Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with a bang

Before my time runs out, I wanted to throw together some quick clips from the holidays.  I had intentions of writing a nice gushy letter detailing the many things I am thankful for, but instead the short guy picked up a cold over Christmas and my last week has been spent washing my hands raw.  Meanwhile, my poor boy has transformed into a 20 pound snail leaving a trail of snot in his wake.  I wish I could throw my whole living room in the dishwasher because cleaning everything manually feels so last century to me.  Between the snot plague and being part of the 10 % of the population that has actually had to work in the last week, time got away from me.  But I am not bitter.  No!  Really, I'm not.  The silver lining to a sick baby is a cuddly baby you see.  

Now on to the good stuff.  Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oatmeal Cranberry Raisin Spice Cookie

If you need a cheap, but thoughtful gift for someone on your Christmas list, these cookie gift jars are easy to make.  And everybody likes cookies right?  Well, except Nazis.  So if you have a Nazi on your Christmas list, you might want to stick with a swastika embroidered oven mitt.  But everyone else would probably love these oatmeal spice cookies

1 cup flour mixed with
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda and
1/2 teaspoon sale

2 cups old fashioned oats

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup raisin, cranberry, dried apple or the like
1/2 cup white sugar

Layer ingredients in order given in a one quart wide-mouth canning jar.  Gently press each layer before adding the next one.

Decorate jar and add this gift tag:

Oatmeal Cranberry Raisin Spice Cookie Mix

Empty jar of cookie mix into large mixing bowl and combine.  Add 1 1/4 stick melted butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Mix until blended.  For best results, chill for at least a half hour. Shape into balls.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.  Cool a few minutes before removing from cookie sheet.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nonessential baby items

A few months ago, Melissa left a comment wanting to get some information on what baby gear we regularly used and what sat around collecting dust. Sorry it took so long to get this written! But here is my take on it.

Disclaimer: What I'm about to share is intended only as helpful advice to new mothers based on my experience. I encourage any expecting mom to keep their baby purchases to a minimal level (especially in terms of clothing) to avoid wasting money. I also would buy as much of the baby gear secondhand as possible and return gifts that you do not think will be used for something more practical. And remember, going to the store is still possible after the baby is born!

Items that went to waste:

Multiple types of bottles & pacifiers---Maybe I would feel differently about this if I fed North formula from the get-go, but I only had 2 different bottles for him at birth. Dr. Brown's and some Playtex drop-in that was a free gift. We have only ever used 2 Dr. Brown's bottles that we wash after each use. As for pacifiers, he got a Soothies at the hospital and later on, I switched him to the MAM pacifier. There is no need to prepare for the what-ifs. But if you must, keep everything in the packaging and save the receipts so you can return it down the road if necessary.

Hooded towels---Sure they are adorable, but after a few months, they're just not big enough to use anymore. Buy 1 for cute infant pictures and save your money.

Dreft---I do love the smell of this stuff. But there are so many brands of truly baby friendly detergents out there that are better for baby's skin than Dreft, not to mention much cheaper.

Receiving blankets & burp clothes---We could have easily gotten by with a 6 pack each of receiving blankets and burp clothes. Unless you never plan on doing laundry again, there is no reason to have much more than that. We used the blankets we stole from the hospital mainly because the receiving blankets from the store always seem too small for the task (swaddling, shading baby in carseat, etc).  

Clothes---The most stressful thing to me is trying to get all the clothes on the baby before he outgrows them and they go to waste. We have found that we seem to rotate about 6-8 outfits on him unless we make a concerted effort to put other clothes on him. I feel very wasteful when I think about all the items he only wore once.

Baby wash and lotion---You really only need one of each to start out with and this stuff lasts forever. Seriously, North will be in his 40s before he uses up the stock pile of baby wash that was gifted to him.

Bumbo---Unless someone gives you one, I wouldn't buy one.  I mean, I like having ours, but it's an expensive piece of foam.  Maybe buy it used if you just have to have it.

Although it was not part of the question, here are some items that many moms now wished they would have registered for:

Safety items
Convertible car seat
6+ months clothing (if you live in predictable climate)
Feeding items

Monday, December 7, 2009

8 Months

Dear North,

Everyone has been warning me of how quickly the time passes when you watch your child grow; but here I am astounded that you're eight months old already. In the past month, you've started crawling at the speed of light, pulling up on everything, falling down continuously and exploring anything you can get your little paws on.

While I think the change in you is awesome, I'm tired just thinking about the effort it takes to keep an eye on you these days. You gravitate towards the very objects that are the most lethal. There is a basket of toys in our baby-proofed living room, but you prefer to venture off into the more dangerous parts of the house seeking out power cords, the dog's water bowl or the towering antique fire extinguisher. You are a baby on a mission and that mission seems to be to inflict as much pain on yourself as possible.

I often amuse myself by pretending you are a safety inspector pointing out all the possible dangers in our home. "OK ma'am, I think I found your problem. See this cord here, an unsuspecting baby could bite into this, like so. Or the baby could pull on the cord like I'm doing now and BOOM the TV falls on him. Or maybe the baby accidentally gets the cord around his neck. See how easy that was for me to do? Ma'am, you really need to take care of some dangers in the house before someone gets hurt.....oops, uh Ma'am, it appears I have created a turdle in my diaper, could you possibly remove that for me?"

Unfortunately, with all this new mobility, comes an onslaught of scrapes and bruises. Somehow, it's always your face that takes the brunt of the punishment. Maybe because you have such ample padding everywhere else? But you take the fall like a stoic little soldier and only cry when it is a particularly hard landing. Your father and I try not to react when you crash land, having learned quickly that you look to us for a reaction as if to say, "should I cry now?"

You've become a much better eater lately and you've even started gobbling up a few table foods like cheese, peas and pancakes. Every Sunday morning your dad makes blueberry pancakes and now you are a part of our favorite family tradition too! Watching you chow down on tiny fistfuls of pancake this past Sunday made my heart soar thinking about all the future pajama-clad mornings that lie ahead. We have at least eighteen years worth of pancakes to eat with you and I plan on savoring each and every delicious bite.