First Haircut!

Emory had his first haircut yesterday. I love his curls, and I’m all for longer hair on boys, but the back of it looked like an albino Brillo pad. Trying to comb it had become impossible. Whenever I did try, he would scream, “OW! OW! OW, MAMA!” And most of the time I hadn’t even touched him yet. Needless to say, I was concerned for the safety of our hair stylist. But I was pleasantly surprised.

I’m not sure if it was the race car they had him sit in, the new toys all around him, or the fact that a new and intriguing, heavily tattooed man was the one doing the cutting, but he was a perfect angel for the duration of the haircut.

It wasn’t until we were leaving and he realized he wasn’t going to be able to take the cool new stuff with him did he begin to put up a fight. This is what I get for scheduling his haircut at a local children’s toy store. And I realize that I probably rewarded bad behavior, but I had to get out of there with a little bit of dignity. That’s how Billy Bee came to live with us.

I personally think he looks a lot more like his father now.

He’s losing his blond hair, which I knew was going to happen, but it still makes me a little sad. It appears he’s going to end up with the nice White Trash brown his mother and father grew up with.

Tuesdays With Murray: Chapter 117 (A Video)

I have no idea if these videos mean as much to anyone else. But I can’t help but share them. Perhaps I’m bragging a little. And I think it’s due time I explain why.

I must have been about 5 months pregnant. I had just seen an episode of Mythbusters where Jamie said something I found very offensive. I decided that it shouldn’t be on future airings of the show; it needed to be edited out. (I know! Pregnancy hormones. OMG!) I wrote a big letter and sent it to everyone behind the show I could find. (Not easy!) I even posted it on their messageboard. Basically, the letter stated that kids watch their show and that many of those kids look up to them. Flippantly admitting that you once shot and killed cats as a boy is not something that should have been put into the program. It seemed pretty simple to me. I stated I was pregnant with a son and that it bugged me a great deal.

As one might imagine, that was a huge mistake. I got attacked by some of their readers. (Wow, was I ever attacked.) After they insulted my intelligence, some told me that this is what boys do and that I am going to have a rude awakening when I realize that ALL boys at some point act violently toward animals. Including my son. Someone went on to suggest that this is just a boy’s nature. Others suggested that I was overreacting, it was just a joke! I didn’t find it funny at all.

This information devastated me. I grew up with brothers, so I fired off emails asking them (almost accusitory), “DID YOU HURT ANIMALS? DID YOU, BROTHERS?”

Neither of my brothers have ever intentionally harmed or tortured an animal for some sick amusement or game. I began to feel a little better about raising a boy. I decided that I would do my very best to teach my son to be compassionate toward animals. I can’t change the rest of the world, but I can change my own.

These interactions may not mean much to others, but they warm my heart in ways you can’t imagine. I know he’s young, but the love he seems to have toward animals makes me feel very hopeful. (You should see him with the neighbor’s dog!)

Abuse is a learned behavior. Compassion can be taught. The majority of children aren’t innately hurtful toward animals. And I’m realizing this now in the light of motherhood.

Mom It Down: OMG! Homemade Applesauce

I can’t believe how easy it is to make applesauce! I know. I know. You seasoned applesauce-makers are probably thinking, “Dude, you’re an idiot, it’s just apples, some stuff and a little heat.” File this one under: Things I should have started doing a long, long time ago.

So, how did I finally arrive here? I tend to go overboard at the farmer’s market. Being that close to such fresh produce makes me lose all sense of scale. Suddenly huge bags of chestnuts and bunches and bunches of rhubarb are items I simply must have. Forget the fact that I haven’t ever roasted chestnuts before, nor have I baked with rhubarb. Doesn’t matter. I’m like a Black Friday shopper when it comes to the farmer’s market.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I ended up bringing home way too many apples. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m still sorta dieting, so baking an apple pie or some apple crisp was out of the question.

What was I going to do with all these apples? Applesauce for my son!

What you will need:

  • Saucepan
  • Peeler
  • Knife

Ingredients

  • 4 large apples (I used five smallish ones)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • up to 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mom It Down!

Peel, core and chop up your apples. They can be all different sizes! You’re gonna mash the suckers later.

Add the apples, water, sugar and cinnamon to the saucepan.

Cover and cook for 20 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Mash them up.

You’re done! You have fresh applesauce. Serve it straight away and treat it as a dessert, or chill it and serve it to your kid as a snack. So good!

Overcoming Obstacles

PLEASE NOTE: If there’s a great deal of water left over after they’re done stewing, pour a bit out. I emptied a bit of water. You want to leave some liquid; it will thicken up a bit later. But use your best judgement. Pouring out some of the liquid will not take away from the flavor. Trust me on that one!

If you buy one of those fancy peelers, this recipe is an absolute cinch. Like, it’s so easy, you’re going to start feeling terrible EVER buying store-bought applesauce again.

Variations

I haven’t messed with this yet. It’s really quite great on its own, however, I think I will cut way back on the sugar next time and see how it goes. It’s not super sweet, but I think the apples and cinnamon might stand on their own. Or maybe I’ll go with just a couple of tablespoons of sugar. I’m also thinking brown sugar might be something to try, but not nearly as much.

And believe me you, there will be some bourbon added to this in the future. I was worried about serving it to Emory with a bunch of booze in it, so this one has been approved for those 21-years and younger.

Please enjoy! And for those of you that have been making homemade applesauce all along: WHY DIDN’T YOU EVER TELL ME?

Mom It Down! Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies.

I’m sorry I didn’t get this up yesterday. The days have been a little nuts lately and pretty much all of my attention has been devoted to Em. Anyway! I have some more gluten-free goodies today!

Here’s the skinny: I recently cut sugar out of my diet and most carbs as well. It’s been weeks worth of salads, nuts, tofu, veggies, low fat cheese, and more fake meat than you can shake a stick at. The good news: I’ve lost 6 pounds. The bad news: baking has been difficult. And while this diet isn’t forever, I’ve decided to play around a bit with healthier baked goods. Baking without sugar, heavy cream, flour and the like has been a learning experience to say the least. But I am enjoying the newness of it. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue eating this way, but for now I figured why not share?

And so. These oatmeal cookies are sugarless. They are instead sweetened with honey, molasses and agave nectar. They are also wheat and gluten-free. (I think!)

What you will need

  • Cookie sheet
  • Mixer (optional but easier!)

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (very, very soft)
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon or vanilla extract (I used bourbon)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons agave
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup soy protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Add butter, sweeteners, bourbon or extract, and egg into the mixer. Stir it up until creamy. (It will likely be a wee bit lumpy. Normal.) In separate bowl, add all dry ingredients. Mix that up a bit with a spoon. Add it to the mixture. Until it looks a bit like this:

Spoon balls onto baking sheet. Flatten with your hand.

Bake for 11 – 14 minutes. You’re done!

Overcoming Obstacles

These are super duper easy, so there isn’t much to cut back on. The only thing I can think to say is let your butter warm to room temperature in the mixer itself. Cuts back on cleaning.

Variations

The flavor of these babies are really nice, however, the consistency is a bit dry. That said, I think they would do nicely with some dried fruit, maybe some raisins? It’s up to you. My husband prefers to use some jam on the side. That works too.

A Special Note

Hey all you wheat-free folks! I would love to read your suggestions and/or criticisms. I am a novice with this type of baked good, so please, don’t hold back! Learn me something new!

The Wrong Feet

I just spent two whole hours on the playground with my son only to realize that his shoes were on the wrong feet the entire time. I can’t even begin to tell you how distinctly terrible this makes me feel. Why didn’t he say something? Why didn’t I notice? Why didn’t he fuss about it? I feel like such an ass. I can deal with the thoughtless stuff I put myself through—like the time I wore a diaper wipe wrapper on my chest, or more recently when I wore two different earrings to a play date, WITH MY HAIR UP, and no one told me—but this is too much.

Make me feel better, Internet. You’re my only hope.

Tuesdays With Murray: Chapter 115 (A Video)

Emory loves to be chased. Whenever we’re out and he sees someone he knows, instead of saying hello, he shrieks and then runs in the opposite direction. It’s both adorable and weird. Nine times out of ten, the other child has no clue why this kid is running away from them. They just stand there dumbfounded. This is one of the best parts about raising a toddler. I enjoy picturing myself acting the same way toddlers do. I picture myself, a 35-year-old woman, gleefully screaming at a friend and then running away, or throwing myself on the ground after being told I can’t eat leaves. The life I’ve been living in my head has been awesome. I’m hoping Henry Selick will direct this life. I love this life.

Cats like to chase things. And if there’s one cat that should be chasing things, it’s my chubby teenage Murray. On Saturday, as Toby Joe dangled some twine from his chest while tying up some cardboard and coming this close to losing a very special body part, he had a brainstorm: cat toy, meet string; string, meet cat toy.

