Sunday, September 30, 2012

Recipe: Zucchini, Carrot, Sweet Potato Muffin Cups

These are so much more delicious than they look!  And overall, we liked the ones in the muffin cups better than the loaf, but the loaf would have been preferred had we been able to consume it in a session or two, rather than it lasting all week.  The cups are easy to transport, and make a nice serving size.
Recipe: Zucchini, Carrot, Sweet Potato Muffin Cups

3 carrots, sliced thin
4 small zucchinis, sliced thin
3 sweet potatoes, sliced thin
2 cups almond flour
1 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 eggs

Mix. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes in muffin cup form, and an hour in a loaf pan. Enjoy!

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

BBQ'd Seasonal Vegetables and Steak

We get our grass-fed beef from a local CSA (meat club) out of Marin Sun Farms.  Their meats are delicious and local, and grass-fed and totally genuine.  I am so happy to be feeding my family their products.

The veggies are from our vegetable CSA, Eatwell Farm, in Dixon, California.  We supplement from the Sunday Walnut Creek farmer's market, although everything here was from our CSAs.

To prepare the meat, I rubbed it with Eatwell Farm's Rosemary Salt.  I put the veggies on the hot grill plain.  The zucchinis went face-down to get a good sear.  I cooked the meat until it got slightly hard when poked, and the veggies for a few minutes on each side (I wanted the peppers to bubble a bit all over).

After cooking, I painted the zucchini with olive oil and sprinkled it with sea salt.  I let the peppers cool, then peeled and seeded them.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Music Together Week Three

When corralling one child, then pausing to sing, then corralling the other, I looked around the circle.  Then it hit me like a wet noodle.  I was the only one in class with two children.

Let me state that again.

I was the only one in my Music Together class with two children with me.

Other moms referred to their other child (or children), but no others had them there, singing, marching, flinging scarves, and hitting the other in the head with a mallet (ok, I admit that today it was a bit more than a rubber mallet: the older one got hit in the head with a wooden bell by the younger child while I was singing and clapping).

After ruminating on this for a few seconds, I left my thoughts to consider corralling the first child again.  There was a gathering at the door, and a few of us moms had left them there in hopes that they would come back to the circle again.  They did (whew) once the teacher distributed instruments.  Or was it when she started playing her guitar?

Regardless, the thought (that they left their other child/ren behind) actually made me feel better.  Maybe they all knew how much work it is to go to a class and to keep your progeny in line, and that it isn't always a good time.  Maybe they all knew that the likelihood of you actually enjoying this was a lot higher with just one child in the lap and just one on the hip when walking, instead of one on each hip (or one on a hip and the other banging on the door, as the case may be).

The class went on, even with my epiphany.  The teacher even gave us our lesson of the day, (gently given, as always): Don't move your child's hands on the instrument.  Let them explore it, and at their own pace.  What a perfect microcosm for how we tend to and teach out children in the United States in general: lead them to the water, but don't make them drink.

As for me with two in tow today, I had another landmark moment of the day, lest you think the egg growing on the older boy's forehead was enough: nursing my large-ish toddler in class.  Now, I know, this isn't all that landmark.  I, in fact, used to judge classes by how nursing-friendly they were.  But this was way back when I had one child and way back when we lived in Berkeley and nursing babies and toddlers was commonplace.  But now I live in the suburbs ("through the tunnel" for you local readers), and I have rarely seen a mother nurse in public.  I have seen a few tiny baby legs hang out of nursing covers (like 8 sets in two years), but I haven't seen a baby head on a breast (even at people's houses, except for one closest girlfriend who I see almost daily, and her baby was tiny then), and I especially haven't seen a little head on a mother's breast after a baby (or toddler) was squawking in a semi-public place.

