Everything is blooming in the garden. It's so rewarding to go out there and pick some stuff and then eat it for dinner on a daily basis! Here's the beginning of the latest status on the Zemel Farm. Aside from almost daily salads (sometimes we're just too lazy to walk 20 steps to pick lettuce!), we've eaten roasted beets and their greens, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, cubanelle peppers, some onions, and 1 giant zucchini! We've got a crookneck squash that will be ready soon. Apparently it's got bigger seeds than zucchinis do so I shouldn't let it grow too big. As it was, I left the zucchini on the vine for a little too long and then I had to pick out those seeds for Bayla. There are a few other little baby zucchini and squash on the plant as well after this round is done. There are also a million green tomatoes that we're just waiting to ripen and gobble up. The peaches are still little but they're turning pink as well. I hope they grow some more but they may not since the tree itself is so little, I'm not sure. So exciting to watch. We Zemel Farmers go on a tour every day to check on the progress and it's pretty cool.

I can't wait to take Bayla swimming again in her little blow up pool. I just wish I could get in there with her. Part of what I like about the pool is that it inflates on the bottom so she's not actually sitting on the ground. A little soft cushion for her round tush. On the other hand, that inflatable bottom is the very thing that prevents me from climbing in (don't want to pop it!). She was so cute in there the first time ... playing with the water and all the inflatable toys.

Dino Pool

Last week, we were invited over to swim and have Shabbat dinner at the Hart's house. We really love going there. They're such a nice, warm, and welcoming family. It was Bayla's very first time in a pool. Zvi took her in and I just loved watching her try to figure out her new surroundings. She kicked and splashed around and didn't even get upset when she'd splash her own face with water. It was really funny watching her lick her fingers and taste salt for the first time. I know that our climate doesn't really support the need to have a backyard pool, but oh boy is it ever amazing to have one. Definitely something I dream about! Zvi told me about a conversation he had once about how people are either cottage people or pool people. I must admit, I do like cottages. It's nice to get away and being on a boat is really fun. But usually when I think about cottages I think about mosquitos and the various bug bites I tend to get and how itchy they are for weeks afterwards. I think this absolutely makes me a pool person.
Kick Kick Kick Splash Splash Splash

After swimming, while we were having dinner, Bayla piped up with her very first real talking. She said "ma ma ma ma ma". I know she wasn't talking about me, but it was adorable. And then yesterday, out of no where ... she just started talking and saying all kinds of new sounds with consonants. Zvi was sitting outside on the porch with her, singing some songs and then when they came back in she just had so much to say. It was so nice to hear her voice and we can't wait to teach her words and hear her use them. Our little girl turned 7 months yesterday and she certainly showed us what a big girl she is!

I've pretty much introduced Bayla to every kind of individual fruit and vegetable that I'm going to for now. I'm going to start preparing bigger batches and freezing cubes of mixed foods. The reason I've been making things in small batches for now is because I've been serving the same food a few times a day for a few days to make sure there were no allergic reactions. Now Bayla can start to enjoy some variety both at every meal as well as throughout the day. I introduced her to banana for the first time today which I mixed with avocado to cut some of that intense sweetness. I've named this dish Avonana ... that that may imply avocado with mint so I might call it Banacado instead. We'll see. After this I'm going to give her Papaya and then we'll be onto the mixtures. I may give her mango before the mixtures as well or I may just save the mango to mix in with bananas another time.

Over this past month, since she turned 6 months, Bayla has eaten: apples, pears, nectarines, cantaloupe, banana, avocado, carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, zucchini, peas, parsnips, cauliflower, rice, barley and oatmeal. She has enjoyed everything except the parsnips (they weren't good and sweet like they were supposed to be ... we'll try again), nectarines (not quite in season so may have been too sour for her), and apples (either the texture was weird for her or she just didn't have a good appetite due to her 6 month shots). I don't really know how she feels about the cauliflower since I mixed a tiny bit into the squash and zucchini ... but I don't want to give her too much since it'll just cause gas anyway. It seemed to be a good mixture to sneak some into to see how it goes. Now I'll be able to include it in soups etc or other combined veggie dishes. Anyway, good on her ... she's a great eater and very willing to try new things.

After swearing to myself that I would back away from Arbonne ... I've gone ahead and done the opposite. *sigh*

I first heard of this company at a massage program for busy moms. The program was intended to allow busy moms who just couldn't get the time away from their babies to pamper themselves. 15 minutes for $15 while other moms take care of your baby. It was too good to pass up. Of course a 15 minute massage does nothing to rid me of the million knots in my neck and shoulders but at least it's a start. In any case, at this program were 2 Arbonne consultants showing off their product line. They did a complimentary skin care and make up demo on each of us. To be honest, I didn't even really want to get a makeup application in the middle of some random day but as usual, I was too shy/polite to decline. However, I'm actually pretty glad that I went with it because I was quite impressed with the products. I don't know if it was a combination of all the products or one of them in particular but my skin felt smooth, soft and despite the crazy heat was still not greasy the next morning. That's pretty impressive!

