May 19, 2017

Finally Friday: Slow cooker garlic pork shoulder blade

Every time I question what kitchen implements we REALLY need, the slow cooker reminds me that it earns its keep. This recipe was fantastic. Loosely translated: ridiculously easy, and cheap since we found the pork shoulder blade on sale for $1 a pound. That never happens around here! I bought four.


5 lb pork shoulder blade

1.5 tsp salt
2 tsps dried oregano
.25 c olive oil
8 minced garlic cloves*


*I would have done many more but I just didn’t have the oomph. I’m considering buying prepeeled garlic so that I can have all the garlic I want without collapsing.

Combine the salt, oregano, garlic, and olive oil, cover all sides of the pork and marinate overnight if you have time. I started this too late to marinate it, so I just popped it in on High for 5 hours and voila!

That was really all there was to it. It was great served on rice with steamed broccoli, or shredded for burritos and tacos. We have an abundance of guacamole this month and we’re having tacos most nights. It’s been pretty awesome.

May 18, 2017

Just a little (link) love: baby octopus swimming edition

LinkLoveNegotiating according to a former hostage negotiator

I love Ms. Montana’s ideas for picking the right tenants and then treating her renters right.

This is J.D. Roth’s Board of Directors. I have a small board of my own, at least one of them is a former PF blogger. Who’s on your Board?

Mrs BITA’s asking the important question: What will you leave behind?

Mimic octopi can impersonate at least 15 other species

This is too much cuteness. Just too much. Can we borrow that cat for babysitting?

So THAT’s how kids make friends!

Human trafficking. This is beyond sobering.

An American watching America from Germany

Anthony Bourdain eats his way through San Sebastian and I’d like to come along please. But some of these prices are just too steep.

Bloop bloop bloop

Swagbucks: my history

My first redemption was for a $5 Amazon gift card on November 03, 2009. At varying levels of participation, I’ve earned 143,938 SBs in 8 years.

I was impatiently redeeming for $5 gift cards at 500 SBs for years until they started giving us a discount for redeeming our first $25 gift card (2200 SBs instead of 2500 SBs), around 2014.

I ramped up my Swagbucksing that same year, not so incidentally because JuggerBaby was on the way and those gift card redemptions paid for most of our household purchases: diapers, wipes, dog food, pill pockets, generic allergy meds, a whole lot of books for baby showers.

It hasn’t been small beans: $228 in 2015, and $450 in 2016, so it’s been very much worth the few minutes I spend on it a day.

If you’re looking to make more than a little spare change, you can sign up using my link. When you earn 300 total SB before 6/1/17, you get a 300 SB bonus.

Here’s a handy tutorial on how to use it, and I share my earnings here.

May 17, 2017

My kid and notes from Year 2.2

JuggerBaby in Year 2, Month 2


Sleep routines

Our sleep routine is finally starting to settle down a bit – this month, ze hit a phase where it was ok to do the bath, books, song, bed routine, with two notable exceptions. Ze now insists that papa go clean up, while mama massages zir feet. It seems the memory of the massages I used to do before bed when ze first had an eczema break-out have stuck.

I can’t blame zir, if I could have a foot rub before sleeping every night, I’d demand it too!

But the one thing I’m finally remembering now is that sleep will always change. We’ll enjoy every full night of sleep we get and get through the rest.

Toilet training

Toilet training continues apace with some ups and downs. JuggerBaby has also fallen in love with Elmo of Sesame Street which means that if ze sees an Elmo on a diaper, even if it’s a swim diaper, ze quickly runs to change into that one. Thanks, Sesame Street.

Some days, ze is eager and happy to try the toilet, other days, you’d have to drag zir kicking and screaming. Like with the sleep, we just have to be patient and get through it day by day.

Table manners

On occasion, there are foods that JB doesn’t care for, or tasted and thinks is The Worst. Zir typical response is to hand the glob of half masticated gross back to me – I don’t want it!

We’ve been working on training zir to just set it in the corner of zir own plate or the edge of the bowl, instead.

It’s taken several weeks, but I think the lesson has finally sunk in. Instead of reacting like an enraged howler monkey when a bite of food isn’t pleasing, ze just calmly sets it aside and moves on. I think the key here is that we’ve not been harassing zir to eat everything on zir plate at every meal. That doesn’t seem like a battle worth fighting since ze is normally relaxed about trying out new foods. Turning it into a fight would probably mean that ze refuses to stay relaxed about trying since we’d be taking away zir ability to choose. Besides, generally, ze will return to previously rejected foods like asparagus and enjoy it.

