Tuesday, July 30, 2013

If you were born in 1986, these books were likely read to you.

What is your favorite memory of elementary school? Mine was reading time, either read to us by our teacher or librarian. Here's a list of books that were my books that were read to me - I'm sure there's a few you can recognize too!

Buford the Little Bighorn (Bill Peet)
c/o Bill Peet website
is about a bighorn sheep who's horns are waaay too big for him but finds an amazing way to use them.. Sort of a spin on the ugly duckling story. A fun fact that I learned - Bill Peet worked at Disney for 27 years and was a part of Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians and Peter Pan! He was my number one favorite children's author, with other books such as Eli (where you can really see his Disney artistic skills shine through), The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock, and Merle the High Flying Squirrel.

c/o Laura Numeroff
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (by Laura Numeroff) starts out with a little mouse who comes to visit, and he simply asks for a cookie. But you can't have a cookie without milk.. which begins an avalanche of silly requests!

And you can't talk about books that lead to crazy avalanches of ridiculous events without thinking about There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Sims Taback) and of course, The Cat in the Hat (Dr. Seuss).

Then there were the two books that changed the way I saw the classic fairy tales - The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (both by Lane Smith).

Finally, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judy Barrett. And as you know, they recently remade this into a movie too! Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Single-Disc Edition)

Are we elementary school cohorts from the 1990's? What are the books you remember? 
Will you share them with your children?

Disclosure: The Pierogie Mama is a participant in the Amazon Affiliates program. 
Clicking on the above links helps support the writing on this blog!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Well I'll be damned.

This is the story of how I seriously under estimated my dog and pointed fingers at children.

A few weeks ago, on a really hot afternoon, Squirt started barking hysterically. It's not uncommon for him to bark, he barks at things worth barking at. People entering the house (as annoying and embarrassing as it is, I'm able to sleep very well at night knowing he will do the same if anyone were to break in), other dogs passing by, even little girls crossing the street in front of our house. But this afternoon his tone reached a level that I hadn't heard before, which made my look out the window to make sure he was ok.

Behind our backyard runs an alley that about 15 houses share. Kids have been riding their bikes, skateboards etc up and down all summer and he has more or less learned to accept this and doesn't worry himself over it too much anymore. That day there was a boy who was running up and down the alley, barking at Squirt and basically taunting him. I watched this for a couple minutes, and after a couple passes the boy left. I chalked it up as harmless boy antics and went on doing whatever I was doing.

A few minutes later, the barking starts again. The boy was back with a friend. They both ran up and down behind our fence, barking and just being little jerks. I let this happen for a couple minutes, then quietly slipped out our backdoor and opened up the back gate - to the boys' horror of being caught.

I pulled out my serious mama voice, told them to cut it out and that taunting animals is cruel. The original boy very quickly sold out his friend, pointing at him and saying that it was all him. Isn't it somewhat funny and tragic how quickly kids will do that? I called the kid out on it, telling him not to rat out his friends and lie about it. I said that if I caught them doing it again, their parents would be getting a visit from me. I have no idea who these kids belong to, but they don't need to know that! ;)

That weekend we drove up north to visit my brother in law and sister in law. We were only going to be gone for the day so we left the dogs in the backyard, as we have done several times in the past. Tons of water, food and adequate shade. About half way through the day, my husband gets a call from an unknown number from a kind lady saying that Romeo (our 13 year old dog) had wandered into their garage and made himself comfortable. We asked if she saw Squirt, but she hadn't. So this meant me having to leave my BIL's to come home (about a 80 minute drive) to get the dogs back inside. Luckily we had a spare car at my BIL's, so Adam was able to continue working on the project he had started there and he planned to come home later that evening when he was done.

My initial thought was those boys exacting their revenge. Neither of the dogs dig and there aren't any loose fence boards. As I pulled into our alley, there was Squirt waiting for me. The gate was wide open, which proved to me that there was mischief afoot. I got him into the backyard and visited the neighbor who had found Romeo. She was so nice and accommodating.. She even let him into the house and gave him a blanket to lay on in there.

