Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MacGyvering a Snack: Ziplocked Yogurt and Tongue Napkin

Clever me.  I took a tupperware of salmon to the park for GP one day when we had a little picnic.  We hadn't done much solid-food feeding outside of the house since he started solids at 6 months, so it didn't occur to me that it wouldn't be easy.  Well, feeding GP when he's not in a high chair is like wrestling with a cat to get into a bathtub.  Let's just say we all came home smelling like a fish market in Chinatown in August.

I didn't want to make the salmon mistake again when Rob and I went for a long walk and thought that GP might need to eat.  So, I stuffed greek yogurt and mashed avocado into a ziploc bag.  When GP was hungry, I snipped off the corner and squeezed the yogurt into GP's mouth.  It's probably easier to buy those packaged bags that you suck on, but so far I haven't felt the need to buy packaged foods for GP.  The DIY gogurt worked out pretty well, and I'd do it again.

The only thing is, I didn't have any napkins or burp cloths on me, so I DIY'd that, too.  Tongue napkin!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pasta Friday = Leftover Weekend

Pasta with bacon, mushrooms, onion, greens and parmesan cheese.

My new thing is to make a big pasta salad type dish on Friday night for dinner, having lots left over for quick lunch options over the weekend.  The idea is that it'll keep us from coming home from an activity, wondering what we're going to eat, or spending 30 minutes trying to figure out where we'll go out for lunch. 

 On Saturdays we have music class at 11:30 am.  We're not quite hungry before class but after class we're starving since we ate breakfast at 8 am.  The last several weekends, we've gone out for lunch after classes, but sometimes you just want to go home and grab something quick. 

With pasta salad type dishes, you can heat them up super quickly or even eat them cold...pair it up with some chicken, etc.  My go-to pasta salad is rotini with pesto, artichoke hearts, olives, grape tomatoes, chicken and whatever else is in the fridge.  My only tip would be not to make a saucy pasta dish since the pasta will get too mushy over the weekend.  I learned that lesson after making a baked ziti last weekend. 

I'm always experimenting with timesaver tips.  Do you have any to share?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Barefoot and Happy

I overheard a mom say that she had to get shoes for her baby (who's not walking yet), so he didn't look like he was poor and uncared for, or something to that effect.  I understand what she meant.  That very day I had decided to let my baby feel the fresh air on his toes.

Before I left the house, I wondered for a second if I should put socks on his feet, so he looked dressed.  I decided against it, though.  I thought, I'd love to be barefoot today.  I think kids should be barefooted as much as possible.  They have their wholes lives ahead of them to wear shoes.  And I mean, my baby who's 8 months old can't even walk yet.  I supposed you could argue for foot protection at this age, but you could argue as much for hand protection since he's on his feet as much as his hands.

A lot of people seem to apply adult cultural and behavioral norms to babies.  Am I the only one who thinks it's silly when parents of newborns apologize for having their babies in pajamas instead of real clothes.  I mean, they're babies.  Who cares?

Oh, well.  Until Greyson's walking, he's going to enjoy lots of warm, barefoot days.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Get Thee To A Biodome is What I Say To These Parents

Who wants to live like the extreme people in this article or be around them?  People who think they can remove all toxins from their homes should live in biodomes.  Do these kids get to leave their homes?  Do they participate in society and breathe air...that's full of toxins?

I didn't even read the article when I saw it in the hard copy of the paper because it was illustrated by a baby wearing a hazmat suit.  I just knew it was going somewhere the extremes go and you knew it would be alarmist and annoying.  The only reason I read the piece was because a friend quoted David Foster Wallace, someone whose writing I am interested in, from the article on her Facebook.

When you start googling BPA studies, you realize that BPA exposure at the consumer level is not a proven risk.  Or you learn something like there's more BPA in store receipts that in plastic anyway, which is what the article said, so why aren't we freaking out about all that BPA we keep in our purses, wallets, in our HOMES!  Yes, I admit that we buy BPA-free plastic for food storage because of the hysteria.  I fell for it.  But, I want to focus on proven risks, so I don't become that person whose life is controlled by fear.  Once you start freaking out about every unproven risk, you pretty much have to fear everything in your life because everything comes with risks.

