I love it when he likes what I like…

 Peanut tends to just share off my plate when we eat, so its really nice when he likes what we are eating. and its very gratifying when he likes what I like.

One of my favorite ways to use leftover pancakes….

Pop the pancake into the toaster, slather peanut butter, then jam or fruit butter (here, its peach butter).

Peanut likes it, too.

Cleaning and Earth Day

So I became aware that “Earth Day” is this weekend when I got an advertisement from Amazon about cleaning products for Earth Day. Hmmm… that seems quite ironic… a company all about consumption advertising for Earth Day.

Anyhoo, after an article in Real Simple about the “best” cleaning products, I thought I ought to share my cleaning philosophy and methods.

“Cleaning philosophy?” you ask. Yes, everyone has basic reasons why they do things the way they do them.  They just aren’t always able to articulate them.

There are two words which encapsulate my cleaning philosophy:

CHEAP  If it costs too much, I won’t buy it.

SIMPLE  If its too complicated, I won’t do it.

With that in mind… here’s my basic supplies… baking soda, vinegar and dish soap.  And Simple Green.

What could more “Earth Day” than this! (not buying some fancy “organic” cleaner shouldn’t count, but planting a tree might. I promise to water my garden.)

Baking soda — this is the most awesome of gentle abrasives. I use it with some face soap for a face scrub, I mix it with some dish soap for cleaning up greasy and grimy dishes. I’ve used it on the glass top stove, with some dish soap, and it didn’t scratch and cleaned it far better than the special “for glass top stoves” cleaner. Great for scouring the bath tub of the grime that comes from the combination of dirt and soap.

Dish Soap — perhaps the most awesome of degreasers you could ever find. when I was cleaning the hood on my stove, which hadn’t been cleaned since we moved in over 2 years ago, not even Simple Green was getting it clean. But a bit of dish soap on the rag, and clean it came! So, anytime you need a bit of suds, dish soap is your answer.

Vinegar — a bit of acid is a good thing. Good for cleaning off and sanitizing those counter tops. It deodorizes, and helps get detergent out of clothes. Apple Cider Vinegar is a good hair rinse and will leave hair nice and silky smooth.

Simple Green — because I got a monster bottle 5 years ago and it still isn’t gone. Good as a degreaser for counters.


I’ve written out cleaning tasks for each room, based on the flylady zone cleaning lists, and customized it to my current house. Then I grouped rooms into “zones”, again based on flylady zone cleaning lists. I have 5 zones:

Zone 1: Kitchen & Dining Room
Zone 2: Living Room & guest bathroom
Zone 3: Guest Bedroom & Nursery
Zone 4: Master bedroom & bathroom
Zone 5: Front & back porches (& other possible miscellaneous locations that need attention)
Often, though, the kitchen becomes its own zone. I’ve been aiming to do 1 zone a week, but that is just a bit too much for me right now — I’m too distractable to do that much focused work. I don’t do all the tasks for each room each time I have that zone up, either, but those that show a need. So, for example, I might not wash the curtains int he dining room every time I have zone 1 on the weekly schedule. On the other hand, I try to vacuum the whole house at least once a week (preferably twice a week), sweep kitchen and dining daily, and mop once or twice a week. Dusting I’m happy to do once a month or so. 

Of course, there are also things that are done on a near constant basis — like dishes and picking up, for, hopefully, obvious reasons. Laundry is done regularly (I do use plain old detergent here, I guess that is one more cleaning agent I use!) and I try not to let it build up.

Oh, yeah, I do keep bleach around for toilets and really-got-to-get-this-truly-santized kinds of moments.

I hope this gives you ideas for your own house. You don’t need any fancy cleaner, nor something special for this that or the other. Keeping it to such simple items also keeps your budget down.  Aren’t we all into saving a bit of money these days?

Sleep Training — the other plunge

Day time naps have been a bit of a battle with Peanut. He didn’t seem to like sleeping during the day, and would sleep for 30 minutes 2 or 3 times a day. At 2 months, that didn’t seem quite right, but then, every child is different, right? Plus, at 7 months, he was still getting up every few hours at night to nurse. Talk about tiring for a mama.

