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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I just realized it was already Thursday and I didn't have a post prepared.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who writes multiple posts in one day and schedules them to post on different days.  I just don't have time (or the mental capacity) to sit down on a daily basis and compose a post.  So when the iron's hot, I strike. 

This week's list:
1)  Tomorrow is Fri-e-day!  Sorry, Wes, I just had to and you only have yourself to blame for introducing me to this internet legend, Rebecca Black. 

WARNING:  This is highly addictive and very annoying.  Watch at your own risk.
2)  Getaways with friends.  Tomorrow I embark on a little journey with 3 of my sorority sisters to a nearby city.  We all have small children that make getting together next to impossible.  Somehow we've all managed to clear our schedules and are off for a fun weekend of shopping, eating, and cheering on our Cats.  Which brings me to...

3)  Kentucky Wildcats!  Woo-hoo!  I taught Colin the C-A-T-S cheer on Sunday after we earned our spot in the Final Four.  Although he couldn't seem to get past the C-A, he loved the singing and excitement in the house.  Wes insisted we get it on video - he's the nostalgic one. 

Wes told me that Cousins said he wished he was still at UK.  He said he loved college.  Kind of sad but it's also kind of fun knowing that we got to the Final Four with Jorts instead of a McDonald's All-American!
What are you thankful for?  Link up to Black Tag Diaries.

Baby talk, baby talk

I could seriously watch and listen to this all day.  I would love to know what they're talking about.  They certainly seem to know.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Brothers

When Colin isn't pulling Sawyer's hair or "accidentally" kicking him while he playing on the floor, he's a very loving brother.  If Sawyer is crying, Colin will try to console him by rubbing his back or telling him, "It's okay Sawyer."

He has never shown blatant jealousy but there are some actions that I'm pretty sure are rooted in jealousy.  He'll occasionally want to be held (all 35 pounds of him!) but it's usually at an off time when Sawyer may not even be present.  He definitely loves his one-on-one time with Mommy and Daddy though, as any child would.

For the most part though, he just wants to be near his baby brother.  I think some of his outbursts are simply because he doesn't know what to do and how to express all the love that he has inside.  He's bursting at the seams with love and affection and sometimes just wants to squeeze poor Sawyer to death to show him how much he loves him.

Several weeks ago he wanted to get in Sawyer's bed with him.  I've learned to pick my battles and I didn't see any harm in the idea.  If nothing else, they were both contained and short of throwing Sawyer out of the crib, I didn't think either of them was in much danger.  Thankfully, I was correct.

Although Colin is a bit camera shy these days and I had to fight for these shots, here are a few.




Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weekly Recipe: Beer Bread Grilled Cheese

Did I get you with the title?  Sounds sinful and delicious, doesn't it?  Yes and yes.  Walk, no run, to your nearest supermarket to buy the ingredients for this bread.  Oh wait, you probably already have them all.  Carve out 5 minutes of your busy schedule to stir and in 1 hour you'll have the most heavenly tasting fresh bread ever.  And you made it! 

Beer Bread Grilled Cheese
adapted from Une-deux senses (just the name sounds fancy enough to make me want to make what they're making!)

Honey Beer Bread
Yields: 1 loaf

3 cups flour
2 tbsn. sugar
1 tbsn. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsn. warm honey (I didn't warm mine and I doubt I used 2 tablespoons either)
1 bottle (12 oz.) beer (I used a honey beer, maybe that made the difference?)
4 tbsn. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x5" loaf pan, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed, DO NOT OVER MIX! Pour half of the melted butter into the loaf pan. Spoon the batter into the pan and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until the top of the loaf is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Grilled Beer and Cheese Sandwich
Yields: 4 servings

4 slices fontina cheese
4 slices cheddar cheese
8 slices homemade beer bread (recipe above)

Pair up the bread slices. Top half of them with a slice of fontina cheese and the other half with a slice of cheddar cheese. Top with the other paired bread slice and grill, panini press or George Foreman the sandwiches until golden brown, cheesy, and thoroughly heated throughout.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Have I had a post everyday this week?  Why, I think I have!  Will wonders ever cease?

Without further ado, here's my Thankful Thursday list of 3.

1)  The innocence of kids.  Colin amazes me with the amount of knowledge he has already absorbed into that tiny (enormous) brain.  Some things are more textbook related, others are just sweet and tender.  I marvel at both but the sweet comments melt my heart.  Just last week I told him he'd always be my baby boy and he said, "But I have to grow up."

