Monday, March 30, 2009

Flying with an Infant

I was born and lived most of my formative years in Quebec, about an hour north of Montreal. I come from a large family (I have over 60 first cousins on my Mom's side alone) and most of them live in a 30 km radius. Consequently, now that I have a baby, I am especially keen to go back for a visit.

I was innocently perusing the Internet looking for travel tips as I have never travelled with small children and I cam across all of this very foreboding information about how dangerous it is to travel with a child on your lap.

I am not going to pretend that some of the urgency I feel about going back to Montreal is that the baby will get to fly for free and as a Mom at home, there isn't a lot of money to throw around. There are no discounts for a child flying so going back after she turn 2 means paying for another ticket.

But all of the information out there scared the poop out of me. Stories about Mom's losing their grip on their babies mid-flight during turbulence and the baby coming to serious harm. Or about how a lap child must be placed on the floor during a crash and how these baby's are often lost in the landing.

Okay - so I know that the chances of there being a crash on a plane is much smaller than in a car but turbulence is pretty common. And I can't help but feel like that fact that i have read about the dangers of a lap child, if anything happened (even something minor) I would be guilty of negligence.

Now I know the ultimate answer is to purchase a seat for the baby and strap her into her aviation approved Britax Marathon and call it a day. Unfortunately there is the problem of actually paying for the ticket. I am off on maternity and while I am still receiving some pay, it is just slightly more than half of my salary. There isn't a lot of extra money to through around and to complicate matters, the Hunky Hubby should actually be coming back with us. His father and paternal family all live in Montreal as well and he hasn't seen them for 5 years. We planned to slowly save for the trip and go in November when I had returned to work. But my Mom has decided that she wants to return this May or June and we both feel like having my granny, my mom, me and the baby all there at the same time would be a wonderful memory. My mom has offered to pay for my ticket (which I have not yet decided if I can accept) but that still leaves me to decide what to do about the baby.

Here is a link to the website recommended by Transport Canada for infant air safety. Take a minute to check it out and then weigh in - what would you do?

Tuesday's Recipes

Tuesday's Recipes



Kashi Go Lean Crunch
1 banana
1 cup milk

Pour a bowl of Kashi, add sliced banana and milk and enjoy.


Leftover Shepherds Pie

have with fruit juice and a cookie



6 pirogi
4 oz smoked turkey sausage
1 tbsp sour cream
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Melt butter in small pot, add sliced onion and cook on lowest heat for 30 minutes
2. Prepare pirogi as per preference - I toss mine in olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until crisp.
3. Slice the sausage and quickly brown.
4. Place pirogi on a plate, add sour cream, caramelized onion and turkey sausage.

Serve with carrot sticks and have a piece of fruit.

Don't forget your snacks!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Recipes for Monday

Applesauce Saskatoonberry Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups unsweeted applesause
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (I used Saskatoonberries yum)

Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly coat 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

Mix together the 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowel. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

Whisk together the buttermilk, applesauce, egg, oil, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.

Toss the blueberries in 1/4 c all-purpose flour to lightly coat the berries.

Pour buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until the batter is just moistened. Fold in the blueberries.

Divide the mixture evenly amoung the muffin cups. Bake for 20 mins. Cool muffins in pan on a rach for 5 minutes. Remove muffins and serve warm or at room temperature.

Store in the freezer to have throughout the month (if you can wait that long)

Have one for breakfast with hemp protein in apple juice and a glass of milk.

Grilled Veggie Sandwich

1/2 Baguette
1 oz mozzarella
4 slices of tomato
4 olives, torn to pieces
1 tsp olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan on a med heat.
2. Layer olive pieces, mozza and tomato on bottom half of baguette and top with top of baguette.
3. Put the sandwich in the frying pan and scan kitchen frantically for something heavy to put on top.
4. Settle on stacking three large cans of diced tomatoes precariously on a saucepan.
5. Hover to ensure cans do not slide off.
6. Flip sandwich after 3 minutes and repeat steps 3-5.
7. After the second 3 minutes have elapsed, grab sandwich (careful its hot) and as soon as you are brave enough, bite into its hot, gooey, sweet, salty goodness.

