Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Matter of Timing

Max, you turned one on Saturday. There was a big party, and you were charming. I have some stuff to say about this first year of ours, but I'm really busy right now. You prefer that I not tippy tap on the computer when you're up and ready to play, and we're planning a trip to Indiana that involves planes and stressful packing logistics.

I promise that when we get back, at the latest, I'll get you a proper entry. In the meantime, I'd just like you to know that I think you're a pretty cool dude and you make me laugh every day. I'm sure this next year will be even better than the last.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Who Knew

So I actually made tasty brussels sprouts today. I don't just mean that they are edible, they were actually good enough that we might want to make them again. The only change I think we'd make is to make more dressing for them next time. I like to use baby brussels because they are closer to bite size, and they are cuter. You could use big ones if you liked, but they might need to cook longer.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Mustard Dressing

Prep 1 bag of baby brussels sprouts by washing, trimming cut end, and removing outer layer(s) of leaves. You want to get rid of any yucky looking leaves, torn, dirty, etc and reveal crisp pretty little sprouts. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise.

Cut 3 strips of thick cut bacon into 2" pieces. Cook bacon on medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels to drain. Don't discard any grease, if you think there is too much in your pan, pour it off, but save it. You will probably end up needing to add it back, the sprouts absorb a lot.

Turn heat down to low, and put brussels sprouts into pan cut side down. Cook on low for 10-12 minutes, while they cook chop your bacon into bits. When the sprouts are almost tender then crank the heat back up to medium and cook 2-3 more minutes. You want the sprouts to brown a bit, but not burn. They should be tender but not mushy. Use tongs to remove sprouts and hold in a bowl while you make the dressing.

Take the pan off the heat and add a spoonful or two of whole grain mustard and some sherry vinegar to the pan. Scrape the bacony goodness from the pan and get everything mixed up well. I didn't measure anything, mostly went by smell. This part only takes a few seconds.

Pour the dressing onto the sprouts, add 2/3 of the bacon and toss to combine. After serving add the remaining bacon bits on top of each portion.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mini Photo Album

The other day I whipped up a tiny photo album, using the same techniques, but different materials. Each of the sheets was cut from scrapbooking paper, so that the pages would have more substance to them. The photos were just print on copy paper, and glued to the pages. I used some scrap yarn to stitch the pages together, then glued the cover on.

Things I like about this photo album, and why I want to make more from other events: It's small enough that I can carry it around in my purse to look at whenever I want a smile. It was quick enough, and cheap enough that I don't have any qualms about letting Max play with it and possibly destroy it. It's small enough and the pages are sturdy enough that Max can actually manipulate it easily.

There are 16 pictures inside, and plenty of room to add captions if I feel like it later. I did decorate the front cover, because it looked naked without something there, and I dated the inside back cover in case this does survive Max's babyhood.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mixed Bag

Lunch today was an experiment.
I went with a one pot quick-ish lunch. I boiled some chicken/prosciutto ravioli, edamame, and fresh green beans together in some water flavored with tomato/chicken broth. It was pretty quick, so that was good. And Max at his ravioli, so that was good. Unfortunately I don't think that I cooked the edamame or green beans for long enough. He seemed to like the taste because he kept returning to them and trying to eat them, but then he'd pull them out of his mouth and go back to ravioli.

Well, at least I didn't spend 30 minutes on something that he wouldn't eat. Which is good, because I've been bitten by a craft bug, and the other 20 minutes not cooking were minutes I could use making ridiculously cute little notebooks.

I've seen little folded paper notebooks online before, and even made one or two, although I normally cheese out and try to use tape to hold the thing together. For the record, that never works for me. Last night I made a pretty small one as a test and actually sewed the pages together, and learned a lot about how I want to do things differently. I've been taking notes in that notebook, on how to make new notebooks.

This afternoon's book is on the simpler side, mostly because Max was awake and all up in my grill wanting attention, and also because I don't quite have the supplies together to make it fancier. Not to mention that my raw material was part of a paper grocery bag, and the goal was a little notebook for grocery shopping lists. I am tickled with it.
 The outside is an 8" by 4" strip of grocery bag with veggies on it. The inside is comprised of 5 strips that are 7 1/2" by 3 3/4". First I folded everything neatly together. Next I used a stapler (this is the less pretty way) and stapled the inner sheets together along the center fold. I put the sharp bits toward the outside, so that the center is snag free. The final step was to glue the first and last inner pages into the cover.
I should probably mention that I have a paper cutter, and didn't cut these by measuring with a ruler and using scissors. It isn't anything super fancy or large, but it makes cutting small pieces of paper a snap. It might be this model, but I'm not positive. It looks about right, and is the right color. It's the same cutter I use when I pretend to scrapbook. Although I think a lot of scrapbooking paper might bite the dust in the name of little notebooks.

Also, I glued the insides in upside down so that one of my pages says FOOD, but not in the direction that I'd intended.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Pretty much every day I face the dilemma of what to feed Max for lunch. For dinner he almost always has what we had for supper the night before, so that one is easier. If by some fluke we don't have leftovers I have a few things stashed in the freezer. Breakfast tends to a rotation of egg, oatmeal, or pancakes with various fruits/meats as sides. That one I pretty much have covered, though the choice tends to depend on how awake I am at the time.

In my mind lunch is the domain of sandwiches and salads. Neither of which Max really knows what to do with yet. Add to the mess that I don't know a whole hell of a lot about cooking and you leave us up a bit of a creek, with no picnic. When he was a baby it was easy, lunch was yogurt time, with a side of some other almost liquid food. Once he found the joy of picking up food to feed himself those days were gone.

