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Saturday, July 13, 2013

$50 Amazon gift card giveaway!

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The GiftHulk Giveaway Event was organized by Mom Powered Media.

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Disclosure:5 Cats and a Baby is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Please contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ibotta

So, I use Ibotta to save money for Christmas for my little.  We're on a pretty tight budget as grad students, so it helps that I can save money while buying things I can use or items I can get for free with coupons anyway.

If anyone wants to do me a solid, the can join Ibotta using my referral link.  Ill get extra money and you can check it out! Help buy Nibs Christmas.

http://ibotta.com/r/VAsyFQ

Packing Outgrown Baby Clothes, Consignment and Memories

Today, I've been packing up parts of the house, so I decided to go through the Rubbermaid tote that I put all of Nibs clothes in when she outgrows them.  It's a bright pink tote, perfect for a little girls cast aside things, and it is stuffed full.  The top layer is the infant inserts to her car seats - those hold nothing for me, but I'm keeping them incase I need to pass along her seats in the future, so I tossed those aside to see what else was in it.

My real reasoning for going through this tote was to set aside the things that I can put in the upcoming consignment sale so that I can put that money towards winter clothes for her.  I've done this for the past two years in order to keep the cost of clothing her down, but I do set aside some things that I'd like to keep, whether for a possible future baby or just for sentimental reasons.  The pink tote is reserved for those sentimental and keep items, but I thought that perhaps there were a few things that should be sold, that I no longer had an attachment to.  (There were, but that's not really interesting, is it?)

There are the usual sentimental outfits - the onesie she wore for her first birthday (the tutu I made is framed in a shadowbox and hanging on her wall), her first christmas onesie, the outfit she wore home from the hospital - but there are other, different outfirst that I had no idea would make me feel so nostalgic.  There's a little white dress with bloomers, and orange and yellow flowers on it.  It is an outfit I never would have picked out, the colors too bright, bought by my mother in law.  I remember holding Nibs, dressed in this tiny perfect dress and marveling at how beautiful, even as a tiny, tiny baby she was.  How much she looked like her dad, but so undeniably girly.

At the bottom of the tote, there was a yellow pacifier with a bee imprinted on it.  Nibs never took much to pacies, prefering her BoBos to anything made of plastic.  But this one, she liked sometimes, would suck it deep into her mouth and smile around it.  I have a picture of her, lying on our couch fast asleep, wrapped in  a blanket with this paci  in her mouth.  It is, quite possibly, my favorite picture from those days.  I remember watching her sleeping, loving her more than I have ever loved any one thing in the whole world.  I thought then, I better take a picture, in case I don't remember this.  I did, but it turns out I didn't need to.  I'll never forget.

Even when I look at outfits she wore not that long ago - the outfits that start to become little girl outfits, not baby outfits anymore - I wonder, next year, will I be able to get her to wear footie jamjams?  Will she still want to fall asleep on my lap?  Next month, next year, I will be sad when these things that frustrate me so much in the moment are gone.  Ten years from now, when I have to sneak into a little girl bedroom to watch her sleep, when there are no more early morning, milk-breath smiles and cuddles, I will wish wistfully for one more lap-nap, for one more tug at my tank top to nurse.

So, tonight when she crawls up into my lap to sleep, I will not get frustrated with her when she doesn't fall right to sleep.  I will try not to get mad when she wants to pat my chest, when she needs to breathe my smell to sleep or when she wakes in the middle of the night seeking me out if only to flop her legs across my back. I will smile and hold her tighter.

I'm trying, baby girl.  I really am.

Packing the Bookshelf

As a writer, I have a ton of books.  I have a five shelf bookshelf that lives in my bedroom that is cram packed full with three types of books: books I have had to buy for classes, books I buy because I think they may come in handy some day when I'm a professor, and pleasure books.  (Okay, sometimes the books fit more than one of these types.)  So packing up that particular bookshelf is always a pleasant walk down memory lane.

In my undergraduate career, I was blessed to have many professors that I loved and was able to bond with. I can remember exactly which books I bought for which classes and why I loved them, or at least the many pleasant memories that each of those classes has.  I can pick up the book that one of my favorite teachers, and favorite writers, signed for me and I remember very well sitting in her classroom, goofing off with one of my friends - and remember that she is the reason I'm on the path I am today.  Inspiration is always best when it's a person who has succeeded at what you want to do with life.

