I had a long post scheduled for today that looks like it’s totally disappeared So disappointing.
There’s a pin on Pinterest going around that is perfect for New Year’s Day.
It’s supposed to be a 1 year bucket list – and I like it! Anyone want to join me?
So here’s mine…
A bad habit I’m going to break:
Put condiments back in the fridge after using! (I’m notoriously bad at forgetting)
A new skill I’d like to learn:
How to make flan!
A person I hope to be more like:
Pope Francis – more open, letting go of things, not as judgmental.
A good deed I’m going to do:
Buy a bag of good groceries – high-quality coffee, whole-grain pasta, a box of decadent cookies or other things I’d normally buy for myself and donate it to my local food bank.
A bag of dog food for a dog shelter.
A place I’d like to visit:
I really want to tour the Mabee house this year.
A book I’d like to read:
Any book off the World Library List and any new nonfiction book of Alison Weir’s I haven’t already read.
A letter I’m going to write:
A new food I’d like to try:
Rattlesnake from Adventures in Food!
I’m going to do better at:
Exercising. For myself. For my kids.
Much of this year has been both a blur and yet painstakingly slow. I’ve seen more sunrises than I’ve cared to, yet don’t really feel like I’ve SEEN any at all. The little things in life have definitely been passed by in “survival mode.” So I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy a sunrise for the first time all year the other day – the peacefulness as the light flooded into the sky, the snowflakes as they fell lightly through the sky.
Another “little surprise” we got today was the visit of a bluejay as he enjoyed a few catnip seeds from our planters that are still outside on the deck. Now, of course bluejays are pretty common, but the blue is beautiful nonetheless. It was another reminder of the world outside our little condo, which has felt pretty distant at times this year.
I’m hopeful this means we are easing back into “mindfulness” status – able to see the forest for the trees. The sooner I am able to do that, the better a mom I think I will be.
At the daycare Thanksgiving party, K and I were really upset when we found out what our girls were served (K arrived just minutes after they ate). We had figured that since it was Thanksgiving and all, there might be a little bit of turkey, mashed potatoes, etc. Maybe a cookie or something for dessert. We were told it was the only “party” all year that they did themselves; parents didn’t need to make anything for it.
Well, it turned out that they got cake, pudding, and jello. That’s it. No real food whatsoever. It was a 3pm party, so I understand a little bit that it wasn’t lunchtime, but NOTHING healthy? For under 1-year-old I thought that was ridiculous and was pretty upset. We called and complained and were told they would be more careful with our two at Christmas. I don’t know why they thought at the time that only K and I cared about all that sugar. It wasn’t that we’re completely anti-sugar. A little bit is fine. But a meal of all sugar? No way.
So for the Christmas party, I decided to bring “fruit.” I tried to do the Pinterest pin “Snowmen on a Stick.” Yes, my version didn’t look nearly as cool. First off I used lollipop sticks as the long “kebab” sticks we had had points on them, and that wasn’t a good idea with babies. The lollipop sticks are much shorter so we could only have two “snowballs” per snowman instead of three.
They came out pretty cute although bananas turn brown awfully quickly! Still it was a hit at daycare. And one of the teachers told us that a lot of parents complained after the Thanksgiving party so Christmas was much healthier!
I thought this little commercial was both adorable and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Definitely captures early parenthood just right.
After a lot of work over the last year and half, we finally have the Meyer Lemon tree functioning “normally” again! After giving us lemons in March/April 2012, well after the citrus season (November through January) careful cultivation by K has successfully produced a new batch! Now the problem is trying to find time enough to preserve these lemons! Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be making curd any time soon.
K decided an easy way to use up a few lemons was to make some homemade limoncello. Limoncello is an Italian lemon-flavored liqueur. People say it’s sweet but the one time I tried it I thought it was disgustingly dry. You’re supposed to use the zest of lemons and not the entire lemon, but because they are Meyer’s they are sweeter than regular lemons anyway, and the peel isn’t as thick, so there’s not as much pity. K just cut them into fourths and covered them with Devil’s Spring grain alcohol. Later on sugar will be added, but for now they’ll be steeping for a long time.
