Miss M turns 1 today. My little baby is growing up! This year has flown by and it has been so much fun to watch her go front a teeny tiny infant to a little girl.
Happy birthday, my sweet girl.
A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to try making my own bread. It’s something that has interested me for awhile, but always seemed so overwhelming. Letting it rise, kneading it, using a breadmaker—too much work!
We are actively trying to cut back on the prepackaged products that we buy, and finally decided to give bread a go. I’ve been making our own tortillas for nearly a year now, and when I would buy regular bread, we didn’t like the taste anymore. I blame the yummy homemade tortillas!
I did a ton of research and tried out a few bread recipes. Some were disasters, some came out ok, and a few came out great. After a few months of making bread, I tend to go back to the same recipe 9 times out of 10.
Here is the original recipe: Easy Homemade Bread
After making this a few times, I made a few slight adaptations to the recipe. I add a little more salt, usuallyadd some fun ingredients, and had to decrease the cooking time.
Basic No-Knead Bread (copied and adapted from Frugal Living NW)
6 cups organic all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 t. instant or active-dry yeast
3 t. salt
2 2/3 c. cool water
BONUS: 8 cloves chopped garlic
BONUS: 1/2 cup Parmesean Cheese
BONUS: 1 T of oregano
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated; the dough should be wet and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 12-18 hours on the counter at room temperature. When surface of the risen dough has darkened slightly, smells yeasty, and is dotted with bubbles, it is ready.
2. Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. If you want to add the garlic and parmesean cheese, add it now! Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and, using floured fingers, tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball.
3. Generously dust a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with enough flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran to prevent the dough from sticking to the towel as it rises; place dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran. Cover with the edges or a second cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size. **I’ve left it for 4-5 hours and then baked it, and it turned out just fine!
4. After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch oven (we use a Martha Stewart Cast Iron Dutch Oven), in the oven as it heats. When the dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Remove top towel from dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel; flip the dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
5. Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10 more minutes, until the crust is a deep chestnut brown. The internal temperature of the bread should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer, if desired.
6. Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
This bread has a been a huge hit with everyone who has tried it. Even Miss M, who isn’t a huge fan of solid foods yet, approved.
Eating bread, like a boss.
Thanks Frugal Live NW!
I recently wrote a post for my blogging buddy Jess at Being Mrs Beer about how we ended up cosleeping and why we do it. I wanted to share that post with everyone here as well, since I get a LOT of questions about cosleeping from friends and family. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have—I’m extremely open about our sleeping arrangement.
Our sleep story is different from what most people do in the United States, but it’s very common in other parts of the world.
Miss M is almost a year old and has been exclusively breastfed since birth. Before she was born, we planned on having her room with us for at least the first 6 months. We were gifted the 4moms Breeze (I HIGHLY recommend this, we love it!), and set it up next to my side of the bed. I could reach over and touch her when needed and until she hit about 12 lbs, I didn’t even have to get out of bed to pick her up. She had the typical wacky newborn schedule but within a few weeks was sleeping in 4 hour chunks at night, only waking to quickly eat. By 2 months old she was sleeping 12+ hours a night. It was surprising and wonderful. However, I frequently woke up completely engorged and had to pump around 4am nearly every night until she hit 4 months old.
Once Miss M hit the 4 month sleep progession (we don’t call them regressions, since she’s growing and learning), she would wake up 3-4 times to eat overnight. Sometimes she would let me lay her back down in the bassinet, other times she would scream bloody murder until I picked her up. I was tired—I was still a new mom and I was trying to balance work, sleep, and taking care of a baby–so I started bringing her into the bed with us if she wouldn’t let me lay her back down.
After we made it through the 4 month sleep progression, M started sleeping 8-10 hours straight and waking to feed around 4-5am. I continued to bring her into the bed with us because I could usually keep her asleep until 730am if she was in bed with us. If she was in the bassinet, she would be up for the day around 5:30am. Since this was becoming a habit, I asked my husband if he had an issue with her being in the bed. He said that it was fine, and to do whatever it took to get the sleep I needed.
