Hello… are you there?

Hello readers… followers… and anyone who just happens to stumble across this tiny piece of neuroticism that I share with the world.

So I realize that I’ve been bad about keep up with the blog lately. Real bad. So sad. So busy. busy busy busy. But that’s no excuse. So I apologize up front. In any case… outside of the every day things that I am personally going through as a parent to now 5 and 3 year olds…. what else can I offer to you on this blog? What else would you like to have a schedule or plan for? haha. Is it even possible to plan anything else outside of sleep and feeding? 🙂

Ask and you may (If I can conjure) receive.
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Breastmilk Pumping & Freezing – Followup

I love the response that I get from people to come across my blog and use it as a resource as they begin their boob juice factory venture! Recently, I had received a message from a friend who had some additional questions after reading the Pumping & Freezing post. I decided to post our convo here as a follow-up in case anyone else had similar questions. Feel free to leave a comment if you ever want clarification on my neurotic ways. 🙂

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Here’s the convo:

Fellow Mommy: I was reading up in your blog about the number of diapers I would need for P. I ran across your blog entry re: pumping and freezing…wow! I wish I read it sooner :-/

Such good info! I nurse and pump right now but will be going back to work in a few weeks. I wanted to ask you how you collect to freeze. Did you get 4oz. At each pump session? More? Less? If less, did you refrigerate and then collect the 4 oz into the bottle?

I wish I had known to ask to pump at the hospital for the extra parts! They’re super $$$! Oh well…I’ll remember to ask next time 🙂 oh and those bottles! What a great idea. I’ve been buying the medela bottles and bags. Hate the bags but didn’t know there were inexpensive bottles out there. Again, wish I read your blog prior.

I’m already 2 months pp. I don’t have milk production like you. Do you think if I try to pump more, the volume would increase? I’m thinking about EP’ing now since I’m going back to work, except for late night/early morning feedings. I don’t want my supply to drop. Instead I would love for it to increase. Right now, if I pump in place of a feeding, I’m only getting an average of 4-6oz.

I’m going to follow your advice and start him on the frozen bm to get him used to it.
Mommy Neurotic Response:

First off… I was a pumping maniac… so I would total about 46oz A DAY when I was in my prime. hahaha. I usually had 6 or 8oz bottles attached to my pump, and would then pour them into 4oz increments (my freezing bottles) to store.

When I started out, it was less than 4oz, and i actually froze in 2oz incredments to start cuz baby wasnt taking much in one sitting anyways.
Later on, when it was definitely at least 4oz per feeding, then I only froze in 4 oz increments.
In that case, if I pumped less than 4oz, I would put in fridge to cool it down. And the next pumping, I would put in fridge to cool down, and then merge them together into a 4oz to freeze.

Yes! I didn’t like the bags… some leaked, and I found them harder to thaw standing up in the fridge. Plus the bottles you can reuse – and you know I reused them through 2 kids and THEN sold them and got a third of my money back on those bottles. hahahhaah.

YES! If you pump more – you will produce more… its all about supply and demand. Did you read the blog post on “increasing your supply” yet? 🙂 How many times are you feeding/pumping per day right now? that will give me a better idea.
Sometimes, if P does not suck all the milk out of you, then slap the pump on to clear it all out. Make sure you clear all your supply out with every feeding. 🙂
I think I used to get like 46oz total from about 4-5 pumping sessions. I only fed the kids 25oz a day… so the rest to freeze.
and YES! Do start him on the frozen stuff…. just one bottle a day… keeps him used to it… and also helps to funnel out the older milk as you put newer stuff in freezer.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I’d be happy to answer them. Pumping and sleep schedules are usually what people contact me for. hehe

Get in gear! Let’s have a Robot Party!

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Since I did a fairy themed party when my daughter turned 3… that meant it was my one opportunity to do a boy-themed party… whoohooo! Robot it was! For the centerpieces, I found these Valentine Boxes from Oriental Trading – which of course I bought after V-day for much cheaper. Came in a dozen, I only used 5 though. But they were super cute and easy to put together with adhesive foam. I put a small vase inside to weight it down and with a styrofoam piece inside the vase, I was able to make the toppers.

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I saw a robot from cardboard on Pinterest and thought… I could do that! The hardest part was finding all the pieces. More details on how this robot came to life here.

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A party is not a party without a watermelon carving! Saw this idea on Pinterest as well. 🙂

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We were hoping for a transformer pinata… but couldn’t find one… so Iron mad had to do!

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The bakery from Ranch Events did an amazing job as usual!

