Friday, February 26, 2010

Guess who's coming to dinner

Tonight we had a great time at our ward's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner activity. It's one of my favorite church activities. Adults sign up to be guests or hosts and the coordinator arranges parties of hosts with their guests...but no one knows who they will be dining with in advance. You get a call a few days ahead to tell you what to bring (if you are a guest). You show up at the church at 6 pm where you are given the name and address of your host, along with a map. The hosts prepare a main dish and set the table for a known number of people...but they don't know who will be coming.

It's so fun and a great way to spend some quality time with a small group of people that may not have naturally gathered together.

We had lots of fun tonight with a small group (we were guests, not hosts)--2 other couples and Edgar (kids aren't invited--the YW provide daycare at the church...but babies are okay). We had about 5 main dishes--lasagna and 4 other complimentary dishes.

I threw together a salad that ended up being really yummy...so I thought I would share:

Salad

Cooked chicken breast (diced)
Romaine lettuce ripped into large chunks
Sliced mushrooms
Diced sweet apple (I used honeycrisp with most of the skin peeled)
Thinly sliced red onion
Cashews
Diced avocado

Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

I used the blender to mix:
avocado
ranch dressing
sour cream
mayo
minced garlic
ground black pepper
a little milk to get the consistency you desire

YUM!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hi Da!


My son is absolutely enamored with his dad. This new development is very welcomed! The first thing he says in the morning is "Da Da!" We go and find dad and Edgar lights up. He loves to wave bye-bye to dad when he leaves for work...and then he watches out the window to see if dad waves on his way to the car.

Edgar also insists on calling dad on the phone during the day. He often picks up the phone and pretends to talk to dad, "Hello? Hi Da!"
This video is oh so cute...sorry that it's blurry! But the audio itself is worth it (=

video


When Alex comes home from work, Edgar screams, "DA DA!" and crawls super fast to the door to great him. He insists on being picked up so that he can examine dad's buttons, headphone cords, tie, and beard.

At bedtime Edgar loves to tease his dad by offering a kiss, and then shaking his head no at the last second...only to change his mind a plant a big slobbery kiss on dad's face.

What a sweet boy! What a sweet dad!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Go Beach!

What BEAUTIFUL weather we had last week! You know that place where vampires live to hide their sparkliness because it is always overcast, grey, and raining?
Watch out vampires! The sparkle is unavoidable! This is what the Olympic Peninsula looked like last week--and we had already planned a trip for that week. Awesome luck.

We promised ourselves that we would take Edgar to Kalaloch before he turned one. We got a great deal on a cabin and also stayed two nights in Ocean Shores, WA on the way to Kalaloch. We had a blast. Edgar LOVED the hotel stay. He discovered the tissue boxes...
"Uh, oh! Someone found me!"
"I don't know how this got here mom...I'm just playing in it!"
We had a great time exploring this little Venice of the Northwest. The city consists of canals, lakes, rivers, and ocean.
We loved playing in the heated pool. Edgar went swimming 3 times in 1 1/2 days.
And, of course, THE SAND! He uses the same words for water and sand "taaau" and just couldn't get enough of either!


We even walked down to the water and got our toes wet. BRRR!

Such a happy family!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Peanut Chicken Soup

A lot of people asked me for this recipe when I mentioned it on facebook...so here it is. It's from The Reader's Digest Magic Foods book--thanks Becky for lending it to me! There are lots of yummy healthy recipes in it.

This soup was SUCH a hit at our house. We couldn't get enough of it--SO YUMMY.

Peanut Chicken Soup

2 tsp canola oil
1 c. chopped onion (1 med.)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T curry powder
2 cans (14 oz. each) chicken broth
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 small sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (2 cups)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 c natural-style peanut butter
1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 T lime juice
dash of hot pepper sauce (like Red Hot or Tabasco)

1. Heat oil in soup pot over med-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened (2-3 mins). Add garlic and curry. Cook, stirring, until fragrant (20 seconds). Add broth, tomatoes, sweet potato and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to med-low, cover, and simmer 10 mins.

2. Add chicken, cover, and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 mins. Add PB and stir until blended into soup. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and hot sauce. One serving is 1 cup. The soup will keep, covered, in fridge for up to 2 days.

(per serving 175 calories, 14 g protein, 14 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 7 g total fat, 1 g sat. fat, 21 mg cholest., 406 mg sodium with red sodium tomatoes).

Alterations: I broiled the chicken until it was mostly cooked first and added the chicken after the sweet potatoes were tender. Also, I used red. fat peanut butter (which has more sugar) and I doubled the peanut butter.

Monday, February 15, 2010

10 Months vs 29 Years

February 13th: Happy Birthday to me! Kudos to Alex for getting me the awesomest Yo Gabba Gabba Ice Cream Cake (on account of I whined that I had never had an ice cream cake for my birthday). Alex also got me some scrapbooking paper, and a shopping spree to Paper Zone for more fun paper. (I haven't been scrapbooking much, but I am doing some paper-art for the children's book I wrote ages ago...I should post some of that later...)

He also got me the Treehorn trilogy by Florence Parry Heide (illustrated by Edward Gorey). These are hilarious books about a kid who gets in these unbelievalbe situations...and then completely clueless parents who refuse to believe what is right in front of them. "No one shrinks, Treehorn."

Also for my birthday, I baked a chicken pot pie made from scratch. YUM! We shared the evening with our good friends (also our upstairs landlords). It was a great day!

Also February 13th: Edgar is 10 months old! This is one cute happy baby lately! Could it be the extra sleep we are all getting?!?!? (=
This kid LOVES his food. Apparently I didn't put his cereal box away...

He still says, "Nomma-NOMMA-NOMM!!" while he is eating something he really likes. Which is pretty much all the time.

He is also developing he musical abilities and imagination skills (-=
I found him playing my wire whisk like a guitar and saying "Yeah!" (Which is what he says when he plays guitar).

He is also developing a love of books (HOORAY!). He can often be found sitting by himself turning pages and "talking."
This kid is a jabberer. Alex says that he is just like me...when he is happy or tired is talks and talks and talks...even if he has nothing comprehensible to say!
New cute things he says:
"How Boo!" (Cow says moo)
"G'tahr Rah!" (Guitar: ROCK!)
"Yeah? Yeah!" (While nodding his head. He says this as a question when he is asking for something--usually food or nursing. He also says this as an answer if I guess correctly what he wants. "Edgar, do you want to go ni-night?" "Yeah!"
Here are a couple of way-to-long musical videos of cuteness that are especially for Grandma and Grandpa!
Video 1: Mr. No Pants playing the keyboard. Yes, that is him walking at the end! He can proudly take a few steps on his own!

video

Video 2: Guitar playing maniac. Yep, he's snotty. We've all been sporting a snotty nose for the last week or so.

video

Video 3: Naked Keyboard Playing with some Jerry Lee Lewis moves thrown in for good measure.

video

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ed (NOT!) in the Bed

"Ed (NOT!) in the Bed"... or ... "The Continuing Adventure of (trying to) Sleep for New Parents"

This is an update to the Ed in the Bed post from 4 months ago.

(Caution: this is a genuine sleeping picture. It was early in the morning. I do not look my best, but the picture is so sweet that I must share it without shame.)

It is a bittersweet accomplishment to have my baby now sleeping in his crib...in his own room...while Alex and I sleep in our bed in our OWN room!!! I feel a great amount of freedom...but I must say that I will cherish those sweet times of sleeping with my baby. (I still pull him into bed sometimes in the early morning or for naps. I don't want to give it all up yet!)
Thank you for everyone's support and ideas from the previously mentioned post. I will share our story for those who care...because I did a lot of online reading on the subject when I was trying to find a plan that would work for our family.
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We more or less followed the previous plan, with a little adjustment. We found that our crib was structurally sound with only three sides, so we pushed the crib up next to the bed in a co-sleeping style for most of the last 4 months. This meant that I could sleep right next to Edgar and nurse throughout the night with him in his own space (and get our bed back!).
This was a GREAT blessing to our sleep and family happiness. However, after many months of that, we were all ready to have our own room. I suspected that our snoring would wake Edgar and that my physical closeness deprived him of the chance to just roll over and go back to sleep.
So, we started by putting the fourth side back up on the crib, but we continued sleeping in our bed next to his crib for a few weeks. We started a routine that worked really well:
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"Okay Edgar. This is how tonight is going to go..."
(Pointing at Alex's side of the bed) "Daddy will go ni-night here"
(Pointing to my side of the bed) "Mommy will go ni-night here"
"And...." (Edgar would get excited and look at his crib) "Edgar will go ni-night in his crib! With is dog! (Edgar hugs his stuffed dog) And his blanket! (rub blanket on his face).
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This worked beautifully. He would go to sleep often without even crying. (A big deal for this attached kiddo). Of course...lots of nights he would cry for a while in his crib and daddy would end up on the air mattress in the other room...but after a few weeks the night time nursings were usually a good 2 hours apart (in the beginning it was 45 minutes to an hour apart...I started by nursing him if he had slept for at least an hour. After a few days he had to wait 2 hours).
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Anyway, Saturday I was quite sick and miserable. I was sure that my coughing and blowing my nose would wake Edgar, so I slept in the other room and responded to his nursing requests throughout the night. It worked so well that we moved the bed out the next day!
We continue the cute "where does everybody sleep?" routine (starting in mommy and daddy's room, and then moving to Edgar's room and kissing daddy good night). It works really well to let him know what is going on.
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It's been 4 nights and it is very promising. He often goes 3-4 hours without needing to nurse back down (a few whimpers here and there...sometimes 10 or 15 minutes of crying or tossing and turning) but then he rolls over and goes back to sleep. Also, his bedtime naturally adjusted to an earlier time--so Alex and I can actually spend some time together in the evening. (This does mean he doesn't sleep in until 10...so I actually have to get up early--but it's worth it!)
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So...that was pretty long. But, this whole sleeping thing has been a big deal for us. Edgar sleeps more than half of his day--so I feel a lot of responsibility to make sure that I am responding to his night-time needs in a way that shows him love and compassion... but in a way that also works for our family as a whole (Alex, me, and Edgar). I think that is the key--listening to what the baby needs, what the rest of the family needs, what your own body needs, and using trial and error to find a solution that fits those needs as best as you can. And then adjusting regularly to meet with the constant changes! And, as always, I find that parenting is universal--but very personal. Between husband, wife, and God you can find a solution to your parenting problem that fits your family.
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(I apologize if the formatting is weird. I couldn't get blogger to give me any decent paragraph breaks, so I tried to fake it out).