Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adam's New Puzzle

We are upgrading Adam to harder puzzles - real puzzles! We have two wooden 12 piece ones that he is really liking and can pretty much do on his own. We just got this "floor puzzle" of dinosaurs (which he loves). It is 24 pieces and 2 feet by 3 feet. Adam is already in love and it will take him some time to get good at it, which is a good thing as it will be a challenge. Notice though we are doing the "floor" puzzle on the table...we have to watch out for Andrew sabotage! Even the little wooden puzzles...seriously, Andrew knows instantly and hones in! We tried the bed, but its too "squishy" as Adam can't sit still enough.


As a note, our wooden ones come on a "board," which is great as it gives him the dimensions to start with AND he can do it in the car! He'd been pulling the "I need help" on the first one...well, he wanted to take it in the car and I let him (thinking I'd be pulling pieces out of everywhere) and he's working back there...I turn around and he did the entire thing with no help! He so was faking needing help!

Andrew

***Parents Only***



So Andrew is quite the little pooper. I caught him last week behind the recliner (Adam likes to hide there, so therefore so does Andrew)...and realized he'd pooped and got it EVERYWHERE. Seriously - so I drug him out, put him in the tub, got him clean, stuck him in the playpen (he was NOT happy) so I could clean up the living room...which Adam's over interested help....ugh....



Later that day, I find him with a dirty diaper (just pee)...I think he's pulled it from the diaper genie. I take it away. I pick him a little later to realize he was going commando - that was his CURRENT diaper, which he'd pulled off THROUGH his shorts (everything was still snapped!).




Yesterday, I caught him trying to dediaper AGAIN - you can see it is half off here. Turned out he'd pooped, so a really good thing I caught him! That little escape artist!

Adam's Passport

We are in the process of getting passport cards for the boys, to make it much easier if we decide to go to Canada (or drive to Alaska). So we got Andrew's last week. This week I get an envelope telling me that Adam's birth certificate wasn't good enough. Huh? I got several copies after Adam was born and have been using them for various things since then. No problems. Well, I'm reading the State Department's letter and cmoparing Adam's to Andrew's (who got his) and I realize that there is no embossed seal, which is what the State Department is complaining about. Andrew's has one, but Adam's doesn't. So I went back to the Vital Statistics and made them fix it. Who knows why the clerk on the day I got Adam's didn't do it and no one else has noticed, but the State Department sure did! So because some clerk was half-asleep one day, I got to drive to Akron and bac againk and fight with downtown parking...

Backyard Fun

We've had some nice weather, but it has definitely been iffy in that the weather changes a lot and so its hard to venture far, but the backyard is easy! Andrew took advantage to completely cover himself in dirt...twice!


Outfit #1


Outfit #2


Didn't I do a good job?

Park Fun

With the warmer weather, we are heading back to the park, much to the boys' pleasure! Adam has figured out how to climb the ladders!

Adam was afraid of this last year!
What cute brothers!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Tangled

We rented (on DVR) Tangled for Adam last week - rain, rain, rain...why not? - anyway, it is cute movie, very appropriate for modern little girls and typical Disney. There is some darned funny scenes!

Anyway, so that got me thinking...what ist the real Rapunzel story? As I know Disney always taks a lot of license! So I got my Grimm's...oh, yeah, about al that is the right is the hair and the names!

So the real Rapunzel....here's the gist....this childless woman sees a secret garden and wants something from it, so her husband steals it...and she continues to want it, so he does it more...the witch catches him and says she wans their firstborn - Rapunzel....who she takes. Rapunzel is the same name as the stuff the lady was craving, by the way (different names, but according the story means the same). So, the witch hids her and her hair in a tower. Along comes a prince, who sees her, falls in love. Witch gets mad, tosses Rapunzel into the desert and leaves her (after cutting her hair). Prince is all sad, looks forever...finally finds her and her twins (really don't get where the twins came from...did she sleep with the prince? No idea....) and they finally are somewhat happy. Rapunzel's real parents never see her again.

Ah, the real Grimm's....much more dark!

Gas Prices

I don't know about where you are, but here not only are gas prices high, but they are so RANDOM. Usually within the same general area, gas is relatively similar in the prices - within a penny or two per gallon. But now - I can see a 30 cent difference within a mile of each other! Like I just drove through Kent and two gas stations, both on the main drag, with probably 1/2 mile where a dime different! Definitely a crazy gas time!

Will this week be better?

I just got up to yet more rain! UGH!

So last week was an....interesting....week. With all the rain, we were mostly trapped inside and the boys definitely have cabin fever.

So Monday we made it to the library for story hour, but I had a ton of grading and Ray was going to have a late night....so, of course, the boys didn't want to nap. Ray actually came home between his last class and his late meeting so I could get SOME grading done.