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For the crafts, I couldn’t resist these adorable little ceramic robot piggy banks! 12 for $20. I bought a set of Owls for any girls who didn’t want to paint a Robot. The kids enjoyed it.. but I think adults had more fun with them!

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Lastly, our lovely photobooth, designed by Snapshots Moments. Check out how I put together the backdrop here.

Toddler Breakfast Eating: Banana Raisin Granola Porridge

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I feel like breakfast is the one meal that I have struggled the most with in terms of finding things that are healthy and with variety to feed my children in the morning. Let’s not forget that it should be quick too – because 1) I’m not a morning person and 2) I don’t cook. This comes from a person who usually just grabs a protein shake to-go as I’m running out the door to go do a gazillion things… Or I turn to caffeine for myself to wake me up and suppress my appetite. Sigh. But of course, I wouldn’t do that to my kids! So here’s the thing…. My daughter doesn’t like eggs. My son dabbles with it. Both will do the pancake thing but I’m not too enthusiastic about how much they soak it with syrup. Plus, if they do eat pancakes, I’d prefer it be some healthy homemade version I’ve seen a recipe for on Pinterest. But… remember I’m not a morning person and I don’t cook… so therefore, it is unlikely that I’d be up every morning making pancakes for my little people.

Surprisingly enough… my kids have been eating nearly the SAME breakfast (variation) since they were both 15 months old? (Around there). Its crazy that they are ok with eating similar breakfast day in and day out. Its basically a toddler variation of of the rice cereal that they at as babies. To be honest, its like softer version of adult oatmeal in my opinion, which is why I titled it “porridge”. I’ve actually bought some Steel Oats to try and make other variations of oatmeal, but the kids are still happy with this breakfast, so I’m not one to try and fix something that isn’t broken. This post is specifically about Banana Raisin Granola…. but – I’ll list some other fruit variations we do at the bottom. The base – the cereal is all the same. The variation is all in the fruit that’s mixed.

Nonetheless, my kids like it, and its healthy, organic, and its a great way for them to start the day. Here’s how it goes:

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So what’s not pictured here: Horizon 2% DHA Milk (or whatever milk you want to use) and an organic Banana.

Directions – Warm up about 2-3oz of milk in the microwave. Mix in about 3 tablespoons of the baby cereal (I alternate between the HappyBellies multi-grain, rice, and oatmeal) or as much to get the consistency you like. Then I mash/dice in 1/2 a banana. My daughter likes a 1.5 tablespoons of the granola and dumps a box of the organic raisins in.  Mix…… and she kills it!

This is my daughter’s favorite variation.

Other fruit variations that we rotate through: (Note – my kids like the granola added in no matter what fruit it is. This started more recently – I’d only do it for experienced eaters because they are really crunchy with some big pieces)

– Applesauce – You can buy the 4oz snack packages in organic apple flavor and non-organic I have found a berry flavor as well. I usually add cinnamon sometimes instead of buying the cinnamon flavored applesauce.

– Pear – Trader Joes sells the 4oz snack packages of pear sauce – this is great for the younger kids. My kids are older now, so I usually get a can of diced pears or use the Dole’s diced Pears 4oz snack packages that are come in 100% juice – not syrup! My kids like to drink the juice after I’ve put all the diced pieces into their bowl.  Don’t forget fresh pears are always good!

– Passion Fruit – My daughter likes the passion fruit that comes from the Dole’s Tropical Fruit cups – again – the one in 100% juice!

– Mango or Peach Mango – For this one, I usually buy frozen organic peaches and Trader Joes has frozen organic mangoes. I put enough to fill a small sauce pan and boil it with some water until its pretty soft. Then I drain the fruit and toss it in the Magic Bullet and smooth it out a bit. These end up in small 2oz containers in the fridge – or freezer if you make a lot. Each breakfast serving usually requires about 2oz of fruit.

-Blueberry or Blueberry/Raspberry – Similar to Mango, buy the frozen organic fruit and boil it in a saucepan. For the berries, no need to puree – just spoon it into the bowl and/or containers.

 

P.S. If you are wondering what happens when we aren’t home and are traveling? Well…. for the most part, if you are staying at a house or somewhere with a microwave and fridge, then just bring a can of the rice cereal. You can buy milk and bananas anywhere to make a simple breakfast version. On days when I’m just doing a quick overnighter somewhere or staying at someone’s house – I usually grab the Gerber Graduates Breakfast – apple cinnamon oatmeal. The kids like it. 🙂

Party time: All things Disney

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For my daughter’s 5th birthday, we went for a “Disney” theme. It was good timing as she now has gone to Disneyland many times and familiar with all the stories and characters. Having a Disney theme was definitely due to come! Oh and I had so much planning this one!  Let’s go over the details:

Centerpieces: I found lots of versions on Pinterest and went for a pretty simple one. Went into detail about it on the blog here.

