I've Been Gifted A Climber

Every parent looks forward to their child becoming mobile. Or perhaps I should say, every first time parent look forward to their child becoming mobile…because once it actually happened, I found the parenting workload went from manageable to, “Oh my god, get her! Get her! What’s she doing?!

It used to be that I could lay her on a blanket while I cooked or worked on a project. Now she’s licking the glowing apple on my computer while I pry her little fingers from around the screen. It’s lovely to watch her making her way around the little play table we got her—and boy is she quick—but it was a whole new ball game the day we nonchalantly put up a baby gate only to watch her scale it like a well-trained spider monkey.

Yes, it’s true, we’ve been gifted a climber. She climbs things I didn't even know could be climbed. She reaches heights that are really something to marvel at as well as to be scared of. Um, hello, earth to my little offspring, you could really hurt yourself!

While I try to keep it in perspective that having a baby who walks early and climbs is really awesome in many ways (for instance, she impresses the pants off people), I’m also left scratching my head about what to do with this kid. It’s not as though I can reason with her at this stage and explain that climbing that high could result in an injury. I can’t pad the whole house in wrestling mat material to avoid injury (can I?) And despite myself, I can’t seem to stop worrying.

All of this, and my mother, as she observed my daughter trying to climb the chest of drawers in my bedroom, says, “You should really get Ipecac. Kids who climb sometimes get into things they shouldn’t.” Literally, my jaw dropped because I didn’t need a new fear, and I didn’t want to buy Ipecac. Of course, I will be buying the Ipecac because it’s one those situations where you have to “reverse black cat.” This is a technique where you act pessimistically so that you get lucky, thereby “reversing the black cat.” It’s not a guarantee, but hey, it’s worked before.

In the name of practicality, I suggested that perhaps when she’s a little older we get her an indoor climbing wall. From a more psychological standpoint, I love that my child is fearless and daring. It’s a trait that I know will continue to haunt my nerves, but it also excites me. My husband is not as afraid as I am, so at least there will be some ying and yang in our approach to parenting; he was born with a bit of the fearless gene himself.

Moments like these, when I realize that my child is her very own person with her own quirks and traits, I am in awe. It’s what makes being a parent great and also scary. She’s this little human, all her own, and she’s only beginning to discover it. Who knows, maybe some day she’ll scale mountains! Until then, I guess I’ll continue to chase her around the house, pulling her down off tables, chairs, dishwashers, and….oh what’s that? Great. She’s using the oven as a chin-up bar. 

Stuff I Use [Parenting Edition]: Mum-Mums

If you follow me regularly, then you may know that giving my child solid foods was a little complicated for me. To be clear, it was me, not her, and we eventually found a system that worked for us. But then there was the subject of those all-pervasive baby puffs. There are several brands out there...and they are chocked full of ingredients I can't freaking pronounce. Which makes me endlessly frustrated.

Through several trips to the baby aisle in the grocery, I connected with other moms and they told me about Mum-Mum rice rusks. They are supposed to be available at Walmarts, but I have no Walmart in my town (we do a couple of towns over....) and even so, I don't like to shop there. Yes, I am opposed to it morally, but even more than that, I just literally hate the experience of having to actually go into the Walmart. Sorry, it's just how I am. It weirds me out hardcore.

So, I did what any parent would do: I sent my mom into the Walmart. But she couldn't find them. So, to trusty Amazon I went! I ordered this three pack of Mum-Mum rusks, and we've never looked back!! These little suckers are AWESOME. Gluten, dairy and egg free, I can pronounce every ingredient on the box (can I get a hallelujah!?!) My daughter LOVES these and I don't have to feel bad about her eating them--everyone wins.

The thing is, she mostly eats whole foods. But we are sort of in transition. She's 10 months (almost 11) and is still learning how to pick up foods and get them to her mouth. She's an angel at meals, but likes to participate by eating along with us. If we are having something too spicy, not soft enough, or something else that makes the food unfriendly for my babe, then these are great to give to her. I also feel that it's helped her chewing skills along as well.

