Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: The Year in Books

Apparently having a baby has had a negative impact on my reading (and my blogging, obvs). I can only hope to read MORE in 2016. No promises on the blog front.
  1. Waiting for Birdy - Catherine Newman
  2. Attachments - Rainbow Rowell
  3. The Birth Partner - Penny Simkin
  4. Four - Veronica Roth
  5. All Fall Down - Jennifer Weiner
  6. At Least You're in Tuscany - Jennifer Criswell
  7. Tapestry of Fortunes - Elizabeth Berg
  8. The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen
  9. Inferno - Dan Brown
  10. Stumblin Thru - Digger Stolz
  11. Women Are Scary - Melanie Dale
  12. The Vintage Teacup Club - Vanessa Greene
  13. Some Things That Stay - Sarah Willis
  14. Invisible - Carla Buckley
  15. Orphan Number Eight - Kim van Alkemade
  16. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
You can check out my lists from previous years here:

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Pinned It, Did It: Nursing Kit

This pin caught my eye because I have the exact Thirty-One Little Carry All that the blogger, Jen, used for her kit in Breastfeeding: Take 2. Mine was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law, and I had not yet found a use for it. So this was the perfect idea!

Obviously I may or may not end up using this kit, but it's worth a try. I copied Jen's contents almost exactly since I don't yet have any personal experience to know what I'll want/need in mine.
  • Lansinoh lanolin
  • Water bottle
  • Breast pads
  • Burp cloth
  • Tissues
  • Lip balm
  • Easy to eat snacks

I removed a few items (water bottle, snacks) after I assembled the kit since I won't be using it immediately, but they will be easy enough to add back in once the baby arrives.

Do you have any suggestions for items I might want to include in this kit?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Random Updates

Work:  Saturday was my last day at part-time job #2. It is such a relief to be done there. I enjoyed the experience much more than expected, but retail is hard on pregnant bodies. All that standing, yo. I am in awe of women that waitress or work in retail right up until they give birth.

Pregnancy: I am now 34 weeks along, with 6 weeks to go (assuming a standard 40 week pregnancy). All goes well. I am fairly uncomfortable most of the time, as can be expected. I'm wearing a lot of slip on shoes. At 36 weeks (our next appointment) we have a sonogram to check the boy's position and estimate his size, etc. Our last sono was at 18 weeks, so I'm really looking forward to seeing the little guy again. We met with a pediatrician and toured the birth center at the hospital, so I was able to check off a couple baby-related items from my 2015 To-Do List.

Reading: Or in this case, re-reading: The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. I read it years ago for my doula training but decided a refresher was in order.

Watching: All the 1/2 hour shows about people buying houses on the beach, in the Caribbean, on Hawaiian Islands, or other warm parts of the world not currently buried in snow and experiencing record breaking low temperatures. I've hit my personal wall with this winter. It's bumming me out.

lawn chair in our front yard

For Fun: We visited the 1890 House Museum a couple weekends ago for a guided tour, followed by an early dinner at Ciao in Ithaca.

sitting area in the turret in the master bedroom

the Fernery was added in the 1920s

the library
We like history and such. And wood-fired pizza, of course.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola

I'm back on my yogurt and granola for breakfast kick. I have very specific preferences when it comes to this daily meal. I use one kind of yogurt (and when the grocery store is out of it on our weekly shopping trip, I get GRUMPY) and one kind of granola. The granola is expensive though, so I am constantly thinking I should make some at home that would be ideally cheaper and lower in calories. My preferred brand is pretty calorie-rich (perhaps why it is so darn tasty).

I had oats and chia seeds in the house, so I googled to find a simple recipe that didn't call for fruits or nuts (a big granola no-no, in my opinion). I found this one and decided to whip up a batch. After all, it was categorized as "quick and easy." I like both of those words.

I measured out the dry ingredients as per the recipe and added a pinch of salt (because, well, I like salt). When it came to the wet ingredients, things got a bit rocky. I misread the recipe and put in double the oil. Oops. Although I used half vegetable oil and half olive oil, so I don't feel bad about it. I'm a firm believer in the goodness of olive oil. Then when I pulled the honey out of the cupboard I discovered it was solid and no amount of running it under hot water was changing that. So I abandoned the un-squeezable honey and went for the organic white Hawaiian honey, which exists in a lovely creamy solid state naturally. I figured if I had to deal with solid honey, I might as well use the good stuff. Of course, this made mixing it a real pain in the butt. After it'd been baking about 6 minutes and the honey was thoroughly melted I gave it another good stir. Problem solved.

As you can see from the third picture, the recipe doesn't produce a ton of granola. And in this case, that's probably just as well. Because it's just not as good as the stuff I buy at the store. I will eat it as a snack, but I can't see substituting it for my regular, much-loved granola. For one thing, I don't think I'm really a nutmeg person. So if I made it again, I'd definitely try leaving that out. Also, the brand I buy doesn't have ANY seasonings, so I probably should have predicted that would be a problem. However, this granola is tasty. Just not tasty enough, I guess.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The New Compost Bin

My husband works less in the wintertime. That is to say, he still works his regular full-time job, but the marina he co-owns is closed for the season. He still works there part-time doing paperwork and preparing for the upcoming summer (booking bands for the bar and sending out dockage contracts, that sort of thing). So to keep himself busy during this relatively slow period he started building things out of pallet boxes.

