Friday Favorites: Best of Utah

Friday, March 29, 2013

It's true, the Beehive State is pretty great. And since I have lived the majority of my life in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains I can accurately call it home. This weekend I'm going home. Home to family and friends. Home to familiar surroundings and happy memories. Spending Easter with my family is one of my FAVORITE traditions. In celebration of my westward trek I thought I'd share some of my favorite tried and true places to visit; places that have been on my A-list for years.* And while I don't always get to all of these spots when I return for a visit, I'm happy to have this trusty list at the ready. 

Left Fork Grill looks like a dumpy trucker stop from the outside, but it just so happens to have the most amazing pie. Ever. Dozens of varieties to choose from and many sell out before your meal is even over. Take advice from a pro: order your pie first. You'll be glad they saved that last slice of raspberry cream for you. 

Mazza Mediterranean restaurant serves up authentic flavors in a cozy setting. The sampler platter is great for sharing and the tabouli tastes as fresh as the Aegean sea air.  

Nielsen's Frozen Custard**gets to the heart of the matter. A true reflection of what Utahns love. Ice cream. Home of the thicker-than-a-milkshake, spoon-required concrete, this neighborhood joint is staffed by teenagers and is packed all seasons of the year. 

Ruby Snap is much more that a cookie store. Pin-up girl names, generous samples, and cookies-of-the-month make this little store such a sweet spot. 

Les Madeleines is a sophisticated bakery. Its specialty is kouign-amann (pronounced queen a-mahn). This buttery, flaky, sugared caramel croissant is guaranteed to alter your existence. If you're lucky you might also find them in the South of France, but only if you visit during high season.

Red Iguana knows Mexican food. Seriously. Two locations. Outrageous chile verde. Repeat appearances on Best Of Lists year after year. What more can I say?

Abode/Paris Flea Market is adorable. Take the afternoon off and sort through colorful vintage furniture and clothing pieces. Reasonable prices and the varied selection make this a true find.  

Cactus and Tropicals is pure class. The indoor nursery is perfect for fighting winter blues. Gorgeous floral arrangements and excellent customer service make this my go-to spot for inspiration. 

The City Library (Main Branch) is an architectural wonder. Don't forget to look up! Plus they have one of the best mission statements I've ever read; you know, if you're in to that sort of thing. 

Liberty Park was less than a mile from where I lived for a time. It's great for exercise and people watching. And they have a really neat Aviary right inside the park.  

Pioneer Park Farmer's Market is hands down my favorite farmer's market and I've been to A LOT of different markets. While Saturday mornings are busier than they were back in 2000, I'm happy the crowds are supporting local vendors with such enthusiasm.  

Red Butte Gardens is nestled on the side of a mountain. Stunning vistas, gorgeous gardens, short hiking paths and summer concerts make this the perfect spot for the entire family.  

The King's English Bookstore is adorable and what beats getting lost in a local book shop? 

* This list focuses primarily on the Salt Lake City region of the state.  

**While you can technically get Nielsen's Frozen Custard in Virginia, I think its birthplace warrants inclusion on this list. 

Three Days in Minnesota

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Last week I attended a professional conference in Minneapolis at Macalester College. The best part about the conference was having Ken come with me. In a past life GH lived and worked in the Twin Cities for four years, which meant he was really happy to introduce me to some of his friends and show me around his old haunts. And honestly it was kind of nice getting to know more of his life story. It made me appreciate him in a new light and I was glad we were able to spend some quality time together during the long drives. 

Although the first day didn't get above 14° F, I felt right at home in the cold and snow. (Guess my Utah blood runs deep.) In between conference sessions (which were actually some of the best I have ever attended), I managed to avoid frostbite by ducking into local shops. Some of my favorite places to eat included the St. Paul Cheese Shop (holy toledo!), raspberry cupcakes at the Salty Tart inside Midtown Global Market, and Hell's Kitchen's to-die-for breakfast and ridiculously good peanut butter. Other outings included a trip to the State Capitol building, a drive through a local cemetery, stocking up at Ikea, and browsing G. Keillor's bookstore*. Definitely looking forward to a return visit.


