Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Visiting Didymos in Ludwigsburg!

This story about our trip to Germany is a little bit out of order, but I really need to tell you this story because it was really one of the highlights of my journey as a mother and blogger. Having the opportunity of visiting the Didymos Store in Ludwigsburg Germany was such a special event for me.

It all started about a year ago when I told my friend Gretchen that I'll be going to Germany over Christmas the following year. She asked "Are you going to visit Didymos?" Wow- I guess I hadn't thought about that!

I've been a babywearing mama from the very start, but mostly with knitted wraps, ring slings and soft structured carriers. Now that my second daughter is now a toddler and my "someday baby #3" is on the horizon, I knew that I would love to start getting into wrapping with a woven wrap. So I started doing my research on finding a Didymos woven wrap that I fell in love with. I finally did - Indio Sole Occidente.

I will tell you with full honesty that I dreamed about this wrap, many times. I was excited to see it in person and actually feel my first Didymos wrap. So time passed and I waited. We spent our vacation in Germany and saved our visit to Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg for last.

In preparation for our trip I contacted Didymos to see if I can set up an appointment to chat with someone about the wraps, a little bit about the company and maybe get some babywearing tips from the source. I was honored and *so* excited to learn that Anna Hoffman, an owner and one of Erika Hoffman's children would be meeting with me. I mean, really - an owner of Didymos made time to see me?!

We arrived at Didymos and somehow I was expecting this gallery of wraps, a museum of babywearing history and assistants just waiting to help parents learn about babywearing. Babywearing Heaven, really. What I found was a colorful store that had about 2 dozen wraps on display and a direct focus on organic and quality made children's clothing and accessories. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but a nice surprise.

Anna welcomed me into her store and we talked about the wrap that I had chosen for myself, Indio Sole Occidente, as well as a few other wraps that friends had begged pleaded asked me to pick up. I quickly drooled over my new wrap and she asked if I could like to have a tour of their office. Uhm, YES PLEASE.

Behind the original Didymos shop is a larger building that houses the offices. We walked into their shipping room where all the Didy wraps we love come from. Literally, walls and walls and walls of wraps in their boxes. "And this isn't even our largest room," Anna joked.

As we walked through the building, and Anna showed me things that she made me promise not to talk to anyone about, we talked about the legacy of the wrap. She spoke about her wrap that she used on her son, now 18 years old, and it is as precious to her as a symbol of her relationship with her son as perhaps my wedding ring is as a symbol of my relationship with my husband. Her description invoked images of all the things that a wrap does for us as mothers and for our children, and really that it isn't something that needs to be tucked away when the child outgrows it. She likes to use her wrap as a table cloth, a scarf or stole, anything really - to bring it out and enjoy the memories it's given her. She's saving it as an heirloom for when she becomes a grandmother one day. What a wonderful thought! It totally revised how I will think of mine.

Although Didymos is one of the most well known names in the woven wrap industry, not only for their beautiful colors and amazing handiwork, but really for the commitment to quality. Anna's mother, Erika Hoffman, the creator of Didymos and whom I would credit as bringing modern day babywearing to the western world, started wrapping simply out of necessity with her twins. As a mom who had her second child a week after her first child's second birthday, I can absolutely agree and wholeheartedly thank Ms. Hoffman for coming to this revelation almost 15 years before my own birth. I credit so much of my attachment parenting style and motherhood capability for the ability to wear my children. I've worn them through the house to do chores, through the zoo to give them a better peek up, closer to my chest when they are sick and need snuggles, and across the world and through large crowds to keep them safe.

But the need to find a solution to a problem isn't where Ms. Hoffman ended. Her strict requirements for the materials and labor that go into the wraps also is evident in her work. Didymos adheres to incomparable standards in quality of material. Didymos has always received high marks for compliance in ├ľko-Test and Eco Institute. All components of the wrap making process are controlled and even the ingredients to the dyes used are limited to being the most natural available. This truly makes a big difference to me, when I consider how much time my children might spend in a Didymos wrap.  It was truly one of the highlights of my trip to Germany and I am so thankful that Anna Hoffman took the time to speak with me!

Stay tuned because I managed to bring home a 
Didymos stowaway 
that will be making an appearance as a 
giveaway in the very near future!!

Follow on facebook & instagram to get the latest updates.

