Monthly Archives: March 2009

A while back a dear friend of mine from my former life reached out to me on facebook.  After reading my blog, he mentioned how much I had changed and how somehow I was still that girl he used to know.  I have to admit I am curious what exactly he meant by that.  

What a unique perspective he has.  To have known me so well at a time when I was so young, so broken, so sad.  I hope that the things he remembers about me are the good things and that those might not have changed and that he can forgive me.  

Seeing all these people on facebook from a time in my life I now refer to as the dark years has brought up a bit of stuff for me.  It reminds me from time to time of the mistakes I made, the people I hurt and the pain I felt.  But, the vast majority of the memories are of small moments, kindness, good times, adventures, lessons learned and love.  It makes me nervous to reach out to those who may only remember my transgressions or worse, not remember at all.

Thank you for influencing me and helping  me and loving me and leaving me.  Each one of you contributed to my ability to come out the other side, prepared me for all the joys and challenges that lay before me.  I learned so much from you and the glimmers of light find a warm home in my memory and heart.

  • A rescued eyelash
  • A mixed tape from a foreign land
  • A safe place when I needed one
  • A back rub, bubble bath and talks into the wee hours of the night
  • A hero in my darkest place
  • A car dance and a sing along
  • A fit of giggles to rival no others
  • A strong and kind voice when I really needed one.

To each of you who crossed my path, entered my life, spent time with me, held my hand and left or were left behind.  Thank-you and I’m Sorry.

When Ada was younger, she had terrible cradle cap. Not your average cradle cap that most kids get, but persistent cradle cap that would not go away and lasted until I finally beat it when she was three.

I was especially panicky about this because I had the same thing when I was little and it took my mom until I was five to get rid of it. By that time, I was picking at it and pulling off the scabs. My scalp was so damaged that I still have bald spots where the cradle cap used to be. I was totally freaked out and determined not to let this happen to Ada, so I scoured the Internet for any ideas.

My pediatrician, although wonderful and I love her dearly, was really useless with this. She just kept saying to put olive oil on her head and then scrub as I washed it out. Well, this didn’t work worth a damn.

What finally worked for us was The Original Little Sprout – Moisturizing Baby Shampoo (4 oz).

This shampoo is especially made for gently getting rid of cradle cap. It comes in a 4 oz and 16 oz size. It is very concentrated and it only took one 4 oz. bottle to get rid of Ada’s cradle cap. You have to use very little, the size of a dime is plenty, especially for a small child. I would recommend starting with the small bottle and don’t be alarmed by it’s small size, just use a little bit.

When washing the hair, I recommend letting the shampoo sit on the head for a few minutes if you can. I know this can be difficult with small kids in the bath, but if you can manage it, letting it site for even just a minute will help.

This will take a little while to work, but I started seeing results quickly and within a month or so it was completely gone and has not even threatened to make a reappearance. And, the biggest thing for me was there was no scraping or scrubbing, which my daughter simply would not tolerate. It is a gentle and natural product  that I felt good about.

There are a couple minor downfalls. It is pretty spendy, but you will likely only need one bottle and I believe well worth the price tag. The other thing is that it isn’t tear free so be really careful around your child’s eyes. I find that putting a washcloth over her eyes worked well. She was old enough to hold the washcloth herself, which gave her a sense of control during an activity that she absolutely hated.

Another great product that I discovered for hair washing is the Lil Rinser Splashguard. Forms a seal on the forehead while still allowing the water to run over your child hair. Pretty slick.

This has become the only stir fry we do at our house because we simply can’t get enough.  So Good!

I use steak for this, but it is equally good with pork and I am sure it would be tasty with chicken as well.  We just eat so much chicken that sometimes it is nice to have a little change.  This is one of the few meals we use beef for and so we savor it.   

Because the meat marinades for a bit, you can safely use an extra lean cut of beef such as sirloin or top round.  Top round is a very economical choice for this type of dish where you might want to save your splurge on sirloin or tenderloin for when you want just a good old fashioned steak.  mmmm.

Another great thing about this recipe is that all of the prep can be done in advance and stored in the fridge for several hours.  I typically do this on a night I go to yoga.  I have Karli put the rice in about a half an hour before I get home and then we can eat in less than ten minutes when I get home late.

