Sprouting seeds

March 26, 2010

Last week I tried something new… sprouting!

These are lentils that I sprouted and subsequently used to make Spicy Lentil Soup. (The soup was pretty good… not spicy since I left out the red pepper. It tastes very much like something we would eat after church on a fasting day!)

But back to the sprouting. I got the idea and the instructions from this post on the Kitchen Stewardship blog. Why try this at all? My initial reason was just for my own personal amusement. But there are some better reasons here, which include:

  • reducing carbs
  • increasing Vitamins A and C
  • increasing calcium, iron and other minerals
  • decreasing calories/glycemic load

I haven’t read enough yet to truly become convinced that this is the way to eat seeds, but it was certainly an interesting little experiment! I would like to try sprouting a few other things, such as rice, sunflower seeds and something for sandwich sprouts – perhaps broccoli seeds.


Book Review: Bedtiming

March 18, 2010

snoozing Calvin

I read about this book on Moxie and was intrigued since it purported to take a developmental approach to sleep issues. There are some interesting developmental resources available on infant/child sleep… Moxie herself has some of the best resources on this. But I was still curious about seeing a more comprehensive study of such issues. The premise of this book is that if you want to make sleep changes that happen easily and that will stick, you need to do it in the right developmental window. Since I have tried to make changes before – and I’ve usually failed miserably – I thought that this sounded like good information to have.

I should note that Calvin and I had been experiencing sleep hell when this book arrived. I was really at my wit’s end – what was going on with my little guy who was previously so content to nurse a bit and then go straight back to sleep? Now he cried and squirmed and tossed and turned. It didn’t matter if he slept in his own bed, or in my bed… no matter what I tried, he could not sleep. He was nursing at night more than a newborn and still he could not sleep. I am so thankful that Moxie had several great posts on the 18 month-old and how he didn’t want to sleep. Misery loves company.

So you can bet that upon receiving the book I quickly flipped to the section that would address my current woes. According to the book, 17-21 months is not a good time to implement changes because of the toddler’s fear of separation and his determination to hold his own in conflict situations. Instead, stay consistent in bedtime routines and just wait it out. I really was not surprised by the advice because it was exactly what I was experiencing. While I would have liked a solution, I can definitely appreciate the fact that what I was experiencing was normal.

In the end though, I didn’t feel that this book  really had a lot to do with sleep. Instead the book is a developmental overview up to age four. The developmental stages are loosely tied to sleep issues. Sleep is really only mentioned at the very beginning and the very end of the book. I think this would be really helpful information for new parents who don’t yet know much about developmental stages. Otherwise, I think that Moxie’s information about sleep regressions is every bit as helpful – and I’d even venture to say that it’s probably more helpful.

The second to last chapter is devoted to a brief analysis of the major “sleep training” techniques: CIO a la Weissbluth, CIO/gradual extinction a la Ferber, and no-cry solutions a la Pantley. The authors contend that there is no best way to help your baby sleep so they run through the major options and leave it to the parent to choose. I am anti-CIO (I particularly abhor Weissbluth’s method), but I do appreciate the way that the authors handled these topics. In the CIO section they are careful to point out that there is nothing wrong with nursing or rocking your baby to sleep and that indeed, this is often a very enjoyable activity.

Long story short: Take a look at this book if you want a good developmental overview that can be related back to sleep issues. There is a little chart in the front of the book that is especially handy for quickly determining whether or not your child is at a good age for changes. There was once a time when I thought that I would easily go on nursing Calvin at night until he was no longer interested… that time passed. There will most likely come a time when you want to make changes to help your child (and you!) sleep, so be prepared beforehand.

Is anyone else in a constant state of trying to get organized? Have you also come to the realization that no amount of organizational do-dads are going to help the process?

I’ve been on an organization mission for the past year. Something about having a baby in the house made me realize that though I appear organized on the surface, I am in fact very disorganized underneath. The solution has been simple but not painless: less stuff. If I get rid of all the stuff that I don’t use then organization becomes much more feasible.

Purging is simple if you follow a basic plan:

1. Determine to be resolute in your decisions. This is not going to work if you are going to waffle or err on the side of keeping something “just in case.”

2. Decide which area to tackle first. I recommend a small area like the coat closet, bathroom cabinets or linen closet.

3. Bring along two sets of boxes or bags. One is for items to be donated, the other is for items to be trashed. You may want another box for items to be sold,only if your stuff is valuable and you have the time and inclination to bother with selling. Personally I find that selling is time-consuming and adds another layer of complication to my life. I don’t bother for items that are worth less than $20 or so.

4. As you look at the items in this space, ask yourself: How long have I had this? When have I last used this? If you’ve had it for a year or more and you haven’t used it, then it must go. Does this still fit? Do I ever wear this? It’s really hard to get rid of “skinny clothes.” For now give yourself permission to hold on to the items that you really liked, but get rid of the rest. If there are items that you never wear then these too must go. Do I even like this? Sometimes I find that I hold onto something even though I have never liked it – maybe it was a gift or maybe I got a deal on it. These items too must go.

5. It is inevitable that there will be a few items that you just can’t decide on. There may be a shirt or shoes that you haven’t worn in years but you think you will wear someday. If you are really torn between keeping and tossing/donating an item, then I recommend placing these items in a “donate later” box. Pack the items in the box and then push it to the back of the closet. If you don’t miss these items in the next six months, then go ahead and get rid of them.

6. Once you have conquered the easy areas like the linen closet, move on to the harder areas such as your own closet, the kitchen, the basement, the garage. Once you experience a small taste of success you will hopefully become an efficient (and ruthless!) purger.

7. After you have acquired a decent sized donation pile, drive it to the nearest Goodwill, or schedule a free pickup using the VVA or the Salvation Army.

8. Wait a few months… and then repeat the exercise all over again. If you’re anything like me, you will continue to find items that must go. Purging must be performed on an ongoing basis.

I am fortunate in that I am not sentimental at all when it comes to things. This makes purging really easy for me. I am unfortunate in that my husband is extremely sentimental – to the point where we are storing the boxes and manuals for every computer program he has ever purchased… including old copies of Windows.

I have been doing this for a while and I have found that I have no regrets about the items that I have purged. (Well, I’ll take that back just a bit – there was one time when I was stripping diapers that I regretted getting rid of a very large stock pot. But I have two other stock pots so this was by no means a monumental regret.) What I do regret is that I’ve let stuff clutter up my home and my life. I regret the money I’ve spent on acquiring junk. I regret the fact that I have moved items from house to house without ever using said items.

Live and learn. The process has not only made my house much less cluttered, but I’ve become a more savvy shopper. I’m much more critical of evaluating an item to see if it is junk that I will someday toss or an item that I truly need. If there is any chance that it is the former, then I am likely to save my money for something more meaningful.

So-called discipline

March 4, 2010

“When a child hits a child, we call it aggression. When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility. When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault. When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline.”Haim G. Ginott

If this is something that I myself can’t reconcile, I don’t see how I could ever possibly expect a child to understand that spanking was acceptable and even beneficial as some say. All of my life I have been told that it’s unacceptable to hit someone to get what I want – but somehow it becomes ok once I am a parent? I just don’t think so.