Sunday, January 30, 2011

M- Meal Train

Does anyone else feel like all they do is cook, think about cooking, and clean up from cooking? I sure do! This week we have company coming (with 2 kids) from Wednesday to Sunday so I needed to be on the ball!

Monday - Potato Broccoli Soup
Tuesday - Sweet Potato and Bean Burritos (thanks A! Can't wait to try them!)
Wednesday - Beef and Sweet Potato Stew
Thursday - Some pasta dish my friend wants to make when here...
Friday - Spatchcock chicken (brined from the night before!!)
Saturday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches in slow cooker

I'm loving seeing everyone else's ideas!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week!

(If you're wondering the title of the post is from a children's book ).

This bad week started last sunday night. Alex went to bed at his usual time, but then woke up around 11:30 pm and started throwing up. Ugh. Again. We just went through the stomach flu in this house only three weeks ago. He was pretty sick and miserable on Monday, but then perked up in the evening, even begging me for blueberries which he ate with gusto. Tuesday we went to Mother Goose, but not before missing every possible bus we could miss and showed up late, getting the evil eye from Margaret. Alex stayed by the door for the first half, not wanting to participate. Ok, he's still a bit out of sorts I thought. He perked up at snack time, but then was crabby again by the end. I desperately wanted him to sleep at home, not in the stroller on the way home. Of course he fell asleep on the way home. I hadn't tried the transfer in a while so I thought I'd try. Umm no. Bad idea. Pissy toddler who only got a 15 minute nap. My fault.

Tuesday night I got sick. Very sick. I booked my sister to take Alex like she had done a few weeks ago when I got sick and Husband had to work. Tuesday night, crabby no sleep baby continued to do so, until about 1 am when he finally collapsed from exhaustion. For an hour or so he slept. I spent my entire night alternating between trying to soothe him and being sick myself. Not good. And the husband? Not, um, ahem, helpful. Not at all.

Wednesday Alex started coughing and had a high fever, so my sister took him to the doctor while I got to nap for a couple of hours. I woke up and started disinfecting everything in the house. I felt miserable and Alex looked and acted pretty miserable too. Again, only getting a 20-30 minute nap (when he was up most of the night before). I put him to bed wednesday night and went straight to bed. Just as my head hit the pillow, he started coughing and woke himself up. This pattern would repeat itself another 5 or 6 times. I gave up and slept on his floor, figured it would be easier than trekking across the apartment every 10 minutes. He woke up every 10 minutes, the entire night, finally only sleeping for about an hour, before being UP for the morning.

Thursday he was a zombie, I was a zombie, and still only living off ginger ale. He still wasn't napping so in desperation, I took him out in the stroller. He napped off and on for a good three hours. Good for him, but of course Mama didn't get to nap. Bedtime was a struggle, so I decided to again sleep in his room. At least husband had the good idea to bring up the air mattress that we use for camping (this thing is massive and higher than our actual bed). So I stayed with Alex (better than the floor the night before) and he slept for an hour at a time during the night.

Friday was a slight improvement, he had two one hour naps at home (yay for napping Mama too). Slightly less miserable but still not really eating or drinking much. Husband took the night shift on friday night but then Alex cried out for MAMA at 3am, so off I went. Hmmph.

So today, Saturday, was also a little better. Much less whiny (from everyone in the household). Still not eating and still coughing, and a so-so nap. He went to bed early. Cross your fingers for me.
Edited to Add: Alex slept a solid 10.5 hours last night. Ahh!

So, I tell you all of this, knowing that, yes, all of you have had bad days, weeks, months. I don't want a pity party. I've been so overwhelmed and tired and lonely all week. I miss all of you, miss getting together. I don't want any "poor Jen" replies. Tell me about your week. Something funny, something sad, whatever. I'm tired of the quarantine. I got some fresh air today, now I just need some mental fresh air.

K - What I love about her!

