Month: May 2014

Week in review!

This week really flew by for me. I almost forgot to write a post! I had been pre-writing all my posts for a while but I fell behind early this month and haven’t caught up. I will be starting a cookie and cupcake recipe series soon, so that should help with that. We didn’t get up to anything too exciting this week but I did take some pictures I will share below.

I hope everybody has a great weekend!

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Loving your body and the booty revolution

I hang out on Twitter a lot. I consume a lot of my news on the platform and I enjoy it quite a bit. I rarely get involved in anything and only tweet a handful of friends. For the most part, I am an outsider looking in. I like it that way. On Tuesday I read an article about Meghan Tonjes. She is a YouTube vlogger and artist. She, like a lot of us, documents her life on Instagram. This includes her weight-loss journey. When she posted a picture of her clothed derriere it was reported and as a result taken down by Instagram. For the full story click here.

After the video about her experience went viral something amazing happened and the bootyrevolution hashtag was born. The whole point of the hashtag, as I understand it, is to encourage women to be free and love their bodies no matter their size. Fat bodies have long been considered ugly and relegated to something that needs to be hidden from view. Fat women can’t exist.

Body-policing is the act of policing a body because it does not conform to social norms. I would argue that it involves a lot more than that as it includes making assumptions about a person’s health, eating habits, and overall personality. I have heard (and admit to being guilty of it myself at times) people remark, “She’s too fat to wear that.” or “If you’re that size you should not be wearing a two-piece.”  and the perennial “She’s so fat it’s disgusting.” Additionally, this body-policing is generally skewed towards women.

When I hear friends and family members hate on their bodies I get sad. When I see young girls starve themselves because they want to be skinny like the girls in magazines I have a strong desire to do something. What can I do? I decided to join the #bootyrevolution by posting a selfie of my booty. I must admit I thought myself half mad for even considering it. Then I took a picture (or twenty) and wondered if it was worth it. Could I actually post a picture of my butt on Instagram? The internet is forever after all. After a few minutes of intense deliberation, as well as encouragement from a fellow booty warrior, I decided to do it. Why not flood the internet with pictures of bodies in all shapes and sizes? If women can look through these and feel empowered and comforted in knowing that there are other women like them out there then I want to be a part of that.

A question that kept nagging me was what would people think? I have friends and family that follow me on Instagram and they might not be aware of the point of the picture. Would they be offended? This, dear readers, is the question that really stuck out to me. The fact that I took their offense into consideration. Sure, I would never choose to offend the ones I love but my body is not offensive. And my booty is not for them. Who cares what they think? People post all sorts of things all the time and I am sure as heck they don’t give me a second thought when they do so.

With shaky hands I hit share and felt immediate and utter pride for having done so. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I put my professed body positivity into practice. I became involved.

Of course, men missed the entire point of the hashtag and used it as a mining tool for their own perversions. I am not here for them. I am not here to see pictures of their privates or to receive their accolades and innuendo. If you think that posting a picture of my rear invites these comments then you are part of the problem. Exercising free agency over my body is not an invitation to men to make lewd remarks. I have now experienced firsthand yet again how women are seen and treated as commodities and sexual objects.

Overall, sharing my booty has been a positive experience. I have learned more than I ever thought I would and have seen lots of beautiful women take the brave step to share their pride and love of themselves. That is a beautiful thing.

 

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Make your own breakfast sandwiches!

About a year ago, if not longer, I remember coming across a blog post on Pinterest that featured a breakfast sandwich recipe. I remember loving the little labels used for each day of the week and I thought, “That is a really good idea. I will make that one day.” I wish I had saved the post so I could credit the author but I am drawing a blank. Of course there are tons of other posts about the same topic but I haven’t found the one I had originally read. If I manage to track it down I will link it here.

I will admit to loving McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches. Maybe it’s the English muffin. Breakfast sandwiches have a bad reputation for being unhealthy. Whether it’s one from a fast food restaurant or even the frozen ones you can pick up at the store. Depending on your dietary needs and beliefs either of these can be considered toxic, not to mention expensive.

