Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Roman loves his Mama

I know this is true, because "Mama" was his first word.
The other night, Fabian was changing Roman's diaper (Isn't he a good dad?!), and asked me to get some pjs out for Roman. I walked into the closet and Roman turned his head to look for me, and uttered the most precious words a mother will ever hear, "MA MA." I stuck my head out of the closet and questioned, "What?," even though I knew exactly what he had just said. Fabian reassured me, by saying "Yep, and he was looking for you!" I preceded to ask Fabian if he was jealous. He told me, no; and I jokingly proclaimed that he should be, because Roman had just said "Mama!" (I know, I'm terrible!)
He has since called me Mama several times!
Roman has also been saying something very similar to "hey!"  So, I might be getting a "Hey, Mama" sometime soon!

Love this! -Flight Of The Conchords

Day 1 - Recent Photo of Me

Recent photo of Roman (my son) and me. We went on a walk with friends, because Roman was screaming (literally) to get out! He ended up falling asleep in the sling with my hand as his pillow!

15 Facts about Me:
1-I love being a mom and wife. Those are the two most important roles in my life!
2-I also love being a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, etc
3-I can not spell. (I spelled niece incorrectly before spell checking- IT IS THAT BAD!)
4-It annoys me when people don't speak their native language correctly. (However, I know everyone makes mistakes!)
5-I don't mind being there for people AT ALL, as long as the try to make positive changes in their life.
6-I recycle
7-I cloth diaper 90% of the time & am learning to make my own
8-I co-sleep and have since Roman was born and will probably continue until our next baby is born.
9-I breastfeed
10-I'm not big on having a TON of friends, rather having friends who mean a TON to me.
11-I enjoy working in small businesses or with individuals, and try to remain in contact long after I stop working with them.
12-I LOVE TEA & coffee, too
13-I do not have it all figured out & I enjoy learning
14-I LOVE to cook and bake (but on my terms)!
15- I crochet, sew, and craft. I am a NERD! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Teething Cuff Give-away

Check out this cool teething cuff, The Crafty Nest (http://vanessascraftynest.blogspot.com) and Roundhouse (http://www.roundhousedc.com.html) are GIVING-AWAY! Check it out on The Crafty Nest!
-"French for "Here You Go!" Oh Plah!™ is a bracelet for mom that baby or child can safely play with as a toy or teether
-Constructed of medical grade thermoplastic- non-toxic, bacteria resistant, and free of lead, latex, PVC, BPA and phthalates
-Meets or exceeds the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regulations, in addition to meeting or exceeding safety testing standards for Canada (C.R.C. c.931) and the European Union (EN-71).
-No small parts means its safe for even the tiniest babe
-Extremely durable yet flexible, standing up to frequent chewing without looking worn or damaged
-Easily cleaned with soap and water, and dries quickly so that it can be worn again right away
-Great as a nursing reminder (switch wrists to remember which side comes next)
-Made in the USA"
information from http://vanessascraftynest.blogspot.com)

five ACCESSORIES $25 Gift Certificate

Check out this contest I just found on The Crafty Nest's Blog @http://vanessascraftynest.blogspot.com/ :
It's a $25 gift certificate for five Accessories.

"five ACCESSORIES is a socially conscious company featuring handbags and accessories sourced through fair trade practices in FIVE countries. Our mission is to help generate income for individuals in developing areas, donate a substantial portion of the revenues to worthy causes in those areas, and to foster the use of sustainable materials in fashion.
In addition to our work with artisans in Bali, India, Honduras, and Cambodia, five ACCESSORIES is also partnering with several local organizations. In April 2009, we launched an accessory line titled 'Off The Street', which is sourced and produced by vendors of StreetWise, a Chicago based social enterprise designed to help elevate severely impoverished men and women out of poverty. By employing individuals that have formerly been homeless and using littered material "off the streets" of Chicago, they are offering a unique eco-friendly accessory line consisting of bracelets, buttons, belts, pins and picture frames constructed and adorned with items such as transit cards, bottle caps, ticket stubs from sporting events and other urban refuse. As with all of our accessory sales, 15% of gross income will be donated back to the local organization, StreetWise."
Check them out on Facebook or @http://www.fiveaccessories.com/index.php

