Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mmmm, Blondies

No, I don't mean people with blond hair, I'm talking about the blond brownies that are oh so yummy. And so easy to make. And sooo yummy. Connor helped. 

Connor has been very interested in helping me in the kitchen lately. So I had two choices, continue to keep him out of the kitchen, with him getting very upset at me, or try to involve him in my cooking, and deal with the extra clean-up. I chose to let him help me. 

At first, I tried to just tried to keep him busy. I gave him an empty bowl and spoon one night and that satisfied him for a few minutes. The next night, I gave him a pot with a bit of flour in it and a spoon. He had a blast, but there was plenty of mess. A few nights he was simply content to stand on a chair watching me cook. 

Today, I decided to take it s step further, I let him help me cook, or, more accurately, bake. I filled the measuring cups with the ingredients and he dumped them in the bowl. I helped him crack an egg and he put it in the bowl. I mixed the ingredients together and then he used spoon to eat the mix while I was putting it in the pan. 

Normally, I pour the batter in a 9x13 pan but I decided to try something different this time. I poured the batter into my mini-muffin tin. There was enough left over to fill two heart-shaped tins. These are part of a set of 6 that were actually tied to the car on our wedding day. Don't worry, they've been cleaned many times. 

This is how they turned out.
Notice the 2 missing that I couldn't wait to eat. And sorry for the blurriness, there's a smudge on the lens I can't get off. 

Do you involve your little ones in the cooking? If so, what's your best tip for keeping it interesting?

Monday, March 30, 2009


I'm having writer's block lately. I just don't know what to write about. How awful is that? 

It's not that there's nothing going on in my life. We went to a birthday party yesterday that involved some run-ins with an obnoxious kid who yelled at the birthday girl and bossed her around while she was opening presents. Oh and he provided a running commentary on the worthiness of her presents (an 8-yr-old boy critiquing a 7-yr-old girl's presents, how does that work?). 

Then, there's the overwhelming feeling of the housework that will never be done. There's the call I have to make to my doctor's office to see if I somehow messed up the referral process and am now on the hook to pay for a doctor's visit. There are the taxes to finish, and the spring weather to enjoy, and a project to do that I'm getting paid for (yippee!). But somehow, I don't feel that there's a story worth telling. 

I will say that I've been daydreaming lately about living in Italy. Hubby is up for orders this fall and our dream is to go overseas. There's a distinct possibility that we may move to Italy, and I can't wait to find out. We definitely don't want to stay here if we can avoid it. We'll essentially move anywhere else in the world to avoid staying. Not that it's a bad place necessarily, it's just not for us. So I've been doing lots of research to mentally prepare myself; I have planning issues and sudden changes freak me out. 

I promise to write more often this week though. If I can stop daydreaming long enough anyway. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Since becoming a SAHM one of the things I've struggled with the most is our schedule. I wasn't quite sure how our day should be structured or what we should even be doing. Do I try to teach him now, or wait until he's older? What kind of structure should I be aiming for? How often should he be interacting with other kids?

I'm trying to figure it out as we go, learning, researching, seeing what others do. It's possible that this is part of my problem lately. There's no focus to my life, no concrete plan. As someone who always needs a plan, this throws me off. 

So, I'm getting back on the planning wagon. I figure with just a little more work, I can bring some organization to our days and feel better about it. 

We've also adjusted our bedtime for Connor. I was pushing him to go to sleep at 8:30 when he apparently just wasn't ready then. He was still sleeping until 8:30 in the morning and his naps were suffering, only taking 30 minutes. And then after he got night terrors, we decided to make some changes. By waiting until 9:30 or 10, he sleeps better at night (he's slept through the night ever since) and his naps are back to normal. He's just a night owl. 

Why haven't I learned yet that Connor does things his own way, on his own time? I can't force him to do anything. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cries in the Night

Connor went to bed as usual last night. Teeth brushed, PJs, story, kisses and lights out. All good. Then at just before midnight he woke up yelling and crying inconsolably. 

I heard the crying in my dreams first. Then I woke up and went into his room to calm him down. But nothing I did helped. He continued to cry for a long time. My husband woke up and came in the room too. I tried to lay Connor back down in his bed, but he just sat back up again. I tried holding him, but he kept straining against me, pushing on my arms as if to get away. I continued to hold him as best I could until he finally calmed down. I put him back in bed, pulled the blanket up and waited to make sure he was ok. Then I went back into my room and fell asleep. 

