Wednesday, February 29, 2012

People Like Me

Yes, it's true. People like me. It's such a nice feeling.
Photo via Apartment Therapy
Want to know how I know people like me?

I know people like me because I've been nominated for Best Family Blog over at Apartment Therapy. Yes, little ol' me is on the same list as some of my blogging idols. It's kind of amazing. You should check out the list if, like me, you don't have nearly enough amazing blogs to keep up with as it is.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's Time to Talk about Potty Training

Let me warn you now. This is a really long post. It's been building for months (over a year really). I apologize in advance. If you don't like the word "poop" stop reading now. There's really not much poop involved but I figured I should warn you all the same.
When my daughter was about 10 months old she started screaming when she pooped. We thought something was seriously wrong. We thought she was in pain.

Turns out she just didn't like pooping in her diaper.

When she was about 11 months old it occurred to me to try putting her on the toilet when she needed to poop. It was fairly obvious when this needed to happen so we gave it a go. It was a little awkward but it worked. She didn't scream when she pooped in the toilet.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mommy, There's a Spider in My Mouth! (Or, Planting a Garden with a Bug Phobic Toddler)

Last week our daughter came running into the kitchen yelling, "Mommy! I have a spider in my mouth!" She was spitting and wildly clawing at her tongue with her hands, clearly distressed. She told me she spit the spider out in the living room. I investigated and discovered it was a raisin with a little stem on it.

I had a similar encounter with a raisin as a child and didn't eat them again until adulthood. So, after I realized there wasn't a real spider, I didn't think much of it aside from noting that it will be a while before raisins are a viable snack option in our house again.

Not ten minutes after the spider incident she came running from the dining room claiming to have seen a snake. It turned out to be the roots of a potted plant on the dining room table.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Guest Post at The Lone Home Ranger!

I've started this post about five times now and my brain doesn't seem to be working.
Let me just spit it out.

I wrote my first guest post today for my fabulous blogger friend Justine. Yay!

Justine is my long lost twin who lives in Boston and has one of the coolest blogs around. Okay, so maybe she's not my long lost twin, but she does have a super amazing blog. I'm privileged to write my very first guest post for her!

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo, without words capturing a moment from the week. 

A simple, special, wonderful moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Very Thankful Thursday

I realize my gratitude lists are a bit sporadic and sometimes repetitive. I really like them nonetheless. I'm thinking perhaps I should make them more regular. We'll see. For now I'll continue to write a gratitude list whenever the urge strikes me or I know I particularly need to regain some perspective.
Today I'm filled with gratitude...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Roasted Jalapeno Hummus

We eat a lot of hummus around here and lately I've been trying to mix it up a little. I love hummus but I've been getting a little bored with the plain hummus.

I like to think of this as grown-up hummus but it's really not very spicy. L. eats it without question. If you like things really spicy, just use more peppers. I tend to add an additional pepper every time I make this. It's never as spicy as I think it will be... 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

5 Tips for Sailing with a Toddler

J. and I started dreaming about sailing with our children since before L. was born. Part of our motivation in buying Destiny was to get L. comfortable on the water.

This past Sunday was the day it happened. We took our daughter sailing for the very first time. She was completely at ease on the boat. She couldn't wait to get going. She had no fear.  
Don't worry. We were still at the dock!
I'm pretty sure a lot of people think we're crazy taking a two year old out on a sailboat. Just for the record, we haven't lost our sanity. We planned and prepared very carefully for the big day and safety was our primary concern.

These are my top five tips for sailing with a toddler. I'm calling them tips for lack of a better word. There are a few "lessons learned" mixed in. If you've never been out on a boat before take some lessons, figure out what you're doing, and get some experience before you go anywhere with children or anyone else. Please don't construe this post as a complete guide to sailing with a toddler. There are a million other things to take into consideration.

Okay, now that I've said all that, here are my tips.

