Friday, 16 September 2011

Back to work

Well it is official.  I am back to work.  I made the decision to start back to work at the beginning of the school year because I really felt like it would be easier for me and for my students and I have not regretted my decision for a minute, well maybe for a minute or two.  We have a babysitter coming to our house four days of the week and Lila is going to Nanny and Grampy's on Mondays because not only am I back to work but I am back to school as well, attempting to finish up my second Masters degree by next summer.  So, these last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind but overall it has been great.  I have heard so many stories about mothers and babies crying for weeks at a time when the time came for Mommy to return to work and we haven't had that. Don't get me wrong, I miss her like crazy and the first few days were definitely not easy.  But,  I think Lila and I have a very secure attachment and I feel comfortable leaving her for the day.  I don't think I love her any less than I did when I was home all day, if anything I love her even more now that I miss seeing her throughout the day and I cherish every moment we have together, awake and asleep!  I love my daughter but I have to admit, I love my job too.  I think some moms feel like they aren't supposed to enjoy their jobs once they have babies but I think I can and should be passionate about both.  I work with an incredibly special and amazing group of students and staff at my school and though at times I wish I could stay at home and spend all of my days with Lila, that just isn't a possibility at the moment and if I have to be away from her I am so glad that I am working where I am and enjoying spending my days with some really great people. I like to think that when I am at work I am making a difference in the lives of all of my students and I have so much fun doing it that it certainly has made my return to work much easier.

Lila has been adjusting very well to the new arrangement and though she has cried a couple of days it hasn't lasted long and the past two days there were no tears at all.  She is still on the move, crawling and pulling herself up, walking along furniture, it is only a matter of time before she starts to walk I think.

We are looking forward to the cooler temperatures and all the other good things that come with fall, sweaters and jeans, apples (especially apple crisp!), pumpkins and corn mazes!  Should be a great few months to come!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Rain rain go away!

I wrote this a few weeks ago in the midst of the rain... then forgot about it when the sun finally came out!

Well it has been a very long time since I have posted! But back by popular demand (okay, maybe one or two of my relatives...) A quick Lila update:

She is crawling like a mad-woman!  She is all over the house, into everything and views an device that attempts to keep her in one location as an insult and protests against it as if her life depends on it!

She is pulling herself up onto the furniture and everything else she can find and is maneuvering her way around things but hasn't yet gotten up the courage to step away from the furniture.  I'm feeling like this is only a very short matter of time and then my mobility nightmare will be even worse!

She likes dog food but has only managed to get one.... okay maybe two pieces successfully into her mouth (that I'm aware of).

Sleep continues to evade us.  We have moved Lila's crib into her own room (it was in our room at the foot of our bed). We thought Bailey might be waking her up when she was in our room because she would go in in the evenings when Lila was asleep and her nails would click on the hard wood.  However, Lila continues to wake up in her own room as well.  Her new routine is bed around 8 (most nights) then she gets up around 10 and we put her back in her crib.  Then she seems to be staying in her crib until anywhere between 12:00 and 2:00.  Then she cries and one of us (usually me, lets be honest, J doesn't "hear" her apparently.  Although have you ever seen the Big Bang episode where Sheldon and Leonard break into Penny's apartment to clean it and Sheldon tells Leonard to talk in a lower register because women are biologically programmed to wake up to high pitched noises like the sound of a crying baby?  This may be true, I mean Big Bang wouldn't like to me right?).  Anyway, then when she waked up I nurse her and she comes and joins us in our bed.  I'm sure there are a number of things wrong with this scenario in terms of encouraging sleep but right now, thats what we are doing.  I think I am going to attempt night weaning (the process by which a mother continues to breast feed on demand during the day but not at night).  We'll see how this goes.  I don't think Lila is 100% ready to wean yet but I am ready to give up the middle of the night feedings complete with bad latch and sore, tired nipples.  Nice, I know. You wanted those details.

Diapers.  We have a stink issue right now. I'm going to try washing the next load in Rockin' Green (the the funk remover stuff because they didn't have any at Fiddleheads, but that will be the next resort). I'll let you know how I like the Rockin' Green detergent.

Teeth!  She has two. They popped up this past weekend and didn't really give up too much trouble.  I think the teeth may be impacting her sleep so I'm taking that into consideration as well.

Her new favorite things (aside from dog food) include:
- Elmo's world DVD from the library which has come in very hand on the nights she woke up around 3am and decided it was time to be up for the day but all I was able to do was lay on the couch like a zombie.
- Blueberries, peaches, plums.  She would eat fruit all day long.  I just cut them into bite sized chunks and she devours them!
- Bailey. She has a new obsession with the dog who she chases all over the house.  Bailey is a very patient dog, but being deaf gets a little flustered when Lila sneaks up on her over and over and over again.  She has been very good though and just gets up and moves away from the baby. Poor Bailey, nowhere is safe.

Things she doesn't like this week:
- Have her hair washed.
- The vacuum cleaner (guess I can't clean then right??)

We went camping one weekend in July, I should do a whole post on that.  It was so much fun!  We are hoping to go again later this month.  We are also planning a quick trip to Fredericton to visit J's brother and sister in-law for a night or two. Should be fun.  Lila's first long road trip!  I love road trips.  J does not.  We'll see who Lila takes after in this regard!

I have given up baking as my scale has made a sharp incline as opposed to the slow and steady decline I was seeing since having Lila.  Might be time to start working out again and eating fewer cookies.....

I go back to work in two weeks.  Thats right.  Two!  Can you believe it!  I am certainly going to miss being home but at the same time I am looking forward to getting back into a routine and getting to work with some of the best kids and best Learning Centre staff in the world!  Having such great people to work with will definitely make the transition easier!

Well, I think it is breakfast time.  Hmm, cheerios and berries?  Yum!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Summer catch up

The weather is finally starting to get warmer around here!  Lila might be able to get some wear out of her summer clothes yet.  I was starting to worry she was going to outgrow all her pretty summer dresses before it got warm enough for her to wear them!

I haven't written in awhile.  I'm not sure what I have been busy doing...

Our TapRoot box this week contained a whole bunch of delicious and wonderful items, one of them being rhubarb!  I have a new found love of rhubarb.  My father gave me a bite of rhubarb pie when I was probably about 4 years old and I gagged on it and then I didn't eat rhubarb again until probably a year ago. NOw, I love it, especially with strawberries.  Anyway, we also got some delicious fresh valley strawberries so I decided to make a strawberry-rhubarb crisp.  I found this recipe online and I made it. It was very very yummy, the perfect blend of sweet and tart. It wasn't however very crispy.  It all juiced over the top and was kind of soggy.  But I admit I ate it and loved every bite!

I have a confession to make. I like chocolate with my popcorn.  I prefer Smarties or M&Ms because they don't melt all over the popcorn due to their hard candy coating.  Chocolate chips can be a little messier, but they work.  I had this as my snack during our movie night the other night.

 We watched Red Riding Hood (my choice) and Piranha (J's choice). Oh well, I'll watch pretty much anything if I can eat popcorn and chocolate while doing so!

Today was Canada Day.  We started the day today by finding this spectacular moth on our deck.  Somehow it managed to get into our screen room... probably through the open roof that hasn't been finished yet.....

We packed a picnic lunch and headed to the valley.  The plan was to go to TapRoot's family farm day so we could really see where all our awesome produce is coming from.  Of course by the time we actually got in the car we were running late and were too late to make it for the farm tour so we decided not to go, we just drove by and took a peak instead of going in.  We also went to Fox Hill Cheese House and got some yummy smoked gouda, some fresh cheese curds and sampled lots of different cheese and some gelato.  We also went to Hennigars Farm Market and picked up some fresh tea biscuits, a small jug of apple cider, some local peas and a bog of freshly made apple cider sugar donuts (SO GOOD!).  We then headed out to Blomidon Provincial Park for a picnic lunch.

And a stroll on the beach.

We didn't swim, even though the tide was in.

And played in the waterfall.

It was cold.

We got loaded back into the car and Lila had a chat with her friend.

We stopped at the look off to catch a quick view of the valley and for a photo op of course!

I love the valley.  It was a great day!!!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

What does one do with kale anyway?

So in our food box last week we got kale.  Being home on maternity leave has allowed me time to watch thrilling day time tv shows like Dr. Oz, who has eyebrows that scare me... just a little.  Anyway, Dr. Oz who is apparently an expert on everything talks a lot about kale.  I'm not sure what he says exactly because I don't really listen that closely but apparently it is a super food or something. I suppose if a food is considered "super" I should probably be trying to eat more of it.

Needless to say, I have never tasted kale before, let alone tried to cook it in something.  So I did a google search and came up with a recipe for Kale and White Bean Soup.

I will apologize for my lack of pictures... Lila was having a very fussy kind of day and I was really working hard to get this soup going and keep her entertained.

I pretty much followed the recipe as it is.  I heated some oil in the stock pot.  I chopped up some yellow onion, one of our giant carrots and some garlic and tossed that in. I let it simmer for a few minutes to soften it up.  Then I chopped up the kale and threw that in the pot, letting it cook until it was wilted.  I also chopped up some green onion that I needed to use up and grabbed some garlic chives, garden chives and basil from my herb garden (which is doing very well, thanks for asking!).  I let this all simmer together for a few minutes so the flavors could mix and mingle. I dumped in some chicken stock and some of the beans (I used canned white navy beans).  Then I blended up the remaining beans and chicken stock and dumped that in with the veggies.  I diced up two tomatoes and tossed those in the pot. Then I added the italian seasoning and also some garlic plus, because I love garlic plus and add it to almost everything I cook!

I made a salad with fresh mixed greens, cucumber, strawberries and sesame seeds.  I also bought some fresh bread from our local farmers market and even dug out some real butter for it!  Dinner was delicious and nutritious!

Lila enjoyed it.  I think she especially enjoyed peeling the kale off of her belly and eating it!

This soup was okay.  It tasted like something was missing but I'm not sure what. Maybe it needed some more garlic plus?  The texture was a little strange as well, probably due to the pureed beans that were meant to thicken the soup but kind of just made it feel a little chalky.  All in all I thought this soup was just okay and I probably wouldn't make it again.  Luckily there was no kale in this weeks box so I won't have to find a new recipe for the time being!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Beet green and spinach lasagna

J and I recently signed up for a share in a local CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) at TapRoot Farms.  Basically, they (in conjunction with other local farms) grow the produce and then deliver it to share holders in the province each week.  I am so excited to do this!  I'm all about buying local and eating fruits and veggies that are in season.  Mostly I am excited because they bring things like kale and nettle and beet greens in the boxes, things that I would never purchase at the grocery store.

Last week in our food box we got:
Salad Greens
Beet Greens
Green onions
Sweet Relish Preserve

I think that is it.... so many delicious fruits and veggies!!! I have to admit, I had no idea what to do with beet greens or kale so I did what all inquiring minds do, a google search!  I found some promising looking recipes but decided that because beet greens cook up much like spinach I would use it in a lasagna!  Who doesn't love lasagna?

So I chopped up some onion.

And some spinach that I had in the fridge.

 Then the beet greens.  So pretty with their purple veins!

Garlic.  Must have garlic.


Then I decided to grate up one of the giant carrots that came in our box. These things are huge and white and weird.  But they taste just like regular carrots, maybe even a little sweeter!

Mushrooms.  I bought the pre-cut kind because I am lazy and they were on sale.

I chopped up all the veggies (except the carrot) and tossed them into a pan with some olive oil to soften them up.

Look at all those veggies!  Sorry for the weird picture quality. I have been playing with the settings on my camera and can't quite get them right.  I'm hoping for a new camera for Christmas..... we'll be starting a collection to pay for it soon! All donations are welcome ;)

I browned up some hamburger, not too much because I didn't want the lasagna to be too meaty.  Just meaty enough to satisfy J, the carnivore of the household.  

Again, being lazy, I used bottled sauce, I used the PC kind (which was on sale).  I like it.  In fact I don't think I have yet met a PC product I didn't like.  Maybe if we end up with a bunch of tomatoes in our TapRoot boxes later in the summer I will make a huge batch of sauce for freezing, but for now, the bottled stuff works! I also used the Catelli Express noodles that are oven ready instead of pre-bowling the regular ones.

Cheese. I used mozzarella and cottage cheese this time but I have been known to use ricotta, marble, cheddar, do what you like!

And I grated the carrot to add as a layer.

I'm sure there are not many individuals out there who don't know how to make a lasagna but for anyone who may not, this is what I did.

1. Put a layer of noodles in the the bottom of the pan.
2. Put a layer of meat sauce on the noodles.
3. Put a layer of veggies on the the sauce.
4. Put a layer of grated carrots on the veggies.
5. Cover with cheese.

It really doesn't matter what order you do this in.  It could be meat, noodles, carrots, veggies, cheese. It could be veggies, meat, carrots, cheese noodles, really, go with your heart on this one!  Then repeat until the pan is full.  I only got two layers in mine.  I filled two square pans. I made one for eating now and then cut the other one up and froze meal sized pieces for future lunches.

I was nervous about the beet greens, I'll be honest.  But they tasted just like the spinach.

Though Lila is not smiling in this picture, she really liked this dish.  She actually ate two pieces in one sitting and didn't feed any of it to the dog! We all liked it actually.  Veggies, meat, cheese, how can you go wrong?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Hanging herb garden

I have been wanting to plant this herb garden since I saw the idea in the book Grow Organic.  I have been searching for the perfect hanging shoe rack for over a year.  I had finally resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to find what I was looking for and had actually started to make one out of burlap.  Then I happened to wander into a Dollarama to buy clothes pins the other day and found one!  I was so excited.  Its the small things really.  

