Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Would you be so kind?

Every now and again Top Baby Blogs resets their numbers to give other blogs a shot at moving up in the ranks and being seen by more readers, therefore extending the big community of mommy bloggers.  They have just reset, and I would truly, truly appreciate it if you'd take a moment to give our blog a vote! On the sidebar you can find the top baby blog button and click to vote. Just click again on the owl on the left when that screen pops up and voila! You can vote once per day and we are so thankful for every vote, but I will only ask once when they do this. More importantly, just thank you for spending time reading our words on this blog.  I love sharing with every one of you!

Stepping it up

To-do lists are always a mile long over here--I'm sure we're all in the same boat on that one, yes? But at the end of the day, when it's dark and the thermometer outside rarely reads anything as high as zero degrees, motivation tends to be lacking.  Checking things off of that list doesn't happen as frequently or as quickly as I crave.  I don't have anything ridiculous on my lists these days.  Pick up the house, meal plan, exercise, do a project I enjoy, try new recipes etc... There is absolutely no reason why these things can't be accomplished, and it's time to start checking things off around here!  I'm already looking towards the weekend right now, and there are a few small things I'm determined to make happen.  I've already started a new exercise program and I'm feeling great about that.  I need physical activity to feel good, and unfortunately it has been so cold here recently (-20) that I can't even get outside for a walk with Henry.  So I've committed to some indoor programs and already I'm loving the sore muscles letting me know I've made them work.  Needless to say, Henry and I, while enjoying this winter, are very much looking forward to spring so we can stroll outside and explore and stretch our winter legs.
But back to this weekend, I'm really hoping to accomplish a few things that will be good for our family, and maybe make the flow of our weeks go a bit smoother.  On the list:
I'm making a quiche for breakfast.  A ridiculous item to put on a to-do list you think? Perhaps.  But the past two weekends have been go go go and we have missed those mornings when we wake up and get to relax as a family with breakfast, coffee, and sunshine coming through the windows.  During the week Eric is gone before Henry and I are up, and H and I rush around the house trying to get out the door before the sun comes up.  So I plan to make a breakfast for us all to enjoy while we slow down for a morning.  My brother in law gave me this wonderful, decadent recipe (I'm not sure where he got it, but I think it might be Paula Dean so it's sure to be good... I didn't say it was healthy) and it will be a treat to have it again.
Then the slowing down will end and time to get to work, starting with the ridiculous amounts of laundry.  I feel like I'm being smothered by it, so that is something that must be tackled to maintain sanity.
We also are hoping to make some breakfasts for the weeks ahead, to help the mornings be less rushed and free up more minutes for reading stories with Henry before heading to work.
We'll be making pancakes with wheat germ and flax to freeze so we can just pop them in the toaster before eating, hard boiled eggs that are easy to grab on the go, and I'd like to make some individual oatmeal breakfasts as well (Like these)
I need to clean out my messy car and finally, get outside in the mountains for some fresh air and a hike.  It's supposed to warm up quite a bit so if that happens, we will be running for the door.  Anything exciting on your to-do lists this week??
Our friend Josh has been doing bike races and we like to go even though we have to sit in the car for most of it due to the temperatures.  But here we hopped out to watch him win. Brrr!
Bacon, Spinach and Swiss Quiche Recipe: (A few changes added in)

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled (We're subbing turkey bacon)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate
  • (We made our own pie crust with olive oil rather than butter or any other heavy ingredient. It's healthier, and I love the flavor and texture.)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Layer the spinach, bacon, and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. (Mine took a bit longer last time, and since I was new to quiche cooking I thought I had surely ruined it when I went to get it out of the oven after 40 minutes and it was crispy-edged liquid... an extra 15 minutes did the trick and it was so. dang. good.)
Cut into 8 wedges. ( I would have preferred to just split it in halfsies. But oh well. Portion control is key, I suppose, when dealing with bacon and cheese.) 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A quick hello

I had grand plans of posting a delicious pizza recipe with you all here a few days ago, but a stomach bug found it's way into our house and so all three of us have been under the weather.  We are doing much better now, thank goodness! I'm hoping we all get some good sleep tonight and are back to normal by morning.  Here's to hoping.
Every time we don't feel well, I find myself so amazed by the resilience of babies.  Henry smiles despite feeling sick, and tries so hard to keep his normal energy.  He still crawls and climbs about while I whine flattened on the floor.  Amazing. Here's a little video of him this evening doing his new thing! Standing! He's been working on this for a few days, and it's so fun to see how it progresses. Last week he started to stand alone for a few seconds but didn't realize he was doing it, but now you can tell he does it on purpose.  He gets the proudest look on his face, and he expects there to be clapping when he's done.  We are always happy to oblige with lots of clapping and "yay!"s.  I'm also pretty sure he's trying to say dog.  It sounds like da, but he's doing it at the right times so hooray for growth and exciting things in the little love!
Stay healthy, everyone! I have never been so excited to get up in the morning and get ready for work and just carry on with a normal day. I hope that we're all healthy enough to do so!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Giggles


Daddy, baby, and dreams of a truck.

