Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Evie's new "cousin"

So my sister came down last night to introduce us to her new baby... a 9 week old cocker spaniel puppy named Coconut or Nutters as she has taken to calling her. She was perfectly proportioned to little Miss Evelyn but she was still a little unsure about her because of her energy! She is used to my parents' 45 pound cocker Bear who, given the chance, will lovingly maul her over - she will turn her head away from the tongue and blindly swat at him with her hand or whatever "weapon" she may be holding at the time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Need to get it off my chest

Let me start by saying that I don't normally blog about topics such as this and do not claim to be an expert on any of this (but I have done a bit of research). My heart is just very heavy with all that is going on and the reality that faces the mothers and other people in Africa dealing with malaria.
There has been controversy lately on this video, in particular the part where Salma Hayek nurses a sick 7 day old African baby boy. I will admit that it was a bit shocking that she did that but I would say that has a lot to do with the stigma about nursing and the selfishness that is so widespread here in America. I will say though that as a nursing mother and a compassionate human being I think I would have done something similar in the circumstances. What surprises me though is how outraged so many people were about the cross nursing section of the video and how that also spawned much maliciousness toward Ms. Hayek and other mothers who continue to nurse their babies past the traditional 1 year max that has become so common. Seriously, people were just mean! One phychiatrist went as far as to say that her continued breastfeeding was SELFISH and bordered on SEXUAL CHILD ABUSE!!! What?! I knew that a lot of people didn't agree with it but to say that when the World Health Organization says they recommend breastfeeding until two years or more and even the American Academy of Pediatrics has said that infants should be breastfed until at least 12 months and then after that as long is as mutually desired.
This article goes over some frequently debated points against continuing to breastfeed, such as whether it will create an increased dependency in the child, that the benefits of the milk decrease after 6 to 12 months. As for the sexuality of breastfeeding/breasts, that is something that our culture has created and that is definitely not the way babies look at them. They see them as a source of food and comfort and if someone is worried about a baby older than 12 months seeing them in a sexual way - I think that the concern shouldn't be based on the breastfeeding but what we as a culture are teaching our young ones.
I have personally seen the benefits of breastfeeding firsthand with my daughter. She has been exposed to sick people many times without showing any sickness herself. She has beautiful soft skin and is a very bright energetic child! She also is very attached to PEOPLE, not things, but people... and she has increasingly become more and more independent as she grows. At this point I don't know how long I will continue to nurse but I do know that I choose the health and other benefits that it provides for my daughter over what people think and say based on what society has programmed into them. I wish that more people would stop, think and go look at the results of research for themselves instead of always trusting what mainstream is telling them.
Okay, I have to stop... I don't feel much better though, because I know that babies in Africa are going to keep dying unless things change - one of them being breastfeeding and also because I know that I am likely to be subject of people telling me that I should not be breastfeeding anymore in varying degrees and I will be left feeling torn about the decision I am making when I shouldn't be because I know in my heart AND in my head that it is the right decision for me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

I promise I will add words later... its past midnight and I just got all the photos uploaded and need to go to sleep! We had a great day though!

Evie got me up bright and early a little before 8 am. So much for sleeping in, normally D gets up with her on Saturday mornin g so I can get a bit of uninterrupted sleep(we cosleep and she is squirmy) but he was sick from work Friday and still not feeling the greatest. So I took advantage of the time he was absent and we finished up his Valentine cards and I baked the cake - recipe below.

After D got up Evie and he opened their Valentines... nothing fancy, a fleece stuffed heart "hug" for Evie since she still enjoys snacking on paper and for D a handmade card, movie snackies and a fun little stack of "things to do" that we put into a red bowl and drew at random throughout the day just so we didn't fall into the trap of sitting and watching tv and playing on the internet all day(can you guess which one I am?) and the card from Evie. I didn't get the customary dozen red roses, I never have for this day because I have told D from the start that her would be in trouble because of how much they cost - I am a very frugal person and it irks me how they jack the prices up, but hey supply and demand I guess.
So, we had a breakfast of blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese (D isn't much of a breakfast guy :) Then Evie drew our first activity - 5 minute massages! So after I got the soup going for our dinner appetizer we set the timer and each gave the other a 5 minute back massage.
Then D went out and shoveled our back deck off from the big snow the day before and he had a little help from Miss Evie.
After that it was time for Evie to
take her nap then we drew our next activity... Sweetheart Scrabble. The basic premise is that you can only use words that are relational to sweethearts. Well... that is A LOT harder than it sounds. So we got creative... we laughed, a lot!
Then after Evie got up from her nap we made a run to get propane for the grill and then when we got home we went outside to play in the snow and I finished shoveling the snow on the sidewalk around our house... our great neighbor across the street had already done the driveway (and it wasn't the first time he's done that!). Evie could hardly stand up in her snowpants and coat but she didn't get upset when she did fall down, she just ate some snow :)
Then next activity was questions about each other that we think we might know but I thought we should go over them just in case - things like fave color, food, season... etc.
For dinner we made steaks on the grill with sauteed mushrooms, baked potatoes, steamed brocolli and of course the black tie tomato soup that I made earlier (that recipe is also below - it is yum yum yummy! and really good with fresh bread or croutons. After dinner our activity was playing a board game so we chose Sequence - I won! Then Evie got a bath and went to bed and D and I had some of that wonderful cake! I had another piece today! Then we finished watching the movie Enchanted (very corny but sweet - perfect for Valentine's Day!) and then went to bed. I have to say that in the last few months with all the craziness it was the most connected I felt to my husband in a long time. It was
really nice! I hope you all had wonderful weekends as well!

