Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

Thinking about Valentine's Day.....

My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekhov to Munro (proceeds go to free youth writing programs - bonus!)

Lovebirdies Vase, $44 from Etsy Seller redhotpottery

Tom's shoes (the recipient will love them doubly for knowing that another pair was donated to a needy child), this particular pair is $44.

Nothing is real but dreams and love poster, $18 from Etsy seller fifiduvie

Red Velvet Macaroons from the recipe at Delectable Deliciousness

Friday, January 28, 2011

Keep Your Head Up - Andy Grammer

This is fun for a Friday...

Project 2011, January 27 - Stats

Dinner - Subway (we were short on time)

C's Dinner - Mango, Halibut with corn, tomatoes, edamame, basil, & garlic.

Enrichment - Studied up on statistics.  Here, here, and here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Project 2011, January 26 - At least dinner was good.

Dinner - Lasagna soup

C's Dinner - chicken and noodles, peas (the kid can't get enough!)

A rough day.

Project 2011, January 25 - The Food Police

Dinner - BBQ chicken pizza (similar to this recipe, but without cilantro and gouda and with green bell pepper), pineapple

C's Dinner - roast pork and potatoes, a tiny bit of pineapple

I mentioned that C moved into the toddler room at day care, right?  Well, apparently that means he can have school lunch now.  Monday that was chili and corn bread.  Tuesday was sweet and sour chicken and rice (both days with a fruit and vegetable).  They offer it to the kids and if they don't eat it, they give them the lunch the parents send from home.  So I guess I was busy reeling from the thought of my baby being a "toddler" on Monday, because I didn't give the lunch a great deal of thought until that night.  Then I pictured him eating canned chili.  Canned, sodium-filled, preservative-laced, questionable meat-stuffed chili.  All going into my breastfed, organic only boy.  So, with Jamie Oliver-esque passion, I called the daycare director.  Expecting conflict.  Scary conflict.  Apparently most parents have this break down when their kids go to the toddler room, though, because the director was totally prepared and knew all the answers to my questions, even if I didn't like some of them.  She acknowledged that the USDA standards aren't high enough, but it's what they have to go on.  SO, I'll be sending his lunches from home and approving any snacks or additional food on a weekly basis.  I feel better, but it begs the question - why don't Americans care enough about their kids' nutrition and all of the implications of the quality of their diets to object to the ickiness that is the standard school lunch?  I'm certainly placing all of the blame on the schools.  It's also our lawmakers that need to understand that this is an important issue.  So, please, educate yourself on what your kids are eating at school, contact your representatives, educate your child on food nutrition, and have a discussion with the dietician/principal/PTA/school board at your child's school.  See if there's any way you can help.

Image from Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole.

Here's more: (a blog by Mrs. Q, who ate school lunch every day in 2010 with her students)

The Frontier is Everywhere

via The Red Chair

State of the Union 2011

C has been clapping for awhile now, and what better way to practice than to watch the State of the Union Address and clap along?

(No, he normally doesn't watch television)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Project 2011, January 24 - Leaps and Bounds

Dinner - Tropical Smoothie Cafe, due to a late and prolonged run to various stores to find shoes for C.  They're required in the toddler room at daycare.

C's Dinner - Steamed mixed vegetables, pork/apple/sweet potato puree

Milestone (!) - C moved up to the young toddler room at day care.  On his first day he fed himself lunch (!!!) while sitting in a tiny chair at the table (!), he laid down to nap at nap time (in his old, baby room he could nap whenever he wanted to), and he didn't cry at all.  Big boy.

Celebrate the BOY!

If you've ever shopped for a boy, you've noticed the dearth of cute, non-sports related, non-cartoon character options out there.  Especially in comparison to what is available for girls.  The same holds true for sewing and craft projects.  Thus, the geniuses at Made by Rae and MADE are endeavoring on another month of posts devoted to boys!  So, get over there and bookmark or start following!  Celebrate the boy month will run from February 15 to March 15 this year, but until then you can look into past projects - and a whole lot more - on their respective sites. 

