Monthly Archives: March 2010

What I’ve been up to…

My sweet sister and her baby came to visit…


Photo by the always amazing John Stephens.

So a weekend with a bit of everything ensued: being lazy around the house, Vernal Equinox treat receiving, checking out cool shops on Main Street in old San Buena Ventura (and feeling very old pulling up in front of Urban Outfitters with my minivan and babies), soup eating and cousin fix getting (Bean’s new favorite word is her older cousin’s name and she was saying it and singing it over and over ALLLLL day long on Saturday), church, our favorite farmer’s market, and a photo shoot with John.

Bean loved on her cousin and her brother…

…while my sweet sister watched all the kids so this mama could go to Whole Foods all by herself and get some supplies for making Bean some yummy food that she isn’t allergic to.

I have been wanting to do this stuff for so long, but I haven’t had the time or energy until now.

So in the last couple days I have been gluten/dairy/egg-free bread making (this is our second loaf, it is so good)…

…and vegan gluten-free blueberry muffin making…

…and dairy-free yogurt making (still in progress).

I’ve also joined a book club, done lots of laundry and just plain enjoyed my kids. OK, back to my life now. See you later Internet. 🙂

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Filed under Family, Gourmet Lisa

Spring Fashion Week!

So last fall, Emery participated in Fall Fashion Week and it was awesome. I was definitely jealous of all her cute clothes and outfits, but being huge and preggo there was no way I could pull them off.

Well, now Emery is hosting Spring Fashion Week over on her blog. However, once again my wardrobe is not really up to par. I think I have one or two spring outfits that I would be willing to put out there on my blog for the public to see. I don’t really want to do anything about my wardrobe yet because 1) my body is still doing the post-pregnancy and breastfeeding hormonal wonky thing and 2) as I said in Sprout’s two month post I really don’t think I own any clothing without a greasy spit-up stain somewhere on it. I’m thinking in about six months or so when I’m sure the spit-up business is over with and my body has decided to regulate out that I’ll be hitting up thrift stores, Target, the mall and fabric stores for a wardrobe makeover.

However, Bean has some really cute stuff. She just moved into her 18mo clothes. A lot of it is hand-me-downs from her sweet cousins “Lizzie” and “Half-Pint,” but there are some new things in there too. It’s been so fun getting her dressed lately and picking out different outfits. Basically, I get to live vicariously through my daughter’s wardrobe. So, I got permission from Emery and we will be participating in Spring Fashion Week with the little lady version of it over here. I’m so excited!

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I love cloth diapering, part 8: Cloth with two babies

Just when everyone thought I was crazy and inflicting extra work (and disgusting poop dealings) on myself than should be necessary for a mom, I up and had another baby and decided to do cloth with both. Completely NUTSO, right?

Actually, I still don’t feel crazy or like it is that much extra work. Sure, I do have my limits, like when we moved and both kids spent a week in disposables. For the most part, however, I am still dissatisfied with disposable diapers and love my cloth diapers.

As with many parenting adventures, some things about our cloth diapering routine did have to change when Sprout came along. I thought I’d update you on how things are going now that I feel like I’ve got things figured out.

Since we use a one-size diaper, the BumGenius 3.0, both kids are in the same diapers right now. We just have them on different rises.

As such, the system I had before with pre-assembled diapers filling the baskets in the changing table was not working. So, I created what Stephen refers to as “the build your own diaper bar” which he says is kind of like a salad bar, but with diapers.

So here’s my changing table once again (and LOOK! I discovered today that the shelf DOES work with the baskets we bought! It looks so much neater than it did before!):

I have baskets with pre-sized, color appropriate shells for each kid:

Oh and it turns out that my worries about far too many pink diapers were unfounded. We have plenty of white and green diapers for Sprout to live in and I went ahead and bought three more diapers in boy colors (blues and greens).

Then I have all the newborn inserts in one basket. I am currently stuffing Sprout’s diapers with two of these at a time and at night I do one of the thicker inserts with a newborn insert as a doubler so he can make it through the night sans leaks.

And the thicker, adjustable inserts in another basket:

And that gives me a couple extra baskets for storage, which I really like because now all those burp rags I really need this time around have a home:

So anyway what we essentially do is stuff a diaper for each kid right before we change their diaper depending on who is getting changed.

