Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mama's night out at the Mommie Mixer

On Saturday I took my very first night out away from Penny by attending the first annual Mommie Mixer in Bellevue. Yep.. Lil P is nigh on 14 months old and this was the first time we spent more than 4 hours apart!

Now that Penny is older and is more established with eating solids, I feel more comfortable being away and not available to nurse her that often. She got to spend some quality Daddy-daughter time and fell asleep like a champ for him. I was never worried, of course - Penny has had a very strong bond with Adam from the start and I didn't feel anxious at all about leaving her with him for the extended period of time. I received a text-report at about 7:00 that she had asked to go "nigh-night" and fell asleep on his chest after a few rounds of "Baby Beluga." Isn't that so sweet?? Melted this mama's heart right then and there.

I got to hang out at the Buttons Cloth Diapers booth with Amy, the owner, whom I got to know a little better. You can check out my review here. We got to share about the benefits of cloth diapers, talk about the ease of the Buttons all-in-two system and hopefully encourage moms who previously didn't know very much about cloth diapers into considering them as an option.

Look! There's me - in the little black dress. And the gorgeous lady in red is Amy of Buttons Diapers.
/// Image credit: Mommie Mixer
Thanks for a fun night out, Amy!

Interested in learning more about Buttons Cloth Diapers? Find them on Amazon and local retailers!

Disclaimer: Nope, no compensation here! 
Just sharing my personal experiences and favorite products for you to learn more about :) 
This post may contain affiliate links.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yogurt Teething "Popsicles"

This past weekend Penny's molars began their debut :( I can only feel one bump right now, but the poor girl is definitely uncomfortable!

Some moments are definitely worse than others (and I am so very thankful for her amber necklace, which has navigated us through some rough waters) so I started thinking up alternatives to simply medicating to help Penny get some relief. Washcloths soaked in juice and water have been old standbys for many moms, so I thought.. why not yogurt?

You will need:
A wash cloth
Yogurt of choice (we used Pomegranate Greek Gods yogurt)

You will do:
1. Fold the wash cloth into quarters and then diagonally to create a "point"
2. Dip the point into a cup of yogurt. It takes a few times to evenly coat and soak up the yogurt.
3. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
 4. Enjoy!

It's short lived, but a healthy treat (even when your baby isn't teething!).

Do you not just crack up when you see the sour look on her face? She's started doing that when her palate hasn't quite adjusted to what she's tasting.

Can you think of any alternatives to water, juice or yogurt?

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Renovator At Heart Weighs In

Did you know that my blogging roots began when my husband and I bought our first home and tore it apart in the first weekend we moved in?

We had been looking for a house to buy for almost a year before we landed on this one. It was a fixer upper that had excellent bones, but had definitely been mistreated over the last few years. The least of our worries was the new paint and flooring that it was going to require. The biggest problem? The kitchen. The cabinets were rotted out. It had to go.

So we enlisted about 20 of our friends and family who all took in delight in tearing out the guts of the house and leaving us with an empty shell. Literally.
Less than 2 years later we turned that shell into this:
Oh how much heart and soul (and money) we poured into this house. Long story short, my husband's job relocated us 3 hours north of that home and now we're on our new path.. But, these are stories for another time.

Although we are definitely DIY'ers through and through, there are plenty of reasons why the next time we purchase a home we'd look into building a home or buying brand new.

Besides saving yourself the trouble of doing upgrades and renovations yourself (which not everyone has the know how or time to do), a few good reasons to buy a brand new home include:

  • Whether you elect to shop around for land and then work with your builder of choice or if you find a development already underway and jump in after the start of construction, there is tons of room for customization. Depending on how far into the process the builder already is, the buyer can tweak the placement of some rooms, color schemes and add on some upgrades (like granite, light fixtures, etc).  We've specifically looked at floor plans that would allow Adam to turn a 3 car garage into a 6 car garage. Yes, my husband is really into cars.
  • Brand new homes are more energy efficient than older homes (even 10 year old ones!). They feature energy efficient appliances, windows and insulation.
  • Most builders offer various home warranties so you have peace of mind knowing that if something isn't just right, it will get taken care of. 
  • And there are so many more reasons why buying a new home is worth thinking about on  BHI’s Start Fresh Buy New website
When thinking about purchasing a home, do you gravitate towards new or used? 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Toddler Lunch: Crispy Baked Zucchini Coins

Miss Penny has become quite the little fruity-vore. Lately all I can get her to eat willingly and with gusto are berries. This isn't a huge concern to me since she's still breastfeeding but the mama of this Pierogie wants to make sure she's getting all of her veggies too.

