Looks Like Trouble

P’s fall semester has officially started. Since this is only his first week, it’s too soon to tell how P’s new schedule will affect Monster. Last night I forgot that P told me he’d probably be home early, since he only had a lab…and well, you don’t usually do much on the first day of a lab if you haven’t had a class yet.

So, I decided to cook dinner for Monster and myself, since I didn’t think P would be home until much later. While I was doing food prep, I tried to distract Monster by playing an episode of Curious George for him on the computer. It worked for about 10 minutes, but then he wanted me to sit with him and watch it. Luckily those 10 minutes were enough time to get everything chopped up and into the pan AND start washing the dirty, non-dishwasher friendly dishes that had built up over the day. I can’t remember why, but I stepped away from the sink for a couple of minutes (I think it was to wipe down Monster’s highchair tray from lunch). Monster had been playing next to me in the kitchen drawers he could reach. When I walked away, he took that as his cue to “improvise” a step stool and get into the drawer that is just out of his reach.

I must admit, I was pretty interested to see what he would do once he got the drawer open. He proceeded to first pull out all the sharp kitchen utensils (pizza cutter and vegetable peeler – you know, the ones we don’t let him play with), hold them up to me and proclaim “sharp!” before handing them to me. *Sigh* Don’t worry – he didn’t get hurt. When he sees us using these items and wants them we tell him “No, they’re sharp”, so consequently, “sharp” is what he calls all these kitchen items. I don’t think he knows the definition of sharp, but he does know that he’s not supposed to touch sharp items.

Sharp, Momma!

Monster then had fun playing with the rest of the kitchen utensils in that drawer in the dishwater in the sink. Yep – looks like it’s time to baby-proof this drawer.

This looks interesting…

Oh – hello!

 

Dinner…chicken, tomatoes, and onions – yum, yum!

What has your little one gotten into lately?

CSA Adventures – Week 12

Well, our CSA is now officially more than half-over. Noo! Luckily there’s still 10 weeks of yummy vegetable goodness to enjoy!

Monster has really been enjoying our trips to the farm. He loves helping me select our share for the week – especially picking out the tomatoes (he really likes helping with this…I have to keep a close eye on him to make sure we don’t end up going home with more than our share).  He enjoys eating the tomatoes as much as he enjoys picking them out – Monster has usually snacked on a couple of cherry tomatoes before we’ve even left the farm. He also enjoys “talking” to the farmers and other customers, petting the dog, and looking at all the fun trucks and tractors on the farm.

Packing the veggies

Anyway – I digress. On to this week’s share!

The Haul:

  • 1 lb of carrots
  • 1 lb of eggplant
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 qt of beans
  • 3.5 lbs of heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 lbs of green tomatoes
  • 1 pt cheery tomatoes
  • 1 garlic head
  • 4 peppers

Week 12’s share

Our CSA gave us a recipe for fried green tomatoes this week that sounded interesting. I meant to make it this past weekend for brunch, but it slipped my mind and now our green tomatoes are…not green. 🙂 . I’ve been making variations of this stuffed peppers recipe the past couple weeks. Still haven’t found a winner yet, but maybe the third time will be the charm. The lettuce was delicious and made a beautiful salad. All the ripe tomatoes have been finding their way into dinner one way or another these days. I love me some fresh tomatoes! Really – sometimes I don’t know why I bother eating them when they’re out of season – they just don’t taste the same!

I’m stumped on what to do with the eggplant and carrots. I feel like I’ve exhausted my arsenal of eggplant recipes, which just means I need to find some new ones. Luckily the carrots will keep for another week if i don’t find any “inspiration” for them.

As always, I’m linking up to the “What’s in the Box?” party over at In Her Chucks. Check it out!

17 Months!

Sometime between 16 and 17 months, Monster suddenly started looking so much older to me. Where did my baby go? While every month is better than the last, it’s also bittersweet to admit that my baby is now a full-fledged toddler. Luckily, he hasn’t grown tired of his momma’s kisses and still enjoys snuggling. It’s going to be a sad, sad day for me when Monster eventually decides he’s too old for that!

This month was a big one for Monster. He cut all 4 of his canine teeth! Poor little Monster-man had a very rough week of it, and we all lost a lot of sleep. On the bright side, Monster has all his teeth except for his 2 year molars. Hopefully those come through soon (and quickly) so we can put all this teething pain behind us.