It's so fun to read everyone's posts on this subject - thanks, S, for starting up a great idea. First, I'll say that the back-arching and screeching SUCK and I think it's okay to air those frustrations once in a while!! However, there are oh so many more fun stories to, I love that 16 month-old C:

-uses any small object to "brush her hair" my knowledge, she has never in her life actually had her hair (ahem...lack thereof) brushed, but she loves to pretend.
-carries around an old purse like a little old lady
-loves to sit on stuff - including more traditional spots like laps and her little rocking chair, but also kleenex boxes, clothes on the floor, toys, or once an unopened box of tin foil she found in a drawer??
-when attempting to sit on something (see above), "backs up" into position. She'll start halfway across a room and back up into my lap. All she needs is the "beep, beep..."
-is a real dare-devil (do I actually love this???). Example: instead of sitting on her tricycle/rocker, she prefers to stand on the seat, often with one leg out in the air. She knows she's supposed to sit on her bum, and gives mischevious looks as she's climbing into position.
-loves to put on a show for an audience, especially with family on skype. Also hilarious that she seems to think people live inside the computer (and why wouldn't she?!) so I've seen her playing peek-a-boo with an empty computer screen.
-is starting to say recognizable words, and really understands what's going on. She referred to a doll as "bébé" for the first time last night!
-can feed herself with a spoon!
-is generally in a good mood, even when she has one of her frequent daycare-acquired sicknesses (although we do experience the famous back-arching and screeching when trying to do snow-suit, mitts, car-seat...some mornings are better than others!)
-is still referred to often enough as a little boy (usually by older men) even when she's dressed all in pink. (Lack of hair isn't helping this!)
-wakes up in the morning pointing around the room, ready for another day of exploration
-promptly throws her "sleep friend" in the crib as soon as I take her out, and vigorously waves goodbye to him!
-understands when I ask for "bisous", and gives me kisses!...on the mouth, snotty nose or not...but I'll take them! :)

There's gotta be more! She's really turning into a bit of a comedian, and it's fun to just watch her do her thing. Can't wait to see what she'll be doing next!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

H - Dinner is served

Hello there,

As promised before the blog was even born our list of dinners we can make and where possible a link to the recipe. Some are self-explanatory though. And though we are meat-eaters many of these can be a veggie variation I think:

Stir Fry (always a variation on a theme, often all veg with soya beans, chinese bok choy, cashew nuts etc... and yummy noodles - kamut, rice, wheat....)

Fajitas (chicken or veg) with a homemade spice mix guacamole, sour cream and cheese

Burgers and sweet potato fries (with corn on the cob if in season)

Bassa/Pangasius with Thai coconut milk, peanut, coriander sauce (I can post recipe if needed) with basmati rice and steamed courgettes

Sausages and jacket potatoes and a veg

Sausage pasta, made with any leftover sausage, in tomato sauce and veggies

Lasagna (weekends only, but double portions for freezer) this one's meat but the same website has a veggie one

Veggie chickpea curry with naan and rice (the base of the curry is onion, garlic, ginger, then loads of spices and any fresh coriander I have mulched in the blender and fried) with coconut milk and tomatoes. If it's too spicey for F we add yoghurt to hers.

Bacon and asparagus pasta with cream and parmesan

Stuffed Peppers - usually cous cous or quinoa with a moroccan flavoured spice (ginger, cinnamon and cumin) with raisins, pine nuts and diced veg

Salmon with a pesto crust
potatoes and broccoli

Lamb chops and cous cous (much the same as the pepper stuffing)

Pizza - homemade, you'll have to ask my husband!

Smoked salmon pasta with variations - basil, cream cheese/sour cream/cream, parmesan, lemon oil and courgettes

Pork and Pears with potatoes and a veg

Chilli with rice or jacket potatoes

Spaghetti and meatballs
No veggie option I know of unless you substitute ground beef for something else

Sesame goujons of fish
and chips with broccoli

Risotto - lemon and rocket, mushroom with goats cheese, squash and peas

Tilapia with coriander and maple syrup Tori Amos' favourite recipe apparently! This is simple and tasty.

Fishcakes salad and potatoes

Chicken and bacon pasta (with veg)

That's it.
This is the homemade stuff but just so you know we do pre-made tortellini, quiches, pizzas and the like!

Monday, January 24, 2011

M - What I love about him!

Thanks S. for starting this line of thought and A. for continuing it!! It was good to sit down and write this, especially since Rand has been so sick and cranky for a week now!

