Thursday, September 30, 2010

My new challenge.

I love grocery shopping....

planning meals,
making my list,
shopping with a baby tied to my chest and a toddler in the buggy.

Is it sad to say I consider grocery shopping a hobby?

Because, I do.

I promise I'm not being sarcastic.

I love looking at my meal list hanging on the fridge and choosing what we will eat that night. The only issue is that I rarely stick to the meals I have planned for the week and my goal is to plan meals and grocery shop for a one week period. Because I like to get creative or lazy, depending on the day, I pull ingredients from various planned meals which means I never have the needed ingredients to cook dinner for the rest of the week.

Then the cycle begins again...
making a new list, shopping, unpacking, cooking,
and of course,
needing more food.

To create accountability for my grocery shopping habit, I plan on posting my menu for the week and then revisiting that post to critique my menu and see if I actually cooked what I planned and shopped for.

Like Dave Ramsey says, my job is to be a home economist.
I love that man.

Our budget allows $100 a week for groceries.
I typically spend $75 on my main grocery trip and the remaining money on my frequent trips back to Kroger for fruit and random items I decide we desperately need.

October Week 1 Menu:
*keep in my mind I rarely cook meat and Henry and I are dairy free*

  1. Black beans and rice with brown rice and homemade veggie stock
  2. Stir fry with brown rice and veggies from the freezer
  3. Eggplant Croquettes with couscous and tomato gravy
  4. Homemade pizza with feta, artichokes, mushrooms, olive tapenade and spinach
  5. Broiled fish with lemon, mushroom rice,
  6. Spaghetti squash, roasted garlic and french bread
  7. Butternut squash french toast from The Sneaky Chef and cheeseless spinach quiche
I know you are just dying for my update next weekend....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

unpaper towels.

The only label I use to describe myself is CHEAP.

I am super thrifty and proud of it.

But, I definitely fall under the "greening my life" category as well. However, most of my greenishness began as an attempt to scrimp and save money but eventually evolved past the thrill of saving a few dollars.

As an elementary teacher and wife to a graduate student, I found it my job to put my thriftyness to good use. No longer was it enough to enjoy the off-season clearance rack at the outlet mall; it was time to make real changes. I began by examining my weekly grocery list to see what items we could live without.

Why buy something just to throw it in the trash?

Example, please.

I haven't bought paper towels or paper napkins in years. My sister might scoff and bring her own roll of paper towels to our house when she visits......but this was one of the first changes we made when money got tight.

My towel basket started small with just a few fresh looking towels in rotations. Several years later, I have amassed way too many random towels -- ratty bathrags, ugly burpcloths, cloth diapers I didn't like, cut up receiving blankets, nice hand towels that got in the mix and aren't so nice looking anymore. The list goes on and on.

Our system is simple: Clean towels that can be used on hands and faces hang on the refrigerator handle. Once a towel is no longer fit for hands or faces due to food messes or cleaning spray, it goes straight into the washing machine to be included in the next load. It helps that our washer and dyer are in the kitchen but I feel sure I will perfect a new system when my fantasy laundry room is built in 30+ years.

Easy, huh?

1. Grocery budget was cut a smidge by eliminating paper towels.
2. Dish towels are much much much better at cleaning than paper towels.
3. Reduce, REUSE, recycle.
4. It might be the teensiest reduction in paper towels sold at Kroger but I feel like I am doing my part.
5. Need I discuss carbon footprint of paper towel production/distribution and wasteful packaging?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What do you think?

Do they look alike?
I don't think so.
What do you think?

One more question...
Is it bad that I think Liza is substantially cuter than Henry was as a little baby?

Henry has always gotten the "he looks just like his daddy" comments.
Liza must have her own little face since no one ever comments how she looks just like so and so. Or, maybe they are too busy gasping over all her hair...

She found the teddy bears!

Tint Tots in Pictures.

Pitching a fit.
Don't know who those thighs belong to.....

She might be fussing, but.....

She really is the cutest baby girl I've ever seen.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Night Night.

I very loosely follow the "eat-play-sleep" schedule.

This girl loves to nurse and is turning into a very efficient little nurser.

Liza spends her playtime standing up on her wobbly legs
and making lots and lots of eye contact.
Super cute.