Have with some water and an apple.

Turkey Shepherds Pie
  • 1 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 can of corn
  • 2 large yams (not the supersized ones - like a large potato)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

1 Peel and quarter yams, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).

2 While the yams are cooking, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in large frying pan.

3 Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins).

4 Add groundvturkey and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add corn after the meat has initially cooked.

5 Mash yams in bowl with 2 tablespoons of butter, season to taste.

6 Place turkey, corn and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed yams on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well. Daub with 1 tablespoon of butter.

7 Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 20 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

Serves two.

Have with fruit juice mixed with soda water and a cookie for dessert.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Last Minute Change - if you like

I came across a recipe for Whole Wheat Orange Spice Muffins and I thought that they sounded too good to miss. So here is the adjusted shopping lists to get rid of the Maple Bran Muffins and replace them with the new Orange Spice Muffins. I will keep the old shopping lists up as well so that you can choose to include either muffin. I'll post the recipe for both.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekly perishables

The weekly perishables list can be viewed and printed here. Again, I have left space to record cost. I'll post my filled in list after I shop. Happy Shopping!

March Monthly Shopping List

The list can be viewed in detail and printed here. As you can see I've left space to record cost. I'll post my list with cost filled in after I shop tomorrow.

Food Serving Sizes and Suggestions

You can view and print this document here.

March Complete Meals and Nutritional Guidelines

You can print the complete meals and and nutritional guidelines here.

March Meals

You can view and print the March menu here.

March Meal Planning

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am experimenting with the idea of meal planning for an entire month to simplify my meal preparation and to (hopefully) save money. I looked at having a different meal every night for the month but I found that repeating a two week menu kept things more simple and more frugal. The cost of groceries are going to be a little front loaded - you will do the one month grocery shop and the week one perishables in week one but then groceries will be much less expensive as you will just be shopping for the weekly perishables.

I decided to plan for all three meals and two snacks for the entire month. I though that this would be a better capture of how much an entire month's groceries will cost and more importantly it will keep us out of the grocery store during the week. Not only will this be a time saver but it should be a money saver as well. Everyone knows that when you head into the grocery store to pick up something quick, you end up spending $50 on a bunch of stuff you didn't know you needed! This plan will avoid that exact scenario.

I decided to plan for 28 breakfasts, 28 lunches, 56 snack (two snacks a day) and 24 dinners. Why only 24 dinners? Well I think inevitably there will be leftovers or we will feel like having takeout or we will have dinner with relatives or we feel like having red meat or something decadent.

I have a few suggestions for making this a much easier month.

1. Look over the meal plan and get rid of anything you think you won't like. I know the recipes are not yet attached but the meal names should give you some indication if it contains something you hate.

2. Look over the shopping lists before you shop and shop your cupboard. We often forget if we have a certain ingredient at home and end up buying it to be safe only to discover we actually have a 2 kg bag of it in out pantry. Avoid this by taking a minute to shop your own supplies.

3. If there is an ingredient on the grocery list that you hate, leave a comment and I will suggest an alternative.

4. Clean out your pantry, fridge and freezer before shopping. Get rid of the stuff that has been floating around for months so that you have a place to put all of your new groceries. Remember that if you have anything that has not been opened and is non-perishable you can bring it with you to donate to the foodbank.

5. If you double a recipe the first time you make it and freeze it, you will cut down on how many meals you need to make in the second two weeks.

I'll post the menu, the nutritional guidelines I was following and the components of the complete meal in separate posts so you can quick reference it. I'll post the tutorials and recipes as I cook them. I hope you like the meals and I hope this menu planning helps you out!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Home made baby

I made a dress for the Darling Daughter yesterday out of some fabric I bought for $4.00. I used some grosgrain I have for my hair bow making and voila - the cutest dress ever!!