* While I'm loathed to admit it I did end up spending an hour in the Mall of America. Don't judge. 

All images by me. 

Music Monday, er Tuesday

I have about a dozen things I'd like to write about today and for now we'll just pretend that some of these things were even written yesterday. M'kay? Good. First, let me draw your attention to the awesome sounds of Hey Marseilles. Remember how I featured them on my latest spring music swap? Yeah, I kind of dig their tunes. Lucky for me they are headed to my corner of the world next week and you can bet I've got a ticket. Care to join me?  Plus if you've ever wondered about the process of making an album this fine group has broken it down for you in five simple steps (part four is my favorite).

Hey Marseilles makes an Album
Ps. Check out their Tiny Desk concert here

Friday Favorites: {Guest Post by Maura}

Friday, March 22, 2013

Maura is a library science student and library paraprofessional in Washington, D.C. who originally hails from Colorado. She  enjoys walking her dogs, pretending to do P90X, cheering for the Colorado Buffaloes, and watching too much TV. She blogs about random stuff at Dogby.
Full disclosure: I’m obsessed with my dogs, Digby, a chihuahua-rottweiler-brussels griffon mix, and Olive, a bull terrier-shih tzu-yorkie-who-knows-what-else mix*. While I’m not an expert on ownership, care, and training of canines, I have been a dog-owner for over a year and have figured out some of my favorite items that I'm happy to share with you.

A harness (for walks or all the time)
I think a harness is essential for any dog-owner, but especially if you have small dogs. Their necks are a lot more delicate and you risk a serious injury if your dogs pull too much on a collar, or are accidentally pullled/jerked by you. Harnesses are great for bigger dogs as well, they can still be injured by a collar, although it’s not as easy. One of my friends has a border collie/lab mix and she uses a harness for him when they go for walks. Some people use a harness for walking and a collar to hold tags, we opted to just use the harness and leave it on almost all the time. I think if we had a place with a yard we might use collars and then only put the harness on for walks, but when you’re going out at least three times a day, it’s nice to have one less thing to wrestle with. I really like mesh harnesses (we use Gooby, but I’ve heard good things about Puppia) because Digby is bald on his belly and has sensitive skin. The mesh harness avoids any chaffing and irritation that might occur with a nylon webbing variety. 

Leash/Leash splitter
I use a traditional nylon webbing leash. (Isn’t the lime green great? I think I need that. We just have the boring brown one.) Personally, I don’t like retractable leashes for a couple reasons: one, Digby pulls like a maniac, so that would just make it worse since he would be rewarded for pulling (he gets more leash, rather than being controlled by the static length of the traditional leash); for another, I get nervous when I see a dog on a retractable leash nearby and their owner seems to make no effort to control their dog, which means I don’t know if they are going to run up and upset my dogs** or they are totally in control and are going to mind their own business. It could be either or something different, and that makes me nervous. I think in dense areas with a lot of dog-owners (like my building/neighborhood) it’s more courteous to have your dog under some semblance/appearance of control. When I walk both of our dogs together, I like to use a leash splitter so that I only have to hold onto one leash (although I always bring an extra with me in case of an emergency). This also helps keep Digby from going totally wild because Olive is heavier and stronger than him, so she keeps him in check.