In this vein, today my toddler started tugging at my shirt and squawking in class.  He rarely asks when we aren't at home (I figure there is too much to see elsewhere).  I tried to distract him off for about 18 seconds, then he "asked" again.  I latched him on in the circle, pulling my long-sleeved shirt up to just above his mouth and my undershirt staying covering my belly.  The song continued, and, as luck would have it, we were in the middle of a song that went around the circle and everyone's names were being called.  When the class got to our turn, the teacher gave me a sweet smile and called my kids' names, then proceeded.

Onward we go: just another day.

Here is what we thought of week one.
Here is what we thought of week two.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to East Bay Music Together for letting us attend for free in exchange for my thoughts in writing.

Note: East Bay Music Together has introduced a 5 Week Introductory Session beginning October 15 (see here for info).

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Boys Bake Challah (and a word on using whole wheat flour)

I have discussed Challah Baking before, and it is no accident.  My grandfather was a renowned baker, and specialized in challah and cinnamon bread.  His father was also a baker.

For the holidays, we made round challahs.  I love how both boys wanted aprons, and the little guy was taking notes (as usual) from big bro on how to do it.  It degenerated into dough eating... and (luckily) ended in delicious challahs!

Note our challahs have improved considerably since we started adding a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten.  My husband looked up (on the glorious internet) why my challahs weren't as fluffy as my grandfather's and discovered that my use of whole wheat flour was the issue, and this could be negated by the addition of vital wheat gluten.   Nice work, hubby!
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sports Bras Postpartum/ Maternity

There is quite a bit of  change in the breasts with pregnancy (duh).  But the reason I mention this is because many women who have never had to search for a supportive bra for exercise now need to find some help.

The ideal sports bra needs to have compression to keep movement to a minimum.  If you are making milk, it also must be comfortable- i.e. no squishing those precious milk ducts with an underwire or likewise.  The freedom of movement afforded once you find the perfect sports bra is unparalleled.  Not only can you keep making milk (if you so desire), but you can MOVE.  You can run, or dance, or do aerobics, or yoga, or whatever-- without those breasts getting in the way.

This is the Champion Smoothie.  I include it because the straps are adjustable, and they cross in the back or not, depending on your preference. It is also sized like a bra, and comes up high in the front, so your cleavage stays modest.  

This is the Title 9 Booby Trap.  I include it as merely a teaser of all the bra wonders that Title 9 has to offer.  They are an amazing resource for sports bras.  They have all levels of support, and all sizes covered.  Their bras are pricey, but so worth every cent.  This one even has straps that you could un-hook from the front if, say, you would need to nurse while wearing it.    It really keeps movement to a minimum, so you can jump around all you want and not be uncomfortable.

This is a compression bra from Target.  At a time when I was multiple sizes on any given day, having a bra sized S-M-L-XL was more useful than one with a cup size.  They are also inexpensive, which is useful when you only need a size for a few months.

These are a few ideas-- so you can get out there and MOVE!! Go buy a couple, and see what works for you.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kid Pants Upcycled from Old Tank Top

These are a bit funky because they are pretty stretchy and bell-bottomed, but I include them here because I did a few cool things with these.

They began their life as a white tank top (wife beater) and the red is some knit fabric from my stash.


When I cut them, I placed a pair of well-fitting pants on the sides of the tank top and wanted to preserve the bottom seam to use as a hem (cool thing #1).  Unfortunately, my not-so-little-guy has longer legs than I do torso.  I cut them anyway.

Then (cool thing #2), I held them up to him to determine how much longer they needed to be and cut a piece of fabric in that length, plus four seam allowance widths (2 for each side of each color fabric).  Then I cut the leg and stitched this patch into the fabric.

I then stitched the legs closed, and the inseam (I always use the triple stitch on my machine for inseams- BTW- cool thing #3- even on knits).  I also go over the leg seams twice- once with a regular stitch and once making a faux serge with a wide zig-zag that comes very close to the edge.

To make the waistband, I used some of the scraps and stitched them together to go on top.  I added elastic inside (which I measured by holding it up to my child's waist and adding a seam allowance, then stitched together into a circle), folded the waistband in half, stuck the elastic inside, and stitched this whole waistband onto the pants with it folded down.  I made this a bit wider than usual to help compensate for his LONG LONG LONG (and growing longer) legs.

