Monthly Archives: March 2008

I have been a little dormant the last couple of months.  I think I might be suffering from some very slight postpartum depression as I seem to be following some similar patterns to way back when I used to be depressed much of the time.

I have just been coming at life from a pretty dark outlook, been moody and just completely unmotivated to do anything at all.  It totally sucks.  But, i don’t want to blame this solely on something chemical that is happening, although that might be contributing a little.  The fact is that I have done a pretty poor job of taking care of myself, especially since my son was born.

I really didn’t have anything that I could call my own, very little mental stimulation and nothing I was working toward.  I had made the decision when Ian was born that I was going to take the year and really just concentrate on being a good mom and enjoying that.   For the most part this was absolutely the right thing for me to do at the time as I needed to slow down and focus and stew in my own existence for a while.  What I failed to think about was me.   I found out that without the mental stimulation and individual activities, I just lost myself.

I had always heard about stay-at-home moms “losing themselves” to the life of being the one thing they most desired to be.  I never believed that it could happen to me as I have such a strong and driven personality.  Oh boy, was I wrong.  It is so easy to just slowly slide down into the hole and then all you can see is a pinprick of light.

Although this hole was much much more shallow than the holes of my youth, the view was similar and the “bottom” looked much the same.  Earlier this week, I just lost it.  Again,  mild compared to the bottoms of my past.  This used to be a cycle for me.  At the bottom of my deepest hole, I lost my best friend, my boyfriend, my job and my apartment in a matter of 48 hours.  I ended up in a corner crying for several days.  But, although the climb to the top was much more strenuous back then, I never lost sight of that pinprick of light.  This was crucial to my ability to recover from these cyclical events in my life.  I actually haven’t had very many since I met my husband 14 years ago, but I just went through one this week.

It’s funny because I felt it coming and there was nothing I could do to stop it and I didn’t bother to tell anyone about what was going on.  I guess I was just in denial that I could possibly sliding down into the hole, when i thought that I had grown past that.

As I said, this was mild, but I spent much of two days crying, hit another car in a parking lot with my van, picked a doozy of a fight with my husband and threw and pretty severe hissy fit.

The good news is that once I was done, i was shot into action.  I have signed up for a PHP/MySQL certification course at O’reilly School of Technology.  This is not exactly what I would have dreamed of taking, although the skills will be very important and essential to my future freelancing business.  I really wanted to take some design courses, but the only really good ones that I found cost about $8000 for the certificate and that was a little much right now.

My husband made a really good suggestion in that I try to do something reasonably priced (the cert program I chose is $1200)  that would challenge me and build my skillset and also give me a chance to see if online learning at home is something I can be successful at.  Then if I enjoy it and want to continue, then we can look into the more expensive design degree.  Karli is so smart, and always knows how to point me in the right direction.

I am also looking into some yoga classes so that I can get out of the house and have some alone and relaxation time.  I also need to start going to the gym.  Karli would probably let me go to the gym every day if I wanted and I never do.  It’s so ridiculous.

I’ve taken some good steps to relieving some of the pressure and I am proud of that.  There is a lot of work to do still.  I managed to get three loads of laundry done yesterday and the floors swept and mopped the day before.  In my state lately, not even these simplest things were getting done.  I really don’t even know how my family was dealing with my.  I apologize.

There are several other factors that have contributed to my situation that are starting to resolve themselves.  My husband has been going through a terrible ordeal with his job for the last eight months and that is finally coming to an end.  Our life has been on hold for almost a year and has just started to budge a little and I am really looking forward to moving forward.

I can’t tell you how much better i feel, just getting through the last couple of days.  I feel a little joy and have enjoyed my kids in the last couple of days more than I have in months.

It’s actually pretty funny,  My friend T and I go to a psychic once a year for our birthdays and last year he said that my husband would have something really scary happen with his job, but that it would turn out really well and that this year would be about introspection and rebuilding for me.  It’s funny how right they can be sometimes.  He also said we would be moving to someplace warm, most likely LA.  So, everything with a grain of salt I guess.

So my advice to other stay-at-home moms out there is find something to do for yourself.  Just for you, that has nothing to do with your kids or your husband.  Get out of the house and find some way to stimulated yourself in the ways that you will find most helpful to you.  Remember that you are an individual and deserve to treat yourself well.

Our February book club book was Life of Pi. This was my month to host and I chose this book because it is one of my favorites of all time. I love the multi layers of storyline and the ending makes you want to call someone who has also read the book to discuss it immediately.

I don’t want to talk about the book itself too much because it would spoil things for a new reader and I hate spoilers. What I will say is that our discussion at book club was great and moved on from the book to religion, politics and other intriguing topics. Everyone has a different perspective on this book and how they view the underlying path of the plot.

