Friday, March 9, 2012

So I don't forget

Zoey's 3-12 month video. There will be a few more edits after I get some pictures from her daycare provider, but here it is for previewing! For her first three months, revisit the very first entry in this blog.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Meal Plan Monday (cold weather casserole edition!)

I'm trying my own version of Meal Plan Monday over here, to remind myself of what I need to cook for the week. :-)  All of these should make enough leftovers so Aaron and I can both have lunch the next day - yum! Sure beats Lean Cuisines!

Monday - leftover pulled pork with homemade mac & cheese and roasted broccoli
Tuesday - tater tot hotdish and corn
Wednesday - Marlboro Man sandwiches (from PW - I'm too lazy to link) and homemade sweet potato fries
Thursday - chicken enchiladas
Friday - French toast casserole with bacPublish Poston and fruit
Saturday - Daddy leaves and Grandma arrives! We might go out to eat, but if not, we can have

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Zoey Update

Our little Zoey Beast is 8 months old! I know I say this every time, but WHERE has the time gone?!? An update:

- She crawls like a pro, pulls up on everything, and is cruising around furniture like it's her job. Everyone assures us that walking is right around the corner for her, and I'm so excited to see her take her first steps!

- Zoey eats just about everything. In fact, I can't think of any food other than my homemade egg noodles (what?!) that she has refused. She looooved Thanksgiving dinner--she feasted on turkey, peas, corn, mashed potatoes, Chinese pork, bread, sweet potatoes, and honeydew melon. Other favorites include eggs (boiled or scrambled), toast, guacamole, oranges, apple pancakes, and cajun-spiced chicken. She still eats baby food and yogurt at daycare and on occasion at home, but she much prefers non-pureed real food! Our favorite restaurant to go to these days is Ruby Tuesday, since they have an awesome salad bar with lots of yummy stuff that Z can eat.

- Speaking of Thanksgiving, we celebrated Zoey's first Thanksgiving this past Thursday. For the first time in several years, we didn't host. We joined Aaron's former advisors at their house, along with some fellow grad students. We were in charge of the turkey and the dinner rolls, and I even made a semi-healthy sweet potato pie to keep at home (ssshhh, don't tell!), so Zoey and I wouldn't have to share...haha. We enjoyed a lovely meal, and then after dinner, instead of everyone scattering down to the basement to play pool and video games, we all sat on the carpet and let Zoey entertain us for awhile!

- The only "bad" news we have to report is that Zoey has really regressed in her sleep habits. She's gone from sleeping straight through the night, 11-12 hours, to waking anywhere from 2-4 times a night. I don't know if she's going through a growth/development spurt, or has just gotten into a bad pattern, but ugh! It's so hard to go back to frequent night wakings when you're used to getting an uninterrupted night's sleep!

- Zoey has really increased her babbling lately, and she will "communicate" with you by talking back and trying to imitate sounds if you engage her directly. We're still waiting for the first "mama" or "dada", though.

- Finally, we are really looking forward to the month of December. Unfortunately, Aaron will be gone to San Francisco all of the first week, but Grandma (my mom) is coming to visit instead! I'm sure Zoey and Grandma will enjoy the one-on-one time while I'm at work. Also, later in the month, Zoey will get to spend another evening with Tiff, a good friend of ours who likes to babysit her, while Aaron and I attend the Aerospace holiday banquet. And, for Christmas, Aaron's parents, plus his sister and her fiance, will join us in Grand Forks, and we're really looking forward to celebrating with them and hopefully finding Hannah's wedding dress while they're here!

Monday, October 31, 2011

More holiday fun

(Two posts in one day--unheard of, right?)

Anyway, now that Halloween is basically over (it feels like it's been Halloween for weeks around here, with all the candy and goodies and pumpkin patches and costumes and such)...I figured it was time to start thinking about the other fall/winter holidays quickly approaching!

We're not sure what we're doing for Thanksgiving this year, but there is a good chance I'll be roasting a turkey, at the very least. However, we just solidified Christmas plans, and it looks like Aaron's family will be coming to our house, and we'll have Zoey's first Christmas at home! Like any good southerner, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of hosting a holiday is FOOD! I came up with some preliminary menus, and I thought I'd share them here for anyone who needs a little holiday meal-planning inspiration...

Christmas Eve Night (appetizers/snacks)
Ro-Tel Queso Dip, Chips, and Salsa
Shrimp cocktail
Sausage balls
Buffalo chicken rolls
Veggie tree (super cute!)

Christmas Day Dinner
Beef pot roast in the crock pot (I don't use a recipe, but I buy a pre-seasoned roast from one of our local grocery stores, cover it in beef broth, green bell peppers, and onions, and cook on low all day long.)
My mother-in-law's famous mashed potatoes (similar to this recipe)
Confetti corn casserole
Italian-style green beans cooked in beef broth
Buttery garlic knots
Flourless chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream

Also, it's tradition in Aaron's family to have a huge tray of Christmas cookies for everyone to munch on the entire visit. Even though this seems like a lot, it's nothing compared to what my MIL normally does! She has over a dozen recipes that she makes in triple and quadruple-sized batches! I'll just be making one small batch of each, which will still give me plenty to give away as gifts or take to work for a treat. I'll probably start making these a week in advance and freezing them until our guests arrive. Here's the planned cookies, as of now:

Strawberry Angel Cookies
Sweet-n-Salty Ritz Cracker Treats
Sugar & Spice Truffles
Chocolate Sundae Cookies
Lemon Snow Bites
Nut Goodie Bars
Citrus Butter Cookies
Soft Ginger Cookies
Homemade Samoas
Decorated Sugar Cookies

Happy Halloween!

I can't believe it's October already, and time for Zoey's first Halloween! We're not actually doing anything special this evening, other than passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, but here are a few pics to share of Zoey in her spider costume, and from our visit to the pumpkin patch.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Adventures in Eating

As a side note, I know blogs are reallllly boring with no pictures, but you can blame the husband for that one! I think it's called "photographer's child syndrome"...sort of like the cobbler's child has no shoes, if you catch my drift. ;-)

Anyway, Zoey has been busy growing and learning and exploring! We have a semi-crawler...she will crawl 2 or 3 little "scoots" before falling over and giving up, but I just know she will be a mobile girl on the move before much longer! I found out that at daycare, she's eating bits and pieces of "people food" with her lunch, so I figured it was high time to start sitting down together as a family and eating our dinner together each night. You see, Aaron and I had gotten in the terrible habit of eating in front of the TV after Zoey goes to bed every night.

Last night, I proclaimed things were changing, and we moved our dinnertime a little earlier, and I parked Zoey's high chair next to the table, and we all sat down to dinner. Zoey started with a stick of string cheese--she loved gumming on it, but once she turned into a wolverine and started ripping off big hunks of it, I had to take it away and tear it into bite-size bits she couldn't choke on. She's a fan of cheese. Aaron and I had hamburger patties and green beans last night (boring, I know), so Zoey had the same. I chopped them into teeny pieces for her, and she really enjoyed being able to "explore" and taste her new food. She ended up gagging on it a few times, but all my mommy friends reassure me that's a completely normal reaction, and one that may continue for some time--but eventually she will get used to all the tastes and textures. It was fun, if not a bit messy! She didn't actually eat all that much, so I also gave her a jar of pureed carrots, but all in all, our first family meal was successful.

Tonight we are having meatballs made from beef and Italian sausage (from our local meat market--yum!), with marinara sauce and whole wheat pasta. Zoey will get to try all of those, and I'm really curious to see how she does. Her doctor was fairly adamant that we shouldn't make special meals for her, as she starts eating more and more table food. I'm totally on board with that--I'd really like to avoid having a picky child who only eats chicken nuggets and cheese! The thought is, that by offering her what we have each night (within reason--I won't be giving her shellfish, nuts, or honey for awhile!), she'll learn that this is dinner, take it or leave it kind of thing. Of course, she'll still also get baby food purees for awhile, especially until she gets teeth, but I'm just really having fun watching her grow and turn into a little person of her own!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

I am clearly having trouble making time for blogging, so I'm going to do another Ten on Tuesday...

1. What is your dream vacation?
Easy. As much as I'd love a 10-day or longer cruise, I'd be hard-pressed to go on one over this: a couple of weeks in this villa on Turks & Caicos.
2. What has been your favorite trip so far in your life?
That's a tough one. Probably all-time favorite was my trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England when I was 16. It was led by our history teacher, but not we got to do a lot of fun things we might not have gotten to otherwise, like (close your eyes, mom): drink Guinness at the brewery in Dublin, have an Irish coffee at a quaint cafe, and get rowdy in a Killarney pub.
3. If you and one of your best friends could go anywhere in the world for one week, where would it be and why?
I'd go with Aaron, of course, but for only one week? Disney World in the off-season so it's not too busy. If we had more than one week, we'd go to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji!
4. Have you ever booked a trip using an online deal? How did it go?
Oh yeah--I've booked every single one of our cruises (sans our honeymoon since Aaron's parents booked it) with online travel agents, and it's always gone perfectly.
5. What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re on vacation?
Laying in the sun with a cold drink in my hand. Nothing better.
6. Have you ever missed an opportunity to take a trip that you regret?
I don't think so? I mean, Aaron travels a lot for school/work, and I could always tag along, but the most exciting place I think he's ever been is San Francisco...and as much fun as that would be, I don't really regret it or consider it a missed opportunity.
7. You travel far away from home and get stranded with no way to buy anything, what’s the one thing you can’t live without?
8. What’s one of your favorite traveling memories?
Being the star of the piano bar on the Carnival Inspiration (ha, not sure if that's a good thing!); seeing whales in Alaska with Aaron; relaxing at a beach-side spa on Eagle Beach in Aruba with Liz; seeing the sunrise over the Atlantic as our plane landed in Shannon, Ireland; whitewater rafting in Costa Rica with my mom; seeing my grandma's sheer delight at being on her first cruise; snorkeling for the first time in Cabo. I can't pick just one!
9. All included resort or backpacking? Why?
Oh, what a funny question! Why? Because this is a perpetual issue with Aaron and I! Not that we go on vacations that often, but we're always kind of dreaming and halfway planning something...and I, of course, go for the 5-star beach resort with a jacuzzi tub en suite, that kind of thing. Aaron, naturally, would love to backpack someplace remote and sleep on the ground for a week and be one with nature, all that. (Have you seen the movie 127 Hours? Yeah, that would so be Aaron, although he assures me he'd never be in that situation, because he'd at least tell someone where he was going!) Anyway, I'm willing to compromise and go someplace like Costa Rica, where there's outdoorsy stuff AND luxury resorts, but we'll see...we had planned to do an 11-day Southern Caribbean cruise last fall (with lots of hiking and exploring for Aaron in all the port stops), but then we found out we were expecting our little bundle of joy, so that got canceled. I think we're long overdue for a vacation together!
10. Are you more of a lie on the beach kind of person on vacation, or do you prefer to see the sights?