Favorite Steak Stirfry

3 Servings

1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
8 oz sirloin steak, sliced thin

Marinade
2 T Soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
1 t sesame oil
1 t sugar
1 t corn starch

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1 T chili paste (such as Sriracha)
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
1 cup green onion, sliced

Cooking Sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 T soy sauce
1 T peanut butter

In a medium bowl soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and corn starch.  Add the thinly sliced beef and stir.  Cover and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Combine chicken broth, soy sauce and peanut butter for cooking sauce in a small bowl and set aside.  Don’t worry about mixing it up as you are just going to dump it in the pan and it will be easier to mix in the hot pan.

When you are ready to cook, make sure all of your ingredients are prepped and ready to go in the pan.  You will not have time to cut anything up once food goes in the pan.

Heat a Wok over medium high heat.  Add Beef mixture, garlic, ginger and chili sauce to pan and cook stiring occasionally until meat is just cooked through.  A couple of minutes tops.

Add the sugar snap peas and carrots and cook for another minute until peas are bright green.

Add the cooking sauce and cook until sauce is well combined and starts to thicken.

Serve immediately over rice.  Enjoy!

Nutritional Information – Grade: A

This is an original copywrited recipe by Karin Reece.

For more stirfry recipes, I recommend 300 Best Stir-Fry Recipes

I would like to introduce you to marnievalenta.com, my latest project.

Marnie Valenta - Seattle Massage Therapy and Birth Doula

Marnie has been my massage therapist for years and acted as our doula for Ada’s birth.  

She is a dear friend and I was so happy to be able to give her a professional web presence to promote her business.

If you live in Seattle and are in need of a good massage or compassionate and strong labor support, I recommend you give her a call.

Marnie was interested in being able to edit her website herself, but with such a simple site and being a savvy woman she wasn’t in need of a full content management system, just an easy way to edit the copy on her site.    

To accomplish this I used tableless HXTML and CSS for the layout, which removes much of the extranneous code from view, and php to insert the header and footer.  This created simple pages of text which are easily editable and separate from the bulk of the sites code, leaving little room for problems to occur. Now marnie can maintain her own site, saving time and money.

When Ian was just a few months old he broke out in what I thought was a rash.  He had patches of light pink bumps all over his body.   I was not familiar with exzema and this didn’t look like the red raw patches I had seen on other kids with eczema.  

I took him to the doctor and they made me go in the back door where they send the really contagious kids.  I was a little freaked out.  What did they think it was?  But, it was a simple case of eczema.  Ok, now what.   She recommended that I lotion him up twice a day and if that didn’t work I could call and get the prescription cream.

At the time Ada was taking a class at The Little Gym (a wonderful place by the way, especially for the toddler age group).  I was talking about this with the other moms there and one of them popped up.   Her son had also had eczema and she recommended
Cetaphil Cream.

She said that she had tried everything, even the prescription cream and nothing had worked very well until another mom had recommended the
Cetaphil Cream.  

Well, it worked like a charm.  I lathered him up twice a day and within a couple of days there was significan improvement and then it was gone and hasn’t really been back.  I continue to apply the cream after every bath and then when I see I little patch I go back to twice a day and it never even gets going.

I recently recommended this to a friend who was going through the same thing and was about to start on the prescription cream and she tried it and it worked great for her too.  

If your child suffers from eczema, this is definitely worth a try.  It is very inexpensive and overall a great cream.  I now use it as a body lotion because I have pretty dry skin.  

Mom Tip – Recommended Product for Eczema – Cetaphil Cream

This is the kind that comes in a tub, not a tube.  There is a lotion and a cream.  Make sure to get the cream.

I also use the Cetaphil cleanser as my everyday facial cleanser andI love it, cheap and works great.  Gotta love that.

Do you have experiences with eczema, cetaphil or other words of wisdom on this topic?  Please share by adding a comment below.

This is part 1 of 1 in the series Mom Tips

There are many times when the little pieces of wisdom learned from other parents, friends, teachers, grandparents, coworkers or whomever come screaming to the rescue. These bits of information that lie in the back of our minds are very valuable and should be openly shared and cherished between parents. It is our job as parents to support each other and we have so much knowledge and experience that we may never share with each other, but definitely show.

