Monday, July 28, 2008

Reality TV

I had reality TV so this made me laugh...and its true, I have turned my son into my own reality TV for my family and friends (and perfect strangers on this blog!)

Reader's Digest Joke

So I was reading Reader's Digest and this joke got me. A tourists asks a tour guide in England when the Magna Carta was signed. The guide says "1215." And the tourists says - darn, we missed it by 30 minutes....what an idiot, but so typical! Does anyone know their history?

Are the Chinese Gymnasts Under Age?

There are questions (as usual) about the Chinese gymnasts being under age. Got to say...most gymnasts you can't tell anyway!

Adam's Weekend

We drove up to Michigan on Friday. We actually got to my father-in-law's and then went on to Grand Rapids to see friends (Tamara and Dave). We were planning to go to the Ford Museum (Gerald Ford, not Henry Ford), but didn't make it in time. We had the family wedding on Saturday and then spent Sunday with Dave (my father in law) before heading back that night.
Adam under the table
Adam chasing a water bottle - this just fascinated him for like two hours!
"Helping" PaPa baby proof the kitchen cabinets!
Trying to get to the cat through the door! Cotton didn't really enjoy Adam!

Wedding Reception

We went to one of Ray's cousin's wedding this weekend. It was a nice wedding, but the minister was older than Moses and mumbled so badly you could only hear every fourth word! The reception had AWESOME food and we had a decent time, but Adam didn't enjoy that he was cooped up. We made a playpen out of our chairs so he could crawl around a bit, but I think that boy wanted on the dance floor!
Trying to escape through PaPa
We had him in slacks and a nice shirt, but you can see he ended the night in his shirt and diaper!

Crawling Around at PaPas

Adam is quite the crawler now! He definitely wants to walk though - you can see he repeatedly tries to get those legs under him!

video

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Harvest

We got the first veggies out of our garden! Yummy!! We also got green beans, not pictured here.
Now I froze the zucchinis as I want it for making lasagna all winter. I blanch all my zucchini although I think I'm going to make the next batch into zucchini bread! I might then freeze a few loaves of that.

Now I've never made traditional lasagna (which I do like). We always made zucchini lasagna when I was growing up because we always had a TON of zucchini. Now I'm putting my recipe here, but a warning....I have never measured anything for this recipe in my life! It is more of a process than a recipe...adjust to your liking! My husband also insists this isn't lasagna, its a casserole, but oh, who cares!

Zucchini Lasagna

3 cans of tomato sauce
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
4 oz mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried Italian seasonings
1 tsp dried parsley
2 oz Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste (okay, all the above are approximations as I never actually measure, I just dump in and then taste it and see what I need to add, but these are all the spices I use)
4 cups zucchini (or you can do 2 cups zucchini and 4 lasagna noodles..I rather like that combination and it adds some form to the dish...we've also added sausage from time to time, but I don't really like that particular combination...I also usually use frozen, defrosted, zucchini here but you can also use fresh, it just usually takes a little longer), sliced
1 container cottage cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese
8 oz cheddar cheese

In a sauce pan, warm tomato sauce. Add all the vegetables and spices. Taste to make sure the seasonings are right.

Layer the lasagna into the pan. First put down a layer of zucchini (or zucchini and noodles), then cover in 1/2 the sauce. Then put down 1/2 of the cottage cheese, then 1/2 of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Then another layer of zucchini, rest of cottage cheese and other cheeses.

Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until bubbly.

What do you do with all your extra zucchini?

Record Player

We found this cool record player and it converts records to CDs!:)

Adam and his Teether


Adam finally figured out that this goes IN his mouth!

Adam's Play Yard

Adam never liked this much when he had to lay in it - never would stay still! But he loves it now that he can crawl around in it. We are working on trying to figure out how to turn in into a crawl through!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Adam's 6 Month Check Up

Adam went to the doctor today. He got more shots (which he didn't enjoy). He is now 28 3/4 inches long and 19 pounds. He is in the 97% percentile for height - definitely a tall boy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Gas in Spain

My aunt just got back from Spain - look at their gas prices! And remember the euro is worth more than the dollar PLUS this is in liters! And we are complaining about what?

