Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finger foods

I am in this daily struggle of convenience verses nutrition. I want easy but I want healthy and I don't want to go broke doing it. I am far from the no preservatives, organic, whole, raw, food pyramid, no refined sugars, white flour, crack-laced mom when it comes to feeding my kids. I am more of a please eat more than goldfish crackers, kind of mom. Every time I think I suck at getting good food into them, I realize that Ava does eat a lot of healthy stuff. I just don't always go for THE healthiest of those foods. Rhys is a finger food only kind of baby. Unless I am also eating it, he does not want it from a spoon. So I have been trying to avoid going down the "typical kid food" route that Ava got on while at daycare. He also only has 2 teeth so I have to watch for choking. So I found a few recipes today and had a kid food cooking extravaganza.

Breakfast started off with blueberry and oatmeal muffins. I think they can be improved to have more of an oatmeal taste, probably with a different kind of flour.

I happened to have a couple baking pumpkins lying around. Seriously, I did. So I halved and gutted them and got them going in the oven. I later turned them into 5 cups of pumpkin puree. I am hoping to make some super healthy pumpkin muffins with wheat flour tomorrow. I think they will go over well.

Then from www.wholesomebabyfood.com, I prepared (recipes at the bottom of the page)the following: Broccoli and cheddar cheese nuggets, apple turkey sticks, and applesauce gel squares. The gel squares were by far the EASIEST thing ever. They came out awesome and Rhys and Ava both loved them. I have a feeling they will be a staple and I will be trying some variations with different types of fruit. Rhys ate the turkey sticks and the broccoli bite things right up. I tried them all and they all tasted decent. Ava wasn't a huge fan, but we will see what she has to say tomorrow. I froze the extras and this way I can just microwave them when it is time to eat.

What is your favorite nutrient rich kid food? It doesn't have to be just for kids, but what they also like to eat? I can make muffins all night and day, but I want them to have as much good stuff in them as possible and less "cakey" stuff.

Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Nuggets


1 16-oz Package frozen broccoli, cooked, drained, and chopped

1 cup Seasoned bread crumbs (you could try using baby cereal if you want, we know it works well with "baby meatballs")

1 ½ cups Shredded cheddar cheese (please use real cheese and not a "processed cheese food" product. Try tomato & basil cheddar.)

3 Large eggs or 5 egg yolks


Preheat oven to 375
1. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
2. Combine all remaining ingredients and mix well.

*Add seasonings if you like - garlic powder, pepper, extra basil & oregano for example. Add a fruit or veggie puree to substitute for the eggs if desired.

3. Shape mixture into nuggets or fun shapes such as squares or squigglies etc..and place on baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turn nuggets over after 15 minutes. Serve warm. Be sure to crumble these if your baby needs.

Applesauce or Fruited Gel Squares


1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (or add thin dices of banana, peach, pear, grapes, blueberry etc)
2 cups apple juice
3 small packages unflavored gelatin


In a small bowl, mix cinnamon into applesauce and set aside.

Pour 1 cup cold apple juice in 8x8 pan and sprinkle gelatin on top. Heat remaining 1 cup of apple juice in the microwave for 3 minutes or until boiling.

Stir boiling juice into the gelatin and cold apple juice. Stir in applesauce.

Refrigerate for 1/2 hour and then stir to keep applesauce evenly distributed. If you do not stir when in the fridge, the applesauce settles to the bottom, but it still tastes great.

Refrigerate for an additional 2 1/2 hours or until firm. Cut into squares with a knife, or use cookie cutters to cut into shapes, and serve.

Apple Turkey Sticks

1 lb ground turkey
1 whole egg or 2 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup pureed carrots
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup unprocessed natural wheat or oat bran
1/4 cup bread crumbs
pinch of basil
pinch of garlic powder


Place ground turkey in a large mixing bowl.
Add the egg/yolk, carrots, applesauce, spices, bread crumbs and bran.
Mix well - If this mixture appears too dry, add more carrots or applesauce. If this mixture appears too wet, add more bran and/or bread crumbs

Place mix into a lightly oiled (olive oil) loaf pan and bake at 350F for approx. 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. **You may wish to cover with foil to prevent the top from burning

When finished baking and cooled, remove loaf from pan and slice as you would for bread. Break into small bits for finger feeding or Mash or chop gently

This recipe may also be made into "Turkey Sticks" for Toddlers and older babies who are able to handle more textured/chunky finger foods.