I tried a couple different systems before this and didn’t like them. First I did pre-stuffed and sized diapers for each kid layered in the baskets. This didn’t work because in some situations like at night when I stuff the diapers differently (at night I double stuff Bean’s diaper with two thick inserts and I already described above what I do for Sprout) I would have to pull diapers apart and we would wind up with extra shells/inserts lying around. So then I tried what we have now, but things not really being very neat and just tossed in each basket. I didn’t like this because 1) I am totally anal and the unorderliness of it really bothered me and 2) I realized I needed a neat stack so that I could make sure all the diapers got even wear and tear by putting freshly washed stuff on the bottom of the stack. So then once I got it looking all nice and neat I had the shells layered boy-girl in the baskets, but that didn’t really work either because sometimes they go through diapers at a different rate throughout the day (usually Sprout gets an extra diaper change at the end of the day and if Bean is having one of her “poop days” she goes through a lot more diapers in a day). So it finally materialized to what I have now with different baskets for boy and girl.

I am doing laundry a lot more these days, but I have been doing laundry a lot more these days anyway thanks to all the spit-up and outfit changes. So really it isn’t even a blip on the radar because I pretty much have at least one load of laundry going every day be it diapers or clothes. Speaking of laundry, my diaper funk issues went away once we moved and stopped having to deal with a front loading HE washer.

Well, there you have it, cloth diapering with two.

And if you are new to my blog, or want to know more about cloth diapering you can check out the previous installments in this series:

I love cloth diapering, part 1: Why consider cloth?

I love cloth diapering, part 2: The various styles and brands

I love cloth diapering, part 3: Potty training and swimming

I love cloth diapering, part 4: Building a stash

I love cloth diapering, part 5: From changing table to laundry room

I love cloth diapering, part 6: On the road again…

I love cloth diapering, part 7: The diaper funk

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Paul Martin

My dad just sent this to me and I thought I’d share it. It’s a tribute to my grandpa done up by Eastern State Penitentiary.

A Tribute to Eastern State Penitentiary’s Catholic Chaplain’s Office Mural Artist

Lester Wallace Smith
July 11, 1924 – September 28, 2003

As Paul Martin turned back to his work he brushed the orange-red color onto the religious scene with fervor. He was painting the fires of hell and he had felt their fury.
Evening Bulletin, May 17, 1955


Communion of Saints, Eastern State Penitentiary

Lester W. Smith was born in Medford, Massachusetts on July 11, 1924. He described his early childhood as difficult. His mother, a single parent, struggled to support him and his younger brother during the Great Depression. She gave up when they were six and four and placed them in a foster home. The family reunited when she remarried seven years later.

Often in trouble during his teens, Lester enlisted in the Army at age 17. He served in World War II. While in combat in Germany, a bullet went through a friend, killing him and then hitting Lester – an event that earned him a Purple Heart.

After his Army career, Lester married Mary Mannke on Valentines Day 1947. By 1960, they had six children. It was also during these years that Smith led a secret life of crime. Between November 1953 and February 1954, Lester and a friend committed four armed holdups. He was arrested in Scranton and sentenced for a year in the county jail for a concealed weapons charge.

While in Lackawanna County Jail awaiting sentencing for the armed robberies, Lester had a life changing spiritual experience.

I used to mock the ministers and the priests, but one night I found I couldn’t go it alone anymore. First I cried and then I prayed. The next night something made me take a pencil and sketch a scene on the nearest wall.
Evening Bulletin, May 17, 1955

He had sketched the crucifixion, and this drew the attention of a visiting priest. Lester asked for his help in becoming a Roman Catholic. He undertook a period of study with the priest and was then baptized. Later at his sentencing hearing in Philadelphia, the judge, noting Smith’s conversion in jail and passion for his new-found religion, sentenced him to the minimum term of a year. Meanwhile, his accomplice drew ten years.


Crucifixion, c. 1955, Collection of Eastern State Penitentiary, gift of the Smith Family

The young man with the crew haircut brushed a bit of bright red orange onto the scene sketched in pencil on the waiting room wall…”I have a lot to answer for,” the young man said between strokes of this brush.
Evening Bulletin, May 17, 1955

Lester Smith served his term at Eastern State Penitentiary. This time his religious sketches were noticed by Father Gallagher, the Catholic Chaplain, who offered him the opportunity to paint on the walls of his office. He signed the 23 murals painted in the two rooms “Paul Martin” after the two saints that inspired him.


Lester Smith. c.1955, Collection of Eastern State Penitentiary, gift of the Smith Family

After Smith left prison, he exemplified the life of a reformed criminal, and he managed to keep his prison life a secret from most of his children for decades. His first job, at the Police Publication company, lasted ten years until the death of his boss. His seventh child was born in 1980. Outside work, he continued to paint, box, coach Little League, try to publish three books, and argue with his children and others about his favorite subject – world politics.

