Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Focus: Lady

And again I have to say, WOW time with a baby flies by. Lady is doing so many things that she wasn't the last time I wrote about her. She crawls, she pulls up, she is a woman on the go.

I was trying to take a picture since she and Alice matched, but she kept lunging at me. I couldn't get both babies in focus because the camera kept trying to adjust for her sudden movements. So it's not great of Alice, but look! Matching monkey girls!!

It's been really hard to get her to finish a bottle lately. She doesn't want to be held- clearly none of the big kids sit in our laps to eat. So why would she let us do it to her? And then when we try to lie her down in the boppy to eat, there are far more interesting things to do and people to see so she flips it over her head and is off like a shot.

Don't bug me. I'm busy. This toy tastes much better than the milk my mom works so hard to provide.

Yesterday she was sitting just like that on the kitchen floor while we were getting breakfast ready. The bigger kids were going back and forth between the playroom and dining room and she was just hanging out watching. All of a sudden she sneezed so hard that she lost her balance and threw herself over backwards. Banged her head on the tile. She was highly offended and let us know it. I couldn't stop laughing. It happened so fast there was nothing I could do to catch her- she was just laid out on the floor in a flash. Kanga came around the corner all set to put somebody in uh-oh sad time. "Did somebody push her over? What happened?" Nope. They were all standing around with wide eyes watching her sneeze herself right over.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Usually I'm lucky...

Kanga always yells at me because I don't play the lottery. Because sometimes I am lucky. If there's a door prize when we go somewhere, I win. Most times.

Karly at Buns in my Oven, which is a fabulous recipe blog I read, is doing a contest where I could maybe win a $100 gift card to Best Buy. I would like that. You should go read her post about the super cool fridge. It would be amazing to win THAT! I definitely would need a lock on it though. I keep finding people using fridge as AC and trying to climb the shelves in search of tasty snacks. If there was internet involved and interesting buttons to push, it would be even worse. But wow it would be cool!!

I like winning. Duh. Winning....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Focus: Roo

These days Roo is a pirate. All pirate, all day long. She goes around yelling "AARRRRR" at everyone and I've downloaded quite a few kid pirate songs. Seems like every cartoon has done at least one episode. Lazy Town, Dora, the Backyardigans... I'm glad there's lots of choices. And Island Explorer summer makes her very happy. She has trouble keeping the eyepatch in place, but she sure does love it!

I think I'm going to make a treasure chest cake when her birthday rolls around. I can't believe my Pink Ladies are going to be three so soon. The birthdays start in two weeks and then it's one after the other. We'll be eating a lot of yummy cake around here for awhile! :)

Seems like overnight her hair has grown by leaps and bounds. It took forever for it to get long enough for pigtails, but now it is!! I so love her hair like this. For the most part she keeps them in too, which is nice. We've come a long way from this:

That picture was April of last year, so she was just past eighteen months. And yeah, that was half her life ago, but still. So much development in the past year. She was still stationary enough to be in the bumbo on the table! And now she's got a sporty new wheelchair on order. They brought a few over during therapy awhile back for her to test out. It was so COOL to watch her motor around!!

In September she'll graduate ECI and go off to morning preschool through the school district. It's going to be weird to only have her here in the afternoons, but I am so looking forward to hearing about her days at big girl school. Academically she's totally ready. She knows her colors, counting, numerals, letters, shapes... smart girl!

And yes, Aurora was hungry. Oh well. The sound on these videos is always ridiculous because there's so much going on around here!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Noah's Ark Animal Workshop

We had a home field trip yesterday! I don't know why more companies don't do this- it's so great for small operations like us. I do not transport. Ever. There are too many littles who need car seats and aren't independently mobile, and I'd need a bus or something. Craziness. So when the Noah's Ark lady called and asked to set something up for us, I jumped on it. It was really nice to have something new and different for the kids to do. They've been excited about it for a week! We asked everybody to wear a shirt with an animal on it to get into the spirit of the day. We had monkeys, fish, frogs, pandas, lions, and a mouse, among other things.
I'd never heard of Noah's Ark before- it's set up similarly to Build-a-Bear Workshop, except she comes to the house like a Tupperware party. The kids get to choose an animal, stuff it themselves, do a little wishing star ceremony thing, and get a birth certificate. There's special pricing and just a few choices for daycares, but we were happy. She said the tie-in right now is that Zookeeper movie, so the kids got to pick a giraffe, monkey, or lion. The lion was super cute, but everyone wanted giraffes and monkeys.
After all the kids got their animal skins, Miss F talked about how to stuff them. They were careful to listen to the directions- it was actually pretty impressive. Here's Aurora and O'Malley, taking notes....

Okay, I got it! We put the fluffy stuff in here!

Tarzan begins the stuffing process...

Everyone joins in...

