Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Food and Books

A little over a year ago I read the book "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" by Michael Pollan. Seriously this is one of the best books I have read in terms of having an actual impact on my thinking and behavior. I read a lot. Well, before I had Miss I read a lot. Now I read a lot for someone who chases a toddler around all day :) Most of the time, because I read so much, I finish a book and then purge all that I just read from my memory (I don't do it intentionally, it just happens that way). This prevents too much crazy clutter in my brain, and also allows me to enjoy reading a book again a few years after reading it the first time, though I only do this with books I really loved.

Anyway, back to Michael Pollan. Since reading IDF, my husband and I have changed much of the ways that we eat. This is one of the books that I did not flush all the content of after finishing the last page. Pollan's basic premise (in a very oversimplified nutshell) is encouraging people to eat real food, not processed junk. He encourages you to actually read the labels of your food. And when I started doing this, I was kind of grossed out by all the junk in some of the items I used to buy. Now when I go to the grocery store I mostly buy whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and milk. I also buy other dairy products like cheeses, and some other prepared items, though I only buy these if I can pronounce and know what the ingredients are. I also buy primarily organic foods to avoid pesticides and other chemicals as well as help the environment as much as I can. I should note that I learned not to assume that "organic" meant that a food was free of all the crazy processed junk I am trying to avoid though. I bought a can of organic soup once in a hurry without reading the label. I have purchased various soups (Amy's brand are fantastic!) that have pretty much only veggies and broth in them, and sometimes use these as a quick lunch for Miss. But the one time I grabbed a can of organic soup that sounded tasty and didn't read the label, I got it home to find out that it was full of all the same junk as many non-organic soups. So, lesson learned. "Organic" does not always mean "better."

Don't get me wrong. I won't refuse to eat something that isn't organic. I have been known to pig out on Culver's or pizza on occasion. I'd rather eat lots of different veggies and fruits, even if some of them are not available organically grown. I have yet to find organic asparagus or brussels sprouts in the produce section, but I don't stop buying those. I buy what I can find organic, and the rest I get non-organic. I do try to avoid buying certain items unless they are organic. There is a list of "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies that tend to absorb or somehow hold onto pesticides more than other items (I have read of this in several places but do not know the original source for the study that tested this). These include spinach, celery, bell peppers, potatoes, apples, peaches, pears, strawberries, raspberries, imported grapes, cherries, and nectarines. Another source I like because it provides both sides of the "organic debate" can be checked out here. This site also recommends buying only organic green peas, green beans, scallions, and blackberries.

Another way that my shopping and eating has changed is that I make a point of trying to buy food that is grown and/or produced locally. I never used to pay attention to where my food came from. But this is another point that Pollan raises in his book. It makes sense to me for many reasons, so my hubby and I have been working on trying to eat more local foods for a while now. Starting this spring, we are really going to challenge ourselves to try to eat the great majority of our foods from local sources, within about 100 miles of our home, with some reasonable exceptions. I did a guest blog post about this for the Suburban Saving Mama blog that you can check out here if you want to read more about why and how we are planning to go local.

So I guess the point of this whole post is that I like thinking about and talking about food and books. And Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" is a great way to do both. It really is a great book. In fact, I think it's about time for me to read it again. And he recently came out with a new book called "Food Rules." I hinted very strongly to my hubby that I would like this book for my birthday. Well, okay I flat out asked him to get it for me but that's how we roll in our house. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will soon be reading a copy of "Food Rules." I'll let you know how it is! Another book that was recently recommended to me by my father-in-law as discussing similar ideas to those put forth in IDF but also really getting into the science supporting these suggestions is "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating" by Walter C. Willett, MD (sounds impressive doesn't it??). I'll tackle that one after "Food Rules."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Quote for the Day - One of my Favorites

"Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; hate less, love more, and all good things are yours." - Swedish Proverb

P.S. Only one more week until we can find out Baby's gender!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Miss's One-Year Photos

I was able to purchase a CD with all of Miss's One-year photos (and the copyrights), so I thought I'd share a few of them with you. They turned out great. It took her a minute to warm up to the photographer (as you can see by her "stink eye" look in the first photo) but once she did she hammed it up in true Miss-style. It was fun and she had the photographer and I rolling with laughter.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Miss"-cellany and More

Miss is 13 months old today! It amazes me how quickly she is changing and learning new things. I have already told you a lot about what she's up to these days. She's walking everywhere, climbing the stairs like it's the most fun new game, etc. She is ornery and silly and does the funniest things that keep me laughing all day. But she is also very thoughtful and loves to sit and study new things that she sees. She loves to read her books. She's very good at entertaining herself, but also loves to play and be silly with her Momma and Daddy.

Love those lashes!

She can say "Mama," "Dada," "Dog," "'Uppy" (puppy), "Duck," "Bear, and "Hi!" Yes, she already has two words for our dogs. She loves our dogs. They get kisses all the time. My husband and I are lucky to get a kiss once in a great while. She thinks it's funny to turn her head and/or duck away when we try to get a kiss from her! She loves to point to her tummy, belly button, nose, hair, and sometimes her mouth and ear. She makes animal noises (lion, cow, duck) and I know I already blogged about this, but it cracks me up that she waves her hand in front of her nose when I say "Whiff-a-hootie!!" (which in our family means, "Ew, that stinks!")

Trying to kiss one of our dogs

She loves to try to help with chores like laundry and dishes. Often this means throwing the clean clothes out of the laundry basket, taking off with an article of clothing she finds to be particularly fun (usually an undergarment of some sort!), putting shoes into a laundry basket, or unloading the clean spoons from the dishwasher onto the floor. But she does follow simple directions pretty well so sometimes she is actually helpful. She loves to play in closets with clothes and shoes (wonder where she gets that??) and I love watching her take clothing and try to put it on over her head. Sometimes she's even somewhat successful!

Um, yeah, that's one of my bras.
Success! Sort of.
She loves shoes!! (that's my girl :)

Bottom line is that 13 months is crazy fun. Miss has the most amazing little personality! I'm loving it.

In other news, I'm 18 weeks along in my pregnancy. Baby is growing, and so am I! It seems like lots of things are happening earlier with this pregnancy. I felt Baby moving a few weeks earlier than I did with Miss. I started getting acid reflux earlier too. And my belly button already popped out (several weeks ago actually)! Admittedly, I barely have an "Innie" belly button when I'm not pregnant. In fact, I'd probably call it more of a "Flattie." But it still seems really early for my belly button to have popped to an Outie. Oh well. I'll sport my Outie proudly for the next 22 weeks or so. And a bonus is that Miss thinks it's pretty funny, so we're rolling with it.

We are nearly to the point of starting the two-week countdown until we can find out Baby's gender. April 5th is the big day, and I am so excited!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A very happy St. Patty's Day

Miss and I had a wonderful St. Patty's Day. We started out by getting all decked out in our festive green clothing. Her shirt said "Sham Rocker". We went to meet some friends for lunch at an Irish restaurant, where we donned even more St. Patty's Day flair, like funny headbands, huge gem rings, bead necklaces, buttons, etc. We had a blast and our food was delicious.

When we got home we went to play outside. We've been taking walks in the stroller a lot lately since the weather has been so nice, but Miss hasn't really been out to run around in the yard yet this spring, so we just took some time to play in the front yard. She loved walking on the driveway and looking at all the interesting things to see. It took her a while to get used to the feel of the asphalt and the grass. The first few times she fell on her butt she didn't want to touch the asphalt to stand back up. She also had to take some time to decide whether she liked the grass or not. She ultimately decided that both were okay, and she got good and dirty pulling out grass, digging a little dirt, picking up as many sticks as she could carry, and trying to catch ants. We took two walks and spent the entire afternoon outside until it was time to come in for dinner. The we had a bath and she conked out. It was such a wonderful day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Winner of the Hugga Buns OS diaper

The winner is entry #4 - Mad for following me on Twitter. Congratulations!

Mad will have 48 hours from the time I email her to respond. If I don't hear from her I'll pick another winner. Thanks everyone for your entries!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just some photos

I went a little crazy with my camera today so I thought I'd just share some of the fun things I caught on film.

