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I have a 14 month old tiny toddler She is amazing, wonderful, fun, and has been a very easy baby. I can’t take credit for her being easy, we just got lucky, but I’d like to think not being stressed out because we felt well prepared have helped.

messy livingroom baby stuff

This is as messy as I ever let the living room get. Otherwise I’d go BONKERS!

Here are some items that have helped us feel like prepared, confident new parents. I’ll try to list them in age order of when they’re most useful :)

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My baby eats food

Here are some of her favorite foods at 10 months old:

Cheerios

Raisins

Pears or apples cut into 1 cm pieces with a crinkle cut knife

Grapes or cherry tomatoes (cut into quarters the long way)

Turkey and spinach meatballs

Glazed carrots

Matzo balls made with real schmaltz

The veggies that cooked with brisket or pot roast

Spinach kugel or spanikopita filler

Chicken soup (not the broth, just the stuff)

Tsimmies with chunks of turkey thigh

Roasted cauliflower and/or sweet potatoes

Baked ziti

Stewed prunes

IMG_20180105_192731

Chewing on a roasted green bean at 6 months

She never really ate purees/baby food, but has always sat at the table with us for meals in her Stokke high chair and played with toys and we’d sometimes let her play with food too (like the green bean above). At 7 months she grabbed a pizza crust off my plate while I was out with my mom and I thought she’d just gum on it, but she ATE 2 INCHES OF PIZZA CRUST! I thought it was fluke, so when Ben came home a few days later and we went out for Indian food we gave her a piece of naan to chew on and she ate that too and flapped her little arms for more! She ended up eating naan, raisins from the saffron rice, and some peas from my curry that night.

Let’s see, last time I blogged here we were in the process of moving to Albuquerque. Well, now we live here! We bought a house after a few months of renting a room from another local Jewish gal (who has since moved to Houston). I found a job at a contact public defender’s firm within just 2 weeks of being here full time, was there for about a year, got pregnant and it was awful and I miscarried, I got well again and found a supplement that really helps me, we went on vacation to the North Island of New Zealand for 2 weeks, hosted an exchange student for a semester, got pregnant again, it was wonderful and I spent a lot of time doing Pilates and yoga, had a beautiful baby girl, got postpartum preeclampsia, got better but was very weak for a long time, stayed home with baby, and now she’s 10 months and I’m trying to find ME again!

Side lying nursing baby (nothing showing)

Ben has accepted employment with Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and it looks like we’re heading out West to Albuquerque, NM in about a month (he starts on the 20th)!

cactus flowers

Shira’s soon-to-bloom cactus flowers

The loose plan right now is that we’ll drive out together on July 14th and then I’ll fly back here and will stay at my job (in DC) through Labor Day– unless something interesting comes up sooner for me out there.

Big Red Arrow

the Big Red Arrow, with a fresh coat of red paint

About 2 months ago we moved almost everything we own into a 10×15′ climate-controled storage unit (if I’d been OK with stacking things higher, we could have gotten away with a 10×10′) and are now staying in the guest room at my parents’ house with just our summer clothes, toiletries, and any food/pantry items we couldn’t pack into our storage unit. We moved because our lease ended shortly after Passover and Ben has been looking for a new job since the beginning of the year and didn’t want to be saddled with a month-to-month lease “convenience fee,” effectively increasing our rent by 40%. Since moving in we’ve taken over the rec room as our own living area, and do miss having our own kitchen but are happy to have access to a grill and people to share the chores with.

Ghostbusters car at an airport carpark

Ghostbusters car at an airport carpark

I am so glad to have things more sorted and less abstract. We had a really great visit to ABQ two weeks ago and I am feeling much less anxious about moving now that I know that Ben is so excited about his job and there are jobs for me to apply to there and nice (Jewish and not) folks to befriend. While we were there we visited Old Town, visited the synagogue we’ll be joining, met other folks in our Jewish cohort, fell in love with the Nob Hill area, ate some great food (red or green? Christmas, please), were shown around by a realtor, and drove by more museums we want to visit than we knew even existed in ABQ. We’re going to have lots of things to keep us busy out there, including attending the Balloon Fiesta, joining the ABQ model rocket club and learning how to grow a vegetable garden in the high desert. It’s going to be an adventure and I’ll try and keep you all posted!

Sandias from the Sunport (it's too sunny to be an airport!)

Sandias from the Sunport (it’s too sunny to be an airport!)

Planes!

Hello blog-y people! I haven’t blogged in FOOOOOOOREEEEEEVVVVEEEEEEEER (now, go watch Goonies again if you need to). Apparently when I’m gainfully employed and not lonely (i.e. have enough friends/social activities to keep me from getting restless), I just don’t blog much.

Yep. Living in Rockville, Maryland and working in aviation regulatory law in DC has been good for me. Currently we are living in Northern Virginia, in my parents’ house (but in the guest room, not my old room, that would be weird) while Ben works on securing continual funding for more AMO physics research. Dr. Smarty-Pants!

Anyway, the real reason I’m blogging today is to dump all the photos and a few videos I took of today’s flyover off of Ben’s phone (we swapped today because I left the big camera at home, even though I’d gotten it out to take to work with me today).

Want more info about the WWII war plan flyover to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE day?

Schedule and route:       http://ww2flyover.org/general-information/flyover-schedule-and-route/

Great write-up of some of the pilots and their planes:     http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/pilots-prepare-for-historic-wwii-flyover-of-mall/article/2563250

Here are the photos from the lower terrace of the Kennedy Center (no filter, just a Moto G cell phone doing whatever it wants), I know they’re not the best, but PLANES! (There is a video on my Facebook page, but not on here because I’m cheap.)

Just sharing a well written critique of current humor threads (PS- I usually like The Oatmeal, but it does toe the line of funny and raunchy)

The Belle Jar

Yesterday, Matthew Inman from The Oatmeal wrote a comic about the “delicate relationship” that he has with his keyboard.  This was the final panel of the comic:

rape-f5rape

The comic in its entirety was about how he feels and behaves towards the various keys in his keyboard. This panel specifically was about trying to get a webpage to load when you have a slow connection, with the joke centering around Matt “raping” his F5 key in order to make the page load faster. Yes, it’s a rape joke. No, I’m not surprised. Yes, it’s supposed to be funny. No, no one would ever  actually “rape” a computer key. Yes, in spite of all that, I’m still grossed out. Now that all that is out of the way, can we talk about how terrible this is? Because it’s terrible. Really, really terrible.

The panel above is the type of joke that normalizes…

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Here’s a quick weeknight meal, inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s “Best Spinach Salad Ever.” 

Where can you find kosher beef bacon? Both Grow and Behold and KOL Foods carry it. Some kosher grocery stores may carry it too. Sometimes beef bacon is called “beef fry” instead of beef bacon (and may look like fatty porcine bacon or be more processed, like turkey bacon). I can’t eat the grocery store kind, at least the kind that Kosher Mart carries, it has carrageenan in it (which gives foods a thicker/creamy mouth feel but also gives me sad tummy in moderate doses).

Oh, you don’t want an rant about my food issues, you want a recipe, right? Here I am, teasing you with a messy kitchen table photo of my dinner that I started to eat before photographing it (this salad is best eaten immediately after all).

Deena's warm spinach and beef bacon salad

Deena’s warm spinach and beef bacon salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 slices BEEF BACON
  • 1-2 Tbls good olive oil, as needed
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 4 oz white button mushrooms
  • 8 ounces, clean, dry, baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. reserved BEEF BACON grease (or beef bacon fat + olive oil to reach the correct volume)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • small sprinkle of kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • OPTIONAL: 3 hard boiled eggs
  • OPTIONAL: chopped cherry tomatoes (I had some from my garden)

DIRECTIONS

In a tiny bit of oil, fry the beef bacon until crispy/chewy. Set aside on a paper towel.

Remove the warm grease from the pan with a spoon, add olive oil as needed to come up to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons, and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the warm skillet and return to medium heat.

Slice red onions very thinly, add to skillet. Slowly cook the onions until they’re caramelized and reduced. Set aside on a plate.

Slice mushrooms and add to the same skillet. Slowly cook the mushrooms until they’re caramelized and reduced. Set aside with the onions.

Chop up beef bacon into little nibbles.

OPTIONAL: Peel and slice eggs.

Make hot beef bacon dressing! Add the 1 1/2 set aside bacon grease/oil, vinegar, honey, and Dijon to the skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk to combine and heat through.

Place spinach in a large bowl. Add onions, mushrooms, and beef bacon on top. Pour hot dressing over everything; toss to combine.

Top with optional eggs and/or tomatoes and serve immediately. Serve with focaccia or other fresh bread.