Monthly Archives: October 2009

Learning baby

I remember the first time I took Bean to one of my old workplaces and the head anchor there was like, “Lisa do you read to her?” “Um, not really,” I answered quite sheepishly. “Oh, I read to my boys all the time. I’d nurse them for hours and just read and read.”

I came home and was a little freaked out and intimidated. Oh, no! What if I was already stunting Bean’s development? I didn’t even have any kids books yet. I remember calling my sister-in-law and asking her if I should already be reading. A few weeks later Ruth brought up a mini-library for Bean and I started trying to read sometimes, but she honestly wasn’t at all interested.

Within the past year, Stephen has really started to love reading and learning. He is rarely without a book these days and his guitars and amps are mostly sitting around collecting dust. Part of that makes me a little sad as I’ve always been a big proponent of his musical endeavors, but it just isn’t where he’s at right now. I do love, however, the effect of both of us reading all the time has on Bean. Like most kids she wants to copy everything we do and being such a Papa’s girl this is especially true of anything he does. She loves to pull out her books when we do and look at the pictures, point to things in the book and ask us, “Isth ut?” (which I think might mean “What is that?” or “What is it?”) and have us read to her.

The past couple months I’ve also started going on a couple times a week and doing a few letters with her until she gets bored. And then for her birthday, my sister, Andrea, gave us the Your Baby Can Read! language development system which has been featured on infomercials and TV shows. I admit to thinking this thing is quite cheesy, but I read through the materials and what he says about early learning seems to make sense.

I am not, however, willing to dedicate a daily allotment of time for reviewing the DVD, books and flash cards. I think his system is a bit strict for a child this young. Plus, I think the way the system goes about teaching words encourages sight-reading over phonics (which is why I continue to use starfall).

In the few weeks since we started using it though, Bean has learned some of the words. While she can’t say all of them, she does recognize clap (she claps her hands when it is said), mouth (will point to her mouth), baby (she can actually say this one), arms up (does this), and hi (waves).

Clapping after pointing to the word clap and hearing me say it.

Waving “hi” after I pointed to the girl waving hi and said hi to her.

I really don’t think there is much to his system though that most parents couldn’t cobble together on their own. I think the biggest part is just actually setting aside time to either read or go over words, pictures, letters, colors, etc. Repetition seems to be a big part of it too. I also think it is important to watch their cues when they are this young. If they are clearly disinterested and ready to move on to the next thing, I wouldn’t force them to continue to sit through the rest of the video or book or whatever.

She really likes pointing to the tiger and hearing me say that one. I’m not sure why.

Anyway, a few friends asked me to do a bit of a review of the product and that is what I think so far. I guess this means homeschooling has already begun around here?


Filed under Family, Homeschooling, Literary Love, Parenting, Reviews


Within the knitting world, the Central Park Hoodie is somewhat of a legend.

Since it first appeared in the Fall 2006 edition of KnitScene magazine, there have been countless blog/Internet based knit-a-longs (where people all over the world knit the same pattern at the same time and post pictures of their progress or pose questions about any problems they run into). On Ravelry (a social networking site for knitters and crocheters), the pattern boasts nearly 3,000 completed projects and the entry for the pattern says it single handedly made KnitScene famous.

When I first saw another blogger’s version of this pattern a few year’s back, I knew I was eventually going to knit this thing. I was pleased to find that my then LYS had a bunch of back issues of KnitScene including Fall 2006. So I purchased it, but didn’t really do anything about the pattern for about a year. Last November, I decided I was finally going to knit this as part of the ambitious, but way over my new mom head, plan for handmaking all of my Christmas gifts. I found some great yarn for cheap on KnitPicks and purchased it, but the yarn and the pattern have been sitting in a basket in my craft room, then in a box, then in a box on a moving truck, and then in the new craft room ever since.

Of course since then several projects have caught my fancy, but I am slowly working through the stash of yarn and projects I purchased last November. Once I finally got through the blue yarn that took on three or four different forms before arriving at Cherry and the baby blanket that was originally for my sister’s friend, but she now says I can keep for Sprout, the CPH was ready to have a turn.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. The pattern was quick, easy to follow and knits up beautifully. All pluses in my world. No wonder it is so popular.

