Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

I've been a little uninspired to blog lately. I don't feel like any one thing that has happened is worthy of an entire blog post, but I have been taking a few pictures of things thinking I  might eventually feel inspired to blog. So here is a post about a little bit of everything, home, food and a baby thrown in at the end. Enjoy.

We recently bought a big clothes drying contraption at Costco. Its main use will be for drying baby diapers because the sun works as a natural bleaching and deodorizing tool. It also seemed a little more earth friendly since you have to run cloth diapers through the dryer several times to get them completely dry. One problem this has brought up though is that clothing that is line dried tends to be scratchy and stiff. Am I doing something wrong? People talk about how wonderful line dried sheets are, but if they are anything like line dried diapers then I have to imagine slipping into line dried sheets would be rather scratchy and uncomfortable. I've started putting them in the dryer on a heat less cycle after they are dry just to soften them up, but this sort of defeats the purpose and seems like a ridiculous extra step. I would try fabric softener but everything online says those will lessen the absorbency of the diaper. Any ideas?

In food related news, I made a fool the other day. A fool is a simple old fashion dessert that is basically a fruit compote folded into whipped cream. I know I'm not suppose to be eating dairy right now, but I had a bowl full of fresh picked strawberries sitting on my counter and couldn't resist trying it. I think this would have worked better with a tart fruit (the original recipe called for rhubarb) or one with more body, but it was still pretty delicious. I also saw some ideas online for strawberry fools that add a little basil to it. I wasn't feeling brave the day I made this so I left it out, but next time I'll add it. Whatever fruit you choose to use, this would be a great way to use up leftover cream. It always seems like during the holidays I have recipes that call for a cup of cream and then I have to find uses for the rest. Generally it ends up being a treat in my morning coffee, but this could be a fun way to change it up.

Ok, so if you know how to make whipped cream you don't really need a recipe for this one, but here ya go. I didn't measure anything when I was making this but these general amounts made two big fools (hey wait a minute...). I think next time I'd use something more the size of a whiskey glass. These could be a great way to make a pretty dessert for a dinner party without a lot of effort because you could do that fruit ahead of time and just whip up the cream after dinner.

Strawberry Fool "Recipe"


+/- 1 cup of whipping cream
1-2 tbsp. powdered sugar
a splash of vanilla extract

+/- 2 cups of strawberries quartered
2 tbsp. sugar

1) Wash and quarter the strawberries and then add the sugar. Allow to sit for at least a half and hour until they get juicy. Then, mash them with a fork.

2) Add remaining ingredients to a bowl and whip with an electric mixer until its the consistency of thick whipped cream. You'll want it a little stiffer  than you would normally make it because its going to sit for a bit.

3) Layer ingredients in a glass and then spiral a spoon down into it and back up. Refrigerate for a half and hour and then enjoy with a couple of shortbread cookies.

And now on to Baby. She's been having mild but continuing diaper rash issues lately so I've been trying to give her some diaper free time every day. While we still haven't been able to completely clear up the rash, it has led to some cute pictures.

Well that's it for my jumbled theme-less blog post. Hope you all are having more inspired weeks than me!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Baby's First Swim

A few weeks ago we bought Claire a little pool off of Amazon. We couldn't help ourselves. I stumbled upon it when I was looking for a sun tent for our beach trip and it was so adorable we decided we had to have it. Bonus, it was only twelve dollars for a super cute mushroom shaped inflatable baby pool. I didn't get a picture of the whole pool, but you can see the listing here.
Now that Claire can sit up on her own, and we are experiencing a particularly warm streak of weather, we decided it was time to give the pool a try. Claire has had warm baths, but this was going to be her first encounter with cool water. So while the Giants game was wrapping up today I blew up the pool and Jeffry wiggled Baby into her swim diaper. She was stylin' and ready for her first swim.

The pool also came with about six different inflatable mushrooms and butterflies. For much of her pool time those were far more interesting to her than the water.

I really should have given these a good wash before she went in the pool. Whoops.

The added challenge of pool time, is that toys can get away from you. Luckily, Momma was there to give her a hand.

Look at her little legs go!

Claire was in the water for quite a while before she realized that splashing was also a fun option, but when that cuteness happened it suddenly got a bit too wet to be taking pictures so I just enjoyed the moment!

