Thursday, March 24, 2011


This lack of sleep thing with Penny is just getting out of hand. In short, I was feeding her around midnight and again around 5 or so. Then she got sick a couple of times, and it eventually went back to her waking and wanting to eat about every two or three hours. Yesterday I kind of reached the breaking point. I felt like I was losing it--I was so exhausted and just feeling pretty depressed. I know a few people who have older kids who still do not sleep through the night so I realize that my situation is not unique. Nevertheless, I am just beat.

Anyway, in a nutshell that's what got us to the point of trying to do some sleep training again. When we did it a couple of months ago, it was a disaster. That little baby is persistent! She would scream--SCREAM--for hours. Literally hours! It didn't really seem to improve as the days went on either, so we kind of gave up. But...we decided it needed to be attempted again, and sooner rather than later. So last night, we set some ground rules that Bill would go in to her (with my gentle prodding to get out of bed because the man can sleep through most anything), at increasing intervals. I would not feed her until 5AM. She actually slept pretty well; for the first time in a number of weeks she slept until about 2:30. Bill went in every few minutes. At one point he came back to bed to inform me that she was actually STANDING in her crib. She has been trying to pull herself up for a couple of weeks, but that was the first time she's been successful. It was as if she were saying, "Fine. If you won't bring me the boobs, I will walk to them!" We got a pretty good chuckle out of that somewhere around 3:15. She finally fell asleep around 4:00. So we were awake for about an hour and a half, but it wasn't as bad as it's been in the past. Rather than screaming, she was just kind of fussing, which is much less anxiety-provoking (or blood-pressure-increasing, or adult-tear-inducing) than constant screaming. She woke around 6:00, and after I fed her she slept until about 7:30.

I am optimistic that tonight will be a sleep-filled night for all of us. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

corned beef modification

Okay, so when I said the corned beef would not be cooked, I did not expect it to be THAT raw. I mean, yeah, I figured it would be rare, but not really raw. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was raw. I mean really, really RAW. Bill is very adventurous, though, and had a sandwich of raw corned beef last night. He said, "It was better with cheese and mustard." Nourishing Traditions promises that with the consumption of raw meet, one will have increased vitality. Bill did indeed have increased vitality today, but I am pretty sure it was a combination of the 70+ temperatures, the beginning of March Madness, and St. Patrick's Day all falling on the same day rather than the raw meat. We decided I should cook it.

And it was great--very tender. I took it to my sister's house for a little party she had, and I expected to bring most of it home. Instead, it was all gone very quickly. Yay! Bill said it was the best he'd ever eaten. I cooked it in my Dutch oven with water, a beer, some peppercorns, a cinnamon stick, some whole cloves, and a couple of bay leaves. I brought it to a boil then cooked it at 300 for about three and a half hours.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St. Patty's Day fermenting

Yesterday was a crazy fermenting day! We have had a beef brisket in the freezer for a few weeks, and I have been wanting to try the corned beef recipe from Nourishing Traditions for a while, so St. Patrick's Day was a perfect opportunity! I quit eating meat the beginning of this year, but we are still working through our CSA meat share. I believe that it is the right decision for me to eat the meat we have remaining in the freezer, though, because it is a lot of meat, and I don't want it to be wasted. That being said, Bill will still be largely responsible for the nearly four pounds of meat that is this corned beef. Just to be clear, this corned beef will not be cooked. It will ferment for a couple of days, and then we will eat it. It has salt, juniper berries, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, and whey. If anyone wants the full recipe, let me know, and I will be happy to share it.

I also made the mustard from Nourishing Traditions, which needs three days to ferment. Included in that recipe is ground mustard, water, whey, honey, mustard seeds, and lemon juice.

And the grand mammy of all ferments....I finally made my miso yesterday! I used the recipe from Wild Fermentation. I used pinto beans rather than soy beans because I had plenty in the cabinet. I will test it late this fall, probably around November. It was a pretty easy recipe to follow, but it made much more than I anticipated--I had to use two crocks rather than just one, and my crocks are precious because I only have three. I should have halved the recipe. I am really, really excited about this--I hope it turns out. I just ordered some more miso from the same company I ordered my koji from. It isn't cheap, so it would be really great if mine turns out nearly as good as theirs. I have had other miso bought from the grocery, and it is just not so good. It does take many months or years to ferment (the stuff I bought was one- or three-year fermented) so, like most things, you get what you pay for.

And Bill and I tested the honey wine this weekend. It needs another week or two, but I am definitely happy with the results! My dad and my sister both had samples as well and were not too impressed. It does taste like homemade wine, but I like the earthy flavor of it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Penny's stats

I took Penny in for her 9 month checkup today, and here are her stats:

weight: just over 22 pounds (though just last week she weighed in at 23), 97%
height: 28.75", 90%
head circumference: 18.25", 97%

She is still not terribly interested in eating anything other than breast milk, but we are working on it. I would say, though, that she is not starving, as illustrated above by her stats. For a couple of days we have been giving her little pieces of food that she can pick up herself, rather than being fed with a spoon. This method seems to work a little better. She's doing great overall, though. Little sweetie.

I realized that I never posted her stats for her 6 month checkup. Here are those stats, from 12/9/2010:
weight: 19 lbs, 12 oz, 90%
height 27.25", 90%
head: 17.5", 93%

Penny's sleeping is improving. Please do not confuse this for "her sleep is good." I still nurse her twice overnight, around midnight and around 5AM. Her naps are also getting better, and she is getting better at putting herself to sleep in her crib. This means, though, that it is really hard for me to leave the house because Penny goes down around 10, until around 11:30 or noon, and Molly goes for her nap around 2PM, until usually 4:30 or 5:00. Penny usually takes a second nap that overlaps with Molly's. It is actually a little lonely. I was visiting with people a lot for a while until I decided I really do not want to repeat the nap troubles we had with Molly. I am considering it an investment--her napping will just be so fabulous by the time she's down to only one nap that it will be absolutely worth it. She does have to sleep in the car now and then if we need to run errands, or if there is something else we have going on. All in all, things are going pretty well in the sleep department (even though Molly did not take her nap today.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

momma's boss

Molly: Who's Poppa's boss?
Me: [his name]
Molly: Who's your boss?
Me: I don't have a boss.
Molly: Yeah! You have a boss.
Me: No, I don't have a boss.
Molly: Yeah! You have a boss.
Me: Who's my boss?
Molly: probably Obama

ferment updates

Well, it has kind of been a week of failures in the 'ol fermenting front. To make myself feel better, I am blaming the cold weather rather than my lack of skill. I'm pretty sure it's not because my house is too sterile. There actually isn't any skill involved so I'm betting on the weather.

My honey wine never started bubbling as expected. Rather than giving up, I went ahead and added half of the packet of the champagne yeast to it. It started bubbling so I put it in the gallon jug with an airlock, and I hope it's ready to drink in a few weeks. I will certainly try again in a few weeks when the weather is a little warmer; hopefully then the wild yeast in the air will be more active.

The dosas were also a failure. The recipe called for a whole bunch of cilantro, which was just too much. The batter was supposed to be thinner. As I am sitting her typing this, I am actually realizing that I halved the recipe so I used twice as much cilantro as I was supposed to. Yes!!! That makes me very happy because I really liked the taste of the cooked (failed) dosas, but they wouldn't stick together like pancakes, as they were supposed to. So...that means I will definitely try those again, too!

The sauerruben is delicious. It is just like sauerkraut, with just salt and caraway seeds, but it is made with turnips instead of cabbage. Molly and I shared a bowl today--we both loved it.