Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Breakfast and the Beach

After Tashlict service, Thatboy headed back down to San Diego, leaving me and Thatbaby up in Orange County.  See, Thatbaby's daycare was closed for both days of Rosh Hashannah, so I planned for a playdate in Orange County last Tuesday. 

We hit the beach and Thatbaby got another day in the sand.  He's getting a lot of those lately.  The weather here has been more than cooperative - it's been downright hot!  The dog days of summer indeed.

One of the great things about summer are the sweet, creamy avocados that become insanely cheap.  I use them in just about everything lately.  Thatbaby is also a fan, as I use avocado in place of mayonnaise in most of his sandwiches. 

With that in mind, when I stumbled across these avocado eggs benedicts I knew they would be a great breakfast hit.  For Thatboy and I, the benedicts were topped with the recommended chipotle hollandaise sauce, which Thatboy finds to be far superior to regular hollandaise sauce.

Thatbaby gets a modified version with no sauce, and a hard-poached egg.  I was right about them being a hit.  He loved his.  I even think I saw him licking his English muffin, and with avocados this delicious, can you blame him?

Avocado Eggs Benedict in Chipotle Hollandaise Sauce (From Confections of a Foodie Bride)
  • 2 English muffins
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 avocado
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 chipotle + 1 Tbsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
  • 1 stick of butter, melted

  1. Heat a sauce pan with 2 inches of water to a simmer.
  2. Split the English muffins in half and toast until browned.
  3. Cook the bacon to a crisp and set aside.
  4. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop the flesh into a bowl.
  5. Add a pinch of salt and mash with a fork.
  6. Spread the avocado over the toasted English muffin halves and top with the bacon.
  7. Crack 1 egg at a time into a separate small bowl or cup. Stir the simmering water with a spoon and gently pour the egg into the swirling water. Repeat with the second egg (I poach two at a time).
  8. Cook the eggs for 2 1/2 minutes, until the whites are cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain for a minute before placing on top of the bacon.
  9. Cook the remaining two eggs and serve seasoned with salt and pepper.
  10. Place egg yolks, lemon, salt, chipotle and adobo sauce in the blender.
  11. Blend for 30 seconds before streaming in the melted butter
  12. Serve immediately.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mommy Mondays: Breast Case Scenario and Giveaway!

In a little over a week, I will have breastfed for a full year.  For me, that's a pretty big deal.

I always knew I wanted to try to breastfeed.  And sure, there are a host of fabulous health benefits for both mother and baby (immunity, allergies, decrease in cancer and heart disease, healthier weight for mom and baby...) as well as being free.  But for me, it really came down to the fact that I have always hated my breasts.  I developed early and with great...generosity.  And lugging these babies around hasn't ever been a dream.  But, if breastfeeding worked for me, then it would be all worth it.  After all, that is what they're there for.  Mammaries.  The things that separate us from birds and fish.

I contribute my success with breastfeeding to two things - luck and knowledge. 

During Pregnancy:  I really lucked out and found a fabulous breastfeeding class run through my hospital.  Or maybe this one falls into the knowledge category, since I purposely chose a hospital that put a lot of stock into breastfeeding.  Every nurse at the hospital is a certified Lactation Consultant and there's a lactation boutique at the hospital that runs free weekly breastfeeding support groups.  My insurance even covered the breastfeeding class! 

And the class itself helped to arm me and really prepare me for what to expect.  It covered so many myths associated with breastfeeding, so I felt fairly knowledgeable, even without any experience.  Pretty much all the misconceptions involved supply in some way, shape or form.  99% of women who claim they have supply issues actually don't.  They just don't realize that you don't need much at first!  And then they go and do something to mess it up. 

Milk coming in: Milk can take a looong time to come in.  Up to 2 weeks!  So I wasn't concerned at all when my milk didn't come in before I left the hospital.  Or the day after.  Or the day after that.  I knew it would come, and until then, the colostrum the body produces is the perfect amount and nutrition the baby needs.

How much you produce:  I'm on a breastfeeding forum and I can't even count the number of women who claim they can only get an ounce or two out at first.  An ounce or two?  You child probably isn't eating an ounce or two for at least a month!  At birth, a baby's stomach is the size of a marble, and even though it will eventually increase, it only increases up to the size of their fist.  Have you seen a baby's fist?  Not very big.  It takes hardly anything to fill it up.  In fact, a breastfed baby never needs more than 4oz of milk.  The nutritional content changes so that 4oz contains everything they need.

The Diapers: The class taught me that the best way to determine if your supply is adequate is by keeping track of diapers.  Plenty of wet and poopy diapers?  Your kid is getting plenty to eat.

