Friday, December 23, 2011

Princess Wars

So, this morning I read this article, regarding daughters and gifts

I have to say that I’m pretty torn on this topic.  While I consciously choose to buy “gender neutral” toys (I’ll discuss more on that definition later on), I don’t like the idea of withholding gifts that I might not choose.  Maybe it’s just because I haven’t actually been given anything I wouldn’t necessarily want Miss A to have (except maybe that giant dog her great-grandmother got her for Christmas….but that’s entirely because the dog seems bigger than my living room).  And maybe it’s because I grew up as a Barbie fanatic.  The thing I loved most about my Barbie’s was dressing them up, doing their hair, etc.  I knew they had boobs.  But I didn’t know they had “big boobs.”  Or maybe I did but didn’t really care?  And, not all of my Barbie’s were blonde.  And I had at least one Ken that I could remember too.  I don’t recall idolizing her as a woman – she was a toy doll I enjoyed to play pretend with.  That’s it.  I didn’t go to bed dreaming to be like her.  I mostly went to bed dreaming to be like Ariel in the Little Mermaid swimming in the ocean. 

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I do try to choose things that are gender neutral – and by gender neutral, I typically mean in color only.  So I look for things that are bright colored, with a variety of color.  For instance, Santa is bringing Miss A a play kitchen.  I didn’t want to get her a pink kitchen because, first off, pink is horrendous, and second, kitchens in real life aren’t pink.  And, if we have a boy the second time around, while I don’t care if he likes pink things, I don’t want him to feel like he can’t play with it because it is pink.  Regardless of what we will try to teach our kids, there will be a lot of outside influences on them, and at some point, they will learn pink = girls, blue = boys, whether we want them to or not.  And, when it comes to things that tend to be gender specific by nature (dolls vs. trucks), all I can do is let Miss A have equal exposure to all types of toys, and let her decide what her preferences are.  I don’t feel like I ought to limit her choices or exposure to different types of toys.  I mean, they’re just toys!  And while this may sound contradictory, there will be limits – like if something is not age appropriate and potentially dangerous, or if say she does get a doll or any sort which is dressed totally risqué (which, may not be farfetched these days), then I may intervene.  If she’s old enough, we’ll have a conversation about it.  But just because I may have preferred she got a wooden puzzle over a plastic Barbie doll doesn’t mean she can’t still engage in meaningful play.  I mean, I loved my Barbie’s and I wanted to be a princess.  But, I grew up.  And while I am a blonde with big boobs, that’s purely a genetic coincidence.  But I certainly didn’t let that define me and tell me to be a ditzy bimbo with a sugar daddy.  If anything, I’ve had to work HARDER to be where I am because, you know, pretty girls can’t be smart.  *eyeroll*  But, that’s a topic for another day…  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Once-A-Month Cooking: December

The meals I made last enough was just the perfect amount to get us through Thanksgiving.  I even had 4 meals left in the freezer to serve up the week after, which was perfect, because who has time or energy to shop & cook when you get back from vacation?  So this weekend I embarked on my mission to make December’s meals.  I needed 15 to bring us up to the weekend before Christmas. Here’s what’s on the menu:

One-Dish Meal:  Chicken Pot Pies
Main-Dish Component:  Italian Beef

The pot pie recipe makes 3 meals (6 mini-loaf pan pies), and all the rest make two.  You do the math and say, “Hey, that’s only 13 meals?” Yes, it’s true.  I cheated this month.  I bought a bag of frozen ravioli, and some garlic bread from the store.  *gasp!*  No, really, I like to have pasta on the menu, and Miss A loves ravioli and tortellini and that sort of stuff, and honestly, it’s a PITA to make, so, I bought it instead.  Plus, after 6 hours of cooking, who wants to do homemade ravioli on top of that?

Anyway, the one thing I love about this whole process is seeing all the colorful meals come together.  So I took some pictures this time.  Just look at all those great fresh colors!!

This is what my freezer looks like.  The top two shelves are the meals.

And, people asked me last month if this method of meal preparation saved any money.  Well, I added up my bill from yesterday.  I spent about $135 total on ingredients.  $80 of that was at Earth Fare on organic produce and antibiotic/hormone-free/free range chicken and pork.  Seriously, to get all that for under $100 shocked me.  I did have some great coupons (as Earth Fare always has great coupons) but I was still expecting it to be more.  The rest I picked up at Publix (again with some great coupons).  So that comes out to less than $10.50 per meal per family.  So, to feed 2 ½ people a meal for $10.50 a night is pretty good.  And, if you decide to buy all your stuff at cheapy wal-mart (which I typically do, but this month I decided to buy better quality ingredients) it would be about 20% less (as a guess).  So, I do think it saves money.

Also, I’ve noticed I’ve been less wasteful this way too.  For instance, when a recipe calls for something like, 3 cups of broth…well, one of those big cartons is 4 cups.  So, typically I’ll have a cup leftover, shove the carton in the fridge and hope I get to it before it goes bad (which, never happens).  Well, now I’ve been saving the leftovers in freezer bags (much like I did with the chicken stock last month), which again means we’ll be saving money in the long run. 

Man – I really wish we had room for a deep freeze.  Even a small one. 


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Night Weaning Update

Well, we successfully finished Dr. Jay Gordon’s method for night-weaning.  And, Miss A has been a pretty good sport about it all.  We had a short set-back over Thanksgiving, since, we were travelling and staying in a house full of people, I decided to nurse overnight since I didn’t really want her to wake-up the entire house.  But when we got home, we went back to no-nursing cold turkey.  She seemed to adjust ok.  But I will say one thing…

Night weaning ≠ sleeping through the night

Miss A still wakes up once or twice a night.  Usually, she gets a little ticked cuz she can’t nurse, and spends most of this time (anywhere from 2 to 15min) fussing and rolling around in between us in our bed.  She’s mad I’m sure cuz she can’t nurse.  And, pretty sure she’s mad at me specifically, cuz 9 times out of 10 she rolls right up to Steve and sleeps up against him all night.  If she rolls by me, she wants “nuh-nuh” (what she’s been calling ‘nursie’ these days), and I tell her “all done” and then she gets fired up, rolls away and pushes her head into Steve’s armpit and falls asleep.

So, this seems to = better sleep for me…but not so much for Steve.  The next step I’m looking into because of this is the transition to her bedroom full time.  Currently, she starts in her room, and the first time she wakes up after Steve and I go to bed, she comes in bed with us for the rest of the night.  Usually this is sometime between midnight and 2am.  That will be our next adventure.

Until then…