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yogurt & Vanilla Extract Making

Yogurt Recipe
(I now know by heart)
Heat a gallon of milk up to 180 degrees. (Be sure to keep stirring it, or it will burn to the bottom-If burning occurs: refer to my 75 Ways to use baking soda tip #66.)
Then, place pot in the sink, in a bath of ice water. Let cool to 110/115 degrees.
Then, stir in 16oz of yogurt, and put mixture into a air-tight container. (I suggest using mason jars or other bpa-free containers.)You can also add in vanilla extract or any other flavoring, and/or sweetener at this time,but  can what until later (if you'd like).
Incubate for about 10 hours or until yogurt has congealed.
I do this by putting the yogurt containers into a bath of HOT water (inside a cooler). After about 5 hours, you have to pour out the water and fill it back up with HOT water. (I'm not sure what degree the water is, but it's as hot as my tap gets.) After the yogurt has congealed, you can strain excess liquid by stretching cheese cloth across the top of the container and securing it with a rubber band. This makes into something similar to Greek yogurt or Indian curd. Then, it's ready for the "fridge." ("The cold one, not the really cold one"- the way I explain it to my husband, Fabian. [He's from Chile.]) Sometimes, I even throw some into the freezer for us to enjoy with granola and fresh fruit, that evening.

Vanilla Extract
Three weeks, ago a friend and I bottled some of our very own vanilla extract. Now, the vodka is transforming into delicious vanilla essence. There are many benefits of making your own extract, such as: 100% natural flavoring, having a more concentrated product/not paying for water (most store-bought extracts are diluted), a product that will last six+ years (I'll drink mine before I let it lasts anywhere near that long) and the experience... days after making the extract, I was still finding vanilla caviar in random places around my house and even on Roman!

Busy, Busy, Busy

WOW- It's already been a week and a half since my last post...
(time flies when you are having fun)
Things have been pretty crazy at my house! I've been COOKING (EMPANADAS) and baking (tiramisu), exercising (jogging & pilates), tracking calories (on myfitnesspal.com), CLEANIN' HOUSE, sanding & painting patches, organizinghaving friends over for dinner and working on something BIG!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Roman Oliver

5-Months: Kisses & Flips

The more Roman eats, the more Roman sleeps.
However, the other night he feel asleep a bit too early. Fabian and I were afraid that he would also wake early . So, we decided it would be best to wake him. We both got on the bed next to him, and sweetly told him it was time to rise. He woke smiling. Then, he allowed us each to give him kisses, turning his head towards each one after about 4 kisses and preceded to do this for a total of about ten minutes. Both Fabian's and my eyes filled with tears of joy as we loved on our "Little P."
Roman and His Truck

Later, Fabian and Roman were playing in the living room while I prepared Roman's breakfast (oatmeal and b.milk) for the next morning. Fabian called me into the room and told me to watch... He had Roman's car toy about an cm out of his reach and Roman was trying desperately to reach it... UNTIL, he ROLLED OVER to get it! I literally jumped for joy! We tried to get him to do it again, but he bumped his head. Then, I remembered that it had been about five minutes since I had put the pot on the stove with only a little bit of water (from washing it)! I ran back to the kitchen to save the pot from the kitchen graveyard, where many a good appliance of mine has been laid to rest! It was a good night, needless to say.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tiramisu, Happy Birthday to You, 32

Fabian's "Birthday Cake"

The 27th was Fabian's birthday.
It was a pretty lazy day.
Fabian had breakfast in bed which consisted of banana bread (made by our friend [see bottom for recipe]) and coffee (in his new cup).
Then, I made him omelets for brunch with a screwdriver- HAPPY BIRTH-DAY! (We didn't have champagne for mimosas- He didn't seem to mind).
Then, we relaxed and watched television for awhile. We eventually pulled our lazy butts off of the couch and went to the grocery to grab a couple of things for dinner.
Later, I made beef stroganoff and put together the tiramisu that I had whipped, sprinkled, baked, scrapped, fluffed, mixed, and about every other thing you can do to a tiramisu.
The beef stroganoff was overcooked (due to the recipe I found online) and honestly, the tiramisu was better the next day (once the lady fingers had time to absorb).

