Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Three Book Reviews

Alternative title: I suck, but these books sure don't!

Yeah. Don't send me anything if you want a timely review. I think that's the lesson to be learned here. Sigh.

ANYWAY. On to three cheerful children's allergy books! The Bugabees: Friends With Food Allergiesby Amy Recob is an incredibly cutely illustrated book about bug friends, each of whom has a food allergy. The end of the rhyming book has talking points about each of the allergies. I think this would be a great book for young classrooms to introduce them to food allergies.
Dairy-Free Dino-Licious Dig
from the No Biggie Bunch by Heather Mehra and Kerry McManama by is more appropriate for a dairy-allergic child, as it teaches how to be proactive in situations where you can't eat the provided snack. Also cutely illustrated, it is part of a series of books on different food allergies.

Why am I Different?: My First Allergy Book is by Naomi Antenucci, who probably sticks pins in my blog on a nightly basis because she sent me her lovely book FOREVER ago. This IS a wonderful first allergy book for young children, as it introduces them to the basics of being food allergic. It has simple language and illustrations appropriate for little ones.

Any of these would be great Christmas presents for a teacher or child. For a book that focuses on the emotional side of being allergic, check out Gina Clowes's One Of The Gang: Nurturing the Souls of Children with Food Allergies.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Give the people what they want

"I'm two months old, Mom. Post some pictures already."

"Never mind about the drool spot on your pants."

"You're too busy? That's a good one."

"Be sure to show off my dimple."

"Seriously. Do it now."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Twenty minutes

5:20 pm--Notice wet, warm feeling on leg while holding baby on lap. Pat baby on back to calm him. Notice wet, warm feeling on hand.
5:21--Change baby into spare changing bag outfit so you don't have to go upstairs.
5:23--Put diaper in trash.
5:25--Hear loud noise in baby's pants, much like the one he made during the prayers of the people Sunday at church.
5:26--Ask children to bring another outfit down for their brother.
5:27--Start to undress baby. Decide to take him upstairs for a bath.
5:36--Bring baby back downstairs where his outfit is.
5:37--Baby peepees all over towel, couch, your shirt, his clean outfit. Yay, slipcovers.
5:38--Child delivering another outfit from upstairs accidentally steps in growing diaper/laundry pile, gets poopoo on sock, carpet.
5:40--Look at huge laundry pile. Wonder when husband will arrive home with box of wine.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Six weeks

I have a six-week old in my house. I don't know how that happened. Soon he'll be off to college and I'll be weeping for my babies. Although his sister will be 27 at that point, so maybe the gap between children at home and grandparenthood won't be that big. Yes, this is what I think about.

Someday, I will share the miraculous story of his birth, but I am way too jittery to focus on that right now because I am jacked up on caffeine and steroids. (Sorry, Nursing Baby!) Somehow I managed to get poison ivy all over my FACE despite being Cesarean-sectionally restricted to hobbling outside and collapsing on a lawn chair while the children run around with the neighbors. I've heard people complain about our GP being 'old school,' but today I got squeezed in for an appointment I didn't have to pay for, and they gave me a free flu shot, too. Old school doctor FTW!

Now I must figure out what to feed ALL OF THESE CHILDREN since our supply of new baby meals has dried up. I'm thinking scrambled eggs.

How are you?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

He's here!

Graham Mommy'sMaidenName arrived at 11:28 pm on Wednesday, via C-section, after a day of being induced. He weighed 7 lbs, 14 oz, and his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck FOUR times. Baby and Mommy are TIRED and SORE but are fine and so glad to be home.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh yeah, that pregnancy thing

Well, I'm not on bedrest like Sarah, and I'm not having problems leading to a C-section tomorrow like Theresa, (Our babies will be birthday twins!) but I AM being induced tomorrow morning because of another big baby. That makes me four for four, people. Woot.

More soon when Baby Boy arrives. Hope all is well with you!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The I Hate to Cook Book

FINALLY! Some wise person decided to rerelease my favorite cookbook of all time, The I Hate to Cook Bookby Peg Bracken.
Here's an article about the book's 50th anniversary.
And now that it's been republished, I should probably stop posting so many of her recipes.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Salad dressing

We've been getting soooo many greens in our CSA box, and I've been trying to get the kids to choke them down. We've had success with:
Ranch Dressing
Zippy Little Vinaigrette (scroll down)

Thousand Island (Thank you, Internet!)
1 c. mayo
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. sweet relish

Teriyaki Dressing from Guerrilla Cooking
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. teriyaki sauce
1 t. sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

Happy salad making, Happy Fourth of July, and Happy twelfth anniversary to Scott and me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Uh, Hi

I am here. I am fine. The family is fine. The baby is fine. I am just the worst Internet friend in the history of Teh Internetz, that's all.

