Saturday, July 28, 2012

Giving up my superpower

I can still change a diaper at lightning speed, and in the dark no less. But my power to get Bubba to sleep in 15 minutes or less is slowly fading.

There have been many methods that we have used to get Bubba to sleep over the past year. From bouncing, to the sling, holding his hand through the cradle bars, controlled crying (this one was the worst, and only was tried a couple of times because I became convinced all it did was have him scream til he passed out rather than "teach" him to go to sleep), and finally our current method: let him run around in the playroom after bath until he looks really tired, then take him to bed and let him pass out nursing, then sneak him into his crib and escape.

This last method has been working great for many months now. We get a little extra time to play, no one fights and I get a couple minutes of snuggle time while he falls asleep. Except one small problem. I have to wean Bubba.

I have psoriatic arthritis and the meds are not something I can take while I breastfeed. Bubba has already switched to whole milk with meals and eats like a champ, so I am not worried about that part. He actually only nurses to go to sleep, so only 3 maybe 4 times a day. Its also been longer than I originally planned to breast feed anyway. He is over a year old after all. Before he was born I said until the first tooth comes, then I'll switch to pumping.  But when Bubba's first tooth came, he never bit me. So I figured, ok no problem, this is easier than pumping anyway. It wasn't til his fourth tooth that he bit, and just like they said to, I firmly said "No." and ended the nursing session. It only happened one or two more times before he got the hint and stopped.

Another reason I kept going was, Bubba still has never been sick. Once we thought he might catch a cold that was going around the house, but a few coughs and that was it. Magic milk!

But the real reason it has been so hard to give it up lately is that with milk I can get Bubba to fall asleep so easily. It's kind of lazy on my part I guess, but it is tricky when nursing is a source of food, and comfort. I could always rationalize it by saying to myself, well maybe he is still hungry, or thirsty and I can't deny him food. But lately I noticed even if he had lunch 5 minutes before nap he will still nurse, so it is mostly comfort thing.

I decided on a plan but have been stalling because I remember what getting Bubba to sleep was like before I got him to nurse to sleep. I figured that the first week I would get him to sleep without nursing for afternoon nap, then next week we will work on morning nap, and finally bed time, which I imagine will be the hardest.

So now my effort to get Bubba to sleep for one nap a day with out milk began. Here is my log of how it went.

Day One: Went by with out incident. We were out late the night before so Bubba slept in, and ended up skipping his morning nap which meant by afternoon nap he was really tired so I gave him is nuk and blankie, then lay him in the crib, patted his back for a minute and out like a light. This just may not be so bad.

Day Two: I went to work on the condo and my mom was watching him and he is used to her putting him in the crib awake to go to sleep, sure he fusses, but she sits in there with him til he falls asleep and sneaks out.

Day Three: Bad. Bubba marches up and down in his crib trying to climb out. He bangs his head on the bars, he does head stands (more like tripods), he throws his blankie and nuk and screams. Finally after an hour he flops down and closes his eyes.

Day Four: Better but not great. Bubba cries a bit then lays down, but pops back up. He still tries to climb out and throws his blankie and nuk. I decide to lay on the floor next to his crib (doesn't this one sound familiar!) As if he remembers as well Bubba sticks his hand out through the bars and reaches out to mine. I take his hand and with my other put his nuk back in and give him his blanket. We lay there for a minute holding hands through the bars and he closes his eyes. Only about forty minutes this time so maybe there is hope.

Day Five: Not so good. Fifty minutes. It may have been the diaper change in the middle of it that extended everything. In the beginning he lay down and took my hand though the bars. "This might just be the easiest day yet", I thought. "Psych!" was his response.
He thrashed to the side and jumped up, paraded around the crib with his blankie then tried to climb out by bracing his feet on either sides of the corner. It was scary how high he got! We may have to get him out of the crib sooner than we planned. A toddler bed seems safer than falling on his head. Finally he sits down puts his nuk in his mouth and picks up his blankie. He tickles his favorite corner of the blanket against his nose for a while. In a minute or two, "Timber!"  He slowly droops forward and falls asleep in a crazy baby yoga pose that is a mix between downward facing dog and child's pose. A moment or two later he sighs, stretches, and flattens out to his belly as I make my escape.

Day Six: An easy day for me! Back to the condo to do some work, so Grandma is the lucky one again today ;)

Day Seven: Luck number seven?  Heck no! Sixty-one minutes before I get him to sleep.  (Not that I was counting or anything.)  Not much crying this time, but still the usual parading around the crib, throwing blankie and nuk overboard, thrashing, sticking his feet through the bars, and trying to climb out. The annoying part is he "asked" to go to bed. I took him to the playroom to burn off any extra energy, and before his feet even touched the floor he screamed, climbed deeper into my arms, and waved toward his room. (Bubba waves "night-night" every time, but rarely does "bye bye" it seems to confuse him) Anyway he gave the signal, but when I put him in bed he had a surge of energy. He must be sneaking Mt. Dews or something.

