Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

The New Year is here, and it is time to get back on the ball! This week will welcome the return of Meal Plan Monday, Tell All Tuesday, and Wordless Wednesday. It is also time to revamp our House Blessing. With changed schedules (hubby working graveyard) and the arrival of Little Three, we need to find a new method of keeping up on things around the house. I haven't yet decided how to run that segment, so for now we'll just call it Fix-It Up Friday. Because I'm a little lame and like to keep up my lame Daily Theme. But, you love me, so it works out. Right?

L3: New World: New Year!
What kind of Resolutions are you making this year, if any?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best of Natural Parents Network Volunteers Blog Blitz 2011

I am proud and honored to be volunteer with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), a community of natural-minded parents and parents-to-be where you will be informed, empowered, and inspired. When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about Activism, Balance, Consistent Care, Ecological Responsibility, Family Safety, Feeding With Love, Gentle Discipline, Healthy Living, Holistic Health, Natural Learning, Nurturing Touch, Parenting Philosophies, Practical Home Help, Preparing for Parenting, Responding With Sensitivity, Safe Sleep, and so much more! The volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to make NPN the outstanding resource it is also spend countless hours informing and inspiring others on their personal blogs. To close out 2011, the NPN volunteers have come together to provide you with some valuable reading material. Each volunteer has selected either their most viewed post of 2011 or their favorite post and shared the link here. Please take a few moments to visit each post. Our intention is to expand our reach as bloggers and informed parents and parents-to-be who are still growing as we move through our own journeys. Each volunteer has provided links to other social media sites where you can follow them as well. We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them. We are always looking for new volunteers so please, contact us if you are interested. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way!

  Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares her Christmas Cookie Swap Blog Hop, which is her fourth annual virtual cookie swap and most popular post of the year. Please stop by and link up your favorite holiday recipe until Dec. 31. You can find Farmer's Daughter on Facebook and Twitter.

  Adrienne from Mommying My Way shares Fear vs. Faith, one of her favorite posts about how often living a life of faith can look like a life of fear, but the two are really quite different. You can also find Mommying My Way on Facebook.

  Alicia of Lactation Narration retells the story of her oldest daughter's 5 years of nursing and weaning in her favorite post of 2011, The Weaning Party. You can find Lactation Narration on Facebook and Twitter.

  Amy of Toddler In Tow shares Finding My Mommy-Zen, her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, she shares her desire to balance her own self-esteem by choice in order to parent with peace and compassion. You can also find Toddler In Tow on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and follow Amyables (Amy W.) on Google + and Ravelry.

  Arpita of Up, Down, and Natural shares one of her most popular posts titled Reflections. This is a beautiful look at the type of mother she wants to be. You can find Up, Down, and Natural on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

  Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares Why Do Children Have More Food Allergies Than Ever Before?, her most viewed post of 2011. This post explains the shocking info that one unsuspecting mother discovered when she started researching why her daughter had a violent allergic reaction to eggs. This is a must read post for ensuring the health of your family. You can also find I Thought I Knew Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Stumbleupon.

  Christine of African Babies Don’t Cry shares The Best First Food for Babies, one of her favourite posts of 2011. This well-researched post delves into the healthiest and most nutritious food to feed your baby. You can also find African Babies Don’t Cry on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.

  Cynthia of The Hippie Housewife shares Gentle Discipline for Toddlers, her most viewed post of 2011. This post describes five gentle discipline tools for parenting toddlers. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Google +, and Pinterest.

  Darcel of The Mahogany Way shares how Babywearing Is A Way of Life one of her favorite post of 2011. This post showcases some beautiful woven wraps that she has purchased, traded, borrowed, and sold over the years. Darcel also talks about the benefits of babywearing from the newborn through toddler stage. You can also find Darcel{ The Mahogany Way} on Facebook, Twitter, Her Community for Mothers of Color, and Pinterest.