Here's one of my favorite projects from last year's Celebrate the Boy series:

Green Thumb Overalls

Monday, January 24, 2011

Project 2011, January 21-23 - F is for Failure

Dinners - turkey sausage/pasta bake, Lucille's, leftovers 

C's Dinners - Turkey & green beans, salmon & broccoli/cauliflower mix, mango/yogurt puree & beef roast & carrots

Enrichment - Learning from failure.  Okay, so obviously it's not something I set out to do, but I have a very real fear of failure, and it holds me back.  I know that growth emerges from uncomfortable experiences and often failure, but I avoid them both, which means I rarely try new "scary" (to me) things and if I get the slightest whiff of failure I abort the mission and never try again.  This weekend was a series of minor failures, but I'm forcing myself to try again on all fronts.  Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to take bigger risks.
Failure #1 - I chose an awful paint color for the bathroom.  Then I kept using it after my test spot was ugly.  (Behr Winter Lake)
Failure #2 - Clearly cutting the paint in along the ceiling is not my forte.  Strike that.  It is not currently my forte.
Failure #3 - This is pathetic.  I was going to call my aunt and ask her for kolache tips, but I chickened out (we're not close in any way and neither of has ever called the other, but it would be nice to forge a better relationship).  I'm not really sure what scares me about this. 

So, although I don't trust my ability to pick a paint color or edge the ceiling, I'll be painting the rest of the house.  Lucky for me BB is utterly color blind. 

I can't have C growing up thinking that it's okay to let life pass him by and to stop dreaming altogether out of fear.  So, no matter how uncomfortable it is for me, I'll let him see me try and fail and try again.  And hopefully gain confidence. 

Project 2011, January 19 & 20 - Home Improvement?

Dinners - breakfast burritos & apples, spanish-style halibut and spinach & pineapple

C's Dinners - Beef stew & pears, mango/pineapple/banana blend & broccoli & lima beans

Enrichment - worked on updating our powder room - last weekend we removed the baseboards and everything attached to the wall (tp holder, etc).  Now we've installed new baseboards and started with the installation of wainscoating.  I'll post pictures when we're done.  This has been a learning experience . . . lesson #1:  tile chips rather easily.  Lesson #2:  expect the walls to form something other than a 90 degree angle.  Lesson #3:  builders don't necessarily use acutal wood for baseboards, and whatever it is that they use smells bad and probably causes a multitude of health problems when you breathe the particles. 

We also went to another Gymboree class and were shunned.  This was one tight-knit group, and clearly they weren't excited to welcome any newcomers.  The theme was social interaction, which just makes the whole ordeal laughable.  Anyway, "thank you" to Rylen's Grandma, who was the only person to willingly speak to me and encourage interaction among the kids.  I'm going back to the Sunday class.  Thankfully, C is too young to notice.  I think.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


People can be "heroes" for all kinds of reasons...this guy is my hero for his adventurous, hopeful, kindhearted spirit.  I'd like to meet him to say thanks for the inspiration.

Please help him find his someday friends.

Good luck Todd Bieber.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Project 2011, January 18

Dinner - chicken quesadillas with spinach and avocado, pineapple
C's Dinner - asparagus/pea blend, chicken and noodles

Milestone Achieved (!) - C slept through the night!!!  A full 8 hours passed before I heard a peep.  Now why am I a touch sad that he's growing up?

Enrichment - Listened to a lecture on Biostatistics from UC San Diego

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Project 2011, Catching Up

I have a little catching up to do from when C was's what I remember:

Dinners - Healthy Buttermilk Chicken Fingers, New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette, Turkey Reuben Sandwiches, Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries, Seared Scallops with corn and basil salad, chicken salad with potatoes and arugula

C's Dinners - basically whatever I could get him to eat, which means a lot of his favorites - mango, peas, baby oatmeal with prunes or apricot mixed in.  He also had sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables, and chicken and bok choy puree.  (this was the first time I've had bok choy, to my knowledge, and I love it!  Yay for learning from my baby!). 

Enrichment (I have to retitle this section.) - Very little.  Worked on a new project I'll post about when I have pictures and took C to a new park with an equestrian area.  He loved the horses and kept saying "hi. hi. hi" to them, but squeezed BB's thumb really tightly when they came near.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I've returned, or have I?