You can find the really easy to follow tutorial at Habitual. Oh and I made the headband and baby legwarmers too. I make them a little different than the tutorials that are out there so I'll post those soon. I think there is enough fabric left to make some matching bloomers. I am going to work out a pattern for the bloomers with Velcro to make diaper changes a little easier so when I do I'll also post that tutorial too. Enjoy the cute!

Twilight Fever

The Hunky Hubby works in the film industry in Vancouver and as such, we often have the inside track about any films coming to town. We knew the second and third films from the Twilight series were going to be shooting here and we knew that everyone involved was doing their best to keep that information a secret. I don't know why - it is not like there was any lack of media coverage of the fact that they were going to be filming here and there have been more than a few photos of the set and actors since filming began. The complete lack of secrecy has actually become a bit of a joke for those not working on the film.

In fact, there is a documentary crew in town filming a piece about finding Twilight and they seem to be approaching any crew they see filming and asking if they are "Twilight" or if they know where they are filming. The hilarious part about this is that EVERYONE knows where they are shooting - it isn't a secret and contrary to what the film's organizers apparently believe - no one cares. At least not enough to cause any real issues for the film crew. I am sure there are a a few mega-fans hanging around and there are obviously some photographers around as we have been treated to such scintillating photos as:

Twilight Stars getting coffee...

When a crew member pointed out how easily the documentary crew could actually find the new Twilight movie it became obvious that the documentarians actually knew this but it wouldn't be much a story if they found the set right away.

(Aside: *Sigh* Even documentaries can't be trusted to be real these days.)

Which brings me to the point of this post. I do not get it. I've watched the original film and I say it again:

I do not get it.

Yeah, yeah, it is filled with teen angst and eternal love and vampires, all three of which tend to be just my type of guilty pleasure. It's just that I do not buy it in this case. It is a little too much, they fall in love too fast, everything is just too, too TOO. Maybe someone needs to explain it to me.

Maybe I need to read the books.

photo from here

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Rants and Raves

I had a very busy weekend bopping around all of the interesting blogs taking part in the Ultimate Blog Party 2009. So I don't have too many rants and raves other than a big rave for all of the great posts I read and all of the great blogs out there.

A big rave for successfully finding very cute shoes to complete the Darling Daughter's Easter outfit. She is going to wear the Embroidered Party Dress in fresh from the Children's Place

and my mom found a pair of Jack and Lilly shoes that are just perfect. After seeing pair after pair of hard soled, plastic dress shoes it was great to find shoes with a flexible, soft sole, made of quality, breathable leather. Once I read the package and found that they were podiatrist approved I was even happier with these shoes.

The shoes actually bring me to my rant - why is it so difficult to find appropriate shoes for a baby who may have slightly larger feet than average. And what the heck is average nowadays? It seems to me that almost every baby is not wearing the actual size that corresponds to their age. Everyone seems to accept that their child will wear a size between 3 and 6 months older than their child is. Which isn't a huge problem except for pants (they often stop having snaps on the legs after 12 months - so my 6 month old is mostly out of this size - and these are essential for easy diaper changes) and shoes. I don't want my baby in hard soled shoes with a heel - even if she is wearing a size 4 infant shoe!

Thankfully I have found Jack and Lily and their cute shoes should do the trick until the Darling Daughter is a little older.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

A big welcome from Vancouver to all of you Ultimate Blog Party-Goers. I know you are busy bopping around to all of the fabulous blogs so I'll be brief (don't expect it to last!)

I am PopWahmBuzz and I have been blogging since July 2008. After blogging only for family I found myself drawn to blogging for a wider (wilder?) audience. I love the sense of community that exists in the blogosphere and I wanted to contribute to that community in way beyond comments. My blog is a snapshot of my life and of the time we live in and I intend to keep a keen eye (and a sharp tongue) on all of the pop culture, buzz-worthy stuff that registers on my radar. I hope you join me...