  Dionna of Code Name Mama shares 50 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids Plus Fun Serving Suggestions, her most viewed post of 2011. Most of these snacks are quick to fix and portable, so you can pack them to send with your child on play dates, at preschool, or to just have handy in the refrigerator for when your child wants to grab a bite to eat “all by himself.” You can find Dionna on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

  Erica at ChildOrganics shares a post that is not only close to her heart, but also her most viewed post for 2011 titled Attachment Parenting in the NICU. This post shares her top 10 tips for parenting should you find yourself with a baby in the NICU. You can also find Erica on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

  Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her personal experience of returning to work, expressing milk, and the ups and downs in between in her 2011 most viewed post, Mama's Milk. You can also find Gretchen on GFC, Blog Lovin', Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

  Isil of Smiling like Sunshine shares how to make an autumn tree using pumpkin seeds, her most popular post in 2011. This post features a lovely craft activity that you can do with your kids! You can also find Isil on Facebook and Twitter.

  Jennifer of Hybrid Rasta Mama shares 80 Uses For Coconut Oil, her most viewed post of 2011. This comprehensive post provides background information on the benefits of coconut oil as well as outlines 80 uses for it. You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest.

  Jennifer of True Confessions of a Real Mommy shares her most popular post of 2011, Weekly House Blessing (Otherwise Known as Cleaning Once a Week). This post outlines a once per week cleaning routine for busy moms. You can also find Jennifer on Twitter.

  Joella, the mama behind Fine and Fair, shares An Unusual Gripe with Bebe Gluton, one of her most popular posts of 2011. In it, she discusses the controversy surrounding a "breastfeeding doll" and offers her take on the gender role implications of dolls in general. Fine and Fair can also be found on twitter and facebook.

  Julia of A Little Bit of All of It shares the story of how her co-sleeping relationship ended with her daughter, her most viewed post of 2011. This post shows how her daughter transitioned to her own bed on her 2nd birthday and the emotions involved for her mom. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest.

  Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares True Blessings: White Noise and Grandparents, her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, Kat talks about how she maximizes getting sleep and how grateful and blessed she is to have her parents be so involved in helping and spending time with her kiddos.

  Kelly of Becoming Crunchy shares That Cup Does What?, her most viewed post of 2011. This post is one of a series of reviews and information on switching to all natural menstrual products - having heard so many different options and recommendations, Kelly decided to give a whole bunch of them a try and pull all the reviews together in one week for anyone interested in making the switch. This post in particular covers the ins and outs of the Diva Cup. You can also find Becoming Crunchy on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.

  Kristin of Intrepid Murmurings shares a popular post from 2011, something she and her husband made for their girls for Christmas, great for open-ended play and construction: Handmade Tree Blocks. You can also find Kristin on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

  Lani of Boobie Time shares Helping a Fellow Breastfeeding Mom, her inspiration for starting to blog. This post discusses the importance of fellow moms supporting each other and some tips on having a successful breastfeeding relationship.

  Laura at WaldenMommy: Life Behind the Red Front Door writes about finally entering "spring" when her child with special needs begins preschool. After battling post-partum mental illness (post tramatic stress disorder) after the preterm birth of her third child, she finally begins to feel healthy and whole again in "It's Fall, Ya'll-Again."

  Lauren of Hobo Mama shares On not having an AP poster child, her (OK, second) most viewed post of 2011. Lauren's first child shook her certainty that attachment parenting meant babies never cried and toddlers grew independent — and that's all right, too. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

  Luschka of Diary of a First Child shares Lactivism, Breastfeeding, Bottlefeeding and Mothers at War, one of her most viewed posts of 2011. This post discusses how the breastfeeding/bottle feeding debate causes a division between mothers, leading to the alienation of women and babies, while divisive companies prosper. You can also find Diary of a First Child on Facebook, and Twitter.

  Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how With Privilege Comes Responsibility, one of her most viewed posts of 2011. This compelling post explains her strong felt desire to stand up for those less privileged. You can also find Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook.

  Melissa of Vibrant Wanderings shares a Montessori-Inspired Checklist for Choosing Toys, her most popular post of 2011. The article outlines some important Montessori principles and how they relate to children's toys, translating that into some simple guiding principles. You can also find Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

  Melissa of White Noise shares Modern Day Wet Nurse, her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, Melissa shares the benefits of human breast milk and human milk sharing. You can also find Melissa at Mothers of Change.

