happy-holidays

Happy Holidays, friends and fellow bakers! I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so glad you’re in my life.

Today, I want to talk about all the fun things coming up in the New Year: a book signing! More cooking classes! Even more small-batch recipes for you and yours!

I finally consented to a book signing (now that I lost all the baby weight, hah!). I’ll be at Left Bank Books on Tuesday, February 9th at 7pm. We’re partnering with local bakeries to have sweet samples from both books–hooray! Bring one or both books, and I’ll sign them. I’ll also make awkward small talk with you, too! And Hubs is bringing the baby. If you just want to come and kiss Camille, that’s totally fine.

I’m going to keep teaching cooking classes as long as you guys keep filling them up! For the first time ever, one of my cooking classes didn’t totally sell out—there are still a few spots left in Monday night’s class (December 21st!). I know life is cray with holiday prep, but take a load off, and let’s get sticky together. (We’re making marshmallows). Call Kitchen Conservatory to sign up. I can’t wait to meet you!

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That smile! Those big-girl jeans!

I thought I would share a little sneak peek into my daily life. A lot of people have been asking me how I’m getting work done with a baby. The big secret is: I have no freaking idea. Some days are a joy, some days are a total mess. But at the end of the day, I have a healthy, happy babe, so I can’t complain too much. She takes two long naps a day, and I get a lot of work done during that time. I’m also taking full advantage of the fact that she’s still in the phase where she’s content to watch me work. I set her up a little play area, and then cook or photograph. She’s happy for about 30 minutes or so, which is plenty of time for me. I also work after she goes to bed. Oh, and the weekends. I’m clocking in way more than 40 hours a week, but it’s broken up by bursts of baby playtime and giggles, so it feels fun and rewarding.

A day in the life:
5-6AM Sometime in this hour, Camille let’s out a single cry. We used to rush in and put her paci back in her mouth. Not anymore. Mama lost her sanity after 3 weeks of playing paci-pong, so now, we ignore it and go right back to sleep. My husband gets up and starts getting ready for work, and the creaking sound of the 87-year old hardwood floors in this house seem to lull her back to sleep.

7:15AM Camille lets out another single yelp, but this time, I rush down the hall to see her. Her little angel face looks up at me and gives me a big toothless grin. It’s basically the best thing in the entire world, and my heart is already a puddle on the floor before the sun is up. I bring her back to bed with me and I nurse her. Yep, still breastfeeding. At 8 months. When do I get my medal?

7:45AM After a quick diaper change, I put her in the play area. She happily plays while I make myself a big cup of hot hot hot tea. I also do some promotional work on Facebook for my site. Then, I wash my face, put in my contacts, and brush my teeth. I feel really strongly about getting dressed and looking presentable, even though I work from home. It sets the mood for a productive day.

8:15AM I make breakfast for Camille and myself. Camille has oatmeal with fruit puree. Sometimes I drizzle in a little full-fat yogurt. She also gets a sippy cup of the milk I pumped before going to bed the previous night. It’s usually only 2 ounces, but she happily gulps it down. I’m not very hungry in the mornings, but I force myself to eat a bowl of oatmeal or granola with her. I really want to teach Camille that eating is a social thing, and so we do it together at the table. I try not to make her the sole focus during meal times.

Here’s a quick snap-shot of what she’s eating this week: celeriac, purple carrots, dark cherries, butternut squash, broccoli, spinach + pineapple, apple + cranberry, and chicken. I’ll mix these purees with oatmeal, 5-grain mix, or other pureed grains (barley, semolina, red lentils, and split peas).

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9:15AM After a little play time after breakfast, it’s nap time for Camille. I read her a book, and put her to sleep. Since she’s becoming one of those kids that can’t sleep without a paci, I’ve been making her take her morning nap without a paci. This means that she’s not very happy when I put her in the crib. She cries for 4-8 minutes. It’s not a terrible cry. It’s mainly just a few grunts and on-and-off half cries. While I never thought I’d be a fan of ‘cry it out,’ it works for us only because it never lasts long. I feel like if my kid is only unhappy for 8 minutes a day, then I’m doing pretty damn good. Once I put her in the crib, I walk away and try not to think about it.

