Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Healthy Slow Cooker: Review

I absolutely love to cook! Trying new recipes is exciting for me. When I had the opportunity to review The Healthy Slow Cooker, I jumped at the chance! As a family we try to eat fairly healthy by watching our calorie and fat intake. The first thing I noticed about this cook book was that every single recipe had nutritional information! This makes it very easy for anyone trying to keep track of what they are eating. If you are on a plan like Weight Watchers, you can enter the information in to the WW site for a quick conversion to points. It couldn't be easier!

After trying out several recipes from The Healthy Slow Cooker, I decided to share the recipe for Vegetable Curry with Lentils and Spinach. I must admit, when it comes to the slow cooker I can be a bit lazy. I like a recipe where I can throw all of the ingredients in and come back 6 hours later to a delicious meal. This recipe calls for a bit more prep work, but I promise it is totally worth it! Steps like toasting your spices will bring out delicious flavors you just can't get any other way.

Excerpted from The Healthy Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson © 2006 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

                 Toasted seeds ground with a mortar and pestle

Sauteing the Vegetables

In the slow cooker ready to cook

My final product

I chose to add the coconut milk (I used light for less calories) and a little more vegetable broth to give the curry a little more liquid. We ate this as a main dish, and it made more than enough for 2 nights! It was full of flavor, vitamins and is low in fat too!

I really love how Judith (the author) gives great information with every recipe. For instance, she talks about all of the wonderful antioxidants found in this recipe and their health benefits. She does a great job at not only giving you a recipe, but also educating you about what you are eating. I definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for great slow cooker recipes that are healthy as well! The book is full of inventive recipes that don't lack in the flavor department. Plus, you won't feel guilty after eating them

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Vegetarian Cook's Bible: Review

I am always looking for new and yummy recipes to cook for dinner. I LOVE to cook! Recently we have been trying to eat healthier and include more vegetarian meals into our diet. So, when I had the opportunity to review The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible by Pat Crocker, I jumped at the chance! After trying many of the recipes, I quickly decided upon my favorite, Udon Noodle Soup with Shiitakes and Bok Choy! My husband and I love soup, especially soups with Asian flavors. This soup did not disappoint! It is full of robust flavors. The fresh ginger, sesame oil and lemon juice all lend to a unique and delicious flavor profile.

Excerpted from The Vegetarian Cook's Bible by Pat Crocker © 2007 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission.

As you can see, the soup is full of fresh, flavorful ingredients that are both hearty and delicious! In addition to being vegetarian, this soup is also Vegan, which is a plus in my book! I have made the soup with both udon noodles and soba noodles. Both are delicious, but I definitely prefer the udon noodles. Another easy variation on the soup is to substitute the type of mushroom you are using. While shiitake mushrooms are certainly delicious, but they can be pricey. Try some baby bellas instead for an equally delicious soup at a more affordable price.

I definitely give this cookbook an A plus! So many times, vegetarian recipes can be boring and bland. I promise you will not have that problem with these recipes! There is an amazing variety of recipes and ingredients. There is something for every palate. I am still discovering new recipes, and I love them all!

If you try the Udon Soup recipe, please come back and leave a comment about how you liked it. I would love to hear from you all!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Winner of UPrinting Poster

The winner of the UPrinting Poster is Comment #3 Teresha@Marlie and Me! I have sent you an email. You have 24 hours to claim your prize.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Potty Update

So, life has been busy lately! It’s been almost a month since I took a week off of work to potty train Orlaith. She’s been doing remarkably well! I think like any child, she has good days and bad days. When she does have accidents, it is because she is so engrossed in what she is doing that she forgets to stop. No biggie!

On the big potty party day, we ditched her cloth diapers for cloth training pants. It made sense for us to go from cloth to cloth. Even if you don’t cloth diaper, you should consider cloth training pants. It is not a good idea to use disposable diapers or pull ups once you begin potty training because they pull moisture away from your child’s skin. One of the important pieces to potty training, is that they feel and know when they are wet! Plus, putting them in disposables/pull ups is confusing. I went all out. We used cloth trainers exclusively, even when we left the house (which took 5 days).

I knew not to expect night training right away. I still use a cloth diaper at night, but that is the ONLY time. She wears cloth trainers for her nap, and has yet to have an accident during nap time. I have to say that I am SO proud of my little honey! We are getting there. Even though there is typically at least one accident a day, I consider her potty trained. We are just fine tuning at this point!

UPrinting Poster: Giveaway - CLOSED

Have you ever wanted to make your very own poster? Well here is your chance! UPrinting has generously offered to give away an 18” x 24” poster to one of my readers. A poster could come in handy for so many things. Whether you have a business or would like it for personal usage (blow up and frame a photo, advertise a garage sale, create a cute poster for a birthday party), the options are endless! Make sure to check out their templates for ideas!

