Food for Thought Friday: Oh My, Martha!

Last night I made this fabulous pasta from Martha Stewart. Oh my, Martha, you really are amazing. This pasta is so easy and so good.

Martha Stewart One-Pan Pasta Prep Time: 15 min, Total Time: 20 min
photography: marcus nilsson

Of course, I can never make a recipe exactly the way it’s written. I didn’t have linguine so I used Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Spaghetti instead and added 1/2 a cup of water in case the whole wheat pasta needed more liquid. I also added a four ounce zucchini (quartered lengthwise then sliced). And I used my amazing Pampered Chef slap chopper to chop up the onions, garlic and tomato. I only had eight ounces of cherry tomatoes so I used half of a very large tomato to make up the difference. Once I had it all cooking I worried that maybe with the addition of the zucchini and extra water I would have to overcook the pasta too much in order to cook down the liquid enough. But, it was perfect.

Perfect but spicy! A bit spicy for all of us (Except Ezra who didn’t taste it as he is currently off pasta, because, of course the gods of food have determined that my kids will never like the other’s favorite food). But even with the heat Junah ate her helping, telling us, “If you see me doing this with my mouth and then drinking my water it is because the pasta is so spicy.” Next time I’ll forgo the red pepper flakes and I’m sure we’ll love it all the more. Unless, what I used weren’t red pepper flakes at all…I used Trader Joe’s Red Chili Pepper, which is all I had and sure look like the pepper flakes people put on pizza. Obviously I’m not one of those people…so maybe I got that wrong? All I know is that if my gluten-free, pepper-flake loving sister had stayed for dinner…she would have loved it too!

Summertime Blues

Today was a busy day, one of those days when the kids just exploded after Junah got out of school. Fighting. Hugging. Crying. Kissing. Playing. Screaming. Needing.

They needed snacks, they needed glue and scissors, they needed their shoes off, or back on, or to go outside or to find this baby doll or that one or the clothes on said baby doll to be changed. The extra hands I wish I had never materialized, so I tried to accommodate while cleaning up the kitchen just enough to get dinner started.

And it just didn’t stop all evening, until finally, an hour after bedtime should have been, they are now mostly horizontal and mostly quiet. And I find myself missing this past summer, which seemed to go by so fast. I’m missing the long days of chaos and play and need that the three of us had together.

Both kids had swim lessons five days a week for eight weeks (one of which we missed due to illness) and loved them.

Swim lessons

We found the sweetest puppy ever at the pound, and the kids now have Pepper Jane Sunset Rainbow to play with and, their favorite thing, to carry around in the ergo.

Dog in ergo

Dog in ergo

But sweetest and best of all, these kiddos had each other, and I got to witness it.

Kids playing dress up
Kids hugging
Kids kissing
Kids

Bento Box Fail

Yesterday I received my new bento boxes, which I selected for their price. I was a little disappointed that the pieces didn’t seem to fit together very well, so I only opened one thinking I could send one back if I didn’t like the way it worked out. Good thing.

Junah's lunch in pink bento box

The bottom section contained a lollipop stick of olives topped by flower carrots (using my new vegetable cutters* which I really like) a muffin cup of bread and butter circles and an empty muffin cup for the strawberry gelatin I had made but which wasn’t yet set). The top container held three fruit sticks and a few nectarine flowers.

The top stacks on the bottom but not very securely and then a final lid piece slips over the whole thing. Loosely. And I don’t own a bento band (and wasn’t really aware of the necessity of one before). I crossed my fingers and used a double wrapped headband.

Bento with band

I knew it was unlikely that Junah would reband it, but I thought there would be very little left to pack back up. Unfortunately, my gelatin didn’t fully set, and the muffin cup spilled making everything in the bottom container “wet” according to Junah. She ate the fruit sticks and salvaged what gelatin she could, but left everything else. So after school I picked up one hungry girl and one messy lunchbox.

image

You can’t tell very much in the picture, but the entire interior of her lunch box and everything inside of it is coated in a layer of sticky, slightly-set gelatin. Fingers crossed for better luck next time!

