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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Lazy Mom's Guide to Night Weaning

Oh, you thought this would give you the easy answers? Oops--Don't get all excited by the title. This isn't really a guide. I'm too lazy to figure it out.You all know that sleep is probably my biggest challenge as a mom. It’s not even the lack of sleep; I can function great somewhat normally on only a few hours of sleep, at least for a few days. It's the waking up right after I've fallen asleep. Being groggy and stumbling around in the middle of the night is not my forte. I'm cranky and I'm mean and I'm not all there.

That's if I have to get up.

If I can just roll around in bed, I'm great. It's snuggly and cuddly and I can just rest. It's when I have to stand upright that all hell breaks loose.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A Day in the Life

I was inspired by this Day in the Life post at Young House Love. I don’t know if it’s our Facebookish, voyeuristic culture that loves looking into the lives of others (hello, I write a blog about my life, kids, and family) or what, but I love seeing how other people, especially parents—cool, productive, energetic parents who seem to get a crapload done every day—live their lives.

It’s nice to see that Sherry and John spend just as much—if not more—time on the computer than I do. I decided to make a Day in the Life post of my own to let you in on the ins and outs of my routine. Since I’m always complaining that I don’t get enough done.

Like you really wanted to know more about me.

Well, tough. Here it is. This is how I spent last Wednesday. Brace yourself. It's a long one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever - America's Test Kitchen Recipe

In addition to the healthy baby food banana cookies I made recently, I also made chocolate chip cookies last week. I used my favorite recipe. It's not at all healthy, but it is indulgent, amazing, and delicious. It's the America's Test Kitchen chocolate chip cookie recipe, and it makes huge, chewy, melty, gooey cookies that are perfect with milk.

The trick is to brown the butter and give the brown sugar time to dissolve fully into the eggs and butter, creating a toffee-like flavor that is so rich and almost candy-like.

Here is the recipe:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Does Your Ergo Baby Carrier Strap Make You a Stuffed Sausage?

And I don't mean for breakfast.

While we're on the subject of Ergo baby carriers (yesterday I posted an instructional post about how to get ababy or child on your back in an Ergo without assistance), I wanted to deal with another issue I’ve had with the Ergo: the waist strap. It digs into your waist in a ridiculous way.

The other day, I was sitting on my exercise ball working on my computer with Little M in the Ergo. I was wearing it without the waist pad I had made, because Big T had worn it the day before and he can’t stand the pad.

But I cannot wear the Ergo with the waist strap digging into me. It’s intolerable. If I wasn’t crafty, I would have cried after paying $110 for a baby carrier I couldn’t wear. It’s fine if I wear Little M on the front, but if I wear my kids on my back, the waist strap is just so thin that it cuts off the circulation in my stomach. In my entire digestive tract, for that matter. Not to mention the amount of fat that spills over and around it. It’s not only gross-looking, it’s really painful. Especially when I sit down.

I'm like a stuffed sausage:
Ergo Baby Carrier Waist Pad

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ergo Back Carry Instructions - Video Tutorial

I was inspired on Monday by a mom I met at the playground. I was chasing Baby T around while wearing Little M in an Ergo back carry. The mom is expecting her second child in February, and she mentioned that she was never able to figure out how to carry her baby on back on her own. I showed her. I gushed about how convenient it is to wear Little M on my back in the Ergo because it frees me up so much more than if I was wearing him in front or holding him.

The instructions that they give on the Ergo website for putting a baby on your back are fine, but they may not work for everyone. The baby Ergo instructions make it look so easy, but there’s a big window from the point where the baby is sitting on your hip to where your baby is safe and snug on your back where you have no idea what happened.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Preschoolers

Today's Wordless Wednesday theme over at Natural Parents Network is preschoolers. If you go to their website, you can find Baby T pretending to be a dragonfly in a cocoon (don't ask) among other photos of imaginative, mischievous, energetic, creative, and adorable kids of some equally imaginative, mischievous, energetic, creative--and maybe even adorable--mommy bloggers. And if seeing those sweet pictures doesn't make you forget the whining and tantrums, here are a couple more:

Baby T discovering binoculars. (Look at him peeking!)

He brought this phone around with him while
we were playing outside the other day. He had
a lot of conversations with a lot of people.

He sat here and "paddled" with the hose while he sang
Row Row Row Your Boat.

Looking old in his new boxers (and construction hat).

This post is linked up at I Thought I Knew Mama, as well as on the following blogs:

Visit Natural Parents NetworkHobo Mama: A Natural Parenting Blog

Check them out for more adorable Wordless Wednesday pics!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baby Cereal Cookies for Kids (Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free)

Baby Cereal Cookies
This recipe for baby cereal cookies was adapted from the Oats and Naner Drops Teething Cookies recipe on I've been making that recipe for a few years, and Baby T gobbles them up. I usually add a little bit of molasses and grind my own oats in the blender. Sometimes I replace a cup of the oats with a cup of whole wheat flour, but today, I decided to replace the oats and oat flour with baby cereal.

It made delicious, soft cookies with a gooey center. They were like a cross between cookies and cereal bars. They were so good that when we returned after running some errands, they were gone. Yup, the dog ate them. After Baby T and I had already eaten about half the batch.

2 c baby rice cereal
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t baking powder
2 overripe bananas, mashed
1 t vanilla extract
3 T coconut oil
2 T molasses
1/4 cup (or more) almond milk, cow's milk, juice or water

Mix the dry ingredients except for the 1/4 cup of milk, juice or water. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones. The batter will be thick and dry. Add the almond milk, cow's milk, juice, or water. If it is still too dry, add a little more. Drop by the spoonful onto parchment paper or greased baking sheet. Press the baby cereal cookies down with your hand or the bottom of a glass. Bake 20-25 min at 350. Flip cookies halfway through baking.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gardening = Parenting?

sage in the fall garden
Gardening is like raising children. Maybe that’s why she’s called Mother Nature. You go for so long trying to do the right thing, holding back, just nipping the buds when you need to and watering just the right amount for growth but not overstimulation. And then your plants get infested with some nasty bugs and you break down, buy some Sevin Dust, and spray the crap out of them.

It’s like the way I am with sleep. I gently comfort my kids to sleep seven times a night, 49 times a week. I nurse them, rock them, pat their butts, and sing to them. I gently murmur, “Mama’s here” when they wake in the night and I stumble to pick them up and cuddle them. And then about once every two months, I’ve been awake longer than I’ve been asleep, I’m dying to curl up with my pillow instead of a squirmy infant, and I freak out, leave the baby crying in the crib, put a pillow over my head, and try to get some sleep. And then I cave in and rush back to my baby’s room or get eaten alive by guilt the next day.

In both cases, it’s better to be gentle. Last Saturday, I took a class about fall gardening from Ryan at our local organic garden store, Progressive Gardens. The kid is inspiring and quite a genius when it comes to plants. I know you’re supposed to build up healthy soil—or, as he puts it, a healthy ecosystem—for healthy plant growth. But then I get bugs or my plants get diseased and I put all my energy into fighting it.

But this is how Ryan put it, and this really resonated with me:

Your garden is like your body. When people around you are sick, you don’t dodge out of the way of germs. You build up your own health and immunity so that when you’re faced with germs, you are healthy enough to fight them off.

My biggest complaint about the medical profession is that doctors tend to give remedies for symptoms, but they seldom delve deeper and try to find a solution to the cause of the symptoms. Doctors are constantly giving medicine to get rid of the pain or bring down the fever, but what’s really causing the pain and the fever? If you fixed that, you wouldn’t need to worry about the rest of it.

Your garden is the same way. Instead of spending money on this insecticide and that herbicide, think about what you can put into your soil to make it healthier. Insects use their antennae to hone in on sick plants. If you have an insect problem or if insects are attacking your plants, think about what you can do to make them healthier. If you have healthy plants, the bugs will go to your neighbor’s yard and leave yours.

To initiate a healthy ecosystem in your yard, two of the best things to use are compost and compost tea. Mixing a lot of compost and organic material into your soil makes it retain moisture better and feeds your plants naturally. Both compost and compost tea introduce living microorganisms that balance out the health of your garden.

I’m trying to go this route this year. I’ve mixed a ton of compost from my own compost bin into my gardens, and every week when I stop at Green Baby Diaper Service, I run into Progressive Gardens and pick up a gallon of compost tea to spray on my plants and garden. Instead of paying $100 for mulch, I’m using pieces of cardboard and weighing them down with compost. I don’t even buy potting mix for my outdoor potted plants. I’m using a combination of compost and dirt from the garden.