They make for pretty fun, and very thin and breathable, pants.  Perfect for warm fall days (we love the Bay Area!!).
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Music Together Week Two

They say that the children express themselves in different ways as their music knowledgebase expands, and my boys (15 months and 4 years) are definitely doing that. 

In the second class of the 10-week session, the little one alternated between grabbing his shoes and trying to figure out how the door worked to meeting the others in class by going up to the other participants and engaging them.  He was quite fascinated by the name tags, and liked sticking and un-sticking his name tag, and that of the mom next to us.  He liked the feel of it on his fingers, and kept trying to shake it off then on again.

The baby also went right to the center of the circle and intently watched the teacher play a recorder (I think it was a recorder-- it was a wind instrument of some sort that she held downwards instead of sideways).  He also played with the little eggs filled with sand a bit when they came out, and pounded on the drums with us during instrument time.  His favored activity from the first class was playing with the brightly colored scarves and we didn't do that this session.  He did, however, locate the bin where they were stored and try to get this bin out of the larger metal bin and wasn't able to do this. So he wandered back to us and sat in my lap for a moment, then went back to trying to put on his shoes.

My older son was more shy than he was in the previous class, and hid behind me for a bit, then sat on my lap for a bit.  He also let me carry him as we stomped around in a circle.  He vocalized a bit, but not singing.  Right after class he asked me why we didn't sing the fishing song ("Crawdad") and I told him we did.  He asked why there were no sticks this time.  I found it interesting that the teacher had chosen to do some of the same songs but in a different way (she did a 3-part harmony with one of the songs, and an energetic version of one that had been mellow the time before).

After we got home, my older son, who had been shy around her in person, said he wanted to see the teacher again, and he has been playing the CD incessantly.  I mean, so much that these tunes are in my head over and over.  Every time we are in our play area, he pops over to the CD player and turns it on.  I spend time explaining why he must turn it down before my head explodes.

This afternoon, after the baby got up from his nap, his brother asked us if we wanted to hear a song.  I said of course.  Then he strummed the guitar we've had (and mostly ignored) for ages and sang a made-up tune about an excursion he went on to see the cable cars and a ferry ride and about how the cable cars work.  

Something is "awakening," or being stirred in him at least.  It is quite fascinating to see the effect two 45 minute classes and a new music CD has had on him.

Here is what we thought of week one.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to East Bay Music Together for letting us attend for free in exchange for my thoughts in writing.
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Baby Pants Upcycled from Old Pants

These came from a pair of ladies' pants.  They were similar to scrubs-- made of thin material with pockets in the back and a tie waist.  The emblem was on one side.

These are size 6-12 months.  To make them, I used my favorite pants pattern and cut the fronts and backs.  I had intended to make one pair, but found there was enough material to make two.  I intentionally cut the emblem to be on the front, and included the back pockets in full as much as I could.  When upcycling, it's always nice to include as many of the original details as possible.

In this vein, I opted to keep the look of the original tie waistband rather than making them into elastic waist pants.  I found that the waist was exactly double what I needed (what luck!).  To make the waistbands, I cut the original waist off with about an inch excess below the drawstring casing.  Then I cut the band in half, making sure to distribute the ties evenly.  Then I stitched each half into a circle and went back to following the directions on the pants pattern (basically using the extra inch to stitch onto the legs).

I am really happy with how these turned out.
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Brazilian Meat Pie Dumplings - Esfirra

This delicious filling is from A World of Dumplings' recipe for filled meat pies from Brazil called Esfirra that use a yeast dough.  It is ground meat, red pepper, and onion, and it was delicious!

We enjoyed making the dough, and put it outside to rise, and it only took an hour to double in size.

Here they are with the egg wash (super fun for the preschooler to "paint" them with the egg), cooking in the oven.  

They were a bit heavy in the belly, but I guess that's to be expected with a meat pie...

