Archive for the ‘Family Life’ Category

Correcting Bad Baby Behavior


Me, bad?

Frances’ “bad behavior” started off with hair pulling and nipple biting.  A stern “NO” and forcing her to release the hair (or nipple) still results in a giggle and a big smile.

Like all babies, she loves computers.  If she’s sitting on my lap while I type, she struggles in my arms to reach for the keyboard.  Moving her farther away, or removing the keyboard from her path, results in a meltdown.

Now that Frances is crawling, she’s getting herself into a lot more trouble.  We’re more into “house-proofing” the baby than “baby-proofing” the house, but parenting books don’t seem to get into the “how-to’s” of accomplishing that. I’ve read different ideas on correcting “wrong” behavior, and I’m curious to hear what our readers have found to be successful.

What do you use as an age-appropriate “punishment” for your infant? How do you discourage “wrong” behavior?

Halloween Costumes Using Your Baby

It’s one thing to coordinate your Halloween costume with your baby.  It’s a whole new level of awesome when your baby is essential to your costume.  As a devoted baby wearer, I especially like the costumes that utilize a sling or carrier.  A quick Google Search while give you some great ideas.  Here

are a couple of my favorites:


All you need is for mom to dress up as the three breasted woman!


My favorite spider costume



Would work just as well with baby facing in

  • Filed under: Family Life
  • Using Baby Sign Language

    “More” by Lynn Kelley

    I’ve been using sign language casually with Frances for a couple of months now. I chose a few verbs and nouns we use most, like sleepy and nap and I sign them several times a day. Frances is pushing seven months so I figure she should be ready to sign back, but she shows no interest what’s so ever!

    I explain to her what the signs mean and how to make them, but she would rather squawk and babble than sign. Or so it seems. Maybe I’m going about it the wrong way. Maybe I’m choosing the wrong words. I’ve started “all done”, but haven’t shown her “more”. Perhaps she would be more interested if the verbs were more active than passive?

    I was all geared up to read a book about baby signing, but apparently I’ve misplaced it. I looked in all my stacks of books, and have yet to find it. Maybe my “stacks” aren’t the best choice for being organized. Ah, well, I’d rather hear some real advice about the topic any way.

    Do you use baby sign language with your infant? How did you introduce it? Are there any secrets that might encourage Frances to communicate with signs?

  • Filed under: Family Life
  • Recipe: Chili Verde Pulled Pork

    Photo by The Hungry Dudes

    On the days that I work until dinner time, I don’t have time to prepare a whole meal. While there is always a frozen dinner I can pull from our stockpile, such meals still take time to heat up. I decided it was time to dust off my slow-cooker and put it to work. That way I can start dinner in the morning and have it ready to eat when I get home. Slow-cookers are an easy and economical way to put dinner on the table!

    I had some delicious pulled pork burritos at my parents’ house the other weekend, so I thought I’d try out a similar recipe.

    Green Chili Pulled Pork
    Based on Slow-Cooked Carnitas Recipe

    • 1 boneless pork shoulder butt roast (3 to 4 pounds)
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 cup minced fresh cilantro
    • 1 cup prepared salsa
    • 2 tsp chicken bouillon
    • 1/2 cup tequila
    • 8 oz chopped green chilies (mild or spicy)
    • 2 tomatillos, pureed* (or juice from a couple of limes if you don’t have tomatillos handy)

    *To prep tomatillos, peal husks off and place in boiling water for 5 minutes or until soft. Puree in a food processor or blender (or just mash it up however you want).

    Place pork in the slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

    Remove pork from slow-cooker, shred meat with two forks (or even better, try out these). Add meat back to slow cooker to reheat.

    Serve pork in warm tortillas with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, cilantro, cojito cheese diced tomato or onion and a little cabbage. I like mine with fresh salsa or hot sauce!

    Stockpiling Update 2

    That’s some classic stockpiling!

    I have a good report this time around. The freezer is looking a lot more empty this month, despite the fact that I was out of town for quite a bit of it. I can’t claim credit for most of the reduction in stock, because my husband spent 11 days eating every meal out of the freezer (well, the two meals a day he eats).

    By the time I returned home, I was so busy with the imminent start of my new job, I went to the grocery store once all month. Finally, the freezer is doing its job: providing meals when I don’t have time to cook. Even Frances has been doing her part, eating from the bag of sweet potatoes I froze in the spring.

    The downside to not buying fresh produce is that we haven’t been eating as many fruits and vegetables. I finished off the last of the asparagus soups and ratatouille I made last summer for lunch, but I’ve been slacking on the vegetable sides with dinner. We’re finally getting some veggies from my parents’ garden, so I think the tide is turning.

    I’ll be so sad when the summer stone fruits and berries fade along with the warm evenings, so I better enjoy them while I can. I guess I’ll start off September with a long over-due trip to the grocery store!

    Playing with Fire

    Forest fires blow!

    I’ve seen some bad forest fires over the years, living in the west as we do, but this year takes the cake. I guess it was overloaded with one too many lit candles!

    It’s been days since we saw the mountains just across the valley, and it smells like a campfire inside the house. I’m not sure what I miss more, the blue sky or opening the windows at night to enjoy the cool breeze.

