Monday, September 24, 2012


“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Letters from Riesling

Dear Friends & Family,

Every day there seems to be something new to discover.   Now that I can sit up, crawl and given the circumstances,  pull myself up to standing playtime seems to be filled with endless possibilities.  I can cruise around at will, gathering all my favorite toys or new ones I have yet to discover.   I have also been figuring out some interesting things about these toys.   If I bang two of them together they make banging sound, but depending on which two toys I choice the sound is quite different.  Why is the sound deeper or louder?  Some things makes a jingling noise when I shake them but other things don't.  There must be a reasonable explanation for this, but since I have yet to determine the jingling factor I usually just test each one out.  Some thing are just best as for some good old fashion chewing.  Why do those wood blocks test so much better than the plastic ones? 

So many questions I have yet to find the answers to. Some times I can barely tear myself away from all the fun and excitement of my scientific studies.  I often am so overcome with fatigue that my legs are wobbling and cause we to fall over and become clumsy.  Mommy says this means it's time to lay down and relax.  I think not!  One must persevere.  I would venture to guess that great scientist and explorers of the past did not take time for a morning nap.  As the great Benjamin Franklin once said, "There will be sleeping enough in the grave."

Love always, 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Garden Fresh Recipes

The garden has been flourishing lately.  A lot of crops are coming to an end but that usually means we have a large harvest of one or more specific thing.  We've had beets, summer squash, potatoes, eggplant, peppers and green beans galore!  Here's what we've been eating lately....

Squash soup. Squash, onion, & potatoes from the garden!

Grilled jalapeno poppers.  This time we were careful to remove the ribbing and cook the suckers longer and they turned out oh so delicious.

Roasted beet salad with goat cheese.  I honestly didn't think I like beets until we grew them in the garden.  So freakin' delicious!

Peppers stuffed with quinoa, black beans & sauteed onions and carrots from the garden.  Slow cooked in the crockpot.  

And my FAVORITE swiss chard recipe.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jazz night

Our town has free jazz concerts a few times throughout the summer and fall.  They have them at this great old farm area that is now preserved open space.  It's a nice area within walking distance from our house and I've always wanted to go and check it out, unfortunately it just never seemed to fit into our schedule.  Last night we finally made it down.  Jim had been out of town so it seemed like the perfect way to spend some much need family time just lounging in the grass and listening to the band.

Daddy and Riesling dancing

Mommy obessing over cute little tufts of soft baby hair

Riesling gracefully displaying her double chin and wrist rolls


“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”  

~Oscar Wilde

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Some things are just undeniable country living, like riding 4-wheelers....

 Elliona, age 6


 giving Papa a ride

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big Girl!

Riesling has taken some major leaps and bounds in the past week (I have been trying to finish writing this for about 5 days now so I'm really referring to last week).  Labor Day weekend we were in Ohio visiting family, playing with cousins, taking family photos, watching the big kids ride 4-wheelers (a video hopefully later this week), and meeting Granny Granny Stidd. Riesling was being her usually cutie pie self but nothing out of the ordinary.  If anything the larger groups of people had her a bit on the shy and reserved side.

 Papa & his ladies

After a nice long car ride, we arrived back home mid afternoon on Monday.   Within a matter of hours Riesling decided she wanted to start sitting up.  She has been able to sit with assistance for some time now, but only if you put her in that position she was super wobbly and never stayed there long.  Monday evening I walked into her nursery and she was sitting there in her crib with teddy bear in hand and the BIGGEST grin on her face.  I think it was definitely a very proud and exciting moment for Miss Riesling.

I decided it was time to put the bumpers on her crib because she was moving around so much and bumped her head a few times.  She was also starting to pull up on the railing so I thought that might distract her from it.  Wrong...


Apparently all she needed was a few spoonfuls of banana because by the end of the week she was pulling herself up to standing in her crib, with the help of her bumpers!   Jim lowered the mattress all the way down, which oddly I kind of felt bad about.  I watched her each day try to solve another piece of the puzzle, figuring out how to coordinate her movements and put those little muscles to work in the correct sequence, her little mind exploding with the idea of depth perception.  She went through all that work to figure out how to pull herself up and was so proud and then we take it away from her in an instant.   How confusing!  Of course no one, especially me, wanted to see her little head topple over the edge so safety trumped exploration.

In the end I don't think it had much of an effect.  She's climbing and exploring more than ever, which explains why it took me almost a week to finish this post. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tonight's Dinner

Brought to you by the Robinson Family Garden*....

Eggplant* parmigiana (recipe here) topped with kale* (add after the cheese has melted for about 5-7 minutes until crispy), spaghetti squash* with marinara sauce (follow prep instructions here), and steamed green beans*.

Man o Man do I LOVE garden season!

First Foods

A little follow up to starting "solid" foods with Riesling for any interested readers....

  • I either nurse her or the babysitter gives her a bottle first, then she is offered food.  At first she was taking a few sloppy spoonfuls or even snubbing her nose at the bananas all together.  But, not to worry because it's not about getting her belly full or providing essential nourishment at this point, that's what the "liquid gold" is for.   
  • I finally purchased some appropriate baby feeding supplies.  I bought a few different types of spoons (option 1, option 2),  some small storage containers, plus some plastic bowls (which I don't think I'll use for a few months but they were on sale).
  • I also started forcing her to keep a bib on.  Apparently banana stains?  I got a few of these as gifts and they seem to be working well and easy to wipe clean.
  • I've been using our Magic Bullet which is working for us at this point since I'm making such small portions. I will probably switch over to the food processor when I start steaming veggies and cooking stuff so I can make larger patches and freeze some.  I also stopped mixing in breast milk with the bananas and she seems to prefer it. 
  • A lot of folks follow the 4 day wait rule, which means you offer one new food at a time and wait 4 days before introducing another.  Our pediatrician said we could extend the period to 5-6 days since I was concerned about food allergies.  I waited 5, which means we started avocados this morning and she LOVED it!  I offered her just banana first which she tolerated but with little enthusiasm.  Then I mixed in the avocado and she went crazy.  It was pretty darn cute.
  • I also started her on a probiotic.  I purchase it from my acupuncturist but I'm sure you can find one at your local health food store.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


It's green bean season at the Robinson garden...

We get loads and loads of these things every day or two.  We share with neighbors, family, and our sitter but we still always have a hefty amount for ourselves.  Most nights we just steam them as a side dish but last night I decided to get creative and tried this curry recipe.  I had everything on hand except the coconut milk, so it was just a super quick trip into the store on the way home from the gym.  I used basmati rice instead of brown rice but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.

It was a little time consuming but mostly because my vegetable prep was interrupted several times by my fussing, teething Miss Riesling.  I ended up strapping her in the ergo and went to town.  In the end well worth the extra effort!  The curry had a nice flavor and I loved the crunch of the fresh green beans.  It made a large enough amount that it's on the menu for lunch today.  YUM!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I can't believe my little monkey is old enough to be trying foods!  I know some parents start their babes a little earlier, but we were in no hurry.  I knew from the start that I wanted to do a full six months of exclusive breast feeding. I view breast milk as a superfood for babies and found a lot of comfort in knowing that Riesling was getting the exact nourishment she needed plus for us it's convenient, travels well, and is not messy.  I was also a little concerned about food allergies and sensitivities since I have several myself.  Her six month birthday was two weeks ago but we had a couple of hectic weeks ending with traveling to Ohio, so I decided to wait until we got back from our little trip. 

I did a little research, mainly here and here, and spoke with a few mom friends with older kids to get some tips and pointers and ultimately decided that I will just kind of see what happens and adjusts my methods accordingly.  I plan on making most of her food myself but did pick up some Earth Best's organic pouches that were on sale when I was out today thinking they might be good for traveling situations.   

I had planned on starting with avocado but there were none ripe at the grocery store so I went for the classic banana instead.  I heated half a small banana in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds just to soften it.  Using a fork I mixed some of it with breast milk.   I also left some of it in little chunks so Riesling could try grabbing it and feeding herself.  During this process I realized I didn't even have a baby spoon, expect for this one by Boon that was given as a shower gift.  It's intended to put the food in the handle portion and squeeze onto the spoon, but the spoon part is kinda big and I think Riesling had a hard time with it.  Even delaying it by nearly two weeks I was still not really prepared!

All things considered I think her first try went well.  Daddy captured every moment on this action packed 5 minute video.  Action packed might be an exaggeration but you might found it a little exciting if you like babies.  And possibly thrilling if you particularly like my baby.

At this point we're experimenting.  It's mostly about introducing her to textures and the idea of feeding herself so I don't worry if little or none actually goes in her mouth.  Consistency seems to be a big issue.  Today I tried putting some in the Magic Bullet to make it a little more soupy and she seemed to like that better.  I also tried storing some of the uneaten overnight and she really snubbed her nose at it yesterday morning.  I tasted it myself and it did taste a little funny but I'm not sure why....maybe the breast milk?  So for now we're sticking with small, freshly made batches once or twice a day.  We do a little with the spoon, some off my finger, some on the's a real party over here people!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jim got an upgrade

Jim has had the same cell phone from about a million years.  Ok maybe five years but in cell phone technology years it's closer to a million.  It was from back in the error before smartphone.  Back when a small little flip phone was the style.  If you text him a picture you can barely make out the faces.  I'm seriously surprised it still made calls.   In the old phone's defense, he never had issues with dropping calls or losing reception.  Recently he decided it was time for an upgrade.   He was really hesitant to spend a lot of money on an iPhone but after some consideration he decided it was a good investment.  I was all for it.  I think Jim is the exact person a smartphone is made for:
  • He commutes via train than subway about 1 hour each way 5 days a week. 
  • He is TERRIBLE with remembering appointments, events, and general "To Do" type stuff and has never been able to manage to keep a paper planner up to date.
  • He listens to a lot of music.
  • He doesn't really like to talk on the phone but he is really slow at texting the old school way therefore he rarely communicates with anyone.
It's been a few weeks now and he is loving it.  I'm also loving it because I no longer have to "nag" him about stuff that he can't remember and thanks to Siri he can send me a quick text mid day just to say hello.  Plus we have been capturing some really great simple family moments  having decent camera and video capability in his pocket at all times.

 "Driving" with Daddy...

 Peach picking...


 The Garden...

I think the quality is pretty good for a phone.  Of course my Cannon is better but it's not always convenient to drag it around or sometimes you just forget it at home.  Plus I don't really plan on framing garden harvest pictures but they are nice to have.  We've also taken dozens of little videos of Riesling, including her first food experience last night!  It's 5 minutes of pure excitement.  But you'll have to live in suspense until tomorrow.