Today I tried a new tactic. With new teeth breaking through, Penny has been wanting crunchy but also really likes the soft juicyness that berries provide. So I tested out this little idea and it was a total hit :)

You will need:

1 zucchini, washed
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1/8 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk

You will do:
1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
2. Combine breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese in a small dish.
3. Slice the zucchini into thick coins or sticks.
4. Dip the coins/sticks into milk and toss into breadcrumb mix, ensuring they are evenly coated.
5. Arrange onto a non-stick baking pan, top with additional Parmesan if it suits you.
6. Bake at 450°F for about 10 minutes, gently flip them over and bake for another 5 minutes.

Allow to cool and serve to your toddler with a side of marinara sauce. Oh, and these are definitely mama friendly too :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies!

Welcome to the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.


Uhm, I'm a little embarrassed. I've been keeping this little blog for over a year and I have not once posted a recipe about pierogies. For shame!!

If you are unfamiliar with what the heck a pierogie is, you've come to the right place. In this blog's context, The Pierogie is my daughter, Penelope. That was what we called her before learned that she is a girl. For the rest of the world, a pierogie is a Polish dumpling. Kind of like ravioli, as the dough is very similar to pasta dough (with the exception of salt and olive oil). It is by far my most favorite food in the world and brings so many memories to mind each time I make them.

I am Polish by heritage - both of my parents immigrated from Poland, I grew up speaking Polish and all of my family still lives there. Growing up, I gained "aunts" and "uncles" via my parents' Polish friends and those sort of became my extended family. One of which is the lovely mama behind The Perogy Project - where she concocts both traditional and pretty-freaking-amazing off the wall renditions of pierogie fillings. Although pierogies are definitely made year round, my mom and I go into a pierogie making frenzy each year for Christmas Eve, Wigilia in Poland, and make several hundred...all of which are eaten. During my last visit to Poland at the age of 16, I got to make pierogies alongside my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother.. A memory I will always cherish. Those ladies make pierogies the old fashioned way - completely by hand. For me, although I love the old-worldedness of crafting your food with your hands, I confess I am often too rushed to take the time to knead out the dough by hand. Instead, I ensure this important task to the workhorse of my kitchen - my beloved KitchenAid.

The recipe I'll be sharing with you today is one of the easiest ways to prepare pierogies. It is one of my favorite ways to eat pierogies - with sweet strawberry filling.

You will need:
3 cups of flour  + 1/2 a cup in case
1 egg
a tall glass of cold water
3 cups of chopped strawberries
1/2 teaspoon of cream of wheat
1 teaspoon of sugar

You'll do:
1. You can use a KitchenAid or your hands for the dough, but truth be told even if you start out with the KitchenAid, you will eventually switch over to kneading with your hands so be prepared (take your rings off). Mix the 3 cups of flour, egg and about 1/2 cup of the cold water. The goal is to get the dough into play-dough consistency. So add more flour or water as you see necessary. Eventually you'll see the dough come mostly together, so remove it from the mixer and start kneading by hand until it is well incorporated. The dough should not be sticky or overly dry.

2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your strawberry filling by chopping the strawberries. I used frozen organic strawberries today because strawberries are not in season. Transfer the strawberries into a bowl, sprinkle with the cream of wheat and sugar. The cream of wheat is to help keep the filling together a little. If you don't have any on hand, it is not absolutely vital.

3. Working with a little bit of dough at a time (and keeping the dough you're not using covered so it doesn't try out), roll it out on a floured surface. Keep both sides of the dough and your rolling pin lightly floured. Roll it out to be about as thick as you would see ravioli dough being. You can see that I can almost see my fingers through the dough, but you don't want it too thin (the pierogies will break) or too thick (the dough flavor will overpower your pierogies). It's sort of a learning process.

4. Using a raviloi/pierogie press (I bought mine at a kitchen store) or a large cup, press out circles in your dough.

5. If you are using the pierogie press, lay a circle onto the press and fill the center with filling. You don't want to overfill it, because that will cause the pierogie to break when you boil it. If you don't have a pierogie press, you can easily do this by hand. I go back and forth between how I like to make mine - I enjoy putting the time and effort into hand pressing these pierogies together, but using the press is faster and they tend to seal better. It's up to you.


6. As you press each pierogie together, lay them on a well floured baking pan. If you leave them on an unfloured surface for too long, the dough will stick and you will have a ruined pierogie. Sad!

7. You can freeze these immediately (see below for freezing instructions) or cook them up right away. Prepare a pot of boiling water, dunk 5-6 pierogies at a time and boil until they float.