Last Wednesday Ava had a surgical consultation at Children's with Dr. M, for her glaucoma *1. This was actually our second surgery consultation, the first one was about 8 months ago at University of Chicago. That doctor didn't think surgery was necessary at this time, or possibly ever. Since that appointment there had been other changes in her eye pressures and eye structures, so our doctor (Dr. K) referred us for another opinion. He just didn't feel comfortable sitting around waiting for her optic nerve to be damaged. Her pressures had remained stable the last 3 months while we were waiting to get in for our consultation so at our last office visit our doctor actually said he was expecting the surgeon to say she was fine and wouldn't need surgery, but he just wanted to hear it from another surgeon because it just wasn't sitting right with him.

If you have ever had to do the whole consultation with any type of well known doctor, you know how much hassle it is to just go to the appointment. Knowing that Dr. K was expecting Dr. M to pass on surgery made the whole thing seem kind of pointless. I felt like we were driving in traffic for 2 hours, to wait about 3 hours for about 15 minutes of face time with all the different personnel, to then drive another hour plus home, just to check it off our list, to say that yep, another doctor said no. I was a little surprised after Dr. M turned the lights back on and said, "Based on what I see, and the increased cupping of her left eye, I would definitely treat her with surgery. Her pressures aren't really controlled with medication and her nerves won't withstand these pressures." Well that wasn't what we had been expecting. She went on to say that she wants to do a total of 4 surgeries if everything goes well.

Here is the basics of the surgery:

"Trabectome® is a minimally invasive procedure specifically designed to improve fluid drainage from the eye to balance intraocular pressure (IOP). By restoring the eye’s natural fluid balance, the Trabectome procedure stabilizes optic nerve health to minimize further visual field damage.

The surgery is performed through a small incision and does not require leaving a permanent hole in the eye wall or creation of an external filtering bleb (fluid collection on the outside of the eye) or an implant.

Following are steps for the Trabectome procedure:

1. A small (1/16 of an inch) incision is made on the affected eye.
2. A small strip of diseased tissue is removed with an electrosurgical pulse to open access to the drainage system of the eye.
3. The eye is irrigated with a saline solution to remove tissue debris, leaving the eye to recover almost immediately.

Trabectome is an out-patient surgery that allows the patient to go home the same day. It is particularly offered to patients who are allergic to medications or who prefer to use surgical interventions instead of other medical therapies. The Trabectome procedure is performed on glaucoma patients at many leading ophthalmic centers."

This may bring up the question of why Dr. K sent us to another surgeon. He is one of the leading pediatric ophthalmologists in the area. Based on where we live, that actually says something vs. leading in the three surrounding counties total population 200. Ava doesn't just have pediatric glaucoma. She has sturge weber type glaucoma which is a whole different scenario. Part of if it, they don't actually know what causes is it. Because they aren't sure what the cause is, it makes it harder to treat. They are just treating the symptoms. Because she had the port wine birthmark on both lids of her right eye and the bottom of her left, it was pretty much a done deal that she would have glaucoma in her right and about a 70% chance that she would have it in her left. She has the extra blood vessels that make up the birthmark on the sclara and the retna of her eye. This can cause major complications during surgery, mainly bleeding. This surgery isn't any more life threatening than any of the other times she goes under general anesthesia, so that isn't a real concern for us since she does it all the time. The risk with bleeding in the eye is that the retna can seperate, there can be swelling of the optic nerve that can cause damage and permanent vision loss. As with any surgery there is a risk of infection, so she will have to wear an eye patch for at least a little bit. Other risks could be that the pressure drops too much and her eye collapses. (ewwwww!) This surgery is has around a 70-90% success rate in normal glaucoma patients. It is really hard to find rates in sturge weber glaucoma patients because it is just not a type of research that is funded.

So the possible benefits of this surgery are: drop the pressures down to a normal level so that we can take her off at least some, if not all of the medication she is on for at least some time. We will probably have to do more surgeries in the future, so this is definitely not a permanent cure, but buying us time is always a good thing. The older she gets, the more medications become available. We scheduled the surgery for the Tuesday before Halloween. It is only a 15 minute surgery, so I have been told, so at least we will get to go home that morning. We will have to go back the next day to have things checked out but I heard those appointments are around lunch time so at least we won't be driving in traffic 2 days in a row. That is all I know for now. Hopefully this post has answered questions instead of confusing you all more. Go study the anatomy of the eye. It is really a complex piece of machinery.

