Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Share a poem (or two)!


It's the final day of National Poetry Month. How shall we celebrate? Let me count the ways...

  • Read some poetry
  • Post a favorite poem in the comments
  • Write a poem (you can post that too! :) )
  • Visit SortaCrunchy for even more poetry
I decided to post two poems from my childhood since this is blog is about kid/baby stuff mostly when I don't get distracted in theory. The first is one I remember my dad reciting when I was little, and the second is one I memorized as a child.

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Fog
by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


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The Whole Duty of Children
by Robert Louis Stevenson

A child should always say what’s true
And speak when he is spoken to
And behave mannerly at the table

At least as far as he is able.




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Photos by me.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Choose your poem!

Contrary to the usual routine here at the Little stuff of Life, tomorrow will not be Wordless.

We can't just let the last day of National Poetry Month slip by unnoticed can we? Can we? Ok, I suppose we could, but, thanks to Megan at SortaCrunchy, we won't. She is hosting a virtual poetry reading of sorts.

Here’s the game plan:

  1. Find a poem that you enjoy – one that makes you laugh or cry or think deeply or see things differently.
  2. Tomorrow I’ll post a poem to kick things off (maybe more than one) right here on this blog.
  3. Then you can post a comment and/or share your poem(s) of choice.
  4. If you blog, feel free to do your own National Poetry Month post and link to it.

Need inspiration? Check out the Poem of the Week blog.


P.S. Original compositions are welcome tomorrow, as well! :)

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Photo by me. Yep, that is from one of my English textbooks. A fat one.



Monday, April 28, 2008

Play group

I get to be in a play group, and I don't even have a kid yet. That's how cool I am.


Or how nice my friends are. Either way, I'm in. Actually, I'm so in that we got to have our 2nd play date ever at my house. Erin came over with Caden and Zoe, and Sarah and Elizabeth joined us later on.


We munched and chatted and I learned how to pack up a Pack 'n Play. Sort of. At least I learned how to line up the handle before you put the cover over it.


The kids napped, woke up, played, colored, drank (and gave drinks) out of each others' cups, played peek-a-boo on the stairs. Plus, I got some new art for my fridge. I'd say, overall, the event was a success.



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Photos by me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BPA free me!

If Wal-Mart won't sell it, it must be pretty bad.

Remember how, just last month, data was inconclusive about whether the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) was harmful or not? Well, now Canada is concerned about it. And the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says it "possibly" affects human development.

However, I think the biggest cause for alarm is that a company who will sell you just about anything is planning to discontinue baby bottles, pacifiers and other products containing BPA.

I don't know about you, but that's enough to sell me on BPA-free baby stuff!



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Photo ("How many things can you find wrong in this picture?") by Unsure shot. Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So this is Earth Day...

And what have you done?

Actually, I should ask: what are you going to do? Here are some things to consider...

  1. Check out Dumb Little Man's "Items You Never Thought to Recycle" list for anything you can save from going to a landfill.
  2. Bring home fewer plastic bags. Ask for paper and/or reuse bags. I recently started bringing my own bags to the store. In my shop I sell sturdy canvas totes that work great for groceries! (Many of them are labeled "diaper bags," but, really, you're allowed to put whatever you want in them. ;) )
  3. Join Project Support Beauty in Nature to keep the spirit alive! The second Monday of every month you can share tips or projects that you've done (and link to your post if you blog about it) as well as learning from others. (Yeah, I missed the memo last month, but I plan on starting up again in May.)
And so happy Earth Day. I hope you have fun, the near and the dear ones, the old and the young...

P.S. Have a song in your head yet? Good! 'Cuz I do!! Just thought I'd share.


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Photos: 1 & 2) By me. 3) CafePress image of my Heart Tote Bag. 4) PSBN buttons by Sarcastic Mom.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Covering up

I'm still not sure what's so controversial about breastfeeding in public. You are still welcome to comment on that.

What I do know is that, if you want to be discreet about it, you have options.

