And that's what I have to say about that.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
And that's what I have to say about that.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Once we had a whole bag full of different items we went back to our house. I rolled out a huge piece of paper and let owen choose three colors of tempera paint that I squirted onto a palette (we use a plastic cookie tin lid that you can see in the table painting). I dipped the stick in some paint and made a mark on the paper. Owen got it right away and started experimenting to see what marks each object would leave. He also used his hands and feet (good thing I had brought a bucket of water out with us to wash up in). This is his finished piece.
Friday, April 25, 2014
When I was younger my dad would make a massive (and I mean like the biggest bowl in your house) salad. They were delicious and always different. Lettuce (please note there are a ton of different types of lettuce alone!), kale, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, sprouts, beets, radishes, green beans, mushrooms, so much delicious. You can add shrimp, chicken, cheese; make a taco salad with some cooked ground beef or turkey and tortilla strips or go with a nice soy ginger chicken and at some wonton strips and edamame. Try a new homemade dressing (there are at least a thousand recipes online) and they are also really inexpensive to make! Salad is a great solution when you don't feel like cooking or are crunched for time. I like to chop the lettuce and other veggies when my boys are napping or content entertaining themselves for a few minutes and dress it lightly, then add some fun crunchy toppings just before it's time to eat.
We try to have salads once a night for dinner and it's always a dinner we look forward to. It's almost farmer market season here and I can't wait to find some new fun things to add to our salads! So go make some big delicious and healthy salads (of any kind) for dinner! What's your favorite kind of salad?
Friday, April 4, 2014
For this project you need:
-a tube or two of speedball water soluble block printing ink
-a couple of old Styrofoam trays (the kind they package meat in are good or leftover containers)
-some paper (pretty much any kind will do, we used construction paper)
You will need one Styrofoam tray to roll out your ink in so make sure and hang onto one. Cut a flat piece of Styrofoam from the bottom of a tray or a leftover container. I made my Styrofoam piece about 3x5 inches. Any size will do, a small print is easier for them to handle though. This will be your littles canvas to create their art on. Give them a dull pencil to draw on the Styrofoam with (just a note when you make a print from the Styrofoam it will be reversed so if you were to write their name on the piece it would print in reverse). I had to trace over a few of Owen's lines to make sure they would be deep enough. He made this print when he was about 20 months old. This is his Styrofoam block for printing after he was done with it.
I just tore paper to fit the size of the plate. We made about a dozen prints so I tore up three pieces of paper just by folding it in half and tearing on the line. Once you have your paper you are ready to ink.
Take your brayer and place a dollop of ink about the size of a nickel in your Styrofoam tray that you saved earlier. Spread the ink up and down and side to side until you have an even covering over your brayer. Using your brayer cover the design on your littles Styrofoam plate. Press the plate down onto the paper and have them press really hard with those little hands or you can have them walk on it which they think is hilarious and lots of fun! Lift the Styrofoam off and you will have their print. Do it as many times as you want!
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
When he was one his favorite color was red. His favorite book was Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton. His favorite food was pickles. His favorite toy was an airplane his Aunt and Uncle got him. His favorite activity was anything outside.
Now that he is two his favorite color is blue. His favorite book is Art & Max by David Wiesner. His favorite food is cheese and pickles. His favorite toy is his train from Gramma and Pampa or any ball. His favorite activity is bug hunting outside.
So happy birthday to my little boy who will not always be little, but will always be my little, even when he is taller than I am. I hope you travel farther than I have, see more than I have, love bigger than I have, help more than I have, and learn more than I have. Stay curious, stay fearless, and keep your hugs full and free. I love you.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Dirt goes primarily in your hair or down your shirt, try to avoid your eyes.
Flour goes everywhere but in the bowl.
Pompoms and rocks are really the only toys you need.
Paint goes primarily on your hands and is also good on your face.
Someone will always poop in their fresh diaper when getting in the car, especially if you want to be on time.
Bugs are yummy but it's sad when you eat your friends.
If there are geese at the pond, the groceries are going to have to wait.
You can fit at least six grapes in your mouth at once, anything less is a disappointment.
Roar your way through the grocery store, you will hear people laughing in every aisle.
Dirt on your hands is approved. Dog poop on your hands is not.
The "right" spoon is always the last one that mom chooses.
There is no such thing as "too little."
Cheer for everyone, including the mail man and the landscapers.
Always say "thank you," even if you are saying it for someone else.
Water dries. Even a lot of water eventually dries.
Snow is magic.
Deodorant goes on your neck and face and takes about a week of baths to get off.
Blueberries are ear hole sized.
The milkshake song is the best song.
Everyday there is a reason to say "Wow!"
Strollers aren't nearly as much fun as running.
Cookies do not need to be cookie shaped to be delicious.
You can't see it if you can't touch it.
If you fill your pockets with "treasure" your pants may fall down.
