Sunday, August 28, 2011

Project Life: Weeks 33 - 34

August 15 - 28

Saturday, August 20
Claire had a great time at The Little Gym for Savannah's birthday.

Claire tried to feed Nana at dinner - Nana was not interested in sharing her pita pizza.  :)

Sunday, August 21
Trying to avoid the paparazzi (or the "Mom-arazzi") at Pappsito's.

Wednesday, August 24
A snow cone truck has been coming to the kids' school on Wednesday afternoons.  Since we usually eat dinner shortly after getting home, I typically walk them past it as quickly as possible, but today I said "Yes!" to snow cones.  Claire really enjoyed it - maybe it can be a bi-weekly thing.

Thursday, August 25
Baked risotto
We tried a new recipe tonight - baked risotto.  Will and I loved it - it went in my "Keeper" binder.

Friday, August 26
Dinner at Lupe's tonight, and Will got his first taste of ice cream.  He liked the taste, but wasn't so sure about the cold.  Such a funny face!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Food Trials {Vol. 1}

Jill has inspired me.

I am a compulsive recipe clipper. I love to tear out recipes from magazines, print them out from blogs, and most recently, pin them on Pinterest. Recently, the piles and files started getting to me, and I decided to not only get organized, but follow Jill's example and actually start cooking my way through them to figure out which to keep and which to trash.

I had a binder that I had started years ago for filing, but I finally got serious and started getting really organized. Right now, I have 3 binders - one for recipes we've tried and made, and two for recipes in limbo (to try).

I'm going to start blogging about my "Food Trials" and include not only new recipes and foods I made that we liked, but also the ones we didn't. I seem to have a short memory and will occasionally stumble upon a recipe I made before and forgot we didn't like it. Robert always remembers. :) Hopefully this record will help me remember the bad, too.

And so begins the first edition...

Source: All Things G&D (Blog)
Tweeks: Recipe called for 3 lbs of apples, but I used 3 cups. In the post she mentioned that one time she tried to chop the apples in her food processor, but it turned into more of puree. However, this gave them more of an "apple-y flavor". So, I added a small container of applesauce.
What I'd Do Differently Next Time: Leave out the applesauce. It made them a little too moist - still flavorful, but made it hard for Will to pick up pieces (and hard to eat without a fork).
Verdict: KEEPER

Recipe: Faux Banana Ice Cream (Two sliced frozen bananas pulverized in the food processor with a scoop of PB and a little cocoa)
Source: I used this one, but there are lots of versions floating around the internet.
Tweeks: None.
What I'd Do Differently Next Time: Leave out the cocoa - didn't need it. I think I'd try it with just the bananas or bananas and peanut butter.
Verdict: Keeper - great for when you want something sweet but don't want to really indulge.

Source: Eating Well...Living Thin via Pinterest
Tweeks: None.
What I'd Do Differently Next Time: Try to get the quinoa a little drier - my burgers were a little moist and not as pretty as the picture, but they still tasted great.
Verdict: Definite keeper - healthy, tasty, and we all enjoyed them. We've been eating more meatless dishes, and the quinoa adds a lot of protein (and is yummy!). I need to make these again soon.

Source: Kalyn's Kitchen via Pinterest
Tweeks: I didn't have ancho chili powder, so I substituted chipotle chili powder. It was almost too spicy (which is a rare thing for me to say).
What I'd Do Differently Next Time: If I made it again, I would reduce the amount of chili powder.
Verdict: Trash - It was okay, but I knew I could find something we liked better.

