Friday, January 27, 2012

First, Grease The Baby Liberally With Olive Oil

Just wanted to share something that worked for me the other day.  Greyson hates having his face wiped.  When I feed him, some pieces of food get crusted onto his face and I have to wipe extra times with a wet paper towel.  Greyson whips his head back and forth, he whines, he cries, and he screeches as I do this.  Not fun.

Today, I smeared olive oil on Greyson's face before I fed him.  I wondered if it would keep food from sticking and drying on his face as readily.  And it actually did help make the food wipe off easier at the end of the meal!  Love it when a task can be made a little easier.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Who Knew: Your Baby Can Get His Own Library Card

In order to join the Reading is Fundamental program at the Brooklyn Public Library, I was told that I needed to sign up Greyson for a library card.  I needed to?  I'd be happy to!  But, I didn't even know babies could get their own cards until they told me.  Cool!

Why get a library card for a baby who can't read or check out his own books?  After the jump!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What Do Stay-At-Home Moms Do All Day?

Before having Greyson, I would always agree with people when they said that being a mom was a full-time job.  "Yes, being a mom is so much work,"  I'd say.  I had no idea what I was talking about, but it felt right to say.

Now I can say for sure that being a mom is a full-time job.  Atleast at this stage of motherhood, where my baby is almost 7 months old and he's with me all day.

I thought about this because I started tracking Greyson's sleep patterns yesterday.  I haven't tracked his sleep schedule in atleast two months, but it's something I've done on and off since he was born so I could see the sleep/wake patterns (since sleep is so important).  Greyson's naps last week were all only about half an hour, which is really short, so I thought I'd start tracking to see what was up.  I thought his naps might be weird because he had a cold and was congested, but I wanted to write it all down anyway.  While I was tracking his sleep, I decided to write everything we did during the day down to see what our day was like.

What this stay-at-home mom of a 6.5 month baby does all day after the jump!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: "Babies and Books" at the Brooklyn Public Library

Hypnotized babies at Babies and Books at the Brooklyn Public Library

I love seeing my baby in classes/storytimes because he really gets into it and enjoys being around other babies.  I try to go to a baby thing for Greyson once a day.  Where else can he suck on colorful maracas (that have been sucked on by 100 other babies)?

So, I've been wanting to check out the story times for babies at the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library for months.  But, the library is just far enough away for it to not be on my radar on a daily basis.  Also, I had heard there was a ticketing process and that the slots filled up quickly, so I thought it might be a hassle.  I didn't want to get into a stroller jousting battle with other Park Slope moms to get into story time.

How Babies and Books works after the jump!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Orange Beef: Didn't Know You Could Make it at Home!

New Frontier in Cooking:  Homemade Orange Beef

There are some foods that I crave and must eat before I can get that thing out of my mind.  It's often tacos, wings, Korean food, burgers, and orange beef (not all at the same time).  I get on a mission.

Now that I have been cooking more, I find myself wondering how certain dishes are made.  It's funny that for the most part, I've never given any thought to how certain things are made.  I just assume it's best done in a restaurant.  Like, orange beef. 

I ordered orange beef last week from a restaurant called Hunan Delight one night when Rob met up with a friend for dinner.  It's fun to cook for Rob, but I don't enjoy just cooking for myself, so it was my excuse to order take-out.

So, I looked up an orange beef recipe on Cook's Illustrated and thought, hm, that doesn't look hard.  I just need to get a deep fry thermometer.  Done.

Did we survive our first deep-frying experience or have to order Chinese take-out?  After the jump!

Review: Rowan Big Wool Chunky, Soft Merino Wool Yarn

Here's my review of Rowan Big Wool after knitting a baby blanket, two adult scarves and a baby scarf with it.

Pros: Chunky, fluffy and knits fast.  I like how it's sits on the neck as a scarf, and after 10 wears, it hasn't deflated, lost any of its shape or stretched out at all.

Cons:  Not as ultra soft as I had hoped. Also, I washed the baby scarf in super cold water and dried it flat.  It almost felted up from the cold wash, which surprised me.  The instructions say to "hand wash normal," so I can't imagine why the cold water of the washer would have shrunk up the yarn so much.  I know I didn't hand wash it, but still.  I was able to unravel the scarf, so I'm going to make it again, but narrower.  I am glad I didn't try washing any of the other things I made.

So, I'd say that the yarn is great for a baby blanket or other item where the yarn won't be right on the skin.  It's not as great for scarves if you want something super soft.  My husband likes his scarf a lot and says it doesn't itch at all.  I've worn his scarf and I agree that the yarn isn't itchy, but I was hoping that the yarn would be quite soft since it's merino wool.  I don't regret making scarves with the yarn, but I will look for something as chunky but softer if I knit another scarf.

Any suggestions for what that yarn should be?  Let me know in the comments! 

All of the above projects were made with Rowan Big Wool in the color Oxidised (59).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

From Bebé to Gourmet with Your Béaba Baby Food Maker

I didn't even have a toaster until a few months ago because we didn't have room for it in any of the tiny New York City kitchens we've lived in.  I toasted bread in a pan.  We still don't have the space, but my husband got me a toaster anyway because life is too short to live without toast.

So, when someone gave us a Béaba Baby Food Maker when Greyson was born, I wasn't sure where we were going to put it.  There were so many other kitchen things that I wanted before a baby food maker:  a crock pot, a panini press, a waffle maker, etc.

Although I thought the Béaba was a great idea, I couldn't justify getting a machine that does things that we have other machines for.  We can steam food on the stove and we already have a food processor.

The friend of Rob's who gave us the Béaba included a gift receipt from Williams-Sonoma, but we let that window of time to return pass.

What we did with the counter space taker-upper after the jump!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Ate Toasted Ethoxylated Diglycerides for Breakfast

The ingredients list of Thomas' Light Multi-Grain English Muffins:  Scary

The above ingredients list of Thomas's Light Multi-Grain English Muffins, which I bought yesterday, bolds the words "wheat" and "milk."  I guess it's supposed to trick our eyes from seeing the rest of the list, which is mostly made of four-syllable words with lots of X's in them. 

Do I really want to buy bread that has all this stuff in it?  No, but I bought the bread on a whim to have an easy breakfast option since I have been lazy about coming up breakfasts this week.  I often look at the ingredients on stuff I buy, so I'm not sure why I didn't look at this one.  It's probably because English Muffins have a halo around them.  They're the "healthy," low-carby breakfast bread option.

I have no idea what ethoxylated diglycerides, triticale or sodium stearoyl lactylate is, or if these things are even really bad for you.  I get that bread companies have to deal with shelf life, but I know that I don't want to be eating this stuff.

Being a mom definitely makes me think a lot more about what goes into our bodies  We don't eat a lot of packaged food, but seeing this ingredients list made me think that I want to eliminate even more of it from our diets.

Inspired to know what I'm eating, I made a couple of batches of bagels, the dough for the no knead bread recipe and pizza dough today.  It's definitely work to make your own breads, but I think it's satisfying on several levels.  What I try to do is make a bunch of stuff all at once, so if I have the food processor out, I'm not just making one thing.  I can freeze the bagels we don't eat immediately, the pizza dough can be refrigerated for 3 days before using it and I can freeze the no-knead bread, too.  I couldn't do this if I was working, but I'm not, so I make the time to do it.

Bagels: they have four ingredients in them, none of which have four syllables or X's  

I should post this ingredients list on my fridge just to remind me to look at ingredients when I shop.  Bread should be a simple thing, not a chemistry experiment! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Veggie Smoothies: Smooth Going In, Smooth Going Out

Spinach smoothies are smooth going in and smooth going out.  You want to prepare yourself for that if you're thinking about trying one.

My sister-in-law introduced us to spinach-based smoothies over Christmas and we've been having them every day since.  For some reason, I thought you had to have a juicer to do vegetables.  It would be nice to have a Blendtec like my sister-in-law has because I don't see our blender liquifying stuff like raw kale or carrots well, but our Kitchen-Aid blender is pretty heavy duty, so it works for most veggies.

So, we have a smoothie in the morning and just feel good about it.  You've pretty much taken care of the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables in one glass, so even if you don't eat that well the rest of the day, atleast you had your fruits and vegetables.

I've gotten recipe ideas from juices I've seen at the store, like these from Blueprint Cleanse.

How we make our smoothies for us and our baby after the jump!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Watch Out! Time for Craftiness!

When we were in Spain, we bought a pair of random little wrist rattles.  I had seen similar ones because my friend Christie has them for her baby.  Anyway, Rob and I were joking about how funny it'd be if they came in a watch version.  So, we decided to make one.

When I was on a yarn hunt in Brooklyn for my baby's blanket, I found some cute fabric scraps, which I bought.

This little project would have taken probably about 2 minutes if I had a sewing machine (and knew how to use one), but it took about 20 minutes to sew by hand.

I took the watch strap fabric and turned it inside out and sewed around three edges.  Then, I flipped it the right way and stuffed a piece of crunchy plastic in there from a tortilla chip bag and sewed the remaining edge.  Then I sewed velcro pieces onto the ends.

For the watch itself, Rob cut a circular shape out of a sponge and stuck some rice in a bottle cap and sealed it with a button via crazy glue.  That made the rattle that was embedded in the sponge.  Then I took the watch fabric onto which I had sewed some watch hands, and bunched it around the sponge and rattle. 

