Friday, November 16, 2007

Our not so traditional tradition

Last year I mentioned some of our Holiday Traditions but I never shared my recipe for the yummy Salad Spring Rolls that we make most every year for Thanksgiving. They are so delicious I actually get a craving for them and the peanut sauce is really yummy over rice noodles too!

Peanut Chile Dressing
  • 1 Cup good peanut butter
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 6 tablespoons cider or unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 T Chinese sesame oil
  • 1 T Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt (I omit)
  • 1 small (2 inch) serrano chile, minced (seeding optional for milder)

Place peanut butter and honey in a medium- sized bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of the boiling water and mash with a spoon until uniform. Add the remaining water and ingredients, stir until well blended. Store in a tightly covered container in the fridge(will keep well for weeks) Whisk vigorously from the bottom before using.

Vietnamese Salad Rolls
  • 12 round (8-9 inch diameter) or 24 square rice paper wrappers
  • 6-8 leaves romaine, cut into very thin strips
  • 1 C mung bean sprouts
  • 1 large carrot, julienned or shredded
  • 1/3 C cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 C mint leaves
  • 1 C firm tofu, cut into thin strips (about 6 oz.)
  • 1/4 C peanuts, minced
  • Peanut chile dressing

I can find the rice paper wrappers in the Asian section of my grocery store but you may have to look at a specialty store or Asian grocer. You can improvise really any small cut veggies that you have on hand.

Fill a pie pan with lukewarm water. Place rice paper wrappers in the water one at a time in the water for a few seconds, then tranasfer to a dinner plate. Lightly moisten a paper towel and lay on top of the wrapper. Continue layering covering the last wrapper with a paper towel and set aside. (The paper towels keep the rice papers from sticking irreparably to themselves or each other.)

In a large bowl combine all veggies, tofu and peanuts with about 1/4 C Peanut Chile Dressing and gently toss. Place about 1/4 - 1/3 C on the half of the wrapper that is closest to you. Fold in the sides and gently roll up and transfer to serving plate. Repeat for all rice paper and salad mixture.

Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature tightly covered with plastic wrap. The recipe says they will keep for up to one day but I think they are best eaten within a few hours.

Serve with peanut chile dressing for dipping and you can just devour them whole (hee, hee) or slice diagonally in half for a nice presentation. Enjoy!!! I can't wait for Thursday now!!!!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Three Months Old!

Boy time really flies, I have no idea what happened to October and now November is half over too. Our little one is three months old and just a joy!

She's perfected the sweet art of smiling mid suckle with milky white corners and gleaming eyes. She'll follow big brother around the room with her eyes wondering what he's up to - is it any wonder she has been rolling over from front to back pretty regularly for about a week and a half now! Last Wednesday she weighed 15 and a half pounds and 3-6 months clothes are getting snug with or without cloth diapers.

What a reminder she is to just stop and enjoy every day. She LOVES to make eye contact and when she catches my eye, it's impossible to pull away. She's beautifully captivating!

Big brother still gives her the most kisses of anyone and other than being a touch rough at times still, is just the sweetest sibling ever!

We are to that point where I almost can't remember what life was like before two kids. (Not that I'd really try.) This is one time when it's okay to say two is better than one! I know they both will love to have each other.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I know I'm a goof

We recently rented an Elmo goes potty video from the library and I got a kick out of the end when like on Sesame Street they said "this was brought to you today by the letter P and the number 2."

I know I'm a dork but it made me giggle!

Speaking of potty training, I would consider my son mostly potty trained. We are leaving on Sunday for a 10 day visit to my Aunt and Uncle's in San Diego and I'm not sure what to do as far as taking a newly trained boy out of his usual environment. Anyone have any advice on what to expect?

Of late, the only days he seems to have accidents is when his number 2 is not regular, i.e. he doesn't go first thing in the morning. And for weeks and weeks now he's been keeping number 2 in the potty. He's still in a diaper at night and training pants for his nap so I'm basically just a bit concerned about bladder control during the day.

