How I Feed Three Kids…

on a budget, with local, seasonal foods, working around food allergies.

My third sweet baby had his two-month day on Tuesday, and I feel busy. As I hadn’t imagined. He is an easy baby: so calm and sweet, he began sleeping through the night (12 hours in a row! starting before 6 weeks old! ask me and I’d love to tell you more!) so long ago I can’t even remember what it’s like to wake up to nurse. But the things that keep me busy with a new baby I had forgotten: sitting down to nurse whenever he is hungry. Holding him, gazing into his eyes, and playing with him when he is awake. I can’t just hand him a measuring spoon and spend time with him by having him scoop ingredients for me while I make granola. So my organization and planning are falling apart. Fell apart during my pregnancy, truthfully, but that is another long story all its own.

In order to help myself, then, I think this is a great place to keep records. When I sit down to plan a week of meals, all thoughts leave me. I have no idea what I can cook for my family. So if I write down here what I have done, maybe occasionally I’ll remember to reference it and use those ideas again. The details on my menu planning: my daughter is allergic to peanuts (anaphylactic), almonds, gluten, eggs, and dairy. And my husband has been trying to stay off the gluten and dairy himself. I have vegetarian tendencies and the rest of my family LOVES meat. We get a CSA, which here in the Northwest gives us fresh produce from the beginning of June through September. Right now, my menu is largely determined by my veg box. And without further delay, here is this past week’s menu:

Monday: Baked Polenta, Tuscan White Beans, grilled mushrooms, roasted broccoli

Tuesday: Super Stuffed Tortillas (from Simply in Season)

Wednesday: Leftovers after a late afternoon visit to the Camas Farmers Market

Thursday: Brown rice, sweet chili pork burgers from New Seasons (so delicious!), fresh plum sauce with plums from our CSA, flash-cooked Napa Cabbage

Friday: Whole Bowl minus the dairy toppings + our favorite store-bought salsa

Saturday: Friend in town: 97 degrees: Out to eat! (with gluten-free, dairy-free options!)

Sunday: Raw Pad Thai + rice noodles + marinated tofu: WOW. yum


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Top Five Children’s Authors

With a three-year-old and an 18-month-old at home, I spend a lot of time reading children’s books. And loving it! There are so many good authors out there, but sometimes when I get to the library I feel stuck. So I thought it seemed like a good time to document, in no particular order, some of the authors we enjoy reading together the most.

1. Janet and Allan Ahlberg: author and illustrator of delightful books such as “Peek-A-Boo” and “Each Peach Pear Plum,” we are happy to have this couple at home on our bookshelf. My sister loved “Each Peach Pear Plum” as a toddler and wanted to read and reread it so often that all I can remember about it is hating its redundancy. Nine months pregnant and in the board book aisle at Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena, though, it was the first book to draw me in. The simple rhymes and fanciful pictures combined with the play on characters kids are already familiar with make it a winner. The girls also love their other books, such as “The Baby’s Catalogue,” which documents in pictures the things and people and activities that make up a day in the life of five different babies. What baby doesn’t love to look at pictures of babies? Read the rest of this entry »

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Watching personality arise in a child has been one of the most interesting parts of parenting.  Now that there are two babes in my family, it is that much more interesting.  I find myself thinking, “Oh!  I thought all babies _____, but I guess that was just Lily!” Read the rest of this entry »

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Pen Pal

Two-year-old L has three loving grandmas, all of whom live three thousand miles away.  For my mom, who misses her so much, one way to handle the distance is mail.  L sure is excited when mail comes for her!  She actually stole my birthday card from my parents right from my hands: it had a princess, a tiara, glitter, and pink, all L’s favorite things.  Two weeks ago, Gramma sent stickers for the window and for paper.  This past week, she sent hairbands and barrettes.  Here’s my little bug, with just enough hair for pigtails, showing off the letter from Gramma.

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A return to the writing life

With two tots at home, a toddler and an infant, I have found that things I do for the sake of creativity have dwindled.  I keep telling myself I need to write, to get down the wonders of our life together before I forget them, so now I am doing it.

An inaugural anecdote about my two-year-old.  When we lived in an apartment and had to do laundry in a public machine, there were always shiny quarters in abundance in the home.  I made a game with L of sorting, feeling, and listening to the quarters clink together.  This game has traveled down many paths to its current state: an infatuation with money.  I recently brought a box of my teaching supplies in out of the garage, and in it, L found play money.  The morning after bringing this box in, I discovered L’s purse, full of play money.  Now when we leave the house, particularly if we’re going shopping, she does not want to go without “money purse.”  Two Sundays ago, L walked into the office of our Quaker church after meeting and started rummaging through a black purse which the women who were present assumed was mine.  Unzipping it, she began pulling out the entire contents of the purse, with “want money” as her battle cry.  The owner of the purse came to me in the sanctuary and told me she had found her keys on the floor, but her purse was mysteriously absent.  She had been informed that L may  have special interest in it.  The purse. and its contents, were promptly returned to their rightful owner.

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All in a Day’s Work: From Career-Woman to Stay-at-Home Mom

This past Wednesday, I went in to Mountain View to pack up the last of my things.  I wept my way through the San Gabriel Valley, grieving my many losses.  Each August for the past…well… 22 years, I have been starting fresh with new notebooks, new pens, new books, plans and goals for what I will accomplish in the coming year and how.  And now, instead of the blank slate of a new school year looming before me, I am shutting the classroom door (at least for the time being).

Now don’t get me wrong, every year that I have taught has been difficult in some way; there have been days, though fewer each year, when I wished I could find a way out of teaching.  The first few years, I dreamed of the day when having a family at home would keep me out of the classroom, anticipated the glories of stay-at-home-motherhood.  I imagined taking an eight- to ten-year sabbatical in which I would shine in all my domesticated ways, baking daily from scratch, filling our home and our children’s closets with home-made-ness, volunteering in our community, gardening, and being satisfied.  There would be no hurry to get back into teaching, not in this imagined world of mine. Read the rest of this entry »

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Raindrops on Roses

I have been on blog-hiatus for quite some time now, busy with life and also avoiding public writing.  I have, however, decided to at least attempt to re-start my blog habit in order to write about the many new experiences I have daily as the mother of a seven-month-old.

As my re-inaugural post, I thought I would start with my favorite things of the moment.

1. Setting L in front of the floor-length mirror that is our closet door when I need a minute (to take a diaper to the laundry pail, use the restroom…).  I return, always, to a joyful child, waving her arms in the air and talking rapidly and loudly to herself.  Today, she was leaning into the mirror, nose-to-nose with her self.

2. Free coffee.  My husband works at his school’s bookstore/coffee shop, and I get coffee and tea free.  Yay!

3. Jogging.  After a loooong hiatus for pregnancy and its aftermath, I am back to jogging somewhat regularly.  When I was pregnant, I constantly looked at joggers in envy–“that should be me!” I would exclaim, my heartbeat speeding up in memory of the adrenaline rush of moving quickly on my feet.  Now, it is me!

4. My husband.  But that is a whole blog-post of its own.  

5. Watching Stephen Colbert through Hulu.  Hulu is the television-less family’s best friend.

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