* Disclosure

A New School Year and A New Craft

School has started and I have a first grader! The all day school schedule is a shock to my system; I miss my girl now that she doesn’t get out until 2:45. But she is loving school, so that eases the pain.

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Junah and Ezra on Junah’s first day of first grade

I had quite a bit of anxiety in the weeks leading up to the first day of school. Food caused a large part of it. Last year for kindergarten Junah only needed to take a snack to school, this year she needs snack and lunch. What to pack for my picky, dye and preservative free, peanut butter hating daughter?

We tried pasta the first week, but after three days she was tired of it and said it was cold by lunch time (we tried two different thermos containers). I couldn’t really blame her; I would have gotten tired of pasta after day two.

I’d admired bento box lunches on Pinterest before, but thought they seemed like too much work. I happened to stumble across a picture of a simple one that was packed in a lunchblox container*. Since I already owned a few lunchblox kits I thought I would give it a try.

And, now I’m a little obsessed. I spent a ridiculously long time making lunches last night (Ezra goes to preschool Tuesdays and Thursdays so I had two to make).

Junah's lunch
That’s Junah’s lunch. The divider on the left is actually from the lunchblox salad kit * (which, I admit, I bought two of simply for that divider). Carrot sticks (in a silicon muffin cup), Late July Classic Rich Crackers with jack cheese hearts and flowers (using my Pampered Chef fruit and cheese cutter), sliced strawberries in a silicon mini muffin cup, an apple/grape car (cake pop sticks as axles…next time I want to try carrot sticks) and a bread and butter sandwich (stamped with the Pampered Chef cutter).

Ezra's lunch
Ezra got jack cheese (cutoffs from Junah’s cheese, in a mini muffin cup) with Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Pretzel Sticks, apple slices and an apple/grape car, mini pb&j sandwiches (in a muffin cup, cut from a half sandwich using the Pampered Chef cutter again), and ham rolls (I cut the ham slices in thirds before rolling them and tucking them into another muffin cup).

When I said before that it took me a ridiculously long time to make these, I was not planning on admitting just how long.  An hour and a half. It’s my new crafty thing to do; I can’t wait until the kids go to bed so I can make lunch!  I decided to make something new and ended up wasting a few slices of ham and a tortilla trying to make cute tortilla rolls for Ezra. Once I got them done and rolled up I saw how perfectly round and chokeable they were (we’ve been traumatized with a few choking incidents with Ezra recently–one which actually required the heimlich–thank you again to Aunt Jesse for saving my boy’s life!) and tossed them. I did plenty of snacking…cutoffs from Ezra’s sandwich, extra apple slices, nuts I put in a muffin cup but didn’t use, an extra strawberry and a carrot I didn’t like the way I cut up. I’ve decided that I should start packing an “extras” lunch to save for myself.

And now I’m waiting for the postman to drop off my Amazon order of actual bento boxes, veggie cutters and mini dippers.  How long will my lunch creating take tonight?

* Disclosure

Extended Breastfeeding Creates “An Unhealthy Relationship” Between Mother and Child, Really?

You know when you’re watching a scary movie and you cover your eyes, but then peek through your fingers?  That’s how I’m feeling about this whole “extended breastfeeding” controversy (I’ve already posted my opinion about the Time Magazine cover).  I don’t want to look, but I just can’t help myself.

The worst thing to read are the comment sections on websites.  I love the NPR show On Point with Tom Ashbrook, and mistakenly thought the comment section there might be a little less inflammatory than some others I’ve read.  But here is a comment in reply to woman who posted about her experience with extended breastfeeding:

I’m sorry, but most mother’s children, like yours, are destined to be burger flippers and ditch diggers.  Not many can receive a scholarship from a top 5 University like I did and earn the money I can and do.  Breastfeeding after the age of 2 is ludicrous and insures that your raising losers and children who will not be independent. This is MUCH more about you than it is about them. I see no mention of their father(s) anywhere. How curious. Lol.