I am a reader, so I read lots on this. My three primary resources were
Breastfeeding Made SimpleBaby Wise, and The Baby Whisperer.

And I got to talk with one of Hubby’s cousins who is a pediatrician with 2 kids of her own. Her youngest is only 5 days younger than our Peanut.

I received Breastfeeding Made Simple at a baby shower (Thanks Susan!) and really enjoyed reading it. It walks the reader through 7 “laws”, which are the basic principles of how the breastfeeding relationship between mom and child works. Principles like ‘the more you nurse, the more milk your body makes’. So, when Peanut wanted to nurse, I let him nurse. And, to be honest, I was worried about my production at first (which I shouldn’t of been). I learned from this book that the first 40 days is when your supply is established, letting baby demand-nurse helps increase your supply to match his needs, and babies know when they are hungry, thirsty, or need comforting… the clock doesn’t.

When I read Baby Wise years ago, when we were first trying to get pregnant, I though it was a great idea. When I re-read it a month or so ago, I thought… what was I thinking? The author starts with presenting all these testimonial’s about mothers giving up breastfeeding from exhaustion, and that his system solves that. so, he says, nurse your baby by the clock. (he doesn’t say it quite so bluntly, though)

Though the Baby Whisperer says her method is different, its still a nurse by the clock. She does talk more about routine and less about schedule though. Eat, play, sleep… repeat is her thing.  Yep, looks a whole lot like the Baby Wise method. Anyhoo, we are more of  eat, play, eat, play, eat, sleep kind of family, even Peanut.

Though I think both Baby Wise and Baby Whisperer ignore some basic facts about babies and nursing, there are some other principles that both present that seem to make sense. First — what I think is wrong. Do you always get hungry and thirsty at the same time each day? I don’t. My hunger and thirst schedule can vary depending on activities and even weather. Add in the facts about nursing, baby’s appetite, and baby’s stomach size and maturity, and you realize that some of these methods just don’t fit what I understand reality to be.

At the same time, I know I craved a schedule, which is the main idea for both Baby Wise and Baby Whisperer. I wanted Peanut to be more predictable for my own sanity. What to do!!! So I cried at times, and I thought, and I prayed, and I thought some more. Then I realized I was being anxious in my own way, so I tried not to think about it too much. Then I made a decision. I really just wanted to be able to put Peanut down for nap without spending 30 to 45 minutes doing so (nursing) and then him only sleeping 30 to 45 minutes. And I wanted to get more than 3 hours in a single stretch at night.

Hubby’s cousin pointed out that its likely Peanut is waking up so much at night (which is normal), but doesn’t know how to go back to sleep on his own, so he cries to nurse. Start with bed time, she said, and let him put himself to sleep.

Here’s what I did… I took what I thought was right from Baby Wise and Baby Whisperer and left what I thought was wrong. When Peanut was nursing, I worked hard to keep him awake. That did take work, as we were in the habit of nursing to sleep. At first, I did this only for day time naps. Hubby was still finishing up school, so I didn’t want to mess with bed time yet, as that would disrupt his evening work hours. I tickled his feet, I talked to him, I scratched his back, I rubbed his head. Then, if I could tell he was sleepy, I’d change his diaper, pray with him, and put him down. But if he wanted to nurse, I let him nurse. Sometimes, it meant he nursed every 30 to 40 minutes, especially in the late afternoon. He decided when he wanted to nurse, but he didn’t nurse himself to sleep. Often this was an eat, play, eat, play, eat, play, sleep cycle.

For first few days, the day time naps were a tad rough. He cried. I went in every 5 to 10 minutes and comforted him as best I could. Sometimes he calmed down, and sometimes he just wailed harder. But I persevered. I used my nifty flylady timer to keep track of how long it had been since I put him down and decided that after 1 hour, if he wasn’t asleep, we’d call that nap time a wash. By the third day, it was all much easier. Peanut  was falling asleep on his own within 10 to 20 minutes of me putting him down! I started telling him that it was okay if he wanted or needed to cry for a bit, but that he needed to go to sleep.

A very nice side affect is that Peanut is more focused when he nurses, so we spend less time nursing.

At the grandparent’s house over Christmas, we went back to nursing to sleep, which was a big mistake. About 2 or 3 days in, we switched back to going down for daytime naps awake. At night, Peanut was waking up at least every 2 hours. We played with ways to keep him warm, which helped some, but it really came down to 2 things: (1) it was a new place and he just wasn’t used to it, and (2) at night Mommy was right next door, could hear any noise made very clearly and jumped at each noise.

When we got home, that very first night, Peanut was put down for bedtime awake. We went through our normal routine, but then I brushed his teeth after nursing, then put him in bed. I think he cried a bit, but it was late (we’d just driven in that evening), and nothing too difficult.

Plus, I wanted him to sleep longer at night, which meant letting him learn to go back to sleep without nursing. That meant crying.  In the middle of the night. I decided no nursing between 12 am and 5 am. Hubby and I would suffer together.

So, that first night, I let him cry 5 minutes when he woke up around 1 am, then I went in and let him nurse for a bit. The next night, I let him cry 10 minutes before going in to him. Third night? easy-peasy, he never cried more than 2 or 3 minutes when he woke me up. Night #4, though… I let him cry for 15 minutes before I went in to him, and then I didn’t let him nurse. That was a hard night. He woke up around 1 am and I let him cry, but he fell asleep within 10 minutes, so I didn’t go into him. The he woke up around 2 am, and cried and cried. I recognized the cry was different, so I went in to check and he was on his front. He does not like sleeping on his front and though he rolls fine, he won’t/can’t do at night. I picked him up, comforted him, rocked him, tried to help him calm down. After about 10 minutes, he was still upset, but I put him back down and went back to bed. He went back to sleep about 5 minutes later (I’m pretty good about checking my phone for the time).  And last night? I nursed him about 9 pm — a “dream feed”. And I heard him about 4 am, but he fell back asleep within 10 minutes. Then I heard him about 5 am, and went into nurse him. I got about 6 hours of most uninterrupted sleep!

So — I still let Peanut lead on when he wants to nurse, but he goes to sleep on his own. And its not been as hard of a transition as I imagined it to be. Goodness, I love being able to pick and choose from various theories.

Growing things

Many folks have told me I have a green thumb, as I tend to get veggies from the garden. Honestly, though, I think it is most luck.  Nature has killed several of my plants outside and I kill many of them inside.  This last summer, I successfully knocked off a baby Giant Sequoia and seedling peacan, both in pots. They just got to dry and it killed them (easy to do in 100’+ heat). All I had to do was bring them inside. Didn’t think of that till early September.

And now…

Friend Liz rooted and repotted several basil and sage plants, and gave me 2 basil and 2 sage. Wasn’t that nice of her? I kept the soil moist, and put them in the window for sun… but alas, I have killed the 2 basil and 1 sage is well on its way out. I’m not sure what I did, honestly…. was the window sill too cold? Too much water? Not enough? :::sigh::: 
This why I don’t do house plants. Strange to hear myself say that.

2012 Resolutions

We’ve got about 1 1/2 weeks till 2012 is upon us, and I’ve only begun thinking about goals for 2012. I’m a big time goal setter — evidence here.

I saw this… and it intrigues me… (from http://seamlessblog.wordpress.com/the-pledge/)

I, ________, take the Seamless pledge until __________________. I will abstain from buying any new clothes until the end of my pledge. I will find ways to be fashionable without breaking the bank and without contributing to the cycle of fast fashion consuming the high street. I will trawl through charity shops, I will attend clothes swaps, I will look for second-hand items on eBay and I will craft my own clothes with my own two hands.