In yesterday's post I mentioned Miss's newfound love for carrying around her small stuffed animals, in particular her beanie kitty and beanie bear.
Here she is with the beanie bear and a substitute for Kitty, Elmo.
Now she found Kitty!! (p.s. I love the sleepy jammies and bedhead look!)
She really wanted to stop and pick up this ratty old dog toy (yes, it has had all the stuffing torn out and it's nearly been decapitated, but my dog once loved it and now Miss enjoys toting it around from time to time; she fishes it out of the dog's toy basket). But she refrained this time.
Miss loves to talk on the phone. Rather, she loves to pretend to talk on the phone. When I put the phone up to her ear with another person really on the line, like my mom, she gets all wide-eyed and clams up! But when there's no one on the other end, she loves to have pretend phone conversations, whether it's with the real phone, one of her toy phones, or something that sort of resembles a phone, like the alarm clock in our guest bedroom. Don't be alarmed (sorry, couldn't resist!), it's unplugged.

She talks.
She listens.
"Say what?!?"
And later, she found her way back to that grody dog toy.
I can never resist a butt-shot of this adorable beaded diaper cover (yay for Nifty Nappy Woolie Wraps!!)
And this photo is just too cute.
She had a blast with a box from some kitchen items that were delivered today.
And finally, one of my favorites of the day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Today was both a lazy and productive day. It was more productive than lazy I suppose, but we did have some family down-time during the ACC Championship basketball game. Duke (our team) played Georgia Tech for the championship. It was a pretty ugly game, but Duke was victorious and we were happy. We had fun all sitting on the floor playing with Miss and her newly discovered and loved stuffed animals. She has previously been fairly oblivious to her stuffed animals, once in a while maybe jumping on one with a bear hug, but for the most part ignoring them. Lately she has been playing a lot with her stuffies. In particular, she loves to carry several of them around with her. She will carry and/or drag any of them that are small enough to be carried, but she especially loves her beanie kitty and beanie bear. These are just the right size for her to carry one in each hand. Today she especially seemed to enjoy snuggling with her stuffies and sitting in her "Daddy chair" where she reclined in the crook of Ben's armpit as he lounged on the floor with her. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was just soaking in the family time and, honestly being too lazy to get up and get my camera!

But, there was lots of productivity today too! A few posts ago I mentioned the projects I wanted to get finished before finding out Baby's gender and getting to work on his or her room. One of the first things I wanted to do was to finally finish Miss's room. Now you may wonder why in the world her room is just getting finished when she's nearly 13 months old. Well, let me explain. When she was born we were living in a rental house while we were searching for the perfect house to buy. We did have a completed nursery for her in that house, that I had put together in my nesting phase before she was born. Miss was about 3 months old when we moved to our current house. I got her room set up nicely, but we didn't really have it finished or get anything put up on the walls because the walls were green and we needed to wait until we could get her room painted. We finally did that this past fall. Since then I don't really have a great reason that her room didn't get done. But in the past several months I have put up a few things on her walls, found a bookcase and gotten Hubby to put it together, and finally made a decision about whether to change the furniture arrangement in the room or not (the decision was to change it). So, here we have the before and after photos. The room still needs a few touches. I need a couple more items to put up on the walls, though I haven't found what I want yet. I also need to put up the growth chart when that gets done. That will go next to the new bookshelf, which you can see below. So see what you think!

This is view from the door into Miss's room
Kind of blah. No good focal point (except the adorable baby of course!).

Much better! In case you missed this in my earlier post, my mom made that quilt for Miss.

The wall across from the window.

Not too much different, but the addition of the shelf with the pegs to hang Miss's tiny crocheted sweater and antique baby spoon from my mom, plus her initial letters on the shelf (they're hard to see in this photo, but they're there) add a lot to this part of the room.

This is the wall adjacent to the door into the room.

So much better with the bookcase! The growth chart will go between the bookcase and the door.

And speaking of the growth chart, here's the first stage of work on it. I got the gesso on the canvas today and the dowels have been painted. Now I just have to cut it to the size I need, get crafty with my paints, attach the dowels at the top and bottom and put the ribbon on to hang it.

As for the other project, my big sewing effort for the master bedroom, I have been ordering and comparing fabric swatches. I think I've decided on the fabric for the duvet, but the swatch I got was so small I had to order a yard of fabric to see if the colors and pattern are really what I want. So, I'm making some progress there too. The fabric should be here tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest. I can't wait!