  Momma Jorje shares Amniocentesis - What is it *really* like?, one of her most viewed posts of 2011. This open and honest series offers not only the technical process of amniocentesis, but also the emotions involved in awaiting (and receiving) the procedure and a diagnosis. Momma Jorje can also be found on Facebook.

  Moorea of MamaLady: Adventures in Queer Parenting shares Fluoride: Another Reason Breast Is Best, her favorite post of 2011. This post provides research on the harmful effects of fluoride in drinking water for babies and toddlers and ways to limit fluoride consumption in your home. You can also find MamaLady on Facebook and Twitter and her Parent Coaching Site.

  Rachael at The Variegated Life is Calling the Muse in her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, she describes how she uses ritual to help her tap into her creative spirit. You can also find Rachael on Twitter and The Variegated Life on Facebook.

  Rebekah and Chris from Liberated Family shares Using Cloth In a Disposable Society, their favorite post of 2011. This extensive post provides a lot of information regarding the varied uses of cloth as well as the many benefits. You can also find Liberated Family on Twitter.

  Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares her most viewed post: Confessions of a Breastfeeding Advocate: I Couldn't. She confesses her struggles with breastfeeding her daughters, but shares why she'll continue the good fight. You can also find Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

  Seonaid of The Practical Dilettante offers a science- and reverence-based meditation on The Living Earth, her most viewed post of 2011. This meditation was originally written for Earth Day, but it provides a way to reconnect with your place in the living breathing planet at any time of year. You can also find Seonaid on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

  Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes shares I Recommend (But Moira Likes This Book Too), her most viewed post of 2011. This post is a review of a wonderful book that talks about all the different ways that families can be made up, along with some of why this topic is so important to her family.

Sheryl at Little Snowflakes shares her experiences with tandem nursing in Tandem Nursing – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, her most viewed post of 2011. You can also find Sheryl on Twitter.

Stay tuned for some amazing posts from all of these tremendous bloggers in 2012!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Birth Story for L3: 2nd Homebirth after Cesarean

Today is L3's 2 week birthday. It is also her "due date". So, it is about time I get the story down. There are some pictures, but nothing graphic (no genitals or nipples, but bare belly and breastfeeding baby). From beginning to baby took about 25 hours, 13 hours less than L2's birth.

Ever have that dream where you are going to the bathroom, only to wake to hoping you were just dreaming and can make it to the bathroom in time? December 4th, 2011, Sunday morning, I woke to that, only instead of an urge to pee it was a pop and a gush. I wouldn't be making it to the bathroom, my water had just broke.

So I waddled to the bedroom door, seeing that it was about 3:30am, and wondered where my husband was. He should have been home from work about an hour earlier. I loudly whispered his name (he had been reading on the couch) and told him the news. He was surprised, to say the least.

I got to the bathroom, while Mike called our midwife, Dr Brandy, and doula (also our midwife's assistant), Megan. At this point, what is happening hits me, and I completely break down in a panic attack. My birth of L1 started with my water breaking, and it did not go well from there. It took my husband, and phone conversations with my birth team to calm me down, and put us back on track for our plans of a homebirth. Since we weren't having any contractions, everyone stayed home to wait and see how things played out.

Since my boys were still asleep in our bed (and the wet spot I created in my spot at the foot of the bed), and Mike hadn't even been to bed yet, we set up in the living room to get some sleep. Only, my contractions started about an hour later. And got stronger.

We had intended to send the boys and roommates to my brother's to wait. But when they decided to wake up at 5:30am I called my mom to come get them. I knew there was no way I could keep myself calm and focused with kiddos who had woken up too early. So, we kicked everyone out by 8 or 9am.

Mike and I spent the day resting in our "nest", watching the second season of the original series of Star Trek, taking walks, and just being together. My contractions were very uneven, though were pretty strong. All day we played that game. Sleep, snack, Star Trek.

At 5ish, I was getting uncomfortable and decided to get into the tub. Everyone (myself included) thought that my baby would wait for nighttime to arrive. But instead of resting, my contractions became stronger. I breathed and moaned though them, in the glow of our Christmas lights, with Christmas music playing. I remember at one point thinking it was taking forever, and a non-Christmas song came on. The lyrics to the song were EXACTLY what I needed to hear (really, listen to it).

