Friday, November 14, 2014

Veggie soup + Garlic cheese biscuits

Vegetable Soup

2 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp oil
1 can kidney beans
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 sm can diced tomatoes (~16 oz)
1 lb frozen mixed vegetables
1⁄2 cup dried lentils

Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes in a large pot. (You can skip this step if using dried onion.)

Add all the other ingredients to the onion and garlic.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Add more broth if needed.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1⁄4 cup butter (melted) or oil
1cup water
1cup shredded cheese

2 tbsp melted butter

Combine first 8 ingredients.

Drop on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day in the life

Because for some reason I periodically feel the desire to chronicle just how much I *don't* get done.


1:00 a.m. - nurse nurse nurse

3:00 - nurse nurse nurse

4:00 - nurse nurse nurse

5:00 - nurse nurse nurse

5:30 - I reflect on how I know now why I'm so tired all the time. I get annoyed by the fact that when the baby gets tired he pops on and off repeatedly but refuses to just stop nursing and go to sleep.

5:40 - Endless comfort sucking is finally over; I get up to use bathroom and then flop tiredly into bed for about 20 minutes.

6:00 a.m. - Time to get up. Ping Scott.

Get Scott's lunch and both our breakfasts together. Realize that our leftover situation is dire. Again. Realize I'm going to have to go grocery shopping. Again.

6:10 - Ping Scott, sit down to eat breakfast.

6:20 - Really, Scott, get up.

6:30 - Ping Scott again, finish breakfast, throw on some real clothes. Scott finally gets up.

6:40 - I fold a bunch of our cloth wipes. This probably seems like a waste of time, but having all the diaper supplies organized makes changes a lot less harrowing, so. I also hung up assorted diaper parts for drying, since I did a load of diapers last night.

6:50 - I attempt to make heads or tails of the dirty dish situation. Not even washing dishes, just sort of rearranging them so it's possible to wash something. I put a couple of pans in the sink to soak.

7:00 - Internet break! How is the baby still sleeping?

7:10 - And he's awake. Change his diaper and wrestle him into his car seat. Make Scott carry it down to the car. Drop Scott off.

7:55 - Tad and I are home from the bus stop.

8:00 - nurse nurse nurse. While he's nursing I renew library books and check DMV hours.

8:05 - Tad is done nursing so I set him up with some peas and collect receipts out of my purse. I find a bunch of appointment cards while I'm in there so I update the family calendar and rotate out all the old appointment cards on the fridge.

8:12 - Tad has finished his handful of peas; instead of being lazy and giving him more I scramble an egg in the microwave.

8:15 - I remember why I don't give him cooked food--it's hot! I give him a cup of water and handful of raspberries to tide him over. Then I log on to our banking website so I can balance the budget like I meant to 10 minutes ago.

I need to ask Scott what he's been doing with his allowance; there are a bunch of transactions with websites I don't recognize.

A couple of Kroger receipts give me trouble; I finally realize they're pharmacy transactions and the receipts are in the pile o' doom by Scott's place at the table.

8:30 - The baby has eaten all his raspberries and his egg is definitely cool, so I give it to him.

I continue balancing the budget while Tad repeatedly tells me about his cup. (smack smack smack)

8:38 - I have $66.43 left in my grocery budget for the month, which is going to get eaten up fast (ha ha) given that we have two birthday parties ahead of us. Still, it's something. I start working on a grocery list.

8:42 - Tad is fussing. I get him down and put the uneaten half of his egg away for later.

9:00 - Now he's full on crying. I use the bathroom by myself over his loud protests. Then I pop him in the mei tai to wear him for his morning nap. While he is nursing I sneakily eat some leftover Halloween candy.

9:20 - He's asleep! I waste time on the internet during the brief intervals when he allows me to sit down.

10:30 - Tad's awake and not happy about it so I nurse him some more to ease the transition to wakefulness. Then I change a very wet diaper and waste some more time on the internet.

11:00 - Tad falls and bumps his head. I soothe his feelings with a little nursing. Then we eat lunch. (He mostly throws his food around but eats at least one bite of egg and about a tablespoon of *my* oatmeal.)

11:50 - I write down my grocery list and look up what I need to bring to the DMV.

12:00 p.m. - I change a poopy diaper and get the baby dressed in real clothes and so on.

12:20 - We leave for Aldi, where we spend about $30 buying out the dairy section. (Not really, but we got a bag of shredded cheddar, a bag of shredded mozzarella, a bunch of ricotta, a box of butter, and a carton of heavy cream. Plus some bananas and tomato sauce and whatever.)

1:00 - We leave Aldi and head toward the DMV. You might think it would have been better to go to the DMV first and Aldi second, but I figured that at 12:00 a lot of the people with Real Jobs might be trying to run errands on their lunch break. And it was cold enough that my groceries could survive in the trunk for quite a while anyway.

