Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting harder

This is when it starts to get tough.

I thought having a baby was a really hard job. Like, needed lots of help and lots of breaks kind of hard.

Lately I've been reminding myself that I've had it really easy. Kids that sleep pretty well, two in diapers, two in cribs, two that do almost exactly what I want them to. Two naps that coincide in the afternoon (sometimes three, depending on how exhausted I am!).

Now we're talking big girl beds, potty training and back to school. Sophie is aware now when someone is being not-so-nice to her, and her feelings and thoughts are advancing at warp speed. She is more conscious of the people around her and changes her behavior accordingly. Questions are no longer appeased with "well, because mommy said so," she wants more information.

Sophie came home from school last week and within 24 hours used these three words for the first time:


I know she'll be exposed to way worse than ugly, fat and stinky in her lifetime, but where did that little bubble go that she used to live in? I'd like it back, please. And while we're at it, I'd like to Tucker to keep babbling baby nonsense, worming across the floor and being easily entertained. Mmm-kay?

Flashback Tuesday

Fall, you're making me oh so sentimental.

Remembering when Sophie wore the Janie & Jack pumpkin hat...
October 2010

And now my sweet baby brother TuckTuck...
October 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

FoxHollow Farm

Oh, fall, how we love you. Fall, football, cool weather, pretty leaves, beer, pumpkin flavored everything... and FoxHollow Farm! Today we took a trip to the farm which is a hop, skip and a jump from our neighborhood. It is a Biodynamic, self-sustaining farm. Incredible food, incredible people and a great fall festival. Here is the photo essay of my kids' adventure.

Love this place.

One hand, two hands, drumming on a drum.

SO happy. Understatement, actually.

Even dad got in on the pumpkin picking.

Holy hay!

Sophie and her school friend, Charlotte.

Mr. Big Stuff pulling up and standing everywhere.
Oh, and don't miss that wisp of hair.
We're very proud.

Sibling love

We stopped to take a few pictures in the pretty leaves before the raking madness began. Love my little blue-eyed beauties. Sophie's teachers were really impressed by her picture taking ability on school picture day. I wonder where she got all that practice :)



Ma, check out this hair I've finally started growing!

No words, just love :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Weekday Chicken Pot Pie

Family recipe hour... This was seriously SO easy and Bryan said it was better than one he frequently orders at a Diner when he travels. And it made the house smell delicious. And it's just yummy and warm and filling and perfect for fall... Make vegetarian with omitting the chicken and using Cream of Celery soup!

Adapted from this recipe.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 large chicken breast, poached and chopped1 small onion, diced2 cups fresh frozen mixed veggies (I used Fresh Frozen from Earth Fare)1 can cream of chicken (or make your own... far more healthy!)1 frozen pie shell1 refrigerated pie dough
Preheat to 400. Sautee onions, add chicken and veggies to warm through, add cream of chicken until warmed through. Pour mixture into pie shell and cover with pie dough. Seal edge and crimp. Bake for 30 minutes, or until browned on top to your liking. Note: if you have chicken cooked ahead of time (we do that often at the beginning of the week for quick dinners), it makes this a really easy prep!
Disclaimer - this has been kid tested, but she hasn't approved. Not yet anyway. We will keep trying!

Bombay Sloppy Joe's

Family recipe hour continues...

Bombay Sloppy Joe's!

This recipe was given to us by our dear friend, Renu. I've been reluctant to share because I didn't write it, I can't improve on it, and it is in no way originally from my kitchen. However, it's too good not to. Bonus: it's vegetarian friendly, too, if you so choose. My only omission from the recipe are the pistachios. Not a fan of pistachios.

Have a hard time finding Garam Masala? You can always make your own via Google, or try your local ethnic or spice store. I was lucky enough that before we left North Carolina, Renu gave me this awesome Indian spice container all stocked up with unique Indian spices!