Project: Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky from KnitScene Fall 2006
Made for: Not sure yet. It actually stretches quite a bit because of all the ribbing and even fits me with the preggo belly, but to avoid renditions of “fat [girl] in a little coat” there will be no pictures of that here. It will certainly fit me after the baby is born, but I’m sure it would also make a good Christmas gift.
Size made: To fit a 32″ bust (but like I said it stretches quite a bit)
Yarn: 9 skeins Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Lake Ice Heather
Needles: US 6 and 8 bamboo circs
Modifications: I used the Kitchner Stitch for the hood instead of binding off all the stitches and sewing them together, I added a zipper, and I picked up all the ribbed edging around the front in one long row instead of doing it in two halves.
Started: Sept. 27, 2009
Completed: Oct. 15, 2009

And OK, no pictures of me in said hoodie, but Bean has been having so much fun playing with this sweater and pulling on all the strings as I knit it. So here’s a cute, though slightly blurry and out of focus, picture of her with it (she has a thing for hoods):


Filed under Craftopia

The best oatmeal ever.

Last night Ruth and I were IMing. Between the many random topics including flu shots, my husband’s new addiction to the Harry Potter series, yogurt making and pumpkin soup, we both said we had discovered the best way to make oatmeal. So this morning, I combined both techniques and I really do believe we have the best oatmeal ever. If you want a nice warm bowl of oatmeal tomorrow morning, do yourself a favor and skip the instant brown sugar and cinnamon with raisins and make some of this.

• 6 cups water
• 2 cups steel cut or Irish style oats
• 12oz vanilla yogurt
• 1 jar Trader Joe’s peach halves in white grape juice, diced (or fruit of your choice, I really think diced apples or pears sautéed in a little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon would also be lovely and I’m sure the old standby of raisins wouldn’t be too bad either)
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• salt
In a large bowl combine 3 cups warm water, 2 tbsp of the yogurt and oats. Soak overnight (I actually just soaked it a few hours and this was lunch, but Ruth did it overnight). Why soak it, you ask? Ruth says that when you do this the oatmeal releases enzymes which are good for you. It also gets nice and soft and creamy.

In the morning, boil 3 cups salted water. Transfer oats mixture to the pot of boiling water and cook over medium heat until liquid is gone and you have a thick cereal.

Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon, fruit and remaining yogurt.

As you can see from the pictures, this makes a family sized portion (or in my case several ice cube trays worth of baby food to freeze for days when I don’t feel like soaking oats and all that).

How good is this oatmeal? Well, Bean ate a whole adult sized portion in about 2 minutes flat. Like I said, it is the best oatmeal ever.


Filed under Gourmet Lisa

Happy Harvest

We went to the Underwood Family Farms Harvest Festival with these guys. It was so much fun and unlike other Harvest Festivals I have been to in the past, there was actually a fall harvest there to celebrate (like veggies and other farm stuff). I picked up a couple pumpkins that I will be turning into some homemade puree for pie and soup. There was lots to do there and all the kids had a blast.

We wore our Autumn attire:

Some of us did in fact get “corn-fused” in the corn maze…

…but thanks to a friendly guide we finally made our way out.

There were lots of games and activities. Bean and her cousins had a lot of fun in the bean bin (very appropriate).

Bean got measured at the “How tall this Fall?” photo spot (cheeseball, I know, but I did it anyway).

We of course saw a lot of pumpkins and tractors.

And when we got home we were just plain tuckered out.

Special thanks to Cara for being the only one of us to actually remember to bring a camera so we could document it all. 🙂


Filed under Family, Ramblings

Some creepy 3D ultrasound pictures…

So I had an ultrasound yesterday. I guess I’m not like all the cool, want-to-peek-at-my-child-every-chance-I-get-before-he’s-born kind of moms and almost opted out of this one. But then I had a weird dream the other night that I wound up having a girl instead and our whole family was mad at me. And they were demanding that I get pregnant again. It was pretty ridiculous, but I was crying when I woke up. So I kept the appointment.

The “protrusion,” as the ultrasound tech put it, was still there. I guess that means I can sleep soundly now because we’re still having a boy.

I also find the 3D ultrasound pictures to be pretty creepy looking. But it was all part of the exam yesterday and before I knew it 4 pictures of his face and hand that he would not move away from his face were thrust into my hands compliments of the perinatologist’s office.

