Why? Why? Why?

If I’ve spoken to you in the past 3 months, you have certainly heard a shameful number of schemes to fatten my baby up.  Now, at 13 months, she is skinnier than ever – as tall as the average 2 yo and as heavy as the average 7 mth old.  As my mom says, she “eats like a bird and is busy as a bee.”

I’ve brainstormed, I’ve consulted pediatricians, done web research, I’ve even asked the oldest members of both An’s & my own family.  Everyone tells me the same thing, “Don’t worry, it’s just her build.”  This would be fine for me, IF SHE EVER ATE!

My baby hates to eat food as much as she hates to have her diaper changed or her nap disrupted.  There are a few exceptions: she will eat a whole banana, unsliced only.  She will also eat an entire cereal bar if it is apple flavored.  She eats an egg for breakfast every morning, if it is scrambled with salt only.  Pepper in the scramble or cheese or even frying the egg are all deal breakers.  She will eat home-baked cookies but nothing out of a box.  She will eat the yogurt made of cream (that is super expensive & fattening and I cannot throw out if she doesn’t finish it) and she will totally gorge herself on goldfish.

If goldfish and bananas constituted proper nutrition for toddlers, I’d worry less.  As it is, I try and cook as many meals for her as I can, with the hopes that I’ll persuade her to discover another food she likes to eat.  I steam and butter baby carrots, I bake sweet potato french fries, I make her fresh bread for her sandwiches with homemade jam for her toast (thanks to Guncle Dan).  I cook her roasts, mash potatoes for her, bake tiny little chicken nuggets…by God, I’ve even made her a butternut squash pie because she seemed to like squash baby food.  The point is, I have tried everything I can think of to get my baby to eat and had little success.

Until today.

Today she ate until she couldn’t eat another bite.  Is that homemade pasta and grass-fed beef sauce?  Fresh, organic steamed green beans?  Nope.  Momma was too busy cleaning Mia’s room to make her dinner, so I popped the lid off of a Chef  Boyardee Beefaroni and some Green Giant green beans and set her in her high chair.  She ate half of the can!

How does this work?  Why does the nasty shit in the can appeal to her so much more than all of the things that I cook?  Is my desire to make her eat oozing into her food and repelling her?  Is all my “yummy!’ and “mmmmm” just too distracting? Maybe me watching each bite and mouthing chewing is simply too much pressure.  Whatever it is, I need a lesson or two from Chef Boyardee.

And I don’t need anyone (Mom, this means you!) to tell me exactly how nasty that stuff is.  It took 3 baths to clean the orange grease off her and there is definitely a semi-permanent greasy orange ring around my bathtub.  There is no doubt in my mind that it is terrible for her.  But at least it had 350 calories.

Fall Cleaning…Day 1

I could pretend like I’m uber-housekeeper and do a seasonal deep clean on my house.  But to be honest, I never got around to my spring cleaning and have finally decided to start…in September.  I don’t have a starting picture because I didn’t intend to start today.  But I had an (unusual) second cup of coffee late in the afternoon and decided the whole house needs to be de-cluttered, reorganized and deep cleaned.  I’ve done a bunch of web & blog surfing, trying to find some secret method I’d never thought of, but have decided the secret is rolling up my sleeves and starting.  And what better place than Mia’s room?

The best idea to come from my reorganization was Mia’s reading cubby.  She loves to crawl under furniture and find little hiding places.  I came up with this idea:

I’d like to find a pattern online and sew something a little more permanent, but since I’m still learning how to work my sewing machine, that’ll have to be a project for another day .

The hardest part of today’s cleaning was finding a place for everything.  I tried to use my common sense and keep books by the reading nook, toys on lower shelves and comfy blankets within toddler reach.  Since her room has at least one door or window on every wall, it takes some creativity to arrange furniture.  Here’s her new setup:

Call me paranoid, but it feels weird putting a picture of her little bed on the internet so I’ll just skip that wall.

It took me about 3 hours to vacuum all the nooks & crannies, sweep & mop, dust and re-organize.  I still have to finish her closet and clean the windows (eeek) and ceiling fan.  And because I used furniture and baskets and pictures from other rooms, particularly the living room, I have a full day ahead of me tomorrow.  But tell me, doesn’t this moment just make it worth all the work?