They are terrific on the go, with one word of caution: they are rice rusks, so they are brittle. SO I wouldn't go throwing them in the diaper bag and forgetting about them because you are likely to wind up with a crumbled mess on your hands! Conveniently, though, they are individually wrapped, which is great for travel. Also, they dissolve really easily so I don't have to worry about choking at all. I also like to spread hummus on them for her sometimes for an extra treat!! YUM!

So, I'm happy to report that I am in love with the product. AND, they make a toddler rusk as well. So we can stay in Mum-Mums for a while!!

Chocolate Coconut Poke Cake

Every time there is an event, I am practically screaming, "I'll bring dessert!" Breastfeeding has turned me into a sugar monster, and I can't apologize because my mouth is too full of dessert. Cake! Cake! And more cake! That has been my life these days. I am in love and his name is cake.

I would feel bad about the fact that I keep making cakes, but the honest to god truth is that my whole life, I've been passing up desserts because I simply wasn't interested. So basically, I'm making up for the last 29 years when I didn't eat dessert. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that when my breast milk dries up, so do my cravings. We'll see. *wink, wink*

Anyway, if you are into cake as much as I am, then you are gonna truly love this one. The great thing about poke cakes is they are the easiest dessert to make, and they are just so yummy. And moist. And delightful. It's practically a religion. Aaaaaaamen.


So ya make your cake according to manufacturer's directions. And then you poke it, you poke it. You know, like how people "poke" you on FaceBook. I hate that crap. When someone pokes me, I feel a little confused. I'm NOT poking you back. Unless you are a cake. Then there's something in it for me. 



Once it's good and poked, you can pour in your pudding. 


This whole beautiful concoction goes in the fridge. I usually give it a whole night, but you'd be fine with a few hours I think, especially if you are pressed for time. I cover mine with a little foil. 


The next day, I take it out and I CREAM THAT SUCKER! With whipped cream. Yuuuuum. I lick the tub. And I don't feel bad. So there


Add a little shaved chocolate, and we're good to go. And by go, I mean EAT. 



Chocolate Coconut Poke Cake 

Time: Active, 10 minutes, Inactive, a while | Makes: 1 awesome cake | Difficulty: EASY! 

You Will Need

1 box fudgey chocolate cake mix, plus the ingredients on the box 
2 packages coconut cream pudding 
4 cups of milk 
1 container of whipped topping 
Chocolate shavings or chips for topping 

Method

Make your cake according to the manufacturer's directions, using a 9 by 13 cake pan. The type of chocolate cake you use for this recipe is really up to you. My husband and I got a double chocolate fudge something or another. Literally every box said "pudding in the mix" which we were completely confused by. So we got the box that didn't say that...because we are putting pudding in the cake. Call us nuts. 

When the cake is finished remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for five minutes. After the five minutes, poke holes in the cake using the end of a wooden spoon. Do this uniformly. 

Mix your milk and pudding mix. Pour onto the cake, taking care to pour it over the holes and spreading it evenly. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator overnight. 

At this point, I would also note that you should take your whipped topping out the freezer and stick it in the fridge so it can be in perfect condition for icing the next day. Oh, AND, if you only have a few hours (say, you wanna make this in the morning for an evening party or dinner) you will be JUST FINE! 

Top the cake with the whipped topping and shaved chocolate (or mini chocolate chips) and serve. Goes well with coffee or tall glass of almond milk! YUM!!! 

Things I Want My [Childless] Friends To Know

Having a kid changes everything whether you like it or not. I love love love my childless friends. They are my connection to the world I once knew, but let's be honest, it's different now. And there are things that my childless friends may not understand. I want to help bridge the gap between us. So here's my list of things I want my childless friends to know!

If I can be on time, so can you
When I didn't have a kid, and you were late, it was not a big deal. Now? I am cursing the gods when you are late. I'm on a schedule. My time just ain't what it used to be. And even with a kid, I still show up on time, which means I was getting ready while you were still farting around doing people without  kids stuff. So please, make it a point to be on time. You can do it, I swear.

I'm so grateful when you come to me
I am super grateful when you take the time to come to me. Because loading up a kid takes untold amounts of planning. Because it's nice to see you. And because I know that hanging out at my house with me and child probably isn't the most exciting thing in whole, wide world. I'm grateful. Thank you.

