September 20, 2012

Goodbye Summer


Oh, Mamas. Summer's lease hath all too short a date.  R is in pre-school, mornings have a chill in the air, and time marches on.  This was likely my very last summer with a baby.  Good things are ahead, certainly, but I can't help feeling a little lost. I'd like one more beer at the end of the dock, please.

If the back-to-school routine snuck up on you…here are a few good things I found:

An awesome list of back-to-school books.  The title "Hooway For Wodney Wat" cracked me up.

Raines' new backpack.  The half-pack size is perfect for pre-school, the nibbler size for younger.  If you are local to Philly, Nest has them in stock.

We've been using Skip Hop's Bento lunchbox and it's awesome.  It's technically a bento, but simpler and less intimidating.  I can still throw a sandwich in there (cut up into fourths) on busy mornings.  I actually bought this set a while ago, but somehow* lost all of the lids.  When I called Skip Hop for replacements, they sent me out a new set – gratis!  

Also, this thermos keeps soup warm for five hours.  Perfect for grabbing something out of the crock pot in the morning.

I'm so happy with the pre-school we found for R.  They go outside everyday, regardless of weather (except for insanely cold temps).  We have to keep a pair of rainboots at the school, so I wanted to find something cheap-ish, yet durable and cool (no crazy animals or cartoon characters, please).  These plain black Tingley Stormtrack rainboots were only $14, and are awesome.


What are you up to this weekend?  I think we're going to try and catch Philly's Open Air exhibit, which lets you record a voice message, and then uses robotic lights in the night sky that will react to your voice's frequency and volume.  No joke.  They even have an iPhone app.  R will be totally geeked out (and so will we).

Happy Fall!



*Pax went through a "throw things in the trash" phase.



By September 20, 2012 9 No tags Permalink
June 14, 2012

TGIF, and Bringing Up Bebe

Henry and his cake

With the end of school and the first official day of summer just around the corner, the vibe has already relaxed around our house. But we’re left with a bit of time to fill, so H. and I have been experimenting in the kitchen during Little Lou’s post-pool naps as the baby man sits and gurgles at us. All this week—our first official, full week off from school—we’ve started and tossed a sourdough starter and whipped up some delish crème fraiche to top off H’s first (mostly) solo cake.

Yogurt cake

I read Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting a few weeks back and wanted to try the yogurt cake recipe. H. and I already love cooking together, but Bringing Up Bebe points out that baking helps kids feel a sense of accomplishment and teaches deferred gratification (the book extols the benefits of teaching children to wait and be patient). The recipe uses the yogurt cups as the main form of measurement, so babes can easily whip up the cake on their own. It was a blast to act as baker’s assistant and Huck is beyond thrilled to be taking a cake he made all by himself to our Friday play date. It’s also super yummy and I actually learned how to make crème fraiche, which is way easy and much more tasty than store-bought.

As for the book itself, I was intrigued by a lot of the ideas in Bringing Up Bebe, but in short, this is a love/hate book for me. Love the idea of getting kids to sleep through the night, teaching our kids to be more patient and independent, assimilating children into adult culture rather than the reverse, providing a strong framework and relaxing our expectations of ourselves as super-parents who always put the kids first. Hate that so much of what is possible in French parenting is perhaps less so here: it’s probably a lot easier to make yourself, your career and your relationship a priority (and stay calm!) when you have access to free childcare, five weeks of paid vacation, unlimited sick leave and an actual 40-hour work week. So, I’m struggling a bit with its relevance in American culture and whether in fact I should just move to France.

I thought the sourdough idea from Monday’s Mom Street Style might be fun, and it was, until it started smelling and I realized I’d basically taken on responsibility for yet another living thing. I can barely remember to feed the dog, let alone a fermenting lump of dough on my windowsill, so I guiltily dumped it in the trash. I’ll revisit in fall when school’s back on and the weather is cooler.

Apparently I’m obsessed with food right now, because I became absolutely giddy when I saw this on Pinterest the other day: hash browns in the waffle iron. Total. Genius.

OK, but to get back to to style.  I am droolng over FabSugar's Summer Street Style roundup.  It's a must read for sure, Mamas! 

– M.