I miss you, and I appreciate your messages so much. I don't even have an excuse, except to say that I hit some sort of blogging wall and needed to be quiet for a little bit, and that little bit turned into, um, months.

This week is VBS, so we'll be out of the house a lot, but I'll catch up more soon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I try to get back into blogging and what happens? I get a horrible spybot thing on my computer. Thank goodness I'm married to a computer guy who's fixing it as I speak. As I type. Whatever.

Back soon....

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm a loser, baby

Why yes, I am the worst blogger who ever blogged. Thank you for asking. We are all fine. I just took a tiny break that ended up lasting a month.

As I say, we're all doing well, including the baby, who we found out today is a healthy boy!

More soon. I've missed you. (Although I have been keeping up pretty well in my reader.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

What did you just call me?

Here's another recipe from that old cookbook of my mom's, How I Feed My Family on $16 a Week: brownies without chocolate called, um, "Whiteys." I told Scott that we should probably call them something else, but he insists we keep the original name.


1/3 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup raisins (I leave out the raisins.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan. Melt shortening in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Mix in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and raisins, if using. Spread batter in pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into squares.

I'm sure these would be good with frosting or chocolate chips instead of raisins, but we do like them plain.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Spring cleaning: the freezer

Hey! I can talk about food without gagging!

Because of some combination of Spring cleaning/nesting/guilt over how many Runs for The Border Scott's made for me/worrying about money, I straightened out our top-loading deep freezer on Monday to get an idea of what we have in there that needs to be used up.

We have:
LOTS of blueberries
various cuts of venison
lots of cooked, mashed pumpkin and squash
freezer jam: strawberry, strawberry rhubarb, and that failed batch of raspberry I use to make dairy-free ice cream
three jars of pesto
two jars of roasted tomato sauce
one jar of tomatillo salsa
dairy-free cupcakes and cookies for school and birthday parties
one bag of cranberries
herbs and spices

Last night I used:
two bags of blueberries and the last bag of peaches in a pie with sugar glaze
the last three bags of zucchini in a casserole (adapted to be dairy free, of course)
two pounds of venison chops
and six brown bananas in two loaves of banana bread

I can cook again! I've really missed it.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Gone All Day Stew

Here's what's for dinner:

Gone All Day Stew

1 cup pasta sauce or 1 can tomato soup + 1 T. Italian seasoning
1 cup water mixed with 1/4 c. flour till smooth
1-2 lbs. beef stew meat cubes
1/2 bag baby carrots or same amount of carrot chunks
1 large onion cut into eighths
4 medium potatoes cut into chunks
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 8 oz. container of mushrooms (I'm using canned today because that's what I have.)
2 dairy-free beef bouillon cubes
pepper to taste
1 bay leaf

Cook in a slow cooker on low all day or in a Dutch oven at 275 degrees for 4-5 hours. Five minutes before serving, add 3/4 c. frozen peas. A glug of red wine is good, too, if you have it. In the stew, I mean.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Stop sustaining that note!

Maybe it's because I have a child who watches H.S. Musical AND children who watch Sesame Street, but this gets me every. Single. Time.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The more you know

Tired of hiding food you don't like in your napkin or saying your stomach hurts? Try this excuse:
"Um, Mom? I'm allergic to spicy foods now, I think."

Hey, it works for your sister about dairy.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Everything appears to be fine with the one (Sorry, Swistle) baby. Thank you so much for talking me down yesterday.

I love love love the technician at my OB's office because she explains what she's doing/looking for during the ultrasound. She said that everything looks good from her point of view, although the information will be correlated with blood work, etc.

Then she asked me if I was going to find out the gender.
Me: "Yes."
Tech:"Well, it's a little early right now."
Me: "Right. I figured."
Tech: "I'm just going to play around for a few minutes."
*She proceeds to look at the baby from all different angles, stopping when she gets a good between the legs shot.*
Tech: "It's early, but if I had to make a guess, I'd say it's a boy. See? Right there?"
Me: "Wow! Are you going to give me odds?"
Tech, laughing: "No. We'll know for sure in a few weeks."


So we'll see, but I can't help planning bedroom rearrangements and getting excited. I know Eli will be happy, too. "If the baby is a girl, it will belong to Katherine and Helen, but if it's a boy, it will belong to me."