I can't always control what goes down where my kid is involved 
Sometimes things will go as predicted, and sometimes they just won't. She's a kid. She is a tiny human with needs that vary and change and oh yeah, she doesn't talk yet, so I just get to figure those out as we go along. So if plans change halfway through our visit, it is what it is. Sorry (not sorry).

I can't afford shit anymore 
Not that I could really afford things in the past, either, let's just be honest...but now, it's even tighter. Yes, it blows, but I got this whole other person who is counting on me to keep the lights on and pay the rent. Sheesh. So I can't go out and spend money. No, not even on a coffee. Can't. Afford. Shit.

Every once in a while, I'll say yes
So, yes, I know I just said I can't afford shit anymore (and I meant it.) But there is a caveat here: sometimes I will accept an invite for a party, night out, etc. So please, KEEP ASKING! Just don't be offended when I say no 90% of the time. That 10%, though, I will say yes because I really want to say yes most of the time, I'm just not able to.

Just because I stay at home, doesn't mean I have all kinds of time 
I've heard a few comments here and there that suggest I just have all kinds of time on my hands. For the record, I am typing this 8:30AM, while constantly maneuvering the keyboard away from my child's tiny hands. Just because I stay at home with my kid doesn't mean I am not extremely busy. Try keeping a pre-verbal little person occupied all day. She has a less than five minute attention span! It's hard to imagine when you work all day what it might be like to be home instead, but trust me, you've got way more free time than I do....but I'm probably a better planner than you, so there's that.

Don't assume that I'm awake at 7:00AM 
Nothing chaps my ass more than being woken up before I'm ready. I was brought up not to call someone before 9:00AM, and not after 9:00PM. When did people begin to think it was okay to text or call me before that time? Yes, I have a baby, but she's asleep too, and when you wake her up, I get woken up and then the whole day is a black hole. Observe the 9-9 rule and no one gets hurt.

I'm not recruiting you to the dark side 
Believe it or not, I'm happy you don't have kids. I don't want to recruit you to have children just because I have one because this is a more than full time job and it never goes away. You have the energy to come over, play with my kid, talk with me, and you even have money to bring me booze (thank you, thank you!). So this arrangement is working out just fine. But if you want to fantasize about having kids, I'll gladly listen. I'll even talk you out of it if that's what you want. *Wink, wink*

Are you a parent? What would you add to this list?? Share it in the comments section below! 

Quick Fix: Tuna, White Bean & Avocado Salad

Tuna salad is a staple in our household. It's one of my husband's very favorite ways to eat lunch. Me? I'm generally a leftovers kind of gal when it comes to lunch. But I know how to enjoy a nice tuna salad every now and then, which is how I came up with this little gem.

You have to mix it up every now and then, right?

The thing is, I eat three meals a day at home nearly seven days a week. That's a lot of meals, people. And I do it most every time with my side kick, my ten month old. So let's just say that quick and easy are two things I especially love these days.

Now while I love mayonnaise probably more than the average person, I am also happy to report that this recipe is mayo free. I know, right? I think you can appreciate this because not everyone enjoys the caloric kick they get from mayo, even though for me, I am just so in love with mayonnaise. I don't know why, but I could eat it with a spoon.



This is three simple ingredients, and then for serving you can kind of do what suits you best. I like to serve it open face on toast with some sort of greenery, topped with tomato. My husband likes to eat his with what he called a "Mediterranean Platter," which consists of crackers, olives, pepperoncinis, pickles, and sometimes hummus. We are different we two.

Okay, down to business. Ready for a super easy (dare I say healthy?) lunch?! Here we goooooooooo!

Tuna, White Bean & Avocado Salad 

Time: 5 Minutes | Serves 3 (Maybe 4) | Difficulty: EASY! 

You Will Need

1 ripe avocado 
1 can of white kidney beans (also known as cannellini beans) 
2, 2.5 ounce packages tuna (or one can) 
Salt & pepper, to taste 

Method

Slice the avocado in half, and remove the pit. Dice into squarish pieces and place in bowl. 

Put the tuna in the bowl. 

Drain the beans and add them to the bowl. 

Using a fork, mix the ingredients together. This with naturally mash them a bit, creating a great tuna salad!! Add salt and pepper to taste. 