He will still eat some foods from a spoon, thank goodness. For instance lunch today was fresh strawberries and blueberries that he could pick up and eat, then some yogurt and applesauce that he let me feed him with a spoon. It's going to be fun* when he masters this spoon thing better and won't let me help him at all, but for now he is only interested in trying it as he starts to get full. When hunger is in full force he knows that it's more efficient just to let an adult handle that part for him.

My other issue is trying to get vegetables into him. Yes, that's already started. He has begun to reject even the green beans and broccoli that he used to eat with gusto. So far he will still consume large quantities of peas, but I worry that even that well might dry up. He hardly ever gets veggies at lunch, since he can't eat them raw yet, and breakfast veggies tend toward tomatoes and onions and such that I stash inside his eggs. We've been pretty good at making sure there is green on his plate at least once a day, usually at dinner, but we can't force him to eat them.

If anyone has some early toddler lunch ideas I'd love to hear them. Keep in mind that I'm kind of lazy, don't want to waste any of my time off cooking (unless it's cookies), and I'm not incredibly skilled in the kitchen. I will google how to do new things though, so hit me with your best shot!

*By fun I mean horrifying, as he becomes determined to do it himself a good bit before he has actually mastered getting food from bowl to mouth.

In Dreams

I wonder what Max dreams about.

There are times when he cries out in the middle of the night. His arms or legs thrashing against the sheets and banging into the slats of his crib, maybe he is just awake enough to realize how cold he is, or wonder where a dropped pacifier has gone. There are other times he wakes up completely scared or angry, howling for help and sometimes inconsolable. I wonder what triggered that awakening. I wish I could do more to help him, that the best advice I could find wasn't to help him learn to get himself back to sleep, that there was something useful I could do.

The worst to me though is when he is sleeping, completely out with that creepy super still look that babies can get when they are in a deep sleep, then suddenly he is crying. He doesn't wake up, he doesn't scream, he whimpers a bit and then that turns to these gut wrenching sobs. To me it sounds as if his little heart is breaking and there is nothing I can do about it. He never cries like this when he's awake, they are not like his hunger/pain/anger/whatever cries that I hear throughout a normal day. I actually woke him once, because I couldn't take the sound, and that was a huge mistake. Max doesn't make the transition from sleeping to wakefulness with much grace at the best of times, and that was not one of the best times.

Now when it happens I know that it will pass, and that I just need to leave him to get through it, but I can't help but wonder. As I sit and wait, trying not to let myself dissolve into tears, I wonder what is he dreaming about?

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Sometimes I feel like a bad blog reader.

Most of my blog reading is done on the fly on my iPhone, while trying to make sure that Max doesn't electrocute himself or manage to eat broken glass. This means that I rarely ever comment on a single blog that I follow.

I might really adore a story, be moved by the honesty of a moment that was shared, lust after the eye candy of a picture happy post, but at most I tend to hit the "like" button or share the item on my reader. Clicking through to the original post so that i can post a lame ass "you're groovy" sort of comment falls well below the rest of my day in priority.

Maybe I don't think I'm a bad blog reader, so much as a greedy one. Sometimes it seems like all I do is take. I want you to post about your lives and dreams, be eloquent and irreverent in the same breath; here I am now, entertain me. I will read it all, the good,the bad, the wow so much more mundane than my boring day, and I will treasure it, because I am a Reader, but I will not thank you.

I have a blog. I know how hard it is to find the time to write in a blog, especially if you have anything at all else to do. (If you had nothing else to do what on earth could you have to write that would interest me?) How can I let myself get away with this? Meh, I'd make a terrible task master, also I'm pretty terrible at any written correspondence at all.

Still, I want you to know that I care. Especially you guys that read this, that know I read you, and maybe wish you got more comments... Even more than that, those of you that I drink beer with, I want you to know: I read what you wrote, I have opinions about it, and maybe most importantly to me, you make my heart swell with pride that I know the person behind that post no matter how small or mundane it may seem to you.

Sitting here at 2 am in the dark as the rest of the house snores it is easy to say that I will try to be more engaged. I will try to at least acknowledge that I did a hit and run on your blog. Many of you have kids though, and might even be laughing at my post midnight delusions of free time, so forgive me if nothing changes. Most importantly forgive me if you find that I left a comment only to say:


Friday, June 11, 2010

Another Year Gone

This year's Sock Madness competition is dead and gone now. I was knocked out during the 5th round, and I'm still trying to find time to finish that pair of socks. Still that was further than I'd made it before, so I'm pleased. I ended up making a lot of modifications to the round 5 sock to get it onto my leg, but this way I'll have a pair of socks that I can wear instead of a pair to look at.
The picture is actually from the first sock in progress, I'm now working on the leg of #2, but this gives you an adequate idea of what it will look like.

Max is completely fighting going to bed now. He loves to go upstairs with us and have his pre-bed snuggle time, but once you leave it's just screaming. He's screaming right now actually. If you don't have any kids, haven't raised any babies, you can't understand just how much fun this is. It's like hot barrels of lava fun. The kind of fun you just can't buy.

Looks like we're not going to Hawaii this year. Bummerville. Dan got a new job, so he wouldn't be able to stay for the week, he'd only get 2 days. That's just not right, so we're going to reschedule and try to go sometime next year. Max will have more fun the older he is anyway, so I'm looking at the bright side. Meanwhile we are going to take a flight to Indiana for the 4th of July. I apologize in advance to anyone who ends up sharing the plane with us. We will of course do our best to keep Max happy, and not screaming, but considering the way he's going on and on right now... well, I'm not sure we'll be successful.