1:30 - We're home again (see, it didn't take long at the DMV at all!)

1:40 - Baby is whiiiining so I nurse him again and he promptly falls asleep. Okay then.

2:20 - I finally stop fooling around on the internet and try to transfer the baby to bed so I can nap too. He nurses off and on but doesn't sleep much. I doze for not nearly long enough.

3:20 - Nursing isn't working to keep Tad half-asleep anymore. I change his diaper, he whines while I sit around tiredly, I serve him some cooked carrots and eat the last slice of leftover pizza. Lots of staring dully at Facebook thinking I should be doing something productive.

4:15 - time to get Scott. It takes a while to get out the door because I have to change a poopy diaper first. This kid loves to poop in dry diapers.

4:45 - We're home. I do some more glassy-eyed staring at the computer while Scott gets changed out of his work clothes and stuff.

5:08 - Start a small flurry of productivity that involves rotating the hang-drying laundry and putting a few more things in the dishwasher and taking out the trash but mostly just rearranging the kitchen so I can cook.

5:35 - Husband and baby are both sounding a little frazzled, so I grab him and nurse him. (The baby, not the husband.)

?? - I go back to frantically doing stuff

6:10 p.m. - Scott has a chiropractor appointment, so we all pile in the car. The baby falls asleep on the way so I sit in the parking lot and read. He wakes up again as we're leaving.

7:20 - Home again. I put some muffins in the oven. (I made the batter before we left for chiro.) Tad bumps his head *again* at one point and therefore requires nursing.

7:45 - Muffins are done. I break one open and put it in the fridge for Tad. He cries and paws at me because I won't share my nice hot muffins with him.

7:50 - Tad is in his chair with a muffin. He is happy.

8:15 - I start NaNoing and Tad starts dropping things over the side of his high chair. I get him down shortly thereafter and he crawls around amusing himself while I type rapidly. (I get about 1500 words in 45 minutes, so not too shabby, but not quite my quota either.)

9:03 - The baby is starting to smell again and I realize I haven't changed him in a while (the chiro and dinner craziness threw me off). I change a slightly poopy diaper and then eat a pork chop because they are finally ready. (I threw them in the crockpot on high before we left for the chiropractor.)

9:40 - I put Tad in the mei tai again in an attempt to get him to sleep. He nurses for a while but remains wide awake thanks to his 45-minute car nap.

10:00 - Scott and I do the de Montfort Consecration prayers while Tad climbs all over us. Then I brush my teeth and otherwise get ready for bed.

10:45 Wear-to-sleep attempt #2.

11:05 - He's asleep. THANK YOU JESUS. We transfer to bed and he nurses some more before finally falling into deep sleep and staying that way until 4:30 the next morning. THANK YOU AGAIN JESUS.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I've had these hanging out in my browser waiting for me to write deep and thoughtful posts for a while and then I realized that's not going to happen. So, here:

1. Golden Seams: The Japanese Art of Mending Ceramics

This has been hanging out so long that I don't remember where I got it. It's interesting in its own right, but I couldn't help but think of it as a metaphor for suffering--we break, and God puts us back together, but the putting-back-together leaves its mark, and yet makes us more beautiful than we were to begin with.

I want that, or at least want to want it--to have my suffering make me into something that looks like it belongs to God.

Also, there are some people who think that God smashes us on purpose, so that he can put us back together like this (just as there were some people who destroyed pottery on purpose so that it could be repaired with gold), but I don't believe in that kind of God.

2. A Mother's Repentance

I don't have much to say about this article except that every word of it is true. For me the inciting event wasn't miscarriage, as with the author of the piece, but for a long, long time after the whole poor feeding/slow weight gain/postpartum depression mess that was the first 6 weeks of Tad's life, I felt as though I had to do everything perfectly--as if I was taking the most important class of my life and had flunked the midterm so there was no way to pass except by getting 100% on the final.

I'm getting a little better, in increments, with occasional setbacks. Because he is mine, in a million very important ways, but in a million other important ways he isn't and never will be. I made him inside of me and yet he has so many things in him that are not me, his own very big personality (trapped in a little, mostly nonverbal body for the time being) and a destiny that only he can discern. It's not my job to make his life perfect or to keep him always safe, and I couldn't even if I wanted to.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Language update

Because I might not get around to doing a whole Quick Takes post anytime soon.

New sign of the day: "Cup." This one was hard to get; what he did was smack the back of his right hand with his left until his stupid mom finally figured it out and gave him a cup of water. And then of course he didn't drink it, just played with it. He's not really into drinking water at the moment; I think he knows that if he waits until he's done eating he'll get breastmilk.