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Lost things that I ordered replacements for from Amazon so I don't stay awake stupidly worrying about them:
goggles for Katherine's swim lessons

Eli's favorite gloves

cup valves for Helen's favorite Dora cups

Things that were later found, so now we have a spare:

Things that give me Nervous Tummy (TM Tess):
The little girl on the bus who WILL NOT keep her hands to herself, causing K. to come home with her face covered in hives one day (I assume the girl had dairy on her hands) and carrying the contents of her disassembled backpack another day.
A barely-known classmate calling--by herself--
to invite my second grader over at 7 on a Friday night.
My ultrasound this afternoon because it's a special Advanced Maternal Age one to check the baby for all kinds of scary things.

Things I can control:
Ordering replacement items to turn my brain off.
Having Katherine change seats on the bus.
Telling the classmate that it isn't appropriate for K. to come over.

Things I can't control, but oh how I would like to:
Every single social event in my children's lives.
Ultrasound results

Friday, February 19, 2010


I have some questions for all of you cat lovers out there. But first, some facts.

  1. I like cats, but Katherine and I are horribly allergic to them.
  2. Our neighbor puts out tons of birdseed and corn and peanuts every season but winter.
  3. This food attracts birds and squirrels and rabbits and voles and various other critters, who all poo in our yard/on our swingset.
  4. There are several feral cats in our neighborhood.
  5. Some of them are quite scary.
  6. One beautiful, sweet, collarless tabby cat really likes our house.
  7. He/she hangs out on our back deck and front porch a LOT.
So, can we adopt this cat as an outside cat? Is that OK? I really, really want to encourage it to stay around because I like it, and because I'm hoping it will feast on/scare away all of the rodents and birds our neighbor provides.

What do I do? Put out cat food and water? Will all of the scary, nasty cats come, too?
What about... litterbox issues? What if it belongs to someone else? (I think the chances are slim, but still.)

Next time, we can talk about keeping a hawk as an outdoor pet. That's right, so many critters came to my neighbor's yard last summer that we had a HAWK as a regular fixture on our swingset.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Pardon my little hissy fit. I took the kids to playgroup, visited with the other moms, and ate many, many French muffins. Am feeling much better now.

Thank you all so much for your morning sickness advice. I have an appointment next week where I'll ask about switching medications. And I cannot agree enough with Not Your Aunt Bea: protein helps me with nausea WAY MORE than carbs. I don't understand why this isn't common advice.

The candy trains were a big hit at E's school. If you ever do this craft, especially with preschoolers, use glue dots. They will save your sanity.

The 2010 Go Dairy Free Non-Dairy Product Lists are now available. Very handy for shopping.

Now I'm going to go enjoy Swistle's twin posts.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I wake up scared, I wake up strange

I finally got up the courage to ask my OB for anti-nausea meds. For 24 whole hours, I wasn't queasy! But I was so tired I wanted to die, and I got really irritated with the children for, you know, being awake. Anti-nausea meds FAIL. I'm back to being queasy and [barely] functional.

Somebody (No, not me, but good guess!) blew the whistle on the Nintendo DSes in the classroom, so that conflict is over for now. Woot.

I made the executive decision to bake the cookies for the school Valentine's party myself, even though I wasn't on the original sign-up list. I figured, hey, I'm ticking people off anyway, why not have a safe snack? 'Cause that's how Hormonal Pregnant Mom rolls.

Tomorrow is the boy's preschool Valentine's party, and I'm in charge of the craft. Candy trains it is.

I can't wait to try Catherine Newman's dairy-free Walnut-Orange Cake.

First Robert B. Parker died the other week and now Dick Francis, one of my all-time favorite authors, died yesterday. As Beck tweeted, "Stop dying, favorite mystery authors!"

Katherine and Eli played in the children's chimes choir at our newish church for the first time on Sunday. Eli had just one note, the very last one, but he played it with enthusiasm.

We've been having lots of fun watching the Olympics, although the kids told my mom that they don't 'get' curling. Mom: "No one does."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Radio Silence

Dudes, I don't even know where to begin. I think life overwhelmed me at the same time a bout of Blog Sickness kicked in. Throw in sick kids (Two-year old on steroids = Shoot me.) and birthdays and school parties and meetings, and, oh yeah, HORMONES. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

So! I met with the assistant superintendent and one of the elementary principals about the official allergy policy that they are finally going to put into place next year. Woot. I'm sure they just wanted to meet with the allergy parents to pacify us, but I don't care. I'm nosy, and I want to know what's going on. I'm pretty pleased with the policy so far.

