Tag Archives: Working mom

What happened to 2010?

2010 2011 countdown

Countdown to 2011!

Wow, I have to admit it, the past couple of months have gone by in a blur. Actually I’m not really sure what happened to 2010… Now that only 17 days are left in the year, it’s time to reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly that 2010 brought to me and my family.  I blogged about some of those events, and still need to do so for others. So here we go, in no particular order:

My four-year-old son got his tonsils and adenoids out, and gained over an inch, several pounds and tons of energy within a couple of months. Love it!

● He also started a new preschool this summer and I couldn’t be happier about the new school, where he learns a lot every day while having fun. Score!

● My youngest broke his front tooth, requiring a crown. Six months later, he broke that crown and needed another one. Bummer!

● This same little guy could barely put a few words together at the start of 2010, just before he turned two. Today, he speaks in long sentences, sometimes garnished with his favorite swear words (e.g. “Where did you put my f#$%ing triceratops?”). I’m almost proud!

● We took our first family trip overseas to Europe. Exhausting, but full of memories!

I turned 40 and survived it!

● I got my first crown. Dental crown, I mean. I didn’t become royalty, not even of the b-i-t-c-h club. That happened several years ago.

● I started the year with an injured back that got better after several months, only to injure it again a few weeks ago. Hate it!

● I took a new job in January that promised more money, great responsibilities and a good career path. It turned out to be nothing like the job I was sold. I mean, told. I got a way out in September. Lucky!

● I’m now spending two weekdays a week with my youngest and will add my oldest to those days starting in January 2011. I didn’t know how much I missed being with my kids until recently. Precious!

● I started my own freelance marketing copywriting business, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Happy!

● I just launched a new website I’m very passionate about, BuyProductsFromFrance.com, to fill a gap on the internet by helping French expatriates and French enthusiasts find French products online. Very excited!

● I’ve decided to create a new blog for 2011 to capture my daily sightings of cows (check out Every day I see a cow and Did you know they have cows at SeaWorld? for the daily cow sighting theory). I want to test this theory once and for all, and I think it will be fun. Stay tuned for the new blog announcement! Completely useless, but adventurous and fun!

● After seven and a half years together, my partner and I are tying the knot in January, mostly for tax purposes, since I’m probably going to be poor for a while… Smart!

I’m glad the end of 2010 is near but I wouldn’t take away anything bad that happened this year (well, except for the back pain and the dental issues!). Each challenge gives us the opportunity to think about where we want to take our lives next. For me, these 2010 events have forced me to reconsider the right balance between work and life at home. Work now means doing something I really enjoy and am passionate about, rather than solely focus on career and status. Life at home means spending quality time with my kids and taking a few minutes every day to smell the roses. Hmm, I’d forgotten how wonderful they smelled…

DECEMBER 31, 2010 UPDATE – The brand new “Every day I see a cow” blog is up and running, just in time to document daily cow sightings in 2011! Take a look and let me know what you think. “Every day I see a cow” is also on Facebook, so feel free to visit the page, like it, and share your own cow sightings with everyone. The more, the merrier!

Every day I see a cow on Facebook

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Where do I get my “imperfect mom of the year” award?

My job situation allows me to work from home most of the time, but it also requires me to travel out of town for a few days every other week. Because of many co-workers being away, I had to delay this week’s trip to next week, allowing me to schedule meetings with the appropriate during my visit to the office.

The other night, my significant other and I were discussing my son’s upcoming 4th birthday party, scheduled for July 24, when he pointed out that I would be out of town for my son’s birthday on July 20. I quickly glanced at the calendar and realized he was right. Holy crap, how did I manage to do that??? Ugh, nice job, mama, for scheduling your business trip on your child’s special day!

I can fix this by either apologizing in advance to my son for not being home on his birthday, or pretending that his birthday is Monday and not Tuesday, while I’m still in town. But that would make me look like an even lousier mom, right? I guess I’d better find a really awsome Buzz Lightyear birthday cake to make up for this…

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Turning 40 today – how I survived the big 40…

40 and fabulous T-shirt

Wow, I turned 40 today and I made it through the day without flipping out! Maybe it will hit me hard when I wake up tomorrow, but it doesn’t seem like a big deal at this moment. I remember when my own mother was 40. I was 15 myself and back then, I thought she was sooooo old… Today, I’m the one reaching that milestone and my perspective is obviously different. I was 36 when I had my first child and 38 for the second, so to my 15-year-old self, I’d look quite ancient!

Growing up (and eventually growing older) has quite a few advantages in my opinion. When I turned 20, I didn’t know anything about life and I didn’t care. The world was completely open and out there for me to discover. Over the next 10 years I figured things out and found myself, including by moving to another continent and sticking to a job I would enjoy long-term. By the time I turned 30, I felt like I finally graduated to adulthood, and it was a cool place to be. Another 10 years have gone by and at 40, I feel like I have proven myself to other people (I have a career and I can handle two kids, well, most of the time) and now I’d like to prove to myself that I can develop some other talents and interests. Which talents, I’m not sure yet, but that’s what makes life interesting every day.

