Sunday, February 28, 2010

Funday Sunday

I haul the bread machine out occasionally and today I thought I'd share one of my favorite dough recipes. I found this herb pizza dough recipe online about a year ago and make it once every few months. It's a winner. It is super easy and the smell that radiates from your oven when it is baking is simply divine. I make it into a deep dish pizza in a 13 X 9 pan but I'm sure you could roll it out onto a standard pizza pan. Yum!



Easy Bread Machine Herb Pizza Dough

* 1 1/2 cups warm water
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 4 cups flour (all purpose or bread)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
* 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
* 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Add ingredients in order to your bread machine. Select dough cycle. After cycle is complete roll or press into pan, no need to let dough rest again. *I oil my pan with olive oil so that it doesn't stick. Load up with sauce and toppings. *I also rub the dough with olive oil before baking so the crust is crispy and delicious. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Didn't I say it was easy?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day of Sun

I stopped at McDonalds yesterday to pick up some quick lunch for Wesley since we were out and about all day. The lady at the drive thru commented on how nice it was to see the sun out. I couldn't agree more. There is just something about seeing the sun out this time of the year. It just lightens your mood. Maybe that's just me, I dunno. As soon as we got home we headed outside. It's so nice to just let Wesley run around and entertain himself (unfortunately it usually involves mud, oh well!). I feel like I'm counting down the days until April. April is my "whew, I made it through another winter and can emerge from the house" month. So come on April!

I've decided the only way to document that my children do indeed have a Mother is to occasionally take pictures of myself with them. I'm the sole picture taker in our house. Here are some from yesterday while outside enjoying the glorious sun.





Friday, February 26, 2010

Updates

  • Wesley's new favorite thing to do is to raid our CD cabinet and pick out a CD. He then walks over to the computer desk, climbs up on the chair and proceeds to load the CD into the laptop all by himself. I was a little iffy letting him do this by himself but he's a pro now and does it gently. He'll wait for the program to start up and will sit and listen to a CD and when he tires of it he'll load a new one in. It's fascinating watching this little boy grow and learn new abilities. His favorite at the moment? Cheeseburger in Paradise by Jimmy Buffet. He'll even sing along.

  • I'm still doing my late night grocery runs every other Thursday. I leave around 10:30pm and get home around 1 in the morning. I really enjoy my time alone, even if it is so late at night. The stores are all but empty. I guess I'm just not willing to give up my family time on Saturdays so I can go bump carts with every other person doing their grocery shopping on Saturdays.

  • A new farrier came out last Tuesday to trim up the mini's hooves. He called the night before and said he had an opening the following day so I jumped on it. I knew Jessica would be over for a play date so I talked her into watching all the kids since I didn't think it would take very long. I was wrong. This guy was Mr. Chatty and spent an hour and a half trimming both horses. I felt so bad leaving Jessica inside with a 3.5 year old, a 2.5 year old, an almost 2 year old and a 5 month old. I thought I'd come in to find Jessica hiding in a closet but she handled them all like a champ. Thanks Jessica! The guy did a beautiful job on their hooves and we are hoping over time Desi will loose the tenderness he has on his front hooves.

  • The banishment of the baby weight is going well. Seven and a half pounds gone, two and a half to go until I reward myself with a dinner out (the first in five months...how depressing). The exercise plan is still in full swing although I've had to modify it slightly due to my knees hurting. I'm almost finished with level 2 and should start level 3 next week. My ultimate downfall seems to be the giant bag of candy in the upstairs bathroom....Wesley's reward system for potty training. The candy calls to me throughout the day, and I have very little willpower. I'll have to find a different type of candy, one that I don't like. I don't think that exists.

    That's about all that's happening around here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Taking a back seat

I'm sorry to say that the animals around here have taken a back seat to the kids. I felt like I had enough time and energy for all these pets when I had only one child but when Greta came along there just was no extra time. Don't get me wrong, every mouth is fed daily and all the essentials are taken care of but the time and energy needed to love on the animals is just gone.