This blog has been interrupted by unforeseen illness.  Poor C was sent home from daycare with fever Wednesday.  That fever lasted and lasted and lasted.  Then, when we thought all was well, the snot (pardon my French) started.  Poor kid couldn't sleep well, eat well, or play well.  Now the nose is starting to cooperate, but the cough has set in.  Hopefully he's well enough to return to daycare, and I can get started in making up for lost time at work.  And here.  And in sleep training (which hasn't been totally blown). 

There has been one advancement....a big project has been undertaken here at la casa sin color.  More on that in coming days. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Necklace Love

So it seems that lately everyone is selling engraved or stamped necklaces.  Normally that sort of makes an object less desirable for me, but this time I have to admit that some of these are fabulous.  Take these, for instance (base prices are shown):

Julian & Co Moon Necklace, $99 with up to 4 lines of text on the back

Lisa Leonard Designs Heartstrings Necklace, $64

The Vintage Pearl A Cup of Love Necklace, $42

The Noisy Cricket Hammered Names Around Pearl Necklace, $39

Project 2011, January 10 - VVA

Dinner - Tacos and black beans

C's Dinner - Tilapia and lima beans

Enrichment - Huge donation to Vietnam Veterans of America.  Hmmm.  That isn't really enrichment, but it's a good deed and I think it's good for the soul to purge the excess and unnecessary, even if it's just the tangible.  Anyway, I highly recommend donating to VVA. They make it very easy by picking up your donation, and the cause is more than just.  My uncle fought and died in Vietnam, and although I never knew him, I'm incredibly proud of his service.  Among the issues the the VVA remains committed to today: Agent Orange, PTSD, POW/MIAs, veteran education and job-training programs, homeless veterans, veterans benefits, and health issues.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Saw It, Liked It

I saw this AP photo in an article about the recent tragedy in Arizona

Project 2011, January 8-9

Meals - Very light on the cooking this weekend:  Southwest eggs and ham, leftovers, fend for yourself  :)

C's Meals - Sort of a grab bag.  He's getting his two top middle teeth and was sort of picky.  When all else failed, we had bananas and baby oatmeal with fruit or veg mixed in. 

Enrichment - C and I went to our first Gymboree class.  It was good for both of us - for me to be around other parents of young children and for C to try out a new environment with other kids and mama.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project 2011, January 7 - My mother is not a horse

Dinner - creamy rice soup with ham, fruit, spiced pumpkin biscuits (a nice use for leftover pumpkin, but take heed, you really need to use a light hand with the dough).

C's Dinner - Beef stew, pears

Enrichment - For awhile I've been interested in learning calligraphy, and in researching that, I became interested in Chinese characters.  Today I studied some beginners' Chinese language (oral for now, hopefully written some time in the future - the distant future) using the BBC's language tutorials.  Check it out here.  I studied Spanish for two years in high school and it wasn't easy.  Now that I'm more than 15 years older, learning a language without the trusty ABCs would be much more difficult.  Alas, the BBC provides many aides, such as a guide to tones, games, a pinyin guide, and slide shows.  There are also videos, but full-length videos are only available in the UK.  I chose the "Real Chinese" section of the site, and spent quite awhile on Topics 1-5.  It's amazing how much difference in meaning a word has just because of the tone of the speaker's voice.  One word, that sounds like "ma" means mother, linen, horse, and "to swear" depending on tone and inflection.  Be careful not to call your mother a horse.    I'll be back on topics 1-5 the next time I visit the site, too.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Project 2011, January 6 - Crying it Out