*1 Glaucoma is a chronic, life long disease of the eye which results in an increased inner ocular pressure (IOP)(pressure in her eye). This pressure causes the eye to sometimes expand, causing clouding of the cornea and the optic nerve to elongate and seperate. Ava regularly has her pressures checked (normal range us less than 10 in adults, in children they try to get under 15. Ava's are currently ranging between 20 and 30). Her axial length (length of eye, front to back), diameter of the cornea, and the cupping of her optic nerve, the cup to disc ratio (c/d). Normal eyes have a c/d ratio of 0 to .3. Ava's c/d ratio had always been around .1 or .2, and it has recently gone up to .4. This is an important number because the cupping ratio means that there is damage to the optic nerve. The more it cups, the more the nerve fibers separate with a complete separation at a 1.0. The vision loss occurs from the outside in, as the nerve separates. Right now Ava has 20/20 vision so we have no knowledge of any vision loss, which is the over all goal, to keep her from losing any of her sight.

This is the picture of normal cupping (.3)

This is how they measure. It is broken down into 10 sections and counted off.

Monday, September 28, 2009


With the chilly weather today, I had to dig out long sleeves to put on Ava. She has actually grown this summer, at least in length and might actually be outgrowing her 2t clothes. Her shirts are all looking a little short in the sleeves and the waist. The pants still are fitting alright, but are about half an inch away from turning into floods. I thought we were going to be good for her clothes this winter but I guess not. This has made me think about the whole packing up and saving of her clothes. She has now worn most of these outgrown clothes for a year or more. I don't think i am going to save them. I think they will be passed on. I have saved pretty much everything she has worn. I might save a few things that are in good shape, relatively new, etc. But majority of it will probably be passed on. IF we have another baby and IF that baby is a girl, that means this stuff will be stored up for a number of years before we bust it out again. It made sense to me to save the stuff that they wear for only 3 months or so. That is a ton of clothes to save up as it is and now we will have a boy wardrobe in all the same sizes saved up.

So I am off to find clothes for the Ava girl. Weird. It has been a long time since I have had to go shopping for her. That I have had a reason to go to the mall! Be still my heart, I don't know if I can take it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I took my test for work yesterday. I am glad it is over, though I am sure it is just for now. I have to pass it this year no matter what and if I didn't pass it this time, then I will be taking it again in February. The bonus of taking it again? I will actually have more of a direction of what to study for. I would have no real worries about passing it if I took it the second time. I feel such relief that it is over for now. I can read a book that I want to read without feeling guilty. I can knit or do whatever. There isn't this thought of me needing to do something else hanging over my head all the time.

Speaking of reading a book without feeling guilty, I read a book, Day After Night by Anita Diamant. I definitely enjoyed it. It was about post-world war 2 Jewish refugees trying to get into Palestine. It was a 1 sitting read for me, which means it held my attention. Sorry, nobody can borrow it, it downloaded it to my phone. emedia of all forms results in less clutter in my house.

I am excited to start this week. A new week to get back on track with things. Hopefully I will make it to the gym a few times, finish up a project or two and get some fall clothes out. Insanely busy weekend up ahead so hopefully I will be able to into it after a nice calm week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mr. 9 months old!

Warning: there is a lot of baby bragging ahead. It really isn't bragging, just a stating of facts in a completely biased manner.

Last week Rhys was 9 months old. We went to his 9 month appointment on Friday. He was pronounced to be completely healthy and really ahead developmentally. He was 19 pounds, 13 oz and 27 inches long. He is in about the 40th percentile for weight and 20th for height. He really wouldn't look chubby at all if he weren't so compacted. His head is still up on the 70's.

Milestones he has hit:
He can clap and say "yaaaayyyyy"
He can walk 3-12 steps depending on how motivated he is.
He can stand unassisted for a couple minutes.
He imitates sounds we make. Tongue clucking and kiss sounds.
He responds to his name.
He actually regularly crawls around on his hands and knees now instead of on his stomach.
He holds phones up to his head/ear and says, "hi" sounds like aaaaaayyyyyeeeeeeeeee.
He has a good pincher grasp and eats pretty much anything we put in front of him as long as it isn't baby food. He is a big fan of cheese and peas. He hasn't gotten really into fruit yet but we keep trying.
He is finally generally sleeping through the night or when he wakes up he can get himself back to sleep.
He says mama and diidii/daddy.
He yells for Ava, usually calling her Ah or Aba.
He has said Pepe a few times.

He is so independent and happy to go off and play by himself most of the time that I have to make a conscious effort to give him one on one time. He just wanders around playing and plays with Ava that I can go an hour or two with just supervising. I love getting him out of the bed after naps or in the morning because that is when he is the most cuddly. He just snuggles into my shoulder for a good minute and hugs me. He has turned into such a happy little guy. It is funny now to see all of the faces he makes, including a very dramatic pout face. He is trying to move out of the baby phase so quickly, it makes me a little sad, but at the same time I am looking forward to seeing more of his personality come out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ahhhhh bliss


Burning leaves, earth tones, sweaters, familiar jeans, family activities, back to school fun, and season premiers...

