Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Home Births on The Rise

I'm a sucker for a good birth story, especially home births.  There's somethng so foreign about them in this country and it really piques my interest.  I contemplated a HB with Parker for like a nanosecond but someone (uhem, my wonderful husband) wasn't on board with idea.  So off I went to the hospital with my awesome midwife.  I had the drug free, intervention free birth I planned with zero complications.  Since then I've sometimes thought to myself how I so could have had a HB with Parker.  However, there are a couple road blocks:

1) Insurance doesn't cover HBs so it would be about $6000 out of pocket versus delivering at the hospital for practically free. That's right, there are three zeros after that six.  I could do a lot with six Gs. 

2) My current MWs cannot do HBs due to terms and conditions their current practice.  I LOVE my MWs.  My favorite one actually was a HB MW for 25 years and while she would be the one I would pick, it's not an option and that makes me sad.  She reminds me of Mrs. Doubtfire, though I'm like 90% sure that she's not a cross-dressing man.  

So for now it looks like I'll continue with my MW and the hospital.  I'm not mad about it, but I like keeping my options open.

All thoughts triggered by MSNBC--clicky

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If this is a glimpse into our future

then we're in trouble.

Because Parker has a boyfriend.  We'll call him C. 

Every morning at daycare C runs over to Parker with his arms outstretched, just waiting for a hug. Last week Parker slapped him in the face.  I don't know what caused that fight but boy, it must have been something ugly.

I'm sure they made up though because at daycare pick up shortly after Kris found them sitting on the floor holding hands.  I'm not sure what threw Kris off more--that or when Parker had on a bib that read "Little Boys are a Gift from Heaven."

During the day they are inseperable.  The hug, hold hands some more, play with each others hair, poke faces, and chase each other around.  They've been the best of friends since they were infants.

I've heard that kids don't form relationships with other kids until around 2 years old.  Parker and C sure are disproving that theory.  I sort of hope that one day far FAR down the road they will be the next Winnie and Kevin :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Things to Do with Your Toddler

Gone are the days of sifting through the C&B catalog ohhing and ahhing over bamboo vases and trendy magazine racks.  My house now has a new decor style that can only be purchased at the finest of the finest retailers--Toys R Us.

Toys are everywhere--no joke.  In both of our living rooms, our bedroom, Parker's bedroom, the bathroom, the ENTIRE basement.  3500 sq feet of nothin but toys.  And the real kicker? Parker doesn't play with them all that often.  Some days she is all about her shopping cart and baby stroller and cell phone but other days it's all tearing up paper, putting on my shoes, and trying to get Syd's collar around her neck. 

So I need to be creative, some days more than others.  I've stumbled onto some really cool sites with ideas on how to keep your little one entertained.  First up: filling up a box with random things of different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors.

Flaxseed, ribbon, small box, plastic shovel, gift bag, calculator, retractiable ruler, crayon and paper (not random but always fun), and an outlet cover

Parker loves it.  And bonus: the box also slides really easily on the wood floors which is like the best thing ever to a 15 month old.

This little girl keeps me on my toes.  I'll have lots more ideas coming soon!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Sticks

Let's be honest, veggies are gross. People get cravings for stuff like chocolate, chips, and things of the like but never does anyone say, "You know what sounds amazing right now? Brussel sprouts. Or maybe lima beans. Or how about asparagus?" It's just not going to happen.

But since I have to try to instill healthy eating habits in Parker greens end up on our plates more often than I'd like. Well, they actually end up on the floor because Parker wings them down to Sydney. I'm sure it's not because Parker thinks they are gross (though rightfully so). She probably just thinks that Syd needs a snack. Just in case though, I've been trying to make them more edible and not by loading them up with butter and salt which everyone knows can make the grossest things taste delish. So I tried Parmesan Crusted Asparagus thanks to one of my favorite cooking bloggers--How Sweet It Is. This blogger has a sweet tooth so when she posted this recipe and actually enjoyed it I knew I'd have to give it a whirl.

I was able to find the super skinny asparagus sticks (score!) but I had trouble getting the flour/parm/crumb mixture to stick to the asparagus. I also found that 15 minutes sort of made them overly crispy so next time I'd knock a few minutes off of it. But they still turned out really good! All of mine ended up in my mouth, most of Parker's still went on the floor (fail), and I think Kris ate his, though maybe he went in with Parker on letting Syd have a try. All in all I was happy with this recipe and it has ended up in my recipe book.

Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Sticks

1 bunch of asparagus (mine had about 30 spears) 2 egg whites 1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour) 1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs 1/4 cup parmesan cheese salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and coat with non-stick spray. Snap off the tough ends of each asparagus spear. On two separate plates, add the eggs whites (lightly beaten) and the panko + flour + cheese. Season the panko mixture with salt and pepper if desires. Coat each asparagus spear in egg whites, then lay in the panko mixture and thoroughly cover. If the panko won’t stick, dip back in the egg whites and roll in panko once again. Lay each spear on the wire rack. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

I'll be making some more of these bad boys tonight.

The Southwest Egg rolls that were on my menu for yesterday rocked our socks off.  Recipe and pics to follow.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I might as well buy a pair of mom jeans and a minivan

Because after this project I'm halfway there to being super lame.

Yes, I am in fact menu planning.

I go grocery shopping once a week.  If we need something mid week oh well, it's gotta wait.  So in order not to starve my family I need some sort of plan.  If not I end up with a kitchen full of random stuff and I have to try and figure out what to do with all of it.

It was so easy to make and at a total cost of less than $9, it's budget friendly too.

8x12 frame
Scrapbook paper, 1 sheet
Adhesive letters
Dry Erase marker

I picked everything up from Michaels.  The frame was on sale for $5, the scrapbook paper was also on sale for $.20, and I used my 40% off coupon on the letters.  Gotta love the 40% off coupon.

Cut the paper to fit the frame.  I used the piece of paper they put in the frame as my guide and traced around the paper with a pencil.  Stick the letters on the paper whatever way looks best to you.  Frame. Go to Pinterest and pin yummy meals for the upcoming week.

I'm salivating waiting for my Saturday meal.  Southwest Egg Rolls? Don't mind if I do.

The board fits well in our kitchen under our handy dandy planner.

Yup, my husband and I draw pictures.  We're basically 12 years old.  If you can't tell, Parker is saying "Syd."

Ahhh, organization.  Being organized makes me almost as happy as putting a big cross through something when it's done.  Kris makes fun of me for crossing things off the dry erase board rather than just erasing it.  But if I erase it all I have left is things to do and not things I have done and that's a downer. 

All I need to complete the wall is this in mustard yellow:

I'm unhealthily obsessed with this Etsy seller.  I'm going to mosey around Lowes this weekend and see if I can get the supplies to make this myself.  If not, I'll gladly fork over the $30 to have this vintage looking piece.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

15 Month Recap

It's hard to believe that another month has come and gone.  I really need to get on finding a time machine.

Parker has become our great little helper this month.  Every morning and every night she gets Syd's food bowl from the kitchen, walks to the laundry room where the food is, opens the food container, scoops the food into the bowl, shuts the container, brings the bowl back to Syd, and watches her while she eats.  Sometimes she will grab a handful of food and chuck it across the room and sometimes she will try to kick the bowl around.  We have some work to do on dog food etiquette. 

Doing laundry and dishes also makes for some fun times.  Parker will pull the laundry from the washer and put it in the dryer and pulls the clean dishes out of the dishwasher for us to put away.  So far we've only broken one appetizer plate.  I'd say that's not too shabby. 

Parker is now 100% obsessed with Sydney.  The first word out of her mouth in the am is Syd. She gives Syd hugs and opens her mouth real wide to let Sydney know it's okay to kiss her.  Sydney's version of kissing is to stick her tounge in Parker's open mouth.  I lunge at Syd to pull her back and of course Parker just cracks up.  Syd's not the only one getting kisses.  When we ask for a kiss or hug Parker gives us some lovin.  She also kisses dolls, pictures of the baby (aka, her) framed on out walls, and her books--that one is Kris' doing.

What else...Parker loves pulling tissues out of the box and blowing her nose.  Un-velcroing her shoes is very entertaining and causes her shoes to fall off.  Thankfully she will say shoe to let us know.  If not, some other baby would have picked those up from the Lowes parking lot.   Parker also likes to try on our shoes though it makes walking difficult.  She can hold onto the railing and walk down the stairs herself.   The vacumm is still our best friend and will tame the worst of tantrums.  We have two molars popping through and one more tooth on the bottom for a total of ten, yes TEN, teeth.

Parker had a language explosion this month. She loves her some animals sounds.  We'll show her different picutres in books or on the computer and she says what it is--baa, moo, maa, and nay.   Some other new words:

nana (banana.  my mom is called Nana but I think it's funny to call her Banana)
guh guh (good girl, for Sydney)
go (she puts on her coat and hat when she says this)
go bye bye
ni ni (night night)
ahh duh (all done and she signs it too)
See (for paci.  we're going to have a hell of a time giving that thing up)
at (hat)
pu (for up, i don't know why she says it like that lol)
foo (food)

I leave you with our 15 month photo shoot.  I had backgrounds and I had props but of course Parker would not have any of that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The almost death of us

I'm pretty sure that all of us--from Kris, to me, to Parker, to Sydney--almost died of sleep deprevation thanks to baby molars.

Let me give you a glimpse into our life.  On Saturday Parker went to bed at 2am.  Sunday was 1030pm.  Monday was 1130pm.  Her normal bedtime is between 8pm and 9pm.  NOTHING would get her down.

We tried the Ergo, the stroller, laying in bed with her, reading books while snuggling on the couch, driving, putting her in her crib. running around the house with her, bribing her with snacks (a parents gotta do what a parents gotta do).  Tylenol, and hippy homeopathic teething drops. It all made her scream bloody murder.  The second we sat her down on the ground she was peachy keen.

Last night Kris and I were ready for the long haul.  During the day we emailed back and forth our predictions on when she'd pass out.  Would it be 10pm? Another 2am night? Would she even fall asleep???

645pm rolled around and Parker did the sign for bedtime and said "ni-ni." for night night  Now this little pumpkin knows that she only gets her paci for bedtime so all the time occasionally she signs/says "ni-ni"just to trick us into giving it to her.  It was no trick my friends.  She was in bed by 7pm and....wait for it....


What a way to break in her 15th month.  I'm not counting on this to be a normal occurence but I'm still elated.  Now that's really something for the baby book.

We're not out of the molar woods yet though so if anyone has some magical teething pain relief solutions I'm all ears. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We Hit a Milestone

Parker's baby book has all sorts of milestones to remember--first steps, first haircut, first family outing. But they forgot a very important one.

First public tantrum.

Apparently Barnes and Noble is the place to go with kids, or so I've heard. Kris thought it would be a disaster. Lots of books + a todldler who loves pulling things off shelves = pissed off B&N employees. I still wanted to see what the hype was all about so off we went.

I was expecting something totally awesome (like what I don't know--maybe a life size plush tiger or treehouse with ropes to swing on) but what I got was a kiddie table and one of those table train things. Okay fine, we'll work with it. Parker was playing with the train set until a crazy hyper 3 year old boy and his scary looking Grandma entered the mix.

Slow tears started flowing. Then she wanted a snack, but dear God we ran out of the freaking Cheerios. NOT THE CHEERIOS! So fine, we'll get our coats on and go home. But Parker was not cool with that. She let out a series of unrecongnizable sounds which I'm pretty sure where obsecnities in baby talk and put on a great show.

Arching her back. Kicking her feet. Wailing her arms. Screaming.

It was epic.

I tried Toddler-ese and the Fast Food Rule compliments of The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Basically you mimick the childs frustration and repeat their feeling. So I'll say "Parker's mad. Very mad! Mad mad maaaad!" with a mad look on my face. The point is that you let the child know that you understand their frustrations so they feel that they are being listened to. I know, it sounds wacko and I probably looked wacko doing it. But I have this great gift (curse?) of not caring how other perceive me so I went with it.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. What do you think happened this time?? Yup, major fail.

Somehow we made it out the car, turned on the radio, and our little girl danced in the front seat to Rihanna, and all was good in the world.

Thanks, Rihanna. You saved the day.

Happy 15 months to my sweet pea! I'll update all about her past month soon.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


...to produced

Wire curtain rods made by Ikea, purchased on Ebay.

Easy to hang (like I would know), decorates empty wall space, and lets us display Parker's masterpieces in her playroom.  I'm very happy when I finally bring some of my pins to life. More often than not I pin with all these big intentions to do things but then I forget all about it. One thing off my list...now what to do next? I have some ideas :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Let's Be Green--and Cheap

I like saving money almost as much as I like spending it. Don't get too excited hubby--I said almost.

A few years ago I got on a green kick and I'm still kicking away. I go through times where I obsess over something and then I drop it--much like when I went on a baking craze to make Parker the perfect birthday cake. I was elbows deep in flour, sugar, and fondant more nights than I care to mention and haven't made another cupcake since. My waist thanks me.

Now I don't like to clean my house. House cleaning is a profession for a reason and one that I would like to stay far away from. So until (1) my house learns to clean itself or (2) I finally break down and hire a house cleaner, I need cleaning products. Enter: DIY cleaners. Cheap, simple ingredients, and eco-friendly. It practically has my name written all over it. All you need is: 

Dr. Bronners. So the label is really creepy. I get it. But the product is good and while it seems expensive a little really does go a long way. Trust me. 

Lavender Oil. The only place I found this was at Whole Foods and, shocking, it was overpriced. I scored it from Amazon. 

Borax. Google is not helping me figure out whether this product is "green" or not so I've been skipping it.


Home Depot spray bottles. They actually work unlike most other ones I have tried. That is until I ask Kris to clean the pee on the bathroom floor (that he blames on me even though it's physically impossible) and the thing breaks. Highly suspicious.

If you want to follow in my footsteps here ya go.  Compliments of Macheesmo.

Lavender Anti-Bacterial Spray
- 1 Cup water
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
All-Purpose Cleaner 
- 3 Tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 Teaspoon washing soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon castile soap
- 2 Cups hot water
Grease Cutter 
- 2 Cups water
- 1/4 Cup castile soap
- 10 drops lavender oil
Bath, Sink, Tile Cleaner .
- 2/3 Cup baking soda
- 1/2 Cup castile soap
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 Cup water
- A few drops of Tea Tree oil
 Viola! Now off to enjoy my evening by not cleaning.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our New Normal

And no, we're not about to go for a walk.

While this was our new normal for a week or so it seems like Parker's sleep is slightly improving and she no longer demands the stroller. Yay! And surprise surprise, she will let us know how she sleeps best.

We'll keep rolling with the punches as per usual because when Parker's happy, we're happy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rub a Dub Dub

Sleep regression sucks. For the past two months our not-so-good-at-sleeping baby let us lay her down on the bed, with some snuggles of course, and would fall fast asleep. Then she got sick on NYE. Since then she refuses to lay down--not in our bed, not in her crib, not anywhere. Sometimes she'll tolerate the Ergo, but more times than not we have to stroll her around or carry her. We have to do the same thing when she wakes up in the middle of the night. Kris and I were so exhausted on Saturday that we napped THREE HOURS with Parker. Blissful. If I didn't have a full time job I would definitely be having a lazy nap with the little miss probably every single day!

Obviously Parker developed a negative association with the bed and is scared to fall asleep so we'll help her work through it and I'm sure, in her own time, she will go back to laying down on her own. Never have we let Parker cry it out, and we never will. This is the perfect example of why that's not the right path for us. To let a little person who is obviously scared of something cry and try to figure it out on their own just breaks my heart.

So while sleep isn't Parker's thing, bath time is. I put on my bikini and join Parker in our master bath every single time. We have an absolute blast. We play with toys, sing silly songs, and splash around. I don't know who looks forward to it more--me or Parker!

"Give mama a kiss"

Parker--if you could change your 2012 resolution to refuse sleep to something more enjoyable I wouldn't complain ;)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Breakfast Goodies

Next recipe for 2012--Maple Pecan Pumpkin Waffles.

This was the first waffle that I have ever ate. In my entire life. And no, I'm not lying! My parents got us this awesome professional waffle maker for Christmas.

It even cooks two waffles at once--perfect since I like to make extra of whatever I cook/bake to freeze for one of those days that I don't feel like, or have the time to, cook up some eats.

I went all the way with my first waffle recipe, compliments of the Waring manual that had recipes towards the back. I actually had all the ingredients that I needed so I took that as a sign that this recipe was meant to be. I even had fresh pumpkin. If you recall our pumpkin decorating experience this past Halloween, there was too much *excitement* going on with painting the pumpkins so there was no time to carve them. So they went on our porch looking all boring. But since it's against the law to let pumpkins go to waste we carved out the seeds and meat late December. Halloween apparently lasts for months in our house!

Pumpkin Nut Belgian Waffles

1 1/2 cups flour (I used organic whole wheat)
1oz finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1tbsp cornstarch
1tbsp baking powder
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp ginger
1/4tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
3tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1tsp vanilla extract
3 large egg whites

Preheat waffle maker

Combine the flour, nuts, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir to blend.

In a separate bowl combine the pumpkin, egg yolks, milk, maple syrup, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir with a whisk until smooth.

In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. This took about 10 minutes for me. Gently fold the beaten eggs whites into the batter.

Start cooking and enjoy!

Parker and Kris thoroughly enjoyed the waffles!

Happy (almost) weekend!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Cooking Resolution

It’s last night at 11:00pm and I’m pulling the last of my homemade wheat crackers out of the oven. Kris asks why I always do everything all the time when I have a million other things to do. Good question! But it’s just how I operate. I like being super busy and having a huge list of things to tackle. It makes me feel most accomplished when I get things checked off said list.

In 2012 I’ve decided to start tackling the huge list of recipes that I have pending to try out. First up--homemade crackers. I have an enormous bag of organic whole wheat flour. I’m embarrassed to even mention the number of pounds so I won’t. Apparently flour eventually goes rancid (who knew?!) so I’m in a rush to make and freeze anything and everything that uses wheat flour. I already have a big stash of wheat things in the deep freezer--pizza dough, waffles, pancakes, muffins, etc but still have a flour situation on my hands.

When I found a recipe for crackers I knew that I had to try it. It was very simple with minimal ingredients and actually tastes good. It was so good that I don’t know if I’ll actually buy wheat crackers ever again. I’m excited to modify this in the future—I’m particularly thinking of Garlic Parmesan Herb crackers. Yum!

Hopefully this snack will give me some energy today since some toddler decided that 1130pm to 200am was for playing and not for sleeping. We tried everything to get her back into bed and she wasn’t having it. We have no clue what’s going on…her tummy seems better, her new teeth have popped through, no fever…mabye it's more teeth? Or maybe Kris and I are so cool that she wants to play with us rather than sleep?? I need to be a mind reader!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome 2012

Kris and I had a wild NYE. We made some delicious eats.

Potato Skins, Shrimp Scampi, Jalapeno Herb Crab Dip, and Cheddar Sausage Balls. Yum!

Then we hung out and watched all the fun in Times Square. I've always wanted to be in a hotel right in the middle of the NYC NYE madness. I'm secretly hoping that Parker wants to do the same one day so that we can make a family trip out of it! Our night really got out of hand and we partied until 6am.

Partied with puke and poop that is. Our little miss caught something on our Ohio travels and was up all.night.long. I felt horrible. I wished that it was me miserable instead of our baby girl. Her stomach is still bothering her a bit and she's having trouble sleeping laying down on her tummy, side, or back so right now she's sleeping in the stroller. We've never used a stroller other than for jogging, but now we use it for a temporary baby bed. We do things a bit different in this house ;)

2012 hasn't started out in the most ideal way but I'm sure our luck will change!