A definite book club must read.

I love this recipe. This sandwich has become one of my husband and my favorite treats and we make it often. My kids are a little small for this kind of sandwich, but I am sure this would be a huge hit with the kids. I know my daughter would love it, if I could actually bring myself to put a sloppy sandwich and a dish of au ju in front of her.

This is a little bit of a diversion from the traditional french dip sandwich, but even my husband, who is a huge connoisseur of sandwiches dipped in au ju, said he doesn’t think that he has had anything this good in a restaurant. Now, that is a lot to live up to, so please don’t presume that this will be the best thing you have ever tasted. But, we think it is yummy. I hope you enjoy.

Roast Beef Dip Sandwiches

Makes 2 sandwiches. You will need around 1/3 of a pound of meat per sandwich and about 1/2 can consumme per adult sandwich. So that should give you an idea of how to scale the recipe.

Au Ju

1 can of beef consumme *
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. garlic powder
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper (a few turns)

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium heat. Let simmer while you prepare the sandwich.

* Beef Consumme is usually located in the soup aisle and is widely available.

Sandwich

2/3 lb sliced roast beef **
2 onion hamburger buns
mayo
creamy horseradish (optional)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut the roast beef into 1″ strips and place in a medium frying pan. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook over medium heat tossing with tongs occasionally until meat is warm and no longer pink, about 5 min.

While meat is cooking, lightly toast the buns.

When buns are done toasting, spread with mayo and horseradish if desired.

Split the meat between the two buns, put the top bun on and cut in half.

Split the au ju between two small dishes (ramekins work great for this) and serve with sandwiches.

Serve and enjoy.

** I usually just buy sliced roast beef from the deli for this. The quality and type of roast beef available at the grocery deli varies greatly, so you will have to try out what is available to you. A couple of recommendations would be to buy the best quality meat that you can and stay away from anything seasoned. You want to get as close to slices of a real beef roast that you can. Ask the deli counter employee at your supermarket for help deciding. You could also use left over beef roast or steak from a previous meal, both of these options would be excellent. Oh yeah, one more thing, don’t slice it too thin. Very thinly sliced meat will fall apart and fall out of your sandwich. It doesn’t need to be thick sliced, but stay away from very thin slices.

One more note: I mentioned tossing the meat with tongs. These tongs are one of my favorite kitchen tools and I highly recommend getting a couple of pair. I have four and really that is not too many, I use them for everything. The come in both a metal and plastic finish. The plastic tipped ones work really great for non-stick pans.

My son has now grown out of baby food and is full on into table food. I am really struggling to find him a good variety of things to eat. It’s very easy to get in a rut.

Anyway, I made most of the baby food for both of my kids and thought I would share my recipes.

My favorite is the vegetable soup. It is tasty (even I would eat it), easy and flexible. The recipe that follows is simply a base. You can feel free to add or subtract ingredients depending on what your child is ready to eat. You can also process the finished soup into whatever consistency is right for your baby’s development stage.

My daughter is four and she still loves this soup. I just leave it a lot chunkier for her.

I prefer to make prepping as easy as possible and it takes a lot let time and effort to use the food processor than to chop all the veggies into bite size pieces. so I don’t worry about chopping all the vegetables down too much. Just to manageable sizes.

This is a great way to use up half bags of frozen vegetables or left over steamed or roasted vegetables. Be creative. I usually just buy whatever organic vegetables I can get for a good price. I include a clove of garlic for flavor, but of course feel free to leave this out if you feel it is too much for your child.

Remember, this is a mixed vegetable soup so please wait until your child is ready for mixed foods before introducing this.

To serve, I usually heat a couple of cubes in the microwave and then mix in a half a scoop of formula, some rice or oat cereal and then thin to the right consistency with water. The consistency will vary depending on how your kid likes it. Ian likes his pretty thick, but Ada preferred hers much thinner.

Baby Vegetable Soup

1 T olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of onion, chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 T dried Italian seasoning
1 bag, frozen mixed vegetables
1 bag prewashed spinach or baby spinach
1 bag of frozen potatoes
1 can of tomatoes, including juice
1 box of low sodium chicken broth

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat
Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to release flavors
Add onion, carrots, celery and Italian seasoning and cook until onion is translucent
Add the rest of the of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer for about an hour or so, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and let cool until not difficult to work with. If you need to leave it for any significant amount of time, make sure to put it in the fridge.

In a food processor or blender, process in batches to the desired consistency. For younger babies puree it down as much as possible. As your child grows older you can leave it more and more chunky.

Pour the completed soup into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. When frozen break out the ice cubes and store them in a gallon freezer bag. This recipe should make enough cubes to fill a gallon freezer bag give or take a little.

1-3 cubes per serving depending on the age and appetite of your child.