Now a quick recap of my world:

This is me - all of my recent pictures include my Darling Daughter so you get a little gratuitous baby-love. I am a just-turned-thirty first time mom currently on maternity leave.
and here is the Hunky Hubby, looking calm and cool as he flavours a chicken butt. He works in the film industry and has some crazy stories which he writes about on his blog. I intend to solicit a few Dad posts from him periodically -( editorial control is power bwa ha ha)

and this is the Darling Daughter, she is 6 months old and so cute I could die from it. She is also hilarious- no really, remind me to tell you about how she lip-syncs - LIP-SYNCS!!

I love to sew and craft and I have recently started a little etsy shop called MinxMaker so you know I'll be sharing some crafty ideas.

I also love to cook and bake and I have recently become obsessed with meal planning on a budget so I will be adding recipes and tutorials for that little project as well.

So for lots of laughs, the chance to rant, recipes, crafts and maybe a little lip-syncing, hit the subscribe button and have each post delivered to your inbox or reader.

You can also follow me on Twitter for random thoughts, observations and pleas for help.

There are some awesome prizes up for grabs. I hope I win a Go Baby Mat from GoBaby, or maybe a pair of See Kai Run shoes from Traveling With Baby or a blog makeover from Sweet n Simple Design. If those are not available them anything baby girl or blog related would be great!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Getting to Know Me

1. Who would you most like to meet?
David Suzuki - I know he would have some great tips for living a more sustainable life.
2. Who would you most like to have dinner with?
Martha Stewart - I am sure she would be amazing!
3. Who would you refuse to meet?
Any major actor or actress - they couldn't live up to my expectations
4. What are you best at?
Problem solving - I am awesome at thinking outside the box.
5. What are you worst at?
Decision making - It was hard for me to decide if that was what I was worst at...
6. What is your favorite poem?
Air and Angels - John Donne
7. What was the first record you bought for yourself?
Versus - Pearl Jam
8. What is your motto?
Anticipate the best, plan for the worst.
9. What is the biggest/best compliment you've ever been paid?
"You are the smartest person I know"
10. What is your worst phobia?
11. What insect do you dislike most?
12. Who did you hit?
My readers - you're it, email me yours and I'll post the best ones. Basically answer the 12 questions and then do a search on Flickr for your answers. You must pick a picture from the first page of the search and make them into a photo collage. It is a cute idea!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend Rants and Raves

Whew - what a busy weekend! I have several things to rave about after this weekend and not a rant in sight!

Things I think are great:

1. Running into an old friend from high school who lives in a different province and who has been in Cambridge (yes THAT Cambridge) for that past year and a half. Especially running into them when you are randomly standing outside, downtown, amidst the anonymous masses!

2. After running into the aforementioned friend, being able to say - "Hey, guess what, I have a BABY!!" (number 1 and 2 both where incidents that happened to the Hunky Hubby but I shared in the overall greatness of the moments!)

3. Getting to talk about cloth diapers to someone who is actually interested! The aforementioned friend is married and his wife is 6 months pregnant and they are currently contemplating their cloth diapering options. We cloth diaper the Darling Daughter and I LOVE cloth diapering. I do not find it hard or gross or very much extra work. A couple of loads of laundry a week is not a big deal! The Hunky Hubby is just as enthusiastic as I am so he was delighted to throw in his 2 cents as well. For those of you who are interested, here is what we use:

24 premium sized prefolds
4 Motherease Bamboo diapers with liners
4 Bummis Bum Genius one size pocket diapers (these are perfect for outings)
2 Bummis SuperBright covers
2 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers
4 Snappi Fasteners

We wash every second day with Country Save and use Bert's Bees Diaper Ointment to keep her bum in great shape (not even a hint of diaper rash yet).

4. Prince Lionheart Wipes Warmer and cloth washcloths. This requires its own category. The Prince Lionheart Wipes Warmer works perfectly with cloth washcloths. It keeps them nice and warm, fits enough for a few days and saves me trips to the bathroom to wet the cloths before changing the baby. Woo-hoo!