While talking with the Arbonne girls, they told me about the Arbonne opportunity. "Oh, it's like Avon," I said. And then they scoffed. The Arbonne business isn't structured in the same way so it's far more lucrative, they said. Basically Avon has expanded to sell a bunch of everything and it's all purchased from catalogue for a very cheap price. Due to the cheap price, your commissions as a consultant would be much lower. In addition, you've got to continuously hunt for the business so it's a lot more like door to door sales. Arbonne is different. First off the price point is higher so that alone gives you a higher commission. But also, once you sign someone up once all of their repeat orders get credited to you as well even though the client will actually be placing their repeat orders on their own through the phone or internet. Rather than continuously hunting for new sales, you're really just building up a network. I was intrigued ... and even more so when I realised that these Arbonne girls were young mothers like me and that through Arbonne they found a way to work part-time while still earning a very decent living and being able to spend time with their children. Now I was definitely intrigued.

I thought and thought - could I make this work for me? I thought so much that I became thoroughly obsessed with the prospect and couldn't even get a wink of sleep that night. I'm not big on sales because I lack the confidence to believe that people will buy something from me ... but the thing about Arbonne is that you're not really asking anyone to spend new money but rather to spend the money that they already spend on their skin care products on this healthier organic all-around better product. Makes sense. But then I got obsessed and annoyed and discouraged so I changed my mind about selling.

I was still impressed with the actual products though. In comes Joanna who is also kind of interested in starting up a skin care regimen. Like me, she doesn't use much of anything at this point but feels that it's probably about time to start. So I asked those Arbonne girls to come back and give us a demo. They left us with 3 days of sample so we'll see how it goes. I must say that after 2 uses I'm definitely feeling great. My skin is very soft, very smooth and very non-greasy. I'm sold.

If Joanna decides to go for it, I'm going to sign up as a Preferred Client for $35 which will allow me to purchase $840 worth of products for half price. Joanna and I would then split both the cost and the loot. It would come out to $225 for each of us and we'd get the full 6 daily skin care products plus have some spare to get a couple of more things here and there. It's pricey, I know ... but it's no more expensive than any other skin care line. I checked at Shoppers and everything was priced either the same or more expensive. The difference is that these products are natural and organic and don't have harmful chemicals. Plus I've been using NeoStrata from Shoppers which isn't really cheaper and I'm not really even seeing any results.

So Joanna and I were talking about how we probably could run this business and be consultants. We were even talking about doing it together and splitting the commissions. We probably could but she, like me, just lacks the confidence in her ability to "sell." Personally, I just don't know who I would even really ask to buy it. Becoming a preferred client costs $35 and would give me 20% all future purchases. Becoming a consultant costs $130 and would give me 35-50% off all future purchases plus I'd receive some sort of commission on all sales made. If I just had a little bit of confidence it would probably be quite a worthy venture.

I think that my aunt would maybe be interested. I think she would at least try the products. She does currently use some kind of products so it wouldn't be new money spent for her. Maybe Zvi's mom too. But aside from that, I don't think any of my friends really use much of anything yet and I think they will see it as a lot of money to spend. Never know until you try though.

Before I went on mat leave, I asked Zvi if he thought I should sign up with Avon to try to make some money while I was off. But he didn't really think so. He said he'd support me if I wanted to try but that he didn't really think that our friends would want to buy those kinds of things for me so he didn't really think I should bother. I agreed. But I was trying to find a way to supplement my income and also (in my dream world) find a way to not have to return to work when the time comes. Then Arbonne comes along.

No matter what I'm going to purchase the products for myself ... so the question really becomes is it worth it to spend $100 more and try to earn some money by spreading the word? And if Joanna and I try to do it together, then it would only be $50 more. If Zvi is reading this (I'm sure he got bored with this paragraphs ago) then his eyes are probably rolling back into his head ... but I think it's something at least worth considering.

A Return From Hiatus

I've been putting off blogging for so long that I've unfortunately forgotten about most things on my list of things to write about. I know there was a list because I emailed it to Brian at some point .... but the only thing I really remember being on there was the frog that we found hopping around our garden. We only saw it just the once and I haven't a clue of where it came from but while I'm happy I haven't run into it on my own, I am a little sad about it leaving if it didn't like our garden after all. We did take a few photos of him ... but I can't find them now. Maybe he took them with him when he left??? Ooh ... Zvi found it, here it is:
Can You See The Frog?!

