Gingerly Made: April 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are You Judgmental?

Maybe I am more sensitive to it than most people, but judgmental people seriously frustrate me. And I see how we pass judgment on each other over the most ridiculous things. For instance, Eric and I were driving through our neighborhood yesterday and he pointed out a yard that had some tall weeds and mentioned that on our neighborhood chat forums some people had been complaining about weeds.

We live in a neighborhood with an HOA. Now don't get me wrong, HOAs can have their place, but I am personally not very fond of them. The idea is that HOAs protect homes' value by making sure that all neighboring houses meet certain standards which is a good thing. But, they can also have silly little rules too. One of ours is that you aren't allowed to have weeds in your lawn. Really? First of all that is an impossibility. I've never seen a lawn completely weed free. But I suppose they mean to keep your lawn tidy, grass cut, etc.

If these people had tall grass and weeds for months and it was a regular problem, I can see maybe making a complaint. But it's APRIL people. We've only started mowing our grass a couple of weeks ago. Maybe the people who have some weeds and longer grass can't do anything about it right now? Maybe they have a broken lawnmower and are getting it fixed, or maybe health issues are preventing them from taking care of it right now? Living here for over 2 years now, we have never seen anyone who neglected their property.

It just frustrates me so much when people are so critical of one another especially when they don't know the circumstances that someone is facing. Can't we just give each other the benefit of the doubt??

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pink Slime in Your Hamburger??

I never thought I'd be that person; the one who questions her grocery store about the meat they put on the shelf. But today, I found myself asking our grocery's butcher shop about how they make their ground hamburger meat.

Eric and I really enjoy watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. It's mostly about chef Jamie Oliver trying to make a difference in what our schools serve to children; although he also tackles our general food consumption too. It's been really eye opening and although I don't have a child in the school system yet, I don't want that junk being served to her when she is.

He is on his second season now, and in the first episode he did a demonstration about beef. He cut up a cow and showed where each cut of beef comes from. Then he showed the most horrific thing, pink slime. It's the left overs from cutting up the beef, ground up, and put in an ammonia solution to kill any salmonella, then put in our ground beef as filler. According to Jamie Oliver, the USDA allows 15% of our ground beef to be this junk and they do not have to put in on any labels.

You can see it for yourself here if you like.

After watching this, I was seriously disturbed. I typically buy the fresh ground beef from my grocery store butcher, but was left wondering if they do this. So, when I went to the store today, I stopped by the counter and asked. Thankfully the lady told me that they do not do that. They do make the ground beef from leftover cuts they have and the ground beef is a mix of different cuts. I explained to her what 'pink slime' was. She had never heard of it before and was also grossed out.

Did you know that the USDA let this go into your food? Please check with your wherever you get your meat from to see what you are eating.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Loving This Green Spring

I am loving this beautiful green spring!! Driving home from town there is an ethereal green glow coming from the beautiful green trees and pastures. The air is just a little cool, perfect with a jacket, and the sun is warm and friendly. Night time thunderstorms bring amazement at the power and majesty of God. And regular showers of rain provide needed growth for our garden's seedlings.

After a long and cold winter, this spring is so very welcome. Caitlin, Eric, and I have been enjoying getting outside as much as possible. We've been to the lake where we saw geese, fish, turtles, and an alligator at their learning center. Caitlin has helped us work in the soil in our garden, plant seeds and transplant some early plants we started in the house, and then water it all. And of course, we've been grilling out and playing on Caitlin's new playground set.

We plan to go to the zoo sometime soon. Caitlin loves animals and although we went last year and had fun, she will definitely enjoy it more this year. And I can't wait for our local farmer's market to open up again in May.

How have you been enjoying the nice weather? Do you have any plans you are looking forward to?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sleeping Through the Night

I hope I'm not jinxing anything by making this post, but over the past week, we have had a total break through with Caitlin. She's actually been sleeping through most of the night! I am so excited!!

We put her to bed at around 8 and she's been waking about 10 - 11 and coming to our bed. But then, she's sleeping solidly until 6 - 7. Up until this past week she was waking two to three times a night and wanting to nurse. I had been trying to get her to go back to sleep the first time of the night without nursing and it seems that once she got that in her mind, she decided to just sleep. I think part of it may be that she is eating more too. By, the way isn't that a beautiful picture of my little girl when she was a newborn??

It does bother me a bit that she's coming to our bed so early in the night now, but one thing at a time right? For now, I'm just going to celebrate this milestone and then try to figure out how to wean her from nursing before nap time and bed time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Childhood Obesity - Not Here

Childhood obesity is on the rise. It's a sad and startling fact especially when you realize the health issues that it can cause for the rest of a child's life. The media has been covering this issue like crazy trying to educate people on its dangers. In our house however, we are having the exact opposite problem. Caitlin is so little bitty, the pediatrician has now told us that we need to pay closer attention to her eating and try to fatten her up a bit.

Up until now, there has been no problems with her small size. It's the way she's built. But since her last check up, her weight percentile has dropped a bit. At 21.5 pounds at her check-up, she's in the less than 5% range while she had usually been in 8 - 10%. I really like my pediatrician and I appreciate the approach they have taken. Instead of making a big stink about this, they are considering the possibility that her teething may have caused a lack of appetite, and it has, or the possibility that it's just the 2 year old pickies. They have asked that we come back in six months for a weight check and given me a chart with foods and alternates that have a higher calorie count.