Miss M seemed cramped in her bassinet when she was about 3 months old, so we decided to move the crib into our room indefinitely. For nearly 4 months we had a pretty good routine—I nursed M, my husband would rock her to sleep, and then she would start out in her crib next to our bed, sleep 8-10 hours, then join us in bed for her early morning feed and would sleep with us until she woke up for the day.
Around 6 months, M was getting heavy and it was easier for me to nurse her in our bed and let her sleep there for naps. I often woke her up when I tried to transfer her into her crib and would then have to start all over. Since naptime = worktime for me, I went with what worked. Again, I asked my husband if he had an issue with this and he was fine with it.
At around 7 months, Miss M decided she wasn’t into sleeping in the crib any longer. My husband used to be able to lay her down at night, and even if she woke up during the transition, she would go right back to sleep. At this point, it would take an hour (or more) to get her to sleep. Then she started waking up 6-10 times a NIGHT. It was awful. We kept trying to push crib sleeping on her, but she would NOT stay asleep in the crib. We tried sidecarring the crib, moving the crib mattress to the floor, and putting her in her own room—NOTHING worked. The only time we got decent chunks of sleep was when she was in bed with us. This went on until she was nearly 8 months old and we decided enough was enough. Something drastic had to be done—and we make a huge decision.
We decided to buy a king size bed and co-sleep 100% of the time.
Yep, we decided to embrace the co-sleeping and let her sleep with us indefinitely. This was a big decision, because we knew once we did it, it wouldn’t be easy to kick her out. I had mentioned to our pediatrician at our 6 month appointment that she was sleeping with us quite a bit and she told me that at this point, if we decided to co-sleep, it would be hard to get her out of the bed until she’s quite a bit older (maybe 3) so make sure it was what we wanted to do before we did it (I absolutely love our pediatrician, BTW).
My husband decided to temporarily move into the guest room until we got a king sized bed, because we felt crowded in a queen sized bed. We started shopping for a mattress, found one we loved, and had it delivered as quick as we could (it’s a soft memory foam and I’m happy to share the name of it and why we bought this particular one if you’re interested). We decided to forgo a box spring since our new bed has slats, and the top of our bed sits about 20 inches from the ground. We did this to make it safer for M. Meanwhile, while M and I were sleeping together, the wake-ups went from 8-10 to 2-3.
Once the king bed was delivered, all of us sleep in the same bed every night. Co-sleeping didn’t cause Miss M to start sleeping through the night—she still wakes to eat overnight, but having her in the bed allows me to quickly know she’s awake, roll over, stick a boob in her mouth, and she goes back to sleep. I’m awake for maybe 2-3 minutes. We still have “bad nights” where she is up a LOT, and the occasional 2 hour baby party at 2am, but it’s almost always teething related. Most nights she’s up 1-2 times, only to eat (typically around 1030pm and around 400am, though sometimes she skips the 1030pm wakeup).
Co-sleeping is not for everyone, but it has been a great choice for our family. I am a big fan of “finding your tribe” and many of my friends parent their children in similar ways, and many of them co-sleep so I have a support group. My husband is 100% on board with co-sleeping, and I make it a point to check in with him about the sleeping situation every few weeks. It has NOT affected any part of our marriage (if you catch my drift), in fact, it’s probably improved things since most nights we are getting enough sleep. He’s also mentioned that he loves the snuggles since he’s at work all day. He even has a work buddy who also co-sleeps, so he’s got someone who can relate. We are good candidates for safe co-sleeping (I exclusively breastfeed–no bottles, neither of us are overweight, we don’t have fluffy bedding or lots of pillows, we don’t take drugs/alcohol), and we have bed rails and a video monitor for naps.
Miss M will not sleep with us forever. She will eventually move into her own bed, but we’ve decided to let her do it at her own pace. I anticipate at some point we will have a mattress on our floor for her, and maybe one day she will share a bed with a sibling (we will co-sleep with 2 babies if necessary, you CAN do it safely!). We are open with the fact that we co-sleep and have definitely recieved lots of unsolicited warnings/opinions about it (“you’ll be sorry!”, “it will affect your marriage!”, “you’re creating a manipulative monster!” and my favorite: “I would NEVER do that…”). I don’t like to give advice, but someone once told me that if it’s not a problem for you and your family, it’s not a problem; and that what works for one family may not work for another family. If you encounter a family that does things differently, please try to remember this.
