Friday, September 10, 2010

How to Set Up Family Cloth: Storing, Using, and Washing Your Wipes

Yay for another article! This one is my last in a series of articles on family cloth. It focuses on storing the clean and dirty wipes, the icky details of actual usage (important because most articles rarely address this), and how to launder the wipes. Please check it out here:

I appreciate it! :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How to Make Your Own Family Cloth Wipes

Yay!!! My second article was published! I'm really flying high on this writing gig :) I need to work on efficiency though, for with the low pay and my dilatory writing process, I'm probably making $0.10/hour. I tend to circle in and circle in towards a coherent article, with insane editing so it actually makes sense. Still, in the end I can put out what is apparently a decent product.

Here is the link to my second article. Should you stumble across this blog, and are interested in family cloth and how to make it, check it out here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm a freelance writer

It's been a long time since I've written in this blog. I ran out of inspiration, I guess. However, I recently got all fired up again after submitting an article to Associated Content for publication and they accepted! Woohoo!!! The pay isn't stellar, but I am still getting paid and that makes me very very happy. I get paid 2 ways: first is an upfront payment and second is payment based on page views. This is the first income I've had in 2 years, meager as it truly is. I'm hoping to make up for low pay with high volume, but we'll see how that goes.

My first article is about family cloth. You can read it here: .

I hope you get a chance to read it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Angel Food Cake

My birthday was last Wednesday. Since Sophie has denied me the opportunity to gorge myself on cheese and chocolate like I wanted to, we had to make alternate plans. I'm not a huge cake person, but I do like angel food cake, and we found a great dairy free/soy free recipe.

This cake was awesome--it's like mainlining sugar and egg whites. Just looking at it screams "Sugar!" LOL.

As it turns out, this cake is essentially meringue with a little extra flour and sugar added in, so as you can imagine, the texture is a bit different from normal angel food cake but good--moist, light, fluffy and slightly sticky. The recipe is below, in case you'd like to try it :)

Angel Food Cake (from the Canadian Living Cookbook)

1 cup sifted cake flour
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups egg whites (about 12) at room temp
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

  1. Sift together flour and ¾ cup of the sugar. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy; add lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt.
  3. Beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, 2 T at a time, beating until mixture is very stiff and glossy.
  4. Sift flour mixture over egg whites in 4 batches, carefully folding in each batch until well blended.
  5. Fold in vanilla.
  6. Pour into ungreased 10-inch tube pan and run a spatula through the mixture to eliminate any large air pockets.
  7. Bake in 350° F oven for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Turn pan upside down and let cake hang until cool.
  8. Remove from pan and frost with your favourite glaze or frosting, if desired.
Now, we had trouble removing it from our bundt cake pan, but did get it out mostly intact. Still, you may want to try lightly greasing and flouring the pan first.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Every 45 minutes? Really?!

Sophie has been suffering more from gas lately. This has coincided with my reintroduction of soy and hidden dairy. At first, I tried to pass it off as mere coincidence, because I did not want to go back to a diet devoid of soy and hidden dairy. Hell, I wanted to start eating obvious dairy. My birthday is next week and I was hoping to have real pizza (read: with cheese) and chocolate. But, after 4 days, I could no longer deny that eating soy and hidden dairy was causing problems for Sophie. Vic and I were both surprised, since we hadn't really noticed her improvement when I stopped eating these foods. Apparently, her improvement was too gradual for our perception. Vic has commented that it's not really fair that it takes her forever to improve, yet she gets worse within a few days. True, but I guess at least this way, we were able to notice the issue. Won't the pediatrician be surprised. He's insisted her gas is just normal gas for babies all along.

Anyway, this increase in gas, combined with Sophie getting accustomed to her crib, means she wakes up a lot. We've been pretty tired, as we'd been getting up every 90 minutes or so, with a record of 2 hours the other night. In addition, as her gas has gotten worse, it's been harder to get her to go back to sleep after she eats, so we've probably been getting about an hour of sleep at a time. Or at least I have. I'm not sure if Vic is getting more sleep during the night, since he doesn't have to get up to feed her. He might still be awake though.

