Indoor fun

January 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm (Evan) (, , , )

The Treehouse Bed Tent

We’ve had a “bed dilemma” in Evan’s room for several months now.  Once he outgrew his Toddler Bed I started looking around for beds but just didn’t find anything I was really too excited about.  And really didn’t want to spend the money on a bed at that particular moment.  We had an extra Twin Mattress from when we had an extra guest bedroom so I ended up just putting the mattress on the floor and that’s basically how he’s slept for several months now.   It doesn’t look all that cool but one plus is that I don’t have to worry about him falling off at night!!

He’s been super interested in building forts recently. Every spare sheet in the house can usually be found in his room draping from one wall to the next.  Well my mom took note & just brought over the coolest thing!! It’s a BED TENT!!  So, not only does it bring some character to his poor little mattress laying on the floor but gone are the sheets without taking away the fun!!

Evan is totally digging this!! I know he’ll be excited to sleep in it tonight!  And for whatever reason he usually sleeps better & longer on nights we have a fort up!!  I guess it makes his room darker & cozier!  He’s already been up there for over an hour and counting!!!  Perfect indoor fun for a cold & wet January day!!

Indoor Fun is linked to Amy’s Finer Things Friday.
And bad, blurry pictures is not a Finer Thing!!!  But I can’t find my camera so this blurry cellphone picture is all I’ve got:(

Indoor Fun is linked to Your Life, Your Blog at Real Life blog.net.

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Things i love thursday … my kitchen spritzer

January 21, 2010 at 7:56 am (Cooking, Pampered Chef, Things I Love Thursday)

Kitchen Spritzer ~ Pampered Chef

pro⋅pel⋅lant [pruhpeluhnt] Show IPA  

 –noun   

1. a propelling agent.
2. the charge of explosive used to propel the projectile from a gun.
3. a substance, usually a mixture of fuel and oxidizer, for propelling a rocket.
4. a compressed inert gas that serves to dispense the contents of an aerosol container when the pressure is released.
 
So all that sounds fine & dandy to me until I think about a can of Cooking Spray.   Because yes, “propellant” is an ingredient in our Cooking Sprays.  It’s listed on the can in my pantry.  It fits definition #4 ~ a compressed inert gas that serves to dispense the contents of an aerosol container when the pressure is released. 
 
Sometime last year, I started using just a regular water spritzer (sorry for the lack of terminology, but think hair salon) filled with Olive Oil to spray any pots/pans before cooking.  It worked ok.  But it sprayed more in clumps rather than a nice mist that the aerosol containers give. 
 
Fast forward to October when I hosted a Pampered Chef Party & I noticed this fine little thingy (pictured above) in their catalog.  It’s a Kitchen SpritzerIt uses a pump handle ~ not aerosol ~ to give a mist!!  It’s refillable so I just pour our olive oil in, pump several pumps, and spray!!  I love it!!  It really works just as good as the aerosol container minus the “compressed inert gas to dispense the contents” … yuck! 
 

In full disclosure ~ I am a Pampered Chef Consultant, but I promise that has nothing to do with why I love this product and definitely not why I’m blogging about it!  In fact, I’m not going to tell you if you’re interested to come shop with me … but I will say if you’re interested in the Spritzer then you should find a rep in your area!!  And, just as a friendly FYI, next month is Stoneware month (which I’ve become a once hated, now loving Stoneware kind of girl) … it’s a great time to host a Cooking Party or a Catalog/Online Party because people love their Stoneware … which means you could rack up some host rewards!!

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Butternut squash fries

January 20, 2010 at 8:29 am (52 New, recipes, Works for Me Wednesday)

Butternut Squash Fries

I said last week that I have recently become a big fan of Butternut Squash.  It’s so sweet & yummy to my taste buds, I just love it!!  I could honestly just cut it up, bake it till it becomes tender & enjoy!!  As you already know, I do like it as a Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese.

But, I also really, really like it as Butternut Squash “Fries”.  I got this recipe from the Biggest Loser Cookbook.  And it’s husband AND kiddo approved!!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon EVOO
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Here’s what you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut both ends off the squash.  Using a vegetable peeler, peel the rind from the squash until you’ve peeled away the pale orange outside layers.  Discard the rind.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise.  With a spoon, scrape out the seeds & discard them.  Cut 8oz (about 2 cups) of ‘sticks’.  (Refrigerate the remaining squash for another recipe).

