Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Solo Living

Sorry I have been gone for so long! I find that whenever I let a few days pass without blogging then let a few more days pass, I start to feel intense pressure to make the next post a really good one. Which, of course, means that a few more days get the picture!

So, what's been going on? Well, a few weeks ago, Abel and Lucas went on a 9 day epic father and son adventure to Ohio, leaving Nathaniel and me home alone! It was quite strange and also quite lovely to be home alone (well, essentially alone!) for more than a week. Since neither Abel or I have ever traveled for work for more than a few days at a time, this was an entirely new experience for me and the longest I have been home alone in more than seven years. Here are a few things I learned:

- If Abel had left me alone for 9 days with a 5 month old Lucas, I would have been having panic attacks about caring for a baby solo for so long. When he proposed taking Lucas and leaving me here with Nathaniel, I practically jumped for joy at the thought of such an easy week.

- I am pretty messy when left to my own devices! Without Lucas here to make an even bigger mess of my mess or destroy important papers, etc., I spent the time starting a project, leaving it out and moving on to the next one. The house got quite messy throughout each day.

- I have hermit tendencies. I rationalized this based on the 90+ degree temps, but without a 4yo or husband urging me to get out of the house and do something, I was quite happy to simply be home.

- I can't blame Abel for keeping me up too late. Abel and I are both night owls but our love of sleeping in ended abruptly with Lucas's birth. Now, with two young children, it is nearly impossible. Abel still likes to stay up quite late, but I try to be more realistic and get us to bed at a reasonable hour. I always blame him when we stay up too late! So, you'd think with him gone, I'd be in bed and asleep promptly at 10pm every night (my usual goal!). Wrong! I stayed up until around midnight almost every night.

- By the same token, I can't always blame Abel for not replacing the toilet paper when it runs out. Man was I annoyed with myself when I did that!

- Our house creaks and groans at night. It freaked me out a little. No wonder Lucas prays that God will get us a new house that doesn't creak. (True story!)

- As much as I savored the time to myself (and got a lot of stuff done that is hard to do with an active 4yo underfoot), 9 days without my big boys was Far. Too. Long. I am incredibly glad they had such a great time together but am even more glad to have them both back home.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Baby in a Bucket

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Local and Organic Homemade Baby Food

Nathaniel is five months old and we've been giving him rice cereal for a few weeks. I think he is actually starting to enjoy it--he seems to know what is happening when the bib comes on and eagerly opens his mouth for the next bite. (He also likes to try to grab the spoon which makes for some messy eating! But what can you expect from a baby?)

He's ready for something more than rice cereal and I'm ready to start him on veggies. Our pediatrician actually mentioned starting with fruit, but I distinctly recall starting Lucas on veggies and I feel like it is good to get a palate for veggies developed before introducing wonderful, sweet-tasting fruits he's sure to love.

As I was thinking about what to start him with, I realized that he's starting foods just as our local farms are about to explode with a bounty of organically grown produce. Perfect! My goal for this summer through the fall is to see if we can feed Nathaniel only locally grown, in-season, organic produce.

So at Saturday's market I was ready to hunt for the best-looking veggies out there. There wasn't too much to choose from, though. If I wanted to start with fruit, I could have chosen from wonderfully red strawberries and raspberries or plump little blueberries. There was tons of lettuce, but that's not such a great baby food. Luckily, there were some adorable little summer squash--3 for $2--that I picked up from Radix Farm.

On Sunday, I peeled the squash, cut them into chunks and steamed them for several minutes until they were nice and tender. Then a quick whirl with my immersion blender and they were perfect. I filled up 12 holes in an ice cube tray to freeze them for use throughout the next two weeks. The whole process only took about 15 minutes--if you haven't ever made your own baby food, you should try it. It really is easy, I promise!!

My only regret is not buying six squash instead of three--I have enough for one cube of squash per day so I can do cereal in the morning and squash in the evening, but if he really likes the squash, I may run out too early. Luckily, there are a few more farmer's markets in the area to find more squash, but it certainly is most convenient to prepare it all at once.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Market Lunch

Friends, pictured above is one of the most simple but delicious lunches I've ever had! Yesterday morning was week 2 of our community market and there was so much wonderful stuff to choose from that I totally ran out of money before I got to the Maryland wine tent! (As an aside, thanks to state legislation initiated by the woman who is the force behind our market, sponsored by one of our state delegates, and passed this year by the MD General Assembly, Maryland wineries can now come to Maryland community/farmers markets!) (And you say government doesn't do anything for you!)

Anyway...I came home and promptly put this meal together. I was so proud of it that I just had to take a photo to share it with you! (The hydrangea is from my garden--my attempt at being an artsy food photographer.)

Here's a description of the meal with links to the vendors:

A hearty slice of farmers bread from the Cheverly Breadbasket with Caprikorn's to-die-f0r goat's milk gouda (toasted to crisp the bread and melt the gouda) with a salad of crisp lettuce and sliced cucumber from Shlagel Farm. For dessert, fresh and wonderfully sweet strawberries from Rebert's Farm. (The only component not from the market is a drizzling of my homemade Sweet and Sour Dressing.)

It was so good, I'm having it again today!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Random Birthday Thoughts

Lucas picked out my birthday card this year. Can you tell? (Please note that Abel crossed out the 6 and wrote in 33.) Within minutes of giving it to me (with a huge grin, BTW) he very sweetly asked if we could share it--how could I refuse?--and promptly took it back. He carried it around all day!

If you aren't on Facebook yet you should join just to be on Facebook on your birthday. What fun to get dozens and dozens of birthday wishes!

I know what I want next year for my birthday: to not be a mom. Now, now, don't get me wrong, I love being a mom! But just for my birthday, I'd rather not be a mom. Because all day I just kept thinking, "don't you know it's my birthday?" As in, "why are you whining about that inconsequential thing, don't you know it's my birthday?" Or, "why do I have to change this poopy diaper, don't you know it's my birthday?" Or, "your nap can't be over already, don't you know it's my birthday?"

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Letter Project

Friends, I am so excited about Sue from Laundry for Six's new project. She's calling it Letter Project and the idea is to write one letter a week for an entire year--52 weeks totaling 52 letters. She'll be writing about her own letters and offering readers a prompt each week for their own letters.

And I'm totally in!

I have stacks and stacks of letters from friends and family, the large majority of which arrived when I was in college. I was a prolific letter sender during those years as well. I only knew one person with e-mail during our freshman year and honestly, I didn't understand it at all! I eventually got e-mail maybe during my sophomore or junior year but still rarely used it. Instead, I wrote letters! I have long letters from my then teenage sister and short chicken scratch letters from my dad (he was the best care package sender ever!) and my grandparents. During summer break, my college girlfriends and I wrote to each other with actual letters as well. What wonderful prized possessions those letters are!

And of course, this project will be the perfect excuse to fuel my love of stationary--especially my love of finding cute stationary on sale! (Though, truth be told, I have boxes of cute note cards this very moment!)

I am not starting this project from scratch, actually, I imagine that I still write--and actually mail!--more written notes than the average person. I know what a joyous thrill it is to receive a real live letter or even a note that isn't a pre-printed card in the mail and so make an effort to send notes on a regular basis.

In honor or Memorial Day, Sue's first prompt is to write to someone in the military or someone who is deployed or living overseas. And I actually participated without even realizing it because I sent a care package and note to my sister whose husband is in Afghanistan for a year. (Sarah--check your mail!!)

I'm looking forward to next week's prompt! Won't you join me?

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!