Friday, March 28, 2008

Road trip!

OK, so finally I have a few minutes to update your on our Easter weekend trip to Chiricahua National Monument.

Thursday we hit the road, hoping to make it there in time to score a spot in their very small (only 24 spaces!) campground, which doesn't take reservations.

It was full. So we ended up setting up camp in the nearby National Forest "dispersed camping" area. We had been warned that this area provided no picnic tables, no running water and no toilets. And that you have to keep all your food in the car to keep the bears from raiding your camp. So that was a fun little adventure. For one night.

In the morning, we broke camp before breakfast (all our food was back in the car anyway) and headed back over to Chiricahua. After driving by 22 occupied campsites, we were pretty excited to find #23 open. We set up camp right away and made us some breakfast.

Then we did some hiking and took in the beautiful scenery. We saw some birds, some deer...

and lots and lots of rocks (yes, including this one).

But something was missing. I wanted to see a coatimundi. A ranger said our best bet would be to look at night. So we drove up the park's main road after dark, slowly, scanning the surrounding vegetation for signs of life.

We drove all the way up to the top of a very large hill. We didn't see another car or another human the whole time. We didn't see a coatimundi, either. But we did see a pair of orange eyes reflecting our headlights in the darkness. A little closer and saw a (very startled) ringtail cat. It slunk away before I could even snap a photo. But, thanks to Wikipedia and the U.S. Geological Survey, here's one.

Before heading back to Phoenix on Sunday, we attended Easter service at San Xavier del Bac Mission.

It was a wonderful reminder that the Creator of those sweeping vistas, precariously balanced rocks and amazing little creatures loved humanity - arguably his most stubborn, reckless, and generally annoying creation - enough to pay the ultimate price to give us life.

Hope you had a beautiful Easter.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Don't drink the water

Did you know that it might not be a good idea to give a baby water? I had no idea. I thought water was always good. But according to this article from Today's Parents, it's not a good plan to give babies under seven months water. They need the nutrition from breastmilk or formula. Water may cause problems and offers no benefits to babies that little.

Of course, I'm not going to base everything on one article. So I'll read up on this a little more. Do you know or have you read anything about this?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Rock

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Going south

On Thursday the Hubs and I are headed down to Chiricahua National Monument for a long weekend. We'll do some camping, hiking, looking at cool rocks, and maybe spot a coatimundi (but more on that later). I'm really excited to go!

So I'll do a Wordless post tomorrow. After that, you probably won't hear from me until next week. Just didn't want y'all to worry. ;)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pot o' ...dinner

Wellll, this would've been a good thing to post this morning. And I tried. But I ran out of time.

I guess it's not too late, though. It is still St. Paddy's Day. And, as far as I know, corned beef is still on sale all across America and probably will be the rest of the week. So you still have time to pick some up. (I recommend getting an extra one to freeze for later while they're so cheap.)

So here it goes...

Growing up, we always had corned beef and red potatoes on St. Patrick's Day, a delicious tradition which I'm happy to carry on. Mom boiled it in a big pot on the stove for an hour or two. I make it in the crock pot and add cabbage (which she's not a big fan of). But not everyone makes this - or knows how to. So I thought I'd share. (It's really easy.)

  1. When you buy corned beef, it either comes with seasoning on it or with a little packet of seasoning that you rub on. So start by making sure your beef gets seasoned one way or the other.
  2. Chop up 3-5 red potatoes depending on how many people you're feeding and how big your crock pot is. (Or use a bunch of those really tiny ones and don't bother chopping.) Throw in some onion, too, if you feel like it. I chopped up both the night before and stuck them in a ziploc. Since I accidentally chopped up more veggies than I had room for, I kept the leftover ones in the bag and put it in the freezer to use in soup later on.
  3. Throw everything in the crock pot and cover with water.
  4. Leave it on low all day or high half the day.
  5. If you like cabbage, get some of that chopped up at some point as well. I try to use as much as possible in this dish, because I run out of ideas for how to use the rest of it pretty quickly, but it still ends up being half the head or less.
  6. Add the cabbage in the crock pot about 20 minutes before you're ready to eat. (Or leave it out altogether or braise it instead, depending on what you like.)
  7. Even fully cooked, corned beef will still be pink. Don't freak out.
  8. Put everything except the broth on a platter and viola! Dinner is served.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Glass is in

The Hubs emailed me this article about how many parents are growing concerned about BPA, which is present in most plastic baby bottles. Like so many other things, it's hard to say conclusively if BPA is dangerous or not.

