Pay Me

IQ emotional, nutritional and other

While it is true that I am a little bit of a foodie, it is in a relaxed way… no crazy trends like microfoods or molecular techniques, but good, fresh, organic when possible, food. I like peasant food, too, probably because the chopping and prep is much less rigorous (my reasoning is that as a peasant you don’t have lots of time for prep so a large dice is about as good as it gets).

I like to cook, don’t count calories, although perhaps I should (no judgment) and I do like to have an idea on the nutritional value of the food. I know that quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a complete protein source, couscous is more like pasta but faster to cook (read is my go to when I forget to start the brown rice in time). Sometimes I am creative about dinner and other times…well, I may be asleep at the switch, phoning it in, in a rut…no, never!

So when Shaw’s supermarkets contacted me to join them for a blogging event about healthy eating, I was all in. Their parent company is rolling out a program called Nutrition IQ which they developed with the dietitians at Joslin Clinic – they have targeted items all over the store with these colorful food tags with easy to read information.

I went to Shaws in Chestnut Hill ( a gorgeous store) and met with their dietitian Jennifer Shea and some other Boston mom bloggers. It was such a nice and accommodating event especially for mom bloggers with young children because the children were invited and encouraged to participate, too. We had healthy wraps for lunch and all tried healthy items that the kids could try – or not try – in a fun game setting. The healthy choices were not standard fare but having rarely met a food (parsnips, spam and sardines excepted) I didn’t like, I had tried all of the offerings – spaghetti squash, avocado (the first food for my babies) jicama, sweet potato, pomegranate…it was fun!

Disclaimer: For attending the event, I received a gift bag with food items and coupons.  Shaw’s did not ask me to create a blog post about this event; my enthusiasm for nutrition iQ is my own.

A Mom’s Guide to Everything…really

That was my tagline when I started this blog because my intent was to provide a Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Foods, Outing, Playdate…yes, Everything. Well, I quickly realized that I was out of my depth. First of all, I started writing this when my youngest was 10 and by then my knowledge and advice was almost as dated as my mom’s (sorry, Mom). Two of my younger sisters were reading The Baby Whisperer and I had not even heLianne's Quick Guide hosted by Capability : Mom blogard of it (What happened to Sears and Leach?) and I was dumbstruck by how out of the loop I was. Plus, I really decided that I didn’t feel like writing about the how-to – Could I  even remember what an outing with a newborn was like?  So I changed direction and for a while wrote about anything that crossed my super hyper monkey brain. Then I settled down and started to focus (after a blog intervention by Pragmatic Mom at our favorite coffee/tea shop L’Aroma Cafe where I wrote her many wonderful suggestions on a napkin – I still have it somewhere).

I am glad to say, someone more capable than I has developed a guide for the new mom – or the not so new mom – it would make a great gift for grandparents, too! Lianne is a mother of four and currently living in a small village outside of Amsterdam (she’s originally from Canada). I only wish I had her Quick Guide when I had little ones! It is a reassuring read of the most basic questions and you can stash it in a handbag quite easily. I love it for the lovely, calm tone, the sensible answers, and thoroughness. All in all, a guide I wish I had written!

Here is an excerpt from her Quick Guide:

Babies 0-6 months

This booklet is full of questions & answers that cover almost all of the daily encounters that you and your baby will experience in your first 6 months. It is based on my experience and that of other mothers and should help you feel like you are not alone in this new and exciting but sometimes overwhelming world of motherhood.

Here are a couple of Questions & Answers that can be found in the booklet. I will change them periodically.


1- I have a baby!!!! What do I do with the baby during the first couple of weeks?

During the first weeks, the baby will be adapting to its new environment and will be sleeping most of the day and night. If she’s not sleeping she’ll be drinking and if she’s not drinking or sleeping then she’ll be looking around, usually quietly before falling asleep again.You’ll be changing her diaper regularly, bathing her and putting her clothes on (which can be time consuming while you get used to her little parts).You will also need a lot of rest – so take advantage of her sleeping time to sleep yourself.Your baby will slowly have more “awake” time and will start to engage with you and be more interested in looking around and exploring with her eyes.
>Link to 39, 42, 66, 70, 120

72. My baby is 6 months old and still not sleeping through the night…

By the time your baby is starting to eat solids there is really no reason other than habit that they should be feeding during the night. This can be a hard habit to break however. If you are sure that your baby has eaten enough during the day at this stage then you may want to experiment with letting your baby cry and fall back to sleep without a feeding… Try this for 3-4 nights in a row. They say 3 is the magic number in breaking a habit with small babies…

126. I find myself talking in a high-pitched singsong voice to my baby. Why do I do that automatically?

This phenomenon actually has a name called “motherese”. This helps babies learn to discern sounds and understand how our language is built. It also helps keep their attention while we talk since babies seem to respond better to higher pitched sounds. It’s an automatic thing that people do around babies. Don’t worry; it’s not permanent and totally natural!

51. Tips for sore nipples?

You can use 100% Lanolin cream or try soaking in a bowl filled with salty warm water or buy hydrogel pads (you can buy at a drugstore). You can also express a little milk onto your nipples (contains a lot of antibodies) and let them dry before putting your feeding bra back on. Try exposing your nipples to air as much as possible. If you are dreading the next feeding because of the pain, see your doctor and he/she can prescribe a healing nipple cream. Dr. Jack Newman creates a good one that you can buy.

