Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: Week of May 29th

Sunday:  Dinner at my parent's while Mark cleaned our carpets

Monday:  Memorial Day!  Spicy Italian Sausage (local, from the farmers market!) with Broccoli Salad and Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday:  Lentil Tacos

Wednesday:  Burgers with Cheesy Potato Casserole

Thursday:  Grilled Asian BBQ Chicken with Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple

Friday:  Asian BBQ Chicken Pizza

Saturday:  Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wraps with Ranch Potato Wedges

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 22nd

Sunday:  Burgers with Best Ever Potato Salad

Monday:  Tortilla, Bean & Cheese Casserole with Corn - carried over from last week

Tuesday:  Breakfast for Dinner: Spicy Chicken Breakfast Biscuit with Sweet Potato Home Fries

Wednesday:  CrockPot Santa Fe Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice

Thursday:  Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Fries

Friday:  Fish Tacos with Mango Slaw

Saturday:  Leftovers/Out

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Friday, May 20, 2011

The rant which must be ranted.

Oy, this weather.  This weather is slowly killing me!  I don't think I can take one. more. day. of icky, gray, rainy, yuckiness outside my window!  This terrible weather is zapping all of my energy and motivation and keeping me locked into the Winter ho-hums despite the fact that we're actually heading toward the end of May!

And aside from the fact that I can count on a single hand the number of nice days we've actually enjoyed this year, what makes me even more bitter is knowing that we're totally missing Spring.  By the time this epically gross ickiness moves out we're going to find ourselves smack in the middle of hot, humid weather.

One of the great things about Ohio is the 4 distinct seasons.  Well, I should say that what USED to be nice about Ohio was it's 4 distinct seasons because last year we only had 2 seasons: HOT and COLD and it seems like this year will be more of the same.

After experiencing our last snow of Winter in APRIL, which I'm pretty sure is actually supposed to be part of Spring... after all, the saying is "April showers (showers, not snow) bring May flowers", at least that's how I learned it... we've blown through most of Spring while being deluged by rain, rain, and oh, more rain.  Occasionally, Mother Nature will mix things up a bit and throw in a random severe thunderstorm with a sprinkling of hail, or if she's feeling particularly hormonal, a thoughtful 3am tornado warning; that's when the REAL party starts. 

Last week we actually got a little bit of a break in the rain, but it was of course hot and humid and the forecast called for "scattered showers and thunderstorms", which should really be re-named "Don't even try to plan anything because you have no idea what I'm going to throw at you now!  Muahahaa!".

Lucky for us, we ended up with some sunshine to enjoy, but with the threat hanging over our heads that a random pop up storm could happen at any minute.  Thankfully, we were able to get outside for a little bit and I even carved out some time during Jack's naps to just sit outside, in the sun, with a book.  Since we're going on about 7 or 8 months with hardly a peek of sun restocking our bodies with vitamin D is actually a pretty important need to consider!

It's as though my Ohio born and bred body is programmed to accept 6 months out of the year with lack of sunshine, but once Spring hits it expects to enjoy some quality time in the sun and fresh air.  It is not happy with the lack there of this year and my energy levels, motivation, and mood have definitely taken a sucker punch right to the kisser.

*Le sigh*

Well, the forecast is looking... up? not as dreadful as this past week as today is calling for partly cloudy (woot!  No rainz!) and tomorrow is, drumroll please, supposed to be mostly sunny!  But enjoy it while you can folks, because after that there's possible rain in the forecast as far as the eye can see.


At least I can be thankful that we haven't been plagued with deadly tornadoes or flooding like other parts of the country.  Go, us?

I need a vacation to somewhere sunny!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 15th

Sunday:  Sloppy Joes with Mac & Cheese

Monday:  Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos with Mexican Sour Cream Rice

Tuesday:  Turkey Kielbasa with Pierogies and Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday:  Tuna Casserole with Green Beans

Thursday:  Tortilla, Bean & Cheese Casserole with Corn

Friday:  Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Saturday:  Leftovers/Take Out

For more menu planning ideas check out

Monday, May 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 8th

Sunday:  Dinner with family

Monday:  Grilled Steak Fajitas with 'Refried' Beans and Mexican Rice

Tuesday:  Mom's night out with friends!

Wednesday:  Cheesy Beef & Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower - carried over from last week

Thursday:  Mark has a work function, I'm on my own

Friday:  General Tso's Chicken (CrockPot) with Brown Rice
Saturday:  Chicago-style Pizza - Mark's cooking! 

For more menu planning inspiration and tips visit

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

14 Months!

Jack is 14 months and officially a toddler!

He has made some major developmental strides this month, the biggest probably being that he's WALKING!  That's right, Mr. Jack is toddling all over the house now!

He had been on the cusp of walking for a little while.  You could see a few weeks ago that he was really starting to lead off things pretty far and it was as if you could actually see that he was thinking about it, "can I actually let go and keep moving?", but he'd usually just drop down to his usual scoot to get where he was going.  Eventually, he'd gotten to the point where he'd lead off of things and then let go and just be standing by himself!  If something was nearby, he'd reach for it and then continue cruising along, if not, he'd then drop down and scoot away.

Eventually, he progressed to where he was cruising along holding on to something and then he'd get to the end, let go, and take a few, very small shuffle steps to the side, but no forward motion and he didn't get very far at all.

All that changed on Tuesday, April 19th (that's right, I'm documenting the date here, because I'm not very good about keeping up with his baby book :) ) he took his first real steps.  Earlier in the afternoon we were visiting my grandparents and Jack took a step or two forward on his own.  By that evening, he took a few real steps back and forth between Mark and I a few times, but then it was bedtime and he wasn't in the mood for anymore walking no matter how excited we were for him to do it!

I honestly didn't expect that he'd take off so quickly after his first real steps.  Jack has always been a very laid back baby and is slow to warm up to things.  I think it's just part of his nature, so I expected that he'd be at the "few steps" stage for a while before he really had the desire to start walking around a lot.

Boy was I wrong about that!  He woke up the following day and was all over the place!  One of the very first things he did that day was walk from our couch to the TV stand (a distance of about 4 feet).  I was amazed by his progress!  He spent all day excitedly toddling around, VERY proud of himself, but because our family room is so small and because he has quite a few large toys in it, he was able to toddle in between resting points.  So, he'd go from the coffee table to his airplane push toy to the window and was able to have breaks in between.

The day after that we visited my parent's house, which is much bigger than ours and he was happy to show off his new skill set by toddling all over the house.  He was even going from room to room and quite enjoying his new found mobility.  And that's all she wrote!  He's an official walker now and it seems to be his preferred mode of transportation.  He's quick too!

Here's a video clip from the very first day he was really walking around.  You can see that he's very proud of himself:

Also this month, he has *finally* decided to start feeding himself!  And I'm not talking about utensils, I'm talking about with his fingers.  Prior to this we just couldn't get this kid to self-feed regardless of what we tried!  It was pretty frustrating, but we knew that it was something we could encourage, but that he really needed to figure out on his own.  Well, finally something clicked and he figured out that he could do it himself and he started taking food from us and putting it in his own mouth.  That was HUGE!

Maybe a week or two later he had progressed to eating food from his tray when we put it there.  It's SO nice!  Not only is it easier to feed him now because it's not 100% hands on (i.e. I get to eat dinner at the same time he does, well... kind of, rather than feeding him until he's finished THEN worrying about myself!), but he's more interested in eating.  I'm sure it's much more fun now!

So, with him beginning to self-feed he has been eating a lot better and trying new things.  I'm now in a weird transition of trying to figure out what to feed him and he's not making it easy!  One day he'll LOVE something and then I think, hey, I've figured out something he really likes to eat!  Go me!  And I try to give it to him the next day and he's all like, Woman!  What are you trying to give me?!  This is gross!  Be gone with you and your stinky food!

But all in all he's doing much better and definitely eating more as well as a bigger variety of things.  AND the other bonus to his improved eating...

He's sleeping through the night!  ::happy dance::

He has slept through the night every night for about 4, or so weeks now.

He's firmly in a new schedule now and it's quite nice!  He kind of gave up his "morning nap", but he's never actually taken a morning nap.  He used to sleep through the morning and when he was a little younger he would wake up pretty late, like 11.30am late and his two naps a day would often be an afternoon nap and then another nap in the evening followed by bedtime during the 8 o'clock hour.  He has been steadily pushing back his waking time and now his schedule is pretty firmly set as 9am wake up time, 1pm naptime (from which he wakes up anytime from 3-5pm depending on the day), and 8 o'clock hour bedtime.  Some nights he's ready for bed right around 8pm, others he doesn't seem tired until closer to 9pm, we usually just let him tell us when he's ready. 

As far as bottles go he's still taking 2 bottles a day - one before nap and one before bed.  I'm not in a huge rush to get rid of either because it does seem like we've finally got the whole food intake thing under control.  It's still new, so I don't want to switch things up too soon!  He's also still taking half formula, half milk in his bottles, so the first thing will be to switch over to 100% milk and then we'll see about the bottle situation.  I don't mind that he's still taking these 2 bottles as he's not going to bed with them, or walking around the house with them, or anything like that.  If he starts trying to change the way we do things then we'll probably make a move to take away the bottles, but for right now we're keeping them.

Jack can say "MaMa" and "DaDa", but lately all he's wanted to say is his new word - "Beh Beh" which translates to Belle, our dog.  He loves our silly dog.  He thinks she's greatest thing since sliced bread, which is saying a lot because he quite likes bread.  I'm pretty sure he learned her name because I spend all day yelling politely asking her to be quiet and quit barking.  Now, when the dog starts barking (which only happens about eleventy million times a day) Jack will immediately look at her and start saying "Beh Beh".  Great.  Note to self: figure out silent way to quiet dog so the next thing Jack picks up on isn't the yelling politely asking.

In addition to learning the dog's name, he's starting to babble A LOT more.  He's really trying to imitate sounds and obviously carries on conversations in his own baby language.  I love to hear him go on and on.  He's definitely becoming more vocal.

He's also starting to imitate a lot of what we do and try to show him.  It's suddenly become much easier to teach him things.  It's as though he now understands that we're trying to show him how to do something.  He has a toy that we got him for Christmas that he enjoys playing with quite a bit.  It's a caterpillar that you push down on it's back and it rolls itself across the room.  Prior to now, he has just pushed it around without pushing it or chased it after we pushed it, but the other day I worked with him for a bit and showed him how to do it himself.  A few times of me modeling the action and then helping him to push down on his own and he's figured it all out!  It's really fun to be able to show him how to do things!

He's also pointing.  Well, kind of.  He likes to point at things, but he doesn't use just a finger yet, he points with his whole hand.  It's kind reminiscent of the model ladies on the Price is Right.

I've started to really work on a few sign language motions with him.  He's beginning to imitate "more", but he hasn't really used it in context yet, but again, it's really exciting to see that he's starting to imitate thing that we're showing him!

Everyday it amazes us just how big he is now!

He loves to play with Beh Beh

And here are a few pics from his 2nd Easter!

 He got a rubber ducky, sock money, sunglasses, sun hat, and some plastic Easter eggs in his basket!

Hmm... what's in here?

Let's just dump it out!

A close up of Mr. Monkey:

Oh... AND he's starting to try to take off his clothes.  Just the other day he accomplished this:

And yesterday morning when I went to get him from his crib he had his arm out of his PJs.  I may have a streaker on my hands!

AND he's also figured out how to climb up into our bay window.  I'm surprised it has taken him this long, but... uh oh!

Can't wait to see what next month brings us!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 1st

We didn't do very well with sticking to the meal plan last week so we'll be carrying over quite a few things to this week.

Sunday:  Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches with Steamed Broccoli

Monday:  Lasagna with Garlic Bread and Green Beans

Tuesday:  White Bean Chicken Chili (CrockPot)

Wednesday:  Panini with Sweet Potato Fries

Thursday:  Burritos

Friday:  Cheesy Beef & Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

Saturday:  Chicago Style Pizza - Mark's cooking!

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