One minute, please

JuggerBaby has been struggling with communication. Ze tries really hard to tell zir classmates what ze wants, or doesn’t want, but they don’t always understand or want to cooperate.

Bestie is great, though they have their little tiffs, ze understands JuggerBaby and they have a great system of trading. As an act of desperation, overseeing a small pack of 1-3 year olds, I taught JuggerBaby to ask zir companions to trade toys if they weren’t ready to give them up yet. It was a better approach than just trying to grab or yell MAH TUNE! (my turn!) when ze wants to play next. It worked when I was there to explain what trading meant, it didn’t work quite so well when ze offered up a trade item without explaining and trying to force the exchange. Luckily Bestie knows when JB offers an alternate toy, ze intends to trade, and will willingly trade back later if asked. So at least one kid understands zir!

The great thing that came out of our parent teacher conference, though, was the two-minute concept.

I use a one-minute version of it at home. When ze is being especially rambunctious and needs to be chased down and tackled, you still can’t force arms and legs into flailing limbs without growing a third one of your own! To ask JB to cooperate, I’ll say “it’s Mom’s turn for one minute, ok?” and VOILA! Ze will actually stop fighting and comply! It’s a tiny magic bullet in parenting. 

Things we bought

Our pediatrician has never suggested that we buy anything specific for JuggerBaby, he’s a very mellow and go-with-the-flow kind of doctor, but my GP made some great suggestions for our travel planning.

Water wow

The mess-free, water-only coloring book. I love it.

The color is already embedded in the pages, all the kid has to do is brush water on the page and then colors appear!

JuggerBaby LOVES watercolors already, but there’s no way I’m flying with, and juggling, watercolor paints on a plane. Granted, this does nothing for teaching them to actually color creatively but that’s what a handful of crayons and blank pages are for.  It’s also a reusable book so we don’t have to just use it and discard it, which pleases the Good Steward in me.

Reusable sticker scenes

I was skeptical about the idea of reusable stickers. JuggerBaby’s early habit of trying to eat the stickers made me doubt that it’s a good idea at all, but it turns out that these stickers only stick to their intended surface. They’re perfect!

Ze recently came into a small trove of puffy or fuzzy stickers and has been carefully sticking and unsticking it on various locations in the house. I’m pretty sure there’s a fuzzy dino stuck to my desk right now. Ze still tries to eat regular stickers, of course. Because OF COURSE.

Favorite books

This massive list is for Penny to help her with Half Penny’s library.

Little Golden Book: My first counting book: This was a new addition to our library and we had to read it three times a day, every day.
Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists: Ze has finally picked some favorites so we don’t have to read ALL FIFTY NURSERY RHYMES daily. Whew.
Dr. Seuss’s ABC (Beginner Books, I Can Read It All By Myself): This is a car-favorite as well.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: We read a lot, can you tell? Ze asks for this at least five times per weekend.
If You Give a Moose a Muffin: We’re not a fan of this book, or the Pig story, because the animals seem like such takers but we use the opportunity to remind JuggerBaby that just because someone asks you for increasingly ridiculous things, you are not obligated to satisfy the request! Also, don’t feed the wildlife.
Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book: It’s not clear what ze loves about this book now that ze knows zir letters, mostly, but still, we read it.
The Foot Book: Dr. Seuss’s Wacky Book of Opposites
Big Dog . . . Little Dog: Bit of a silly read but ze likes it.
Go, Dog. Go!: This is where JuggerBaby learned “red light means stop!” It’s a useful phrase for a toddler bent on destruction.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!: A fan favorite, though ze hasn’t tried to read it by zirself yet.
Pulelehua and Mamaki: A wonderful book about the Kamehameha butterfly from Hawaii.
Penguin on Vacation: We like these books in English or any other language we can get them.
Penguin and Pinecone
Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep!: JuggerBaby can’t help but yell along with this one.
There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! An early favorite with stamina. We read this in the car a lot.
I Thought I Heard a Tiger Roar (Light Up the Mind of a Child Series): We don’t love reading this but JuggerBaby picks it at least three times a week so what do we know?
I am Amelia Earhart (Ordinary People Change the World): Technically for older readers but JB enjoys it.
I am Rosa Parks (Ordinary People Change the World): Again, for older readers, but you can tell JB is following the narrative, and feels strongly about the racism described. We also tell zir about the ongoing struggles with racism that we see today.
Down at the Beach: A delightful gift from a friend, this is read to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus”.

:: What are some of your favorite books for kids or young adults? How much sleep are you getting these days? Did you take mortal offense if your rejected food stayed on your plate?

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