1. Be smart. Have an experienced crew, take the kids out on a calm day, bring extra adults along, wear life jackets, and don't drink alcohol. These may seem obvious but sometimes it's best to state the obvious. We postponed L's first trip several weeks due to bad weather. We waited for a nice calm day so she'd have time to get used to the boat before we really started sailing. When you're almost becalmed the kids can "help" sail the boat. They can practice steering and pulling on different lines, etc. And you don't have to worry about anyone getting seasick. We had several experienced sailing friends with us so someone was always focused on L. 
Watching the sails...
2. Bring entertainment. You may be happy watching the waves go by for hours on end but your toddler will probably require something extra. Everything will be really exciting at first but then they'll get bored. I bought along a bottle of bubbles--just hold the bubble wand in the air and watch how fast the bubbles zoom away. It's endless fun. I also brought along paper and crayons and we counted the buildings on the shoreline (this is a good activity is anyone is feeling under the weather) and looked for birds and jellyfish. 

3. Pack the essentials. Even if you're only planning to out on the water for a short time, bring snacks, water, juice, toilet paper, extra clothes, coats, pillows, blankets, etc. The last thing I expected was for L. to nap through most of her first sail. Since it was calm she spent most of her nap down in the cabin. When the wind picked up she slept in my arms. Monday we took L. out again with our friends and their son and he napped the entire sail also. If you're still breastfeeding, wear a nursing tank top to keep you a little warmer if you're nursing your little one on deck (that was a lesson learned). 
This picture was obviously from the calm part of the day.
4. Don't feed your toddler a big dinner and hang out below deck. We went out twice on Sunday. Once in the early afternoon and again after dinner. The wind had picked up by the time we went out after dinner and it was a little chilly. L. wanted to go down in the cabin like she had earlier in the day and I didn't think twice about it. I figured she might be cold and getting a little sleepy. Then she got seasick. Luckily we had a bucket on hand and she recovered quickly once she was topside again. Lesson learned.

5. Have a good time. If your toddler sees you and the other adults relaxed and having fun, they'll relax and have fun too. Toward the end of our first day we got some real wind and the swells picked up a bit. L. was nervous for about 30 seconds before she saw us smiling. Once our smiles reassured her that everything was okay she started saying, "weeeeee" on the downside of every swell.
And that's it. I can't wait for next weekend. I'm watching the weather and crossing my fingers we have lots of sun and a little wind.

 This post is part of Teach Me Tuesday.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Reason for Tears

There's been a lot of crying in our house this week. There were happy moments too...but definitely a lot of crying.

I hate it when my daughter cries. It makes me physically uncomfortable. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin. It pains me to see tears running down her cheeks.

Fortunately, weeks like this last one are generally few and far between. Typically, she's a very happy child. I think that makes it doubly hard for me to cope when she's unhappy.

Sometimes I feel like I can't deal with it anymore. Sometimes I can't see any logical reason for the tears. I feel helpless and frustrated. When I'm tired on top of it all I just want to scream.

Every now and then I have to take a breather. I have to take 30 seconds in another room to take some deep breaths and regroup before returning to my daughter's side to continue to cuddle and comfort and find the source of the tears. If my husband is home we can take turns.

It's hard. It's hard to sit there and be calm and comforting when her cries are ripping me apart. But I can't ever bring myself to leave. A minute in the hallway--yes, I can do that and I need to sometimes--but I can't leave her to cry it out. Neither can my husband. It took me a long time to accept that taking a breather didn't make me a failure at attachment parenting. It really doesn't.

I'm glad we've listened to our hearts. I know that sounds cheesy, but I'm glad we've never forced ourselves to let her cry. I'm glad we recognized that it made us uncomfortable and acted accordingly. People have suggested we leave her to cry but we could never (and never wanted to) do it.

I'm glad for a number of reasons.

First, there is always a reason for the tears. I may not be able to see that reason at the time but it's always there--a tooth we can't see just below the gum, growing pains in her legs at night, missing her daddy, exhaustion, a growling tummy even after she just ate dinner and nursed...Sometimes I need to take a step back or get some sleep before we can figure out what was bothering her.

But it's always something.

Second, it's taught her compassion. She's concerned whenever she sees someone who is sad. If she hears a baby crying on the other side of the restaurant, she wants to know why it's crying and offer comfort. She recognizes and doesn't ignore emotions. If her friends are sad she gives them hugs and dries their eyes. If I look upset she asks me what is wrong. 

