Thursday, June 28, 2012

An update or two

I started my new job last week and I have to say, it was a good decision. I'm working 3 days a week with a great group of people. It's an easy commute with hardly any traffic and mostly highway. Unfortunately, it also means getting up early to be ready for work on time. Blah.

We went to a birthday party this weekend. Of course, it was hot as the dickens. They had put out a kiddie pool for the little one to cool off in so Keira was soaking wet most of the afternoon. I made sure that she had her sunblock. Unfortunately, I never thought about me and got a little sunburn. Here she is before leaving the house.

Even though we only went about 5 houses down, I brought 3 changes of clothes. (I had been told about the pool beforehand). We went through all of them. I dried her off and changed her the first time so we could eat, the second time for the cake, and the third for the walk home.

I've also gotten more daring in my cooking. Ha! Right. I added a couple drops of food coloring to our crepes batter. The purple left a bit to be desired but the other 3 were nice & bright. I can see me doing this fairly often.

I also made chicken pot pie poppers. Surprisingly, Doug really liked them (he doesn't usually like pot pies). I also made mini blueberry muffins. Keira especially loved those. They fit her hand perfectly.

All tuckered out.

Seeing as she was up at 5:30 am, it's not really surprising to see that she fell asleep watching Sesame Street almost an hour before her nap.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Another quick & easy recipe

I like quick & easy recipes. However, 'easy' is a subjective term. What seems easy to one person may very well look like quantum physics to another. Since I'm not a fan of cooking, you can be pretty sure quick & easy to me is a half dozen or less ingredients, the same for steps and a prep time of say 20 minutes or so.

Take my Crockpot pineapple BBQ chicken wings. 3 ingredients, 5 steps, 5 minutes prep, tops. Not only is it super yummy, but when left in long enough, the meat practically falls right off the bone. Oh, and the usual 'set it, forget it' of the Crockpot. I love the Crockpot, especially since Doug isn't home the same time every night. It means that Keira and I can eat without Doug having to reheat his.

On to the 'recipe'. A can of pineapple (feel free to use slices or cut up a fresh one if you prefer), bottle of BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory & Brown Sugar), and chicken wings. I haven't tried any other BBQ sauces, mainly because I like this one. If you have a different favorite, by all means try it and see how it is. (I did once use the Sweet & Spicy for Doug & added some crushed red pepper & such to make his with kick. He said it was good.)

Step 1: Dump into Crockpot.

Step 2: Mix it so everything is coated.

Step 3: Put lid on Crockpot & turn on.

Step 4: Go do something. Check back once in a while to make sure all the wings are either under the sauce or that you mix them well. You want them cooked evenly.

Step 5. When chicken is cooked thoroughly, eat.

You'll notice I don't put a time or setting (Hi or Low). That's because you can cook at either, depending on the time you have available to you. If you have all day, put them in early and on low. If not, put them on high and they'll be done sooner. Just be sure to check the meat before eating. The last thing you want is food poisoning from undercooked chicken.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

16 (ish) Months

Yesterday, I tried to take some portraits of Keira. I had realized that I hadn't done any since her birthday 4 months ago. Since she's changed so much, I figured it was about time to do some. So on went the cute dress and outside with the camera we went.
And went. She couldn't have cared less for anything besides running off. I did manage to get some decent ones despite the fact that my camera will not go into manual mode. (I'll get it to the repair shop eventually)

And this is my favorite. It's so her.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Reusing Coffee-mate bottles

Do you use liquid creamer? Know someone who does? Have you been on Pinterest?

I don't use creamer but some of my family do and they were nice enough to save a couple bottles for me. I saw this on Pinterest (where else, right?) and wanted to try it.

It works great. The small bottle is perfect for holding goldfish & oyster crackers (all we've tried so far). The tops open and close super easy. It fits great in diaper bags & cup holders. It won't break when it's dropped or thrown. What more could you ask for?

Another thing I like is that you have to give it a little shake for the snacks to come out. Basically, they won't pour all over the floor if the get knocked over.

Pinterest also has ideas for pancake making. Using condiment bottles for pouring and such.

This morning I had made a batch of crepes. Ok, I made 2 batches. I had to. Keira ate 5 herself (they are her favorite, after all), then Doug finished them off. Not that there was many, I had only planned to make a small batch. I made more so I could eat and brought the rest to my friend when we visited. Of course, it was later when I decided I wanted to see how well the bottle idea worked so I got everything back out. Including a large Coffee-mate bottle.
I decided to see how well shaking would mix the ingredients. There were a few clumps more than normal, but otherwise, not bad. I will probably use this idea a good amount as we really love crepes in our house.

It was really easy to pour into the pan (when not trying to take a picture) and no drippy mess. Also, I can make what we will eat and put the remaining batter in the fridge until the next morning. The large bottle holds 4 cups, so for crepes, that's a good amount.

Dinner: Quick & Easy

I don't cook.

Well, I cook. But it's not something I enjoy. It never has been. I'm getting better at it so it's not as bad as it used be. I'm one of those people who could happily eat frozen dinners and Chef Boyardee all the time. I think it's pretty obvious why that would be a bad idea. And I try to feed Keira healthy, even if there are days I don't eat that way myself. There have been plenty of times that I've given her something to eat different from mine. Luckily she loves vegetables. Broccoli, squash, carrots. etc. And she loves fruit. Loves.

I recently made my first meatloaf. And it came out pretty good. So I tried it with turkey and I'm making it again this week. Not my friend Rosemary's recipe like I had wanted since I was missing several key ingredients, but I've decided to add some chopped broccoli to it and we're going to see how that goes. Baby steps, people, baby steps. I'd love to be at her level, both love of cooking and ability. Maybe one day.

But there are plenty of days where I'm just not in the mood to cook. I'd rather put away laundry if that's any indication of my cooking love. So I have my cheat meals. If Doug is home, I do try to put in a bit more effort (since he works so hard, I figure he at least deserves a decent meal). So after doing a bunch of stuff to get ready to go back to work, visiting a friend, I had run out of steam. So I made this:

Beef stir-fry with orange ginger sauce. Looks good, huh? It has 3 ingredients. Now before you start questioning my ability to count, I'll explain.

Stir-fry blend of frozen veggies (contains carrots, broccoli, green beans, water chestnuts & onions)
LaChoy Orange Ginger sauce

Cut up and cook beef. Drain fat. Add in veggies. Add in sauce. Cook until desired veggie crispness. Eat.

I haven't read the label of the sauce. I'm not planning on it. I'm sure it's got some insane amount of sodium or who knows what and it will make me not want to use it. But you can't win every battle so, for now, I'll hang onto my shortcuts. Most of which are sauces or condensed soups.

Maybe I'll even share my crockpot pineapple-bbq wings. Those are realllly good. And quick & easy.

And now I'm hungry.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Back to the grindstone

On Wednesday, I will start a new job. It's hard to believe that I've not been employed by someone for almost 2 years to the day. I got laid off due to my previous employer retiring and had decided to take the summer off. Well, 2 weeks later, we found out that I was pregnant. It turned out to ne a blessing in disguise since I ended up being quite sick throughout my pregnancy. I'll be doing Accounts Payable and general office work at a (somewhat) local store. It'll only be part-time, 3 days a week so I will still be able to spend plenty of time with Keira. It also means I'll need to get things on a real schedule and stick to it. I've tried so many times and failed miserably. This time, I took several ideas from Pinterest and made my own command center.

It has a calendar, chore chart, dry erase and menu. I cut a couple file holders and stuck those up to catch bills and papers that need attention. I painted a wooden "D" and attached it to some burlap (I know the D was cut crooked. Don't judge.) And I hung a bucket for pens & dry erase markers and stuck a few magnets to it. I plan to add a magnet board soon. -ish. I'm hoping this will help to keep me organized.

Something has to, right?

Happy Father's Day!

Keira adores her daddy. I suppose it's only fair. After all, he's in love with her. He didn't have to say a thing. You saw it in his face the moment he held her.



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Short & Tall

Recently, a friend & fellow blogger, Nicole over at The Kavanaugh Report, wrote about her adorable little boy Henry being, well, little. (Click the link to check them out.)

It may seem odd to those who follow Keira's antics and know she's in the 90th percentile for height, but we're very familiar with being small in our family. I'm 5'2" and Doug is 5'7". Our families are similar in that the women range on the smaller side of average as do the men, with an exception of a couple tall uncles.

My niece, Abby, has Achondroplasia, a common type of Dwarfism. At 8 years old, she's not much taller than Keira is at 15 months, just a few inches.

Because of her height, people who don't have a lot of contact with Abby have always treated her as though she was much younger. It's a constant source of frustration, not only to her, but to those of us surrounding her. Often, she is viewed as a 4 or 5 year old. People were amazed to see such a tiny baby talking...when she was almost 3.

The complete opposite of Keira, who at 15 months is the same size as several 2 year olds that we know. While that is obviously not as large a gap, the is definitely a difference in the developmental stages. While Keira is very smart (at least in my opinion) and gets into her fair share of mischief, she is at the proper stage for her age. When we are around others with children 2 & 3 years old, people ask the usual questions, "does she do this?" etc, I usually explain that she is only 15 months, and then they remark on how tall she is.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grandma's Camera, Part 2

Since they spend a good amount of time outside playing, there are plenty of pictures of that as well.

My little pirate.

Don't drink & drive.

No visit to Grandma's is complete without chocolate.