Trying to Cruise

Adam got himself standing with the help of his car seat, but then couldn't figure out how to move to the gate as his next stop!

Adam and his Car Seat

Adam decided the toys in the living room weren't good enough - he was playing with the ones on his car seat!

New Hall Rack

Isn't this nice? But it was PAINFUL to put together for Ray!


Notice Ray's shoes sideways - won't fit! And Ray's feet aren't that big, so BAD company who made this!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Let's Cook!

Welcome to this week's edition of the recipe carnival.

What to cook tonight? Try something here!
Professor Bainbridge offers a recipe for grilled boneless leg of lamb in hoisin BBQ sauce. Perfect for a day when it is too hot to cook inside!

You can also try this healthy recipe for Grilled Salmon with Sesame Glaze from Laura at A Weight Lifted.

Want something really different for dinner tonight? Try this great artichoke pesto from Cyndi at Busy Family Meals. If you really want to adventuresome, combine that pesto with this recipe for Chicken Pesto Pizza from An Easy Recipe Blog.

For a cool and carefree day, get out your crockpot (my absolute favorite kitchen invention) and try this Crock Pot Potato Sauerkraut Soup from Crockpot Recipes.

The Phoenix Blog recommends a tortilla and egg recipe.

The Chicken Recipe Blog has an interesting one for Oriental Chicken Wrapped Mushrooms.

It's not October, but you can pretend it is (and with it cooler weather!) with this Impossible Oktoberfest Pie (I hope that impossible means it is impossible to resist, not to make!).

Cooking Capers recommends her Devil's Chicken Wings.

Going to be inundated with zucchini? Try this recipe for Easy Cheesy Zucchini from Lisa at The Frugal Momma.

You can add to any of these meals with this recipe for corn meal biscuits from Silvia at Po Moyemu.

Desserts
Try this great hot chocolate sauce from Famous Recipes...as it is summer, my personal recommendation would be drizzled over ice cream!

With bananas in abundance, try this recipe for banana bread, complete with tips from How To: Tips and Tricks Blog.

I recommend this recipe for Apple Betty. Simply and delicious!

You can make these simple Cinderella cakes with your daughter or try out these candy recipes!

You can use your bread maker to help speed up these cinnamon rolls from the Seabird Chronicles.

Now go have fun with your grills and kitchens! Oh, and because I didn't get it listed here earlier, you can also still visit last week's carnival if you haven't already done so! Remember to submit for next week's, which will be at http://expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Apple Betty

I made this apple cobbler and took to Dawn and Dennis (for Dennis' 40th birthday) today and it was great, plus it is VERY EASY!! And I mean easy...you can't screw this up and it takes no time to prep and then just an hour to bake. Definitely a winner! If you were really wanting to work, you could always make the apple pie filling rather than buy it, but if you are like me - why bother peeling apples? I do for pie, but well, this was pretty good this way!

Apple Betty
Modified from Sandra Lee

cooking spray
2 (21 oz) cans apple pie filling
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 packets instant apple-cinnamon oatmeal, divided [She used one with raisins and spice, but I don't like raisins, so I changed it and then just reduced the amount of cinnamon in the recipe to account for the fact that there was extra cinnamon in my oatmeal]
6 tbsp butter, divided

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9 by 13 casserole dish with cooking spray (she used butter flavored...I say, who cares and I have regular always in the house).

Spread half of the apple pie filling in the bottom of the casserole dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and 1 1/2 packets of oatmeal. Dot with half hte butter. Repeat with rest of ingredients.

Cover with foil and bake for an hour. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes to before serving. Can serve hot or cold (I made this last night and then refrigerated it and took it with me the next day).

