Saturday, April 30, 2011

Who knew I would love cloth diapers

Yep.  It's true.  I love cloth diapering.  This is coming from the person who adamantly refused to cloth diaper the munchkin.  The husband wanted to cloth diaper the first kid.  I think he is secretly way more granola then me, but he is just more stealth about it.  (Like the day I came home and all my water bottles were gone and in place of them was a Sigg bottle.)  I may have been a bit mad at the time.  I hate feeling like I am throwing money away - oh wait isn't that what you are doing with disposable diapers.
So back to the story (yes I get distracted easily) - I refused to cloth diaper the munchkin.  At the time we lived in an 80 year old house.  The washer was way down in the dungeon of a basement.  I did not want not be going up and down a rickety staircase to be washing diapers.  And a friend of mine had recently tried it - but using old fashioned cloth diapers like we were all in - and hated it.

But then the fuzzy granola life started kicking in.  And then Tank came along.  We started off in disposables.  Because I have to research everything - for months- before committing to anything.  I may be a bit neurotic that way.  So finally I decided to do it.  And I convinced our daycare (a well known national franchise) to use the cloth diapers as well.  At first they said no, but I didn't settle on that.  I brought in diapers and explained what they would have to do - ran it up through the powers that be -and voila - we have a cloth diapered kid at daycare!

Oh yeah- we moved.  I think the key to the successful cloth diapering is having a laundry room that you love.  Our's is on the second floor next to the bedrooms.  Love that.  When we were still getting up at night with the Tank, I would throw a load of laundry in.  So much easier than the dungeon basement.

And the times we have used disposables (because I still do buy some to have on occasion - but I buy maybe one box every 2 months) I have really disliked it.  They leak.  They stink.  They take up a lot of trash.

And I now am a lover of cloth diapering.  I may have an obsession with constantly looking for new fun diapers.  I will tell you more about what we use and my massive trial of different diapers some other time.


And how could not love it when you get babies that look like this!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fun with helmets

So the Tank needed a helmet.  He had horrific reflux and gi issues when he was born.  He slept arched up on his head for months.  The result- missing the top corner of his head.  It was subtle unless you were looking down from the top.  And you noticed that the right ear was a half inch farther forward on his head.  And you know - the whole corner of the head was flat.  And if you felt the back of his head- there was this huge knob at the bottom.

Me being the paranoid doctor that I am decided to have him get a helmet to fix the shape.  Not because I wanted it to look nice (great bonus though), but because if he should ever decide to participate in say - football or hockey- he is darn well going to wear a helmet.  And one that actually fits his head.  And you know - do it's job.  But with the missing corner and the big knob, a helmet was only going to rest on the knob.  And not actually protect the noggin.

So he got a helmet.  It stinks.  I mean really stinky.  We scrub the darn thing all the time.  But it still smells. Like sweaty feet.  The one advantage of living in a place that won't stop snowing (apparently has snowed every morning this week - thank goodness I have yet to see this because I am at work) is at least he isn't too hot.
But the Tank and the Munchkin actually like the helmet.  Tank bangs toys against it to make noise.  And the Munchkin likes to stick things to it.  Like suction cup balls.  And then yanks and pulls the ball off.  The Tank then thinks this is hilarious.

And we like to put stickers on it.  And make it cooler.  Cause he's the Tank.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Plumbing project gone wrong

So remember how I said that I have done some of my own plumbing.  And sometimes I have had to call in a plumber to fix my mistakes.  Well I have another one.  Not that I have to call the plumber to fix it, but a recent project that hasn't quite worked.

I cloth diaper the Tank.  An easy way of rinsing the poo off of the diaper is to use a diaper sprayer.  Which you can purchase for about $45.  So I had the brilliant idea of making my own for less.  I will write more about that project in a future post.  So a diaper sprayer is no more than a glorified kitchen sprayer plumbed into the water line to the toilet.  Figured this would be a quick and easy project.  Which it was, sort of.  Toilet lines are 3/8" fittings and kitchens are 1/4".  So you have to make some sort of size adaptation.  And you need a shut off valve to the kitchen sprayer because they aren't meant to be under constant pressure.  And this is where my problem is.

Last week I came home and the husband said it was spraying water at the shut off valve.  Had to turn off the whole water line to toilet.  Bought a replacement part.  Thought I fixed it because there was no more spraying.

And then I go into our garage on Saturday as we were getting ready to head out for the weekend.  And here is what I saw.

