Hi Gen Xers!

Welcome! Feel free to peruse and enjoy all the material here. Unfortunately, our crazy lives and schedules have changed and we are no longer posting as a team. Some of us, however, have continued on with blogs of our own. Please follow us along on these sites:

The Librarian (Ruth) – The Jedi Musician’s Mama – http://jedismama.com/

The Scrivener (Shelby) – My Year With the Mouse – http://myyearwiththemouse.com/

The PhotoAddict (Renee) – Sprouts Photography Blog – http://sproutsphotography.com/?page_id=154

Thanks for stopping by!

The Gen X Moms

Kipper!

We were at the cabin recently and got a ton of snow. And by a ton I mean check out the picture of the car. It was level with the ground when we pulled in.

This happened overnight. No joke.

Sadly, Mouse is not a huge fan of the snow. He doesn’t like to walk in it. As in, he screams and cries when we try to make him walk in it. But we were all getting a bit of cabin fever there in the cabin. There’s a television and we did have basic cable installed, but just turning on the tv is rather hit and miss. Plus we don’t allow Mouse to watch much tv at all. Prior to this trip, he really only watched Yo Gabba Gabba.

However, luckily for us, we did bring up a new Blue-Ray DVD player that can stream from Netflix, so we set out to find something other than Yo Gabba Gabba (which Mouse calls “Go Ga Ga”) to watch. We sort of stumbled up this British cartoon about a dog named Kipper.

It’s unbelievably wonderful. We are now huge Kipper fans. Kipper is originally a series of children’s books, but those are very hard to find nowadays, sadly. But Mouse is completely enthralled with Kipper, the messages are positive, the animation is gentle (that is, not a lot of fast and flashy movement), and the stories are all very straightforward.

If you’re looking for a new series that you can tolerate in the background, we highly recommend Kipper.

Keep Dreaming

In the Fall of 2010, the owner of Belly Sprout, Christy Funk, posed a question on her Facebook wall. She asked us mamas out there if our dreams were on hold now that we have children or were we living the dream, balancing work that we loved and our children. This got me thinking. I had put my dreams on hold for awhile and I stopped to think about how I could adapt it to include my children.

I let the ideas rattle around in my brain for the night on how to balance children and a music career and this is what I came up with. Why couldn’t I teach a mommy and me music class where my children were present and could enjoy it? No babysitter required. Now, I just had to pitch the idea to the store owner as I clearly had no venue to hold this class. I thought about doing a trial run with the GenX moms playgroup, but I was faced with the limitations of my small living room.

I was nervous about broaching the idea to Christy out of fear of rejection, but I decided to “man up” and just go for it. My mantra was nothing ventured, nothing gained. I wrote her an email and pitched the idea and do you know what? She went for it. Do-Re-Me & Mommy was born. Since the holidays were approaching, we decided to host some free classes to introduce it to the community.  I gathered up some baby-safe musical instruments and cracked open the songbooks. I poured over hundreds of songs to find age-appropriate and popular tunes that most people would know. I found holiday songs set to popular children’s tunes and created song sheets, so parents could follow along. My goal was to make this fun and interactive.

The day of the first class arrived and my nerves were through the roof; I don’t remember eating breakfast. I don’t even think I slept through the night. I woke up early and while all my boys were still snoozing, I headed around the corner to print the colored song sheets at the office supply store. Since it was close to Thanksgiving, I went with harvest gold. I had rehearsed the songs over and over and was getting worried Scooby wouldn’t be interested since he’d heard them a bunch of times, including on the car ride over to Belly Sprout.

It was an overcast misty day, and I was hoping for a good handful of mamas and babes, but I tried to keep my expectations low. All the instruments were displayed on the kids’ table and I set up my IPod and speakers for the end of class boogie. What a joy it was to see friends and new faces coming to class. Eighteen moms showed up with their children in tow. We sang, we laughed, we jingled, we jangled. At the end, we all hung out and had a great time swapping mamahood stories while the kids danced and played. I felt so blessed to have such lovely mamas there who were encouraging even when I got nervous (Thanks Scriv!).  It was an experience that still brings tears to my eyes. The warmth and camaraderie, the new friendships forged, all from a little spark that took courage to share and bring to fruition.

I look forward to the future and I’m optimistic about keeping my dream alive in uncertain times.

Veggies Part 2

From our contributor, the Cooking Mama!

Spring is upon us and that means that decent produce is slowly finding its way back to the grocery store and farmers’ markets, hurrah! My days of picking through mangled, sad looking, and yet still incredibly overpriced specimens and relying heavily on frozen and packaged fruits and veggies are numbered and I couldn’t be happier. Mom confession ahead: I haven’t tried too terribly hard these last few months to get Goose to eat her vegetables. She seems to have wised up to my tricks and not even cheese, butter, or seasonings have enticed her taste buds. I always offer a bit of what we’re having and she generally turns it down, but she eats plenty of fruit and that still counts toward her five-a-day, right?

Goose shops for bananas

I’m hoping that the coming spring bounty will renew the appreciation for vegetables Goose had as a baby. She’ll still happily eat tomatoes and avocados (both technically fruits, I know), and she’ll pick at a few kernels of corn, but maybe all she needs is a spear of grilled asparagus or some sweet, steamed snap peas to rekindle her love for the green and orange stuff. Or maybe that’s a lot of wishful thinking and I’ll be hiding her vegetables in her food until she moves out of the house. I guess we’ll see soon enough. In the meantime, I’ll share a really easy, healthy, and Goose-approved recipe that sneaks in a lot of protein, vitamins, and fiber.

