1 Cup of fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt (180 calories)
1 Tbsp of Hershey's caramel topping (55 calories)
1 Tbsp of Hershey's chocolate syrup (50 calories)
4 Tbsp of Cool Whip Lite (40 calories)
1 Tbsp of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chunks (60 calories)
2 Tbsp of toasted or raw sliced almonds (90 calories)
For a grand total of 475 calories. Sitting home at 10pm indulging in one of these after the Shittiest of Shitty Days?
After my little mini poll in my last menu post, I received the suggestion that I post the menu after I have cooked all of it, so that the reviews can be in the post instead of the comments. Well, you folks are important to me, so I decided to listen. Hence the delay in food porn-providing.
Here's what we ate last week in Casa de JLK:
Mini Farfalle w/ Roasted Peppers, Feta, & Mint: **vegetarian** Blah. My husband thought it was alright and then said it was pretty good the next day as lunch. I didn't like it enough to give it a second try as leftovers. I think the problem is that I really hate raisins. No matter how much I want to like them, I just can't get past how gross they are. I think if I skipped the raisins, this would have been pretty good, but not worth buying a special box of "mini" bowties for.
Spinach, Chicken & Feta Salad: This was pretty good, but nothing to write home about. Very good as leftovers the next day, so I would make it again as a make-ahead recipe for lunches. Definitely easy to make.
Italian Meatball Burgers w/ angel hair & pesto. The great flavor of these comes from the turkey sausage mixed in with the ground sirloin. Tastes just like a meatball sub (or better) but without all the work and cost. I've also made it with garlic mashed potatoes, but for some reason I really like pasta as the side dish.
Spicy Sweet & Sour Chicken: This one is a repeat from last week. I made it again because my husband loved it so much. Served over white rice. This time, though, I took a picture.
Don't mind the steam, I took the pic right after I plated. It took 5 tries to get it this clear.
Chipotle Bean Burritos **vegetarian**: These were alright. I prefer the Chicken & Black Bean burritos that I've posted before, but still a good, solid vegetarian option that's very easy to make.
Superfast Kofte w/ Tomato Basil Feta Couscous: The kofte was not pretty, but it was pretty tasty and easy. My pita fell the hell apart from the tomato juice and yogurt, but it was still yummy. The couscous was made with chicken broth and I stirred in some quartered grape tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, and feta. Gave this to the baby for his first "real" dinner with us, along with a few small pieces of kofte. He freakin' loved it and made quite the mess trying to feed it to himself.
My childcare situation is in chaos right now. My sister, who is the closest thing to a nanny that I have, is currently trying to get a full-time job which would render her unavailable for babysitting while I work. My mother, who watches D one day a week has proven herself somewhat unreliable, selfish, and often more trouble and inconvenience than her service is worth. (But that's a whole other post.....)
So I have found myself in the unfortunate position of trying to find a nanny. As much as I abhor the idea of leaving my son with a stranger, I am running out of options. I can't afford daycare because of the minimums they charge and I only need 2 days a week. Plus with D's age, (9 months), he is beginning separation and stranger anxiety and the idea of dropping him off in a new place with new people and all sorts of strange kids would make me suicidal with guilt.
I went on FB and asked my circle of peeps where they would recommend I start my search. They suggested sittercity.com, care.com, and nannies4hire.com (which had the highest fees, so I'm skipping them.) I also inquired to College Nannies, but their hourly rate starts about 70% higher than what I am willing and able to pay.
I discovered a couple of things in my searches. First, I am swayed much more by a nanny's looks than I would like to admit. There are just way too many hot, young nannies out there - no wonder so many dudes get into trouble. Second, because of how young many of these women are, most of them are only available for evenings, weekends, and summers. That doesn't help me at all, especially since I get summers off from work like a teacher. And finally, the idea of having someone come to my house, take care of my son the way I want them to, and do some light housekeeping like unloading the dishwasher, prepping for dinner, doing the baby's laundry - is such an enticing thought that it helps to assuage some of that guilt I experience for considering handing my son off to someone I don't know from Adam.
I've never been an employer before, so this is an interesting experience for me. When a potential nanny applies to your job, you receive a message from them that is somewhat akin to a cover letter. I have noticed that while some of these people definitely know how to apply for a job, many of them don't have a clue. For example, my job posting clearly states that I am hiring for the academic year, and that hours woud be reduced over the summer to the minimum we would need to keep my son comfortable with them so that when they return in August for real, I don't have to worry about him freaking out. Not to mention the job posting clearly shows a weekly calendar where I checked off the days and hours that I am looking to fill. One girl sent me a message that says "Since I am a student I can not travel during class, but I would love to be considered for the job during the summer." Um. There IS NO job during the summer.