Ridiculous, right?  But the claims this commenter is making about independence and the idea that extended breastfeeding is evidence of the mother’s own needs are actually similar to the claims made by a pediatrician on the show.

Dr. Kelly Ross (Director of Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Medical Director at MOST (Mothers of Supertwins), Pediatrician, Pediatric Hospitalist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine) says in the program:

Everybody says one-hundred-percent breastfeeding until one year of age is best for mom and baby.  There is nobody that argues that fact.  Some people say up until age two is best, especially in areas of the world where there is not a safe water supply, there is not a safe food supply[…] I think where many of us have an issue, and many child psychologists have an issue is, once they get to the age, you know, three, four, five, six, somewhere along that line, at what point is it no longer a healthy relationship, but an unhealthy relationship between the mom and the child.  And so, you know, if you look at healthy development in a child, what they’re supposed to do as they become more mobile is, mom is close and they venture further away and they go away and they come back, they go away and they come back, if they are never allowed to go away, if mom never leaves them, she’s breastfeeding them until age six, then they don’t learn that gradual transition away from the mom.

Seriously?  My jaw dropped when I heard this.

I’m guessing that Dr. Ross knows that the current AAP breastfeeding guidlines state, “Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.”

Let’s look at Dr. Ross’ claim a little more closely.

She seems to be asserting that extended breastfeeding can create a situation in which the child is “never allowed to go away” and subsequently doesn’t “learn that gradual transition away from the mom” that is key to “healthy development in a child.”  This then creates “an unhealthy relationship between the mom and the child.”  Right?  That is what she is claiming.

So much is wrong with this, I don’t even know where is best to begin!

Underlying this claim seems to be the idea that breastfeeding a six year old is like breastfeeding a newborn.  Just because you breastfeed your six year old doesn’t mean you need to be with them twenty-four hours a day, which again, seems to be a misconception Dr. Ross has.

I agree with Dr. Ross when she states that for “healthy development in a child, what they’re supposed to do as they become more mobile is, mom is close and they venture further away and they go away and they come back, they go away and they come back.”  But she then seems to make a leap to the idea that extended breastfeeding inhibits this development.  In my experience, extended breastfeeding fits right into this developmental change.  Children go away, and come back, occasionally coming back to nurse.  But, I know, my experience is anecdotal, so instead I offer this quote from an article entitled “Parental Concerns About Extended Breastfeeding in a Toddler,” from Pediatrics the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics:

I suspect that 1 major source for concern among many professionals and parents about extended breastfeeding is that it challenges our ideas about the importance of “autonomy,” an important developmental task in the 2nd and 3rd year of life. However, autonomy has many facets and forms during the toddler years. [...] Extended nursing should not be seen as a hindrance to developmental progress.

In fact, the article recognizes how the extended breastfeeding can enhance the child’s normal developmental process.

For many mothers and toddlers, the major advantage of extended breastfeeding may be found in their emotional well-being. A toddler is often competing for his or her  other’s attention in a very busy and harried life. A mother in my practice who breastfed 2 children until 2 years of age explained that she would slow down and give her  undivided attention to her child several times each day when breastfeeding. Her children knew that she always had time for those moments each day. This time was also  important to the mother for relaxing and unwinding.

I could go on, and on, but unfortunately I have to go pick up my two independent children (one from Grandpa’s house, one from preschool), both of whom nursed well into the second year.  I’ll close with this, also from the article mentioned above:

Surveys among physicians have documented that obstacles to the continuation of breastfeeding include physician apathy and misinformation.

My Problem with Time Magazine’s “Are You Mom Enough?” Cover Photo

I have a problem with the cover photo for the current issue of Time magazine.  But my problem isn’t with the mother nursing her three-year old.  My problem is with the child’s pants.

time magazine nursing cover

I detest camouflage.  I don’t understand dressing your child in clothing originally created to disguise a person for the purposes of killing.  If my kids ever want to own or wear camouflage clothing I’ll tell them to talk to their grandfather, my dad, about wearing camouflage.  He wore enough of it in Vietnam for our entire family.

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