 All in all I'd say it was a successful first pool experience that Claire really enjoyed. I was also really excited to see that the swim diaper kept the pee pee in and the water out. I think my $1 investment from the JBF sale paid off!  I have always been a little skeptical of both disposable and reusable swim diapers. I'd like to get her one of those sun blocking shirts to go along with it for when we go to grown up pools that don't have mushroom cap shades.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Garden Update

My long suffering garden is in full swing right now. We've had our first fresh made pasta sauce of the season, enjoyed quite a few zucchini breads and I'm thinking tonight I shall turn some of our tomatoes, bell peppers and onions into pico de gallo. As you can see from earlier blog posts we also have been enjoying fresh strawberries over cake, dipped in chocolate, warm and unwashed standing in the front yard, etc.
I didn't expect these to start our so neon yellow. They will eventually turn a deep orange.

There are two plants I'd like to high light in this post because I'm very excited about them. The first is our Cinderella pumpkins. I swear these squash grow so fast you can see it happening. I guess that makes sense since they are going to get pretty big (up to 25 lbs.). I imagine there are going to be a lot of pumpkin recipes posted here when fall comes. I'm particularly fond of winter squash in Thai curry so I'm sure that's where a lot of it will end up. The pumpkins vines are huge as well. We've had to continually redirect themto keep them from climbing up our palm tree. One vine is even making a run for the other side of the yard by creeping across the path that separates our raised beds from our squash bed.

The second plant I'm really excited about is our eggplant. I bought these on a whim and was pretty certain they wouldn't do well in our chilly climate. I planted them up against the house because even though that area doesn't get a ton of sun, the house traps heat and keeps that area warmer as the general air temperature cools. So far I've counted five egg plant growing away out there. Inspired by some of David Lebovitz's most recent blog posts about a trip to Israel, I think I might try and BBQ some of these once they're mature. I think the smokiness of a charcoal fire would pair well with the already smokey flavor of eggplant.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Morning Cup

I'm not good at keeping our life on a set schedule, I know that is very popular with many parents, but I see each day as its own adventure and schedules would only serve to muck up our ability to roll with it. I'm not anti-schedule, in fact I sort of envy people who can make it work. Its just doesn't fit our family's style.

In general, however, our weekdays have the rough outline of mornings being spent at home and afternoons being spent doing anything that involves the outside world. Sometimes that errands, sometimes that's walks, and some days we don't go out at all.

Since mornings are often spent at home, they have developed a flow that goes something like this most of the time. Here it goes as told through the lense of my morning cup o' coffee.

8:00-9:20ish: Start coffee. If I'm feeling romantic this will involve hand ground coffee beans and a french press. If I'm feeling a little rough around the edges it will involve the drip machine. This week we got a Keurig though, so I think the ease of the K-cup might win the day from now on. While the coffee brews I make myself something hot for breakfast and settle down to enjoy my meal.

9:20-10:00ish: Around half way through my coffee Baby will wake up and let out a few squeals to alert me to her wakeful state. The remaining coffee gets cold while I change and feed her. I return to my coffee saddened by its cool state and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. It's not as good as it was, but its better than cold.

10:30-11:30ish: After her morning feeding Baby is usually pretty content to play on her mat or in her bouncy seat for a while. During this time I get a few more sips of coffee in, but needing to take advantage of her contentedness, I get distracted from my cup by household chores that must be done. I return to my coffee which has once again turned cold.

11:00-12:00ish: Somewhere during this time Baby hopefully goes down for a nap that can be up to an hour long. I retire to the computer to read a few blogs, answer any emails and sip on my cold coffee that I have given up on trying to reheat. I consider dumping out the last bit and making a fresh cup, but that just seems wasteful. I decide to down the last few gulps instead and begin to think about being naughty and having an afternoon cup of coffee later in the day.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Solids, Take One

We ventured into the world of solids for the first time today. Claire is 5 months and two weeks, and waking every two hours to eat at night, so we decided it was time to give solids a try. I assembled her high chair and read her Baby Bullet guidebook while I drank my morning coffee. Since breastmilk is sweet, and her father and I both love bananas, I decided to start with that. A few pulses of the Bullet latter I had a yummy banana pure ready for her to try, and well, I think we have found something that Claire is not a natural at. I even tasted it when she was done just to make sure there wasn't something wrong with it. Maybe her papa can try some brown rice cereal when he gets home.