Taken from TheFreshLoaf.com
Better Banana Bread

Better Banana Bread

Makes 1 huge loaf or 3 small loaves
Preheat the oven to 350
In one bowl, combine:
1/2 stick (4-5 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 eggs
2 or 3 very ripe bananas
1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
2/3 cup sugar

Use a potato masher, fork, or spoon to squish the banana and mix the ingredients together. It is alright for there to be small (1 centimeter) chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the banana to be reduced to mush.

In another bowl, combine:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.
If you like, stir in additional ingredients here, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, dried cherries or apricots, or chocolate chips. A handful (about a half a cup) is about right.
Pour the dough into greased baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Small loaves take around 30 minutes, a normal-sized loaf takes around 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven. This bread is great warm, but it is excellent cold too.
After they have cooled for 5 or 10 minutes the loaves can be removed from the pan to cool. Once they are cool they can be individually wrapped and frozen.

This banana bread is very moist and very good. It's different from the usual banana bread that we have at my house, in that it has cinnamon. It proves that change can definitely be a good thing.

Garden Omelets

3 eggs
2 medium sliced baby portabello mushrooms
1/4c diced tomatoes
1/4 spinach
2tbs diced onion
1tsp ricotta cheese
1/8tsp finely minced garlic
1/8tsp basil
salt & pepper to taste

Saute garlic, mushrooms and onions. Put into a dish. Whip egg with 1tbs water, salt and pepper.  Pour into pan. Cook most of the way through (about one and a half minutes on medium heat). Then, add sauteed veggies with a dash of salt and pepper. Add ricotta and tomatoes. Fold in half. Cook  until cheese starts to melt, Flip if needed. Serve and enjoy!


Mascarpone Cheese – Vera’s Recipe (Baking Obsession) for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese.
Savoiardi/ Ladyfinger Biscuits – Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home
Tiramisu – Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007

When I made the tiramisu, I made the Ladyfingers from scratch since the ones at the grocery are packed full of artificial flavors and preservatives. However, I was beating them with a whisk, and couldn't wait for the meringue to form high white fluffy peaks. So, they turned out a little flat, but still very yummy! I also made the zabaglione and the pastry creme from scratch, both turned out great!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

75 Uses for Baking Soda from LifeHackery.com

Health Uses
1. Use it as an antacid. (Hmm... I've got to try this in addition to my Star Anise tea)
2. Use it as underarm deodorant by applying it with a powder puff
3. Mix half a teaspoon with peroxide paste and use it as toothpaste. (This sounds like a great alternative to regular toothpaste that contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
4. Use it as a face and body scrub.
5. Add a cup to bathwater to soften your skin.
6. Relieve skin itch from insect bites and pain from sunburn.
7. Remove strong odors from your hands by rubbing them with baking soda and water. (Love it!)
8. Put two tablespoons in your baby’s bathwater to help relieve diaper rash.
9. Apply it on rashes, insect bites, and poison ivy irritations.
10. Take a baking soda bath to relieve skin irritations.
11. Heartburn? Take a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one-half glass of water.
12. Freshen your mouth by gargling half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed water.
13. Relieve canker sore pain by using it as mouthwash.
14. Use it to relieve bee stings.
15. Use it to relieve windburns.
16. Apply it on jellyfish sting to draw out the venom.
17. Unblock stuffy nose by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to your vaporizer.