  1. No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. By new, I mean any new mass-manufactured clothes.
  2. You can buy second-hand manufactured clothes – so be prepared to get to know your local charity shops awfully well.
  3. Vintage clothing is a-ok!
  4. Anything you’ve made by hand is definitely allowed. Get your sewing machines and your kntting needles out, because handmade is definitely in!
  5. Get involved! Join in on the Flickr group and like our Facebook page. I’ll be looking to feature pledgers on the blog in the future. I’d love to see your second-hand finds, refashions and hand-made creations!
I am so very tempted to go for it, but I doubt my ability. See, I almost never buy clothes. Its not that I just don’t have the money, though I am a tightwad, its just that it isn’t a positive experience, and I don’t think of it until there is something I *need*. For example, I recently purchased 1 pair of blue jeans, and 4 3/4 length (sleeves) tops to round out my new uniform — blue jeans, long sleeve shirt, tank top and cardigan. 

But I have a week and some before I *must* decide on goals for Jan, and I think I should have till Feb before I *must* decide on goals for 2012. And for all those who think “why make goals?”, I am utterly aimless without them. And I really. don’t. like. being. aimless.

What’s a goal that you are thinking about for 2012, but are unsure about? Or maybe you’ve got your 2012 goals all figured out?

My Favorite Things Day 1 Giveaway! All About Cloth Diapers | Cloth Diaper Answers All About Cloth Diapers

My Favorite Things Day 1 Giveaway! All About Cloth Diapers | Cloth Diaper Answers All About Cloth Diapers:

This is a favorite cloth diaper blog. Yep, I’m all about cloth diapering and love to talk about it! Its easy, especially once you get going. This site has been a source of a huge amount of information for me.
Ask me more! I’m happy to tell all I know!

‘via Blog this’

unbelievable timing

Kids have crazy timing, I’m sure any parent will agree. It was Friday afternoon a week ago that I realized Peanut must  be feeling pretty crappy for some reason, and, luckily, was able to get a late afternoon appointment with the pediatrician. Yep, it was an ear infection.

He finished the round of antibiotic on Tuesday morning, but then Wednesday morning started grabbing his ears, crying and had a low-grade fever. Drat, we thought. Is this a resistant strain? When he started the antibiotic, he improved quite visibly within a day — as expected. And here we were suspecting another or continued ear infection… right before Thanksgiving. I was able to chat briefly with the pediatrician Wednesday afternoon, who said waiting till Friday or Saturday didn’t make me a horrible parent. Kids survived just fine many an ear infection for many a year before doctors and antibiotics, he said. Just keep an eye on him and if his fever spikes or he stops eating, then be worried.

Thursday was actually a good day. Plenty of people around to entertain the extroverted Peanut, including Granddad, Grandmom, Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. And Daddy was home and not working, so that was 6 adults to 2 children. A good ratio, really.

Then it’s Friday. Oh, a cranky-cranky day was Friday. Peanut is grabbing both ears, and crying, and being miserable. Until, that is, that Grandad and Grandmom take him and play. Oh, tickles and laughs can make anyone feel better, yes? Low-grade fever continues, and I am feeling quite confident that its a double-wammy ear infection. An hour after he goes down for bed, he is up to nurse (not normal). I finally put him into the swing to sleep, and later into the bouncy. I administer the wonderful and amazing off-brand Tylenol faithfully, and Peanut is able to sleep through the night.

This morning, Saturday, I find 2 new teeth. (sorry, no picture, Peanut is quite adamant that we don’t mess with is mouth right now)

Yep — teeth. 2 of them. at once. and evidence of 2 more ready to erupt. no wonder Peanut was cranky. He’s gone from being Peanut 2 tooth, to Peanut 4 tooth over night and well on his to way to being Peanut 6 tooth. I think he likes being an even-number tooth kid.

So now, I wonder. The pediatrician is willing to take a look this afternoon at the ears to be sure about an ear infection. But all the symptoms are also explained by the teeth cutting through. Am I a horrible mother to say “we see the pediatrician on Tuesday anyways…” and put off the ear check? No, I don’t think that’s true, but it does nag me.

And how is that Peanut knows the weekend or the holiday is upon us, and that is the time to get sick or demonstrate miserableness that his mother feels compelled to figure out the source of?