Ummm,  that giant water spot was not there the day before.  And umm.... what is over that area in the garage.  Ummmmmmmmmm..... the toilet.  With the diaper sprayer.  UUGGGHHHhhhhhhhh.  Go up there and check - the floor is all wet, slow leak from the darn attachment piece to the valve.  So now we have no diaper sprayer until I can find a different type of shut off valve that doesn't weigh a ton and has the right fittings on it.

So maybe you shouldn't take plumbing advice from me.  At least not quite yet.

Monday, April 25, 2011

DIY: Baby gifts

When the opportunity arises, I prefer to make my own things.  I may have mentioned that before.  While in medical school, one of my friends was pregnant.  I was on a slower rotation and so I decided to make a baby gift.  It was a quilt.  From that point I made a few more, but then realized I really don't have the time.  And it really isn't a portable project.  So then I tried knitting or crocheting sweaters.  They were great but again a bit time consuming.  So I have moved on.  Now it is wipes holders/clutch and headbands.

So here is how I make a cute baby wipes holder.

Things you will need:
1. Wipes holder - this is actually hard to find.  Most now have the pop up center, and I prefer to use just the hinged kind.
2. Fabric to cover the container (I have been using scrap fabric from the quilt projects.)
3. Fleece or batting
4. Ribbon
5. Button or flower or some sort of little decoration
6. Glue gun
7. Spray adhesive

Step 1: Cover wipes container top and bottom with either layer of fleece or batting.  Don't cover the sides.
  I like fleece better as it feels smoother when done, but in these pictures I used batting.
  I attach this to the container with spray adhesive.
Step 2: Cut fabric in 2 pieces to cover front and back.  Make sure you have enough to wrap the sides with.   Don't worry about the edges as they will be covered with ribbon.  Try to cut just enough as it is hard to cut the excess off once glued down.  I may or may not have to cut 4 pieces to do the above project.  I am not exact.  I usually just guess on how to do all of this stuff.  Sometimes I am wrong.
Step 3:  Use light amount of spray adhesive and spray fleece/batting.  Then press fabric lightly to fleece.  Don't spray too much or press too hard.  The adhesive will soak into fabric and you will be able to see it.  Again - may have had to do this a few times in the pictured project.  I think the batting makes this happen easier than fleece.  The goal is to just gently secure the fabric.
Step 4: Use glue gun and secure fabric to the sides.  At the corners try to make a nice little fold.  You may need to trim the corners to make them look neat.  But again the actual edges will be covered by ribbon.
Step 5:  Use glue gun and glue ribbon all around one edge (all bottom edges).
Step 6: Cut a piece of ribbon the width of holder.  Glue ends and a dot in the middle.   Position piece so that is about 1/4 of the way from opening edge.  (See picture for reference)
Step 7: Glue piece of ribbon all around top edges.
Step 8: Glue button/flower/decoration to middle of ribbon that is running across top of container.  (Sorry don't have picture of that last step.)

That's it.  A much quicker baby gift item than a say a quilt of sweater.

I also have some birds eye cloth diapers/burp cloths.  You can take a strip of matching fabric and sew it down the middle of the diaper to create a matching burp cloth.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's earth day - I should have something to write about

Happy earth day!  I should have lots to write about, but I don't.  My brain is fried this week.  I need a vacation.  A week of sleeping without interruptions would probably put my brain back in the go mode.  I don't think I have had more than 1 or 2 nights of solid sleep without being woken up in about - um 10 months.  I wonder how much that has made me age.  I think it has probably taken a few years off of my life.  I wonder if anyone has ever done a study comparing people who never had kids and match them to those that have.  And then see who lived longer.  Wait, I could do that study.  But I don't want to.  Anyone else up for the taking?

I'm going to stop now because I could find myself on some bizarre tangents and then no one will have any clue what the heck I am talking about.  Perhaps I am already there.

Yep, my brain is fried.

I am taking the weekend off from writing.  Going to spend time with family and friends.  And celebrate the meaning of Easter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What happens when a vegetarian cooks a turkey?

Oh yes.  I did try and cook a turkey.  Once.  Never again.

First year of medical school - some group asked for volunteers to cook whole turkeys, then carve them, package up the meat, and donate to some local soup kitchens.  While I didn't eat meat, I thought "sure, I can do that."  The flyer said that all supplies would be included.  And that the turkeys would be somewhere between 15-20 lbs.