Monster has become our little shadow – he’s constantly trying to copy what we do and say. While he’s still learning to say two syllable words, his vocabulary has really expanded this month to include: toothbrush, garage, garbage, lawn mower, squirrel, button, and mail truck (just to name a few). Some words, like garage and garbage, usually sounds like “gargee” and “garbagee” – so P and are probably the only ones who understand those words, but sometimes he is able to say the word correctly. He loves waving/saying hello and goodbye to everyone, and he loves giving hugs. Yesterday he even started giving kisses. He can identify his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, belly, fingers, and toes.  His favorite books this month are “I Love You Through And Through” and the Curious George books we checked out of the library for him.

In addition to identifying cats and dogs, he also correctly identifies bunnies, monkeys, squirrels, bears, birds, and ducks. Cats and dogs are still his favorites though!

We’ve started potty training Monster. Last week, he asked to use the potty to go poop for three days straight! He hasn’t asked to use the potty to go poop this week, although he’s has asked to use it to go pee. He even asks to use it when he’s taking a bath – hooray! While we recognize that it will be amazing if Monster is potty-trained by the end of this year, the small steps he’s making now are still super exciting.

Monster is very active and loves climbing, jumping, running, and walking. When he gets really tired he enjoys spinning around in circles to keep himself awake. He is such a clown sometimes!

We’ve been trying to teach Monster how to count to 10. He’s got 1-2-3 down so far and really enjoys grouping things into twos. Soon, we’re going to start more actively teaching him the ABC’s.

Watching Monster grow is truly a joy. As I said to P the other day, having Monster makes life so much richer and fulfilling. It’s sounds so cheesy but it’s so true. Words fail me when I try to describe how much better life is now that Monster is here – after 17 months of trying to describe it, I’ve come to the conclusion that the right words don’t exist. But if you have children, you know what I mean.

Happy 17 Months, Monster! I love you so much! Can’t wait to see what the next month brings!

Just relaxing…making a mess…you know…

Odds and Ends – Volume 1

Our past week, in summary:

  • This past Friday, Monster received a lawn mower from his Great Aunt J. He’s barely stopped playing with it since we put it together Saturday morning. If we let him, I’m positive he would sleep with it.
  • I’ve written previously about making more of an effort to take technology breaks. Some days I’m better than others, but this past weekend, I think I only got on the computer once a day to check e-mail and Facebook. It was wonderful! Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this trend up.
  • This past Saturday we painted our garage. And by we, I mean P and my dad. Monster and I watched. I forgot to take a before picture until they were almost done painting the first coat. Whoops! It was yellow and now it’s white. It looks so much better now!
  • Our tiny garden is basically non-existent at this point. Our cucumber and pumpkins got blight and our hot pepper plant was eaten (by heaven knows what). All that is thriving is our sweet basil, although now that I’ve written this I’m sure something will eat that as well. 😉
  • Along those same lines, last week we found out that the farm we get our CSA goodies from has tomato blight. The farmer and her assistants put in a ton of time last week trying to save what was left of the crop. They picked all the green tomatoes and put them in storage with the hopes of them ripening up. I guess we’ll find out later this week if they were successful, but what a bummer! As the French saying goes “C’est la vie.”
  • Monster is getting his canine teeth. According to his baby book, he only needs his 2 year molars now. Woohoo ! We can almost see the light at the end of the teething tunnel.
  • I’m battling yet another cold. Weather changes + teething baby + even less sleep than usual + too much sugar = cold. You think by now I would have learned my lesson and started going to bed earlier and cut back on the sugar. Apparently I only learn some things the hard way.
  • P’s fall semester starts on Saturday. Commence freak-out! I apologize in advance for any whining that may occur over the next couple weeks. It was so nice having him around a lot this summer. Oh well, all good things must come to an end.
  • It looks like fall weather may have officially arrived. Wippee! My favorite season! J
  • Since I’m on the topic of fall – did you know the stores are already promoting Halloween? Sheesh! But now that I’ve seen the costumes out I’ve been busy thinking of costume ideas for Monster. Last year he was a lion. Some idea’s P and I have been kicking around: Tarzan, Yoda, or a monkey. I still haven’t decided if we’ll take Monster trick-or-treating this year or not, so if he doesn’t go, it’s not like he really needs a costume…but it would be fun to dress him up! Thoughts/suggestions? If you have small child(ren) have you started thinking about costumes yet?

Pictures from this week:

Ohh – water fountain!

This is FUN!

Goodbye yellow wall…

…hello white wall

That was our past week in a nutshell. Hopefully now that my cold is slowly dissipating I’ll be back to posting more frequently. This past week I’ve been skipping writing posts in favor of going to bed earlier.

Monk! Monk!

I’ve recently started helping our neighbor walk her dogs. It gets me some exercise and it also helps out our neighbor, so in those respects, it’s a win-win.