Viking Ship Replica

There was a cool article in this month's Smithsonian Magazine about a replica Viking ship that was built and then actually sailed it:
From his bench toward the stern of the Sea Stallion From Glendalough, Erik Nielsen could see his crewmates' stricken faces peeping out of bright-red survival suits. A few feet behind him, the leather straps holding the ship's rudder to its side had snapped. The 98-foot vessel, a nearly $2.5 million replica of a thousand-year-old Viking ship, was rolling helplessly atop waves 15 feet high.

With the wind gusting past 50 miles an hour and the Irish Sea just inches from the gunwales, "I thought we'd be in the drink for sure," says Nielsen, 61, a retired geologist from Toronto.

Got to say, though...I don't think those Vikings had surival suits!

The article includes information on this voyage, the replica and some Viking material. I found this piece hilarous:
In 845, the Viking raider and extortionist extraordinary Ragnar Lothbrok slipped up the Seine with 120 ships—an estimated 5,000 men—to Paris, where King Charles the Bald paid him 7,000 pounds of gold and silver to leave in peace. (A contemporary wrote that "never had [Ragnar] seen, he said, lands so fertile and so rich, nor ever a people so cowardly.")

So typical! Definitely check out this article as well as all the cool extra features on the website.

Articles

In the MAC newsletter, there is an article about home videos. Quite interesting because this is a media often ignored except for "famous" people, but home videos can give us a glimpse into lifestyles. Some major issues of course will be deciding how to choose ones to keep and then long term preservation as we have to worry about deterioration or, if they are digital, of changing formats.

Pulling Himself Up!

Adam managed to pull himself up on Ray's leg to standing tonight! As a note, that spectular fall at the end - never cried - he was after binky, which he got!

video

Friday, July 18, 2008

Our NEW car

We bought our first NEW car today! We bought a 2008 Saturn Vue! This took most of the day as the paperwork alone takes hours, but it is now ours (and the bank's, of course). Isn't it pretty? Since Ray's dad works for GM, we got the employee pricing and we also got a rebate, so we did pretty good on the price. We traded in the Lumina...which served us very well, but was a 1995 and definitely getting the worry point of repair issues. We didn't want to have to put more into the car than it was worth (which wasn't much!).

New Dining Room Table

Well, new to us. This was Ray's gramma's table (Gramma Weber) and since she has gotten a new (smaller) one, she donated this one to us! We are very excited as now we can finally fit more than 4 people comfortably at our table!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

MY SIX MONTH OLD!!!

My baby is already 1/2 a year old!
Adam just out of the hospital
Adam today!
Adam today eating sweet potatoes (the bowl was good as well!)
I was thinking of all the things he's learned so far (and this is just some of them!):
  1. The difference between night and day (he is sleeping through the night!)
  2. What his bottle is and what to do with it
  3. How to eat off a spoon and eat vegetables
  4. How to roll over
  5. How to sit up
  6. How to stand with help
  7. How to use his walker
  8. How to crawl
  9. How go after the cat (oh, he loves that cat!)
  10. How to smile
  11. How to laugh
  12. How to talk (in his own language, of course!)
  13. How to get Mommy and Daddy's attention
  14. How to take a bath without screaming
  15. How to go to places he wants to be!

He's such a big boy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Movies

I haven't been watching too many movies, but a few I did watch:

  • Cars (my father rented it for Adam) - cute, but it was just an animated version of Doc Hollywood!
  • Walk the Line - that was okay, but not great.
  • 27 Dresses - HILAROUS!!! Definitely a chick flick, but girls - have fun and watch it!

Oh, the new X-Files movie comes out soon and I can't wait to see that one!

Reading List

I thought I’d list some books I’ve read in the last few months. I’ve actually been reading, just slowly (not surprising, right). It just takes me forever to finish a book, it seems. Anyway, I’ve picked out a bunch of recent reads to share.