Sturdibag carrier
I’m totally codependent on my dogs. So whenever we travel, I have to bring them with me. The sturdibag carrier is awesome for car or in-flight travel because it’s easy to carry (lots of strap options) and comfortable for the pooches (plus there is a mesh panel on top so that I can look down at them from above). When we travel by air with the dogs the sturdibag functions as our carry-on item and sits under the seat in front of us. The flexing top allows them to maneuver a little easier under the seat (Olive’s is technically too tall to go under the seat, but the flexing makes it work just fine). When I have traveled solo with Digby, and encountered other people traveling with their pets, they always remark on what a great carrier the sturdibag is compared to theirs, ha!
Zukes Mini-Naturals treats
Really, any tiny treat works great for training and rewards (and spoiling your dog). I like Zukes because they are made in Durango, CO (holla!), they are really small (great for small mouths) and easy to split apart (because they obviously could be smaller?). They are also pretty low calorie and my dogs seem to love them, even when they get sort of hard and stale. We’ve tried all of the varieties except for peanut butter (my husband claims to be allergic) and the dogs love all of them. They’re easy to throw in my pocket for walks or my bag when we go on longer trips (sometimes they get loose, but if you’re like me, you don’t really mind the doggy scent in your pockets or purse).

Chew toys (nylabones, kongs, and ropes)
Digby is a pretty serious chewer. If I’m not careful, he will chew up my shoes, clothes, or books (all of these have actually happened). I try to be vigilant about not leaving stuff out when the dogs are unsupervised, and I also have a bunch (seriously, too many) chew toys for them to gnaw to their hearts desire. Olive doesn’t usually get in on the action much (and definitely not when anyone is watching) but she has been known to enjoy a nylabone occasionally and also likes her kong (with some wet food inside of course). Digby especially loves nylabones, his kong, and rope toys. I have to keep an eye on him with the ropes though, because once the fibers break and they start to unravel I have to take them away because he’ll just straight up eat the rope then (which is both dangerous and kind of gross). Chew toys are great because it gives my dogs something constructive to do and they help tire them out so they will be calmer and happier.
And there you have it, my favorite doggy things! Any other pet-owners out there? What products are your favorites? Also, if you have questions about airline travel with pets or want me to start waxing poetic about my pups, feel free to email me at dogbyblog[at]gmail[dot]com. Thanks Miranda for having me as a guest on your blog.

*My husband and I are nerds and got DNA tests on both of our dogs because I wanted to know what they were exactly (unfortunately, Olive is so mixed, they could only determine half of her lineage). If you are also a nerd, I highly recommend this! The tests are cheek swabs, so fairly easy, and also fairly inexpensive (about $50). I’m not sure why I didn’t put this as a favorite, because it's obviously great... so, bonus?

** Well, actually my dog would probably upset it—Digby gets nervous which turns into aggression with strange dogs. He has snapped at enough dogs on the street for me to realize that a: people don’t appreciate that even if it’s harmless and b: it’s easier to avoid unknown situations with strange dogs than wonder if Digby’s going to pick a fight.

Music Monday: The Echo Friendly

Monday, March 18, 2013

Is it possible to like a song even if you don't completely relate to the lyrics? For the sake of argument, and in the case of music, I'm going to say yes. Yes you can. In the case of mushrooms I'm going to say no. Always no. Jake Rabinbach and Shannon Esper make up Echo Friendly. Over the past few years they have released a couple singles and are currently working on a full length album. Given this sampling, I imagine it'll be worth the wait.

The Echo Friendly — Same Mistakes

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Today just feels like a celebration! A little gray and overcast, but with a lot of green. Green everywhere. Green napkins, plates, cups, shamrocks, balloons and more. The house smells like Irish soda bread and we've been preparing for our first major party for three days. Meanwhile my heart is brimming with goodness and certain that with a little luck someday I'll return to Paddy's green shamrock shore.

The High Kings

For more Irish music click here.   

Friday Favorites {A History}

Friday, March 15, 2013

When I returned to blogging at the end of last summer I felt drawn to the creative process of writing for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I wanted to improve my writing. I knew in order to do that consistency was essential. Along the way I also believed that creating an online presence meant I would be responsible for creating a community too — fostering something larger than my simple stories. For new readers or those unfamiliar with the dynamics of virtual communities, it might seem strange to worry about community and content simultaneously. I mean why bother? Apart from a handful of readers (Hi, mom), I don't even know who reads this blog. What I do know, however, is that a weekly series was one way to ground myself; to post on a consistent basis and develop a community.