He also launched himself from the bumpo this morning, which means that is out as a seating option. And he is quite mobile, even if not crawling yet.  Oh, my baby is growing up!

Oct Food Budget Update

Well, as I mentioned before, its only half way through Oct and I have already spent more than $200 on food.  There are some good reasons, but nonetheless….  Hubby suggested that I aim for $2400 annually, rather than a monthly budget, as some months are more expensive. Why?

This month, I purchased several staple items that I won’t need to buy again for 4 to 6 months. This includes:
rice (both short grain and basmati)
chocolate chips
baking soda

And several items I won’t purchase again for 1 to 2 months:
whole chickens
chicken breasts
pork loin
lunch meat
whole, peeled, canned tomatoes
peanut butter

Also, we are hosting some Indian friends this weekend, and as they are vegetarian, I’ve purchased (1) more vegetables than I would normally in a month, and (2) enough to feel 2 more adults. I purchased the basmati rice as a treat for them and us. And the 20 lb bag of basmati cost more than the 50 lb bag of short grain; this is quite the treat!

We are looking at joining the local CSA. I see a few pros and a few cons to this…
a chunk of veggies at less than I’d pay at the store
fresh, pesticide free veggies

likely to get some veggies we just don’t like
more veggies than we could eat… if we aren’t intentional.

Yes, I’m looking for a friend to go halves with us. There are only  2 of us, and we are only learning how to eat veggies in larger amounts and more regularly. It doesn’t come naturally to either of us.

I’m thinking October will round out to about $300, which means I’ve averaging $250. I do think I going to aim more to keeping the average around $200 rather than each month at $200.

How are you doing with your food budget? Have you started any new strategies? I’d love to have a conversation about this with others with similar goals!


Well, for messing with the blog style, I really don’t like it now. Its just… too much. But its late, and I musts go to bed. I’ll figure it out tomorrow, and hope that I don’t lose a reader for such abhorrent blog style.

With hopes that a picture will appease any offence:

Pizza… yum….

The pizza party at Shory’s has been extended to include lunch!

Come and party with us, to celebrate Leah Grace’s new heart….

Here’s the invite:


Celebration at Shorty’s Pizza Shack! Come and join us as we celebrate Leah Grace Parker’s new heart!  We will have  free Shorty’s pizza, a sparkling kid-friendly toast, and a night of games and fun.  You may also purchase from Shorty’s full menu and enjoy the regular Monday night specials until closing time!  SHORTY HAS JUST EXPANDED the offer to include lunch!  If anyone cannot come at dinner, feel free to come, donate, and eat pizza during lunch!

Now that Leah Grace has her new heart, she also has new expenses. Please come prepared to give!  We are suggesting a minimum donation of $20 per person to help us reach our goal for Leah Grace.  A generous donor has covered the cost of the party, so 100% of the money you donate will go to COTA to help Leah Grace cover transplant-related expenses.  We will accept cash and checks the night of the party, and will have a laptop there to facilitate secure, online donations.

Parking is limited at Shorty’s, so please walk, park on the street, or park a half block down 12th at HEB, if you can.  Also, please vote on the poll below for a time slot to let us know when you think you will be there, so we can have some pizza ready!  Thank you!

See you on the 26th!

If you can’t come, please still give!  Your secure, tax-deductible, online donations are greatly appreciated:

The Best World Breastfeeding Week Ever All About Cloth Diapers | Cloth Diaper Answers All About Cloth Diapers

The Best World Breastfeeding Week Ever All About Cloth Diapers | Cloth Diaper Answers All About Cloth Diapers

This post has inspired me. When I first gave birth and was working with the lactation consultant in the hospital, she mentioned donating milk. I’d gotten emails on it. Then, I found that pumping isn’t as easy as it sounds… its takes some getting used to and figuring out what works for you. I figured it out, somewhat, but had stopped thinking about donating. This story has inspired me to think about it again, and to work towards being generous with something that not every woman has to opportunity towards.
Thanks for your story, Autumn.