Perfect Poison by Jim and Joyce Lavene
This is like the fourth book in a series. This definitely was a surprise ending and very well done. I was really impressed. Her shop was flooded and so she did a big redo, which should be interesting for future books. I also really like her boyfriend/side kick, although he wasn’t in this as much. Her son got back together with his old girlfriend, an assistant medical examiner, which worked well. The main sleuth, Peggy, is now officially working with the policy as a botanist, which really adds something to this book. Definitely worth a read!

Frill Kill by Laura Childs
Again here, cozy mysteries need to spend some time in the shop (I complained about this a few months ago about other series)! This was a good book, but I really miss that aspect. This one did go more into Ava, Carmela’s friend and co-conspirator, but still, I would have liked more time with her shop. The fashion world doesn’t interest me, so that might have also contributed as Carmela was investigating the death of a model.

Sign of Seven Trilogy, Book 2, by Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts’ new series is set in the small town of Hawkins Hollow. As usual, she is off the beaten track with the group fighting a demon. She has seriously been getting stranger and stranger and I really thought I would end up disliking her new series, but I still do. Although I usually dislike anything like this (demons, vampires, etc.), she does characters so well, I can look past that and still enjoy the book. The last book comes out in December and I will be reading it. What was really funny, though, was that I actually read some of this aloud to Adam. Right now, he doesn’t care what we read, it just likes to be held and read to, so we read whatever is at hand – our textbooks, our reading books, etc. I read student finals to him one day.

Controlling Interest by Elizabeth White
I have really been enjoying Elizabeth White’s books and this one was also very good. We get a revisit of characters from an older book (Off the Record) as well as the current story. Matt and Natalie are forced to work together on a case as Natalie’s dad has bought shares in Matt’s detective agency. The girl they are looking for is supposed to be coming to the US to marry someone her father has picked out (she is Pakistani), but it turns out she has converted to Christianity and wants to marry an American. They eventually find her as well as help her get out of the arranged marriage (the man she was supposed to marry was a complete jerk), but we don’t get to find out what happens to her as her father disowns her although she is with the American she went looking for. I hope that will be a future book!

Dyer Consequences by Maggie Sefton
The last book in this series left us hanging on some points that continue in this one. Kelly, the main character, has bought a canyon place, as she dreamed of, but is constantly being vandalized since then. Eventually she figures out that is connected to her new place and works out who is behind it. Her relationship with her boyfriend continues very slowly, although he is a great sideline character. I also really like this setting – Colorado and a knitting shop.

A Touch of Grace by Lauraine Snelling
I love this entire set of series set in Blessing, ND. This is book three of the Daughters of Blessing series and focues on Grace Knutson, who is deaf. As usual, this is a winner of a book, although I must admit she spent some of the book in New York and I never like it when they leave the family, as that is part of the charm. I found out that there will be a fourth book in this series and then an entire series on Astrid, which made me SO HAPPY!!

The Sommerfeld Trilogy by Kim Vogel Sawyer
This is an excellent Christian fiction series. The last book, Blessings, is by far the best. The books are set in an Amish community in Kansas. The first book features a woman who comes back to Amish roots, the second is her daughter, who chooses to live in the town, but stay in the “world.” The third features an Amish girl and her struggle to become a vet. All are well done and great reads. I often find most Christian fiction authors tend to always have the girls leave their Amish communities and it is nice to see one where they come back and stay.

That’s it for now, but I came back from Alaska with a bunch of new books to read!

