Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Herbal Chai Tea

Have you had some Chai lately? No? 
You should, its good for your soul.
Its one of my favorite things, so like Oprah I shall share my recipe.

Chai (pronounced as a single syllable and rhymes with 'pie') is the word for tea in many parts of the world. It is a centuries-old beverage which has played an important role in many cultures.
Chai from India is a spiced milk tea that has become increasingly popular throughout the world. It is generally made up of:

 rich black tea 
 (mine is herbal)
 heavy milk
 a combination of various spices
 a sweetener

Besides the benefit of no caffeine, the herbal variety of Chai is significantly cheaper.
I use Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice: 
"Brimming with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves, a cup of our aromatic Bengal Spice® tea is like a trip to an exotic spice market in a faraway land. This adventurous blend is our caffeine-free interpretation of Chai, a piquant Indian brew traditionally made with black tea. Try Bengal Spice with milk and sugar for a true Chai experience."
Cinnamon, roasted chicory, roasted carob, natural spice and vanilla flavors with other natural flavors, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg.

Four to five bags for 1 quart of boiling water

I leave to steep until its cool enough for me to put my (clean) hands in the water
This got left overnight - just because
Squeeze out the bags (without busting them)
Add the amount of sweetener you like (somewhere between 1/3 cup to full cup is good - I did little over 1/2 cup sugar)
** Now this is your Chai syrup. You can stop here and leave it - just make a cup at a time, adding equal amounts of milk to syrup - heat up again if you prefer it hot, we drink it iced.
I just go ahead an add 1 quart of soy milk at this point (I think it tastes better with soy milk, but any milk of your choice will do... cow, almond, rice, breastmilk (just kidding)...
It turns this beautiful caramel color

And then pour over ice. Heaven in a glass.

If I don't have chai, I'll crai.

(that line stolen from my friend Robert)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Are YOU a model mother? a list...

While going through my mother's things I came across some interesting stuff that my grandmother was sent home from the hospital with upon the birth of my mother in 1953. There are so many head-scratchers that I may have to just make this into a series, starting with this gem -

a list ...

a list just in case you were ever wondering....

Are YOU a model mother?

(my comments are in italics) The rest is, as God is my witness, actually published materials for new mothers, I swear to you.

You ARE a model mother if:

  • You make every effort to regain an attractive figure. (Yes this is THE most important thing and the first thing you should be concerned about, who cares about taking care of the actual baby or your health its JUST about how you look.)
  • You wear a properly fitted foundation to help stretched muscles back into place. (Again ladies looks, looks, looks - if your body for shame does not leave the hospital rock solid you better find a girdle and QUICK!)
  • You faithfully do any exercises your doctor may prescribe. (hmmmm ... still no mention of the baby you just birthed - put on that girdle and do some sit ups damnit! Right now, I MEAN IT)
  • You regularly swallow those pills and medicines the doctor wants you to take to build yourself up. (What exactly are these happy pills? You don't need to worry your little head about what you are putting in your body - just take the pills the nice doctor gave you... they are probably diet pills - but remember your looks are the most important thing.)
  • You make time for that little daily nap until you are 100% back on your feet. (But only after your exercises and your pills)
  • You remember the people who took such good care of you at the hospital with a little card of remembrance. (Of course because you have nothing better to do - nothing like buying a girdle, exercsing or taking care of a baby - where is that baby anyway?)
  • You take baby to his regular doctor's visits. (No mention of bonding or feeding, just take it to the doctor, on time, and write thank  you notes as soon as you get home.)
  • You put baby's valuable birth records in a really safe place. (After the thank you notes, and pills, and exercise, keep up on your filing sister.)
  • You remember that Hubby is still a member of the family. (By golly this is not all about you - take care of that man will you.)
  • You let Dad pitch in with some of the nursery tasks. ('Let him' that is, sure as heck don't expect it. And if he does change a diaper, as always my dear, a thank you note ok?)
  • You maintain your old outside interests and activities. (Do not, I repeat DO NOT let the garden club or bridge club down - they are depending on you.)
  • You find enough time each day to keep your home neat, tidy,and fresh. (Run while you clean and that might count as some of your exercise, But make sure to wear your girdle and heels lest you neglect the Hubby.)
  • You still make tasty and appetizing meals for the breadwinner to come home to. (Now there were no microwaves then and frozen dinners were not for "model mothers" so that cooked from scratch meal better be tasty AND appetizing!)
  • You don't let your newly added duties prevent you from careful grooming and dressing. (My, my have we not covered this yet. It is not about the happiness of your baby, the health of your child... it is all I repeat ALL about how you look and you better look ah-mazing - Or we come and take away your model mother badge immediately.)
  • You find time to talk about something else besides the baby when friends come to call. (I mean for real, because they came to see how great you look, not to hear about a stupid baby - or how all of this might be the slightest bit overwhelming for you.)
  • You want to have another baby one of these days soon. (I had to laugh/cry for a good ten minutes after this one... because as much fun as this list has been you should want to experience this post-partum joy of girdles, pills, exercise, cooking, thank you notes, appointments, house-cleaning, hair curling joy at least every year and half for all of your child-bearing years!!)

The very next time you are with a women who delivered a child in the 1950s give her a BIG HUG. 

She deserves it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Things I will do different this time

Now that I am not so sick I can start planning a bit - PJ's birth was darn near perfect but I still have those things that I think to myself I would do differently.

We are not finding out the gender - Oh yeah I already said that. And I do have to say buying new gender neutral stuff has been fun! I am wondering if not knowing will make me actually cry at the birth? I don't have that female thing of happy crying all that much. Sometimes it makes me feel like I have the wrong reaction to certain events - but its just me.

I will PLAN on being way overdue and relish the last bit of pregnancy.

I am NOT getting my membranes stripped. I've read too much now and understand the risks and I don't think it helps anyway.

I don't "think" I will even get checked at those last one or two prenatal visits, but maybe I will - we'll see. I am hoping to resist the urge.

I was really hoping for significantly LESS prenatal visits but that makes the midwife uncomfortable so I chose not to push that battle.

Have been debating about Kyle and I being solo - even getting the midwife to stay in the neighboring room - but this decision is still in discussion.

** Except for, we WILL have a birth photographer this time.

Operation AFTERPAINS....

ooooo boy those hurt like crazy! I am going to try just about everything on this list, but I am most looking forward to stomach binding. I don't know how to approach it - but after PJ I felt like my insides were just going to roll forward right out of me - I said it was "tender" to the midwife when she asked but really I HATED that feeling. I said I needed advil and she said they shouldn't be that strong, I said "oh OK" then popped three advil the minute she left LOL
The loosey goosey feeling was so weird, like I almost wanted to put on spanx - who ever wants to put those on?

I don't know what kind of wrap I'll use but I'm researching.

I am going to FORCE myself to take it easier in the first week after birth. After Cora I was out on the town in like 3 nights and was rather happy to be. But now I know how fast and precious those newbie minutes fly and I am going to try to do what the midwives say and stay in bed for one week. We shall see!

Staying home does seem to help me avoid mastitis - and I really, really want to avoid that!

Its amazing to me that while I should be well accustomed to this, its always super exciting and a bit overwhelming to plan your life for a new baby.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit. - Bill Cosby

You are one amazing Dad. We love you TONS and TONS!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happenings & On my bookshelf

 26 weeks and I can finally, finally say I am no longer nauseous. 
 Summer is here!
 Kyle surprised me with tickets to the 25th anniversary performance of Phantom of the Opera at Prince Albert Hall broadcast at cinemark - Amazing - and the movie theater experience was cool views you couldn't even get from first row and great acoustics
 Started "carding" aka leaving information about not circumcising in places where new mothers might find it: pregnancy tests, expectant mom parking, in pregnancy books, stuffed in layette items, near prenatal vitamins - can you think of any other good places?
 Been going through room by room and purging/cleaning/painting/shampooing carpets or some combo thereof 
 Best Buds said goodbye, Houston bound, many tears shed!
Saw Baby Boo - DID NOT find out gender, didn't even peek. 
What I've been reading:

 A book of LOCAL birth stories that benefits the Tarrant County Birth Network. It was fabulous. I go this Saturday to a start up meeting for the Dallas County Birth Network... Maybe one day I'll spear-head a Collin County Birth Network? We shall see...
 This is about circumcision, of course, and is fascinating. Did you know ancient circumcision was NOTHING like what we do today. It was much more conservative from ritual bloodletting to just a nick in the foreskin or removal of what extended beyond the glans. Then in the Hellenic period when Jewish men wanted to get into the Olympics (it was naked remember and considered indecent for your glans to be exposed) they would "restore" their foreskin by either manipulating it down or stretching it with weights. This upset the Jewish leaders so they started removing ALL of the foreskin from there on out. A practice John Kellogg (yes the cereal guy - he was a certifiable nutcase) pushed in America from a medical standpoint to reduce masturbation addictions.  And now you know the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say.
Got this to inspire me to try all sorts of homemade bread making feats. It looks hard and my motivation has waned.

 A fun read. I think my husband has every single book Stephen King has ever written and every once in a while I pick up and try the ones I haven't already read myself.
 I could have TOTALLY wrote this. Meaning I didn't learn tons of new stuff but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it - she has a great sense of humor. Something every parent of a big family MUST have.
This book has been utterly fascinating. It uses the massive information gathered through eight decades of the Terman study and provides easy to read user friendly 'advice' I guess you would say.  I love that each chapter basically tells you what can shorten your life span then ends with a paragraph on why you shouldn't be too concerned about it. 
Loved the chapter on exercise. I won't spoil it but I bet it won't be what you are expecting to hear.
And the number one predictor of shorter lifespan?

Parental divorce in childhood.

see? like I said -