Month: February 2013

Happy Birthday G!

  My little man is 3!!  It feels like yesterday we were in the hospital with him, and now he’s holding full out conversations, making poignant observations and running full tilt through our house.

  Happy Birthday Monkey…I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

Two Years, No Shampoo

  It’s that time again…time for me to update you on how my quest to become the dirtiest, stinkiest-headed hippie this side of the Mississippi is going.
  Yup, I’m still ‘poo free, and to paraphrase Taylor Swift, shampoo, we are never, ever, ever getting back together.
  I got fancy this year and, unlike last year, actually blow dried it for you this time.
  So, ready to be horrified?
  I now, two years after giving up shampoo, only “wash” my hair once a week.  Once.
  I usually wash it on Tuesdays while G is at daycare, and I’ll admit, by Sunday it’s typically ready for a ponytail, so I rinse it out with plain water and use my fingers to scrub my scalp….but I’m getting a good, solid 4 days of wearing my hair down and it looking great before that without any work.  Me, who used to have to put my hair up in a ponytail by the end of the day I’d washed it when I started all this.
  Obviously, getting to this point has taken some time.  This time last year I could only go 3 days between washes.  But the longer I’m ‘poo free the happier I am I tried this.  And to answer the question before it’s asked, no, I don’t take all of my pictures on Tuesdays or Wednesdays…my hair in my photos for the other posts is just how my hair is on whatever day of the week it happens to be.  You can get a pretty good idea of how it looks through-out the week by browsing them.
  I’m still using the lessons I talked about last time…the vinegar rinse has to happen occasionally and obviously my shower cap is seeing quite a bit of use (I’m not going a week between showers!) but all in all, I don’t really think about my hair anymore.  I style it if/when I blow dry it after the weekly wash and then leave it alone til Saturday or Sunday.  I rinse it that night and sleep on it wet, usually twisted some to give it some wave.  About half the time that leaves me with gorgeously wavy, full hair.  The other half the time I look like an electrocuted homeless person and resort to a ponytail or a hat til it calms down.  I don’t touch it again til the next Tuesday.
  All that time I’m not messing with my hair means waaaay more time for sewing.  I love it.
  So want to try it now?  Click through to the original post (please ignore the terrible photography) for the shampoo “recipe” and make sure you check out last year’s update for some tips and tricks.  If you still have any questions, leave them here and I’ll be happy to answer them!

Paleo Granola (Grain Free)

  With the success I’ve had with all the other low carb recipes, I thought that I’d take a stab at a recipe for just about the carb-iest meal there is: breakfast.
  We’re making granola…and we’re not using any grains.
  Here’s what you need:
2 c almonds
1 c macadamia nuts
1 c pumpkin seeds
1 c raisins*
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp kosher/sea salt
shredded coconut/dried fruit (optional)
*I mixed normal and golden raisins
  Place your nuts and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl.  Cover with water.  In a separate bowl, cover your raisins with 1/2-1 cup of water.  Allow both bowls to soak overnight.
  In the morning, place the raisins with their soaking water into a food processor and blend them until smooth.  Drain your nuts and seeds in a fine mesh strainer and add to the raisins.  Chop until they are granola like in consistency.  Add in your vanilla, cinnamon and salt and mix.  As a note, the amounts in this were too much for my food processor.  If you don’t have a particularly big food processor you may need to do this in batches.
  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly across them.
  At this point you need to decide if you’re making “live” granola or not.  I’m really curious to try it, as I’m sure that just like yogurt and all sorts of other “live” foods, it’s great for you, IF you get it right.  I just figure that “last few days of a pregnancy” isn’t the best time to take any risk on food poisoning…so I went the “cook the critters out” route this time.  Add in your coconut and fruit after you bake if you’re going to add them.
  The original recipe recommends that to fully bake the granola you place both cookie sheets in the oven for 45 minutes at 250 degrees.  This yields incredibly delicious, sweet, nutty granola…that’s really moist.  Absolutely the way you want to serve it if you’re having a crowd and it will be gone that day or the next.  
  We weren’t having a crowd.  I just wanted granola for me and maybe G if he decided he liked it (he did).  The Mr. had concerns about the moisture level causing mold if it were stored as it was, and, just as he doesn’t question me when it comes to matters of needle and thread, I don’t challenge his cooking experience.  Mine went back in the oven.  I cooked it for another 3 hours at 200 degrees before getting impatient, turning it up to 250 and slightly scorching it.  Augh!  I think that an extra 2 hours at 250 or another 40 minutes at 200 (meaning 3 hrs 40 minutes total) on top of the original 45 minutes would have been about perfect.  It’s still not bad, but the scorching gives it a slight bitter taste.  Keep the temp low and keep an eye on it.
  I was surprised by how much this tastes like normal granola since there aren’t any grains in it.  I was expecting “granola” that was really trail mix.  Not so much.  I don’t think I’d have realized it was anything different if I hadn’t been the one cooking it.  All told, this is definitely a worthwhile recipe to try out if you’re a granola fan and are either trying to up your protein consumption or lower your carb intake.