A few days later Adam, Penny and I took a family walk around the neighborhood. We opted to leave the dogs - again making sure the gate was securely latched and no loose boards, etc. We were gone for 20 minutes - and upon our return, found Squirt and Romeo cavorting around our front yard. >.<

That was the last straw! I was sure it was those boys, probably living close enough to see when we leave the house and letting the dogs out. I wasn't mean when I talked to them that day, but I used my adult voice to let them know I was serious. So Adam put a lock on the gate, and for the last couple weeks there hasn't been an incident. The war had been won! I imagined the look on those boys' faces when they realized their fun was over.

Then yesterday, Adam took Penny for a walk in the afternoon while I stayed around the house. Squirt was in the backyard and unhappy to have been left behind. He didn't realize that I was at home, and I kept it that way to kind of see what he does while we're gone. He ran around the backyard for a few minutes and I grew bored and did some chores. A few minutes later I heard a really odd noise - so I peeked out of a window.

You know how a lot of gates have a string pushed through so that you can open the latch from the inside? Imagine my unbelieving eyes when I saw that Squirt was furiously pulling on that string and pawing at the gate. He's an Australian Shepherd - notoriously smart dogs. But this was beyond intelligence. This dog is brilliant.

It was Squirt all along. The damn dog figured out how to open the gate.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Our Nightweaning Journey

Just after Penny's 16th month milestone, I decided it was time to nightwean, which is also a stepping stone to the end of our bed sharing journey. This decision came from many places, the least of all being the quality of my personal sleep. I completely believe that night nursing and bed sharing has given Penny and I more sleep than if I had tried to make her last through the night earlier or if we had moved her out of our bed.

The problem was that she's a little wiggleworm. And she was starting to all out yell at night when she wanted to nurse. It went from gentle stirring and maybe a squeak to wake me up to an instant demand for attention. It was wearing on both Adam and I, him more so as he needs to get up to go to work in the morning. So the decision was made that with our impending move (in hopefully a month), she would be transitioning into her own room at the new house.

Penny normally nursed 3-5 times during the night, most often between the hours of 1 and 5a. When others ask me about Penny's sleep habits and if she "sleeps through the night," I have such a hard time responding. Yes, she does sleep well. I don't have to fully wake up to lull her back to sleep and I feel like she is a "happy sleeper" most of the time. She doesn't get up to party and never has confused night time versus day time. It's overall been a great experience, except with the recent wiggling / night yelling that she has started doing over the last almost 2 months.

I decided that the natural first step to transitioning her into her own space at night was to night wean. My hope is to slowly build her night time independence by giving her less of a reason to wake up. I plan to continue to nurse her throughout the day, as she requests, and will nurse at bed time. Some nights she passes out while nursing, other nights she's still a little awake and I've had success in laying her down in the pack n play that is in our bedroom. She normally naps in it and for the last 3 months or so she begins the night there too. Usually around 1 or so she would wake up and cry to be brought into the bed, and we'd oblige.

When I started night weaning, as expected the first couple nights were rough. She would awaken during her normal times when she would want to nurse, and I would gently have to tell her that "milk has gone ni-night" and that "Penny needs to go ni-night too." This was met with extreme frustration on her part. I'd rub her back and sing to her and eventually she would settle down and lay her head on my pillow or her own and we'd fall asleep again. It would be a very light sleep for her, and if I moved then she'd awaken and we'd have to start all over. I promised her that as soon as the sun came up, milk would wake up and she can have some.

Nights 3 and 4 got progressively better, with her accepting sooner that milk had gone to sleep and that she should too. I started keeping a sippy with water and a banana on my nightstand so that I can offer either to her if she was really struggling to go to sleep. My biggest fear was that she was truly hungry and I was denying her for too long. Some nights she will take a sip of water, other nights she declines (with a very groggy "thank you" sign, totally melts my heart).

