Archive for June, 2012

Jun 28 2012

Truth in advertising

Published by under Snippets,The Man

The Man: We should get one of those two-seater bicycles with a baby seat on the back.

Me: Or, we could just buy a huge flag to wave around that says “We Are Dorks”.

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Jun 27 2012

Adventures in laundry

Published by under Life and Living It,The Boy

Last year, we bought one of those umbrella clotheslines on sale. I really wanted a new clothesline, since my last one hadn’t survived the winter (the cement heaved right up out of the ground). However, the thing sat in the garage due to our IVF and also us being very lazy and forgetful people. This year, I remembered the clothesline, asked The Man to install it, and now it’s in our back yard.

I LOVE line drying clothes. I don’t know why. It’s more work, the clothes are generally stiffer and more wrinkled, but I still love it. But now that I have The Boy, I’ve been wondering how the old timey housewives did their laundry when it was just them and an infant around. If I want to dry a load of clothes, it’s a pretty back-and-forth ordeal.

I have to strap The Boy to me and get the laundry basket, and descend the stairs into the dungeon. (We have what’s called a Michigan Basement, which is code for “crappy”). Get the laundry out of the washer with one hand, because the other is making sure The Boy doesn’t bonk his head on the machine. Climb the stairs with a load of wet laundry and The Boy, which isn’t easy because the stairs are narrow, so I have to hold the basket out in front of The Boy, who is strapped to my chest.

Now we’re upstairs. Put the laundry down. Go get the Elephant Chair (kind of a bouncy chair, but instead, it’s a rocker). Carry it outside and place it in the shade. Go back inside. Grab the laundry and clothespins. Back outside. Put the laundry down. Unstrap The Boy and put him in his chair. Grab the laundry and hang it up. Grab the boy and go inside.

The housewives of Yore didn’t have elephant chairs, or infant carriers, or things like that to make this job easier. Was it all done at naptime? I could wait, but I’d want my monitor with me, and we haven’t figured out the range on it yet. If I didn’t have a baby monitor at all? Forget it. I’m too freaky-outy to leave the baby inside and go outdoors for more than a quick “get the mail” trip.

It’s just one more thing that makes me glad I live Now instead of Then. I mean, it’s a pain in the ass doing laundry Now. I can’t imagine having to do it Then, when you hand to crank your clothes through the wringer to squeeze out the water. Or, squeeze it out by hand! Or carry and heat the wash water by hand!

No, I’m grateful to be living now, with all my modern conveniences, even if I choose to dry in a more inconvenient way in the summer. The smell of line dried stuff is just too good.

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Jun 16 2012

Jambalaya cha-cha-cha!

Published by under In The Kitchen,Recipes

Hey, we haven’t done a recipe in a long time, huh? How about a recipe? I made this for dinner last night. I’ve been really into Louisiana cooking lately, what with the red beans and rice and all that. I’ve been looking for a good gumbo recipe, but it’s hard to find one that doesn’t utilize shellfish in some form. The Man will not eat seafood, no way, no how. So, in the meantime, I went hunting for a jambalaya recipe, and wouldn’t you know? It’s pretty hard to find one of those that doesn’t contain shrimp. However, finally, I got one!

This recipe comes to us from the Food Network web site, and is credited on that site to Chef Jason Girard. I do a couple little tweaks to it, but nothing too major. Basically, my tweaks amount to adding 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and a couple of extra shakes of Tabasco to up the spice a bit, and also throwing in about 1 tsp of Old Bay, just because damn, I love Old Bay. I also omit the file powder, because it’s not an easy thing to find around here (as in, I can’t find it at the huge grocery store I shop at, and I’m not going to go looking at the few specialty stores in town because I’m lazy).  I read online that file powder can act as a thickening agent, but I don’t think a teaspoon of it would make much of a difference in a dish this large. This recipe as written on Food Network comes out soupier than I like, so I do thicken it slightly with a corn starch slurry (1 Tbsp corn starch + 1/8 cup cold water). I’m going to add these tweaks into the ingredient list and the directions, but you can feel free to delete them if you want.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 12 ounces smoked andouille or kielbasa sausage, sliced (I use kielbasa, because andouille is not readily available)
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I use a red one, just because I like the red ones. Any color will do)
  • 1 28 ounce can peeled diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce + 2-3 extra shakes if desired (I use regular Tobasco)
  • 1 tsp. file powder (if you can find it, if not, no big whoop)
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun spice blend (sold in the spice section, pre-blended)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Old Bay
  • corn starch slurry to thicken, if desired (1 Tbsp corn starch + 1/8 c cold water)
  • Cooked rice, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Heat a heavy, dry stockpot or Dutch oven (mine is a 5 qt. size) over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp peanut oil, then brown the sausage. Remove the sausage from the pan, but leave the drippings. Add another Tbsp peanut oil, and then brown the chicken. Add more peanut oil if necessary. Remember, you’re just browning at this point.