It also gives P more one-on-one time with Monster, which is nice since he’ll be starting back to classes in a couple short weeks and won’t get to spend as much time with him. Unfortunately, we typically don’t walk until later in the evening, which means that Monster is getting tired and cranky. Not really an ideal situation for daddy-son bonding time.

What makes a tired, cranky toddler, less tired and cranky? Curious George, of course! One day, in an effort to distract Monster while I left, P decided to play an episode of Curious George for Monster. And boy did he love it! Monster has taken to George more than I would have imagined – and now clamors for him multiple times of day – “Monk! Monk!”  he says when he sees the TV (we’re still working on most two syllable words).

For now, Monster is only allowed to watch Curious George right before bedtime or while I’m out walking. The system seems to be working well, although I feel like a sell-out for already allowing Monster to watch TV.

Relaxing with his monkey

Along those lines, P and I have been brainstorming other (non-TV) ways to incorporate Curious George into Monster’s life, since he seems to enjoy him. Monster has a half-birthday coming up, so we’re thinking of using that as an excuse to get him a Curious George book and perhaps a stuffed animal (although Monster already has too many stuffed animals). He has a Monkey teething toy that he’s taken to carrying around lately and he he’ll point out the monkey’s ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and toes when you ask him to, in addition to making the monkey “jump”. It’s really cute to watch!

What are some of your child’s favorite non-TV activities?

Nail Marbling Tutorial?

B is stopping by with some more nail polish tips.

Marbling…disaster?

Now that I successfully finished watching the first season of Suits (seriously addicted to that show!!) I decided to take some time and marble my nails. I am heading out to the O.A.R concert tomorrow night and thought I would attempt (key word) to marble my nails to match my outfit. The results were some what lack luster. But the silver and blue nails will match my outfit (win!).

As I mentioned in my previous post I had yet to master the art of nail marbling without getting polish all over my hands.  After my recent marbling attempt, it’s definitely still a work-in- process. The way marbling works (my sources were youtube videos) is you put lukewarm water in a Dixie cup, then drip nail polish into the water, create a design with a wooden nail stick, and skillfully dip your nail into your design.  I should’ve watched the youtube videos again, because I forgot a key step is after your finger has been dipped in the water, you use the stick to clear the excess polish away from your submerged nail to decrease the amount of polish that will end up on your hands. I definitely forgot this until I was half way done, oh how I wish I’d remembered. Another key step that I decided to forego was putting tape around my finger nail (so that you’re not stuck with polish all over your hands). Why did I decide to forgo this pivotal step? I was relatively certain that 1) I wouldn’t get that much polish on my hands and 2) it’s not that hard to take nail polish remover to my hands when I’m done.  My unskilled marbling abilities resulted in lots of polish ending up all over my fingers and my hands are still somewhat blue (see picture below) because the nail polish remover didn’t quite do the trick. Also, because I couldn’t exactly get a design down…none of my nails look remotely the same (which is really what is supposed to be the end result. Oh well!)

Marbled Nails

What I learned from my second foray into marbling is that I need to work on my design abilities and it’s probably a really good thing that even though my nails look like Monster might have taken a nail marker to my nails (a-la his artistic workings on the walls) and went crazy with it…I’m ok with having my nails look slightly disastrous.  I figure as long as I can rock my nails with a bit of confidence, who the hell cares if they’re not perfect?

I must say, however, that after my marbling experience, I’m slightly nervous to see how my gemstone nails are going to look. While not as messy, it definitely seems as though it is going to be a more time-consuming effort. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes! Until then, here’s a pic of my left hand (my right hand looks similar). Please ignore the slightly blueish look on my fingers. Still working on getting all that polish off…

Thanks, B, for guest posting today!

CSA Adventures Week 10 – Tomato Gazpacho

Here we are at week 10 of our CSA share and I think we finally might have all our veggies eaten before the next pick-up. Hooray!

This week’s share is:

  • 1.5 lbs of eggplant
  • 1.5 lbs of carrots
  • 4 lbs of heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 quart of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch of garlic
  • 1 quart of beans
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 head of lettuce

Week 10’s Share

This week’s meal plan includes: chicken salad, tomato gazpacho, sautéed swiss chard, lightly boiled green beans, and carrots and cherry tomatoes for snacks. The zucchini was given to our neighbors as a gift. I need to come up with something creative to do with the eggplant, scallions, and parsley. Hmm…

This week, we got a recipe for tomato gazpacho in our weekly CSA e-mail. Since we were inundated with heirloom tomatoes, it seemed like a good recipe to try!

