Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Time Alone: II

In Motherhood, Sewing on August 31, 2012 at 2:45 am

This week I had the fortune of having my son all time myself for a day while his sister spent the day with “Mimi” (their grandmother).  After a weekend of stolen moments with him, attempting to relieve him of his little “soul fever,” I was definitely looking forward to this day to solidify his return to my sweet boy.  And, it was a magical day.  We started out by going to one of our favorite toy stores (Talbot’s Toyland in San Mateo, CA).  It’s a favorite for many reasons.  The first reason being that it is where my mom used to take me when I was little.  Secondly, it is a real, old fashioned toy store.  It has wonderful bike, hobby (trains, remote control cars, etc.), doll, book and toy departments with their own specialists.  We started our visit to the store by racing cars around the track in the hobby department.  We then moved on to checking out a little 12″ two wheeler bike (since he is a crazy man on his balance bike), then back through the hobby section to look at more cars and to run the train on its track.  Next we went to play with the Thomas trains set up in the younger kid play area.  All in all I think we were there for over an hour and no, I did not buy him anything.  And, yes, he was ok with that!  He knew ahead of time that we were just going to go look and play and get an idea of what he wants for his birthday.  Snack was next and we did this while sitting on a bench outside the store which is super close to the train tracks.  So every time a train came by he had to go run around the corner and check it out.  Thankfully, the next part of the day, which was checking out new sewing machines for Mommy, went much more smoothly than I anticipated.  I think Nathan was just as excited about all the new fancy functions and embroidery stitches that the new machines have as I was.  Ok, maybe not just as excited as me, but he had fun: especially since we sewed his name and his age.  Oh how I wish a new machine was in our budget.  I had no idea how nice a sewing machine could be…..  But I digress….  the truth is that Nathan was such a perfectly sweet, inquisitive, devilish little boy through out the entire morning.  I adored watching his eyes light up as he saw a toy or gizmo that was new to him.  I loved being a part of his play and his story telling about all the new things he was seeing and why he had to have them.  We finished our outing by going back through the toy store and reading a few books.  If he is not playing with his trains or breaking his cars he is reading.  Finding books he hasn’t read is a challenge.  So it is always fun to sit and rad new books together and discuss why or why not he would want to have that book at home. Then we went home where we sat and had lunch together before settling in to prep dinner.  He has gotten very good at chopping vegetables, washing vegetables and helping me stir.  My husband had told me that he had done dishes a few days prior to this.  So when he asked to do the dishes I certainly did not say no.  He is 3 1/2 years old, mind you… and yet, he did an amazing job.  Yes, I had puddles of water to clean up on the floor and counter.  But the dishes were thoroughly cleaned.  I dried as he washed and we were done with dinner in no time.  Well, just in time for a little fun throwing a frisbee around and building a sand castle before heading out to pick up his sister.  It is in these moments alone with him, that I have the rare opportunity to see how much he has grown, mentally, physically and emotionally.  It is in these moments that I can breathe and enjoy his goofiness and curiosity for what they simply are.  It is in these moments that I am able to spoil him with love.  And it is in these moments that he and I know that we are connected in a way that no two other people are connected.  I am both amazed and inspired by my little man and I am ever so thankful for our time together.


Soul Fever

In Motherhood on August 29, 2012 at 1:48 am

I’ve been reading a parenting book called, “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids” by Kim John Payne.  In it the author considers a child who is out of sorts (i.e., struggling to make heads or tails of things, making poor decisions, impulsive, short attention spanned) as having a “soul fever.” At first I kind of laughed at this.  But then I realized that this euphemism is actually very accurate.  And, in fact just this past week, I felt my son was having a “soul fever.”  We had had a hectic week, with much less structure than usual and Nathan was having trouble dealing with simple things such as being asked to put this own shoes on, or to open the back door for his sister.  I mean all out tantrums.  Not just typical disgruntlement over being asked to do something.  To remedy this, I made sure to spend more one on one time with him this weekend.  I had him come with me to run some errands and along the way we found a fun activity to do together when we got home.  Clothes pin cars.  We bought a little kit that had instructions and all the pieces we needed to build the cars plus some extra stickers and little city buildings we could cut out, fold and tape together.  We took the activity one step further by taping some paper together and drawing roads, trees, a lake, mountains, etc. for the cars to drive around on.  It seemed to work like a charm.  Suddenly he was engrossed in an activity.  He was compliant and you could just feel the “fever” washing away.  The next day I took him to a birthday party on his own, without his sister.  Again, he maintained composure of himself and did not, luckily for me, freak out that I had not had time to stop and get him a gluten free/dairy free treat to take place of the cake I knew would be served.  So, after the party we stopped at a local gluten free bakery (Zest Bakery) and I got him a treat.  And, voila, my son was back. The “soul fever” was gone.  Yay!  Now, what caused the fever in the first place…. a hectic schedule and a certain set of toys that a very special person bought him that proved to be way too over stimulating.  Can I prevent this from happening again?  Most likely not, but at least now I know how enjoyable it is to cure the fever!