T-minus ?

  Just a quick update on the ticking time bomb that is my uterus.  As I mentioned last Saturday, 2.0 had been flipped “sunny side up” during the ultrasound we’d done the week before and I had been trying to get him to move around the right way.

  I had my weekly checkup with my doctor this past Tuesday and as she was checking to see how I was progressing towards labor, she noticed his head wasn’t where it was supposed to be.  We did a quick ultrasound there in the office and it was determined that while no longer sunny side up, he was now transverse (sideways).  …gee, that’s why it felt like somebody was bracing themselves Mission Impossible style across the inside of my rib cage…
  So “sunny side up” is bad, and breach is worse…but transverse is literally impossible to deliver naturally.  My GOD this child owes me some spectacular Mother’s Day gifts already.
  The doctor scheduled me for what is called a version procedure for Thursday.  Basically a version procedure is where they try to externally push the (obviously internal) baby into the right position.  Doesn’t exactly sound like the sort of thing you’re gonna walk out of feeling like you’ve gotten a massage.  And I was really looking forward to it since I’d managed to catch a cold over last weekend and was already feeling like I’d been run over by a truck, complete with sore ribs from coughing.
  Luckily, Thursday morning my guts were feeling far less abused.  I had the sneaking suspicion he’d turned again.  Yet another ultrasound confirmed it.  For ONCE this kiddo cooperated and (at least as of Thursday) is now head down, right way round.
  My cold is essentially gone, the kid is in the right position and as of tomorrow I will be 39 weeks.  One week til my due date…5 days til G’s bday (when I delivered LAST time I had this due date).
  Lets do this thing.
As a note: I’ve been trying for the last month to get several posts ahead of myself so that when 2.0 makes his grand appearance you guys aren’t all treated to an immediate, complete spate of dead air.  Obviously the new baby is gonna mean my crafting/sewing/creating time takes a hit for a while, but there should be at least a week or two of posts on deck when he’s born so I won’t be totally AWOL right away!
  Want to be among the first to know when I have him?  There will most likely be pics on my Twitter long before I get home and am able to post about it here!  Follow me there and you’ll see 2.0 nearly as soon as the grandparents and close friends.

Modified Ariadne Top

  Oh Erin…you’re adorable.  A white shirt?
  As well as last week’s Ariadne top turned out I couldn’t help but making a modified version of it with this cute heart patterned knit.  Because it was a stretchier knit and I added a little extra length it even surprised me and fit over the baby bump.  I’ve managed to wear it once without it siren-calling tomato sauce down the front, but I have no delusions about the fact that a white shirt in a house with a 3 year old boy and an infant on the way is just asking for it.
  Judging from the look on G’s face, he’s contemplating the best way to get an entire glass of grape juice on me.  Apologies for the hat hair…we’d just come inside.
  Other than adding 2″ of length to the shirt, I also modified the back, sleeves and neckline binding.  I took the keyhole out of this one because I thought it’d be too much going on.  The original had flutter sleeves, which, as I mentioned, aren’t really my style.  I subbed in 3/4 length sleeves from a pattern I’d traced off my favorite shirt and rather than making a 1″ band for the binding like recommended in this tutorial, I cut a 2″ wide band so I’d have a thicker, 3/4″ binding.  I then added on extra length to the strip to allow me to tie the neck up into a bow that drapes down the front.
  Cuz, you know…flutter sleeves=too girly, but GIANT GIRLY BOW ROUND MY NECK=cool.

Ginger Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

  More sweet potatoes!  I may or may not have brought home 7 pounds of sweet potato in one grocery trip…  They’re delicious and good for us, what do you want from me?
  Here’s what you need:
3 large sweet potatoes, rinsed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
15 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
3 c vegetable broth
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
fresh pepper, to taste
  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Just like with the Sweet Potato Pizza I posted Monday, we’re going to bake our potatoes first.  I got smart this time and chopped them in half before putting them in the oven, so after 45 minutes or so they were ready to go.  Once your potatoes are soft, you’re going to let them cool a bit before removing the skins and chopping them into rough 1″ cubes.
  Meanwhile, in a large soup pan, heat your olive oil and saute your onions and garlic for around 5 minutes, until they are soft.  Stir in your ginger and cook for another minute.  Add your broth and coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, partially covered.
  Add in the remaining ingredients (including the potatoes) and simmer for 5 minutes.  Using an immersion blender or transferring batches to a blender or food processor, puree until creamy and smooth.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Don’t hesitate to top it with a dollop of whipping cream.
  I love, love, love “orange” soups with ginger and onion in them.  To me, this tasted almost exactly like squash soup that we make that also has ginger and onion in it.
  Obviously, most of us want some kind of other side with soup for dinner, so you’re probably going to want some salad and a good crusty bread to go along side to make a full meal, but this is a wonderful, hearty soup.  The recipe made quite a bit, so we froze our leftovers and those will be getting pulled out after the baby is born.