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 Tbsp, plus 1/2 tsp, kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 5 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 cups cubed French bread
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • Fresh pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • In a food processor, combine the onion, lemon juice, salt, parsley, thyme, garlic, vinegar, and bread.
  • Puree until the mixture is smooth, about 2-3 minutes
  • Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and process another 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper.
  • Puree until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2-4 minutes.
  • Season with pepper.
  • Transfer the soup to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to 1 day.
  • Enjoy!

Tomato Gazpacho

We made this for lunch today, along with BLTs. My brother and sister-in-law joined us and they said it was good, as did P. I found it to be too salty, and I didn’t add the extra 1/2 tsp. I think maybe I should have packed the bread tighter into the measuring cup, maybe that would have helped to absorb some of the salt. Later, P admitted he found it too “runny” and he would have preferred it chunkier. I also realized as I was typing this up that I forgot the vinegar. Oops! We’ll make this again in the future though, reducing the salt and probably mixing instead of pureeing it.

As always, I’m linking up to the “What’s in the Box?” party over at In Her Chucks.

 

 

Countdown to Christmas

Last November, I decided I wanted to make Monster a Christmas stocking, so I selected a felt stocking kit online and purchased it. I’d never made one before and figured the chances of getting it done in time for Christmas were slim. When it arrived and I read through the directions, I realized there was no way I was going to have it done in time for Christmas, so I didn’t even both starting it.

Instead, I decided to make it a New Year’s Resolution that I would finish it by this Christmas. I finally started working on it last week. And I’ve got to say…I don’t know if it will be done in time. Ha! So far, 2% of the felt pieces have been sewn together – which doesn’t include all the sequins and decorative stitching that also needs to be done. I’m still going to try my best to get it done though – after all, what’s the point of resolutions if you don’t at least try to follow through on them?

Under Construction

Despite the fact I might not meet my goal, I’ve found working on the stocking to be quite relaxing. It’s been so long since I’ve actually worked on any sort of craft, that I think I’m going to make it a habit out of setting some time aside each week to work on it, regardless of how many dirty dishes are piled in the sink or how much dust is currently collecting on the bookshelves. As important as these things are, taking some time for me to recharge and re-energize are just as important.

What do you like to do to relax and recharge?

Our Tiny Garden

We didn’t move into our house in time to plant a garden this year. However, the flower bed next to our front walk was empty, so instead of planting flowers (like normal people would), we decided to use that space to grow a couple of vegetable plants in instead.

We’ve got one cucumber plant, a hot pepper plant, lots of pumpkin plants, and some basil.

Pumpkins (yes, I know, I planted them too close together…)

Hot Peppers – almost ready for picking!

 

As you can see, we’ve got potential for a lot of pumpkins! Some woodland creature has been taken bites out of the pumpkin and cucumber, so we’re not sure if we’ll actually get to harvest any vegetables or if they’ll all get eaten before that point. We also planted watermelon, but it all got eaten (what animal prefers watermelon to pumpkin, i wonder?).

Monster seems to be enjoying watching the plants grow. If/when we actually get produce, I have a feeling that Monster may be over-zealous when it comes to picking the produce, but we shall see.

For now, he’s much more interested in playing with all the leaves that have been falling off our fruit tree.

Raking leaves

 

Taking a break to wave to the neighbors

CSA Adventures – Week 9

Here’s the lowdown on this week’s haul:

  • 1 lb of heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 lbs of red beets
  • 0.4 lbs of mustard greens
  • 2 bunches of carrots
  • 4 peppers
  • 5 cucumbers
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1 quart of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 stalk of garlic
  • 6 basil “tops”

Week 9’s share – minus a couple of cherry tomatoes

This week I’m trying something new and taking a stab at menu planning for the week. The plan of attack for this week’s share: veggie pizza with peppers, garlic  and tomatoes; salad with mustard greens, tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper; stuffed peppers; ; we’re pretty much obsessed with this zucchini side; carrots, kohlrabi, and remaining cherry tomatoes will be used as snacks. The majority of the cukes were made into dill refrigerator pickles. The beets are going to be made into these pancakes tomorrow morning. Loving the color – hope they taste as delicious as they look! There’s not much basil, so it will probably be added in to the stuffed peppers or zucchini side to add another level of flavor.

I spent tonight after Monster went to bed making pickles and prepping the beets for tomorrow’s pancakes (did everything but puree them). I had a blast – who knew staying in on Saturday night could be so much fun! 😉

Pickles!

As always, I’m linking up to the “What’s in the Box?” linky party over at In Her Chucks. Check it out!

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