Place the squash sticks in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the oil, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.  Toss to coat.  Transfer the squash to a baking sheet so the sticks are in a single layer and do not touch.

Bake, turning the squash about every 5 minutes for 22-25 minutes, or until the outsides are crisp and the insides are tender when tested with a fork.  Serve immediately.

ALL this makes just one serving at 133 calories, 3 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat (trace saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber & 302 mg sodium

I like the “goodness” better than regular old potato fries and I like the taste better than sweet potato fries (and actually even better than white potato fries too!!), so that’s it Works for Me.

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Top ten tuesday … got milk?

January 19, 2010 at 9:10 am (Megan, Top Ten Tuesday)

Well, I’ve got milk in the fridge (three different kinds no less) and A LOT of milk related questions.  Can you help?? When Megan was an infant I had to start her on Lacto-Free Formula because of spitting up & just overall an inability to digest milk on its own.  Now honestly, I don’t really know if it was the Lacto-Free that worked or if it was just timing.  But her tummy was happier on Lacto-Free so that’s what we used. 

 Fast-forward to a year & I asked her pediatrician about which milk to use.  She suggested we start with regular Whole, Cow’s milk and just see how she does.  That’s what we did.  And for about five months, things were fine. 

Until last week.  For no clear reason she started throwing up. Of course I backed off all milk-based products and after about a day to a day & a half of holding food down I gave her a cup of milk.  Twenty minutes later … sick to her stomach again.  This happened again & so I stopped giving her milk.  I’ve given her some glasses of Organic Fat-Free milk the last couple of days & she’s held that down without any problems, but she doesn’t exactly need to be on a Fat-Free Diet!!! 

So, that’s the background.  *Whew* Now on to the questions. 

1. Is Lacto-Free an issue that could come & go? 

2. What is Soy Milk

 3. Is Lacto-Free Milk basically cow milk but without the Lacto??  And how in this world do they get the Lacto out? 

4. But Soy Milk is Lacto-Free … right? 

5. So how is Lacto-Free different from Soy Milk which is different from Cow’s Milk

6. If I give her Soy Milk do I also need to give her Vit D supplements?  Or does it have enough Vitamin D already? 

7. What about Lacto-Free Milk?  Does that have enough Vit D for her? 

8. What in this world is Silk Milk?? 

9. Why are there so many kinds of milk?? When did this happen?? 

10. Any kind of milk I’m missing that I should consider? 

So no pressure or anything, but it is for this little cutie!! 

Megan ~ December 2009

For more Top Ten Tuesday or to link up your own post, visit ohAmanda

And obviously, I’m not looking for an answer to every one of these questions, but if you do know anything about what I should be feeding Megan that would be appreciated!!

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Conversations with a four year old …

January 18, 2010 at 5:42 am (4 year olds, Conversations with a 4 year old)

Another conversation courtesy of this cute little four-year old:

Yep, this has NOTHING to do with the Conversation, but might explain alot!

The four year old: Mommy why do we have two eyes?Me: Well, it would probably be hard to see with just one eye so God gave us two.

The four year old: Well the monster has only one eye.

Me: Well, you’re right.  But that’s because monsters are pretend.  So I guess some of them only need one eye.

The four year old: Well no.  He just has one eye because that’s the way God made the ugly mean big blue monster.

Me: Oh.

And that my dear friends is just one example of why some days I feel like I’m going a little crazy!

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Blissfully blissdom links … part 2

January 16, 2010 at 5:50 am (Blissdom 10, blogging)

Blissdom is just 3 weeks away & my excitement level continues!!

First, if you haven’t already, be sure to link up to some “unofficial” guest lists to see who all is going and to either meet new people or to say “oh my goodness, I didn’t know you were going”!!

You can find some at Lisa at Simply His and The Nester

But on to the posts.  I’m definitely not the only one excited because there were a lot of great Blissdom-related posts out there this week.  Did you catch any?  Here’s a few that I caught to help me prepare.  Let me know if you caught any others that I should be reading!!