    Worst of all is being stuck inside all day! We’re grumpy enough from cabin fever, and the irritated throats and itchy eyes aren’t helping one bit. What’s a mom to do?

    Walks and playing outside are out of the question. What activities do you enjoy when you’re stuck inside?

    How do you deal with the poor air quality in your home? We have a lot of house plants, but I’ve always thought of that as more of a long-term solution.

    My daughter has had four cavities in her four short years of life. How is this possible? I can’t say we’re religious flossers, but the rest of our dental routine is pretty admirable. Regular brushing? Yep. Fluoride tablets? Absolutely. Hard candies? Not allowed.

    According to our dentist, my daughter’s tooth decay could have been caused by extended breastfeeding. She pointed out that once solids are introduced, bacteria in the mouth can change and breast milk can actually cause cavities.
    extended breastfeeding and cavities
    After doing a bit of my own research though, I have to disagree. Repeated studies have shown that breast milk has proteins and antibacterial qualities that prevent tooth decay. My older son was also breastfed until well over two years old and has never had a cavity to this day.

    So what has caused my daughter’s cavities? The dentist also mentioned that sharing utensils can cause babies to get some of the strep mutans (a bacteria that causes tooth decay) that we have in our adult mouths. I have to say that we’re probably guilty of sharing ice cream an ice cream spoon now and then. Still, our punishment is FOUR cavities! That seems rather harsh!

    Have you had any issues with extended breastfeeding and cavities? Have you received any encouragement or warnings from your dentist?

    My cousin Erin had a baby in April. She marveled to her mom (my aunt), “How did anyone have a baby before the Internet?” My aunt remembered back when she was raising babies in the 1970s. She was an army wife and got issued a pamphlet with everything she needed to know for the baby’s first couple years. She referred to it over and over as her babies grew. And they seemed to turn out okay.

    I am pretty sure my mom had a dog-eared copy of Dr. Spock she would refer to if she needed some baby advice.

    In a way it sounds kind of nice to have nothing more than a pamphlet to help guide all your parenting decisions. When do I start solid foods? Look it up in your pamphlet, and there will be one confident answer. How do I wash cloth diapers and what do I do about cradle cap? Look in the pamphlet!

    I can’t really imagine parenting life without the Internet, which is funny, since I love all that olden-days stuff. But back when I was eschewing disposables and jarred food, I wasn’t even close to unplugging the modem. I needed it, not just for information and advice, but for connecting to other people—friends, families, and other people going through the same experiences.

    Gratuitous baby shot

    Joy and I never lost touch after college, but the emails started flying back and forth when we both found ourselves pregnant at the same time. Suddenly we had so much more to discuss! Ironically, if it hadn’t been for the internet, we never would have written our old-fashioned paper book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. It was over email that we conceived the idea and swapped drafts of chapters.

    Those of you who raised babies before the internet, tell us all about it in the comments! And for those of us who gave birth in the information age, let’s talk about how the internet enhances (or detracts from!) our own parenting.

    Don’t forget to enter the amber necklace giveaway!

    Going Back to Work

    Working MotherEven before I got pregnant I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, at least until the kids start kindergarten.  But when opportunity came a-knockin’, I couldn’t say no!  I’m not going back full time, I told myself.  It’s just a few hours a week.  Well, today is my first day and I’m feeling a little unprepared.

    I must have been in denial about being away from Frances, because I only have a few ounces of milk saved up.  And that is the extent of my preparations.  I’m sure there are other things I’m supposed to be doing.  I probably should type up a list of emergency numbers, for example.  What else am I forgetting?  I could definitely use some advice!

    What did you do to prepare before going back to work?

    Stockpiling Update 1

    It’s a good thing I don’t can too!
    Photo by Maureen Sill

    One month into my quest to buy less food and make space in our freezer and I’m making progress. I did end up buying more than usual during my shopping trips, but I hit the grocery store about half as many times.  If I were as organized as Rebecca, I’d crunch the numbers and know for sure if I came out ahead.  Maybe next time.

    I think one of my biggest problems is that I have a hard time compromising on taste. For example, I bought crackers even though I already had some because I prefer the taste of water crackers with the goat cheese terrine I made for the 4th of July. I also bought ingredients for the dessert I wanted to make from scratch, even though I had plenty of frozen cookies. On the plus side, we used up some frozen ground beef and I ate several helpings of frozen ratatouille during the week. I’m trying to prioritize things that will be replaced soon during the summer harvest, and my latest count says I’m almost there.

    Rummaging through the cupboard, I saw that there was very little road trip food so I ended up buying sandwich makings.  In retrospect, I could have had PBJ sandwiches but I just thought of that this minute.  I bought ingredients for a family reunion dinner since I didn’t have enough of any one thing for 40, but we managed to eat quite a bit of frozen stuff in the days leading up to the trip.  It was so nice not to have to spend time cooking during a busy few days, and there wasn’t any food left in the fridge that would have spoiled in our absence.

    One great thing about having tons of frozen treats (like cookies and roasted nuts) is that I was able to give goodies to our hosts.  Plus, I didn’t have to rush out to the grocery store when we got home because there were plenty of frozen dinners and dried fruits.

    Whether or not I actually saved money this month is questionable, but we did make a nice dent in our freezer.

    The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
    Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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