Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Busy Kitchen

Yesterday Judith's friend came to play again, so I took the opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen.  (It's wonderful to have Judith entertained by someone else, even if they do require mediation with regularity.)  As I was cooking, it occurred to me that I haven't yet blogged about any food!  That's pretty bizarre, considering that I used to have a separate blog just for baking.  It seems that after the insanity of December (I was baking nonstop for four weeks!), I haven't really been focusing on baking, although I could have written about the Chocolate Cream Tart with Pecan Shortbread Crust I made for Lance's uncle's birthday, and my adventures with Spaghetti Carbonara for the same dinner. 

At any rate, here's what I was working on yesterday (at one point four of these were going simultaneously!):
  • homemade greek style yogurt - I started making this more than a year ago when I started finding ways to get extra protein.  The store bought stuff is yummy, but so expensive, so I googled alternatives.  This website got me started, and I've improvised my own methods to compensate for the equipment I don't have.  It's especially wonderful because Judith loves it (she thinks it's ice cream) and I make a batch for Lance and her that I sweeten with local OV honey.
  • no bake "cookie" balls - Pinterest got me turned on to these!  They're pretty close to "raw" (if only I could bring myself to leave out the chocolate chips, they would be!), and with the flaxseed in them, they're pretty healthy for my little girl, especially because I sub unsweetened coconut for the coconut flakes.  And with local honey (raw) in them, they help with seasonal allergies too!
  • butternut squash, red lentil, and garbanzo stew in the crock pot - Pinterest again.  It won't surprise anyone who knows me that I made this without all the called for spice.  (Well, not all - I did add the garlic, and some bouquet garni.)  It was a little overly sweet that way, but considering that I'm juststarting to tolerate butternut squash (it's always too sweet for me), it was pretty good.  (And it felt fantastic to be able to throw all the detritus in my composter instead of in the trash!)
  • cooking the garbanzos for above stew, and baking the leftover squash to freeze for later - I'm kind of a slow food junky.
  • whole wheat biscuits - I googled "whole wheat biscuits" because I wanted to try some with the stew.  And I was totally appalled by how many "whole wheat" recipes were actually half whole wheat.  In fact, this one was the only one I found that was totally whole wheat.  They were yummy!
In the future, I intend to do a weekly "This Week in the Kitchen" kind of entry, unless I bake something totally fantastic that I simply have to blog about right away.  :-)

The Joy:  It's really not hard for me to find joy in the kitchen.  I'm so wired to image my Creator by creating in this way.  Every time I bake it's worship - and my body and soul rejoice!  I'm also finding joy in following my goal to eat healthier.

Joy to you!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Playdate Crafts

Judith's good friend Kirsten came over for a playdate this afternoon.  They play pretty well together for the most part (they are 3 1/2, after all!), but, just in case, I had a couple contingency activities for them.  I decided to have them do the activities just to give them a little break from the "stress" of constant toy sharing.

No-Mess Finger Painting
A friend of mine blogged this craft yesterday (http://thosecraftycomers.blogspot.com/), and I thought it looked like something Judith might enjoy. 

Put blobs of paint in a ziplock bag.  Squeeze the air out of the bag.  Tape the bag to the window (or, presumably, any flat surface).  "Draw" on the outside of the bag with your fingers - spreading the paint around and making designs.

finger painting

I think Judith enjoyed it - but it wasn't Kirsten's cup of tea, and peer pressure made Judith abandon it before she might have otherwise.  She did go back to it this evening (I'd left it hanging on the window), and she was having fun drawing letters and making dots. 

Before I do it again, I think I'll purchase additional paints.  It might have been a little more exciting if there were more than four colors.