Recipe: Taco Stuffed Peppers (Part of my ongoing search for the perfect stuffed pepper recipe!)
Source: Lauren's Kitchen via Pinterest
Tweeks: I didn't boil the peppers before stuffing and baking them. I like the peppers to still have a little crunch. Also, I only made four peppers since I knew we wouldn't eat six, and Robert ate the leftover stuffing the next day with chips.
What I'd Do Differently Next Time: Nothing
Verdict: Keeper - Easy, healthy, inexpensive meal

Source: Steamy Kitchen via a message board I frequent
Tweeks: Per suggestion of people who had made it previously, I tripled the marinade. I also added baby corn and mushrooms since I had them on hand.
What I'd Do Differently Next Time: Instead of tripling the marinade, I'll probably double it. I think I'll also add a little cornstarch to the sauce to make it thicker. Also, I bought a package of meat from HEB that was already cut for stir fry, and I think I'll use sirloin or flank steak next time and cut it myself.
Verdict: Keeper. Robert isn't a huge fan of Asian food, but he thought it was okay. I really liked it, so I'll probably make it again - maybe when he's traveling for work. :)

Recipe: Baked Chicken Risotto (see below)

Source: Adapted from Southern Living's Oven Chicken Risotto and Baked Chicken Risotto recipes
Tweeks: Awhile back I'd saved the Oven Chicken Risotto, then Jill wrote on her blog that she made it and liked it, so I had it on my meal plan for this week. But, this month's issue of SL had a slightly different version, so I sort of combined the two and came up with my own:

2 T. butter
1 small onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 c. Arborio rice (short-grain)
1/4 c. dry white wine
4 c. organic chicken broth
2 c. chopped cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
2 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
8 oz. package of fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
Grape tomatoes, quartered
Shredded fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in a dutch oven over medium heat; add onion and garlic and saute 5 minutes. Add rice, and cook 2 minutes or until golden. Add wine, and cook 2 minutes or until wine is absorbed. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven. Bake 20 minutes.
2. Remove rice from oven, and stir in chicken, zucchini, and pepper. Cover and bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven, stir in cheese. Serve immediately, topped with tomatoes and fresh basil.

What I'd Do Differently: It was great as is, but would also be a good base for some other additions or substitutions. I might substitute Parmesan for mozzarella sometime, and maybe add some mushrooms. Also, I might try leaving out the wine. It's such a small amount that I'm sure the alcohol cooks out, but I don't know that it's needed, so I'd probably feel better about giving it to the kids without. One of the original recipes calls for artichoke hearts, and while I love them, R isn't a big fan, so I left them out. You can also stir in the tomatoes rather than adding them on top, but I knew Robert would prefer without, and I think it's better for leftovers when you can just add fresh tomatoes again.
Verdict: Definite keeper - easy, tasty, and kid-friendly.

Stay tuned for future editions of my Food Trials!

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Cwawl Will! Cwawl"

Will has seemed to be close to crawling for a couple of weeks - he would get on all fours and rock back and forth, but then just sit back on his bottom.  Mom and Dad were in town for the weekend, and Mom and I were playing with the kids in Claire's room.  Will was doing his rocking thing, so Mom and I were putting toys out of his reach to try to entice him to crawl.  Claire joined in - she ran and got his some of his favorite toys, lined them up across her floor, then sat behind the line motioning with her hands and urging him on - "Cwawl, Will!  Cwawl!!!"


He was more interested in his bib initially.

It seemed like he might get going...

...but got distracted by the stuffed rabbit.

At one point, I thought he was just mocking her.

The effort tuckered him out.

The practice must have helped, because he started crawling the next day.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Will at Nine Months

On August 11th, Will turned 9 months old!


He had a well baby check this week, and stats were:

Weight: 22 lbs., 13 oz. (80th percentile)
Height: 29.5 inches (85th percentile)
Head: 18.5 inches (85th percentile)

For comparision, here is Claire's 9 month info. At her appointment, she was 15.5 lbs and 26 inches - so different! Our big boy dropped a little in the percentiles, but is still proportional and growing like he should. The doctor reviewed a development assessment that I filled out (the Ages and Stages Questionaire) and said that he is perfect (which we already knew!). We're starting to move out of the 12 month clothes into size 18 month, depending on the brand, but this move seems to be happening more slowly than the previous ones. It's so nice to not have to continue buying him a completely new wardrobe every two months!

He started crawling this week - he finally figured out how to get those legs positioned so he could take off! He'd figured out awhile ago how to get from laying to sitting to all fours and back again without any trouble, but he would just rock back and forth or scoot himself around. Once he did it a couple of times, he started taking off. We all still get excited when he gets going, especially Claire. In the most excited voice, she'll exclaim "He's crawling! Will crawling! Good job, Will!" I know I'm biased, but it really is the cutest thing, ever.

Will is a great eater. His fine motor skills have really developed, and he loves feeding himself. Besides the usual puffs and Cheerios, he eats waffles, pancakes, some apple plum bars I baked this weekend, mixed vegetables, bananas coated in wheat germ (makes it easier to pick up). Basically, he'll eat anything soft that I cut or tear into soft pieces. He's also still eating some purees, and we started yogurt this week. I have no worries about him eating properly. :)

We're still working on consistently sleeping through the night. He started going from 7-7:30 to 5 or later a couple of weeks before he turned 9 months old, but then he got off again the night after his check-up, waking once during the night. We had one night since when he slept through, so I haven't given up hope that this is just a minor regression!

The sleep issue is easier to handle since he is the easiest baby in all other respects. Robert and I were talking the other night about how rarely he cries. Will is so happy, and he loves his family. We gives us the biggest smiles and giggles, but Claire definitely gets the most laughs. They already have so much fun playing together, and it's fun to watch their relationship develop.

Will, you are truly a blessing to our family. We love you so much!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Waffle Saturday

Claire found some waffle mix in the pantry earlier in the week, and every day afterwards she asked me if we could make waffles. Our weekday mornings were too hectic, but we were finally able to pull out the waffle maker on Saturday. Claire was a great helper - pouring ingredients in the bowl, stirring, and making sure I heard the waffle maker beep - "Mama! That ready!"

Even Will got to participate - he helped with the eating portion of the morning. He wasn't sure what to think at first, but ended up eating a whole section. Claire ate almost an entire waffle by herself...I don't know where she puts it! We froze the extras, and they shared a waffle each morning for the next few days.



We may have to make this a regular tradition.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Project Life: Weeks 31 - 32

August 1 - 14

Wednesday, August 3

Petting Zoo 2011 277

A petting zoo came to school today, and one of Will's teachers sent me this photo.  Claire was not interested in touching any animals, but Will had fun.

Claire wanted to help make dinner, so I put her to work peeling garlic. Those little fingers did a great job!

Friday, August 5

Our maestro! Will was going to town on the piano. I didn't know little baby hands could make such loud notes.

The kid still LOVES bathtime!

Monday, August 8 

My future professional organizer, busy arranging baking and waffle mixes, couscous, and popsicle holders.

Tuesday, August 9

We tried out an organic, local online grocer for the first time. I ordered a "Local Box", which is a selection of in season fruits and veggies from local farms. I liked what we got, but I don't think it will become a regular order yet. I had a hard time figuring out how to use everything up, so for now, I think it's more cost effective for us to stick to a list, especially since we have such a good selection at our neighborhood grocery store.

Thursday, August 11

I caught two cute siblings cuddling while I was getting their dinner ready! Will actually didn't seem to mind (for once).

Friday, August 12


Claire had a check-up today, so we made it a Mommy and Claire day. I planned to take her to the pool, but she didn't want to swim - she wanted to "go to the store!" A girl after my own heart! We went to Old Navy and Target, then had lunch at Chick-Fil-A (one of her favorites). She was worn out.

Saturday, August 13
Waffle Saturday!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another first - haircuts!

Claire was in dire need of a haircut. She has such beautiful, thick, wavy hair, but the tangles get out of control when it gets too long. Since we would already be at the kiddie salon, we decided it was a good opportunity for Will to get his first haircut. He had some long random strands, and I wanted it to be cleaned up a little before their upcoming photo session.

Claire tolerated the process very well but had zero interest in taking any photos.


A new clippie brightened her mood.


Then it was Will's turn. He looked like such a big boy.


"What is happening to me?!?!"


He wasn't sure about having a strange lady come at him with sharp objects, but he did such a great job - no tears!