Third, I don't want to punish her for my lack of patience. If I'm tired, I'm impatient. Everything is harder to deal with when I'm tired. I don't want to let her cry, alone with no comfort, just because I'm tired. While that may seem easier at the moment, it's not easier in the long run. Even if I need to take frequent breaks in the hallway, she knows I'm there. She knows I'm coming back. She knows that eventually I'll figure out what she needs and it will get better. Or at the very least she'll cry herself to sleep in loving arms.

She always knows she's loved.

No matter how difficult it is at the time, this gives me comfort. She always knows she's loved.

There is always a reason for the tears and I'm always glad we never left her alone.

This post is linked to the Natural Parenting Group.

Friday, February 17, 2012

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo, without words capturing a moment from the week. 

A simple, special, wonderful moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. -via soulemama

This post is also linked to Fresh Mommy, Project Alicia, Verenas Schone Welt, and Naptime Momtog.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Today I feel...

"Hey, how are you?"

"Oh, we're good (I'm no longer indistinguishable from my daughter). Just a little tired. Really, we're fine. Totally great."

I nod and smile as I say this.

I can't bring myself to say how I really feel.

I wonder if there's something wrong with me when it's easier to write how I feel and share it with the entire world than it is to tell my friends or my husband face to face.

I think maybe it's because it's harder not to break down in tears while I'm writing. I'm more likely to do that in person.

You know how babies cry when they're tired? I do that too.

I'm f*&%ing exhausted. Not just a little tired but crying, yelling, want to crawl under my bed and hide for a week kind of tired.

I'm irritable too. And impatient. They all go together.

Part of me wonders if the cloudy weather is influencing my mood. The root canal could be a good excuse. In reality I think it's simply lack of sleep. 

L. has been waking up a lot at night. Please don't ask me why. It makes me feel like I'm incompetent. We've been doing this a while and I should have it figured out already, right? Not so much.

If I knew why she woke up five times last night but slept thought the night two weeks ago, I would fix it. If I knew why every little thing resulted in a tantrum, I would fix it.

I want to be able to say, "we'll nurse when I'm done going to the bathroom" without sparking a complete meltdown.

Please don't remind me about the "terrible twos". That phrase is particularly irritating today.

Every time she starts crying, I want to cry too. I want to stamp my feet and scream just like she does. I don't but I want to. 

I'm fully aware that my mood influences her mood. It's a vicious cycle.

There are dishes in the sink and laundry in the washer. I could care less. I'm doing the bare minimum to get through the day with my mind constantly focused on reaching the moment when I get to lay down in bed.

I'm trying to focus on all the good moments we had today. Like when she gave me a hug and a kiss or when she wanted to play dress-up. She put on her cheerleader dress and got out her doctor kit and took my temperature and listened to my heart.

It was so sweet. She was adorable.

But when I only read ten books before bed tonight...meltdown.

I had to walk away. Fortunately, J. calmed her down and she's sleeping now.

I want her to sleep through the night tonight.

I feel like I don't have a right to complain. I don't have a newborn. I only have one child. I'm not working outside the home. My husband did a few loads of laundry over the weekend and helped make dinner tonight even though he's home sick from work. Generally, she's a really, really good kid. She's totally laid back and happy...except when she's not.

I have an amazing life. I love my little family. We had a really good day today. We had some really lovely, wonderful moments. I should be elated from the fabulousness of it all and crawl into bed happily tired and looking forward to tomorrow.

Instead I'm dreading going to sleep because I don't want to be awakened by crying during the night.

Did I mention I want her to sleep through the night tonight?

Everything is so much easier when I've had a good night sleep.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sugar Cookies for Valentine's (Or Any Other Day of the Week)

On Valentine's Day it's easy to be overwhelmed by an abundance of sugary, processed candies and red dye 40. Over the years I've become pretty picky about my sugar consumption. If I eat it, I want it to be worth it. Which means I'd rather eat something homemade (by myself or someone else). I feel the same way about the treats we share with family and friends. 

I know, I'm a total snob.

As I mentioned in the Oatmeal Cookie post, we made Sugar Cookies for a Valentine's party last week. Despite my misgivings about the "sugar" part of the sugar cookies, they were excellent and extremely fun to make.
By that I mean L. had a great time rolling dough, attempting to cut out cookies, and smearing frosting all over everything while I stressed a little too much about quality of the finished product.

In the end we ended up with two batches of cookies: one for the party and one made almost entirely by L. for Daddy.

I know you want some.  

We started with a basic sugar cookie recipe:
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
5 cups white flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Let your butter sit out until it's soft. Then blend it with the sugar in a large bowl until it's light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Stir in the baking powder and salt followed by the flour. I mixed in the flour in gradually (2 cups, 2 cups, and then 1 cup) so we didn't get flour everywhere.
When everything is well blended, cover your bowl of dough with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for one hour.
Once the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. While the over is heating, roll the dough out on a floured surface. You want the dough to be between 1/4-1/2" thick when it's rolled out. That's thicker than you think it should be. I generally make mine too thin the first time around and have to roll it out again. If it's too thin the cookies you cut out won't keep their shape when you try to transfer them to the cookie sheet.

Anyhow, roll out your dough and cut out your desired shapes. We used a Ball jar lid to cut out our cookies.
Place the cookies about 1/2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 6 minutes. Keep a really, really close eye on the cookies while they're baking. Every oven cooks a little differently. It's easy to over bake sugar cookies. They'll be completely cooked before they start to brown on the edges (or even on the bottoms). Once they stop looking wet, make a note of how long they cooked and try one to see if it's done (not wet in the middle). If it is done you'll know how long to bake the rest.  
Once they're baked let the cookies cool completely before frosting. We frosted ours with an Easy Vanilla Buttercream frosting. Since the cookies aren't too sweet on their own, the super sweet frosting works perfectly.

You'll need:
1/2 cup soft butter
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
5-7 tbs. milk

Beat the sugar until it's creamy then gradually beat in the vanilla and powered sugar. Add the milk as needed to keep the frosting moist and creamy.

We frosted all our cookies with the plain, white frosting. Once they were all frosted I added a drop of food red food coloring to the remaining frosting (Aahhh, I know. Scary. I've never dyed my food before and it made me very uncomfortable) and used a pastry bag with my smallest round tip to add pale pink hearts to the tops of our cookies. If I'd planned ahead I could have used a drop of beet juice instead. Any other day of the year I could skip this step.

And there you have it. We had plenty of festive cookies for the party and some for Daddy too.
Now I'm off to have a root canal (which I promise you has nothing to do with my sugar consumption).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Are you reminding your family and friends how much you love them with homemade valentine's today? What are you making?

This post is part of Made By You Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Show Me What Ya Got, Tuesday Talent Show, Crazy Sweet Tuesday, and Meatless Mondays.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

Until last Halloween, L. hadn't eaten much processed sugar. Ever.  She'd had a few bites of ice-cream and some homemade popsicles but that was about it.

However, the few candies she ate on Halloween were promptly followed by two birthday parties, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. In two months she ate more processed sugar than she had in all her two years prior. I wasn't a fan of all the sugar, but since I was the one making all the cakes and cookies, it was hard to avoid her getting bites every now and then.

As a family, we haven't had much sugar since Christmas. I think we've all felt the better as a result.

Nonetheless, with Valentine's day fast approaching, I've been making cookies again. We made a batch of sugar cookies yesterday and after just one cookie I could see the dark circles forming under L.'s eyes. I decided I needed to find a sugar free cookie recipe asap.

After a quick search I found an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe that looked decent and I went to work. I changed a few things and the following recipe is what I ended up with.

1 1/4 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 

Stir all of the ingredients (except the coconut oil) together in a large bowl. I used a handheld electric mixer but you could easily stir it by hand.
Melt the coconut oil (I always use a small pan on the stove top--it just takes a minute) and add it to the rest of the ingredients. You want all your ingredients room temperature so the coconut oil doesn't firm up again when you stir it in. Mix well. 

Spoon the cookie batter onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, flattening each mound slightly with your spoon. The first tray I baked I left the batter in little mounds and they didn't flatten out by themselves. They cooked more evenly when I flattened them a little.