He was without a doubt a wonderful father and took his responsibility very seriously. He was a hard worker and worked until he was 73 at which time he retired.
Lester Smith Eulogy by daughter Sylvia Smith Anderson, 2003

After brain surgery in 2001 he entered a nursing home where he lived the last two years of his life. He died at age 79, a member of the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Norfolk, Virginia. After his death, members of his family came to Eastern State to see the murals. They brought with them the collection of the c. 1955 black and white photographs taken of the young man and his murals.


Lester Smith with granddaughter Alicia Johnson

He truly was a loving person, a caring individual, who loved nature and the world and felt that God gave him a good life. Twenty grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren survive him so he has left a little part of himself in each one of us. We will deeply miss him.
Sylvia Smith Anderson, 2003

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Sprout – month two

Sprout is two months old today.

He sleeps through the night now, so long as I swaddle him and he sleeps upright in his vibrating bouncy seat.

Early on in this month we moved him down the hall and into the guestroom to sleep because he is such a loud sleeper. He grunts and sighs and makes all kinds of noises really loudly all night long and I just couldn’t get any sleep with all that going on.

He smiles all the time. Especially at his sister.

He still spits up quite a bit. We both go through several outfit changes a day. I don’t think I own a single piece of clothing without a greasy spit up stain on it.

I am starting to get glimpses of his personality. He just seems to be a very happy easy going baby as long as gas/reflux/colic are not bothering him. So once those things get over with I think it is going to be a lot of fun having him around.

I know some of you bemoan every little development as it means your children are babies no longer, but that’s not me. I’m pretty excited about the fact that Sprout is growing and that these first couple months have gone by so fast. I love my kids very much, but newborns definitely are not my favorite.

So, I’m very glad that Sprout is quickly losing some of that newbornishness with every accumulating fat roll and longer stretch that he makes between feedings.

They say you never know what kind of parent you are going to be until you have your first kids, no matter how many parenting books you read beforehand. I think I would extend that to the second child as well. There was and is so much I’ve learned about myself, my kids, and being a parent. And it isn’t that cliche that as the oldest Bean was the guinea pig, by any means. Things that worked with her don’t always necessarily work with him. Things that I had time, energy, patience, etc. with her I don’t necessarily have with two kids. And I’m still learning and still having to adapt. It’s good, it’s hard, and so worth it.

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My gyro is too pitalicious for you, baby

Tonight I made Alton Brown’s Gyro Meat and holy lamb was it yummy.

Changes I made to the recipe:
-1 small onion instead of a medium one
-1lb ground lamb instead of two
-2 cloves of garlic pressed because I hate mincing and didn’t feel like measuring it out
-1 tsp majoram
-1 tsp rosemary
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes instead of ground black pepper
-I made the version that is like a meat loaf in a water bath because we don’t have a rotisserie, but I didn’t do the part with the brick at the end.

Instead of the Tzatziki sauce, I decided to experiment once again with trying to figure out the sauce that is on the shawermas at Flame and Skewers. And I am pretty sure I nailed it:

-1 pkg TJs Tahini sauce
-1 individual size plain Greek style yogurt
-couple dashes of paprika
-couple dashes onion powder with parsley flakes
-couple dashes garlic powder

Warm a pita, spread the sauce on it, layer gyro, pickles, tomato, lettuce and crumbled Feta on top. Mmm.

And now my stomach is slightly bloated because I ate way too much.

Rather than leave you with that mental picture, I give you this much better one of sibling love instead:

Bean has finally learned how to give proper kisses using her lips and not her forehead. She absolutely delights in showering me and Sprout with them. He seems to delight in receiving them and of course I do too. Love.

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Filed under Gourmet Lisa

Menu for the week of March 8-13, 2010

I actually have a menu this week. I’m using things I got at the farmer’s market this past Saturday. Those ingredients are listed in parenthesis after each recipe.

Monday
Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup (kale, carrots, and celery)

Strawberry Shortcake (strawberries)

Tuesday
Nachos with Chicken and Black Beans (one day this recipe will be back on my blog whenever I get around to transferring everything back over here and this uses no farmer’s market ingredients it is just quick and easy to make and I need at least one of those meals a week)

Wednesday
Gyros (pitas)

Thursday
Chicken and Artichoke Casserole (spinach and going to add asparagus)

Friday
Leftover Sausage and Corn Chowder from the freezer

Saturday
The Doodle’s birthday party

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