Eric has been pining after a truck for some time now.  It is definitely not the right time in our lives to get one, but until that day comes he will continue day dreaming about them.  Every time we pass the right kind of truck it's "there's my truck!!" And then there are the scenarios that play out in his mind that he tells me about that I think look much like this commercial.  Trips to the farm together in the truck, trips to haul wood for camping trips together, trips to help family shovel their driveways, all with his little boy by his side on the seats of their truck. I think this commercial secretly turns him to a lovey ball of daddy mush and he directs my attention to it every time.  I make fun of him for wanting a truck so badly because it's something I don't understand but the commercial--It gets me too.  Goodness I love having a little guy.  I can't wait until he uses his imagination like this during play time, and Eric can't wait until he's the daddy getting out of the truck with a little Henry running to his arms. 

These Chevy advertising people know what they're doing. 

9 month update

Happy end-of-weekend, friends.  I wish I didn't have these expectations of myself to write often, because I feel so disappointed when days go by and I have no chance to write.  More than that, I am disappointed because I genuinely love to write here on this blog.  It's my outlet, it's my memory bank, and it's a place to reach out and chat with other people, all things that I adore about this space.  When I  miss multiple days, I miss that many ideas as well.  Even when I have something I want to write, by the time I get to it it often seems irrelevant and I'm finding it frustrating.  Anyway, I am enjoying the time now, so I suppose I should focus on that.

 I am late in Henry's 9 month update, but wow do the changes just keep coming at an alarming pace! He turned 9 months on New Years Eve, and the poor boy was stuck with an ear infection at the time.  After the infection passed though, our little ball of energy was back and growing so fast.  You hear it all the time as new parents, to enjoy every bit because they grow up so quickly, but it's hard to grasp how fast it truly happens until it's right there in front of you (or past!) He now has four teeth which is taking some getting used to.  I giggle every time he flashes a big smile and I see the half-in teeth on his top gums. I love it so much!  He has learned to clap, wave hi and bye, walk while pushing his walker or holding onto furniture, and he's starting to dabble in standing alone.  He is as vibrant and outgoing as ever.  He is eating pretty much everything, but I think chicken and avocado are his favorites.  And cheese, who doesn't love cheese?  The one thing we have trouble with are noodles, because he either has trouble eating them, or doesn't like them ( I don't know how that's possible) but I can't tell which.  I think he wants to eat them but they slip right out of his mouth.  He babbles a lot, says dadadada and mamamama but never really at us so we aren't counting them as a first word yet.  I'm pretty sure he knows who goes with each name but must not feel like humoring us.  He does, however, crack up every time we say "mama" or "dada".  Oh well, in his own time!  The boy is busy. And so loving and affectionate. As Eric and I watched Henry play during bath time tonight, snuggling under my chin when he got out of the water, he told me that it's just sort of painful, the extremely intense love we feel for our baby boy.  Painful sounds like the wrong word, but it really is such a big love it nearly hurts.  You know what I mean? He is the greatest joy to us.


Sock throwing



Monday, January 16, 2012

Long Time Traveller

Ok I just realized that maybe talking about the butt of a chicken and intestines of an elephant isn't the most lovely way to start off the week. So here's a song I've been enjoying a lot this week! I like really mellow music and this song is just that. I think these women have beautiful voices, which makes it easy to listen to this really simple melody!  Happy Monday, everyone!

Oh dear grossness.