We love snuggling with our little girl, and I can tell you that we will never look back on all the snuggles and wish I had done something differently.
I’m happy to answer any questions about our situation, so please ask. If you’re interested in more information, Dr. Sears has a good summary on co-sleeping and the benefits, and here are some tips to make cosleeping safe.
Nicknames: Cheeksies, Madeleenie Tortilleni, Miss Bitty, Bug and Chubby Bunny.
Likes: cruising the couch, dancing with daddy, ripping the dvds off of the tv stand, being outside, talking walks in the carrier with mama, ripping glasses off of people’s faces, things that sparkle or have “bling”.
Dislikes: People blowing their noses, being told “no”, getting dressed, taking baths.
Milestones: Cruising around on everything, standing unassisted, can ask for milk (heck with signing, you’ll tell us you want it!), can identify dogs if prompted, plays peek-a-boo, can take off her cloth diapers (arg!), still mocking everything we say.
Weight/Height: 20.5lbs and about 30-31 inches.
Clothing Size: 12-18 months, 18 months, and occasionally an 24 month outfit.
Sleep: 100% cosleeping. About half the time you take 2 naps, half the time you take 1 nap. I’m thinking of cutting your second nap cold turkey soon, since you are often up until 930pm if you take 2 naps. Good news? You’ve started sleeping in until 8am or later most days! Mommy and daddy would much rather you stay up a bit later at night and sleep later in the mornings.
Random Tidbits: You understand a lot of what we say—and we play a game and you love to shake your head no when we say “M.A. says no”. It’s hilarious. You love the song “If you’re happy and you know it”, and clap your hands during the whole song. You LOVE music—we keep the radio on all day and you’re constantly rocking out when some smooth beats come on the radio. We’ve started teaching you how to do “touchdown” and you clap during football games. You’re still a little copycat with words, it’s pretty cute. Daddy took you to your first (middle school) football game and you loved it—you sat with him and watched the cheerleaders and drill team, and enjoyed the game. My little football fan!
How are Mommy and Daddy Doing?: It’s been a busy month. Mommy had to work a LOT this month so often times when Daddy was home, you were with him. You’re such a daddy’s girl! Work is going well for mommy and daddy, which is always nice!
11 Month Photos:
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already heard this news.
A few months ago, Blueberry Diapers put out a casting call in Austin, TX for baby models for their new diaper line. I’m a big fan of their diapers, so I submitted a photo of M and I for the shoot. A few weeks later, I recieved a call that M had been chosen to model some of the new diapers!
The shoot was back in September and the prints were recently released. I haven’t seen any of the advertisements yet (I think the diapers are still in pre-order status or something), but we do have a few photos from the shoot that the photographer took for us to have (we will never turn down professional photos!).
Here are a few photos from the shoot:
So much fun! I hope we get the opportunity to do something like this again in the future (hint, hint: cloth diaper companies!).
Happy Halloween! We will be spending the evening passing out candy to all the kiddos in our neighborhood.
Here are a few photos of Miss M in her pumpkin dress. She has an Owl costume too, but she’s not a huge fan of the headpiece, so we will see if we can get a photo of her in it at some point today.
If you’re trick or treating, be safe!
Nicknames: Cheeksies, Madeleenie Tortilleni, Miss Bitty, Bug and Chubby Bunny.
Likes: cruising the couch, rolling around on the floor, swimming, dancing with daddy, chewing on spoons, ripping the dvds off of the tv stand, being outside, talking walks in the carrier with mama.
Dislikes: The noise from the shower, people blowing their noses, getting dressed, having your diaper changed.
Milestones: Pulling up on everything, cruising around on everything, says mama, adada, yay, and baby, waving bye bye when prompted, can identify squirrels, fans, and birds when prompted, copying everything we say (though it doesn’t come out in word form exactly), FINALLY crawling just after 10 months.
Weight/Height: 20lbs and about 30 inches.
Clothing Size: 12 months, 12-18 months, and occasionally an 18 month outfit.
Sleep: 100% cosleeping. Usually taking 2 naps a day, occasionally toying with only 1 nap (nooooo!).