I do have a lot of grasshoppers in my yard, and they are likely attacking my less-than-healthy grass, but I’m using Neem Oil on the foliage of my garden plants to deter the grasshoppers from eating the leaves. Other than that, I’m feeding with compost and waiting for my fall garden to flourish.

radishes in fall garden
Growing radishes in the fall garden

fall flower garden
Don't be fooled by this beautiful flower...

weeds in fall garden
I still need to weed this garden.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Getting Things Done in 15 Minutes - Gardening

Remember when I told you my yard was like a jungle and I was working on it 15 minutes at a time? That was a little more than a week ago. Now I'm sitting here getting excited about all the fall vegetables I have going.

Some great vegetables for fall gardening in coastal North Carolina are:
  • lettuce
  • kale
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • sugar snap peas
So that's what I'm growing. I have some before and after shots here, so you know this is all possible. I also had a little fairy come in and rebuild my raised bed for my long veggie garden. That helped.

The long veggie garden before:

Friday, September 16, 2011

INSPIRATION THURSDAY: How to Find WAHM Writing and Editing Jobs

Again, I’m living one day behind. This is my Inspiration Thursday post that should have gone up yesterday. It was inspired by a comment that Charise from I Thought I Knew Mama left on last week’s Inspiration Thursday post. She wanted to know if I had any suggestions for working from home doing freelance writing.

Then I realized that there are probably a lot of women out there wondering how to be a WAHM so they can stay home with their kids but bring in some income. So I thought I would post it publicly. Maybe I can help one more mom quit her job and stay home with her babies.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: Playing in the Garden

I've been working on my garden, and while it's a little difficult while wrangling my kids, I manage to get things done a few minutes at a time. It makes it a lot harder when I'm running for my camera every few minutes, but that allows me to capture adorable moments like these:

gardening with kids
Playing together without killing each other

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Preventing Tantrums through Play

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Ever since Baby T has been old enough to throw tantrums, it seems like my #1 parenting principle and mantra has been: Prevent Tantrum. It guides my day and parenting style. I’ve heard of the book “Playful Parenting” and have wanted to read it, because it seems right up my alley. I have found that the following equations are true:

Stern voice + controlling attitude = Tantrum
Loud voice + controlling attitude = Tantrum
Firm demands for compliance = Tantrum
Playing a game = a lot of extra time carved out of your day = an accommodating, happy-go-lucky kid

I never particularly planned to go this route, but it just began to happen. Toddlers need guidance well before they are old enough to use logic and reason (or even to be able to completely understand what you say to them). But they can sure throw tantrums before they have logic, reason, or communication.

So as Baby T began to need little bits of guidance here and there, we dealt that guidance with a fun, playful attitude. If we didn’t, it turned into—you guessed it—a tantrum. As you can see from the equations above, all we needed to do was throw our plans for efficiency out the window and keep a playful attitude. We were on toddler time now.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Get Everything Done in Fifteen Minutes

My to-do list hanging under my
kitchen cabinets
As you know, I'm always struggling with getting everything done, especially now that I work from home. I crave a routine, yet I'm fickle and get bored easily. When I was little, I would set myself a schedule for summer vacations:

9 AM-9:30 AM: Eat breakfast
9:30-10: Read
10-11: Play with barbies
11-12: Ride Bikes
12-1: Eat lunch
1-3: Go to lake

I'm serious. I was that much of a dork. In fact, you can probably scratch out "Ride bikes" and put in "work on activity books." I loved logic puzzles and activity books. I loved school. I loved to read. I was a big geek. (Still am).

Anyway, I loved coming up with my schedule. And I usually followed it until 10 AM, when my friend would come across the street and ask to play, and the entire thing would go out the window.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I normally don’t dwell on events like this. In fact, I tend to shy away from them. At least publicly. But ten years after the horrific terrorist attacks on our nation, I am still brought to tears by the mere mention of the event. I haven’t experienced very much misfortune in my life; I’ve lived a pretty good one. September 11, 2001, remains etched in my memory as one of the most upsetting (to put it lightly) events I’ve ever experienced.

And I wasn’t even there. I can’t imagine. The people who went to work, dreading another 9-5, dreaming about returning to their families at the end of the day. The travelers who boarded a plane, weary with travel and anxious to return home.

It haunts me and it saddens me and I can barely watch any of the services or read stories about the event because time hasn’t made it any better. There are bad things that happen and then there are bad things that happen. Time doesn’t always make things easier. My heart goes out to everyone who lost a loved one on 9/11/2001. I think we all lost a little part of ourselves that day.

We’ve been bumming around a little today. Baby T watched, mesmerized, as men and women gathered in the memorial outside of the Pentagon, holding flowers. He wanted to know what they were holding, and he wanted to know who was singing. I told him it was a long story. I want to explain it to him soon, but maybe next year. For today, it was all I could do to hold it together and smile at his interest.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


For today’s Inspiration Thursday, I wanted to share my recent thoughts about my business. When I quit my job in May, it was partly because I knew that I couldn’t go back to work for someone else full time and still have inspiration, patience, and tenderness to be a good mom. After expending all of your mental energy in a job that you’re not passionate about, it’s hard to come up with activities for the kids, keep up the garden, and do laundry. You just want to sit around and do nothing.

And sitting around doing nothing is not good for me. The two of us don’t go together well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: A Portrait of Brothers

Last week, I decided to take the boys exploring. (Baby T told his grandfather that we went "snoring.") We drove to the end of the beach, where there were tidal pools and marshland. It was where the intracoastal waterway met the ocean, and there were birds and crabs everywhere. ("And ferry boats," Baby T would probably want me to tell you.)

While we were exploring, I snapped some great portraits of Baby T:

Then I got overconfident and decided I needed a portrait of both kids. You would think Baby T would have jumped at the chance to hold Little M. I sat them down on the sidewalk (after a lot of bribing with a special treat that he would get when we got home).

It was not a success.

But we'll put it this way: It was real.

And then when Baby T got home from daycare yesterday, we had a completely unprompted Kodak moment:


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

MONDAY MOMENTS: Halloween Costumes in Pairs

And...It's Tuesday. But I'm a day behind because of the holiday (and my scattered brain). This post is linked up on Capital Mom's blog. Every Monday, she posts about a parenting moment. This week's theme is Costume.

We have been debating what to do for Halloween for the kids. I'm not a huge holiday person, but as holidays go, I really like Halloween. We had a lot of fun as kids choosing our costumes and foraging around at neighbors' front doors for food.

We have recycled the same cute cow costume that my sister crocheted for Baby T 2 years in a row. It's time we got off our a$$es and got creative. The sad part is--this is how my scattered brain works--I'm sitting here racking my brain trying to remember what we dressed Little M up as last year.

Oh yeah. He wasn't here yet. How time flies.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Because You Can't Make This Stuff Up...

Some light humor for your weekend:

Here’s some money, mommy! (Holding a credit card)

Baby T doesn’t normally cry very much if he gets hurt. So if he does wail, I get a little worried. The other day, I was in the kitchen and I heard a crash and Baby T started sobbing.
“Are you ok?” I yelled out.
“No! I not ho-kay!” Baby T yelled back. “I got hurt!”
I said, “Where did you get hurt?” as I rushed to him.
“On my flashlight!” he cried.
He then pointed to the exact spot on the flashlight where it was hurt and I kissed it to make it better.

We were playing with Uno cards, and I was showing Baby T different numbers.
Me: “This one is a two.”
Baby T: “It’s a cat!”
Me: “No, it’s a two. Ta-ta-ta-two.”
Baby T: “Ta-ta-ta-CAT!”

Talking to my sister, Andrea –
Andrea: “Is Little M my baby?”
Baby T: “No, Little M is MY baby. He ALWAYS my baby.”

While driving the other day, Baby T decided he didn’t like any songs on his CD. After every song came on, he would say, “I don’t like this song!” Finally, I found one that he listened to without comment. Then Little M started crying. Baby T said, “Mommy, Mason crying because he don’t like this song!”

How many times have you heard this out of a toddler’s mouth:
Me: Do you want to sleep in your big boy bed today?
Baby T: No.
Me: Why not?
Baby T: Because Jerry Garcia sleeping in my big boy bed.
Sure enough…

On a related note, we hung out at the beach last week with my sister's friends. One of the friends was a guy with long(ish) hair. At one point, Baby T looked over at him and said, "Mommy, what Bob Marley doing?" He proceeded to call him Bob Marley for the rest of the week.

Some Baby T-isms:
Tyrannosaurus Rex = Dinosaurus Rex
Piano = Compiano
PJ’s = TJ’s (There is a boy named TJ in his class and he somehow thinks I’m talking about him)
Remote Control = Camote
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