In the Home
18. Keep cut flowers fresh longer by adding a teaspoon to the water in the vase. (I guess Fabian will have to go buy me some flowers, to try this one!)
19. Put out small fires on rugs, upholstery, clothing, and wood. (Glad I haven't had to use this one!)
20. Put an open container of baking soda in the fridge to absorb the odors.
21. Sprinkle it on your ashtrays to reduce bad odor and prevent smoldering.
22. Sprinkle it on your slippers, boots, shoes, and socks to eliminate foul odor.
23. Turn baking soda into modeling clay by combining it with one and 1/4 cups of water and one cup of cornstarch.
24. After feeding your baby, wipe his shirt with a moist cloth sprinkled with baking soda to remove the odor.
25. Wipe your windshield with it to repel rain. (Great idea for Floridians)
26. Improve the smell of dishrags by soaking them in baking soda and water.
27. Suck it in with your vacuum cleaner to remove the odor.
28. Freshen the air by mixing baking soda with your favorite perfumed bath salts. Put the mixture in small sachet bags.
29. Restore stiff brushes by boiling them in a solution of 1/2 gallon of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and a cup of baking soda.
30. Put it under sinks and along basement windows to repel cockroaches and ants.
31. Scatter baking soda around flowerbeds to prevent rabbits from eating your veggies.
32. Sweeten your tomatoes by sprinkling baking soda on the soil around your tomato plants.
33. Sprinkle it onto your cat’s litter box to absorb the bad odor.
34. Sprinkle it on your pet’s comb or brush to deodorize their fur and skin.

In Cooking
35. Use it as a substitute for baking powder by mixing with it with cream of tartar or vinegar.
36. Wash fruits and vegetables with it. (This supposedly helps remove pesticides!)
37. When boiling a chicken, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water. Feathers will come off easier, and the flesh will be clean and white.
38. Soak dried beans to a baking soda solution to make them more digestible.
39. Remove the distinctive taste of wild game by soaking it in a baking soda solution.
40. Make a sports drink by mixing it with boiled water, salt, and Kool-Aid. (I don't know about the Kool-Aid)
41. Remove the fishy smell from your fillets by soaking the raw fish in a baking soda solution for an hour   inside the fridge.
42. Make fluffier omelets by adding half a teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs used.
43. Reduce the acid content of your tomato-based recipes by sprinkling them with a pinch of baking soda. (Got to try this one)

Cleaning Purposes
44. Add a cup to the toilet, leave it for an hour, and then flush. It will clean the toilet and absorb the odor.
45. Use it to scrub sinks, showers, plastic and porcelain tubs
46. Spray it on walls, mirrors, and counter tops.
47. Add a spoonful to your dishwasher to make scrubbing dishes easier.
48. Remove grease from pots and pans.
49. Dry clean carpets and upholstered furniture by sprinkling baking soda over the fabric and gently brushing it. Leave it for an hour or overnight, then vacuum.
50. Boost your laundry detergent’s cleaning power by sprinkling a handful on dirty clothes.
51. Combine it with water to make a paste for polishing stainless steel and chrome.
52. Remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors and walls.
53. Clean your shoes with it.
54. Clean garbage cans with it.
55. Use it to wash diapers.
56. Clean the fridge with it.
57. Soak brushes and combs in a baking soda solution.
58. Mix it with water to wash food and drink containers.
59. Put three tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of warm water, then use the mixture to wash marble-topped furniture.
60. Absorb it with a damp sponge, then clean Formica counter tops with the sponge.
61. Use it to get rid of stale odors from cooling containers and thermos bottles.
62. Run your coffee maker with a baking soda solution, then rinse.
63. Combine with hot water to clean baby bottles.
64. Sprinkle it on barbecue grills, then rinse it off.
65. Scatter it on your greasy garage floor, scrub the floor, and rinse.
66. Remove burned-on food from a pan by soaking it in a baking soda solution for 10 minutes before washing. (I tried this one the other day to remove burnt milk from the bottom of a pan. I boiled it with about 2 tsp baking soda and all the burnt mess floated to the top!)
67. Clean your ashtrays with a baking soda solution.
68. Keep your drains clean by putting four tablespoons of baking soda in them each week. Flush it down with hot water. (This works and is so much more environmentally friendly than chemical drain cleaners)
69. Clean your shower curtains by soaking them in baking soda and water.
70. Put it on a small brush to rub canvas handbags clean.
71. Use it to remove melted plastic bread wrapper from a toaster. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp rug, then use the rag to clean the toaster. (Does everyone do that?!)
72. Use it to clean your retainers and dentures.
73. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and used it to scrub enameled cast iron and stainless steel.
74. Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of warm water, and use it to clean the inside part of an oven.
75. Use it to unclog gas stoves.