A couple of weeks ago some dear friends of ours were visiting for dinner. As you do when visiting with other parents we were sharing our little worries and goings on with our kids. It just happened that I had also recently dealt with similar issues as my youngest is just a few months older than her youngest. I was able to share a couple of products and experiences that turned out to really work for her. These same products were passed onto me from other moms who had dealt with similar situations in their pasts.

I also have a few lines of wise words that were shared with me by teachers of classes I have taken that have shaped who I am as a parent. I find myself sharing these with others regularly.

This is how is goes in the world of parenting and these things have inspired me to start a series of articles called Mom Tips.  Although I will be sharing my mom tips, I would also love to hear yours.  You can share in this discussion by commenting on individual posts with ideas or questions about that particular topic. Or if you have a mom tip or would like to discuss a new topic, I would encourage you to contact me with your mom tip or question and If it is appropriate for my readers I will post it to the Mom Tips article series. Just use the contact me form and make sure to include your website URL so that if I use it I can give you proper credit.

I really look forward to sharing in an open dialog about products, tips and words of wisdom that make us all the fantastic parents that we are.

For this reading I will use the first ten sword cards and the first ten major arcana cards to examine how I am as a risk taker.   Swords generally deal with struggles, power and strategy and I hope to see how I might best manage the risk and anxieties in my life.  

The Layout

This reading uses a triple cover and cross layout.  I will use three basic cover and cross pairs using the I-X of Swords and the first ten major arcana cards, shuffled separately.

The basic cover and cross layout consists of one card upright (covers you) and one laying across that one (crosses you).  Just like a cross.  The cover card represents the current situation and the cross card represents the challenges you face.

Shuffle the sword cards while asking your question and deal up the first three cards in the covers position.  Then shuffle the major arcana cards while asking your question and deal up the first three cards in the cross position.

Tarot Reading

The Question: How can I ensure I take the right risks?

The Spread

Covers:  X Swords
Cross:  X Wheel

Covers:  IX Swords
Cross: IX Hermit

Covers: I Swords
Cross: VI Lovers

Interesting or coincidental that the first two are both nines and then both tens.  Hmmm.

The Answer

You are very capable of making a comeback.  Look to trusted friends for advice, but when the decisions need to me made, take some time to yourself and trust your own gut.  You will have the most success working with a partner.

The Cards

X Swords

My Take*:  A Man cowers under a ring of swords.  He is currently repelling the swords but that situation could change at any time.  He is naked and hides his head. Vulnerable is the word that comes to mind.

The Card:  You have completely lost yourself in the ruminations of your conscious mind.  The chattering monkey mind has obscured your perspective and the ability to see clearly and you are no longer able to manage things productively.  The good news is that there is nowhere to go but out of this situation now.  This is the end of the road and now you are able to see new opportunities and the potential for growth.

X World

My Take:  This card always reminds me of the Wheel of Time.  How no matter what happens time keeps moving on, with or without us.  It represents all the possibilities of the Universe and it is all up to us whether we seize those opportunities or let them pass us by.

The Card:  This card represents the feeling that our fate is determined by some mechanical or cosmic machine.  But no matter how many things are out of our control, there are many many things that we can control.  We just have to look at these things in new and creative ways.  It can represent feeling helpless to your circumstances and most definitely means that change is coming, usually for the better.  We must remember the control that we do have in our lives and not let ourselves believe too strongly in the power of those things outside ourselves.  

IX Swords

My Take:  Afraid of the things that go bump in the night.  A woman lays, afraid.  The swords are all gathered in a point right above her head.  A tree reaches out like a claw.  These are the scary thoughts that run around in our heads.  Being afraid of everything whether it is real or not or should be scary or not.  Letting our thoughts cripple us.

The Card:  Anxiety caused by the trappings of the mind.  How we think about things effects our perception of the world around us.  If we expect bad things to happen then they usually will.

IX Hermit

My Take:  This card is about looking deep within ourselves for the answers to our questions.   It’s about removing ourselves from out surroundings in order to gain perspective on a situation.  

The Card:  Seclusion, meditation and removing of oneself to gain perspective.  Self imposed isolation and contemplation.   The lantern brings light into the farthest reaches of the mind.  Make sure that the isolation is for reflection and not simply to escape.

