Thursday, February 25, 2010


I have officially become a huge fan of freecycle. For those of you who may not know what I am talking about, you can check it out here. I became a member of the Lewiston-Auburn freecycle group a few weeks ago, and have been receiving daily e-mail notices listing what is available or wanted by the other group members.

Coinciding with joining freecycle (and really what inspired me to sign up), is that I have been feeling like I want to be contributing financially to our household, although I really have no desire to go back to work as a nurse. So what to do?

Also, although I have been making Sophia's food, I had been thinking it would be so convenient to have some in the jar to throw in her diaper bag. Case in point, yesterday I was out at my mom's group and there was no microwave available to thaw the frozen pea cube I had brought with me.

So, yesterday I was thrilled when the day's e-mail included a notice for some free baby food! 61 jars to be exact, with a four boxes of baby cereal thrown in. I e-mailed the gal, but someone else had already arranged to pick it up. I was a bit bummed, but a few hours later she e-mailed me again to say that she had a no-show, and did I still want it? Did I?! Off Sophia and I went to Lewiston, and here you can see the tower of (free!) food.

An answer to prayer when I least expected it, and a reminder that God always provides for his children's needs, and at just the right time.

The star wars

I have been homeschooling my niece and nephew the last few weeks, and last week started giving out star stickers for good work. It is not a complicated system; gold is best, followed by silver, then green, blue, and red. No one wants to get a red star! It is amazing what motivation those little stickers inspire!

Today the two of them finished their work and started comparing what stickers their work had merited. I told them that if they felt the need to fight over who had gotten the best stars, I would start taking stars away and give them to Sophia. They both clammed up and agreed that everyone's schoolwork had been well done.

We did decide to give Sophia a star, just for being a good baby while I taught the other two. And here she is, star and all!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baby must-haves

A couple of people have asked me recently I would put on my baby "must-haves" list. Or at least my baby "really want" list. Here goes!

1. Moby wrap. We use this all the time; at church, going to the library or grocery store, out for a walk in the neighborhood, or puttering around the house when Sophia wants to cuddle and I want to get something done! I tried one of the standard baby carriers, and it hurt my back, so I swear by the Moby.

2. Breastpump. I know, it might be too much information for any guys reading this, but really it promotes sanity. I can get out of the house and John isn't stranded because he can just give the kid a bottle. I don't work outside the home, so I just use a hand pump and pump once every day or two. Pop the milk in the freezer and you're good to go!

3. Bum Genius diapers. I decided before Sophia was born that I would use cloth diapers. I say "I" because John just wanted to do whatever would make me happy and I am the one who has to do 99% of the washing and folding. Which I am perfectly ok with, he works 40 hours a week which I don't want to do! At any rate, I tried the old school prefold diapers with wraps, but that didn't work for me. Others use them and love them, not me. BGs all the way. BTW, I have no problem with disposables, I am just cheap. In the long run, cloth just works out to cost less.

4. One piece snap outfits. Sophia is now in the last size (at least for Carter's) of one piece outfits. I am a lazy mama, at least when it comes to taking clothes on and off to change diapers many times a day. I have LOVED being able to just pop open snaps to change her diaper. I guess when babies move to 18 month clothing (and she is in 12 month now) they are supposed to be wearing big people clothing. I am going to have to give in and dress her in pants and a top, or start making all her clothes!

5. Food processer and ice cube trays. Now that Sophia is eating "real" food, I have been making her purees and freezing them in ice cube trays. In an hour every few weeks I have all of her food made! That is all in an earlier post, but I did want to include it in my list.

6. "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby" by Dr. Marc Weisbluth. The bible of sleep for babies! I don't know what I would have done without it. Thanks to Helene for sending it to me before Sophia was born. I think every mom has their favorite sleep book that has helped them, but for Soph this is it! Actually I think this should be in the #2 slot . . .

Ok, moms (and dads!), how about you? What are your "can't live without" items? Help a new mom out, would you?!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My DIY art

After much hinting (meaning I wrote out my Christmas list, down to title and author) my long-suffering husband bought me the book "Artful Spaces: DIY Wall Art for the Home" by Gerard Smith. Besides being an entertaining read, there are 24 different projects in the book, with pictures and enough explanation that a non-artist like myself can actually do any of them.

I had been reading the book since Christmas, but still couldn't decide which project I would like to do, and with what colors, etc. Last week my mother undertook a re-do on my sister's homeschool room, and I decided to provide the art. I settled on doing one large painting (18 x 24) and a series of three smaller ones (12 x 12).

My first step was an adaptation that I came up with. All of the projects involve acrylics, but I wanted the painting to have some texture like an oil painting, so I decided to do a layer of paper mache before I painted. See below!

Next (after drying) was the actual painting, and below is the final result. In between the paper mache step and the final painting was a completely different painting, but I decided I hated it. The beauty of paint . . . I just covered over it! I made the orange squares with a potato stamp, and like that they all turned out a little bit different, although overall uniform.

Next up was the series of three. First I mixed my paint to come up with the right gray, and then painted all the canvases with two coats. I decided what design I wanted to paint, and used one of our small drinking glasses to make the circles. Dip and stamp!

I got all of my canvases from Big Lots. I had priced them at an art store, and they were as expensive as $50 apiece! Big Lots had them for $3 - 7 apiece, much more in my price range. And the paints . . . when we bought our house the previous owners left all of their house paint in the basement. I had gotten rid of 30 cans, and there were still plenty of cans left. Not sure I would choose to paint an entire room that color orange, but it sure came in handy for this project!

Now if only I could finally decide what I want to paint for our own living room . . .

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Sophia has developed the habit of rubbing her left eye while nursing, and I haven't bothered to stop her. When I try to, she always wants to get her hand free, so I just let her get it out of her system. Today's event, though, convinced me to nip it in the bud.

Soph was nursing as usual, and the eye rubbing was going on longer than usual. Dedicated mother that I am, I was reading while she ate, and didn't think anything of it. She finally finished up, and I put my book down and went to sit her up. Augh!!!

Sophia had managed to turn her whole eyelid inside out, far more than the gentleman in the picture. All I could see was the white of her eye, below her iris. Freaky!

Funniest thing was that she didn't seem to care. She was just as happy as usual while I tried to get her eyelid turned back. I had to try a few times, as it was really stuck.

Later she was nursing and tried to rub her eye, I did grab that hand, and said a firm "No!" and she didn't attempt it again. We'll see how long that lasts.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Now that dairy is finally back in my diet, I have been enjoying all my favorite foods again . . . I've eaten spinach tomato pizza, had some Red Sox mint ice-cream, and the other night made the world famous Munsell Cottage Cheese pancakes.

I suppose they are really Dawson Cottage Cheese pancakes, as they were invented by my grandmother, Dru Dawson. Back in the day my mom's family was living on my dad's family's farm learning to live off the earth (it was the 70's). There were goats on the farm, and a surplus of goat cottage cheese, which apparently tasted nasty on its own. So Gramma came up with a recipe for cottage cheese pancakes, and we've been eating them ever since!

Don't worry, you don't have to have goats. I make them with regular cottage cheese, and they are ever so good, especially with real Maine maple syrup.

So here you go:

1 cup cottage cheese
4 eggs
3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (I don't usually put this in, because I load on the syrup.)
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon oil (I actually usually don't add the oil either!)

Throw it all in a bowl, mix, and cook on a griddle like any other pancakes. I cook them on the slower side, so as to make sure they cook thru all the way. Serve with lots of butter and maple syrup, mmm!
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