Fishing by Magnet
Found this craft on Pinterest (golly, I love that site!) (http://pinterest.com/pin/205758276695263330/), and decided to put it together on the spur of the moment when I knew Kirsten was coming over.  I gathered some paint sample cards (lots of bright colors!), cut fish shapes from them, and clipped a paper clip to the top of each fish.  I cut some short sticks from pile of tree trimmings that's out in the back yard, and we tied a piece of yarn to the end of each stick and taped a little magnet onto the string.  This activity was hit.  The girls had a wonderful time fishing off "the bridge" (over the foot of my bed) and proclaiming in loud voices the color of the fish they had just caught.  I gave them a little bucket to put their "caught" fish in.  When they were all gathered, the girls could just "toss them back to the sea" and start over.  And at the end of our playdate, Kirsten could take home her pole and some of the fish.  (Of course then we had to make Daddy a pole so Judith has someone to fish with :-).
"Hey look - fish!"  
Making a fishing pole

Fishing off the bridge
The Joy
It's wonderful to watch (and listen to) the girls play together.  They're learning, little by little, what it means to have conversation, to play together, and to share the things they want.  I remember their laughter and their arguments - their constant joy in being together, and it lifts my heart.  We, as humans, are created so much in need of that kinship with each other.  I'm learning that I need to plan grown-up "playdates" to fill that need in my own heart.

Joy to you!

A New Name

Since I re-started my blog, I've been ruminating about a new title for it.  (I did change it (to montyfordsgirls) when I combined them, but only as a place-holder for the final result of my ponderings.)  And this morning, as I lay awake wishing I wasn't awake, I found the title I wanted. 

As part of my resolution to study my Bible, I have recently decided to study the book of James with a friend.  And yesterday, as I read through the five chapters to start with an overview, I was struck by  James 1:2-4, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (ESV)  And in today's early morning hours, as I was thinking about what title I could come up with that would encompass all of my life - all the things I blog about and who I want to be - it occurred to me, that that's what I really want: to be joyful in all circumstances, and to be steadfast in my faith. The NIV, which is the version I grew up memorizing, translates verse 2, "consider it pure joy..." and I like the ring of that!

Joy has further significance for me, because it's my middle name (no really, it is).  And I want very much to live up to it.  I don't want to go through life finding fault with my circumstances, myself, or the people around me.  I want instead to shine with the Joy of steadfast faith, seeing all of life - the trials and the blessings; the mundane and the extraordinary - as the process that brings me into greater alignment with who God calls me to be.

I hope that my new blog title will channel my focus for this blog.  I will still blog about whatever's going on - Judith, parenting, cooking, baking, crocheting, crafting, and more - but it's my intention to "wrap up" every entry with "The Joy" - the way(s) in which I can find Joy for that day.  (I imagine that some days the joy may be difficult to find, while some days it'll be self-evident.)

And I've found my sign-off, which I'm borrowing from a friend:

Joy to you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Calming Jar

Yesterday morning we did a craft!  It’s something that I found on Pinterest (http://chasingthefirefly.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/free-your-mind/), and it ties in nicely with the thinking I’ve been doing about best discipline methods.  (Lance and I have been reading Grace Based Parenting, by Tim Kimmel, so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I can incorporate grace into everything, especially discipline.)  And I’ve been thinking about how to teach Judith do deal with her anger (tantrum!) without throwing things or yelling.  This project gives her something concrete to focus on during a “time out”, and I think watching it is pretty soothing.  We’ll see how it goes.  Haven’t actually had the opportunity to try it out yet.

At any rate, here’s what we did:

One empty jar (if I do this again, I will use an empty two-liter instead.  Those aren’t breakable!)
Glue (the original directions call for glitter glue – but that’s not something I use, so I didn’t have it on hand...see problems that this caused below!)
Glitter (in hindsight, I’d get the tiny glitter instead of the regular size that I got.  The higher price would have been worth the slower sinking-time.
HOT tap water - the hottest your tap will produce, but not boiling
Food coloring
Stickers  - we wanted to decorate the outside of our jar.

