Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hair Day

I've never been very forceful about everyone combing their hair every day- probably because The Frog & Peach were bald for so long, it didn't get worked into the daily routine.  I'm wishing now that I had tried harder because Peach puts up quite a fight every morning when I try to comb the rats nests out of her hair.  (which need to be combed out again after her nap...)  For some reason, out of the blue, the other day Peach requested piggie tails.  She actually kept them in for at least 30 minutes too!  (a new record!)
 The Frog must have been feeling left out, because he then requested a mohawk, "Like Eli has"  (a friend from preschool & church).  Here's Mr. GQ now...
The Frog thought Hazel was getting left out of the picture taking, so he suggested we get one of her sitting "all by herself" on the sofa.
 She's apparently deep in thought.
This is just another random photo from another day.  I let the kids get a donut (Peach calls them "bagels") after a cooperative grocery run the other day.  They decided to each get a different flavor and share!  (as opposed to the usual, Peach-copies-The-Frog approach of the past)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lego my Legos

The Frog is sooooooooo into Legos right now.  I'm always so impressed with the kinds of things he comes up with!  (I always gravitate toward building houses...)  This is his latest creation- a robot.  He wanted me to take pictures of it before he took it apart to build something else.

The propellers on the back are my favorite :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Baby Food Friday: Peas

Peas Please!  These are super easy and quick, because I use frozen ones.  And I prefer petite peas, because they are sweeter than regular-old ones.
 1) Dump some frozen petite peas in a microwave save dish (with a lid).  (I did about 10 oz)
 2) Add 1/4" of water to the bottom and put on lid.
3) Microwave 2 minutes.  Stir.  Microwave 2 more minutes.  (you could even do this right before dinner, and eat some of them, saving the rest for baby food!)
4) Puree in food processor/blender & spread in ice cube trays.
5) Freeze and place in labeled zip-top bag for your convenience.

Notice, I didn't do very many because peas are such a great finger food.  As you can see, each cube is about an ounce, so you can weigh out how many peas you want, depending how many servings you want.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hazel is 6 months old!

I can't believe Hazel is already 6 months old!!  Some things she's been doing lately:

If I try to read while nursing, she'll often throw her hand back and try to grab at my book.  I'll look at her and jokingly get her in trouble and she'll just smile back with a mouthful.  I love those milky smiles...

She is babbling so much.  I know The Frog never did that, but I can't remember whether or not Peach did.  She still doesn't really use any consonants, though.  Just all "ohh"s, "oooh"s, and "ahhhh"s.  My favorite is when she does it while I'm singing bedtime songs to her.

I always sing, "gunk gunk" (as my kids call it- for those of you in the family who know, it's that frog one mom used to sing, but I've added additional verses with additional animal sounds), "Give Said the Little Stream", and "I Am a Child of God".  For the first one, I'll often hold her out in front of me with her feet mashed against my belly and pull her in and out with the music.  She loves it!

She is most definitely in the grab-whatever-she-touches-without-the-appearance-of-noticing stage.  It's so funny to walk by a chair and come away with the blanket draped across the back.  Or walk down the hall and pretty soon you get yanked back because she has the cupboard handle in a death-grip.

And my favorite!!   I can get her into giggle fits, as of last week!  She is most definitely ticklish and I for sure take advantage of that fact :)

Happy Half-Birthday Hazel!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kid Conversation

The Frog likes to play this game when I'm nursing where he'll get on his "blasters" (he covers his hands with plastic cups) and asks me to send him on a mission that usually involves ridding a spooky forest of ghosts and warewolves, or crossing a dangerous bridge guarded by cannibals.  There is much prompting by him, because I'm not very creative.
"Where do you want me to go?",  "How do I get there?", "Do I have to cross over a bridge?",  "What's under the bridge?", "What's in the forest?", etc.  I can't wait to get him to right short stories.

Anyway, I had just felt very proud of myself making up a quest where he needs to defeat the robbers at the bank.  I told him very detailed directions about how to get there knowing he'd ask...
Me: "You have to take the freeway...."
The Frog: "k..."
Me: "and get off at exit 8 and take a left by the gas station..."
The Frog: "k..."
Me: "and the bank is on the right.  It's called, First Capital Bank."
The Frog: "Ok.  But which capital is it?  Capital A?"

Friday, April 19, 2013

Baby Food Friday: Butternut Squash

I wish squash was more in season, but it's such a great baby food, I had to make it anyway.   I love butternut, but you can also use acorn squash or any other fall squash the same way.
1) Preheat oven to 400.  (and then change a diaper...)
2) Cut squash in half.  (then wash some sticky hands)
3) Scoop out and throw away the seeds.
4)  Place squash face down in a baking dish and fill with an inch of water
5)  Bake for 40 minutes to an hour (I did an hour) or until fork tender.
6)  Let cool until you have time to deal with it.
7)  Scoop out with a spoon the insides and puree in a food processor or blender.
(here are the leftover skins)
8) Put in ice cube trays wrapped w/ plastic wrap and freeze.
9) At your convenience, move them to a labeled freezer-bag.

This one squash made 25 servings.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Some pics

Right now, Hazel has four standard positions:

1) grabbing feet
2) gripping the sides of the changing table like she's in for an exciting ride
3) grabbing anything within reach and munching on it (or munching her hands if nothing else is within reach)
4) reverently clasping her hands
I wanted to get a picture of the hand-clasping, the other day, and Peach wanted to be in it too...
Then, of course, The Frog didn't want to be left out...
The best family photo so far!  Perhaps I have found a new method to get them to cooperate- leave them out!

After dishes were cleaned up, we went for a walk around the block, to take a neighbor some bread.  (they just had a baby)  The Frog picked out his own necessary gear:
he refused to wear matching shoes.  a first for him.
I love that we passed so many neighbors while we were out (it was such a beautiful day!) and they all played along with his disguise...  "who's that super hero riding around on that bike?"

The neighbors with the new baby also have a little dog.  Peach greatly anticipated getting to pet him.  Unfortunately, when they opened the door, the dog took off running to their back yard and Peach tried to follow, but then almost immediately tripped and face-planted on the cement.  She was sad, because it hurt, obviously, but was really trying to get out of my hug so she wouldn't miss petting that rascally dog :)
not a bloody nose, but a giant scratch that just looks like one.  she also has scrapes on her forehead and knees
She was basically fine, but then started crying later that night when she saw herself in the mirror.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

6 lbs of Crisco

I can't believe it!  I emptied one of those giant Crisco cans from Costco.  
And it only took 5 years!
That's right... my family has consumed 6 pounds of a mysterious, fatty substance.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Too Many Strawberries...

I made some strawberry freezer jam several years ago.  It was good- better than Smucker's, definitely, but I didn't like having to store it in my freezer.  I'm a bit intimidated by canning because I have a glass-top stove and I've heard that those big canning pots can break those, so I've been scared to try, BUT I really wanted to try making some strawberry jam.

Strawberries have been selling at $1.25/lb lately (as opposed to the typical $2.50) and I just decided in the store that I was going to make some jam.  Not having a clue as to how many strawberries I would need, and thinking it was better to buy too many, rather than too few (my last trip to the grocery store with all 3 kids reminded me why I try to only go when I absolutely have to...) I left with 8 lbs of strawberries.

What can you make with 8 lbs of strawberries?

2 batches of strawberry jam  (I used 5 lbs for this, in case you were wondering...)

2 strawberry pies:
Old Fashioned Strawberry Pie
sooo goooood.  and this happened to be my best pie crust ever!

Dairy-Free Strawberry Cream Pie
ok, but probably won't make it again over the previous one!

and 1 batch of dairy-free strawberry "ice cream":
Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream
I can't wait to have the real thing...
Some jam notes:
I have an aversion to those slimy chunks that often accompany homemade strawberry jam.  However, it appears it is important to have actual strawberry pieces in the jam.  i.e. puree won't set up well (which is what I discovered with my freezer jam that I pureed.)

I found a solution!  I used the large grate on my food processor- worked like a charm!  (and was waaaay faster than smashing the strawberries in 1 c batches at a time.... sooo tedious and a lot of manual labor!)  Try it!

Also, I ended up bottling the jam using a large pot I inherited from my mother-in-law that is intended for steamers (clams), but I discovered that I can only do the smallest ones without it boiling over.  Looks like I won't be bottling any pears on my stove...

Has anyone with a glass top tried using a big canner?  I know of at least one person that almost ruined hers...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Baby Food Friday: Asparagus

Asparagus is wicked cheap lately. (I saw an ad for .88/lb at Sprouts this week!) And so I couldn't pass up making baby food out of it.  Asparagus is a bit stronger and can cause gas, so I wouldn't introduce it very first... wait until at least 8 months.  Also, asparagus makes great finger food, since it's naturally long and skinny and steams up so quickly in the microwave, so I decided to just make one bunch, and to freeze some more to use as finger-food later, when it's no longer in season and cheap (and as good).  I found out if you vacuum seal the asparagus first, you need not blanch it before freezing.  Cool eh?  So I went a little crazy and froze, I think, 8 bunches of asparagus!

Anyway.  Baby food. Simple.

1) Put on a few inches of water to boil in your favorite vegetable-steaming pot.  
2)  Remove the rubber band and use it to replace an old one "baby-proofing" your kitchen cabinets closed. :)
3) Rinse well.
4) Hold the middle of the stalk in one hand and the bottom end in the other.  Bend until it snaps naturally, and discard the bottom portion.  (It will be about the bottom quarter)  I usually break about 4 or 5 at a time.
5) Optional 3 second step:  You don't have to cut them, but I did just so it would fit into my steamer basket easier.
6) Steam until fork tender- maybe 5 minutes or as long as it takes to empty the dishwasher and wipe fingerprints off the fridge...
7) Puree in food processor or blender.
8) Spread and freeze in plastic-wrapped ice cube trays (you can see one bunch was only 8 servings.  I think that's enough to introduce it and later, I will just serve actual asparagus)
9) Pop out cubes and put in labeled freezer bag for your future baby-feeding convenience.

Monday, April 8, 2013

General Conference Activities

Last October, I decided to make watching LDS General Conference more fun for the whole family.

This year, I decided instead of having a bag with a general authority in it, it would be easier to just look through the cards, and I could have a schedule of things to do.  That way, I could make sure that any sweets would be consumed only after lunch and things with similar types of messes could be done back-to-back.  I didn't take many pictures this year... it's a bit trickier to do with baby in-tow. :)

Special breakfast: Blueberry waffles
Saturday Morning Session
-Foam Sticker pictures (I got some half off at Target, leftover from Easter)

-Pin hole picture- draw a simple line drawing (or print one) and with the paper on carpet, use a pin to poke holes along the line.  Then hang it up on a window with the drawing side to the window (so all you can see are the holes) and you can see the pictures with light!  The Frog did a spaceship with an alien inside :)
-Build a temple out of Legos

-Making Play Dough & playing with it.  (this lasted a long time)

Saturday Afternoon Session
The kids were napping for the first part of it

-Toothpick and marshmallow sculptures- The Frog loved this, and would have spent even more time on it than he did, but I sadly ran out of toothpicks.  I'll be better prepared next time
-Painted finger and toenails

Special Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls
Sunday Morning Session
-Snack (took longer than I expected)
-noodle necklaces- I started out with macaroni, but quickly realized they were waaay too small to thread.  If I had the bigger ones, it would have worked, so we ended up using a penne instead.  I was going to have them color them with marker, but quickly discovered that was way too messy as well..  Fruit loops might be a better alternative next time- that way we could sort them into colors first, and it's a special treat I would not normally let them have.
-water coloring.  I was going to have them draw something on the back that we would cut out after water coloring, but I had to put Hazel down for a nap and couldn't supervise.  As a result, they quickly grew bored of this.

Sunday Afternoon Session
-Roll and cut out sugar cookie dough- it was cute to have The Frog pick out a cookie cutter and say why it reminded him of Jesus.  ("We should do a hand because Jesus had holes in his hands".  "Jesus was an angel after he died, right?"  "Jesus loves everyone, so we should do hearts"....)
-"Paint" the cookies with egg yolk + 1 drop food coloring.  We just had green, yellow and orange.  A fun, less sugary, frosting substitue.

-scissors and punches- I have a lot of interesting scissors and punches they like to play with.  I thought after they cut things out, we could try to make shape collages, or make Easter Eggs like this or this, but Peach accidentally dropped one of the huge punches on The Frog's foot and he was basically freaking out and crying for the rest of conference.  We didn't make him take a nap and ended up getting him to fall asleep during the last 15 minutes.  Looks like he needed one after all...

Things planned but never got to:
-paper bag puppets
-train tracks
-crepe paper pencil pictures
-sewing cards
-paper shape collages
-paper Easter egg decorating

I think it went well.  The Frog asked, after the first 3 sessions, "Can we do conference again?"

Friday, April 5, 2013

Baby Food Friday: Broccoli

"Having to eat your broccoli."  The classic chore always mentioned in advertisements and kid shows.

My kids have never had a problem with broccoli.

Broccoli Baby Food Directions:
1) Put a few inches in a large pot.
2) Wash and cut off the stems until the point where they start branching.
3) Stick broccoli in your pot, stem down.  Turn the stove on to hi.

4) Let steam until fork tender and brighter green.  (I honestly have no idea how long.  I don't keep track.  Empty the dishwasher, check on them.  Make lunch, check on them... It's pretty hard to ruin.)

5) Puree in food processor or blender.

6) Put in ice cube trays and wrap with plastic wrap.

7) Next time you think about it, pop them out and put in a labeled freezer bag for your convenience.

I think I went a little overkill, and maybe did too much.  I did two bunches from the store (w/ elastic) and filled both of my ice cube trays (that's 30 servings!!) and still had about 1/4 cup left.  But, as I said before, extra pureed vegetables is not a problem.  You can throw them in just about any sauce or any smoothie, like so:
It looks disgusting, if you're not used to eating brown/green smoothies, but it tastes just like strawberry banana!  And if you make smoothies like this for your kids while they're young, they won't bat an eyelash at the gross color.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Peach is sooooooo Two!

I thought I might highlight some Peach's regularly occurring 2- year-oldisms

When I ask her to do anything, she yells at the top of her lungs, "NO!"

When The Frog or I try to help her do anything she says, "No! This is my projeck."  and then when she can't do it on her own she screams, "HELP!!"

She eats sand.  (I will never understand this phenomenon...)

Sometimes Peach is such a little pill!  But even when she is, I can't help but enjoy her "twoness".

She undresses from the waste down before playing in the sand box.  (and then subsequently runs around the backyard sporting a little sand patch on her bum that spans the crack...)

She hates getting her fingernails clipped or her hair combed, but then walks around insisting she must do both for everyone else!

She is constantly getting her own tissues to "blow" her own nose, which really means she just makes one tiny pinch below her nose and throws the basically clean tissue away.

She keeps asking to sit in the high chair to eat, but then once she's there, she doesn't really want to be in there.

She loves to try to buckle any and all buckles within her reach, but usually needs help doing it.  As soon as it is buckled, she then wants it to be unbuckled.  (which always requires help...)

She has decided that "lamby" is now called "Missy Baby", after the baby in Amelia Bedelia and the Baby and loves to take care of her- changing diapers, nursing, putting down for a nap...  She'll for sure let you know not to go in the room where she's napping, so you don't wake her up.

She likes to wash her own hands and face allll by herself in the bathroom after eating.  (which means the bathroom sink now always has some kind of food smeared on the front or on the handles.  **shudder**)

She loves an overwhelming attack of kisses.  Especially while singing bedtime songs.

She's learning the art of stalling at bed time.  (mom, can you fill my water?)

She rarely cleans up, but if she does, it can't be done without singing the "clean up song".

Since we're still potty-training, I usually have her run around in only panties so I don't have to wash all her pants all the time.  She wants to put on her underpants all by herself and most of the time they end up on side-ways.

She has discovered using the kitchen chairs to reach things (allll by herself) she could not reach with the measly stool, and now I always have to hunt down our kitchen chairs before we can eat.

I never know if she's in the mood to be a "big girl" or a baby  (or a puppy...)

We sure love this girl.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Take that Back!

I had forgotten...  I made Peach let me take a couple pictures of her for a post for tomorrow and when I uploaded them I saw that I DID manage to take some photos in the morning of the Easter egg hunting and basket reveal.  (in between dinner prep, me getting ready, choir practice for our Easter performance...) Silly me :)

Our kids get extra spoiled on Easter because Nanie and Gampie always send swimming stuff (to use at the lake house when we visit each Summer) and a few extra goodies.

 Which is probably good since I managed to not give them even one piece of candy this year.   Before you judge me, I did get them the unhealthy kind of fruit snacks!  And they got green and white animal circus cookies.  Those have sprinkles.  They're definitely bad for you, right? :D
The Frog finally got his first alarm clock.  (Lego Boba Fett)  Now he can know what time it is and if he's allowed to come out of his room or not.  (We have found that unless given a required "sleep-in time", The Frog will wake up at 5am and sneak down and play with his toys, and subsequently be tired and grumpy all day...)
 Peach loved her little doctor set  (she got for Christmas) so much, we decided to replace the cheap (and now in pieces) stethoscope for a real one.  It's been really cool for all of us!
This is the first year when I felt like 12 eggs was not enough.  In the past, I ended up doing the rest of the dyeing and getting the kids to find all the eggs was painful.  This year, however, The Frog was really interested in both dyeing and finding them, so I'll for sure do more next year.
Peach woke up on Easter morning and decided she needed to wear her tutu all morning... in case you were wondering :)
My parents came over for dinner that night, after church.  It was a fun day.