After the animals were all stuffed, Miss F handed out rainbow wishing stars, and they did a little bonding ceremony. It was pretty cute. First they held the stars up in the air and made a wish.

After that she asked the kids what they wanted to do with their animals and then they would rub the stars on themselves and the animals.
If you want your animal to know your voice and listen to you, you have to rub the star on your ears! Then rub it on your animal's ears so he can hear you!

Animals recognize people by their special smell, so rub the star on his nose so he will always remember what you smell like...

The most important part of all- you want your animal to always love you, so rub your wishing star over your heart, and then tuck it inside with the stuffing!

Okay, give your animal a big hug- you're all done!

We tried repeatedly to interest the younger boys in this project, but it was no use. Hercules screamed and kicked when I tried to make him sit in my lap to stuff his monkey. He and Tigger were much more excited about getting to hang out in the living room with O'Malley's big kid toys that they usually don't get to use!
At least they'll get the future benefits of having the animal to snuggle at home. It's doubtful any of these kids will actually remember making them after awhile anyhow, except for maybe Duchess. :)

Then later on in the afternoon we made foam picture frames with animals on them. I took a picture of everybody with their new special animal friend and once I get them back from Apple I'll send them home to go in the frames. We made one for all the babies too, even though they didn't make animals with us. Mater helped a lot.

Love me some chunky Mater!!

Peekaboo Boys

Watching Hercules and Tigger play makes me smile. It's so different than last year when we had girls this age. The noogies and horsing around make them so happy! They did this for at least ten minutes before I got the camera out.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup

I am uncomfortably full right now because lunch was extremely tasty. Everyone loved it and ate at least two bowls, including Tarzan, who generally thinks my food is weird. :) It makes a ton- a whole big pot full, and it's all gone. YUM.

1 lb ground beef
2 or 3 big carrots, grated
2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper (the whole thing never makes it into the soup. I try to chop fast but the beggars usually steal at least half the pepper from the cutting board)
1 bag frozen hash browns (i think they're 2 lbs?)
32 oz chicken broth
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour (I used a sorghum and rice baking mix)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese
1/4 cup sour cream

Brown the beef in a skillet. Then in a big soup pot put 1 T of the butter and saute the veggies until they're soft. Add the meat and hash browns, stir, and add broth. Heat through and cook for about 10-15 minutes.

Melt the remaining butter in the microwave, stir in the flour and milk, and add mixture to soup to thicken. Add cheese, stir till melted, and add sour cream just before serving.

This is more like chowder, or what Rachael Ray calls "stoup". It's really hearty and thick, but the spoon doesn't stand up by itself. :) I like to eat it with potato chips and treat it like it was dip. But then, I'm sometimes very strange. I like the extra crunch and salt though- maybe crush them and put them on top? I guess since I can't have crackers, I tend to lean toward chips with soup.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Focus: Aurora

Aurora is nothing if not consistent. I was going to talk about her pretending to be a puppy all the time and I realized I wrote about that last time. Oh well. There's something to be said for finding what you like and sticking with it. :) She also still loves the plastic corn and donuts and cooks for us on a regular basis.

I think I have a picture of every kid who was here that day in an eyepatch. It's definitely been one of their favorite pirate island activities so far. Aurora's other favorite was the "beach snack" we made from blueberry yogurt and graham cracker crumbs, with little chunks of fruit for the crabs. That one was pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

I really have no idea what was going on here, but all we need is Roo or Tarzan in the picture to do "see no evil" and we've got it all covered.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Life in the 100 Acre Woods- a Photo Essay

Kanga's kids have a typical love/hate sibling relationship. They hug, scream at each other, take toys and give them back... nothing too crazy there. However, they do run into different kinds of challenges since Roo isn't walking yet. She commando crawls lightning fast, and is making good progress on regular crawling. But Tigger can run. And Roo can't catch him. The pleasure this fact gives Tigger is nearly equal to the frustration and hatred I'm sure Roo feels. I can't help but laugh at them both though. And also take pictures.

Here we have Roo, currently minding her own business with the green pot. She's obsessed with the plastic broccoli (bwok-o-wee) lately and can often be found with kitchen utensils. You can tell the look on her brother's face is something like, "OH. Busted. Didn't know she was sitting there. I'm not guilty. Or planning anything. For reals."

Whether pre-meditated or spontaneous, the snatch occurs next. Roo tries, but alas, is not quick enough to grab it back.

He's singing into the pot at this point. It's not quite nanny nanny boo boo, but it's close. The look on her face makes me laugh. Defeat. She knows she could get down, but it would take awhile, and then what? Lick his ankles?

The boy runs. He squats; he laughs; he mocks. She appeals to me for help. I ask her, "How did Tigger make you feel?"