8. To serve, lay them on a dish and slather in unsalted butter with a sprinkle of sugar! Sooo good. These remind me of summer afternoons visiting with my babcia in Poland.

9. To freeze: Arrange the pierogies on a floured baking sheet, as instructed above. Freeze in your freezer until they are solid. Transfer them to ziplock bags for up to 3 months - if you can practice enough self restraint not to eat these morning, noon and night!

This dough recipe can be used for all flavors of pierogies. The Perogy Project features a recipe for Saskatoon berry filling (for you Canucks), or you can replace blueberries in my recipe above, meat fillings (such as beef, pork, chicken, turky), potato and cheese ("Ruske," my favorite!), sauerkraut and mushroom.. Oh yes, the possibilities go on.

And as we Poles say,


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • German Red Cabbage: A Family Tradition — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares her favorite dish and a part of her family's history.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipes for Meal Planning — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares a new recipe that is in her family's meal-planning rotation. Check out how she uses a rotisserie chicken to get through the week.
  • Grandma Wicken's Sugar Cookies — Jana Falls at Jananas talks about how special her Grandma's sugar cookies made her feel.
  • Recipe: Seed and Bean Burgers — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings shares one of her favourite frugal recipes that is also super-healthy and totally delicious.
  • PULLING Dinner Together For the Kids – Crockpot Pulled Pork — Lisa at The Squishable Baby PULLS dinner together for the kids.
  • The Best Banana Muffin Recipe (Gluten Free & Vegan) — Dionna of Code Name: Mama's adventures in gluten free baking have not been 100% successful. But today she is guest posting at Fine and Fair to share a banana muffin recipe that will knock your socks off!
  • The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies! — Bianca at The Pierogie Mama shares her family's recipe for strawberry pierogies…a sweet, summery version of the Polish dumplings that she affectionately named her daughter after.
  • Mom's Cookbook — Tree at Mom Grooves digs into the big book her mom created for her six daughters and shares a favorite family recipe.
  • Crispy Duck Confit — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes the liberty of starting a family recipe tradition with this super simple, totally delicious crispy duck confit.
  • Stovetop BBQ Chicken — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares a yummy BBQ chicken recipe that you can make on the stovetop in less than 25 minutes, fridge to table!
  • Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Casserole w/Bacon — Martine at Whey Beyond the Naked Truth shares a naked food twist on an old family favorite!
  • Strawberry Panna Cotta — KerryAnn at CookingTF.com shows you her favorite dessert, a quick and easy Strawberry Panna Cotta that she enjoys so much, she had it instead of a birthday cake this year.
  • Special crepes for a special day — Mikko at Hobo Mama is learning to cook his grandma's signature holiday meal alongside his dad.
  • Three Favorite Family Recipes: To Eat, To Wash, To Play — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings is back with three family favorites: gluten-free vanilla orange sugar cookies, DIY powdered laundry detergent, and something fun for the kids: homemade "Flubber"!
  • Black Bean Soup Forever — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a soup recipe that's been around forever.
  • Do you want to know a secret? — SRB at Little Chicken Nuggets lets go of her mac and cheese recipe, a comfort food favourite for friends and family for years.
  • Creating Our Own Family Recipes — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM shares how she's trying to create meals that her girls will want to pass down to their own children some day.
  • Vranameer Chicken: A Family Recipe — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares a recipe that reminds her of childhood and more specifically, of her mother. It's a South African take on sweet and sour chicken and what it lacks in healthy it makes up for in tantalising to the taste buds.
  • One Recipe, Three Uses: Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Dish Soap, and Hand Soap — If you love saving money and time, you'll love this green recipe from Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network.
  • Our Family's Favorite Pies — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares recipes and tutorials for the quintessential American dessert.
  • Deliciously Easy Crock Pot ChiliLactating Girl shares her crock pot chili that is not only quick and easy, but awesome.
  • All-Purpose Crock Pot PorkCrunchy Con Mommy's simple "recipe" for cooking perfect pork in the crock pot is for whatever mood her family is in!
  • Family Rules: A Recipe for Harmony — Cooped-up kids + winter weather + frazzled parents can all blend together into a recipe for disaster. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares what brought back the peace in her house.
  • Favorite Healthy Family Recipes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s healthy eating experiences along with links to free printable vegetarian recipes that her family has created with love.
  • Grandma's Banana Bread — Megan at The Boho Mama has early and fond memories of her grandma's banana bread. It's love in a loaf!
  • Family Comfort Food — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares a recipe handed down that moms have made for their kids, for regular meals as well as to comfort.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Woolzies Dryer Balls Review and Giveaway!