My first Friday Favorites post was never intended to turn into a weekly series. (Honestly, that felt like a HUGE commitment. I was, after all, just returning to writing and going through a lot of life changes at the same time.) But soon things started to shift. Ideas started to percolate and people became engaged. Because I wanted to remain authentic and avoid devolving into an O Magazine Oprah-on-the-cover-every-month situation, I started asking friends to contribute to the series. Most of these individuals already maintained beautiful blogs of their own, which meant they were familiar with the format, however prior experience was not necessary. What I love most about engaging others in this effort has been the variety of topics people write about. They draw on their experience and generously share tips and favorite interests. While I do not know where this series will go, or what the future holds, for now I am grateful that it has taken the shape of my original intentions.

Have an idea for Friday Favorites? Let me know in the comments section.

If you're interested in reading past posts, take a look at these. Enjoy!

Friday Favorites .27- Podcasts
Friday Favorites .26- Baby Love by Julie
Friday Favorites .25- Dream Travel by Christy
Friday Favorites .24- Movies
Friday Favorites .23- Party Planning by Nikki
Friday Favorites .22- Cleaning Products
Friday Favorites .21- Soup by Abby
Friday Favorites .20- Affordable Art
Friday Favorites .19- Home Design by Gail
Friday Favorites .18- Young Adult Books
Friday Favorites .17- Chemo by Suzette
Friday Favorites .16- Christmas Hymns
Friday Favorites .15- Cookies by Elaine
Friday Favorites .14- Children's Christmas Books
Friday Favorites .13- Trader Joe's
Friday Favorites .12- Link Love
Friday Favorites .11- Talking to Kids by Jocelyn
Friday Favorites .10- Kitchen Essentials
Friday Favorites .09- Music, Museums, & Photography by Katie
Friday Favorites .08- Travel Tips
Friday Favorites .07- Musical Theatre
Friday Favorites .06- Children's Books
Friday Favorites .05- Makeup, Music & More by Lucy
Friday Favorites .04- 5 Senses by Amy
Friday Favorites .03- Autumn
Friday Favorites .02- House Hunting
Friday Favorites .01- Board Games

Lucky 14

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Plot assignments came today. Right there, sandwiched between Mark and Nancy, sits lucky number 14. My first community garden plot! (If I believed in excessive punctuation this might be an occasion for using it.) True my bit of earth is only 5 x 10, but for six short months it's mine. All mine. Over the weekend I nestled seeds into compostable trays. Carrots, beets, lettuce, basil, tomatoes, and other kernels of hope are now resting happily under our living room windows. Direct garden planting starts next month. I'm so excited for this adventure and hope to share parts of the process along the way. Meanwhile, I'm investigating pick-your-own MO farms so I can stock up on berries and fruit once summer is finally here. And you? What are you looking forward to this summer?

It's Monday Morning and I'm Still Here

Monday, March 11, 2013

Last week I got a text message with this plea Will you teach the Sunday School [Gospel Doctrine] lesson for me this week? I'm going to be out of town. Since I like the person that sent this request I quickly accepted. I accepted so fast in fact, that I didn't even bother to find out what the lesson was. Imagine then when my brain nearly exploded when I found out WHAT I'd be teaching: The Restoration of the Priesthood. I don't usually expound about personal topics on this little blog of mine, but this, this is something different. It's a delicate line, what to share, being honest and authentic, while still maintaining a modicum of privacy on this space, so you'll forgive me then if I expound on an all too personal experience just once.

As I began studying the text of the lesson I felt defeated. Male pronouns pervaded the text. Anxiety began coursing through my entire being. How could I get out of this? I sent a message to my friend expressing my concern. My concern that maybe I wasn't the right person for the job. She, of course, responded with compassion and conviction, mentioning that my fears only confirmed to her that I was the right person for the job. She may have used the word inspired. I wasn't so confident. This had nothing to do with teaching; I've never had difficulty with public speaking, rather I was trying to wrap my brain around the contents of the lesson, all while asking myself if I could possibly teach something that I wasn't entirely comfortable with. I continued to study and as I did I was reminded of one of my favorite scenes from Yentl. (Yes, Yentl. Rest assured, I plan on mentioning Yentl at least once a year. You've been warned.) The scene where Yentl (aka the immortal Barbara Streisand) is trying to get into a prestigious yeshiva (Jewish school) and is interviewed by the rabbi. When the two emerge from their closed-door meeting, the old rabbi remarks He asks a lot of questions, this one. To which Yentl apologizes, saying Sorry, I've been told that before. The wise rabbi, without hesitation replies, It's by their questions that we choose our students, not only by their answers. 