Keeping it flowing: The class went over a lot of "bad advice" women get.  Like when they feel their supply is inadequate and they're told to pump to increase supply.  Which is basically the opposite of what you want to do.  Because babies are much more efficient than the pump, so the baby is going to help build your supply in a way the pump will never be able to do.  Especially during growth spurts, where if you're pumping you're not going to find it difficult to keep up.  So basically, the answer to supply insecurity is "nurse more."  Or women who are told to supplement with formula very early on- (disclaimer:  There are definitely women who need to supplement for a variety of reasons, but if you work with a lactation consultant, there are ways to supplement that won't jeopardize the breastfeeding relationship.)

At birth: Thatbaby was born with his cord wrapped around his neck multiple times and labor was causing his heart to decelerate.  As soon as he was born, he was whisked across the room to be suctioned, warmed, and monitored, so we didn't do skin to skin immediately, although it only felt like moments before he was placed on my chest.  Babies are supposed to instinctual find the breast on their own, but my guy was a little tired and traumatized.  (Who am I kidding, this kid was a lazy nurser from the start!)  The nurse gave him 30-40 minutes to find the breast, (because really, babies don't need to eat right away, they're pretty full when they get out) and then helped guide him over and latch. 

He had a great latch from the start (luck), so I never had to worry about sore, cracked nipples, or even pain - although I was expecting all of the above.  But as I mentioned, was a lazy nurser, so he wasn't so good at sucking at first.  He'd latch and then look up at me like "now what?"  He was a little jaundiced, but a pooping machine, so the nurses had no problem sending us home to work it out on our own.

The first week: As I said before, it took a couple of days for my milk to come in.  And we had some concerns related to that.  First, there was the jaundice.  Then, there was the weight gain - Thatbaby had lost almost 10% of his birthweight at the hospital and we obviously wanted him to gain that back.  Last, were the uric acid crystals we were finding in his diaper due to dehydration.  Because colustrum is fabulous for nutrition, but it's dense, not really liquidy.  So we were also lucky that I have a very breastfeeding friendly pediatrician who didn't fret, but told me that everything would be fine once my milk came in.  And he was right! 

And boy oh boy did my milk come in.  So much so, that the breast tissue under my arms filled with milk.  Talk about uncomfortable.  That was the only pain I had while breastfeeding.  Hot showers, massages, hot compresses.  It took almost a full day to get the milk out of there and into my breasts where it belonged.

The second week: Remember that lazy nurser?  It continued into his second week of life.  When it would take me a full hour to wake him up to eat.  I tried everything to get him to wake up so he could eat and return to birth weight. Cold towels, tickling feet, flicking ears, stripping down.  It was exhausting trying to wake him!  This behavior ended the very night we were told we didn't have to wake him again because he returned to his birth weight.

The third week: The growth spurt!  My OB's nurse told me allll about cluster feeding, but it's still frustrating to feel like you just finished feeding the baby, and all of a sudden the baby is crying to be fed again.  I think this is where many women start questioning their supply, not realizing that this is perfectly normal behavior and this is where your supply really starts establishing.  We introduced a pacifier this week, holding off until I was confident in our breastfeeding relationship.

The fourth week:  I started pumping.  After the 3 week growth spurt, I added a pump session after the first morning feed, when most women make the most milk.  At first I barely got an ounce, but with consistency, that built up so that I was able to introduce a bottle week 5.

The fifth week:  Introducing the bottle.  Our breastfeeding class gave us so much good information on this.  Things like - it should take the baby as long to eat from the bottle as the breast, give the bottle cold (don't heat it up), feed the baby the bottle while the baby is sitting up, keeping the bottle almost horizontal (like a breast), and most importantly, have someone offer the bottle when mom isn't around, because babies can smell their mother/milk.  So I went for a quick 30 minute run, leaving Thatboy to feed Thatbaby  And of course, in order to keep up my supply, I had to pump every time a bottle was offered.

Our first real breastfeeding struggle came when I went back to work.  Thatbaby was going through 5 bottles at daycare, at home he was only eating twice during the same time period, and at work I was only pumping enough for 2 bottles.  I spoke with his daycare and convinced them that he probably didn't need as much milk.  Because it comes out of a bottle so quickly, many breastfed babies don't realize they're full until a few minutes after they finish.  So they fuss a bit when they finish the bottle, and this becomes another supply issue.  Because more milk is offered and it stretches out the baby's stomach.  Then they need more milk, and your body can't keep up.  Daycare slowed the bottle feeding and waited a little after feeding him, and sure enough, he dropped down to 4 bottles.