While on the path to a chemical-free and more natural home, the first place I started was with my laundry. It was sort of a given because with cloth diapering one begins to have an obsession appreciation of washing clothes. After all, you're washing poop - you want to be sure that your diapers are clean and that they don't leave a residue that will spread to your clothes and muck up your washer.

All things aside, cloth diapering is super easy and the fear of poop getting on your clothes is the last thing you really should be worried about. What you really should be worried about are the products found in most laundry rooms that are harmful and downright unnecessary.

But the purpose of today's blog post isn't to talk to you about your wash routine (you can read my post about the benefits of going "green" with your laundry detergent here), today I'm talking to you about your drying routine!

Seriously, 2 years ago I would have laughed all the way to the loony bin if I knew I would spend any of my free time writing about washing and drying clothes.

Do you want to learn a little secret on how to save money by way of your dryer? Did you know that wool dryer balls will cut down your drying time up to 25% and completely eliminate the need for fabric softener (which saves money and actually helps your laundry get cleaner)?  Well it's certainly true!

But why go with wool dryer balls? Why not use those spiky plastic dryer balls you can buy at the grocery store? Because those are usually not PVC free and honestly, break apart a few months and you have go to out and buy more. In the past I've made my own wool dryer balls, with some success, but they've mostly unraveled.

After trying out Woolzies Dryer Balls, I'm pretty much in love. They are perfectly felted (and not
wound by a strand, so they will never fall apart!) and are made of 100% New Zealand wool. Ever since kicking fabric softener a small part of me has missed some scent with my clean laundry so I even added a few drops of lavender oil to each ball and now my laundry smells SO heavenly.

Wool dryer balls work their magic by physically bouncing around and separating your laundry as the dryer is running. This helps air circulate more efficiently. They act as a softener because they are punching and karate chopping your clothes as they dry. 

Some other awesome facts about wool dryer balls:
  • Woolzies dryer balls last for 1,000 loads! At my house, my washer and dryer are typically running every day (between laundry and cloth diapers). That means mine will last me almost 3 years.  How much would you save if you didn't have to buy fabric softener for 3 years? 
  • As I mentioned before, they cut down drying time up to 25%  (another way of saving moolah).
  • Don't worry if you have wool allergies! The wool isn't directly touching your skin, instead is just bouncing around in your dryer.
  • Using wool dryer balls instead of fabric softener helps your laundry get cleaner. Fabric softener coats the fibers in your laundry (that's why it feels soft yet almost waxy) and it's really hard for a standard wash cycle to fully remove this buildup, especially in towels. So have you ever noticed that after a while your towels smell funky even though you'd only used them once? Because just like what happens to cloth diapers sometimes, your towels are experiencing build up and the fabric softener is actually preventing the laundry detergent from stripping away the residue of the softener and other ickies in your towel.  
    • A quick way to fix that though is to wash your towels in super hot water with add a cup of vinegar and allow it to soak for an hour or so before finishing out the load. Then they'll be as good as new!
So are you ready to save some cash and start your journey to a more natural laundry routine? Woolzies has graciously provided a set of 6 wool dryer balls for a Pierogie Mama reader to win! Take a look at the Rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway is over - thanks to all for entering! 
Keep an eye out for more Pierogie Mama Giveaways.

Disclaimer: I was provided product to facilitate this review, 
however all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Walks to the mailbox

Although Penny has been walking since she was about 10 1/2 months old, only recently have I been giving her the freedom to walk outside. Now that most days really feel like Spring, we make it a daily ritual to walk to the mailbox together.

It's so funny how living life through your child's eyes puts things into perspective. The simple act of just walking outside. Penny's gone through life always in someone's arms (outside), and suddenly one day - mama sets her down and encourages her to follow. The look of shock on her face was priceless. And the more I thought about it.. it was a big milestone for me too. After all, this entire lifetime that Penny and I will share together will be of me letting her go further and further away from me. It brings joy, pride and a twinge sadness to a mama's heart. Just a while ago she rested underneath my heart and now we're walking to the mailbox together.

And then there's the little things that she reminds me to do..

Monday, April 1, 2013

Had to brag.. 13 months

Probably my favorite photo of my little girl to date.

In the last month...
  • Signing "milk" "more" and "all done" is more consistent - next is "please" and "thank you"
  • She has learned how to walk with her sneakers outside and walks with me to the mailbox everyday (and picks up her favorite rocks along the way)
  • Has developed a love for olives (thanks Auntie!), strawberries for breakfast, hummus any time of the day, and bananas are making a strong comeback
  • Her bottom lateral incisors snuck in very quickly and quietly (thank you amber necklace!)
  • Grass is prickly and not too easy to walk on


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...