Here's the part of the article "Is It Safe to Play Yet?  Going to Extreme Lengths to Purge Household Toxins" that made the most sense to me:

Ms. MacCleery doesn’t entirely disagree. She points to plenty of low-cost fixes, like using $1.95 porcelain demispoons in place of plastic utensils. Ultimately, “What we need are rules and systems to protect her,” she said of her daughter. “Not this idea that we can all shop our way to some place that protects us.” 

As it stands, every mother can seem like her own E.P.A. This is something less than an ideal system, Dr. Paulson said. The media encounters a germ of new health research, then spreads a contagion of fright to the public. 

Lead, mercury, asbestos, cigarette smoke: these are proven risks. But should parents “go to the ends of the earth to get every potentially toxic product out of the household?” he said. “If you want to do that, I guess it’s O.K. But there isn’t the science there to back it up.” 

Some parents take up the research into chemical safety with intellectual rigor. Adam Zeiger, father to 6-month-old Eyal, is a 27-year-old doctoral candidate in materials science and engineering in Cambridge, Mass. His wife, Danna, 27, is earning her doctorate in molecular and cell biology.
Even so, “If my Ph.D. process has taught me anything,” he wrote in an e-mail, it’s that “I know absolutely nothing. But at least I can do my homework.” 

Mr. Zeiger’s inquiries have left him unconvinced about the toxic threat. 

“There are tons of people and forums against this chemical,” he wrote. “Or saying to avoid that product. Or, ‘Don’t touch X, Y or Z because they contain something that resembles something, that came from something, that if used otherwise would cause cancer when given to rats in a million times higher doses.’ ” 

Heavy exposure to bisphenol A (known as BPA) is almost certainly a health threat, for example. But how much of the substance actually exists in a plastic bottle and how much leaches out?
Mr. Zeiger is even more skeptical about the benefits of “green” alternatives. “Now, there is food-grade stainless steel,” Mr. Zeiger wrote. “But do you really know if the steel container you bought for your water was really made to the highest of standards?” (Could this be the spark for a stainless steel panic?) 

Besides, Mr. Zeiger added, he recently read an Environmental Working Group report that revealed a more surprising source for BPA exposure: cash register receipts. When it comes to chemicals, it seems, you can run but you can’t hide.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Don't You Love Little Tweaks That Feel Life-Changing

I have a rice cooker the size of a Mini Cooper.  My mom got it for me.  It's a rule that Koreans must have rice cookers, but I just don't eat that much rice.  My mom must have forgotten that she gave me another rice cooker 15 years ago and it's in storage with other things we don't use:  my husband's guitar, his snowboard and my business school notes. 

When my mom gave me the rice cooker this time, shortly after Greyson was born, I decided to make use of it.  I thought I could use it as a slow cooker, but nope...the thing can cook rice in 50 ways, but it can't slow cook.  Today I tried oatmeal, which I always burn because I'm doing other things while it simmers on the stove.  Bam, it worked.  I  had just tossed some oatmeal in the Mini Cooper this morning and 20 minutes later, Greyson had perfect oatmeal.  Life changer!  If you have a rice cooker or any random appliance you don't use enough, it could have time-saving potential.  Check it out!  If it's taking up space in your home, you might as well try to use it, right?

I know there's a whole universe of people who like to make all sorts of dishes in their rice cookers, but I don't want to do the work of looking up recipes to make specifically in the rice cooker.  I just liked that the rice cooker made something I wanted to do anyway (make oatmeal) way easier!

Another life changer for me this week was using the dishwasher daily.  It makes me feel like I'm saving lots of time.  I don't know if I'm in the minority here, but I've never been in the habit of using a dishwasher.  Could it be a New York thing?  An apartment that I lived in for 10 years in Manhattan didn't have a dishwasher, but even when I did have one, I never seemed to have enough dishes as a single to fill the dishwasher quickly enough (before everything crusted on the plates forever).  My new thing is running the dishwasher daily because that's the only way it works for me.  Otherwise, I need something that's in the dishwasher from yesterday that's dirty and I wash that and then I'm back to, why didn't I just handwash this stuff?

And the final little life changer is my Thermapen, which Rob got for me.  It's an instant-read thermometer that has taken much of the guesswork out of cooking meats for me.  I've also used the Thermapen when I needed to add a certain temperature of water in my baking, that sort of thing.  I could see using it to make sure that Greyson's food isn't too hot in microwaved spots instead of poking my finger and dragging it around in all of his food at each meal.  Totally worth the $89.  I will give Greyson one of these when he lives by himself one day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You might need to hose down your baby after this

Greyson blending in with the Tot Lot.  He must be on a stealth mission.

What do you do with a baby when he's too small to appreciate a regular playground and it's too nice to be inside?  Trot him on over to the Tot Lot!

The Y's open play space has been great for us when it's cold or rainy outside.  All that padding on that big gym floor makes me worry less about Greyson hitting his head.  He gets his free crawl on there.

Walk into this entrance on Prospect Park West at Garfield Place and the Tot Lot will be on your right

BUT, the weather has been so amazing this week!  You can only do so much swinging on the big kids playground.  I've also enjoyed going running with Greyson, but it's passive for him.  So, we went to the Tot Lot yesterday, which I had never thought of before since it didn't look that fun when I had passed by it before.  The Tot Lot is right inside Prospect Park at Garfield Place, which is one street north of 1st Street.  I can see the appeal now...it's all small scale and babies can crawl around on it.  There's just enough stuff for them to explore and climb onto, but nothing is higher than 18 inches off the ground.

Click for my review in pictures!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to Get More Done When You Think You're Too Busy

I had to reblog the below quote, which is from some random reporter supporting my theory that no one is as busy as they say or think they are.  No one wants to burst the bubble on that idea because those people are saying they are too busy and they don't want to be discovered that they're not too busy.  Busted!

The quote is from a Wall Street Journal article about time management (but to give proper credit, I first saw it on a blog post on SwissMiss).  People always find time for the stuff they really want to do, so how is anyone that busy?

Don't you hate when people say things like they don't have time to read?  You read books one page at a time, not all in one sitting.  And everyone has time to read a page!

Click to read the quote.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Key to My Heart is Diapers According to Target

Target wants to cover this booty with quality, inexpensive diapers

I had wondered why Target's store-brand diapers were so much less expensive than every other diaper on the market:  $21 for 144 Size 3 diapers.  I mean, you could tell they were a loss leader for the store, but the Target brand costs significantly less and you'd think that in such a competitive category such as diapers that the other brands would object to Target's low pricing. 

But when I read this consumer behavior article based on Target, it made sense why the retailer is willing to lose money on quality diapers made in the U.S.  Here's how a statistician for Target put it:  “As soon as we get them buying diapers from us, they’re going to start buying everything else too. If you’re rushing through the store, looking for bottles, and you pass orange juice, you’ll grab a carton. Oh, and there’s that new DVD I want. Soon, you’ll be buying cereal and paper towels from us, and keep coming back.”

If Target wants to try and get me to buy more stuff by offering inexpensive diapers, go for it!  Click to read more...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cindy Sherman at MoMA Didn't Scare My Baby Too Much

Clowns don't scare me

When I volunteered at the Met in the Greek and Roman galleries, I'd see kids come in groups, see a statue and then point at the penises and laugh.  I'm sure I did that when I was a kid, too.

When body parts are just naked in art, I won't feel weird talking about that with Greyson, but I wonder what I'll do or say when genitalia is not just exposed but, say, inexplicable and repulsive?  Take, Cindy Sherman's Untitled #263, for example.  Will I shield Greyson from seeing works like that until he's older?  Could I explain to a child how a piece like that is different from porn?  I don't know!  There's so much parenting stuff that is a big question mark to me.

How Cindy Sherman hypnotized my baby after the jump.

How To Avoid Drilling Into Your Baby's Mouth

No drills in this mouth, please

"No, you don't have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep."  My dentist has an embroidered pillow that says that in his office.  I giggle whenever I see that because it's so dentisty. But it sounds like some people actually need to pick up some knowledge from that pillow.

The article Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities, which appeared on A1 of The New York Times yesterday, scared the toothpaste out of me.  It says that that many toddlers, nationwide and at every income level, are getting dental surgery to deal with 10, 12, or even 16 cavities in their mouths of 20 baby teeth.  How and why is this a widespread problem?  Why are 18 month olds getting anesthesia to get cavity-filled teeth extracted or filled? It's scary because it's so preventable.  Hello.  Brush your kid's teeth.

I'm thankful for this article because it scared me straight.  I will get better about brushing my baby's teeth!

Click to continue reading about baby cavities.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Articles I Couldn't Resist Spamming My Husband With

News share day!  Here's a selection of articles that I read recently and for one reason or another wanted to tell my husband about them.  That often means that I thought the article was interesting to me or retardedly funny.  The ones below I thought were just interesting.

OK, I do actually get my news from places other than just The New York Times, but all of the articles below are from The Times.

Affluent, Born Abroad and Choosing New York's Public Schools
I went to both public and private schools and feel that I benefited from the mix, so this article caught my attention. 

With Coffee, the Price of Individualism Can Be HighFascinating article about consumer behavior, price knowledge, marketing, price comparison and demographics.  It shows that people will essentially pay $50 per pound of coffee when they buy coffee capsules because they are comparing the cost to a cup of coffee at Starbucks, not to what even really good coffee costs by the pound.  You're getting a good deal when you compare the Starbucks and getting robbed when you compare to coffee by the pound.

Needing an Artist and Calling on India
It's inspiring when people are resourceful and creative!  This struggling musician wanted to get a video made on a budget that no American would work with, so he hired people in India to do it.  I think the resulting music video is sort of lame, but I give the guy props for finding a solution that worked for him and got a lot of PR, too.

For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage
I don't care if people get married or not, but the statistics in this article just surprised me.

60 Lives, 30 Kidneys, All Linked
I'll just excerpt the piece:  What made the domino chain of 60 operations possible was the willingness of a Good Samaritan, Mr. Ruzzamenti, to give the initial kidney, expecting nothing in return. Its momentum was then fueled by a mix of selflessness and self-interest among donors who gave a kidney to a stranger after learning they could not donate to a loved one because of incompatible blood types or antibodies. Their loved ones, in turn, were offered compatible kidneys as part of the exchange.

Tapping Your Inner Spielberg with a Software Assist
I wonder if Rob and I would get back to doing more of our video projects if we had easy-to-use editing apps on Rob's iPhone.

Sprint Posts Sales Loss, but iPhone Lifts Revenue
We've been researching family plans since my contract with Verizon is up and Rob's contract with AT&T is up.  We've heard a lot of good things about Sprint, but all from people outside of New York City.  This article made me think that we should seriously consider Sprint, but I think the service with Verizon is too reliable to give up.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Talking About My Husband's Banana Bunker

This was my funny stocking stuffer for Rob two Christmases ago.  It's a Banana Bunker.  We had joked about its purpose when we saw it at the MoMA design store, so even though I don't like receiving gag gifts, I couldn't help but get this for him.

Well, this thing turned out to be really useful!  It molds to the shape of pretty much any banana and you don't ever worry about bruising the banana in your bag.

Rob, who is banana lover, actually used it every day for almost a year when it cracked.  I ended up being able to get a new Bunker for free, though, since it was less than a year old.  The new version must have been improved because it's a softer, more flexible plastic.  Also, when we bought ours, they only had the clear version, but now they come in a variety of colors.

If you think the one that the MoMA carries looks funny, check out this one that we saw in Thailand a few years ago.

So, if you're a banana lover, I'd highly recommend the Banana Bunker.

Stefan Sagmeister's wall of bananas at Deitch a few years ago