5. Guests who bring snacks! My Dad and his Girlfriend popped by yesterday to visit and they brought the most delicious European cookies! Two types of shortbread and some chocolate covered crispy crepes! YUM!

6. Saying "Beware the Ides of March!"

oh wait, I do have one rant

SNOW IN VANCOUVER IN MARCH - I cheerfully put up with 8 months of rain to avoid this exact situation.
Screw You Snow - Screw you.
'Nuff said.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I miss working at Starbucks

I was on Plinky today and one of the prompts reminded me that I miss working at Starbucks. Okay, so I don't really miss working at Starbucks - people can be total assholes, especially when they are un-caffeinated and resentful. I do miss seeing the amazing people I worked with at Starbucks.

The specific prompt that reminded me of these wonderful people was asking who would win in a fight between a shark and bear. How did that remind me of my Starbucks pals? Well I worked with a wonder gal who had a deathly fear of both bears and sharks. Part of our responsibilities at Starbucks was to clean the washrooms. One day before she was heading in to clean up, we decided to draw a picture of a melded shark-bear. You know, shark head, teeth gleaming and a ferocious, be-clawed bear body. We told her that she should be careful because a Shark-Bear was known to come out of toilets. She was terrified! Rationally she knew that this could not happen but I have never seen anyone clean a bathroom faster!

Other hilarious things I heard or saw my fellow Starbuckians do:

"You can't smell botulism" our manager said as she held a bottle of salad dressing that had been living in the fridge for an inordinate amount of time.

"Be quiet or I'll put you in a box" a guy says to his 3 year old as he tries to pick up my friend by "remembering" her from high school and regaling her with tales of his hydroponic store as she is trapped behind the counter making drinks.

"Dare me to eat this spoonful of cinnamon?" from a male Starbuckian on a slow evening
"C'mon, I'm going to do it" and he does, after which he coughs, releasing a cloud of pure cinnamon powder, almost obscuring his beet red face and streaming eyes.
"Why did I do that?" he laments, after recovering 10 minutes later.

"Oh, she hates little people, didn't you know?" says one partner to a rather small partner, about our manager.

"That guy was totally looking at me weird" says the partner making drinks to the partner on till
"That's 'cuz I wrote your phone number on the cup you just gave him"

"It's okay that they bring their kids to pick coffee because if they didn't, the kids would be left home alone" a manger told me after a week of indoctrination at a national convention.
"Huh - why don't you think about that statement and tell me if you still believe that in a week"

"Hey - do you know where I can buy some crack?" says crack-head to our manager as she WALKS to the banks with a deposit across the parking lot of a nice, safe suburb shopping mall.
She wasn't freaked out - just insulted that he thought she knew where to get crack!

These are just the few that I can think of off the top of my head - if any of my starbucks pals has a story they want to add, please put it in the comments!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One of those days...

Sorry I didn't post yesterday but as the title says, it was one of those days. The Darling Daughter is cutting two more teeth and it is making her sleep quite restless. Although she doesn't actually wake up in the night, her thrashing and pained crooning in her sleep keeps me awake. I just felt like I couldn't get ahead of anything yesterday - not the house tidying, not the laundry, not the meal prep - nothing. But the Darling Daughter was happy and we did read and play and work on this week's Learning Exercise from Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by June Oberlander.

It was really cold and since the Hunky Hubby is working on some pre-production for an upcoming TV pilot project I knew he would be home rather early (for him) so I thought I'd let him pick up the things I needed for dinner. Unfortunately he is still working out the kinks of the car he bought so he ended up having to replace his alternator on the fly, then on the way home the car lost power completely. He ended up figuring out how to get it home but needless to say he did NOT stop and pick up any groceries.

Oh and did I mention that daylight savings has wreaked havoc with whatever schedule I've come to expect from Darling Daughter. So...

When the Hunky Hubby walked through the door at 8:15 pm I had not had dinner, the Darling Daughter was still awake, we did not have the ingredients for the dinner I thought I was making (and not much in the pantry as it has been 2 weeks without a decent grocery shop) and I was almost defeated!

