Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Latest Accomplishments

I haven't posted many accomplishments lately because, well, who wants to see pictures of the dishwasher full of dishes ready to wash, or the laundry basket full of clothes that have been washed and dried (but not put away yet), or a baby sleeping (okay, grandmas want to see those, but not really much of an accomplishment). Anyway, I. did get some stuff done over the Columbus Day holiday (we got 2 days off preschool).
I did some scrapbooking, working on Sophie's album. I created this page that will be displayed for a while then put in her album.
I helped Paul put the cradle in the attic, which freed up this space in the guest room for the table.
Paul's mom gave us some Halloween decorations, so while we were in the attic I brought down the few others I had and put them out. The 2 little jack-o-lanterns on the left side were from his mom, one for Sophie and one for MIC. I also put a plastic jack-o-lantern bucket on Sophie's art table in the kitchen. It has Mr. Potato-Head type things in it to decorate pumpkins. I also found a fall tablecloth for the table in the dining room. Paul didn't realize I had any Halloween decorations. to be honest, this is my least favorite holiday. I love all the candy (okay, just the chocolate kind), but I hate dressing up and I'm a big 'ol scaredy cat so haunted houses and such are no fun for me.
Although, I don't like Halloween, for Sophie and Paul I have agreed to dress up this year. I actually have 2 costumes, one for preschool and one for Halloween. We have all the costumes and accessories, plus I had to have Sophie's taken in a little since she is so little. No pics yet, but will post them after Halloween.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Show Us Your Life: Dessert Recipes

I missed this one as well, but again you can go there and fine hundreds of recipes. This has become one of my favorite holiday treats.

Easy English Toffee (Stephanie Carl's recipe)

1 cup of sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup slivered almonds (3.5 ounce package)
1 cup chocolate chips

Rub butter along edge of a microwavable bowl. Put first 4 ingredients in bowl and microwave 8-9 minutes. Pull out as soon as it turns light brown. (Watch this part carefully.) Spread almonds on buttered cookie sheet. Pour mixture over almonds. Let sit about 1 minute. Pour chocolate chips on top and spread out as chocolate melts. Put in fridge until cooled. Break into pieces.

I probably only use about 2/3 of the cookie sheet, I like my toffee a little thicker. I also prefer semisweet chips, but you could use others. I store the toffee in the fridge, but love to make this as gifts.

Show Us Your Life: Dinner Recipes

So, I missed getting to add my recipe to the list, but you can go to Kelly's Korner and check out hundreds of recipes for dinner. Here's my contribution:

Aunt Doris' Enchilada Casserole

1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can El Paso enchilada sauce
1 pound ground beef
1 dozen corn tortillas
2 cups grated cheese

Brown ground beef and drain. Combine beef with soups and enchilada sauce. Slice tortillas into bite-sized pieces. Place a layer of tortillas in a greased, flat baking dish. Cover with beef mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat until all beef mixture and cheese are used. Place in oven for approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese and sauce are bubbly.

You can substitute ground turkey for the beef. I also use whatever kind of cream soup I have in the pantry (2 cans of chicken, cream of mushroom instead of celery, whatever works for you). I use kitchen shears to cut the tortillas, makes for fast work. I usually use a Mexican blend of shredded cheese, but that's personal choice. You can make this in a 13x9 pan, but I always do 2 8x8 pans, and freeze one for later.

October 1

Another resolution I made way back in January was to read a book a quarter. I've averaged that, although most were baby related. I finished "The Girlfriends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood". My friend Jill let me borrow this and I liked it. It was funny and also had a lot of useful information.

Remember, Remember, Remember...


Paul and I had a date night Saturday while Grandma and Grandad watched Sophie. We went to see the movie Fame. This is one of my all-time favorite TV shows, I even had the concert special recorded on VHS tape. The movie was okay. I'd probably have been more disappointed if it weren't for the fact that we don't get to go out as much anymore. Just getting to spend time with the hubby and not worry about the baby (all while enjoying a delicious dinner of nachos and movie popcorn) was worth it.

I wanted to blog about this because I remembered that having Date Night was one of my New Years Resolutions. So, although they are not nearly as regular as I would like, we are still trying to make time for each other.

Show Us Your Life: Baby Gear

Over at Kelly's Korner this week, we are looking at baby gear. Sophie's only 4 months old, so I'm still getting ideas for later, but here are some of my must-haves and overrateds. I will say that being older parents (late 30's), we are financially able to provide Sophie with whatever latest gadget we think she needs. I never thought I would have a house filled with so much baby stuff, but I do. I have 3 sisters, 2 sister-in-laws and countless friends who all had babies before me, so we have lots of hand-me-downs. My mother-in-law keeps 2 of the nieces and nephews and she gives me the duplicate stuff after they've out grown it. So here's my list:

1. Bumbo Seat: Love it! We started to use it so that Sophie could sit on the table while we ate, or on the counter while I washed bottles. After that I used it in her baby pool. Now we use it for feeding her. We will get a highchair, just haven't decided on which one yet.

2. Graco Pack N Play: Some people use this in place of a bassinet, but we had a cradle that was given to us. However, Sophie gets to go to work with me (I'm a preschool director) and I put the pack n play in my office. One feature I love is the changing table part. Makes it quick and easy to do diaper changes. It also has a storage area to hold the diapers and other stuff. It has a built-in wipes storage but it doesn't keep the wipes moist.

3. Exersaucer: I have one at work and one at home. She likes them both, especially because she loves to be standing. they both have toys attached but she doesn't care much at them. She's still pretty small, so I bunch a big fluffy blanket around her for stability.

4. Jeep Walker: I know walkers are so taboo, but I feel like this one is pretty safe and we don't have any stairs to fall down. It is the same basic concept as the walker, except it stays in the kitchen (on tile, not carpet) and she can push herself backwards. She has also figured out how to beep the horn and play the "radio".

5. Einstein Musical Motion Jumper: We haven't used this much yet, but I'm sure we will. This is in her bedroom. We have an exersaucer in our bedroom, and the jeep in the kitchen. The swing is in the living room, and we have an infant seat/rocker in the computer room. I also have a bouncer in our bathroom for when I take a shower, but she doesn't like it much.

6. Bath tub with sling and shower: We liked this one because it fit over the kitchen sink. Right now I just use the sling in the big bath tub, but plan on going back to the baby tub once she can sit up a little better. When it's on the sink we don't need the shower attachment, we just use the kitchen nozzle. Sophie loves having the water spray on her.

Here's some things that are overrated or at least not used much:

1. Swing: She will go in it sometimes, but she pretty much has to already be in a good mood. It definitely isn't something I can go to when she's fussy.

2. Bouncy seat: Same as the swing. I use both when I need a place to put her, but I could just as easily put her in her crib.

3. Bassinet/cradle: We had a beautiful wooden cradle my mom got my sister who handed it down to me. We used it in the living room for the first 2 and half months for naps during the day. Since I didn't nurse, having her in our room wasn't necessary. Plus my mom was with us for the first 5 weeks and helped with nighttime feedings. So from day 1, Sophie slept in her crib in her room every night. It also turned out that at 5 weeks she went from 2 night feeding to only one and at 8 weeks was sleeping through the night. I do use a monitor (sound only, but with the added motion sensor to "prevent" SIDS).

4. Diaper Genie: To be honest, we don't have one, but I asked around beforehand. Most people found them to be cumbersome and complicated to work. My sister has a newer version that has a step-lever for opening it. She seems to like that but our changing table unit has a cabinet for the trash and so the step part wouldn't have worked for us. Instead I just use a plastic trash can with a push-top lid. We don't put dirty diapers in it (walk those to the big trashcan). We have cats so I'm emptying litterboxes regularly anyway, so taking out the diaper trash was that big of a deal. I do keep an air freshener in the cabinet with the trashcan, and sometimes I buy those scented trash bags.

5. Wipes warmer: Again, not something we have, but I did think about getting one, especially when a friend said it was wonderful for her baby. Turns out Sophie doesn't really care about the cold. I also don't have a fancy bottle warmer. I use to warm up water in the microwave and then put the bottle in that...then I found out Sophie will take the bottle cold. She just doesn't care.

Things the jury (aka Sophie) is still out on:

1. Baby sling: I tried the peanut shell and the slingrider when Sophie was teeny tiny. I just couldn't see haw she could be comfortable. The sling rider was little better than the peanut shell, I felt like she had a little more room and wasn't completely smooshed. Since then, I use the peanut shell in the kangaroo position (Sophie facing tummy to tummy with her legs on either side). i don't have a lot of movement with that, but it works for me when I'm on the computer and at my desk at work. I also have front-pack carrier (like a Baby Bjorn, but different brand) that worked better at work. I can use it when I need to walk the halls and check on the classes.

2. Infant seat/rocker: I actually have 2 of these. My swing uses this type of thing, plus I have this one in the office. she seems to like the rocker better than the infant seat. the infant seat basically just has her laying back, too reclined for her taste. This one has the vibration option, which she seems to like most days. She has just started to notice the hanging toys, so she may like it more now.