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Friday, September 21, 2012

DIY Sleep Sacks size 2T

We have been using sleep sacks this time around.  The idea is that Baby won't throw off the blankets at night, and will also associate the sleep sack being put on with sleeping.

So he has grown out of the XL sleep sacks, and the 2T ones all seem to have feet.  Uh-- if I wanted leg holes, I would use pajamas!  How will his feet stay warm?

Enter my sewing machine.

We have found that having two sacks in fleece is a nice number.  They can rotate for wetness, and the fleece wicks moisture away from the baby

So I made two in the next size up.  This time, I didn't have any commercial ones to trace, so I used a 2T shirt for the shoulders and estimated the length by an outfit of his that fits and by laying the smaller one out for the roundness of the bottom.

I stitched the fronts and backs together, then hemmed the arm holes.  Next, I cut a line for the zipper and stitched it in.  Lastly, I topstitched the zipper and hemmed the neck.  I didn't do a zipper protector placket because he is wearing clothing underneath.  In deference to the zipper and his neck, I left space at the top when installing the zipper and hemmed this over the zipper so that part won't poke him.

Quite easy, although it used a lot of fabric.
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY Lovey

When introducing a "lovey" (or a blankie or whatever you call it) to a baby, there is talk about making it "safe" for the crib.  As far as I could tell, this means that it has to be small enough that the baby wouldn't suffocate under it if it covered the face.  That, or made out of a breathable material.

This one is super soft on one side- make of white minky fleece... perfect for cuddling up with.  The other side is quilter's cotton.  Both pieces are a foot square.  The binding is quilter's cotton but I didn't cut it on the bias.  I cut it 2" thick, then ironed it in half.  Then I tucked each edge into the middle and ironed those down.  Lastly, I ironed it closed with the edges inside.

Then I attached it like a quilt binding, and stitched it around.  This means that I tucked the fabrics into the middle and made a seam around.  I started a couple of inches off of one corner, then at each corner, I tucked the front and back into a square corner and continued stitching.  When I got back to where I started, I cut my threads.  Then I opened up the binding and stitched it together, estimating how much to cut off in order for it to lie flat.  Then I folded it back up along the iron lines and went back to the original stitching line and closed it up.  I didn't do any quilting because it is so small.

Hope the baby LOVES the LOVEY!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Music Together Begins

We have gone and done something I swore off.  We joined a 10-week program that meets once per week without trying it first.  It is Music Together, and we have attended one class so far.  

Up to this point, I have done exactly zero classes with the baby (did I say baby-- I meant to say toddler. Where does the time go? He is 15 months!).  By the time my older son, now just over 4, was his age, we had done a weekly swim class, a few sessions of gymnastics, and managed to meet my mom's group every week.  We would even go to the Family Sing along at the local library some weeks.  These days, we can barely keep up with preschool a few mornings per week and a joint playgroup.  

We have grand intentions, but staying at home is pretty fun, and sometimes classes can be overwhelming.  They can be overwhelming for all of us: for me for getting us all somewhere on time and remembering all of our stuff and getting everyone to follow the rules and etiquette, and for the boys for being around lots of people and following a teacher and someone else's rules.  This is all valuable-- learning to follow a teacher, be a part of a group, and make some friends-- but I have been on the fence about when the best time is for them to gain these skills.  In our last group glass, I was quite pregnant and my older son refused to walk through the door one day (after a few weeks of refusing certain activities within the class) and I stopped taking him, with my logic being that if the class was for him, and he didn't want to go, why were we there?

But I had been curious about Music Together for a while, though hesitant to try because of the cost (I didn't want to waste that much if we ended up going and my older son did the doorway thing again rather than the sit on my lap and not participate thing).  I was tempted because it is a class which is appropriate for both of their ages, and I have read much of the research about early music exposure being correlated with a higher aptitude for math etc. later in life (we no longer live close to a library with a family music time).  I also prefer mommy and me classes to drop-off classes, and the older son is phased out of the age range for many of the mommy and me classes.  I had also been thinking it was getting to be time for the little one to start getting something else in his life besides just us and a little bit of play time at the preschool at drop-off.

That being said, we all enjoyed the first session.  The teacher began and ended on time, which I appreciate.  She used positive discipline to teach us the etiquette ("thanks for being on time," "please save your snacks for after class in case someone has an allergy," "your participation is an example for the child across the room from you because we are in a circle").  She had name tags for all of us and called everyone by name.  There was a brief introductions period, and many many of the participants were returning-- one mom said she'd been in the program for 10 years and was on her fourth child in class!  I think I was the only newbie.

It was mostly moms, and many had two kids there, and a few had one.  One mom brought what seemed to be the child's caregiver with her.  It was a full class, and the energy was mostly focused on the teacher and the program.  There were a lot of transitions, and a lot of stuff going in and coming out of bins.  My kids don't excel at jumping right into an activity then jumping right out of it (i.e. here are the sticks, sing one song, give them back, now here are some pieces of cloth, sing a song and walk in a circle, then give it back), but they did as they were told.  We recognized a few songs and found the new ones easy to listen to and follow along with.  None were classic children's tunes that I find hard to put a smiling face on and sing along with (that is actually what I loved about the family sing along at the old library-- it was a guitar and camp songs-- not the Wheels on the Bus variety-- and I was pleased that this also seems to skip that genre).  The teacher played a fiddle in class, and had a nice singing voice.

At the end of the class, the teacher gave us all a booklet and two copies of the same CD.  She said the Music Together program has been well researched, and runs on a 9-peat cycle-- meaning there are 9 booklets/ CD sets and it cycles through them.  She reminded us to look at it and read it, then sent us on our way.

Since we have gotten home, we read the book and have listened to the CD a bunch of times.  Some of the songs are catchy, and we only skip two or three (our of around 25).  Plus I keep catching my older boy singing the songs (he is reciting "Old King Cole was an itty bitty soul" right now and was on about "No More Pie" and "fishing for crawdads" earlier).  The baby (I mean toddler) likes the song that has a quick beat and ends in "hot dog!" 

We are looking forward to the next lesson.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to East Bay Music Together for letting us attend for free in exchange for my thoughts in writing.

Here is week 2

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tablecloth from PUL

We use this laminated cotton tablecloth every day. It keeps the table clean, and wipes away easily.

But then we thought it would be nice to have a backup.

So I had a bunch of PUL and not enough laminated cotton to make another.

This tablecloth is more utilitarian than the last, although it doesn't wipe clean.  It more protects the table than serves for multiple meals like the other.

Verdict?  Stick to laminated cotton.  Perhaps I will try actual oilcloth, but the laminated cotton is pretty and extremely useful.  Live and learn.
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Review: Breasts a Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams

  Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History opened my eyes to many aspects of that which have always been in front of me.  Florence Williams does a great job of describing her subject matter in scientific detail but layman's terms.

She starts out with a history of mammals and the importance of breasts to infants and the species.  She describes the breast itself-- from its makeup to its development over the course of one lifetime, as well as its social history and the history of implants.  She went an interviewed the first woman who had an implant, and even went to see a doctor about an implant for her-- to get some experience with the process.  All of this she describes with the detachment and professionalism of a journalist.

She talks about breastfeeding, and about the impact of industrialization and chemicals on breast milk and breast tissue.  This was, for me, who is nursing my second baby, the most fascinating part of the book.  She did an experiment by getting her own exposure to toxins measured before and after a mini plastic avoidance period, and the results were amazingly significant.  This section was so stunning to me that I went out and bought glass jars to cart around my kids' snacks in instead of little plastic snack traps.  I have also been trying to pay attention to where we use plastic and am thinking of trying to remove more plastics from our lives and our home.  The impact of them on us, and our developing children (especially girls) is really stunning, and she lays it all out and cites numerous studies beyond her own experiences.