  1. Nursing covers are exactly what they sound like. I came across one brand called Hooter Hiders, which made me laugh. Anyway, they go over your head like an apron, so you can see your baby and still maintain your privacy. Come to think of it, I wonder if you could just use an oversized apron--? Think it would work? Either way, nursing covers apparently can also help your baby sleep....
  2. Most babywearing slings and pouches will allow you to nurse discreetly. So if you already have one of those, you may not need a separate cover, although I would think your baby could get too big for that to work eventually. Depends on how fast your little one grows and how long you plan on nursing, I guess.
  3. Finally, you can just use a plain ol' blanket - that I'm sure you have - draped over your shoulder. If it's hot out, you're probably gonna want a lighter weight one. (The photo in my last post makes me hot just looking at it - heavy blanket on a warm day! :P )

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Photos: 1) By spaceninja. Creative Commons License. 2) By amcdawes. Creative Commons License. 3) By kellyandapril. Creative Commons License.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

All kinds of deliciousness

I did indeed go to Sunflower yesterday and bring back loads of organic fruits and veggies. I feel healthier already.

I got strawberries, bananas, kiwi and plain yogurt for the Hubs to make his famous breakfast smoothies. Anything you want to say about those, Hubs?

Don't forget a little slice of fresh ginger and a couple spoon fulls of wheat germ to add complexity of aroma and digestive benefits.

He makes me laugh. Anyway, he throws all of the above (you can put the kiwi in whole) plus some ice or frozen fruit and some orange juice into the blender. Oh, and sometimes he adds baby carrots too. And/or oranges. The result is delicious.


Moving on, I'm also planning to make my own version of Chakchouka, which is an Algerian dish that I do not know how to pronounce. Here is my adaptation of the recipe from Mediterranean: The Beautiful Cookbook. (Now I sound like Chanelle.) (Except for the fact that she would have improved the recipe, whereas I'm just giving you a lazier way to make it.)



Ingredients:
2-3 TBS olive oil
1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red or yellow sweet pepper (or a mix of both), seeded, deribbed and cut into long, narrow strips
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, run through garlic press
2-3 TBS chopped fresh parsley or cilantro if I have it, otherwise a sprinkling of dried parsley
4 eggs
optional (I usually leave this out): ½ lb. sausage, cut into 1-in. pieces
sea salt and pepper

Directions:
  • Salt eggplant on paper towels for approximately ½ hour before cooking. (If you forget/don't have time for this, the world won't end)
  • In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1-2 TBS of the oil.
  • Add the eggplant and fry, tossing and stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. (When you’re all done, the eggplant should just melt in your mouth.)
  • Meanwhile, in another sauté pan, warm the remaining 1 TBS oil over medium heat. Add the peppers and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • As soon as they are ready, add the peppers to the eggplant.
  • When the eggplant is tender, add the tomatoes, garlic and parsley, stir well, cover and simmer over low heat, until all the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes longer.
  • In the pepper pan over medium heat, sauté the sausage until browned and add it to the eggplant mixture.
  • Remove the lid. Using the back of a spoon, make 4 hollows in the vegetable mixture.
  • Break 1 egg into each hollow. Cover and cook until the eggs are set, 4-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately - or as soon as your hubby can set the table. ;)
Really good stuff.



Speaking of Chanelle (and really good stuff), I also got ingredients to make the pasta recipe she posted this week. Olive oil was on my list anyway, but I thought I might as well get the "good quality fruity" kind her recipe calls for. However, since she didn't respond to my question (I gave her like 5 minutes before I was off to the store), I trusted this bottle's claim to have a "rich fruity taste." Hopefully, it works.

Now I'm getting hungry, so I'll stop there. But I'm always on the lookout for good recipes that are at least semi good-for-you. If you have any faves, feel free to share. The recipes, I mean. But bringing me dinner would be ok too.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Buying organic

So I'm still having trouble shelling out extra cash for organic produce. Even though I know it's worth it. Even though I think it would be good for us to get into the habit, so that when we have kids we're already eating a lot of organic stuff.