These pancakes started out as a recipe using shredded zucchini. I had a bag of baby carrots hanging out in the crisper so I used those instead, and tweaked the amount of oil (the original recipe called for more, but the pancakes don’t need it). This pancake batter doesn’t come together in the typical way – mixing the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately and then combining the two – but despite my skepticism, it somehow works perfectly and best of all, requires only one bowl. The cute little pancakes are lightly sweet from the carrots but mostly savory (I served them at lunch), a bit eggy in a good way, and really yummy on their own, no toppings required.

Carrot Pancakes

4 eggs

2 cups shredded carrots

¾ cup all-purpose flour (whole wheat would work too)

½ tsp granulated sugar

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 tsp baking powder

Preheat and lightly grease your skillet or griddle. In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Add in the carrots and mix well. Dump in the flour and sugar and incorporate with the fork. Stir in the olive oil, then lastly the baking powder until fully combined. Drop by the heaping tablespoon for silver dollar pancakes and cook until lightly golden brown on both sides.

In a Dinner Rut? Some Quick Fixes

Are you tired of eating – and cooking – the same exact meals night after night, week after week?  Does it feel like you could cook each night with your eyes closed?

Here are some easy solutions:

 (1)  Re-create your restaurant favorites

Let’s face it.  We often eat out because need a break from cooking.  But, we also eat out because we like the food.  Yesterday, I had no idea what to make for dinner and thought about some favorite meals when I go out.  I really enjoy a lot of restaurant salads and decided to re-create Barbecued Chicken Salad, a meal I have ordered at several different restaurants.  It’s always on a base of regular house salad – lettuce, cucumber, tomato, shredded cheese.  Then, there’s usually corn and black beans, so I open up a can of each of those (and rinsed the beans).  Then, I coated 2 chicken breasts with a favorite barbecue sauce and grilled them on the George Foreman grill.  To top it off, I put a little barbecue sauce in to a bowl with ranch dressing.  Voila!  I had barbecue ranch dressing without having to buy an entire specialty bottle.  I also made my version of California Pizza Kitchen’s BLT pizza a couple weeks ago.  It was just as tasty, a ton cheaper, and added some variety to our dinner menu.

Try re-creating some of your favorite restaurant meals at home.  Think about the different toppings you have had on pizzas, the different ways you have seen pasta prepared, and the restaurant sandwiches you really enjoy.  Bring those in to your own kitchen.

(2)  Flip through those cookbooks

If you’re anything like me, you have a huge stack of cookbooks.  Open one of them, and flip through it.   You don’t have to make anything in it, but I find it tends to help me generate a lot of ideas to help mix things up.  I may see 2 ingredients combined in a way I never would have thought of, such as a pork and nectarine stir fry I came across.  Sometimes, I also come across a recipe that will remind me of a dish I used to make, before I entered my current rut.

(3)  Turn on the TV

I can’t watch the Food Network for a half hour without seeing some new technique or cooking method that I have never tried.  I have picked up such ideas as roasting cherry tomatoes to put on salads or pasta and boiling green beans with my pasta (same water at the same time) and then tossing them both with pesto.  (Although mine comes from a jar, not a food processor.  Sorry, Rachael!)

(4)  Take matters in to your own hands

I have a friend who recognized she was in a rut and asked for help.  She sent out a note to several of her mom friends on Facebook and asked us what we have been cooking lately.  She asked us to send her recipes for favorites in our own rotations that she could add to hers.  Not only did we help her out, but we also got to read what everyone else was making to expand our own cooking repertoire.

I also subscribe to daily emails from

These recipes have been posted by home cooks, and many of them are reviewed.  They feature a recipe each day, and at least half of them seem worth trying.  I love having new recipes to try, and I love it even more when they’re tried and true successes.

These methods certainly work for me!  Have your own tips or methods?  Please feel free to share them here! 

Organized Activities Are Cramping My Style

I always swore I wasn’t going to be one of those mothers whose children are in 50,000 different activities a day and who spend all of their time driving their children from place to place. So for a long time, I resisted organized weekly activities for Mouse.

Also, I’m kind of cheap.

We go to the library for storytime every Tuesday (free!) and we also have a swimming lesson (not free) on Tuesday nights. Those used to be our only activities, but then Mouse started exhibiting some speech delays so we had his evaluated and were recommended speech therapy twice a week. And because he was a late walker (17 months), they also recommended a “mommy and me-type gym class” for his “emerging skills.”

So off we went to speech therapy and…

Where I am now known as “Grandma.”

Sheesh.

So now our week is:

Monday: Speech therapy (morning)

Tuesday: Library (morning) and swimming (evening)

Wednesday: Gymboree with Grandma–I mean me (morning)

Thursday: Speech therapy (morning)

I know it doesn’t seem like much to most people, but I am very unused to having 4 mornings taken up right off the bat. Plus it’s been very hard to go to playdates because many of them are at the same time as our above activities.

But mostly it’s just cramping my style. I liked being able to lounge around the house eating bon bons at my leisure. Now we have a schedule to stick to. And it’s only going to get worse from here. *sigh*