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Giveaway ends July 27th at 6PM CST. Winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Open to US residents 18 years and older. Winners are allowed to win once over a six month period. If you have claimed a prize from UPrinting in the last 6 months, please do not enter.

This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given and I will receive a poster for hosting. Check out UPrinting.com to see more of their posters, poster sizes and poster templates.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Communication and Elimination

In other Orlaith news, she is growing leaps and bounds in the communication department. In the last 2 weeks, her vocabulary has exploded. She is starting to repeat new words like crazy. I have been trying to keep count, and I think we are up to 50-60 words now. Some of her newest words include alligator, hot dog, bow, bubbles, hurry, yay, eat, agua (Spanish for water) and Elmo! In addition to that, she also has around 50 ASL signs.

She has also been learning colors. Right now her favorite is purple, with yellow as a close second. We have been working on her ABC’s too. She has had the tune down for 3-4 months, but now she can say a lot of the letters. Her ABC’s go something like this “A, B, C, D… L, M, N, O, P”. It is pretty cute! We are trying to fill in the blanks. She will get it when she is ready!

We have been pre-training for the potty since she was 15 months. The pre-training consists of several tactics to get her familiar and comfortable with the potty. Luckily, we use an in-home daycare so her pre-training is being reinforced while she is there. If we were in a regular daycare, she wouldn’t be in the right class for potty training. Orlaith took to the potty the first time we put her on and she peed! Since then we try to put her on the potty at least 6 times a day. We also read potty books and watch a potty video. I know a lot of parents do not let their kiddos watch TV. We didn’t either, but made an exception for potty learning. It turned out to be a big help. I have taken the last week of June off of work, so we can have our Potty Party day and officially potty train. Orlaith will be 18 months old, and more than ready by then. This link outlines the basic method we are using.

It has kind of been freaking me out to think that I have less than 2 weeks left of cloth diapering. I know it is a logical next step for us, but I will miss the cloth diapers I have grown to love. I think a lot of cloth diapering mamas can relate to my feelings. If not, I promise I am not crazy for missing diapers! I also know that this is the last piece of being a baby that Orlaith still has, and it is about to be gone. It is hard to face the facts that my “baby” is not really a baby anymore. Sigh. Here goes nothing!

Bedtime Stories

So, it has been awhile since I have posted anything on the blog. Shame on me! I have been so busy with life that I forgot to update you all on it. There have been some pretty big developments on the Orlaith front. As most of you know, we have been co-sleeping with Orlaith since she was born. She never spent a night in her crib… EVER. My husband and I both love having her close, snuggling and just staring at our sleeping angel.

A week ago, our air conditioning went out. It was still working, but blowing hot air. This had happened before, and a complicated series of turning things off and on usually did the trick. Not that night though. It was super hot in our house, and I couldn’t bare the thought of that hot little baby snuggling up to me all night when it was upwards of 85 degrees. So, I stripped her down to her diaper and put her down in her bed. I say bed because I had just switched her from a crib to a toddler bed earlier that day. I totally expected that she would wake up at some point in the night screaming. Imagine my surprise when my alarm went off the next morning and she was still sound asleep in her bed! So, I struggled with my selfish feelings of keeping my baby close to me all night, versus the fact that we obviously had a window to start putting her to sleep in her own bed at night. The logical part of me won out and I decided that it was time. She was obviously ready to sleep alone. But was I?

The next night, I started telling Orlaith we would be going “night night” soon. I told her what to expect – saying good night to daddy, going potty, putting on a diaper, reading a book and then going to sleep. After each thing was completed, I would say “Okay, now we are going to do X, Y and Z” so she knew exactly what to expect. That night when I laid her down she started to cry. I sat right beside her bed and told her everything was okay. I hugged her when she needed it, and rubbed her back when she was lying down. The tears stopped after a couple of minutes. She settled down, with me snuggling her, and she passed out. She stayed asleep all night again. The next night, we went through the same routine, except the tears only lasted about 20 seconds. The next night, we were down to 5 seconds, and by the next night no crying at all! Every night I sat by her bed and waited until she fell asleep. We had a successful full week of Orlaith sleeping in her toddler bed every night. She only woke up one night because her teeth were hurting.

Last night, Sunday, started week 2 of sleeping in her own bed. Orlaith typically goes to sleep at 9. Imagine my surprise when at 8:20 she walks up to me, blanket in hand and tells me “Night Night”. I asked her, quite surprised, if she was ready to go night night. She responded with huge nod yes and proceeded to walk to her room and try to climb in bed. I had to remind her of our bedtime ritual. We went potty, put on a diaper, read a book and I laid her down. As I tried to rub her back, she told me no and pushed my hand away. She wanted to go to sleep on her own, without me touching her. I obliged, sadly. I sat there until she passed out. It took a little while longer than normal because it was still light outside. As soon as the room started to darken, her breathing slowed and her stirring stopped. My sweet baby girl is growing up all too quickly.