So over the past month I've been taking animals here and there for their annual shots and/or vet check ups. First it was Cody because he was too skinny, then the other two dogs went in for their vaccinations and to stock up on heart worm preventative. Then the tapeworm indecent for Cody. On top of that, Desi the miniature horse, started having tender front hooves. Whenever the ground froze, he would walk very delicately as if his feet hurt him. So I loaded him up into the horse trailer last Monday and took him to the horse vet. They checked him over for any signs of lameness and said other than needing a good trim, he was fine. He got his teeth floated while he was there since he's starting to get up in years (he's 13) and they sent him home with me.

Since I'm running low on time I decided to call a farrier out to trim up his hooves. This is something I would normally do myself but with him having tender feet I thought it might be time to turn that duty over to a professional. Now Desi is a fine little horse once he's caught, he just doesn't like to be caught. He has some trust issues with humans from when he was a younger, don't know what happened to him. It's a process to get a halter on him but once haltered he'll go anywhere with you. I didn't want the farrier to drive all the way out here and then me not be able to catch him so I brainstormed all evening last night about what I could do to make him easier to catch. If only we had a small corral to keep him in. Turns out we do:



Yep, that's a miniature horse in a chainlink dog run. Classy eh? Got him in there this morning and he was right there ready to be caught when the farrier arrived. It worked out great and I'll be using it the next time he comes out.

Here's hoping I can somehow gain more energy and time to spend with these attention starved animals.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Month Five


Miss Greta turns five months old today!

I'm happy to report that Greta is officially weaned out of the swaddling blanket. After the doctors appointment I felt it was time to release her from her "baby straight jacket". I was so afraid that she'd somehow not sleep well without it but she did fine the first night. Never used it again after that. I think her being dependent on it was all in my head.

This month she also decided that sleeping rocks! Something clicked and she'll now go long stretches of the night without waking. Usually she gets up once or twice in a 12 hour span. I'm totally fine with once or twice. It's usually 2 am and 7 am and then she sleeps until 11 am. It's so nice to get some sleep again. I feel like a whole new person.

She's sitting up now, with support of course. She'll even put her little hands out between he chubby thighs and form a little "tripod". She's just growing so fast, it's crazy!

She officially rolled over this past week on Tuesday from belly to back. She's rolled several more times since then. It seems like she's really trying for back to belly as well but it's much harder for her.

I'm excited to start her on solids in the next couple of weeks. Rice cereal to start and I hope by the time she's six months old we'll be starting veggies. I'm really looking forward to starting the baby food again. It will be nice for her to sit with us at dinner time and eat as well.





Thursday, February 18, 2010

Our Days

Routine. As unexciting as it may sound, I love routine. I like knowing how my day will unfold, how much I'll get done and when it will get done. I think one of the many stresses of having a new baby in the house is the unknown. The lack of a routine. Not knowing if you'll get anything done again....ever. Well we've officially exited that stage, thank goodness! If fact we exited that stage awhile back but I've been too scared to say anything in the off chance it were to come back. Baby Greta is so easy. She wakes up late, is all smiles, naps at about the same time everyday, and rarely cries anymore. We've finally found the perfect routine for her, and we're sticking with it.

Our daily routine involves play dates. Yes, daily. We see Jessica and her two kids every day except weekends. And that's because our men folk are home to help on the weekends. The three kids: Alex, Wesley and Abby are all exactly 9 months apart in age. They have entered the stage where they can play well together and they really do have fun (for the most part). It allows us Moms to get in our social time as well as socializing the kids. It's a win win situation.

That is my life right now.

Lunch at Aunt Jessica's house



All loaded in the car seat and off to a play date

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Potty Progress

I'm happy to say this is the first official post about potty training. I haven't been pushing potty training at all, pretty much the opposite actually. Sheer exhaustion from having a newborn made me not want to even think about potty training, that combined with Wesley's utter lack of caring made it easy to circumnavigate the whole concept. Yet I knew one day Wesley would start showing an interest. That day was this past Friday evening. He decided he wanted to sit on that nifty little potty chair (that's been sitting around for a year now). So we took off his clothes and he sat on it. Then every night before bath time Sean would have him sit on it if he wanted to. Then the other night he decided to urinate in the potty. He was so excited. We were so excited. So now he does it every evening. I've stocked the bathroom with a little candy jar full of M&M's and Smarties. It's proving to be a good reward system and thus potty training has officially started. Wish us luck.

Nice undies eh?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Rewind

We got a little springtime appetizer on Saturday with temperatures in the 50's. It was nice to let Wesley run off some of that never ending energy. He got to play in his sandbox and run all over the yard collecting various twigs and rocks. We've decided it is officially time for a swing set so I've spent some time this weekend finding the perfect one. Sometime in March or April we'll be getting one and assembling it so it's ready for warm weather fun. Wesley is so excited!

Greta's first ride in the stroller



The gate closer


Rocky is always interested in everything, especially what's riding in the stroller


Cute little horse


We had a nice and uneventful Valentine's Day. My folks surprised us with a lovely dinner of snow crab, garlic bread, salad and cheese cake (thanks guys!). Seeing as we don't get out much anymore this might be the only way to eat good seafood again. Make it at home. We haven't been out to eat since before Greta was born....so we're talking almost five months here folks. Am I the only person that thinks taking an infant and a two year old to a decent restaurant (or any restaurant for that matter) is equal to smashing your head against a wall? I have absolutely no desire to do this. It actually has more to do with me not wanting to ruin other peoples dinner experience than with anything else.

Anyways, I digress, we did do something enjoyable yesterday morning. We decorated a gingerbread house. And by "decorating" I mean we put icing and candy on the house and Wesley plucked it off and ate it. He had a ball. This was one of those boxed kits that my parents bought in hopes of decorating it when we were all together for Christmas. That didn't happen so they dropped it off at our house and I figured what a fun Valentine Day project for a toddler. At this rate we'll be exchanging Valentine cards and eating conversation hearts at Easter. We're just a little behind.




Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day


Here's hoping you always have someone special to lean on.




Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Love...

Since it's Valentine's Day tomorrow I thought I'd share the things I most love about being a Mom right now.

I love.....when the kids are both in the van and Greta will just stare at Wesley and smile. Wesley, grinning, will tell me that "Sissy is smiling at me again"......that Wesley can scavenge through the pile of music CD's and pluck out Jackson Browne and Jimmy Buffet every time and sit at the laptop and listen to them......every morning over breakfast Wesley looks at me and says "So Mommy, what's the plan?". That's his way of asking what we are doing today. He does this every. single. morning. .....Miss Greta's gummy smiles.....how Wesley will tell Sean about his day while we are eating dinner as a family....playdates.....reading to Wesley before nap and bedtime every day......when I leave my hair down and go into see Wesley first thing in the morning he'll inevitably say "Mommy, you have such big hair today!". *grin*......how much Wesley enjoys talking to his Grandma's on the phone. He'll chat it up with them and then run through the house yelling "I talked to Noni, I talked to NONI!!!" It's priceless........my quiet nursing time with Greta every evening while Sean is putting Wesley to bed.....how Wesley will whisper in the mornings because "Sissy is sleeping"......being a mom to these two incredible little people.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Skinny Dog

If there was any possible way to toss a large piece of furniture into the washing machine I would be doing it right now. This morning I walked into the living room and was greeted, as usual, by the thumping of Cody's large tail. He's all spread out on the couch where he sleeps every night. I went over and rubbed his head and noticed small white specks on the base of his tail. Upon further examination I find that there are three small white worms near his rear end. Can I just say BARF!? I got a ziplock bag and put the little worms in the bag and put Cody outside. Quickly.

Let me mention that a month ago I took Cody, the black lab, into the vet clinic because I thought he was skinny. He was pretty skinny when we I found him as a stray back in July. I just thought he was young and possibly neglected in his former home. So now, after seven months, he's still skinny. You can feel his backbone and some ribs. I feed him nearly twice the amount of dog food that Sophie gets and he gets all sorts of tid bits in the evenings once he comes inside....yet still skinny and always starving. Anyways, I took him into the vet in January and they said he was in prime shape and that this is "what a lab should look like. All the labs you see anymore are morbidly obese." They said I could bring in a fecal sample and they could check for worms if I was still concerned. Obviously unconcerned, I took him home.

So fast forward to today. Guess the dog has tapeworms. Great. After $47 for two little pills, he'll be worm free soon. In the meantime, how do I wash a couch?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Weigh In

Alright, I'm on day 6 of the 30-Day Shred and I'm already seeing results. Yea it's crazy to think that a work out video can change your body but I swear it is. I didn't think I was in that bad of shape before starting this thing but apparently I was. The first several days I was winded after the warm up and could hardly breath after only 10 minutes or so. The jumping jacks (yes jumping jacks) would make my lungs burn and I couldn't do but only a couple of push ups (and they were modified). Now after just six days I can keep up with the women on the video without too much problem and feel great at the end of the 20 minute workout, I can even do 15 push-ups (still modified) without dying. Four more days of level one and then I move to level two which is nicknamed "The sexy shoulders level". Yea baby! Not bad for a $8.99 DVD off of Amazon. I've heard of people canceling their gym memberships because this DVD gave them better results. If you are looking for something that is fun, kicks your butt and gets you into smaller jeans look no farther.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Great Moments in Babysitting

The other day my friend Jessica dropped her son, Alex, off at our house so that I could watch him while she went to a doctors appointment. I popped in a DVD and we all sat down and watched it for a little while. The boys attention spans aren't too long so after a bit they both started playing on the couch. In the meantime I was leaning over the computer desk (which is right next to the couch) looking something up online when I felt a poke in my ribs. I thought nothing of it and a few minutes later felt another poke.

Alex and Wesley are giggling, the TV is blaring an unwatched movie and I hear "Look at what I found!" from Alex.

Then Wesley goes "Mom, look what Alex has!".

I glance around to find Alex standing on the couch cushions, poking this in my ribs:



I gasped and immediately grabbed it out of his hand, asking him where he found it. He said "In the couch".

We moved the new couches into the living room from another room without taking the cushions off and seeing what's under them. They used to be a dumping ground for things that needed to be put away....you know like laundry, magazines and apparently even drywall saws.

Doesn't everyone have rusty drywall saws stuck in their couches?

Needless to say I doubt Jessica will be inquiring about my babysitting services again anytime soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Funday Sunday

Wesley has never been a "cold cereal" kind of kid. I've tried all sorts of different boxed cereals for breakfast but he never shows any interest. This is fine since they aren't exactly packed full of nutrition. I also figure since I'm home with the kid I can manage to make him a hot meal every morning. There lies the challenge. He quickly tires of the same meal every day (don't we all?). So I thought I'd share some of the breakfast meals he enjoys at this age (2.5 yrs).

Toddler Breakfast 101

Banana Bites:
This simple idea was plucked from one of the baby food recipe books I own.
  • 1 Banana
  • Boxed pancake mix (I use a whole wheat blend)
Just slice up the banana into coins. Mix up small bowl of pancake mix according to box directions. Pour a small amount of oil into a skillet and heat over medium heat. Dip the bananas into the batter and place into skillet and brown on each side.
These are the perfect little finger foods. The banana melts inside of the batter and they are delicious.


Strawberry Oatmeal:
Pretty self explanatory. Make a small pan of oatmeal (the real stuff, not from a box). While its still boiling add a few whole frozen strawberries. Pour into a bowl a smush up the strawberries with a fork. Add cinnamon and brown sugar.

My kid refused to eat oatmeal until Jessica suggested topping it with some sprinkles. Sure enough, once he tried it he decided he liked it. Now we don't need the sprinkles anymore.
The sprinkle idea works with almost anything, just to get them to try it....well maybe not meatloaf but who knows.


Chocolate Cereal:
Just make a serving of Malt-O-Meal (forget that toddler serving nonsense on the box, my kid can eat a normal serving, sometimes two) and squeeze in a little chocolate syrup (the light stuff is tasty). The kid eats this at least twice a week and is always the first thing requested when I ask him what wants (besides ice cream, of course).


Other Favorites:
  • Chocolate Chip Pancakes
  • Cheesy Scrambled eggs
  • Muffins (any and all)
Just thought I'd share in case anyone out there is looking for some alternatives to cold breakfast cereal for their youngins, I know I'm always looking for ideas.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chubby Pumpers

Little Miss Greta has found her feet. Whenever she is lying down she'll have those chubby little legs in the air and desperately tries to grab her feet. Love this age!



One piggy, two piggies, three piggies....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Weigh In

So it turns out that having two babies in a little over two years does some really bad things to your body. There is bulging skin in places you're not supposed to have bulging skin. And the back fat! I hate back fat. Don't even get me started on the stretch marks...I didn't get a single stretch mark with Wesley yet I erupt into a walking road map with Greta. Not just on the belly either. Grrrr. With all that said, I'm five pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight yet my body still resembles a deflated balloon. It really sucks. So in an effort to regain some muscle tone and loose the last of the fat I've enlisted some help from a personal trainer. Yea not a real personal trainer (I'm too cheap for that), one on the television. Jillian Michaels, the butch chick off of the Biggest Looser, released a work out DVD that I've heard good things about. And by "good things" I'm referring to reviews on Amazon that said this DVD kicked their butts into gear and they saw results. It claims an individual could loose 20 pounds in 30 days. I'm not looking for those results but I'd settle on loosing the skin pouch over my belly.

I started the DVD on Monday and couldn't move that evening. There were muscles aching I didn't even know I had. Tuesday's work out was slightly easier but still exhausting. The trainer focuses on 3 minutes of aerobic, 2 minutes of strength and 1 minute abs. And you just do this over and over for 30 minutes. Who knew that a simple combination like that could possibly render such positive results. I'll get back with you at the end of the month and see if after 30 days there is any change. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

19 Weeks



The kid sure has a set of eyes on her. When she unleashes the full power of those beauties you better watch out! I got her in today for her four month well baby visit. She's growing well.

Weight: 14lbs 12oz (66%)
Height: 25 1/4in (77%)
Head: 42 3/4cm (88%)

I asked about still swaddling her at night and the nurse practitioner (it was the Doctors day off) gave me the shrug, saying it was still ok to do but I could tell she had her own options about it. I've been telling myself it's time to break the habit of swaddling her at night but every time I attempt it she sleeps for about an hour then wakes up. She'll do this all night long. She's just so used to being swaddled. I guess I'll just have to do it one night cold turkey and just plan to be up all night. Gee, looking forward to that night.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mom Report

Greta has graduated into using the Jumperoo. We weren't too sure if a four month old was old enough for it but she just loves sitting in it and staring at the blinky lights and toys. We placed it next to the newly moved aquarium downstairs and she'll sit in it for 20-25 minutes at a time, occasionally staring at the fish. It's amazing how babies just love looking at fish, I'm guessing it's all the bright colors and movement. Anyways, it's nice to have somewhere to put her that she enjoys besides her floor mat.




She's doing great in the sleeping department as well. The move into her room has been very successful and I'm happy to say that she has the ability to sleep 4-5 hours in a row now. I say "the ability" because she can do it but doesn't all the time. Maybe 2 or 3 days out of the week she'll sleep well, the other four days she'll still get up every 3 hours. The important thing is that she's progressively getting better and is learning how to put herself back to sleep. Nothing has been done on her room yet. It looks like it did several weeks ago when we moved Wesley out of it, just now it has her crib and her dresser in it. I feel bad but I have absolutely no time to paint it. I'm also not too thrilled about all the fumes that come with painting. At least if it was spring I could open a window or something. As it is, she'll have to sleep in the room right after I paint it. That's not cool. So, the room will just remain like it is until the first nice spring day when I can pop a window open and paint away. It's not like she cares.

Wesley is turning into a big kid before our eyes. He always wants to do whatever Daddy is doing. Last weekend Sean had to fix the broken walk-through baby gate so Wesley sat next to him and pretended to do whatever Dad did. Sean even gave him a cordless power drill and Wesley was in heaven just drilling everything he saw. He's also quite the helper, retrieving different tools as they are needed. We think he'll be a good helper with the new tile removal project. Sean is chipping it out by hand (even though I think a light duty jack hammer would be far easier) and Wesley is already wanting to "help".
Sean's a brave soul holding the chisel while Wesley swings that hammer...scary.



I thought I'd add a few more random pictures from last week while I'm posting pictures.
The Potato Family...think we have enough?



She sure looks like Daddy to me in this picture (minus the ladybug hat of course)