Night 5 though, I feel like we had a true breakthrough. She slept in her pack n play from about 7:30 to close to 5a. She stirred a couple times and I got up and rubbed her back for a second, but she didn't need it. I was so proud of my little one! My fears of her being hungry throughout the night are quelled and I think we all will flourish from this transition.

It's been about 2 weeks of this process and she doesn't ask for milk very often at night anymore. She still comes into our bed between 1-3 and has only slept that one night entirely in the pack n play.

Did you night wean a co-sleeping toddler? How did you do it?

I found this article by Dr. Jay Gordon to be really helpful. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Guest Post Opportunity on The Pierogie Mama

Are you a blogger or just have an itch in your hand to write? 
Want to be featured here on The Pierogie Mama?
I'm looking for some fabulous guest posts in preparation for our upcoming renovation! 

Marionberry Freezer Jam

This summer I've been hitting our local U-pick almost on the weekly.

Our first visit produced 13.5 lbs of fresh strawberries - YUM! I shared how you can easily freeze your picked berries so that they are just like the bagged kind from the freezer aisle :) I love to use these in my smoothies and toss a few in with Penny's morning Cream of Wheat too.

Last week I visited the farm and picked about 3 lbs of marionberries. I have only had marionberry pie before but wanted to see what else I could do with them. I used a few handfuls for a cobbler that I was not terribly impressed with..otherwise I'd share a recipe ;)

Today I'm sharing my first foray into the world of freezer jams!

So here's a great recipe that can easily use marionberries, raspberries and blackberries. You can try strawberries or any other fruit you desire, but the sugar / gelatin content might be different. If I decide to pick more strawberries before the end of my farm's season, I'll try a batch of strawberry and give you an update :)

You will need:
4 cups (1 quart) of mashed marionberries - which starts out at about 2 1/2 pounds of berries
1/4 cup of sugar
1 packet of plain gelatin

You will do:
1. Mash the marionberries. You can use a potato masher, or if you don't have one (like me) just put a ziplock bag over your hand and mash manually. This way you don't have a berry stained hand at the end. One thing to note - marionberries have a internal stem/pit thing (like raspberries and blackberries) so when you mash them you might want to pick out that part. I couldn't imagine it being super tasty finding something that looks like a maggot inside of your jam. Sorry for the image.
2. In a large pot, bring all of the ingredients to a boil together. Allow to boil for about a minute.
3. Place into clean plastic containers. Allow them to set for about 30 minutes on your counter. Transfer to the fridge or freezer after that. Easy peasy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Camping with Cloth Diapers: Guest Post on My Cloth Diaper Stash

I've written a guest post over at My Cloth Diaper Stash 
on my experience with cloth diapering while camping in the great outdoors! 
Check it out and let me know if you've braved this old timey experience. 
What tips would you add?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Cleanest Cloth Diapers with Country Save #summerfluffing

This giveaway was originally published as a part of the Summer Fluffing giveaway hop.

One of the first questions that I get asked by friends who are interested in cloth diapering is about how to wash them. Poop and pee just make people uneasy. I talk to them about how it's not terribly time consuming but does take a little bit of work getting your formula down right. I steer them away from the mainstream detergents (for all of your laundry, not just cloth diapers) and tell them about my favorite household product: Country Save detergent.

Recently I've switched from reserving the 'special detergent' (as I would tell my husband) for cloth diapers and baby clothes to simply using it for all of our laundry. Country Save doesn't add a bunch of extra ingredients (enzymes, brighteners, fragrances) and all you get is the stuff that cleans your clothes, so this box of detergent goes a long way.