Last night, though, was awful. She got up, on average, about every 45 minutes. By the time I'd feed her and get her back to sleep, it seemed like I'd have to turn around and get back up. I know it's not Sophie's fault, but last night I swear I could hear her thinking "Oh, they're about to get to that deeper, restorative sleep?" WAAHHH!!! And those were the good times. The other times, she just waited until I was about to get to sleep at all.

About 2 am, I just lost it and dissolved into a puddle of tears. I was so tired and so frustrated and I just couldn't take it anymore. I haven't had a moment like this since Sophie was about a week old. Vic got up and took care of Sophie while I went to the bathroom and cried. We decided that since she was sleeping so poorly it'd be better just to put her in bed with us. On one hand, I hated to do this, as it feels like we're backsliding, but on the other, if I didn't get some sleep, I feared I would go stark raving mad. Vic feared the same; he even said he was worried I was going to go crazy. I don't think he meant it literally....but I'm not too sure.

This type of schedule has been very draining. Between lack of sleep and an unsatisfying diet, I've really not been too happy lately. It's pretty damn sad that not getting to eat certain foods gets me down so much, and tells me more about my emotional relationship to food than I really want to know. I know that if I got more sleep, my outlook would be more positive but without it, it's been a spiral into depression. I'm starting to worry about myself--this needs to end soon or I'm really going to run into some problems. I've been holding on, hoping that things would improve--and going back to dairy/soy free, they should--within a week or so. I hope.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sleep Training, continued

VICTORY!! I think.

Sophie has consistently slept in her crib every night now for over a week. This is awesome. We are way ahead of where we ever were before, and it rocks. The last several nights it's taken an average of 30 minutes of pick up/put down before she falls asleep. It's always a bit creepy when this happens, as she cries, cries, pauses, cries, pauses some more, cries, OUT. Sleep takes her so suddenly that both Vic and I have to check and make sure she's still breathing lol.

So, in the first major battle of wills, we have finally come out the winners. Sophie did kick our asses pretty well at first, but we beat her down. At least at night. We gave up on daytime naps for the moment, and she still sleeps on me. I'm not entirely opposed to this. It's certainly easier than spending hours singing to her, after which she is still awake and now cranky because she didn't get a nap. Plus having a baby sleep on you is sweet. The downside, of course, is I can't get anything done, which is the major reason I wanted her to take naps in the crib. Oh well. I will work on that later when I'm more determined.

Sophie is exacting revenge, however. She may be forced to sleep in the crib at night, but she sure doesn't have to sleep for long. I've been up every 90 minutes for the last few nights. There's not much point in Vic getting up, so it's been almost entirely on me. I don't know why she is suddenly feeding at night so frequently--she may not even really be hungry, but if nursing her is the fastest way to get her back to sleep, I'll do it. It's not like she can overfeed from the breast anyway.

So, she's been eating pretty frequently during the day, and now every 90 minutes at night. This makes for a tired Becky. Thank goodness I pull her into bed with me after Vic leaves for work, so I can sleep until around 10 am or so, and catch up a bit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sleep Training

So, lately we've been trying to get Sophie to sleep in her crib. Again. We tried about a month ago, but trying to do it during the 4 month sleep regression, while simultaneously unswaddling her, proved too much. After a week of little sleep we were done.

Still, we are growing quite tired of the cosleeping routine, so now that we've caught up on sleep, we decided to try again.

Day 1--Friday
Our method at this point was to nurse her and then rock her until she fell deeply asleep before transferring her into the crib. So, around 10 pm, we began our bedtime routine--change diaper & clothes, read a book, then nurse and rock. I finally was able to put her down at 11:30 pm. She laid right down without waking. Sweet!!! I tiptoed to bed, congratulating myself on my awesome parenting skills.