I decided to make a batch this evening and I was impressed with the results. Now, depending on what ingredients you purchase the cost of the sandwiches will vary. If you buy organic eggs, sausage, and cheese your sandwiches will cost more than if you were to use cheaper ingredients. Unfortunately, the good stuff costs more. So making these sandwiches yourself will mean one of two things: you will save money or you will construct a healthier sandwich. These two are not mutually exclusive per se but they often can be. In my opinion I am happy to spend a little more for a product I know is fresh and have full control of what it contains. Regardless of how you choose to make them one thing is for sure: making them at home is more convenient and has the potential to save you money.

Unless I am baking I tend to use recipes as guidelines, inspiration. I often just look at a recipe or watch a cooking show and I go forth and make up my own version. No measuring, no fussing. This is just how I operate and it’s how I share recipe ideas. I think of them more as inspiration, ready to take on your interpretation and ideas. If you’re so inclined to try these remember to make them your own! There’s no right or wrong. Just have fun.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the labels
  • cardstock or printer paper
  • pencil
  • crayons or colored pencil
  • felt-tip marker
  • scissors
  • a round shape to trace around if you want the labels to be round

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I recommend starting with the labels so that when you’re ready to assemble and wrap the sandwiches you can set up an assembly line. There’s no right or wrong here just do whatever you feel like. You could use pre-made labels instead if you wanted to. I think this would be a fun activity for kids.

For the sandwiches
  • your preference of English muffins (I used whole wheat)
  • cheese slices
  • 4 eggs
  • your choice of meat (bacon, turkey bacon, sausage, turkey sausage etc)
  • splash of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste (for the eggs)

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Beat your eggs and add a splash of milk. Season to taste. I have seen this recipe cook the eggs in the oven in muffin tins. I chose to cook mine over the stove. If you like you can leave out the milk and the yolks. Using a nonstick pan cook the eggs omelet style without folding over. I like to finish off the top under my broiler but you can just flip it in the pan.

Once the eggs are cooked slide them off into a cutting board and allow to cool. Cut into six pieces. The shape doesn’t matter but if you’re picky you could always use a biscuit cutter to get rounds to put into your sandwich.

Assemble your sandwiches, wrap in wax paper and stick down the ends with tape. Adhere your labels and place in your freezer.

Unwrap before reheating! I would say a minute and a half to two minutes should be plenty. I will update the post once my husband has tried the first one.

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Our introduction to Roseola

It’s been an interesting last few days here and I am finally able to take some time to share our experience. Last Friday, Diego woke up with a fever. It wasn’t until after breakfast that I noticed that he felt a little warm. I took his temperature and it was at 101.5 F, I gave him some Advil even though he didn’t seem to be feeling ill. His fever came down but went back up after his nap. Because his next dose of medication wasn’t until six o’clock I stripped him down to his diaper at around four o’clock when I rechecked his temperature and it was back to 101.5 F. After dinner at around six o’clock I gave him another dose of Advil and took him upstairs for a bath. When I checked his temperature that time it had jumped to 103.8 F. That scared me and I told my husband we should take him to the Emergency Room.

We quickly got him dressed and ready to go. At this point just the mere thought of taking to the hospital sent me into a panic attack. It was possibly the worst one I’ve ever had in my life. Thankfully, there is a hospital right across the street from us and it took us all of five minutes to get there. My husband dropped me off at the entrance and I made my way inside. Because the emergency room is undergoing an expansion it was quite a walk to the temporary emergency room entrance. At least it felt like a long walk to me in my anxious, panicked state. There is something about hospital hallways that always makes them feel miles long.

After entering some basic information into their sign-in computer we waited about five minutes before being seen by a triage nurse. While I waited my husband managed to get into the actual emergency room and wondered why I wasn’t in the pediatric unit. It turns out he followed some firemen in through a door he should have never walked through. Once he made it to the waiting room we were called back almost immediately. Diego’s temperature had risen to 104.5 F. They took him to a bed right away where a doctor examined him. She told us that he was alert and looking good so she wanted to draw some blood, get a urine sample and take a chest x-ray.

The hardest part of our hospital visit was having to watch them insert a catheter. It’s the only way for them to obtain a urine sample since you can’t ask Diego to give you a sample of urine. He screamed so hard and got so upset that he has broken capillaries around his eyes.

The doctor told us that he suspected it could be Roseola, a type of herpes virus that commonly affects children between the ages of six months and two years of age. It is characterised by a sudden high fever followed by a rash once the fever breaks. He explained that the rash is what confirms that it’s Roseola. The bloodwork showed that Diego’s white blood cell count was a little low which made him suspect a viral infection. However, because the urine and blood culture results wouldn’t be ready for a while he started Diego on antibiotics and prescribed him Augmentin for ten days.

We left the hospital relieved, tired, and shaken up. We were there for about three and a half hours. Not bad in my opinion.

Diego’s fever did not rise to higher than 102 F following our visit to the emergency room. On Saturday he decided that the Advil we gave him was disgusting and threw up as soon as I gave it to him. It has been the only time he’s ever thrown up. Instead of trying to force him to drink it again I decided to give him a bath in order to bring his temperature down. While he hung out with my husband I went to the pharmacy to fill his prescription and to get some suppositories.

He was very cranky and irritable that afternoon which is out of character for him. He cried off and on for about an hour. Nothing consoled him. Finally, we put him in his stroller and took him on a walk around our neighborhood. He really liked that and perked up considerably. His fever broke on Sunday and shortly afterwards the rash started to appear.

Today, I took him to see his pediatrician for a follow-up appointment. He confirmed that it is Roseola and took him off the antibiotics. Something I was grateful for since the Augmentin gave Diego pretty bad diarrhea. He was in disagreement with the emergency room physician that prescribed it since there was no indication of a bacterial infection.

What this experience has taught me:

This is the first time that Diego has actually gotten considerably ill. He’s had the sniffle a time or two but nothing like this. As a first time parent I have to say it was pretty scary. In my mind a fever is a horrible thing but I’ve learned that it’s really just the body’s natural response to infection. My fear of febrile seizures was incorrectly focused on how high the fever was rather than the speed at which it rises. That is what causes febrile seizures- the rapid increase in temperature. If Diego was going to have them he would have before I ever took his temperature.

Even though his illness is fairly benign I do not regret the decision to take him to the hospital. In a situation like that I believe in going with your gut. I didn’t even think to call his doctor. I just knew I needed to get him medical attention as soon as possible. Would I react the same in the future? Probably not. Unless Diego is listless and run down I don’t think I would feel the same way about a high temperature like that.

Parenthood is one of those things that you learn by doing, experience is your teacher. No matter how much you read and educate yourself on anything you will freak out when it actually happens. Once you learn how your child reacts to different things you will be able to better decide when to grow concerned. Even so, seeing your child ill is not easy and I don’t think it gets any easier.

For more information on Roseola please visit the MayoClinic.

Please note that nothing that I have expressed here is to be constituted as medical advice. This is just a recount of my experience. Please contact your doctor with any questions and concerns. The internet is a wonderful resource but can also be a mine of misinformation. Please do not use it as a self-diagnosis tool. 

Singing along to some cartoons.

Singing along to some cartoons.

Dad is a perfect lounger while receiving IV meds.

Dad is a perfect lounger while receiving IV meds.

Ready to go home.

Ready to go home.

Roseola rash.

Roseola rash.

Orlando Vacation

Full disclosure: I used to write fanfiction. It’s how I met my lovely friend, Emily, who I finally met in person after three years of e-mails, Skype calls, and iMessages. This vacation was significant for many reasons, we were celebrating a birthday, meeting up with friends and family, and taking our first real vacation in years. We did some traveling last year but it was always for an event and as a result had very little downtime. This vacation, although jam packed with fun was a lot more laid back.