Materials assembled, crafter ready.
 If desired, decorate the outside of your jar with stickers (or paint, or whatever).  Just leave enough "clear" space that you'll be able to watch the contents of the jar.
we decorated our jar with Mama's favorite butterfly stickers.
 Add the glue, water, food coloring, and glitter (order doesn't matter).
adding the glue

adding the food coloring (pink, of course!)
At this point, I realized that I’d made a huge mistake in thinking I could substitute “regular” glue for glitter glue – because my regular glue was, in fact, washable.  And it pretty much dissolved in the water without thickening it at all (note the bubbles at the top of the jar!).  This is a problem because the glitter, instead of floating slowly, gracefully, calmingly down to the bottom, just drops.  So I did a quick mental review of what was in my cupboard, and started adding corn syrup, because I have it on hand.  And it worked pretty well – after a LOT was added!  I think the result is at least one-quarter corn syrup.

the final product
One more note:  as mentioned in the materials list, a light plastic bottle (such as an empty 2-liter) would much lighter, and not breakable, and therefore easier for Judith to shake up by herself.  But the empty peanut butter jar is what I had.  It just means I have to shake it up for her.

"I just love it!"
 As I mentioned above, we haven't had a temper tantrum or meltdown to try this out with.  But even if it doesn't succeed in calming Judith, we had a fun time and she'll enjoy shaking it up from time to time anyway.  And maybe I can use it myself to calm down before disciplining!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Potty Training

In those years that I longed for a child, I never considered potty training.  "Had I know then what I know now...."  I still love my daughter beyond words, and she is still a phenomenal, miraculous blessing; but potty training has thoroughly tested everything I "knew" about her and about myself.  I've been hesitating in writing this blog entry because I've been waiting for a happy ending.  It's not really here yet, but I'm going to post anyway.  I hope to be able to provide a happy ending update soon!  Here's a timeline/summary of our continuing journey.

November 2010
While a friend was babysitting, Judith announced that instead of having her diaper changed, she wanted to go on the potty (and she went!).  We'd been keeping the potty chair in our bathroom just to get her used to it.  She'd been excited to sit on it (fully clothed!) whenever I was going, but she'd never shown any interest in actually using it.  I'd been reading through signs of readiness and evaluating whether Judith might be ready.  One of the main signs of readiness is uncomfortableness with being wet, and asking to have pants changed - something Judith had NEVER done.  And because she didn't seem ready, I was anticipating starting sometime in late spring 2011.  But when she was so excited to go for our friend, I took it as a sign to begin. (Oh, how sad I am, remembering that optimistic me!)  From the public library, I checked out the book "Toilet Training in Less than A Day," which my mom had recommended (and had used with success to train my sisters).  I read it, made copious notes, assembled supplies, picked a day, and started.  And Judith enjoyed practicing - especially when she got treats and "special juice" (not watered down!) in large amounts.  And she loved running from different parts of the house to the potty chair (the method suggests practicing running to the chair 10x for every accident); unfortunately, she considered running to the chair to be a reward, and it didn't motivate her to run when she actually needed to go ("if I have an accident, I get to run lots!" seemed to be her way of thinking).  She seemed to be recognizing when she needed to go, and I was hopeful that it wouldn't be very long before she was "trained".

Looking back, I can see that there were several parts of the method that really didn't fit with Judith's personality, and those should have been warning signs of her not-readiness, and her need for a different type of training.  For example, the method emphasizes the child doing everything for herself, from pulling on her panties to getting the toilet paper and emptying the potty chair into the toilet.  But Judith didn't (and still doesn't) want to do those things herself.  She wanted to have me help her - and I was sticking to "the plan" and not helping.  Rebellion came pretty quickly.  She started saying things like "no, I'm not going on the potty.  We can just clean it up."  (She stopped being allowed to clean up puddles herself because she treated that as a reward too.)  But we stuck to it, and by the end of the month she would go when asked, and even had some dry days.  One bright spot was that she did phenomenally well anytime we were outside the house.  All of her accidents were confined to our home - and it was a relief to be out of the house because I knew she'd be dry. 
I thought we were close to the end.

December 2010
My parents came to visit.  My mom was here for three weeks, and my dad was here with her for the final  week   Judith did OK going potty for Grandma, and again, I thought we were over the hump and it was all downhill.  But we went away to a condo for part of the final week, and Judith regressed completely.  It started with a #2 accident in a restaurant, and deteriorated to four accidents in an hour in the condo.  I broke down and bought some pull ups - and when we got home I put her back in diapers.  We'd try again later. 