I told him I didn't want him to grow up and wanted him to stay my baby forever.

He said, "I have to."  Just matter of fact, that's the way it is.

I asked him if he thought he'd ever get married?

He squished up his nose and said, "No."

Are you going to live with Mommy forever?

"Yes."

And daddy?

Pause..."Yes."

Well at least I have that to look forward to!

2)  Wes.  Plain and simple this guy is amazing.  He is the best father I could have ever asked for for my children and he is a wonderful husband too.  Sometimes I catch a sweet, tender moment between him and the boys that melts my heart - are you seeing a pattern here?  I must be in a sappy mood.

Colin looks up to his daddy so much and things everything he does is great and he's so funny.  He is a funny guy.  We're lucky to have him.

Here's a picture I snapped last week.  I just love the simplicity of togetherness.
3)  This little guy.  He makes my heart smile every time I hear his voice.  He's really trying to crawl right now, so we always find him in the strangest locations.  His favorite spot is under something, whether it be a table, the bed, or a chair.  Here he is under the dining room table, chewing on a yummy table leg.  I do feed him.  Swear.

What are you thankful for?  If you'd like to share, link up to Black Tag Diaries.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hand me downs

Having another boy as our second child has definitely been good for our wallets.  Poor Sawyer hasn't seen too many new things, as his mother is very frugal and has no problem using Colin's hand-me-downs.  Some things you would use no matter the gender, such as this booster chair. 

It doesn't seem possible that the boys are about the same age in these 2 pictures.  I feel like Colin looks like a giant compared to Sawyer and he looks older too.  Sawyer can wear those clothes though, so I guess he's similar in size.  While I see some resemblance, I feel like they are starting to have their own, separate looks now.  I'm pretty sure Colin had his 2 bottom teeth in the picture but Sawyer still has none.

And on a totally unrelated note, notice the lighting differences in the 2 pictures?  I'm sure the first one was shot on automatic because that's all I used back then.  The second one, while still not fantastic, is much lighter and brighter.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weekly Recipe: Corned Beef Sandwiches with Pickled Cabbage

Well just a week late but this was our St. Patty's Day fare this year.  Every year I say I'm going to make something holiday appropriate and every year I forget.  I plan my menu a week in advance and let's face it, it's a lot of trouble to look at the calender and see if there are any holidays the next week.  I do well enough to coordinate meals with birthdays, so a holiday is pretty much out of the question.  This year I was determined.  Don't give this girl a bone!


I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit several weeks before St. Patty's day and instantly knew this was the one.  I have done the traditional corned beef and cabbage before (on a non-holiday, mind you) and it was fine but it made enough for an army and there's only so much of that I can stomach.  This sandwich, however, seemed like the perfect solution - eat festively one day and be done with it the next.  Although Wes' little stomach bug had other plans for him, Colin and I thoroughly enjoyed our modernized St. Patrick's Day meal.

This certainly doesn't have to be reserved for only once a year.  In fact, it's more like a play on a Reuben if you're familiar with that sandwich.  I opted out of the rye bread because none of us are big fans.  Other than using celery salt instead of celery seed, I followed the recipe as written.

Corned Beef Sandwiches with Pickled Cabbage
source:  Bon Appetit magazine


Salt-and-vinegar chips and Guinness will turn this into a pub dinner.
Makes 4 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 8-ounce package shredded green cabbage (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, coarsely crushed in resealable plastic bag with mallet
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 4 ounces sliced sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 12 ounces thinly sliced corned beef

Preparation

  • Whisk mayonnaise and Dijon mustard in small bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage, sliced onion, crushed coriander seeds, and celery seeds; sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sauté until wilted and crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in white wine vinegar and sugar. Sauté until all liquid is absorbed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to medium bowl; set aside. Wipe out skillet and reserve.
  • Place slices of rye bread on work surface. Divide white cheddar cheese among 4 bread slices; top with corned beef, dividing meat slices equally. Divide cabbage mixture over corned beef. Spread 1 teaspoon mayonnaise mixture over each remaining bread slice; place rye bread slices atop cabbage, mayonnaise side down. Spread 1 teaspoon mayonnaise mixture over each top bread slice.
  • Heat same skillet over medium heat. Add 2 corned beef sandwiches, mayonnaise side down. Spread some of remaining mayonnaise mixture over top bread slices. Cook sandwiches covered until golden brown and cheddar cheese melts, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining corned beef sandwiches and serve.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring


Birds singing.