Also, I have a nickname/blog alias for the boy: Sprout. My mom first suggested it and then another friend did too. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to really go with a vegetable theme (particularly since Bean’s nickname comes from the shorter version of her real nickname which is a derivative of jellybean and has nothing to do with the other kind of beans) so I asked my Facebook friends for input, but nothing they suggested was really much better or anything all my friends hadn’t used before (like peanut). And we all know I like vegetables. So it works.

Anyway, Sprout is measuring right on for 27-28 weeks, which is about where I think I am. Their estimates are that he currently weights 2lbs 7oz, though I don’t put much stock into weights and measures from ultrasounds, even the ultrasound tech said they are pretty inaccurate. The perinatologist said he looks good and healthy and sees no other reason for me to have another ultrasound unless my OB decides otherwise.


Filed under Family, Pregnancy and Birth

One of those crazy moms

I’ve had Jenny McCarthy’s book, Mother Warriors on my bookshelf since last Christmas. It was a present from my sister, Andrea.

I started it today and I’m about 1/3 of the way through. I’m wading through the Hollywood crap, the therapist and weird spiritual beliefs, like praying to other people’s guardian angels. I keep leveling with myself that this woman is not a scientist or a doctor, she’s an actress/comedian.

But it is really hard to ignore what she and the other moms in her book have to say about their children and vaccines in light of last week.

It started yesterday, but really became obvious today: I have my daughter back. A week and 2-3 days later.

Today she didn’t refuse to eat. She has been “talking” nonstop. Pointing to every object in the house asking, “dis?” and wanting me to tell her what it is. She hasn’t flopped on the floor at all. She giggles when I give her kisses. She’s alert and playful. Her smile is ridiculously cute and huge over every little thing. She is so interactive!

It would be one thing if she just had a fever for a couple days last week. But even after the fever subsided and the “sick” symptoms went away, Bean just wasn’t herself. She didn’t talk. She zoned out. She didn’t want to play with her toys. I feel like I don’t know how to explain it and then again I do.

I’ve always felt like the benefits of vaccines in protecting our society against disease outweigh the “standard” side effects. Did I want to minimize those side effects as much as possible? Of course. That’s why we were going with a much less accelerated vaccine schedule than what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.

But now I am finding myself questioning the value of injecting our children and ourselves with toxins and diseases. And whether a breastfed baby growing up in the United States where these diseases are almost obsolete that I’m probably going to homeschool really needs them.

And if I do make this decision, I’m trying to figure out how I can muster the courage to not back down at the next pediatrician’s appointment. To not find myself frazzled once again and fumbling over what I think is best for Bean.

I don’t know. I guess I’m just becoming one of those crazy moms.


Filed under Family, Natural Living, Parenting, Ramblings

Pumpkin Pancakes

Every year about this time, IHOP has pumpkin pancakes on their menu, but I don’t know about you, I’m just not into being overcharged for a plate of grease. I’d much rather have my kitchen filled with the smells of Autumn loveliness and be able to have some say over what ingredients go into my food.

I decided this morning when I woke up that I really wanted some pumpkin pancakes. I searched online for recipes, but only came up with really decadent things requiring eggs beaten to stiff peaks or soufflé. Nine on a Saturday morning, especially a Saturday morning followed by a week of dealing with a sick child, is not the time I want to practice my soufflé making or whip up something complicated. Maybe that makes me less gourmet, but I think I’m probably just like most other moms out there on this one.

So I improvised. I really like Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking and Pancake Mix. However, if you are used to Bisquick, these pancakes definitely come out quite a bit more dense. To offset that, I usually water down their pancake batter recipe with extra milk until the batter reaches a consistency that is more like Bisquick pancake batter. So this time instead of adding extra milk, I added a can of pumpkin pie mix. It was perfect!

Pumpkin Pancakes
• 2 cups Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix
• 1 cup milk
• 2 eggs
• 1 can organic pumpkin pie mix

Whisk together ingredients until mostly smooth. There will be some small lumps, but you don’t want to over mix the batter or your pancakes won’t be fluffly.

Pour about 1/4 cup per pancake onto a lightly greased and preheated griddle. Cook until golden brown on each side.

Dress with syrup or whipped cream or whatever it is you usually put on your pancakes.


Filed under Gourmet Lisa