What I love about Rand!
-he's starting to tell stories (for example, a while ago, his dad bumped his head on our lamp, and for the longest time Rand would point to the lamp and say "dadda kaboom ouch!"
-his love of slapstick comedy! Two fighting giraffes (british voiceover video anyone?) sends him into the hugest peals of laughter!
-he says please in his cutest voice "Mommmmmy puleeeese!"
-has an awesome imagination (megablocks become robots or houses, hair elastic becomes an airplane, cooks in his kitchen, puzzle animals love to ride the school bus)
-he'll sit and try to put his socks on unsuccessfully for 5 minutes and not get frustrated! A lot of other things frustrate him..
-he calls for us from the crib in the morning
-he loves to hug and kiss Loic (he calls him Lolo ) although these usually turn a bit rough
-loves to sing and dance
-is starting to say "I wuuuv you!"
-his crazy curls (when hair is long) and dimples!

Of course I love Loïc but his list will have to wait till he's older! For now I love his big goofy smiles and overall cuteness, and huge baby fat rolls!

M- Meal Time Planning Derailed!

The best of intentions and already I've fallen off my own plan! Although in my defence, last week was crazy with hubby going off to Amsterdam for a one day meeting (!!) and us all being I'm trying to be back on track this week! I've been inspired by your mealplans and you've given me great ideas! A - the sweet potato/black bean burritos look amazing, although I'm worried about causing even more gas in my poor gassy Loic....does stuff really pass through the breast milk? There is so much conflicting info out there about food passing....

Last week I did manage to cook this Cheesy Italian Sausage Bake (using lactose free cheese and no cheezwhiz) and we did make the chicken tacos that I talked about somewhere in the comments..... Here is the plan for this week....I'm feeling crappy so we'll see how it goes!

Monday - spaghetti (sauce in freezer)
Tuesday - beef stew (from freezer)
Wednesday - Peruvian Quinoa Stew
Thursday - chicken parmigiana with brocolli and penne
Friday - pizza (more likely order in)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A - What I like about her

I’ve wanted to write about the topic suggested by S in her last post for quite a while. I’m glad that she brought it up, it gave me the motivation that I needed to sit down and write.

Motherhood has been tough for me in many ways, and until recently, I found it difficult to simply enjoy AP’s presence without feeling restless or overwhelmed with fatigue. But lately things within me have shifted and I find myself able to enjoy simple moments with her and to revel in all the new things that she’s doing. So here is a list of things that I love and truly cherish about her. Many of these things relate to things that she says, and how much she makes me laugh.

I love the fact that she…

Still squeals with delight when we play hide-and-go-seek and I’ve found her in the same spot for the 10th time
Says “I find me” when I find her in her not-so-hidden hiding spots
Sings Jingle Bells and other recognizable songs to herself when she wakes up in the morning
Delights in eating with her hands (yes it’s messy, but so fun to see her enjoy the textures)
Is really getting into pretend play. The other day she put one arm through her jacket sleeve, grabbed my bag and said “bye, bye, I’m going”. I responded with “where are you going”, and she said “home”.
Thinks it's hilarious to pull down her pants
Likes broccoli and cauliflower
Enjoys trying to help me when I'm cooking
Has wild curly hair that seems to be dreading on its own
Occasionally says ‘please’ when she really wants something
Will often report back to me when another kid at daycare has hit or bitten her
Tries to count along with me, and it usually goes something like this “1, 5, 8, C, D”
Loves to cuddle with me (and allows me to smother her with kisses several times a day)

I love this girl.

Friday, January 21, 2011

S - On the other hand...

I've found this week trying week because, well, I have a 16 month old. A 16 month old who has a finely tuned sense of what she does and does not want. So I've been dealing with a lot of NOs and a generous dose of back-arching and banshee-like screaming when I attempt to do such offensive things as put little a. into her stroller or high chair. I've been feeling overwhelmed and a little undone by these new behaviours and had been mentally putting together a post to that effect over the last few days - at best a cry for help, but more likely a letter of complaint.

But then, today, I had a moment of pure joy with little a. that helped me to remember some of the wonderful things about her growing more and more into a little person with her own sense of self. It's a little thing that warms my heart: when she expresses some sort of wish and I understand it and ask "Do you want an orange?" (for example), her face lights up into the hugest smile and she nods her head dramatically. It's a look that transcends the request at hand to reveal the pride she feels at being understood. And in turn it leaves me with the amazing feeling of really communicating with my daughter.