Then Tuesday morning Andrew decides to completely miss his diaper and poop absolutely EVERYWHERE behind the chair in the living room, making a HUGE mess. So I scrub...and scrub some more....such a fun way to spend an hour (with Andrew, who was tubbed and cleaned up first, screaming from his playpen so I CAN deal with it...it was absolutely necessary) or so.

Then on Wednesday, Adam, who hasn't had a pee accident in weeks, has one at the speech therapist's office. To add to this, I hadn't brought in his backpack...and his extra pants were in Andrew's diaper bag....which was with Ray at work! AGH! So Adam ended up leaving in just his pull up.

Thursday I got to go Easter grocery shopping with all the crazies as I was behind. Not horrible, just not what I wanted to do. I also got a ton of papers in to grade in preparation for the end of term and no motiviation to do them.

Friday we had dentist appointments, which went well, but still not a ton of fun. I got yet more papers and did manage to get them graded, but not really a ton fo fun. I really must say - please follow directions to my students!

Saturday we did get to go to the Easter Egg Hunt and have decent weather and I got some Easter cooking done, although it took much longer than anticipated. I actually was almost done and ran out of cupcake wrappers....so fun! Had to run to the store at 10:30 at night!

We had a really nice, quiet, Easter, but a long Mass (and it really wasn't extra long...our priest is great) was hard on the boys. The ham was yummy, though (ran out of toothpicks as I was prepping it....Ray had to find a store that was open to get me more....not well prepared!).

I am hoping for a better week...heck, just less rain would be better! The term in question ended last night, so I have two classes to finalize grades for (including grading final exams) by tomorrow, when grades are due (yep, that fast of turnaround...I get why they do it, but it is definitely hard on us professors!).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

I found this recipe to try for cupcakes for overseas. This used up the last of last year's zucchini - ready for this year! I wanted something chocolate for Easter, so I kept out a half dozen for us. These are moist and yummy.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Modified from Simple & Delicious

1 1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt [this was a 6 oz container for me approximately]
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrots
1 can (16 oz) chocolate frosting

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs in one at a time, beating between each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and then add to creamed mixture alternatively with teh yogurt. Fold in zucchini and carrots.

Fill paper lined cupcake cups 2/3rds full. Bkate at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes beforeing removing from pans to cool on racks.

Frost cupcakes.

Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen [they say 21...I'm not sure if they use bigger cupcake wrappers...I used "regular" ones and got 5 1/2 dozen out of two batches]

Fish Tacos

This was my new fish recipe for Lent. I've seen various fish taco recipes and so decided that's what I was trying. We liked this fish...we didn't like the cabbage slaw (not listed), but RR had two versions of a slaw (and two fish tacos), so we'll try the second one next time and add it in if it is good. She also made a guacamole with this, but we detest avacado, so I didn't do that and left that off as well. I liked that this fish was seasoned as most of the "fish tacos" I've seen don't do that and that is what makes it a "taco" to me.

This is also "one" serving, but you can just do as many fillets as you have people and you'd be good. How many tacos you get depends on the size of your taco and all that. She put all of it on one and a "burrito."

Fish Tacos
Modified from RR's Big Orange Book

1 (6 oz) mahimahi fillet [I did use mahimahi, which I like, but you can use any basic white fish here]
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp grated lime zest
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
salt to taste
tortillas

Rub fish with 1/2 tbsp of oil and season with lime zest and seasonings. Heat the rest of the oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook the fish for 7-8 minutes, turning once. Break fillet into flakes with a fork.

Pile onto tortilla to serve as tacos.

Serves 1.

Egg Rolls

I don't normally like egg rolls because the ingredients are too big so you get only one thing, not a mixture. But my friend, Mo (who was just deployed, so keep her in your prayers), made these and they are excellent because she minced everything and it is heavy on meat. These are definitely yummy! We will be making these ourselves! It is so nice when you make at home, you can customize, and here that is really useful!

Egg Roll
Modified from Better Homes and Gardens

8 egg rolls skins
1/2 lb ground pork
1 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup bok choy or cabbage, made small [if you don't want to bother, use extra carrots in place of...or something else you want!]
1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts [I wouldn't say I like these, but diced finely, these are good!]
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Cook pork, ginger and garlic for 2-3 minutes until meat isn’t pink. Drain fat.

Add in veggies. Stir-fry 2 more minutes. Combine soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add to skillet and cook and stir for 1 minute. Cool slightly.

For each roll, place egg roll skin on a flat surface with a corner pointing towards you. Spoon about ¼ cup pork filling on it and just below center of egg roll skin. Fold bottom corner of it, tucking it under the other side. Fold side corners over filling, forming an envelope. Roll egg roll towards remaining corner. Moisten top with water, Press to seal.

Heat oil/shortening to 365. Fry egg rolls, for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain and then keep warm in 300 degree oven.

