Costume Time

This evening Munchkie and I spent some time together creating a Halloween costume for her to wear this weekend.  As I looked online, cut, glued, and measured, I was reminded of how much my mother did for me growing up.  She made so many costumes, and not always just for Halloween, she encouraged our creativity and exploration.  Because of her encouragement and creativity I am now trying to do the same for my own daughter.

My mom is coming in just a few short hours and I am always so grateful for her when she comes.  She can hold it all together, helping us clean, cook and care for Munchkie.  We know that she is there to support us and help us.    She's always up for any activity we plan and watches Munchkie for us so we can plan an activity for just Munchkie's Daddy and I.

 I hope that I can pass on to Munchkie what my mother has passed on to me.  I hope that she someday is creative and makes costumes for her own kids.  I also hope that Munchkie doesn't look ridiculous begging for candy next to all of the expensive store bought costumes that the other kids will be wearing.



Time Together

Since we have moved and don't know many people we don't have anyone who can babysit Munchkie.  At least no one after 5pm.  Munchkie's Daddy and I know that we need to spend time together, doing more than sitting on the couch at our computers watching TV, just the two of us.  During Munchkie's Daddy's first few weeks back at school, I told him that I would like to meet him so that I could see what the area was like where he went to school.  So we met for lunch.  Then I had something for work that ended mid morning, and met him for lunch since he would be out of school at one.  We created a tradition.  Since he only has one class on Thursdays and nothing but studying on Fridays, we decided that this would be our date time.  We are paying for a babysitter Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm, so why not take advantage of that babysitter for dates?

We now meet for lunch together every week if we can, so that we can spend time together.  I drop Munchkie off at the babysitter's, Munchkie's Daddy at the subway station and then come home and get ready.  When I take the time to shower, shave (even though I think hellllooooo fall, goooooodbyyyyyyye razor), put makeup on and wear something besides a tshirt, it makes it feel a little bit more than an ordinary day.  It makes me feel special and the day special.

I have enjoyed following The Dating Divas and reading their tips and suggestions to keep romance alive.  They have great ideas from big dates to little things you can do, each one to make the other person (and yourself as well) feel special and a lot of times for not much money.  We have been trying out different restaurants around town and I'm starting to realize that lunch is definitely a cheaper alternative to dinner.  We can try out different menus at nicer places for half the price.  Last week neither of us were even hungry for dinner, so it really saved us money!

We find that it is essential to our relationship to set apart this time together.  We tend to be pretty busy and our schedules don't necessarily line up together.  So even though we may spend time together at night, we both are too tired to actually do much else besides sit there.  Sometimes after working my brain is so fried that I can't even carry on a conversation or focus on what Munchkie's Daddy's is saying, which isn't that great for our relationship or for his self esteem to be honest.  When we set aside this time to be together, we know that our main focus is on the other person, we have set aside the time physically and mentally.  This is a huge deal when both physical time and mental space are precious in this family.


Do You Hate Ironing As Much As I Do?

I hate to iron.  I sat here for a minute trying to think of the last time I ironed something and I'm really not sure.  I'm not even kidding when I say that it may have been college.  Munchkie's Daddy used to enjoy ironing, so he would do it for me when we first got married, but then we discovered Wrinkle Release and it was the best thing that ever happened.  We still sometimes have things that need to be ironed, so he'll do it.  But if I can get by without ironing, I will.  I wear scrubs for work and tend to wash them and leave them in the laundry basket they came up the stairs in.  I have gone through all of my wrinkle release and went to the store to buy another and discovered that it was $7!  Apparently I never paid attention to this before.

So I came home and Googled "homemade wrinkle release" and found quite a few recipes.  I really wanted to find a more natural approach, but I guess that if you're natural you either don't care about wrinkled clothes, don't buy clothes that wrinkle, or iron your clothes because I couldn't find any.  But this one is CHEAP, so I decided to try it anyway.

I walked to the Family Dollar down the street and picked up some of the cheapest fabric softener they had, it was $2.50 for this container.  Then I used the previous spray bottle, added a little bit of fabric softener, I approximated 2 teaspoons, but to be honest, I didn't measure.  Poured in some bottled water (you're supposed to use distilled so there's no bacteria to grow in it) and shook it up.  I'm going to add some rubbing alcohol once I buy some to both be an antibacterial agent and to help the water dry faster when sprayed.

Tonight I took some of my scrubs out of the pile of clean laundry in the laundry basket and this is what they looked like.  These pants aren't a joke, they really did look like this.  The shirt isn't that bad, you can't really tell but the pockets and neckline are the worst.
I sprayed them down, front and back, then shook them out.  I put them over a chair to dry and when I came back a little while later this is what they looked like.  Again, I am completely not joking.  They were still a little damp, so I will definitely need to do this the night before when I set my clothes out.  But I am pretty impressed.
And this is for literally a few cents a bottle.  I have a bottle of fabric softener that will last me a few years of homemade wrinkle release for only $2.50.


Munchkie and Mommy Monday

I am very slowly adjusting to city life.  I can get where I need to by bus or by subway.  I'm learning to walk to the Family Dollar down the street or popping into a CVS I pass by instead of hopping in my car and going to Target.  I love the convenience of being able to walk most places.  I love that we're hardly ever filling our car with gas.

However, I do not like the fact that I have to wake up at 5:15am and leave the house by ten til six.  Or that IF I get off my twelve and a half hour shift on time I can hope to be home by 8:30pm.  I do not like that these days are long and tiring.  I feel like I have to spend a day recovering from them, which to me defeats the purpose of working only three days a week.

So on my days off, I try to give myself at least one recoop day.  We are paying for Munchkie to go to daycare five days a week, but I keep her home with me at least one day each week.  We need our time together.  Time to do fun things and spend time together.  Today started off a little rough, I had a hard time pulling myself together, but once I was up and going, we made the most of our day.

 We walked to the neighborhood square, mailed some packages at the post office.  Then we picked up some pull ups for big girls at night and stopped at the little ice cream shop.  There's a crate full of games in the corner to play while you're eating your ice cream, homemade soup or fresh lobster roll.
 We stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things and headed home, with a little hand in the box of cereal to help erase the phrase "I hun-gee Mommy"
 Apparently I wore her out.  I arrived home and this is what I found.  Hand still in the box.
 I had to go in and wake her up after a three hour nap.  Then we went for a walk, bus ride and two subways to meet Munchkie's Daddy after school.
 Watching out the window is so much fun!  Especially when there are sailboats out on the river we're crossing. 
 My plan was to arrive downtown, take a picture of a recipe in a cookbook at Barnes and Noble, pick up Munchkie's Daddy and head home.  Well, it took us almost two hours to get downtown.  There was a really cute little table set up in the kids section with scrap paper and crayons, so we sat and colored for a little bit. 
 And the apple must not have lasted too long because the phrase "I hun-gee Mom" returned.  So we ended up walking to a nearby Chipotle to fill those empty tummies.
 And we couldn't pass up the ice cream store we went by.......
this one had a cow on it
 While eating her apple cider ice cream Munchkie says: This ice cream tastes like a mountain.

What does that mean?!?!?
Apparently I had been taking too many pictures today.  Munchkie says "Smile Mama!  I taking your picture!"


Me: Gluten Free

I have been gluten free for several weeks now and am starting to notice a difference in the way I feel.  I also was very happy to see the scale needle start heading left this week.  I didn't believe it, but I really do notice a difference in my cravings and it is so nice to be able to whip something up that will satisfy my sweet tooth without making me feel guilty and sending me into a downward spiral of guilt eating.  I thought that I would make a list of the changes I've noticed.