I had a lot of questions. Questions for myself and questions for God. Questions that seemed appropriate to ask the class and questions that were best fought out in the confines of my heart. As I studied, I particularly appreciated chapter 8 from the Daughters in My Kingdom manual. I also took comfort in prayer. Lots of prayer. The truth was I had to trust the process. Trust that the class members wouldn't make crazy statements or flawed analogies. And trust myself that if they did, I'd be able to handle it. Mostly, though, I had to trust God. And trust that maybe my faith would be strengthened along the way.

In the morning I had GH give me a blessing. That helped. With it I knew things would turn out alright. The lesson started out a little rough, but I think that's always the case with a new instructor. Also, I had no idea when I was suppose to start. Bueller? A lot of people where still socializing after sacrament, but those in the classroom where starting to get antsy. I stepped forward and with a deep breathe began. As I started I set forth an outline for our time together, then told a story. Next I launched into the question/scripture reference portion of the lesson. Slowly people started to warm up and engage in the discussion. Every time someone raised their hand though, I prayed to know how I should respond. Fortunately, everyone stayed on topic. People shared their ideas and read the quotes I provided. Some also express genuine appreciation for the perspective I was taking. In the end, I'd like to say I would do this again. Perhaps. Mostly though, I now feel a stronger conviction for taking on hard tasks; for not backing down even in the face of uncertainty. That my voice matters. Furthermore, I believe varying opinions, especially in a congregation, are a good thing. Necessary, in fact. Lastly, I know what it means to still have unanswered questions, but knowing, in spite of this, God really is a God of miracles and peace.

Special thanks to this post for guiding my outline. 

Spring Music Mix

It's that time again. Time for another round of music swapping. The mixes have been coming in (hooray for real mail!) and I'm happy to report of the three — out of five — I've already received, we have had no repeats. Impressive, right? Only one rule for this round: mixes should not exceed 45 minutes. Happily, that's a simple rule to follow. My mixes went out on these clever devils. Plus I made it extra easy for you to listen along. You're welcome.

Ps. Check out Amy's compilation here and Katie's playlist here
Pps. I did swap out one song from my original mix, but only because inside jokes are difficult to explain. 

Friday Favorites: Podcasts

Friday, March 8, 2013

The past seven days have been a whirlwind of activity and things are only going to amp up for the rest of March. Fortunately, part of my hectic schedule in the next couple weeks involves some down time. Which means I'm looking forward to cleaning out my backlog of podcasts while I drive and sit in airport terminals. A podcast, for anyone unfamiliar with the the term, is simply a digital media consisting of episodes. It can be audio or video and is accessible via smart phone, tablet, or even a PC desktop. So what will I be listening to during my precious down time? Likely a sampling of the following. 

Clockwork Cabaret is billed as the premier steampunk music podcast and comes to you live every Saturday night from North Carolina. It is everything a raucous cabaret should be. Originally started by two ridiculously silly Davenport sisters, the show now features one Davenport and the antics of her sidekick, Lady Attercop.

The Irish and Celtic Music Podcast is just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Actually it's pretty much perfect year round, so grab yer flute and put on yer dancin' shoes because this is one toe tappin' good time.

Science & Stories
Radio Lab gets my financial support. I fully support the kind of work Jad and Robert produce. I started listening to them in 2007, when they were just getting started, and I'm still enamored with the style of how they meld science into discernible storytelling. Episodes you REALLY should listen to are Sleep, The Bus Stop, and Words.

Selected Shorts features many talented and popular readers. You might recognize famous authors or celebrities (most recently Cynthia Nixon and Neil Gaiman) recounting a John Irving tale or something from Tim O'Brien. I find myself sucked into a vortex of complete concentration when I listen to these stories. It was perfect for those long Metro rides.

This American Life is, well, part of the American fabric. Ira Glass is a genius. I've listened to him for nearly a decade now. The stories are fresh and engaging, interspersed with quirky music clips. A few years ago Ira spoke at one of my professional conferences and you can bet I was all fangirl on him; sitting on the front row for hours before the event started; one of the first to rush the mic when the Q&A portion started. Yeah, I kind of have a thing for nerdy guys with hipster glasses. But back to the episodes. The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar, The Super, and Switched at Birth are mighty fine pieces of storytelling; well worth three hours of listening.

Do you listen to any podcasts on a regular basis?

Image found here

Homemade: Banana Bread

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Have you ever tried giving an old recipe a new twist?  Banana bread (or muffins in this case) was one of the first things I learned to bake. As a kid I thought turning nasty black bananas — the darker, the better — into a loaf of moist sweet bread was the simplest kind of magic. The other day I pulled out my mom's recipe and paired it with Heidi Swanson's version. The result? A deliciously satisfying breakfast treat or afternoon snack. 

Banana Bread
(makes 18 muffins or two loaves)

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
3 overripe bananas
1-2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups flour (I use a mixture of wheat and white)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup nuts (optional) 

Cream the first two ingredients together with an electric mixer; then add one egg at a time. Stir in bananas, vanilla, buttermilk, and yogurt until well incorporated. In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients, then fold flour mixture into the banana mixture. Be careful not to overmix as it will produce tough muffins. Top batter with toasted chopped nuts. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 20 min at 375° F. If you are making bread cook for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean. Muffins are best the day they are made, though they can be frozen and reheated whenever you need them.    

Banana bread, in my opinion, is best served warm; preferably with generous slabs of butter. 

For other homemade posts click here, here, and here

Music Monday: Shamrock Edition

Monday, March 4, 2013

We are less than two weeks away from my second favorite holiday. Erin go Bragh! As a descendant of Irish heritage I grew up thinking all families celebrated St. Patrick's Day with as much gusto as my family did. We'd gather in grandma and grandpa Flynn's basement, the long table set for 30+ family members and a kids table at the end, to gorge on dishes of corned beef, cabbage and vinegar, cheesy potato sides, soda bread, and any other green food we could come up with. Music would play in the background and I felt my heart expand, happy for my heritage. 

A couple years ago I visited the Emerald Isle. It was everything I hoped it would be. The people were warm and welcoming and carried a tune about them wherever they went. In celebration of all things Irish here are a few songs I've been whistling lately.  

The Parting Glass

Will You Go Lassie Go

Whiskey You're the Devil

(The last one comes from my college "drinking" parties, where vast amounts of Kool-Aid were consumed.) 

Friday Favorites: {Guest Post by Julie}

Friday, March 1, 2013

Julie is a wife, new mom, and domestic engineer that loves trivia, meaningful books, and beautiful things. In a previous life, she was a research librarian. She blogs at Meddyphor.

I have spent the last year being either pregnant or a new mom. It’s been a challenging and beautiful experience. I’ve slowed down and adjusted expectations. I take payment in smiles, giggles, soft baby skin against mine, and watching him learn and grow.

Jeremy is our first child and so I spent quite a bit of time reading and researching. In the end I found, as I think most people do, that pregnancy and motherhood is often an individual experience and you do what works for you and your baby. Here are some favorite things that worked for me, both during pregnancy and in the last few months since Jeremy was born.

Pregnancy Favorites
What to Expect While You’re Expecting - book, website, and iPhone app: These were invaluable tools for me. Each week I read about what would be happening to my body, what new things were developing for the baby, and find answers to questions between visits to the doctor.

