Saturday, January 31, 2009

MetaBoy Gets Sick, and it Freaks Him Out

Oh, but it's been a harrowing evening.

Nap time ended and MetaGirl woke up with nothing but smiles. Lovely :-)
As we were leaving the bedroom, she spit up more than usual. MetaBoy saw and said "spit up!" I said "yes, it is. And I'm going to clean it up right now."

So, I did, and that was that.

About half an hour later, MetaBoy is looking still and serious in the kitchen and said "spit up." I looked at him funny and brought over a paper towel just as he began to get sick everywhere.

Watching your little boy get sick is disturbing. But this is the first time that he's been aware that he's getting sick, and it seemed to freak him out. He kept saying "spit up." So I had to console him with the mommy face and the mommy voice despite feeling panicky underneath it all. MetaDaddy took him to the bathroom while I cleaned up, and the poor little guy seemed most concerned about "kitchen mess!" We had to assure and reassure him that the mess was gone and the kitchen was fine.

Unfortunately, he continued to get sick all evening. He finally went down for the night, though later than usual. MetaDaddy sat with him for a long while as he kept waking up with dry heaves. Tomorrow will be a day of toast and bananas, if he can handle it.

As of yet, we don't know the cause. Did he pick up a bug from a friend? An elevator door? Eating off of the floor? These are all possible given his past behavior. And while I'm never looking to get sick, I really don't want to get sick over the next few days since MetaDaddy will be away for the better part of the week on business.

That said, perhaps it some sort of food poisoning? He's eaten the same thing as us today, so I can't imagine it was. But it certainly gave me pause for thought. We haven't eaten out in two weeks, but we ate out for lunch today. And it reminded of what I've come to realize: you never know what goes into your food when you eat out. This article about the peanut recall points out that you can find peanuts in the unlikeliest of places, such as "enchilada sauce, chili sauce, meat marinades."

But I digress. I'm really crossing my fingers that he's better tomorrow because we've got a fun surprise for him in the shape of a cheeky little tank!!

Note: What's in the January air here? Almost a year ago to the day, MetaBoy picked up a bug and got sick, much like tonight. And much like this coming week, MetaDaddy is going away. The one big difference? MetaGirl. I hope this coming week is better than that one was.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

MetaBoy Knows Tummies

OK, this was seriously wrong.

MetaBoy comes up to me, pats my tummy, and says "big tummy."

Of course, this elicited a "what did you say to me?"

"Big tummy, mommy!"

"Grr," I responded. "Grr."

Then he lifted my shirt, patted my bare belly and said "big tummy!"

Sometimes, he's lucky he makes it through the day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MetaBoy Knows Pigs

MetaBoy picked up a button mushroom and said "oink, oink."

I'll be does look like a pig's snout.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Great Price on Enameled Cast Iron Pot in Blue

The color isn't very traditional, but Macy's has a Martha Stewart Collection blue enameled cast iron pot (5.5 quarts) for $33.74 (usually retails for $99.99). That price is fabulous!

I haven't actually seen this collection, so I can't speak for the the quality. However, I have a 5.5 quart Le Creuset enameled cast iron pot, and I love it. I use it several times a week for everything from sautees, to stir frys, to's my go to pot.

I'm just saying.

How Tired Was I?

I woke up to MetaGirl's crying...again. She pretty much didn't nap that afternoon, and I was exhausted from the night before. So I dozed off while nursing.

Since she had eaten, and was obviously disinterested in sleep, I figured I'd check to see if she had a dirty diaper. I didn't want to turn the light on so as to avoid fully waking her. So I rummaged through the drawer looking for the flashlight that I hoped MetaBoy had put back from his game earlier. Nope. Then, I found a highlighter. And I thought "ah hah!" Somehow, I thought this highlighter would help me see in the dark. Eventually, my underlying suspicions won out and I realized that the highlighter was in fact an instrument to highlight text, not to light text. That was a sad realization.