January 25, 2012

Mom Street Style – Vera’s Fav Nursing Cover


When I finally worked up the nerve to nurse my first babe in public (instead of running to the car or planning every outing around feedings), I was daunted to say the least.  And when I faced breastfeeding my second with an on-the-go 19-month-old, the prospect of boob exposure during the regular course of lunging after my toddler terrified me, as does trying to run after a two- and four-year-old going in opposite directions whilst nursing my third bub, so I can absolutely relate to Vera, this week’s fab street style mama.  Vera just had her fourth and was thrilled with the range of motion, not to mention the style, of the DRIA nursing cover S. reviewed last year.

Vera writes:

I just want to say thank you!! I bought the Dria cover after reading your review of it and I LOVE it.  Actually, I am trying really hard not to wear it every single day.  I just had my fourth baby, and despite nursing all my kids until about 18 months, I never used nursing covers – I just thought they were awkward and actually drew MORE attention to the fact that you were breastfeeding.  I had good luck just wearing a cami and a shirt and pulling my shirt up and was pretty discrete about it.  BUT, the Dria is soooo soft and comfy and hides my huge post-c-section pooch, and actually I'm finding that I like being able to nurse in public with it.  Having a very active 21 month old boy, there have been a couple of times that I've been at Starbucks or some place nursing the baby and he decides to do something crazy and I need to react quickly – not something I can do while having my boob hanging out!

Thanks! I'm attaching a pic of the one I got – I love it, even though my hubby is giving me weird looks every morning when I pull it out after trying on fifty other things first LOL!

– Vera C.

For those of you mamas not familiar with the DRIA nursing cover, check it out.  It is the most versatile and fashion-forward piece of nursing gear I have ever encountered, and I don’t think I’ll be shelving it even after I’m done nursing bub #3.  In any of the patterns, it’s a gorgeous, lightweight poncho that’ll kick up the volume on even the most boring outfit.  It covers everything, including you, your babe, the car seat or your stroller, it wads up into a tiny ball, washes well and dries fast and without wrinkles.

Vera, you look amazing in your slouchy boots and nursing poncho! Thanks for sending in your Street Style submission—keep ‘em comin’, Mamas!

– M.

December 15, 2011

Watching | Kin Community Holiday Recipes on YouTube

You've got to love YouTube for viral videos of acrobatic cats, cute toddlers with British accents and cringe-worthy coverage of kids who are still breastfeeding. . . at 8, but being (well) over the age of 18, female and um, kind of busy with my actual life, I must admit that YouTube is not a frequent stop on my Internet browsing history.  Until now, that is, as I'm drooling over the holiday yummies offered up by one of YouTube's newly-launched original content channels, Kin Community, which debuted last week with brief, charmingly quirky videos geared towards grown-up women.  The new YouTube channel is rolling out series about food, fashion, parenting and personal stories over the next few months, beginning with Kin Eats and Kin Style, with new content added weekly (subscribe for updates!).

CasseroleIf I'm able to function after bringing forth a human life next week, for example, I'm planning to whip up the Christmas Morning Casserole by Jenny Park ( to feast on after the gift opening madness.  Who knows?  Perhaps the uber finicky boys wonder may wrap the year with a new breakfast fav (!).

BrieAnd even though my family has understandably albeit shockingly low expectations of me for this year's Christmas dinner at my parent's house, I'm fantasizing about impressing them with Beth Le Manach's Brie & Fig Jam Crostini.  They could be just the ticket for a newly-delivered holiday mama.  Not only do they look mouth-wateringly delicious, but I love her tip: prepare a few on a platter (so guests know what to do) and leave the fixings out to be assembled to-order (read, little-to-no work for the new mama).  I can shop for everything but the bread now and show up Christmas Day looking like (ok, maybe just giving the faintest impression of) some kind of postpartum rockstar.  Luv it

Olive cheese puffsIn the New Year, I'll wow the relatives, friends and fellow board members alike with Dana Joy Altman's ( retro Olive Stuffed Cheese Puffs. Um, olives? Cheese? Carbs? These may be my new breastfeeding staple, Mamas.  I'm going to pop them like crazy while I still have a nursing metabolism, and they'll be perfect for all the wine tasting I'll be doing after my pregnant prohibition.

Kin Community's style channel, Kin Style, is also bringing the goods.  Rebecca Wolf, everyone's favorite mom blogger (Girl's Gone Child), offers up simple yet crucial postpartum fashion advice ANMJ can definitely stand by: drapey on top, skinny on the bottom, accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. . .

Happy holidays, Mamas!

– M.

