Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter Made Me Do It - Part 3

I mentioned in my first post that Samuel had been super trying lately.

Because of course, the day it starts snowing, setting off a chain of relentless preschool cancellations and child care closings, IS the day my child would decide to:
a) learn how to climb over the baby gate
b) learn how to open the refrigerator
c) decide that napping is for losers (thankfully THAT only lasted 4 days. whew).

So, since Eric's month of nights is over (he still has 2 more weeks coming, but I'm in denial about that), and Samuel has officially made himself allowed upstairs, we converted our guest room into a full-fledged playroom.

This has simultaneously been my best and worst decision of the winter. At least 28 times a day I hear, "Upstairs, mommy!" And, after we are up there for 8.5 seconds, "Downstairs! Take TRACTOR downstairs!" Oh, don't worry, he wants tractor back upstairs within 5 minutes.

There's also no good way to block the playroom off from the cat's litter box and food, Eric's computer and other office supplies, or the bathroom. That's led to a lot of Samuel's stuffed animals "eating cat food" and "going potty (both in the toilet and the litter box)," multiple re-sets of Eric's desktop, and lots lots LOTS of time outs and various other punishments.

Le sigh.

At least he's been pretty funny.

Like when he told me that "Daddy eats cat food." Hmm. He's also been informing us that "Daddy too big!" (to play with his toys).

Or how he wants to say happy birthday to his puzzles, elmo, his books, and, of course, himself ("Now cake!") Except he just says "Happy to you!" That's pretty cute. (Really, it's for any holiday, because at Valentine's he said, "Happy to you valentines!!")

We did make it to a birthday party last week a few hours before snow storm #3. I felt kind of bad for him, because his little face lit up SO much when everyone started singing Happy Birthday, and it got SO sad when he realized it was not for him. It's tough being 2.

We've been asking Samuel who to pray for at night. Usually it's his preschool teachers. Sometimes he throws in Elmo, his playroom, trains, and baby Moses. We make it work. ;-)

Today in the car, Teddy was "praying" - for Grammy, Pappy and the BEACH!

Samuel also told me that Teddy was his best friend. And Thomas the Tank Engine. And Percy. (He finally listed some real people too. But NOT mommy and daddy. We're the mommy and daddy).

Eric asked Samuel what show he wanted to watch on TV. Samuel told him, "NOT Friends!!"

He's also taken to calling Eric whatever I call him. Lately that's been, "Baby," "Honey," and just plain "ERRRRICCC!" Haha.

Everytime he realizes there's snow on the ground, he goes, "Ooh! Snowflake time!" Never "snow." Always "snowflakes." I love it.

After the latest snow storm, we decided to build a real snowman (much larger than our previous 10-inch tall one, "Olaf.") I asked Samuel what to name him. "Olaf 2!!"

He's gotten pretty good at counting, until fourteen, that is -- then it goes "sev-uh-teen, fi-teen, TWENNNY!"

And today, driving home, he started singing. I'm pretty sure this isn't what he said, but it definitely sounded like: "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, How I want to eat you -- ARR!" Haha.

I feel like he's way funnier in person than when I write things down. Maybe it's because I've lost it from being trapped inside for 2 weeks? ;-) Whatever the case, trying as he may be, I'm REALLY glad he's around!! He makes me laugh every day!

Winter Made Me Do It - Part 2

1100 Miles, baby.

Eric correctly pointed out that that is pretty much the equivalent of running to Dallas. I countered that it took me a whole flippin' year, so that's really not that impressive.

It is a lot of miles, I suppose. An average of just over 3 a day for the last year.

I like that running is something that's steady in my life.

February did not make it easy on me. I never ran more than 6 miles at a time and the darn snow tried to keep me away. It was too slippery and cold to run outside, the gym child care kept closing early, and my nose and lungs made breathing particularly hard (who am I kidding? I'm still sitting here sniffling and coughing as I type). I'm not going to pretend like I enjoyed it last month.

I definitely enjoyed meeting a GOAL though. I'm way too goal-focused. But maybe that's not the worst thing in the world. I think I also felt like if I did this in spite of the dumb winter, in spite of the laziness I felt, that it would really be a victory, not just a goal achieved.

Hopefully I can keep up with last year's mileage for the next few months to maintain 1100. I want to try some new classes and diversify my work outs though. I also need to work on that eating healthier thing. ;-) If only brownies weren't so good!

Winter Made Me Do It.

It snowed some more. And we all got a cold. Samuel has been testing us a TON -I think, because he is bored and tired of being trapped inside (just like his momma!). So all in all, not our favorite week ever.

Some good has come of it though. We've tried some new recipes, Samuel has said some funny things, and I did accomplish a fitness goal. I'll dedicate this post to recipes. ;-)

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Easy and yummy!

1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 c. Italian bread crumbs
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 T. garlic powder
1 egg
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
(the recipe also calls for some lemon zest, but I omitted that).

Mix ingredients together, roll into balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Molten Cake
Gnam Gnam. 

3/4 c. butter
12 oz. chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream
5 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. flour

Melt butter, cream and chocolate chips together until smooth when stirred. Add in eggs, then sugar and flour. Pour into greased (buttered) cupcake pan and let cool for one hour, up to one day.

Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes, until the outsides are set. The inside should still be a little runny. Let cool 3-5 minutes before serving.

Eggless Pancakes
For the days you plan to make fish, but the grocery store doesn't get any in since it snowed. So your husband requests pancakes, but you have no pancake mix. Or eggs. Or even bananas (which seem to be a popular pancake base). Man, I am thankful for Pinterest!

1 1/4 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. water

Mix it up... Make pancakes. ;-)

I've also made multiple attempts at the perfect brownie. I've made some pretty darn good ones, but still nothing that lines up with the Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate boxed mix. I *will* figure out their secret one day (artifical flavors?).

I also made granola, some more banana bread, a few batches of banana oatmeal (my favorite breakfast!), and some homemade chicken alfredo and a sausage and rice casserole - they were both good, basically just meat and veggies in a white sauce, so nothing I can't come up with again.

There were also a few batches of Cowboy cookies and no-bake cookies in there....

Can you tell I have a cooking/baking problem?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snow (ish)

I'm not going to pretend that I understand what it's like to live somewhere really cold. I've got Texas blood, after all. But even this born-and-raised-in-the-south gal thinks it is really really crazy how life totally stops when we get the teeniest bit of snow around here. Like, an inch or two and everything shuts down all. week. long.

I'm not saying I blame them for closing schools - I don't want 5 year olds waiting for the bus in -10 degree windchills, nor do I want 16 year olds driving on black ice to try and make it to school on time. I get why they put school on hold. But, good golly, everything seems to close early or stop completely. Like the pharmacy - closed early all week. A consignment sale I tried to go to today 5 days after it snowed? Closed "for inclement weather." ?!?!?!

And somehow it makes my child super duper extra intense. He's pretty much always 100% on or off, but this week it's been like 500%. And the emotions - oh, my! He just needs to go run outside. He needs it.

He did enjoy the snow when we were out in it, though. He kept telling me (over and over over), "Mommy, snowflake time! Snowflake time!" He never just says "Snow," it's always "Snowflake!" That's pretty cute.

We built a snowman ("Olaf"). And when he sees snow melting now, he says, "Oh, poor poor Olaf!!!" I chuckle at that, too.

And he does look pretty cute in his snow boots (that he refuses to take off) and hat and coat. Getting all that stuff on and off adds an extra 15 minutes to our coming and going though.

So, you get the point, it made for some cute pictures, but I'm over the "snow" (aka, the few patches of ice that are left lying around). See ya next year, winter. Bring on the heat!

Throwing snow in his own face. Goofball. 


The sun was really bright reflecting off the snow, so all week he has been yelling, "GO AWAY SUN! NOOO SUN! AHHH!" until he gets his sunglasses on. Drama King. 

Hard working man. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Recipes. A Lot of Them.

