Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Raising a Foodie

E at 12 months eating an artichoke leaf
I like to think that I'm raising a foodie. E makes me proud with her love of health food. She has always loved fruits and veggies, kefir smoothies, and meats. If given a food that has kale mixed in, she always picks out the kale to eat first. Love it! She drinks homemade stock regularly and loves strongly flavored foods like raw onions and garlic, sauerkraut, curry, and chili. She happily devoured a [pathetic, tasteless, clearly not local or in season but we couldn't resist] dragon fruit we got at market the other week. E absolutely loves trying new foods.

E wasn't really interested in food at all until around 10 months when we started some hybrid of baby led weaning (BLW) and traditional solids. I wasn't in a rush to start foods and she wasn't in a rush to do much more than taste anything at all, so we found holding off a few extra months worked really well for us. [I wasn't in a rush knowing that breastmilk is a complete food for the first year of life. This isn't the case with formula, though.] When we did finally introduce foods, we started with fruit and introduced one food at a time, but we let her feed herself with everything soft, small, and easy for her to grasp. She loved peas, melon, and well cooked carrot sticks. Using this method and letting her try pretty much anything she wanted while not forcing any foods, we encouraged an incredibly adventurous eater who now will gladly eat pretty much anything. She's never had "kid foods" like hot dogs, chicken nuggets, or PB&J, and we're hoping to keep it that way. I like to think that maybe we did something right, although I realize there's still plenty of time for her to turn into a picky eater.

We used cold apple slices as natural teethers, and when E's teeth came in around 10 months, she started to be able  get really tiny pieces to eat.

I've been pretty confident in our feeding methods so far. And then I got a nice dose of humility the other morning when E ate a bar of soap. Not only did she take a nice big bite, but she went back for more. Suddenly I'm doubting my methods. Maybe she doesn't love Brussels sprouts, maybe she just doesn't have any taste buds. Maybe she needs all the terrible sugar and refined crap foods to give her a taste for sweetness, and realize not all foods are bitter (a completely irrational thought considering her love of all fresh fruit). Okay, not really, but seriously, who eats and enjoys soap? We know what discipline methods won't work when E says dirty words. 

We obviously won't be ditching our (mostly) healthy diet anytime soon, and I plan on making sure E gets the best nutrition possible to counter her toddler soap, dirt, and dog food eating adventures. And I guess it's time to break down and finally buy some all natural soap.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Favorite Things Friday - gDiapers

Honestly my favorite thing today is that it is indeed Friday. I woke up Tuesday morning thinking it was Friday. It made for an incredibly long week and I'm so thankful we finally made it to the end!

Yesterday I met my mom at my grandparents' house for a quick visit and to drop E off for her weekly day with Grandma. When we were ready to head home, I buckled E into her infant car seat, threw my purse and diaper bag over my shoulder, and carried her to Grandma's van. I adjusted the van seats and plopped E's seat in the base, waved bye, and drove home for a productive afternoon. When I parked my car and reached for my purse, I saw the diaper bag that I forgot to drop off with Grandma. Utter fail!

That moment was one of the many, many times I've been so thankful we cloth diaper. Although it would have been as good a time as any for Grandma to start the potty learning process with E, she didn't have to. Here's why:

Right now we're using mostly gDiapers. They're a 3 part system with a cover, a liner, and an insert. I can reuse the cover and usually the liner each time, swapping out only the insert. They come with inserts that are fleece on top to keep the baby dry and hemp on the bottom to be incredibly trim and absorbent. 

gDiapering system
An added advantage for us with this system is that our infant prefolds fit perfectly into the liners when folded in thirds. The prefolds are too small to still fit fastened around E's waist, but they're the perfect size for this diaper. Yay for a $1.50 prefold that fits birth to potty!

gDiaper with a tri-folded prefold
E was wearing a gDiaper when I dropped her off with Grandma yesterday. Grandma cut an old receiving blanket in half, pad folded it, and immediately had two diaper inserts. Super cheap, easy, and I didn't have to drive a forty minute round trip for a diaper. And we can always start on the potty next week/month/year.  Using just a receiving blanket, E stayed dry with no leaks for five hours. You can't do that with a disposable! 

Half of a receiving blanket, pad folded
gDiaper with pad folded receiving blanket insert

Good as new!