  • I get fuller much faster and stay fuller longer.  I often times really am not that hungry for meals, but know that I should eat, and since I'm not that hungry, I don't eat as much.
  • I don't get that lethargic, I'm going to fall asleep if I sit down for more than a second feeling in the afternoon.  I think that it's because I try not to eat foods that will cause a blood sugar low.  Try is the key word here.
  • I only drink one cup of coffee a day.  Well, this one is kind of a stretch.  I have been starting my work day with a travel mug of coffee using two Starbucks Via packets, so I guess that's two cups.  But on the days that I'm not working, I usually find my coffee cup in the afternoon, still over halfway full.  So I think that evens out.  I used to live on coffee.
  • My flaky, itchy scalp is way better.  As long as I don't let it completely air dry, I don't have any dandruff problems.
  • The bumps on my arms are almost completely gone.  I have had this rash of sorts on my upper arms since I was in junior high.  Well, at least I remember going to a dermatologist and getting this really stinky cream for my arms when I was in junior high.  My upper arms are almost always red with these little bumps from my elbows to my shoulders (I didn't want ugly arms for my wedding pictures so I rubbed liquid foundation all over my arms- that's how self conscious I was).  And when I rub my hands on my arms now, they are almost completely smooth.
  • I'm eating a lot more vegetables.  I know that they are good for me, I just don't eat them as often as I should.  It probably also helps that the farmer's market on Saturdays has such good tasting produce it doesn't feel as much like a chore to eat them.
  • I don't really have cravings for things like bread or sweets like I used to.  It used to be a daily fight of will power to not give into temptations.  Last night we went out to dinner and I wasn't tempted by the bread basket.  Even though I actually was really hungry (I realized as we sat down that I hadn't had anything since breakfast).  
  • The sweets that I do eat aren't that bad for me.  I've been keeping low fat frozen yogurt in the freezer and will have that with frozen mixed berries, some unsweetened coconut and slivered raw almonds for some crunch.  Or I will make something like the treat I made today.
  • I've lost a couple pounds finally, but I haven't really noticed a difference in my clothes yet.  Although scrubs and pajama pants may not necessarily be the first to show a difference......
 Today, despite the completely unnecessary heat wave, I was really in the fall mood so I wanted to make something fall like.  What's better than pumpkin in the fall.  Well, maybe apples, but pumpkin is still up there pretty high.  Last fall I made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies that were a big hit in our house.
They are bite size, so I could get more out of the batch

I wanted to try this out again, but gluten free.  Since we had church tonight, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to take extras, if they were ok to leave the house.  I thought they were pretty good!  I really didn't change too much, I substituted the flours for one cup coconut flour and one cup almond flour.  Then I switched out the brown sugar for stevia, added an extra tablespoon of molasses and pumpkin and about 1/4 cup coconut milk (to make up for the dryness of the coconut flour) and that was it.  For the filling, I used a different recipe that I felt was healthier.  I used 16oz of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons maple syrup and 4 tablespoons of stevia and whipped them together with a hand blender.  There were only three left when I gathered my dish at church.  And the best part.  I could eat them and not feel the slightest inkling of guilt, these were probably healthier than most restaurant salads.


Revisiting Potty Training

It's been way too long since my last post.  I completely missed my blogging first anniversary!  To be completely honest I have been a little overwhelmed in the adjustment back to work.  It's one thing to get used to work, but it's another to get used to an hour long commute and work.  I'm just not an early morning person and these 5am mornings are really starting to get to me.  I've been fighting something off for the last couple of days.  Made soup tonight with homemade chicken broth, pouring down the fluids and taking vitamin C.  Hopefully I can shake this soon!

We have slowly been settling into a schedule and getting into the routine of life, leading us to realize that the time has come to reintroduce potty training.  Thankfully I have a few days off and so we are going hardcore potty training.  I had the timer set for every 30 minutes and we went to the potty each time the timer went off.  We did really well and had no accidents until we had to leave the house.  I really need to go to the grocery store, but knew that was out of the question.  I absolutely had to send a fax, so I put Munchkie on the potty and then we dashed out the door to the Staples down the street and just as I was dialing the fax number, she says "Oh no Mommy!  I pee in my pants!"  So I finished what I was doing and we had to go out to the car to change her clothes.  This was then followed up by two more accidents and then she did really well all afternoon until dinner.  The night was finished up with an accident during dinner.  Completely our fault, she was playing with her food instead of eating it and I knew that if we took her out of the high chair, it was going to be all over with dinner.

Tomorrow is another day and we will tackle this, spreading the time on the timer out by five or 10 minutes each time.  Hopefully by Thursday we will have potty training mastered enough to wear underwear to daycare.  With six or more changes of pants and underwear, of course.