Granted for much of the time we will be at my Aunt's or other family member's place so there will be laundry access but I don't want to be ruining my Aunt's rugs and or be in the middle of the Zoo (of course I'll have a spare) and not have enough clothes.

I guess what I'm asking is do we revert to pull ups (which really didn't work for training since he'd just go in them) or do we just go for it! Don't worry Aunt Mimi, he's been going 4+ days without accidents I'm just trying to cover all my bases here! Thanks for any input you have on training travel :)!!!!

Make it from scratch carnival is up at Laura Williams' Musings. There are many seasonal contributions this time and I'm currently into 10 Home Improvement Projects that Actually Pay off from the Frugal Panda and Make Your Own Refrigerator Magnets from Mental Mosaic.

Is there just no end to the amount of things I can learn from fellow bloggers? I hope not. Blogging fills many different things but my quest for knowledge is certainly overflowing! Enjoy your Tuesday!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fire Starters

Growing up we had a wood burning stove for awhile as well as a fireplace. My Dad was a pro at making a wonderful fire. I have fond memories of standing by his side carefully rolling newspaper and stacking kindling. Later I can remember my Mom making fire starters to help things along.

We have a gas fireplace in our current house which is I'm sure better for lots of reasons but lacks the ambiance of a crackling fire. I love how homey a fire makes a room with it's popping and crackling and warmth like a giant hug. So a couple years ago my hubby got me a little fire pit chimney for outside. I love it and so I decided to make some fire starters to use out there this winter.

How to make firestarters...(They are SO easy!)

First collect a couple of cardboard egg crates and your dryer lint for a week or so, depending on how many you want to make and how much laundry you do. ;)

Take the lid off the egg carton and recycle it or use it as kindling. Then stuff the egg pockets with the lint.

While you are doing this you can start a double boiler melting some wax. I just used some candles I've never used and some small ends of already burnt ones. When the wax has melted pour over the lint allowing enough to soak a bit into each section of lint in the carton.

When dry cut each section out and you're done. Depending on the size of your fire you may need more than one, but one is usually enough to get things going. Just light a corner of the cardboard on fire and it will burn for about five minutes.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sleep has done us all well!! Here we were last night! :) Enjoy your day!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Keepin it real

Today is a wonderful day. Lord I am grateful you have given me this day. Thank you for these two little blessings and especially my hubby! Please bless the rest of my day as well!

It really is a great day, it just feels forced. This morning I woke up to my son saying that he needs to watch TV. Adam was getting ready for work and suggested that he needs a month long break from it. I agree but I think one 30 minute show a day is more realistic

When the little one came along TV became a nice way to let us all rest during the day, or first thing in the morning. Boy am I regretting it now. Along with those days that we were in pj's all day. Still when I say "It's time to get dressed." His reply without hesitation is, "Where are we going?" But that's another story.

Needless to say, if I don't want him to watch TV first thing I have to get up at 7am when he does, ugh. I am indeed grateful for this time we have to share. On many mornings I can sneak out of bed to feed my son and I breakfast and spend some time with him while baby sis stays asleep in our bed. Today she slept for awhile so we had time to eat and play. I put him in the ergo baby carrier while I did some things and he kept asking me to run or go up and down the stairs, which I obliged. Seriously my quads are now on FIRE! It was fun though having him attached to me while I did things - I knew where he was and he loved getting a birds eye view. Plus it also appears to have been a wonderful workout!

When the little one awoke I met all of her needs which lead to and exorbitant amount of spitting up and two changes of clothes for both of us. By the time were were ready to leave to go to Costco it was already 10:OO and I wanted to go to Fred Meyer afterwards which mow meant I needed to pack a lunch - 5 more minutes. Loaded all of us and an ice chest in and off we went. My son and I singing merrily, lulling my daughter to sleep.

With her asleep in the sling the shopping was fairly easy. 45 minutes and we were in line. Here's where we hit a snag. See my I'm not actually a Costco member. I snagged my hubby's card because I didn't want to waste a Saturday going together. Apparently they don't like that, to say the least. After a bit of arguing and begging (my daughter was awake by now) they let me pay for my stuff - hello do you want to lose the business or make some money? Seems silly but it worked out anyway.