I made my cookies a little larger than normal and only put 8 on a tray.
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees F. When they're done they'll be a little deeper brown all over and they won't look wet anymore. This recipe made 16 cookies.

The verdict? L. says, "Mmmmmmmmmmm!"

They're really good. Not too sweet, a little chewy, and more like a Cliff Bar than a cookie. They'll make excellent snacks and I won't have to worry if she has more than one.

At some point she may get suspicious and ask why I keep telling her to eat more cookies...

Happy baking and have a lovely weekend!

This post is part of  Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Natural Parenting Group, Seasonal Celebration Sunday, and Farmgirl Friday.

Friday, February 10, 2012

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo, without words capturing a moment from the week. 

A simple, special, wonderful moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
 If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. -via soulemama

This post is also linked to Fresh Mommy, Project Alicia, Verenas Schone Welt, and Naptime Momtog

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Little Family Ritual

I can't remember exactly how it started. Maybe L. was having a hard time sitting still enough to eat her dinner or maybe J. had already started showing her how to take deep breaths when she was upset...I honestly can't remember which came first.

Either way we ended up with a little family ritual. 

Every evening when we sit down together at the dinner table we hold hands and take three deep breaths. All together. Sometimes we take a few extra breaths.

It's wonderful. It makes me feel calm and centered and connected to my family. I think J. feels the same way. L. loves it. She asks to hold hands as soon as we sit down at the table.

I see L. taking deep breaths other times of the day too. If she gets upset I can remind her to take a deep breath and sometimes she will. Sometimes she does it on her own. There have been a few times when she's noticed I'm frustrated and she reminds me to take a deep breath. She'll say, "deep breath mom? Okay?" and she'll take my hands in hers.

I admit I was starting to worry about what kind of mother I am when my two year old is reminding me to take deep breaths. I don't want her to remember me as being stressed out and frustrated all the time. I don't think I am...but I was starting to worry with how often she asked me to take a deep breath.

But then she came up and asked me for a deep breath when neither of us were upset. I was reminded of something I read--kids like to do things over and over again (like reading a book) not because they want to hear the story over and over again but because they want to recreate the happy experience of sharing the book with someone they love.*

I think L. asks for deep breaths because she loves that moment each night before dinner when we feel so connected as a family.

When we don't eat together I miss that moment. I think she does too.

This morning we took some breaths to make up for the one we missed last night. We spent a few minutes watching the rain in our pajamas, holding hands, and taking deep breaths.
It was a sweet moment. She smiled and wiggled her toes in the rug.

*I'm 99% certain I read this is Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D. but don't quote me on it.

This post is part of the Natural Parenting Group Monday Blog Hop and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Raising Dieter

Some of you already know this but when I was pregnant I couldn't eat gluten. It made me really sick. When L. was a few weeks old she got horrible eczema. It got better eventually (after months and months) but every now and then she breaks out and we go through the process of trying to figure out what caused it. I have several close friends with children and husbands on restricted diets.

I know how hard it can be.

I count my lucky stars every day that we've gotten to a point where we, as a family, can eat fairly normally. By "normal" I mean there is nothing we have to avoid at all costs. That said, I'm still pretty careful about what we eat. I avoid processed food as much as possible and try to limit the number of dyes and preservatives we consume. 

Consequently, I'm always on the lookout for good recipes and information that I can use myself and pass along to friends. So when Shay at Raising Dieter asked if I was interested in being a sponsor, I said yes. 

Shay writes about raising a child with allergies and cooking real, good food. 
In her own words, "My son Dieter has allergies and that is what started me in this journey. I also have a little baby, Samantha, and I am so blessed to be able to stay home with them! On my blog you will find variety of recipes; recipes from scratch and with whole foods. It has been a new adventure for me in the kitchen and I love it! I hope you will come by and visit!"

So there you have it. Drop by Raising Dieter (or check her out on Facebook), say hello, and find something yummy to cook! I've got my eye on the coconut marshmallows...

Wordless Wednesday-Rain Storm

This post is part of Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom, Live and Love Out Loud, Naptime Momtog, Project Alicia and Fresh Mommy

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine's Finger Painting (An Experiment of Sorts)

I've been trying to find some simple homemade Valentine's gifts. Last year we made heart shaped crayons for L.'s friends and we made cards for our family. I wanted to do something a little different for the family this year.

Since I'm obsessed with freezer paper stencils and my daughter is obsessed with finger painting, we thought we'd see if we could combine the two for some homemade Valentine's gifts. I wasn't entirely sure the freezer paper would work on canvas but I figured it was worth a try. 

First, I cut a heart out of a piece of freezer paper.
Then I ironed it (shiny side down) onto a small painting canvas (I bought a bunch of canvases when they were on sale at our local craft store--I got two for $3!). I used the cotton setting on my iron.
Once the paper was sealed on the canvas (it took a little longer than I expected and didn't seal as well as it does on a cotton t-shirt) I poured on the paint and let L. work her magic.
I admit I was worried the heart might get displaced in the process. She's a very vigorous painter. She loves painting on the canvas. I think it must be the texture. 

When she was done I put it up to dry overnight. The next morning we pealed the freezer paper heart off the center and we were done!
You can see where she worked the paint under the freezer paper. But you can still tell it's a heart!

Are you making any valentine gifts this year? 

This post is part of Seasonal Celebration Sunday, Natural Parenting Group, and Made by You Monday

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wallpaper, Puzzles, and Reading

We stayed home today.

In between stripping wallpaper from the bathroom walls and putting together puzzles, I spent some time nursing L. and catching up on my reading.

Originally, I planned to share these links in the comment section of a blogging friend's post. However, since I love her blog and I love Portlandia, I figured I'd share with everyone.

This article reminded me how grateful I am for my health and for the health of my loved ones. I also realized that, in big political arguments, important points are frequently lost in the shuffle.

The story of 76 Vassar applicants reminded me how hurtful people can be and how the internet can make those hurts painfully public. People feel at liberty to say things online I doubt they would say face to face (or maybe they would). It's seems easy for people to forget these kids are human beings with feelings.

This isn't really an article but it reminded me of the impact a single person can have on the lives of others. Project Unbroken was started by a nineteen year old college student and it's incredible.

And because all that stuff is pretty serious I wanted to share this article as well. In the last week, two different friends suggested I read it. I was glad I did. I needed reminding that it's okay not to enjoy every minute of every day. You know that time my daughter intentionally peed on my bed? I didn't enjoy that and it doesn't make me a bad mom.

I've been real books too. Since I always need a balance of serious and ridiculous, I'm reading Stormy Weather by Carl Hiassen and The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls by Joan Jacobs Brumberg. They're both very different ways.

Have you read anything interesting lately?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mixed Berry Breakfast Smoothies

We have a few breakfast favorites that make it to the table over and over again. One of them is our berry smoothie. We love smoothies. Even if L. won't sit down long enough to eat breakfast she will drink a smoothie. I feel better know she started the day with a little something good in her belly.

There are more than a million ways to make a smoothie. This is how we do it. Most of the time.

2 1/4 cups frozen mixed berries
1 cup plain yogurt
1/8 cup wheat germ
1/8 cup ground flax seeds
3/4 cup milk or water
Honey (to taste)
Handful of greens (optional)

This is probably a good time to mention that I don't usually measure. I usually just dump a little of everything in the blender. I measured this morning so I could write down the recipe. I use a regular non-fancy, counter-top blender.

Put the berries in first and layer the yogurt, wheat germ, and ground flax on top.* Pour in the milk (or water) and drizzle the honey on top. Start with just a little honey. You can add more later if you prefer a sweeter drink. Toss in the greens and turn on the blender. I usually use a mix of spinach, lettuce, and any other greens I have on hand.**
I add the greens because my daughter doesn't mind drinking it with greens in it. It does add a slightly earthy taste. I don't mind the flavor. If you want to add greens but don't like the way it changes the taste you can add a little more honey. Or you can leave them out. Your choice.

My blender is a bit finicky so it takes a little coaxing to get everything blended smoothly. I usually put a spoon down through the hole in the lid to gently encourage things along. Depending on your blender you may not need to do that.

This recipe makes approximately three servings in our house but I think serving size is a bit subjective. 

*I buy wheat germ and shelf-stable ground flax in bulk at our health food store. I store them in jars in the fridge and they keep well.

**Update 6/7/12: I've realized that the whole smoothie blends better if I put them in the blender in the reverse order to how I have them listed here. But it might just be my new blender...

This post is part of Fight Back Friday, Simple Lives Thursday, Your Green Resource, Make Ahead Monday, Natural Parenting Group, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, My Sweet and Savory, and Farmgirl Friday,   

[this moment]

A Friday ritual. A single photo, withoutwords capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, wonderful moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
 If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. -via soulemama

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Growing Up

This morning L. woke up and called for me. I went into her room. I found her sitting up in bed. She smiled when she saw me and said, "I'm happy to see you mama!"

I was a bit overwhelmed by how much she's grown in a year.

I've grown too. One more year of parenting has taught me a lot.

A year ago we were starting to transition her to her own bed. She was still in diapers and still nursing all night long. It seems like so long ago. I re-read this old post and almost laughed.  I remember that day. It was a hard day.

For the record, I still have moments when I'd be willing to poke myself in the eyeball with a fork to get her to stop crying.

But I deal with things differently now. Today she fell asleep on the bus on our way home. She woke up when I put her in her bed. She nursed but she didn't want to go back to sleep. She cried and cried. I was tired and hungry and getting a headache. I let her cry for a minute and got myself a drink of water. I took a deep breathe and realized she was probably hungry.

And that was it. She was hungry. She ate some food and played happily the rest of the afternoon.

It's amazing how much we've both grown up.

I still have moments when I want to scream but they're less frequent. When I want to scream I know I'm trying to do too much. Usually it's nothing to do with L.

For the most part I'm amazed by this little person who is the center of our existence. I'm amazed at her compassion and concern for others. Her sensitivity and strength. Her wonder at every little bit of life she encounters.

I love to see her carry her doll babies just like I carried her for so long.

She's growing up. Every day brings new changes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Midweek Confessions Again

Have I mentioned how much I hate coming up with titles? I think I've probably mentioned that before. Not a fan. That's why my titles are generally lame.

I'm okay with that.

I realized last week that this whole midweek confession deal might become a regular habit. It's oddly refreshing to write these little tidbits.

Last Thursday L. and I wore our pajamas all day. We had a mom and toddler pajama party all by ourselves. We put on clean pajamas for bed.

Yesterday I found out I have an abscessed tooth and need a root canal. I'm actually looking forward to it. I know that's a strange thing to say. The tooth in question has been bothering me since I was pregnant and had a filling done. It's bothered me ever since and several dentists told me the nerve was just irritated and it would go away. Not so much. It's nice to know I'm not imaging things. I can't wait for it to be taken care of.

I'm going to have an ultrasound this morning. I've been having a weird pain in my abdomen. I haven't been able to run in over a week. I'm feeling a little anxious about it. No, I'm not pregnant. Yes, I'm 120% sure. I'm just trying to think about other things.

I'm also going to have an ultrasound done of both of my breasts. Last week when I went to the doctor about my weird abdomen pain, I had my annual exam done at the same time. The doctor found a lump in each of my breasts. They suspect it's just fibrous tissue built up from breastfeeding but they want to make sure. Again, I keep telling myself not to worry but it's hard not to feel a little bit anxious. Everything will be fine.

I'm trying to think happy thoughts.

Finally, I was in the car by myself for a few minutes last night and I heard the song "Whip It" on the radio. I laughed out load. It was really funny. It's such a ridiculous song.

There you have it. That's my confession for the day. I'll be back after my appointments with an update.

Happy Wednesday!

Update 11:54am: My boobs are okay. I have normal breastfeeding boobs. I guess my doctor isn't used to feeling ones full of milk. The abdominal ultrasound didn't actually cover the part of me that hurts. The tech said she could only look at what was ordered so I don't know anything more than I did this morning. I have to talk to my doctor again and perhaps get another ultrasound. I'll talk to her when I get the results of my blood tests and go from there. We'll see...

This post is part of Midweek Confessions at E, Myself, and I

Wordless Wednesday

This post is part of 5 Minutes for Mom Wordless Wednesdays, WW, and Hump Day Dump.


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