Stepford and the binky weaning

I hate binkies.

binky, paci, dummy, nuk, pacifier, mute button, silencer.

Call it whatever you want.

I hate it. Loathe it. Despise its creation. I mean, who decides that the best thing for a tiny infant, incapable of holding up their own head or moving their own bodies, should have a tiny rubber instrument that is easily lose-able, choke-able, dirty-able. It sucks.

And to make it even worse, there are 700,000 different brands of these dumb things. And each one is different and let me tell you: that baby can tell the difference. You give her the Nuk brand, and she only uses the Maam brand- you are gonna hear about it.

So I had already made a pact with myself before ever having children that none of mine would ever have the bink.

And with Little Darling that was pretty simple. She wasn’t into the binky, didn’t care about it, spit it out pretty regularly. I can count on one hand the amount of times she had one, and on two fingers the amount of times it actually helped the situation. She found her thumb at 2 months old and we never looked back.

Then we had Little Littles. Who thinks that sleep is a myth. She certainly doesn’t believe in partaking in it, and thinks no one else should either. Within about three weeks of having her I was seriously debating duct taping the binkie into her mouth. It was the only time, and I mean THE ONLY TIME that she stopped crying. Ever.

She slept about 40 minutes at a clip and only then when she had the binkie tucked happily in her little mouth.

While we didn’t experience any type of nipple confusion or nursing issues. I was full of issues with it. I couldn’t stop reading articles about how pacifiers can lead to ear infections and speech impediments. Bad teeth, tongue issues, speech delays. The problems were endless. I had nightmares of her dislodging the rubber from the end and choking. I had nightmares of losing it in the supermarket. One time she really did spit it out onto the floor of a public bathroom.

She would only take the generic target brand, of which there were only two styles, and could only be found at certain locations.

By the time she was 4 months old, she was waking up every hour or two at night because the binkie had fallen out. I would wake up, hearing her cry, shuffle to the bedroom, tuck the binkie back in, shuffle back to bed, and do it all over again a couple hours later. It was miserable.

For the next three months, I debated what to do. Should I take it? Should I deal with it? I have friends with 3 year olds still sucking on their binkies and they didn’t seem to have a problem with it. I didn’t want to make her miserable and scar her for life by taking the only thing that gave her comfort, but was it really comforting her by robbing her (and me) of sleep?

Last week she turned 7 months old, and I did the unthinkable.

I took the binkie.

At second nap, I carried her into her room, placed the binkie on the dresser and told her very firmly- this is over, you can’t have your binkie anymore. Its making me and you both very tired and you need to learn to sleep without it- I laid her down in the crib, went through the rest of her routine (sound machine, beany puppy, fleecy blanket), and walked out.

She didn’t give a flying flip that I had taken the binkie. She rolled over and went to sleep.

I was shocked. I jut kept staring at the monitor waiting for her to wake up and scream acknowledging that her favorite thing in the whole wide world was gone.

Nope.

She didn’t care at 3rd nap either. And at bed time she made a minor fuss for about 10 minutes before drifting peacefully into sleep. She woke up 3 times during the night, about the same amount of times she wakes up normally to be fed at night. But there were no intermittent binkie-fall-out cries.

Day 2 was pretty similar, except at night she woke up at around 10:30 very adamant that she needed her binkie and stayed adamant for about 3 hours straight. However, Wonderful Husband was away, and Little Darling can apparently sleep through the apocalypse, so I remained adamant that she DID NOT need her binkie.

Day 3 she cried at every nap and at bed time. For extensive periods. I almost gave in, but then remembered that she hasn’t even been alive for a whole year. I am mama. I make the rules.

Day 4 she whined quietly for a few minutes at bed time and then went to sleep.

We are now about 12 days in and she seems to be adjusting just fine.

Bedtime is definitely easier, night time is somewhat easier, and I no longer have to worry about carrying/cleaning/finding/purchasing the dumb binkie.