Fortunately I have been reading a fair few Frugal Cooking blogs lately and so I tied on my apron, set my brow and went to work. I threw a couple of turkey breasts sprinkled with Spike seasoning in the oven, diced some potatoes and yams into a 1 cm square and threw them in some water to boil and started sweating some onions in a large sauce pan with some butter and olive oil. Once the onions were a little browned I added 1/2 cup of half and half and 1/2 a cup of milk and some flour and brought them up to a rolling boil to thicken the sauce. Meanwhile I diced the Turkey breast, drained the potatoes and yams and opened a can of peas. I threw them all in the pot and let them intermingle. I grabbed a basil pizza crust from the freezer and brushed it with some olive oil and threw it in the oven.

Ten minutes later the Hunky Hubby and I were sitting down in front of two steaming bowls of Crustless Turkey Pot Pie with Basil Foccacia - YUM! The Hubs was so impressed he snuck out to the store to get me some chocolate while I was (finally) settling the baby down to sleep. I guess it wasn't such a bad day after all...and I have leftovers!

Tell me about a throw together meal you made!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Scary Sunday

The Hunky Hubby and I always enjoys a fabulous Sunday breakfast. He is a wizard with eggs and his pan fried potatoes cannot be beat! We were all out of eggs yesterday morning so as soon as the Darling Daughter was up and I had emerged from the comfort of my bed (weekends are the only time I get to have a little extra sleep, yay!) he headed out the door. Two seconds later he popped his head back in and asked if I could come outside - uh-oh! Out I headed into
the c-c-cold in my jammies.

Hunky Hubby, calmly, "Do you smell that?"

Me, after big whiff, splutter, splutter, "Is that GAS?" (not calm)

Hunky Hubby examining the natural gas pipe into the house, calmly, "Yup"

Me, again NOT calmly, "Call Terasen"

Hunky Hubby, continuing the look around the exterior of the townhouse, calmly, "I will - I just want to check...Wow, it is really strong"

Me, looking in the air for a giant FIREBALL, NOT calmly, "CALL TERASEN."

I headed back indoors, visions of sparks triggered by lamps, refridgerators...and ran up the stairs to pull on some clothes and figure out how to convince El Calm-o out there to evacuate the premises immediately. I grabbed some clothes and a travel cloth diaper for the Darling Daughter and headed back downstairs.

Hunky Hubby was just finishing up on the phone, "They said that there is natural gas venting in our area and there are technicians on site - I'm going to call your Mom to see if we can come over."

Me - pause- "Oh...okay...good" That was EASY, no convincing at all, must be worse than he's telling me, PANIC -TIME.

I choose to forgo dressing the baby, throw a jacket, hat and boots on her, stuff what I think she needs in the diaper bag and am-scray!

As we drove away from the complex, I looked around at all of the people jogging, walking and generally acting normally and thought, HEY, you should be worried too, potential giant FIREBALL in the area.

On the drive to my Mom's we discussed the blase attitude of the Terasen employee, who didn't actually tell the Hunky Hubby anything worse and actually recommended just calling back in an hour if the smell was still there. Now I know that the dissipation of Natural Gas in the air was probably not at a concentration that COULD explode, but I'm sure that inhaling natural gas for a while could not be good for you AND we had no idea where the "venting" was in relation to us and I'm sure that the source had enough concentration to be flammable. Both scenarios were not things I was interested in experiencing so we headed out.

Does this make me paranoid? Reactionary? Crazy?

Maybe, but I still got my Sunday breakfast, I spent a great day at my Mom's and came home to the clean smell of ...fabric softener? Well, you can't win em all!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Menu Planning

I am a terrible meal planner. In fact, I am so disinclined to plan meals ahead that when I was pregnant and had no appetite I had to sign up for a meal planning program that created the recipes and shopping list for me. This was a great service but now that I've had my Darling Daughter and have no problem with appetite I have found that the recipes are rather expensive to put together and I am looking for a more frugal menu planning method.