I then crappily sewed the watch onto the strap.

It didn't turn out as cute as Rob and I had envisioned it, but I liked that we had an idea and executed it.  So many ideas go unexplored.  My cousin-in-law who saw the watch over Christmas wondered if it was a pin cushion on Greyson's wrist.  And I don't blame does look like one!  But, I just like that we made it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Travel: You Don't Have to Sacrifice Clean Underwear

Let's Roll, literally

For six nights in Barcelona at the end of November 2011, we packed one roller bag, one duffle bag and an umbrella stroller.  Everything we needed for myself, my husband and my baby (who was 5 months at the time) fit into two bags.  This felt like carrying a lot; when we went to Italy for 10 days two years ago, also in November, we only took two duffle bags.

We like to pack light because we're not going to have more fun if we pack more stuff.  I've never been on a trip and thought that if I had just brought more stuff, I'd be having a better time.  Our fun comes from the experiences we have, not the number of wardrobe options at hand.  (Why we can't translate that to the amount of stuff we have and keep at home, I'm not sure, but we do a good job when we travel!)

We feel more mobile and more liberated, the less we pack.  The more we pack, the more we have to carry, keep track of and repack.  Also, since we live in New York and take lots of public transportation to get around, sometimes to and from the airports, we want to avoid getting jostled around in a stream of people.  The only way to minimize this is to minimize the stuff.

Do we change underwear every day?  Find out after the jump!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

25 pound turkeys do not microwave well and other microwave cooking rules to live by

Instructions from a 1980s JC Penney microwave cookbook

My mother-in-law's beloved peanut brittle recipe is from, surprisingly, a JC Penney microwave cookbook that came with her first microwave in the 1980s.  We flipped through the book when it came out over Christmas and all had a few good laughs over the it.  One of the pages instructed readers to resist the urge to microwave 25 pound turkeys or a dozen potatoes.  And funnily, the book also said not to microwave popcorn, which is the only thing that some people ever use for microwaves these days.

But after giggling about the food photography that made all the food look unappealing, however, I actually learned a few things from the book.  I got some tips on how to use a microwave more efficiently and creatively.  Did you know that things microwave more evenly in a round dish rather than a square dish because the heat gets trapped in the corners?  And who knew you could make peanut brittle in a microwave?  Cakes, even.  It made me wonder if there are other things I could be doing with that thing that takes up most of the little counter space we have in our New York City apartment.

Surprising ways to get reacquainted with your microwave after the jump!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Airline Food That Inspired Me to Cook at Home

You will never catch me on a plane, train or automobile, without food.  I hate being hungry and I hate not being able to eat something good when I want to.  That means I pack snacks and/or meals when we travel or are going to be out and there's any question about when or where we're going to eat.

When we flew home from California, however, Rob was in charge of packing our food while I was packing our luggage.  Rob had a stomach ache and was sort of out of it, so he packed a lunch, but forgot that we'd on the plane for dinner time, too.  So, we bought something to eat on the plane, which is something I've never done.

We ordered a cheese plate, which was disappointing:  the cheese and grapes were all frozen and the crackers were all crumbled to dust.  We should have returned it, but we were too hungry.  We also ordered an edamame and portobello wrap, which was actually tasty and fresh.  What a surprise!  I said to Rob that I wanted to make something similar at home.

Airline food inspired me!  To learn how to make the Virgin Wrap, click on!

We Chose to Party And Ignore Our Baby's Sleep Schedule

I usually take my baby's sleep very seriously.  Early on, I learned somewhere that babies grow while they're sleeping, so if Greyson wasn't sleeping a certain number of hours, I felt that I was depriving him of growth.  A little OCD?  Maybe. 

So, when we got invited to a dinner party on New Year's Eve, my immediate thought was that we couldn't go.  We've never hired a babysitter and New Year's Eve is probably one of the hardest times to find one anyway.  But my friend said we should bring Greyson.  I brushed off the idea since Greyson has never not been home to be put to bed at 6 pm since we sleep trained him at 14 weeks (except for when we flew to Barcelona).  But Rob and I discussed the idea of going out for New Year's Eve after our Christmas trip to California.

After California, we realized that adjusting back to Greyson's sleep schedule when we travel is just a part of life.  It made us more open to the idea of going out with Greyson one night on New Year's Eve, probably one of a handful of nights a year that we would ever do that.  We decided to go to the dinner party.

We had many conversations trying to figure out how we were going to execute our night out.  Should we put Greyson to bed at 6 at home and transfer him into a car seat at 7:45, when we will get a car to go to our friend's house?  Will he stay asleep?  Will he wake up, be confused and wail?  We had no idea what to expect.

After the jump, I'll explain exactly how things went down, and why we're glad we partied with our baby on New Year's Eve.