She still wakes at least twice a night, sometimes three times to eat. I have been slowly making those bottles smaller and smaller in hopes that by 9 months I can have her weaned from eating at night completely. We shall see how that goes.

So that is my story of weaning Little Littles from the binkie, and how easy it was for us. If you are considering it, or have been wanting to take it for a while, just pull the band aid, do it fast, and be done! You’ll thank yourself later!

Stepford reads and makes fish

 

This post is so hard I can’t even come up with a title yet.

It’s weird when you have a bunch of thoughts rolling around in your head, but not enough coherent ones to put them together into sentences or stories or explanations.

I can’t even get a summary of how I am feeling right now.

I just finished the book A Man Called Ove, which is definitely making it into my top 10 all time favorite books list. It has some of the best writing I have ever read and definitely kept me turning pages.

Basic story line is this: Ove is a grumpy old man living in Sweden who no one particularly likes or doesn’t like. He is making some major life decisions when a young couple move in next door and all hell breaks loose. In a good way.

This book is so good, I can’t say enough good things about it. However, it really got to me though. It reminded me of someone I know, and my heart breaks for them. I wish I could go into more detail about it. But like I said, I don’t even have a coherent thought on it, just a lot of emotions.

All I can say is, next time you see a grumpy old man in the grocery story or the parking lot, try to think about his past life, and what he has seen and done and dealt with before you come to any conclusions about his attitude. It’s like they say- everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.

So that’s enough about that. It’s a good book. Get it. Read it.

Lets talk about fish!

Tonight for dinner, I decided that even though Wonderful Husband was still away, I was going to make flounder for dinner. I knew the kids wouldn’t appreciate it, but I was in the mood for something light and delicious.

We normally eat a Tilapia, but I read an article a while back about how its actually really bad for you, so last time I was at Sam’s Club I bought a big pack of frozen Flounder instead. I am sure you could substitute whatever fish you have on hand.

Honey Garlic Flounder

3 Flounder fillets
Salt
4 cloves minced Garlic
1/4 cup Honey
3 Tbsp Apple Cider

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Lay fillets in a greased baking pan (I used a glass Pyrex) and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Mix together remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over fillets.
  3. Bake 15-20 minutes until fish flakes with a fork and is no longer clear.

I served ours with roasted broccoli and rice. Little Darling ate her broccoli and her rice, told me the fish was good but ate maybe three forkfuls in total. Little Littles ate every bit I gave to her. I thought it was delicious.

So there you have it, a good book, and a good recipe. All in one! Enjoy! And be sure to let me know what you think of both!

 

 

The GhostBed

Nope, I am not gonna be telling ghost stories in this post. Although, I do have some good’uns I could share. No, this post is to pay homage to my brand new, amazing, and economically responsible bed.

When we packed up all our shit and left our shady crack town last year, we were full of hopes and dreams. We would have our dream house on lots of land with chickens and goats and ponies. We would have brand new everything because ultimately we left most of it behind. We would magically be skinny, tan, and have white teeth…Ok I may be getting carried away. But for real, we spent a lot of nights discussing things we wanted in our new house and new future.

We came to realize, somewhere between packing the dining room and the living room, that the majority of our belongings didn’t reflect us at all. The kitchen table was a hand me down, the dining room table was bought on clearance and had no chairs. Every thing that hung on the walls was crap I bought at Goodwill to cover up blank spaces.

We were adamant that in our new house, our items would be OURS. We would pick them. We would like them. We would love them. They would make us happy.

HAVE YOU PRICED FURNITURE LATELY?! Ha. If we thought we were going to be paying a down payment and then furnishing our entire house and in law suite we must have been smoking some of that crack from our old town. Very seriously, a decent dining room table is at least $3,000. And that isn’t including the chairs. What. The. Hell.

The big issue for us was the bed situation. We very fully believe in sharing our bed with Pixie, and sometimes one of the kids needs to lay with us for a bit. Or on Sunday mornings when we have family snuggle time. Sometimes, I just like to sleep like I’m bungee jumping. Whatever the reason, our bed was too frickin’ small. A queen just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Gone are the days of happily snuggling together as we fall into blissful slumber. No. We lay in bed like two zombies, listening to Little Littles scream, neither wanting to share a blanket or pillow, and sometimes not even a mattress.