And yes, when I picked E up I left four extra prefolds at Grandma's house for next time I forget the diaper bag.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

City Parking

Chou and I have a love/hate relationship with living in the city. It's so convenient to everything. We can walk to market for groceries, countless restaurants for a dinner out, church, the playground, and the dog park. And if anything is too far to walk, it's not a far drive. We live in an incredibly affordable house, have little yard work, and (generally) like our neighbors. Everything seems blissful, and then the city spits in our face and I'm reminded that someday we'll have a real yard. Four walls to ourselves that aren't shared with neighbors. Our own clean air to breathe. And, most importantly at the moment, a parking space just for us. 

Last month, Chou went to leave for work only to have his car refuse to start. He took my car for the day and called our amazing friend/mechanic who was able to come fix it, but not before it was ticketed for being in the way on street cleaning day.

Two weeks later, I had a terrible cold and decided to sleep in. I woke up at 10am to the sound of the street cleaners ticketing my car. Having your car ticketed for being parked at your house while you're sick in bed is just plain wrong.

This week I was determined not to get ticketed again. I headed out in the pouring rain (yes, they clean in the rain. Unless my car is already moved. Then they don't...) to move my car directly across the street, less than 15' from where it was parked. I ran out, turned on the car, and watched in disbelief as my lousy neighbor backed up (the wrong way on a one way street) my entire block to steal my spot before I could even pull out. Chou says I should have played chicken. He's probably right. Instead E and I got to park on a street parallel to ours and get soaked twice - both parking it and moving it back. Darn neighbors.

Here's to our future driveway.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


We've had a string of beautiful days lately. With working from home and the inevitable business that creeps in no matter how hard we try to keep it at bay, there are days that it's 3pm before I open the door to get mail and realize that I'm missing an amazing day outside. I hate that!

Last weekend we had two days of warmth and sunshine and some free moments to soak it all up! We even fired up the grill. Twice. Spring is so close I can taste it (literally)!

A few lessons learned this weekend: 
-Choose your park carefully - this weather brings out all kinds of crazy!
-E does much better with not picking up every gross thing she sees when she's holding one of her favorite stuffed animals. Why does she feel the need to empty the park of every stick, leaf, and piece of trash but has no problem emptying every drawer and cabinet in my kitchen and leaving a trail of destruction? ...but that's a topic for another day.
-E likes to people watch as much as I do. She could have chilled in the swing all afternoon just observing the hustle of the park.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Favorite Things Fridays - Kale (and a recipe)

(This was supposed to be a recipe post, but somehow kale stole the show.  ...so Favorite Things Fridays it is.)

I'm slightly obsessed with kale these days. I can't get enough of it! It's everything I want spinach to be. The dark leafy green is incredibly nutritious, holds up really well to cooking, and is delicious. I love it by itself sauteed in garlic or made into kale chips, but it's also an easy veggie to add to just about any dish. We've enjoyed it in stir fry, meatloaf, stews, soups, and just about anything else. We got used to sneaking greens into our diet daily while I was pregnant (and incredibly anemic), and we've pretty much kept it up ever since. We've replaced cooked spinach with kale in almost all of our recipes because kale is still textured and delicious when cooked. It doesn't get slimy, watery, or fall apart as spinach tends to do.

This recipe for frittata is full of protein, high in iron thanks to the eggs, kale, and cast iron skillet, and can be served any time of day. Usually Chou will make it for dinner one night, and E and I will eat it for breakfast the rest of the week.

Kale and Sausage Frittata Recipe
1 lb hot italian turkey sausage (you can use pork, but I prefer the less greasy turkey)
1 bunch kale, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 T coconut oil
1 doz eggs
1/4 cup creme fraiche*, heavy cream, or milk
4 oz gouda, shredded
8 oz colby jack, shredded (or any combo of shredded cheese you have on hand)
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a large cast iron skillet and cook sausage until done. Remove cooked sausage from pan and allow to cool before slicing thinly.

Return cast iron skillet to medium heat and melt coconut oil. Add chopped kale and saute for five minutes, adding a splash of cold water if needed to keep the kale from burning. Kale will be bright green and tender when cooked. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and creme fraiche until well mixed.

Pour egg mixture, sausage, and cheese over the kale in the skillet. Mix well.

Cover cast iron skillet with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes or until eggs are set.

*one of these days I'll get around to writing about our creme fraiche. until then, here is a pretty good guide to making your own.

this post has been entered in Real Food Wednesdays.