That was Saturday. And this is how our house has looked and sounded ever since.

No joke; he’s doing it right now. Pantless. (Not wise, on my behalf, but still.)

Toddlers and animals together are awesome.

Mom It Down! Gluten Free Flax Seed Cookies

Today’s Mom It Down is going to be a bit different. There are two recipes below: the first one includes the use of artificial sweeteners, which is what the original recipe called for. The second recipe is modified based on the fact that neither my husband nor I can get over the taste of the Splenda. I have tried to bake with Splenda before. I want to like it, but it always leaves a strange taste in my mouth that can linger for an hour or more. Is this something Splenda eaters get used to? Is this something everyone experiences? I do wonder.

Also, you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure these aren’t only low-carb but I think they’re gluten free as well. Let me know!

I’m going to give you both recipes. The first one includes the artificial sugars. The second one is my modification. Please note: I prefer the modified version because I am not fond of the Splenda aftertaste.

What you will need

  • Cookie sheet

Ingredients

Artificial Sweetener Version

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
  • 1 egg (as close to room temp as possible)
  • 5 tablespoons Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon Stevia
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup whole almond meal
  • 1/4 cup soy protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon peel (optional)
  • pinch of salt

My Modified Version (No artificial sweeteners)

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
  • 1 egg (as close to room temp as possible)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup whole almond meal
  • 1/4 cup soy protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Mom it Down!

Take your unsalted butter out of the refrigerator a while before starting. It should be room temperature—super soft. I usually put mine directly into the mixer.

Preheat oven to 350.

Add sweetener (honey if you’re making my version, artificial sweeteners if you’re making the original), vanilla, and egg. Stir that up until creamy. It might be a little lumpy. I found that’s OK. Once you add the dry ingredients, it will smooth it out.

In a separate bowl, add all the dry ingredients.

Mix that up using a spoon.

Slowly add that to your mixer.

Spoon walnut-sized balls onto a cookie sheet.

Flatten each one down usig your fingers, a spoon, or a spatula until they are about half their height.

Bake for 10-14 minutes. Mine used 13 both times.

You’re done!

Please note: Since these cookies have flax, they need to be kept in the refrigerator or the freezer. I put mine in the fridge because they will be gone within a day or two.

I should probably mention that my son loves the modified version of these. (I didn’t give him the artificial sweetener version.) He consumed two this morning alone.

Overcoming Obstacles

If the dough is too sticky, you can refrigerate it for 15-30 minutes. If you’re in a hurry, add a little bit more soy protein powder.

Variations

I wish to change the original even more. I might glaze the tops with maple syrup or honey before baking. Also, I think serving these alongside some jam or preserves would outstanding—specifically, strawberry or raspberry. YUM!

Last night I ran out of vanilla extract during the second batch. I used Booker’s bourbon instead. It worked perfectly. Yay booze for baking!

I’d love your thoughts and/or suggestions for this recipe. It’s a work in progress for sure. More and more I want to find healthier/less-caloric sweets to serve to my expanding waistline as well as to my son. And while I’m not necessarily opposed to using artificial sweeteners, I would rather stick to “natural” ingredients. I’m all ears.

Not My Friend Nathan.

This might be the single most awesome comment this blog has ever seen. Like, I think my work is done here. Blog for sale!

Lady are u insane? Speaking as a 12 year old, when I was 5 I didnt think about any thing like what you are talking about. except… this is SO funny and thats a cute monkey. No 5 year old EVER think’s about this kind of stuff and just for the record you are an over protective MOM!

P.S Crazy you should keep your opinion to your self!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sincerely: not your friend Nathan. :(

For those feeling a little curious, it’s in response to a post I wrote about how Curious George is a bad role model for our children. Click here to read the EXTREMELY TRUE AND SERIOUS post.

(Nathan: I was just kidding. Please be my friend?)

NaBloPoMo: The Morning News: Sacrifice

A silent reader sent me an article today that had me in tears—huge, blubbering, messy tears. It was written in 2007 and for that reason, I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it before today. I wanted to thank her for sending it along. And I’m not sure why, but I also wanted to post it here as well. (Warning: it is sad.)

It’s called Sacrifice. It’s written by Andrew Womack about his wife’s triploidy pregnancy. For those of you that don’t know this already, I had a triploidy pregnancy. It was devastating. His story hits so close to home for me, I find it difficult to read. It’s so similar to what we went through, it sends chills up my spine.

It’s close to home physically as well; we live two blocks from the street he mentions walking down. Haunting.