So, we wanted a king. We NEEDED a king. Right?

Well, perhaps if we wanted to remortgage our brand new house, we could afford one. Anything worth laying on was close to 5 grand. And I’m sorry. But. No.

Then Wonderful Husband came across GhostBed. They are American made, donate to the military, have a 101 day money back guarantee, and were currently offering 3 free pillows along with free shipping.

The king mattress came in a 4×2 box and cost $975.

Hot Damn. Sign me up.

We ordered it and eagerly awaited its arrival. Which was only 3 days later. However, Wonderful Husband was out of town, and I knew he wouldn’t want to miss popping that cellophane to watch this sucker puff up. So, I waited.

It took a few hours to puff up 100%, and we didn’t sleep on it until the following night just to be sure. But, the minute we did. It was love.

This mattress is all memory foam with some type of temperature controlling stuff in it so you don’t get to hot or too cold. Its firm, but not a rock. It’s soft, but you don’t have to go all floppy fish to try and get out of it. When you lay down you can feel it conforming to you body, but you don’t sink down in. Your hips and shoulders don’t hurt from it being too hard, but your neck isn’t all wonky from it being too soft.

Simply put: it’s amazing.

The pillows are just as amazing. Lavender infused so you have a fabulous scent to lull you to sleep, they are squishy, but don’t lose their shape. I could go on and on.

The best thing I can say, is that I am actually feeling somewhat rested when I get up in the morning. Between my insomnia, the baby crying, and being an adult female who has to pee, snack, or get out of bed for whatever reason every 2 hours at night, I haven’t felt rested in I can’t even remember how long. This bed is doing it for me. I can feel myself sinking into a deep, comfortable sleep (although short lived) and when I get up in the morning I don’t feel as cranky, or crippled.

We are so happy with our purchase. We got our king size bed, we got comfort, and we didn’t break the bank.

Win. Win!

BBQ Cauliflower

It has been a week here so far. Between the temperatures alternating from 45-80 within just a few days, rain, Wonderful Husband working almost constantly, and still attempting to sleep train Little Littles. It feels like it should be Friday, of next week, already.

However, we have been trying to stick to our routine and keep the house tidied, the laundry done, and such. Which includes dinner.

I will be the first to admit that I get really lazy when Wonderful Husband is away when it comes to dinner. I see no need to waste perfectly good ingredients on amazing meals when my kids have no appreciation for what I make. They’d much rather have a chicken patty and some green beans than anything else. But, we got the opportunity on Tuesday to make something super yummy because Wonderful Husband was going to be home for a few hours! Yay!

I wanted to keep it meat free due to our dwindling supply in the freezer, but I wanted it to be delicious and not TASTE meat free.

So I settled on Cauliflower bites.

This is a new thing that was recently introduced to me by a friend. Instead of using chicken nuggets or wings or whatever, you use chunks of cauliflower instead! The result is actually really delicious and filling. Even WH said it was pretty good.

So here is my take on BBQ Cauliflower Bites, designed to taste similar to boneless wings.

1/2 Flour
1/2 Cup (and then some) Milk
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
1 Head of Cauliflower
BBQ sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400. Chop the cauliflower into bite size pieces- I find its easier to pull it apart and let the heads separate naturally.

2. Rinse well.

3. Whisk the flour, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together in a medium size bowl adding splashes of milk until it is a consistency similar to pancake batter. You don’t want it too thick or it clumps on the cauliflower, but you don’t want it too runny or it runs off all over your baking sheet.

4. Toss the cauliflower in the flour/milk mixture until well coated. Spread on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

IMG_4942

5. Remove cauliflower from the baking sheet, toss in BBQ sauce, replace on the baking sheet, and bake for another 20 minutes.