Kid tested, grand mother approved. Sophie gave it TWO thumbs up this weekend. And my mom no longer thinks all Indian food is made with curry :)


For the Sauce• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
• 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger• 2 cloves garlic, minced• 1/2 serrano chile pepper, seeded and minced• 1 teaspoon garam masala• 1/2 teaspoon paprika• 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

For the Sloppy Joe's
• 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
• Small handful (about 1/4 cup) raisins
• Small handful (about 1/4 cup) shelled pistachios 
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 large white onion, finely diced
• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
• 1 serrano chile pepper (don't chop it unless you like things spicy!)
• Kosher salt
• 1 pound ground turkey OR beef OR veggie crumbles
• 1/2 teaspoon honey
• 1/4 cup half-and-half
• Small handful fresh cilantro (soft stems included)
• 4 sesame buns


Make the sauce: Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and chile pepper and cook until the ginger and garlic brown a little, about 1 minute. Add the garam masala and paprika and cook 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce and 1 cup water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prepare the sloppy joes: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the raisins and pistachios and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raisins swell up and the pistachios toast slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from the skillet and set aside. 

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the cumin seeds and let sizzle about 10 seconds, then add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chile pepper and cook 2 more minutes, seasoning with salt. Add the turkey, breaking up the big lumps, and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes. 

Add the prepared sauce to the turkey-and-onion mixture in the skillet. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
Remove the whole chile pepper (unless you want to eat it, like my dad does!) and stir in the honey, half-and-half, raisins and pistachios. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the cilantro right before serving.
Toast the buns and fill with the sloppy joe mixture.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Alternatively, Grammalla (in Sophie-speak). Or, You Had Me At "I need that recipe"

Is this my foray back into the blogosphere? Thank you to anyone and everyone who asked for the granola recipe so that I would actually sit down and write in my children's blog/journal/baby book/family recipe holder... I never believed my friend Leigh who told me that I might not have as much time to write once baby number two came around. Or, it could be those eight thousand other things I'm trying to do at one time.

I digress, and here is your recipe, adapted from my first take at Granola bars here, which was adapted from this recipe, but oh-so-different-and-totally-way-better. Because when you've made 30 batches, you kind of nail it down.

Granola Bars

The base:
4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional, but amazing if you like salty/sweet)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup coconut oil (I like to barely warm it in the microwave so that it mixes better)
1/2 cup honey (my SIL says to use the local/expensive stuff!)
2 tablespoons ground flax*

The additions, per your taste
1 cup chocolate chips
6 dried apricots, chopped
12 dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped raw almonds

I mix the dry ingredients separate from the wet and then combine them all together. Pour onto parchment lined baking sheet. It will look too dry, but I promise it is going to work. Pat it down, maybe 1/2in in height and then make a rectangle shape (less waste when you go to cut your bars out). I like to use a rubber spatula because the granola is less likely to stick to it as you form your rectangle.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove and let completely cool before cutting. I make rectangular bars that are smaller than your typical granola bar, because I can guarantee you I'm going to eat more than one a day, and if they're smaller than normal I don't feel as guilty :)

*Flax seeds are an awesome source of Omega 3's - among other things. We don't eat a ton of fish as we live in Kentucky, and, well, I like my Florida seafood. SO, Omega 3's are something we try to supplement through fish oil and flax seeds. However, when heated, flax loses it's Omega 3's. Dammit, right?! They are still an excellent source for fiber and protein, and, why not?

Also, original recipe had Vanilla Extract in it. New recipe does not ever since I read that "Natural Vanilla Flavoring" includes something extracted from a chemical derived from the anal glands of beavers. Yeah. Gross.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Road trip!

Alternatively titled, All I need to know I learned from 22 hours in the car with my kids
Or, I used to hate road trips

There's nothing quite like a booster shot of super-mommy-ness to my ego other than two - count 'em, two - successful 11 hour road trip journeys with my two kids. Now I'm not suggesting that anyone else channel their inner mommy diva by hopping in the car and driving 600+ miles, but it worked for me.

Maybe a time or two I've doubted my mommy instinct, and doubted my children's ability to bounce back from a routine change (late naps or bedtime) or dietary indiscretion (processed food). I was so afraid they may melt down into a weeping pile of toddler-infant-babyGap-drool-and-snot on the floor. Rational me knows that is not going to happen.* Irrational me watches the clock and has more than once removed forks from hands mid-bite when we are approaching bedtime and are away from home. (Tell me I'm not the only one...)

