Thursday, July 30, 2009

amazing grace

mother's little helper.

that's what i've got this summer. her name is grace, and she lives up to it. for 2 hours on thursday afternoons, i can cook, clean or *gasp* read without interruption. the girls are in heaven; they worship grace. (in fact, today thing one said, "it doesn't seem like grace is here for 2 hours because we have so much fun - it seems like it's hardly even one hour!)

and here's a key difference between an 11-year-old baby sitter and a 44-year-old matron: the 11-year-old will suggest playing freeze tag.

Monday, July 27, 2009


so it appears that what i've been parked on my ass with for 2+ weeks may have been the flu (whether h1n1 or something else, who knows). super.

but at least that makes all the napping and whining seem much more legitimate.

not that you asked

but others have: with so many kids being diagnosed with food allergies, what are some tips of the trade for parents, either those just discovering they have allergic kids or those who come in contact with them through schools, sports teams, etc.?

so here is a list of my top 10...
  1. It will get better. Not the allergies, necessarily, but your ability to deal with them. You’ll figure out what foods you can buy, what meals you can prepare, and how to deal with restaurants, play dates, school and other situations.
  2. Carry meds. If your child has been prescribed an EpiPen auto-injector, carry it everywhere, and teach anyone who cares for your child how to use it. Many parents also carry convenient one-dose squirt packets of Benadryl for mild reactions.
  3. Check out FAAN. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network offers lots of helpful information for free, and if you join, you can sign up for e-mail alerts when foods are recalled for undeclared allergens.
  4. Get wallet cards for shopping. FAAN sells credit card sized “cheat sheets” that list all the names common allergens go by (caseinates, anyone?). They are extremely handy for grocery shopping, and for checking foods at other people’s houses.
  5. Always check ingredients. Every time, even if it’s a product you’ve bought before. Manufacturers sometimes change ingredients, or use slightly different ingredients in different sized packages.
  6. No nuts means NO nuts. If your child is allergic to peanuts, avoid tree nuts and vice versa; there can be cross-contamination between different kinds of nuts.
  7. Be assertive. I’ve told my mother-in-law to stop bringing over brownies, asked moms at music class to put away their kids’ peanut butter crackers, and made restaurant staff miserable with requests.
  8. Educate your kids so they can advocate for themselves. My daughters – the one with food allergies and the one without – can tell people what’s ok to eat and what’s off limits, and they check with me if there is any question. They're 3 and 5 - it's never too early.
  9. Google is your friend. Looking for an online support group of other moms of kids with food allergies? Searching for a recipe for non-dairy cream of mushroom soup? Want to order your kid a medical alert bracelet? So much of dealing with food allergies is feeling like you have a handle on the situation. Don’t just freak out – freak out, then search the web.
  10. Don’t forget about the mama (or dada). Chances are this whole food allergy thing is much harder on you right now than your child, especially if he or she is too little to really understand what is going on. Try to find ways to relieve your stress. I’ve found that exercise, Zoloft and Cosmopolitans work wonders.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

my new hero

"women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. it is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex."

- jane eyre, charlotte brontë, 1847

i am insufferable, and so can you!

i cannot believe how smug and self-righteous my food has gotten.

according to the manufacturers, i am a superior, enlightened being because i eat their superior, enlightened products. here's stonyfield yogurt: "this quart container helps save money and the earth. you get more yogurt per dollar and less packaging per serving."

well, ok, i suppose that's true. and i get chicago soydairy's view: "our goal is to make delicious cruelty-free food products with taste and texture similar to their animal-based counterparts."

but then there's garden burger: "we believe in healthy eating and great-tasting foods, gardens, respect for all living things, moms and dads, independence, veggies, education, healthy kids, a good earth, and happy people. we aspire to make the best-tasting vegetarian foods, always with real good ingredients. and we promise to always treat our vegetables and whole grains with dignity and respect."

dignity and respect for carrots. carrots.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

and i hate listening to myself on voice mail, too

what i like to think i sound like when i'm sick:

what i actually sound like when i'm sick:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

add crème fraîche for $2

yesterday the girls whipped up a delightful concoction of berries stripped from our front bushes, old grass clippings, dirt, and dead flowers from the window box. josie presented it to me with a flourish and said, "it's strawberries and rhubarb with lemongrass and sweet flavors!"

goddam, that sounds like an $8 dessert to me. the pr/spin force is strong in that one...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

customers who bought this item also bought the "my first autopsy kit"

perfect for the budding forensic examiner on your gift list! the crime lab tech set, for ages 3+.

because we wouldn't want kids under 3 to receive something inappropriate, now would we?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

things my children have argued about recently

  • who would turn on and off a pretend carousel (aka the dining room table pedestal legs)
  • who rightfully had possession of an empty box
  • who did not get a chance to lick whom (eww)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

love means never having to clean up a dead bunny

forget flowers and chocolates and sweet nothings. here is what real love means: being late for work so you can clean up "roughly one-third" of a rabbit so your children don't find it and your wife doesn't have to deal with it.

thank you, handsome man.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

great galloping gherkins!

just picked up our weekly farm share box to discover an 18 inch cucumber.

and yes, i measured it.

wonder if vivid entertainment has considered a joint venture with an organic farm?

Monday, July 6, 2009

my apologies

to kale, for ever maligning it. now that i've figured out how to cook it, it's good. so is chard! who knew? this may be the year i finally use everything from our farm share. (except the beets. eeeww.)