If you are like me, the suggestion of playing Monopoly makes your skin crawl and your head hurt. Memories of injustice and frustration send you running from the table. Maybe your game induced trauma is not as severe, you can still play Uno without distress and love your siblings even when they knock on the first round of 31. This is not my case. Games with family members, especially board games, bring on a desire to leave or at least for an adult libation.
Now I am a parent whose children receive fun gifts from friends and family for life occasions. We received a gift recently that caused me to revisit my feelings on family games: Monopoly, Pokémon Monopoly. The children were quite excited as Pokémon has made resurgence culturally and they are obsessed with these weird little characters at the moment. I placed the game on a shelf and moved on with my days.
Cut to a quiet evening with the kiddos relaxing after dinner, and a suggestion, “lets play that new board game,” from my oldest. Deep breath, and a smile, “Sure.” We set up the board, handed out the money, chose characters, and organized the properties… and then ...
Is there anything cuter than a child in a handmade bonnet? Images of girls with tight curls and lace dresses come to mind; Maybe even Laura Ingalls and that treacherous Nellie. She was always flaunting her Sunday best in front of Laura, what a brat. But, I digress, back to bonnets. After searching the online and seeing some options I liked but nothing that made me go, oh yeah, that’s the one, I sauntered on over to Ravelry to see what they had cooking.
For those who are not familiar, Ravelry is a great online community for the knit and crochet crafters. There are hundreds of thousands of patterns, some of which are free and can be downloaded right to your notebook or library within the site. I am a huge fan of this method of sharing and saving crafty ideas. Also, in case you are wondering, it is super user friendly, even my 82 year old grandmother has an account.
Well, here I found a plethora of bonnet ideas, but one stood out among the rest, the only problem, it was written for a newborn size with no conversations for larger sizes. I wanted to make one in a toddler size, so I set to work deciphering the pattern and adjusting it for my own use.
I have entered into the world of super extended breastfeeding. This is not a mantle I saw myself taking up nor one I particularly want. I am pro-woman and love my babies, even though they are so big now. Supporting women who chose to continue to nurse their kids seems like a no-brainer to me, but it has become difficult to support this child who continues to want to feed from my body.
The early days with an infant are tough; breastfeeding can make it worse for some, or more bearable for others. I do not know if I could have survived the pain and discomfort of those early weeks without the brain chemicals released during lactation. Waves of emotion were strong and those tiny fingers and toes wiggle and dance while their blue eyes open only fleetingly to give a cross-eyed look of confusion in the semi-darkness.
These quiet days with a snuggly baby swaddled and gassy become filled with noise and chaos as baby grows. Fighting tiny fists away to keep them latched properly and trying not to lose a nipple to sharp teeth become the norm. Then things get interesting; the kid learns to move around unaided. They wander over and go right up, or down your shirt in search of the glorious feast trapped inside. They add speech and yell “boobie time” or “milk now” when you are trying to get through the grocery store or down the sidewalk. People laugh and give you “credit” for sticking with breastfeeding, maybe they tell you the story of someone who tried hard but just could not do it. You walk a little taller and read blogs about nurse-ins and contemplate buying a nipple hat for your child. (I honestly do not know why nursing with a cover or without a cover is even a controversy, but, whatever)
And while you were not looking that itty-bitty little, adorable human whose entire life and growth is owed to your body has grown up. You’ve got an active, loud, and demanding toddler who just will not leave you, or your chest, alone. This is where I am at in life. I have not slept without nursing in years. I have not an entire wardrobe dedicated to boob access. While I no longer change diapers, yes folks we ditched diapers, I am still breastfeeding. How is this possible? I have tried bribery, withholding milk until after solids, offering chocolate as an alternative, explaining that other foods are yummy, you name it. This kiddo is holding strong.
Now, I am aware of the benefits of extended nursing and those do help me keep a level head and a positive attitude, but enough is enough. I am woman, I want to roar, and wear a normal bra and not have to carry a large scarf in my purse. I want to have my normal body back and wear clothes I have long since relegated to the bottom drawer of my dresser. Every time I give in and nurse I feel a little less in control of my own life. There are some days I dread seeing my little one approach me with a blanket ready for cuddles (code word). I have a soft spot for this issue compared to other aspects of child rearing, and am not as aggressive as I would be with safety related concerns or overall development. Maybe I have only myself to blame for being ready and available to breastfeed on demand.
Other moms express (no pun intended) their support, or praise, or disgust of me when they learn of our feeding program but I am not the one calling the shots here. I am prisoner to the love or maybe love hormones of this kid. We bond through nursing and I would be sad to lose that connection. Breastfeeding is also a tool for comfort in overwhelming situations, and when a difficultly emerges so does the blanket. Those sad sleepy eyes and that squeaky voice plead with me and the large tears that fall completely destroy my resolve and make me a mushy mom. I will continue on, picturing I am at the 26th mile of my lactation marathon, or on the precipice of a world record for lactation. Cheering me on are the myriad of pro lactation and extended nursing posts on Pinterest and articles from Le Leche League. Let my epitaph read, “Child-led weaning is not a myth,” when this is all over and I have forgotten this struggle.
I do not know how much longer we will continue down this path and I am not sure how many other moms are in this same place with their precious cuddler, but I hope you have the love and support to make your own way as a parent, lactating or not.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
To start you must slice your pork loin down to a third its thickness so that it can be rolled. Check out this video tutorial if you are new to stuffing pork loin, as I was. I chose the method of slicing 2/3 of the way down the thickness of the meat almost through to the opposite side, as you would for a butterflied pork chop, then turning the meat, slicing the second third through from the other side not quite through and laying the meat out flat. I did a bit of flattening with my trusty olive oil bottle.
Slicing over a piece of plastic wrap keeps things from getting too messy.
Next, salt and pepper the inside of the meat before adding your filling, in this case I added the cheese and peppers. Then roll up meat into a lovely cylinder.
This is the point where I took out my roasting pan (13x9) and laid out the bacon strips. I rubbed the meat roll with the spices and then placed it on the bacon slices and wrapped the bacon around being sure to have the seam end up on the bottom of the roast against the pan.
Then the fat pork baby(photo above) goes into the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the juices run clear and internal temperature of 170. Crank up your broiler and finish it with 5 minutes under the flames to crisp up that bacon. This extra step ensures you have spicy sweet, candied bacon; which is wonderful with this roast.
Remove from oven and let rest for 10 or so minutes to allow the filling to cool a bit before slicing. Slice and serve with a yummy veggie like steamed broccoli.
**Now, one must remember that pork is not an everyday food, the sodium is alarming even if you have a healthy heart and circulatory system. **
And so, this is the situation that bore the mountain of food we had for dinner:
On sale this week: Pork Loin in a bag
Steal of a deal for this gal. We have been working our way into a low carb way of life as of late and meat prices are the bane of my existence. Yes, you can eat low carb without being a glutton for meat and meat accessories, but what is the fun in that? I have been working through the season of discounted chicken and the occasional beef roast, even a pork shoulder here and there, but this week its pork loin.
I asked my dad, “what is the best thing to do with a pork loin?” (I would usually just toss that pork baby in a slow cooker with potatoes, carrots, cream cheese, and some cream of chicken soup and eat it 6 hours later.) My dad educated me, big time, “stuff it,” he responded, and my life changed forever.
Maybe its not that dramatic, but it felt that way, like a wave of wisdom had been bestowed on me from on high. Stuff meat, like stuff it with more delicious things that make it amazing and juicy, that is a cause I can get behind. Cue crazy pinteresting (that’s a word, istn’t it) and so may pins on pork and pork companion flavors. A sea of ideas including cream cheese, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, apples, onions … the possibilities!
We eat a lot of spinach around these parts so I looked for something different and decided on cheddar and peppers all wrapped in bacon. Then, eureka, a brown sugar spice rub. The game was on.
Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Stuffed Pork Loin
3.5 lb Pork Loin
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Orange Bell Pepper Sliced
8 Slices Bacon
1 tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
½ tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Chili Powder
¼ cup Brown Sugar
Mix spices together in a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350
Layout Pork and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Next add cheddar cheese and pepper slices.
Roll pork up tightly and cover with spice rub.
Wrap in bacon and place in roasting pan.
Cook for 1 hour 45 minutes or until meat reaches 170.
Place under broiler for 5 minutes
Rest 10 minutes
Slice and Serve with a great vegetable, like steamed broccoli, to balance out your meal.
I am a highly opinionated and sassy mother of three and wife to one. I hope you enjoy reading about my efforts to tackle the infuriating obstacles of life using straight talk and humor. If I say it, I mean it, or maybe I am being sarcastic. I like to focus on topics from my everyday life: parenting, cooking, crocheting, and a whole list of other things that inspire my rage.