Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let's Eat: Easy softserve ice cream

Unfortunately I have a sweet tooth which includes a major affair with ice cream, or rather soy or rice ice cream and any other baked good. Portion control I know not. Lo and behold this recipe for a 1 ingredient ice cream caught my eye on The Kitchn and it was GOOD and Easy plus it eliminates all that packaging that comes with store bought ice cream. No added sugar or anything, unless you decide to take it there. I added a few carob chips I admit but even eating it plain is super satisfying. It's doubtful I'll add any store bought ice cream to my cart again.


How To Make Creamy Ice Cream with Just One Ingredient!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Got Milk? Part II

The world of donor milk is riddled with dicey intentions and red hot opinions. I'm continuing to research options for my excess and learn more via the various forums and blogs of nursing moms etc.  

Amazing how an honest intention to help others can get mangled beyond recognition along the way. 

I do see the logic in donating to the International Breast milk Project (IBMP) and will continue the application process however, I also see the basis of a valid struggle in accepting the idea that companies profit on fortified human milk products taken from donations.  

Based on what I've read is that IBMP and its affiliated processing company are reaching mothers who cannot provide their child's nutritional needs and I do understand that there would be costs in screening, transporting, packaging and distributing the gathered milk...
In contrast, I did find this thread on Diaper Swappers eye opening and trust me I'm definitely going hmmm...

Its all such a mishmash of voices and I just want to have resolve the answer to a simple question: I have extra milk, who best meets my intentions for donating it?
So as of today I am now officially separating my frozen supply into 2 categories: Winter's reserve and donation.  The donation milk will be stored in bags (I use bottles for our own supply), labeled, dated, frozen flat and stored at the bottom of a deep freezer until I can sort out whose hands it is meant to land in.

Milk bank alternatives that have caught my eye are Milkshare and EatsonFeets so it will be either helping a local mom via either of those resources or IBMP.

At the end of the day its an effort to make use of a valuable resource that would otherwise be dumped. I am not making a point to pump extra to meet the ongoing need of a recipient baby or stockpiling unnecessary exccess for the freezer.

If only it was not so complicated to get rid of!

Got Milk?

In our case, yes, way more than we need due to what felt like a sudden and permanent boycott by Winter of the bottle last month and a joyful acceptance of the cup.  At her lead when I am away she's now drinking 2-4 ounces from the side of her sippy cup (top off) and otherwise is happily toddling down the path of solids and nurses more intensely at home in the evenings and during the night.  An exciting transition the 12-14 ounces I was bringing home from work are piling up to a heap in my fridge to the point that I've run out of containers and have decreased to 2 pump sessions.  Since I am gone almost 11 hours during the work week I still pump to keep supply and for relief but with the decrease in sessions I'm still bringing home about 10-12 ounces.  If you do the math you can see how we are on the road to being flooded out of our home unless I just start dumping and I...just...can't.

I was thrilled when US national news starting broadcasting about the famine in the Horn of Africa (for which various humanitarian and international journalists have been sending out warning signals for MONTHS to what appeared to be a cry out to deaf ears until the official declaration last week of FAMINE by the United Nation but nevermind better late than never...).  Night after night there is now an in your face reminder of the daily desperation these people are experiencing and each report disturbs me and breaks my heart.  Human suffering in all its forms bothers me immensely but now as a mother seeing children in such a violent state of distress rips me to the core.  I admit, I can't even watch the video reports I stay informed by reading and taking in the special BBC reports that have been released every couple of days.

I am impoverished for time and with more of it just maybe I could tackle more on the unending I'd like to do that list that runs like adding machine tape in my mind.  Looking at the haunting images of the famine babies has sent my mine clicking as to how as a nursing mother I could ever contribute in some way.  I want to continue the research on the ideas I have but in the meantime I've looked for milk donation bank that I can at least contribute my own excess to now. 

The International Breast Milk Project has gotten my attention and I am currently working my way through the application process and organizing deep freeze storage to handle my donations until everything is in place for it to be sent.  Based on where I am now the excess milk will come from what I express during the day at work to maintain my supply less the few ounces for Winter's morning cereal and cup to drink at school.  I do not plan to pump at any other time beyond that so I will be able to collect 8 ounces per day for the time being.  It adds up and the liquid gold will do more for a baby in need than as a thirst quencher for my kitchen drain.

Waste not, want not.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Table for two...

I share my mother's love of dinnerware and while we have different tastes each of our cupboards contain a beloved mish mash of place settings and linens. We've sent platters and tablecloths back and forth like Frisbees, and each holiday I stand with sincere interest by her side taking in the draft tablescape. I've increased the execution of this ritual in my own home by carrying it out for every meal, even if its just a snack. I make all efforts to get a plate, grab and fold a napkin, fill a glass of water and SIT DOWN to eat whatever it may be, even at work (sans cloth napkin).

I learned the consequences of poor eating habits shortly after I stumbled out of college, 4 years done in 3, a part-time job on the weekend, internship then full-time job during the week, little sleep and a nutritive reserve based in...gawd it was so poor I'm ashamed to even type it. Shoveling food in my mouth as a second thought on my way to whatever my first thought was or sitting numb at the end of the day rummaging through take out bags while watching Food Network created a sadly distant divide in my understanding of food and its important connection to well-being. By then I was reduced to a mysterious increase in recurring black outs and fatigue until a discovery of macrobiotics changed my life and the way I approached buying and consuming food. You are indeed what you eat and whole foods prepared with care increased the desire to set a nice table to enjoy it at.

Now that Winter has started solids I set up her place as well. The tiny plastic spoon, sippy cup and mason jar bowl is step 1 in establishing her place at the family table. As she grows older there's a hope that mealtimes could be something to look forward to, a solid start to the beginning of the day and a chance to let down and share the days horrors and highs. 

I realized that if I don't get into the habit now, as with many things, make the adjustments to include her at meals, the more effort it will require to incorporate sitting and eating together into our daily schedule. 

Time is quickly passing us by so at a minimum from this point onwards it will be a table for two...please.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Reading List

One of my favorite childhood memories is summer and the oodles of time it offered for reading.  My mother would take me to a local bookstore named Paul's (who sadly had to close shortly after the arrival of chain bookstore) and we would get everything on the booklist that he had on the shelves.  She would also take me to the library where they kept the public school recommended reading list and I would supplement my list with those.  Hauling home the heavy package of crisp new books and my stack from the library was a taste of heaven on earth.  At my most intensive moments I could finish a book in a day and I would find nooks to retreat to, both inside and out, and just melt into the world contained within each book.

These days my reading time is found primarily during the week when I'm commuting and at night any time that may be left is spent reading to Winter.  It's really incredible to be able to revisit childhood favorites and discover new ones. I did start reading from day one with a book at night but now that Winter is getting older we go for longer periods as her interest increases.  There's an intimacy in these moments that continues to grow as her little hand grips mine and she stares intently at the page sometimes reaching out to explore it with her hands.  When she laughs at certain moments or smiles it feels like another window into learning who she is and its a thrill to see.  Now that the weather is nice I've tried to make an effort to change up our reading nest location by hauling a blanket and bag of books outdoors so that we can sit in the park nearby.
These are a few of the titles in our summer stack:

Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Madeleine by Ludwig Bemelmans (haven't gotten into the ones co-authored yet)

Ladybug Girl series by Jacky Davis and David Soman

Fancy Nancy series by Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

Baby Bug (magazine - comes every other month)

Any Caldecott winner

Mommy Hugs by Karen Katz

Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahey and Polly Dunbar

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood and Don Wood

Tingalayo by Raffi

My First Spanish Word Book by Angela Wilkes

Anything by Sandra Boynton

Friday, July 8, 2011

House Beautiful

When the world begins to swirl I eventually can be found filing and reorganizing in response, alone and protected by a self erected wall of silence and contemplation. Retreat mode in full force.

It has been so busy that all around me I see elements of my life slowly lagging behind and in some cases coming to a full stop, intentional and not. Our laundry has gone without attention for a duration I can't utter here. Its existence occurs to me only when I'm asked by my mother where a particular outfit is for my daughter. Naturally these inquiries have increased and I've half-heartedly pointed her in the direction of Winter's wardrobe and dresser to search in vain several times only to remember when she turns to look at me with a puzzled look that whatever it was is likely in the wash pile. Our home is in need of a deep clean, the kitty sniffs with disdain before entering her box hissing to herself at my delay in changing the litter.  I have a growing stack of partially read books piled up, our frozen milk supply is down to 3 bottles, I have not written, studied, intentionally exercised or cooked a meal beyond 3 ingredients in weeks.

I could go on but will spare you the full scene.

A dire need to switch gears...

This month's publication of House Beautiful is Living Large in Small Spaces. There were several homes featured that had ideas I wanted and could try out in my own space. Just spending a few hours undoing areas where piles of stuff and junk had begun to collect and turn hodge podge then editing them and recreating a more organized less cluttered look started freeing my own mental space and is defrosting the block I've been stuck in. I've attacked my desk, part of the kitchen and did my weekly run of Winter's room editing clothes, toys, etc. Its incredible the amount of stuff we can accumulate and for me its a wonder because we have only 2 rooms and I still find excess. And yes, small space means  a busy life is more in your face because there's little room to hide but I like that it forces me to keep things up if I want to maintain a nice home for us which I do. The more I edit down the better it feels as I'm realizing if I have what I absolutely love and enjoy around me my space mentally, physically and otherwise will be freer and more enjoyable.

By the way, I have to say I miss my big bed, as you may know I had downsized to a twin so that I could use our apartment as a studio for myself and then let Winter have the bedroom as her own sleep and play space. While I love brownstone living in our case charm came with uneven floors. The twin combined with the permanent tilt is especially grating...its actually frocking annoying and I've found myself longingly staring at photos of sumptuous beds as a result. The studios featured in House Beautiful featured a full size bed and I'm tempted to make a go at incorporating this into my own space. Based on the layout I have now and thought worked best the bed is on the most noticeable part of the uneven floor, real smart, I know. But one of the designers in HB said a bed looks best full on, I agree, and a preference for comfort vs. space. Tough to deliver but try I will.

Of course now I need to wait until Winter's ready for a twin to justify the expenditure but in the meantime I'm going to plot my dream.

So another apartment rewind in the works and in the meantime I will continue my House Beautiful clean-up, find the bottom of my various stacks of mail and unused cookbooks, brush off my yoga mat then tackle the laundry first thing tomorrow AM as my diaper count is now down to less than 5. Scary.

The skies above are clear again...