And there, my friends, is a picture worth 1000 words. Since she doesn't know to say, "I will cut you", I think it's perfect. :)

After I stopped laughing, I did make Tigger give his sister back her bwokowee pot. And then all was well again.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pasta Salad

One of the things Silvermist pesters her mom to make most often is pasta salad. We tend to eat it at least once a week here. In fact, it got comical because we realized that we were making it every Friday for awhile. This would be no big deal except for the fact that Roo has speech therapy every Friday during lunch time and they like to see her eat, to check on her mouth positioning and all that. The therapist commented that she'd only seen Roo practice on pasta salad for the last four weeks. :) Oops. But yeah, everyone likes it because I put a ton of different stuff in it, and they can all pick through it. Some kids eat the whole plate. Bianca used to pick out the veggies and leave the pasta on the plate. Chip always leaves a big pile of celery. With Aurora it's the cucumber. At least I feel like they have a lot of options and are getting exposed to different textures and tastes.

The problem with trying to write out this recipe is that there isn't one. I make it differently every time based on what's in the fridge. Some days it's awesome, and there have been times where it's just missing something and I'm not sure why it doesn't taste as good. But it's very forgiving and you can throw in or leave out what your family will or won't eat.

Basically it's got several components that are a must, then within each set of ingredients things get switched up. It needs:
  • pasta
  • sauce
  • veggies
  • fruit
  • protein
For the pasta, cook a pound of something small- shells or spirals or elbows. Drain, rinse, and ice. I leave it in the sink with a bunch of ice cubes in the colander and occasionally run more water over it while I chop veggies. The colder the better.

For the sauce you've got several options. Usually I start with sour cream or plain yogurt and maybe a spoonful of mayo or a squirt of ranch added in. I never measure anything when I make this, which is problematic when I want to remember a time when it was particularly good. Then I add spice. Almost always some Lawry's seasoned salt and Mrs. Dash. We love both of those. And then something else- sometimes it's lemon pepper, other times it's a Homemade Gourmet mix. I used to sell that stuff and I have a lot in the cabinet. My favorites are Cilantro Citrus and Mock Spinach, which is mostly dill and garlic I think. Oh, and fresh basil from the garden when I can.

Occasionally I use Italian dressing as a base and then put McCormick's Salad Supreme on it. When I do that though, I like different protein. Hunks of mozzerella, and definitely leave out the fruit! My family likes this one a lot, although some of the daycare kids tell me it's too spicy. It's not really, but it's got bold flavor for sure.

For fruit I almost always use a drained can of mandarin oranges, but I've used red grapes a couple times too. It just seems to taste a lot better when there's a little sweet fruit in it.

And then protein- a couple handfuls of shredded cheese and whatever cold lunchmeat type stuff I have. Cubes of turkey ham, rotisserie chicken, just whatever needs to come out of the fridge.

And then I chop a ton of veggies. The standards are carrot, celery, red bell pepper, cucumber, green onion, and zucchini. I put them all if I have them. And usually buy extra for the beggars who stand by the chopping board. :)

Everything but the kitchen sink pasta, yes? It's yummy. Just throw tons of stuff in there and serve it cold. I'll add pictures next time I make it so it's easier to visualize. I have a feeling I made it sound way more complicated than it is.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Focus: Silvermist

Silvermist continues to entertain us all on a daily basis. She says some pretty outrageous things and they usually come out of nowhere, which makes them funnier. This morning she was in the kitchen trying to walk with a pink plastic phone between her knees. When I asked her why, she informed me that she had to put it somewhere, and she did not have any pockets in these shorts!

She's turned into my best eater lately. (Part of that is because Stitch is gone. There was nobody to touch her on sheer quantities eaten.) Mostly I think it's because her mom cooks the most like I do, being that we are both food allergy families. She isn't surprised by fruits and veggies, loves to try new things, and hardly ever tells me she doesn't like something. I'm going to start posting more recipes soon, because she goes home and asks her mom to cook all this stuff that I make. It's kind of fun. I'm more accustomed to the type of kid who professes to only eat chicken nuggets or hot dogs and wants to know why my mac and cheese isn't bright orange. I love that while I'm making lunch, Silvermist is usually standing right there by the cutting board begging for bell peppers or celery or whatever I'm chopping. Okay, well honestly I could deal with a bit more personal space. I've stepped on her a couple times because she sneaks up behind me very quietly. But she gets her veggies in, and the fact that she stands there munching makes a couple of the other kids do it too, even if they won't eat the lunch once it's cooked and plated.

Chip looks a bit shell shocked here. I think this hug was a sneak attack.

We're having Island Explorer summer- lots of islands and ships and pirates and treasures and seashells. Eyepatch day was a big hit for everyone.

"Did you take a picture of me? Why not? Take one of me! Do I look pretty? Let me see!"

And she just informed me that she has big snarls in her hair and so she has to go to the doctor. I'd like to see just what he plans to do about that...