More than just feeding Caitlin a lot of food, it's important to us that she eat healthy foods and learn to eat a variety of foods. Now, I know that she will have a more limited palate. I'm not going to be unrealistic about that. And I'll have to say that so far, so good. I can tell that she is eating more at meal times and grazing a little less. Eric says that she feels heavier to him. Hey, maybe if we can get her to gain some weight, her pants will actually fit and not fall down as she runs and plays?!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Guest Post Repost: The Importance of Bedtime

In case you missed it, last week I had my first guest post. I wanted to repost it here for anyone who didn't make it over to Life, Love, Green.

Eric and I have been married for 7.5 years and the last two of those years have been as parents. Our daughter Caitlin is our absolute joy! We aren't experts in marriage, not by far. But we care about our marriage and each other and in my opinion, that's what matters.

When Amber asked me to write about what marriage is like after kids I was so excited! And then when I sat down to write, completely stumped. After weeks of mulling over what I would like to say, writing a couple of different posts, I asked my hubby what he thought. He thought the hardest thing about parenting is time and that I should write about making/finding time for one another and for yourself. And that has brought me to the importance of bedtime.

I have insisted on an early bedtime for Caitlin from the very beginning. Once she started settling into a regular sleeping pattern she would go to bed at 6:30, and aside from waking shortly for feedings, would sleep until 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. For a while when she was waking regularly at 6:30, my husband wanted to move her bedtime back hoping she would sleep in. But I had my doubts. The few times she did stay up later, she woke up at the same time. After researching into child sleep I found out that this was normal. Kids are going to wake up at the same time regardless of if you let them stay up late or not. And they need their sleep. Ok, so why is all that important to marriage? I've got two reasons.

First, a well rested baby makes for better, less cranky days and a better, less stressed mommy. Not that I mean to, but I've noticed on tough days with Caitlin, I am less kind and willing to connect with my hubby when he comes home. All I want is for him to take over kid watching duty and give me a break. And let's be honest, who really wants to come home to a cranky kid and stressed out wife? However, when Caitlin and I have had a fun and happy day, I am in a pleasant mood and can better relate to my husband. Then we have a better evening as a family too.

Second, when Caitlin goes to bed for the night, that is often the only time my hubby and I get just to ourselves. Sure, there are the usual ideas for nights out, babysitters and family, but as a married couple you really need a little down time to connect daily. Now that Caitlin is nearly two, we begin her bedtime routine of bath, books, bed at 7:00 and she's usually asleep between 7:45 and 8:00. That time from 8 until 10 or 10:30, when we usually go to bed, is precious time when Eric and I can talk about our day, watch tv that doesn't involve singing dinosaurs, play a game, or whatever we feel like doing kid free. That is our daily reconnect time.

So, I encourage anyone with kids to set an early bedtime. It's so important for the health of your child and for your marriage.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Corn & Starter Plants

Eric's been getting our garden ready. He has filled the raised beds with new compost and even planted some corn in one of the beds. We've never grown corn before, so this will be an interesting experiment. I really don't want to use any pesticides, but I really hate those nasty green corn worms. Anyone have any suggestions for keeping them away??

Also, we've started tomatoes and okra in the house. They are looking good, but not quite ready for transplant.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Caitlin's Flowers

As I mentioned yesterday, we 'helped' Caitlin make a little flower box at Home Depot's first Saturday of the month Kids Workshop. Then we bought her 3 snapdragons for $0.58 each. She has just loved her flowers and stops to smell them all throughout the day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Yin & Yang Kind Of Weekend

What a weekend!! Eric and I were so looking forward to the break from the week. We had tons of little projects to do on Saturday and Sunday morning fellowship and worship at our church.

Well, Saturday went wonderfully. We started the day by going to town. We bought a new garbage disposal since ours completely died a few weeks ago and while we were at the store, they had their First Saturday Kids Workshop. So we 'helped' Caitlin build her little flower box and bought her three red snapdragons to plant in it. Then we got some groceries and went home. Eric successfully installed the disposal and we helped Caitlin plant her flowers. She talked about her pretty flowers all day! Eric picked up some free compost, a gift, and filled up and turned over the soil in our raised beds. The soil looks so healthy and rich; ready to grow some yummy veggies. Then we took Caitlin to her Gampat's. He babysat for a couple of hours while Eric and I went out to eat. We don't do that very often at all, so it was a special treat. Saturday went wonderfully!!

Then about 1 am Sunday morning, Caitlin woke with a hot fever. We were up and down all night. She refused to eat anything for most of the day and told me that her tummy hurt. Thankfully she was still drinking fluids. I was so worried that she had the flu. She was pitiful and wanted to be held and cuddled all day and she took a nap every couple of hours. But thankfully, her fever broke after almost exactly 24 hours. She has eaten some breakfast this morning and seems to be her normal sweet self today.

Today it's supposed to be warm and sunny. So, I'm making some bread and we are going to meet Eric at the lake for lunch with some sandwiches. Hey, we've got to make up for that crummy Sunday, right!
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