March 9, 2011

Sluggish Digestion From Pregnancy, Post-Op, or The Flu? Try Inner-Eco’s Miracle Cure

Screen shot 2011-03-09 at 2.28.07 PM
 I was home from the hospital after my second c-section (Hello, Pax!) for roughly…two days?  Three?…before coming down with a case of mastitis.  It turns out that "engorgement" is a real thing that can happen, uh, immediately

Before we were discharged, I remember the hospital's lactation consultant reaching over, squeezing my boobs and saying, "Honk, honk!  Congratulations!  Your milk is in already!  Watch out for engorgement…"  the rest is all mwah mwah mwah since I tuned her out…erroneously thinking that I knew it all.

I mean, after "honk, honk" what else do you really need to hear?

Evidently more than I did.

So I suddenly found myself on a daily regime that included motrin, tylenol, the usual post-op narcotic, stool softeners, and antibiotics…as well as dealing with a sluggish, after c-section digestive system (read: no pooping). 

I've never been so nauseous in my life. 

Continue Reading…

By March 9, 2011 16 No tags Permalink
November 30, 2010

Playing: Decorating Christmas Cookies Jackson Pollock Style

PC091076 Ok – so the pics are from last year.  However, this is an annual tradition.  R just isn't old enough to realize / remember it yet.

We always start with my mom's sourdough cut-out cookie recipe.  She underbakes them a smidge, doesn't roll them quite as thin, and hasn't had to contend with a toddler measuring the flour…consequently, her's are much, much better.  As my husband points out.  Every year.

However, let's talk about decorating!  It turns out that when you give the little ones a teeeny tiny whisk (called an Egg Whisk, $2), a sized-for-their-hands basting brush (mine came from this set), then give them some vague, arm-waving instructions…







So proud!


It breaks my heart how tiny he is here.  And how bald-ish.  And now (at least by the time you read this)…he's a big brother.  Crazy.

BTW – for the true Jackson Pollock fans, letting the colors dry in between applications results in a better splatter-paint effect.  Else, the colors blur together a bit. 

Happy Holidays!!



ps. This post is part of Childhood 101's Wee Play linkup!

We Play
By November 30, 2010 4 No tags Permalink
August 31, 2010

Eating: School Lunches from Epicurious Mobile Apps

Pizza Pouches I've heard it a thousand times, as I'm sure you have too: avoid labeling your kid–labels stick.  This goes for anything from labeling them as shy, clumsy, chubby, and, in my case, picky.  But since my elder Boy Wonder will undoubtedly be eating chicken tikka masala on a regular basis by the time he can read this (I'm an optimist), and since this is just between you and me, he's a pretty damn picky eater.  As such, I'm always looking for new, fun recipes he can help with and will enjoy eating while broadening the spectrum of his excruciatingly limited palate. 

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April 28, 2010

Eating: Goeey Chocolate Cakes on La Tartine Gourmand


There's just so much to love about food blogger Bea, of La Tartine Gourmand. She's a mom.  She's French.  She's traveled the world, writes for the Boston Globe Food section, and comes up with utterly amazing recipes like her Goeey Chocolate Cakes.

I know what you are thinking.  Goeey chocolate cakes have been done before.  True.  But this recipe is a little bit different.  It's tiny in proportion, but there's just so much to love.

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By April 28, 2010 3 No tags Permalink
November 12, 2009

Eating: Jamie Oliver’s 20-Minute Meals iPhone App

Jayme Oliver 20-Minute Meals iPhone App My long-smoldering
crush on Jamie Oliver jumped to full flame a few weeks ago when I discovered
his iPhone App, Jamie
Oliver 20-Minute Meals
.   I’ve always been a big fan of Jamie Oliver and
his cook books (I even tried, unsuccessfully, to incorporate words such as pukka
and dead, as in “dead easy,” into my vocabulary), which boast simple recipes
focused on fresh, flavorful ingredients, but this app seals the deal.  It is, hands-down, one of the best-ever for
busy moms (or should I say mums?) on the run. 

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September 10, 2009

Eating: Smitten Kitchen’s Food Porn

3894895925_2c5024007fThere are lots of great reasons to read Smitten Kitchen:  Deb's photos have been called "food porn" by Entertainment Weekly, she has recipes for upscale yet accessible versions of comfort food (think Boozy French Toast that you bake all at once in a pan) and her writing is passionate, self-deprecating and funny.  And now that's she's pregnant, I find her even funnier. 

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