Dr. Google is BAD!

October 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm (Random rantings)

Not only is Dr. Google bad, it’s evil at 12:30 in the morning.

When I was pregnant with Junior  had a lot of trouble with “feminine itch” in the last few months of my pregnancy.  My old OB kept giving me yeast medication (without so much as checking down there to see what’s going on).  It didn’t help.  The only thing that helped was feminine anti-itch cream.  I know now, that it was probably just a pH imbalance and I was loading myself up on meds I didn’t need.

Fast forward to last night.  Some point in the evening I start noticing a wicked itch developing.  I jumped in the shower hoping a nice rinse would help me feel better, and it did, for a little while.  When I laid in bed, I was wide awake, with an urge scratch my girly bits off.  Rather than toss and turn and keep Hubs awake, I retreated to the couch, undressed my lower half and laid on the couch.  Maybe some fresh air down there would help.  Nope.  By now, it’s pushing 12:30 and I’m crazy uncomfortable.  The more I tell myself to not itch, not think about it, go to sleep, it’s just not happening.

In the darkness of the midnight living room, the laptop calls to me.  “Google it.  Google has all the answers.”  The glow of the laptop screen felt like my saving grace.  An answer to my needs will be here soon!  Off I go to Google away my worries.  I see the same thing on several sites and decide it sounds like a brilliant idea.  I wander to the kitchen by the light of the range hood, pull out a small bowl from one cupboard and a box of baking soda from another.  “Apply a paste of baking soda and water,” it said.  I prepared my paste and got ready.

By the faint light in my kitchen, I scoop a little paste on my finger and apply it to the affected region.  It started with a little tingle and quickly turned into searing pain.  Wincing in pain, I rub on a little more.  It’s got to take a while to work, right?  Defeated and with burning lady parts, I retreat to the couch.  Maybe it’s got to dry out a bit or something.  I’ll give it a minute before I expect magical results.  I turn on the ceiling fan, lay on the couch and let me knees fall to the sides.  Airflow has to be a good thing, right?

Thirty seconds later, I’m almost in tears.  It’s not getting any better.  Do I go to the ER and tell them I rubbing baking soda on my lady flower?  Cold compress!  Several of the sites mentioned that too.  It’s got to work!  Still in the darkness of my living room I dig through the pile of laundry on my couch (thank goodness for procrastinating putting that laundry away!).  A washcloth, perfect.  Back to the kitchen.  I douse the cloth with some cold water, squeeze out the excess and shimmy back to the safety of the couch.

Here goes nothin’.  YEOUCH!  Here’s a super smart thought, if hurt when it was wet, got a smidge better when it dried out, what on earth made me think getting it wet again was a good choice?!  I lay crying on the couch, wet rag on my bits contemplating my fate.  I’m going to have to wake up Hubs and tell him I put baking soda on the irritated skin of my hoo-ha.  Fantastic.  I’m never going to live this down.

As I hobble to the bedroom, I decide I can’t handle the pain.  DH is going to have to wait to hear this story; I’m jumping in the shower first to see if I can rinse the stupidity from va jay jay.  After the first few seconds, I feel remarkably better.  Perhaps starting there would have been a better choice.  I keep waiting for Hubs to hear the shower running and come in asking what I’m doing, but he snores peacefully away.  I towel myself off and dig through the cupboard-of-random-girl-things.  Lo and behold, a random tube of feminine anti-itch cream.  Who knew?  I slather myself up and take solace in the fact that I might not have to tell Hubs about this.

I slip into bed in a pair of his loose fitting boxer shorts, curl into a ball and remind myself to not only check the cupboards in the future, but to never, ever go to Dr. Google in a midnight moment of weakness.

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Have you tried these?

October 24, 2010 at 10:51 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve been doing a lot of diaper research for Deuce.  I’m determined to get this baby in cloth, but budget is certainly a concern.  It looks like prefolds and covers will be our best option and I’m getting a little overwhelmed at all the options; Chinese or Indian, how many, what sizes, etc.  One big question I have is about size.  Junior was 8lbs6oz at birth and grew really quickly.  If this baby is the same way, should I even bother with the newborn sizes for under 10lbs?  Would it be a big deal if I just skipped them?

All these questions led me to a new product that I’m really interested in trying.

Cotton Babies, the makers of bumGenius, have put out a new product called Econobum.  Being a frugal mom, even the name appeals to me.  The big question though, do they really work?  If they work like the website claims, this is a one size system that comes with everything you need.  For under $50, you get 12 prefolds made just for this system and three covers.  If you’re willing to do laundry every night, one set should cover it.  If I went with this system, I think I’d need 2-3 to keep from doing laundry daily.