So to begin with this is my basic list of go to supplies that I always have on hand because our older son (2 years old now, was probably about 6 months old when we really started doing projects) asks to do art every single day. I started doing some really basic projects when he was born and we have been doing simple but fun stuff ever since.
I always have:
-colored construction paper
-non-toxic tempera paint
-a variety of brushes to experiment with
-non-toxic crayola water color paint (the 8 color one is plenty)
-watercolor paper (usually I get Strathmore watercolor paper when it's on a good sale, Michaels just had it for 60% off so I got a big pad for $4. I also cut the paper in half or smaller so it fits on his highchair tray)
-Speedball block printing ink (Please note that I use the water soluble type, but I do NOT think it is marked as non-toxic. I do help with every project that we do with the ink and we thoroughly wash hands/feet immediately after we are finished.)
-a pad of bristol board (also always purchased on sale).
Owen also has his own sketch books (these are legitimate spiral bound sketch books, not coloring books.) that he draws in every day. All together I spent less than $30 on these items and the only things I buy more of every few months are the papers.
Here is a photo of our supplies.
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of diced tomatoes (I can and freeze fresh tomatoes but due to a lack of space we never have enough to last us how often we eat spaghetti so any store brand will also be just fine)
2 tomato paste cans of water
About 2 teaspoons of olive oil
A dash of salt and pepper
Fresh garlic if you have it, otherwise some garlic powder will do
About 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
A pinch of thyme
Put it all in a pan, and cook on low heat stirring occasionally. I like to cook my sauce for at least an hour, but really as soon as all the ingredients are combined and the sauce is hot, you can eat it. You can also add anything to this sauce, I like to add frozen spinach, leftover ground turkey, sliced and lightly sautéed bell peppers or mushrooms or both! Including the pasta this costs about $1.00 per person depending on your add ins.
We also like to make home made bread to have with spaghetti. It can be really easy and some recipes only use flour, water, yeast, and salt.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
I have been making a one pot, baked rice and chicken dish that we are loving. You can easily make different variations to mix it up and change the flavor profile. It also doesn't create a ton of dirty dishes so it saves us time on that front too. We also do not eat huge portions, so while this may be enough food for us, it is not a normal American sized meal.
Here's the basic how to:
1. In an oven safe dish with an oven safe lid I put about a tablespoon of olive oil. I add a cup of brown rice and stir it up. *Please note: the cook time for white rice is much less and your chicken will not be cooked through or your white rice will burn if you put the chicken and the rice in the same dish. Use brown rice...it's delicious and will cook properly with the chicken.
2. In the microwave I heat two cups of water, sometimes I add a bouillon cube, sometimes I don't.
3. Pour the hot water over the rice, I add either some soy sauce or teriyaki or balsamic (pretty much anything you would normally add to rice), and some seasonings to accompany whatever is in it. Stir it up again.
4. Put one large chicken breast in the center of the water, it can be thawed or frozen (for frozen it will just take a bit longer to cook as the frozen chicken cools down the water you heated up in step 2.). I drizzle a little olive oil (and/or more sauce from step 3) over the chicken and add some seasoning.
5. Cover and cook at 350 for 1 hour for thawed chicken or 1.5 hours for frozen chicken.
6. When there are about 15-20 minutes left of cook time, I add some frozen veggies around the chicken, and usually drizzle on a little olive oil. If I have fresh veggies I want to use I usually add then with about 40-45 minutes of cook time remaining.
7. When the rice has absorbed all or most of the liquid, it's done. Plate and enjoy.
Total prep time: 10 minutes
Total cook time: 1-1.5 hours
Serves two adults (and one toddler) at a cost of about $1.00 per person.
Friday, March 7, 2014
At the end of each month I sit down with a calendar, I use an old frame with a white piece of paper in it that is divided into the days of the month and I use dry erase markers to fill it in. I fill in the whole month of dinners. Yes I know what I'm making for an entire month. And yes I love it. We have a couple of standards that we have each week. We instituted spaghetti madness on every tuesday, and my almost two year old toddler can make it (almost) completely on his own (can openers are hard though). Spaghetti is cheap to make and delicious, I make the whole meal for less than $1.00 per person. It doesn't always have meatballs with it, but we do different variations with veggies or leftover ground turkey in the sauce, home made bread, and sometimes we do have turkey meatballs (also home made). We make chicken and rice with a veggie every week. We love rice. Rice is cheap. We could probably eat rice for every meal if we had to because rice is so easy to make in a lot of different ways.
Once I get the whole month of meals laid out, I make a list of everything I need to make all of the meals and list specifically how many of each item I need. I do all of the grocery shopping in one day. Usually I have to make a few small trips for things like milk, fruit, and bread, but everything else I buy enough for the month and either freeze it or store it in air tight containers. My big trip usually costs about $120 (at either walmart or target and a local grocery store) and then from there I spend about $20 a week on milk (Owen drinks a lot of soy milk), eggs, bread, and fresh fruit and veggies. I usually get our fruits and veggies at our local farmers markets.