So I got out my trusty laptop yesterday and did a quick search for frugal menu planning and I came across a huge cross section of amazing blogs, mostly written by Moms. These women are grocery shopping, menu planning, family feeding SUPERSTARS! I know groceries are less expensive in the USA (where these bloggers are based) but seriously, one Mom spends less that $400.00 a month to feed SIX KIDS and herself and her husband. And they are eating WELL, not crappy processed food and she MAKES HER OWN BREAD with SIX KIDS.

Okay, so I am ashamed to admit that the Hunky Hubby and I have consistently spent more than $400 a month on groceries for just the two of us. Even worse, at the end of the week I end up throwing out LOTS of perishables that have gone uneaten. ORGANIC PRODUCE. Although we haven't felt the pressure of the recession directly, the overwhelming amount of news coverage has led to a lot of conversations on the home-front about how we can save some money and generally be more responsible with what we have.

So I spent some time last night planning out a month of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Today I am going to use some of the blogs I found to modify the recipes to be more frugal. I am going to make sure I use the Canada Food Guide to keep things healthy as well. Then I'll put together a shopping master list and away we go. I'll post all of this info as I go along and I'll track how well I do.

I will say that I am unwilling to go to a gazillion different stores to get the BEST deal on everything. I don't see this as productive or responsible. The use of gas and frankly the waste of time adds cost to the "cheaper" price of whatever I am buying. So I intend to continue to shop for my green as my great Organic place (Organics at Home) and for the rest at Real Canadian Superstore. I do intend to supplement with Costco for any meat we buy and anything else that is less expensive there.

So wish me luck and I'll update you as I make progress! I'd love any feedback you might have or any tips!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Raising a Girl

I have to admit that when I was pregnant and wondering what the sex of child might be, I was always a little afraid of having a girl. I would tell people this and they would usually look at me like I was crazy - "afraid of having a girl - but you ARE a girl, what could be easier?" Umm first, obviously I know I am female (pregnancy hormones would usually demand the immediate thwacking of the respondent's head - resist, resist). Second, the fact that I am female is the very reason I was worried. It's hard to be a girl (and before you get all up in arms about how hard it is to be a boy, I KNOW it's also hard to be a boy, I have three brothers, but I also have an amazing husband and I had every confidence that HE would be able to fill in any gaps in my ability to help raise our potential son) and I wasn't sure I had figured out how to be okay with my own female personhood, never-mind helping a whole new person navigate those muddy waters. I mean between the prostitot clothing and the undernourished hollywood actresses and the overwhelming barrage of advertising and media that continues to undermine a woman's worth how that hell was I going to raise an empowered, strong, intelligent, grounded, confident woman? So when I held my firstborn in my arms and looked down at this perfect little GIRL I knew I had a responsibility to figure it out! I admit in the blur of the first few months I did not worry about any of the aforementioned crap - she was too little and I had way too much feeding and changing and washing diapers and admiring her adorableness to even think about the long term raising of this Being of Perfection. But eventually I realized that I did need to think about it so I turned to my trusted confidant - Mistress Internet.
-Hey Internet, I'm worried about raising my kid right, any advice?
-What sort of child are you hoping to raise?Vegan? Pacifist? Granola? Conservative? Attached? Independent? Responsible? Spirited? Gifted? Left-brain? Right-brain? Left-wing? Right-wing?
-Uhhh -wait, I don't know, you know what Mistress Internet, I'm going to consult Madame Amazon on this one.
Thankfully Madame Amazon did not let me down and I came across a book that I ordered and read in short order. It is called "Mother Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link between Mothers, Daughters and Health" by Dr. Christiane Northrup. It is a truly wonderful and inspiring book and a must read for anyone raising daughters. While I did not necessarily agree with everything Dr. Northrup wrote, the book really made me think about how to be a conscious parent. Her straightforward, easy to read style perfectly blends anecdotal and medial experience to help every parent understand the major physical, emotional and neurological milestones of our children. She also explores the profound impact mothers have on their daughters throughout their lives. Not only is the book a great starting point for figuring out how to raise an empowered, strong, intelligent, confident woman but it also provides numerous resources to continue that learning journey. Okay so I am starting to sound like an advertisement for this book - but it really is great so check it out of your local library or order it from Amazon or go to your local bookstore or borrow it from a friend but you won't regret reading it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What is normal?