Random Tidbits: You are our little copycat. If you see mommy and daddy doing something, you try to copy it. You love to copy things we say–guess we better watch our language now! You love animals and squeal when you hear a dog or a bird. You love to stare at the squirrels that like to hang out on our fence. You talk CONSTANTLY—you can say a handful of words and you’re trying to say a few more words (hi, bye, there). Our little chatterbox!
How are Mommy and Daddy Doing?: Pretty good. We’re enjoying being a family of three
10 Month Photos:
Miss M is 11 months old now, so I figured it was time to catch up on these posts. I took the photos and wrote the posts, but never uploaded the photos to the computer. I’m still having trouble uploading the photos, so that will come later. Blogging has taken a backseat recently….
Nicknames: Cheeksies, Madeleenie Tortilleni, Miss Bitty, Bug and Chubby Bunny.
Likes: Being outside, the jumperoo, other babies, eating random objects, dancing with daddy, chillin in the baby carrier, swimming, rolling around on the living room floor.
Dislikes: Having your diaper changed, people blowing their noses, the YMCA childwatch.
Milestones: Scooting around, pulling up on things, saying “mama” and “adada”, developed a great pincher grasp for food, clapping, waving.
Weight/Height: 19.5lbs and 28.5 inches. She BLEW UP in height and weight since our 6 month appointment. What happened to my tiny little baby?
Clothing Size: 6-9 months, 9 months and 6-12 months. Some 12 month items, but most are still a little too big.
Sleep: 100% cosleeping and we are all much happier now.
Random Tidbits: You are such a little water baby. It’s adorable. You love to stick your face in the fountains at the splash pad—you aren’t scared of the water at all. You’ve started to play independently for 20-30 minutes at a time 1-2 times a day–you’re totally content as long as you know mommy and/or daddy are close by. You’ve finally started to take an interest in real food–you don’t eat much, but once you developed the pincher grasp, you’ve started to like food. So far the biggest hits for food have been spinach sauteed in olive oil, brie, feta, black beans, and hummus.
How are Mommy and Daddy Doing?: Can’t complain…we feel like we have developed a pretty good family routine and we are happy with it.
Nine Month Photo:
A few months ago, my mother-in-law gave me a little pink dress that has been passed down through the family. It’s over 100 years old! It’s an adorable little handmade pink dress, and it’s in excellent condition. Miss M was finally big enough to fit in the dress, so we had a little photo shoot in our backyard with her and her pink dress.
Here are some of the photos:
I love these photos—her personality really shines through. If M ever has a daughter, I’ll be passing this dress onto her to wear.
And her favorite food is grass, as if you couldn’t tell.
Miss M is going to be 9 months in 3 days, so my goal was to get this post up before the 25th. I’ve had the post in draft and finally uploaded the photos. Mommy has been a blogging slacker recently..
Nicknames: Cheeksies, Madeleenie Tortilleni, Miss Bitty, Bug and Chubby Bunny (the newest nickname!).
Likes: Swimming, being outside, dancing with daddy, water bottles, iphones, spoons, straws, anything mommy or daddy has in their hands.
Dislikes: The noise from the shower (weird), having your diaper changed, loud noises, people that aren’t mommy or daddy.
Milestones: Scooting around, rolling around (on purpose!), babbling with consonants, starting to pull up on things.
Weight/Height: 17ish lbs and not sure on height.
Clothing Size: Some 6 month items still fit, but mostly 6-9 months, and 9 month clothing.
Sleep: Eh, we had good nights and bad nights. You sleep 11-12 hours overnight, with wake-ups. Some nights you only woke up twice, some nights it was 4-6 times (arg!). You’ve been napping like a champ though—2 solid naps almost every day. We’re 100% co-sleeping at this point and you nap in our bed. We’re all sleeping better, so we’re all happy with the arrangement.
Random Tidbits: You study EVERYTHING and EVERYONE right now. It’s so funny. You are so ticklish, we love to tickle you and make you laugh. You love going to the pool and/or splash pads—water could entertain you for hours.
How are Mommy and Daddy Doing?: We’re doing great! We’re happy, you’re happy, things are good around here.
8 Month Photos: