Friday, March 27, 2009

The $191 breast pad

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of cloth/reusable personal products. I use cloth on the babes and me, in the bathroom some, give the kids diapers for nose when sick...
So I plan to use cloth nursing pads again. I do have a box of Lansinoh pads for heavy duty or outings or when I feel I need them, but I have been sewing up some nice cloth ones. My first batch was to use up some hemp fleece scraps from making more fitted diapers. They were all done and beautiful and ready to wash. So I threw them in with a load. Then put them in the dryer. At that point, my attention got called away (phone maybe?) for a few minutes. When I came back, E was happily playing in the dryer. Of course.
I put everything back and started it up.
Not a good sound at all.
I pulled the lint screen out and checked inside.
I asked C to take it apart. He couldn't get the cover off and didn't want to break it.
I asked if I could take it apart.
He expressed extreme discomfort with the idea of an 7 1/2 months preggo woman taking apart a 220 volt appliance. He may have had a point there...
So I called Sears service center.
Sure they can send someone out. In 4 days....
It's $65 for the service call, and any parts/labor are extra.
For $191 I can get the extended warranty that covers all service PLUS $500 towards a new dryer if they can't fix this one.
Thinking back to my washing machine experience -- $231 part plus labor all covered by the warranty --- I decided that sounded like an excellent idea.
So, along comes Thursday. The much awaited time. I have a Mt. Hood of laundry and I've switched back to sposie diapers. I don't mind line drying when it's not pouring rain outside.
In 5 minutes, the repair guy walks out with the nursing pad.
"It was just this Ma'am."
Shoulda just stuck with the $65 call.
At least he was nice enough to show me how to fix it "next time". His words, not mine.

Hey, at least I can now say I have the most expensive nursing pads ever!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My exercise routine

People often ask me how I stay so trim. Then they look at my boys for a minute. Hmmm. So I thought I'd post my exercise routine. So you, too, can live my life and look like me!

First, gather all your belongings and string them through the house. Middle of the floor is okay, but make sure you get your most prized possessions under and behind whatever furniture you have. It is helpful to wedge them in tight corners. Then pick them up and put them away. Repeat throughout the day, whenever you find a spare moment.

Never sit down. If you do, sit in a chair that is unstable and can be toppled at any minute by a toddler (pretend if you have to). Or imagine that if you do sit down, your lap/back/shoulders will be crawled on rather roughly. Just set your computer on the counter and play with it there. You will need to stand there to eat your food too. Otherwise it will be stolen.

Open the door to get a package or to go to the garage. Close it quickly while kicking your foot around. Or, open it and then run outside in your bare feet as fast as you can while chasing an imaginary (extremely fast and agile) toddler. Run at least 1/2 a block before stopping. Farther is better.

When you do laundry, throw bits of it into other rooms while folding or sorting it. When loading the dryer, close the door violently between each armful you put in. Open it for the next thing.

Put locks on each and every door so you expend extra effort to open them.

You will need a fairly tall staircase and long hall for this: Place yourself in one end of your house. Have someone scream in such a way it sounds as if their limbs are being ripped off. Drop everything and run across the house, up the stairs, down the hall, only to find the screams emanating from a ten year old who has a mild injury/brother in his room/lost something. Repeat throughout the day.

Vacuum at least once a day. Sprinkle more food and dirt and whatnot immediately afterward so your husband has no idea the vacuum has ever left its closet.

Hire 3 cute kids to climb all over you and give you lots of hugs and kisses and wear you out completely mentally as well as physically.

Go ahead and share a pan of brownies with a hot husband after kids go to bed. It will never show. Well, at least not much. You can always hide it with pregnancy once every 10 years or so.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Enflish muffins

I have been obsessed lately with the idea of making english muffins. Gluten free, of course. Problem is, I've had a hard time finding the rings to make them. I haven't looked super hard, but I've been reluctant to pay high prices plus shipping.
As I was looking through my trusty Culinary Arts Institute cookbook. It's originally from the 1940's and is great for modifying recipes! Anyway, it has an english muffin recipe that doesn't require rings. It makes a soft dough that you cut and let raise. So decided to give it a go. I mixed the batter last night before bed and finished it up this am. Not perfect, but absolutely excellent for a trial run! They didn't have those big bubbles that traditional english muffins have, but they had a good sourdough taste.
Here's my recipe (such as it stands and the way I made it last night--near's I can remember):
3 C millet flour, divided
1 C tapioca starch
1 Tbsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp quar gum
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp melted coconut oil (or butter)
1 1/4 C warm soymilk (or any other milk)
1 beaten egg

Mix together 2 cups of the millet flour, the starch, yeast, gum, salt and sugar. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Beat all together in a mixer for at least a minute. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit overnight.
In the morning, beat in the last cup of millet flour. Pat dough about 1/4 " thick on a floured piece of wax paper. I used a large mason jar ring to cut out muffins, but you can use any round cutter. I kept the cut muffins on the floured paper and covered to let rise until doubled in bulk. I cheated and used the oven since I slept late and was in a rush, but ideally, you should probably let them raise for about an hour, like Ruth says. That may help with the bubbles too.
Once they are raised and fluffy looking, get a heavy skillet (cast iron is perfect) heated to a nice medium hot temperature. I heated mine and had to turn it down a few times, but that could be my stove too-a whole 'nother post!
When your pan is hot, carefully transfer a few of your muffins to it. They should cook for about 5-7 minutes each side. Or until nicely browned. Flip and cook on the other side. Viola!
I found these to dry out pretty quick-so cover as soon as cooled.
Like I said, these weren't perfect, and G was rather offended that they weren't Muffins. You know, like real Muffins! But I thought they were pretty tasty. I enjoyed the sourdough-yness of them.
I think I will try making it up as english muffin bread too. That is something I used to make a lot and we really enjoyed before heading into allergy land.

The last two muffins raising. Look at their beautiful fluffiness!
Cooking in the cast iron pan. Just a bit of brown-like the real thing. No oil in the pan.
The finished product. No big holes for butter and honey, but still, a lighter bread than I've made in a long time. Oh wait, I haven't made much bread in the last, ohh, 6 months. (hide)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

More toddler antics

I don't have a picture. Sorry. It's gross. And I have an incredible husband. Who does things for me when I don't want to.
But you want to know the story, don't you?
Yesterday, we were preparing to head out to run some errands. Since the sun didn't stick around for the weekend. So we couldn't do yard work.
I managed to get the 3 boys ready to go, with snacks, mind you. I went to put on my shoes. I may have learned my lesson about not hiding them. E loves to put on everyone's shoes and walk around the house. They don't necessarily make it back to the shoe bench by the door. Mine sure didn't. I looked for about 15 minutes for my 2 favorite pair and gave up. I found another pair. I looked again before the birth center potluck. I have one of each pair.
Figuring I needed to have shoes that look better with a dress for today than sneakers, I enlisted the help of M. We searched every room in the house. Every drawer, cupboard nook and cranny. Even all the child-locked ones. No luck.
M mentioned something about the heat registers. Worth a look I thought. First one I looked in was the one by the front door. Sure enough, there was my Dansko! And what was that waaaaayyy down below? My other J-41. But, ewwww.
I called for my dear, sweet husband. He stuck his arm allllll the way down. Up to his shoulder. In dust and pet hair (I still haven't called the duct cleaners--its on the list). Blech!
NowI just have to clean them up to the point I'm brave enough to wear them.
And hit the hardware store. Or rather, send C to the hardware store. Those grates are getting screwed down this week.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My new baby

No, not that baby--s/he needs to cook just a bit longer!

For some time, my internet time has looked like this:
First, spend about 10 minutes kicking the older kids off the computer. This may take longer if they are watching a PBS full length show they just *have* to finish right now.
Then find a way to distract E so I can use the computer.
Sit down on my pilates ball-after wresting it from the younger kids.
Log onto all the accounts that have been logged out of some how. Begin checking e-mail and doing the net searching I need to do.
Pull E off the computer desk.
Pull E off of me.
Get several good things found and pull E away from the power button.
E turns off computer tower.
Give up in frustration.

I have a wonderful husband who felt sorry for me. So last night we went and got this beauty

So now I can check email and everything from my so far so safe kitchen counter!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

M's cinquain

We are reading and having fun with Dr Seuss this week in honor of the great doctor's birthday. Yes, we know he wasn't a doctor and that his real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel. But his works are awesome!
Today we made little hat books, read Cat in the Hat and talked about what kind of machine M would make to clean up the house.
G learned about words that end in "__at". M learned about cinquain poems. Here is his:

tiny miracle
crying, kicking, sleeping
kicks me
All before lunch!
Yes, I am feeling accomplished today. I did have the kids get all their bedding off their beds so I could wash it. It's all clean (not all dry) and that is a milestone. I'm not very good at keeping up with that laundry. The real test is to see how long it takes (and how many tears) to get all the bedding back on the beds. Has to happen before they can go to bed, right?
Yesterday I managed to prune the roses out front. I have GOT to learn that a bunch of bending over hurts like hades the next day. Wonder if I'll figure that out before May?


I find it disturbing that my toddler prefers the peel of the banana. He picks it up, turns it around and eats it from the end. Yes, even the black part at the bottom.
Isn't that bitter and gross?
What do your kids eat that totally disgusts and/or disturbs you? Do you let them? Did they grow out of it?