Liza is still in the sleep-all-the-time newborn stage.
She completely poops out after an hour of awake time.
Have I mentioned I love that about her?
I love it.

Notice I said that I follow this schedule very loosely.
I'm not a super structured person so it doesn't bother me a bit to do things out of order whenever the need arises.

Like our daytime routine, we have a loose little nighttime routine.......

This baby pees gallons at a time so my new passion in life is wool diaper covers and triply stuffing them for nighttime. I'm planning an upcoming post on cloth diapers and the wonder of wool. For now, I'll just say that it might look bulky but she stays dry until the morning.

We *heart* the Miracle Blanket.
I am firm believer in the wonder of a tight swaddle for a little baby and the Miracle Blanket delivers.
Definitely a product I wish I'd had with Henry.

Not a normal part of our bedtime routine but it seemed right at the moment.

Happy baby....unless that paci falls out before she is fast asleep.

Have I mentioned I love this girl and her easy little ways?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Raw and broken.

Is my kid the only one who likes to eat uncooked food?

Raw veggies have been a fave since he started eating food
but he also has a love for
raw noodles, raw rice, raw oatmeal and......
he now likes to eat flour!

"Show mama your bead."

Henry's favorite new playthings are all the beads I've saved from the many many cute necklaces he has broken over the past two years.

Last week, he toted around an M&M for a few hours before it finally melted in his hand and he realized it was chocolate and not a bead!

Think he was excited?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy 6 weeks, Squishy Face Girl.

Happy 6 weeks old to
Little Baby Sister Girl!

We love you SO much!

You are still fantastically low-maintenance except for your intolerance to your mama consuming dairy products and the runny nose that you and Big Brother are passing back and forth.

And, yes, everywhere I go I am still getting comments about my b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. baby. I surely don't comment on a baby's adorableness unless it is an extra cute baby so I take this to mean that the general population of Mississippi thinks you are as cute as I think you are.

You enjoy being worn in the ring sling but you have been l.o.v.i.n.g. the swing the past few days. I don't know how long the love affair will last so I have been taking advantage of it!

I'm not sure how much other 6 week old babies sleep but you sleep a lot during the day.

I don't complain.

I also don't complain that you consistently sleep from 7:30pm until 3:30am every.single.night.
Newfound paranoia has me checking on you throughout the night and it is pointless to attempt to nurse you before you wake up on your own.

You like your sleep and I like you.

You love nakey time and show your happy face when I strip you down on the changing table.
For reasons unknown, I haven't submerged you in water for a real bath yet but you like your ragbaths. Maybe we will try a real bath soon. Maybe not.

There isn't much tummy time in the Dearman household due to a certain big brother. If you lay on the floor, he insists on laying next to you. If he lays next to you, he insists on showing "Lila" how he can roll around which inevitably means your head/belly/arms/legs get pinned down.

What can I say?
If you give a mouse a cookie...

I am still SO very very thankful for your gentle entrance into this world. Your birth had a profound affect on me and made me realize that I can do anything.

It's a good feeling and I have you to thank!

Thank you and Happy 6 Weeks on the outside!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Allergy boy.

Henry has battled allergies since he was a tiny baby.
He is my child, after all.

I thought we were in the clear after a trial run of not giving him Singulair for a week proved he was finally wheeze and dry cough free.


I thought we were home-free in the allergy department.
I was very very very wrong.

Skip to last May....
Taylor, Henry and I spent a week at a wonderful all-inclusive resort in Mexico. I was 28 weeks pregnant and it was our last hoorahrah as a family of 3. Everything was perfect except for the fact that Henry had a SEVERE allergic reaction to something he ate at a buffet.

*dry cough, wheezing, swollen face/lips/ears, blood in his diaper the next day, and horrible ezcema for the rest of the week*

It was bad.

As soon as I noticed his face swelling, I knew he needed lots and lots of Benadryl. Luckily, the gift store had adult strength Benadryl behind the counter and we began dosing him every 4 hours for the rest of the night. He looked better the next morning but was still swollen for the next 24 hours. We gave him nothing but bread and fruit for the rest of the trip and continued about our merry way. It was probably a good thing I didn't have access to the internet or I would have FREAKED out!!!