I've been on a serious cooking/baking spree lately. I blame it on Eric working a ton. It's really not good, because the more I cook/bake, the more I eat. I have no self control. Thank goodness I run.

Here's some favorites from the last few weeks:

Parmesan Zucchini & Corn
Eric thinks I'm silly for making this like 3 times this week. It's just so easy and good!

1 T olive oil
1 clove minced garlic (or garlic powder if you're lazy like me!)
1-2 zucchini, diced
1 c. corn (I used frozen, but you can probably do canned/fresh/roasted if you prefer)
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp. parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
(The recipe also recommended lime juice and cilantro, but I wasn't diggin' that).

Heat olive oil in skillet and add garlic and zucchini. Let cook for 3-4 minutes, then add corn. Once cooked through, add remaining spices, finishing with cheese when removed from heat. Serve warm.

The Best Scones 
I made cranberry white chocolate chocolate chip versions. They were equally fabulous. I'm obsessed with scones. 

2 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cut into pats
2 eggs
1/2-2/3 c. half and half or cream
Additions - chocolate chips, cranberries, etc.

1 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk or half & half
Any additional flavors (I added orange juice for the white chocolate cranberry scones and vanilla for the chocolate chips ones).

Mix flour, sugar, powder and alt together. Cut butter in until a coarse mixture forms. Add in eggs, cream and additions. Scrape dough onto a well-floured surface and roll out, then cut into triangles. Place the pan uncovered in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. While baking, prepare icing by mixing together all ingredients until smooth (Pour the sugar into the wet ingredients graduatlly) and top immediately upon removing from oven.

Cinnamon Crumble Banana Bread
The actual bread recipe was average, but the crumb topping was one of the best I've tried! 

1 egg
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk (or you can just add 2 tsp. vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for 5-10 mins)
2 bananas, mashed
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon

Crumb topping:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. flour
4 T butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon

Beat together sugar, egg, butter and vanilla until fully blended. Add in buttermilk and bananas. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, powder and cinnamon. Gradually mix into wet ingredients. Pour into a bread pan. Combine all crumb topping ingredients and sprinkle over bread mixture. Bake 40-50 minutes at 350.

Veggie Bites
These were so easy, and I couldn't believe my child actually ate them! Like, a TON of them! I just told him they were cheese balls. ;-) I thought they were pretty good too!

1 bag frozen/steamed cauliflower and broccoli, cooked and cut small
1/3 c. Italian bread crumbs
2 eggs
2/3 c. shredded cheese.

Mix all the ingredients together and form into balls. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes on a greased or foil lined cookie tray. Makes about 20 bites. 

No Bake Bars with Coconut Oil
This is just a healthier version of regular no-bake cookies - honey instead of sugar and coconut oil instead of butter! Yum! 
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. honey
2 c. oats
1/4 c. dried cranberries or nuts
1 c. chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
(Can also add shredded coconut if desired)

Melt peanut butter, coconut oil, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. remove from heat and add in chocolate chips, then oats, vanilla and berries/nuts/coconut. Pour into a greased pan and cool in the fridge. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Chipotle Maple Sweet Potato Burgers
I thought these were really good, but Eric didn't go for them, so they got moved to my "So-So" list on Pinterest. That being said, I would totally make them again for just me. I thought it was a fun and filling vegan/vegetarian dish! 

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced small
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1/4 c. pecans
2 T nutritional yeast
2 T ground flax seed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 T maple syrup
8 hamburger buns

With a fork, poke several holes in sweet potatoes. Microwave in a glass bowl for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Remove and allow to cool. While sweet potatoes are cooking, cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent and fragrant. In a large bowl, add oats, pecans, nutritional yeast, flax seed, salt, chipotle powder and black pepper. Gradually mix in onion mixture. Remove the skins from the cooled sweet potatoes and mash them, then mix them into the bowl. Finally, add in maple syrup.

Grease a cookie sheet well or line with parchment paper (you may want to grease that too!). Form the dough into patties and bake at 400 for 45 minutes, turning the patties halfway through. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving on hamburger buns with BBQ sauce.

Chocolate Chip Muffins
These could potentially be made fluffier with the addition of an egg white - I'm going to play with the recipe a bit more. They were pretty darn good, though! 
2 1/2 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 T vanilla
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, then gradually mix dry ingredients into wet. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 for an additional 10-15 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before enjoying. 

I've also tried a handful of other recipes that didn't turn out very well at all. I think that's enough for now though. :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

One day I will include some pictures in a post.

It's funny how your perspective changes.
10 Valentine's Days ago, Eric left a teddy bear and a rose and a card in my car (in the pouring rain). I thought that was pretty great.
8 Valentine's ago, he took me to dinner at a fancy restaurant and we went walking on the Boardwalk in Shreveport. That seemed pretty amazing too.
3 or 4 Valentine's ago, he had ordered flowers to be delivered to my work, but the order got messed up and we didn't get them until late that evening, so he went to Whole Foods to get me a bouquet so I'd have something. Sweet man.

Today, though, today my biggest gift was him. Here. After a month of stupid night shifts and barely seeing each other for more than 20 minutes a day, all of which he was a total zombie and I was running around like a crazy woman.
There were no flowers or teddy bears or expensive restaurants or fancy dresses or jewelry.
There was just us, hanging out, cooking an amazing dinner together (steak, baked potatoes, parmesan asparagus and molted chocolate cake. yum), eating as a family with our amazing kid.
And then, the very best present of all, we put our son down to bed together, and he helped me clean the house.
For the first time in a month+, I had help. Isn't it silly how something little like that can make you so joyful?
My house is clean. My husband is home.
And after cleaning, we were able to sit on the couch and cuddle in our warm house and laugh at silly tv shows while the cold wind whipped around outside, making the very bones of our house creak and our hearts well up with thankfulness for our home and each other.

Is it weird that this seems perfect to me? I love flowers and chocolate and cute stuffed animals and fancy food. But I love this man far far more. That's a pretty happy Valentine's if you ask me. <3>

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Samuel Says

I may add more to this later, but here are some fun things Samuel has said lately (I feel like I forget to record half of them though!):

(On our way to the Y)
"Church? Nooo.
Mya house? Noooo.
Ryan house? Nope!
School? Noo.
Adela house? Uh-uh!
Laneys house? Nooo.
Owie house? Nope!
Gym! Gym! YES! Two Maters!"
(There are two toy "Mater" trucks from the movie Cars in the gym nursery).

(from his crib when he's ready to get up)
"Mommy, [where] aaaare you????" 
(A lot of times he leaves the "where" out :-)

(While watching tv, NOT eating anything)
"Mommy, Mac-Roni DElicious!!"

(Singing in his crib)
Bunny, bunny, OHHH, Buuunny!

"Super Why, Super Why, Oh yeah!"

"Mommy, Samuel siiiilllly! Silly boy! Hahaha!"

(when I sneeze, which is a lot lately) "Blesh Shooo, Mommy!!"

(Telling me who he played with at church)
"Playground, slide, stairs, Emily, crackers, fire truck, Elly, school bus, poopie diaper, Gray!"

(Also in his crib one morning)
"3-2-1 Blast off! S makes sssssssss sound! Race car! Fly Teddy! Teddy teddy teddy!"

(After realizing we have more than one teddy, holding them both up in the air victoriously)

You can guess how it went when he realized we actually have FOUR. He now sleeps with all of them.

During Eric's month of nights, Samuel would always ask me, "Daddy work or daddy sleepy?" It was pretty exciting when he was finally done and instead he said, "Daddy work? Daddy sleepy? Nooo! Daddy HOME!" <3 nbsp="" p="">
We talk about manners a LOT, and he's super into saying "Thank you, mommy!" right now, which I stinkin' love! It's adorable. 

Samuel sings a LOT, most commonly a very loud combo of twinkle twinkle and ABC. His favorite places to sing it are in the grocery store and when exiting the preschool building at church - there's an attendance poster with star stickers on it out in the hall that compels him to stand in front of it and sing the song the whole way through. It goes something like this: