Archive for the ‘General’ Category


Stockpiling Update: Year End Review

My freezer four months later

Then

Now

Now

 

 

Happy New Year everyone! It’s time for me to take stock of the deep freeze and see how we did. We didn’t manage to eat all the freezer food, but we came pretty close.  Like most yearly goals, all we needed was another few days!

Here’s the run down: The door used to be full of side dishes and lunches, and now it’s full of breastmilk, so I don’t really count that. The middle shelf has quite a bit of baby food at the moment, but the way Franci eats it will be gone quickly.

The bottom shelf used to be full of meat, but now it contains butter, nuts and nut flour, and chocolate. Basically, things that don’t have to be refrigerated but since a full freezer is an energy efficient freezer, I might as well store them there. [While technically I am stockpiling baking ingredients, I can't bring myself to count them as such since I can't go out and buy them at a moments notice (being specialty items).]

The one question I get most often is whether or not we got sick of the meals. I chose some pretty good recipes that our family considers comfort food, like Lasagne and Chicken Pot Pie. So the answer is No, with one exception. I’m sick of roasts! I think the shelf would be empty if not for the roasts. I’m not a fan of pot roast, and it seems like any related cut tastes the same to me once you slow cook it with carrots, potatoes and onions. And it is surprisingly hard to come up with recipes that don’t end up tasting the same! I tried one Asian version, and it was a failure. So if anyone has a recipe for slow cooked beef that might be less traditional, please share!

I may have failed my goal of finishing the freezer meals by the end of the year, but I feel pretty good about the progress. I hope I’ll be able to declare victory by the end of the month!

Black Friday

Get in line!

Get in line!

Do you plan on hitting the shops today? Or were you lined up last night with a belly full of turkey waiting for the doors to open. Maybe you are in your slippers on the couch with your laptop open and credit card near by as you read this post.

I’ve never been that interested in Black Friday, my self. I’ve been an off-peak shopper for years, since I have no patience for lines and I like to get my errands done as quickly as possible. I find the whole concept pretty fascinating, and I’d love to hear what you consider to be the pros and cons of Black Friday shopping.

How do you feel about Black Friday? Are you boycotting the stores or are you trying to be the first in line to get the best deals?

Waking up to a sick baby

All better!

All better!

Frances can no longer sleep through the sound of a single dog bark, but doesn’t wake up after vomiting all over herself?  Motherhood is full of surprises!

This morning Franci awoke at her usual time with her usual smile and giggle, accompanied by a little surprise for her dad: a huge pile of dry vomit. At some point in the night, she had puked in the crook of her arm while on her stomach. The dried chunks covered her face and hair, and her sleep sack and pajamas were cold and damp. Whatever made her sick worked it’s way out of both ends, because her diaper was in a similar state of affairs.

An infant getting sick in the middle of the night isn’t big news, I’m just incredulous that she slept that way for hours! And that she didn’t even notice upon waking up. The smell alone was enough to make me cry. That and the thought that my poor baby slept in her own barf. Maybe she wasn’t upset because whatever made her stomach turn was short-lived. Her temperature and temperment are completely normal and if you ignore the load of bedding tumbling in the dryer, it’s like none of it even happened.

Every parent has at least one good vomit story in his or her repetroire, so let’s commiserate. What’s your best tale of puke?

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  • Stockpiling Update 4

    costcoFailure, thy name is Costco.

    In an attempt to empty our deep freeze enough to defrost it, and because of my stockpiling reduction quest, we’ve been putting off a trip to Costco for months. It’s been so hard watching the coupon books come and go and to NOT jump in the car to stock up on coconut water or ziplock bags, but until this weekend I remained strong.

    Finally, we could wait no longer.  Well, the dogs couldn’t anyway, since their food comes from Costco. So we made a family trip to our favorite warehouse store and filled not one, but TWO carts! So now the fridge is full and the one empty freezer shelf was filled. I just couldn’t help myself! The holidays are coming, and I am determined not to run out of butter or pecans this year.

    The only upside is that we managed to avoid buying even one package of meat, which is a personal best. I couldn’t avoid stocking up on parchment paper, however, since like Christmas, it only comes around once a year.

    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?

    Amber Teething Necklace Giveaway

    Win this necklace!

    Win this necklace!

    Everywhere I go I see toddlers and younger wearing amber teething necklaces.  Since Frances is entering the “teething zone”, I became fascinated by this new trend.  Well, new to me anyway.  Not only have people in Europe been using these forever, but Rebecca posted about it back in 2010!

    (For those of you who haven’t heard of amber teething necklaces, the theory is this: amber contains succinic acid, a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory that’s supposedly absorbed into your skin. The child is not supposed to chew on the necklace, a common misconception.)

    After asking everyone I knew about their experiences, I decided I must try one for myself.  I didn’t come across a single mom who didn’t rave about the reduced drool and, although it’s pretty hard to communicate with a baby, these moms were convinced the baby’s discomfort was lessened as well.  That’s good enough for me!

    Then I noticed a mom wearing one around her own neck.  When I asked about it, she said she’s had neck pain from nursing for months and that the amber necklace seemed to alleviate the sharp pains.  What’s more, her husband told me that when he wears one around his wrist, his whole arm felt more relaxed.  Since I’ve been having wrist pain from nursing, I decided I should try a bracelet for myself.

    raw_amber

    Franci’s raw amber necklace

    Franci and I haven’t been wearing our amber for long, so the verdict is still out on our success.  However, we’ve decided to do a giveaway for an amber necklace from Amberbeata!

    Amberbeata teething necklaces come in several colors and styles and have a sturdy screw-style clasp.  Each bead is knotted so that the whole string won’t come unravelled if it breaks. The bracelets and necklaces come with a certificate of authenticity so you know you’re getting real amber.

    Whether you’re loving your current amber necklace but want something more stylish, or if you want to try out this natural remedy for yourself, you can enter our giveaway up to four times.

    Each comment counts as a single entry:

    • Simply post a comment – any comment! – and you’re entered in our contest
    • Like The Green Baby Guide on Facebook (then post another comment telling us you did)
    • Like Amberbeata on Facebook (and tell us about it in another comment)
    • Visit the Amberbeata website, come back and post a comment here on The Green Baby Guide saying what jewelry you like best

    Remember, each comment you leave (up to four comments) is another entry! Winners will receive the pictured Amber Teething Necklace.

    This contest ends on Tuesday, August 27th, and is only open to U.S. Residents.

    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.

    Stockpiling

    Some people might call my husband and me hoarders, but we prefer the term “stockpilers”. We don’t save old newspapers or have 20 cats, and you probably wouldn’t know we had a stockpiling problem if you came to our house. One look in our garage betrays us, however. For every open case of toilet paper, there’s an unopened one behind it.

    My freezer four months later

    My freezer four months later

    Things got a little worse as my pregnancy progressed. I read too much into the advice to “freeze some meals” and froze 100 dinners instead. And that’s not including the frozen lunches I stashed in the deep freeze! I also made sure our pantry had triples of everything we use, as if I would never set foot in a grocery store again. Since I like to cook, and I go to the store weekly for fresh produce, I make dinner most days and the freezer and pantry remain overflowing.

    I finally decided to do something about our overstock because things are going to start expiring. And like Joy and Rebecca, I loathe to waste anything! I got sick last week because I refused to throw away a hard boiled egg that was questionable! Actually, what finally pushed me into this commitment is the motivation to save for a down payment on a house. Our current rental is too small for the three of us, and we hope to have another kid soon. Unless we want to drive each other crazy, we need more than one bedroom.

    Rebecca, with her tales of eating on less than the cost of an iPhone plan, gave me the idea. I need some accountability. If I decide to write about it, maybe it will actually happen. So once a month I’m going to update you on my progress. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll manage to curb my shopping and beauty product addiction as well.

    I hope you’ll provide me with lots of advice in the comments!

    The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
    Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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