He also lifts his arms into the air (like the "Touchdown!" gesture) when something exciting happens. He'll do this repeatedly until you say "Yay!" and then he stops, satisfied. I don't know if that counts as a sign or if it's more of a gesture, like waving or clapping.

His complete vocabulary, in order (signs are in quotation marks, actual spoken words are not):

"All done"

According to "What to Expect: The Second Year" this kind of vocabulary would be average for a baby of about 16 months. Tad won't even be 12 months until next week.

Like any self-respecting first-time mom, I am thoroughly convinced that my child is a genius.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Seven Quick Halloween Takes with lots of pictures

Tad turned 11 months old last Monday. He "celebrated" for a week by staying up fussing and crying and fighting sleep until 11 p.m. almost every night. Then we had a good 3-4 days where he went to bed easy at night, fought his naps less than usual, and was generally cheerful during the day. I hoped that we would get a little break until his next Wonder Week (due to arrive shortly after his birthday next month.)

No such luck. The last three nights have been terrible--up until 12 a.m., up until 11 p.m., asleep at 8 but awake and screaming nonstop from 11:30 to 12:30...We're really tired of this one month on, 3 days off pattern he's had going, let me tell you.

Funny story, though, about the Sleepless Wonder: About two weeks ago, we were driving to look at an apartment and he was tired so he was sitting in his carseat moaning loudly in an attempt to keep himself awake. (He does this a lot.) Scott said, "You sound kind of like your mother did right before she gave birth to you."

The hilarious thing is, he totally does sound just like that.

Recently I've noticed that he can stand independently (i.e. not even holding on with one hand) for a few wobbly seconds at a time. When he's done he doesn't even fall over--he either grabs on to the nearest baby-shoulder-height object, or he lowers himself carefully into a squat and then carries on crawling around getting into mischief.

You can tell he really wants to walk--he'll be standing there, nonchalantly leaning one hand on the dishwasher, and I'll try to coax him to take a step or two towards me. He'll think about it, swaying back and forth like a cat getting ready to pounce, and then drop onto all fours and crawl towards me instead, grinning happily at his clever solution to the problem of not being able to walk.

He did this "revving the engine" thing for a while before he learned how to properly crawl on all fours (you may recall that he flopped along on his belly for a while before that), so I suspect walking is just around the corner.

Tad's fine motor skills are developing apace--He can stack two blocks (apparently quite the feat for an 11-month-old, according to the What To Expect books I've read) and accurately put rings on his ring-stacker; the nuances of the shape-sorter still elude him despite valiant efforts.

We're beginning to suspect he might be naturally left-handed. He uses his right hand for plenty of things, but when he needs to do anything particularly tricky--pick up a frozen pea, attempt to fit a block into a shape-sorter hole, etc.--he uses his left. I guess we'll see what happens in a few years.

(Scott and I are both right-handed, but one of Scott's brothers is left-handed and my grandfather was naturally left-handed [though functionally ambidextrous, because that's what happens when you learn to write in the early '40s.], so Tad's genetic odds are perhaps slightly higher than the average offspring of two righties.)

Word of the week:

More: He produced a reasonable approximation of the sign for "more" last week. I've been pushing this one because for the past week or two he's been using "all done" to mean both "I'm ready to get down" and "My food is gone and I would like more." It's a little confusing.

The normal sign for more involves making your hands into beak shapes and sort of tapping them together. (Or at least that's how I do it. I freely admit I could be doing it wrong.) Tad does it by making one hand into a beak and tapping the back of his other hand. It almost looks like he's tapping his watch in the universal gesture of impatience, except of course he doesn't wear a watch.

I've been working on getting him to say "Daddy." He obviously knows who I'm talking about (if I say "Where's Daddy?" he turns and looks at Scott), but so far has absolutely no interest in talking about him.

Last night we went Trick-or-Treating with Elder Elder Brother and his son. (The girl-child had been around a few streets before we got there and then decided it was too cold.) Tad dressed up as a panda bear and ate half a Kit-Kat. After his midnight scream-fest he's not getting any more Kit-Kats for a while, just in case.

On his grandparents' doorstep

He really enjoyed the Kit-Kat.

My most recent culinary accomplishment: Chicken alfredo pizza with spinach on a garlic-butter crust. I made the crust the usual way, except of course with a good sprinkle of garlic powder, and then I coated it in softened butter before putting it in the oven for the first bake.

Scott loved this, even though he normally looks askance at spinach, and Tad ate a pretty sizeable slice himself. (Probably about 1/16 of the total pizza.)