They say it is a process. I have been through this "process" before. Last time he was younger, and there was more crying, but this is really close to the battles we used to have before Bubba fell into the pattern of nursing before going to sleep every time. I guess time will tell, but I am not looking forward to next week when we start "no milk" for morning nap as well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Somehow we ended up with 4 dozen eggs in the fridge. They were on sale last week so my mom bought 2 dozen, then my brother's friend rents a house that is on a "smallish farm" that has chickens, so if you give him empty egg cartons, he will bring you eggs. This week he happened to bring 2 dozen. In addition to these 4 dozen eggs there is a dozen (or most of one) in the fridge at our condo that my husband has yet to bring here. (Since we moved to my parent's in our transition to Wisconsin, and my husband has been remodeling our condo, he has been bringing small coolers of food from our fridge as there is space for it in my mom's fridge.) Anyway we have 4 (basically 5) dozen eggs to do something with so I decide to make my Scrambled egg muffins which will use up 8 eggs in one shot.

For the batter:
2 cups Bisquick 
1 cup milk
2 eggs

For the egg filling:
6 eggs
generous sprinkle of each:

1 cup of shredded cheddar

Mix together the Bisquick, milk and 2 eggs.

In another bowl mix the 6 eggs and spices.

Shred some cheese.

Add about a tablespoon of Bisquick to the muffin tin (I used popover tins, a bit bigger and deeper so I didn't have to mess with multiple batches, it was getting close to nap time)

A generous pinch of cheese.

A bit of egg mixture. (probably 2 tablespoons)

Top it off with some more Bisquick.

Pop in the oven preheated to 350 for 25-30 minutes. Make sure to put a pan underneath to catch any drips. These can rise quite a bit.

Done when a tooth pick comes out clean and they are golden brown on top.

We even got mini muffins from to "drips" the catcher pan.


Bubba took a bite and smiled. He ate a couple of pieces til he realized, "Hey, there is egg in here!"  Then he wouldn't eat anymore. Lately, Bubba only eats egg in quiche form. (sometimes)
Oh well. They can't all be "Bubba approved".

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Make a Bean Bag Toss Game

Complete with decorative wood burning, because I wasn't already doing enough crazy things getting ready for Bubba's birthday party.

I found instructions on this guy's blog called Wayne of the Woods and we pretty much followed them exactly. I convinced my dad and brother to build it, and I wood burned a pattern into it. I think that my inner pyromaniac has been stifled for too long. I had to give up jewelry making and blacksmithing hobbies when pregnant with Bubba, and since then it has just been to busy to pick them back up again. So I jumped at the chance to do something creative with fire, since my glass bottle cutting with acetone and string project didn't really go as planned (We'll talk about that one some other time).

To make them you'll need:
(3) 5/8'' particle board, or plywood 2' x 4' for the top and sides of the ramp
(2) 2'' x 4'' x 8' for the underneath supports
(1) 1'' x 3'' x 4' for a bottom support
1/4 pound of 1 5/8'' screws
5 bags of beans
some scrap material for bean bags

So first you drill a hole so you can get the saw in to cut.

Cut out the circle.

Cut the sides of the ramp.

And the back.

Cutting the interior structure.

I drew the pattern that I wanted to wood burn in pencil first.

Then I just followed the lines.

Attach the interior supports.

Screw on the back.

One down, one to go!

We painted them with 2 coats of polyurethane.

On to the homemade bean bags! Made out of old jeans, of course. 
(I guess Bubba's blue jean animal menagerie will have to be 1 animal short)

Cut out 20 squares measuring about 5 inches by 5 inches, and pin them inside out.

Sew most of the way around, leaving about an inch or so open to fill the bags.

Turn them right side out.

Each takes about a cup or so of beans. We use a pea/ black bean mix cause the store didn't have enough bags of one kind.

Pin them shut after filling.

Hand stitch the bags shut.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Roasted Corn and Poblano Chowder

There is a blog I follow called The Spanish Wok. They have an event every month called The Soup Kitchen where a recipe theme is chosen and a blogger, like myself, can submit their blog post of a recipe that fits the theme and then all of the posts are gathered in the same place. Very dangerous for recipe collectors like myself, but it is a great way to get introduced to new food blogs.

The theme for July is Summer Soup. I immediately thought of my parent's recipe for Roasted Corn and Poblano Chowder. To me, corn on the cob is such a summer food, and this recipe calls for 8 ears of it. This soup is great warm or cold, so it makes and excellent winter soup as well.

8 ears of corn
4 poblano peppers 
1 onion
4 strips of bacon
3 russet potatoes (peeled)
4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup of whipping cream
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of fresh chives

Saute the bacon in a pan, once crispy take it out, put it to the side and cook the onions in the bacon fat.

Cook onions for about 5 minutes til the start to become translucent.

Shuck the corn, and precook it in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes per ear before placing on the grill (this keeps it from burning) Grill for about 15 minutes.

Then grill the poblanos, these at a little higher heat. 
(they only take about 5 minutes or so).

Cut the corn off the cob.

Seed the poblanos and dice them up.

In a blender puree 1 cup of corn and 1 cup of whole milk.

Then put it in the pot and add the potatoes, the rest of the corn, the onions, 1 teaspoon of salt and 3 cups of milk.

           Cook on low for about 20 minutes then add 3/4 cup of cream, and the poblanos.
                                               Continue to let cook for 20-30 minutes.

Garnish with the bacon and the chives. Goes perfect with a homemade flour tortilla!

The Soup Kitchen, The Soup Kitchen Badge

Here is the link to the round up with the other submissions for the Summer Soup event.