Through this realization, I was able to turn my focus from what's been bringing me down to reveling in something good. And I want to ask you, what is going on with your little ones these days that brings a smile to your face? Oh, and while I'm here... anyone have tips on how to nix the back-arching?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our meals this week

Well, I've been putting off posting our meals because we just moved and I feel like we're not eating anything particularly inspiring... but hey, this is real life. So here goes...

Monday - Baked breaded sole, whole wheat rotini, and brussel sprouts served with a cheese sauce (the last three items selected because I was pretty sure little a would eat them)

Tuesday - Pad Thai with tofu, prepared by my husband, bless him. Our favourite recipe is from the Rebar Cookbook. Avery loved the noodles!

Wednesday - Black bean and sweet potato burritos, as posted by A (thanks!)

Thursday - Dinner with friends of ours - they host an 'open house' dinner every Thursday!

Friday - Pizza. Friday is always pizza chez nous, for the simple reason that by the time I get to the end of my meal plan, I don't have to rack my brains for what to cook. And we love pizza. This week, I think I'll make this Indian inspired version and possibly add some lentils for extra protein.

I don't tend to plan meals on the weekends, as D and I share the cooking on the weekends and we just take it as it comes.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

It's been fun this week to see your meal ideas and recipes, so here's a quick contribution of one of my favourites. I cut everything up and put it all in the slow cooker "bowl" the night before in the fridge, and in the morning all I have to do is turn it on.

Slow-cooker Beef Stew
originally from, but this particular recipe doesn't seem to be online anymore.)


2 lb (1 kg) stewing beef cubes
4 potatoes, peeled and cut in wedges
3 carrots, cut in chunks
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups (372 ml) beef stock
1 can (5 oz/156 ml) tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp (15 ml) worcestershire sauce
1 cup (250 ml) frozen peas
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1/4 tsp (1 ml) pepper
2 tbsp (25 ml) all-purpose flour


Trim and cut beef into 1-inch cubes. In 18- to 24-cup (4.5 to 6 L) slow-cooker, mix together beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, beef stock, tomato paste, bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours (or on High for 5 to 6 hours) or until beef and vegetables are tender.

Add peas, salt and pepper. Increase heat to High. Whisk flour with 2 tbsp (25 ml) water; stir into stew. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes or until thinckened. Discard bay leaf.

The recipe says it makes 4-6 servings, and I'd say they are generous ones. We often freeze at least 2 portions.

Enjoy! (H. - Hope this contributes to your case for a slow-cooker...great week-night life-saver!! ;)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

J- Bitey McSwaterson

Everyday I try to get Alex to stop biting and hiting but nothing seems to sink in. I get down to his level, use short words and repeat them everytime. Not working. He hits or bites when he's overwhelmed, over excited, or frustrated. Sometimes I see it starting and I try to distract him before he starts hitting which occasionally works. My husband is starting to lose his patience with Alex and I'm just exhausted.

Does anyone have any good toddler behaviour books you can recommend?

Friday, January 14, 2011

K - Lean on me - continued!

Okay, so I'm new to this blog thing, and I think I kind of went overboard...I just tried to write a comment on "S - Lean on Me," and it told me it's too long! lol Always too chatty! ;) So, here's my own post as a follow-up. Let's see if this works!

Wow, do I relate to all of you guys! As some of you know, I was having so much fun on mat leave that I was pretty sure I wanted to have another baby right away just to keep the party going...M, care to tell me what that would really be like? ;) But seriously, I was absolutely dreading going back to work, and really mourned the loss of my time with C. Thankfully, she loves daycare, and now I think she gets a lot out of it. And about 2 months into my return to work, I changed jobs to one that I enjoy more, and that is only 4 days/week. That helps! The work-family balance is improving, as we learn and adjust to our roles in a family with two working parents. We're basically trying to do anything we can in order to maximize the approx 1 hour window that we get to spend with C each evening before she goes to bed (i.e., meal planning!). That's the part I find the hardest - how sad is it that I only see her for one hour every day! I guess this is what J experienced while I was on mat leave; but maybe you don't miss what you never had. For me it's a shockingly short amount of time. (And pushing bedtime later isn't an option, because she needs so much sleep that we already have to wake her in the a.m. for daycare - I know, I'm definitely NOT complaining about a baby who likes to sleep, but some nights after I've been at work all day I'd love to be able to hang out with her past 7:00.)

