Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New clothes!


Apparently the excitement over new clothes begins earlier than I expected...  Got a box of spring clothes in the mail and BOTH kids were so excited to try them on.  There's John Paul in his new argyle sweater vest and seersucker blazer (the pants never made it back on after he used the potty...).


And Cecilia in an adorable new pair of flip flops!  Girl LOVES shoes and was super-excited for these :)

And that's a scrape on/under her nose - someone decided to run downhill on the sidewalk while refusing to hold Mom's hand.  Shocker, she fell.

In other news, John Paul's current favorite song is "If I Had A Million Dollars" which has prompted an obsession with Curious George, because one of the 3 verses I'm willing to sing (it's a LONG song, I've pared it down to about 30 seconds) is the one about a monkey.  And now he's making up his own verses, which is pretty amusing.  "I would buy you a TWUCK!  I would buy you a FWONT-END WOADER!  I would buy you a BIRD!  I would buy you a GEORGE!  I would buy you a MOM!!!"

I was not a huge fan of our Curious George anthologies until this obsession started - now I don't have to read the *same* book over and over, I can pick one of 8 every night!  And I pretty much get to pick...  I read all the possible titles while emphasizing the ones I haven't read, and he generally picks one that I want :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's official...


John Paul reads the Bible more than I do...

We've been having issues with him cleaning up his toys adequately, and I've taken a LOT of them away because he takes them out and doesn't clean them up.  But then he spends all day reading his Bibles...  Maybe he doesn't need toys at all?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The climber


You see that grin?  That's the grin of a baby who knows *exactly* how to drive her parents crazy.

How's that, you ask?  

Find anything tall.  Climb it.  Climb up and down the big staircase at any chance you get.  Find railings and hold on to them and then leeeeeeeeeeean back so it looks like you're about to crack your head open.

And giggle outrageously every time your parents express any concern.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Oh dear...


John Paul has discovered the joys of wearing Mom's heels.  And did NOT want to take them off.

What is WITH this weather?

I mean, I LOVE it.  Don't get me wrong.


But when I can start pulling summer clothes out of the closet for the kids, it's probably a little too warm for February!


It was 70 degrees today!  We haven't had a real winter at all and I don't know if we will...  


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Read carefully...

I hear, "7 whores...  16 whores...  10 whores..."

Confused at what John Paul could POSSIBLY be reading, I turn to see that he is reading his Planets place mat, specifically the rotation period of each planet.

HOURS.  Not whores.

It may be time to start focusing on vowel blends...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ristorante Pizza Review - a sponsored post




I LOVE frozen pizza.

Seriously.  It's one of my favorite things.  It's one of the only foods I like to eat when I'm pregnant (you know, during those frequent food aversion phases).  

I'm equal-opportunity when it comes to frozen pizza.  I like the fancy stuff.  I like the cheap stuff.  Brand name.  Store brand.  ANYTHING.  I love it all!!!

But I mostly don't buy frozen pizza anymore - I prefer to make it from scratch, since it's so easy just to make the dough & sauce myself, and I like being able to customize the toppings.  Plus frozen pizza really takes up a lot of room in the freezer, and freezer space is at a premium at our house.


So when BzzAgent contacted me to try out Ristorante by Dr. Oetker for free, I was pretty excited.  Did I mention that I love frozen pizza?  Andrew chose Pizza Speciale, a pepperoni and ham-topped pizza.  I chose Pizza Vegetale, with onions, peppers, tomatoes, and a sour cream/chili sauce (the sauce might have turned me off if I had paid attention, but it was actually very good).  


Andrew and I were pretty confused that the pizza is #1 in Italy, and yet is made in Germany...  Apparently the Germans know how to make frozen food!  We cooked the pizzas directly on the oven racks, but I stuck some cookie sheets underneath to catch any drips because I hate cleaning the oven.  Cooking directly on the rack resulted in some kind of weird-smelling smoke, but it kept the crust crispy.


Here's the Pizza Speciale out of the oven - plenty of toppings on there, but definitely on the small side.  At our local Giant they sell for $5 and were on sale for $4/each.


We each had a salad with our pizzas and were plenty full, and the kids ate a total of 2 pieces and wanted more!  Andrew's pizza tasted pretty average to me, but I'm not a huge pepperoni fan.  


And here's my Pizza Vegetale - lots of veggies!  I REALLY love veggies on pizza.  Also, I love frozen pizza.  Did I tell you?  It was pretty good - the chili sauce added just a little bit of a bite without being overly spicy.  