Country Save has partnered with me to share the love! One winner will receive a 10 lb box of detergent and a 40 oz package of their Oxygen Bleach. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

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

Disclosure: No compensation was provided, just love this product and want you to love it too! The Pierogie Mama, According to Jenny, So Easy Being Green, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Summer Fluffing participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Giveaway rules: Open to US residents only. Must be 18 years or older. The Pierogie Mama is not responsible for prize fulfillment, though I will advocate with you to make sure you get your prize. This giveaway is not associated in any way with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google. Winners will be contacted via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Peek Back in Time.. Our Kitchen Renovation

As the anticipated closing date on our new home looms (and how tightly crossed my fingers and toes are!!!), my thoughts return to our previous home that we renovated. I haven't shared those pictures with you on this blog yet, so I thought I'd open up my renovation brag book and show off what my husband and I accomplished at our first renovation, affectionately called The TTD (T-ton Tear Down).

80% of that renovation was done by our own hands. The only parts that we contracted out were carpet install (because seriously, $100 to Lowes to install our carpets is a NO BRAINER), granite install, a little bit of exterior paint and electrical work in the kitchen. Everything else from cabinets, hardwood and tile flooring, paint, plumbing, landscaping, dry wall.. you name it.. was all done by us, with the help of friends and family along the way. We didn't have prior experience in a lot of these things, but youtube videos and a healthy relationship with your local hardware store goes a long way :)

I'm going to start off with our kitchen.
That's what we did on Day 1.

Then we started using blue painters tape to map out where our cabinets would be. 
And our peninsula with raised bar.
Then our cabinets arrived and Adam began his install.

Then came paint.

And uppers, which had under cabinet lighting.

And granite with full height backsplash. We were so in love with this color!

And then.. the final product.

Some of my favorite features that we had in the kitchen were a dedicated KitchenAid mixer cabinet (to keep the mixer off the counter but easily accessable)

And a faucet over the cooktop.
Adam made custom corbels for under our raised bar that matched the pulls on our cabinets too.
The kitchen was definitely a labor of love. We spent close to 7 months without a cook top - I cooked every night on a Coleman propane camper style cooktop. Adam spent countless hours under the house reworking plumbing when we moved the sink from an exterior wall to an interior wall. We grew angry and frustrated when we realized that our kitchen designer was taking us for a ride and was not going to come through with his promises and jerked us around. We learned so many valuable lessons as homeowners and a married couple. 

Have you ever thought about doing a renovation, or any upgrades in your existing home? 
How did it go for you?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy Christmas in July! Best Bottoms Cloth Diaper Giveaway

Happy Christmas in July! Actual Christmas is still months away, but, to celebrate Christmas in July, The Parenting Patch, myself and other participating blogs are giving away a Best Bottom Diapers cloth diaper prize pack to one lucky winner.

Heather and Poppy are huge fans of Best Bottom Diapers. Even James prefers Best Bottoms over other cloth diapers. From the double leg gussets to the inserts that snap in, Best Bottom cloth diapers are an all around winner in The Parenting Patch household.

One lucky winner will win a Best Bottom Diapers cloth diaper prize pack. The Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway begins on July 11, 2013 and ends on July 25, 2013.

Sponsored by The Parenting Patch, the Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway consists of one (1) Best Bottom shell in color/print of choice (in stock at Nicki's Diapers), one (1) Stay Dry insert in size of choice, and one (1) microfiber doubler in size of choice. The value of the prize pack is $24.40.

To enter to win, simply use the following Rafflecopter form. The first entry is free. All other entries are optional. But, the more entries you have, the better your chances are to win. Good luck! Happy Christmas in July!

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

The Parenting Patch Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway is restricted to legal residents of the United States of America and Canada. The Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway ends at midnight EST on July 25, 2013. One winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The winner will be sent an email and will have forty-eight hours to respond. If no response is received within forty-eight hours, another winner will be chosen.

I did not receive compensation or product to review for participating in this giveaway.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Creamy Fruit Desserts


Fruit makes a great dessert on its own, but sometimes having an adaptable base for a company dessert lets you give your family or dinner guests a special treat. Use new healthy dairy products and your fanciest old-fashioned dessert mold. Another way to serve this tart-sweet cooler is to layer it with fruit in stemmed glasses or parfait dishes.