Salmon patties and Green bean medley

In Cooking, What's for dinner? on August 27, 2012 at 2:33 am

I stumbled upon a recipe for salmon patties as part of a post on a blog I read regarding budget meals.  I have to be honest with you all, the idea of canned salmon has never really been all that appealing to me.  However, our grocery budget was crying out for something simple and inexpensive to be added to the list.  With all the dietary needs in our family, groceries can get pretty pricey.  Not to mention that I am pretty much a stickler when it comes to eating organic fruits and vegetables. And, yes, I prefer grass fed beef, etc.  Since I have grown to trust the author of the blog, Nourished Kitchen and have enjoyed many of her recipes, I decided to take a chance on the salmon patties.  Amazingly they were a hit right away.  I still do not love making them.  Something about all the vertebrae bones that have to be discarded, the odor, etc. that just gets me every time.  But they couldn’t be more simple to make and and so tasty.  Couple them with a nice salad, soup or whatever veggie you happen to have around and you’ve got a very budget friendly and healthy dinner.  Who knew that the little soft bones in the salmon added calcium to the meal?  Ok, I am sure some of you would have thought that.  But… that idea had never crossed my mind.  Needless to say salmon patties has become one of our stand by meals; served about every other week.

This week instead of my typical salad of romaine lettuce, strawberries, onion, ruby red grapefruit, slivered almonds and farmer’s cheese, with a grapefruit vinaigrette, I went for the green beans in the veggie drawer.  I chopped up all the fruit in the house that was on the verge of going bad (plums, apples, pears and pineapple), then sauteed it all with the grapefruit vinaigrette I had previously frozen.  I simply added a little extra honey and that was that.  My husband and I ate it all up, of course.  The kids were funny.  My daughter picked out and ate all the green beans first.  Then she went back for the fruit.  My son, even though I know he likes green beans, decided he would pick them out and not eat them.  At least he ate the fruit. I rounded the meal out for my husband and children by adding a small side of rice noodles.  All in all it was a success.

If you are interested in the recipe here is the link to the original post: Salmon Cakes. I have personally found that using only 1 or 2 eggs, depending on their size has been better for us.  The patties are simply too wet and sloppy to form with 3 eggs (at least for me).  And once in a while I dust them with coconut flour seasoned with salt and pepper to add a little crispness to the outside.  However, be advised the extra coconut flour in the pan can burn easily which gives the patties a darker color.  Doesn’t harm the flavor, though.


Time Alone

In Motherhood on August 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm

My son is off having an adventure with “Mimi”, his grandmother.  And my daughter is here at home with me, all snug as a bug in her crib right now; enjoying her nap.  It is refreshing to have time alone with my daughter.  It has been close to 10 or 12 weeks since I have enjoyed this luxury.  And while I know how different my children are, this time alone with her is a good reminder that yes, indeed, they are different.  Just a few minutes ago, Norah climbed up onto the couch, curled up in a little ball, put her thumb in her mouth and closed her eyes.  She did not go to sleep.  But the mere fact that she is aware enough of the fact that she is tired enough to sleep at the mere age of 21 months startles me.  Nathan never would have admitted fatigue had gotten the better of him.  Still, today he won’t unless he has a fever.  And he is 3 1/2 now.  She also played nicely on her own today mushing around playdough for about 20 minutes while I did some chores.  Nathan would have wanted me sitting there with him at this age.  And while putting her down to sleep just now, she told me to sing and when she didn’t like the song she said, “no.”  I sang another song.  When that song ended she wanted, “more.”  Then she simply drifted off to sleep.  You guessed it…  my son would never be put down for a nap that easily.  I adore them both like crazy.  Together they can be the sweetest little play mates and then suddenly the worst of enemies.  This time alone with each of them is precious.  It helps restore a connection that is unique to each pair of us.  And I am eagerly awaiting the day next week when I have the opportunity to spend a day alone with my Little Man.


In Cooking, What's for dinner? on August 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm

One of the breakfast for dinner meals I make is pancakes.  Usually I wing it.  They have to be gluten free because of my son.  And if I am going to eat any of them they have to be grain free.  So I typically play around with the proportions of almond and coconut flour.  That is until I visited Elana’s Pantry (http://www.elanaspantry.com/flapjacks/).  Her recipe for flapjacks is amazing.  It’s not far off of what I have come up with on my own.  It’s just perfected.  And using our BlendTech helps make the batter smoother.  The flapjacks come out looking just like flapjacks!  Now I’d love to try her “gluten free” pancakes (the updated version) (http://www.elanaspantry.com/gluten-free-pancakes-revisited/).

Along with pancakes I typically serve some fresh fruit sliced up with avocado as well and a small serving of scrambled eggs.  Magically it all disappears!

Breakfast for Dinner

In Cooking, Motherhood, What's for dinner? on August 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm

  There are simply some days that do not go as planned.  My husband and I plan out our meals on Sundays and then hit the grocery stores.  With all the best intentions, we plan on having beautiful and scrumptious dinners 7 days a week.  And then, life happens.  The kids are crazy, a play date went longer than planned, we’re missing one ingredient.  You name it, it can happen and the result is breakfast for dinner.  The kids love it.  And it is such a relief sometimes to simply know that dinner won’t be a big deal and that they will eat it all up with no prodding.  We refuse to be short order cooks, so the kids to eat what we eat for dinner.  Some nights are more difficult than others.  But breakfast for dinner… that is a piece of cake.

5 weeks to establish, 5 days to destroy….

In Motherhood on August 17, 2012 at 2:33 am

This summer has been an experiment of sorts.  For the first time in a long time I have had little to no breaks from my kids.  This past year my mother would watch the kids twice a week in the afternoons while I rushed off to run an errand or two and then to my very part time job teaching Hebrew at a local synagogue.  So my time “off” was busy and never really about me.  I was ok with that, to a degree.  Then summer came and my mother retreated up to the family home in lake Tahoe.  Lots of projects for her to take care of up there, understandably.  And, well, I was on my own.  I could have been really upset (selfishly so), but instead I embraced having my children to myself.  Each day has had its own struggles, but for the most part I have truly enjoyed having my kids all to myself.  It took me some time to adjust to not having a break, at all.  And the kids and I were, at times, a bit fed up with one another.  But…  in the end we managed to formulate a great little routine together.  They seem to “get” that Mommy has some work to do in the mornings now.  After their breakfast I do dishes and tidy up the house (sweep, start laundry, put things away, etc.).  Sometimes they even try to help.  Nathan does an ok job holding the dust pan for me.  Norah, not so much.  It definitely takes longer to get things done when they help.  But it is good for all of us.  I try to remember to breathe.  It helps, too that we have attempted to minimize the clutter this summer (the toys included).  I do my best to get us out of the house by 9 a.m.  That seems to be a witching hour, when all the chaos seems to happen.  Being out of the house helps minimize that.  We’ve gone to parks, libraries, play dates, etc.  We come home, they have snack/lunch.  Norah then naps and I have time to get dinner prepped and then play with Nathan.  The afternoons are usually pretty mellow.  And unless we need to run an errand, we typically stay home and play outside.  It took us approximately 5 weeks (give or take) to make this new routine feel strongly ingrained in ourselves.  It then took just five days to undo it when we went up to Tahoe for a family vacation.  I could go on and on about how long it is now taking us to get back on track.  But I would be lying.  The truth is that the first day home was disastrous.  The second day home was less disastrous and the third day (today) was almost back to our new “normal.”  It is incredible to me how quickly all that hard work could be seemingly torn asunder.  It is even more amazing to me how quickly we recovered.  Consistency, consistency, consistency.  I have never been very good at being consistent, but that is what parenthood is all about.  Consistency is my new best friend.  Thank goodness for it and for sticking to my guns.

The Underdog!

In general, Sewing on August 8, 2012 at 4:26 am

I have to laugh at myself a bit for even considering applying for Project Run and Play.  In fact I had to start this blog just to apply.  I was planning on starting one, but this gave me the push I needed.  The thing is, I look at all those beautiful blogs and all the amazing clothes everyone has sewn and I know I am most certainly an underdog.  Not only in terms of my sewing skills.  But also in regards to my ability to present myself and my work in a way that others will joyously respond to.  I’m ok with that for now.  I am only at the beginning of this adventure.  I’ll promise you one thing, though.  If I somehow do make it into the competition, don’t count me out.  I could very well be just like Anya from last seasons Project Runway.  You never know!  I’d like to think so.


All right, all right..

In general on August 8, 2012 at 3:58 am

I had a post written and was trying to attach a photo to go with it.  But, as luck would have it, I ended up posting a picture, but no text.  One day I will figure this whole wordpress thing out.  I promise.  Then I can have a beautiful blog like so many others out there.  Until then, please be patient with me.  Just like with my sewing, I am learning, learning, learning.  Image

bolero jacket

In Sewing on August 8, 2012 at 1:57 am

bolero jacket


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