Which was still more than I was making.  But I wanted to keep going, so I added in some more pumping sessions.  On the weekends, I added in 2 sessions each day.  And I added in an extra morning session each day of the week.  It was a lot of time and effort, but it meant I was able to keep giving him breastmilk and build a freezer supply for days when I couldn't make enough, and that I'll be able to use over the next month while I stop pumping.

My favorite breastfeeding tools:
*My GliderI know, I wrote all about this when I talked about the nursery, but for real, this is the #1 breastfeeding tool.  Because you spend so much time, it's important to be comfortable.  And I'm totally spoiled.  I hate nursing in bed or on the couch, or anywhere without backsupport where I can't put my feet up.

*A Boppy.  I still use this, although it was much more important in the beginning when Thatbaby was a little guy, because it supports him, close to the breast, so I didn't have to hold him there.

*Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover.  I started this entry by talking about my love/hate relationship with me breasts.  I've never been entirely comfortable with them, and I certainly don't love people staring at them.  So for me, a cover was a necessity, because there was no way I was going to let my own insecurities keep my baby from eating.  So this is a "have cover will travel" situation.  I could (and do) nurse anywhere, just throw this around my neck.  I have a couple nursing covers and this one is my favorite because of the boning that lets me look down and see Thatbaby.   It's also great for distraction free nursing and to shelter him from the elements while he eats (sun, wind, etc.)

*Simple Lines Breast Milk Trays.  I personally think this is the most fantastic storage system.  I freeze my milk in one ounce sticks, then place them in Lasinoh bags.  Then I can take exactly as many ounces as I need, place them directly in the bottle, and let them defrost there.  A lot of people use regular ice cube trays, but the shape of the ice cubes make it more difficult to put in the bottle, so I'm a stick girl.

*Bamboobies Breastpads.  I know I'm not the only one who leaked.  And big wet patches on your chest is never attractive.  I love these reuseable pads.  I have the daytime and the nighttime version.  The daytime ones are super duper soft.  But they're also super duper thin, so you don't end up with unsightly bulges you can see through your shirt.  The night time ones are super thick - so you can see them through your shirt, but if you're wearing them in bed, who cares?  And they're fabulous for when your baby starts sleeping longer so you don't wake up in a pool of milk. 

I love these pads so much that I'm going to give one of you a free set!  Just leave a comment between now and next Monday and I'll pick a random winner. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Bright New Year

It's holiday time already.  It seems to have come much too fast this year.  Perhaps that's because the High Holidays are now inextricably intertwined with Thatbaby's birthday.

Last year, Rosh Hashannah was about a week later.  I was ever so pregnant and we decided to forgo our annual trip up to Thatmom's home.  And I had Thatbaby a few days after the holiday.  Thatboy and I spent the day at home, relaxing, with a trip to the beach for our own Tashlict service.

This year, we resumed our old traditions, heading up to Orange County where we attended services with my family.  We had dinners where we sat and laughed, and this year, Thatbaby came with us to Tashlict.

 Although he didn't quite get it.  In general he is a fabulous food thrower.  But when we handed him bread to throw in the water he decided it was too delicious to part with.

The traditional Jewish New Year foods include apples and honey - to symbolize the harvest and a sweet new year.  Instead of apples and honey, I present you with something else that symbolizes a sweet new year - cake.  A cake with walnuts and raisins.  A cake with a sweet filling and perfectly white frosting.

New Year Cake
1/4 lb butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
2 tsp orange extract
4 eggs, 2 of them separated
2 cups flour
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 + 1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp minced candied orange peel 
juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup shredded coconut 
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 325.  Spray two 8-inch cake pans with baking spray.  Cream the butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the orange extract and the eggs and beat well.
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt and stir into the first mixture.
  4. Add the milk and beat until smooth.
  5. Fold in the raisins, walnuts, and orange peel.
  6. Spoon into the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before tuning out onto racks.
  7. Make the filling - Mix the lemon juice, rind, 1 cup sugar, and 2 egg yolks in a saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and thickened.
  8. Remove from heat, stir in the coconut and cool.  When both the cakes and the coconut mixture are cool, use this as a filling by placing it between the two layers.
  9. Make the frosting - Mix the remaining sugar, cream of tartar, 1/8 tsp salt, egg whites and 1/4 cup of water in a pot or bowl over simmering water.  Beat steadily over low heat with a hand mixer until the frosting stands in peaks - 7 minutes. 
  10. Remove from heat and continue to beat until thick enough to spread.  Add the vanilla. Use this to frost the cake.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fishes by the Sea

I love living in San Diego because we really do have everything at our fingertips.  Rarely can you claim "there's nothing to do."  Instead there is so much to do, that sometimes it's hard to pick one thing!  Which was our problem when H and I tried to get the boys together a couple of weekends ago.