Also, they are going to let us know who our children's teachers are in June instead of August! No more scrambling to meet with K's new teacher the week before school starts!

K's teacher asked me to be in charge of calling the parents who volunteered for the Valentine's party because she was frustrated with the amounts and dairy content of the Christmas party food. On the one hand, I'm happy to help. On the other hand, telling other mothers to step off? Not really my job. And, boy, did I inadvertently anger some people. Awesome.

Kids have been bringing in their Nintendo DSes to play during recess, even though the school handbook specifically says they're not allowed. K. keeps bugging me to let her bring hers. Uh, no. Our house rule is that the fragile, expensive toy stays home. Actually, ALL toys stay home. I think you can find something to play for 15 minutes in a room full of 20 other kids.

Huh. Maybe I'm not over Blog Sickness after all. Whiny much?

My blog turned three on Jan. 31, but much more importantly than that, my favorite boy in the whole world turned four last week. Four! I love him so much it makes my heart ache. Our sweet, serious little boy who takes such good care of his sisters, loves tractors, trucks, and Star Wars, and asked for tomato soup for his (John Deere) birthday dinner. Happy Birthday, Eli.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Odds and Ends

Helen's princess party was a huge success. The birthday girl's favorite gifts? The dollar-store plastic princesses from her cake and a gift box that looks like a castle. The princesses live there now and are having a fine time.

I'm so sad about Robert B. Parker.I've been rereading all of his novels. This is a great article about him.

Yesterday was also my first OB appointment (not counting the intake appointment). I was waiting for my OB to tease me, but all he said in his fabulous accent was, "I was happy to see your name on my schedule. [pause] You are very brave." I also had my first ultrasound, and there really is ONE little tiny baby in there! The technician said everything looks great. *whew* I never realize how nervous I am that things *aren't* all right till I hear that they are.

The other night I made Catherine Newman's borscht because I am craving cabbage. (And grapefruit juice.) I know, right? But dishes like this and this and this sound so good to me. And if the grocery store has cabbage rolls at the deli? Look out.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I heart the Internets

You all are the best. Not ONE of you said:

A. You know how this happens, right?/Have you figured out how this happens yet?

B. Was it an accident?/Did you do it on purpose?

C. Please tell me this is your last one.

D. Are you crazy?

E. I'm praying for twins. Twin boys.

Let's just say you all have a much better tact record than people I know in real life. MUCH better.

Your reward? I will answer those questions!

We were neither planning a fourth nor not planning a fourth. If it happened, great. If not, great.

Yes, this is our last baby.

We might be crazy, but I don't think it's because we're having another child.

If it is twins you all will have to come stay with us in shifts. Clear your schedules.

In other news, I am "AMA"--Advanced Maternal Age. Or, according to some of the lab forms, "Elderly." ELDERLY. Be nice to the crotchety old pregnant lady or she will trip you with her cane.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Too late?

Is it too late to ask you to delurk?

What if I tell you that I'm seven weeks pregnant and baby number four will be arriving in early September?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Guess where we're going?

That's right, The Pennsylvania Farm Show. No, we won't let Katherine too close to the 1,000 pound butter sculpture:

See you back here on Thursday.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Keeping Warm

It is freezing outside and the snow just. keeps. falling. Good thing Gramma made ponchos for all the girls to keep them warm.

(Eli chose not to be photographed in his new navy wool scarf.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Me: *taking down nativity*
Almost-four-year old: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO BABY JESUS?!?"
Me: "Uh, putting him away. It's time to pack up the Christmas decorations."
Almost-four-year old: "WHYYYYYYY?"

Sigh. Happy Epiphany, Everyone.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Hey, it's 2010

I assume you all are doing well. I'm not sure, though, since my almost-two-year old deleted all of your posts from my reader. Apparently she wants me to spend less time blogging and more time planning her princess birthday party at the end of the month. "I pincess! Is mine! Pincess cake!" We'll follow that up with another John Deere birthday for Eli, just to keep things interesting.

I've been working on cleaning out our house, chanting, "Keep the memory, not the thing" and reminding myself that it is more important to use the space in our house as effectively as possible than to keep every toy the children have ever received. Would it have been more effective for me to take down the Christmas decorations before I started decluttering? Probably, but it's not Epiphany yet....

So that's what's going on here on the first day back to school when every other district in our county has a two-hour delay, the snow is sifting down, the tree is dark, and Christmas is over.