I vividly remember the relief of putting her back in diapers.  Yes, it had been wonderful for a month to not have to spend money on diapers, but that was about the only benefit we were experiencing.  Judith wasn't happy; she was failing constantly to meet my expectations, and she knew it.  And I wasn't happy - I saw myself as a complete failure as mother, and I was sure that she could do it if she could just want to try.  And to step back and say "this isn't working" was a huge burden off both of us.

August 2011 - present
Although I had originally intended to start potty training again in late spring with the onset of warmer weather, the timing was somehow never right.  And when I looked ahead to our planned August visit to Michigan, I saw nothing but nightmare if we were only partially through with potty-training while we were there.  Diapers would be so much easier.  So I waited.  And at Judith's 3-year check up, the doctor asked her if she was going on the potty.  When we said no, he said, in a shocked voice "Judith!  You should be going on the potty like a big girl!"  (On a side note:  how completely unfair of the doctor, both to me and to Judith, to express such vehemence without even asking for reasons or explanation!)  Predictably, when we got home, Judith said she wanted to wear panties like a big girl.  We talked about how she would then need to use the potty like a big girl and keep her panties dry.  And we transitioned (without any supplies on hand for incentives!  without any planning on my part!).  Since then, she hasn't worn a diaper once (except for the first two weeks at night).

But I wouldn't say she's trained yet!  We started a "potty progress chart" where she gets a flower on the day if she's dry all day.  And looking at it shows how difficult it's been.  There are weeks of flowers followed by blank weeks, and a few lonely days scattered here and there.  (She is dry most nights - she's had maybe four or five bed-wettings total since August.)

The most difficult part is figuring out how to motivate her to want to go.  Saying "big girls have dry pants" isn't enough.  Reading books about big kids going on the potty or providing examples of all her friends isn't enough.  Providing a treat every time she goes (or every time she goes with dry pants) isn't enough.  In the beginning of November, we made candy turkeys at MOPS - and there are several days in a row of success, because she was also getting a piece of the turkey every time she said "mama, I have to go potty" and then went.  But as soon as the turkeys were gone, the motivation dried up.  She shows absolutely no inclination to interrupt what she's doing and go, even when she's assured that whatever it is will be there when she gets back.  Even now, five months later it is extremely rare that she goes before her pants are wet, instead of after she's started.  I don't know whether she has trouble recognizing the urge, or whether she has trouble leaving what she's interested in.  Either way, she's not motivated to learn.

Until our recent bout with stomach flu, I'd have said that she was doing pretty well with #2.  She didn't like to go - and she'd usually hold it for several days before going - but she rarely had #2 accidents.  And now she's had a #2 accident every day for the last five days (sometimes several times in one day).  In theory I accept that this is because her body completely failed on her when she had the stomach flu - and it's still not entirely back to normal.  But because she doesn't say anything when she does have an accident, I'm beyond frustrated - and she has horrendous diaper rash.  We're working on having her at least tell us!

So there it is - my abject failure as a mother.  Forget "less than a day" - in five months I have still not potty trained my child.  I still struggle to find ways to motivate her to want to go on her own, without a timer set or an "order" from me.  I hesitate to ask someone to babysit or to let her go on a playdate or to take her to the park, all because I am so embarrassed by how untrained she is.  I have nightmare visions of her going off to college still unable to get to the toilet before her pants are wet.  (OK, that last part is an exaggeration - I have trouble seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, though.)  I cringe when I hear other mothers talk about their potty training success, remembering past "success stories" that I shared which were immediately followed by regression.  I pray daily for patience and grace as we slowly learn this essential life skill.

(Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Showcasing Past Projects

Since I haven't blogged for years - and since I've never blogged about crochet projects until now, I thought I'd showcase ("show off!") some of my relatively recent projects.  For the patterns that I know, I've captioned the pictures with the url link.