For a 6-8-cup mold or 6 parfaits
• 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
• ½ cup cold water
• 1 cup orange juice, apricot nectar or mango nectar *
• ½ cup honey
• 4 cups greek style plain or vanilla yogurt, full-milk, low-fat or fat-free
• 1 tsp. canola or safflower oil
• 4-6 cups mixed summer fruit, cut in small slices or chunks **
• Mint sprigs

Sprinkle the gelatin on the cold water and let it sit for 5 minutes to soften. Heat the fruit juice or nectar and the honey to boiling. Pour it over the softened gelatin, stirring till thoroughly dissolved.  Gently whisk in the yogurt.

Lightly oil your dessert mold and pour in the fruit/yogurt mixture. Cover lightly with a piece of plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 6 hours until firmly set.  Turn out your mold on a 12-16-inch platter or shallow serving dish and top it with the fruit. Cut slices or wedges from the mold or scoop with a broad shallow
spoon. Decorate with mint sprigs.

For individual servings, mix all ingredients except the fruit and mint together and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Spoon ½ cup of the mixture into the bottom of each parfait glass, add a layer of fruit and repeat, ending with a top layer of fruit.  Top each dessert with a mint sprig.

*Instead of orange juice, try some of the pleasures of the Latin or Caribbean section of your grocery store.  You will find apricot nectar and other fruit nectars that enlarge your taste vocabulary. A fruit nectar is very similar in texture to the with-pulp version of orange juice.
**In what we sometimes call “menu-French” a mixture of chopped fruit cut in small pieces is called a “macedoine.”  Peaches, plums and blueberries; pears and strawberries; or nectarines and raspberries all make wonderful macedoines. Cutting fruit pieces small exposes as much flavor as possible and lets you eat all the ingredients in the mixture together—a real summer treat!

Lauren Hill is a contributing author for Hamilton Beach, a kitchen appliance company offering a large selection of blenders, ice cream makers and slow cookers.  Go here to see more summertime recipes.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided in sharing this post, 
but I wouldn't share it with you if I didn't think it was delicious! I can't wait to try it out myself.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Maternity and Nursing wear with Pink Blush + Giveaway!

Mama clothes aren't easy to find, are they?

As the nursing mama to an active toddler, I've got a high list of requirements when it comes to what I wear when I go out. Do I have easy boob access? Am I going to have to worry about said boob(s) making undesired appearances? Am I going to be comfortable and not frumpy? Come on, I know you all can agree!

When I discovered PINK Blush, I gave a wistful sigh as I saw how cute their maternity clothes are. But this womb is flashing a big EMPTY sign so I resigned myself to tucking this gem away for when baby #2 comes around. As I was clicking the 'x,' my eye caught their nursing section. YES!!!

I chose the Pink, White, Navy colorblock maxi dress, because it's a sneaky mama outfit. I say sneaky because it's labeled as a maternity dress but I was very easily able to nurse and my not-yet-mama friends loved it and were totally surprised when I told them it's a maternity/nursing dress. So what better review can I give you than to say "women who don't have to worry about being comfortable with their big ole baby belly or have to worry about their milky boobs popping out wanted this dress of mine."

As you can see, easy nursing access. But also no inappropriate cleavage. The empire waist makes it appropriate for big summer baby bellies, but doesn't make it obvious for non-preggies.

I also like the length. This dress is a size small and I'm 5'5. The hem of the dress grazed the tops of my feet. I personally love longer maxi dresses, but by the end of the day hate how the bottom of the dress is disusting and so far my feet. And the material is so soft and breezy :)

Isn't the color combo fun, too? I don't know how many women dress according to the gender of their baby, but if you are one of those women, this is a good 'gender neutral' dress ;)

And then there's the back. Too many dresses just don't accommodate nursing bra shapes. I love that the back of this dress gives me full coverage - so I was able to wear my Bravado Bliss (pleaaaaaaaaaase excuse the fact that it looks like my bra is bumping out through the material.. it really doesn't look that bad in real life) and not worry about the dress straps shifting or falling down as I wrestle a feisty toddler in my arms.