I bawled my eyes out. We were in gear and really progressing. We called Megan to come over. I got out of the tub needing to use the bathroom. And the contractions stopped.


So again, we rested, we snacked, we walked (not pleasant at all: 20 degrees and throwing up on the stairs), we listened to Christmas music and basked in the glow of our lights.  Déjà vu all over again. Megan told my husband to sleep, me to relax in the birth tub, and she made herself scarce (My doula is rad like that. She knows when to kick my ass into gear, when I need encouraging, and when to just leave me alone. Check her out if you want an awesome doula). With everyone otherwise occupied I started having good, steady contractions again. The birth tub got cold, so I moved to our shower. 

I decided to check myself at that point. I was beginning to loose some of my hope, and was hoping to find myself decently dilated, which I was. I still felt a bit of a lip though. So, as Mike dozed while sitting on the toilet (just as a seat), I labored in the shower. There came a point where I started feeling like pushing, but was worried it wasn't really time. So, I pushed a little. Then a little more. I didn't tell anyone I was pushing, I had a fear they would tell me to stop. When I realized I couldn't stop pushing, I woke up Mike and told him to get Megan. When she saw there was no access to my bathroom, she encouraged me to try to get to the bed.

I made it out of the tub and to the toilet. Then I realized if I stayed much longer, I was going to have a baby in the toilet. So, I moved again. About 3 steps. Then I announced I couldn't go further and needed to push, even though I wasn't sure I was complete enough. Must have been though, because I squat down (right at the edge of the bathroom linoleum) and pushed. Good thing Megan keeps medical gloves in her pocket, and the chux pads were in arms reach of Mike. Out came baby in just a couple of pushes! I reached down, lifted the baby to my chest, and fell back into Mike's arms. After a few moments of rubbing baby down to get some response, we took a look and saw we had a GIRL! Really. I checked repeatedly over the next few days, that is how surprised I am. 

After delivering the placenta, exploring the system that nourished my little girl (cord that went FOREVER, twice around her neck, and around her body, between her legs), attempting to initiate breastfeeding (she wasn't interested yet), and the arrival of my midwife (because I didn't mention how far along I thought I was, no one knew to call her sooner. Sorry Dr. B!), we shifted to the bed to snuggle for a bit before cutting the cord, checking for tears, and doing her newborn check. She was 7lbs 6oz, 19in. All healthy, no stitches needed, and we were bundled up for the best part: the first nap, snuggled in my bed, with my husband and beautiful new baby girl.

Itty Bitty baby butt, huge  boob. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Birth of L2: August 20th, 2009

As I began to write my birth story for L3's birth, I realized that L2 was never cross-posted here. So, enjoy while I work out my thoughts on my latest birth!

After many days of warm-up labor, I felt we were at the real thing Monday afternoon. Went to bed about 10 that night after calling our doula to warn her things were happening, but we were going to try to sleep. I woke up to strong contractions at about 1:30am. After an early morning of getting things put together, kicking out family at 9ish, midwife check about 9:30, we then had a whole day of uneven contractions. It wasn't until 10pm, when I realized that L1 was about to spend his first night away from my husband and me, that I needed to put my all into this and not just wait and see.

(Totally loose track of time in this part. Somewhere between 1am and conclusion at 6:35am.) So we walked, then I started telling myself when to have contractions. I would tell myself "Now," a contraction would start, I would be with it, it would resolve, I would take a drink and a breath, then start it again. Soon after they took the pace on their own and we were officially in to hard labor. As things became more difficult, I spent time in the shower and in the labor tub. I remember getting angry that it hurt so bad! I would hit the tub edge. When I was getting IV antibiotics for Strep B, I was stuck to many times, my midwife's assistant FELL on me (I am sure she was horrified) and when my midwife broke my water she accidentally stuck me with the tool. At that point I WHINED. I complained that it wasn't fair for it to hurt so bad, people
falling on me, being stabbed with everything. I was told I was complete, second check revealed I wasn't. Midwife left for another birth, I had a backup midwife come (who was wonderful as well, even if I did hate her for the great help she was in pushing aside a cervical lip when I couldn't wait to push anymore.)