And yes, my “40 and fabulous” T-shirt from Cafe Press is in the mail, and I can’t wait to wear it! To all moms out there 40 and over, carpe diem! As KebMo says it so well, “life is beautiful, life is wondrous…”

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How to make your own baby food – homemade tastes best!

Homemade baby food

When I was pregnant with my first child, a friend of mine mentioned that she had made most of the baby food for her own children. I was working full-time and she was too, but I thought she was nuts to even suggest that I would spend hours in my kitchen making baby food I could so easily buy at the grocery store!

Then I started browsing the offerings at my local supermarket, and that made me think. First stage baby food offerings encompassed bananas, apples, pears, prunes, carrots, etc. The second stage foods included more vegetables, such as peas, green beans, sweet potatoes (where the heck is broccoli by the way?). Then I closely looked at the price tag and did some math. For Gerber baby food, I could get 2 packs of 2.5oz each for $1. Organic food jumped to 70 cents for one jar of 2.5oz. That’s $3.20 and $4.50 a pound respectively! Ouch, I thought, trying to calculate how many jars of food my baby would go through in his first year. I can see now why people say having a baby is expensive!

Before I gave birth, I had also decided I would exclusively breastfeed my baby, so I saw the possibility of making my own baby food as a natural extension of the gesture of nourishing my child with my own resources and not resort to a food manufacturer to do so.

Finally, there’s the environmental aspect of premade baby food. Can you imagine how many glass jars and plastic containers you could go through by the time your baby is ready for table food? My personal goal didn’t intend to take the baby food manufacturers and the makers of glass and plastic out of business, but gee, I had to consider the alternative… making my own baby food.

Well, guess what, I did it and you can too! You actually don’t need that many utensils, and if you follow my advice, it’s super easy to do and won’t take that much of your time. Trust me, I’ve got a full-time job and I continued making my own baby food for my second baby, even when his brother kept me ridiculously busy and often out of the kitchen.

Here’s what you need to do this right:

1) Make full use of naptime:

Use naptime to do all of the food prep, cooking and freezing. Shop in the morning with your baby, and make use the outing to show him all of the nice fruit and veggies you’re buying just for him. Always take advantage of a teaching lesson when you see one!

2) Start small:

Don’t buy five pounds of each fruit and veggies in one single weekend. You’ll be cooking for hours, and unless you have a separate freezer, it won’t all fit. Buy one or two pounds of each, and maybe two or three kinds of produce at once.

3) Find some good fruit and vegetables:

Go to your local produce market and buy regular or organic. I purposely bought as much organic produce as I could, because even at $2/pound, it was cheaper than the $4.50/pound for organic jars. Don’t hesitate to also look in the frozen department. Vegetables are frozen fresh and it’s a great way to locate good veggies at all times of year (e.g. green beans, peas, cauliflower, etc).

4) Make use of the kitchen utensils you already have:

– A large cooking pot and/or a steamer and/or a microwave

– A food processor or a blender (don’t buy a special baby food blender, what you already have in your kitchen will work just fine!)

– Ice cube trays (regular trays work just fine, so don’t waste your money on fancy ones)

– Freezer bags and a freezer

Now, you’re ready to go and in less than an hour, you’ll have many, many baby feedings available:

1) Wash your hands! Wash all produce very carefully. Peal if necessary and cut in small pieces so it cooks quickly.

2) Cook the food in a pot, an electric steamer (or a steamer basket in a pot), or even in your microwave with some water at the bottom of the dish. I used my steamer a lot to preserve as many of the nutrients and vitamins as I could. Don’t season anything until your baby is a little older (8 or 9 months old). Then you can add vanilla and cinammon to fruit, and parsley, garlic, onion powder, olive oil, etc to vegetables. Just like us, babies love food that tastes good!

3) Cook thoroughly until soft. As your baby gets older, you don’t need to cook it as long. Keep the water in the pot or container and let things cool a little.

4) Use a blender or a food processor (you can buy a handheld blender for really cheap if you can’t afford a  Kitchenaid) and blend everything well. If it needs moisture, add water to it. As your baby gets older, blend less and leave more chunks. Eventually, you may be able to just mash everything with a fork.

5) Fill the ice cube trays with the blended food. Each cube equals about 1oz, so you know how much to feed your baby.

6) Store the ice cube trays in your freezer until frozen solid (overnight). Empty the cubes into small freezer bags and store back in the freezer as soon as possible. Don’t forget to label the bags with the food name, as well as the date!

7) To defrost, take the cubes you need out of the freezer the night before, or reheat in the microwave on low.

The great thing about making your own baby food, besides the financial and environmental aspect, is that it allows you to mix the various foods to create your own combinations (banana-apple, apple-pear, pear-peach, sweet potato-green beans, squash-broccoli, etc). This is very convenient when you want to introduce a new food. Use a food your baby is familiar with as a base (e.g. sweet potato, and mix the new food with it (e.g. broccoli).

I’m sure you’ll find plenty of baby food recipes on the web and you may feel overwhelmed with all of the options. My advice to you is, KEEP IT SIMPLE! Babies like to taste a lot of things, but not at all once, so enjoy the learning curve with them and take plenty of pictures and videos as they say hmmm, or they make funny faces and spit it all out!

You can download a printable chart of baby foods you can introduce to your baby and at what age on the Wholesomebabyfood website.

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