We’ve had an issue (again) with mites on the tree, so K got the bright idea to put it out on the deck for awhile in the cold weather to kill the mites off. These trees are great but boy are they susceptible to pests. Unfortunately, the cold weather didn’t kill them, but it made the tree shed its leaves. Oh boy. We were forced to resort back to the insecticide mixture of dish soap to get rid of them.
So now, given the limited time we have, we are trying to come up with new, easy recipes. Luckily, I just came across this article from the LA Times with 100 things to do with Meyer Lemons:
1. Make Meyer lemonade.
2. Make roasted Cornish game hens with Meyer lemons, olives and fennel (see recipe).
3. Make shrimp piri piri with black rice and chef Marcus Samuelsson’s “quick-preserved” Meyer lemons (see recipe).
4. Make Meyer lemon-cardamom ice cream (see recipe).
5. Assemble sandwiches of thinly sliced lemons, smoked salmon and sour cream on pumpernickel bread.
6. Candy the peel, dusting with superfine sugar.
7. To a risotto made with mascarpone and Parmesan, add some grated Meyer lemon peel.
8. Take a cue from Quinn Hatfield of Hatfield’s in Los Angeles and pour yourself a lemon gimlet (Meyer lemon juice and zest, soda water and Meyer lemon simple syrup).
9. Rub a Meyer lemon peel around the rim of a demitasse of espresso.
10. Adapt Claudia Roden’s recipe for orange-almond cake (in “The New Book of Middle Eastern Food,” the cover of which features a bowl of Meyer lemons) by using two large Meyer lemons instead of oranges (see the recipe at latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish).
11. If you don’t mind delayed gratification, make classic preserved lemons (different from chef Samuelsson’s because the lemons are preserved slowly over weeks instead of quickly blanched and cooked) by filling a Mason jar with quartered Meyer lemons, one-fourth cup of kosher salt and enough lemon juice to cover, and letting them sit in your refrigerator for three weeks. Or, for extra flavor, throw some spices into the jar too: a bay leaf, a cinnamon stick, some black peppercorns, a dried Thai chile, a cardamom pod.
12. Grate Meyer lemon peel into a bowlful of Chantilly cream.
13. Arrange thin slices of Meyer lemons on a pizza crust topped with goat cheese, rosemary and Picholine olives.
And so forth…
Dear Maternity Leave,
Tomorrow morning I leave you. 6 months we had together. 6 of the most interesting and 6 of the most boring. When I think back over the last 6 months, it simultaneously feels like a couple of weeks as well as a couple of years.
Despite having two babies, I’ve gotten the best sleep of the last 5 years. The stress, the heartbreak, it’s all gone. Sleeepless nights with screaming babies is nothing compared to that. The snuggles, the kisses, the love…I feel like I have it all.
But alas, it’s over. No more 2am viewings of the 6th season of The Hills. No more trying to juggle one crying baby and one sleepless baby all alone in Kohls. Instead, it’ll be packing up diaper bags and filling bottles for daycare, snuggling in the few precious hours between the end of work and early bedtimes.
I’m going to miss you, my maternity leave, but I’m also excited to get back to work. I’ll be working 4 days a week for the first 6 month back, and I will treasure that day with my girls and also for some respite, however small, from the constant juggle of work and family which is still so new to me.
I enjoyed some leisurely lunches with friends, some alcoholic drinks on summer nights that I haven’t done in a really long time, dyed my hair, and most of all, basked in the happiness that I searched for for so long. So farewell, maternity leave, so great it was to have you, to have the time to learn the ins and outs of motherhood, to bond with my girls. I’ll remember this time so fondly for the rest of my life.
Oh life. It has a-changed. Of course it’s to be expected, but it’s severely cut down on my blogging in a way I didn’t expect. I still have lots of pics, but not a lot of time to write anything but stream-of-consciousness, if that. And not much time to upload said pics. I’m debating switching to Tumblr (now that I’ve figured out what it is) but until then…
The cloth diapering routine is going swimmingly now. We switched to AIOs in May and dropped the diaper service (and prefolds and covers!) around the same time. I am the proud owner of around 48 Bumgenius FreeTimes which are just about as easy as disposables (except for the constant wash, dry and repeat cycle). Love!
At night we are still doing disposables. I really want to change to hemp doublers and the like but for now we have a routine and it’s hard to make yourself break out of it. We are however, using Bambo diapers.
We went through a ton of “green diapers” in an attempt to find the best one for us. During this time I lost a lot of trust in 7th Generation, primarily because of how greenwashed their diapers are. I cannot of been the first one taken in by their “brown” diapers – thinking they were “natural” (i.e. not chlorine bleached because they were brown). But in fact, 7th Generation actually DYES their diapers brown. What the heck?
In addition, 7th Gen diapers are not biodegradable or compostable, are not made with all-natural materials, and are not super absorbent. They are, however, chlorine, fragrance, and latex free.
I found this huge review of tons o’ diapers on Baby Gear Lab which ranked Earth’s Best as one of the best in terms of “green-ness” and affordability, but it never worked out well for us. They fit strangely on our girls and did not absorb as well as the reviews on Baby Gear Lab said. That, or my girls are heavy pee-ers because they leaked through nightly unless we changed the diapers again before we went to sleep. Which meant that we needed to wake them up, and who wants to wake a baby up? And…sure the diapers might be greener, but using 2 diapers (each) per night vs. one doesn’t seem very green to me!
So we ended up trying out the most expensive and supposedly most-absorbent disposable diaper on the review list, Bambo. But it’s also the only diaper in the world with the Nordic Swan Eco-Label (the official sustainability ecolable for the Nordic countries). The Nordic swan is a “voluntary license system where the applicant agrees to follow a certain criteria set outlined by the Nordic Ecolabelling in cooperation with stakeholders. These criteria include environmental, quality and health arguments. The criteria levels promote products and services belonging to the most environmentally sound and take into account factors such as free trade and proportionality (cost vs. benefits).”
According to Abena (the manufacturer of Bambo):
- Only wood pulp deribed from sustainable forestry is used.
- Zero chlorine is used in the bleaching process.
- No chemicals/compounds from the Substances of Very High Concern are used.
- No know substances that are harmful to health or the environment, such as:
*Organotins (MBT, DBT, TBT)
*Any chemical or compound that is known as locally irritating or sensitizing.
In addition, Abena says it adheres to requirements on resource consumption, placing criteria on factory emissions into the air, water and land, and they do not use an optical brighteners, skin care lotions, perfumes, essential oils or odor eliminators in their diapers. They have designed an AWESOME absorbent core (I can attest to this!) with less SAP (the gel like stuff that is responsible for absorption in disposable diapers) by using a new wheat starch absorber.
Overall, Bambo is 80% biodegradable. It supposedly is easy to deconstruct for easy composting, but who does that in reality?
The big elephant in the room is the price. I buy them off Amazon for approx. 40 cents each, whereas Target diapers go for about 6 cents each! Huge difference, but I am justifying it because we use only 2 per day (overnight). Besides, Earth’s Best diapers are about 30 cents each so it’s not THAT huge a difference.
Still, I would prefer to go cloth all the way, and as they get older I will probably go for it. I love that by using my AIO’s until the end of the year they will have paid for themselves. That means from 11 months old till they are potty trained, I will be saving tons of money by continuing to use these. Plus, I can resell them for probably half their original value after we stop using them. Win win!
So my crunchy life is filled primarily with diapers right now, and formula and breast milk. Such interesting stuff, ha! But I’m hoping we are starting off on the right foot and that I can teach my children about the choices they make in this life – the effects upon their own bodies, their own communities, and of course, the Earth. Fingers crossed!
Now, who am I kidding? I need Tumblr for the brevity, because I don’t have time for these long posts, but I can’t keep it short!