Felt Bunny Finger Puppet

  For whatever reason, this time around, my nesting has manifested almost completely in a desire to sew.  This is a good thing in that it’s not my going out and buying a bunch of junk we don’t need, but it’s maybe not such a good thing in that I’m tackling all sorts of silly projects that don’t necessarily need to be done with a fervor that is making the Mr. nervous.
  This probably counts as one of those things we don’t really need, but look, how cute!
  I made this to throw into G’s bag for when 2.0 is born.  The plan is for him to go to my folks place while I’m at the hospital, but we barely made it to the hospital in time for his birth, and my understanding is that second births are usually faster.  I thought it was a worthwhile idea to have something new for him to play with in the event we’re in too much of a hurry to wait for my ‘rents to pick him up here and he’s stuck at the hospital with us for a bit.
  The whole tutorial is at the link above, but basically you just need to print out the bunny template, cut 4 copies out of felt, stitch it together and add the face details.  Making the pom pom for the tail (which entirely disappears against the white background above) is the most complicated part.
  The purlbee tutorial is all about the white bunnies.  I have to admit that they look really cute with the variety of bright colors, but back when I was working on these felt animals for G’s felt board I had tried (and failed) to convince him he wanted a lighter colored bunny (so it’d stand out against the dark board).  No dice.  It was a dark brown bunny or no bunny at all.  So, I figured he’d appreciate the darker version this time as well.
  Not really necessary, sure, but fun, so we’ll let it slide this time Nesting.  This time.

Sweet Potato Pizza (Paleo)

  Sweet potato AND pizza?  I think I’m in love.
  Here’s what you need:
4 medium sweet potatoes
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
black olives, sliced*
1 lb sausage
1 onion, thinly sliced
Mozzarella, shredded
Tomato/pizza sauce
*We omitted these since G has been on an olive strike lately.  Basically use any pizza toppings you like!
  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  We’re going to bake our sweet potatoes until they get nice and mushy inside.  The original recipe says that this can be done in about 30 minutes.  …I’ll admit I got potatoes that were waaaaaay too big, but I think she has some kind of special, dark oven magic.  After pricking my sweet potatoes and leaving them in for 40 minutes they were still crunchy inside.  Slicing them in half before tossing them in the oven may make it go faster, but be aware, this stage may take longer than you expect it to the first time.
  While they’re roasting, prepare your toppings.  Brown your sausage if you’re using it, saute your mushrooms and onions and make any modifications to your tomato sauce that you’d like.  You’re going to have some time, so sou chef it up now instead of bothering with all the chopping up front.
  Once your sweet potatoes are nice and soft, use a fork to mash up the innards.  We found that this was way easier to do without ripping giant holes in the skins if we scooped them into a bowl, mashed them and then put them back in.  Spread some tomato sauce on top of your sweet potato and top with your other pizza toppings.
  Toss everything back into the oven for a few minutes to get it all warmed through and to melt your cheese.  Serve warm.
  These were awesome.  Definitely a really great option for when you’re craving pizza but not quite ready to give up on the idea of a healthy dinner and order take out.  They did wind up giving me a higher blood sugar reading than I would have expected for a “low carb” meal, but, like I said, the potatoes we used were huge…I probably ate close to a pound of sweet potato.  Rather more than a “serving”.
  Everybody liked this and it was good reheated the next day too.  With the potatoes in the skins, this isn’t exactly a freezer friendly dish, but since we had SO much potato (4 lbs for 2 adults and a toddler?!?) we scooped the innards out of some of the extras and spread them in a pie tin before adding our toppings and that’s been thrown in our freezer for an easy dinner after 2.0 is born!

