Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baby Turkey Meatballs!

Baby Turkey Meatballs

Start with 1 lb ground Turkey, then add what you have on hand. Using up some leftover veggies in my parents' fridge last night, we used 1/2 onion, 1/4 green bell pepper, 1/2 apple, 1 handful of grated carrots, 1 egg, and 5 crackers (no breadcrumbs available).

Finely dice all of the veggies, crush the crackers, break the egg, add to the turkey and mix until combined. I shaped small meatballs out of them, put in a pan and added 1 cup of water and covered letting them steam for 10 min. Then I removed the lid, added some EVOO and gently stirred to brown the outsides.

Cool, cut, and serve to baby.

Then be prepared to wipe them from her nose, hair and ears.

On another note, I'm about to iron my one-year-old child's dress. What is this world coming to?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sophie: a love story

A couple of tired balloons danced across our front porch this morning as we filled out a collective neighborhood police report. And for the record: it's still breaking and entering even if the door was unlocked. But that's another story because you are here to read about my little stink's first birthday! During which, I died and went to cheese heaven. Get ready to live.

These are the most adorable invites I had designed by this store at Etsy. There of course was a theme, and it, of course, was giraffes. Ever since Sophie got her little mitts on a Sophie the Giraffe, it's sort of been our mascot. I found that party planning is easier when you have a theme anyhow.

My alarm went off at 6:30am to start the oven schedule (first time for everything - I don't bake and I don't make lists). To back up a step, I realized Friday night that the drawer below my oven is... another oven. So I didn't have to walk food to the neighbor's house to bake!

With the exception of our missing family that all live miles away, we had great representation of our closest friends which we've adopted as our Charlotte family - and Sophie's extended family. Words cannot express our gratitude for these people taking time to come share a toast and a cupcake to celebrate one of Sophie's monumental 'firsts.' Let me just say that the mood inside was way more cheery than the weather outside. Right before we did the whole Happy Birthday routine, giant fluffy snowflakes began to fall. It was such a beautiful and perfect moment I'll never forget (click - sound of mental picture taking). So I've painted the atmosphere, right? Let's get down to business of photos. Here Sophie is with Aunt Heidi taking in her first snowfall.

Bryan made a short and sweet little toast (that I didn't know he was thinking of doing) and we lit one candle and sang Happy Birthday to our sweet baby (this is where I thought I might lose it). She did not cry one tear, so I decided I probably shouldn't either. She took everything in stride, typical Sophie fashion, and then poked at her cupcake for a few minutes. I fed her a bite and the game was on. I think she sucked every sugar morsel from her little fingers and then she and I shared a second cupcake a little later.

Happy Birthday, So-so!

I think she likes cupcakes.

I wanted to get a picture of Sophie and some of her friends that came to celebrate.
This was one of the funniest.

Sophie and Whitney - mutual adoration!

Let's talk about food. My sweet friend Cassie helped me plan the menu for the big day - she is good at this, I am not. I whipped up everything from scratch except for the rolls and the gingerbread. Phew. We had Parmesan thyme crackers, baked ham with rolls, macaroni and cheese, caramelized onion dip, gingerbread cookies with frosting, a champagne bar and some amazing cupcakes. The cupcake batter was from a box, but with the help of dear Helen, I made the icing from scratch.
The spread.

Off the hook cupcakes and toppers.

Champagne bar.

About to start on cupcake #2.

I was worried that I would tear up and cry all day (happy/sad tears) over my baby growing up, but I held it together. One of the sweetest moments for me was when Bryan brought Sophie down from her nap all dressed up for her party. She was wearing the dress I had made for her which I hadn't even tried on her yet. He even had the barrette in her hair that I had set aside for the day. What a proud Papa, he seriously melted my heart (for the thousandth time).

Birthday giraffe dress and table runner: Made with love by Sophie's mama.
Birthday giraffe hat: from this Etsy store.
Birthday invites: designed by this Etsy store and printed at Costco.
Giraffe 1st birthday cupcake toppers: from this Etsy store.
Damask napkins, pink plates, champagne flutes etc: Party City.
Cupcake icing recipe, courtesy Helen Mundy: whip 1 box of cream cheese until creamy, add 3 cups confectioner sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar and combine. add 2 tubs cool whip and keep mixing. add 1/2 of your favorite candy bar crushed, grated or pulsed in food processor (I used a Symphony bar) and use the other 1/2 to top cupcakes. It was seriously ridiculous.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Walkin', for your love, I'm walkin'

On the eve of her first birthday...

