Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Menu Plan Tuesday - Week of May 27th

 After a long holiday weekend it feels like Monday today, but it's actually Tuesday I suppose.

Sunday:  Dinner out with friends

Monday:  Memorial Day!  Grilled Brats with Cheesy Potatoes

Tuesday:  Pasta with Salad and Garlic Bread

Wednesday:  Panini with Chips

Thursday:  Tacos

Friday:  7 Cheese Calzones with Salad

Saturday:  Leftovers/Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 20th

Sunday:  Chipotle Chicken Sandwiches on Homemade Buns with Corn on the Cob

Monday:  Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

Tuesday:  BBQ Pulled Pork Loaded Baked Potatoes with Southern Green Beans

Wednesday:  Mexican Pizza with Zucchini

Thursday:  Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wraps with Ranch Potato Wedges

Friday:  Grilled Burgers on Homemade Buns with Cheesy Potatoes

Saturday:  Leftovers/Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We Did Not Suvive the Zombie Apocalypse

I had a crazy dream last night (not my first crazy dream this week, but the first scary one) where Mark and I were in the midst of the Zombie Apocalypse. 

You know... undead people trying to eat us?  I'm sure this as absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I spent the earlier part of this week reading Books 5-7 of The Walking Dead.  Totally unrelated, I'm sure :)

So anyway, back to undead people trying to eat us. 

I don't recall all of the specifics, but I do remember that I was trying my darndest to save our lives from the flesh hungry zombies and in true Man Form, Mark was fighting me every step of the way.  He was all, "but I'm a MAN.  I know everything!"  And I was all, "Are you kidding me?  I know everything there is to know about the Zombie Apocalypse because I've read TONS of books and watched zombie movies and shows and I totally know how to survive this!  We need a gun, water, and heirloom seeds!". 

After some back and forth we finally made it to whatever safe house, outside of the city, of course, that I wanted to head for.  We were all safe and in bed and then my obnoxious, barky dog (who was apparently infected with the zombie virus) bit both of us and presumably we too were going to turn into zombies. 

I don't know how it played out though because once I was bitten I woke up.  And I was so scared that I was wide awake from 4.30-5.30am and didn't dare get out of bed to go to the bathroom even though I needed to. 

Today, I made Mark promise to defer to my great Zombie Apocalypse wisdom should there ever be need or I will do myself a favor and leave him behind!

The End.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 13th

Sunday:  Mother's Day with family

Monday:  Pulled Pork Sandwiches (CrockPot) on Homemade Buns with Coleslaw and Chips

Tuesday:  Sweet and Sour Chicken with Brown Rice and Broccoli

Wednesday:  Cafe Rio Chicken Tacos (CrockPot) with Mexican Rice (from the freezer - I divided leftovers into 2 portions when I made it last week to use for future meals)

Thursday:  Grilled Chicken Gyros with Greek Salad

Friday:  Homemade Pizza

Saturday:  Leftovers/Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 6th

Sunday:  Grilled Sausages with Potato Salad and Southern Green Beans

Monday:  IHO this weekend's Kentucky Derby - Kentucky Hot Browns with Spinach Salad

Tuesday:  Smoked Turkey Cobb Wraps (hopefully with leftover turkey) with Chips and Leftover Spinach/Potato Salad

Wednesday:  Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mexican Rice

Thursday:  Homemade Pizza

Friday:  Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Baked Oven Fries

Saturday:  Leftovers/Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jack's 2nd Birthday

So yeah, Jack had a birthday.  At the end of February.  I didn't ignore it completely!  I did talk about it, but I haven't posted pictures of his birthday party until now.  I'm just a little behind because I'm lazy busy.  Okay, probably more likely a combination of both, but anyway, here are pictures from Jack's 2nd birthday party!

Unfortunately, our house isn't big enough to host our family and friends so we hosted Jack's party at an event center/party room that my husband has access to through his work.  It's always a pain to plan and prepare for an event when you have to transport everything, but at least I didn't have to worry about cleaning my house on top of everything else, I guess :)

Jack had a lot of fun.  He spent most of the time running around with his cousins, having a blast.  There were lots of giggles.

His favorite truck was in attendance as well.

Jack wasn't super into opening his gifts, but he did open a few.

Mostly he wanted to continue running around playing as well as stop and play with whatever he opened.  Pretty much a repeat of the holidays this year :)

However, he was into the cake eating.  He helped blow out his candle.

And then dug right in.

He was all, "this is all for me?!"

"Oh, okay then.  Good!"