Along the same vein, Williams discusses medications such as the pill and their impact on the breast.  She discusses breast and ovarian cancer, and a block of men with breast cancer who all lived on the same contaminated land in their youth.  The discussion is all at once riveting and enlightening.  She ends with more discussion about the future of breasts and our lives.

I really enjoyed reading this, and highly recommend it.  I think men and women both would learn from this book, and its style is so approachable that you are getting hard facts without having to wade through too much extra information. Pin It

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Make your own Cayenne Pepper

These are Cayenne Peppers, fresh from the Farmer's Market.

I threaded them together and hung them in a hot spot in the kitchen.

They will sit there to dry until they are crumbly, then I will crush them and store them with my spices.  Yum!
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Book Review: A World of Dumplings

 My older son and I were staring at each other last week, on a long afternoon, and I decided we should cook something.  Cooking helps us both stay focused, since it is project based and we each like to have "jobs."  We made Tibetan Momos from my Tibetan cookbook, and steamed them up.  He was excited that the contractor we had at the house ate four of them and liked them, and he promptly ate a few, then his little brother ate a few.  Buoyed by the experience, I bought a book on little stuffed dumplings from around the worrld.  It is called A World of Dumplings.

A World of Dumplings is a gem of a book.  It is all at once a nice read and full of recipes that I want to make.

The author does such a nice job of organizing this book.  He goes around the world, region by region, and describes the dumplings.  He intersperses anecdotes about his experience with the dumplings that are funny and easy to relate to.  They are such nice stories that I didn't mind that he didn't actually travel the world in search of dumplings-- he merely searched his hometown and New York City.

The recipes themselves are easy to follow and those I've tried have been tasty.  The ingredients are also simple: the only spice I didn't have was sumac and a quick internet search found me that once so now we can try the Greek dumplings.

If you are looking for a nice read, and some new recipes, look no further than A World of Dumplings by Brian Yarvin. Pin It

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rocks as a Sandbox Toy

We recently went to Rock City at Mt. Diablo State Park, which is a large area of natural caves and big rocks for the kids to climb in and around.

Needless to say, the preschooler was quite taken by the place.

So what did we have to do when we got home?

Make Rock City in the sandbox, of course.

We are really liking the rocks as a natural alternative to plastic as a toy in the sandbox.
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Red-dish Cabbages in the Garden

These are looking like they are almost ready!

They have been growing in a shady spot in one of the garden beds for a few months and have escaped the slugs and bolting... they look almost ready to harvest!
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making NY Sour Dill Pickles at Home - Fermented Pickles

We were at the Farmer's Market a few weeks ago and I asked our favorite veggie vendor for cucumbers.  He said "pickling or regular?"  A taste memory went off in the primal part of my brain and I kept thinking about the NY Sour Dills my grandfather used to make.

"Pickling."  I said.  "Four pounds."

I went home and looked up his recipe, then looking in my Joy of Pickling book.  My copy of my grandfather's recipe seemed like the proportions were off -- they were likely transcribed wrong at some point - so I used the ones from my pickling Bible.

After calling my neighbor/ gardening buddy and establishing that neither of us grew dill this year, we had to make a trip to Whole Foods for the herb.

Materials in hand, my preschooler and I assembled pickles.

Here they are, ready to sit for 2-3 weeks.

Here they are after 3 weeks and after being taste tested.  They are delicious! 

 I have been eating them chopped up in my salads (butter lettuce, spinach, carrots, cucumber, radishes, pine nuts, dried cherries, diced pickles).  I have them to a friend to taste and she said the flavor was spot-on but they could use some refrigeration to make them crunchier and to give more of a bite to the initial skin break.  

They were also fun to watch change from cucumbers into pickles in the clear glass container we usually use to make Kombucha.  They also seem like a food everyone likes and is familiar with, so I can get tehe fermented goodness into my family!  I am definitely going to make these again.  

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cooking with Kids: on the BBQ

My little one had so much fun with this cooking project last week that he made us do it again this week.