In a typical month, in addition to the meals mentioned above, we will have things like lasagna, shepherds pie, salads with chicken breasts, southwestern stew, pulled chicken BBQ, empanadas, stir fry, tacos, shrimp Alfredo, chicken pot pie, turkey burgers, salmon, and beans with rice and chicken apple sausage. As I said, we eat good food via this method and a decent variety.
Friday, February 14, 2014
A few people have asked about Beckett's name. In a round about way he was named after Beck, the musical artist. About two weeks before Beckett was born, Luke and I were saying how we hadn't really thought of a name we really liked yet. With our son Owen we had a list of names we liked and knew that he was an Owen once we met him on his birthday. So while we weren't trying to name our baby before he was born, our list was slim at best and neither of us loved any of the names we had come up with. So Luke and I were jokingly tossing names back and forth. At one point I said I liked Tate, Luke replied that he didn't as it seemed to abrupt then went on to suggest Nate. I was confused since that is just as abrupt and joked that what are we just rhyming now. Luke then suggested Toby, but we recently met a Toby (and while I doubt he would mind at all if we used his name, it felt a little weird to us). So then I said what so maybe Moby, since it rhymed. Again this was all in joking. I said that we would have to name the baby Beck though because Beck is way cooler than Moby. And then Luke said well actually...I do kind of like that. So it went on our list and when he was born, he was most definitely a Beckett.
Our midwives are Certified Professional Midwives, there are also Certified Nurse Midwives. Because of the rules in Virginia, CNM's do not attend homebirths in this state. In other states CNM's can attend homebirths and they are permitted to carry some medicine, including oxygen. When we had our first consultation our midwives talked about the fact that they are CPM's and not permitted to carry any actual medicine. They do take your blood pressure and your pulse, and listen to the baby with a special stethoscope rather than a Doppler (the sounds is much clearer!) These are women who have attended many births and become certified professional midwives through apprenticeship (aka attending many births) and they must take several written exams. Through this experience they can do much of what an OB does without the medical equipment. They can tell the position of the baby by feeling your belly, often times they would be able to identify limbs and hands just by feel. Childbirth is a natural process for a woman's body (not a condition or disease that needs to be treated in a hospital). That being said there are risk factors that they identify as reasons to transfer out of a midwives care to an OB. During the birth if they feel that there is any reason for you to be transferred to a hospital to finish the birth process they will recommend so. If you are transferred they will go with you and act as a doula (basically be your advocate and try to keep things as close to your original birth plan as possible). If you do not listen to their recommendation to transfer, then you assume all rights and responsibilities if something is wrong with you or with baby (this is made very clear in some of that terrifying paperwork we had to sign). Basically when you meet your midwives, you start building a relationship of trust. Your appointmens last longer than normal OB appointments last. All of our appointments ended with hugs all around. You can email, or text, or call at any time of the day about any concern. These women are fantastic and they are very very good at delivering babies. If you are interested and want to know more you can look into the film "The Business of Being Born," it's on Netflix watch it now.
A "crunchy" mom is someone who does things in a natural way. Often ideally an unmedicated and unaltered birth, breast feeding, cloth diapers, making their own baby food, baby wearing, those type of things.
CPM's can order blood tests and ultrasounds through outside laboratories.
Most insurance does not cover Homebirth. Homebirth is significantly cheaper than a hospital birth, ours was $1,500 total. This includes all the appointments leading up to the birth, the birth, and follow up postpartum appointments. Our insurance was supposed to cover our Homebirth, but it did not.
We had to take Beckett to get his PKU heelprick test in he days following his birth. The Virginia medical system is not fond of Homebirth and has made this clear. We still feel that it was a great experience, but there have been plenty of eye rolls and medical professionals glaring at us. If you are considering Homebirth (or have had a Homebirth), own it, be proud. It's really really nice.
With all that said, to all you beautiful and awesome momma's, I think that no matter what your birth story is, wether it as your dream birth or your plan changed, you should be proud. You grew a baby and that baby was born! You are so strong! That's amazing!
Here are a few images from Beck's first moments as an outside baby.
A few images of proud big brother Owen as well.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Beckett Eli Schmura was born at home. On purpose. Yes. When we moved from Arizona to Virginia, I started looking for an OB here. We were 32 weeks pregnant by the time our insurance was approved. When you call OB's and tell them you are 32 weeks pregnant, do you know what happens?! They tell you they won't see you! What?! Excuse me?! This baby is going to be born wether or not you want to see me. Wouldn't it be better if you saw me and checked on this baby before he was born? The whole thing left me in shock and I was angry. When someone is 32 weeks pregnant, you shouldn't mess with them. Especially when it comes to their unborn child. It's just a bad idea. So I sent an email. To Bridget at Williamsburg Homebirth. We weren't sure we were even interested in Homebirth, I jut needed to reach out to someone to see if they had any suggestions or ideas on what the heck to do. If we didn't hear anything back, our only option was to show up at the hospital in labor....good plan right?