Of course, then I laid in bed, listening as hard as I could for any noises that would indicate she was waking. I don't know why I do this--however long she sleeps is never long enough, and I really should just try and get some sleep while I can. But I do it anyway.

She gave me 30 minutes. I had just started drifting off. Damn it! So, knowing she wasn't hungry, Vic got up and tried rocking her back to sleep--for an hour. By then, she was hungry again, so I had to get up and feed her, then rock her and put her back down. Vic and I tiptoe to bed. He felt a little bad that he couldn't get her to sleep by himself--I felt secretly smug. He usually is better than I am at this sort of thing, so it's nice to be the winner for once.

Five minutes later, guess who's awake. So, to recap: over 2.5 hours trying to get her to sleep, and she slept for 35 minutes. It's now about 2 am. We throw in the towel, and into the bed she goes.

Day 2--Saturday
Repeat of Day 1, except we gave up at 12:30 am.

Day 3--Sunday
I don't even remember what happened, but I know she slept with us for the majority of the night.

Day 4--Monday
We decided on a different approach. Instead of spending forever rocking her to sleep, we were going to try putting her down drowsy but awake. This approach we had always laughed at, knowing our daughter, but it was time to try something different, because what we were doing wasn't working. So, after nursing her, I laid her down and then sang and patted her tummy to try and keep her calm. She still got hysterical, so I picked her up, calmed her down, and put her right back down, patting and singing again. Instead of learning that these actions meant she needed to sleep in her crib, Sophie quickly deduced that insane crying the second she was laid down = Mommy picking her back up within a minute. Or two. I was getting pretty irritated. I stuck it out for an hour though, before calling Vic to take over before I threw her out the window. How long did it take Vic to get her asleep, you ask? Twenty minutes. So much for my smug superiority of a few nights ago.

OK, so this took us almost 1.5 hours total to get her to sleep initially. Just as long as rocking. The difference, however, is that eventually Sophie *should* figure out how to fall asleep independently. We'll see.

It was pretty sweet, though, because Sophie then slept for 2 hours! Woohoo! Beats the hell out of 30 minutes. And she went back to sleep quickly, for every subsequent waking. I couldn't believe this was actually working. Until the 8:30 that point I was so tired I just pulled her into bed with me. Oops.

Day 5--Tuesday
Today was the day to step it up a notch. I needed to teach her how to sleep in the crib during naps too. The more we put her in the crib, the more she will associate it with sleeping. After nursing her, I spent about 45 minutes with each attempt. She stayed awake all day long (a blissful 5 minutes being the only exception), getting progressively crankier. She was also very needy, constantly wanting me to hold her--even more so than usual. While this made sense, since she was not used to being by herself at night and was feeling insecure, it did not make for the easiest day for me.

Around 7 pm, she finally got tired enough to fall asleep in the crib for a nap. Vic, naturally, was the one who got her to sleep. I hate how he shows me up all the time. Thank god I'm breastfeeding so at least there's one thing I can do that he can't.

After waking at 8:30, Sophie stayed up with us until around 10 pm. This night showed improvement--we were able to get her to sleep 30 minutes after first putting her in the crib. Yay! There is hope that this method will work. She still woke us up every 2 hours, but at least it didn't take so long at the beginning.

We also decided that she could sleep in bed with me after Vic goes to work in the morning. Inconsistent, you say? Nope, we're consistently putting her in the bed in the morning only--I hope this works. Putting her in the bed is the only way to get past the stage after the 5:30 (or 6:30) feeding, in which she seems dangerously awake. This is not cool, because then I would have to get up. I have, when there's no other choice, but usually I can get her back to sleep (with feedings) until around 10 am or so, which is so much nicer.

That has been our struggle so far. We'll see how it goes. It would be wonderful to be able to put her down for naps and actually (gasp!) get stuff done during the day. Vic and I getting more sleep again after we reclaim our own bed is a pretty good deal too.