I heard about a child development specialist who conducted a study to determine if all parents were concerned with being "normal". She had been seeing many different parents and she found that they all seemed to wonder if their parenting choices were within the "normal" range as compared to other parents. She undertook a study of primarily North American parents to determine if their worries were universal - she found that they were. In a nutshell, all parents wondered if they were "normal". I must admit, I have never had this thought cross my mind. Perhaps I have taken for granted that my parenting choices thus far have been unconventional. I cloth diaper, I co-sleep, I never let my child "cry it out". I chose midwifery, I agonize over vaccinations (I have chosen an alternate vaccination schedule and have omitted some of the standard vaccines) and carry my baby in a sling as much as possible. I nurse her to sleep, she has never even napped in her crib. I hope to breastfeed as long as I can. I have never wondered if I am normal because I know I am not. To tell you the truth it is liberating to know that you are not "normal". I don't feel like I am in a competition with other parents - I feel like I am in a different race. That is not to say that I have an issue with anyone who chooses to parent in a different way - as far as I am concerned, whatever works as long as the baby and the parents are happy and healthy. I'm sure that when my Darling Daughter gets a little older I may have more concerns about normalcy but for now I am content to be to know that "normal" is not what I am. Answer the poll if you want or add a comment about "normal".

Monday, March 2, 2009


I was watching Oprah today (I know, I know but she's OPRAH!) and the show was about, what else, the economic downturn. She had two families on who were conspicuous consumers and they both took part in an experiment where they tried to live more consciously. No spending on non-necessities, no TV, no Internet, fewer toys, clothes etc. While I can't really relate to the over the top spending these people were doing, the crazily overstocked pantry of one of the women struck a chord with me. She said that she shopped everyday and while she always made sure she was getting a bargain, she was buying much more than her small family could eat in a year. I mean she had BOXES and BOXES of pasta and granola bars and rice and shampoo and cereal and chips... Yet it struck me that there was something appealing about that for me. Not that I keep crazy amounts of food in my house but I can understand the comfort that having food brings. My husband once observed after we had moved that I never really seem settled and comfortable in a new place until I have filled my fridge. It made me wonder where that comes from - as a child we never had empty cupboards, there was plenty of food and I never had any idea about whether it was had for my parents to fill those cupboards. We always had enough of everything. I've wondered if my full-fridge thing has some bad connotation, if it is indicative of something missing, something I feel like I need to fill. I realized today that it is just the opposite. I don't covet designer labels, I gladly accept hand-me-downs for my child, we don't drive a fancy car and we want for nothing. Our lives are full. My full fridge is my daily reminder of my bounty - I am lucky that my fridge is full and I am even luckier that when it is empty I don't have to worry about how I will fill it again. I have to say that I agree with Oprah when she says that this economic downturn may be a blessing in disguise - it may force us all to think about what is important to us. Sometimes the things that give us comfort and security are empty and we can do without them. But sometimes the things that give us comfort and security make us realize how full our lives really are.

I think when it comes down to it we all have simple everyday things that make us feel safe and comforted - I'd love to hear about what yours may be!

Photo by The Vegerator

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pop Wahm Buzz?

Hey, you spelled Wahm wrong! No actually, Wahm is an acronym for Work at Home Mom, which I now am with the launch of my new Etsy store! I have been madly trying to get my store up and running, putting together inventory, writing copy figuring out costs, shipping and store policies. All while my 5 month old naps. This blog is a way for me to share all the random stuff floating around in my head - as my friends will tell you there are bucket loads of it and it is completely random. I'm going to keep this short and sweet as I told myself that I would write Monday to Friday and give myself a break on the weekends. So I'll leave you with a parting photograph of the mayhem that is my workspace: