My Crunchy Life

Doing my best to live the best life possible

My Crunchy Life

Do I Live With Raccoons?

I didn’t think we had raccoons living in our house.  But the last few days have led me to believe that perhaps we do. Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have anything against raccoons per se, but I just don’t think I’m comfortable with them living in my house.

I have to go off on a tangent for a second here.  Wordpress is flagging that I’m spelling the word “raccoons” incorrectly.  (Tangent off a tangent: It’s now flagging “WordPress” as incorrectly spelled.  Now that’s just stupid). So I asked my husband how to spell it (because he’s smarter than I).  He essentially told me to go f myself and go look it up.  Actually he said “I think you can figure that out yourself.”  But he’s wrong.  That’s why I’m asking HIM.  And he started laughing because I get the feeling he doesn’t know why I would need to write the word raccoon anyway.  He didn’t help me.  And he laughed at me.  And then he asked me if it had one c or two.  I should have told him to look it up.  But I didn’t.  I answered his question.  And what he really doesn’t understand is that the reason we have raccoons is because of him.  Back to the post.

So here’s Exhibit A:  Why is there shredded kleenex all over the couch and floor?  Raccoons.

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Exhibit B: There’s rice all over the refrigerator.  And the floor.  The almond milk has been knocked over.  Who would do this?  Raccoons.
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Exhibit C:  Who chews sticks of butter?  EFFING RACCOONS.  That’s who.  Yes those are teeth marks.

IMG_20131220_075403I dunno.  I’m starting to like raccoons.  But they owe me some rent.  Cuz it ain’t cheap to live here in La Canada Flintridge.

 

An Interview with gDiapers’ Social Media Master

As I’ve mentioned before, I really like gDiapers.  And a big reason why is because they do a great job of reaching out online and creating a community.  In my former professional life, I was responsible for Online Marketing and you always strive to engage your audience – This is social media at its best.  I’ve been super impressed and over the last couple years, I’ve been privileged to get to know the mastermind behind gDiapers’ online presence.  Her name is Kelli Martinelli and she has been gDiapers’ Communication Manager (and from all accounts, she’s awesome).  She’s moving on to new ventures but before she left, I wanted to ask her a few questions about her life as the online personality of a wonderful company.  Forgive the poor formatting.  Wordpress hates me.

1.  What part of being gDiapers’ online personality will you miss the most?

I have a feeling that what I anticipate and what the reality will be will differ. But what I am anticipating is missing simply the engagement. The “gDiapers’ online personality” is really just a more PG version of myself. I truly love engaging with the g community. Of finding new bloggers or partner companies to work with and new stories to share. Of asking questions and gauging responses. Of coming up with new ways to play together. It’s been a steady drumbeat to my day, my evening, my weekends,  and it’s been my long-term strategy and my on-the-fly and off-the-cuff itch that I get to scratch. We’re all here cause we want to be, really, and I have been so honored to guide that conversation. And you know, Zuckerberg nailed it with that thumbs up thing. When I post something like “Your baby is your happy place.” and it gets liked and shared hundreds of times over, my inner thumbs up smiles a bit bigger. No lie.

2.  What would you say were the hardest parts of your job?

Watching the competition slide right in and acquire fans through cheap tricks is maddening. The gDiapers community has been built organically, through friends and customers who really want to be hanging out with us on that page, not just to score some “free trial” offer or to rub theoretical elbows with a shiny celeb. Ugh. Ruiners. Also, it’s been hard to wear so many hats. My head isn’t really very big, and my ears sit a tad high which makes some hats kinda awkward. When you wear a lot of hats not everyone truly knows what it is that you do, exactly (even your own colleagues). Integrated social media strategy and execution, email marketing, creative project planning, customer service management, blogging, copywriting, they all take time and are inter-woven. But in most companies, they’re separate positions, not one job. It has been a balancing act, and I have longed to be able to trim away some of the hats so that I could give more focus to one or two and be able to do them to their greater potential. But when you’re in a little company there simply isn’t the resources to hire a new body for every detail, so you end up doing them all, which can be taxing and can allow some details to take a backseat to others.

3.  Be honest.  Does it ever get old – liking pictures of babies?

No. In fact as I get older, and my own babies begin asking questions like “Are the Greek gods more real than the Roman ones?” I’m becoming more of a moth to a flame when it comes to babies. I WILL HOLD ALL THE BABIES!

