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I just love summer! Has that been mentioned before? For the last 3 days we have made every dinner on the BBQ. It’s yummy, doesn’t heat the house and we don’t do it in the winter. I decided to jazz it up a little tonight with a side of coconut rice. Ever tried it? Ever ate it at a restaurant and dreamed about it for months after?

We love rice at our house. It’s one of things that drew Beardie and I together, a love for a good dish of rice (that and watching international sumo wrestling). Happily we discovered in each other an affinity for REAL rice…no Uncle Ben’s, no Minute Rice. Good rice only. Rice that you buy in a 20 lb bag in the “Asian” food aisle. And Beardie even had a rice steamer when I married him, that played a large part in me saying yes. The Boo is also a rice fanatic. So we all know, if rice is on the menu we are happy.

Sometimes you got to mix it up a little. That is where coconut rice comes into play. The warm, chewy, satisfaction of a bowl of rice BUT with the added bonus of a sweet, mild, coconutty flavour. I recommend you try it…especially if you like coconut and rice. But even if you don’t maybe you should try it.

Also note aside: Coconut milk. I don’t know if it is healthy. 1/2 a cup contains 275 calories, 26 grams of fat. But also is high in fiber (2 g), protein and a bunch of other yummy nutrition. So may not be technically healthy but it is technically delicious! Thus it is a once-in-a-while treat for us.

Here’s how we make it. Crack open a can of coconut milk, stir it up because that stuff looks weird when it seperates. I do half a can of cocount milk (200 mL) for every 2 cups of uncooked rice. A subtle flavour you can adjust it for more or less depending on your taste.

Mix the rice, coconut milk and remainder of water (what I mean is the amount of water you normally do for your rice minus the liquid from the coconut milk. I do 2 cups rice, 200 mL/1 cup coconut milk and 3 cups of water…roughly). Cook your rice like you usually do. For me that is in the rice steamer for 35 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and your house smells like a yummy, coconut factory.

I find the coconut rice is a nice compliment to really spicy dishes like curry, tandoori chicken, buffalo chicken, anything hot and spicy. We did not have those flavours in our house today so I just went with a tasty Honey Garlic chicken. I didn’t regret it.

Thaw some chicken, throw on some sauce, throw it on the grill, grill until done but not too done (like I do! The Burninator strikes again!)

A sweet side dish is grilled corn. Ever tried it? If you have you know what I am talking about. Yum! Maybe not technically healthy but technically delicious.

I brush the corn with olive oil and then throw it on the grill with the chicken. Just like that. Turn and flip the chicken/corn as you see fit. Once the bottom side starts to get brown and crispy (or after you discover that your toddler has figured out how to climb the bench in the backyard…every stage she keeps on getting up on higher objects! This week: step stools, couches, benches *shakes head* which means it is further to fall)

And the chicken and the corn get all mixed up together. Eventually the corn ends up tasting a little like honey garlic and the chicken picks up a corn flavour. It’s beautiful. Just like family. We all end up together and start to rub off on each other and are all the better because we pick up on each others qualities. Chicken + Corn on the BBQ = True family.

My corn and chicken took about 30 minutes on the grill, the rice took 35 minutes. Dinner is served.

Verdict: Loved by all! Next time I would be a genius and thaw my chicken the night before and then let it marinade in the sauce all day. That’s a good idea. It probably won’t happen ūüôā

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Copyright held by Melvin E

 

“If Mama aint happy, then aint nobody happy.”

And

“The best thing you can do for your kids, is to love their father (or mother if applicable).”

10 points if you’ve heard one of these phrases.

50 points if you’ve heard both.

1000 points if you’ve managed to apply both of them.

Yeah, it’s easy to know that your mood affects those around you and a happy marriage fosters a safe environment for your kids. But its a heap of a lot harder to actually DO it.

One of the pieces of advice I got as a newlywed was to continue dating my husband. To take the time and intentionally do stuff together. Which is a great idea. In theory.

But I also know that quality anything doesn’t just happen, you have to be intentional.

Andg’s Guide to Dating your Baby’s Daddy

  1. Just do it. If you wait to feel romantic or until you have a good hair day or until you can leave the baby with a sitter, or until anything you’ll always be waiting for something. Which leads to…
  2. Dates don’t have to be just two people, babies love dates! If you have the option of going on a date and taking the baby, or not going on a date at all, bring Jr.! Yes, you can’t spend hours looking all doe-eyed at each other with baby in tow, but nothing kills the mood faster (at least for me!) then forking out $40+ so you can go out to and talk about how money is so tight!
  3. Date like you’re in high school (i.e. cheap = good). Denny’s and a walk in the park (with baby in the stroller) is way cheaper than dinner and a movie. Or even better an iced coffee (from home), a blanket and some sunshine.
  4. Capitalize. Do you have to go shopping? Grab hubby and call it a date. Yes, you won’t see “Romance in the Canned Goods Aisle” coming to Netflix anytime soon, but time with your man is important, wherever you can get it.
  5. Shared time = good time. Mr. Man doesn’t know it, but I consider our 30 minute drives to church every week a “mini-date” because time in the car, means “Quality talking time. LOTS of talking.” Take a look at your calendar for the holes/places where you and hubby are going in the same direction and carpool. Yes, it might be a little inconvenient to have to go tool around at the hardware store (his stop) so you can go to the library (your stop) but going together, means time together.

Now I’m not saying that we’re the authority on post-baby dates, but these are a few of the things that have worked for us.

What tips do you have to keep your marriage healthy and happy? ¬†Am I still a naive little puppy and need to be set straight? Let’s talk!

7 Simple Things

Earlier this week I stumbled upon a series of “10 Small Things” by Amanda at I am Mommy. Just a list of 10 things that make her life better, improve it in some way or that she is grateful for. What a great idea! While I like to play the lazy card, A LOT, I really do want to be a good mommy to Buddy Bear and be intentional about the things I teach him. Like being grateful. So I’m totally stealing Amanda’s idea.

With props.

And also shortening it down to 7.

Because I’m a sucker for aliteration.

If only I could think of a S word for “Things”.

That’s not “stuff”.

I already thought of that, and “7 Simple Stuffs” does not bode well with me.

Any other suggestions?

1. 

My fans. We had our first hot week and have already pulled out our fans. Its only 30 degrees (Celsius, I can’t do Fahrenheit.) but I am already cooking!

2. 

This little $8 gizmo allows me to take Buddy Bear driving without him losing it completely. I don’t know if he knows its him in the mirror or if he just thinks there’s another baby in the car with him, but either way it means peace in the car. Also I can do a quick rearview mirror check and see if he’s sleeping yet which also rocks.

3. 

My library card. Call me a nerd, but I love having this thing. Right now Buddy Bear and I are devouring (figuratively and literally unfortunately) 25 books that we didn’t have to buy. That’s at least $100 dollars worth of books, maybe even more! Love it, I think you should get one too!

4. 

Buddy Bear’s cloth diapers. I’m not a fanatic, but only because that takes too much work. But I love, love, love having my little boy happy and comfortable. And that is possible because his cloth diapers are so much easier on his super sensitive skin.

5. 

Alberta’s Health Care System. Say what you want about Canada’s health care system (*cough* Mr. Man *cough*) but I needed to get a doctor’s note for the job I’ve applied for, and I called them on Tuesday, and had the medical done on Wednesday. I like that!

6. 

See that? That’s naptime. I love it. Buddy Bear is not the most consistent sleeper ever, but he always has at least two naps and I have the option of napping with him, working on my to-do list (right…) or most often just putzing around on the computer.

7. 

The non-dairy world. Before Buddy Bear’s milk allergy, I thought all those dairy-free products were expensive and the domain of vegans and well, vegans. Boy was I wrong! Well true, they are still expensive (2L for $4, ouch!) but they also mean that I can still have some of ‘my normal’ food, like smoothies, cupcake frosting, pancakes. You know, normal stuff. I will be the first to admit that Cheerios and coconut milk are not the same as their dairy alternative, but a rice milk pancake? I can’t tell the difference! So thank you to the non-dairy producers for making expensive non-milks for me and Buddy Bear. I will put you in my next 7 Simple Things again if you could please lower your prices. Thanks.

 

What are you grateful for? Am I the only one who has to take a conscious effort to be grateful?

My Boo loves blueberries. They are an addiction for her. I’ve mentioned this before. Not the plump, fresh ones. But the big, old, 1 kg bag of frozen blueberries.

My Boo is an independent 17 month old. Mommy does not feed Boo (except for some strange, random exceptions). Meal time is now a serve and sit back approach. Which is quite fun….and messy. Thankfully most foods can be quickly wiped up with a warm washcloth and a little hardcore scrubbing (paired with enthusiastic singing of “Little Green Frog” or “Old Macdonald” needed to stave off loud protests to the scrubbing).

Blueberries though are a different story. Blueberries leave a stain. On clothing. Hands. Faces. Dishes. Tables. Floors. Our solution for blueberry stains on clothing has been…no clothes! Simple enough. A bib just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I couldn’t stand to see one more cute outfit stained beyond public wearing. Now it is no shoes, no shirt = blueberry time!

But those little hands and face. Each adorable handful of blueberries stuffed in her mouth results in an ever growing stain on her hands and face. After we are done feasting on as many blueberries as I will allow her, I take the warm wash cloth to her hands and face only to find that blueberries stain skin. A purplish tinge that is not easily remedied with soap and water.

This means my little girl looks like she is cyanotic (blue or purple color in the lips and fingers as a result of poor oxygenation) or suffering from hypothermia. It makes me a little embarrassed to take her out in public after a blueberry fest.

“No, my daughter does not have a heart defect (thankfully!) she has an enthusiastic blueberry addiction and I can’t scrub the stains off without removing her top layer of skin.”

Or if I take her out swimming or to the park it looks like I am cruelly making her suffer through being cold when in fact she is warmer than I am. The blue lips are not a result of parental neglect! It’s just blueberries.

Maybe I should make her a t-shirt that says “I feed myself blueberries, that is why I am blue.” I think I will make a matching shirt that says “I have a blueberry for a daughter” (name that movie!)

A little trick that sometimes works to cut down on the skin stains is to mix her blueberries in with a grain like cooked oatmeal, pancakes or even cheerios. Some of the blueberry juice gets absorbed by the grain instead of her skin making for less of a stain.

The other little trick sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. I read on the Internet that you can use lemon juice on clothing to get out blueberry stains (or vinegar, white wine, boiling water, etc)…I didn’t want to put any of those on her skin BUT I did try giving her a few slices of oranges with her blueberries and it DOES tone down the blue. Who knew?

My last solution is a good, old fashioned bubble bath…works every time!

What’s your trick for getting stains out of sweet little baby cheeks?


Its officially summer in our house. And do you know how I know? Because at any given point I have at least 4 different varieties of fresh fruit in the house. FOUR. As adverse to our other season of winter where we have bananas. OR apples. Both of which suck. At least compared to the awesomeness of mangoes, and watermelon, and nectarines and blueberries, AT THE SAME TIME.

In case you didn’t get the picture, I love having the abundance of fruit that appears in our home during the summer. Its like it suddenly becomes almost easy to eat healthy. Why go through the trouble of making chocolate chip cookies if I could just eat a piece (or 17) of watermelon. Less hassle and I get to eat way more!

You know what I love almost as much as eating copious amounts of fruit? Watching our little Buddy Bear eat copious amounts of fruit. He is loving it. In a “Woman, why have you been holding out on me all this time? This is way more awesome than that other stuff you’ve been feeding me!” But in a cute way, not in a Stewie from Family Guy sort of way. Mostly.

The side effect of Buddy Bear’s absolute delight in our summer abundance?

This.

 

Food everywhere! And let me tell you, blueberries stain. Everything.

And you know how I feel about laundry. I hates it.

