Last Month’s Review: June
Goal: Get creative and cook fresh from the garden
Fail/Success? Success! We have been eating straight from the garden constantly and I love it. I’ve tried several new things with the fresh produce and nearly all of them were simple things I plan to (or already have) repeated. I actually did not experiment any with our beets, broccoli or green beans. The beets and broccoli are just SO good steamed with butter (and easy for the kids) that I had no desire to do other things. The beans, so far, we’ve focused on canning for storage.
Here are some new things I did try and loved:
- Overnight Oats – This was easy and simple. I actually bought my fruit, but we’ll have our own berries soon that I can repeat with. I’ve done it twice and just need more yogurt to repeat! (Check #5 on this 10 Things Tuesday List for recipe I followed.)
- Dipping Oil – I used our fresh basil along with a plethora of other herbs and spices to make a dipping oil that turned out fabulous! It’s a great thing to set out with bread if you have guests over. (I used #2 on this list. I left off the Parmesan for Mingus’s sake.)
- Zucchini Chips – I followed this recipe a couple of times (minus the tomato) and made half with Parmesan and half without. More recently I kept it super simple and just cubed the zucchini, sprayed them with oil and sprinkle Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper.
- Zucchini Pizzas – Major win! I’ve done it twice and once even made some with no cheese for Jon.
- BBQ Kabobs – I’ve never made any kind of skewers or kabobs and this was fun to put together–Dorothy enjoyed it too. I loosely followed this recipe, but primarily used lots of veggies (peppers, onion, zucchini, cherry tomatoes), pineapple and chicken and brushed with Maul’s barbecue sauce.
- Chicken & Pineapple Marinade – I had leftovers of nearly all my skewer ingredients, so I decided to marinade them the next night and simply wrap them in foil to bake. I found this kabob recipe and used it’s marinade (pineapple juice, soy sauce, honey, Sriracha, garlic) for my leftovers and served it over brown rice.
- Salmon Patties – I’ve never experimented making these with an egg substitute and haven’t thought to do it since discovering duck eggs. I looked up a recipe and we will definitely be making these a staple in our house now.
- Strawberry-Rhubarb Cookies – We had just enough rhubarb to do something but not a pie, so I’ve had this recipe marked in one of my allergy-friendly cook books for awhile. While they were very tasty, I think I’d prefer to use my rhubarb for something else and stick to simple oatmeal cookies.
What I got out of it: Eating straight from the garden is one of my favorite things about summer. It makes dinner prep so easy every night, because there is always plenty of food in the house. Trying these new recipes has not only made my family happy, but it’s helped me realize how easy it is to find simple recipes, given me the confidence to adjust things to our liking or needs, and it makes me enjoy the cooking process more.
Moving Forward: We have plenty of zucchini and squash to keep experimenting with as summer continues. I’m also looking forward to tomatoes and peppers coming on later. The cucumbers are just beginning to really produce as well. (I see pasta salads in our future!) Blackberries will be ready for picking soon, which will bring for some breakfast and dessert fun. (We had blueberries, but our bushes are young and the kids had them all eaten before we were even back to the house!)
New Challenge: July
Goal: Start prepping Dorothy and Jacob for arrival of Baby #3
Motivation behind the challenge: There are several things I know I need to do with my two kids that, if I’m being honest, I’ve just been too lazy to tackle. Considering the kids are not even 18 months and 2 1/2 going on 3, none of them would be that big of a deal, but since I have already experienced what it’s like to deal with a newborn and a toddler, I can anticipate what a newborn and two toddlers will be like. A good example of me learning this the hard way Dot’s potty training. To most, I started potty training Dorothy early at 20 months. She definitely would have been young to do it before Jacob was born (only 15 months). It turned out I started the process and not long after Jacob was teething–meaning he got fussier and needed more holding and nursing, which made for staying on Dot harder. I am not sure I would have done it differently, but that experience tells me I need to work through the changes I can with these two now, before baby arrives in November.
On my to-do list for this month are:
- Doing away with pacifiers: I’ve relied on Dot’s forever because it’s just been easy. She doesn’t use it much anymore. But definitely expects it for sleeping. I need to have her off of it well before the baby arrives, because at that point, there is a good chance I’ll have them scattered throughout the house again and I don’t want her picking them up. Jacob uses them too, but I honestly think he’ll be easier to wean.
- Overnight pull-ups: Dorothy is fully potty trained but still wears a pull-up at night. I originally thought she’d slowly start to not pee at night, but I think she sleeps so heavily she doesn’t even know she uses the bathroom while asleep. There are nights she is dry or sometimes she’ll wakes up in the morning and go on the potty in her room. Other mornings she wakes up to a full pull-up and takes it off herself–which tells me she knows it shouldn’t be full of pee and doesn’t like it. Many days she doesn’t nap anymore, another reason I believe she sleeps heavily at night. I have to figure out how to teach her to recognize and wake up when her bladder is full.
- Two Kids/One Room: While we do have two bedrooms plus a nursery for the kids, I am going to have Jacob and Dorothy share a room. This will leave our guest room open longer and I think the hardest part will simply be on us during the early weeks of transitioning the two. I like the idea of them being used to sharing the space so that when we travel, it’s not a big deal if they sleep near each other. (We had our first experience of letting them share a room last week. While getting to sleep took awhile, they both slept through each other’s wake ups in the middle of the night. They were awake early, though.) Jacob still being in a crib should help since at least one kid will be confined.
There are some other things I plan to accomplish before baby’s arrival, but these three are on my radar for July. I’ll start with the pacifiers, as I suspect some fussing about it at bedtime, so I might as well face that while they are in separate rooms. I should probably work on night time bathroom breaks next, but I’d also like to get them used to sharing a room because that may be our setup during our August vacation.
Wish me luck or leave me your advice. I honestly think these tasks are harder on the parent than the kid. They are creatures of habit in all areas of life right now, so any change is hard, but usually a day or two of something new and they forget the old method. I just have to be disciplined!