4. How often do you “sympathy like” people’s babies? Let’s be honest – not all pictures are awesome.  HAVE YOU DONE THIS WITH PICTURES OF MY BABIES???  🙂

It  makes me pretty sad that 99% of all the babies I like across the interwebs I’ll never get to meet in person. The babies that I’ve blogged about, the profile pic lovelies, the babies that turn into toddlers and then hug their younger sibling babies in photos, GAH. Kills me. Just when I’m getting ready to wrap up a little something special in a size small for Sia, BAM, she’s gone and grown. I need a time delay remote and a really fast private jet.

I do not give sympathy likes on facebook, just like I don’t give chest bumps at hockey games . But there have been times where I have liked photos so that fans know that I (gDiapers) has seen them (for a contest, perhaps). And there may be an errant chest bump in my past somewhere ….
5.  What are you most of proud of when you look back at your accomplishments from your 7+ years at gDiapers?
It’s hard to think of “proud” so selfishly. gDiapers is a team. A tiny team of 18, though so many think g is a huge corporation (which is a huge challenge in and of itself!). And tiny teams don’t put the pride all on one player. Our marketing team kicks ass, and without Dodge and his kitten calendar, and Doe and the gMums, and Michelle and her partner relationships, and Heather and her slick new postage machine (along with so many others!), “my” accomplishments would be no more than hot air in a porous balloon.
6.  Did you have any surprising complete flops while in this role?  What did you learn from it?
I did early on. It was when social media was just starting to get underway and the bulk of my day to day revolved around customer service. There was a customer with an issue. And I responded with a solution, which the customer appreciated. But then I second guessed my solution and ran it by someone on the g management team, and I was then pressed to give an alternate solution to the customer, which did NOT go over well. And it shouldn’t have. It wasn’t the right solution for this customer.  My gut was right the first time. But not listening to it meant the issue turned into a problem. And if you’ve ever been in customer service, you’ll know that these problems can sit with you. You wear them in your heart and they sit like a grease-trap in your stomach. I went home that day and bawled. It wasn’t the only time that a customer service issue or a social media interaction messed with my emotions pretty strongly, but it was the day that it occurred to me that my instinct was pretty damn spot on. I knew what the customer needed, and that was more important than what the protocol dictated. I had empathy, and empathy is to be trusted.
7.  What skillset/path led you to be the social media master that you are today?  Did you always have an interest in this space or did you stumble across it?
Early on in my life I squatted down, wrapped my purple coat around my knees, buttoned it up, then waddled around the playground pretending to be a purple oompa loompa. I wrote poetry about litter in the 2nd grade. I was a cheerleader, twice. I was spirit commissioner for my high school, bringing spotlights to the Arcata Invitational Basketball Tournament for the first time EVAH. I was a camp counselor on multiple occasions and one time, at an outdoor school gig, I got a bad review from the “head counselor” but got a standing ovation from my campers. I’ve always had a knack for being myself when others were trying to be a “kins” (this was a thing, “Jennykins” “Donnakins” “Tarakins”, it was like Heathers for Humboldt County middle schoolers). My colleague and dear friend, Karen, made me cry into my egg nog the other day at my “farewell roast”, when she spoke to how I’ve demonstrated how to really be yourself at gDiapers. She said it eloquently, and I’m messing up her words. But before then, I had never thought about how being myself was much of a career strategy or skillset, but now I see it.
I sought out a job with gDiapers because I loved the company and the product. They gave me the customer service department (which at the time was just me). And I grew into new roles, ultimately driving the online communications strategy for this itty bitty company with a groovy diaper. Social media master I’m not, but I am master at being myself, which (most of the time) tends to play well with others. And that play is happening on the social media playground. Ergo, there I yam. It’s where storytelling, personal connectivity and revolutionary change is given permission to occupy the dance floor and go nuts.
8.  Any advice for your successor(s)?

Anticipate the most negative or contrary reaction you can think of before you post something publicly.

Be a magic wand, not a cookie cutter.
And don’t lose yourself. You are not a brand.

So humble, so real, so smart, so grammatically correct.  Awesome, amirite?  I feel connected to her because I wore a pillow case with a face drawn on it over my body and made a hat with cutouts for my eyes in the second grade.  I was a munchkin in our school’s production of The Wizard of Oz.  I’m not going to lie.  The performance wasn’t the only time I wore that getup.

I kept her questions mostly contained to her job at gDiapers but she’s doing some amazing things.  She is producing the Portland Listen To Your Mother show this coming Mother’s Day.  Listen To Your Mother is a national series of live readings performed on local stages, by local writers and in support of local communities. This will be the first year that LTYM has a presence in Portland.  Here’s the link to the LTYM website: http://listentoyourmothershow.com/portland/.  It really makes me wish I lived in Portland.  If you do live in the area, go see the show! It promises to be a great time!

Thank you Kelli for keeping all us gDiaper fanatics entertained and engaged.  You are going to do big BIG things.

Five Quick Vegan Meals

I try to cook vegan for my hubs whenever possible.  If I could, I would spend way more time in the kitchen and try to make some elaborate meals.  But the reality is that we have two little ones and they command our attention.  So I’m always looking for ways to cheat the clock.  Here are five quick vegan meal ideas that will leave you full, satisfied, and proud of yourself for not doing take out (though I can’t lie – it’s not 100% homemade nor is it unprocessed and fully plant based but hey – it’s not take out).  And all meals you can put on the table lickety split.

1.  Khichadi: Khichadi is a North Indian staple food. It’s basically lentils and rice cooked together.  Real simple:  1 cup long grain basmati rice, 1 cup toor dahl (split pigeon peas) and 2.5 cups water, ghee or butter, 1/2 tsp of turmeric and 1 tsp salt.  Throw it all together in a pressure cooker and let the pressure cooker’s whistle blow 3 times.  Or you can always cook it on the stove – add all the ingredients together (but up the amount of water to about 3 parts water) and bring to a boil. Cook on medium for about 15 minutes, then lower to a simmer on low for another 15 or so until the rice and beans are cooked. Serve alone or with a cucumber, tomato, and onion salad (throw in some chili pepper, salt, cumin, a wee bit of sugar, and a dash of lemon juice).

2.  Trader Joe’s Pasta Penne Arrabiatta: We love this and it’s faster than any take-out that we can get.  We live literally two doors down from a pizza place.  In the time it takes my husband to go there and back, this dinner is done (this is true because sometimes I have him get me some garlic bread or fried zucchini to accompany the pasta).  All you do is put some oil in a pan (or don’t), empty the bag into the pan, and heat through while stirring.  That’s it.  Seriously.  Serve with a side salad (sometimes we literally open the container of baby spinach and grab raw spinach leaves and shove ’em in our mouths) and maybe some toast with olive oil and cracked pepper.

3.  Tofu Pad Thai – Another huge cheat.  Cube a block of tofu (press it between towels too if you have time) and fry on all sides with peanut or vegetable oil.  Meanwhile, chop up some green onions and roasted peanuts.  When tofu is almost done, pop a packet of Tasty Bites 1 Minute Pad Thai in the microwave.  Empty into a bowl.  Do a second packet.  Toss with tofu.  Top with peanuts and green onions.

4.  Spinach Enchiladas – Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wrap 12 corn tortillas in a wet paper towel and microwave for 1 min 15 seconds.  Open a can of corn, a 2 cans of Hatch green chile enchilada sauce (ok fine, you can use any green enchilada sauce but this one is by far my favorite), a can of green chiles and a can of sliced black olives.  Place several baby spinach leaves on each tortilla, top with some corn, green chile, and a little bit of sauce.  Roll and place seam side down in a baking pan.  Cover thoroughly with sauce and olives.  Cover and bake for 15 minutes.  We like to serve with tortilla chips and guacamole.

5.  Nachos – not healthy but still vegan!  My husband likes just chips and cheese.  My first choice would be to load them up and get some more nutrition out of them.  So start with the sauce –  I love this 5 minute recipe from ohsheglows.com.  It’s not real cheese but it’s not bad.  Lay down some chips on a plate/platter, top with beans, olives, onions, jalapenos, avocados, salsa, and the cheese.