So don’t do laundry! In the summer, babies don’t have to wear clothes. Just a diaper and you’re good to go. Or nothing.

I chose naked eating because…

  • Way cuter. Sorry, babies are just so cute when you can see their chubby little legs and tubby bellies.
  • Less laundry. You don’t have to wash clothes that haven’t been worn!
  • If I looked that cute in my underwear, I’d do it too!
  • Bathtime can be a bonding experience. For Dad. While mom takes a nap/drinks a coke/hides from her responsibilities.
  • Its organic!

So choose organic for your baby.

Choose naked.

(In your own home, restaurants, etc. generally frown upon public nudity…)

 

Iced coffee is one of my favorite parts of summer. That cold, smooth iciness mixed with the thrill of caffeine. Refreshing and invigorating, like a Slurpee with a kick…in the budget! Why is everything yummy so expensive? Which leads to the question, can I make iced coffee at home that is just as yummy?

When I was pregnant with Boo I tried so hard to follow all the “rules”. No caffeine, no deli meat, no soft cheeses, limit your sweets, don’t color your hair¬†and avoid hot tubs. With our second little one my heart is still in the same place. I want to love and protect and give him or her the best possible start BUT Mommy has cravings. And hasn’t slept a full night in 18 months (by full night I mean that unrealistic expectation of 8 or more¬† uninterrupted hours).

I still try to avoid most deli meat, haven’t had soft cheese (the no-dairy rule made this easy), I really don’t eat sweets regularly, I haven’t colored my hair (because honestly I haven’t had time for that!) and I barely have energy to shower. You can forget about long luxurious soaks in hot water. That would involve either scrubbing out the tub or going somewhere with a hot tub. Hasn’t happened.

But caffeine. Caffeine and I are tight this time around. I tried for the first 3 months to “limit” my intake. But then I got the go ahead from my midwife to enjoy one cup of coffee a day, she even said guilt free! And that studies have shown no risk to the baby with consuming moderate amounts of caffeine.

Oh the joy in my heart! I’ve never been a big coffee drinker. I never drink it black (yuck!). I put so many doo-dads in my coffee it is practically unrecognizable by true coffee connesiuers. In fact a true cup of full bodied coffee will make me jittery and hyper. I can’t even handle that small amount of coffee. I’ve developed a half and half approach. About 3 or 4 days out of the week (depending on the previous night), I treat myself to a cup of “mmmmm, hot! Hot!” What the Boo calls my coffee because she knows she is not allowed to touch it or taste it. I do have a few parental limits.

Half decaf, half full brew. Lots of sugar, cream (or fake cream), soy milk, syrup, etc. And then I nurse that delicious concoction all day long. Sip by sip letting it bring an extra edge of alertness (or not falling asleep in the car at red lights) to my day.

But now it is getting summery. My craving is for smooth and cold. Specifically for a Caramel Frappucino from Starbucks with extra whip (and enough calories for the whole family). Mmmm, so cold and refreshing. Sweet and yet coffee-ish. All my favorite things in a drink. That would set me back $4.50. We didn’t put “Sugary indulgences” in the budget so I thought my craving would have to silently sulk all summer never finding fulfillment.

But….oh glorious but (and not that butt, come on. Focus.) I stumbled across Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Perfect Iced Coffee¬†and it was like a match made in heaven. All my favorite things in a drink (except for Beardie’s chili and steak. Or chocolate chip cookies. No pasta either. Or fresh baked bread. Or juicy watermelon. Or ripe peaches…so missing quite a few of my favorite things come to think of it). But contains coffee, sugar, creamy substitute in a smooth, cold and refreshing cup of joe.

I tried it. I made it my own. I put it in a travel mug at the start of the day and nurse that sweet little drink all day. Sip by sip. Every morning when I head to work I DO NOT stop at the Starbucks on the corner or the next corner¬†(I actually pass 3 of them on my 10 minute drive to work. Sad, yes?) I make my own….this week alone I think I have saved at least $18 by not buying coffee. Actually I wouldn’t have stopped anyways, so I saved myself 4 mornings of inner grumbling about really wanting an iced coffee. Priceless.

Here’s how we do it:

Did you know you can cold brew coffee? Instead of breaking out the coffee maker you just add cold water to your coffee grounds and let them steep for about 12 hours. It makes for a less acidic and bitter coffee experience. Seeing as I am not a fan of bitter I like this approach. Seeing as I am not a fan of working I like how easy this is.

My ratio is¬†7 generous tablespoons of coffee grounds (I do half decaf, half flavored coffee…I told you I don’t actually drink REAL coffee, I drink a coffee-like beverage) to 4 cups of cold water.

When I got married Beardie had a sweet French press that he used for tea and other refined drinks (not a coffee drinker AT all, once I made him taste my coffee because it was so good. I thought it would convince him coffee is delicious. I believe his reaction was “yuck, bleh”….oh well, more for me!)

I mix the water and coffee grounds in the French press but you really don’t need anything fancy just a large enough container to hold your coffee and a coffee filter to strain out the grounds. Doesn’t that coffee mix look like some type of toxic sludge?

The next morning I press the press and voila! coffee.

Fill your glass with a few ice cubes (that’s why you make your coffee so strong it dilutes when the ice melts) and a splash (or in my case a river) of cream/cream substitute. I absolutely love the International Delight: Caramel Macchiato creamer. I think¬†it tastes just as good as Starbucks (don’t tell the Buckers I said that!)

You could stop here. And enjoy your crisp iced beverage but on my days off I like to take it a step further and throw it all in the blender for a more slushie like treat.

See? Yummy. And completely adaptable to whatever you like in your cup! Super quick too. The four cups of coffee lasts me 4 days, I strain the remainder of the coffee through our re-usable coffee filter and then store it in the fridge. Every morning I just mix it up in my travel mug and am good to go.

What would you throw in your iced beverage? You could totally make this with chai tea, green tea, hot chocolate…I just might try them all!

Last night was a bad night. A very bad night. It started out as a good night though. Buddy Bear went to sleep easily (!) and quickly (!!) at 9:15 instead of his usual 10:30 and he seemed to be down for the night. Yes, he was awake every hour and needed help going to sleep again, but that’s pretty normal in our house.

 

And then 1AM rolled around.

 

Buddy Bear woke up again and he was in a foul disposition.

 

He didn’t want to be in his bed. He didn’t want to nurse. And he DEFINITELY did not want to go back to sleep.

It was starting to remind of all those children’s books we read Buddy Bear when he doesn’t want to go to sleep.

This is the cutest book ever. I love it. Except for when Buddy Bear acts like the baby bear.

But when its happening in real life at 1:30 in the morning, its not cute.

 

Eventually after some cajoling by both his daddy and his mommy, Buddy Bear finally went to sleep. At 3AM.

 

And then he decided it was time to start the day at 8:00 this morning.

 

Yes, 5 hours later.

 

And then Mr. Man forgot to make the requested 8 bazillion cups of coffee I requested, instead making just one cup for each of us. I think he is a sucker for punishment. And at this point I think it would be more efficient to just eat the bean then to waste time making a second pot of coffee.

 

Have you ever been in a sleepless situation like this? PLEASE let me know I am not alone! But not that this is what I can expect for the next 18 years. I don’t want to know that.

 

So today, I broke out the big guns.

Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller

This is my secret weapon on days when I feel like if the rings under my eyes get much darker, people will start to think Mr. Man is abusing me. (He’s not) It works, its relatively cheap, and I don’t have to fuss around with a colour chart trying to determine what shade I am. (You would not believe how hard it is to find pasty white on a foundation colour chart) I love it, and I use it most everyday.

A little trick I picked up quite by accident is navy-blue eyeliner. By some optical illusion using navy-blue eyeliner makes the whites of your eyes appear more white (and essentially less pink) making you look less tired. Sneaky sneaky.

And the age old trick of napping when your baby naps. This is one of the most popular pieces of parental advice EVER. Because it works.

 

What are your tricks for surviving sleepless nights and exhausted days?