How to REALLY BRING IT to Blissdom by Linda Sellers – some simple ideas with everything from hugs to energy!

Get Ready for Blissdom – Part 1 by Giving Up on Perfect – again, some really practical advise especially for a newbie.  It’s great to hear it from someone who was that newbie last year!!

Conferences Put the “Social” in Social Media by Real Lifeeverything from clothes, to business cards (which you MUST click over just to see her super cute cards!!), to a reminder to bring an extra bag for some ‘swag’!

What to Wear to Blissdom by Musings of a Housewife – an entire post dedicated to “what to wear” … I’m always a candidate for What NOT to Wear, so I definitely needed this one!!

Advice for Making the Most of Blissdom by Musings of aHousewife – another great post from Jo-Lynne with some good tips for breaking the ice and feeling comfortable!

Blogging Niche & Beyond (a guest post by Boston Mamas) at ohAmanda – this is part 2 of her Bliss*tastic series!

And of course the big news of the week is that HARRY CONNICK JR will be a special performer to our small group of 500 … how incredibly fun is that!!!

So, that’s what I read this week.  Did you read anything else?  Leave me a comment if so, and I’ll be sure to check it out!!

And don’t forget to read Blissfully blissdom links (part 1).

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Butternut squash

January 15, 2010 at 9:20 am (Finer Things Friday, recipes)

This past fall I was introduced to Butternut Squash.

You know, the usual.  “Hi I’m Mandi”.  “Hi I’m Butternut Squash” … what that doesn’t happen to you?!?

The November 2009 issue of Parents Magazine had a really yummy-sounding recipe for Baked Macaroni & Cheese.  However it included Butternut Squash (we hadn’t met at this time).  The picture looked yummy so I thought I’d give it a try.

Butternut Squash

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups butternut squash cut into cubs
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour (again, I used whole wheat)
1 1/2 cups reduced fat milk
1 3/4 cups low-fat white cheddar cheese, shredded and divided

Here’s what you’ll do: (Once I figured out how to cut that big Squash in half, I was in business!!!)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Toss squash with oil and salt on a foil-lined tray.
Bake for 20 minutes or until tended, set aside (or eat a few … this is when I officially became a fan of Butternut Squash … yummy!!)

Yummy!

Cook pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions call for; drain and place in a bowl with squash.
Meanwhile, melt butter over low heat.
Whisk in flour, cook for 2 minutes
Slowly whisk in milk.
Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer.
Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Add 1 1/2 cups cheese & stir until melted.
Stir cheese sauce into pasta & squash.
Season with Salt & Pepper.
Spoon into a greased casserole dish (or individual servings).  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes until cheese on top is melted & browned.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

I thought it was delicious.  My husband thought it was delicious.  The kids … not so much!!  Instead, Evan kept asking for “the other macaroni”.  As in the 3-minute, highly processed & fake cheese junk!!!!  I worked my tail off to make some yummy, nutritious Mac & Cheese & that’s what he wants … oh brother!!!

Post linked to Finer Things Friday … because Butternut Squash is now one of my finer things!

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Things i love thursday … from the four year old

January 14, 2010 at 8:01 am (random)

Evan goes through stages of either wanting to eat breakfast or not wanting to eat breakfast. 

Right now, he wants to eat breakfast.  He wants to eat breakfast for breakfast.  He wants to eat breakfast for lunch.  He wants to eat breakfast for snacks.  And he wants to eat breakfast for dinner

 When he goes to bed at night, he reminds me that he wants to eat breakfast when he wakes up (*shew* I might forget otherwise)!

The catch?  He only wants to eat one thing for breakfast. 

The answer?  Quaker Instant Oatmeal – Dinosaur Eggs Edition!!

You may remember that this little  four year old loves dinosaurs.  And we hosted the Dinosaur of all Dinosaur Birthday Parties.  So when I found these in the store, I knew they’d be a hit!!

I asked Evan to help me write this post by asking him a few questions.  It went like this:

What’s your favorite thing about Dinosaur Oatmeal?:  The Eggs.

Why are they your favorite?:  Because I like them.

Why do you like them?:  Because they’re my favorite.

Well you can see how well this is going.