This post would be way better with some pictures.  I’ll see what I can do about that.  But there you have it.  Five really quick ways (the enchiladas probably take the longest and even then, about 30 minutes) to eat vegan; if you’re trying out being a weekday vegan, this is a simple, quick path for you.

simply having A WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME

Worst Christmas  song ever.  But here it is in all its glory:

I thought I’d share some of the fun I’ve been having this Christmas Season.  Warning: this is starting out kind of hectic but really it’s been a wonderful time with my girls…

I took my girls to the mall last week.  I thought my they would like to see the Christmas decorations and I also wanted to get something for my mother-in-law.  It had been a few hours so I decided to first make a pit stop so the little missy could pee.  When we finally maneuver her, me and the stroller with baby in it into the stall, she says she doesn’t need to pee.  After asking her three times if she’s sure, I sit down because I do need to go.  Of course, right then she says “Mama!  I have to go pee-pee!”  I hadn’t started peeing yet but because I’m on my period, some blood must have dripped into the toilet.  I didn’t realize it but of course she did. Very loudly, I might add…

What’s that?!?!?
Geez…how do I answer this?  Nothing, honey.
Mama, what’s that?  What’s that red?
Nothing, sweetie.  Just go pee-pee.
My pee-pee is yellow.  Mama, my pee-pee is yellow.  What’s that red???
(Checks after I go)  Is your pee-pee yellow???

Of course the restroom is pretty crowded because it’s the holiday shopping season so I’m trying to change the subject.  She finally pees and then I sit down and she’s squatting down trying to see who’s in the next stall.

Who’s over there?  Who’s going pee-pee?  Why are they going pee-pee?

Oy.  The baby was just looking around, trying to figure out what all the fuss was about.

Earlier that day, we had gone to the doctor’s office to check on her cough that just wasn’t dying.  It took FOREVER.  Ok maybe not forever but we were there for an hour and twenty minutes.  In this time, she asked “Where’s Dr. Pelinka?” at least four times.  Funny part is that Dr. Pelinka is her former doctor from when we lived in Orange County.  She did amazingly well at her appointment though.  She did everything the doctor asked her to but surprised me by telling the doctor that her throat hurt.  She never told me that…Later that day, she said “I had fun at the doctor’s office.  Can we go again tomorrow?”  EFF NOOOOOOO.  She got a sticker, and I think that had something to do with it.  Incidentally, we also had the following occur:

Mommy, can you put my sticker in your pocket?  Nooooooo!  Don’t fold it!!!!

In case you’ve never put a sticker in your back pocket, it’s kind of a pain to take off.  Especially when your ass is pushing with all its jiggly might against the inside of the pants.

She said she wanted Panda Express at the mall.  So we got some fried rice.  She dutifully shared the peas with her sister.  All was good until I noticed she was scraping her fork along the bench we were sitting on.  Outside.  Then she dipped it back in the rice like it was totally ok.

We’ve been doing some fun stuff at home and Miss K. has been helping.  She helped decorate the tree:

IMG_20131205_195625She also helped hang the stockings.  We’ve made a few houses in a paper Holiday Village.  Super S also seems to be getting into the holiday spirit:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYep, she’s standing (sniff sniff) and almost walking (sniff sniff).  We’ve been explaining Santa Claus and Christmastime to her but I don’t think she quite gets it.  She’s been enjoying the music – her favorite song this season is Jimmy Buffet’s Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum (awesome…).

Tonight she helped me make a gingerbread house.  It was my first attempt!  Never did one before!

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Last night we went to go take a look at some of the neighbors’ Christmas lights.  Miss K loved them!  At one point we just heard her whisper from the back seat “OH MY GOSH.”  So sweet!

This really is a wonderful time of the year.  So much to be thankful for and so much to love.  The best part is that we’re having a wonderful time and she doesn’t even know that there are going to be some presents at the end of all this. Granted, this is probably the last year she won’t be expecting stuff but I’m loving that she is feeling the true spirit of the season.

I Think Baby Led Weaning is Ridiculous

After the initial thrill of starting solids, my younger daughter stopped liking solids.  I had a tough time getting her to eat any purees and whenever I’d try to feed her, she’d grab the spoon and try to feed herself.  So it made perfect sense to me that I should try baby led weaning.  For those of you not familiar, the thought behind baby led weaning is that babies should learn to chew before they learn to swallow, they should feed themselves, and that they should eat what you eat (minus the over-processed, sodium heavy foods).  As long as the baby is able to sit up, feed themselves, and chew, they should be able to do this.  Basically instead of spoon feeding your baby purees, you give them whole foods and you don’t hold off on table foods.  It’s supposed to give your baby the skills to eat themselves and it’s supposed to encourage their own ability to self regulate food quantities for life.