Another applicant made mention of her "collegiate knowledge" as an excellent qualification, explaining how she has a B.S in teaching. I certainly appreciate an educated candidate, but my son is only 9 months old. He likes to lick things. Unless she took a class in getting babies to stop licking things, I don't see how that necessarily makes her qualified to change his poopy diapers and watch him bang on his Leapfrog table all day.
D is everything to me. What I want more than anything else is someone who will truly care about and for him. Someone who is reliable and will be around for awhile.
This post over at The Domestic Diva in which she lays out her Bucket List inspired me to come up with my own, as I said in the comments over there, "to remind myself there is more to life than dirty diapers and sleepless nights!"
So here is mine, numbered but not in any particular order:
1. Visit every major city in Europe.
2. Earn a graduate degree. In something.
3. Take a jetski out on open ocean.
4. Sleep overnight on the beach, like maybe in a tent.
5. Ride a horse on the beach. (Has to be in Mexico, it's illegal in the US!)
6. Pet a killer whale.
7. Visit Disneyworld, with or without children.
8. Pet a tiger cub.
9. Go out for one fantastic, Sex & The City-type night out in NYC.
10. See the sunrise from Haleakala crater on Maui. (Didn't do this during the honeymoon.)
11. To snowboard for real. At least once. Preferably in Alaska when it's 50 degrees outside.
This is all I"ve got for now, but I'm sure I'll be adding to this as time goes on. What about you guys? What's on YOUR bucket list?
In an informal poll I recently looked at, about 70% of breastfeeding mothers say that they drink alcohol. What I wonder though is how many of them actually have all the facts about drinking while breastfeeding. Because I've been doing it for 9 months and apparently I didn't have a fucking clue this whole time.
Truth is, I'm still not sure I have a fucking clue.
After a particularly social weekend, I realized I never did look up how, exactly, breastmilk production works and how alcohol enters and leaves it. Following the majority belief that "pumping and dumping" is the only way to deal with tainted milk, I went on that way this entire time. I had purchased some alcohol test strips for breastmilk before the baby was born, (which I highly recommend, by the way), and they worked really well to confirm what I often already knew about my milk supply.
Until one day, when I had pumped and dumped the night before and gone to bed. 5 hours later the baby woke up and needed to be fed. I felt off, but wasn't sure if it was from alcohol in my system or lack of sleep. I really hadn't drank that much the night before, but just to be on the safe side I decided to test my milk before feeding the baby. The result was positive. WHUCK???
From that point on I became pretty paranoid about drinking, never having enough to even earn a buzz, especially not unless the baby was asleep for the night and I knew he wouldn't be waking up. But it bothered me that I didn't really understand how it all worked. I read that alcohol would be out of your milk about 1-2 hours after having a drink, and you should never feed your baby if you feel even slightly buzzed, and that pumping and dumping was an alternative to waiting the 2 hours. I personally just never understood the waiting thing - where did it go? Any nursing mom can tell you that when you don't feed your baby, your boobs get bigger and bigger and more full as time goes on. There is certainly no physical evidence to suggest that milk cycles out of your boobs as time goes on. (Unless you're weaning of course, but that's another story altogether.) So to me, pumping and dumping just made sense. Get rid of the "bad" milk and let the "good" milk come back in.
A little research on the internet turned up the info that alcohol enters breastmilk through the blood, and so the amount of alcohol in your blood is what affects the amount in the milk. As long as the alcohol is still in your bloodstream, it's still going to be in your milk. But if it's clear from your blood, it's clear from your milk because your body has metabolized it all out.
I just still don't get it. And two of the claims from the same site just don't sit right with me. First, it says that most milk is made on-demand for the baby while he/she is nursing. But again, see what I said above about your boobs in between nursing sessions. That suggests otherwise, wouldn't you say?
And second, it says that drinking alcohol to increase milk supply is a bogus old-wives tale. Now I have no access to research that might show this to be false or whatever, but my anecdotal evidence is solid. When I pump after having a drink or two, I pump WAY more milk than I normally get after the same amount of time has passed when I haven't had anything to drink. And second, Bethenny Frankel's well-paid, live-in baby nurse gave her a glass of beer to help her with milk production. The woman was a NURSE, for pete's sake.