I Swords

My Take*:  An armored and winged woman is the hilt of this single sword.  Light radiates from behind the sword through a dappled cloud sky.  The tip of the sword runs through a golden triangle.  Ones are generally about new opportunities.   This card speaks to me of a renewal in strength.  The woman is ready to take flight like a regal bird, yet grounded by the golden triangle.

The Card:   A new idea or “Aha” moment.  A new  and clearer understanding of the world around us and our personal path.  Great opportunity for growth and change.

VI Lovers

My Take:   Intimate relationships.   Obtaining the ultimate closeness while still retaining your own identity.   

The Card:  Relationships, sharing of self, vulnerability, attraction of opposites.  All types of relationships are represented, not only love relationships.    Sharing of oneself can be frightening, but closeness and a breaking down of barriers can be achieved by being honest and up front.  Communication and understanding prevail. 

Reading Analysis

These three set reading tend to deal with past present and future and the first set seems to hold true with this.  I feel like the last year has been all about giving in and resigning to the situation so that I can finally see past all the anger and pain and fear and move on with my life in a more productive and genuine way.  It is time for me to break myself down and pick through all the pieces to determine who it is I really want to be.  This required getting rid of the negative influences in my life, renegotiating my boundaries and interactions with those closest to me and learning enough about myself to redefine who I am.  With this comes the ability to move forward in a new way that is very exciting and more than a bit scary.  

It is funny that they talked about the chattering monkeys.  My therapist referred to my constant ruminating as chattering monkeys as well.  A big part of this journey for me has been to differentiate between when the monkeys are working on something productive and when they are just being distracting and destructive.  I am working on this and also telling them that this isn’t productive and diverting them onto more productive paths.  It seems to be working quite well.  Really dealing with depression, anxiety, fear, chattering monkeys or whatever else is all the same.  You have to look it straight in the eye, accept it and recognize it for what it is, then simply move on with your day.  There is little you can do about your physical reactions or mental wanderings, but you can identify it correctly and chose to live your life anyway.  And eventually the thoughts and physical sensations begin to subside, at least that has been my experience.

For a while now, I have felt really out of control, like the world was spinning out of control around me.  The Wheel card represents that.  But now, I am taking back the control that I do have, by choosing the people who influence my life, facing my fears and slaying the dragons, as I like to say, as well as trying to reconcile, resolve and/or let go of the things that haunt me from my past.

The nine of swords and Hermit pairing make perfect sense for the present with anxiety brought on by the workings of my mind and my resulting self imposed isolation.  I have been going through a lot and have closed rank as a way to cope and work through everything.  Only recently have I really started to reach out again and am beginning to attempt to clear away some of the rubble.  

This is where the risk this reading addresses really comes into play.  In the future set we have the one of swords about new inspirations and opportunities paired with the lovers which deals with open and honest communication and relationships.  To me this means that new opportunities lie in my relationships with others and with open and honest communications, being comfortable with my vulnerability and recreating the important relationships in my life in an honest and meaningful way.   It also may mean that a new relationship in my life will be a rewarding risk.  

Overall an honest and encouraging reading.

 

* Please keep in mind that I am learning and this is a new deck of cards for me.  The “My Take” statements are my first impression based on just looking at the card.  It is very likely that the first time the card comes up they won’t be even remotely close.  Please don’t hold it against me.  “The Card” statements are more accurate and based on the meanings that are presented with the card.

Well, it finally happened.  With my son, it was only a matter of time.  Today after lunch, he took my half full coffee cup off the table and poured it on my brand new couch (well, not brand new any more, but still, come on).  

I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  My head was spinning and this high pitched sound came out of my mouth. 

I immediately grabbed the roll of paper towels and started blotting.  The phone was sitting right there, so I called Karli to help me look up what to do.  I was afraid to stop blotting long enough to look up how to clean it.

Now, I knew that the microfiber was easy to clean.  That’s one of the reasons we went that way.  With kids, there always seems to be some small smear of something or other littering the couch cushions.  These wipe away with a damp sponge in just a couple of seconds.  But a whole cup of coffee?  I was sure we were doomed.

There was lots of advice available very easily online.  What we found is that microfiber can be cleaned with almost anything.  But Karli found a great little trick and I actually remember somebody telling me this also.  Wet Wipes.  Who woulda thunk it? 

Worked like a charm.  The stain is completely gone, like it never was there in the first place.  My only concern now is with the cushion underneath.  There is a faint smell of coffee surrounding the couch, but that will fade I’m sure.  Right?

The cushion cover unzips, but I am worried I won’t be able to get the cushion back in right and I am also not sure what I would do when I got there.  Maybe when I am done writing this, I will take a closer look.

I know that this wasn’t really his fault.  I definitely shouldn’t have left a cup of coffee anywhere he could reach it.  But at what point is this kind of thing going to slow down.  I know it won’t stop for a long while, but I feel like all I do is chase after him from one thing he knows he’s not supposed to do to another.  When does just a little bit of impulse control kick in?  

He knows what he is doing is wrong.  He runs runs away as soon as he sees me coming and knows to wait until I leave the room before doing these things.  He has a set of them:  the phone, the remotes, any food or drink available, the puzzle/game cabinet, my china cabinet, the computer, my laptop, grabbing anything he can reach off the counter etc.  I do the best I can to cover all my bases and watch him as closely as I can, but sometimes you have to pee or wash a dish or answer the phone or make lunch.  

I have put up gates everywhere I can and the tops of anything high I own are overflowing with stuff I have tried to get out of the way.

It all just makes me so tired.  I am definitely ready for whatever the next stage is because this one is getting old.  It was hard to see past it to the cuteness today, which is usually my way back.

Well, I guess we will all agree that this season of the Bachelor and our dear Jason have been turned on its head.  It’s a shame really, I was rooting for him and honestly I still am.   Did he look like a total prick last night? absolutely.  But if he and Molly make it and are happy then I will be happy for them.  

It takes a lot more guts to face that and do what you think is right than to run away and hide and I really want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

With that said, I have read the blog articles written by the “source” and by Chris Harrison and here is my two cents on what was said.  Please excuse the following rambling unformatted rant, but this is the exact IM message I sent Karli just a little while ago after he sent me these articles.  Thanks honey!

Very interesting. I guess I just don’t put anything past reality shows and it doesn’t surprise me at all that they made them break up on camera. Last night on kimmel, he said he “had to” and I believe that contractually he probably did. It would surprise me greatly though if Melissa didn’t know it was coming and was prepared for it. Sure it was ugly, but do you really think that they were going to pass up the opportunity to show something like that on camera. No way. My gut tells me that there was no big plan though. I think that something happened over the holidays that they spent together that he or both of them decided that they were not going to talk about on camera because it was too personal. The email is convincing, if it is real but there is absolutely no way for us to ever know if it is or not and this guy certainly doesn’t seem like he is above making stuff up to further his own agenda. Notice how he had to drop how he was quoted in US Weekly. He thinks he is going to become Perez. As far as the contract goes and the non-disclosure, I bet that is pretty standard in the reality show world. I bet the people that go on Survivor have to sign the same sort of thing, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there actually surviving, we know they are. The show has had a really good run and I just doubt they would do something so tainted and desperate as to completely jeopardize the show’s whole reputation.

I am proud to announce my latest project.  Morningstarschool.com

morningstarschool.com

This wonderful little school is my daughter’s preschool and my son will start attending here in the fall as my daughter goes off to Kindergarten.  I am proud to be able to contribute to my children’s school by using my skills to help them create a whimsical yet professional website that helps them to grow their business and take away the headaches and expenses of maintaining a website.

This is a custom themed WordPress implementation used as a simple content management system using pages and custom navigation.  Although WordPress is usually used as a blog platform, as it is on the redesigned mom, it lent itself nicely to this application.

The director’s goal was to be able to easily update the content on her own site without having to worry about coming in contact with the structure of the site.  Wordpress enables her to update the text, images, downloadable documents, photo galleries and school closure information at the touch of a button in a “word-like” environment that she felt comfortable with.  I was even able to provide her with quick reference tutorials using draft posts that are available right on her administrator dashboard.

There are many content management systems available and I looked at drupal as well, because it is the other one I am familiar with, but for this simple site there just wasn’t the need for a more complicated and robust system like Drupal.  Wordpress in all it’s blogging glory was just what this little static site ordered.