We settled on a trip to the Birch Aquarium, since Thatbaby loves aquariums, and Little LO hadn't been to the Birch yet.

Thatbaby was as entertained as I'd expect him to be.  He loved pointing and watching the "geegth."  The jellyfish were a big hit for both Thatbaby and Little LO.  (Little LO did NOT love the eels however.  Jellyfish are apparently much more baby friendly)

Thatbaby's favorite room was the kelp forest.  Both for the floor to ceiling tank, but also there was a huge room for him to crawl around.

He kept going back and forth and back and forth across the room so quickly, every picture I tried to snap of the two friends came out a blurry mess.

Leaving the aquarium, my boy passed the heck out.  And slept for a nice long time.  Looking at fish is tiring y'all.

And apparently it also makes you hungry.  Because dinner that night?  He devoured it.  To be fair, Thatboy devoured it too.  And afterward made one of his near-famous comments.

"That was really good.  No, really.  I wasn't expecting it to be very good.  But it was."    You would think after so many years he'd realize I know what I'm doing.  I rarely serve him something gross.  Although I'm tempted to start mixing in some really awful things for him, and keeping good stuff like this for me and Thatbaby. 

I found this recipe when looking to use up my masa flour.  Or rather this recipe found me and I thought - "What a great way to use up masa flour."  It's great as is, but I think it would be even better with the addition of some goat cheese in the filling.  I think it's because I love goat cheese with dark leafy greens.

I thought this would be a good time to showcase it, as Joanne is going through a rough time right now and I know she'd appreciate any good thoughts and positive energy you could spare.

Masa Crepes with Chard, Chiles, and Cilantro (adapted from Vegetarian Suppers From Deborah Madison's Kitchen as seen on Eats Well With Others.)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup masa harina
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp melted butter 
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely diced
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, finely diced, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 big bunches of swiss chard, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • sea salt
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  1. Combine the eggs, milk, masa, flour, 1/2 tsp sea salt and melted butter in a bowl.  Stir until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Add the onion, chiles, and oregano and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. 
  3. Add the garlic and cilantro and cook for a few minutes more, then add the chard and cook until wilted. 
  4. Season with salt to taste and cook until chard is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.  
  5. Stir in the greek yogurt and turn off the heat.
  6. Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Pour 1/4 cup crepe batter into the pan and swirl around so that it forms a thin layer.  Cook until mostly set, about 1-2 minutes, and then flip.  Cook for another ten to fifteen seconds and remove to a plate.  
  7. Repeat with remaining batter, stacking crepes on the plate as you go. Spread half the crepe with the chard, add a little cheese and then fold the edges together so that the crepes form a half moon.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Movies By The Sea

The Pirates are some of our favorite friends.  They always know about fun events going on - and they're always sure to include us in the fun.

Like last month when Mrs. Pirate sent us information about a night of movies under the stars.  At the time the movies hadn't been decided, but we love watching movies outside, so we were in.

And the location couldn't be beat - with the ocean directly behind the screen, we could watch the sunset before the screen lit up.

And when the lineup came out, showing that all the movies would be surf films, Thatboy was even happier.

 I turned to Mr. Pirate at one point in the evening and asked if he knew all along they'd be showing surfing movies.  He grinned at me sheepishly.  Mr. Pirate is one of Thatboy's weekend surf buddies. 

When everyone showed up, each couple pulled a bottle of wine out of their picnic bags.  Great minds think alike.

Thatbaby had his first taste of popcorn.  He was as big a fan as his mother.  He fell asleep in my arms as we sat under the stars watching the movies.  

That night we ate our dinner from some local favorite food trucks that were at the event.  But if you're looking for fabulous picnic food, this is my new favorite salad.  With great sources of protein in the chickpeas and edamame, we ate it as a main course, but it could work as a side too.  It keeps wonderfully, which makes it great for transporting and eating outside on a blanket as the last of the long summer nights are upon us.

Edamame and Chickpea Slaw (From Clean Eating Magazine as seen on Clean Eating Machines)
1 1/2 cups fresh chickpeas
Olive oil cooking spray
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 tsp olive oil, divided
1 bag of broccoli slaw
1 cup shelled edamame beans
3/4 cup green or red bell pepper, julienned
4 green onions, chopped
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450 and place chickpeas on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle with two teaspoons of the oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 30 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove from the oven to cool.