Okay, now the flipside: She's been sick a lot lately, so I have been home alone with her in the day for the first time in months. And I didn't know what to freaking do with myself all day!!!! I was bored and counting down the hours, and I felt bad that she was just kind of wandering around the house. Of course, she's a different baby now than she was when I was home with her, and if she's sick we can't really go out and do much. But even if we could, most of my mat leave friends are back at work, or now have their own schedules. And of course I don't have any planned activities, so it's just me and C at home. I can't say that it's been a lot of fun for me, and I'm pretty sure C is better stimulated at daycare. It has really made me think about what it would be like to be home with her full-time. Like some of you have said, the activities and social network would be essential. It would be a lot of work to make sure that she gets the stimulation she needs, while not going stir-crazy myself. And it's definitely not like I was able to get anything done around the house. I think I was even more exhausted than after a day of work at my "other" job!

So, I ask myself (and my husband probably asks himself as well!): What would make me happy?? I grumble about going to work and how little I see C, but then I would grumble about how hard it is to take care of her at home. I think part of the answer is just that adult life with family responsibilities is hard, whichever way you slice it, and it's still something that I'm getting used to. My parents would get a kick out of this - how much did I take for granted?!

Overall though, as much as I'm shocked to see myself writing this, I think that I'm happy that I am back at work! (Easy to say on a Friday night as I sit here with a glass of to me on Sunday night, those are bad days!) I guess as much as I hate the week-day morning rush and the stress of work responsibilities on top of mom responsibilities, I'm grateful that I'm in a situation where I get a bit of both worlds. I am continuing to work on being organized enough that I can really enjoy time with C on the weekends, instead of running around to get things done in preparation for the next Monday morning.

Thanks to all of you for your honesty and your open ears and minds. And feel free to vent when you need to - this parenting thing is definitely a tough job in whatever form we're doing it. I'm so grateful that I met all of you, and that we're all still in touch to go through our challenges together.

K - weeknight meal planning for sanity

I was so happy to see some of your meal ideas, and especially recipes! Lately, in the balancing act of life, having something good to eat for supper is one of those challenges that we're really trying to work on. C, when she is well (i.e., not this week!), is eating pretty much what we eat. We do try to keep something on hand that's quick in case she's in a picky mood or our supper is taking too long to prepare. (She loves frozen homemade chicken fingers, cooked veggies with pasta, mini-pitas with humus, banana...) It's only recently that we are all sitting down to eat together, and it takes a lot of coordination because C and J only get home around 6:00, hence the meal planning! But we find that if we can eat right away together, we get to spend a little time with her before bedtime. So, I get off work a bit earlier and motor home in order to have supper ready when they get home.

So, here are the meals we ate the past 2 weeks. Like some of you had mentioned, we're now planning meals on the weekend and getting groceries accordingly. We try to do meals that make good leftovers on Sundays and near the beginning of the week so we have good repeats either for supper or lunches. Things deteriorate a bit the nearer we get to Friday!

Sunday: Quesadilla
Monday: Chicken Casserole (of the Campbell's Soup variety - but we all like it!)
Tuesday: Beef stew (slow cooker)
Wednesday: Salmon and couscous with salad
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Frozen pizza (I love the thin-crust ones that are always on sale at Provigo!!)

Sunday: Tofu & veggie stirfry with rice (bottled sauce)
Monday: Tuna casserole
Tuesday: Leftover stirfry
Wednesday: Leftover casserole
Thursday: Baked chicken and veggies
Friday: Chicken caesar wraps (with leftover chicken from last night)

So this week there was a lot of repetition!! Probably could have planned for an extra meal in there, but we don't mind the leftovers and we had a rough week with C being home sick a lot, so it was nice just to have food in the house that was ready to eat at the touch of a microwave button!

A few notes:
-C LOVES the quesadillas, which consist of: refried beans, shredded chicken, corn, black olives, cheese and salsa. Put it all in whole wheat tortilla and fry in the frying pan. It makes great leftovers! I like to eat them with sour cream and guacamole.