Lianne also has a lovely blog and she is full of energy and great ideas. Her tagline is Personal balance is my challenge. 

She is also so nice that she is offering a Lianne’s Quick Guide (Babies to 6 months) to a reader of Capability : Mom.  Thank you, Lianne!!

For a chance to win Lianne’s Quick Guide – Babies 0 to 6 months, please leave a comment below.

For additional chances to win, follow Lianne on Twitter, and like her on Facebook and leave a comment for each action below.
Winner will be determined by the super fancy plug-in called And The Winner Is…  and listed here. Lianne’s Quick Guide will be mailed to you. Lianne is offering this first booklet in her series of booklets, next up is lianne's quick guide to first aidLianne’s Quick Guide to First Aid and to Digital Photography (pre-mom life in digital photography and new media).lianne's quick guide to digital photography

I am officially a writer…because my linen closets would make Martha herself weep

capability mom gets organized with martha stewart
Photo - Martha Stewart

I am a writer – no, not because I just got paid to write (that happened a while ago) but because when I joined NaNoWriMo (nothing smoother? from writers, really?) I became suddenly extremely interested in cleaning, specifically all of the closets in my house. I have yet to tackle the junk drawer or the basement, but Martha Stewart herself would be proud of my linen closets (except I slacked and didn’t label everything – that may mean I am also still sane). Why? because I am supposed to be writing 1,600 plus words per day and I am not even close. Brutal, to even attempt it with a family, a part-time job and a modicum of a social life… plus I do like to sleep at least 8 hours and I am just not cutting it – the writing, the sleeping is going well, thanks.

Part of this is good for me because I have never even admitted I wanted to do this (write a novel) but I also am slightly risk averse and never want to fail at anything but here I am publicly announcing that I am writing a novel and now publicly failing to deliver. I should be ashamed but instead I am thrilled, thrilled that I was bold enough to try it and smart enough to know I am in the weeds and am not getting out any time soon.

I did write for a few hours on Sunday afternoon while the rest of the family was at the Boston College Women’s Soccer game and you may think I have all day during the week but it is surprising how much of my time is really taken up with household matters and not just the made up ones. Now I have to go…write? No, I could be doing that now, right? Nope, even better! I found a car kit that I need to put together first…Thank you, Martha!

capability mom puts off writing for another day with help from martha stewart
Photo - Martha Stewart




I am a Scholastic Mom

While I do joke about over-volunteering and still say ‘yes’ too often for my own good, I am never unappreciative of the time that teachers and parents give to their schools and community (some day I will share the story of the toxic volunteer, not today, though).

Before I knew what I was doing yesterday, A million years ago, when I had a child in kindergarten, I handled the Scholastic book order for the class. It was even my idea to do it (rookie). It sounded pretty basic, no heavy lifting (although you realize quickly that even parents make mistakes in basic addition).  I loved Scholastic and the sweet catalogs were a wonderful way of choosing new books for my children. It was a fun activity to circle the books (then cut the list in half) and to make it a math activity, just have your child add up the cost of the books (use the number of books for younger children). Hey, not bad for a non-mathy mom!  Scholastic has a great system for organizing books by age and reading level which makes this a pleasure. As Scholastic Mom, I totaled the orders and sent it in (at first back to the teacher but then online). They also have great activity ideas like this one called Autumn in Action.

Now, yes, other digital immigrants, everything is online and so so easy. I have had the pleasure of buying Scholastic books for my children for over 15 years and the selection of titles continues to impress. So, I say I am shy but I have become emboldened in the world of the blogging and I asked Scholastic if I could review some of their books and they said yes! So when I received a package from them, I immediately immersed myself in a Young Adult fiction read-a-thon…what a joy. I also became immediately popular with my children’s friends who I let borrow some of the books before I even read them all.

My first read was Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (yes, the Suzanne Collins who wrote The Hunger Games trilogy) and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series. Engaging, funny, sweet and exciting – a regular boy (Gregor) gets drawn into (okay falls into after his sister, Boots) another world and realizes he is not as ordinary as he thinks. A great family story, I am completely hooked on this series.
Next in line was This Girl isn’t Shy, She’s Spectacular

by Nina Beck

Definitely for the older teen, references to drinking, sexual situations but very well written and wonderful characters. Our heroine, a want-to-be writer, Sam decides she has been a rule-follower for far too long and breaks out…what she finds is a surprise and that changing to a bad girl isn’t as easy as she thought it would be.

Life After

by Sarah Darer Littman is a stunning and award winning book. For Grades 12 and up. After a terrorist attack kills Dani’s aunt and unborn cousin, life in Argentina–private school, a boyfriend, a loving family–crumbles quickly and Dani’s family moves to the United States which is not the fresh new beginning that they think it should be and Dani misses her life before the attack. Find out how she makes life work in a a new country.

From Publisher’s Weekly: Life, After explores the generalities of teenagers with some of the specifics of today’s hardest events. It also harkens to immigrant experiences of the past generations (not to mention the relevance of the topic today), Littman puts human faces and characters to iconic tragedy, providing human response, hope and renewal through the story’s arc.

Forever by Maggie Steifvater

The much anticipated third book in the series which started with Shiver and Linger is a fast paced read that showcases the strength of the love between Grace and Sam. Here is the author, Maggie Stiefvater (who looks so young) reading from Forever.


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