Finally, my son was born at 6:35am, in my bed! He was born with his hand next to his cheek, causing all the trouble! 8lbs 12 oz, 21in. I had 8 stitches to repair tearing, then we spent the rest of the morning sleeping, IN MY OWN BED! It was amazing. Now, 3 weeks later I am back to work, can chase
my toddler around again, and am almost 100%. I couldn't imagine a better way for things to go, as they all went in the way to bring me to my amazing HBAC! I really do feel like a REAL woman now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gratitude Challenge

I was just thinking that most of my posts lately have been a lot of complaining. Then, my lovely friend Amanda over at Let's Take the Metro sent out a Thanksgiving challenge. 100 things you are grateful for. Sounds perfect. So, ready set, here I go.

  1. My husband. He is husband and daddy extraordinaire. 
  2. L1, he is so caring and funny!
  3. L2. He is really his own person, and won't let you forget it!
  4. L3. Even though we have yet to meet, you bring wonder to my day.
  5. When new recipes are a hit.
  6. Comfy pillow arrangements.
  7. Friends
  8. The "adult" jokes hidden in kid's movies.
  9. Cute cloth diapers.
  10. "Baby" Carriers
  11. Coffee
  12. Flavored syrups
  13. Caring Midwives
  14. Awesome Doulas
  15. Yoga pants
  16. Giant closets
  17. Fleece blankets
  18. Hair color in rainbow colors
  19. Social Media outlets. I know, but I DO get a lot of good things out of it!
  20. Braxton Hicks. Trying to think positive here.
  21. My mom, now that we have things figured out.
  22. My sister, for everything she does for us.
  23. My brothers, who are awesome uncles.
  24. My dad, who is the kindest grumpy old man ever.
  25. Amazing support communities
  26. Properly cooked bacon: crisp, but not brittle
  27. Leftovers
  28. The Hunger Games series
  29. Knit hats
  30. Knit scarves
  31. Wool coats
  32. My chiropractor! 
  33. Grace. The only thing keeping me from drowning in guilt.
  34. Brothers playing and laughing together
  35. Music, to match any mood, and alter them as well.
  36. Tea. From soothing and warm to robust and iced!
  37. Sleep. Uninterrupted, warm and cozy sleep.
  38. Family bed. Knowing my whole family is tucked and safe in arms reach.
  39. Washer and dryer in my house. Dirty diapers don't make friends in laundromats.
  40. My camera, so I can have more memories on record than my mind can hold.
  41. Belly Buddies: Jorje, Shannon, Dionna, Roxanne, Lauren, and even those whose babies weren't ready for this world.
  42. Freshly made beds. 
  43. The health of my family.
  44. Scented candles
  45. The Library
  46. My neti pot
  47. Restaurants, especially ones  that work with our food sensitivities.
  48. Bubble baths
  49. People who can have respectful conversation, even if our ideas don't match.
  50. Yarn
  51. Being able to create things from yarn.
  52. Irving Berlin, for writing a soundtrack to this list. 
  53. Klesick Family Farms for their organic produce delivery
  54. Homebirth
  55. My husband's job.
  56. Health insurance
  57. My ability to sew
  58. Living in a mostly like-minded area
  59. Disney
  60. Le Leche League: for helping me find my tribe and giving me a place to help others
  61. Yoga, for helping my body stay loose and able to breath.
  62. People who fight for what is right, in hopes of a better future for all
  63. The family spa at the rec center.
  64. Massage
  65. The holiday season and its reminder to us to think of others.
  66. Intuitive parenting and how it helps our family
  67. Learning acceptance of my emotions
  68. Trader Joe's. 
  69. Zumba
  70. Babylegs, sometimes the only thing my kids will wear.
  71. Skype playdates
  72. Pickles: can't be sad while eating a pickle!
  73. Cheese, and it's many personalities and combinations.
  74. Movies. A great break from reality.
  75. Slipper socks
  76. Hot showers
  77. Public Transportation. It saves us so much!
  78. "Traveling" maternity clothes, so we don't all have to buy a new wardrobe.
  79. Stores who recognize the need for allergy sensitive foods.
  80. Candles
  81. Children's joy of learning, always inspiring more learning for all of us.
  82. My Crock Pot
  83. "Vaginas at Christmas"
  84. Good microbrews
  85. Good wine
  86. Hugs, even though I am still learning to accept them.
  87. Children's programming I can watch with my kids.
  88. The Natural Parents Network team.
  89. Blogger, for the space to share myself.
  90. The support and readiness I feel after my Mother Blessing.
  91. Christmas music
  92. Holiday movies
  93. Gorgeous maternity portraits
  94. My garden
  95. Nutritional supplements that help when food is not enough.
  96. New batteries in my car key clicker after 2 years without.
  97. Home
  98. Bedtimes
  99. Friends who can explain bloggy tech speak to me
  100. That my life is amazing enough to have 100 things to share I am grateful for!