-When I cook chicken (e.g., for the quesadillas), I cook enough for a second meal - last week, we used that the next night in chicken casserole. This week, it was chicken caesar wraps on day 2 (which take about 5 minutes to throw together - a real favourite!)

-Lunch ideas: I'm really tired of sandwiches for lunch, so I like to take leftovers instead and most of these meals do well for travel and re-heat. Another lunch idea I'm enjoying lately is homemade greek salad. I never usually find that salads are enough to fill me up enough, but this one is really quite good:

Greek salad: cucumber, tomato, red onion, black olives, feta cheese, red/green pepper. Olive oil and lemon juice, with a bit of oregano.

I don't have links to any of the recipes, but maybe I'll make a separate post later with a few of the good ones. I'm enjoying seeing all of your ideas too! I'm planning on trying some new things out this weekend based on your suggestions, so I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some of my favorite recipes

Hi all,

What follows is not a meal plan (since I'm not that organized...yet), just a quick list of some of the recipes that I'm enjoying and making frequently these days. I'm kind of obsessed with lentils as of late, quinoa too. You have all inspired me with your recipes, so I hope some of you will enjoy these too. Oh and although AP doesn't eat these regularly, she definitely gives them a try when she sees me eating them. We still frequently make seperate meals in our house, which isn't so stressful since AP eats fairly simple meals - pasta or couscous with olive oil and some seasoning (she's anti-tomatoe for the most part), hummus and bread/crackers, cream cheese and bread/crackers, grilled chicken & fish, omeletes, with all of these usually accompagnied with steamed broccoli or cauliflower. She also eats tons of blueberries (I buy the PC organic frozen ones) and grapes, and some yogurt. In terms of snacks, I make blueberry and oat bran muffins regularly, along with other kinds, which she usually eats. I can post those recipes another time.

1. Two kinds of lentil soup

a. Coconut red lentil soup

b. Lentil soup with leafy greens (I used kale)

2. Black bean and sweet potato burritos - I froze the leftovers and they were great for lunches

3. Chicken and quinoa soup - I love this soup! I also usually add some greens to this one. Very easy to make.

Happy cooking.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And I feel like I'm being tough on my kids some days...

Sorry to hijack the blog...just had to share this if you haven't seen it yet!!!

Intriguing yet horrifying!


Monday, January 10, 2011

M- Mundane Meals

A few of us had once expressed frustration with feeling like we were always eating the same old. "It's not the cooking we mind", we said, "it's the coming up with ideas for a nutritious meal that is quick!". I know I personally feel like this!

So today I change this! I am going to start posting my weekday meal plans and hope to inspire you guys to do the same! By seeing what is one everyone else's menu, we may be inspired to try new recipes! I personally love diving through my cookbooks, cooking magazines, and websites to find new recipes and to come up with my plan for the week. This can be a bit daunting at time! S. had once mentioned that she saw somewhere that it can be helpful to plan your meals around specific themes for specific days. So I will try this...but more on that later!

First - here is what we actually ate two weeks ago:

Sunday - Vegetarian Moroccan Stew
Monday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches (slow cooker)
Tuesday - Spaghetti with Meatsauce (meatsauce from freezer)
Wed - Banger's and Mash (slow cooker recipe from Emma)
Thurs - Pork Fajitas with leftovers from Monday
Fri - ordered in pizza (hey, nobody's perfect!)
Sat - Gnocchi with bacon and pasta sauce (pantry diving!)

So then switching gears to go with themes. I think this will change as I try to get it to feel right.
This should hopefully make it easier to plan the meals and get grocery shopping for the week!
Monday - pasta dish
Tuesday - Slow Cooker
Wednesday - Vegetarian
Thursday - Casserole/Meat Dish
Friday - Fun! (pizza, tacos, order in)

So the plan for this week:
Monday - Linguine with Spinach Pesto (actually was pretty good, substitute spinach for basil)
Tuesday - Lentil-Veggie Soup
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Maple-Glazed Pork tenderloin with baked apples
Friday - homemade pizza

In posting this for each other, I hope to inspire and be inspired but also to feel somewhat accountable for providing my family with good, wholesome foods! Of course, there will be ordering in more often that should happen!!! I look forward to seeing your menus in separate posts so they don't get lost in comments!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Giving up on toddler's eating habits...