He built us a wall wine rack for the dining room and a coat rack to hang by the front door. Then I reminded him that I've been quietly asking him to build me a pallet box compost bin for years. Sometimes patience pays off. I got my compost bin!

Now you might be a tad confused because if you know me, you know that gardening is not my thing. While I love the concept of it, the actual reality of gardening does not appeal in the slightest. We tried container gardening a few years ago, but not a single usable item was produced. Not one vegetable, not one tomato, not even any herbs. Part of the problem is my many trees. There are just no sunny spots left in the yard. Add to that my general laziness and a lack of interest on both of our parts, and you do not have a recipe for success.

Why then, you ask, do I want a compost bin? My singular goal is to reduce the amount of waste at the curb each week. It kills me to see rotten potatoes, apple cores or banana and orange peels in the trash can. I've been known to just toss old fruit and veggies out the backdoor, but this will work better for all involved. It always surprises me that none of the creatures that devour the pumpkins on the front porch at Halloween will deign to touch a potato when it's freely given.

I don't mind slipping on my big boots and trudging through the snow to empty the ceramic compost container I keep near the sink. Now I just need to remember to toss the used tea bags in there each morning. And apparently, dryer lint. For a brief composting 101, check out this article/graphic.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Using a Weekly Planner

I've been working two part-time jobs, neither of which have regular set hours.

Add in all the midwife appointments (we've now entered the every two week phase of pregnancy).

And then try to plan hikes around all this (I'm part of a national organization in which volunteers lead weekly walks for families with little ones).

Good luck, I tell you.

It's just too much to keep straight. I tried using an online calendar, but I need to see it all laid out in front of me. Plus, I'm still trying to come up with a system to ensure my bills get paid in plenty of time.

I really wanted one of the fabulous life planners I'd read so much about by Erin Condren Design, but I didn't have $50 to spend on a planner. I did, however, receive an Amazon gift card as a Christmas present, so I spent many (many) hours perusing the options. I finally decided on one and, after one of the most discouraging deliveries on the planet, it eventually arrived. Side-note: Is this why people have Prime? So their packages don't drop off the grid and arrive 4 days later than expected? Anyway, moving on.

Having only used the planner for a couple weeks, I've already realized that I would have preferred one with the days broken down by hours so I could block out whole chunks of time. Next year! Otherwise, I'm loving it.

And it's one more item I can cross off my 2015 To-Do List.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

My 2015 To-Do List

I saw this on She Likes Purple, so thank you for the inspiration Jennie. I struggle with goal setting, as many goals are hard to assess. Take for example the goals I set for 2014:

1. Pay bills sooner (don't wait until the last minute!)

2. Eat more veggies.

3. Eat more fruits.

4. Reduce clutter. Donate or throw out possessions that aren't being used. (Specific areas to focus attention on: small bedroom, family room, and basement.)

5. Read three classic novels.

1, 4, and 5 just didn't happen. 2 and 3 were a definite success for the first six months or so when I was drinking green smoothies every day. Then I got pregnant and veggies were a not a thing I could eat. It's gotten better in the second and now third trimester, but eating 2-4 clementines a day wasn't quite what I had in mind when I set the goal. 

Assessing terms like "sooner," "more," and "reduce" isn't easy. So following Jennie's example I created a to-do list for 2015 instead of just vague goals. The items on the list are all specific and tangible and can be crossed off as I make progress. In fact, I've already crossed off three items since I wrote the list on December 31st.

1. Empty baby’s room of all non-baby items

2. Set up baby’s room

3. Clean stroller

4. Wash all hand-me-down baby clothes (NB - 6 months)

5. Wash all new baby clothes

6. Wash all hand-me-down crib bedding

7. Take some sort of belly pics (not professional). Painted? Henna? Check Pinterest for ideas.

8. Get husband to hang wall art (Chapel Pond, Grandpa's flowers)

9. Have husband construct a pallet box compost bin

10. Read 30 books

11. Watch Mockingjay, Part 1

12. Watch Wild

13. Attend a yoga class at the new yoga studio in the village when it opens

14. Find & try a prenatal yoga video on YouTube

15. Blog at least 2x per month

16. Find a pediatrician for the baby

17. Tour Hospital Family Birth Center

18. Have house assessed for new solar panel installation

19. Go to Chicks & Hens at least once

20. Attend a Babywearing Dance class at Chicks & Hens at least once

21. Learn how to use essential oils

22. Clean up back property line 

23. Clean up back corner of yard: former vegetable garden/currant bushes area

24. Buy/hang window treatments in baby's room

25. Use new planner to organize payment of bills, days working, and for scheduling hikes, etc.

I may or may not add more items to the list. Since this is my first yearly to-do list, I am leaving myself room to figure out what works best for me. Maybe next year I'll start thinking about it before New Year's Eve.