So have I sold you? Maternity wear that turns into nursing wear that is appropriate mama wear too. PINK Blush has graciously offered {The Pierogie Mama} readers the chance to win a $25 gift certificate to their shop! Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

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

Disclaimer: I received a review product to facilitate this blog post. No other compensation was provided.

Giveaway rules: Open to US residents only. Must be 18 years or older. The Pierogie Mama is not responsible for prize fulfilment, though I will advocate with you to make sure you get your prize. This giveaway is not associated in any way with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google. Those who have won a PINK Blush giveaway in the past 6 months, or have hosted a giveaway in the past 6 months, are not eligible to win a gift card. Winners will be contacted via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4 years on the 4th!

Today, Adam and I celebrate 4 years of marriage. 
We've accomplished so much in a short amount of time, 
I can't wait to see what the next 4 years hold..

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Never miss a {The Pierogie Mama} post, thanks to Blog Lovin'

For those of you who follow via Google Reader, you probably already know that it was discontinued earlier this week.

A great alternative to making sure you get all of your favorite blogs fed into one place is Blog Lovin'. It easily shows you new blog posts, allows you to "like" them for future reference, and will even send you a daily digest email if you want one. 

You should still be able to import your Google Reader blogs to Blog Lovin' easily. If not, you can start from scratch and just use that handy search bar in the top right.

Here's the quick and easy link to follow me directly-

Follow on Bloglovin
Otherwise, I'd still love to keep up with you via my other social media platforms..

I will follow you back if you leave a link in the comments :) 

Wordless Wednesday: Oregon Zoo

We visited the Oregon Zoo over the weekend and it was fun comparing this to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, which we've been to several times this summer.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Monthly Its: Seven 2013

Have you checked out lovely LeLa Studios? Lisu literally has over 50 prints for lunch bags and school accessories! Send your child back to school in September with a one of a kind binder pouch and messenger bag or snag one for yourself so you can be an eco friendly fashionista :) She loves custom orders so if you have something in mind, send her a message.

Have I told you enough times that Buttons Diapers are my favorite diaper covers ever? Penny has been sporting hers all summer - be it as a real diaper or as a swim cover. Either way, it keeps everything in. And her bum looks so cute too :) Amy's sweet Baby I is due this month - so why don't you give her a welcome-baby gift by clicking over onto her site and checking out her affordable diaper system that can get you from birth to potty trained for about $240?

I'm also happy to introduce Misty from Malistah. She makes ah-maze-ing custom journals, cards, invitations and more. When I say ah-maze-ing, please don't take me lightly. Check her out.  For the dog lovers, she makes cards with pugs, poodles, yellow labs - to name a few. I'll be posting a review & giveaway soon, and I am seriously so excited to share how special her journals are. 

So here's what's been coming across my screen lately. Check 'em out, we've got some good reads, tips and recipes.
  • We road trip a lot. A lot. Can I say it one more time? A lot. Short trips, long trips, red trips and blue trips. Road trip snack suggestions are always welcome!
  • This month Penny has truly transitioned from two naps per day to usually one. Refresh yourself with infant and toddler sleep patterns.
  • Summer time is here and Miss Penny runs around bottomless many an afternoon. She's also developed an interest in her potty, and will use it usually each evening as we wind down before bed. Did your child transition out of diapers during the summer? Here's some tips on why it's easier.
  • Warm weather doesn't always inspire me to reach for a cup of tea, but this post has me planning to use up my current stash and switch to loose leaf in the fall.
  • Speaking of Penny pee, Mama pee is important too. Thoughts on why peeing in the shower is a good thing.
  • One time use is sort of the American way, isn't it? One trip to Target proves it all.
  • Strawberry season is over in most parts of the country, but here are 40 yummy recipes, and how I freeze ours for smoothies.
Are you a business owner who wants extra exposure of your brand, 
including ad space, social media exposure and more? 
{The Pierogie Mama} is offering a discount on ad space through September,
so act fast and reserve your spot today. I'd love to work with you!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...