2. Combine broccoli slaw, edamame, bell pepper, and onion in a large bowl and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, garlic, caraway seeds, pepper, and remaining two teaspoons of oil. Pour dressing over salad and mix gently. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Before serving, top with roasted chickpeas.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mommy Mondays: Pregnancy, The Rundown

As we are nearing Thatbaby's first birthday, I've been thinking back to what was going on this time last year, when I was ever-so-pregnant.  I got really lucky with my pregnancy - it was incredibly easy.  I had hardly any of the typical "pregnancy symptoms."  No morning sickness, no cravings, no weird food aversions, no fatigue.  In fact, when I was 39 weeks pregnant and showing no signs of baby making an exit, I joked that my biggest problem was that my body didn't know it was pregnant!

A little view of what my pregnancy did entail:

* Insomnia - I wasn't expecting this one at all.  I'd heard that pregnant women are tired all the time.  I was exactly the opposite.  I couldn't sleep at all.  It was awful.  Tossing, turning, restless, I couldn't fall asleep, I couldn't stay asleep.  And while this alone should have made me tired during the day, I'd wake up feeling as though I had thrown back 4-5 shots of espresso.  It lasted alllll the way through till the baby was born.  The best sleep I got was the first 5 months of Thatbaby's life.

* Constipation - Maybe my first, and most frustrating symptom.  It lasted for probably a month, no matter what I did.  And, like many other pregnancy symptoms, this one disappeared just as quickly as it came and I was back to my regular ole self.

* Breast changes - I was expecting a little more of this.  The insomnia, constipation, and breast increase were my first pregnancy symptoms, showing up before I even knew I was pregnant.  In fact, I remember vividly being in Phoenix for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon and Thatboy commenting that none of my bras seemed to fit and I had better go shopping.  When I got the positive test back, it all made sense.  I went up one cup size and one band size during the first 2 months of pregnancy.  I picked up a couple of cheap bras from Victoria Secret, expecting to have to replace them as the pregnancy went on.  I didn't.  My breasts never got any bigger during the pregnancy.  And I never leaked.  Nevertheless, after my milk came in 3 days after Thatbaby was born, I went up an additional 3 cup sizes.

* Super Sniffer - I have no idea why pregnancy comes with an increased sense of smell.  It's completely unnecessary, and completely awful.  People do not bathe nearly as much as you would think.  And while Thatboy and I were house hunting, I actually had to leave a home because they had so many candles/potpourri/scents going on that I thought I might pass out!  This became less noticeable around the third trimester.

*Extreme Hunger - This didn't hit for me until the second trimester.  But when it did, it hit hard.  A desperate need to eat, at that exact moment.  I had to carry food around with me.  This also waxed and waned, sometimes being more apparent than other times.

*The bladder - I gained a new appreciation for my husband during my pregnancy.  See, Thatboy has always had a very small bladder.  Making car trips take much longer for frequent stops.  Well during my pregnancy it wasn't just Thatboy we were stopping for.  I became very well acquainted with restrooms in just about every store, airplane, and restaurant we frequented.

*Weight gain - As someone who has always struggled with weight, I was a little nervous about this one.  Anyone with a history of an eating disorder will tell you that gaining weight sets off that little beeper in the back of your head which can cause irrational thoughts.  I gained 2lbs during the first trimester and 18lbs over the next two.  I managed to only gain weight every other month, so one month I'd gain 0lbs, the next month would be 4-6lbs.   I mentioned having a lucky pregnancy, but I had a lucky after pregnancy too.  I lost all the weight I gained within my first week home, and then kept losing.  I credit that all to breastfeeding.

Other than that, life went on as normal.  I managed to keep running through the entire pregnancy, including the day I ended up getting sent in for an induction.  I just ran much, much, slower.  And I made it through the pregnancy without having to buy too much maternity-wear.  (BTW I highly recommend Gap Maternity for maternity work-wear)  We're not planning on another addition any time soon, but I do hope that the next time around I get just as lucky!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mommy Mondays: CY(Baby's)A

There are 2 words of warning for every new parent
1) You will not sleep for about 16 years.
2) You will change an ungodly amount of diapers.

Throughout a pregnancy you're apt to hear these phrases from every well-meaning friend/neighbor/clerk at a grocery store.

I've already talked a bit about the sleep part, so now let's talk about diapers.

I'll begin this by saying that if I were any kind of compassionate human being this would be the time when I would tote the merits of cloth diapers - cute, environmentally friendly, and economic (in the long run.)  But I'm not a compassionate human being, I'm a lazy mom.  And so we're a disposable family.

What Diapers Are Best?
Like so many things with babies, my standard response is always: Whatever works best for your baby is the best diaper.  I'd heard a rumor that Pampers Swaddlers worked best for newborn boys, so that's what we started out with.  And we've been hooked ever since.  We have a short, lean guy, which could be why Pampers work well for us.  We've only had one leak, which was when Thatboy didn't put the diaper on right.  And we only get blowouts when it's time to move up a size.  As for diaper rashes?  We've only recently had issues, and I think it's due mostly to teething poop (when my kid's output shoots through the roof).

How Many Diapers Do You Really Need?
The first month we used over 200 diapers.  The first week alone we were using about 10-11 diapers a day.  And then that dropped down a little.  Then a lot.  Now we use closer to 100 diapers a month.

Where Do You Get Them?
 I had Thatbaby at a very lucky time.  "Amazon Mom" was a program run through that gave you free Amazon Prime Membership as long as you ordered a certain amount each month. You also got an additional discount on diapers.  It was fabulous, I was getting 20% off diapers!  Then they cancelled that aspect of the program.  I do love the subscribe and save feature, which delivers the diapers to my doorstep each month (or two months).  My Amazon Mom features just ended this month, and I've heard has a better/cheaper diaper program, so now I'm looking into that.

What Else Do I Need? 
Wipes!  Because you don't want to clean the baby with your hand. 
A Changing Pad/Cover (Actually, you'll want multiple covers.  Because one will inevitably get dirty, you're changing diapers on it!)
A&D Ointment (It was good enough for your mom.....)

What Don't I Need?
A Wipe Warmer.
A million fancy ointments.
Baby Powder.
Special covers for little boys.  I have been peed on exactly zero times.  Not everyone is a squirter.

What's Coming Out of There (or how can my sweet little boy be so foul)?
 The first couple of days the diapers are going to be filled mostly with meconium.  Which is black and tar like.  But that's good, because you want that out of the baby's system.  The sooner the better, because it also flushes out bilirubin, moving jaundice out of baby's body.

Then comes the baby poop - which is liquidy.  For a breastfed baby, it's varying shades of yellow and seedy.  You may have heard that breastfed baby poop doesn't smell.  But that's only half the sentence.  The truth is, breastfed baby poop doesn't smell as bad as solid poop.  It still smells.  Like sour milk, or yogurt.

Once you start solids, it's a whole new ball game.  Then you have full on smelly poop - just like an adult has.  The good news is, the progression of poops lessens as baby gets older, so by the time they're on solid poops they're not pooping every couple of hours.

Wrestling an Octopus 
The bad news is, right around when the poop starts getting smelly and full of food, that's when your kid decides it's not cool to lie around and get a diaper changed.  So there's wiggling and squirming, screaming and crying, kicking and stretching - all while you're trying to not get poop everywhere.  So here are some of my favorite tricks to keep them occupied.
* Have a bunch of stuff ready to hand the baby.  Chances are each of these will get thrown to the floor, so you'll want a steady progression.  Toys do not work for this.  Vitamins, nail clippers, nasal aspirators, thermometers, A&D Ointment, all work well.
* Helium Balloons.  Loads of entertainment.
* The kiss monster.  I do a kiss countdown. 1-2-3-Kiss is too short, so try a 5 count.  This keeps him squealing in anticipation, but it does require frequent breaks from what you're doing, which could make it take longer.
* Pick a song.  One long enough that takes the whole diaper change.  I like "I've been working on the railroad." 
* Flip your routine.  We used to change Thatbaby with his head toward the closet, but found he was less of a squirmer when we flipped him 180 degrees.

Friday, September 07, 2012

A tough nut to crack

I don't think coconuts have a season here in the US.  I'm pretty sure they're shipped in from somewhere south of the equator.  But for some reason, they always remind me of summer.  It could be the thought of Pina Coladas, but I associate it more with Thatdad bringing one home on rare summer days.  He'd crack it open and let me drink the coconut water, then pull out the thick, sweet, meat which the two of us would snack on.

Coconuts can be intimidating.  It's not as though they can be opened with the simple slice of a knife.  There's an art to opening a coconut.    First, you have to locate the "monkey face."  There are 2 eyes and a mouth, see them?

Pierce the eyes of the coconut with a screw driver and drain off liquid.

Put the coconut in a 400 F oven for 20 minutes.  Tap it all over with a hammer to loosen the shell, then split with the hammer.

Pry out the white meat then use a vegetable peeler to pare off the dark skin.

Once your coconut is open, you can do a variety of things to it.  You can eat it as is, shred it and convert it to coconut cream, grated coconut, or you can do what I did and make this fantastic coconut cake.  It might be our favorite cake of the moment.  The cake flour gives it a light, delicate consistency, and the beaten egg whites lift it up and make it light and airy.  Not to mention there is just no comparing the flavor fresh coconut adds.

Coconut Cake (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
Meat from 1 coconut
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray 2 9-inch cake pans with baking spray.  Grate coconut meat with a food processor.
  2. Cream the shortening in an electric mixer.
  3. Slowly add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating between each addition.
  5. Stir in the coconut extract.
  6. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  7. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  8. Stir in 1 cup of the grated coconut.
  9. Beat the egg whites until stiff.  Stir in a third of the whites into the batter and gently fold in the remainder.
  10. Spoon the batter into the cake pans.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes in pan before inverting on rack.  Cool completely.
Seven Minute Coconut Frosting
1 1/2 cups sugar 
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1/2 cup shredded coconut
  1. Mix sugar, cream of tartar, salt, egg whites, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl set over simmering water.
  2. Beat steadily over low heat with a hand mixer until the frosting stands in peaks, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and continue to beat until thick enough to spread.  Add the coconut before spreading. 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Pancake Benedicts - a twist on my favorite

I've been trying to incorporate a couple of vegetarian meals into our weekly dinner rotation.  It's good for the budget, it's good for the body, and it's good because I get to try out recipes from some of my favorite vegetarian-friendly blogs.

Like Cate's! A few weeks back I made the smokey black beans with spinach and masa dumplings found in her blog.  I failed to take a picture of my misshapen lumps and they were gone without any leftovers.  Well maybe I shouldn't say "any leftovers" because I was left with a bag of masa flour. 

So I went searching for recipes using Masa and stumbled upon this one.  And my eyes lit up.  You see, one of my favorite breakfasts of all times is a Southwestern Eggs Benedict.  I love it so much I play with every variation I can think of.  I put it on bagels, English muffins, corn bread.  But I'd never had it on a pancake before!  A corn-flour pancake, topped with a poached egg and some Southwestern flavor sounded right up my alley.

This was a huge hit with everyone - even Thatbaby who gets his eggs "poached hard."  The rest of us got soft, creamy eggs that released their bounty over a pile of salsa.  With gooey cheese added in for good measure.  Breakfast, is served!

Masa Pancakes Topped with Poached Eggs (adapted from Bon App├ętit via as seen on The Way The Cookie Crumbles)
¾ cup masa harina (corn tortilla mix)
½ cup (2.4 ounces) all purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for cooking the pancakes
12 large eggs + vinegar
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco or shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread masa harina on a heavy baking sheet and bake until fragrant and golden, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

2. Whisk masa, flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.

3. Whisk the buttermilk, 2 eggs and 3 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl to blend.

4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk just until blended (the batter will be thick).

5. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Working in batches, spoon scant ½ cup batter onto the griddle. Using a spoon, spread the batter to a make 4-inch-diameter pancake. Cook until the bottom is golden, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the second side is golden, about 3 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer. Add a little vinegar (a splash, if you will).  Working one at a time, crack each egg into a small ramekin.  Use a spoon to quickly stir the simmer water, to create a whirlpool.  Pour the egg from the ramekin into the whirlpool.  (I usually will do 2-3 eggs at a time this way).  Simmer until the eggs are softly poached, about 3 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon.

7. Divide the pancakes among plates. Top each pancake with salsa and 2 poached eggs and sprinkle with cilantro and cheese. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Weekend Waffles

Oh the joys of long weekends.  For us, it was less joyful towards the end. Mostly because Thatboy ended up getting sick and spending all of Monday in bed. 

But before he did, we made the most of Sunday.

It started with our special Sunday breakfast - waffles!  I'm really into the waffle thing lately.  For some reason, it's just so much simpler than pancakes.  The waffle maker does all the work, I don't even have to flip!  And the nonstick surface makes clean up a breeze.

I've experimented with a bunch of different recipes - this is our favorite.  The whipped egg whites makes it light and fluffy.  And although Thatboy doesn't like his pancakes light and fluffy, that's exactly how he likes his waffles.

Following waffle-mania 2012, we ran a billion errands to get Thatbaby ready for his first day in the big-boy room.  (More on that tomorrow)

And then we headed to another party!  Thatbaby got to see his girl Lashes again.  She was thrilled to see him, but he played it cool.  And he's had some kind of growth spurt, because he's now taller than her!

The boys played yard games.

And took a dip in the pool.

And of course, good grub was enjoyed by all.

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, separated
1 3/4 cup milk
4 Tbsp butter, melted
3 Tbsp sugar

  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix the eggs, milk, and melted butter. 
  3. Combine the two bowls in an electric mixer and beat until smooth.
  4. Beat the egg whites until stiff.  Add in the sugar and continue beating.
  5. Stir a third of the egg whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining whites.
  6. Pour batter by 1/2 cups into the waffle iron and bake.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


We moved to California when I was in 10th grade.   I remember looking out of the plane window as we approached and being struck by the fact that it seemed like every house had a pool in the backyard.  This was unusual to me.  Where I grew up, almost no one had a pool in their backyard. 

This made sense, given that a pool wouldn't be of much use for about half the year.  Instead summers were spent gathered around the community pool, or running through sprinklers in the backyard.

So when we got an invitation to a backyard sprinkler party from The Horse Whisperer, I immediately sent back my RSVP with a resounding YES!

Thatbaby wasn't too sure what to make of the sprinkler.  He didn't seem to hate it, but he didn't really love it either.  I think he viewed it as a necessary evil that stood between him and what he really wanted - a ball.  This kid loves balls.

The adults gathered around, eating homemade tamales and drinking beer and margaritas as we watched the little ones.  I'm so impressed that The Horse Whisperer makes her own tamales and I think I've convinced her to give me a lesson or two.  (And she sent us home with some extras.  I'm very lucky)

Never one to be left out of new food experiences, Thatbaby was introduced to yogurt covered pretzels.  He was a fan.

So much so, that the yogurt pretzels weren't safe on anyone's plate.

In my quest to make the most of summer produce, I brought home a bunch of zucchini and yellow squash from the supermarket.  And I'd had this recipe starred to make for a little bit now.  It's the perfect use for squash!  The Chinese 5 spice, along with the sugar, make this a surprisingly sweet dish. And the soy sauce balances that out.

Summer Squash Rice with Sausage (adapted from Bookcase Foodie)
6oz chicken sausage, sliced
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups chopped summer squash
1 1/2 cups cauliflower broken into small florets
4 scallions, snipped
3/4 red pepper, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon 5 spice Chinese seasoning
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Brown sausage and remove from heat.
  2. Place all the cauliflower in the pan and cook until tender crisp.
  3. Place remaining vegetables in with the cauliflower.  Cook until tender.
  4. Combine the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, Chinese seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Pour over vegetables.
  5. Stir rice and sausage into vegetables.  Heat through and serve. 

Monday, September 03, 2012

Mommy Mondays: 11 Months

 Weight: 20lbs 5oz (+ 12lbs 15oz)
 Height: 28.5" (+ 8.5")
 Head: 18.25" (+ 4.95")

Sleep:  We had a couple of amazing nights this month where he basically slept all the way till wakeup....If you're okay with waking up at 6am and 5am.  Luckily for us, Thatbaby isn't, so he's fairly easy to get back to bed at that time.

Eating: Weekday eating remains the same.  He still vacillates between 3 and 4 bottles at daycare in addition to his lunch and snack.  We'll see how things go when he moves to the "blue room" tomorrow.  Because there they're only offered milk 3 times a day, and he may miss the morning milk session. On the weekends, he's definitely nursing less during the day - going longer between sessions.  I don't want my supply to drop though, so I'm encouraging him to eat more often for now.

Best Moment: He's really developed a sense of humor this month and loves doing things to make us laugh - like his scrunch face, where he scrunches up his nose and sniffs in and out of it while making duck lips.  He purposely does it when he wants us to smile or laugh.  And apparently he acts wacky at daycare to elicit smiles/laughs from them too.  I love it. 

Monthly Wisdom: Well we made it through our first airplane trip and our first family vacation!  It was a learning experience, but we all survived.  As I said before, Thatbaby's personality is really starting to show through this month.  And we're so very lucky, because he is showing more and more that he is kind, and sweet, and funny. 

Goals for the Upcoming Month:
- According to our parent teacher conference, Thatbaby is still a bit wobbly on his legs.  Even though I'm not anxious for him to start walking, we need to do more finger walking/practicing.
- This next month is all about birthday party prep!

Things Thatbaby is doing:
- Scrunch face
- Raising the roof with his hands, or waving them like jazz hands at his side.
- "Monster screams" where he does a little growl/scream and then laughs hysterically.
- initiating peek-a-bo.
- pushing cars/hampers/chairs to "practice" walking
- climbing the small climbing structure at daycare and working on the big climbing structure
- dancing, all the time.  There's chair dancing during meals, sitting and bopping, holding hands and dancing, climbing up chairs and rails, and any structure and dancing.
- I think he's starting to associate the mamamamamas with me and the dadadadadas with Thatboy.
- Swimming in the ocean
- Our baby sign language isn't going by the book, but when Thatbaby wants more, he reaches towards the object and does a little noise.  When he's done he wipes his hands together.