July 31, 2009

Mommy Confessions: Favorites & the Binky Fairy

#34 I worry that one of my children will become my "favorite." I'm an only child, so I totally don't get it when people with siblings talk about a parents' favorite child. How can you like one more than the other? Maybe you have more in common with one. Maybe you think one is funnier. But a favorite? Really? I hope not.

#35 Peanut still uses a pacifier. We call it Binky. The dentist says Binky has to go away ASAP because it is causing a slight overbite. The truth is, I think I'm more nervous than Peanut for the day the Binky Fairy comes. I picture tears, sleepless nights, no naps, etc. He pictures the brand new Chick Hicks Hauler and Mack Hauler that we told him the Binky Fairy would bring. Perhaps I should get myself a Binky Fairy gift...like a nice bottle of champagne.

July 29, 2009

Toothbrushes that turn, vibrate, whatever...

Did you know my kids have cavities? Peanut will be 4 in October and Sprout will be 2 in November. To me it seems awfully young to have cavities. I am riddled with guilt about this even though, apparently, it is due to a mixture of things. One of these things is genetics. But another problem is that we have sucked at brushing their teeth more than once a day. Plus, Sprout still breastfeeds and will often nurse throughout the night. So I guess you add all those things up and you get 7 cavities and a really really really expensive dentist bill.

But at this point, all I can do is learn from the situation and try to do better. As Oprah would say, "when you know better, you do better." When I asked the dentist what I could do to prevent decay in the future he suggested:
  • Brushing after every meal (darn.)
  • Flossing (oh, that will be fun)
  • Starting Peanut on fluoride toothpaste even if he still swallows a little bit.
  • Trying to wipe down Sprout's teeth with a wet washcloth after he nurses (oh, you mean after he's just fallen asleep?!)
Realizing that two out of these four things might actually happen on a regular basis, I looked to my friends for advice. Surprisingly, the consensus was electric toothbrushes. You know, like a Sonicare for kids. So I took the boys shopping thinking, "I'm going to waste a ton of money on crazy kids' tooth care crap and they still will fight me when it's time to brush their teeth." I was wrong.

Each of the boys picked out a Crest Spinbrush. Peanut, a soccer ball and Sprout, a fire truck. They were about $6 each. I knew things were going well when they started playing with them in the car on the way home, but I was surprised by how willing they were to have their teeth brushed when we got home. Peanut now calls it his "super toothbrush." They are a bit bulky...and ugly...but if my kids are willingly brushing their teeth 2 to 3 times a day, who cares?!

I also bought them kid's flossers and Tom's of Maine natural anticavity toothpaste for Peanut. So far, no swallowing the new toothpaste! I guess it took the dentist telling him not to swallow his toothpaste for it to finally sink in. The kid flossers interested them because of their dinosaur shapes & they weren't afraid of us using them. It's seems like a bit of waste to me, using these plastic dinos once and throwing them away. But hopefully we'll smoothly transition to actual floss soon.

We'll see 6 months from now if any of these new habits and new products make a difference, but I'm crossing my fingers and brushing tiny teeth like crazy.

July 26, 2009

Dish of the Week: Grilled Pork with Blackberry-Sage Sauce

Blackberries are here! At least where I live, in the Pacific Northwest, the blackberries are starting to ripen in our recent heat wave. I couldn't be happier. We have a giant, wild blackberry bush directly across the street from our house. In June you can smell the blackberry blossoms and the anticipation begins. Nothing makes me smile like stopping to pick a few blackberries on my way back from the mailbox. This will be Sprout's first summer picking blackberries and just know he is going to fall in love...he is a total fruit freak anyway.

To celebrate our first crop of the summer, my mother-in-law made this incredible dish for dinner tonight. I am normally a fan of blackberry desserts, but this savory and sweet dish has won me over.

Note: I did not cook this. I did not create the recipe. I didn't even take picture. I just ate it. Ate and ate and ate and ate it.

Grilled Pork with Blackberry-Sage Sauce
(from Cooking Light magazine)

If your blackberries are particularly sweet or tart, adjust the amount of sugar in the sauce accordingly by 1/2 teaspoon or so to find the right balance.