I served ours up with french fries, carrot sticks, and celery. Just like in a pub!

img_4944.jpg

I am already thinking of how I can make this next time, and am considering using my maple mustard on a few. Yummmm!

Enjoy!

Stepford reviews a book (or 2)

When we moved into our new house this month, we didn’t have any internet or cable, obviously. I called around to the local internet providers, picked the cheapest one, and made an appointment. They couldn’t come install it until 12 days later.

How does one live without internet for 12 days?

Pretty easily actually.

We haven’t had cable in years. We used Netflix or Hulu and we recently got a Kodi box. A Kodi is a streaming service. Very hard to describe, but basically magic. Its a tiny little box, like the size of an ash tray. You plug it into your tv and your wifi, and you can watch Whatever. You. Want. You want Bambi? done. Last nights episode of The Walking Dead? Done. That obscure movie you heard that one person talking about in line at the grocery store? Done. 99% of the time, we have access to movies the day after they hit the theater.

It’s been a lifesaver with the kids.

Anyways, back to the point. When the kids are in bed and the husband is away and you are in a big empty house with nothing else to unpack. What do you do?

You start on that pile of books your mother has been stacking you up with for the past year.

I started with a book called Escape. It’s all about a woman who was born into the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints, they believe in polygamy. Also known as: multiple wives.

At the age of 18 she was forced into a marriage with a 50 something year old man who already had 3 wives and endured 17 years of marriage and abuse before escaping with her 8 children.

It was so good! I could barely put it down and read the whole thing in 2 days. She is so raw in her writing and truly tells her story without mincing words or sparing feelings. I would definitely recommend it, especially for someone who has knowledge of Latter-day saints, FLDS, or even Mormons. It is a really good insight into the religion. I don’t know much about it so in some parts I struggled to understand how anyone could believe some of their basic structures.

I was so happy with that book I moved right into the next one in my pile. It was called Forever. The basic story is this- a boy is born in the 1700’s in Ireland. Throughout his travels, he is magically granted the gift of immortality as long as he doesn’t leave Manhattan. He makes it all the way to 2001. You can guess where it goes from there.

The book is called Forever, I felt like it TOOK forever to read. Every night I would think I was getting close and then I’d look and see I wasn’t even close to halfway through. By 3/4 of the way I was totally over this book and wanted it to end, but was too invested in my already read 400 pages to give up.

It ended badly and very anticlimactically. Not sure where the writer wanted it to go, but it definitely didn’t get there and I was left feeling like I definitely could have spent my time better elsewhere. It had some good parts, and pieces of it really drew you in thinking something important was going to happen only for it to jump 50 years down the road and you be left feeling like you are missing something.

My next book is called A Man Called Ove. I haven’t started it, but Mom says its about a man who wants to kill himself and his friendly neighbors keep accidentally ruining his plan. We shall see if its any good.

We have internet now, and access to whatever we want to watch. But now that we all have detoxed from it, it doesn’t seem so important. Little Darling will watch a movie in the morning, or in the evening with snack. But for the most part we keep busy doing other things, especially since the weather is so nice now. It’s refreshing to not be chained to the living room all day, and not be staring at a screen 24/7. Although, I will say, after 3+ months, that I still sleep better with a tv on.

What are some good books you have read recently? I would love to add them to my pile!

Maple Mustard

Yes.

This recipe tastes as exactly as amazing as you would think it does.

As I am sitting here, scooping it down by the pretzel-full, I got to thinking that I should probably share this with the world. No need to be greedy (more like I want you to make your own because I ain’t sharin’).

It definitely could use some tweaks and improvements, so I am totally open to tips and tricks.

A few weeks ago, MIL and I took the girls on the Maple Taste and Tour. You drive around to all the local Sugar Camps (places where people tap maple trees and make maple syrup), to learn the different processes everyone uses and taste their specialties. It is really fun, and education. Not to mention, free food. Some camps had maple sugar cookies, maple fudge, kielbasa, beer, popcorn, etc. Only one camp had maple mustard.