Eating Sweet Potatoes

This is Adam's first vegetable - he is doing better now. This was the very first attempt and we didn't think to dilute it (dumb parents), which I think contributed. We are now mixing with rice and he is eating it well. Next week, we'll try a new veggie!

video

Watching Baby Einstein

Heading for the Kitchen


Nora Roberts Movies

Lifetime has recently showed two Nora Robert’s books made into movies (probably because she just had a new book come out). Now as a rule, I don’t like movies made from books if I’ve read the books, but I tried again. I love Nora Roberts’ books – definitely a weakness of mine and really the only romance author I still read, but I can’t help it – I enjoy them. Anyway, I watched Montana Sky and Angel Falls, which were both good books. The movies, though, were just cheesy. You lose the depth of character in the movie and so it just is a cheesy romance with a little bit of suspense thrown in (and since I already knew the ending, not too exciting even there). Plus I can’t say I agreed with their casting. For instance, Reece in Angel Falls – totally wrong in my mind and very badly played. Willa in Montana Sky was a good choice, but still, you really don’t get her in the movie version, but the sisters, who really get developed in the book, are more blips that anything. Their stories really get simplified to the point of ridiculous. I mean, I know you have to simplify and some of it is fine and I can recognize entire dialogue scenes, but you start cutting too much and you really don’t get the entire picture anymore. Anyway, very disappointing as usual, but hey, one day maybe, they will do a good job of making a movie from a book! As a note, the first two Harry Potter’s weren’t bad, although from the third on it is a just downward spiral!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Seasme Seed Chicken

I am always looking for new crockpot recipes and lately have been trying to go towards other proteins rather than beef, which I tend to rely on. So I found this recipe (original) for Sesame Seed Chicken (my version) on a Crockpot Recipes blog and was very impressed by it. This is the second recipe I have tried from this site and have enjoyed both of them, so plan to try more from this blog.

Crockpot Sesame Seed Chicken
Modified from Crockpot Recipes

2 1bs chicken breasts [they used thights, but I don't like dark meat, so this is what I used]
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp sesame seeds

[I plan on adding some veggies next time - maybe onions, green peppers and broccoli as this is a little light on being a whole meal.]

Place chicken in the slow cooker. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.

Serves 4 to 6

Update

I got back about a week ago, but am just now really getting caught up. It always seems to take forever to catch up! I think I have most pictures up here now, although not really in any order.

Some major points:
  • Adam is eating vegetables now. We just started sweet potatoes and are still mixing it with rice cereal, but he is eating it.
  • Adam is crawling very well now - chasing the cat is his favorite acitivity! We've really put up gates now and have most of the main rooms baby proofed.
  • We are buying a new car this week or that is the current plan.
  • We are having problems with the cat not using the litter box - she seems to be really looking for attention that we are trying to give her - we are working on it.
  • Ray is taking a Ph.D class now, but is done teaching for the summer. I'm down to just one course currently, but have a TON of prep work to do as I am changing math books in the fall.

Hope you are all doing well!

Adam using the stairs

Adam has figured out how to use the stairs to try to stand up!

This makes it look like his standing, but he really isn't. It just is a cool photo.

Adam and Olga

Fascinated as usual as by the kitty!

Adam's New Discoveries

Adam has discovered the front door (don't worry, I lock that screen door)
Himself in the mirror (also see a video posted below)

Adam and Olga

The cat knows the baby can't get up there so she just sits and torments him!



Adam's New Balls

Adam fell in love with balloons while in Alaska, but they are easy to pop, so we bought him some balls and he just loves to play with them! Plus they keep him moving as he is always losing a grip and they go rolling and he has to go after them!

Adam's First Play Date

Adam had his first play date with my mom's boss' daughter, Evie. She's about 11 months and so was ahead of Adam, although not much bigger. She can crawl really well and is pulling herself up to stand and walk holding on. Adam observed her crawling technique and was crawling by the next day! He was close anyway and she just gave him hints on how to do it!

Adam's Fish

This is my mother's, but Adam loved to stare at it!

Adam About with Grandpa



Adam and Nicole


Adding Adam to the Wall

Grandma measured all us grandkids on this wall - we added Adam to it!

Adam and Uncle Ben


Adam with Uncle Billy

In Uncle Billy's truck
Uncle Billy explaining the Mustang to Adam
Adam in Uncle Billy's Mustang

Adam Chasing Olga

Adam is in love with the cat - he follows her everywhere! She likes to torment him...just lets him get within arm's length and then moving a little way away!

video

Adam's Growth

Look at Adam's Growth!
At about 2.5 months
At 5.5 months

Adam Checking out Himself

Adam has discovered himself in the mirror!

video

Adam's Foot Fetish

My son is OBSESSED with feet! Seriously! He just loves feet. These are of my cousin, Kelsey's, feet, but everyone's feet is interesting to him - as well as his own!
Adam playing away!


video

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Adam Crawling Today

Look at how fast and well he moves now!

video

Recipe Carnivals

I'm a bit behind in my postings, so here are the last few recipe carnivals:

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Adam Today

Adam out panning with the guys!
Adam and Grandma!

Adam Trying to Climb Stairs

Adam trying to climb stairs! Just learned to crawl and already going places!

video

Adam

We've been having trouble with Adam trying to run into the mantle, so they created a bumper pad of pillows!
Adam was eating the paper, so Grandpa joined in!

4th of July Mine Trip

We always go to our "gold mine" over the 4th of July. It really is just a place we have a cabin and we put in sluices to try to find something. We always find a little - it is just the thrill of the hunt. We have a vial with a little bit in it that we had to every year - all it means is bragging rights! We were cleaning the cabin (see the story below) and realized that we built the cabin in 1989, we've been going there almost 20 years. Since I live outside, I haven't been a few years, so it was great to go. We didn't take Adam - with him not being able to walk, it just is too hard. He'll go when he's older. He stayed home with Grandma and Great - he was fine, although I worried like crazy. Grandma and Greatie had a great time with him, though and he was a perfect doll.

We went in on Thursday and it went pretty good, but the last mile or so was a mess and so we didn't take the truck all the way in. We unloaded the 4-wheeler and then packed all the stuff in that way. Billy took the first load in and when he came back, he had news - a bear had been in the cabin and made a royal mess. We've had bear trouble before - almost always black bears as they are the pests. This one Dad thinks has been around a few years. Some of the cousins saw him last year and just scared him off - the problem is that once a black bear finds easy food (cabins), they always come back. Normally, they steer clear of people, but once they find that food, they always remember. We only leave dried/canned stuff and pack it good, but even then, if they smell something, they go for it. While this time, the bear got in and wrecked the place. The bear got in through the window (which we put shutters on and nail shut).


So we cleaned up on Thursday night (we burned what we couldn't salvage and I spent a lot of time washing dishes) and then Friday night when Billy went out to pee, he saw the bear right outside the door - close enough to touch it. So this time, they got the guns out and shot it as it ran up the hill. Although Billy hit it, it still ran off - bears are hard to kill outright. In the morning, they went looking and found blood, but never found the bear. We hope it's dead as we don't want to it to suffer, but we also don't want it back - once they get into a cabin, they are very dangerous as they will continue to come back. We had another black bear around the cabin when we were there a few years back as well. If the bear is wounded somewhere, something else (a grizzly most likely) will probably track and eat it. We've seen grizzlies up there as well, but never in the cabin - that's black bears. We try to leave the wildlife to itself, but sometimes, you can't help it. Bears also love gas and oil - they drink it and no, it doesn't kill them. You have to bury it or put up high all gas and oil cans if you expect them to be there the next time.

But other than the bear, we had gorgeous weather and a great time. Chris and Channing came up for a day and Pete, the claim down from us, also came over to visit.

Dad cleaning the sluice box - you can see the cheaters over his sun glasses!

Billy calling Mom from the top - we only get service in certain spots. I thought it was funny - middle of nowhere and the cell phone!


My father HATES flip flops, but couldn't find his tennis shoes he left up there (the bear probably drug them somewhere), so had to wear these that someone left. It amused Billy and I to no end!


Dad panning and Billy working his sluice box. Dad also had the dredge out for awhile, but didn't get much from it.
As we left yesterday, we got a really cool thunderstorm through the canyon and then a great view of Mt. McKinley! We didn't get home until about 1 AM last night - my father was actually up that late!