You can serve with sweet and sour sauce (also in cookbook) or Chinese-style hot mustard. I like it plain.

Makes 8 egg rolls.

Easter

We had a nice, relaxed Easter at home. I read at Mass in the morning and the boys were pretty good and Mass actually wasn't that long. I just wish it wouldn't have rained, but we did get lucky yesterday with good weather for the egg hunts, so I can't complain too much.


Jennie and Adam
Jennie and Andrew

Andrew

Their Easter presents - a backyard BBQ, some clothes and a chocolate bunny for Adam - I thought to have it in the backyard ready for them on Easter morning, but with all the rain here, that was a no go. So it is in the living room until the rain stops.

Adam enjoying his first chocolate bunny!

Adam grilling!


I hid a few eggs at home so Adam could practicing his hunting skills - they need some work!

Largest Fossil Spider

Pretty neat article!

Dating Easter?

This is pretty cool - this professor at the University of Cambridge thinks he can officially date Easter. I have to admit his argument is pretty convincing!

General Update

So what's up with us? Well, with the end of semester coming down, we've been crazy. It has also been raining like crazy and we've all got cabin fever. I want sun! I'm SO sick of rain!

Andrew is walking really well and getting some new teeth. He is the grabbiest boy in the world! He also is a biter - seriously annoying! Andrew is now also done completely with the bouncer. I haven't really been using except as a "trap" when I need to go somewhere really quick or have to clean something (let's just say babies...this can happen) without him....it is for "quick" stuff where he can't be trusted alone (for instance, running to car for the last load of groceries....) as I won't be in hailing distance or can't stop right away. Anyway, I did this for some reason about a day ago. I come back with whatever I needed....he has flipped it over and is crawling with it attached to his back...yep, seriously! Definitely not using that again!

Adam is talking so much better - and arguing more....seriously, the 3's are worse than the 2's for us! He's not bad, just testing a lot. He's totally peed trained, but will NOT poop in the potty. He holds it and does it in his sleep...AGH!!

Ray is really busy with work. I have a term ending tonight, so will be grading a lot tomorrow. Our lives are so much fun...

We are off to AK for a few weeks after the term ends - can't wait to get away for awhile!

Is it finally done?

So I went in on Friday for my permanent bridge....so supposedly I'm done with all this root canal/bridge stuff....do I dare hope I really am? This has been going since when I was pregnant with Andrew and he's turning a year next month! I REALLY need this to be done. The offending tooth is now gone, so hopefully we are finished....but I won't feel safe for awhile, I think. It has been a LONG issue!

Chopped

Okay, so Chopped All-Stars did what they meant and I've been watching regular Chopped. Seriously, though, it makes you wonder about the food safety because they do some really gross things, of which, double dipping is the least of the sins! I mean seriously - bleeding in your food! UGH!!

Some Cool Comics

I saw these and they made me really laugh so I had to share them!

This is SO true. Then there is Kent, who solicits their own professors! From Crankshaft
Feels like my life as both my boys hate anything green. Although Adam now is really into carrot sticks because of Bugs Bunny! Just one more reason that the old cartoons rock! From Baby Blues

Easter Egg Hunt

We got super lucky and had lovely weather on Saturday for the Easter Egg Hunt at our church!


Andrew hunting Easter Eggs - he didn't get it up, but he had fun! He got two eggs himself and the Easter Bunny gave him one more.


Adam hunting for Easter Eggs - it took him a bit, but he got it!


Adam finding Easter eggs

Playing Outside

Saturday was actually pretty nice - the only day recently that we can say that about, so we were, of course, outside.


Adam playing ball
Andrew in his little lawn chair
Adam "spotting" Daddy on the ladder


Andrew stubborning trying to go UP the slide rather than down it. I had Adam try to show him...he didn't care!



Videos:

Adam's first dentist appointment

No cavities and no screaming - a pretty good first visit!

Outside

Any time it has stopped raining, we've RAN outside, but it hasn't been much!

Adam "relaxing" on our walk
Andrew in his baseball cap - this didn't stay on long!

I was trying to eat sand!

Adam decided to put sand IN his trike - storage and transport I guess!

Carrot Top!

Gives new meaning to the name "carrot top!!

Cuyahoga

This is the Cuyahoga in downtown Kent - you can see its running high and fast - we have had SO much rain. Adam and Ray are down there - Andrew and I were waiting at top.