John Paul and Cecilia LOVED both pizzas.  Normally when I make pizza they don't want to eat the crust, so I've started making their pizzas on tortillas because that way the crust is super-thin.  They loved the thin-ness and crispiness of this crust.

All in all, I think we'll definitely use a couple of our coupons to try out some more flavors - I'm particularly curious about the Pizza Mozzarella.  And if it goes on good sale, we may stock up.  It's definitely a good easy dinner to have on hand for the kids for those nights when Andrew and I are going out after bedtime and don't feel like cooking a real meal for the kids.  And I'm likely to start craving this whenever I get pregnant again...

Definitely a welcome addition to the frozen pizza world!

*I received these products for free as a participant in the BzzAgent social marketing program.  Let me know if you would like coupons for $1.50 off a pizza!

Babywearing!

It's only a matter of time before we have another, right?


So I'm training John Paul to baby-wear so that I can take a load off whenever we have #3...


But actually every time I'm folding diapers he finds one of the flats and BEGS me to tie some animal or baby to him.  Then he runs and jumps around the room giggling, "A piggy.  A piggy.  A PIGGY BACK WIDE!"


But then in a tender moment, he decides that a gentle kiss is more appropriate.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A little bit of randomness...


John Paul found a diaper he REALLY wanted to wear the other day (he hasn't worn a single diaper in over a week, but apparently airplane diaper is EXCITING!), and immediately stripped off his pants and underwear and tried desperately to get it on.  Cecilia watched while in the bin of diapers he had pulled down.


And apparently Cecilia's ready to be a big sister - here she is sitting on her baby doll, which she has found to be the most effective way of getting the baby to talk to her.  Maybe she needs to be an interrogator?  Also, she's wearing a diaper with no cover, no pants, no socks, but by golly she's gonna wear shoes!  I have to hide them so that she doesn't insist on wearing them all day long...  Girl loves her accessories!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fountain!


It's hard to tell, but Cecilia *does* have enough hair for a little fountain on top of her head.


So, much to Andrew's chagrin, I put her hair up and *tried* to get a good picture.




Problem is, every time she sees the camera she DESPERATELY needs to get to it.


Which amounts in no small amount of wailing...


And rushing the camera before Mom can get a good picture.


And of course, crying.


And imploring Mom DESPERATELY - don't you know I NEED that camera???


Distracted momentarily by the window...


She's back again to get the camera!  I gave in at this point...  I think this series of pictures shows pretty well what kind of temperament she has!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Snow!

It snowed a *tiny* bit this weekend - by Sunday it had accumulated maybe 1/4" and only in places the wind had blown it!  But we were still excited when we got caught in the 5 minutes of afternoon snow that occurred on Saturday.


Here's John Paul catching some on his tongue (which is hard to do when one is spinning around in circles).


And Cecilia all bundled up getting ready for a trip to the nature center.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rainbow Rice!

A friend shared a link to Rainbow Rice on Pinterest, so I thought that seemed like something pretty easy to try out with John Paul.

We got some white rice from Trader Joe's and have used about half of it so far.  Here's what we did:

Take a big freezer bag and pour in 2 cups of white rice.  Add 5-10 drops of food coloring, whatever color you want, and 1.5 tbsp rubbing alcohol (we used red for one bag and blue for the other).  Allow your toddler to mix and mix after you close the bag!  Then mix the remainder when he decides he doesn't care...

Spread rice on pans and allow to dry in the sunlight.  The rubbing alcohol will keep the bugs away.

Set up a pouring station and get ready for your toddler to be amused for hours!


We used various pouring vessels - he especially loved using a big spoon to transfer rice from bowl to bowl - good practice with utensils!


If you don't have a tray like this, get one!  We use it ALL the time for pouring activities - I spread a towel over it and we use it as a makeshift indoor water table, and it keeps most of the rice contained.  Yes, some fell on the floor - John Paul picked most of it up, and the vacuum got the rest pretty easily.  This can be done on a MUCH larger scale as well, so I think we'll make a new color every now and then to mix things up a bit.  John Paul LOVED it!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Books


You know when you love books so much that sometimes you have to sit down in a bin full of them?


Yeah, me neither...  But Cecilia loves books that much!  We spend a LOT of time reading every day.  The same book.  Over and over.  She particularly likes books about animals or saints.  Books that feature both animals AND saints are the best - St. Francis, we love you!


John Paul, as always, is also a book fiend.  I've started saving exciting library books for Cecilia's nap time so that he can read them on his own while I'm nursing her.  He RUNS over to the couch as soon as I tell him it's time for her to sleep.  Then he asks me for probably like, 6 or 7 different books and just sits there quietly reading to himself for like, an hour!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Plaid pants


One of my latest consignment store finds - John Paul-sized plaid pants.  Perfect for a 2.5-year-old golfer/geriatric.  But seriously, so cute, right?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Stairs


"Hey Mom, you know what's SO awesome?  The stairs!!!"


"Dad can come peek through the railings and it's SO funny..."


"I mean really, SO FUNNY!!!"


"And sometimes my brother leaves his shoes on the steps, and I can play with them!"


"Uh oh, time to make a run for it - Dad's coming!"

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wisdom

We saw a car at church whose license plate read, "Wisdom" - John Paul immediately read it on his own and asked me, "Talk about wisdom?"

So I tried to explain what exactly wisdom is...  Not that he really cared, he also asked me to talk about Sanctus and St. Michael (my license plate and Andrew's license plate, "SNCTUS" & "STMCHL").

So we get home and he's playing on his own and I hear him say, "WISDOM!!!"

And I look over and he's spelled this on the fridge, entirely on his own:


And he's taken the letters out of his puzzle to spell it, too!


This kid is ridiculous.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You know you're a parent when...

You find yourself reaching for toilet paper off the pile of clean, crumpled paper that has been taken off the roll.

Seriously, whoever installed an open-ended toilet paper holder in our bathroom did NOT have young children in mind.  It is far too easy for a one-year-old to sneak into the bathroom while Mom is brushing her teeth, grab the roll off the holder, and take it into her brother's room for some very sneaky fun.

Normally I notice a stream of paper winding its way from the toilet to the door and stop her in her tracks - too sneaky this time!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gnocchi with sage and garlic

Okay, it's time to start posting some of my favorite recipes here so that I remember them!  I feel like I go through cooking stages where there are several dishes I make pretty frequently and then seasons change and I forget them...

Here's one of my favorite SUPER quick meals:

Ingredients:


1/2 a stick of butter
(I have a stick pictured here because if you cut it in half it just says "BUT" and then your toddler comes into the kitchen and says, "May I pweez have some BUT???" and you have to stifle a laugh and then you feel like a 6th grader for laughing at a butt joke...)

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
(or more...  or less, but I really love me some garlic!)

.5 oz fresh sage, chopped
(you can also use about 2 tsp ground sage.  I buy a 1 oz package at the grocery store and chop it all up and then freeze the rest)

1 lb package of potato gnocchi
(or be daring and make your own - ricotta gnocchi is super-easy!).

Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and a whole bunch of grated parmesan.


Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan while you boil water for your gnocchi.  Add garlic and cook until soft, adding salt and pepper to taste.


Add sage and cook until bright green turns dull.


Drain your cooked gnocchi and toss in the pan with sauce.


Add a healthy handful of parmesan and serve immediately. 
(feel free to add a couple handfuls of parmesan directly to your mouth...  That stuff's tasty!)


Serve it on china!  You know you don't use it often enough!


I LOVE this recipe, particularly in the summer when we can get fresh sage at the farmer's market and serve it alongside some tasty caprese salad.  If you use fresh sage, you can pretend you're eating a green veggie, too :P

The kids absolutely gobble this up - normally we have just enough for the whole family, but tonight evidently should have been a 2-package night, since both John Paul and Cecilia ate all theirs immediately and were begging for more.  I gave them prunes, they were happy with that...  It's also a really good food to serve your toddler when you're encouraging eating with utensils, since those little dumplings are just so easy to spear!

Total cost?  Around $5, max!  Use the money you saved on a nice bottle of wine :)

In short:

1 lb package potato gnocchi
1/2 stick of salted butter
4-5 gloves garlic, minced
.5 oz chopped sage (about 2 tbsp)
1/4 cup grated parmesan, or any hard italian cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1.  While boiling water for gnocchi, melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet.
2.  Add garlic to butter, cooking until soft.
3.  Throw sage in the pan and stir until leaves start losing their brilliance.  Salt and pepper to taste.
4.  Add gnocchi to boiling water, cook until it starts rising to the top, then drain and immediately add to sauce.
5.  Toss with 1/4 cup (or more) of grated parmesan.  Serve immediately!


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