Today I've decided that I'm giving up on finding ways to feed N veggies. I borrowed Mel's Sneaky Chef book and made what I thought would be great patties filled with veggies that he'll eat.
Nope- he didn't eat any and just started throwing them away.

Remembering the time I laboured early in the morning to make them, to prepare the veggies and puree them, when I could have just worked on my website and maybe perhaps, I would have been on time to have it done by next week so I can start marketing myself and actually make money, well...that is nowhere near finished right now - this makes me very angry.

So today is the clincher for me. After lunch, N set me in such a bad mood that I just took him off the chair, and took him straight to his nap time. Strangely enough, he didn't struggle nor cry.

Today, I decided that I will NOT make any more special meals for N. He will eat whatever is prepared for that night and if he doesn't, then he starves himself.

This all sounds too militaristic and perhaps insensitive but I've reached my breaking point. I'm the boss after all and not the tot. He will have to develop good eating habits and learn to follow the rules.
Thanks for listening.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reading: How the pill changed the world

Just read an interesting article about How the Pill changed the world.
We're all of that age in our group. The starting to run out of time, worry about fertility, I don't want to be breastfeeding at 44 years old group.

Any thoughts on this?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You know when you have a toddler when.... are the enemy when they eat and the fork is their best friend.
...they learn to pitch their food across the table
...they re-decorate your flooring to test the law of gravity
...they tell you it's time to wash your sweater as they wipe their hands clean off it
...they tell you when it's time to clean your bathroom by spilling water OVER the bathtub or spraying it on your pants
...they confuse you by pointing at the shower and getting upset if you don't turn it on.
..they get upset if you pull them out of their bath.
...they love washing their hands because they like bringing their step stool and gathering all your toiletries into the sink full of water.
...they talk theatrically with their hands out like a politician and look at you as if waiting for an answer
...they say NO, ALL THE TIME, even when they mean yes.. and they are not even adults in relationships yet. can't shop with them unless you make them walk around the mall or the grocery store and play with price tags or break something that you might be charged to pay for.
...they only eat certain foods they think are 'cool' to eat today
...they behave well at daycare making you look like a paranoid parent.
...they try to fit their fat little toes in your boots or slippers and get upset if you take them away take the slippers away, they find them and bite them instead... like a poor neglected pet.
...they point and laugh at the little boobies that once fed their little tummies when they see them
...they learn to turn the TV and DVD player on and off and play with any remote at your place or someone else's
...they learn to use your cellphone as a drool catcher and a toy at the same time
...they pretend to be Oscar contenders for the drama queen/king award.

...they understand what you are saying even if you don't understand them
...they throw you butterfly kisses and give you wet kisses
...they hug you after you play hide-and-seek with them
...they wave 'bye-bye' as you leave the room while you wish them good night.
...they get cuter and cuter in your eyes and it's hard to resist their requests
...they feel so comfortable around you that they shed all the "mister/miss perfect routine' around you
...they call you in the morning as they wake up and they yell 'mama? mama?'. :)
...they flash you a big smile as you pick them up at daycare.. but they don't want to leave. :P

Moms, feel free to add to this list.. ;)

Tiny Tot Temper Tantrums

My husband says to me a few weeks ago "What happened to our easy going baby?"

It's over. She's discovered pouting, fake cries and the now infamous temper tantrums! Throwing herself on the floor. Stomping around the living room yelling "NO NO NO!". What triggered it this time you ask?....
Her loving dad caved in to her cheese request but made the mistake of offering a cheese stick instead of a Babybel cheese! That was our house this morning.

She never says yes. Sometimes she will nod her head in affirmation but godforbid she says the word! "NO" however is said repeatedly. Sometimes with a wagging finger.

Some say "Ignore them" when they throw a tantrum. Don't react, show them that it doesn't give them what they want, keep speaking to them in a gentle manner about something else". Tried this yesterday. Result: 20 minutes straight of yelling and crying. There were some intermittent moments where she picked herself up off the floor to go ride her horse but all while crying and screaming then back to the floor. Seriously kid? GIVE IT UP!!

I was at such a loss having tried different techniques that as she was screaming I sat at my computer and ordered 2 toddler parenting books from Amazon. I'm now anxiously awaiting them. How sad is that?