And then I picked up Lolita.  It was shelved with almost every other book from the same class, but Lolita is special for me.  It was reading it that really taught me to slow down a savor a novel, not just for what impact it could have on my writing, or for whatever deeper meaning other professors might want me to be able to dig out of it.  But  to really enjoy a book for exactly what it was - for carefully chosen words on paper that have stood the test of time.  Thanks, Pamela.  Thank you for teaching me that.  (Re-teaching, perhaps, because surely this is what a reader does in the beginning?)  Thanks for everything.

Best wishes,
Jessi

Friday, July 5, 2013

Zucchini bread in the bread machine!

Recently, while we were home visiting, my partner and I found several Mennonite farms that sell produce on their porches.  It was an awesome day! I've always been fascinated with the Amish and their off-shoots, and it was very neat to pull up to houses and buy fresh from the garden produce.  They even had pickles and jams and one very nice lady had handmade soap!

I wound up buying a cabbage - turned it into kraut, which is still fermenting in the kitchen - as well as a ton of squash, a bar of citrus soap for the kitchen, and one very, very large zucchini.  Problem is, I had no idea what to do with it.  I like grilled zucchini, but we are currently without a grill, so that was out.  So I decided I was going to make zucchini bread! Here's the recipe I used, I found several online and took what I wanted, added a few things, and made it my own.

1/2 cup of applesauce/oil - I use mostly applesauce and a splash of olive oil and it turned out perfect. Next time, ill try all applesauce.
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp allspice - next time, ill probably use more
Nutmeg - I just grated it straight over the pan, not sure how much.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/3 cup walnuts - I actually put more than that, a very heaping 1/3 cup.

Add ingredients in the order listed to the bread machine and select quick bread.  With my machine, there are no options with quick bread, but I think 1 1/2 lb loaf would be right if yours does.  Mine beeps when it's time to add the walnuts, but you could add them at the beginning or after the first mixing.  I also took mine out about fifteen minutes before the machine cycle was over, I don't like super browned bread!

It turned out delicious! It's not too sweet, and the walnuts are perfect.  It's great warmed in the microwave with a little (real!) butter.  So yummy!


GiftHulk Summer Event!


 GiftHulk Summer Event
 Organized by: Mom to Bed by 8
 Prizes: Four $50 Amazon Gift Cards
 Event dates: 7/15 - 7/29
 Bloggers Wanted ~ SIGN-UP HERE!

Chasing Fireflys

A few nights ago, Nibs and I were outside playing after my partner left for work for the night.  It was getting dark, but she was having so much fun playing with her chalk that I decided we could play a little longer.

And then it happened: the first firefly of the season lit up, right above her little head.  The smile on her face was huge! She loves bugs - don't all kids? - and she immediately started gibbering about the buggy.  And then I caught it.  She gasped when I spread my palms and there it sat - lit up, wings spread - it was a perfect moment.

I remember a night just like that one, sitting outside my grandmommy's house, making mud pies or helping granddaddy in the garden. I couldn't have been very old, less than ten.  I loved to chase the Fireflys that gathered in the honeysuckle bush on the fence next to the garage.  I can smell honeysuckle, the sweet scent mingling with the man-sweat smell of my grandfather.  (I will forever associate that smell with manliness, and immense love.). Grandmommy made me a jar to keep my bugs in, a pickle jar probably with holes poked into it with her ice pick, the one granddaddy made for her.  (Momma has it now, but someday Ill take it.)

Nibs and I chased fireflies until she was exhausted and we had to go in and brush our teeth and put on jammies.  That night, as she lay on my lap, legs dangling, too big, really, I cried.  I remembered, in these days of terrible twos and her trying my nerves, why I decided to parent the way I do.  I want to chase fireflies.  I want, someday, for her to look back on her childhood with fondness.

Never for a minute do I want this precious child I've been given to question that I loved her, that I will always love her, no matter what.  I don't want anything to stop me from chasing fireflies, or kissing boo boos, or stopping to s,ell a flower she picks for me, even if its just a weed.  I want to be the kind of unconditional love in her life that grandmommy's was for me.  So, from here on out, when I'm frustrated, and think I can't stand it anymore...

I'm going to close my eyes, and smell honeysuckle and see fireflies.  I'm going to picture my grandmommy and know that 'this too shall pass'.