It seems too good to be true.  $150 to diaper Deuce from birth to potty.  On top of that, easy, as in easy enough for Hubs to not argue with.  I haven’t really seen a lot of reviews out there and most of the hardcore cloth mommas I know haven’t tried them, so maybe it’d just for the novice cloth families.

I dunno, maybe $50 of the cloth diaper fund could go for some Econobums and we’ll see how it goes.  If they’re awesome, I have a feeling I know what people are going to start getting for baby showers!

Have you tried Econobum?  What did you think of them?

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The big ultrasound!

October 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm (Uncategorized)

Yesterday, I had my BIG ultrasound.  The one where they tell you if your baby is a boy or a girl and I think they look for some other stuff too… 😉  Just kidding.  I know that the most important thing is that fact that baby is healthy and clearly that’s really what they’re looking for.  Anyway, the ultrasound tech was wonderful.  The last time I saw her she was a little cold and short, but after yesterday’s appointment, I kind of think she was just having an off day.  I really appreciated that she showed and explained everything to me.  I’m a bit of a nerd.  I like to really understand what’s going on and she was wonderful about it.

Deuce’s heart, brain, kidneys, umbilical cord, etc are all perfect.  Baby is measuring perfectly and probably weighs about 12 ounces right now.  It took her a little while to get all the measurements because I seem to make VERY active babies.  We had the same problem with Junior.  Not that I mind!  I loved getting to watch my little peanut flip around the screen for a while.

But, what you really wanted to know… Deuce is a BOY!!  Hubs was right; he seems to be a boy maker.  LOL!  Now, I’m so excited to plan his nursery, get everything together and get Junior used to the idea of having a little brother.  I’m sure they’ll be quite the pair!  *squeal!*  I’m so excited!

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Beer mac!

October 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm (Uncategorized)

I got a little creative the other day with some mac and cheese and it was fabulous!

  • 4 cups uncooked elbow noodles
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2-1 onion diced, use as much as you like
  • Minced garlic, again adjust to your preference
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1-2 cups hefeweizen (once again, totally adjustable to your taste)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 cups shredded cheese (I used a mixture of whatever was on hand, mostly cheddar)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra shredded cheese and breadcrumbs for garnish if you want

1.  Boil noodles until al dente, set aside.

2. While the noodles are cooking, melt butter in a medium size pot over medium high heat.  Once it’s melted, throw in your onions, garlic and thyme.  Stir frequently.

3. When the onions are softened (but not fully cooked), add your beer to the pot.  If you’re on a gas stove, you may want to move the pot off the heat first to avoid a dramatic, but not usually dangerous, flambe!  Continue cooking until the hefeweizen is almost gone.  It will gradually evaporate; don’t worry, the alcohol cooks out.

4. Add your milk.  Don’t let it boil, but do let it get warm.  Stir often.  Very gradually, add your cheese.  Do just a little at a time (maybe a cup or so) and wait until it’s melted in before adding more.

5. Once all your cheese is in, add a little salt and pepper to taste and mix with the cooked noodles.  You can eat it just like this, but I like to bake it.  Sometimes for fun, I’ll bake it in muffin tins (very well greased).  Everybody in my house likes the edges, so baking in muffin tins makes every piece and edge piece!  Garnish the mac and cheese with a little extra shredded cheese and some breadcrumbs before baking for a nice crust on top.  I usually bake it for 30 minutes at 350.

6. Enjoy!

I really wish I had a little deep fryer.  I so want to try baking these in muffin tins, cooling them and popping them out.  Then, I want to pop them in the fryer for a crispiness on the outside.  I sounds magical!  If somebody tries this, please let me know how it is!

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I hate BOB and other tales from the other side…

October 16, 2010 at 6:47 am (Random rantings)

I’m a chef, but I also work as a server quite a bit as well.  The more I work in the front of the house, the more I realize how many of my customers probably never have stepped foot in the other side of the restaurant.  I thought maybe I’d share a few of the pearls I’ve picked up over the years.

Keep BOB outside. And by BOB I mean that massive contraption touted as a stroller.  If you are lucky enough to live within walking distance of one of your favorite restaurants, do them a favor and park your stroller outside.  That goes for all strollers.  They’re big, bulky, don’t fit at the table and have no need to be in a restaurant.  If your child is too young for a high chair, bring him or her in an infant carseat; I can’t think of a restaurant that doesn’t have a way of handling infant seats.  Or my favorite idea, hold your baby.  You probably do it at home while you eat dinner, it shouldn’t be that different.  Few things are more frustrating than walking through a dining room with plates stacked all the way up your arm and realizing you now have to shimmy between a stroller and the next table.

Kids are people too. When you walk in the door and put your name on the list to wait for a table, please tell us about all the people in your party.  “There are 6 total.  Three adults, two high chairs and an infant in a carseat.”  Whatever the case may be.  We want to fit you at the smallest table your group will fit at comfortably to keep the larger tables open for groups larger than yours.  If, in the previous scenario, you only told me about the four people who will be ordering (for example, the infant and one of the highchair dwellers are too young to order anything), I’m going to seat you at a table that only fits four people.  Now I’m left with two choices, make you wait and move you, or force you to squeeze in.  Which one sounds like more fun with three kids in tow?

Please interact with your children. Even kid friendly restaurants aren’t 100% kid safe.  There are plenty of breakable things and other diners who should be left alone.  If you would like to allow your kids to run off some energy before their dinners arrive, please take them to Chuck E Cheese, or at least outside.  Not only is the dining room not designed with your child’s entertainment in mind, some of our other patrons have paid a babysitter good money to have dinner without being climbed on.  Texting your friends while sitting at the same table was your kid is not interacting, nor is asking for crayons them handing them blindly to your 18 month old.

Meltdowns happen. I’m a mom too.  I get that meltdowns happen, especially when it’s time for food.  If your precious little angel turns into her evil twin, please take little Suzy outside or to the restroom for a moment of distraction.  If you know your kid is getting close to that point, there is nothing wrong with asking your server for whatever kind of food you can get as quickly as possible.  Often, some bread or a cup of soup is pretty quick to come by.

Small toys are OK. So little Billy isn’t a fan of coloring and that cute little box of crayons at the table isn’t going to keep his attention, no biggie.  Feel free to bring in a small car or two if they’ll work better for you, but please leave the 6 foot long track at home.  If it takes batteries, makes noise, or requires disassembly to fit in the car, it’s probably not the best choice.

Keep time in mind. Going out to dinner with kids in tow is often more of a sprint than a marathon.  Getting it done and over with is usually in everyone’s best interest.  Toddlers in particular aren’t suited to many hours long meals.  If Billy and Suzy are with you, think twice about ordering wine, appetizers, entrees, dessert, etc.  By the time dessert hits your table, they’ll be hitting the wall.  Next thing you know, you’re now rushing out the door.  The other side of that is time of day.  As servers, we see a lot of kids.  When I see one walk in the door at 8pm, I’ve already got him sized up.  By the time dinner hits the table, he’ll be a whining mess.  Be realistic about what time he used to going to bed; don’t assume he’s up for a late dinner just because you are.

I will ask you about dessert. It’s going to happen.  Just as you’re finishing your last few bites of dinner, I’ll swoop by and drop the dreaded D word right in front of your kids.  Dessert.  It’s my job, I’m supposed to up-sell you.  If you know you’re not ordering dessert, cut me off (politely, of course) and let me know you’re ready for your check.  If you let me say the D word in front of your six-year-old and you say no, the result will not be pretty and you’ll have to deal with the crying all the way home (I however, won’t hear a peep once you’re out the front door).  When I get to your table, start clearing the first empty plates and begin a question like “How was everything?” or if I have the telltale dessert menu in hand, simply say, “I think we’re ready for our check, thank you.”

There’s more I’m sure, but the gist of it is that the better everyone’s experience is the better we all feel at the end of the night.  If your kid doesn’t fall apart during dinner, you’re probably having a better time yourself.  The table next to you will thank you as well.  If you and the other patrons in the room enjoy your dinner more, you’ll be more likely to tip me well, which to be honest, really improves my mood too; I’ll also be less stressed.  The table after you gets a happier server and the cycle continues.  Please help us make your experience the best possible.

Side note: tipping is expected. I’m not trying to be rude here, just honest.  Some people seem to have really forgotten that as service workers, we anticipate tips as part of our income.  My work hard to earn my tips.  I spend many long hours on my feet managing the dining experiences of dozens of guests at a time.  My hourly pay isn’t a ton and I assume I’ll be getting tips to make up the difference.  I could make just as much money in an office somewhere (tips and wages included), but I honestly enjoy what I do.  If you appreciate quality servers, please compensate us.  Somewhere in the last few years standard tipping seems to have dropped.  When there was a time that a 20% tip was standard, I now find that a rarity.

Sorry, college kids. I apologize to you college kids out there, but I definitely have a prejudice against your demographic.  As a whole, yours is the group that tips frighteningly low amounts.  Consistently, groups of 6-8 college kids come into my workplace, and make me work twice as hard.  They get upset about the single check policy my boss requires for large groups, don’t listen when I’m trying to tell specials, aren’t ready when I’m taking orders (even though they say they are), etc.  After dinner they try to negotiate separate checks regardless of how many times I’ve said I can’t (for many, many reasons).  Finally, they pony up cash and IOU’s to one friend who hands over his debit card.  And I know it’s coming.  The tip line on the receipt says $5 on an $80 check.  I guess universities don’t teach Life Lessons 101.

Again, I don’t want to be rude, but I’m hoping that by shedding a little light on how we see things from the other side of the restaurants, we can all enjoy your dinner out just that much more.

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Don’t waste your leftovers!

October 13, 2010 at 7:00 pm (Food)

If your family is like mine, you’ve thrown away too many leftovers.  That’s money right in the garbage, not to mention your time and effort.  I hate wasting my time and don’t have loads of money to throw away, so I’m really trying to work on rescuing leftovers from the garbage can.  Hubs and Junior love what I call “Breakfast Casserole”; it’s essentially a simple crustless quiche.  Here’s how to do it!

Save your leftovers in small freezer bags.  Label them!  If there’s a lot of something, divide it up, you shouldn’t need more than an cup of any one thing (and probably less).  Put all the small bags together in one big one so you can find them when you’re ready.  It doesn’t matter much what it is, meat, veggies, whatever.

If you know it’s going to be a quick dinner night, pull a few bags from the freezer and pop them in the fridge.  They’ll probably still be a little frozen when it’s time to make dinner, but that’s ok.  Of course, you can always use last night’s leftovers or whatever you can find in your cupboards.

If you want a crust, make any kind you like (or just use a frozen one).  Otherwise, lightly grease  any size pan for your family.  I usually use an 8 or 9 inch round.  Or, if your family loves finger food, grease a muffin tin very well.  Break apart the leftovers and distribute them in the pan; add a little shredded cheese if you want.

I like to use pasteurized eggs.  I like the ones that are 99% egg white with just a little yolk for flavor.  If you want to add a little milk, go for it; this will make the eggs a little softer and lighter.  The amount of egg you’ll need will vary a bit, so experiment with it to get it right.  Don’t forget to leave a little room for the eggs to expand.

Bake them at 350 degrees for 20-45 minutes depending on the size.  Again, this will take a little bit of experimenting on your part to find what works best.

Some favorite combos in our house have been Mexican (taco meat, diced tomatoes, corn and black beans – served with salsa and sour cream), Broccoli chicken (shredded chicken, steamed broccoli, some kind of cheese), pizza (favorite pizza toppings like diced pepperoni, mozzarella, olives, onions, bell peppers, etc).

There’s no wrong way to do this, so experiment and find what your family likes!

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Frustration and fun

October 12, 2010 at 10:48 pm (Uncategorized)

A month or so ago, I was asked to start hosting craft events in my house with my local moms group.  The last kids’ craft was a huge success and I fully expected this one to be as well.  Not a single person showed up.  Besides Junior and I, 5 mom and 7 kids had RSVP’ed yes to be here.  About an hour before the event, two of the moms (and four of the kids) canceled due to illnesses.  Hey, it’s fall, I get it; colds happen.  However, on our website at this very moment, the other moms and kids are all still listed as “yes”.  Funny, because here I am, sitting on my couch, blogging, watching Junior play the Wii.  The “playdate” started 55 minutes ago.  Lame.

I spent an hour and a half last night sewing 10 trick-o-treat bags.  I spent 2 hours this morning cleaning my house and cutting out the stencils for the bags.  I have to say, I’m a little heartbroken.  I love crafting and teaching.  I was really looking forward to this.

Since the day didn’t go like I’d planned, I’ll share my project with my virtual friends!

Trick-or-treat Bags

  • Two pieces of orange fabric (roughly11x14, but the exact size is totally up to you)
  • One piece of green fabric (about 4×20, again, size can totally vary based on your taste)
  • Freezer paper
  • Black Acrylic paint
  • “Paint Medium” – You can find this with the acrylic paints at most large craft stores
  • Of course, you’ll need the tools too; a sewing machine, iron, scissors, paint brush, etc.

To sew the handle, fold one long edge of the green fabric in about half an inch and iron in place.  Do the same thing on the other edge.  Fold in half lengthwise and sew together.  Set this piece aside while you sew the body of the bag.

For the body of the bag, lay the two pieces of orange fabric together and sew along three of the sides (leaving whichever edge you want to be the top open).  Fold the top edge down about half an inch all the way around.  Remember, the part you’re looking at right now will end up being the inside of the bag, so when you’re folding this edge down, fold it to the outside (later, we’ll turn it the other way).  Now, pin the handle on.  One end of the handle should attach to each of the side seams.  Sew all the way around the top.  Turn the bag right-side-out and you’re good to go!

Cut two pieces of freezer paper just smaller than the inside dimensions of the bag.  On the non-shiny side of the paper, draw your jack-o-lantern face (or whatever pattern you want) and cut it out.  Lay the whole piece of freezer paper inside the bag with the shiny side up; put the cut out shiny side down on top of the bag.  With the iron on medium-high heat, iron over the surface of the paper; the sticky side will stick to the fabric and makes a great stencil.

Now, you’re ready to paint!  Mix 2 parts acrylic paint with 1 part of the fabric medium.  Paint in all the areas exposed in the cutout freezer paper.

Let it sit to dry for a couple of hours before removing the top paper.  Do not remove the bottom paper until the paint is completely dry (this will keep the paint from bleeding through).

In 24 hours, iron over the part you painted to set it.  Then it will be machine washable.  It’s certainly not the same as screen printing, but it will hold up ok to several washings.  You can use the same painting technique for lots of other things too!  We painted a tie on a t-shirt for Hubs last summer.  It was pretty stinkin’ cute!

Enjoy!

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Another round of what not to say to a pregnant woman…

October 6, 2010 at 12:26 am (Uncategorized)

Here’s another one I’m just not understanding.  It’s not that the question itself is inherently bad, but the tone it always seems to be asked in is painful!

How are you doing?

When I was pregnant with Junior, especially in the third trimester, people were constantly asking how I was doing.  On the surface, it’s a well meaning question, but when it’s always said with a tone like my dog just died, it gets old.  Nine times out of ten, it’s asked with head tilted a little to the side, sad eyes and the same inflection you hear at funerals.  I get that pregnancy is not always a joy, but especially if I don’t know you very well, I’m not going to tell you about my constipation, heartburn and hemorrhoids.  Well, unless I’m trying to get you to go away.

Pregnancy, in general, is a happy thing.  If you’re going to ask how I’m doing, keep that in mind.  Thanks!

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I’m a bad blogger!

October 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m so annoyed with myself these days.   I’ve really been meaning to get over here for a while, but it always seems like there’s a thousand other things to do first.  Here’s an update on life in our house!

Hubs started a new job today.  He’s been there about 10 minutes.  It’s a great pay raise, but also a riskier job; he’ll now be driving around with propane rather than lumber.  On the other hand, it’s a more stable job.  His boss at his old job understood him needing to leave for such a great raise, but at the same time, told him they’d love to see him stay.  He really enjoyed his coworkers there and seems to be leaving with some new friendships.  Not too bad for a job he was only at for about 7  months.

Junior is such a rockstar.  He’s almost fully potty trained more than two months before his third birthday.  Our biggest complication is the fact that he’s deathly afraid of using anyone else’s toilet.  He’ll know he needs to go, but won’t.  We’re still in diapers outside the house and at bedtime.  At home, he’s awesome though.  I know we’re close, we just have these last two hurdles to go.  And he’s so flippin’ smart.  His new favorite thing is to sit and watch kids’ music videos on YouTube with Daddy.

Deuce is growing well, kicking like crazy and wreaking havoc on my body.  As soon as the morning sickness stopped, the migraines kicked in.  I get them a few days a week.  They stink.  I even had to leave work half an hour early one day last week because it was so bad.  I’m definitely growing a baby bump.  I can’t believe I’m 18 weeks already!  The crazy preggo dreams have kicked in, but that’s a post unto itself!

At 15 weeks, I had a routine appointment at my doctor’s office.  As the nurse was doing her ultrasound, I joked that I was hoping for a good “between the legs shot”.  She said, “let’s see what we can find!” and started looking around.  Deuce’s legs were locked together and wasn’t giving up much of a shot.  Eventually she printed me a couple of pictures.  As she handed one over, she pointed to a spot between the legs and told me she’s pretty sure it’s a GIRL!  She’s not a trained ultrasound tech, but said she’d be pretty sure to bet on a girl.  Next Monday I have another regular appointment and she’ll be doing another quick ultrasound.  Then just another week later is the BIG ultrasound and we’ll know for sure.

It’s hard to believe that I’m almost halfway done already.  The long half is still to come, but it’s going so quickly.  I promise to try to update more often!

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