And of course, in case this all wasn't enough for you, here's some more conflicting information. Wait 6-7 hours before nursing again after a few drinks? Wait 2 hours for every drink you consume?
Fuck that. No one has any freaking clue. I think I'll just stick to my test strips, thankyouverymuch.
About a week ago, D figured out how to pull up to standing from his tummy. Using only the floor. He stands on his own for a few seconds at a time with a big grin on his face like he knows he's doing something awesome.
I'm so screwed.
He also thinks he can walk. He can't, of course, but he likes to try and just get up and go. It nearly always ends with me clutching my pounding heart in one hand and his round little bottom in the other. My guess is that he'll be walking by the middle of next month.
So, SO screwed.
I was flipping through WTE the other day and looked at the section on 10 month-olds. It includes a subsection on discipline and how to go about teaching your baby limits early-on. And I realized that this is how everything is going to change.
Up until now just about everything my baby does has been viewed as progress and we have accomodated HIM accordingly. I wasn't going to try and "teach" my baby that outlets are dangerous once he started tooling around in his walker - so we installed tamper-proof plugs in the entire first floor. Problem solved. There are tons of examples just like this. We've all been on Team D, running the same race, holding hands and singing Kumbaya together.
But soon, very soon, D is going to be starting his own team. And A and I will be his opposition. And so begins the next 18+ years of our life until he grows up and we find ourselves in non-competing divisions. (I'm really not that into sports for the most part, I swear!)
Pretty soon I'm going to have to drop "No"'s like they're hot. I'm going to have to designate a time-out spot. He is going to throw tantrums and say "I hate you, Mommy!" And this.......this is what I think is going to make me want another baby.
Because it's only that first year that everyone gets to play on the same team, with the same goals. And I think I'm really going to miss that when it's gone.
I'm too lazy and pressed for blogging time to link up to previous weeks or my Cooking Light post, so if you're interested you'll have to click the related posts below, click the "cooking" tag, or search.
Here's what's popping up on JLK's dinnerware this week:
Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce: Oh. My. God. This was so damn good and so damn easy. Except for shredding the cucumbers. That was a pain in the ass. This will be a frequent meal in our house once summer gets here, because it's just that kind of flavor. I added red bell pepper, but otherwise it was to the letter. This was the first meal I cooked using my brand spanking-new Calphalon Unison grill pan, so **BONUS** I took an actual picture of my kabobs cooking on it (just for you, CPP). Do your best to ignore my shitbox circa 1968 electric stove:
That is some sexy shit. The pan? The kabobs? Who cares? It's ALL SEXY.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Bacon - Yes, it is as good as it sounds. I LOVE this recipe, this was the second time I made it. It looks beautiful enough to serve to company, is very easy and fast but tastes like you were cooking for an hour. You MUST use fresh pasta. If you don't, you are seriously depriving yourself. Yes I know it's very expensive to buy fresh and a huge pain in the ass to make it yourself, but think about how much places like The Olive Garden charge for that shit, how many calories are in their version, and just trust me when I tell you that the $3.50 for Buitoni is totally friggin' worth it.
Beef-Broccoli Stir-fry - Meh. I have a better, similar recipe from Cooking Light that I much prefer. I did not have any hoisin sauce so I just omitted it, but otherwise I followed the rest exactly. Hubby loved it, I thought it was just okay. Pretty easy though.
White Pizza with Tomato & Basil - Haven't made this one yet, so you'll have to check back for my comments at the end of the week. My husband makes his own pizza crust, so we'll be using that instead of the prepackaged one they recommend. I'm also using canned tomatoes because at this time of year the canned stuff is better than the shit they pass off as fresh in my supermarket.
Italian Meatball Burgers - We love, love, love this recipe. It's a fantastic, very easy burger variation - particularly great if you're in the mood for a meatball sub but don't want to get take-out. I use Barilla Tomato & Basil sauce on mine.
A quick request - if you guys are actually reading my menu posts and want me to keep doing them, leave me a quick comment just to let me know. If you guys aren't that into it, I don't want to clog up my blog pages with posts no one is really reading.
A and I have started talking a little bit about the possibility of having a 2nd baby. This question isn't an easy one for us - on the one hand, we never intended to only have 1. But on the other hand, the desire to focus all of our attention and resources on D, my reluctance to undergo another c-section if the pregnancy came to that, as well as the still-fresh memories of colic and continuing sleep difficulties make the image of another baby a bit less than desirable.
If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have said I wanted 3 kids, each about 2 years apart. D is almost 9 months old and still nursing - a 2 year age gap would mean trying to get pregnant again right after his 1st birthday in June. That's a long-ass time for my body to not be my own. Selfish? Yeah, probably. But I'm human. I wonder if it's better to get it over with sooner or to take a break while planning on giving it up again in the future.
There are really only 2 reasons that come to mind for having another child:
1. Everyone I know who was an only child says they would give anything to have a brother or sister. I don't want D to grow up thinking he missed out on something; Which those of us with siblings have to admit, he would be missing out.
2. To avoid someday regretting that we didn't have another one. Selfish? Yup. But again, only human. I worry about potential regrets - things you can't take back or undo, missed chances. For me, they are the worst feelings in the world.
Sure, I could probably add others to the list, but these are really the only 2 that stand out consistently as important reasons, at least for us.
But I worry - can we handle it? How will I divide my attention? How will the timing work out? Will I still be able to work or would I have to quit? If I have to quit, can we really afford another one?
I mean shit, it's not like we have a college fund started for the one we have. (Note to self....should really look into that at some point......)
The timing thing really gets me. I love 3-4 year-olds. I can't wait for my son to reach that age so we can play with things like Legos and play-kitchens and all that. The thought of missing out on that time with my son because of a new baby in the house makes me sad. So I think to myself that a 2 year age gap would work, but if that didn't happen we would have to skip ahead to a 4-5 year age gap. But then I wonder - is that too far apart? My sister and I are 3 1/2 years apart and we're not all that close. I wonder how much of that has to do with age and how much of it has to do with her moving away with my mom when my parents divorced.
My husband and his brother are just about 2 years apart. They are also not close, but used to be. They have this competitive dynamic between them that just creates a major wedge. They can't talk about ANYthing in their lives without it becoming a contest somehow. I don't want that shit going down in my family.
I didn't love being pregnant. Most of the time, to be honest, I didn't even really like it. There were things that were cool, and many things that sucked. And I was lucky enough to have a very easy pregnancy, albeit one that culminated in a nightmare labor and delivery, but the prior 38 weeks were mostly a cakewalk. So I'm not one of those chicks who's like "Ooooh.....I can't wait to be pregnant again! It was the happiest time in my life!" No offense to any of you who ARE that chick, that's just not me.
Nor am I one of those chicks who's like "My baby's growing up so quickly......I just miss him/her being small and cuddly and I really want to have that again." Nope, again not me. I vividly remember the hours of my colicky infant screaming inconsolably and counting the days until the 12 week mark, saying to myself "That's when this is supposed to end.....3 months.......just make it to 3 months without killing yourself......." Then reaching 12 weeks and still no end in sight. It was about 15-16 weeks before it stopped. That was the longest 4 fucking month period of my entire life.
And sleeping. Ohmygod sleeping. This one could go either way - wait to have another one, get normal sleep back sooner but have to give it up again later, or be complete zombies for the next 2-3 years but get that part over and done with so by 2015 or so we can maybe get 8 hours a night every night. Be still my heart......just the thought makes me swoon!
I want to hear from the peanut gallery out there. If you have a post on your blog somewhere about your decision to have or not have another child, link up so I can go read it. If not, tell me about it here in the comments. For those of you with more than one - how'd you come to the decision if it was on purpose? What was the transition like to go from 1 to 2 kids? Did you purposely space them? If baby #2 was more of a "surprise" how did you react? If you only have one and only want the one, how did you arrive at that decision? Etc., Etc., etc.
As I sit here on this Tuesday evening, drinking a glass of cheap-ass wine after putting the baby to bed, besides thinking about how drunk I'm going to be after 3-4 sips of this shit riesling, I find myself thinking that I'm feeling a bit isolated these days.
I have plenty of acquaintances who are moms, but none who I'm really close with. I have one who I've been "mom-dating" pretty steadily, mainly because her daughter is only a month older than my son, but we're by no means exclusive BFFs. We know each other well as moms - it's the only context in which we've spent time together - and though our parenting styles can be very different at times, we both accept and respect each other's way of doing things and actually enjoy talking about our differences because of that.
But as women, it doesn't seem we have much in common. Our personalities are different, our senses of humor are different, and although the gaps are not too wide to bridge, they can't be ignored completely.
The closest thing I have to a best GF is a friend who is not yet a mom, who still parties pretty hard, and has a husband who makes it virtually impossible for her to hang out with her friends on her own because he's also friends with all of us. And ever since we moved 25 mins away (even though it's only 8 miles), it's been extremely difficult to coordinate a way to spend time together.
Because I work full-time (albeit from home), I can't really join a playgroup and I'm not sure I'd really want to anymore anyway, and I'm living in a new town where I don't know anyone. I also do not live in a "neighborhood" setting - I have one neighbor on one side with a 6 year-old son who is never home, and a neighbor across the street with what appears to be a 2 year-old daughter, but I'd never know because she has never introduced herself or even waved. (Though she has no problem letting her goddamn dog on my lawn......but that's another story for another day.)
So where does this leave me?
In the motherfucking blogosphere, that's where. And frustrated, to boot.
"Why are you frustrated, JLK?"
I'm so glad you asked. Thanks for caring about my feelings, Blogosphere. See, every day I read these wonderful, awesome, kick-ass blog posts from these amazing women who bare it all for The Internetz to see. In some ways, there are bloggers I feel I know better than the people in my real life because of the things they choose to share on their pages.
Now of course here I am giving the benefit of the doubt (or as my husband says, benefit of doubt - who is right????) and just believing that the public persona matches the private persona of these women. But even if it doesn't - it would take a heck of a masterful writer to pull off some of these personalities if they were in no way a reflection of self. (Again, here's looking at you, Aunt Becky!)
I am constantly hunting for bloggers who live in my neck of the woods. PhizzleDizzle up and moved far, far away (not that she was that close in the first place, but driving distance at least) and she was really all I had. I've looked at blogs from people in my state who identify themselves as such, and so far I have to say, they're written by women who I don't think I would have ANYthing in common with whatsoever.
There are so many of you out there though who I absolutely adore - those of you whose pages I read and think "Now THIS chick is someone I could get drunk and have great conversations with!" But then I find out at least in general terms what your geographic location is, and I think "Goddammit! We'd have to get drunk over Skype or some shit!"
And we all know that's just not the same. You especially know this if your spouse/partner is in the military.
Anyway. So I'm grateful to have found all of you over there on my blogroll, because you've made me realize that I am not alone in this crazy ass journey of motherhood/adulthood/womanhood and that there are people out there with the same sick sense of humor and appreciation of random shit that I have. I love you all for it. But I also wish you were all just a car ride away where we could meet up for Mexican food and margaritas or hang out at my place with a glass of ass Yellow Tail riesling or some Captain & Coke Zero and make fun of stupid people. Or something.
Bottom line - if any of you are heading out to New England anytime soon - hit me up. Because JLK needs more people in her life like you guys.
A few words about Mommy Shorts, aka Ilana Rosengarten: She writes what I consider to be one of the best Mommy blogs out there. She's funny, she's down-to-earth, and her daughter Mazzy is downright adorable. If I lived in NY I would be begging to be her BFF. Back in December I read her entire blog archive in a single sitting and now I'm hooked.
So not that I've been drumming up a whole lot of traffic via the mommy blogs, but if you're looking for something new and amusing to read, head on over to Ilana's page and I guarantee you won't be sorry.
Thanks, Mommy Shorts, for crowning me once again - this shout-out's for YOU!
D is getting bored with the toys he has. He doesn't have a lot - just the basic stuff like blocks, those dangly stuffed animals with little mirrors and crinkle sounds, stackable rings, rattles, etc. I need to get him some new stuff to play with, but I have no idea what to get. 8 months is such an odd age for buying toys. I would like to find some toys he'll play with for awhile before outgrowing them.
All I could think when reading her goddamn awful post was that there is a difference between letting your children learn at their own pace, and letting them learn at YOUR pace. She said in her first blog about being an attachment parent that she believes in "wearing" your children - as often as possible, as much as possible. Common sense (as well as my degree in psychology) suggests to me that perhaps carrying your child around everywhere is the reason he didn't walk until he was 17 months old. Or roll over until he was a year old. GAH! I hate extreme parenting!!!! I believe in letting kids be kids while teaching them the things they need to know in order to be good, responsible, independent adults. I just can't imagine purposely hindering my kid's development and then justifying that hindrance - calling it child-centered anything! The balls! The BALLS OF BLOSSOM!!!
I'm a twenty-something new mom living in New England. My son D was born in June of 2010. My blog has a LOT of different topics on it - grad school admissions, psychology, books, travel, fashion, cooking, etc., but mommyhood seems to dominate my interests these days.
I haven't decided yet if I want to continue the pseudonymity or just "come out" on this blog since burning bridges to grad school is no longer an issue. We'll see how it goes - I do still work, ya know!