Dinner - Tomato Artichoke Pasta, Garlic Bread

C's Dinner - Butternut squash, Blueberry/Banana/Pear blend

Enrichment - A few months ago C got an ear infection that threw him for a loop.  It also wrecked his sleep habits (full disclosure - he was an okay sleeper, but it was all on his own accord.  We couldn't take the credit).  Since then, he's been up between three and ten times per night.  Yes, ten.  It's our dirty little secret.  He's trained me to get up at his first little peep and nurse, although he's not really hungry - he's basically using me as a pacifier.  If I don't get him quickly, he erupts into a screaming, frantic mess and is inconsolable.  Utterly inconsolable.  The whole cry it out solution makes me cringe, and to be honest, I thought C could outlast us any day of the week, so instead I've tried the more mild Pantley method with no results.  So although it might not seem like an enrichment activity, let me assure you that if we're successful and I can get my first complete night's sleep in 10 months, then my life will indeed be enriched.  To that end, we finally resorted to the dreaded Ferber Method.  He cried for 45 minutes (by "cry" I mean wailed/screeched/sobbed uncontrollably) before settling down (we went in the room to tell him that it was time to go to sleep, kiss him, and pat his back about every 4-7 minutes.  He would latch on to us in desperation).  Then he sat staring at his teddy bear for another 5 minutes before falling asleep.  It.Was.Torture.  And yet, he did better overnight.  I heard him stir twice and put himself back to sleep, then he cried at 3:00.  I went to him and nursed (was that wrong?) since I felt he actually was hungry.  He ate steadily for about 8 minutes and I put him back to bed when he slowed.  This time he cried for less than 10 minutes.  He woke up again at 4:30 and needed his nose aspirated and diaper changed.  He was up for the day at 6:15, puffy eyed.  We will give it another go tonight. 

Resources we used: 
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
The No-Cry Sleep Solution

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Project 2011, January 5 - Pipes

Dinner - Leftover Kalua Pig - this time in sandwiches, fruit, cottage cheese

C's Dinner - Chicken and noodles, pears

Enrichment -  Restarted the 100 Pushup Challenge.  I was in the middle of this during my pregnancy when I found I couldn't keep going due to my big belly.  I did the initial test, completing 42 decent pushups.  I'm under age 40, so I'll be at week 3, column 3 to start. In about a month I should be able to complete 100 consecutive push-ups!  Has anyone done the Couch to 5K program?  My sister is a runner, and one day I'd like to run with her (though not nearly as far).  Maybe a 5K?  I haven't ran a step since about the 20th week of my pregnancy (opting for elliptical machines and classes instead) and C is now 10 months old.  Eep!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Refeathering the Nest

The house looks so drab now that the Christmas decorations have gone back into storage.  In an effort to perk things up a bit, I've located these goodies...

at West Elm:

Herringbone Bed, $399-$699

at West Elm:

Sweep Armchair, $499-$599

at West Elm:
Perennial Pillow Cover, $29

at Restoration Hardware:

Palladian Urn Table Lamp, $439

at Restoration Hardware:

Antique Planisphere Chart, $995

from Etsy seller MayDae:

Vintage Scalloped Plates, $24.50

at Urban Outfitters:

Dance Steps Rubber Bath Mat, $16

at Rugs USA (save 20% with code WSJAN20):

Surya Caesar Rug, $55-$1840

at Rifle Paper Co.:

Animal Parade Print, $24

Project 2011, January 4 - Educate!

Dinner - Kalua Pig, rice, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and fruit (thanks Kehau and Pomai for steering me towards the Kalua Pig!).  I loved this recipe, proving Kalua Pig without a pit and banana leaves is possible!  My only complaint was that I probably smelled like a smoked pork chop by the end of the day, myself.

C's Dinner - Butternut squash and dilly salmon

Enrichment - Johns Hopkins panel discussion - Health Care and Its Discontents
                   Oxford panel discussion - The Future of Medicine

I sort of went the easy route .  C had to get his second flu shot (babies get two) and have his ears checked (bye-bye infection!) so I had to work late.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Adieu, 2010

At the beginning of 2010 I posted about my goals for my 32nd year.  Here's a link to the update.

I've done another list of goals for my 33rd year.  Maybe I'll post that on my 34th birthday.  Until then, I've started a couple of new projects for 2011:

1. I've started a log of all of our meals.  The hope is that I'll be more aware of what we're eating, how I'm spending the grocery money, and how often we eat out.  I'll share our dinners with you when I have a recipe worth sharing.

2.  This year I've challenged myself to expand my boundaries.  To do so, I've set a goal of trying one new thing/doing one personal growth activity/or otherwise attempting one horizon-broadening endeavor per day for all of 2011.  Some days it might be nothing more than picking up a book on something I know nothing about and others it might be something more ambitious. 

Since we've been out of town, the project started today.  Today's activity was listening to a lecture on microfluidics and diagnostics for the developing world via Berkeley webcast. 

Dinner tonight consisted of big spinach and vegetable salads with peppered smoked salmon for BB and I and a bevy of things for C - sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and green beans (he was in a picky kind of mood, and these were the only items he'd take more than one bite of).