After a diaper change and nursing in the car (involving more spit up), my son and I ate pb&j on the way to our next stop. When we got there, another little snack for my daughter and we were off. I seriously get stopped by every Grandma telling me how smart it is to have my baby a carrier, or how cute my kids are etc. Today, I just wanted to get in and out but that didn't happen. First thing I took my son to the bathroom, he's doing really well with his potty training but it had been awhile. The womens bath was closed for cleaning - the wonderfully nice Fred Meyer employee let us in anyway. Finally, we were back out in the store getting the many items on my list - plus a few. When my daughter wouldn't settle down in the sling - we were only half way done.

I see a bench at the front of the store - I'm still not terrific at sling nursing. We sit on the bench and nurse as my son counts the number of people and everyone smiles back at him. Too cute, and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of smiles and approving nods I got from people walking by since we were right in the front by the cashiers there was lots of people.

Back to the bathroom - the guy was still trying to clean it - for a diaper change. What no diapers. I could have gone and bought them but that would have required two trips through the check out. Not an option! I ripped through the diaper bag and found a diaper cover and receiving blanket...should work. And back out we went to attempt to get this all finished.

The baby fell asleep in the sling shortly and we made it through produce and the rest of the shopping! I find my favorite checker and we're out of there! It was then almost 2pm. I took us forever and when I got home all I wanted to do was sit, my legs are seriously very sore!

Once I decided there were enough leftovers for dinner, I relaxed a bit. Finishing a book about attachment parenting and nursing while my son played outside. It seriously was a wonderful day and I think I'm just tired. It's also just exhausting to make two grocery shops in one day, maybe next time I'll plan ahead and order from Amazon or something.

Seriously though after the last year, I'm so grateful that my hubby has a good job to pay for groceries and that I'm healthy enough to carry my kids around and truly appreciate life, even if it's forced. I used to work with a gal who would smile and say "fake it till you make it." That's sort of what I felt like today, I'm not sure if I'm explaining it well but I'm betting if I get off the computer and get tot bed it will do me some good.

Oh, did I mention that when Adam came home I had my son on my back and my daughter in the sling talk about almost 50 extra pounds. It was fun and someday soon I might upload the pictures. Not now though, sleep is beckoning!

Seriously!

An actual conversation with my 3 year old. (My hubby just happened to be on speaker phone at the time so he didn't have to miss out!)

He comes inside and says, "Mommy I eat two bugs in my tractor, I really, really I do."

Insert awkward silence here.

I say, "You really ate two bugs?"

He says, "Yup, they yummy in my tummy!"

My reply, "Thank you for telling Mommy, next time lets just leave the bugs alone I think they are yucky." He expresses more interest to go play outside I say sure and then say, "Hey, you have no problems eating bugs, but spinach and broccoli you have trouble with?" A little "Yup" follows as he runs back out and Adam starts cracking up!

After about a half hour he comes inside and says, "We don't eat spiders blaaaaah. We do eat bugs they yummy." After taking off his shoes and sweatshirt he asks me. "Mommy what do spiders eat. (This is a very common question that he's asked about every animal he knows - I've actually had to look up the answers to some like, "What do Beavers eat?") Anyway, he says, "What do spiders eat?".

I say, "Um, spiders eat bugs and flies."

Maybe for next Halloween Spiderman will be more appropriate.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Caution

There may be many days when parenting in this manner will leave your house a wreck similar to this!

Which is why today I've tackled the laundry. I try to do two to three loads a day (one each on Saturday and Sunday) so that laundry isn't so daunting a task. However the daunting task lately is finding the time to fold and put it away. Clean loads first get dumped on the chair in the back left corner and move counter clockwise around the other sitting surfaces. My one task for the day in between nursing, playtime and during quiet time was folding and putting it away.