Olga's New Perch

We set up this TV tray so Olga could see the squirrel who likes our back step and fence - she was thrilled!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chocolate Cookie Cupcakes

This is a fun and very kid-friendly recipe. There are lots of jobs for little hands of all ages - as you can see below, Adam did my cookie mashing! As a note, if you frost and serve, you'll get a cruncy topping (Ray ate one the day I made them). Now I gave up chocolate for Lent, so I stored one to try today (Sundays don't count, I usually don't pull that, but I wanted to know if this was a keeper recipe as I'm shipping it overseas...I froze 2 dozen and gave 2 dozen to the Church bake sale) and my topping was soft. Now I LIKE soft topping, so that's okay, but that's something to note. Chocolate Cookie Cupcakes

Modified from Simple & Delicious

1 pkg (18 1/2 oz) white cake mix [I used Betty Crocker]
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1 cup coarsely crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 9 according to recipe) [so these are Oreos....I used the store brand, but its Oreos]
1 can (16 oz) vanilla frosting [okay, I don't frost as much others I guess...this was too much for me and I really tried to add more as I went.]
additional crushed cookies [I guessed about 5, between that and the 9, I ended up with extra]

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, water, oil and egg whites. Beat on low until moistened, then beat on high for 2 minutes [get all the lumps out].

Gently fold in cookie crumbs. Fill paper-lined muffin cups about two-thirds full. [I did get 2 doz as I filled, then went back and evened it up.]

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes [mine took 20 minutes] or until it passes the toothpick test. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Frost cupcakes and decorate with additional cookie crumbs [what I did was just dip the frosted cupcake into the crumbs, which I had put all the extras into a bowl....obviously if you want it more "pretty," you can do the topping by hand.]

Makes 2 dozen.

Adam

Adam knows the important stuff - he knows a John Deere! Now we had to prompt this to get it on video, but he noticed that little logo himself and told us yesterday! He also recognizes PaPa's house in pictures!

Wagon

The boys together in the wagon. Now this looks so cute...what you can't see is they didn't even make it out of the driveway! They are facing each other and when the wagon bounced, they'd run into each other, then Andrew started pulling Adam's hair...you can see that this went downhill fast!

Palm Sunday

Adam with his palm from Palm Sunday Mass today. I really appreciate that our priest actually seems to pay attention to reality and, knowing that this is a very long Gospel (The Passion), he didn't have a homily, so that we were out of there in a resonable amount of time. With little kids I REALLY appreciate that as the boys only have so much behaving time!

Adam's Backpack


Adam has been moved up to a backpack from the diaper bag!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Adam

So Adam recognizes Borders - that's our kid! He also knows who we all are, though! We are working on this talking thing! He obviously knows so much more than he articulates!

Ray's Little Men

I think he has enough....although this is a cat nightmare

Out for a Walk

The boys out for a walk with me. Andrew likes to get out now, but he's not so good on the concept of forward movement!

We tell Adam when we get within sight of the house (and there are no more roads to cross) to "run home" and he does!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cherry Blossoms

This is a pretty cool article on how DC "created" land. DC was a malarial swamp and much of it was unusable, but through the work of the Army, we get "new" land!

Airplane!

Adam always notices a plane overhead...wonder where he learned that?

Park Fun!

With the rain finally going away, we got to go back to the park! It was important, since Andrew spends part of his time on butt/knees, that it was pretty dry, but with the turf I knew this one would dry early and it did. The boys had a blast!
Andrew LOVES tunnels Andrew figuring out how to make music! The boys even did it together for awhile

How I can tell Easter is almost here

Yep...because I FINALLY seem to have a rythym to deal with meat-free Fridays! I even planned ahead this week and when I was making chicken quesadillas, I made a few of the "extras" as straight cheese so we can eat them for lunch on Friday.

Napping Update

Adam has been napping really well with the new "quiet time" and now that we are outside, he's sleeping regularly at that time. Exhaustion helps! Andrew, though, has been a ROYAL pain about it. I know its a reprecussion of being sick and therefore needing to be cuddled, but its really annoying. Ugh....hopefully that will fix itself soon as he NEEDS a nap, much moreso than Adam. He's really hard without it!

Adam Potty Training

Okay, so Adam, when it comes to pee, is completely trained. Like today at Michaels, he comes up to me, "Pee!" We run to the bathroom and I hold him on it (potty seat is in the car as he's too skinny on his own, but I don't want to wast time), he goes, no problems. Awesome! I remind him at opportune times (he can't plan ahead, I can), but he'll tell me if there a need NOW. But, he will not poop on the potty! He never goes while awake (or very seldom), seeming to "hold" it and then poops when sleeping (when he looses control). What do I do? Any suggestions? I'll take any reasonable ones....

Outside Fun

We finally gotten rid of the rain (knock on wood!) and had some great weather. We even finally made it to the park today! You can see Andrew was quite thrilled to get outside into the backyard and on his own! Both Adam and Andrew got into the sandbox - Andrew's first foray! Andrew also has a new skill - stopping, squatting, picking something up, then standing back up to keep going!
Dirty hands!
Andrew was so messy, he had to be bathed!
"Trapped"
Adam's leaf



What's this green stuff?

Hugging my brother!