It all brings me joy.

i know, i know

I have about five things I have been meaning to write about and I keep forgetting. Consider this a rain check. A friend posted about trying to do something everyday for a year. Maybe I should join her in entertaining the idea of posting daily. exercising everyday for a year certainly isn't going to happen. The sheer amount of pointless drivel I will send out into the internets does hold me back a bit, I do admit.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I always do this. I decided to start back on weight Watchers today. Well I made the decsison on Friday I think and now the day is here. I went downstairs to get rhys bottle and I was thinking, hmmm I am up early. I could do the dishes, clean the living room, dust, fold laundry, study for my test coming up. I started schedulinh my day full of really productive tasks, most of which I will actually probably do. I have just noticed that when I try to control something, like what I am eating, I want everything else to be very organozed and controlled also.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Today I am 29. It is odd to see the numbers going up. It feels like I am talking about someone else. I am not upset about it. It is strange to realize I am actually getting older and one day I will be "old". I really do think life is getting better and more fun as I get older so I am really not too concerned. Be prepared for next year. I want a party. One not thrown by me. I don't think I have had one like that since I was in the single digits.

20 years ago. The year I was 9. What I remember about being 9. I was in 4th grade and Mrs. Wilson was my teacher. I had my first real group of friends in school and felt settled in. I still talk to a few of those friends occasionally, even without facebook. My sister was born when I was 9. I was active in Girl Scouts. I think I weighed around 45 pounds. I remember spending my recess playing Aggravation when it was inside and 4 square when it was outside. I spent the year saving cans to help pay for my field trip to Springfield. I felt old and cool. I think it was the year before the creation of "The Lucky 7" which I was not a part of. I remember in my class picture I had to hold my hands over my knees because I was in the front row and had huge holes in my pants. I combed my own hair with water for my picture, so I had a really nice wet looking comb over and I was in a sweet denim vest. See, I told you I was cool. If our scanner was working I would be posting that picture right now. I am pretty sure my birthday party was canceled last minute for not cleaning my room.

10 years ago. I was a sophomore in college. I was working as an RA. I made some of my lifetime friends that year. We all still get together a few times a year. I had my heart broken. I almost flunked out of college. I changed majors. I really started to figure out who I was and was confident about what I had to offer. I met Justin and knew we would get married eventually. I was also working at a doctor's office. I got my belly button pierced for the 2nd time. I got a 4th hole in put in my right ear. I got a 2nd hole in my cartilage. Again, no picture to post here because I don't have a working scanner. If you have pictures, send them and I will post.

Now. I am happy, loving life. I have a very similar job as 10 years ago. I have amazing friends. Truly. Friends, you all keep me sane and definitely contribute to my level of happiness. I am enjoying going through life with all of you. I hear 29 is a good year. Everybody always says they are 29 for years and years. Maybe they are afraid of saying they are 30, but I will choose to think that it is because it is just such a good year. I am wondering what I will say about this year when it is all done, but I have high hopes that it is going to be awesome. Last night I was feeling a little blah about my birthday. I walked in from work and saw a livingroom full of toys all over, a cat box that needed scooping and dishes to be done. I was woken up by a phone call from Justin telling me to open the front door. There he was with coffee and bagels. He had also picked up the toys in the livingroom. A couple hours later I got another call from a friend and there was iced coffee and donuts at my door, for round 2 of coffee! I have been dreaming of coffee fairies for a while. I just wanted coffee at my door whenever I thought about it and there it was. See? Great friends. I am having lunch and hanging out with another friend later and going to my knitting class tonight. (My co-workers are mocking me, telling me I am an old lady. Whatever, they will be jealous when they are all done with kids and work and don't know what the heck to do with themselves. Neener neener neener.) I am thinking that a little metal adornment will be added to my body soon too. So hello 29, it has been great meeting you. I am sure we will have lots of fun together this year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting materialistic

So I have been getting asked what I want for my birthday. So I had a little down time and was thinking about all the things I would like to get/do for my birthday.

***This is not a post asking for gifts!!!! It is a list of what I am interested in. It is for posterity.***

- A facial and/or massage.
- Knitting lessons (thanks Justin!!!!!)
- Starbucks/caribou gift cards and time away from the house to go sit and drink and knit or read.
- Barnes and Noble $ so I can download books to my ereader.
- My nose pierced.
- a pair of Levis.
- non-nursing bras and underwear.
- a mommy and me pedicure at Bamboozled.
- plan fun things with friends
- breakfast and a movie in bed.
- Kings of Leon CD/itunes gift card to purchase the music
- Steak dinner
- a reason to wear my gold shoes.

That is what I have got. The list seems pretty long to me.