Um.  I knew nothing about cooking a turkey.  Or how long a bird of that size would take to cook.  I showed up to get my bird on Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  The thing was enormous - I think it ended up being 22 or 23 lbs.  FROZEN.  And this was about 16 hours before I needed to have the whole thing cooked.  The turkey came in a tin foil tray.  Needless to say, 22 lb turkeys don't carry well in a tin foil tray. I tried to walk the two blocks home.  But the streets were all closed off because "The Wire" was filming.  The crew laughed at me as I now had to walk 5 blocks with a giant turkey balanced in a tin foil tray.

Now how to go about cooking a frozen turkey in 16 hours.  Let's just say - it wasn't pretty.  There was no time for thawing on the counter.  I turned the oven on low and tried to thaw it that way.  Got part of it thawed but then knew I was going to run out of time.  So cooked the darn thing frozen.  4 hrs, 6 hrs, 8 hrs. That thing wasn't cooked (it had a pop up button).  I went to bed, set my alarm, kept checking.  At 2 am, I pulled it out to look.  And by then the tin foil had enough - it tore and about a gallon of turkey grease poured onto me, the floor, and just about everywhere you can imagine.  Not a happy camper.  2 hours later I finally gave up and pulled the turkey out - darn button never really popped out.

How does a sleep deprived medical student carve a turkey?  I had no idea, had no good knives to do so.  But I used some random kitchen knife and dissected it.  And identified the names of the muscles as I did so.  And found out that the directions hadn't said anything about a neck or a bag of gizzards inside the turkey.  Shoved all the meat in some baggies.  Prayed that no homeless people died because of half cooked donated turkey.

And that is why a vegetarian should never cook a turkey.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Undies in a bunch

So this is a total random post.  But have you ever found something that you really like, and maybe it has taken you quite awhile to find said item.  And you count on it being the exact same everytime you purchase it.  But then one day, ugghhh, it is not the same.  Yeah.  That happened to me.  And now I am back on a mission to find said item.  It may have taken me several years and trialing of items to find the one to my liking.  And now it has been changed after only 6 months or so.  Do manufactorers not understand my frustration with finding an item that is just right in the first place?  How dare they change it without asking how long it took me to find it in the first place.

Oh yeah - it is snowing again.  This time a lot.  My CV is being honed and formatted for job opportunities - in North Carolina.  You thought I was kidding.  I'm not.  The munchkin's comments this morning "Mommy that is not snow.  Flowers can't come out if it is snowing.  Go away snow.  The sunflowers need sunshine!"

I agree.  Mommas need sunshine too.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

DIY: Granola Bars

Short post tonight.  So on Sunday's I like to cook up a bunch of stuff that will last for a couple of weeks.  Two weeks ago I spent the entire day making baby food and scones.  Today it was yogurt and granola bars.  And it actually didn't take long at all.  It was my first attempt at making yogurt and the granola bars.  But man they are both good.  The tank ate an entire cup of yogurt with green beans mixed in.  So I think he likes it too.

The goal of the granola bars was to make a high calorie snack for the munchkin.  Guess what.  She doesn't like them.  Because they don't come individually wrapped.  So now guess who is going to eat the high calorie snack.  Um - the two people who don't need to.

So here's the recipe.  I adapted it from here.  I think you could mix in just about anything.  But here is my version.


Granola Mom's bars
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
10 oz sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350.
1. Pulse oats and sunflower seeds in food chopper/processor (I used my mini chopper and did this in batches).
2. Mix oats, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips in large bowl.
3. Mix in PB and cond milk.
4. Make sure everything is moist.
5. Grease 9x13 pan.
6. Place mixture in pan and smooth out with spatula.
7. Cook for 18-20 minutes.
8. Cut up once cooled.

The bottoms got a bit golden brown.  I think next time I will line tray with parchment paper instead.
The whole batch has about 4000 calories in it.  So depending on the size that you cut, they may be fairly high in calories.  But quite filling.

I have lots more ideas about how to change this up a bit.  Let's just say there may be a version with bacon in it.

Enjoy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle

Well I had planned a future post on recycling.  And medical waste.  Yesterday's post wasn't meant to really address that issue.  But I guess I will do so now.

The principles of recycling aren't just to recycle.  It is first to reduce the amount of waste generated.  Then reuse all items that you can.  And recycle the remainder.  This is where I see hospitals failing.  Recycling bins for paper and glass/soda bottles here and there isn't enough.  I am not specifically saying that the current institution I work for doesn't try to do some recycling.  But I see very little efforts in hospitals to reduce or to reuse.

The current institution and affiliates generate 40 tons of waste per DAY!  Half of it gets removed and potentially recycled.  So that leaves 20 tons of waste per day.  In this case it gets incinerated.  Most hospitals don't incinerate.  To give perspective - in the US each person generates just over 1/2 ton of waste per YEAR.

What gets me is the use of so many things that are now disposable but once which were not.  For example - moving away from cloth sterile gowns to paper gowns.  Think of every mask and bouffant that are thrown into the trash every time someone walks out of the OR.  Most items come individually wrapped.  While some items should be, not everything does.

And the bottles. Oh the number of baby bottles that are generated every day.  I did some rough math - I am guessing we throw 100+ bottles away every day.  Bottles are #5 plastic.  This was once a plastic that wasn't considered to be recyclable.  But times have changed.  It is recyclable.  A company called Preserve will take #5 plastics and use it to make other products.  Many city recycling programs will also now take it.  But not ours.

But better than plastic, why not use glass?  There are brands of non-breakable glass baby bottles.  That can be re-sterilized and reused.

More to come in future posts.  I have ideas.  Don't know if they would work.  But then again - that is why it is a dream.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Boycott MN

That's it. I am boycotting MN.  It snowed today.  It's April.  The middle of April to be exact.  And it has been snowing for 7 months now.  Granted not every day, but seriously.  I have lived here when we saw snow flakes in June.  That was when I graduated high school.  And guess what I did in response?  I moved.  To Seattle.  And swore that I would never move back to this crazy land.  Some how I forgot about that and moved back 10 years later.  But I have been back for 6 years.  And it has been long enough to remember why I left.  So I am going to boycott MN.  Until someone can decide to control the weather.  Or something other than cornfields control the weather.  Yep - we are surrounded by so many cornfields that it actually affects the weather.  Or so says my husband.  I haven't bothered to google that one, but I am pretty sure he is right.

So who is in with me?  I figure if we all move together then the whole fear of moving far away to a land of sunshine and beaches won't seem so daunting.  But seriously, I like MN but I really hate the weather.  The munchkin cried one day because it was snowing.  She cried because she thought the flowers would never come again and that she wouldn't be able to pick her momma flowers ever again.  She followed that by saying we had to live somewhere that had no winter.  She's three.  She's only lived in MN.  She has only been to the beach before she turned 1.  And yet, she is so smart!

So really - any one want to join us?  We are thinking about North Carolina these days.  I want to open a granola hospital.  Have you ever seen how much waste a hospital generates?  It is sickening.  Everything is single use only because of fears of cross contamination.  Everything is put in the garbage.  There are no recycling bins (well other than outside of the cafeteria).  Could you imagine a hospital with recycling bins in the OR?  Or wormbins and a compost pile behind the parking ramp?  Or a hospital that served locally grown food? 

That's my dream.  Who's with me:)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Doogie Howser

No post yesterday.  Way too fatigued.  Still am today, but I think if I don't get in to writing, this will quickly go by the wayside.  This week has just been filled with some of the not so pleasant things a pediatrician sometimes (and a neonatologist even more rarely) has to deal with.
So I mentioned that this blog is going to be about some various topics.  One of those is medicine and my job as a physician.  So I figured I should start with how I ended up in medicine.

I think I was destined to be a physician.  At times I really tried hard to not admit that.  But eventually it was undeniable.  While some kids found stray animals to take care of, I found stray babies.  Well maybe not strays, but I found babies.  And I always seemed to have friends or acquaintences that were ill.  I wrote a report on cancer when a girl in elementary school got diagnosed with leukemia.  I also may have read my mom's nursing books.  For fun.  When I was 7 or 8.  I may have diagnosed my sister with appendicitis (by reading said nursing book) around that same time.  And that was pre wiki.

I have had two friends that also made a huge impact on me.  Both of them had cystic fibrosis.  Both are playing music in heaven now.  Some day I will tell you more about seeing them live their lives and how I have the most admiration for what people with CF have to deal with.

But for today - I am just glad that I have my munchkin and tank to hug and kiss at the end of the day.  And that they are healthy and thriving.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why buy it if you can make it?