We got a whole fish and had the fish monger slit it open and loosen the guts.  He didn't remove them because the little guy wanted to see everything, and they are actually quite easy to remove after looking at them, and not as gross as I'd always thought they would be.

We put some lemon and dill this week, and lemon and reosemary last week, and my son wrapped the fish in foil.

Then he wrapped peppers in another packet, and peaches with butter and cinnamon in another, and apples and butter and cinnamon in another, and bananas and cinnamon and butter in another, and eggplant - I had rubbed salt into it and let sit for 15 min then patted it dry- in another foil packet.  Last week we also did little potatoes and salt.

We put the BBQ on high with the lid closed for 10 minutes to heat up.  Then I loaded it up with foil packets. I cooked them for 10 minutes per side, then opened them up.

We ate them right out of the foil, except the peppers, whose skins we peeled off then I sliced them.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

DIY Halloween Costumes

It's hard to believe it's time to start thinking about Halloween.  But back-to-school is here and Halloween is close on its heels.  

As an avid home sewer for my children, I always find the idea of making them an intricate Halloween costume hard to swallow.  It can be a lot of effort, and they only wear it once or twice.  Plus you can find nice costumes at consignment stores for $5 or $10.  You can't even buy the fabric for that, let alone the time you would spend!  Although now that they are getting older, the holiday will be more memorable, so I am feeling ready to make the big kid something to remember-- if he wants it.  


So where should I look for ideas?

There is always the blogosphere.  A search for "DIY Halloween Costumes" or "Kid Costume Tutorial" shows a ton of ideas for one kid or the whole family.  Everything from a dragon tail to a Dr. Suess family has been written about.  My favorites are the add-ons like the hats and tails.  That way, your kid won't be too hot or cold, especially since the weather here is so variable then... and mostly hot.  One year, we put our son in a Raiders Jersey and went to a party and it was so hot he couldn't even keep that on (That idea, by the way, was inspired by a trip to Target and trying to only purchase something we would use again).

Another option is going to a local fabric store. JoAnn's has a number of options.  You can sit and look through pattern books and choose a pattern, then buy the material and sew something up.  They also sell ready-made costumes there (how opportunistic- for those who are inspired then decide not to do it).

You could also look through your child's books for a character, or choose an animal or object they like, and go from there.  I tend to shy away from the sexualization (the skimpy dresses for the girls and the swords for the boys) of the holiday, especially for the little ones, and gravitate towards the animals and objects like balls, fruits and vegetables.  

You could also look to found objects and used items for inspiration and draw an idea from what you have around.  A kid could be a package being delivered from UPS and all you'd need to do was take a package and put arm and head holes in it and duct tape it over the shoulders.  You could take balloons and strap them to the child to be a bunch of grapes.  They could also be an Olympian and just put on their favorite ballet leotard or a bathing suit and you could make a medal from ribbon and a circle of cardboard with glitter.

For the littlest ones, though, especially without siblings to dress with a theme with, there are such cute non-mobile baby costumes.  Who can resist a tiny baby as a pumpkin?  Or in a pumpkin?  I saw a woman with a newborn one year dressed in  brown with leaves in her hair (a tree) and her baby in a Moby carrier with her baby in an owl cap. So cute.

Whatever you end up deciding to do for Halloween, it is fun to participate somehow

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to do a Mei Tai Hip Carry

The Mei Tai carrier can quite easily be used as a hip carrier (in addition to it being great at back and front carries).  My guess is that this works best after baby gets substantial head control-- maybe around 5 months or so.  The model in these photos is 15 months old.

To do this, first tie the waist.  Bring the carrier front to the hip and hold the child there (through the carrier).

Then pull one top strap over the shoulder and the other around the body (at the top of your ribs).  Cross behind baby's back and tie these, either behind your back or behind baby.

You should feel the weight just lift off, and you will have quite a bit of mobility as well.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Where Have I Been?

I know, it's been a little quiet here on the Blog.  This is what we have been up to...  :)


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