Our vacation began last Saturday. We left the house at around 10:30am and made a couple of stops before getting on the turnpike. Diego slept for most of the ride and when he wasn’t sleeping he was happily singing along to whatever was playing on the radio.  Instead of heading straight for our hotel we stopped at my husband’s aunt’s house to see his grandmother. We had a nice little visit before finally making our way to our hotel.

I have to give my friend credit for finding our amazing accommodations. The Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort on Internatonal Drive was nothing short of wonderful. Our room had a dining area, living room, kitchenette and separate bedroom as well as a screen covered balcony. The resort was very family friendly and located close to pretty much anything you’d want to do in the Orlando area.

We didn’t do much on our first night there, my friend was pretty tired from her trans-Atlantic journey and the day had worn us all out. Sunday was spent by the pool and we ended our day with dinner at Smokey Bones. Dinner was delicious and a little uncomfortable for me as I spectacularly spilled a glass of ice water on myself. My husband got a little wet as well but I bared the brunt of my clumsiness. I spent our entire dinner sitting in damp clothing! Still, it was a small mercy that it was water and not soda.

The one disappointment during our trip was having to cancel our visit to Magic Kingdom. Diego had a bad night and that prompted us to make the decision to stay in bed and skip our visit. We later noticed that Diego is having a tooth come in so that was probably the reason he kept waking up that night as he is usually a good sleeper. It was the only night during our stay that he did not sleep straight through. I guess this just wasn’t our time to visit the park. That’s the thing about traveling with toddlers, you never know when they will throw a wrench in your plans. I suppose other parents might have chosen to go ahead with their plans but I just couldn’t do that to us. Diego would have been cranky after getting such few hours of sleep and the day was hot. It would have been the worst possibly scenario under which to take him to DisneyWorld for the first time.

Even though we didn’t get to do every single thing we had wanted to (days seem longer in your head when you create your holiday wishlist) we still had a really good vacation. I only wish it had been longer!

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For all the mothers

I’ve always viewed Mother’s Day as a commercialized holiday meant to guilt people into purchasing expensive flowers and gifts for mother figures. I was surprised to learn that the holiday that we have today is far removed from the holiday it was intended to be. For some interesting information about the origins of this holiday take a look at this article on American Live Wire.  Regardless of its commercialized taint, Mother’s Day is a difficult day for many. There are those who no longer have a mother to celebrate with, or those who have been trying unsuccessfully to become mothers themselves. For better or worse, this holiday puts motherhood and mothers at the forefront of our minds. It can be a sad day and I think this sadness should be acknowledged.

To me, Mother’s Day should be about celebrating motherhood in all its forms. You needn’t have ever been pregnant to be a mother, and you needn’t have carried a baby to term either. Motherhood is a state of being that transcends biology. There are women who will never have a child of their own (either by choice or circumstance) and they are mothers, too. If you’ve ever loved a child as if he/she were your own then you are a mother. Being a mother is not made up of the single act of adopting, or becoming pregnant. Being a mother is a verb, it is something you do with your whole being, with your whole heart.

Being a mother, to me, is nurturing the caretaker side of our humanity. By this definition being a mother isn’t limited to women. Men can be mothers as well.

When I think back to my own childhood I fear that I am not living up to the standard my mother set. I don’t feel as organized as she seemed to be. To this day I often feel incapable of stocking up my pantry, and planning dinners consistently still eludes me. But don’t feel sorry for me, because I don’t. This sort of thing amuses me because whenever I talk to other women I usually find that at some point we all feel this way. Mothers tend to be very critical of themselves. I believe it means that we care.

For all the mothers out there, in all their forms, ages, and stages, and for those who look down on us from above: Happy Mother’s Day!