It seems like it has been raining for months on end so the other morning there was a break in the raindrops.  It was still super damp and cold but we braved the conditions to get this project done.  Lila put a cozy sweater on over her sleeper for the occasion. 

J was concerned about the moisture being against the house if we hung it on the exterior wall so he put some "house wrap"or "tyvek" on a board and then stapled the shoe rack on top of it to prevent any moisture building up on the house. Probably an unnecessary precaution but netter safe than sorry!

We got ourselves organized and brought out the transplants, seeds, soil and a pitcher of water (which Lila promptly kicked over). Resulting in an empty pitcher and wet feet for both of us.

I re-filled the jug and poured some water into one of the pockets to see how good the drainage would be.

  The water wasn't draining very well so I poked some holes in each pocket with a knife.

 Once the holes were punched I filled each pocket half full with potting soil.

 Then I popped in the transplants and seeds.  We planted cilantro, garlic chives, garden chives, winter savory, spicy basil, regular basil, thyme, dill and mint transplants.  We also planted nasturtiums, spinach and leaf lettuce seeds.

I love it.  J attached it to the side of the house when he got home and it looks great!  So worth waiting for and I cant wait to use these herbs and veggies in my cooking this summer!

The day I should have stayed in bed....

It is raining, again.

I woke up around 6:00am to the sound of retching.  No, not J and his post-nasal drip (eew) but the dog. On our bed. Throwing up.  Gross.

So I climbed out of bed, stripped it down and threw the sheets and duvet in the washing machine. I put the dog out, waited for her to eat some grass to completely clean out her system and then let her in. I promptly climbed back into bed, got all snuggled in, relaxed and Lila woke up.  So we were up for the day.

Lila hadn't slept well the night before.  She has teeth coming in I think.  But I have been saying that for months and she still doesn't have any teeth pushed through yet.  So we started out the day early and cranky.

I decided that I was going to make some mini muffins for Miss Lila.  I am finding it hard to get lunch for her when we go out.  When we were just nursing it was easy because the milk was always with us, one of the MANY benefits of breast feeding.  However, now that I am giving Lila three meals a day in addition to her nursing sessions I have to be able to take easy finger foods with me when we go out during the day.

I did some google searching and found a recipe for carrot and cranberry muffins. I found this recipe and decided to make these (I used half as much sugar as the recipe called for), mostly because they have yogurt in them which is my new favorite ingredient in baked goods.  I decided that I would make my life easier by using our Magic Bullet to blend up the carrots instead of grating them by hand.  But I forgot that our Magic Bullet never works like I want it to. I also didn't realize that Lila would be completely terrified of the noise.  So I threw the carrots in and attempted to shred them up.  Attempted.  What I ended up with was carrot mush with huge chunks.  After about 30 minutes of alternately grinding carrots and soothing Lila I ended up with very smushy carrot puree with chunks in it.  I gave up and threw it in the muffin batter anyway.  So I ended up with cranberry and carrot chunk muffins.  Lila doesn't seem to care though and she has devoured a bunch of these little delights, chunky or not.

To make myself feel better I decided to make some Big Chocolate Chip Cookies (my favorite recipe so far).  I of course proceeded to burn 3/4 of them.

So Lila and I retired to the living room to relax after cleaning up the kitchen.  Bailey (our dog) was feeling much better by then and decided she was ready to play.  I have been on a de-cluttering spree and have been packing up stuff to put in storage or give away to the church yard sale.  I had filled a big box with mugs that we never use that were just taking up precious real estate in our kitchen.  I had placed said box near the top of our stairs for J to take down to the crawl space when he got home.  Clearly I wasn't thinking or maybe the exhaustion from no sleep and getting up early had gotten to me, or maybe it was the frustration with the muffins and cookies but I took Bailey's toy that she was persistently pressing into my lap and threw it for all I was worth.

I heard the claws on the box first, then the slide and then smash, smash, smash, all the way to the bottom of the stairs.  I jumped up to look.  Poor Bailey stood at the bottom of the stairs surrounded by shards of glass and mug handles with her toy in her mouth. She had managed to break every single mug in the box.

I assisted Bailey in navigating the glass mine field and we snuggled up on the sofa for the rest of the day (30 minutes) until J came home to rescue my sanity.

Thank you for listening to the story of the day I should have stayed in bed.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.