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I was able to find a HUGE lantern on Oriental Trading on clearance for $5. Didn’t realize how big it was until it arrived. But my dad was able to rig some ears to it out of a foam board, lots of tape, spray paint. It turned out pretty good. Could also be used for a Deadmau5 party for sure! 🙂

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For the fruit display, my mom carved Mickey into a watermelon and also used cookie cutters to skewer some as well.

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Cake: Again, we got our favorite marble and bavarian creme with fresh strawberries from Renaissance Bakery (Ranch Events Catering). Went for a simple Minnie Mouse patterned design with the ears and bow on top.

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We had our usual photobooth set- up with template designed by Snapshots Photobooth. The kids and adults always love the photobooth.

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For the goodie bags, I had one of my friends who is a passholder and lives in Anaheim, collect the “I’m celebrating” buttons for me for a couple months leading up to the party. So each bag got an authentic button from Disneyland. The girls got Minnie ear headbands that got for $1 a piece in the LA Fashion District, and the boys had gotten a Cars glider that I got for $1 a piece at Target’s after-Easter clearance. What else was in those bags…. crayons from Target’s after-Halloween sale, and little playing cards as well.

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More on the pinata from previous blog post here. It was HUGE! $13 in Tijuana baby!

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Lastly, I put several of the costumes myself and blogged about it here. All except for Mike from Monsters, Inc. – which was actually a children’s costume that I got on eBay for $17 and then sewed to a $3 t-shirt from Michaels. It was to match my son’s Sully costume which I got half off the day after Halloween at Target last year (always think ahead!)

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Toddler Eating: Organic Udon Stir-fry

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My nanny recently starting making this stir-fry for the kids and they love it! We use all organic products and low-sodium soy sauce. mhmmm

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I found these organic Udon noodles (they have other yummy Asian noodles as well, like Soba) on Amazon, so I usually buy a large box and have it stocked up in our pantry.

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Boil and drain udon noodles.

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Thaw and chop one cup of frozen broccoli
Shred one carrot
Thaw 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach

1/2 cup of diced tofu

Mince one clove of garlic. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil add garlic, cook until light brown then add all the veggies. Cook until the broccoli is tender. Add the noodles and mix. Add 1-2 tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Add the tofu at the end, mix and serve.

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Still using the same organic tofu from Trader Joes – you see it in most of my recipes on here! 🙂

 

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This was a double batch made for a potluck. But the kids were loving it. For my little guy, I use scissors to cut up the long noodles a bit. Even as a finger food, the noodles and tofu bits would be fun!

My new favorite Pinata filler! Knobby Balls!

This year, my nanny was able to head down to Tijuana and pick up this HUGE, and I mean, HUGE pinata for only $13. It looked amazing, but then I thought… crap. what am I going to fill it up with!?!?
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I always high up the after Easter sale at Target to pick up the candy for my kids’ parties (stock up for May and July no prob). But I thought this year, it would be good to do a larger filler for the pinata. I saw these balls filled up with a pinata before at a local store…. so I went on eBay and found a listing for 50 of these 4.5 inch “knobby” balls for $19.99! Had to pay $10 shipping… but still!
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Got a foot pump at our local Ace Hardware store for $10. Which I could probably use in long run for other things anyways.

It was total success! For a bunch of kids 6 and under… they were totally happy with all the balls that came bouncing out of the pinata unexpectedly.
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Definitely going to do that one again!

Check out pix of my lil guy helping to fill the pinata. Heehee.
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Schedule Series: 10 Months and ONE nap! (and a 3-yr-old)

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Let me first start by saying that my son went down to one nap a few months earlier than my daughter did… and I’ll be honest when I say that I moved in that direction on purpose because I was trying to get them on the same schedule for my own sanity. It worked fine for him, he had no problem because it was something he was going to eventually be doing anyways. But as for me? Hallelujah! 12-3 is my favorite time of the day! Don’t bother me!

My daughter surprisingly has maintained the midday nap for years! At 3 years old, it was usually about 2-3 hours still. Then by 4 years old, it varied, some days longer (depending on how active she was in the morning), and some days shorter. Between 4-5yrs old, she started going to bed a little later (not by my choice!!!!) at night so that made her want/need that midday nap still. I wasn’t complaining though because it was no secret that I LOVE that midday break for myself. Besides, once she starts Kindergarten this fall… I’ll be saying goodbye to that break with her. UGH. I’ll have to say hello to some forced “quiet time” for her… but its not a full release of my mommy-duties, if you know what I mean.