Current Favorites

Coming back from vacation is always difficult. Somehow, the brief reprieve from the day to day routine leaves me a bit dazed. I am working on a post all about our holiday but in the meantime I wanted to catch up with the Blogging 101 assignments. Today I will be sharing some of my favorite web pages and blogs. I like to read all sorts of blogs but these three are the ones I find myself returning to over and over again. I find them to be not only fun and interesting to read, but also useful.

  1. Clean My Space – Melissa Maker and her husband make really neat videos full of tips and tricks all about cleaning pretty much anything you’ll ever need to clean. The blog posts are enhanced with the high production value videos made for their YouTube channel. Melissa’s content is both entertaining and informative. She always makes me want to clean something!
  2. Mama Natural–  Genevieve is a hip, crunchy mama who shares her experiences and information as she seeks to improve the health of her family through real food. She also has a YouTube channel where she shares her day to day life as well as recipes, tips, and general information. I am not crunchy myself, but I am interested in real food and natural living. I also just love her personality. She’s a very genuine person and I thoroughly enjoy her content.
  3. Joy of Baking– I love to bake and there is nothing I love more than a good recipe complete with demonstration. Stephanie Jaworski has created a great resource complete with a YouTube channel where she takes you step by step through her recipes. There is something here for everybody and I have found myself recreating her recipes on more than one occasion. She’s a pleasure to watch and her recipes are always easy to follow.

I hope you’ll take a moment to visit these blogs and take a look around.

Ring of fire: my life as a performance artist

Some days it feels like I am jumping through hoops that happen to be aflame.You don’t need to be a parent to know what I am talking about. When we stop to think about it we all have a myriad of responsibilities at any given time. It’s performance art at it’s finest. Stirring the morning oatmeal while carefully helping a toddler with his sippy cup, chatting on the phone with customer service while folding laundry, sweeping the floors while listening to an audiobook, or favorite podcast, the list is endless. There are rings of fire everywhere and we somehow manage to leap through them without being singed, most of the time anyway. For me, the biggest ring of fire is most often my anxiety followed by smaller rings that need to be negotiated.

This week is a busy one for me. My husband turned 30 today and I wanted to make his birthday special, so that turned into a little project for me. We are also going on vacation this weekend and there’s a lot of packing and list making to do. On top of that there’s the daily task of keeping the house clean and its inhabitants fed (and clean as well!).

A week like this one really gets started a few weeks in advance. I ordered a present for my husband online and I also decided to start a group card for him. If you’ve never heard of this service you should definitely check it out here. It’s a fun way to make a birthday special. I also did some Pinterest research for ideas for a birthday cake. I usually bake a cake for my husband’s birthday, it’s become tradition. As much as I love to keep things hot and spicy in the challenge department I decided that I could not manage to bake a cake this time. I just felt like I had too much going on. I could have baked a cake but I was afraid of what that would do to my overall timeline. A friend pointed out that baking should be fun. I agreed, and decided that stressing out over a cake was not worth it. I decided to order a cake from my local grocer’s bakery.

I still wanted to make the cake my own so I ordered a vanilla cake with white buttercream frosting. Two tiers, with a border. The decorating I would do at home. Such a simple thing saved me hours in the kitchen. I have decided that this has been a brilliant idea. Do any of you do this? I can think of so many awesome ways I can decorate one of these store-bought cakes. It might just be the new tradition.

On Tuesday I ordered the cake and picked it up that evening while doing my grocery shopping. Before heading home I stopped at the Dollar Tree for some balloons and adhesive tape. I also picked up a banner that I wasn’t planning on purchasing but once I saw it I knew that I did not want to make it as I had planned. Once I got home I had to clean up the after-dinner mess and tidy up a bit before finally sitting down to work on Wednesday’s birthday celebration. It’s a lot of multi-tasking.

Here’s how the big day turned out:

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Dinner at Friday's.

Dinner at Friday’s.

Cool birthday sign I picked up at the dollar store.

Cool birthday sign I picked up at the dollar store.

The finished cake. I added the ribbon and the bunting.

The finished cake. I added the ribbon and the bunting.