Sunday, October 9, 2011

Read for the Record

Last Thursday was Read for the Record.  Our daycare participated by having a teddy bear and pajama drive, having a 'wear your pajamas' day, and reading the book for the Record: Llama Llama Red Pajama.

We were totally into wearing our pajamas to school:

Those pajamas say "It's Pasture Bedtime"  Hahahahahahahaha.  That totally cracks me up every time.

And no, she didn't let go of that stupid plastic phone all morning.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Light The Night

Since moving home, I've joined up with a women's group that includes some ladies I haven't hung out with since high school.  One project the group supports is the Light The Night Walk to support Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  So, off the Wee One and I go to support the group and hang with old (meaning, "long time" not that we're all that old) friends.

Wearing my Nu Zeta hat

Never mind, didn't want to wear my hat after all!

But I'll cheese for the camera!

Let's go!

Babywearing rocks!


Our banner.  Obviously the children had quite a bit of input into its creation.

Admiring his handiwork.

More friends came to support.

In the sling.

The river is so pretty.

Once the sun started going down, we had to bundle up.
How many shades of pink can I put on a single kid?  Let me try ...

So my kid?  Can charm anything off of anyone.  She walked up to a woman that didn't speak English and got  part of a cereal bar.  She then moved on to another group and got a cupcake and a chocolate bar for her smiles and charm.  I am SO in trouble with this one.

Yay, cupcake.

So then we walked a couple of miles, went home and had cookies at Jenny's house.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Her and Me

So how can a kid this pretty ...

Come from ... me?

Also ... this is what happens when your kid gets ahold of your camera and randomly shoots photos.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mexican Pizzas

Continuing Blog 4 Family Dinners ...

Mini Mexican Pizzas

Heat up some tortillas.
Put some vegetarian refried beans in a pan with 1/4 c water, heat.

Chop lettuce, tomatoes, onions.

 Put it all on the table, and let everyone build their own mini pizzas.


My kid's:

Mmmm ....

I ate all mine ..

So, my kid didn't really seem to like this as much as she likes the Italian dishes.  She even asked for pasta in the middle of this dinner.  I ended up pulling out some leftovers and heating them up for her, since she wasn't eating this much at all.

Meanwhile I ate the rest of hers .... maybe it will require multiple tries before she likes mini mexican pizzas. ..

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Legend of Lily

I learned a lesson about a year back.  I learned that it is not a good idea to celebrate your successes with sleep training by bragging about it on the internet.  In the comments of a post (which I apparently cannot find I freaking found it, yo!), a dear, adorable friend of mine birthed the Lily Legend (see Serifm's comment).  She mentioned that every time I talked about "The Universe" overhearing my bragging about how well my kid was doing, she imagined Lily Tomlin in her big chair.

"Lily" was born.

Lily has become a legend when we mothers whisper about our sleep successes.  When the sleeping falls apart, we are quick to pay due homage to Lily in the hopes that she will once again help our children to sleep blissfully through the night.

So imagine how stoked I am that Serifm and I are going to see Lily in the flesh tomorrow evening to celebrate a birthday.  Yaaaaaaaaay!!!!!  (and I hope my kid still sleeps when I get home!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mini Pizzas

Blog for Family Dinner continues ... Tonight was Mini Pizzas!!

So today was kindof rough for both of us.  I've been really tired and run down lately, and she is getting over Fifth Disease.  I did the minimum amount possible for my day, and picked her up from daycare while she was still asleep on her cot.  We watched alot of Caillou and SuperWhy when we got home, curled up on the couch under a blanket.

On the phone with my mom, she talked about what she was making for dinner.  Hey, we can expand family dinner to include Nan and Grandpa, right?  That still counts, doesn't it?  So I asked my kid if she wanted to go to Nan's and have dinner.


She didn't.  She seems to like dinner at home in our dining room almost as much as I do!  I tweeted about it, and got a reply from Blog 4 Family Dinner - apparently it is common for the kids to get on board with Family Dinner early on.  Yep, that's my girl.

Anyway, so here's what I made:  Mini English Muffin Pizzas

On a baking sheet, I put a sheet of parchment paper.  It was supposed to help clean-up, which it did for the most part.  Except the cheese that escaped off the side.

On the parchment paper, I put english muffins cut side up.  I managed to fit exactly one package of muffins on the baking sheet.  I am a rock star.

Then I turned to chopping toppings.  (Ha!)  I had a package of gourmet sliced mushrooms from Whole Foods that I chopped using my chopper.  (Pampered Chef, not Slap Chop.  I hate that guy.)  Also, a bunch of garlic.  Then some green onions. 

On the english muffins, I put some spaghetti sauce, the stuff that was left over from Monday night.  Then I put the chopped vegetables, then I put some cheese.  Shredded cheese.  Bake 350, 10 minutes or so. 


(Sorry for the sideways photos.)

If I had it to do over again, I would bake them without the cheese for about 10 minutes, then add cheese and bake until it melts.  The garlic and onions needed a few more minutes in the heat.  Also, I thought about rubbing the muffins with a garlic clove before topping, but I didn't want to take that time.  If you only want a little garlic flavor, that might be a better route rather than adding it chopped.  If you like the garlic, tho, the chopped method tasted yummy.  But beware - about an hour after eating, my dad freaked out because my kid smelled like garlic.  (He watches too much CSI - he mentioned selenium poisoning.  Freak.)

Nan declared them delicious.  Everything that we eat that my kid likes, she wants to take some to Nan.  Nan wasn't complaining, tho!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

For My Mom

Hey Mom, remember when we went to IKEA in July?  And you found a kitchen that you really loved?  And you asked me to take pictures of it with my cell phone?  So you could show my dad?  And then you haven't heard anything else about it?  Well, yell for Dad, because here's the kitchen:

I have no idea who these people are.  But they wouldn't get out of the damn way for me to take the photo.
 So here they are.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Family Dinner Night 2: Ravioli and Sauce

This isn't what I had planned to have for tonight's dinner, but the kid said "ravioli" so many times that I changed my mind!

Also: being exhausted helped lean the decision toward "simple dinner".  And simple definitely describes this dinner:

Boil some water
Open the package of ravioli
Dump into the water
Boil for about 5 minutes

Meanwhile, open a jar of sauce, dump into a pot, warm up while the pasta cooks.

An aside: I love oregano.  When I was in grad school, I made a roast for a boyfriend and smothered it in oregano.  It was awesome.  So whenever I make anything with spaghetti sauce, I love to add oregano.

My father?  Hates oregano with a passion.  He can taste the tiniest amounts of oregano in a dish.  Often he will go ahead and eat it, and with a pouty look mention that it has oregano in it.  You know, just enough to make you feel bad that he's not enjoying it.

The last time I bought spaghetti sauce I bought some "garden herb" variety.  One evening I ended up throwing together an impromptu spaghetti dinner for my kid and my parents, and my dad was forced to eat spaghetti sauce containing oregano.  So when I was shopping this weekend, I made sure to get something plain, like tomato and basil, in case my dad ended up eating with us.

So tonight when I decided to switch to the "ravioli and sauce" plan, I decided that since my dad wouldn't be eating with us, that I could spruce up the sauce a bit.  I chopped some garlic and sauteed it in olive oil, then added some sauce, and also added some oregano from the garden.

Oh, and we topped with some shredded mozzarella cheese.  Yummy.  And more good conversation with my kid. 

But I'm still tired ...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Family Dinner Month Day 1: Conchiglie with Peas

Blog For Family Dinner month (use #B4FD as the Twitter hashtag) starts today.  I've started following lots of folks who talk about family dinner, feeding families well, kid-friendly meals, etc.  So I started to see the #B4FD info in my timeline.

We are doing really well with Project Veg.  Between the cookbook my friend Jenny loaned me and the one she gave me as a Christmas gift, we had been doing pretty well.  But with starting back to my semester and trying to single handedly run a household into the ground, it's usually just easier to head down the street to my mom's for dinner.

I've been feeling a little down and overwhelmed lately.  I think it's mostly hormonal, and I have a doctor appointment scheduled. don't worry.  But I've been trying to think of little things I can do that will help me to feel better, and to better deal with the stress of ... everything I have going on.

So when I started thinking about Family Dinner Month, I realized that I really like the idea.  Honestly, I am incredibly excited about the idea of my kid and I sitting down together to dinner every night for a month at our dining room table, to a meal that I cooked for us.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for the nights my mom cooks dinner for us.  Also, my parents will probably join us for a number of our meals this month, and I'm sure we will end up at their house for a few meals also.  It just feels like this is one thing that I can do that I enjoy (I love cooking) that will help me bond with my kid, take good care of her, relax at the end of a long day, and be something that I can feel like I have some control over.

I didn't realize that last part until I was discussing it with my mom.  In the middle of explaining to her that I want to try to do meal planning and eat more dinners on our own or at least at our dining room table, I started talking about how overwhelmed and out-of-control I feel sometimes, and this is one thing that I feel like I can have (or would like to have) more control over.

So, this morning my mom took the Wee One to church to see Jesus (every time you say "church" she says "I go see Jesus") and I made a list of menus, went to Whole Foods, cleaned out the fridge, put groceries away, washed all the dishes ....  then took a nap with my kid.  (Hey, I said I was overwhelmed, leave me alone).

So here was our dinner tonight, the first night of Family Dinner Month, inspired by the kind folks at Blog For Family Dinner.

The inspiration for this meal came primarily from a recipe in The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen (the cookbook that I previously copyright violated talked about here) called Conchiglie with Green and Black-Eyed Peas, Pearl Onions, and Basil.  Only it ended up being more like Conchiglie with Green Peas, Garlic, and Oregano.  The other influence for the recipe was this recipe.

So here is how it was made.  Easy peasy (sorry, I had to).

In a big pot, boil salted water for the pasta.  When a rolling boil, add pasta.  Remember to look at the time for a ballpark on when your big pot of pasta will be done.

In another pan:
Put some olive oil in the pan.
Add some chopped garlic and stir.

Oh, yea, remember to turn on the burner!  (I told you this was how I made it!)
After it gets up to temp and you notice it has started sizzling, add 1/3 cup of butter and some frozen peas.  Stir periodically until the butter is melted and the peas look thawed.

Meanwhile, head out to the garden to clip some oregano.  Garden?  Why yes, I do have an herb garden (okay, ignore the great big weed in the middle.  Most of it is herbs, anyway.)

Chop a few leaves of the oregano and add to the peas/butter/garlic stuff.
Keep warm on lo heat until the pasta is done.

As I learned on Food Network, put the pasta in the sauce and let it finish cooking and soak up all the flavors in the sauce.

It was very yummy.  The toddler enjoyed it immensely.  Even more than the dish, I enjoyed a quiet conversation with my kid.  First she told me I was a lion and she was spaghetti.  Then she was a lion (I don't know what I had become, I was too busy enjoying her lion roar).  I found out that her favorite food is ravioli, but I think that's just her favorite food to say.  She does love her some peas, and crammed them into her mouth by the fistful. 

After finishing dinner, she wanted to visit her Nan and Grandpa so that Nan could try the dish.  We wrapped up the leftovers on a Dora plate and took it to Nan to try.  Nan scarfed the whole plate down and declared it delicious, much as we had done.

So Day 1 of Family Dinner Month was a smashing success: simple, healthy, toddler-friendly meal.  Bonding conversation with my kid.  Couldn't have a better evening at home.

Also: Aveeno Calming Baby Bath with the lavendar scent really helps get the smell of chopped garlic off your hands.  That's my hint for the day.