So that is our story of how we went from co-sleeping to an independent sleeper, quite by accident. My husband and I were talking and laughing last night… thinking of all the people who scolded us for co-sleeping. I can’t even count the number of people who felt the need to tell us we would regret ever letting her into our bed. She would be 8, 10, 21 (the ages invariably got older with each warning) and still sleeping with us. I am a firm believer that attachment parenting, which includes co-sleeping, leads to confident, independent children who are not afraid of change. They trust in us as parents to make decisions that are good for them. They know that we are there if they need us. They are not afraid to try things because they know we are right there, standing in the distance watching them succeed, and we are ready to pick them up if they fall down. They know this, and they flourish.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Zoo Day

Orlaith and Cousin Brian looking at fish

Don't I look cute in my hat?

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Signs of the Times

Orlaith is growing by leaps and bounds. Her vocabulary and understanding of the world around her amaze me. She is up to about 26 words and 29 signs! Some of those words overlap, but a lot of the signs are things she cannot say yet. I cannot explain how easy it has made things! We are able to communicate most of her needs, and in turn she typically remains a sweet, calm baby! We start the second level sign class later this month. I can’t wait to learn more things to teach her!

Orlaith is developing a very outgoing personality, just like her Daddy. She loves saying “Hi” and “Bye” to anyone passing by, in restaurants, the grocery store, Target, you get the idea! And if the lucky person she chooses to greet doesn’t respond, LOOK OUT! She gets very upset, and will scream and squeal to try and get their attention. This tactic usually works to get her the attention she wants. It is very funny!

Here are some other things she has been doing lately:
Sneaking up on Mommy and Daddy – she’s not very quiet about it yet, but we still act surprised!
Acting like she is sleeping – She will close her eyes and pretend to snore
Walking with her eyes shut or a blanket over her head – I am not sure what this is about but it’s funny!
Climbing… on everything…!
Putting any kind of bag over her arm, and telling us “Bye” and waving – She is trying to mimic me picking up my purse or the diaper bag.
Singing – She doesn’t really know all of the words, but she is dead on with the tune! Her faves at the moment are ABC’s, Twinkle Little Star and The Farmer in the Dell. She also tries to sign her ABC’s when she is singing the tune.
Kicking and throwing her ball – Daddy can’t wait to sign her up for soccer
Dancing to anything with a beat – I play music while she plays and she will stop and get her groove on whenever the mood strikes her. She has a great booty bounce, and likes to drop it like it’s hot! Mommy can’t wait to get her into dance class!
She is obsessed with babies – There is a new baby in daycare, and now everything is “baby” this and “baby” that. She can recognize a picture of a baby, and she gets so excited to see one! She even loves on her baby dolls, rocks them, kisses them and pats them on the back. So sweet!
Animals – she loves cats and dogs! We have cats, and her in-home daycare has a dog. She is actually very gentle with them, and one of our cats loves to play with her! She also looks out of our living room window saying “ruff, ruff” when she hears the dogs bark next door… which is A LOT… ahem.
Uh uh – Her new favorite answer to every question you ask! Even if she wants something, she will tell you “uh uh”.
Eating with a fork – if she can stab it with a fork, she can feed herself! We are still working on the spoon, because she can’t quite get the hang of keeping it right side up so she doesn’t spill. We still haven’t mastered a straw yet. In time, in time!

We had a bad string of ear infections that lasted from November until last week. We even visited the ENT to talk about tubes. At the time she had 4 ear infections (1 double and 3 in her right ear), and was on the verge of a 5th. The ENT did recommend tubes, but we decided to wait a bit and see what happened. They also did a hearing test, and there was no major issue there. She had trouble hearing very low tones, but that was due to the fluid in her ears. She can hear just fine, and there is no delay in her language development at all. She did end up getting that 5th ear infection, but she cleared it on her own WITHOUT antibiotics. This was a great sign! Brian, the pediatrician and I decided to wait and see if she would get one more before deciding on tubes. Our hopes are that she can make it to the Fall without another one.  She might get one or two more infections in the Fall before she turns 2, but then the occurrence of ear infections drops drastically. So keep your fingers and toes crossed for no more ear infections! I do not want my baby girl to have surgery, no matter how safe and common the procedure is!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011


Wow, I have been MIA for over a month now. I am SO sorry about that! Things at work got beyond hectic. I went from part time to full time, and I was working late hours 11-8! I am now back to the normal, part time schedule, and I am back to blogging!

Since I left you last, Orlaith turned 1, sprouted a couple of more teeth and she is walking everywhere! It was a busy holiday season, and I am glad things are slowing down once again. Look for lots more from O'Baby Orlaith because we are back and ready to blog!

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