at our pediatrician's recommendation, I've been taking fenugreek pills and drinking mother's milk tea. I have to get in contact with a lactation consultant today.
I really don't want to give Miss F formula, but I'd rather do that than starve her. I'm hopeful that the herbs well help to get me where she needs me to be and that our weight check on Friday will be positive.
I'm not currently dieting because of the effect it could have on my supply, but I am trying to eat healthy foods. It's been difficult this week because my best friend is in town, and we tend to east poorly when she's here. But she leaves Thursday, and it's back to real food at that point. I'm looking forward to getting healthy again and even picking up running if I can manage it.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
It's amazing how much more engaged Miss F is since we put the mobile up. She stares at the patterns pretty intently, though for relatively short periods of time. As she grows, I'll make more mobiles according to her development.
I've been reading more blogs about Montessori methods, namely Chasing Cheerios and How We Montessori. In some respects, I really like them because they demonstrate activities for young children. In another way, it's difficult because Miss F is so young that there's not much I can do with her. I feel like I'm neglecting her, though I spend probably a few hours a day with her in my arms without distractions. But for now, I think that successful nursing, cloth diapering with minimal leakage, sleeping up to four hours at a shot, and what little I can do to keep her occupied will be sufficient for me.
Friday, July 6, 2012
The first couple of days' dreams were that Miss F was in bed with us instead of her cradle next to the bed. I frantically pat around the bed looking for her and wake *B* up asking if he put her back.
The last two nights I've dreamed that someone else was watching her, had brought her to me to nurse, and I didn't know where she was after I finished. It was kind of like someone passed her off to me, but I didn't know if they took her back before leaving. When I wake up and check the cradle, there she is.
I don't know how much more of these I can handle. They break up the very small chunks of sleep that I do manage to get. I'm thinking that as week two goes on, these things will fade.
Miss F at one week old:
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
By Sunday, she refused to nurse at all. When I'd try to nurse her, she'd violently shake her head from side to side. She wouldn't even try to latch. She'd scream constantly until she was absolutely hoarse and raspy. Nothing satisfied her, not even the pacifier. I just bawled because my milk was in and I couldn't feed or soothe my baby. I couldn't help her at all. I knew I had milk, but when I held her up, she'd just scream at the breast. It was one of the most frustrating experiences I've ever had. To get something into her, I pumped and *B* spoon fed her out of a medicine spoon.
We ended up taking her to the pediatrician Monday evening. It turns out she was severely dehydrated (shocker). She had lost a whole pound since birth. When he asked, we said she hadn't had a messy diaper in two days. After going over our records, it turned out it had been three days, and she was only four days old.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Girl! At 42 weeks and 1 day, I was induced at 8 am. By 1:15 pm I was pushing, and at 2:15 pm she was here! She was 9 pounds and 6 ounces and 21 inches long. I was able to have her as naturally as possible, with only pitocin. My mom and *B* were by my side the whole time. *B* was an amazing coach.
When we went in for an ultrasound on Tuesday, I could have sworn I accidentally saw boy parts. I was saying that I was 85% sure it was a boy. What a surprise!
Maybe I'm biased, but I think we picked out a gorgeous name for her. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure yet if I'm comfortable sharing it online. So for the time being, unless I decide otherwise, I think I'll refer to her as Miss F.
We are so blessed that mom, dad, and baby are all happy and healthy! Thank you so much for the prayers and well wishes!!
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I've been doing non-stress tests (NSTs) twice a week for the last two weeks. The baby's done well through all of the NSTs. I've had to have two ultrasounds - one to determine fluid levels and one to determine size. As of yesterday, this baby was measuring a whopping 10 lbs 6 oz. And with the second ultrasound, the fluid level almost cut by half.
My doctor in general is pretty easy going about letting the body go through its natural process. I have had no real contractions at all. I had about two hours of non-painful, timeable contractions on Saturday, but as soon as I went to sleep, they disappeared. Given how far along I am, how big the baby is, and the fluid levels, it's just time for this one to come, ready or not.
So tomorrow I'm being induced. It really isn't what I was hoping for, but I'm still planning on going pain-med free. We'll see what happens once I actually get to feel a real contraction though.
Thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
So I read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I started using a spreadsheet to plan out future spending, and budgeting software to track past spending. And from December to April, without a huge inconvenience to our lifestyle, *B* and I managed to save all $10,000. We hit our goal four months early.
So we decided to make our lifestyle more sustainable and pay off as much of our debt as possible. We paid off my car and all of our credit cards, which had funded house repairs (that mold issue), course work, and miscellaneous things that really weren't worth paying on like eating out or groceries that I wasn't sure I had enough to cover in our checking account. We paid off $6,000 worth of debt in one evening, which brought our savings down to $4,000. It was a scary but triumphant moment. So our goal now is to save up $12,500 by September, when my income cuts out.
But here's the amazing part - I looked harder at our expenses and what we do with our money. Since we no longer had minimum payments and interest, we needed far less per month. If we live fairly close to our paychecks, not even sacrificing that much, we don't have to touch that savings while I'm home. We will be living solely on *B*'s income.
I had already planned to go back to a part time job I had for a couple of hours at night a few days a week. I want to pay my student loans off early, so I'm going to put all of that second job into student loans. While living on one income in a very expensive location, we'll still have more savings than anyone I know in my age range AND pay off our debt faster than anyone else I know. All the while, our child (or children depending on how long I stay home) will have the benefit of a parent home with them at all times.
It's mind-boggling to me that we could have ever wasted that much of our income. We'll have saved almost $20,000 in less than a year. Think of all of the things we could have done! But this lesson is one learned better late than never. Even though we still have student loans and our mortgage, this taste of financial freedom is intoxicating. I'm so thankful that we are lucky enough to be able to live our lives as we want.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
But since they're high achievers, their parents would call my boss (or more often my boss's boss) if they had concerns rather than coming to me. I thought it would be over since it was the end of the school year. It turns out they were upset about grades they hadn't even seen yet. So I spent my last few hours, not with coworkers enjoying our time and the end of year brunch, but putting out fires so that I might be able to come back in good standing to teach in the future.
But today is a new day, and it's my first day on a new job.
I am a home maker, a (soon to be) stay at home mom, a domestic engineer. It actually feels rather empowering to have the time and resources to dedicate to ensuring my family's health and happiness. I'm excited that *B* and I won't "need" to eat out as often because we're both exhausted from work/school/second jobs. I'm excited to be able to plan healthy meals, teach my child and watch the child grow, and to keep my home (somewhat) presentable.
I know that I really have no idea how the next few months will go, but I'm confident that I can pick it up quickly. But for now, I'm off to start my new job, with a thorough organizing of my workspace as first up on my list.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
I know that I've still got a week and a half to go, but I'm ready now! I'm a little nervous about the whole labor process, but I'm itching to get it going. At every twitch, twinge, and cramp, I wonder is this it? But it obviously hasn't been. This is like waiting for Christmas times a million - and I can't even count down for it!
Monday, May 28, 2012
*B* has been putting vine scraps that we don't want growing into a trashcan. I noticed that there were some ants around the top of the can. I don't know if you can see it, but the left side of this pile is swarming with ants. No wonder they're getting into our house!
On a good bug note, it looks like a ladybug laid eggs on this plant. There were tons of pupating ladybugs there today.
*B* has had this cactus for many years. It's thriving and putting out new pads all the time.
The honeysuckle I got a couple of years ago is really taking over. We need to find a way to trellis it further than we already have. It's a native honeysuckle, so we don't want to cut it back too far.
My Mister Lincoln has some buds on it. I'm hoping to get a good crop of red roses this year.
My JFK rose is doing fantastically. One is almost ready to open, and four more are on their way.
*B* planted red clover in with our asparagus to help out the soil. I thought it would never flower, but it's proving me wrong.
I tend to get bit up by bugs in the summer. Knowing our luck, the baby will inherit my "sweet meat". This year we're trying a potted citronella plant on our table to help keep the bugs away without having to spray.
I'm a hoarder of mint. I've got four main types (spearmint, variegated peppermint, pineapple mint, and chocolate mint), and the little pot down in front is called Mexican mint, but it's tarragon.
The downside of being a mint hoarder is that it sometimes appears where you don't plant it. This is a tote of arugula that was taken over my mint.
This is one of *B*'s babies. It's called crosne or Chinese artichokes. It's related to mint, but you eat the tubers.
This hard to see group of plants is scorzonera. The leaves and roots are both edible.
Another *B* plant is stinging nettle. I won't touch it because it can hurt, but it's apparently very nutritious if prepared properly.
The last of the weird plants is this grove of sunchokes in our former compost pile. It will put up pretty flowers, it's hard to kill, and the tubers are apparently delicious!
Speaking of tubers, this is something I picked up off of pinterest. It's a bin made of potatoes. *B* made a chicken wire bin and filled it with layers of straw, soil, and seed potatoes. Apparently, two pounds of seed potatoes can produce up to 25 lbs of eating potatoes. When the greens die back, you pull the wire away, and all of your tasty potatoes come falling out!
For a while, I thought these were junk seeds that volunteered. It turns out that *B* did a three sisters experiment this year. We'll see how it goes.
The tomatoes took over our raised bed last year, so this year we did the lazy man's raised bed: *B* opened two bags of potting soil and stuck our tomatoes straight in. They look pretty happy.
We have royalty purple pod bush beans in the open cold frame. The seeds were two years old, so I'm just happy they germinated.
We didn't pay attention to the rhubarb this year, and it took off on its own. I'm not sure if it's even edible at this point. But it sure looks happy.
We have one whole pepper this year. It has flowers, but I'm not sure if it'll end up making it.
Our garlic should be ready to pull soon. This is garlic that overwintered, so I have no idea what to expect.
Our snap peas are doing well. We got a full snack for our first harvest. We've got three varieties (sugar ann, sugar snap, and sugar daddy) and they're coming in perfectly staggered.
I read a post over at Choosing Voluntary Simplicity about perpetual celery plants. At the end of the season, we're going to dig them out and bring them inside.
One of the easiest ways to get good carrots and parsnips is to replant the tops after you've eaten them. The short carrots came from seeds. The tall ones came from organic market carrots.
We had snow peas in our seed stash. We don't love snow peas, but they're pretty good in stir fry. We hate our hibiscus plants, so *B* let the snow peas climb the hibiscus. If something comes of it, great. If not, oh well.
This is my only raspberry bush to really take off. The other ones are only about 8 inches tall. I have no idea why one is happy and the others aren't.
The blueberry (which is just to the right of the above raspberry) is small, but slowly getting bigger.
*B* adores nasturtiums both for their taste and look, and this is the first to flower this year.
My mom made this strawberry planter for us two years ago. The strawberries we have in our front yard are junebearing, whereas these are everbearing. We've already had 8 or so berries off of it this year.