Have you all seen this photo?  (Check out the article to go with it) I read online, "can you guess what McDonalds food this is?" and I thought oh yum, strawberry soft serve! Except no. That, my friends, is McDonalds chicken.  The lovely stuff that goes into a chicken nugget. Barf. I like to get fast food every now and again when my stomach begs for greasy food but I have known about the chicken for a while and never get it, I usually just go for burgers.  But I've never actually seen what it looks like before it gets molded and dyed and shaped into a nugget and now after seeing this, I think my ties with the golden arches will have to be severed. I can't get past the fact that it looks like elephant intestines and that inside that pink paste, is some chicken meat along with a chicken beak, butt, foot, etc. It just makes me feel bad.
If any of you love McDonalds chicken nuggets, I'm okay with that! Just clearing that up since I have just slammed them entirely.  I speak only of my opinion and wanted to share this tidbit for anyone out there wanting more information.  Or for anyone who just fancies a gross picture every now and again, even if still planning to eat the final product. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pinterest In My Kitchen

Oh, how I love Pinterest.  It's a bitersweet love, as sometimes I look at it and feel depressed about all of the wonderful things on there I cannot seem to make or have, but sometimes it is just the most wonderful way to relax and get ideas.  Sometimes I find the perfect craft idea, or recipe, and last night was one of those times.  I feel so good every time I try a new recipe, and when it turns out delicious, that's obviously even better.  I decided to make beef and broccoli last night.  It was easy and holygoodness it was so tasty.  Beef and broccoli is an old favorite of mine from the days when I'd get chinese takeout.  But to be honest, I haven't found anywhere up here that has takeout that I enjoy (except a few of my favorite thai restaurants, yum!) I blame a restaurant in Iowa that has been around as long as I can remember, and no chinese food has ever matched up since.  I suppose you could say I've become a takeout snob.  But that is beside the point.
The point is, this recipe that I found on Pinterest is so so good, that it can definitely hold me over until the next time I visit home and get some of my favorite food from that wonderful place. (I always put on a disgusting display when it comes to how much I can eat when I go back there! Have to make up for the months I'm away) I've never known how to perfect that wonderful sauce, and now I've learned and I'm so glad! I wonder if I can convince the hubs to have it once a week...  It ended up being a very affordable meal, as many of the ingredients are things we generally have on hand.  Soy sauce, flour, sugar, garlic... Yes, yes, yes and yes! There are a few others in there, but essentially we just had to buy beef and broccoli which cost a total of eight dollars.  I served it over quinoa, since we had it on hand and I'm trying to use it more often since it's a healthy option.  The recipe specifies low sodium soy sauce, and I would second that.  We only had regular and it turned out wonderful, but it was definitely a little salty.  Yes I just said that. The one who uses way too much salt on a regular basis.  Didn't phase us too much, it was just too dang good!
For dessert I made another great Pinterest find, mini apple pies/turnovers! They were so easy, and such a treat.  I'll have to keep reminding myself that they are just that, a treat, and fight my urge to make them nightly.  I put them together in a total of five minutes, and it took me no longer than that to polish them off!
I cut the recipe in half, because I didn't feel like we each needed to eat eight of them and I wasn't sure how they'd reheat.  We had two left over though, and I can tell you they reheat beautifully :) I had them at work with a cup of coffee and they were just as good as they were fresh out of the oven.  The only thing I changed was using smart balance in place of butter because I don't usually keep butter aroudn, and it worked just fine.  Next time I might try using some agave nectar instead of sugar to make them a little "healthier".  I guess using the word healthy is a stretch, so I'll say to make them a little less unhealthy and a bit more fit for my desire to eat them every single night.  
Photo via Pinterest


Photo via Pinterest


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hi everyone!  I was so glad that I was back to more regular posts and then this week took over and made me absent on the internet.  Sad.  I wish I could say I've been off doing something wonderful and exciting but it's pretty much been business as usual.  Work. Playtime with babe.  A million calls and emails everyday trying to enroll in classes from 3500 miles away.  As much stress as that one brings, I'm so excited to get back in classes. The ever growing pile of laundry (that brings me much stress) etc. Tonight I'm letting myself just relax a bit (pinterest and cup of hot tea, here I come!) but there are some posts coming up soon, so I hope to see you back here.
We are supposed to get between 9-18 inches of snow by tomorrow night... so far nothing is falling but we'll see if I have to dig my way out tomorrow or not!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You Win Some, You Lose Some (aka- giant dinner fail.)

Happy Wednesday everyone! It hardly feels like the middle of the week for me, because we've had a bit of a screwy week up here.  Henry was sick with a fever all weekend and my instincts about his ears being the cause were right.  He has a double ear infection :( Poor babe. I cannot wait for those inner ears to mature so that he stops getting the darn infections so often.  For now, we are still home together trying to get him all better.  Generally we catch them fairy quickly and he never shows many symptoms, just a bit clingy.  But this must be a doozy that we didn't get quite soon enough because he has just been so miserable.  On the mend now, though!
So I was really looking forward to trying something new for dinner last night with avocado, as one of my goals is to get back to cooking more often, and more specifically, cooking new things rather than our stand-by meals.  I whipped up this avocado pasta after putting Henry down for the night, quite proud that I had thought ahead and made it to the grocery in the morning and was trying something entirely different.  It's basically a creamy pasta with no cream (score!), made with just garlic, lemon, olive oil, and avocado. Not sounding too bad, right?  I served it with spelt pasta.  Here's how that went over: I carried Eric's plate to him and as I'm serving mine I hear "this smells like nothing I've ever experienced before" okay... this could be good or bad at this point... and then his first bite comes, and he looks as though he may vomit.  He quickly shoved another vegetable in his mouth simply to get the bite down-- NOT GOOD.  Then he started sucking up out of pure guilt for not liking my dinner. I told him that I wasn't taking it personally, after all I had just tried a very new recipe and you can't like every single thing you try, right? (still stings a smidge, though) :)
After he had made himself a pb&j we laughed about it, and he said that it was so bad that it even made the veggies taste bad. So big. giant. fail. on that one.  What a way to jump back into the cooking saddle!  I think that might be the first thing I've made that he couldn't even swallow, usually even my mess ups he loves (like the time I forgot about the chicken in the oven because H was a newborn and I was busy and it turned to chicken jerky and he scarfed that crap right down).  Perhaps I did something wrong, but I thought it tasted just lovely! At first at least.  He doesn't love overdose of avocado, so maybe pasta drenched in it should be something I save for myself.  Maybe this entire avo project will be one of my very own.
I'm pressing forward though, and I'm looking for something new to make tonight (NOT avocado related) and I have to say, I'm a bit nervous! If he were to hate tonight's meal as well, I may just tuck the tail between the legs, hang my head and go pick up McDonalds.
By this point, I've probably done a fairly good job at turning you all away from this recipe and for that I feel bad, because I think that with the right people this dish would be worth a second try. I'm off to find some recipe that will knock the hubs' socks off, and my own as well!
Can't win em' all I suppose.
It was a very green meal. How bad could it be, I even put lemon garnish on there so it's all fancy like ?!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Like I said

In my post about the New Year, I mentioned how I like to think about things I'd like to do in the New Year even though the year sometimes has different plans. Well what better time to prove that point than right away?  We were so looking forward to hiking to this cabin with our friends on New Years Day, but my mama instincts told me that Henry was a little off... he wasn't quite himself, had a low grade temp, but was still fairly chipper and we debated whether or not we could make the trip that we so badly wanted to be on.  But as all parents know, one of the hardest yet most important things in parenting is weeding out your own wants when necessary and replacing them with decisions that are best for your child.  So that's what we did, we chose to stay home.  Later in the day we were so thankful that we had used our best judgment because Henry would have been beyond miserable on that trip.  His fever got higher, he got more uncomfortable, and since we were home we were able to end the evening by hopping in a warm bath together (the only time he pepped up and had fun!) and then he slept for twelve and a half solid hours which would have been hard on the floor of a cabin that ran out of heat.  Not to mention the hike straight up a mountain in freezing temperatures.  We will save the trip for another day and for now, we are still home with the boy who doesn't feel his best.  He's so tough when he's sick.  He tries his best to smile and giggle, but it's obvious he's uncomfortable and I hate not knowing why.  His pediatrician's office has been closed for the holidays since Sunday, so we weren't able to move his 9 month appointment up at all.  Thankfully he's been doing ok with the help of Advil and his appointment is this afternoon.  I love his monthly visits, and today he doesn't need shots and hopefully they'll be able to tell us what's going on with him.  Something tells me it's his ears, once again. 
Our friends sent us this video when they got up to the cabin, how gorgeous is that?  We were so bummed all weekend about missing the trip, but obviously the right choice was made in staying home.  Henry has been getting lots of cuddles, naps, and comfy time. 




Monday, January 2, 2012

The Alligator Pear


Thanks to the game "Battle of the Sexes", I learned that alligator pear is another word for my very favorite food... Avocado! I kind of like calling it that here and there.  I've been meaning to learn new and interesting recipes using avocados for quite some time, and then share those recipes (the good and the iffy, but hopefully mostly good!) with you here on the ole' blog.  I haven't had the chance to follow through though, so I've been sticking with my go-to ways of eating it, even when that means sprinkling it with a bit of salt and shoving the whole thing in my face in record speed. What better time than the new year to start the new project? Let me clarify though, that I am no chef and will not be claiming to make these recipes up on my own.  I'm simply hoping to find them, try them, possibly modify them if need be, and share what I love with you.
So I'll start with a recipe that we tried last month for my birthday dinner. AVOCADO FRIES. Holy yum. Of course, it was found on the lovely and wonderful Pinterest, and the actual recipe is here.
The idea of fried avocado sounds a tad strange at first, but I assure you you'll get over it pretty quickly once you try these. They were so incredibly delicious.
Simply put, slice 3 just-ripe avocados
Roll in flour
Dip in beaten egg
Roll in panko
Put in a pan of hot canola oil and fry until golden brown
Remove from oil
Add salt
We dipped them in a sauce that was made of mayo and Sriracha (we call that hot cock in our house. Hot sauce+ rooster on the package= hot cock. It's what Eric has always called it so I often forget what its real name is)
I've seen a number of recipes that suggest bread crumbs or tempura batter and so perhaps give those a try if you think you'd like it better.  Panko is a must for me, since it makes the perfect crunch.
If you try these, let me know what you think!  I will not be surprised if you find yourself equally obsessed and wanting them for every meal.  For the record, I don't eat them every meal even though I'd love to.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Such a clever boy

Just a quick little story-- I'm writing it here mostly because it was one of those moments that surprisingly, I'd like to remember for some time.  Sometimes the husband can just be so dang silly in just the right way. Our New Years Eve was lovely.  A delicious dinner made at home with friends, board games, lots of laughs.  Until it took a little turn for the worse.  As we were cleaning the kitchen the sink got clogged and I turn to look at it, only to find Eric standing there with the toilet plunger trying to clear the sink.  The TOILET PLUNGER,people.  No one seemed quite as appalled as I was but ohmyfreakinggoodness I just about lost it. Some of you know I have a thing with germs in places where you can eat.  I'm not afraid of the common cold or other such germs, but PLUNGER AND SINK DON'T MIX. Big time germaphobe in that way. I just couldn't believe he even thought of it, but his smirk told me it was a little entertaining and perfectly normal, to him.  After a good long while of sulking and expressing my disgust, I went to take a shower. (A bit dramatic, I know.  But I felt gross and was convinced that I was sprayed by plunger water.) Eric and I later watched the countdown on tv together, and after a quick New Years smooch and a hug, he put his arm around me and says "Remember last year when I accidentally put the toilet plunger in the sink? You can't be mad about that, it wasn't even this year!" And just like that, I was no longer mad.  I'm a little surprised I got over something so icky that quickly, but I guess I'm a sucker for cute comments made at just the right moment.

update on this post:
Eric wants to be sure that I tell you all that he was successful in unclogging the sink.  It was not the disposal side so apparently that makes it more logical and impressive. I'm not convinced, just still grossed out. 

A New Year

Happy New Year to all of you!! I hope that looking back on the year you can all say that it has been a good one for you, and look forward to the next with excitement.  2011 was wonderful to us.  I gained a very special niece and became a mother and so I'd say that's a pretty enormous year.  Luck has touched me so many times, through my pregnancy, delivery, and new mamahood.  I love what the year has brought, how it has changed me, how it has completely changed our lives.  I'm ready to dive into the next year with so much excitement.  There are so many more firsts to look forward to this next year with Henry, with our family, big adventures to be had, hopefully another handful of good changes for us. I've never been huge on formal New Years resolutions, but each year I always give a bit of thought to the things I'd like to accomplish, or what I'd like the year to look like.  Then the year takes its own course... But this year I'm hoping to take more trips, organize my blog, video tape more, take more pictures ( is this possible??), take better pictures, keep our house cleaner, do more crafting, exercise and cook more, but mostly... be as present as possible in daily life with Henry because if 2011 has taught me anything (and it absolutely has), it's that time really does move too quickly.  Watching the ball drop on tv moments before 2012 arrived, my sappy-ness got the best of me and I found myself slightly teary thinking about the fact that it's no longer the year we had Henry.  It's the year he turns one, and it just seems like that time couldn't possibly be here already.  I'm so looking forward to what this next year will be like though, so I hope to slow down and just enjoy every single bit of it. It will be an exciting year of firsts for this boy of mine and I'm happy for that.  I hope each of you has something you're looking forward to in 2012, and I so hope that it's a healthy and happy year for you and your families.

We are celebrating with a little trip-- we head out tomorrow morning to a cabin in the middle of no where near Seward, AK. We will drive a couple of hours to the trail head, then hike a few miles up the mountain to the cabin.  It should be beautiful and hopefully relaxing!  We are packing simply, but making food half of our gear.  We figure we don't need much to get by or entertain us, but celebrating with friends and delicious meals is worth the extra pain of dragging it all up there :) Sounds like a wonderful way to welcome another year of adventures together as a family. You'll be hearing all about it when we're back!