Sophie took two steps today in the kitchen. Was it the excitement of much anticipated access to the Tupperware cabinet? Was it watching her friend walk earlier this morning? Who knows. What I do know is that I'm the only witness, I didn't catch it on film and I couldn't get her to do it again all day.

Bryan and I just got home from dinner and drinks with our adopted Charlotte family, and I can't help but let the faucet of motherly emotions trickle a little here to our faithful followers.

I'll catch up to date on what started here: on being a mom.

Months eight and nine

Watching you watching me watching you... she changes and learns something new every day. Even though I don't want to drag myself out of bed in the mornings, she makes it easier. Her sweet smiling face and her expressions over her morning bottle just melt away the sleepiness. I love our morning walks through the neighborhood and they set the pace for the day (2 2-hour naps!). On her nine month mark, she noticed her shadow for the first time. Being a mom is patience, really good sleep and picking out really adorable summer outfits.

Months ten, eleven, twelve

Summer turned to fall turned to winter very quickly and Sophie is just as busy as can be. Trips to Florida and Kentucky, a few more colds, the croup, a tummy virus, standing up on her own, and her very first baby doll. The more things change, the more they stay the same; I still get sad to put Sophie to bed at night. She loves pointing out Christmas decorations every.where.we.go. Elf on the Shelf is swiftly found and pointed out each morning, too. One day prior to her first birthday she takes two steps to me in the kitchen... a whole new world. Being a mom is never the same two days in a row. One day we have needy baby, one day we have miss independent.

As far as what's to come, only the future can tell. I'm almost to my free Fitness Magazine subscription thanks to my Pampers Points and somewhere around Thanksgiving I realized that I fit in my regular clothes (11 months... really about time).

Happy almost birthday, sweet baby girl. xoxo

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Got jokes

Sophie's got jokes, just so you know. She has this new forced fake laugh that she does at the most random times. It also accompanies her throwing clothes or toys across the room. Hysterical. I die.

Other things that made me smile today:

1. I bought a pair of skinny jeans (insert Sophie's fake laugh that sounds more like Count Dracula).

2. I caught a glimpse of myself in a window at SP mall and realized I'd look a lot better if I had taken 4 minutes to iron out the fold marks of my pants (that have been folded in a Tupperware bin since, oh, March 2009).

3. Cooper was flat WIPED out after a day at doggy day care yesterday. He was a funny sweet boy today.

4. I was making fun of the lady in front of me in the mall (in my head) for not cutting the strings that held the nice pressed box pleat in the back of her new jacket. Then I got in the car and took off MY new jacket, and I found said strings. Ha!

5. Sophie devoured a cup of lima beans tonight. Lima beans. She never ceases to amaze.

6. My kitchen is being taken over by pink. It started in the corner by the fridge. It's spreading. Rapidly. And it will be gone after her party this weekend!

Thanksgiving at Gmom and Gdad's.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Charlotte's VanLandingham Estate

Mom and Dad's December date day review.

Picture perfect and tucked in the heart of Plaza Midwood, the VanLandingham Estate is (in my opinion) Midwood's best kept secret! I say that it's a secret because Bryan and I lived down the street from the VL for 3 collective years and never stepped foot inside until last weekend.

We were supposed to have a picnic lunch, but it's so flipping cold here in Charlotte that they opened the house to picnickers. We were given a private suite upstairs complete with a lit fire, a picnic basket of BBQ, fresh lemonade, a bottle of wine, and among other things - a book of love poems. It was fun, quiet, romantic and just a nice change from the usual. Truth be told, I purchased our surprise date day through Groupon.com so we got it for a steal. If you purchase directly through VanLandingham, they have several different menus to select from (none of which include BBQ!).

Anyone in Charlotte looking for a last minute Christmas gift - I HIGHLY recommend!

We giggled our way through some poetry:

But mainly relished in the fact that we were warm and alone in a 100 year old B&B:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sophie lately

Just a little Saturday morning cuteness.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree:
Playing with empty film cannisters.