Nap time was over.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Plastic Free Toddler Dishes

After spending so much time looking for dishes and cups for MetaBoy that are not made of plastic, I ended up settling on bone china. It's strong and considered chip resistant. I don't know if this is true, but we tried it anyway. We have a couple of flat-bottom bowls, plates, and a couple of mugs. And so far, MetaBoy has been great. Nothing thrown, chipped, or broken (at least not yet). Mind you, we didn't offer the dishes to him during his "throwing" phase. Back then, we would hold the dish and feed him. We then let him feed himself, and we haven't had any incidents. He bangs his silverware on the rim of the bowl, but eh...he's two.

I was worried that the mug would be too difficult for his little hands to handle, but he was a pro the first time he used it (at around 2 years). I'm annoyed I didn't introduce it earlier! We have have a single handle mug, and a double handle mug, and he can use both without a problem. So we don't have any kiddie plastic dishes or cups, and I'm glad we're at a comfortable place with that considering the talk about BPA has only gotten more serious (see the EWG for more info). I will get a few sippy cups for MetaGirl once she's ready for them, but she won't spend much time using them if I can avoid it.

If I was still on the hunt for a plastic-free alternative for mealtime, I would seriously consider a stainless steel set like this one. It's nice to see that more options are slowly becoming available to consumers.

Boo to plastic!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Parents Say the Darndest Things 2

Please stop driving the car on your sister.

Please stop drinking your bath water.

Take your sister's hand out of your mouth.

Please don't stick the grapes between your toes.

Please don't stick the fork between your toes.

Please don't stick the spoon between your toes.

Give me the spoon and just eat with your fingers.

Stop doing that before you get me in trouble with your mommy.

No, you can't get into the playpen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recipe: Fish Layered with Vegetables and Ginger

As I've mentioned before, I like baking. I like making desserts and trying new recipes. However, baking requires a degree of precision that I can't afford these days due to time constraints. I've adopted cooking as the next best thing to baking. Generally speaking, ingredients and timing are a lot less strict when it comes to cooking, so I'm a little freer to manage tempers at the MetaHome. And I've really come to enjoy it. Trying out new recipes and ingredients.

So, cooking is currently my thing. It's something I can make my own, but I can share with MetaBoy. He loves naming (and tasting) ingredients. How proud am I when he yells "eggplant!" I've also come to appreciate food I make at home because I can control the content. We were ordering in a bit more for a while there, and in general, despite being cautious about our food choices, the food felt rich and heavy by comparison to homemade food. And now that I'm avoiding dairy and soy because I'm nursing, I find that it's nearly impossible to avoid certain ingredients when you eat out.

Yes, time is a lot less available these days. I couldn't tell you what happens in any given day that makes it fly by so quickly, but before I have time to blink, it's 5PM and tummies are rumbling (mine included). I plan out a weekly menu to assure I buy no more and no less than the food we need during the week. And when possible, I try to plan meals that will leave leftovers for lunches and future dinners. My biggest precaution is to remain flexible, so I use the menu as a guideline to dinners. If everyone is in a crabby mood, or time is too tight, we might order in and push tonight's dinner idea to tomorrow. If we order in, I make sure to get extra food for leftovers. Overall, most lunches and one or two dinners are comprised of leftovers. In sum, I aim to make dinner about four times per week.

I've been watching Jacques Pepin on PBS recently, and I like how quick and easy his recipes can be. Fast Food My Way is available on DVD (I found it at my local library), but More Fast Food My Way is his new series. I wouldn't make everything he makes, but if I walk away with one good idea per episode, I consider my watching time well spent. My recent walk away idea was a skirt steak with lime and anchovies that takes no time to cook. Yum!

I'm really into ginger right now, and this recipe from The Exotic Kitchens of Peru is a great vehicle for it. Although the original recipe calls for 2 pounds of fish, I only use one because I can layer it neatly in my pot, and it's more than enough for us. Consider adjusting the amount of fish to suit your needs and/or limitations.

Sudado de Pescado (Fish Layered with Vegetables and Ginger)
2 tablespoons corn oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound fish, such as sea bass, red snapper, or similar fish (cut filets in half...about 3-inch long pieces)
1 large onion, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, sliced into julienne strips
2 medium sliced ripe tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
A 1/2-inch piece of ginger, grated
1/4 cup water (optional: combine with vermouth or a dry white wine)
2 scallions, sliced thin

Heat the oil in a large shallow pan and stir-fry the garlic, turmeric, cumin, and pepper over low heat for 2 minutes. Be careful that you don't burn the garlic (my favorite trick, just ask MetaDaddy).

Arrange the fish pieces on top and fry for 2 minutes.

Spread a layer of the onion over the fish; top with a layer of the red pepper, then a layer of tomatoes, and season with the salt. Add the ginger. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the water and simmer for 10 minutes more to allow sauce to accumulate, basting the layers several times with the pan juices. Sprinkle the scallions over all, cover the pan, and let stnd off the heat for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with warm rice. Serves 4

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Teething: Sophie the Giraffe

MetaGirl has been teething for a bit now, but nothing yet. She's drooling like a faucet and putting everything in her mouth, including toys, fingers, other people's fingers (ew, MetaGirl...ew).

So I walked into a toy store looking for Christmas gifts last month, and the sales associate asked me if I knew about Sophie? I thought "that's odd that she's asking about my friends." Well, she meant Sophie the giraffe. That is, the little rubber giraffe that teething babies love, love, love to chew on. It's soft, easy to handle (that long neck is superb), it squeaks, and it's made of all natural, non-toxic ingredients. MetaBoy loves Sophie, too. A bit too much sometimes. "Please give Sophie back to your sister!"

It's a great gift idea if you know anyone with a teething baby.

Note: I was reminded of Sophie when I saw this ridiculous thing today. Who would buy this?!? And at that price?!? Holy moly.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pottery Barn Kids Discounts

I was looking for coupon codes to Pottery Barn Kids (you know, for kicks), and I find this page on Retail Me Not.

One entry says to "change 34 to 68." There are a few other similar entries with different numbers (e.g., change 34 to 59 or 34 to 89). At first, this made no sense. But then I find the item number for these storage baskets (Medium Sabrina Basket, set of 2, Honey) by putting them in my shopping cart. I then start to fiddle with the two first digits of the item number (21-4342838).

The starting number is 21 instead of 34, but I try it anyway. While I had no luck on the first few tries, that changed when I entered 68-4342838.

The price for the baskets dropped to $27.99 from $34. I should point out that any price ending in .99 is a final sale. But that's not the point.

It's like a sale playing Peek-A-Boo with me!

On that note, I probably need to get out more.

But who am I kidding. I'm totally nerdy like that ;-)

(I wonder if this works on other Pottery Barn sites?)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ron Clark Academy

The kids from the Ron Clark Academy are back in the news are back in the news because they'll be performing at next week's inauguration.

I just think that the excitement about politics expressed by kids of this age is wonderful. Unfortunately, now I can't get that song out of my head.

Ron Clark Academy: You Can Vote However You Like

Monday, January 5, 2009

Avoid Browning Avocados

I figured something out the hard way. I occasionally only use half of an avocado. The problem with leaving the other half exposed is that it'll turn brown. If left overnight, it'll develop a rather unpleasant, leathery skin. Not so good.

I found that I can avoid this reaction by placing the avocado's cut side onto a flat plate. If you really want a good seal to prevent oxygen from certain avocado demise, a Cook's Illustrated tip suggested putting some oil on the plate before you place the avocado on it. But I find a flat plate is good enough.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Patagonia Toddler Clothes

This Patagonia vest reads well and looks stylish, but the heck we're spending $70 on a vest for MetaBoy that he'll outgrow in no time. It's made from recycled materials, and is fully recyclable in turn. It's also probably made well enough to last for years. What's the point of that with a toddler? If they make it slightly less well made, can I maybe get a discount?