More posts on our trip to Germany

Further Didymos reading:  http://issuu.com/didymos_das_babytragetuch/docs/didymos_jubilaeumsbuch_en_ansicht

Monday, February 1, 2016

Parmesan Chicken Cutlets

Every 4 months, 80 lbs of chicken breast waits on my kitchen island. I spend a whole day, sometimes with
my mother in law, sometimes by myself, processing all that meat into packages of unseasoned, marinated, shredded or ground meat. I have over 50 meals started, and it costs me $135

I order a lot of my family's meat through Zaycon Fresh. The chicken breast comes fresh and straight from the farmer, so it ends up being a lot fresher than what you buy at the grocery store. For example, my last case of Zaycon Fresh chicken breast had a bar code with a time stamp for the butcher date that was 3 days prior to my receiving it. I recently went to my local grocery store to see what their time frame is - and their chicken was 15 days old and also had 3% water injected. It's really not much of a discussion on which chicken I prefer to buy!

So today I want to share with you one of the ways that I meal prep when I am processing all of this meat. When I prep the breasts to freeze I cut them into 3 separate ways (after trimming the fat off) - a tenderloin, a breast and a cutlet. A cutlet is made by laying the breast down on a cutting board and cutting through the middle of the breast, horizontally.

I like to make my cutlets really small; they are really more like a chicken coin than a true cutlet. 
 It's about the size of your palm. Cutting that small bit off a breast makes the breast thickness more uniform so that it cooks easily and the "coins" are really tender. They are perfect for Chicken Parmesan Cutlets!

For the breading:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika 
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 c of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
This will bread about 16 small chicken "coin" cutlets. 2-3 cutlets per adult is a standard serving. The remainder can be frozen between sheets of parchment paper and bagged in freezer bags once fully frozen.

1. Prepare three small mixing bowls. Fill one bowl with 3/4 cup flour, fill the second bowl with 1 1/2 cups of Panko, 1 T paprika, 1 T mustard powder, salt & pepper, and the third bowl with the beaten eggs. Set the 1/2 c of freshly grated Parmesan aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Dip each chicken cutlet first into the flour, then into the beaten eggs and then into the Panko mixture.
*If you are prepping for a future meal, skip the baking portion and read the instructions at the end.*
3. Place onto a greased broiling pan or cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 425 degrees F and bake for 15-25 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked. Flip half way through.
5. Remove from the oven and give each cutlet a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
6. Voila! I love to serve mine with my lazy girl gnocchi (using left over mashed potatoes!!) and spaghetti sauce. 

**If you are going to freeze these, after step 2 place them in between two squares of parchment paper and freeze them on a cookie sheet. After they are frozen, store them in a freezer safe ziplock bag.**

Get started on saving your family money but not compromise the quality of your meat! Zaycon Fresh is where it's at. Sign up here! Also - check out my favorite Zaycon Fresh product - Wild Alaskan Salmon - and how I love to prepare it!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links help keep this blog going and using them is at no cost to you! All images, opinions and the recipe are my own. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Visiting Eindhoven, The Netherlands

During our trip to Germany, my husband took a side business trip to Eindhoven, The Netherlands. We decided to turn this into a date trip, leaving our daughters to stay with my parents in Germany for 4 days.

While hubby met and worked with his Dutch counterpart, I explored the city.

I've always had a fascination with cathedrals. My family of origin are first generation Polish immigrants and I traveled back to Poland several times as a minor. My interest in history piqued in high school and since then I've always specifically visited old churches whenever I am travelling.

When we arrived in Eindhoven I found two old churches that I would like to visit; St George's and St Catherine's. Both are beautiful but actually relatively young when it comes to old churches, as they were both completed in the mid to late 1800's. St. Catherine's, however, has an incredibly unique history that I couldn't help but do a ton of internet research  after leaving there!

I set out for a walk in the afternoon, without any real plans on where I would go. I ended up in this plaza in the medieval town center of Eindhoven and found St. Catherine's Church (Sint Catharinakerk). The beautiful church had a large plaza with several benches, so I took the opportunity to sit, be still and look. Not an opportunity I get too often with two little girls! The construction of the version that we see today began in 1861 and was completed in 1867. It is in the same location as the original St Catherine Church, which was mentioned as early as 1232. Throughout history the original church was the target of several acts of war and the new one replaced it.

As I walked around the plaza I noticed that the pavement stones were modern. I found an outdoor exhibition that talked about the archaeological significance of this plaza. In 2002 the city began replacing the plaza stones to lay the new ones we see today. They found that the entire plaza around the church was a forgotten graveyard, where Eindhoven residents had been buried over the course of 600 years. At some point in history the graveyard was abandoned and paved over and forgotten. This grave site includes higher nobility Eindhoven Black Plague victims. The archaeologists are currently working on an amazing study to link the DNA from these skeletons to aid in HIV research. Individuals with Northern Europe descent posses a DNA variant that has been found to be HIV resistant. Those who possess this variant have been found to have a 70% lower risk of of HIV infection vs those who do not have it. Using the preserved DNA (which by all accounts should not even be present due to the acidity of the soil) researchers are trying to find a connection.

Amazing, unexpected story, right? Even though it was the first large church that I visited during our travels it still remains my favorite. I spent hours inside the church just looking at all the statues, gorgeous stained glass and reading on the archaeological exhibition.

I also unexpectedly found St. George's Church while walking around. St. George was built between 1884-1885 but unfortunately I wasn't able to find any other history in English.

The following day I visited the Phillips Museum. Phillips; as in Phillips light bulbs, radios, anything you can plug in. Including my electric toothbrush. This humongous company started in little Eindhoven and they have a great museum that includes housing part of the original factory. 

As I checked in that morning I asked if there were headphones or an iPad available in English, as there wasn't any information about a tour. The front desk attendant smiled and said "wait here a minute," and a few moments later a older gentleman came over to give me a private tour! Part of me thinks he just wanted to practice his (excellent) English. He walked me through the whole museum, chatting about all the innovations and history of Phillips. Let me tell ya - I think that the museum is definitely a must visit and was very interactive and had a lot of cool technology to show off - but having a real person tell me the story of the Phillips family and their incredible impact on the world was truly an experience to remember. Visiting the museum and seeing first hand how far technology has come in a relatively short amount of time really humbled me and made me extra thankful for the ease of what it's brought to my life!

On our final day we visited the DAF Museum. DAF Trucks are a part of PACCAR Inc, the company that my husband works for, and the reason why we visited The Netherlands. DAF too had been founded in Eindhoven and the museum is attached to the original machine shop where the company began. My husband loves all things automotive; it's his job, so visiting this museum took on a whole different flavor than Phillips. This time my own husband toured me around and gave me tidbits of information on different trucks. Watching him analyze ancient engines and essentially geek out over all these trucks as amusing to say the least. 

This trip will always be special to me because it was the first time since Penny was born in 2012 that I had been away from either child for more than 36 hours. We were gone for 4 days and I had prepared myself for the great likelihood of Ruby weaning during my absence. Her sister had weaned when we went for our babymoon at Sleeping Lady Resort right around that same age. But -- spoiler alert -- Ruby didn't and even through all of the other 2 to 4 day trips that we took for the remainder of our time in Europe, she still didn't! Woop woop, way to go girl! 

And there's plenty more where that came from! We are just scratching the surface of our 5 week trip to Germany. Stay tuned for more posts on our trip.

Information from the posted archaelogical exhibition in the plaza

History of the church filled in with information from the archaeological exhibition, Wikipedia and the official church website

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Penny for your thoughts (Vol 4)

Penny pronounces "mistletoe" as "weasel town." #frozenforever

I AM NOT A PERSON! I am a big girl!

My eyes are sprinkling! (when she had tears after coughing)

Penny is currently reprimanding her sauropod family:

"You say 'YES PENNY.' Thank you."
"Those are very good choices. You have to stay close to your mama saur, the door is too far away."

"Can you please say "Drive Safely" to me?"

We're talking about healthy foods vs treats. As she's snacking on an animal cracker.
B: Fruits and veggies are healthy, meat is too. But remember, cookies are a treat. They aren't always very healthy but we can have them every once in a while.

P: No mom, cookies are a treat AND a snack.
B: Yes, but they aren't very healthy. Did you know that veggies and fruits will help you grow big and strong?
P: Yes! And cookies will make my ... arms ... LONG!

"Look mama, this part of my face is chubby." (poking at her cheek)

"This marker smells like someone coughed on it and spilled coffee on it"

"Mama when you cough, are you sending germs to jail?"

B - Penny, you need to nap today. Your body needs rest to fight the germs.
P- but mom, you said that eating good food helps fight the germs.
B - yes, that too, but your body needs to rest so that it has the strength to fight the germs.

P- but mom, you said that God is the strength I need in my heart to fight germs.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Win $75 from Diaper Junction!


Who doesn't love to win diapers? Or how about Natural Products for the whole family? Here's your chance! Sprinkles Magazine wants you to get some much needed Diaper Junction Spending money! One lucky winner will get the chance to win a $75 Diaper Junction gift card!! This Giveaway is open to US & CA!!


Disclosure:  Giveaway is open to US & CA and ends on 2/23 at 11:59PM EST. Must be 18 Y.O to enter. All opinions are 100% mine. This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network.All opinions and experiences are Conservamom‘s. Open to US & CA residents only , must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted through email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor will be responsible for product fulfillment to winner(s) of the giveaway. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions or to see your product featured in an Event you can contact Elia At Conservamom


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