Judith's Big-Girl-Bed Afghan 
(January 2011)
I tried to tie this one in with the mural that's on her wall.  So I picked out some coordinating colors, and then found a wonderful rainbow multi (Sensations Rainbow Classic) with those colors, and picked out a few more colors to go with the multi.  I wanted flowers - but not too obviously flowery - and I found this granny square pattern that seemed to fit. I didn't actually download a .pdf, so I'm having trouble finding the actual pattern that I used.  It's a pretty standard granny, though.  I'm very happy with the result, and so is Judith :-)

Jada's Butterfly Afghan
(Spring 2011)
I wanted to do an afghan for my six-year-old niece, because the last one that I made for her was when she was born.  I found this 3D butterfly pattern that was absolutely perfect!  I started with the same rainbow multi as I used in Judith's (above), and then chose colors for the butterflies from remnants of yarn.  I decided on the green background because it blended with the rainbow better than a white or other more neutral color.
I loved the result so much that I also made it in yellow for my niece Olivia:
(sorry, this is the best pic I have!)

 and in blue for my niece Cora:

Layla's Afghan
(Summer 2011)
My friend Amanda picked out these colors herself for her newborn.  Then I went looking for a pattern that would some how say how much we loved and valued the baby.  I found this wonderful hearts and diamonds pattern.  It went very quickly - the heart panels are crochet in separate strips and then outlined with the diamonds and then stitched together.  I did have to do some finagling because it wasn't as big as the original pattern - but I think it turned out fine anyway.


Prairie Star
(August 2011)
When Lance's cousin's son got engaged, I started looking for an afghan pattern that would make a memorable present.  I found this wonderful pattern AND another wonderful color combo from Sensations Rainbow Classic in blues and browns.  Here's the result:


I also made hats, scarves, shrugs, and other afghans - but don't have pictures, so I'm not going to blog them :-).


Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I took advantage of our continuing beautiful weather to do some work in the yard.  Judith joined me outside for a couple hours.  She was beside herself with excitement to find a ladybug on a leaf.  All on her own, she got it to crawl on her hand, and it crawled up and down her arm for long enough for me to examine it with her, go inside to get the camera, come back out and take pictures, put the camera away, and come back to look at it some more.  The whole time she was talking to it, saying things like "Hello, Ladybug.  I'm Judith.  And this is my mama."  And the only time she got a little nervous was when it crawled so far up her arm that she couldn't see it anymore.  (I redirected it to climb back down.)  She also moved it back and forth from hand to hand, and let it balance on the end of her hoe for a little while.  A very fun nature moment!

"Look mama! It's on my hoe!"
"Hello ladybug, I'm Judith."

Monday, January 16, 2012


(warning:  no pictures of Judith in this blog!)
The third week of January may be a little late to talk about New Year's Resolutions.  I'm getting around that faux pax by calling them "Goals for the Year".  And I'm blogging about it so that I will be completely honest with myself a month from now, six months from now, and in December. 

Although some of these have a specific end, most of these goals are about building better habits.  So, 10 goals for 2012:
  1. I will reach and maintain my weight loss goal.
  2. I will plan more healthy meals for myself and my family (not just meals that aren't high in calories) including salads with most dinners.
  3. I will study my Bible more regularly and more passionately.
  4. I will make time (and arrange child care) for more dates with Lance.
  5. I will research and create a plan for homeschooling Judith.
  6. I will invite guests for dinner at least once every two months.
  7. I will more closely follow our grocery budget, curbing splurge impulses.
  8. I will not go to bed without cleaning up the kitchen.
  9. I will care for my houseplants so that they thrive instead of being just barely kept alive.
  10. I will blog at least once per week.
Theme for the year:  Health



I am frequently blown away by the power of Judith's imagination.  I imagine that's true for most mothers.  Here are some of her recent playtime imaginings.