Journaling: I tend to be an open book with people I feel comfortable with. Before we told people we were pregnant, I had a hard time not sharing what was going on, especially as I dealt with morning sickness. So I created a Google document and started writing notes to my son. I called it “Notes to a New Friend.” I continued it throughout the pregnancy. It contains more information than my son will probably want to know, but it was useful, especially in those first weeks to have an outlet. Currently, I’m working on turning the entries into a book and adding a few pictures using Blurb.

Walks with Tammy: Most Saturdays, my friend Tammy and I would take walks along the Potomac River or Holmes Run and talk about everything. We were both having our first babies, both having boys, both going to the same doctor, and both due the same week. As we got bigger and the summer got hotter, walks sometimes happened in the pool. The walks got shorter and shorter until they stopped as we got too uncomfortable, but we continued to get together as much as possible. 

Clothing: The first thing that I grew out of were pants. Luckily it was late spring/early summer, so I was able to get away with wearing stretchy skirts and flowy dresses I already owned. By the end of summer, I needed bigger shirts too. It was hard to find maternity clothes I liked that weren’t too expensive. I found Old Navy to be the best value (they’re always having sales) as well as a great little consignment shop in the Del Ray section of Alexandria, VA called Bellies & Babies. They have maternity clothes, infant and children’s clothes, and baby gear.

New Baby Favorites
Aden and Anais: A friend of mine gifted me a set of muslin swaddles. I have absolutely loved them. They’re lightweight, but work nicely for all those complicated tucks needed to get baby swaddled snuggly. I also picked up a pair of burpy bibs. These are the best burp cloths I have. They’re large and soft and they convert into a bib later on. (Target and Amazon are the best places to purchase these items.)

Pandora: They have a great station called Children’s Indie Radio. They play a great mix of oldies, pop music, and children’s music. My new favorite children’s song is the Barenaked Ladies Crazy ABCs.

Ergo Baby Carrier: I haven’t used it yet - Jeremy isn’t quite big enough - but I’m ready to use it as soon as he is. You can carry baby in front, on your hip, or on your back, up to 45 pounds. My husband pointed out that our 7 ½ year old nephew weighs about that much, but we agree we wouldn’t want to carry him around.

Bath cloth: A friend gave me this ingenious bath cloth. You wet it with warm water and lay it over baby while he’s being bathed to keep him warm. Jeremy is happier and it protects mommy from any accidents.

Information: The Mayo Clinic (both website 
and book) has been great for general new baby health and development information and KellyMom has been excellent for breastfeeding information.

Napping with Baby: Sometimes during the day Jeremy and I fall asleep on the couch together. He snuggles up on my chest, I wrap my arms around him, and pull a blanket around us. Occasionally, I feel like I should be “doing” something, but I recognize that this is the only time he will be this little and the only time that I will have only one child. So I put off the somethings and hold him a little tighter and sleep a little longer.

March (Linda Pastan)

A cardinal is back in the tangled branches
of the maple. Edna always said "Red bird, 
cold weather," but it's March now, 
the buds already pinking on the camellias. 
Edna used to roll biscuits before she cleaned our house, 
singing "Amazing Grace" as she worked. 
When I sent the tape of a poem to a magazine, 
her song by chance on the flip side, 
they rejected the poem but asked 
if they could use "Amazing Grace."
She died last year, and now I think
her serenity was the flip side of sadness —
the grandson in trouble with the law; the daughter 
far away; so many rooms to clean. 

My father's birthday punctuates March. 
He would be a hundred and ten, and now
I'm three years older than he was when he died, 
so many things unspoken between us. 
This is the month for remembering, the light
so new it illuminates what we hardly knew we saw; 
Edna in the room downstairs, alone; 
my father wanting something from me
I didn't know to give. 
It's such a mixed-up month, one foot 
in winter the other in spring, doing a windy 
two-step from past to future; 
while outside the cardinal on the leafless tree
performing its own Amazing Grace
is either scolding or serenading us.

My Bookbloom All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger