September 30, 2011

Spaghetti on a Sick Day

"I love fall food," said my husband in between bites of spaghetti on Tuesday evening.
"I know," I agreed, taking another bite, "I've been craving pasta, chili, and mashed potatoes."
And now, finally, the weather is beginning to cooperate with my cravings because, as we all know, you can't eat fall comfort food on a hot day.

On Tuesday our family was badly in need of just that sort of food. We had progressively all come down with bad colds: first James on Saturday night, then me on Sunday night, and then Lane on Monday. Luckily for us, we felt no guilt staying inside and vegging out all day because it was cold out with showers every so often.
Spaghetti was just the thing for dinner. I decided to blog about it in continuation of my easy-and-delicious-stand-by's series. I don't ever measure anything unless I am baking or going to write a blog about the dish, and sometimes not even then. So here is my recipe for spaghetti, with guesses as to the actual amounts written next to the ingredients in parenthesis:

a good amount of garlic, minced (4 cloves)
sploosh of olive oil (2 tbsp)
half a package of ground turkey (1/2 lb)
3/4 jar of marinara (2 cups)
1 can of diced tomatoes
sprinkling of Italian seasoning (2 tsp)
pinch of dried fennel (1/2 tsp)
glug of red wine (1/4 cup) (Don't worry, it was added after I removed James portion.)
3 handfuls of whole-wheat spaghetti noodles (3/4 of a box)
fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions.
Heat garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until just beginning to brown. Then add turkey, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Turn heat to medium. Cook turkey through (165 degrees). Add marinara and tomatoes, sprinkle with Italian seasoning and dried fennel. Mix well. Remove amount needed for anyone not of drinking age and set aside to let cool. Add red wine, cover and cook a few more minutes.
Serve sauce over noodles and sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!

September 24, 2011

Pacific City Vacation

Last weekend Lane and I went on a get-away with two of our closest friends. 
This was no ordinary get-away. This was a Baby Free Vacation. And it was perfect. 
It was amazing weather, and the back door of our condo led right onto the beach.

We ran up (okay, crawled up) a huge sand dune that had an awesome view from the top. (The dune is on the right in the picture below.)

Then we rode cruisers out on the beach and around town. 

Later, we made up for the lost calories with delicious Pelican Brewery beer and BJ's famous tacos.

We missed James terribly, but the relaxation was much needed and long overdue. We stayed up late playing board games and eating fudge, slept eight hours each night, and laughed a lot. Despite having a perfectly restful weekend, I still pathetically burst into tears when we arrived home and our baby boy (who suddenly didn't seem like such a baby anymore) came running up to us with his goofy ear-to-ear grin. That is truly the best sight in the world. 

September 15, 2011

Chattin' on the phone and an embarrassing mom story...

It's amazing all the ways James is beginning to copy what the "big people" do. I really don't think I talk on the phone that much, but he can still imitate what I do almost perfectly. Except that he tends to hold the phone at the back of his head while he talks.

He also texts.

I bought him his own phone which, in my opinion, is much cooler than mine because it is bright red with green buttons and make animal noises.

For a while he was using my old Blackberry. However, it somehow ended up taking a dip in the toilet.
(photo unavailable)

Okay, so here is my super-embarrassing mom story for the day. The only reason I am glad it happened is the entertainment value for you, dear reader....
    Yesterday James and I made our daily trip to the park a little late because he slept in until 7 (praise the good Lord). I was wearing no make-up, my hair in a messy side-tail, a sweatshirt, and running capris. I don't mean like trendy Nike running capris, I mean like the ones that were originally sweat pants from Costco, but I cut them off because they were too short. My point is, I was not looking cute.
And, of course, in the usually vacant play ground there were three small kids playing and adorable young mom chasing them around. She was wearing a sweater, jeans, and- I kid not- leopard print ballet flats. I wanted to be her friend. We chatted, exchanged names, and did the awkward "So, you come to this park often?" It turns out, they also visit the park daily, just a little later than we typically do.
    Today James slept until almost 7 again (miracles do still occur). Naturally, to impress my new park friend, I put on make-up, real clothes, and cute strappy flats for our walk. I dressed James in long-overalls. Okay, I actually stuffed him into them like sausage into it's casing, they are 18 month and he is in 24 month clothes now. "Oh well" I thought "at least we both look cute."
As we did our lap with Sadie, I began to notice a stinging on my heels. "Should I change into my usual Crocs that make me look like Ronald McDonald?" I wondered "Of course not, I must look cute for the other mom."
So, we dropped off Sadie and made our way to the park. By the time we got there, my aching heels had blisters the size of quarters on them. No one was around to appreciate my decent appearance.
As we were playing, every time James bent down to pick up bark chips or a pebble I would hear a "POP!" The sound of the buttons on his overalls slowly unbuttoning, one by one. When we finally packed up to leave he looked as though he was wearing an ankle-length jean skirt. My feet were in such agony that I decided to walk without my shoes on.
So there we were- my son in full-length jean skirt overalls and me barefoot...
And guess who we bumped into as they were on their way to the park?
So much for impressing them with our appearance! I suppose I learned my lesson...

September 12, 2011

A day in the life...

Every once in a while someone will ask me what a typical day looks like for James and I. As I list off our daily activities, I usually don't even make it to first snack before the questioner becomes bored and changes the subject or simply wanders off. Next time this happens, I will direct them to this post, which I have made slightly more exciting less boring by adding pictures and a couple recipes.

After a small morning ba-ba and diaper/clothes change, it's breakfast time. We eat cheesy eggs (I scramble four eggs for the two of us and I'm lucky to get one bite, no joke) or I make four pancakes and we each eat two. Our favorite pancakes in the world are a Cooking Light recipe that I have slightly adapted:

Fluffy Oatmeal-Buttermilk Pancakes
1 1/4 c lowfat buttermilk                                  3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats                                                    1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla                                                  2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp applesauce                                            1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten                                          1/2 tsp salt

Combine buttermilk, oats, and vanilla, let sit 10 minutes. Add egg and applesauce. In a separate bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add wet ingredients. Cook on a buttered griddle over medium heat. Enjoy.

After breakfast we leash up Sadie, pack up the stroller and head out for our morning walk.

We only take Sadie for about 15 minutes, then she gets dropped off at the house and James and I make the trek (1 block) to the park. At the park we run around, climb the structure, slide down the slide, swing (on mommy's lap, of course) and pick up a lot of rocks, bark chips, and sticks.

By the time we get home, provisions are needed. Morning snack usually consists of dairy (cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt) and fruit. Then stories, and down for a nap. This is the only time of day that chores are done, and, every once in a while, relaxation may occur.

About an hour and a half later, he's up! And running, dancing, and playing.
Lunch comes soon after nap. It generally consists of a quesadilla, PB and J, or grilled cheese and more fruit. Then, we chase each other around, play with blocks and balls, do our "happy feet" dance (stomping around quickly in one place), and empty and rearrange every drawer and cabinet in the house.

Sometimes we run errands in the afternoon, or visit a different park.
Naturally, after all this activity, we need another snack. Carbohydrates are usually necessary by this point to re-fuel. Sometimes we have crackers, but more likely it's banana bread or muffins that I've made.

Whole wheat lemon-berry muffins
makes 2 dozen muffins

6 tbsp trans-fat free tub margarine (such as Earth Balance)
2/3 c brown sugar                                                   3 c whole wheat flour
1 c buttermilk                                                         1/2 tsp salt
1 carton (8 oz) low-fat yogurt                                 2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten                                               2 tsp baking soda
zest and extract of 1 lemon                                     2 c berries
1 c all-purpose flour                                               2 tbsp raw sugar

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and brown sugar. Stir in the buttermilk, yogurt, eggs and lemon zest and extract. Sprinkle flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda over the mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in berries. Pour evenly into two muffin tins coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle raw sugar evenly over the muffins. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in tins 5 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy.

On particularly lucky yet rare days, James goes down for another nap in the afternoon. This is when dinner is started (yes, around four, and sometimes it's done by six).

Daddy's arrival home is a very exciting event, and he is met at the door by a wagging dog, a squealing boy, and an exhausted wife. Lane usually throws James around and they wrestle for a while (guy stuff that James loves to do, but mommy doesn't really know how).
Then, it's James fifth meal of the day: dinner. He usually eats a little of whatever we are having, but modified for him, such as chicken, steamed veggies, and buttered-noodle-nums.

After dinner we sometimes go for a family walk (weather permitting), or play inside.
Around seven, James takes a tub (usually a "daddy job" while mommy does a little damage control around the house). He loves splashing in the tub and putting his hands under the faucet while the water runs. As soon as we start the bath, he runs in the bathroom and tries to step into the tub, fully clothed.

When he is all clean, James gets lotioned up and put into pjs. Then we round up bink, blankie, and Bear and sit in the rocker and read stories. This can last up to 20 minutes, but it usually lasts about 5 because James is ready for nigh-nigh-time-ba-ba, after which he gets his teeth brushed and goes to bed and sleeps soundly for 12 hours...
Okay, that last part isn't completely true, but a mom can dream, right?
Anyway, if you have stuck with me through the daily recap you are most likely a direct relative, or just really bored. In any case, our life is not fascinating and our days are not glamorous, but our little family is very blessed, and our days are filled with joy.