Picnic on the White Planet
We recently watched an early episode of Wallace & Gromit (British claymation show by Aardman) in which they decide to take a trip to the moon because it must be made of cheese.  A few days after watching it, Judith noticed the sheets off our bed (laundry day) and decided she need to play there.  She explained that she was on the white planet and that it was made of cheese.
the white planet

During her picnic, as I was taking pictures, she held up this bracelet to her eye.  "I look like Professor Z!" she said.  It took me a minute to remember that the Professor is a character from Cars2 - he wears a monocle.
"I look like Professor Z"

The Proper Way to Eat
Judith's favorite snack food is Cheerios mixed with Annie's Whole Wheat Bunnies.  Frequently she has them for breakfast or for a snack throughout the day.  The other day I walked into the living room to discover Cheerios and Bunnies lined up at right angles on the tea table.  When I asked what she was doing, she said that she had to eat them this way - that the Cheerios were waiting for the bunnies.  Then she demonstrated proper eating technique:  pick up a Cheerio with the bunny's foot and then eat them together.
"the cheerios are ready for the bunnies"
 We'll have to write to Heloise to tell her the right way to eat this snack mix.
"see...this is how you eat them"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


2 cubic yards of black gold!
A late Christmas present arrived for us at 8:30 this morning.  Two cubic yards of extra-super-special dirt, black with wonderful organic compost – a fragrant piece of Iowa farmland transported to my California backyard.  (Not really – it’s a local company, and I doubt they import their soil from Iowa – but that’s what it makes me think of.) 

"Don't worry, Mama, I'll move it for you!"
Judith and I watched from the window as the truck dumped it into a big pile in front of the bedroom window.  (For a few seconds we worried that it might actually back into the window...but the driver was more skilled than we gave him credit for.)  Then we got out our boots and went to work!  Our wheelbarrow is broken, so I filled a five-gallon bucket over and over, transporting the riches to various parts of the garden.  The blueberries, the fruit trees, and the vegetable garden all got their share.

The future blackberry patch!
After a little while, Grandpa Tim came with his wheelbarrow to help us.  He did the hardest work – wheeling load after load to the back 40, where I’m joyfully planning my new blackberry patch!  When that area was covered in a foot of soil, he piled up the rest in a backyard dirt bank that I’ll withdraw from as needed.  
Grandpa's helper!
Judith was in and out of the project.  She was very exited to be in the yard so early in the morning...although it was COLD (well, 40ish), and she ran around for quite awhile as I worked.  Eventually she decided she wanted to be inside instead, and I put on a DVD for her.  Once Grandpa came she changed her mind and came outside – she had a fantastic time helping to build the new backyard pile.  She “helped” Grandpa by using her hoe to put the dirt on his shovel, and then led the way to the backyard each time.  I think she said something about making sure they were on the right path (yes, “Diego” is still the primary show that she watches).

The evidence of helping
 All-in-all, a productive (if messy) morning!


Saturday, January 7, 2012


My poor, sweet Judith had the 12-hour stomach flu last night.  She started telling me that her tummy hurt on the way home from driving carpool (3:30), and then she threw up every 15 minutes for the next 6 hours.  NOT a fun way to spend the evening.  At 5:30 she “just wanted to rest” in her bed.  Which she did – waking up every 15-20 minutes to vomit again!  It was mostly dry-heaving, of course, which is just terrible to watch.  And it was happening so frequently that I googled it.  Turns out dry-heaving is the brain’s fault – it’s still sending “purge” messages.  And it’s not something to “worry” about unless it extends more than 12 hours!  Whew...six hours was bad enough; I don’t want to think about 12!  Fortunately, by 11, she was done and I could go to bed too.  This morning she’s eaten applesauce and toast-with-honey without any problems, and she’s SOOOO much more chipper. 

A bonus for me was that I got to finish my book – I couldn’t watch TV and crochet, because I wouldn’t have heard Judith right away, and I wouldn’t have been able to put the crochet down quickly (I was trying to avoid having to change the sheets every time).  It’s actually the first book I’ve read since before Thanksgiving!  (I’m pretty sure that’s a record for me.)  I even had to take a book back to the library without reading it because I was so busy doing other things.  And then, when the holiday frenzy was finally over, I was so excited to be starting my afghan that I didn’t read anything.  Then I the Costco magazine review of A Discovery of Witches intrigued me, so I requested it from the library.  And the book was intriguing too!  It’s fantasy, obviously, with a fun, storyline and lots of historical detail.  I enjoyed it very much until the end – when I discovered that it’s the first of a trilogy, and the others aren’t written yet.  (Should have checked that before I started it!)  I had (almost) forgotten how much I enjoy reading.  And I was reminded that it really takes time away from all my other priorities.  Until this recent hiatus, I simply made time to read, at the expense of other things.  And once I picked up a book again, I noticed myself neglecting other things to read – I didn’t blog; I didn’t do the yard work I planned to; I didn’t crochet; I stayed up too late...  So I’m wrestling with myself over whether I should immediately start another book.  In the past there’d have been no question.  Now I wonder if I should finish other projects first, or set a time limit on how long I can read each day.  Weird! 