I'm always a little bummed about continuing things when I haven't done them for a while. I just feel like there's so much that I haven't written about already that there's just no point to go on. I feel bad leaving the gap there but I also don't feel right about quickly summarizing everything that happened in just a few words. I feel like that kind of brevity just wouldn't do justice to the true experiences. On the other hand, I also feel way too lazy to actually write everything out properly so I'm kind of at an impasse. If Zvi were here, I'd tell him that this was a prisoner's dilemma. Yes, I know it's not really a prisoners dilemma ... but if Zvi were here, believe me, I'd definitely find a way to explain just how it really is.

I guess my only choices are to either quit (this is the option I almost always choose and then lament over it for the rest of forever) or to just accept that these things will not be perfect and that I will not be able to devote 100% of my time or energy to it and just do what I can. I have real trouble with tasks that I know I absolutely can't do perfectly. It's not that everything I do turns out perfectly - not at all ... but I at least like to know that there's a chance it will turn out that way if I try. With stuff like blogging, I just know it won't happen so it's really hard for me to stay motivated and not get depressed about it and give up. But I'm going to make a commitment right now to at least try.

Ok, Maybe Just A Little More
Well, at least it looks like Bayla is listening! 

That photo was taken after a big poopy explosion all over her bed. We haven't had many of those kind of accidents lately so I was really glad (as I'm sure was Zvi since he's the one that discovered it!) that we were both home to deal with it. It was her first time in the big bath all by herself. Luckily she's gotten to be really good at sitting up so it wasn't so difficult. Even though the bottom of the bathtub is textured, we still found it to be quite slippery so we'll have to pick up a mat before we stop getting into the tub with her for regularly scheduled bath time. The whole thing was kind of gross but it was also just really funny ... and it was the first time we've ever really bathed her in the middle of the day without having bedtime immediately after so it was a great opportunity to dress her in this very cute duckie robe and take some photos. As much as I'm not hoping for anymore poopy accidents, I do hope there are more opportunities for daytime bath tub fun because really, I want to see her in this robe some more. So cute! 

Here is a status update on our garden ... though it's already quite outdated. I'll put up another one soon. 

We did a lot of cooking over the weekend. It's something we both enjoy doing - especially together. Lately we've taken to eating dinner after Bayla goes to bed which has made our evenings considerably nicer and calmer. It's good because Zvi and Bayla get to spend some time together and I get a chance to rest before having to put her to bed. But it also means that Zvi and I have some nice time to spend together and don't have to rush and have a hectic dinner. All around great decision. Here's a lasagna that we made on the weekend. Zvi said it was the best ever. How nice! I just hope I can recreate in the future. 
Best Lasagna Ever

There's no real recipe here .... I just layered oven-ready lasagna noodles with a "meat" sauce (we used Italian flavoured ground round mixed into a tomato sauce), a ricotta/spinach/egg mixture, and sauteed eggplant/zucchini/mushroom mixture. Shredded mozzarella went on top. Then bake in a 350F oven for about an hour covered and 15 minutes uncovered.

The recipe for today is for a take on Thai Mango Salad. It's got all the same flavours but is prepared more like a slaw with the addition of cabbage. I got the idea from SmittenKitchen.
Mango Lime Cashew Slaw
It's not only delicious but also quite beautiful and colourful. The only thing missing from the picture above is shredded mint and coarsely chopped cashews. I didn't add them in right away because I prepared the salad in advance and those are both last minute additions right before serving. Had I used a food processor or mandoline, this would've been a really quick salad to make. Unfortunately, I value each of my fingers and am thus terrified of the mandoline I insisted to Zvi that we needed to have. Because I'm also lazy about these kinds of things, you'll see that my slices are much bigger than Smitten's. Oh well.

Mango Slaw With Cashews and Lime
2 Mangoes, peeled, pitted and julienned
1 lb Chinese Lettuce, halved and thinly sliced
1 Red Pepper, julienned
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Limes, juiced
1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Canola Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Fresh Mint Leaves
1/4 Cup Coarsely Crushed Cashews

Whisk together lime juice, rice vinegar, oil, salt, and chilli flakes at the bottom of a large salad bowl. Mix in mangoes, chinese lettuce, red pepper and onions. Add mint and cashews prior to serving.

About this blog

I started out just being me but I always wanted to be a little like my grandma. Then I became a wife. Then I also became a mom. This is the story of how I learn to put it all together :-)