Crickets chirping.

Cool mornings with light jackets.

Daffodils blooming.

Fresh cut grass.

Evenings spent outside.

Grills smoking.

Bicycle riding.

Trees budding.

Planting gardens.

Neighborhood strolls.
Swinging at the park.

These are a few of my favorite springtime things.  What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I wanted to highlight some fellow bloggers that I'm thankful for.  I have 9 different categories in my reader but I'm just going to highlight 3 today from 3 of the different categories.

1.  Food Category:
The Cooks Next Door - She does a monthly feature, "Off the Shelf" whereby she explores various cooking magazines.  She outlines which recipes sound good to her and then tries at least one from each magazine.  That in itself is amazing but I really appreciate her honesty.  If she tries a recipe and it fails or she just doesn't like it, she tells you.  Very matter of fact, I like that.


2.  Photography Category:
Grey Likes Baby - I find myself daydreaming with every post.  Her photography is so light and airy, it reminds me of springtime, sunshine, and lollipops.  She throws in an occasional craft project too, proving she multi-talented and artistic all the way around.



3.  Humor & Life Category:
For the Love - Melissa is one witty gal.  She is a lawyer by day, wife by night, and about to be a mom of, well, all the time.  She is adorable and always provides me with just the right amount of sarcasm - my kind of girl!  Oh and I'm just a tad jealous that she lives in FL, especially when it's a balmy 40 degrees in Kentucky.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Too Cute

I saw this YouTube video on Young and Fabulous' blog and it was just too cute to not share.  I'm a little partial to those BIG eyes!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Recipe Winners

I seem to be in a bit of rut when it comes to the old blog.  I guess I just don't have a very exciting life, and thus nothing to blog about.  What, with 2 children under 4, a full-time job, a house to keep (ha!), and all the other wife duties, I just don't have a lot of spare time.  Somewhere in there I need to carve out a minute to do some exercising but unless I get up in the wee hours of the morning, I'm just not sure when that's going to happen.  Enough about that.  One thing I'll always carve out time for is cooking!  I think I might have missed my calling in life.  I guess it's never too late but that's a huge jump that I'm not willing to make right now.

On to the food, the good stuff.

Monte Cristo Sandwiches - This was one of my favorite things growing up.  There was a restaurant called the Bombay Bicycle Club that served them and that's what I always ordered.  I was very picky, so the fact I was eating something other than grilled cheese thrilled my parents.  This wasn't quite as good but then again, I'm pretty sure they deep-fried theirs which would clearly make it better.  I made ours using a waffle iron and it worked pretty well.  Colin enjoyed the "white stuff" that was sprinkled on top.

Cheesy Potato Soup in the Slow Cooker- I served this alongside the Monte Cristos and it was hearty enough to be a meal on it's own.  I was skeptical of the consistency after it had been in the crockpot all day but it was perfect.  It was thick, yet creamy and tasted much more sinful than it actually was.  I subbed mostly fat-free milk for the cream, with the exception of about 1/2 cup.  I also skipped the cooking of the onions in bacon fat.  I still added the onions but let the crockpot cook them instead.



Tandori Chicken and Spinach Salad - Seriously delicious!  I could eat just the chicken by itself but it's also a great addition to this flavor-packed salad.  I didn't grill the chicken as directed, instead I poured the marinade and all in a skillet and cooked it that way.  There was a little leftover marinade in the skillet and I just added that to the salad for flavor.  I think it need a light dressing so I topped it with some white balsamic vinegar and a splash of olive oil.  We'll definitely be having this one again.


Chicken Chow Mein - One of my favorite kind of meals, simple and tasty.  You could easily sub in different veggies to suit your tastes.






Creamy Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup - I was on a soup kick there for a couple of weeks.  This one was another hearty one.  I loved the roasted garlic and it paired really well with the cauliflower.  I was able to cook a good portion of it the night before and then heat and serve the next night.  Colin wouldn't eat it because he said it looked like grease.  In his defense, it did end up being pretty much the same color as the bacon grease that I keep in the fridge.  His loss, it was really tasty.




Tomato Basil Walnut Pasta - What a great way to sneak things in.  I ended up pureeing the sauce in the end because Wes doesn't like chunks of tomatoes and I knew Colin wouldn't eat the "green stuff" if he could see it.  Well it ended up a brownish color and Colin yelled that he doesn't like meat in his pasta.  I told him it wasn't meat!  He ate some but not much because of the color.  I see a trend here.





Jambalaya - I've made this once before and I had a resounding 5 STARS next to the title.  It is super easy and just as delicious.  I brought some of the leftovers (because it makes a ton) to a coworker and he said that was in his Top 10 meals.  I'm not sure I'd go that far but it is quite  tasty.  I served it with my new favorite cornbread and it was a complete meal.

Baby Black and White Cookies (or black and tan if you want to celebrate St. Patty's Day) - We were introduced to Black and White Cookies several years ago when Fresh Market came to town.  Theirs were delicious and tasted like they had been made fresh daily.  Somewhere over the course of the last couple years, they changed their recipe or their source because they're not as good.  They come frozen, already made, and the taste has suffered because of it.  Well they are one of Wes' favorite cookies and occasionally I get a wild hair and decide to make them.  They're easy enough but they are time consuming.  This is a great recipe if you want to try your hand at them.  I don't keep corn syrup on hand, so that's why the white icing isn't so white.  I also may not have left them to rest long enough, thus the icing may have soaked into the cookie.  Whatever, they were still tasty!

I think that's enough food for one day.  Hopefully this will revive my inner-blogger and I'll be back to posting more regularly.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Our Colin

So as to not forget the hilarious things that our 3-year old says, I'm documenting them here for the entire world to enjoy.

When Colin was sick last week, he was clearly out of his mind.  Each time we got up with him after he had done his business, he would say something totally nonsensical.  I can't remember any of them except the first one because at least it is a complete thought, an inaccurate one, but something that had been said in the past.

"It sure was a special treat for me to get to stay up extra late tonight." 

I'm not sure he's completely back to reality yet after a few comments he's made in the last 24 hours. 

"The reason I've been acting bad lately is because...remember that reindeer bag I made at Isabella's party?  Remember the eyes?  I ate one." 

And just like that it was a fact:  googly eyes make you behave badly.

"Mommy, the reason I didn't sleep good last night was because my pillow fell down."

This was while he talked out of the side of his mouth, while scrunching up his eyes and nose at the light from the bathroom I was in.  I'm pretty sure he would have gone right back to sleep had I not been getting ready, thus signaling the go-ahead that it was time to get up. 

Mayhaps I should look up what high fevers can do to one's brain function...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday...er Friday

So I missed yesterday but teacher I have a good excuse.  I could even provide a written doctor's excuse if need be.  I had a man down and I was playing nurse.  So today I'm thankful for phenergan!  That is seriously a miracle drug.  I am, by no means, a pill popper but I'll always make the exception for that little gem.  There's nothing worse than a tummy ache and I'm thankful that today my little guy feels much better!

And he's thankful for 2 treats he's never had until today, Sprite (well Whole Foods version) and Jell-O.  Right about now he thinks his doctor is the bees knees for suggesting them!

I hope you have a great, sick-free weekend!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Up, Up and Away...

...with my beautiful balloon!

Sawyer was smitten with Colin's balloon from the moment he saw it floating in the car.  He couldn't take his eyes off of it, as he tried to reach out and grab it.  Maybe I need to keep one around more often to keep him occupied!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sweet, Naked, Baby Boy

I've been the proud owner of a Canon Rebel for several years now.  I originally bought it because Colin moved too quickly as a baby and I got so tired of missing the shot with my point and shoot.  I was instantly in love with the quick shutter speed and actually being able to get a picture of him in motion and it not be completely blurry. 

I slowly graduated from automatic (with flash) to trying some of the manual settings but I am a SLOW learner.  Actually, I'm more of a hands-on learner than someone who can learn from reading, so this has been quite the learning curve for me.  I've found plenty of things to read online but without someone, right in front of my face, showing me what to do, it doesn't sink in.  However, even a brick wall allows some things to penetrate it if you keep trying.  The main thing I've learned, as with everything in life, is that practice makes perfect better.

When you have an adorable subject, that tends to help too (:  One afternoon Wes had stripped Sawyer's poo-ridden clothes and decided to let him bareback it for a bit.  I saw that as an awesome opportunity to snap away.  It was dreary outside and I had read (many times) that indirect light was the best and an overcast day fit that bill perfectly.  I plopped my willing subject down and snapped while the getting was good.

Disclaimer:  I, in no way, think these are photographer quality photos.  I have no intention of quitting my day job to become a paid photographer.  But for me, they indicate progress and I'm elated with that.  As Dori from Finding Nemo says, "Keep swimmin', keep swimmin'."



Ok, after uploading these I realize I have a few other obstacles to overcome, i.e. Photoshop and PC to Apple conversion.  I swear these looked so much better when I viewed them on my Apple.  Any suggestions?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Because I just can't wait any longer.

I was really trying to save these pictures for a special post but I just can't stand it, he is too stinkin' cute to hold these back!
These are just the tip of the iceberg.  There are more to come.  
Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I find myself thinking about this post way before Thursday.  As I'm feeding Sawyer in the wee hours of the morning (5am!), my mind is free to think of whatever it wants.  And it chooses to think about this blog?  I need to get a life.  Really.  The problem is, most of the time I can't remember half of what I just transcribed in my head.  It sounds so good, I'm able to think of big words and everything.  Then life begins and just as quickly as the thoughts entered my brain, they've escaped.  Just like that.  Into thin air.  Oh brain, how I long for the days when I thought can enter and stay in my head for longer than 2.5 seconds.

To put an end to my bantering, I present this week's list.

1)  Green lights.  Isn't is awesome when you get to drive down a busy thoroughfare, hitting multiple green lights in a row?  I think it's awesome.  I think it's God's way of giving me a high five.  Don't knock my theory!

2)  Email.  In a day where most communication is electronic, I so appreciate when I get an actual substantive email.  I get upwards of 50-75 emails a day between my 2 accounts.  Of those, I'm lucky if 5 are from real people and actually contain contents I want to read!  Comments fall into this category too, just fyi (:

3)  Trader Joe's Quick-Cooking Steel Cut Oats.  I discovered these about a month ago on one of our monthly trips to TJ's in Cincinnati.  I love steel cut oats because they're less processed but I also enjoy the consistency.  These bad boys cook up in about 5 minutes in the microwave, shaving a good 15-20 minutes off traditional stove-top cooking.  Add a dollop of TJ's Almond Butter, a pinch of brown sugar, and a splash of almond milk and you've got one happy tummy!
 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Weekly Recipe: Fabulous Sugar Cookies

I almost forgot to give you the recipes that I wasn't able to link to from the shower.  I know you were all just waiting with baited breath.  Thank you for waiting so patiently.  You will now be rewarded with one of the best sugar cookie recipes I've ever tried.  (Disclaimer:  This is also the only sugar cookie recipe I've ever tried.) 

This was from a blog that has now transpired into another blog and alas, I cannot find the original recipe to link to.  So I've painstakingly typed copied it for you below. 

Fabulous Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest (I omitted)
5 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes.
-Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
-Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.
-Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time.
-Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.
-Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away.
-Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes.
-Wait until cookies are cooled before icing.

Makes 3-5 dozen, depending on size and thickness.  I think the recipe yielded about 3 1/2 dozen for me and I made mine sort of thick.

For the icing, I just used about 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 tsp almond extract, a drop of lemon juice, and just enough water to achieve the consistency I wanted.  I also used a tiny drop of red food coloring, obviously!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes

I've started a diary or sorts to record the funny things the boys do and say.  I started off strong but I've learned that if I don't stop right then and write it down, I forget.  I've missed some good ones I'm sure but some are impossible to forget.  Let me introduce Exhibit A:
For those of you not privy to all things breast-milk related, these are the shields for a breast pump.  I've never been super secretive while pumping around the house because well, it's just a fact of life.  I'm providing nutrients for my child and that's not something I feel like I need to hide.  Colin watches and comments from time to time but in no way seems scarred as a result.  However, after a couple of recent conversations, I may need to clarify a few things!

I was feeling extra productive this weekend and cleaned out Colin's closet.  I found some old shields from when Colin was a baby and decided it was high time to pitch them.  Fast forward to that night when we started to read books on his floor and Colin spots the trash can.

Colin:  "Mommy!  Why did you throw your boobs away?" 
Me:  Well I couldn't say a word because I was laughing so hard!

This morning we had round 2 of the misunderstanding.  Colin was in the bathroom with me while I was getting ready and started playing with the shields (he likes to use them as megaphones, thankfully not to attempt to retrieve milk from his chest!).  I told him to be careful with them and not break them.  To which he replied, "Or you'll have to get new boobs?" 

If only new boobs were that cheap!