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Food Question

I’ve been wrestling for a while with when we should all eat the same thing for dinner every night.  This is a somewhat difficult question in our family anyway, since I’m vegetarian and Lance isn’t; since I’m a “picky” eater, and Lance isn’t; and since I also tend to be dieting endlessly...but for those nights when the two adults are, in fact, eating the same thing, should Judith also be “required” to eat only that? 

Sometime last fall, I instigated “family dinner time” during which we all sit at the table together, and no one leaves until everyone is finish eating (yes, some dinners get very long as we wait for Judith to finish!).  This began as an attempt to change our habit of eating dinner in front of the TV every night, but it also quickly occurred to me that it could be a way to “encourage” Judith to eat what we eat.  That’s easy when we’re having pita pizzas or grilled cheese or quesadillas.  Even make-your-own salad night works, because I can put together a plate of the things she likes out of the salad choices (and she’ll eat just about anything dipped in ranch dressing!).  My dilemma comes on a night like tonight.  Lance and I had beans and rice (a favorite of ours: sautéed mushrooms, garbanzos, kidney beans, black beans, and canned tomatoes, served over brown rice and garnished with sour cream or grated cheese).  Judith had cheese and crackers and a banana.  I’ve never offered her the beans and rice dish, because I know (assume?) she doesn’t like mushrooms or tomatoes (at least she hasn’t yet).  She’s tried a garbanzo bean once or twice, and not minded it, but not asked for more.  So I go the easy route and make her a separate meal (easy in terms of getting her fed, not easier to make). 

And I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do.

At almost-three-and-a-half should she be eating beans and rice?  Should I make the “rule” that she eats what we eat and there’s no other option?  (Then how do I explain that Daddy and Mama don’t eat the same things?)  Or do I continue to do what I’m doing:  serving her what we’re having when I know she’ll like it (pushing the boundaries on occasion) and making a separate meal for her when I know she’ll refuse the adults’ option?

Her “acceptable food” list is pretty varied compared to a lot of the stories I’ve heard:  lots of cheese, whole wheat bread, peanut butter, quesadillas, pizza, macaroni and cheese, just about any fruit, greek-style yogurt, granola, scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, sautéed or grilled chicken, olives, pickles, tuna fish sandwiches, pumpkin soup, tomato soup, french fries, ranch dressing...  (And of course, given my semi-profession, she’s quite adventurous when it comes to dessert. :-) 

On the “don’t like” side she includes most meat (which is pretty understandable given how infrequently we actually have meat in the house), tomatoes, avocado/guacamole, mushrooms, sharp cheeses...  And she will predictably turn up her nose completely at something she hasn’t had before.  We explain frequently that she can’t say she doesn’t like something if she hasn’t tasted it, but she’s unlikely to taste anything on the first try...or even the fifth try.  (In fact, I have really no idea what makes her eventually taste something at all!) 

So I know that the nights she gets served something new she won’t eat dinner.  In theory I know it’s not a horrendous thing for her to miss a meal, but it can be frustrating to “waste” food getting her to try it, enforce “this is your dinner,” and know that she’s still hungry!

So this remains a dilemma.  I am thankful that she eats more than one specific food.  I am thankful that she is healthy.  I am (usually) willing to continue to make her a separate meal several times a week.  So it’ll probably be a while before I come to a decision.



Despite the number of times in a day that Judith asks to watch "Diego", she really does like to play.  One of her favorite toys is a piece of string ("snake") from one of my current crochet projects.  Recently she's gotten a hold of a few pieces of Lion Brand homespun, which is made up of several thicknesses of string wound together.  She's unwound the edges into a "tail" and decided that they're mermaids.  Two of them accompanied us to the grocery store yesterday, with the understanding that if Mama had to hold them, they'd be thrown away.  They made it home from the store just fine, but Daddy threw one away last night, and we'll see how long it takes for Judith to notice that it's missing.

We were thrilled to have Grandma Sandy accompany Grandpa Tim last night on his weekly visit to play computer games with Daddy.  Judith had a playmate for the whole evening, and Mama had a little break!  They played Candyland, which Judith got for Christmas.  Here too, her imagination is blindingly evident - "Tinkerbell" has to play with Grandma and Judith, and takes her turn every time as well.

Grandma also helped Judith open the easel that she got for Christmas.  It's got a chalkboard on one side, and a magnetic white board on the other.  Judith had a great time lining up the included alphabet magnets by color.  We tried to help her make words, but she was pretty set on colors needing to be together, and there's only about half the alphabet in each color.  We'll have to purchase some chalk and some dry-erase markers to go with the easel.  Neither were included, although an eraser was!

Step-Count Update:
I was planning to begin a recurring section periodically tracking my steps this year, but, sadly, I dropped my pedometer yesterday afternoon, and the sensor is broken...it doesn't count steps!  So this item's on hold until I get a replacement or find something else :-).


Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year

A new blog: No promises; they’re too easily broken. But I’m attempting to “restart” my blog this year. And the focus will be slightly different that it was almost 18 months ago when I last posted anything. Instead of only talking about Judith here, and having a separate blog for baking, I’m going to combine it all. Judith will probably show up most often, but I’ll also be blogging about baking, crochet, gardening, and life in general. I hope that will give me plenty to blog about!
An update: I intend add a few detailed blogs regarding milestones that Judith’s reached in the last 18 months, but here’s a quick overview: she’s 3 years and 5 months old; she’s 3 feet tall, and nearly 35 pounds (at least, those are the stats from her August checkup). Her hair is extremely long, and she prefers to wear it down whenever she can...it gets everywhere! Happily, she accepts the “rule” that she’s not allowed to eat without a ponytail.
Her favorite color is PINK, and she’d like to wear pink every day. Fortunately for my sanity, she only has a few pink outfits, and demands for pink can be mollified by adding a “twirly” skirt to anything she’s wearing.
She’s been potty training (for the second time!) since August, and she goes through cycles of being dry all day for days, and then having an accident every time she has to go. It’s definitely the hardest aspect of parenting I’ve experienced yet!
She’s been in a big-girl bed for a year, and she loves it, but...

A new habit: Until December 30, 2011, Judith did not get out of her bed unless we were there. We’re not entirely sure how that happened, but we’ve been taking it for granted. Then, on the evening of the 30th, she threw a tantrum at bedtime, and we ignored her. To our absolute shock she actually got out of bed on her own, came out of her room, and found me in the kitchen. She said she had to go potty, and I took her and put her back to bed. I thought at the time that it would be an isolated incident, but she’s since done the same thing the past two mornings. I’m trying to establish the rule that she may only get out if she has to go potty, and then must go straight back to bed...we’ll see how that works!

A new project: I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I am, for the first time, making an afghan for us! In September I made one for a relative who was getting married, and I was so thrilled with it that I decided I wanted one for myself. So with some Christmas money I bought yarn and I’ve started on a new blanket for our bed. (The current quilt is one that I made during our first year of marriage, and it’s kind of coming apart.) The afghan I made last fall was a star pattern of pieced diamonds. As I began planning for our blanket, I googled “diamond quilt patterns” and discovered the “tumbling blocks” pattern. Lance declared his preference for that pattern over the original star, so I designed one for us! I was thrilled to find “tumbling blocks” graph paper (http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/tumblingblock/) and I had a great time coloring in patterns until I found one I liked. Then I got to pick out yarn! And I’ve been piecing the bottom row together to find out if I designed it big enough. Here’s what it currently looks like (in case you can't tell,  there's red and green and blue in there as well as the tan and brown):

I promise to post a picture when it’s all done. :-)