I have a slight obsession.  It started a long time ago.  DIY.  Long before that was even a term or show or anything crazy like that.  Maybe it stemmed from having a dad who was an architect.  I recall him building random things around the house.  Or taking apart our big tricycle and the little one and combining the parts together to make a really random tricycle.

The first thing I remember making was a banana stand.  My mom had mentioned something about one and had described what it looked like.  She and my step-dad left to go somewhere and I had the brilliant idea of making one.  I was maybe 12 or 13 at the time.  There was no google to look up directions.  No internet to find pictures.  Just the description my mom gave me and a bored teenager to put it all together.  I found some pieces of wood in the garage.  I found a drill and a saw.  And I made one.  It wasn't pretty, but I glued the heck out of it and slapped some stain on it.  And there you go - a banana holder.  My parents still have it to this day.  Granted I think it is in a cupboard or back in the garage, but it was actually used for quite a long time.  

And that was the start of the DIY obsession.  Here is a short list of the things I have made since then - because again I refuse to pay for what I think I can make on my own for cheaper and in not too much time.  The later part often proves wrong so there are a lot of half finished projects around our house!

Oak desk                               Sideboard table
Nightstand                             Bench
Stool                                      Halloween costumes
Quilts                                     Dress
Duvet covers                          Shirts
Crib bedding                          Headboards
Scarves                                   Sweaters
Diaper sprayer

And probably lots of other things.  And I have these need to reuse things instead of throwing them out and buying replacements just because I want something different.  Like reupholstering a donated chair - twice.  And restraining a dresser - twice.  Oh yeah - I may or may not have remodeled all of the bathrooms in our first house.  Including the plumbing and electrical.  I may have screwed those both up enough that we had to hire a plumber and an electrician to fix it.  Just maybe that was the case.

And you may just read about some of these projects and how I did them on this blog.

EDIT: Or maybe it was the fact that my parents built our house.  Literally.  Themselves.  While my mom was pregnant with me.  And there may be numerous oddities to prove that they weren't construction builders.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I'm a vegetarian*

So the fuzzy granola life started quite some time ago - 16 years ago actually.   I was a freshman in college and hadn't really liked eating meat for the few years prior. I had stopped eating ground beef, steak, and ham probably when I was 16.

Dissecting a raw chicken breast from the store for biology class may have been the starting point.  Well maybe I didn't exactly stop because I remember eating a swiss and mushroom stuffed steak on prom night.  Classy and quite girly right?

I got to college and we had this all you can eat style cafeteria.  It took me about a month to decide that all of the meat was pretty nasty.  And then some guys made a bet that they couldn't go a month without eating meat.  I joined the bet - and well that was the end of meat for me.   Except BACON.  Why is bacon one of the best foods on earth?  I feel like the little doggy commercial - "Who wants some bacon, who wants some bacon, huh, huh?"  Yeah - that just made my mouth water.  And when I was pregnant, I may or may not have eaten nearly an entire package of hard salami in one sitting.  In Mexico.  Twice.  Until I realized the second package was rancid.  But that didn't really stop me from eating it -just waited until I got back home.  And the same thing may have happened in my second pregnancy.  So now you know how to tell if I am pregnant.

I still don't eat any beef, pork, turkey, or chicken.  But the husband introduced me to fresh fish - something that is totally unheard of in the midwest unless you want walleye - and I have to say I do like a great piece of tuna.  Raw.  But that is how the fuzzy granola life started.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fuzzy Granola LIfe Blog Adventure

So here it is.  My attempts at a blog.  Mainly because people are probably tired of hearing about my random granola adventures via Facebook.
Preface- I am not a writer.  In fact, I usually hate writing.  You couldn't have paid me to be an english major or something along those lines that required frequent papers.  I am a scientist.  A doctor.  A baby doctor at that.  I thought by choosing this path I could forever avoid writing.  Wrong.  I have to write papers, abstracts, grant proposals.  So I might as well write a blog.  Don't expect fancy grammar, big words, or amazing prose.  Just random stories about what I do in my spare time.  Such as cloth diapering, composting, community gardening, sewing, knitting, baby food making, re-upholstering, or other such odd things that I fill my time with.  Oh yeah and my occasional adventures into plumbing, wiring, and wood building.  Yep - do those things too.  Just not as often as I would like.   You know - cause I have this gig as being a baby doctor which takes up a lot of time.  And this other gig as a mom and a wife.  So you see - very little time to do those other things.  But I guess that is what life is.
Thanks for reading.  Hopefully you will gain something by joining my blog adventure.