Taken from http://lifehackery.com/2008/07/22/home-4/
Reposted from Penny I. on Facebook

Lakeshore Medical Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic: Normal Newborn Behavior and Why Breastmilk Isn't Just Food

What is a normal, term human infant supposed to do?
First of all, a human baby is supposed to be born vaginally. Yes, I know that doesn't always happen, but we're just going to talk ideal, normal for now. We are supposed to be born vaginally because we need good bacteria. Human babies are sterile, without bacteria, at birth. It's no accident that we are born near the anus, an area that has lots of bacteria, most of which are good and necessary for normal gut health and development of the immune system. And the bacteria that are there are mom's bacteria, bacteria that she can provide antibodies against if the bacteria there aren't nice.
Then the baby is born and is supposed to go to mom. Right to her chest. The chest, right in between the breasts is the natural habitat of the newborn baby. (Fun factoid: our cardiac output, how much blood we circulate in a given minute, is distributed to places that are important. Lots goes to the kidney every minute, like 10% or so, and 20% goes to your brain. In a new mom, 23% goes to her chest- more than her brain. The body thinks that place is important!)
That chest area gives heat. The baby has been using mom's body for temperature regulation for ages. Why would they stop? With all that blood flow, it's going to be warm. The baby can use mom to get warm. When I was in my residency, we would put a cold baby "under the warmer" which meant a heater thingy next to mom. Now, as I have matured, if a baby is "under the warmer," the kid is under mom. I wouldn't like that. I like the kids on top of mom, snuggled.
Now we have a brand new baby on the warmer. That child is not hungry. Bringing a hungry baby into the world is a bad plan. And really, if they were hungry, can you please explain to me why my kids sucked the life force out of me in those last few weeks of pregnancy? They better have been getting food, or well, that would have been annoying and painful for nothing.
Every species has instinctual behaviors that allow the little ones to grow up to be big ones and keep the species going. Our kids are born into the world needing protection. Protection from disease and from predators. Yes, predators. Our kids don't know they've been born into a loving family in the 21st century- for all they know it's the 2nd century and they are in a cave surrounded by tigers. Our instinctive behaviors as baby humans need to help us stay protected. Babies get both disease protection and tiger protection from being on mom's chest. Presumably, we gave the baby some good bacteria when they arrived through the birth canal. That's the first step in disease protection. The next step is getting colostrum.
A newborn baby on mom's chest will pick their head up, lick their hands, maybe nuzzle mom, lick their hands and start to slide towards the breast. The kids have a preference for contrasts between light and dark, and for circles over other shapes. Think about that...there's a dark circle not too far away.
Mom's sweat smells like amniotic fluid, and that smell is on the child's hands (because there's been no bath yet!) and the baby uses that taste on their hand to follow mom's smell. The secretions coming from the glands on the areola (that dark circle) smell familiar too and help the baby get to the breast to get the colostrum which is going to feed the good bacteria and keep them protected from infection. The kids can attach by themselves. Watch for yourself! And if you just need colostrum to feed bacteria and not yourself, well, there doesn't have to be much. And there isn't because the kids aren't hungry and because Breastmilk is not food!
We're talking normal babies. Breastfeeding is normal. It's what babies are hardwired to do. 2009 or 209, the kids would all do the same thing: try to find the breast. Breastfeeding isn't special sauce, a leg up or a magic potion. It's not "best. " It's normal. Just normal. Designed for the needs of a vulnerable human infant. And nothing else designed to replace it is normal.
Colostrum also activates things in the baby's gut that then goes on to make the thymus grow. The thymus is part of the immune system. Growing your thymus is important. Breastmilk= big thymus, good immune system. Colostrum also has a bunch of something called Secretory Immunoglobulin A (SIgA). SIgA is made in the first few days of life and is infection protection specifically from mom. Cells in mom's gut watch what's coming through and if there's an infectious cell, a special cell in mom's gut called a plasma cell heads to the breast and helps the breast make SIgA in the milk to protect the baby. If mom and baby are together, like on mom's chest, then the baby is protected from what the two of them may be exposed to. Babies should be with mom.
And the tigers. What about them? Define "tiger" however you want. But if you are baby with no skills in self-protection, staying with mom, having a grasp reflex, and a startle reflex that helps you grab onto your mom, especially if she's hairy, makes sense. Babies know the difference between a bassinet and a human chest. When infants are separated from their mothers, they have a "despair- withdrawal" response. The despair part comes when they alone, separated. The kids are vocally expressing their desire not to be tiger food. When they are picked up, they stop crying. They are protected, warm and safe. If that despair cry is not answered, they withdraw. They get cold, have massive amounts of stress hormones released, drop their heart rate and get quiet. That's not a good baby. That's one who, well, is beyond despair. Normal babies want to be held, all the time.
And when do tigers hunt? At night. It makes no sense at all for our kids to sleep at night. They may be eaten. There's nothing really all that great about kids sleeping through the night. They should wake up and find their body guard. Daytime, well, not so many threats. They sleep better during the day. (Think about our response to our tigers-- sleep problems are a huge part of stress, depression, anxiety).
And sleep... My guess is everybody sleeps with their kids- whether they choose to or not and whether they admit to it or not. It's silly of us as health care providers to say "don't sleep with your baby" because we all do it. Sometimes accidentally. Sometimes intentionally. The kids are snuggly, it feels right and you are tired. So, normal babies breastfeed, stay at the breast, want to be held and sleep better when they are with their parents. Seems normal to me. But there is a difference between a normal baby and one that isn't. Safe sleep means that we are sober, in bed and not a couch or a recliner, breastfeeding, not smoking...being normal. If the circumstances are not normal, then sleeping with the baby is not safe.