Eating Organic – the Essential Fruits & Veggies

It’s super expensive to buy local, organic produce.  I find myself dividing it up – every other week I shop at the Farmer’s Market and then supplement with conventional produce from my local grocery.  This may be better than going all conventional, but it’s still not nearly as effective as I’m hoping for…and that’s why I was super excited to learn about the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and the ‘Clean 15’. Continue reading

Ina Garten’s Honey White Bread

I have some major oven confusion.  During the cold weather, my oven sits neglected.  Now that we’re reaching 100 degree days, I’ve decided to bake a couple loaves of bread a week.  Makes tons of sense, right?  Nonetheless, this Barefoot Contessa recipe makes the best loaf of white bread, ever.  I don’t know if I’d consider it a ‘honey’ white, since you can’t taste even a hint of honey, but it makes a nice brown crust, a soft flaky center and is super easy to cut into slices.

Continue reading

Homemade Dish Soap

As I was running a sink full of hot water, I realized that we’re fresh out of our Green Works dish soap.  Now that I’ve made this soap recipe and seen how well it works (and how great it smells) I don’t think we’ll be going back.  Reuse your plastic bottle by refilling it with your new soap solution.

Continue reading

The Scary Truth About Shampoo

As gross as it sounds, I haven’t used shampoo in about 2 months.  I recently read a story about using baking soda and vinegar in lieu of shampoo and conditioner and decided to try it out.  It’s true, it works — but you have to be one tough cookie not to miss the soapy lather and sweet smell of store bought hair products.  So for the past few months, I’ve been trying out different versions of shampoo and conditioner recipes.  I’ve had some really greasy days, some dry scalp from hell days and some unconquerable knots.  But the search has now ended — I’ve found the perfect shampoo and conditioner recipes and I’m going to share! Continue reading

Summer Fun for Babies (& Mommy, too!)

My 1 yo, Mia, is extremely energetic.  She’s also a little impatient and bores easily.  The past few weeks have been a blur, with us having 2 parties and then an unexpected trip to California.  Now that we’re back home and settling into our routine, I find myself left with a very spoiled little girl.  In order to alleviate some of her restlessness, I’ve decided (per my mother’s advice) to start taking Mia on a daily ‘field trip’ in the hopes of keeping her busy, keeping her engaged, and keeping my sanity.  Here are a weeks worth of events I’ve found that are baby-friendly & out of the HOT weather: Continue reading

Weekly Menu, 8/2-8/8

It is so hot here in New Orleans.  So hot, in fact, that I actually feel sorry for my air conditioner.  Despite the heat, I’m baking a fresh loaf of bread today and using it for a couple of my meals this week.  I’m trying to stand over a hot stove as little as possible, so I’m hoping to plan my meals so that the leftovers can be used again.  These are my weekly recipes, Saturday is out to eat and Sunday is left-overs. Continue reading

Trials & Tribulations of an Eco-Friendly Hostess

When I decided to baptize my daughter, Mia, I knew it would be a big event.  I have so many family members and friends that live nearby that I didn’t even consider keeping it small.  But I did have two major concerns: how to throw a party that won’t end up in a landfill and how to throw a party that wouldn’t break the bank.  I think that I was successful in making a few key changes that Mother Earth would be proud of, although there were some things that I had a hard time avoiding and some I didn’t even think of until it was too late.  If you are throwing a party soon, try some of these tested ideas and see if they work as well for you as they did for me. Continue reading

A note on creativity

I decided to start this blog as a gift to myself.  I often find myself drained after a normal day as a stay-at-home mom of a 1 year old.  By the time I crawl into bed, I’m so exhausted that I read a few pages through weary eyes and quickly nod off to sleep.  This routine doesn’t leave much time for me to create, to be inspired, or to record the things that I have/hope to have created and been inspired by.  That’s where this blog comes in.

So far, I’ve mostly used NolaMomma to record the things I’ve learned and don’t want to forget.  This is a good thing because I used to use tattoos to mark these sorts of ideas.  Now that I’m tired of explaining all these strange markings and wondering about how they’ll look when I’m sagging and gray, I’m glad to have a different sort of scrapbook.  But I’d like to do more than simply recite my recipes and lists of new things I’ve discovered.  I’d like to use this blog as my creative sanctuary and I plan to start by making a promise to myself to record one thing a day.  If I can (at least) make note of an idea I’d like to try or (at most) try these things I find inspiring, I’d be happier with my blog and my self.

An important part of life that I often overlook is being the person who I want to be.  There have been points in my life that I’ve looked in the mirror and had a hard time meeting my own eyes.  I have found that the only way to change that, to be someone I’m proud to be, to be someone I enjoy being, is to start with small changes and to stick to them – one day at a time.  So here is to being more creative!