Recipe section:
Black-Tie Tomato Soup
1. Melt 1 cube of butter (or you could use olive oil or whatever) and saute 1 pound of mushrooms, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of basil, 1/2 tsp of thyme for 15 minutes over medium heat.2. Add 1 package of bacon cooked and chopped or 1 package of real bacon bits/pieces3. Add the following ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes: 1 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp salt, 3 cans (or the equivalent of) 28oz each of diced tomatoes4 turn down heat to low and add in this order, 1 cup of heavy cream and then 2 cups of half and half. Be careful not to let it boil after these have been added.

Suzy Q Chocolate Cake
You can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe or even a box recipe - I put mine below. I used two round pans but you can do cupcakes and fill them or just top them, or a 9x13 cake and slice it in half top and bottom and put the filling between... be creative.
Super Moist Chocolate Cake:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (I use rice milk)
1/2 cup oil (I sub applesauce)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup boiling water
1. heat oven to 350 degrees F, grease and flour 2 9 inch round baking pans
2. stir together the first five ingredients (all the dry ingredients), then add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes then stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). pour into pans.
3 bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
4 cool before icing - very important b/c the filling/icing will melt!
Cream Filling:
1 cup milk (I again used rice milk)
5 tbsp flour
-combine these two ingredients in sauce pan over med high heat and whisk/stir frequently until thickened, then set in sink of cool water
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 tbsp vanilla
-beat these ingredients together on high until fluffy, then add the flour/milk mixture and again beat until fluffy, use half for between layers and top with remaining half of cream
then I used semisweet chocolate chips to make a design on the top
Let me know if you have questions about either of these recipes and I would be glad to help. I don't know the source of either.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Evie's party

Evie will be turning 1 this Thursday February 12. Since Valentine's Day is the Saturday after we had a little party for her last Saturday the 7th. It was simple we had some snacky stuff, chocolate and white cupcakes and for the birthday girl applesauce banana cupcakes (sugar, dairy, wheat free). They tasted okay and had an interesting texture but for her she didn't know any different and seemed to love it! She even had a special outfit that I made with a matching floofy bow.

The recipe was from here, I used the first recipe for Sugar free applesauce and banana cake, cut it in half and it still made 12 cupcakes. I substituted Red Mill Gluten free flour for the wheat flour, did not add wheat germ, and used rice milk instead of soy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sorry it has been so long

I really have meant to post more than once in the past weeks... it has been so busy! In between first birthday party planning and sulking that my baby is almost a year I have been frantically cleaning and trying to get some long overdue projects done. We are having a small celebration this Saturday with family and friends. I know she won't remember but I want to have the memories captured for her later. She's my first and it's her first... I think this has been the quickest year of my life! I will hopefully have more time next week to do some proper posting about visiting family the last week while my hubby was out of town on business and then getting together for the Superbowl, I have some adorable pics of Evie and her cousin Violet who is 5 months old now. Anyways, I will be in touch soon but in the mean time please forgive my abscence and say a prayer for my sanity as I am a little OCD and still take on way too much even after a year of parenthood.

Oh, here are a couple pics of the purses/bags I made for my mother-in-law and her sister for Christmas - yes, I know that was over a month ago... the brown courderoy one has a cotton lining printed with Nativity scenes for my MIL (she collects manger scenes and has hundreds so it gets hard to find originals - bet she doesn't have this one!) and the dark red is for my husband's aunt and has a nice red flowery wallpapery type pattern on the interior - very classy :) The tutorial is from here. It went together pretty well, I adjusted how the handle went together at the top and cheated and machine stitched the lining closed (this from someone who ends up doing almost a 1/2 inch seam allowance when it was supposed to be 1/4 inch).