How to Sleep on Your Stomach 9 Months Pregnant (Flip that Sunny Side Up Baby)

  Last week I showed you these pictures:

  I love that we got to see 2.0‘s face…but unfortunately, that we were able to see it means that he’s sunny side up…or what’s called posterior.  Basically he’s facing out towards my belly button instead of being turned towards my spine as is ideal for birth.
  It’s certainly not the end of the world.  He’s head down, so he won’t be coming breech, but my understanding is that back labor (which is caused by the baby being turned like this) really sucks, so I’m doing everything I can to encourage him to turn the right way.
  The main thing that I’ve found that you can do to help turn a sunny side up baby is to use gravity against them.  Their heads are the heaviest part, but their butts/back are the second heaviest…so the more you can keep the front of your belly pointed towards the ground, the more likely they are to flip around and face your spine.
  The cat and cow yoga move and other pelvic tilt exercises are supposed to help encourage baby to turn, but I’m also trying to make sure that I’m not giving him any excuse to stay sunny side while I sleep.
  Pretty much any pregnant lady call tell you that sleeping on your left side is the preferred way to go, but for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to keep myself there this pregnancy.  Essentially every morning I’ve started on my side I’ve woken up flat on my back.  No surprise then he’s turned how he is.  So I decided it was time to figure out a way to sleep on my stomach and hope that at worst I’d wake up on my side!
  Only problem?  Oh yeah, that whole foot or so of baby belly protruding from my front.
  I did lots of experimenting, trying to basically build bridges with pillows to support my hips and chest while leaving a space for my stomach, but nothing was working.  My Mr. kept joking about my building my “preggo nests”, until it occurred to me that, duh, that was exactly what I needed to do.
  I grabbed a nice, dense full-sized blanket (this one I crocheted actually) and rolled it into a tube before curling it into a circular nest shape below my usual pillow.  I stuck a second pillow below it for my knees and lay down with my belly in the hole of the nest.
  I’m not going to try and claim that it’s a perfect solution.  This far into a pregnancy there really isn’t such a thing as a good night’s rest, but this set up has allowed me to sleep far more comfortably than I have in a few weeks while not winding up sprawled on my back by morning.  It usually takes a few minutes of (what I’m sure is) hilarious grunting and adjusting the pillows, belly and blankets, but once everything is in place I can, at least for a few hours, sleep without feeling the effects of being so huge.
  Baby hasn’t flipped yet.  I’m still getting lots of sharp little knees out my front.  But, at least I know I’m doing everything I can to encourage him the right way around!

Ariadne Top (Link to Free Pattern)

  As I mentioned last week, I’ve stopped making maternity clothing and switched over to what I hope will be flattering post-baby clothing.  Dear post-baby body to-be, please cooperate, just a little.
  Anyhow, I had found this pattern on Pinterest almost a year ago and it had gotten lost in my “sewing inspiration” board.  Luckily, I noticed that the board had gotten completely out of control and did some reorganizing and found it.  Have to love free patterns!
  I’m hoping that the less than body-con fit will be a bit more forgiving than my usual wardrobe when, you know, my abdomen no longer is full of person and all the guts that have been squished up to my armpits collapse down into the now-empty space.  (Ah, aren’t the changes to a woman’s body with childbirth poetic?)
  Plus, there’s a pretty back cut out!
  The tutorial also links to this absolutely brilliant explanation of how to get a nice, clean knit binding edge.  Figuring out the right amount to take in the binding with knit fabrics has been a struggle for me, so having numbers like “10-30%” is awesome.
  I’m not entirely in love with the flutter sleeves.  They’re a little girly for my taste, but I thought I’d at least give them a chance on the first go at this pattern.  Besides, this periwinkle blue/purple is a little on the girlier side of colors that I’d wear, so I guess it all works together.
  If I’d have made this sooner in my pregnancy I probably would have gotten a lot of wear out of it early on…as it is, I’m just too huge and the hip band gets pulled up onto my belly.  Not comfy.  It is going into my hospital bag to be worn home though!
  As for the out of control Pinterest boards, the sewing pins have now been divided into much more manageable chunks:
Sewing Inspiration: The original is still around.  It’s kind of my catch-all for commercial pieces that I want to figure out a pattern for on my own or other things that don’t quite fit in the other categories.  Non-free patterns are in here.  This is kind of my “style” board.
Sewing Tutorials:  Pins that have a how-to for making the sewing project, but don’t have a physical, printable pattern.  This includes ones that have exact measurements…if I have to do more work than hitting “print” it goes here.
Sewing (Free Patterns): My laziest, cheapest Pinterest sewing board.  These are the projects that have free, printable patterns so I don’t have to do any thinking if I don’t want to.
Sewing Techniques: Pins that detail useful how-to’s on things like putting in zippers properly and like the binding technique I linked to in this post.  Sewing knowledge details as opposed to full projects.
Sewing Refashions: Projects that start with a pre-made piece of clothing and turn it into something else.
Sewing (Completed Projects): The done stuff!  Probably nothing you haven’t already seen, since most of it is going to be links back here, but I like having it all in one place!
  Hopefully that will make it a little easier to find useful things for you guys…I’d love it if you’d follow the new boards!