My initial thoughts on that: really?! there's yet another thing which we thought was totally harmless but might actually be really bad for kids or it might be, in fact, totally harmless?! It never ends, does it? Anyway, if you'd rather not risk it, there are alternatives.

According to that article, glass bottle sales have shot up over the last couple of years. Glass doesn't contain BPA or anything we think we might need to be concerned about (yet). It can be cleaned and sterilized just like plastic. And it's better for the environment. Plus, it has that nostalgia factor going for it. However, there is the obvious drawback...

...of breakage. Especially if you're a klutz like me. Oh yeah, and they're a little more expensive than plastic. Which makes broken glass hurt all the more.

The other option is silicone. There's at least two companies offering these:

  • Silikids makes the glass-covered-in-silicone bottles to the left, which are so very cute and trendy that they're on backorder. Their website extols a long list of silicone's virtues, but I didn't see anything about the bottles being less breakable. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
  • There's also the Babylife Wee-go glass bottle, which has a sleeve of something that's not plastic (although they don't tell you what it is) covering it. They do claim it's less likely to break. I also happen to think they're less cute, but that's just my opinion.
I believe there are also plastic bottles that are BPA-free. But I'm going to meet my friend Sarah for gelato, so I'll have to look into that another time.

Priorities, ya know?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stuff part 2: It begins

Stuff, part 1 is here.

From the moment we're born, we're surrounded by stuff: toys, clothes, sleeping stuff, eating stuff, diaper stuff (even EC has accessories - potty chairs, baby legs, etc.). And as we get older, we just accumulate more. We start earning money and then we're able to pick out our own stuff.

I came across this photo - appropriately titled "How can one tiny person possibly require this much stuff?" after writing the first paragraph. Not only is the photo itself great, but it is followed by a fabulous string of comments discussing the same topic. Take a look and see what you think.

Don't think there's more I need to say today.

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Photo by J. Star. Creative Commons License.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Looking for books

Unless this is your first time reading my blog, you're probably aware that I'm easily sidetracked. One thing I've been meaning to do in this pre-pre-baby phase of life is read up on parenting. And I've been meaning to ask you all for suggestions.

It's funny because I was debating whether to pose that question today or post about something else. Then I saw that SortaCrunchy just recommended a book called Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It and I took it as a sign.

So recommend me some good books! (But not too many.) What book(s) helped prepare you for the challenges of children? What has helped you grow as a person? As a parent? Or made you laugh? Let me know, and I'll head back to the library.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

How to pull off a cape

I need to amend what I said before about "no capes."

A few days after posting about the dangers of riding toys, I was sharing my findings with my mom. (Let's just say she doesn't really frequent my blog.)

She said the key with capes is Velcro. It makes it easier for the kid to put the cape on themselves (none of this "Moooooom, will you tie this for me?") and it's less of a strangulation hazard. If a Velcroed cape gets caught in something, it should come right off. Should. I still would think twice about letting my little superhero wear a cape when riding on anything with a motor.

But Velcro is a good thing.

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Photo by davebluedevil. Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stuff, part 1: Meet the Freegans

On Wednesday I was sick again. Or still. Whatever. The point is I watched Oprah. She was featuring Freegans, who, in protest of our society's consumerism and wastefulness, seek to live outside the "conventional economy" as much as possible. In an effort to purchase less, they often dumpster dive to find food, clothing, and household items discarded outside of stores and restaurants. Apparently, there's a surprising amount of good stuff in the trash. (Do you think homeless people are irritated that secret is out? Just wondering.)

I had heard of the Freegans before. But being home sick gave me some time to think about stuff.

Literally, stuff. As in material goods.

And I had so much to think about that I decided to break the massively long post I was writing to parts. So come on back (or subscribe), and we can take a look at the problem of stuff and what this all has to do with babies and why I'm okay posting about Freegans when there's an ad for a t-shirt from my shop in the sidebar.

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Photo by inhisgrace. Creative Commons License.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Brothers and sisters

Boys and girls are different. No, I mean really different. In ways it's probably hard for those of us who haven't raised both (or, in my case, either) to comprehend.

So I thought I'd share a couple of fun and insightful posts from moms who are finding out just how different boys and girls are:

Seems like I read at least one other great post on the topic somewhere out there in the blogosphere, but I sure can't remember where. If you come across (or have written) one, feel free to let us know!