Sophie meets the Christmas tree.

Pointing is her NEW thing, and she does it oh-so-well.
She starts pointing as we come down the stairs in the morning
before we even round the corner and she actually
sees the tree (or Elf on the Shelf).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Magic beads

"Cute necklace! What is it?"

Sophie has been sporting her Baltic Amber beaded necklace off an on (more 'on' than 'off' the last few days because I'm convinced that her top teeth are coming in) and people ask about it all the time! I heard about the amber necklace through a local mommy network and wanted to give it a shot. Baltic Amber is said to provide natural pain relief and soothing analgesic support during teething, and some people swear by it.

My most recent experience: Sophie only napped 1.5 out of her usual 4 hours of daily naps the other day and she was really grumpy. I put her necklace on her for bedtime and she slept 14 hours peacefully. (**Wearing at night is not recommended or endorsed by any of us at Sophie en Sophie.)

Baltic Amber contains the highest concentration of succinic acid in nature and has been used around the world for centuries to reduce inflammation. In wearing the amber close to the skin, the wear-er absorbs the acid that is released from the beads. Supposedly the lighter the beads in color, the more succinic acid it contains. With so many recalls of products these days, a lot of parents are in search of a homeopathic remedy for the effects of teething. Baltic amber calms the babes without resorting to drugs!

The string is knotted between each bead - should one come loose, they will not scatter. The proper length for your child is loose, but they should not be able to put the necklace in their mouth. Amber necklaces are for wearing; not for chewing!

Have you tried it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tether me

Things I wish I could have tethered to me at all times:

Baby finger nail clippers

Baby wipe (one endless wipe that goes on forever)

Amber necklace (where is that darn thing when I need it)

Lavender lotion

Baby monitor

Car keys

Sophie the giraffe (given)

Hylands Teething Gel


Sippy cup

And maybe a wine glass (again, an endless one that goes on forever)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Obsess much

I sort of have a new obsession. Let's call it shopping for Sophie. Better yet, let's call it finding bargains for Sophie.

First up is Smocked Auctions. That is where I found her adorable Thanksgiving turkey smock. They don't have a website or pictures you can browse. I literally had to stay up on the computer one night to "bid." This dress would have cost $75 full retail. I got it for $30! Smocked Auctions does not let you name your price, you simply have to the be the first to comment on the photo posted with "sold, email, and size." I was SO stoked I won this one!

Next up is Zulily. I snatched up an adorable Castles and Crowns jacket for next year. Retail would have been over $50. I got it for under $30. No picture of that one, it's hanging in her closet already though!

Another Facebook favorite is Lolly Wolly Doodle. They have great sales and some really adorable clothes. Then **sigh** there is Etsy. You know you can find almost ANYTHING on Etsy? I've gotten lots of cute birthday things from this website... another longer post after the big day!

Now these weren't a bargain, but who can resist Tiny Prints? Merry Christmas and happy shopping from the Barbers!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Is she always this happy?

"Is she always this happy?" Heard that lots of times over the last year. I also feel like I've spent a lot of time this past year apologizing to friends and family. One last major "I'm sorry" going out to all of you now, and then I hope you understand where I'm coming from after reading this. I think Dr. Weissbluth was on to something when he started his ped practice, raised four kids and wrote this book:

I am VERY protective of Sophie's sleep schedule. So I'm sorry for the missed playdates, rescheduled or unscheduled events, being late, leaving early... but baby girl is going to nap, and she is going to go to bed when she is ready, and if I have any control over the situation (which, I do, as the mom), she's going to do both of these activities in a crib.

Since about 7 weeks old, Sophie stopped sleeping on the go. Her car seat used to work like a dream, and then one day, it didn't any longer. On our recent drive to/from Kentucky (8hours) she slept for a whopping 20 minutes each way. Her normal naps are about 4 hours every day.

Her brain is developing at such a rapid pace and outside of love, affection and nourishment, the amount and the quality of sleep is vital to her growth. I'm very protective over this - and in my opinion, for good reason. I may not always be a stay at home mom, and we may add another peanut or two to the Barber brood. So, I realize that I won't always be able to control Sophie's or our other childrens' sleep patterns.... but for now I can. And I will.