It's not all put away yet but at least the baskets are upstairs and we can once again live in our family room! It will be nice for my hubby to actually have clothes in the appropriate places tomorrow morning! I am so lucky that he never complains when the house looks like this. A couple days last week all I was able to do was take care of kids and get dinner going and I was a little upset. I actually said' "What if someone stops by." He said they'll know that I'm taking great care of my kids! Am I lucky or what! I do feel good having gotten some housework done too.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

What makes a GOOD baby?

Why does our culture judge a good baby on sleep? Why are we so geared up to get a newborn independent after week one of life? They spent 9 months inside their mother and then we expect them to be sleeping through the night at 9 weeks. Hello! How does that really make any sense. I may be throwing you all for a loop but I'm an attachment parenting mama and proud of it!!

I don't believe that crying is good for a baby's lungs. I do believe it is a cue that the baby has a need that only it's primary caregivers can meet.

I don't believe that a baby needs a feeding or sleeping schedule. I do believe that babies should have their needs met when they need them, when they are hungry, tired or need the comfort of Mom or Dad.

I don't believe that my child needs to sleep in a lonely dark room down the hall. I do believe that we are very comfortable and safe sleeping together in a oneness where we both wake and sleep with a rhythm of togetherness.

I don't believe that my child should be put in a pack and play or play pen so they won't get into trouble. I do believe they are safer close to me and/or in a sling carrier.

If meeting my babies needs on cue means I'm spoiling her then gosh darn it I'm spoiling her every minute!!! I find it impossible to believe that my baby is manipulating me by wanting to nurse often, only that she is hungry, growing, or needing comfort. I believe manipulation is more of a learned behavior.

I by no means am judging you if your parenting choices differ from mine I also believe that each set of parents are THE best decision makers for their own family. Each parent must listen to their own intuition and do what is best for each individual within what is best for their entire family unit. Each family has different situations.

I could go on but this loving, happy and healthy baby is worth letting her nurse all day and night for a relatively short while. Before I know it she'll be three and telling me to take off my shoes when I come inside, spelling words and having way less time for cuddling her Mama!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Battle of Toys

Why is it when I go through his toys and commit to getting rid of two of the three different types of building blocks does he consistently play with the two I was going to give away????

I'm not sure if three years old is too young for this but I've already told him that after Thanksgiving he and I are going to go through his toys and he'll need to pick out 3 to give to kids who don't have many toys. He just looked at me and said, "oh." I'm sure that he doesn't really have the life experience yet to understand but I thought we'd start this year and see what happens. I went through some of his toys the day that I put them away and already have a pile started to be given away.

I've noticed now that there's less toys, not only is there less mess but he plays with more of a variety of them every day. They are also much easier for him to put away. Though it still takes 20 minutes for him to put away what would be 3 minutes of work for me I know that I'm enabling him to be responsible for his things and his own mess by it being his job.

Friday, November 02, 2007

My 3 year old loves to play with my neighbor's kids. They have four boys ages ranging from about 4th grade down to 4. On most of the nice days lately my son goes out to play in the backyard while I'm getting dinner ready - even if it's cold. The other kids are usually out then too so my son calls their names until they climb up on the fence to talk to him - they are really nice kids. I'd love to be able to say yes one of these days when he comes in asking to go over to their yard or play out front with them. (He does play out front with them but only if one of us is out in the garage or in the front yard too.)

These evenings, I just can not say yes - they have a trampoline in their yard and many times I see multiple kids jumping at once and I can't expect them to look after my son. Their Mom is also preparing dinner or housework inside so she's not watching either. It just pains me that my kiddo wants so badly to play with other kids and he's surrounded by them, yet can't see or play with them, only hear them having fun. He does play well by himself but I just really want him to get to play with other kids. I'm planning on setting up a play date with my neighbor but we have nothing in our yard to entice them to come play over here...motivation to bug my hubby to build that swing set we've been talking about I guess!

Anyway, I am sticking to my gut and keeping him in our yard - plus it's funny to watch him try to pull things over to the fence to see if he can climb over. One of the other kids directs him to try different items and I chuckle my way through food prep keeping a good eye. He's a Mr. Steady though as soon as he doesn't have sure footing or good grip he stops, it makes it easy to trust him.