30 April 2010

Friday Food Porn.

Shells & cheddar cheese with scallions and Campari tomatoes to make it... "healthy".

The homemade cheese sauce was deliciously smooth. The slight tang of the green onion every now and again kept the sauce from becoming boring, and the tomatoes added a fleshy sweetness. This picture was taken before the pan went into the oven... that's why the cheese on the top (which turned into a golden-y crust!) isn't melted. 

I have the recipe if anyone wants it... or I could just post it.

EDIT May 1:  Here's the recipe-

Nicole's Mac & Cheese
2 cups (uncooked) elbow macaroni or shells, cooked
2 tbsps. butter
2 tbsps. flour
1 1/2 tsps. dry mustard
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups milk (I think the sauce is better if you use whole milk, but that may be psychological ;) )
2 to 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar
chopped green onions & sliced tomatoes, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter; whisk in flour, mustard, & salt mix (pinch by pinch). GRADUALLY whisk in milk (do this too fast & you'll have lumps). Gradually means just a splash at a time. The idea is to make a slurry with the butter + flour mixture, then evenly incorporate the milk into it (or vice versa).
Cook & stir until sauce thickens slightly (coats the back of a spoon). Add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of sharp cheddar & let it melt, stirring very regularly. It should look like super-creamy cheese sauce! :)

Place the drained noodles in a greased 13x9 pan, and pour the cheese sauce over them. Add chopped green onions, stirring to distribute. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar. Place tomatoes on top.

Bake 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 6 big servings.

27 April 2010

Bed time.

So we all know I'm a hippie granola mom, right? Good.

One of the things I'm trying to do more often is bed time. No, not going to bed on a set schedule (though we mostly do that anyway); spending time in bed. Together. With toys, books, and lots of cuddle time. Sometimes with a laptop.

The benefits of caring for newborn (especially premature) babies skin to skin have been recognized for awhile now, but some people say it continues to provide support for older infants (regulating breathing, heart rate, blood sugar, etc.).

Not to mention the current benefits of a soft surface when you're learning how to sit upright by yourself.

Bed time!
27 April 2010

This is probably going to happen more at our house over the summer, when we set the air to 81 and turn on the ceiling fan. In nursing bras and shorts (for me) and a frakin' cute diaper (for him), 81 is downright tolerable. Especially when you can nurse the kid and then take an afternoon siesta...

19 April 2010

The dirty (five) dozen.

I get a lot of questions about cloth diapers. E.g. "Aren't they more work?"/"Don't they take more time?", "Isn't it gross?", "Aren't they just for tree-hugging hippies like yourselves?"

I may have made that last one up.

A) Yes, they're two* more loads of laundry per week more work.
B) It's gross using disposables, too. I mean, c'mon, it's -poop-. There's no way for it not to be gross.
C) Nope! Cloth is also for the budget-conscious. And for people who have a problem with putting chemical-laced nastiness on their baby's butt.

We're currently using prefolds with diaper covers. You pin the diaper on (although I much recommend Snappis... no chance of stabbing a hole in your kid's torso/other places), then basically add the diaper cover - which attaches like a disposable would. The diaper cover protects clothes/everything else from the wetness/sh*tskies.

Baby excretes, you change. It's really not that hard...

1) MUCH cheaper in the long run. -Especially- if you have more than one kid.
2) MUCH less diaper rash. Butt paste is expensive, people. Especially if you want non-petroleum-based stuff.
3) Reduce, reuse... once you're done having kids, diapers make great cleaning rags. My mom still has some from when I was in diapers. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
4) You can also use cloth diapers as burp cloths, mini-towels & blankets, protect the car seat cover with them... etc.

1) You do have to do the laundry... unless you get a service.
2) You do have to buy bigger diaper covers every once in awhile. Cam's gone through extra-small and small, and is now on medium (which he'll be in until he hits 28 lbs. I'm hoping for potty time by then). We have 4 (you don't have to change them every time).
3) There is the potential for big messes if you can't get the diaper on fast enough. Which is about to be alleviated by -


I'm so excited. Why? That's for a future post, because this one's already looong...

*Cam never stopping pooing 4567876 times a day. Some kids do. So I change about 15 a day right now, and we have 60 diapers... you do the math.

15 April 2010

A new, weekly feature.

On some of the blogs I read, there's a weekly feature on one or more days of the week - "Wordless Wednesday"; "Snackurday"; "Tide You Over Tuesday".

I'm toying with the idea of starting one. It's called, "Who's On My Irrational Sh*tlist Thursday".

This week's Offender:
(Do not buy!)

Back story: My mom found this cool fabric remnant at Joann's that fits in with my sewing room colors & theme. So, hey - I don't have allergies. Why don't I make some sort of window treatment for my room! 

In an attempt to actually finish a project, I went with the no-sew cornice kit pictured above. For $20, it seemed like a good deal. (Yes, I had a coupon.) Comes with all hardware; just tuck, fold, & hang, right?
BZZZT. Wrong answer.

First problem: the fabric I have is too thin, so I had to double & triple layer it where it's supposed to be tucked. If I manhandle it (gee, like, when I try to hang it), it comes out.

Second problem: the molly things that are supposed to go into the wall... hmm. Let's think. Last time I checked, 99.8475% of windows let you look outside your house. Which means they're framed. Probably in metal or wood, at least on the outside. The mollys they give you are cheesy little tiny plastic things that aren't meant for anything other than really, really thin drywall. I get one in 3/4 of the way, and it hits wood/metal. STUCK!

Third problem (hey, I said this was irrational): I put in all four mollys anyway... with the help of Captain Hammer. I managed to get the brackets up, though they're loose. The cornice isn't that heavy.... Oh wait, or it wouldn't be if the "clips" that the brackets are supposed to attach to weren't impossible to attach to the brackets. So I'm stuck balancing on the footlocker under the window, trying to clip the cornice up in vain.... while trying not to curse loud enough to wake up Cam.

I have to do projects like this in spurts, while Cam's down for a nap. Earlier in the week I spent the 30+ minutes fiddling with the fabric & putting the darn thing together, and today I had planned on hanging the thing. That way, I could point to it and go "HA! I did something home-improvement-y around the house without you" to both Brian and Désirée this weekend. Looks like that ain't happening. 

And that's it for "Irrational Sh*tlist Thursday". Should I make this a weekly thing?

14 April 2010

A day in the life of a six-month-old.


 So darn cute.



 It comes in textures?!

Happy clean wee one.

The end.

12 April 2010

A letter to my little man.

Dear Cameron,

In a few short hours, you will be six months old. Wow. It seems like it was just last week you popped your gourd-sized head out of a place that doesn't get gourd-sized traffic every day. I thought you were the cutest thing I'd ever seen, even though now you are much cuter and when I look at your birth pictures you look like an alien or a lizard or something. That was the proudest day of my life. Or night. I'm not really sure, we had those confused for awhile.

I'm really glad I haven't dropped you in the diaper pail or left you in Target or any of those other things I had nightmares about. I'm sure you will be too, once you're old enough to understand this. I hope you appreciate me telling all the people we meet in Publix to keep their hands off of you. They mean well, but they're germ-y. You really are too cute for your own good.

You're starting on the road to crawling. By now you can spin on your stomach pretty easily, roll from your back onto your stomach (and back) very well, and pull your legs up underneath you and dig your head into the carpet. You mostly move backwards. I know this will not last very long.

You're also starting on solid food; I know your dad and I are going to have lots of fun exposing you to all sorts of off-the-wall foods. If you were going to go to school, you'd be the kid who'd bring kimchi omelets for lunch and think nothing of it. (Your dad just created one tonight. They're weird.) I love that regardless of whether it's peas or carrots or bananas, you want it. And you want more.

In the past six months, you've taught me many things. I've learned that:
  • silence really is golden... but can be petrifying; 
  • babies get filthy!!! (who knew?!);
  • bubble baths, coffee with actual caffeine, and GIGGLES are the most wonderful things ever; 
  • cloth diapers can keep a budget in check (not to mention the planet); 
  • nothing brings a smile to my face quicker than a baby who is just tickled pink that I walked into the room. 
I think you've taught your old dad a few things, too... which he may or may not admit. I'm pretty sure both of you are going to exchange that favor many times over the next lifetime. Although, if your first word actually is "boob" as he's teaching you, you might not have any siblings. (Sorry!)

All joking aside, I'm really glad to be your mom. I had a lot of time while you were cooking to think about what you'd be like, and I can honestly say that you are more awesome than anything I hoped for.

And I mean awesome in the true sense of the word, not the hot dog sense.


07 April 2010

Oh my god, Becky, listen to his cough...

As I sit & write this, it is the first time since 8am that I haven't been holding Cam. Currently the baby swing is again on top of the list of favorite baby items. My right deltoid & bicep thank you, Graco. (The good news is that Cam is a 17 lbs 3 oz oinker...)

Why do I have my arms free only now? Because he's coughing. Violently. It sounds like one (or both) of his lungs are going to shoot out across the room and go SPLAT against the fridge.

Back story: Brian, Cam, and I woke up sick (sore throats for the "adults", coughing for everyone!) last Friday, courtesy of Crazy Uncle Brett. I proceeded to feel "meh" over the weekend. Brian & Cam sounded worse and worse. Brian is slowly getting better. What is it with my boys and lung issues(!)?

Monday, Cam's cough changed and was deeper and more insistent. He was/is also filled with goo and a bit wheezy. Monday night, I steamed up the bathroom twice in an attempt to help him breathe more easily (3:45 and 6am... uuuuuugh). Yesterday I took him to the doctor (for fear of croup) and she spake the word, "Bronchiolitis".

While yes, it sounds yummy, it means his smaller airways (not the big bronchi) are inflamed and causing the difficulty breathing. She also said it would probably take 2-3-4 weeks to go away. On the off chance that some kind of asthma inhaler would work, we tried an in-office treatment... to no avail. There is no treatment for it until he either can't breathe (O2 tent @ the hospital) or develops other stuff. Meanwhile, I get to hear my baby try and pull his toenails out through his nostrils.


It makes my heart hurt.

I've also had to do approximately 400 loads of laundry since Friday, because violent coughing + trying to eat = NOT GOOD. :( We both got a bath at 7 this morning for the same reason. What a way to start the day.

The worst part is having to get up 6 times a night, though. Cam didn't even wake up this much when he was a newborn. I'm not sure if it's the sleep deprivation or what, but I feel like I'm getting sick again... my sore throat hasn't gone away yet.

 My happy wheezer.
6 April 2010

04 April 2010

Things I Am Grateful For...

#1 - baby monitors (but not ones with video cameras, because that's overkill)
#2 - external hard drives (to fill up with baby pictures)
#3 - the ability to sneak vegetables into smoothies so even I don't know they're there (yum)
#4 - tax refunds (needs no explanation)
#5 - hot water with honey & freshly grated ginger (yum)
#6 - when my awesome husband not only makes Easter Enchiladas but also cleans up afterward!!!!

Looking at this list, food might be a high priority for me. :)

Attitude. My ride has been pimped, thanks.
2 April 2010