6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces pork and 2 tablespoons sauce)


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3 cups fresh blackberries (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • Sage sprigs (optional)


1. Prepare grill to medium heat.

2. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots to pan; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add blackberries, sage, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until blackberries break down. Press blackberry mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Return liquid to pan. Stir in vinegar and sugar; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 9 minutes); remove from heat. Stir in butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring until butter melts. Keep warm.

3. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper over pork. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155° (slightly pink), turning pork occasionally. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with blackberry sauce; garnish with sage sprigs, if desired.

Nutritional Information

6.1g (sat 2.6g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.7g)
Bill and Cheryl Jamison, Cooking Light, JUNE 2009

July 25, 2009

Dear Kid Saturday: Trains vs. Dinosaurs

Dear Peanut,
Can I just say how happy I am that you are finally into something other than trains?! While I think your fascination and dedication to steam engines is adorable, I was beginning to worry at times. You often live at your train table & ask to eat meals there (not that you do). You wear train shirts, train socks, train pajamas, sleep in train sheets, etc. It's a bit coo-coo.

But recently you have taken a serious interest in dinosaurs. Hallelujah! We've read dinosaur books, bought dinosaur puppets & even visited the dinosaurs at the Pacific Science Center this week. Not that I want you to trade one obsession for another, but it's nice to see that your interests are becoming a little more well rounded.

Love you!

July 24, 2009

Well My Mama Told Me, "There'll Be Days Like This"

This was one of those days when I should have checked my horoscope upon rising. I believe today's number would have been a 2 and advice would have been to stay in bed (as if that were possible).

The boys both had dentist appointments today, which I was dreading. I knew Sprout had cavities, so I figured Peanut would too. Plus, it was Sprout's first time at the dentist and a new dentist for Peanut. But we found a pediatric dentist with a dinosaur themed office and great recommendations. I woke up tired, but hopeful and positive about our day. We left the house on time. The boys were happy. I had my coffee. Everything was looking good.

About 5 minutes into our drive I see a couple of crows in the middle of the road, enjoying a nice snack. I start to say out loud, "Move crow. Move crow. MOVE CROW!" But taking my own advice (which I often give Hubby), I decided not to swerve, risking the crow's life rather than our three. Well, the crow didn't move. Apparently that snack was just too good...or he couldn't hear me yelling at him. So I passed over him, heard a "thud-thunk," and sat in bug-eyed silence as I continued down the road. I immediately assumed that Peanut, Mr. Sensitive, would be horrified. Instead, after a few thoughtful minutes, he said, "Mommy, that crow shouldn't eat his food in the street. He should eat it on the grass where it's safe." So true.

The dentist appointment went well. Peanut was a star patient and made me very proud. Sprout was pretty nervous, but did well for his first dentist visit. Then we got the bad news:

Sprout: 4 cavities, $1784.00, general anesthesia
Peanut: 3 cavities, $858, light sedation w/ the posibility of general anesthesia.

I don't know if you know this...but our kids are only 1 and 3. How on earth do they have cavities?!

We came home, ate lunch, got ready for nap...the usual. I was feeling more tired than usual, but assumed it was due to lack of sleep and the stress of the day. A little coffee would help, right? Nope. Apparently I am fighting my (as Peanut would say) forty-twenty-ten-five-fifth case of mastitis. My friends, if you know what mastitis is and/or have experienced it...I will say nothing more. I will just take my Tylenol, drink my liquids and hopefully feel better tomorrow.

"What is the good news?", you say?

I honestly don't think tomorrow could be as crazy, stressful or tiring. But then, I haven't checked my calendar yet.

July 18, 2009

Dear Kid Saturday: Dreams

Dear Peanut,
I love being the first person you see when you wake up. Why? I love it when you tell me what your dreams were about. This morning's might be my favorite so far. "Mommy, I watched a shark show while I was sleeping. There were sharks trying to take pizza from the pizza place. So I locked them up with some chains. But just a few of them...the rest I let swim around town."

You are a funny kid. Even your imagination cracks me up!


Dear Kid Saturdays at Cutest Kid Ever

July 17, 2009

Mommy Confessions: Guilt

#32 I'm having an issue with Mommy Guilt lately. It all started with a recent "conversation" I had with an extended family member about the behavior of my children at a family event. As much as I want to say it didn't bug me, it did. I feel guilty that my kids weren't on their best behavior. I feel guilty that I let someone else's opinion of my parenting bother me. I feel guilty that, even just for a moment, I let someone else's view of my children affect my own view of them.

#33 My 19 month old son has cavities. Cavities! Actually, I think they call them dental caries. Last week I was looking in Sprout's mouth to see if a new tooth had appeared. It hadn't...but some yellow-brown lines and indentations has suddenly appeared on his four front teeth. I was horrified. How have I let my baby's teeth basically rot in his mouth without even noticing?! We are very careful to limit juice, sweets, etc. We brush his teeth well every night. I just feel terrible. He is still nursing and some things I have read suggest breastfeeding could be a culprit (late night feedings), but other things I've read say that breastfed babies are no more likely to get cavities than other babies. We an appointment with a pediatric dentist next week and I'm just dreading what they'll say. Apparently if a child his age needs fillings they have to go under general anesthesia. Seriously? What have I done?

If you think that's bad...

July 11, 2009

Dear Kid Saturday: Victim Act

Dear Sprout,
Your baby brother victim act isn't working on me. I'm not buying it. I've seen you shove your older brother & steal his toy, only to whine for me when he grabs it back. I used to fall for it and make your brother give you back the toy, but now I'm on to you.

On the one hand, it's good to know you aren't afraid to stand up for yourself. But it would be nice if you'd play fair.


July 10, 2009

Mommy Confessions: Another list of lazy confessions

#29 Tonight we got home from vacation and I had nothing planned for dinner. I baked some tilapia for the boys and Peanut says, "Mom, we need something to go WITH our fish." I reply, "Hmmmmm...want some raisins?" I guess I better stop by the store tomorrow.

#30 I stay up way later than I should most nights. But it's the only time the house is completely quiet and I just want to be awake and enjoy it!

#31 Before we had kids I would say, "My pets are my kids." Now they are just the dog and the cat. Or when they make a mess I tell Hubby they are "his dog" or "his cat." For example, "Your f*****g dog pooped in the neighbor's yard again today."

Read the other 28.

July 7, 2009

Dish of the Week: Iced Coffee

Okay, so iced coffee isn't exactly a "dish", but I think it's blog-worthy.

I drink two cups of coffee a day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon, when the kids are napping. But lately the afternoons have been pretty warm, so I've been making iced coffee instead. Hot weather or not, I MUST have my afternoon coffee in order to make it through the rest of my day.

Two notes: It's important to make your coffee stronger than you normally would since it's going to get a little watered down from the ice. Also, I've been using agave nectar a lot lately due to it's low glycemic index. It works perfectly in this recipe because it dissolves and mixes quickly, unlike granulated or raw sugar. But if you don't have agave nectar, honey would work well too.

Iced Coffee

8 - 10 ounces of strong freshly brewed coffee
2 tablespoons milk or half and half
2 tablespoons of agave nectar (or honey)
enough ice to fill a glass

Brew your coffee. Meanwhile mix the milk and agave nectar in the bottom of your glass. Fill glass with ice.

Poor the fresh brewed coffee (still hot) over the ice. Looks good already, doesn't it?!

Then stir to mix. Enjoy the cool, frosty afternoon pick-me-up!

July 3, 2009

Mommy Confessions: Vacation & Summer

#26 Sometimes I am a little resentful of vacation. How did I end up being in charge of packing for myself, packing for the boys, packing food, arranging for pet sitters, etc. Hubby only has to pack his one little suitcase! At least he drives on road trips.

#27 I am loving summer so much that it's making me quite lazy. Most evenings I'd much rather be outside watching the boys play than worry about fixing dinner. We've been eating a lot of left overs, quesadillas, sandwiches and nachos.

#28 We bought Peanut a LeapFrog Tag for our various road trips this summer. So far it seems like a really great gadget that might actually help him learn to read. But I must admit that it totally intimidates me. I had to download software & it comes with a USB cable. What happened to the simple Speak & Spell I had as a kid?!

Oh yeah, there's more.