9:30AM Work time for me! I usually jump in the kitchen and cook something. I do have a bit of a schedule that I stick to throughout the week: Mondays I plan and prep for the week (if I didn’t already on Sunday). Tuesdays are for cooking and recipe testing. Wednesdays are for photography. Thursdays are for photo editing. Fridays are for post writing. My husband loves to say that ‘schedules set you free, not tie you down.’ He’s absolutely right. Whenever I veer from this schedule, I go into full-blown panic attack mode. I start working ’round the clock and hating life. I’m just coming out of 2 weeks of not being on the schedule, and I’m a wreck. I’m back on it and feeling much better.

11:00AM Camille wakes up and I nurse her. She’s actually kinda losing interest in nursing, and it’s hard to get her to focus long enough to eat. I get her dressed for the day, and play with her.

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12:00 Camille and I eat lunch. Usually soup or leftovers for me, and vegetable purees for her. I usually mix some kind of grain into her vegetable puree. I bought this ‘pea, lentil, and barley’ mix at Whole Foods that I cook and puree. I also love using Semolina flour to make her baby polenta.  She is such a good eater! The only thing she has really turned her nose up at is celeriac. And I kinda don’t blame her. She still eats it, but very slowly and she clearly doesn’t love it. I only have a few cubes of it left, and I’ve been mixing it with other things to hide it. After lunch, she usually watches me work. Depending on the day of the week, I’ll sit her right next to me, give her something to play with, and get some work done.

1-2PM Don’t tell Moms on Call, but I hardly put Camille down for a nap at the same time each afternoon. I wait for her sleepy signs (fussiness when changing her diaper, eye rubbing, and stillness) to tell me that she’s ready for a nap. I read her a book, and then put her down with her paci. With a paci, she hardly cries more than 20 seconds before passing out. The latest time she goes down is 2:00. Then, I get to work!

3:30PM Camille is usually up between 3:30 and 4. If not, I wake her by 4. I nurse her when she wakes. Then, we usually run errands. I try to get her out of the house at least once a day. She loves people. She’s going to be the next Oprah, I tell ya. She flirts with strangers and lights up when people smile at her. Everyone is constantly telling me ‘she’s so happy and smiley.’ It’s so true. I love her.

5PM I feed Camille dinner. I definitely don’t like that she eats by herself, but 5:00 is just too dang early for us to eat dinner. Pre-baby, we ate dinner around 8pm. I love to eat late, and then go to bed with a belly full of carbs. For dinner, Camille eats more vegetable puree plus a grain. I also give her little bites of fruit for dessert to help her learn to chew. I’ve been using a spoon to scoop out bites of pear and banana, and she loves it. I thought she would love kiwi, since it’s a similar texture, and so I bought 4 pounds of kiwi at Costco. She does not like kiwi. Of course.

6:00PM Dad is usually about to get home from work, and I’m trying to pull together dinner. She’s very clingy this time of day, and I’ve been really bad about dinner lately. I’m getting back on the meal planning train, I swear!

7:15PM Bath and bedtime for Camille. When she was 8 weeks old, we discovered that giving her a bottle before bed is the easiest and fastest way to get her to sleep. While I do have to deal with some crying before naps, I have never dealt with crying or any type of fussiness before bed. It’s probably because she’s not getting enough sleep during the day; I’m not sure. But this kid never fights bedtime. I give her a bottle, sing her 3 versus of Amazing Grace, rock her a bit, and put her down wide awake. She turns to look at the blue lights on her noise machine, and then passes out. Easy peasy.

8-10PM I work, work, work. I do social media stuff, reply to emails, and hang out with my husband. He’s tops.

 

That said, you and I need a little break. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s all me. You see, it’s baby’s first Christmas, and I’d like to spend every waking moment with her during this magical time of year. So, I’m going to disappear for a little while, but I will be back in the new year. I will be back BIG TIME. I already have big plans for the new year with you. We’re probably going to jump right into Valentine’s Day dinners and desserts for two, because um, it’s kinda my bag. My big bag. My overstuffed, gigantic, sloppy bag with gum wrappers lining the bottom. It’s all me.

So, go on! Peruse the archives, make yourself some S’mores Dip (dang, it’s cold outside!), whip up two mugs of eggnog (no punch bowl needed!), and please make these big ass chewy, salted caramel chocolate chip cookies.

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season. Get some rest. Lord knows we all need more rest.

Love and cupcakes,
Christina