I read the bible on BLW and I tried it.  Here’s why I think it’s ridiculous:

1.  Just because a baby can sit up, doesn’t mean that their stomachs are ready for some of the harder to digest foods that are recommended by the book.  We didn’t start solids until six months for both of our girls.  They both had allergies and we didn’t want to push their digestive systems too early.  I found that the little one would get constipated when I’d let her eat things like bread.  The book sort of walks you through what’s appropriate at what age but honestly, I think people just hear that you can feed your baby what you eat and they don’t use good judgement.  I’ve heard of people giving their babies Cheetos!

2.  It makes a huge effing mess.  Babies + solids = mess.  I get that.  BUT baby led weaning makes things so much worse.  She basically threw her food around and smooshed it in her fingers and splattered it all over her clothes.  The book even says to expect it.  But it’s really no fun to have to clean up the booster, the tray, the chair the booster sits on, the carpet, the dining table, AND the baby every single time we eat.  She doesn’t seem to enjoy a messy meal any more than I do.  So why go through this?  Granted, even when I’m feeding purees, we sometimes have a mess, but at least that’s manageable.

3.  You can’t tell how much they’ve eaten.  Because baby is feeding herself, I constantly found myself wondering how much she actually ate.  I know solids aren’t critical for babies under the age of one, but i do like to have a sense of what she ate. Let’s say I gave her two sticks of steamed zucchini.  After a few minutes, they’d be gone from her tray.  I would get hopeful that she actually ate all of it.  Between the gumming, the throwing, the smashing and the dropping, I was completely wrong.  More often than not, the majority of the food was on the floor or smashed under her legs.

Ok.  So in reality, I did some BLW and some purees and still am.  I do give her a stalk of broccoli and let her go at it; I put peas on her tray and am thrilled at how much she ate and then disappointed when I see its in her seat.  I’ve torn off pieces of bread and let her gnaw on it.  I give her slices of avocado instead of mashing it up.  But she and I love purees too.  I don’t want her to be eating baby food until she’s 2 but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making things a little easier on her and her stomach.  And for the record, I don’t think spoon feeding is shoving baby food down her throat.  I pay attention and when she shuts her mouth or starts to fuss, I listen to her and stop attempting to feed her.  Even when I’m not satisfied with the amount, I let her self regulate.  So maybe I don’t think it’s 100% ridiculous.  It’s just mostly ridiculous.  🙂

The 7th Month for Super S & Miss K’s 32nd Month

These darn kids just won’t stop growing.  Make them stop.  Please!  It was another busy month of development for Super S.  I’m so proud of her.  And Miss K. continues to be awesome.  Here’s what happened this month:

Super S (7 Months):

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  • Went from army crawling to full on crawling
  • Is able to go from lying down to sitting up
  • Can pull up to standing
  • Has been waking every three hours at night
  • Weighs 15 pounds 6 ounces at the end of the month
  • Wears 6-9 month clothing
  • Was gDiapers’ profile pic again
  • Follows her sister around everywhere
  • Pulls her sister’s hair
  • Crawls after her daddy
  • Seems to be easing out of her separation anxiety from me.  Some stranger anxiety seems to be setting in (she doesn’t smile at everyone as much as she used to)
  • Can climb up one step
  • Loves playing with the laugh n learn house, the bunny ball, and rattles
  • Sweetest snuggler of all time
  • Can sit in the stroller without the carrierOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Miss K

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  • Started school again at the CEC. Has bravely not cried a single time during drop off.  I’m so proud of her.
  • I asked her to spell dog with her magnetic letters.  She sounded out d and got the letter d and put it on the board.  Then she did the same with o but put it in front of the d.  Same with g.  So she spelled god instead.  Oh.so.close.  But then a few days later I asked her to spell zoo and she did so correctly in the bathtub with bath letters!  Yay!
  • Still loves Lightning McQueen.  He is her friend.  Asks me to sing Life is a Highway all the time.
  • Is still an alligator.
  • Naps 1.5-2 hours a day
  • Has been asking to read more science books
  • Went to garba for the first time.  I think it was a little loud for her.
  • Is growing out of 2T clothes and is starting to fit 3T clothes.
  • Has been negotiating more.  “We’re gonna read TEEEEN books.”  “It’s Sunday so we’re going to have ice cream, right?”

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My Not-So-Babyish Lullabies

I don’t really sing my girls traditional lullabies to get them to sleep, although with Miss K.  I used to try…I’d find myself in tears when I’d attempt to sing ‘Lullaby and Goodnight” because my love for her was so overwhelming.  With Super S, I find that I also sometimes am brought to tears but it’s usually with pop songs.  So before I forget in the future what I used to sing to them, here’s a quick roundup:

During Miss K’s nightly massage, I used to sing Eternal’s version of Angel of Mine:

During her naps (age 2), I sing to her the following 90’s pop songs:

Trisha Yearwood’s “How Do I Live?” She never asks me to sing this one but I’ve been successful in getting her to fall asleep to this one –

This one will probably make you laugh but I used to love this song by Escape Club and decided to sing it to her one day. She asks for it – “Can you sing ‘Over Mountains?'”

Super S gets some pretty funny songs too-

I’ve always loved “To Be Close To You” by the Carpenters and I used to sing it nightly to Super S when she was a newborn. It seemed to calm her down. I don’t sing it as often as I did a few months ago but it occasionally finds its way into the rotation.  Again, tears, breaking voice, all of that…especially the part where it says “on the day that you were born, the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true”

This next one is her sleep signal song these days. I’ve loved “Can’t take my eyes off you” by Frankie Vallie since I heard it in high school:

Then when Lauren Hill redid it in College, I was thrilled and sang it daily. Without the horns and the upbeat instrumentals, it’s actually a very calm song. So it’s another one of those songs that brought me to tears, rocking in the rocking chair, looking at my beautiful baby, thanking my lucky stars that she’s mine. Sometimes she’d look back at me, sometimes not.

And then a few weeks ago, a funny thing happened. My older daughter asked me to sing “I Love My Baby” to her. Sometimes when I’d be singing to Super S, she would come in to the room with a gentle smile and would slowly walk over to us and I’d scoop her up and squish her into the chair with me and her sister. She’d lay her little head on my shoulder, and I’d have one arm around her, the other cradling my beautiful Super S. My absolute favorite memories of 2012 are of this very scene. And I was lucky that it happened several times.

I didn’t think she was really listening but then one day, she sang the entire song. She blew me away. Sometimes she goes and turns on the keyboard and sits and plays. The best part? She was singing to her sister.

What not-so-standard songs do you sing to your kids?

Sometimes it’s the little things

Many days I scramble.  I scramble to get food on the table for my family.  I scramble to change yet another diaper.  I scramble to get both the girls bathed and off to bed.  I scramble to write up another blog post.  But sometimes it occurs to me that my little girls deserve to have some fun in their lives for no other reason than they’re little and life is fun.  And little things bring delight.  One of the things that I admire most about my mother-in-law is her ability to recognize and appreciate beauty in the world and to take joy in that.  I have inherited my mother’s ability to work hard but it often comes at the expense of enjoyment.  So the other day, I decided to surprise my little girl with a special breakfast.  It didn’t take much extra time.  Her sister and I didn’t mind eating the “scraps” so that she could enjoy it.

20131003_075755All it took was a cookie cutter that I already had and maybe an extra minute.  Unfortunately when I told her that the hash brown was also Mickey, she paused and looked at it and said “No, it’s not.”  I tried.  🙂

20131003_075840She said she was having breakfast with Mickey.  And then it turned to “I’m gonna EAT you, Mickey!!!”

20131003_075840-MIXOh, that face.  How can I pass up an opportunity to bring a smile to that face?

 

 

 

Food Waste Friday (a little late) – 10/4/13

Another week of not so great results.  In addition to the items in the blurry picture below (it was one of those “hurry up and snap a picture with your phone even though you’re holding a squirming baby because the garbage truck is going to come soon” moments), I also threw out 2/3 of a stalk of broccoli, two containers of beans and rice from Chipotle (we’re always afraid Miss K. is going to feel bad if we don’t bring her something when her dad goes there for lunch) and a couple avocados mid-week.

20131003_074132Again, apologies for the blurriness.  Threw out some more lacinato kale this week, a pretty full container of basil from Trader Joe’s, and about half a cup of khichadi with a pat of butter on it.  Blah.  Let’s hope for a better week this week.

On the plus side, though, I used up a purple cauliflower by making spicy buffalo cauliflower wings and we ate through pretty much all of that, I made a pasta with at least eight different veggies, and I felt like my two girls ate better than they usually do.  I’ll take it.   How did you do?

 

FoodWasteFriday

Lemons, lemons everywhere!

So last week my MIL called and asked if I wanted any lemons. I said “Sure. Maybe just a few – not too many.” She replied “so two or three?” “Yep, mom, that’s perfect. Two or three.” Then later that day, I met my neighbor for the first time and he said “Do you use lemons for cooking or anything? We have this tree and don’t know what to do with all these lemons. Here, have some.” So before I had the chance to say no, he handed me three lemons. I took them. When my in-laws came, Mom handed me a bag and when I looked inside, there weren’t 2-3 lemons. There were a dozen lemons. Maybe she intended some of those lemons to go to my mom’s and brother’s houses. I’m not sure because she didn’t say. She is super generous so maybe she didn’t feel comfortable giving us “only” two or three. I don’t know but I found myself with fifteen lemons and no real need for any of them. By the way, I also had bought one of those lemon shaped squeezy things full of lemon juice. I wasn’t amused when I saw that there were more ingredients in it than lemons.

20130929_151624Oh the irony.  You know what’s worse?  I don’t have a citrus juicer.  I guess I could have squeezed them all by hand but I didn’t trust myself to have that much patience and I could see myself getting frustrated with seeds and all that.  So I went to look for juicers.  If I wanted an electric one, it would be $30!  Oy.  I saw an extension that I could put on my stand mixer.  What a great idea!  Until I realized that it was also $30 and then I’d have to drag out the heavy mixer and also wash the parts.  I went to Kohls and was shocked (SHOCKED!) to see that I could buy one of those squeezy things that look like this:

lemonjuicer

 

But it would also cost $30.  And I’ll bet I wouldn’t be good at squeezing with that thing.  So at this point, it seemed silly to me to spend $30 on yet another utensil (I have a lot of kitchen utensils.  A LOT.) for some lemons that I didn’t really have a use for yet.  I like free stuff but really, I couldn’t justify spending that much to make use of 15 or so free lemons.  I gave it one last try at our local HomeGoods store and luckily spotted at citrus juicer for $4.99.  Yay!

My lovely assistant and I have juiced about half the lemons so far – it’s really easy and I’m surprised by how much juice a little bitty lemon can yield.  Maybe I’m surprised because usually I juice them by squeezing them by hand and they don’t put out that much.

20130929_152858So about half the lemons yielded a whole ice tray full of lemon juice.  I believe each ice cube is two tablespoons and there are 14 cubes, so almost two cups of lemons so far.  And since they’re frozen, I can just use a cube at a time as I need them!  Hooray!  Usually I buy a bottle of lemon juice for around $3 and it inevitably goes bad so it’s a waste and it has added crap and it produces garbage.  This route does none of that!  I might be a little biased, but I think the ones from my in-laws’ house are much prettier and lovelier.  They actually juiced better too.  Maybe because of the type of lemon.  Maybe because I know they were grown with love.

This fall’s harvest has been good.  My in-laws also brought us about 20+ figs and some persimmons.  The figs are the expensive mission variety and though I don’t care for them, my husband and both daughters enjoyed them.  I’m always shocked at how expensive they are, even in season.  I think I saw a basket of maybe 5 figs at the farmers market that was $6!  Crazy.  And they also brought us delicious persimmons.  I’ve been putting them in Miss K’s lunchbox and I think I’m going to steam some for Super S to try.  I had made baby food out of some from their yard for Miss K. when she was a wee one two years ago.  My parents gave us two huge pomegranates from their yard too.  I’m going to bust them open this week.  Those are full of antioxidants and Miss K. loves them.

I’m so embarrassed to admit this but it’s still a thrill to get food from our homes.  I’m so used to only eating foods that were bought at the store that it’s exciting (and a bit strange) to just go pick them from the yard and eat them.  I love this.  I really really REALLY need to try hard to grow some veggies next spring.  It would be so nice!  Maybe not cost effective, but wonderfully fresh and less trash produced!