And I do buy some. But I'm easily dissuaded when it costs a lot more.

The good news is that this weekend Sunflower is having an organic produce sale! I am very excited about that. Organic without the price tag pain! Yay! OK, signing off to go shopping...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Squares




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More WW participants. | If you can't see the photo, click here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You got a problem with that?

I know there's a lot of different opinions out there about breastfeeding in public. But I'm not sure why. I feel like, as long as everything's covered up, go for it. If you're comfortable doing it, feed that kid!

Since I didn't see what the big deal was, I asked the Hubs about it - to get a guy's opinion.

He has the same opinion as I do.

So...I'm interested to know...what is it that people have a problem with?


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Photo by me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Now playing

Um, I feel like last week's posts got a little intense. And very long.

So this post will be fun. And short.

Let's all take a break, go to this wonderful site, pick out a toy and play! I've got my eye on the butterfly basket...

P.S. There's also toys you can color yourself on the workshop page.

P.P.S. I suppose that if you have kids around, you could let them do this too. Just don't let them have all the fun! :)


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Get your own toymaker buttons here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hope and disappointment

Yesterday I heard the story of a stillborn child.

While he was still unborn, still moving and growing inside of his mother, their whole family crowded into the ultrasound room to catch a glimpse of him. Of course, the 4-year-old was the most expressive about his joy. He anticipated his new little brother's arrival by picking out toys for him, squeezing his mom's belly to give him hugs, and "helping" to get things ready.

Months later, when the baby's motionless body was delivered, the boy who was no longer a big brother sobbed and - for weeks - played games where dolls died and were "buried" under the couch.

After you've watched such a small child experience such grief, what do you say to him the next time you're pregnant? What about everyone else? Do you announce the news as freely? Or do you hold on to it, doling it out slowly, cautiously, at the moment when absolutely necessary, like rations on a ship strayed off course?

I drove home thinking about how heartache - large or small - affects us. How the hurts which are so much a part of life make it hard to open our hearts again. I kept thinking of the proverb that starts out, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick..." But I couldn't remember the rest of it.

This morning I was trying to look it up when I came across this: "Hope does not disappoint us." How does hope not disappoint when it makes us so heartsick? I read what came before it.

Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

So that sounds to me like the end result of suffering can be more hope, not less. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. And it sounds like when we feel like we can't keep loving, God refills our hearts. Is that what you're seeing there too? Or am I crazy? (Um, you don't have to answer that.)

I can't believe I forgot about that whole paragraph because it comes right before these verses, which I love:
When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So life is painful, but we are loved. Is it just me or does that simple, profound truth make opening your heart a little less scary?

P.S. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."

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Photos: 1) Microsoft stock photo. 2) By booleansplit. Creative Commons License. 3) By
E_B_A .

References: Proverbs 13:12; Romans 5:1-8 (NIV)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Questions I Don't Like - part 1

August Rush wasn't what I expected. But at least the redbox thing worked out great.


I was feeling better today. I say was because I started out the day feeling alright, but then I went to work. And now I'm exhausted. And cranky. And blogging. (Yikes, huh?)

Which brings me to a topic I'd like to discuss. Questions I Don't Like. I've been debating about bringing this up. Too rude? Too self-centered? But then I decided to go for it because 1) I saw this What Not to Say post, and 2) I'm too tired at the moment to worry too much about it. But not too tired to rant.


Before I started my allergy shots, I was getting sinus infections a lot. And I was tired all the time. So I had to adjust my schedule and be okay not getting everything crossed off my to do list. There were many concerned individuals (usually women around my mom's age) who seemed kind of shocked about me slowing down because of my health.

"But what are you going to do when you have kids?!?" They would say, as if my state was too dire to handle the responsibility or I was being too much of a wimp (what, taking a nap!?) or...I'm not sure what.

For a long time, I was dumbfounded.

* * * *
Ok, you didn't even know I was gone, but the Hubs actually kicked me off the computer in order to work on taxes. (He acts like it's a big deal or something...) Anyway, I can't sleep. So I'm back.

Now where was I?

Oh yes. Dumbfounded. How am I supposed to know what I'll do when I have kids? And what kind of an answer were they expecting anyway - that I planned on not getting sick at that point?

Once I started feeling better and hearing that question less, I started to think about it. There are people with conditions much more serious and debilitating than a measly sinus infection that are able to raise kids - and do a great job.

When you're a parent and you're sick, I'm guessing that you do what you need to and try not to sweat the small stuff. Kind of like when you're not a parent and you get sick. Only with a more pressing list of "what you need to do."


So a couple of months ago when I had a cold and an acquaintance of Mom's asked me That Question, I asked her what she did when her kids were little. She said she explained to them that mommy was sick and wouldn't be able to do everything she normally would. She had them bring their toys into the room she was in and play there. Not that big of a deal.

But I still don't like the question.

Cut us non-moms some slack, people! We'll get it figured out.

Ok, time for me to be wordless. You're probably ready for that.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dinner (sort of) and a movie

I know you're probably sick of hearing this. I know I'm sick of writing it. Despite that fact, I'm sick. Again. More sore throat/cold stuff. Not the end of the world, but not fun either.

So tonight's plan is to pop open a can o' chicken soup and pop in a movie. The exciting part about that (relatively speaking, of course) is we get to try out the Red Box. In case you didn't know (I say as if I didn't just learn about this from Karen a week ago), the Red Boxes are basically vending machines for DVDs. Movies are $1 a night, and then you can drop them off at whatever Red Box you happen to pass by. Pretty sweet huh?

Once again, no one's paying me to say this stuff. I'm just easily amused. And I like to share that amusement.

Ok, I think I heard the Hubs pull in. Hopefully, with August Rush in tow. I better go get that elaborate dinner started. ;)

P.S. If you're looking for movies for the kiddos that are newer than what they have at the library, this would be a pretty cheap way to go. And easier than hauling everyone in and out of a rental place.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Talc


I started to notice products claiming to be "talc free," and it made me wonder why do we need to be free from talc? I thought talc was good. I thought it was so safe they could use it in baby powder.

Of course, I started googling. What I found is that it doesn't seem like talc itself is the problem (as long as there's not anything else mixed in with it that's not supposed to be - like asbestos). The problem the teeny tiny particles that make up talc have a way of getting into places they don't belong. Like babies' lungs.

The research seems pretty mixed on the effects of this. It may cause breathing problems in babies. It may cause cancer. So I'm thinking it may be better not to risk it.

Here is some more info, if you're interested:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Threat of the Penguins

I thought about playing an April Fool's Day joke on y'all.

I decided it would be too cruel to make you think I was pregnant ("I've been throwing up every morning. I wonder what that's about--?"), since I'm not. I considered making up some kind of crazy product ("actually the robotic diaper changer is quite affordable..."). But right now, I just feel like the real world is weird enough.

Little Duck Family Kids Sweatshirt - There are no strings on me!I subscribe to the CPSC's feed for recalls of child products. You never know what they're going to recall next. Sure, there continues to be a steady stream of things recalled because of lead paint.

And there's been a string of different brands of children's sweatshirts recalled because of the strangulation hazard drawstrings pose. Why they are all of the sudden deciding to recall them (were they not dangerous before?), I don't know. In case you were wondering, yes, the kids sweatshirts in my shop are drawstring-free.

But every once in awhile something new pops up. Something you never would have thought of.

I.e. the recall of a toy penguin. The problem? And I quote...

The head of the penguin toy can detach, exposing connectors with sharp points, presenting a laceration hazard to consumers.
Kind of a disturbing mental image there, huh? So don't be fooled by the innocent looks on their faces, these guys are dangerous.