A few hours later, my husband repeated the process when Connor woke up again screaming. He turned on the hall light thinking that maybe the darkness was scaring him. 

An hour later, Connor was up crying again. This time he was at the top of the stairs in the hallway. At this point I picked him up and brought him into our bed. Being in the same room as us tends to calm him down, but he still had a hard time falling back asleep. 

I'm not sure what to do for him. He might be having nightmares, but I think it's actually night terrors. I know that can happen with kids his age, but it doesn't make it any easier. There's literally nothing we can do to calm him down, just wait it out. And often he doesn't even open his eyes while he's crying. I'm not sure he remembers any of it. I feel so helpless when this happens, but it's not every night. Hopefully, he won't have another one for a while. 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just... ew

A few weeks ago my husband went on a mission to catch the rat living in our attic. He tried a humane mouse trap first with no luck. Then he placed a night-vision camera to catch the action. He then discovered it was a large rat, not a mouse, that would never have fit into the humane trap, and he was too smart for the glue kind. So the snappy kind were set up instead. The rat was caught within a day and all was good. 

Within a few days, hubby thought he still heard scratching in the attic, but the camera didn't show anything. I told him to ignore it, it was probably just a tree branch scratching the roof. 

I was wrong. 

Today, I moved the stroller in our attic from near the ladder to the back part of the attic as I was rearranging things. Then I went back down the ladder with a box in my hands. As my head was nearing the opening, I looked to where the stroller had been and saw something gray and furry. And big. 

It was a dead rat. The companion of the deceased, the one I thought didn't exist. I froze and then proceeded down the ladder. I closed the attic up and called to my husband to dispose of it, which he gladly did. 

I hate rodents. They're diseased and they poop everywhere and are just plan nasty. I didn't want to go back into the attic after that, but I need the boxes of stuff out of my bedroom. I just hope there are no more rats hiding up there. 

Please rats, just leave us alone!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rain, rain, go away

It was nice out again yesterday but we couldn't spend much time outside because the ground was still wet. It rained all last weekend, and on Monday, and then again last night. That's a lot of rain. Add in how close to sea level we are here and the ground is pretty saturated. 

I guess I shouldn't complain too much since we were having a bit of a drought the past few years. But when your son begs you to go outside every 5 minutes, it's hard not to give in. 

We did go to the park yesterday, and I'll try to get him outside today too. I'm trying to be ok with him getting dirty, after all he is a boy, but I don't want him falling in mud puddles. How would I put him in the car without that getting dirty too? 

Rain is an important part of spring. And I'm definitely glad spring is here. I can't wait to spend more time outside and be active. I always feel like a log when I stay inside all day. I've got a nice bike with kid seat that I need to start using again. I want to start running again. There's an unused kayak sitting in the backyard. And my #1 priority this year is to learn how to surf. I tried it once last summer and actually got up on one wave. Woohoo! I just have to figure out how to surf with a 2-yr-old on the beach. I may have to employ babysitters to accomplish that. 

What about you? What are your big plans for the nice weather?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. When I got home I started on a cleaning project that has been bugging me for months, my attic. We kept shoving stuff up there in whatever container we had that it finally only left us with a little 1" by 3" spot on the floor at the top of the ladder. I had to fix that. 

We don't have much attic space to begin with because of the way they build roofs down here. But shove 5 boxes of christmas decorations, 2 years worth of baby gear, 5 boxes of DVD cases, a bunch of suitcases and old furniture and it's pretty much full. 

So I've been taking it down bit by bit this week, sorting through it, organizing it better and making a pile of stuff to get rid of. We don't have quite enough for a garage sale, but a few items will go on craigslist, some on ebay and the rest will be donated. Hopefully they'll be of use to someone else. I've still got to sort through the suitcases and DVD boxes and then I can start putting stuff back up. Then I will finally have some peace of mind and my bedroom back. I'll post a picture when I'm all done. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm back!

Hello again!

I am back from visiting my beautiful nephew. My brother-in-law and his wife are so ecstatic to be parents. It makes me think about when my little boy was first born. It's so great to see how far he's come. Only 2 years ago he was the same size as my nephew, so helpless, so dependent on me for everything. There's something so precious about a newborn, but 2-year-olds are a lot more fun. 

Don't get me wrong, I love babies and can't wait to have another one. But their interactions with you are much more basic. With a toddler you can actually play games and get hugs and kisses. There's nothing quite like hearing your child say "I wub you." 

But I've had a great time playing with little babies lately. First my nephew and then I attended a baby shower this past weekend where I got to play with more little ones. Their giggles and little smiles and pure joy at the world. Ok enough about babies, I've got over 200 blog posts in my reader to catch up on. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I'm in NY again this week, visiting my brand new nephew. :) He's adorable and I wish I could stay longer, but alas, I must go home soon. 

In the meantime, check out The Hunger Site, by clicking a button you can donate a can of food or a mammogram to someone who needs it. It's absolutely free and you don't have to register so check it out now!

Monday, March 9, 2009


The boy has discovered dirt. 

We've been spending more time outside lately so he's had more opportunities to explore our backyard. But our yard is tiny so there's not much to see. Except, on one side along the fence is a dirt ditch. It doesn't get much sun and tends to get water-logged when it rains. It's small too, only about 3 inches deep and about 4 feet long. And it's still muddy from the rain we had last weekend. 

Yesterday, Connor was picking out rocks and tasting the dirt on them. Then he decided that wasn't quite adventurous enough so he picked a spot and sat down in the middle of the ditch. He sat and sat and sat, poking at the mud, picking some up, plopping it back down. And then it hit him, he could put it on himself! He painted his legs and arms with mud, seeing what kind of lines and shapes he could make. 30 minutes were spent this way, playing in the mud. 

Now supposedly kids are supposed to eat a pound of dirt before they grow up. It builds their immune system up. Not to mention it's great sensory play; mud doesn't quite feel like anything else. But it's still kind of icky. And requires clean-up and a change of clothes before doing anything else. 

Some days I wish I were one of those moms who didn't care and played in the mud with him. But then I remind myself that mud is icky. 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I'm a thief!

It is gorgeous here again. :) Sunshine always makes me feel better. 

Yesterday we went to the commissary where I got 5 bags of groceries for a total of $65. My coupon-clipping, price-searching, sale-watching ways are finally starting to pay off. I also accidentally stole an apple. Connor likes to munch on one while we shop and then I just have them ring up one apple twice. But I went through the self-checkout and forgot. Oops. 

Then hubby got off work early so we went to the state park again. We walked for about an hour and little man had a great time picking up sticks and rocks and throwing them in the woods. Right before we turned around we came across a hanging ladder. It's one of those exercise things that is similar to a playground where you can hang on one bar or travel the length of it. Hubby of course had to try it out, which means Connor had to try it out. He loves to do this at the playground to, but he hasn't quite learned to grab the next bar. He'll just hang onto one bar for a couple seconds. Well this time my little he-man held himself up for over 30 seconds! That's some impressive arm strength. 

Then we get home and I have to finish grouting a few replacement tiles in our kitchen. The dog's water bowl was placed in the hallway so he could still have access to it. Of course this means Connor must pick it up and dump half of it out. Then he proceeds to step in it and walk all along the hallway taking wet, squishy steps. He thought it was great fun. So all in all, a pretty good day. I can't wait for more days where we can spend time outside. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

One of those days

I'm sure you guys have days where it's a struggle to make it to the end, right? Well today is that day for me. Actually it's kind of been that week for me. 

I don't know what it is, but I just want to crawl in bed and stay there. But instead, I get up and take care of little man. I make him breakfast, get him dressed, play with him, and deal with his constant need to climb on me. Today we ran a few errands where I had to force him to sit in the cart by letting him play with my wallet, he likes to take the cards out & put them in again. We went to the park where he chased after a bird and landed face first in a mud puddle and then played in the sand. We came home and got him changed then ran back out to meet a friend for lunch where I felt guilty for spending money I didn't need to and Connor kept dripping water from a straw all over the table. Then, we came home and I tried for 2 hours to get him down for a nap with no luck. Finally I put on a movie and he falls asleep leaning on me within 15 minutes. 

I try so hard every day to make it fun and educational for him, but I  struggle. I feel guilty when I leave the tv on too long. I feel guilty when I lose my temper with him. I feel guilty all the time. 

I know guilt is part of motherhood. Everyone wants to be the best mom they can. No one is perfect. Part of the joy of being a parent is that those little people need you so very much, for care, food, comfort, guidance. But part of the downside is also that need. It can consume you. 

At least when I was working full-time I had adult time. It may not have been fun adult time, but it was something. Now that I'm home, I don't have that as much. Everywhere I go, Connor goes too. I guess it all boils down to a need for more kid-free time. I love my son and wouldn't trade staying home with him for anything, but I need some me time too. 

It doesn't help that my husband has been incredibly busy with work and studying for his advancement test lately. The good news is that his test was today so I know I'll get a break soon. Hopefully it will help me break out of this funk. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Egg Rolls

I know it's a day late but here's the recipe for egg rolls. They came out super yummy.  

First boil 3 chicken breasts until done. While they are cooking, finely chop one bag of carrots and one head of green cabbage in a food processor. I only have a magic bullet so this step took much longer than it should have. When the chicken is done, let cool a bit and then finely chop that as well. Mix them all in a bowl and add soy sauce to taste. I use about a cup. 

Put about 1 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mixture and cook for about 7 minutes. The color will change to a darker brown (kind of like stir-fry). 

Put the mixture back into a bowl to cool. 
Get out the egg roll wrappers (my grocery store has these in the produce section of the store) and put one on a plate. You should also have a small bowl with water in it nearby. Put a heaping spoonful into the middle of the wrapper. 
Take one corner and fold it up, pushing the sauce out a bit. If there's not enough liquid to cover all the edges, dip your fingers in the water to make sure it's damp. Fold in each side corner so it looks like a house. 
Fold the top corner down and they are wrapped. Be careful with this because the wrappers can tear and then you have to double wrap. 
If you have a deep fryer you can cook these in that. If not, fill a sauce pan up with cooking oil (I used vegetable oil) and heat over medium high heat. Wait until the oil is good and hot and then start adding the egg rolls. Place them with the seams up so air can escape from the inside. I did 4 at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and place on paper towels to absorb extra oil. Let cool and enjoy! The recipe makes about 36 egg rolls. 

Monday, March 2, 2009


After my fabulous revelation that I can actually cook yesterday, I've had another good day. I woke up early and did yoga. It's been snowing all day; a huge deal in this area despite the fact it's only a dusting. I finally replaced a couple broken tiles in our kitchen. I went to the grocery store for a couple basics. And now it's naptime. 

There are lots of days recently where I don't feel productive at all. I think that's one of the downfalls of being a SAHM. Parenting is hard work, but it doesn't feel very productive. You play and clean and read books and sing songs and prepare food and then repeat. It can get kind of monotonous after a while. The immediate sense of accomplishment that you get at work is missing when you stay home. Not to mention that coming up with new and fun things to do takes a lot of creativity. So, I'm glad I felt productive for once. 

Ooo, I'm making egg rolls for the first time tonight (it's a recipe from a friend). If they turn out ok, I'll post the recipe tomorrow with pictures! 

In the meantime, if you stay home with your kids, what do you do to break the routine?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I can cook!

It's taken a long time, but I finally feel like I can cook well. I made dinner last night from scratch without following a recipe. And it actually tasted good! This is the first time that's ever happened and is a huge accomplishment for me. 

Growing up, my mom always cooked. I occasionally baked, but never cooked. So when I went off to college I had very few skills. My first attempt at cooking, the chicken was dry and I misread the recipe, instead of 1 tsp cumin, I put in 1 tbsp curry. It was not good. At all. 

The first few years of college I basically ate at the dining hall, had cereal or a sandwich, or cooked chicken on the george foreman grill. Rarely did I attempt anything more complicated. Then I got married and there was no more dining hall. We ate out a lot. Probably, 3-4 times a week. When I cooked, it was by following a recipe to a T. Even then my attempts often failed. My husband was sweet enough about it, never really complaining. 

But finally after all this time, I can finally cook well. I've got that famed cooking instinct I feared I would never have. I know this is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but when you have to cook dinner every night, I want to make sure the people eating it actually enjoy it. 

What about you? Do you have any bad cooking stories?