Return the sausage to the pot with the chicken, and add the onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper. Saute until the meats and veggies are cooked through. Add the tomatoes and the hot sauce, stir to combine. Add the file powder (if using), black pepper, Old Bay, and Cajun spice, reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least one hour. After 30 minutes, add corn starch slurry, if desired. Serve over rice.

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Jun 15 2012

While I have a minute….

Published by under Parenting,The Boy,The Fam

It seems like I’m on a monthly update schedule. I do think a lot about coming here and writing, but then The Boy needs to eat, or he has a dirty diaper, or he wants to play, or it’s time for a nap, or to run my one errand of the day (more than one stop in the car is No Good for The Boy). So, while The Boy is napping, let me sum up.

I had my gall bladder removed on May 31. It went well, meaning that I only was in the hospital from about 6 AM til 1 PM. Surgery was at about 8:00 AM. I spent an hour hanging out in a room where they prep you and have the anesthesiologists come and talk to you. I think about three of those stopped by. One thing that really amused me was that my surgical gown had a port on it where they hooked up a blower, whose only job was to blow warm air and keep me toasty. Afterwards, my biggest complaint was that my throat killed me for two days. I would guess the breathing tube did not go in very easily. I’m off my pain meds now, and really only notice any issues at night, when I am trying to lay on my right side or put my right arm over my head. Then there is a painful pulling sensation, which is gone by the middle of the night. If I wake up, I often realize I can stretch without pain.

The Boy had his 4 month well check two days ago. He weighs 16 lbs, 12 oz and is 26 inches long. He’s in the 75th percentile for size, which is down from last time when he was in the 85th percentile. Still a big boy, though, and the doctor said he’s doing really well. I was told (again) that I could start him on cereal whenever I wanted to, and was also told (again) that there is no nutritional value to doing this, it’s more to get him used to texture. I still want to wait, and I am still mostly planning on skipping cereal altogether and heading right into something like pureed pears. We’ll see how it goes. I’m not rigidly locked in to a feeding plan. We do need to get him to the public health center for his 4 month shots, though.

His bedtime routine is pretty much down solid. He wants to go to sleep at 9 PM, and does not fall asleep well before that (if at all). He either sleeps through the night until 6 AM, or gets up once at around 3 or 4 AM to eat. We cut down on baths, because his skin was drying out and I could not keep on top of it, even lotioning multiple times a day. So, now he gets a bath every three nights. I have plunked him into a plain old water bath just to calm him down, because he LOVES the bath.

We’re working on getting naps down, now. Him sleeping on me is no longer working. He used to zonk out in my arms for 1-2 hours, but now he will only sleep on me for at most 30 minutes. However, he is resistant to napping in his crib. It takes me quite awhile to get him to sleep, but once he is down he tends to nap for 45 minutes to an hour. He naps in his crib in his own room, but sleeps in our room in the pack-and-play at night. The napping in his room thing is to help him recognize his room and be comfortable there for when we move him at night…plus his room is outfitted with blackout curtains and ours is not. It makes daytime napping so much easier. The biggest hurdle to napping is me recognizing his sleep cues. I’ve pretty much got it down that once he starts rolling to his side and sticking his thumb in his mouth, then it’s time to start the nap routine, but it’s noticing that quickly enough before he gets to his “overtired” point that is sometimes rough. I might miss it if he’s playing on the floor and I’m quickly checking a blog or something.

I still miss my Grandma. Obviously. Whenever The Boy does some new trick, I get so sad that we won’t be going over to her place on Sunday to show it off, because she loved him so much. And now I’m crying, so it’s time to stop talking about that.

We’re trying to make it over to Mom and Stepdad’s at least once a week, so they can see The Boy. We go to The Man’s dad’s on Sundays still, so they see him weekly, too. The Man’s mom is quite a ways away, and Dad is in Florida, otherwise our weeks would be even more full trying to get The Boy some quality grandparent time.

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