It was AMAZING. We bought a jar and had it almost gone within just a few days. Now sugar season is over, and I am in a different state with no hope of buying more. But, I NEED IT. So I had to try and make my own. They made theirs with vinegar, egg yolks, dry mustard, and maple syrup (it was on the label) . I didn’t have access to dry mustard and FIL is constantly preaching about the dangers of raw eggs in food so I decided to play with it and this is what I came up with.

It does not disappoint.

Maple Mustard

2tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard
2tbsp Yellow Mustard
4tbsp Maple syrup
1/4 cup Sour Cream

Whisk together.

Devour like a starving African orphan.

It’s still pretty runny, so I need to find a way to thicken it up without detracting from the flavor which is on point. You can obviously add or subtract any amounts you want. Sometimes the spicy mustard gets a little overpowering and I have to add in a little extra syrup, most of the time I just dump the ingredients in without measuring and taste test until I get it how I like it.

Not only do I dip my pretzels in it, but I also recently used it as a marinade for chicken breasts and they were delicious! I added some garlic and salt/pepper to that recipe. It is so versatile and yummy! Not to mention super easy and keeps in the fridge for quite a while (not that I would know because I eat it all immediately)

I am already thinking that this will probably be in my Christmas baskets this year if I can figure out how to preserve it so it doesn’t need refrigerated.

So, go whip yourself up a batch, grab your closest dippable object, and enjoy!

Well, that didn’t go as planned..

Today has been EXHAUSTING.

Like for real.

Lets take a walk through my day…

We got up, we had breakfast, we got dressed in clothing that doesn’t contain the words “pjs”, “sweat”, or “yoga” (ok, confession, I was wearing leggings. But they were LulaRoe and a fun springy blue flower pattern, so they are basically real pants OK!?). We put a movie on TV and played on the floor. It was a soggy, grey morning, but who cares, we were having fun. It was gonna be a good day.

My phone had been dead when I woke up, which was weird, because it had like 25% when I went to bed, so it should have been fine. Maybe I had a billion notifications on Facebook (or a certain blog that had been recently updated) and it had killed my phone. I plugged it in and went about my day.

Yea. My phone was dead because Wonderful Husband had been trying to get a hold of me for about three hours regarding the DMV, transferring our registrations to WV, and Uhaul receipts we needed to turn in to his employer to get reimbursement.

Whoops.

Soooo, by the time my phone turned on and one of his 6,000 phone calls came through, you can imagine what I heard on the other end of that line.

What ensued, can only be described as complete an utter chaos, or also commonly referred to as a normal day in a house with two under 3.

As I was trying to simultaneously call the bank with our car loan, make a bottle for Little Littles, and explain to Little Darling that I was, in fact, NOT on the phone with daddy, some random old guy shows up at my front door.

Thankfully, old dude was looking for a different house. Easy peasy. Nope, wrong house, k bye.

The bank is drolling on and on about how if the DMV has faxed the paperwork and they haven’t received it there is nothing they can do. Perhaps I could personally fax a request on DMV letterhead, and then wait 2 hours and call back with the date, time, number of pages, and fax number from which the fax had come from and perhaps they could track it down. Then they could fax the title to me, and I could hand deliver it to the DMV.

I can smell poop.

I look over and Little Littles, while still wailing for a bottle, is on all fours and poop is leaking out the top of her diaper, centimeters from her shirt, and mere inches from my brand. New. Rug.

So now I get to argue with The Bank about how I am not doing any of the nonsense they are suggesting, they and the DMV need to handle it or my car will just stay registered in PA forever, while I wrestle a screaming baby to floor and try to change a poopy diaper with one hand. All while Little Darling is still circling me saying “I TALK DADDY??”

I finally completely lost my shit, told The Bank to go to Hell, and hung up. Click. I got the bottle warmed up and ready for Little Littles, we are only about 15 minutes behind schedule for LL’s first nap,  and Little Darling announces she has to go potty.

This is my life.

So we run to the potty and spend 3 minutes fiddling around until I, again, lose my cool and shout GET OFF THE POTTY!

Now Little Darling is laying on the floor pouting, Little Littles has her bottle and is happily eating, and Wonderful Husband is blowing up my phone for the Uhaul receipts that I have, yet again, forgotten to send. I can’t imagine how it slipped my mind.

Little Littles drinks her bottle and goes to sleep. I send the Uhaul receipts. I get a load of laundry going, Little Darling gets a snack, and we head to the basement to clean.

Little Darling is playing in the guest room, getting in and out of the bed and fluffing the covers. I am cleaning the litter box, organizing some items in the pantry, and realizing it was much, much too quiet.

I head over to the guest room and Little Darling is sitting dead silent and still in the bed.

She looks at me and says “potty”

I became a raging lunatic. I ripped her out of the bed and saw the huge wet spot where she had indeed peed on our guest bed.

I spanked her. And then for good measure, I spanked her again. I couldn’t even form a sentence I was so angry. I was screaming words like BED and BATHROOM and JESUS CHRIST over and over again.

I grabbed her hand and half dragged her up the stairs to her bathroom. I forced her into the shower, which was too cold and she started crying. I rinsed her off, gave her a towel, slammed her into bed and told her not to move until I came back.

I could hear the wails echoing as I was stripping the bed, starting a new load of laundry, and cursing whoever thought up potty training. I cleaned up pee prints up the steps and down the hallway. I scrubbed the mattress with vinegar and set up a fan to help it dry.

Wonderful Husband calls to tell me I have sent the wrong part of the receipt (with much more colorful language) and requests I take new pictures and send the correct part.

I have had about as much of this day as I can possibly handle.

I finally went to face my child, who was still half sobbing in her bed. I explained that she is definitely old enough to know better than to pee anywhere but the potty and it was totally unacceptable to pee on the bed. However, I know I was a bit harsh in my reaction and I should have handled it better. We hugged it out and I told her that while I was sorry, she still couldn’t watch tv for the rest of the day, and if she pees on another piece of furniture I will beat her until she can’t see straight. She agreed and asked if we could color at the new table. Yea, really scarred for life. Not.

We spent some time coloring and building with blocks. Little Littles woke up and we had a nice lunch. We re-entered the basement and the girls played happily together while I dragged all the gym equipment into the house from the garage and set up the home gym in one of our spare rooms.

Then it was nap time. Glorious afternoon nap time. When both girls nap at the same time and I get two hours of child-free, mommy time. Today, I collapsed in bed and decided I would take a nap and not even feel guilty.

Little Littles had other plans, of course, and only slept for about 40 minutes.

Since she was up, I decided I would start on some dinner plans. Which is how I came up with this delicious Chicken Spinach One Pot Meal. Easy, full of veggies and protein, and just enough pasta to be a comfort food on a crappy day.

Chicken Spinach One Pot Pasta

3 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
Olive Oil
1 Tomato
1 small Zucchini
4 Garlic Cloves
2 Cups pasta- I used Penne
3.5 Cups water
Salt
Pepper
Basil seasoning-  I used Pampered Chef Sweet Basil
3 Cups chopped Spinach
3oz Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Milk
Parmesan Cheese

1.In a big pot, heat up some olive oil and add the chicken. Cook until the chicken is about done, no visible pink on the outside

2. Add tomatoes, and garlic. Cook until tomatoes start to get tender.

3. Add water, salt, pepper, and seasonings. Bring to a boil.

4. Add the pasta and cook until pasta is tender, most of your water should be about gone.

5. Add milk, cream cheese and zucchini. Stir and bring to a simmer.

6. Add the spinach and stir well. Keep it simmering and add some Parmesan cheese to taste.

There you go. Easy to make, easy to clean up, and super delicious. Little Darling cleaned her plate, and had seconds. Little Littles ate almost a whole portion by herself.

So. Today was a shitty day. I fought with my husband. I flipped out on my kid. But tomorrow is another day, and I intend to make it great!