There are many ways to serve this--get creative! I did mine on toast with arugula and tomato! YUM!! 

My Sorry, Not Sorry Stump Speech

Dear Parent People,

I am sorry, but I'm not sorry. As a new mother I am often under the impression that I am supposed to somehow feel bad about the following things:

1) that I got back down to my starting weight (and then lost additional weight.)
2) that my child is (generally) a good sleeper.
3) I make my own baby food.
4) have time for Pinteret projects.
5) being able to stay home with my child instead of working (well, I do work from home sporadically.)

I'm sorry, but I'm not sorry.

Whatever your life circumstances are, they are your own. Despite whatever your issues are with me and moms like me, you need to chillax. The fact of the matter is, I did my best to set up my life this way, and I'm proud of my choices. Sure there have been twists and turns-- things I didn't expect--haven't we all experienced those?

The truth is, I worked my ass off during my pregnancy, pushing myself to go the gym through exhaustion and morning sickness. I worked out until two weeks before I gave birth. So, yeah, I'm happy my body bounced back. I look good and I'm not going to feel bad about it. I'm also not going to judge you if you're 30(+) pounds up from your starting weight because I'm not a woman hating, body-obsessed freak. It's hard, and everyone gets a different genetic roll of the dice. I get it.

And I'm sorry that your kid doesn't sleep. But unless you ask me, I promise I won't try to offer you a sleep solution because honestly, I just got lucky. Sure, it's true, my mantra during pregnancy was "I'm so happy and thankful for my good sleeper." Did it work? I guess we'll never really know.

And yes, I'm mostly a SAHM who makes my own baby food and undertakes an abnormal amount of Pinterest projects. It's my hobby dammit, and I enjoy it. As for being a SAHM, well, it wasn't exactly the plan, but it works so what of it.

I've got my crosses to bear, God knows. Like that time when I had postpartum issues, which sucked. I'm not sure, given that experience, that I'll even have more children. So maybe you're 20 pounds heavier but had a blissful postpartum period-- hey I'd love to trade ya, but I heard that's not really an option, so...

I'm not sorry. I'm not having the easiest time, either. In fact, I'm just like you in lots of ways. So the stuff that did happen easy, like losing the weight or getting a nap, I'm not going to apologize for. The thing is, we shouldn't have to apologize for our wins in life. I'm not ashamed. Boogity boo.

When we make lists about the moms that annoy us, or we hate on skinny people, or we rant against someone who stays at home (or goes to work), or we roll our eyes at a mom who is doing a good job (because it makes us feel smaller) what we are really doing is telling her that she should dull her sparkle so we can feel better. And that's bullshit.

So be not sorry. It's freaking great!

Love,


Stuff I Use: Nutritional Yeast


Mmmmmm mmmmm, nutritional yeast. Ha! I know that is not what you were thinking AT ALL. But you should. Nutritional yeast first came on my radar when I started watching this show "Cook Your Ass Off." It was a one-off show, and I don't think it lasted for more than a season, but it was all about taking your favorite (unhealthy) foods and giving them a healthy makeover. Good stuff. And it had Richard Blais from Top Chef.

Any-who, I always saw the chefs on the show using nutritional yeast and going on about its "cheesy quality." Yeah, yeah. Then I gave up dairy. And I was like, "gimme me somma that cheesy quality!" So I grabbed this at the local health food store and decided to give it a whirl. All in all? I'm a happy girl and currently enjoying the cheesy quality nutritional yeast has to offer.

While I just use it for the cheesy nature it boasts, it's also chocked full of--you guessed it--nutrition. There are good vitamins, and honestly, any time you are cutting down on dairy, I think it's a wonderful thing for your body in general.

There have been times when a recipe calls for parmesan cheese, and I'll sub this out instead. I swear, I really don't think the recipes suffer. So, if you are dairy free, definitely give this a whirl. I've used it in my dairy free mac n' cheese recipe and even in creamy-like soups and a broccoli casseroles.

Order it on Amazon today by CLICKING HERE. You can also generally find in health food stores, too! I use Bragg because it's a brand I trust and love, but there are lots of brands out there you can try.

What about you? Have you used nutritional yeast and loved it as much as I do???