Check out some other grateful people this Thanksgiving and holiday season, and feel free to share yours!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meal Plan Monday November 14th, 2011: The Thanksgiving Special

Because we have enough leftovers from last week, and plans with family coming to town this week, I decided to take this chance to share how we do Thanksgiving. We have used this plan for almost the entire time my husband and I have lived together, once we realized that dinner hopping, and spending a lot of time stressing about timing is just not fun. So, our baking and cooking starts Monday, and come Thursday all that is left is turkey in the oven while we relax and watch the parade and movies with the family (we are not football people).

Monday: Breads
This will be more important this year, since we need to make some gluten free options. Rolls mostly, as well as the pie crusts to be prepped. Also, preparing stuffing bread.

1 Pie Crust
1 cup (16 Tbs.)  Jules Gluten Free™ All-Purpose Flour 
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tbs. shortening, butter or non-dairy alternative
3 Tbs butter or non-dairy alternative
2 – 3 tablespoons cold water
egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbs. water) OR milk (dairy or non-dairy) for brushing on crust
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Cut in the shortening and butter using flat paddle attachment on a stand mixer OR a pastry cutter.  Add the water gradually to make the consistency you need to form a ball – err on the side of it being wetter rather than crumbly.  Form a disc with the dough, wrap in plastic* and set aside on the counter for 30 minutes while you make your filling.
After allowing the dough to rest, roll the pastry out onto a surface dusted with flour. Roll to a diameter at least 1 inch larger than your pie pan.  Gently lift an edge of the rolled out crust over your rolling pin and use the pin to lift the crust so that it is supported by the rolling pin as you lift it onto your pie plate.  Pat into shape and fill with your desired filling.
*This is where I would stop on Monday, and put in the refrigerator overnight.

Tuesday: Desserts
You just can't have a Thanksgiving meal end without pie. We typically do Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, and an Apple. The sweet potato pie I make is demanded by those who have had it in the past. I love that this recipe comes from Mike's Grandma Dell's only cook book, that has since been passed to him. It is a 1961 publication of Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book. It is such a lovely collection of recipes and interesting quips on proper wifely behavior.

Perfect Sweet Potato Pie
Sweet Potato Pie (9" pie)
1 3/4 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tbsp butter, melted
Heat oven to 425. Beat all ingredients, pour into prepared shell and bake 45-55 minutes or until knife inserted 1" from side of filling comes out clean. Center will set later. Serve after set or chilled.

Wednesday: Sides
All these dishes are prepared in oven safe containers so that all they need is to be cooked through before eating. It also allows flavors to combine, especially in the cranberry sauce, which we like to serve chilled.

Green Bean Casserole: Not that mushy fair you might remember.
We blanched and froze green beans from the garden just to have for this dish. Usually we would make our own cream of mushroom soup (it really is pretty easy, and WAY better than the canned stuff) but this year we are using Pacific Foods condensed cream of mushroom. Topped with homemade gluten free french fried onions, and I finally have a green bean casserole I don't have to force feed people.

Sweet Yams
I love the pretty color combination by using both sweet potatoes and yams. Peeled, chopped, tossed in a baking dish. Then I drizzle with some maple syrup, add a little water to the bottom, cover and cook until soft. Then, of course, we top with marshmallow and broil to crispy brown.

