Monday, September 30, 2013

September Foodie Pen Pals!!

So this month, for the first time ever, I participated in the Foodie Pen Pal program created by Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean. My Pen Pal was Daniela, and I got the nicest box of tea time goodies from her! But before I start telling you about all the tasty treats she sent me, let me first describe the program for you, in case you're interested in joining! (And you should - it's so fun!)

Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:
-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
***If you’re in Europe, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!

So what did I get from my wonderful Foodie Pen Pal Daniela? All the makings of a perfect tea time - which is wonderful, since I am trying to get over a cold that just won't quit. I got some super tasty looking Key Lime Cookie Straws, some organic hard candies in the Iced Mint Mango flavor (can we say Yum? Perfect throat lozenges), Ginger Peach tea - also great for a very sore throat, I'm sure  - and some Dulce de Leche, as well as the required written element. What an amazing box of goodies!! I am definitely going to have some of the tea tonight, because this sore throat is a killer and I really think the Ginger Peach will help. I'm saving the Key Lime cookies until tomorrow after work, for my de-stress time, and I want to buy some vanilla ice cream so I can have a dulce de leche topping... Yum yum yum!!!!

This is such a great idea for people who want to expand their friend and food horizons. I had so much fun with this, and cannot wait until next month to do it again!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Crazy Month of August

First of all, I can't believe that August is over. How did that happen? Here's a quick overview of what happened last month:

My sweet baby started walking!
My sweet baby turned one!
I got a part-time (but this week I'm working almost 40 hours... so yea, "part-time") job at a gluten free, nut free, mostly dairy and soy free bakery.
I realized that I have absolutely incredible friends who are willing to watch my little rascal for me while I work, and not always with the most advanced notice.
I joined Foodie PenPals!

And now to elaborate...

Little man started walking about two weeks before his first birthday. He did a lot of the super adorable take a step and then fall on your bum type walking, and then got the hang of it and took off. He's non-stop now, and the cats aren't sure they like his newfound mobility - unless he finds a toy of theirs, and then it's just joy all around.

And then my little dude turned one! We had an ADORABLE safari themed bash, with lots of friends and family and wonderful presents. You can tell most of my friends are teachers - the gifts were heavy on the blocks, books, crayons, creative theme, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Yay for inspiring creative thinking in the youngsters! He wasn't super into his cupcake, but this is a child that almost never gets anything with sugar in it, so I think he was just really confused as to what he was supposed to DO with it. He liked the frosting (that's usually my favorite part) :-)

My part time job is pretty cool. It's very different than what I usually do, since my degree and almost all of my experience is in Special Education or Early Childhood Education, but it's a nice change. Heavy on the customer relations, and for the  most part the customers are great people who are interested in establishing a relationship with the people who are feeding them. I work with cool people, which is always a plus! Of course, the constant need to find a babysitter is a little draining (like today, when I actually had to call out of work because I Could.Not.Find.A.Sitter. Could not.)

And, I joined Foodie PenPals! It's a very cool idea started by Lindsay over at . Basically, you email Lindsay before the 5th of a given month, and she adds your name to her master list. Then on the 5th of the month she sends out the list of who is paired with who, you email your penpal and get all of their dietary information plus their address, and then you shop! There is a $15 limit on food, you ship it, and at the end of the month you blog about what you got! How cool is that?! I really love this idea, not only because it puts you in contact with new people, but also because it is a chance to try new food that maybe you wouldn't have tried otherwise. Always cool!

I promise I will try to be better about posting, which is another reason I decided to join the Foodie PenPal program. If I know I HAVE to blog about something, then I will remember to do it more often. Maybe I should find all sorts of link-ups for this very reason!!

I hope everyone is having a good back to school experience. This is the first year in a long time that I have had to do no back to school prep of any kind - since I worked in a school for 3 1/2 years after I graduated college AND taught Sunday School, I was pretty much a back to school junkie. I miss it, a LOT, but I also know that sooner than I want to believe, little man will be heading off to preschool and I'll be thinking, "Geeze, didn't he just learn to walk? Why is he so grown up?!"

So - enjoy your weekend, spend some time playing with your kids, read a good book, enjoy nature, and I will be back here soon!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Babys Birthday

My son's first birthday is on Wednesday.

Wait, what? That can't be right. I can't possibly have a one year old....

But it's true. This time last year I was still pregnant. Still pregnant and terrified of what the future would hold since I was single, had just moved back in with my mother, and was not at all sure that I would be able to return to work when my maternity leave was up.

I can remember everything about the day my son was born. I went to bed around 10pm on Monday night (late for me, haha) and woke up around 2am with some serious back pain. I thought it was from the weird position I was in, since one of my cats had claimed the bed for himself and I was trying to sleep around him, so I readjusted and tried to go back to sleep. But the back pain was not getting any better, so just for fun I went to one of the baby sites I had been reading and starting timing waves (which I finally realized were contractions). According to the site, I should have headed in to the hospital then - they were 4-5 minutes apart but only lasting about 30 seconds. I called my doctors office - they have a 24 hotline for the OB/GYN department, which I think is brilliant - and the nurse on duty said if they were only 30 seconds long I could wait a little while. So I went back to bed with a heating pad on my back - this was around 4am.

*Let me just say as a side note: My mom was supposed to work on Tuesday, but her car had died the night before. So she was home, with no working vehicle. And I was in active labor. Yup.

When I got up the next morning around 7:30 or 8, I was still having back pain. So I went and told my mom that it was a good thing she was home, since I was pretty sure I was in labor. She panicked, and said she had to take a shower - I assured her that I wasn't having the baby RIGHT THEN, so showering was fine. While she showered, I texted my aunt who lives one town over and asked her what she was up to that day. She said not much, so I asked her how she felt about giving us a ride to the hospital. Her response: "I'm on my way!"

Being a Type-A person, my bags were already packed with everything I would need to get through labor and my stay in the hospital. So there I was, waiting around for my aunt, when suddenly I got really nauseous. I got sick, and remembered thinking, "I don't think I can go through this without pain meds" (my birth plan was to go all natural - no meds, very little intervention). After the fact I realized that this was probably transition, but at the time I was just nervous.

My aunt showed up and off we went to the hospital - after calling my doctor's office, who told me to come into their office to get checked; while that conversation was happening I was busy getting sick in the back of my aunt's car. She made the decision to go straight to the hospital, which in hindsight was a good decision!

We got to the hospital, and apparently I didn't look too distressed because the admitting nurses asked if I would mind sitting in the waiting room. I didn't mind, so we waited. Then they asked if I would be okay to fill out some paper work. Sure! I was finally led into one of the rooms to get checked out, but since I wasn't complaining - we were all, in fact, joking around with the nurses - there was no hurry. Until the nurse checked me and said I was 8cm. What?! Yup, we're having a baby!

So off we went to Labor & Delivery where I had a FANTASTIC nurse, and found out that my midwife just happened to be on duty at the hospital that day. They got me settled in the nice Jacuzzi tub, and I labored there for about an hour, maybe 90 minutes. I finally asked to be checked, because I knew I was ready. And sure enough I was just about 10cm; my midwife said that once she broke my water I could start pushing. So she did, and three pushes later (no joke, the first time I pushed I brought him all the way down. One more to deliver the head, the next to deliver my munchkin) my sweet boy was born at 12:57pm! 8lbs 2 oz, 20 inches long - and roughly 2 hours after I got to the hospital.

Unfortunately, because there had been meconium in the water, he was not immediately put on my chest. Instead they took him across the room to get checked out - he was fine, and angry about the whole situation! But they wrapped him up and brought him over, and he nursed right away. The hospital I delivered at believes in Mommy-Baby bonding, so he spent his nights in my room (which really means he spent his first nights in my bed with me - and so began our Attachment Parenting journey, though I didn't know it at the time!)

I can't believe that was a year ago. My itty-bitty baby has gone from a little snuggly bundle to a big, smart, curious, rambunctious, silly little boy - who still loves snuggling with his Momma. I don't regret being a single parent. He was not a planned baby, but the only option for me when I found out I was pregnant was to have him and love him. And love him I do! My regret is that he is going to grow up without a father figure... But even that regret is usually short lived, when I do have it, because I have been blessed with a supportive family who adores my little man. So instead of a father, he has two uncles and a Grampa that he has wrapped completely around his little finger. And I don't think that is a bad thing :)

What a journey, from birth...
 To my itty-bitty Christmas love...
 To a silly boy (who grossed his Momma out by picking up a worm and then laughing about it)...
 To my smart little man!
Happy (early) birthday, Matthew. Mommy loves you more than you could ever know :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nice to Meet You!

Hello! How are you doing today? Enjoying the first day of August, the last rush before back to school and the end of yet another summer vacation? I hope so!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Jessica, and I am a single, stay at home (for the moment) mom of a wonderful soon-to-be one year old named Matthew. My background is in Special Education and Psychology, and that is truly where my passions lie. But basically I am a sucker for kids of all ages, especially the little ones - and now that I have a little monkey of my own, my artsy-craftsy teacher self has fully emerged. My poor son is going to go to preschool with a "been there done that" attitude that I am sure is going to bother his teachers down the line! And while being a single, stay at home mom doesn't lend itself to extravagant spending, we do eat healthy - enough so that one of Matthew's favorite lunchtime meals is toasted whole wheat bread smeared with hummus and topped with a slice of cheese. Yup, I'm turning him into "that kid". You know, "that kid" at school who doesn't eat white bread, candy or soda and actually plays outdoors instead of on a computer or gadget. Don't let your kids pick on him, 'kay? Haha, okay, thanks!

So what is the point of this blog? I wanted a place where I can vent about the difficulties of raising a very smart, strong willed, independent little boy all by myself. But I also wanted a place where I can share my ideas - crafts, recipes, activities - with like-minded people. And let's be honest, sometimes I just want to talk to other grown ups!

So that's that. I hope you keep coming back, because I know this journey is going to be a blast!
Until then, please take a look at a jewelry site I manage: Le Beau Papillon I have reasonable prices, trendy styles, and a constantly changing catalog of pieces for me to pick from. So if there are items you really like, or ones you don't, just give me a heads up and I will tailor the site to you, my buying audience! Thanks so much :-D