Here's the kicker: she's an angel at daycare.

What did happen to my easy going baby???

S - Lean on me

Having just moved with husband and 16 month-old across three time zones, I'm thinking a lot these days about what elements I want to build into our new life and particularly into my new life as a stay-at-home mom in a new city. Since I lived here as a teenager and my parents are still here, we have family and good friends in town, which will be wonderful. However, most of those people work during the week, so I will have Monday to Friday to fill up. I suppose I had to do that in Montreal, too, but it happened more gradually as I moved out of the fog of the newborn phase and was more easily able to get out of the house, so it (that aspect of it, anyway) didn't feel as daunting at the time. This time, I have a very active little person on my hands who needs stimulation and interaction with other toddlers/children, and quite frankly I often find myself frazzled and frustrated at the end of a full day spent at home by myself with little A.

I've started a little list of activities that little A and I can partake in here. And I have a friend who's home with her 2.5 year old daughter; I hope that the four of us will see each other regularly. I was feeling pretty good about those leads when the above-mentioned friend asked me how I deal with the isolation of being a SAHM. Wow.... thud. That brought me down to earth fast! It can be terribly isolating staying at home with a little person all week... but I didn't experienced it that way, not much anyway, because of the strong support network I wove for myself in our old neighbourhood. Because of my fellow yoga zen moms!

Then today I read a post on a blog I have loved for a long time, in which the writer, a new mom to her second son, describes how vital to her mental health it can be reach out when she's feeling vulnerable. About how it can be so hard to do, but it can do so much good. I wanted to share the post here, because it rings true to me and I feel it's important for us to remember to reach out and lean on each other when the going gets rough, whether you're a mom who works at home or outside the home.

In building this new life of ours, I will need to think of activities, yes. But additionally and arguably more importantly, I will need to seek out connections with people to whom I can turn in my more challenging moments, to whom I can show my vulnerability. I write this and I think, "of course," because it's those kinds of connections that kept me afloat through those difficult early months and beyond.

Thank goodness for the Internet and all the ways I can stay in touch with the people I left behind when we left Montreal. Thank goodness for this new forum for sharing with each other. I feel lucky to be able to do a little leaning on your virtual shoulders, and to be here for you, even as I start to weave a new network for myself way out West.

Has motherhood changed the way you connect with friends, or your need to reach out?

When your toddler goes from eating everything to eating one thing...

Imagine eating pasta every night. I think if I ate pasta everyday, I would just get sick of it, really. Well, not for my 17-month old. He seems to just want to eat pasta. Occasionally, he would eat little pieces of protein-rich food here and there but veggies are out of the question. I know I shouldn't worry too much and that one day, he will outgrow this habit (I hope!) but trying to come up with meals for N is such a challenge and I worry that he may not be getting good nutrition for his age. When we go out to see the grandparents, I have to bring some pasta as back-up because they make 'real food' for adults and they don't bother asking me what N likes to eat. Of course, that's another issue altogether for another blog. My mom pretty much does a good job of cooking something for him whenever we are over and she is quite talented in putting stuff in his mouth.

N's fave food pretty much sums up to: pasta, pomegranates, raspberries and mangoes. I've sneaked in veggies in the pasta sauce and tried different pasta shapes but that's about as creative as I can get with pasta dinner!

I was thinking last night while we were having dinner, that perhaps N would prefer to eat with us. If he eats with adults eating, he seems to eat more but during the week, we prefer to put him to bed first before we eat our dinner.. a bit more relaxing that way.

So how are your tots taking up eating these days?


Monday, January 3, 2011

H - To drug one's child or not? That is the question....

After a hellish, and I mean hellish, flight to the UK and the return flight I think I will give F gravol on our next trip. I have come to this decision via a strong disagreement with this traveling ritual of some parents. But having done too many awful trips with little miss energiser bunny I am coming round to another way of thinking. So tell me what you think please.

Here's my rationale:
Most often on flights F should be sleeping anyway for some of the time.
She gets so unbelievably overtired she cannot handle going to sleep.
She loses all ability to use her coping mechanisms.
She is totally overwrought in a way only sleep can cure.

Here's a discussion of interest

So I think I'll discuss it with her doctor, but let me know your thoughts.