Monthly Archives: March 2012

Mabel’s 2nd Birthday

Mabel turned 2 all the way back in January, but I never got around to posting about it.

We had a party at our house with friends and family, peanut butter and jelly cake, and macaroni and cheese- all some of Mabel’s favorite things.

The friends and family, I can’t help you with.  However, the recipes I used for the other things, I can!

The Peanut Butter and Jelly cake came out nicely- the peanut butter chips I used to ‘decorate’ the sides, hid a multitude of mistakes- and it was easy to make (hello- the filling was just grape jelly!).  I used this recipe.  It was a little bit dry- being so much peanut butter and all.  I think I should have put more milk in the icing- especially since I iced it the day before the party.

The macaroni and cheese I made was Vadouvan Mac n’ Cheese.  Vadouvan is actually a blend of spices- including a mild curry.  It really added a lot to the mac n’ cheese.  The recipe I used was this one.  I had to buy the Vadouvan from because none of my local stores carried it (even the Whole Foods-ish market near my house).  It was expensive as spices go, but you don’t use that much to make it outrageous.  I got a lot of compliments on the recipe- the spice added a twist people weren’t expecting, but which also wasn’t rejected by all the little kids.

I made all the food- except for a cold cut platter we ordered from the grocery store along with some rolls and bagels.  It was a brunch menu:  quiche, mac n’ cheese, cold cuts, bagels, along with all the fixins (butter, cream cheese, etc).  I also put out nuts, chips and dip (good old fashioned onion dip, which was a big hit), and such.  Drinks were just water, seltzer, apple, orange, and cranberry juice.  It was simple, everyone ate their fill, and it wasn’t very much work.

We took it easy on the decorations- and actually recycled them all from Mabel’s birthday last year.  The only new decorations we got were latex helium balloons for the kids to take home after the party as a kind of party favor.

We didn’t play any games or have any organized activities.  The kids all ran around like maniacs enjoying the company, and the parents visited and relaxed.  It was a lovely afternoon.  The easy menu and the lack or organized activities also meant that I was able to visit with everyone.

At the end of the day, Mac and I asked Mabel what her favorite part of the day was.  Even though she had just finished opening all her presents (she was having too much fun with her friends and cousins for us to interrupt them for gift opening during the party), she said, “Goin’ to a party!”  The company was definitely her favorite part of the day.



Filed under Mabel, Mother, Recipes

Show {Off} Your Shot: 09.11.12

Mabel and Grandpa at the beach.

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Wordless Wednesday: Go fly a kite

Thanks to global climate change, we spent a Saturday in February flying a kite at the beach.

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Today I stumbled upon this article on  Mothers and babies can instantly synchronize their hearts just by smiling at each other.

It’s about a recent paper from Infant Behavior and Development entitled Mother and infant coordinate heart rhythms through episodes of interaction synchrony.

The take home message- within a second of interacting with one another, moms and their 3 month old babies were able to synchronize their heartbeats.  Pretty amazing.  Although, when you really think about it, maybe not all that surprising.  I know that when Mabel was little, Mac could try every trick in the daddy book and she’d still be upset.  However, when he’d finally hand her over to me, she calm down right away.

A little mother-daughter synchronicity.

Now that Mac is the primary care giver, and has been for the past year and half, I think she now prefers him.  When she’s sick or particularly cranky or clingy, it seems she prefers him to me.  It kind of breaks my heart, but I’d much rather her be so effectively nurtured and soothed in my absence, then for her to miss out on that because I was at work.

Apparently lots of mammal moms and babies can synchronize their physiological processes, but humans are the only ones (we know of so far) that can do it just by non-physical interactions- like speaking or looking at one another.

How it works or why it works, whether it’s purely a biological connection or can form between adopted moms or other caregivers isn’t known.

That article made me think back to this study that was in the news a few months ago:  Social vocalizations can release oxytocin in humans.  For a lay description check out Slate’s piece on it:  Listen to your mother:  It will help you relax.

Turns out it’s not just 3 month old babies that can be physiologically effected by their moms- it works for teens too!  Teenage girls who spoke with their moms on the phone showed a decrease in their levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

I know there is nobody on earth who can comfort me in the same way as my mom.  Unfortunately I think this is a double-edged sword, because she also has a special and effective way of annoying the (*$#! out of me too.

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