As soon as we got home, I made an appointment with a pediatric allergist in Jackson. They did a RAST blood test for 12 possible allergies, including shellfish which I suspect caused the reaction in Mexico, and the test came back negative for all allergens. I was prepared for this possibility from my research that allergy tests in toddlers are notoriously misleading. Now, we never leave the house without our EpiPen Jr., a big bottle of Benadryl AND we avoid seafood restaurants at all costs.

This is where a picture of Henry's very ugly and swollen face should be inserted.
Where, oh where, did my pictures from our vacation disappear to?

In a recent post, I mentioned that Henry is finally free of long as he remains dairy free. It makes me sad sad sad that it took 2 years to make the dairy connection but I am glad we have a fairly easy fix for that issue.

And, last but not least, he is also highly allergic to a wide variety of bug bites. You can literally see the bite site swell up before your very eyes. The poor kid can't seem to stay away from ants lately so ant bites are looking u.g.l.y. these days. I'm pretty sure the other moms at the park think I'm crazy for pulling out the Benadryl after Henry gets one little bug bite but it is an absolute necessity.

This is ONE ant bite.
One bite isn't too big a deal but I am terrified the kid will fall into an ant bed.

Now, we just wait to find out what else he is allergic to.....

Dinnertime with the Dearmans.

Typically, I start casually preparing dinner around 4pm. Henry likes hanging out in the kitchen 'helping' and nibbling on whatever I chop up for dinner. But, once Taylor gets home at 5, the kitchen clears out while I cook and listen to 'All Things Considered' on NPR. Taylor and Henry play outside until dinner is ready and do whatever they do that causes Henry to get filthy head to toe....

But, last night was different and I liked it!

Henry has a cold and with his propensity to go from a cold, to a nasty cold, to Wheezing Lethargic Boy, he and Taylor hung out with me last night rather than playing outside.

Dinnertime with the Dearmans:

Henry very clearly communicates his unhappiness with me for chopping up onions and garlic. Can we say, Mr. Sensitivity?

I won't lie.
I like cooking and I like cooking the way I like to cook,
with little or no help from a certain man who doesn't always follow my explicit directions in the kitchen.
In other words, I was feeling nice last night....

Me: Henry, show me your new ball.
H: Watch this! as he touches the plant he knows is off limits.

Where is Liza?
Chilling in the sling, her favorite place to be!

Henry lets everyone know that the baby swing is "muh".
Ummmm, no it's not.
But he wasn't super reasonable at the moment so I said,
"Yep, it's yours."

Masoor Daal with brown rice.

I snapped this picture because it cracked me up that Henry picked something off the floor and put it in his mouth.
It was a screw. Lovely.

My view as I ate a wonderful, homemade, vegetarian meal with my family.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Henry is picking up new words every hour of the day. Taylor and I love seeing him wrap his lips around a new word and make it his own.
The only catch is that most words have many multiple meanings...

For example, "mynah" does not refer to a bird that likes to imitate sounds.

However, mynah does mean....

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Meemee, his grandmother
Amelia, his friend

and most likely, a whole host of other words I haven't picked up on yet.

Rocking Mynah in Liza's carseat.

Sharing a carrot and slice of deli meat with Mynah.

While he loved playing with Mynah aka Mickey, Mynah aka Minnie did not make the cut and was cast aside for the weekend.....

Quite confusing.

Big Foot Baby.

a serious senorita.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The beach.

A lesson learned:
One beach umbrella does not provide enough shade for
5 adults, 2 toddlers and 1 baby.
Good thing we were nearby the lifeguard stand which provided plenty of shade and a coralled area for our busy busy children.

Not quite.

We tried to take a cute photo with Frankie.
And, failed miserably.

Henry wouldn't take the sunglasses off.
Martha only wants her mama.

Maybe, next time.


Trying to mind my own business.....

Watch this!

"Watch this!"

Henry might need you to watch him:

shove 10 noodles in his mouth
fall off his bed in a dramatic manner
drive his tractor into a chair
dump his blocks on the ground
throw his cup across the room
splash in the bathtub


He might need to demonstrate, over and over again, the proper way to run and jump off a little dock that is just his size!