So, I’ll tell you my favorite thing about them … he eats it!!  No complaints.  No whines.  No worries.  He asks for it, we make it together, and he eats it!!  If only every meal could go so smoothly!!

They’re not the most healthy thing in the world for him – sugar is the #2 ingredient & the actual eggs definitely contain everything I’d rather them not contain, but they are made with Whole Grain Oats:)  And it’s better than him not eating breakfast!!  I’ll add some fruit or eggs to the side and it’s all good!

And did I mention that he eats it?  WITHOUT complaining?  These days that’s carries A LOT of weight in this house!!

If you’d like to try it (or basically any Quaker Instant Oatmeal), they’re still on sale this week at Kroger.  You can also visit MommySnacks for a Printable $1 Quaker Coupon to save even more!

For more Things I Love Thursday or link up to something you love, visit the Diaper Diaries.

*Disclosure – As the title implies this is something I love.  The title of this post is not “Things I love because Quaker gave them too me”.  They didn’t.  I bought it.  We eat it.  I blogged about it.  That easy!

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Future blogger

January 13, 2010 at 8:35 am (Megan, Wordless Wednesday)

Megan ~ January 2010

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Top ten tuesday … thing i used to be/have

January 12, 2010 at 1:21 am (life, life with two, Top Ten Tuesday)

Usually my posts focus on what’ s going in my life, in that moment.  I decided I’d switch it up a bit & let you know The Top Ten Things I used to be or have … you know, before becoming a wife & mother!!

I used to have a …

1.  Dining Room – I know I’ve talked about this before, but it still saddens me!!  My dining room is now a toy room.  I had my Great-Great-Aunt’s antique table from a really, really long time ago & it’s been replaced by a Dinosaur Table.  Oh lovely!!. 

2.  Guest Room – Our little 3-bedroom house was purchased with the plan of only having one child in it.  We had no intentions of staying here longer than about 5 years, but that little “housing bubble” kind of messed up our plans!!  We don’t have company a lot, but when we do I would really love to offer a guest room instead of a sofa!!

3.  Career – It wasn’t a long career by any means, but I had one!!

and I used to be …

4. Organized – I once was pretty good at that.  Everything had its place.  I could find papers.  I didn’t misplace our Passports, random checks or Social Security Cards.  Some where along the way of becoming responsible for all my things, two little ones, AND a husband … I’ve become totally & completely UNorganized!!!  Mandi (she totally spells her name right!) at Organizing Your Way is hosting 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010.  She has some great tips & I’ve got to start putting some in place!!

5.  Clean – I still take showers, wash my hair, brush my teeth & all that good stuff.  But please don’t make me tell you the last time I mopped our floors or Lord help us even changed the sheets!!

6.  Size 4 – Yep.  I was one of these back in the day.  I actually remember being a little pissed off when my husband bought me a size 8 pair of pants one year.   Now I’m elated to be in a size 8!!

7.  a Slow Eater – This sounds crazy, I know.  And honestly I’ve never been good at eating my food slowly.  But I feel like I hoard my food in five minutes flat.  I think it’s just because I know that as soon as Megan or Evan are done then it’s going to get crazy and I’ll never get to finish so I just eat like I’m on the Dixie Speedway (I don’t even know if that’s the right reference … but I mean FAST)!

a Volunteer – Oh I feel badly about this one, but I still haven’t gotten plugged in & started volunteering at our church.  Part of it is likely excuses but part of it is also just logistics.  Megan does horrible in the church nursery (or anywhere for that matter) and honestly I feel bad enough that the Nursery workers have to keep her for an hour.  I couldn’t imagine doing that to them for 2 hours!!!

9.  a Traveler – Pepper & I were married for 6 years before we had Evan.  And that was part of the plan.  We knew it’d get harder & harder to take vacations after we started having kids & we were right.  It’s like night & day the amount of vacations we went on during our first six years of marriage to the past four!!

10.  Completely Unaware of how Wonderful (and difficult) this could be – Sure I miss all the above & sure some days are really (really, really, really) tough.  But I love my Megan, Evan & Pepper too much to worry too much about not having or being any of the above!!

So that’s me pre-who I am now in a nutshell!!
For more Top Ten Tuesday posts or to link up your own, visit ohAmanda.com

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