Finn is five months tomorrow, and I’m happy to report that he’s thriving despite his parents being generally occupied with his wild and wonderful older sister. We finally sleep trained (did the “shut the door” Tribeca Pediatrics technique and it worked like a charm). As our next challenge, we’re about to embark on potty training for Lilly. Wish us luck, and remind me—are the M&Ms for the adults or the toddler?
In other news, I’m closing out my first month of consulting, during which I netted no dollars but plenty of interesting conversations and some exciting potential projects. Between the kiddos and freelancing, I’m trying to figure out a routine that allows for both flexibility and structure—I have a feeling it’ll be an ongoing challenge.
Heading into February, here are some things I’m cooking, loving, and thinking about:
Gearing up for potty training: It’s time. We put it off because of Finn but we’re ripping off the band-aid this weekend. Our tools: Oh Crap! Potty Training, a fairly straightforward guide that everyone seems to swear by; astronaut underwear, which were remarkably hard to find (take note, companies: girls like space just as much as boys); and the Daniel Tiger “When you have to go potty” song. Plus ice cream and M&Ms all around.
Making our version of Asian food: Despite growing up with excellent Chinese food from both my dad and grandmother, I rarely cook it myself. I’ve never felt confident with the flavors and techniques, and also didn’t know how to make it feel healthy versus comforting. But lately I’ve been wanting to incorporate it into our lives more, both for variety and also so Lilly and Finn get exposure to their quarter-Asian heritage. Luckily, Rob is more Asian than I am, at least when it comes to cooking, and made longevity noodles and homemade dumplings for Lunar New Year. We’ve also been digging up my grandmother’s handwritten recipes (though does it count as a recipe if there aren’t any exact amounts?) and reaching for Double Awesome Chinese Food when we want modern-leaning versions of familiar favorites. And finally, this simple but satisfying soba and tofu bowl from Bon App has become a weeknight staple (leftovers are great for Lilly’s lunchbox!).
Princess counter-programming: We’ve amassed quite the collection of Disney Little Golden Books and while I have nothing against Ariel and Elsa, I was overjoyed when Lilly became obsessed with astronauts and space. To that end, we’ve been reading two books on repeat: Oliver Jeffers’ Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, which very well will make you cry and is a wonderful way to introduce kids to the basics of our planet as well as the idea that people come in many shapes, sizes, and colors; and Rachael Cole’s City Moon, a beautiful reminder to look up more often.
Leaning into letters: We’re all about the alphabet right now, and a friend recently gave Lilly this genius magnetic alphabet board from Kid O. It’s great for practicing tracing the letters and has a big bonus of only having one piece (the stylus pen) that can get lost.
Contemplating some affordable art: Clementine Studio was started by the sister of a former colleague and I love her breezy, optimistic illustrations. While I’m waiting for her to turn this sardine one into wallpaper, I’ve been eyeing some of her prints to add to Lilly and Finn’s room—I especially love the animal and veggie ones.
Becoming weird peanut butter people: Rob and I have gotten into the habit of having dates with peanut butter as a post-dinner treat most nights (note: this does not always replace dessert) and as a result, we’ve been going through a jar of peanut butter a week. After much exploration, we’ve settled on Santa Cruz Dark Roasted Crunchy as our house favorite, which means we have to orient our weekly grocery shopping around the markets that carry this. Try it at your own risk; it’s very good.
And weird sprouting people: Believe me, I never thought I would be someone who sprouted lentils on the regular. But they just taste so much better—fresher, brighter, happier. And it’s easier than it sounds: you basically put them in a jar, add water, then change the water every couple days till they sprout. We used to use cheesecloth to cover the jars, which was messy and wasteful; then Rob reminded me that my sister had given us this nifty sprouting lid . I think I had poo-poo-ed it as a silly unitasker; I was wrong. Once you have your sprouted lentils, try this Healthyish broccoli, feta, and lentil bowl—it’s easy, delicious, and a great reminder that we should be sizzling spices in oil more often.
Spreading the tiny tong gospel: I recently recorded Gee Thanks, Just Bought It, an extremely fun podcast where Caroline Moss invited guests to talk about the surprising things they’ve purchased and can’t stop evangelizing. In addition to talking meal prep vs meal planning, I got to wax poetic about my item: tiny tongs! Rob bought me a pair from a restaurant supply store a few years ago and they remain one of my favorite gifts. We have a few now and use them for everything: flipping veggies, tossing salad, plucking chicken out of the pan… Also high up there on the inexpensive but highly useful list: squeeze bottles for olive oil—these make it so much easier to control how much is coming out when you’re cooking or making dressings/sauces.
That’s all for now. Happy February and wish us luck with potty training!
P.S. If you’re stuck for healthy-ish food ideas, you can’t go wrong with the Bon App Feel Good Food Plan—we especially loved the Turmeric Salmon with Coconut Crisp.
P.P.S. I love-hate Sakara for sending me their Metabolism Powder to try because now I am going to have to buy it for myself. It has a deep cocoa flavor and is delicious mixed with non-dairy or blended in a smoothie (i.e. frozen banana and peanut butter). Sadly, I don’t have a code for the shop but I highly recommend trying it; if you want to try the meal delivery, use XOMOLLIE for 20% off.