Some details:

The invitation:

Mark designed the invites.

We did kind of a drive-in theme and had hot dogs with chili sauce, cheese, chopped onions, mustard, and relish served with a variety of chips.  We also put together fruit and dip and veggie and dip platters.  We had red food baskets for people to use as plates.

I made these chocolate covered pretzels as well using candy melts and race car pretzel molds.

And don't forget the cupcakes!

We had Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting and Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes.  Mark designed the images on the little cupcake toppers and I cut them out of cardstock and glued them onto little lollipop sticks.  Oh, and the cupcake tower!  I actually made that last year for Jack's Cat in the Hat-themed 1st birthday party using this tutorial.  This year I just changed out the paper and ribbon and was able to reuse it.  Easy peasy.

As far as decorations, we kept it really simple.

We hung streamers, got some balloons, and I made these little truck garlands/mobiles.  I'm not really sure what you'd call them, but they turned out pretty cute.

LOTS of cutting, but the putting together was easy.  I got the inspiration from seeing this tutorial.  Jack thought they were pretty cool.

I made Jack's shirt using a freezer paper stencil.  Mark designed the image and printed it out for me.  I very carefully cut it out with what should have been an X-Acto knife, but in reality was a box cutter because I of course left this project until about midnight the night before his party and didn't think of the lack of X-Acto thing as a problem.  *Sigh*  Next time, must get X-Acto knife!  I was really pleased with the results though and I've since washed the shirt several times with no problems.

After all the work and scrambling and rushing to be on time I forgot to wear eyeliner, which is pretty much the only makeup I always wear.  Fail.  It was a good day though!

Photos courtesy of Gabbard Photography

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

26 months

Photo courtesy of Gabbard Photography

Jack turned 26-months-old 2 days ago.  This kid?  Not just 2-years-old, but 2-years PLUS 2 months, oy!

(By the by, the above is a picture from Jack's 2nd birthday party.  Oh yeah, we had a party!  I've had pictures for a while now and haven't gotten around to posting them!  This post is already pretty long so I'm planning to post party pictures tomorrow.)

What's Jack up to these days?

Well, he's definitely a 2-year-old so our days are filled with 2-year-old highs and lows.  He's a pretty good natured, laid back kid, but that doesn't hold him entirely exempt from 2-year-old-ness which means he can be happy as a clam one minute and then crying the next because for some reason he has yet to grasp that I'm not just being mean by not making his lunch magically appear in the course of 30 seconds and when I say, I'm working as fast as I can, I'm really working as fast as I can!  Patience is certainly not a 2-year-old trait, but we're working on it.

This kid is still fully car/truck/anything on wheels obsessed.  He loves to watch racing on TV - NASCAR, Indy Car, those drag races with the other cars or the races with trucks, it really doesn't matter if it has wheels and it's going fast it will hold his attention for an inordinate amount of time.  We've had more car racing on our TV in the last couple of months than we've probably had in the entire time we've been married.  And I think it goes without saying that the movie Cars is very high on his list of favorites.

Jack just recently started saying (or trying to say) "truck".  It's funny that he's waited this long to try it out considering we're surrounded by trucks all day long, but it's finally become part of his vocabulary!  For a while now he's had lots of vehicle-related descriptive words down;  He will say car, van, coupe, race car, police car,taxi, convertible, Jeep, and bus/yellow school bus (all accurately!), it's rather impressive!

He still won't say his name though. :shrug:  It's like he can't figure out why we'd want him to say his own name.  He's all, clearly I know what my name is, why do I need to say it?

His vocabulary is definitely exploding otherwise.  He knows all sorts of words now and tries out new ones everyday.  He's stringing words together now and likes to say things like "Hi MaMa/DaDa", "food good" or "food hot", and another new favorite is, "cool, huh?".  He also recently started saying "I got it!" and "Oh... sorry" and "Ready... Set... GO!" and he says these phrases over and over again.  It's pretty adorable.

Within the last few days he started perfectly enunciating "yes" whereas he used to say something more along the lines of "ash".  I must say, I adore when he has his own special way of saying things.  It's great when he realizes how to say things correctly though.

Workin' hard with his tools.

He knows a lot of animals and the sounds they make now.  The best impression he does is for frog.  He says, "froggy RIB-BIT RIB-BIT" enunciating each syllable precisely.  It's adorable.  Close runners up are definitely his monkey impression (Monkey!  Ooh-ooh-ahh-ahh!) and elephant, which is just him saying "El-fant" huffing out really hard.  He also likes to hop around imitating a frog.

This kid LOVES to read.  That's pretty much what he does all day - plays with trucks and wants me to read to him.  We read and read and read.  Unfortunately (for me) he likes to read the same books over and over.  I'm so happy he wants to read at all, but it definitely gets boring on my end.  What IS adorable about it though is he's starting to "read" along.  He's memorized some of the words and will interject key words here and there so that he's "reading" along.  It's pretty cute and impressive, I must say.  I hope he ends up to be an early reader as a result of all our reading time!

He's also started singing along with certain songs, like the closing song on Barney as well as saying things along with the characters in his favorite movies: Toy Story and Cars.

Drive-in Caillou!

Periodically throughout the day he'll pick up books and bring them over and say "read... read... peeeeeas (please)!" and it's pretty sweet. And then when we finish, of course, it's "Again.  Read again!  Mama reeead!". :)

His favorite books right now are:

The Little Engine That Could and Rupert Penguin happen to be my books from when I was little!

Obviously he's really enjoying Dr. Seuss books right now.  I'm really glad he has the attention span for longer books now as they're more entertaining for me when we're reading them over and over again :)

Every night before bed he likes to read The Cat in the Hat, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and Cars, Trucks, Planes, and Trains.  Recently he managed to finagle Green Eggs and Ham into the mix as well, but we really try to limit him to 3 books before bed/nap time as it can turn in to a really long, drawn out process otherwise.  He usually does well with laying down after his 3 books, but sometimes it can be a struggle.  I've noticed that being consistent with it does help the process and 3 books seems to be a good number so I think that's what we'll stick with.

I pulled out the camera and Jack said, "Smile!" and did :)

He can (kind of) spell his name.  It used to be that he would just say "A-C-K" then it went to "A-A-C-K" and now, likely because we've been trying to emphasize "J" as a different letter than "A", he says, "J-C-K" and then he says, "YAY!" and claps for himself.  Hehe, he loves to give himself praise.

He can count to 10!  He says, one-too-free-fouah-figh-sis-seben-eigh-nigh-TEN!  We're now working on ABCs and he's starting to pick it up.

As I've been talking about, he's working on his 2-year molars and it's been a pretty frightful experience.  When they were actually cutting through (pretty much all at once!) he wasn't eating or sleeping much.  Thankfully, after a few days of that he seems to be on the mend!  We can't get him to take teething tablets and giving him medicine is always a struggle which makes him more angry so we just leave him be unless he's obviously in a lot of pain and at that point, administering the medicine is worth the struggle.  He's still wearing his teething necklace and I feel like it has probably taken the edge off the pain, but those teeth are big!  I'm sure it's uncomfortable!  As of right now, all four of his molars are through the gums, but not all the way.  I hope we'll have this mess behind us soon!

Because of his teething his sleep schedule has been kind of all over the place.  He's been going down around 8-8.30pm as usual, but he can wake up anywhere from 6.30am-9am.  Most days, right now, it's about 7.30-8am, which is an improvement from about 2 weeks ago when it was more like 6.30am-7am.  The early wake-ups had us both in bad moods as neither of us are morning people!

Naps are kind of all over the place as well.  He usually goes down about 1-1.30pm (depending on just how early he was woken up that day!) and then it varies.  Pre-teething he was still napping for 2.5-3 hours.  Once he started with his crazy schedule he could sleep anywhere from not at all to his regular 2.5-3 hours.  Most days he probably sleeps about 2 hours right now.  That's a very rough estimate though as he's really all over the place.  The last 2 days he napped for maybe an hour and that was after I resettled him twice, and then yesterday he didn't sleep at all.  Occasionally he just hits these bumps with napping so I'm really, really hoping that once his sleep schedule gets back on track (hopefully soon!) so will his napping.

I know one of these times he's just going to move away from naps completely and I'm not really looking forward to that!  Keeping up with a toddler is hard work and I look forward to naptime so I can get things done and take a little break!

"Here DaDa, you wear 'Tato Head's hat."

Now that the worst of the molar business is behind us, Jack is back to eating well.  He definitely turned a corner around age 2 and is more open to trying new things.  He still has his favorites, but he will often at least TRY what's put in front of him and I've found that's half the battle!

Breakfast - he usually has homemade whole-wheat oatmeal toast with butter and either eggs with cheese or yogurt.  He also likes waffles, pancakes, muffins, and bagels, but he doesn't get these regularly.  He's definitely a breakfast boy like his daddy!

Lunch - he might have dinner leftovers or PB&J or grilled cheese.  Usually with a side of fruit and maybe some cheese.

Dinner -  he will often eat what we eat (Hallelujah!) or he might have some cheese instead of the protein or something along those lines.  He's still not a meat eater (although he has surprised me and is eating some meat, usually if it's like shredded chicken in a quesadilla, or fish, but he still doesn't seem too keen on any beef or hot dogs or anything like that) and he's not a big snacker.  He only eats snacks occasionally in the afternoon after his nap if he requests it.

He likes a wide array of fruit: apples, bananas (although he's kind of "off" these right now.  Might have gotten a little burnt out!), grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and unsweetened applesauce.

Veggies are a little more restrictive, but he is expanding his likes a little bit and I keep trying so I hope it pays off eventually.  He'll always eat sweet potatoes (usually as a seasoned "fry" - I just cut the sweet potatoes into a fry shape and season them with chili powder, cumin, and paprika and bake them.  Side note: he also seems to really like spices and Mexican food flavors.  He takes after me with this!), and potatoes (he also likes these best as a "fry"), he's doing pretty well with green beans, and he's eaten broccoli recently and seemed to enjoy it, but he won't eat it reliably.  Yesterday I gave him peas, which he used to like, and he wouldn't even try them (again, trying it's half the battle!) so I'm not sure about those anymore.   Sometimes I give him those little fruit and veggie pouches to get some veggies in him!  Someday my persistence will pay off! 

Overall he is expanding what he likes so I'm happy and hope that his eating keeps improving.  We're persistent with offering what we're eating and encouraging him to try new things (but not pressuring!  It's a fine line and I definitely avoid any sort of power struggle when it comes to food.) and it seems to be slowly working so we'll keep at it.  One day soon I hope he will just eat whatever we're having and be happy about it!

Ugh, he had what I would say is his worst illness yet this month.  Last weekend Jack developed a cold.  It was definitely just a mild cold.  Pretty much all he had was a runny nose, he was coughing just a little bit too.  Throughout the week he got progressively better everyday.  Wednesday, he was mostly better and I was hoping when he woke up Thursday morning he'd be pretty much back to normal.  Instead, he woke up Thursday morning with a fever :(  I'm not sure if he developed some sort of secondary infection or if the cold just fought back and won and settled in his chest, but from Thursday on he had a fever and runny nose and a nasty, congested cough.  In the past, when he has (very rarely) gotten sick, it seems that he has a fever for a max of two days, it usually comes, breaks, comes on again, breaks again and that's all she wrote.  But this time, he had a fever off and on for two days and then for two days straight.  Poor kiddo.

The fever was definitely making him feel bad so we let him watch plenty of movies this weekend so he could snuggle and take it easy.  Sunday he woke up fever free and was obviously feeling much better!  He still has a cough, but it's pretty infrequent and definitely sounding much less congested.  He's been fever free for 2 days now and seems to be getting better and better so hopefully we can put his behind us!  However, for the last 24 hours he hasn't slept very well.  I don't like that (for obvious reasons, but also) because he could really use the sleep to help him keep getting better!  We went on a nice, long walk today to get some fresh air and sunshine (vitamin D to help boost his immune system!) and he's definitely tired after sleeping poorly yesterday and overnight so hopefully he'll take a nice nap today.  It's hard when they get in that cycle of being overtired because it just makes them want to fight sleep!  Silly kids.

What else...

He loves being outside!  Now that it's warming up I've been taking him outside in the afternoons when it's nice out (and our backyard isn't a swamp) and he loves exploring and digging in the dirt.  We got him a little toddler climber/slide deal and he also has a swing that he likes.  We also got him a bubble mower (the Easter Bunny was going to bring one, but unfortunately, the store was sold out!  This is probably the last year where things like this can just come late and still count ;) ) and he had fun with that!  He kept saying "grass!" while "mowing".  We picked up a sandbox from Craigslist the other day, but have yet to fill it with anything.  Soon!  And he also likes to throw/kick balls around.

He still really loves riding in his stroller on walks and we've been to a few parks this year and he's really enjoyed running around there and going down the slides.  I'm so glad he's big enough this year to enjoy playing at the park!

Oh, and recently added to the repertoire of milestones: he can jump (without holding onto anything) and thinks it's a pretty cool trick.

I must say, now that he's officially two, just in the last few weeks since his birthday, I feel like Jack has turned into a "kid" now rather than a baby/toddler.  Our days are filled with ups and downs, but most of the time this age is pretty darn fun!