Dear Self, doubt no more!

We got back from vacation number one: Lake Michigan (where it's like the beach but better - fresh water, little waves and no crabs, stingrays, sharks or other digit/limb removing creatures) and I had been thinking about driving the kids down to see my parents in Florida. With clean laundry, beach accessories, snacks and the double BOB already packed, we hit the road. Once we were on our way at 6:30am I knew we were locked in. I tried to quiet that little voice of doubt in the back of my mind; and quiet it did.

It was the perfect age for both of them. Sophie is so dialed into tv and movies that she had zero qualms about watching the screen for an entire day. Tucker is no longer nursing, so bottles were really easy to mix and administer. He's also just starting to worm around on the floor, so he isn't an anxious-I-want-to-run-everywhere toddler yet. (Although he is a oh-you-thought-your-floors-were-clean-watch-me-worm-around-and-then-check-my-onesie type of kid these days.)

All of our food and drink was packed for the day, so stops were mainly about gas, bottles, diapers and stretching our legs (as if we needed yet another great reason to delay potty training until 13 years old). We played on QSR playgrounds and rocked on the porch at Cracker Barrel and stopped about every three hours.

Our road trip was SO uneventful. Blissful, even. Tucker might make a peep every so often, but Sophie was quick to make a funny face or "speak whale" to make him giggle. Sophie watched Finding Nemo FOUR times on our return trip (where she learned to speak whale). Three stops on our way down south and two stops on the way back to KY.

Speaking of the return trip... I have a family member that once told me she used her daughters diapers to thwart extra stops if baby was sleeping but el baƱo was calling. Let me just tell you that a size four diaper does not accommodate the bladder of a 31 year old adult.

And that's all you need to know about 22 hours in the car with my kids.

*I'll still defend my nap/sleep/dietary choices as the number one reason why I have happy children 95% of the day.

Photos from our Florida trip. Not pictured: Tucker's first tooth, delicious, fresh shrimp and oysters, yummy burgers, Peg Leg Pete grouper sandwiches, infamous Brussells sprouts, a trip to the children's museum and six days of shake-the-house thunder, lightening and rain.
Girl loves some bubbles.

I really just take pictures of this swim suit
because I think it's so cute.
Going to sell it soon though :(

Happiest Baby on the Block.

Yaya and her babies.

Sophie and her Avengers "swim-a-ring"

Girl's got some hops.

Sweet thing.

I mean, this is not an act.
90% of her day is spent loving Tucker.

Beach bum.

Yes, the sun actually came out.

Sir splash-a-lot and Yaya.

Case and point.

Tucker's model face. Those lips!

"You would have more fun with
wet sand on your face."

New towel from Yaya's friend, Peggy!
(Her handmade creations are adorable, yall.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Buh-cation 2012

I've had really good intentions of writing a long entry to go with this long string of photos... had a lot on my mind. I actually scuffed my feet around my house wishing I kept a journal of things I wanted to get out of my head and into words for posterity sake. Um, duh, I write pretty frequently/infrequently in this little family blog. So, some family thoughts coming up soon.

Sophie pouted upon going to bed for six straight days because she was ready to go to "buh-cation." Here are some pics from our family trip to Lake Michigan, Buh-cation 2012.

Lady and the Tramp-style speghetti.

They can use the iPad better than me.

Master sandcastle builder.

Sorry for the zinc nose, Sophie.
Doc said it will keep new skin from scarring.

Shawn, Soph, Bryan. Love.

She loves her daddy.

GDaddy and Tuckerman.

Our preferred mode of transportation to/from the lake!

You can do it! Tucker's cheering squad.

And, what baby doesn't need a hug after first crawling?

Lake fun.

Getting her Olympic jumping skills warmed up.


Daddy's girl ALL week.

Tucker's first beach experience.

She's always so helpful!


Loving the lake.

Soph and mama.

Having so much fun together!

Soph and GDaddy.

Looking at the lighthouse.

Future plumber?

My sweet boys.

His cheeks must be so sore at the end of the day.