That chest -to -chest contact is also brain development. Our kids had as many brain cells as they were ever going to have at 28 weeks of gestation. It's a jungle of waiting -to-be- connected cells. What we do as humans is create too much and then get rid of what we aren't using. We have like 8 nipples, a tail and webbed hands in the womb. If all goes well, we don't have those at birth. Create too much- get rid of what you aren't using. So, as you are snuggling, your child is hooking up happy brain cells and hopefully getting rid of the "eeeek" brain cells. Breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, is brain wiring. Not food.
Why go on and on about this? Because more and more mothers are choosing to breastfeed. But most women don't believe that the body that created that beautiful baby is capable of feeding that same child and we are supplementing more and more with infant formulas designed to be food. Why don't we trust our bodies post-partum? I don't know. But I hear over and over that the formula is because "I am just not satisfying him." Of course you are. Babies don't need to "eat" all the time- they need to be with you all the time- that's the ultimate satisfaction.
A baby at the breast is getting their immune system developed, activating their thymus, staying warm, feeling safe from predators, having normal sleep patterns and wiring their brain, and (oh by the way) getting some food in the process. They are not "hungry" --they are obeying instinct. The instinct that allows us to survive and make more of us.

Dr. Thomas
Roman co-sleeping
I noticed that Ruth K. had reposted this from Lakeshore Medical Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic. I thought this was a very interesting view on breastfeeding, vaginal birth, attached parenting, and co-sleeping. I don't necessarily agree with every point, but I definitely agree with the main idea. I'm posting this not to condemn anyone that chooses to do otherwise, but to encourage those that have struggled in the areas addressed.

-Lindsey C.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diaper Give-away

If breastfeeding offends you, put a blanket over YOUR head! Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week by entering to win free breastfeeding logo cloth diapers from Cheeky Diapers! Two winners will be chosen. Remember, only comments left on the blog are counted - you can't enter by commenting on facebook!

If breastfeeding offends you, put a blanket over YOUR head!: Enter to win a FREE breastfeeding logo.