Monday, August 4, 2014

Eat, Play, Love

In lieu of Mommy Fashion this week, I'm doing a Mommy Tip: toy rotation. I don't know how long this will last, but it's worked so far and it is definitely good for an apartment-dweller, a minimalist, or just someone who doesn't want mountains of toys (I fit into all three of those categories). I've noticed that Brooklyn gets bored with her toys after about 2 months - so after she goes to bed one night, I stash the things that she's stopped being interested in, pull out a couple of things that I put away on the last rotation, and rearrange everything (her things are sorted; colors, animals, letters and numbers, sounds, etc., so I choose a new "focus" each time) and then when she gets up the next day, it's like new toys! It also makes one new toy or book more lastingly exciting than just tossing it into the toybox with all of the others.

Brooklyn has been delighted to help in the kitchen of late (by "help" I mean "joyously make a colossal mess if allowed within reach of any in-progress dishes") - at this point, she mostly gets a plastic serving spoon to play percussion on the fridge with, but that's something.

I have a wonderful kiddie-food cookbook called Baby and Toddler On the Go that is filled with healthy, appetizing baby-friendly recipes... except that all but three of the dishes in the over-one section contain some sort of dairy (milk, yogurt, or cheese) and Brooklyn is still dairy-free. She loves pasta, so I took the general concept of their mac 'n' cheese bites and made gluten-free dairy-free Penne Cups:
[Per 6 cups] Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and grease a regular-sized nonstick muffin pan (I used muffin cups the first time, and don't recommend it because it's hard to peel the paper off). Cook 3/4 cup of penne (I used Kroger's natural store brand) until it's soft-but-slightly-chewy and put it in a bowl to cool. Using your same pot, saute 1/4 sliced snow peas in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add it to your pasta, along with 1 finely cut-up cooked chicken thigh (I made mine in the crockpot - braising also works great, and if you'd rather use white meat, feel free to substitute!) Stir together, and add 2 beaten eggs. Divide evenly between 6 muffin cups, and bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden and slightly bubbly.

She really likes these, and I like that they can be made with a variety of different meats and veggies, and that when she indicates her fullness by dropping her last bite on the floor, it doesn't really make a mess.

Speaking of messes... overnight is too long to leave a can of Coke in the freezer. :/ I got the chicken for the penne cups out at 6am when Brooklyn woke up needing to nurse, and was initially confused by the stalactites that hung all over our freezer - until I noticed the warped can sitting under the biggest one. Oops. But, I had to share the helpful suggestion I got when I posted this photo on Facebook and asked if anyone had an idea for cleaning it up: use a dry dishcloth. Because frozen things are solids (oh. Right.) It wiped right off, didn't leave any sticky residue, and the only thing I had trouble with was all the tiny little parts on the ice maker. On the plus side, my freezer is now clean in two ways - wiped down, and reorganized.

I've been trying to get caught up on tasks in preparation for going to Fayetteville for a week... making sure that I leave our apartment with all of the dishes clean, the trash emptied, the floor vacuumed, and everything reasonably tidy (partly because I don't want to have to do any of that when I get back, and partly due to a trained paranoia about coming home to a bug infestation), and I've also been trying to catch up on replying to the letters that I need to reply to (because anyone who is willing to handwrite me a letter and pay the postage to send it deserves to not have to wait another week for their reply). I'm also hoping to get my #fmfpartysnailmail note written - then I won't need to send it from Fayetteville, and that will give it a little extra travel time since it's going to Canada.

The past week was busy, and the next three weeks will be interesting with Adam gone - but I'm hoping to make them restoratively productive (if that's possible), so that neither our apartment nor I am a mess when he gets home.

Mums - how do you handle The Toy Issue (if it's an issue to you)?

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