The whole apartment hunting/moving process proceeds slowly but surely; I should have a more interesting update for you all next week. Or the week after that, or whenever I get around to blogging again.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sausage gravy and biscuits

Sausage gravy

1 lb sausage
1/4 - 1/2 cup flour
2 - 4 cups milk
salt and pepper

Brown sausage. Do not drain.
Add flour and stir until it combines with the sausage fat to form a thick paste.
Add milk gradually, stirring to remove flour lumps. (There will still be sausage lumps, obviously.)
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot over biscuits.

Really Lazy Biscuits

based on "Really Big Biscuits" from this cookbook

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup melted butter
2 cups milk or plain yogurt*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients and stir until well incorporated.
Drop in rough lumps onto greased or nonstick cookie sheet.
Bake 13-15 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.

*I used yogurt once when I accidentally ran out of milk and turns out it adds amazing richness and flavor. I might do that every time from now on.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Apartment hunting, funny kid stuff, and giveaways

Scott had a day off on Monday. The first thing he did was sleep in; the second thing he did was wake up to find me getting all weepy because I can't handle my life on a normal week and apartment hunting was pushing me over the edge.

He told me to go take a nap and he would call apartments. I ended up eating lunch and doing some dishes first, and then the baby and I both took a nap from about 2-4. And Scott did call apartments.

He wins the Husband of the Week award for sure.

Apartment hunting has actually made some progress. We saw one place yesterday evening and are seeing another tomorrow afternoon. (These two are out of about 8 places we contacted this week; the rest were dead ends.) I'd like to look at a few more places if possible, but two is a lot better than zero!

Last night's apartment got put on the "definitely maybe" list. It's near the top of our price range, but it's a decent place and has an itty-bitty playground and is within walking distance of the bus line that takes Scott to work. (Which could affect our pricing calculations--if he actually walks to the bus stop that would save us a fair bit of gas money.)

It didn't wow me, though. The floor plan we're looking at has a really large living/dining area (which Scott really liked), but the kitchen is tiny (I wouldn't have thought it possible to have a kitchen smaller than the one we have now) and the bedrooms are pretty tiny as well. Plus the playground I mentioned above is RIGHTUPNEXTTO this little fenced dog-run area. I can just see trying to take Tad to the playground and having to spend the entire time keeping him from sticking his arms through the fence.

Language development update!

- The sign for "milk" has reappeared. It was super adorable the one time I was getting ready to nurse him and he realized what I was doing and smiled beatifically and made the sign for "milk" before latching on and nursing away happily.

Then again, he did pretty much the same thing when I gave him a spoonful of chili, so he might be a little confused on what "milk" means.

- New word: Uh-oh. I started saying this whenever he drops his food off his high chair and after a few days he started echoing: "Ut!" Then earlier this evening he knocked a book off the end table and said it spontaneously, and Scott understood him.

These are Buzz Lightyear jammies he inherited from his uncle.
He reached a somewhat more terrifying milestone yesterday: He can grab things that are hanging off the edge of the kitchen counter. I guess this will motivate me to keep up with the dishes so there are fewer sharp knives and breakables within reach.

Somewhat related story: This morning Tad woke up cranky and I still had to get breakfast together, so I tried standing him up on a chair (backwards, so he could hold onto the back). I had this idyllic vision of him watching me curiously while I chatted and cooked, all domestic-like.

Instead he tried to climb onto the counter, using the arm of the chair as a step. He was very miffed when I moved his chair further back so he couldn't reach.

--- 5 ---

Random things I want to remember:

-When I pull a hair out of his mouth (he tries to eat stray pieces of hair a lot) and he makes this adorable little scrunchy face over the way it feels.

- When he's sitting on the floor (legs straight out in front of him) and something interesting happens behind him and he scoots himself around in a circle using his feet in order to see what's up.

Now for some stories of my younger siblings, because they don't get enough blog time anymore.

My dad posts on Facebook:

Teresa colored a picture of me last night where I had green hair.
Me: "Why's my hair green?"
Teresa: "Because I couldn't find a gray crayon."

My mom comments:

Well at least she gave you hair.

He might need some aloe vera for that burn.

Later, my mom posts this:

I got our duffles down since Andrea wanted to start packing. TJ wanted to pack too. While I was helping her Matthew was fussing about packing too. I told him later and so he started to get stuff out of his drawers. Well he put one swim diaper his trunks and swim shirt in the duffle and declared himself done.

That's all an almost-three-year-old boy needs for vacation, apparently. (Notice how I refrain from telling you where they're going or how long they'll be gone or anything. Don't steal their stuff, internet stalkers.)

Now, if you don't mind, I would like to point you in the direction of House Unseen Found on Zillow's latest giveaway. Because if I blog about it, I might win stuff. And if you go over and enter yourself, you might win stuff. And if we don't win, at least we found out about non-toxic cleaning products for our children who like to lick the floors.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!