Cranberry Sauce
Now, my siblings insist that it isn't cranberry sauce unless it is shaped like a can. I am learning that I like fresh, as long as it has ample time to chill and the flavors to meld.

2 bags (12 oz each, ) Cranberries
1  1/3 cups water or juice (cranberry, pomegranate, and orange are good)
2 cups of Sugar or honey

Combine and cook until berries start to pop. Chill, and serve!

6 cups Gluten Free bread cubes
1 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 apple, diced
1 tsp sage
1 tsp celery seed
1tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 cup water or white wine (more or less depending on how moist or dry you like your dressing)

Saute carrots, celery, onion, and apple until bright colored and slightly softened. Add seasonings. Deglaze pan with water or wine. Quickly toss with bread cubes, cover and bake until heated through.

Thursday: Turkey Day!

And it really IS all about the turkey today. Since we started using organic, free-range birds, Thanksgiving has tasted even better.  I know brining is what all the top notch chefs tell you to do, but we have not seen that the added time and effort makes a big enough difference for the results achieved. Instead we rub the whole thing down with butter, getting some under the skin, and stuffing it with apples and aromatic herbs. (In the pictures above, we also threw some extra carrots, celery, and potato for making gravy from the drippings.) Heat up oven to 500, bake for about 30 minutes, lower heat to 300 and cook until internal temp reaches about 160. IF turkey starts to brown faster than temperature is rising, cover with foil to finish. Remove from oven, cover with foil if you haven't already, and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes.

While the turkey is roasting and resting it is time to heat up the sides made on Wednesday, as well as making the mashed potatoes and gravy (Sorry I can't help you with the gravy, that is Mike's forte). Ends up making for little more than an hour of actual kitchen time on the big day itself! Trust me, it is great.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday November 9th, 2011: Yoga!

I have a prenatal yoga DVD from the library. L1 loves to join in, though it doesn't usually last very long. This time, I think we made it about 30 minutes!

Making use without a yoga block.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Children with Knives! (And other Kitchen Tools)

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by" target="_blank">Hobo Mama and" target="_blank">Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I'll admit, I laugh a little inside when people tell me that kids in the kitchen is dangerous. That they shouldn't "play" with knives. Well, ok. No, they shouldn't PLAY with knives. They should be taught the right way to handle a knife. So, we have our Rules for Knives and we offer a few versions of knives, to work up to and practice these skills.

Rules for Knives
1. Only adults get out knives. The only time you may have a knife is if you are handed one.
2. Knives stay on the cutting boards. The end of the knife should stay on the cutting board, no pointing or moving about with a knife.
3. Don't lick the knife.

The "Play" Knife
For all manner of play foods: mostly wood and felt. Rare chance of actual damage being done, but isn't actually good for anything but play foods. The important part is trying to emphasize real knife safety in the playing.

The Practice Knife
We bought this knife with the idea that it would be a good teaching tool. Turns out, it is about the same tool you can get in a pumpkin carving kit. It is ok for teaching and letting them use on soft foods (bread, cheese, tomatoes) while we are cutting and not 100% eyes on, but it is dull. Dull knives can actually be dangerous because of the extra effort and force you need to get them to cut. Extra force can lead to loss of control and accidents. So it really needs just as much supervision as a sharp knife, so we figure "Why not teach them with a real knife?"

The Real Deal
Only L1 has graduated to the Real Deal knife skills. We stay close, doing our best to stay calm and enforce the rules. He does remarkably well, but don't kids tend to surprise us with how well they can handle things when you are patient, calm, and trusting. I have come to learn that children behave irresponsibly with knives when we make them off limits and don't take the time to teach them how to be responsible with them. Not that we haven't had to make the decision for him that he is not in a responsible mood and needed to switched gears.

He noticed the camera, next words to him were "Watch your knife and fingers."
Other Kitchen Tools
There are plenty of other tools that your child can benefit from learning how to use in the kitchen. Mandolins with good safety features, cheese graters, salad spinners, citrus juicers, you name it. Kids LOVE to try new things, help, and be with their parents! So, go for it!

Do you work with your child in the kitchen? What tools do they like to use?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: