Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Engineer by Day, Domestic Goddess by Night

I've been busy lately.

On Saturday, we made a family outing to a local pick-your-own orchard. I got 45 pounds of wonderful tomatoes, 8 pounds of blackberries, a bunch of onions and some other vegetables. Plus some guinea fowl eggs.

So Saturday, I spent the day making seasoned tomato sauce and canning it. I made 9 quarts of sauce, and had enough left over for parmesean chicken the next night.

I also made two kinds of blackberry jam: blackberry, black pepper, and rum; and blackberry, white chocolate and Kahlua. Then we made a blackberry crumble for dessert. Too bad for Declan, we made it after he went to bed and we ate it all.

Next night, I made yogurt, which I used to sneak in some veggies to Declan's morning smoothie. Who knew strawberries, pineapple and spinach worked so well together? Plus I made bread. One was a regular loaf, and for the second, I experimented. I made a cheddar cheese, pepperoni and black pepper loaf, and it tasted awesome! Also managed to make some chocolate sauce from scratch, because I don't want us to eat high fructose corn syrup. It only takes about 10 minutes to do.

Finally, tonight I'm making coconut chocolate ice cream and some no-bake granola bars for Declan's and Daniel's snacks.

Can you tell I've been interested in wholesome cooking and such? I'm trying to avoid processed food, including things like wheat and high fructose corn syrup. My next goal is to learn to make fermented foods, like a sprouted wheat berry bread, and kefir and pickles. I feel like a frustrated pioneer homesteader sometimes.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Movie Night

Yes, it's movie night! We we trying to get the baby sitter to come by, but she never returned my calls. I tried for a week. Did I do something wrong? I have no idea. But I ended up talking to my neighbor, who happens to be Christian's grandma. She offered to watch Declan for us one night so we could go see X-Men.

So we saw X-Men tonight! I really liked it. I thought they put a lot of work and love into the story line. It's compatible with the original trilogy, with only minor modifications. The plot was solid, the characters were real and the dialog with believable. I really liked the relationship between Erik and Charles; you could really feel they wanted the same thing, but ended up on totally different sides in how they wanted it to happen.

We even had time to go to dinner before the movie, so double score! One thing I do like about Texas is the number of excellent Tex-Mex restaurants around. We went to Chuy's and the food was great, although it was so loud it was hard to talk.

We got home around 10:00 and went to our neighbor's house to pick up Declan. I was a bit nervous about him going to sleep, because he's only ever gone to sleep in his crib at night, and we've only recently gotten him to sleep on his crib mattress on the floor for his naps. I thought he'd definitely be asleep by 10, though.

I was wrong. He was still awake. Turns out he was upstairs sitting in Naomi's lap and watching Thomas the Tank Engine. Apparently, he just couldn't fall asleep and stay asleep. He'd nod off, then wake up and whimper. I'm not sure who I felt most sorry for.

We took him home and tucked him into his crib and he went out like a light. Maybe tomorrow I'll try and sneak out of the house quietly and let him sleep himself out. Or maybe he'll be up at 6 am just like usual. Who knows.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

New Words

This morning, we went to the park to play with Christian, the 2 year old who lives down the street from us. When we got there and he spotted Christian, he called him by name, first time he's said Christian's name. And when we left, he said "bye bye Christian."

Today at lunch time, he sat on my lap and wanted some of the cheese souffle I had. I cut a bite off and put it on the fork, and he shook his head and said, "no. Too big." Color me surprised. So I cut it in half and offered it again, and he ate it.

This morning when he got up, he said "Big bug" and when Daniel went to check, yep, there was a huge palmetto bug on its back in the hallway. Daniel said, "Yes, that is a big bug," then he proceeded to threw it outside. Ugh. I glad he found it this morning instead of me.

Anyway, that's a lot of words for one day.

Success in Napping!

This afternoon, I pulled his crib mattress out of his crib so he could romp and play on it. So at naptime, I decided to try and get him to sleep on his mattress on the floor. I put a child-proof lock on the inside door knob in one room, and a baby gate up on the door in the playroom. (He has 2 connecting rooms: a bedroom and playroom, and a door in each)

Then I went shopping! :)

Daniel said it took him about an hour and 15 minutes before he finally settled down and went to sleep, but he did sleep on his mattress for 2 hours! I guess when you've got two whole rooms with toys to play in, it takes longer than normal to settle down. But I'm very happy. He's getting big enough that I'm not sure how much longer his crib will hold him.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sleeping in the big bed

I've often said I'm going to keep him in his crib as long as I possibly can. He's way too energetic to go to sleep voluntarily, and I've never seen him lay his head down and fall asleep on his own. Not since he was about 5 months old. He has to be confined in his crib before he'll settle down and go to sleep for either his nap or bedtime.

Well, the other night, he keep wanting to lay down in our bed after he had his jammies on. He'd keep saying "sleep" and pull the blanket over him. So I told him okay, he could go to sleep in our bed, if he would actually stay there. I even brought in his blankies, his sea horse, and his bottle of water. I went back to the kitchen and about 10 seconds later, I heard the pitter patter of little feet.

I told him to go back to bed, and he ran back into the bedroom and climbed into our bed. I walked out again, and another 10 seconds later, he's in the hallway. So I sent him back to bed, and this time, I waited just outside our bedroom door, looking through a crack in it. As soon as he put his feet on the ground, I opened the door and said "back to bed." We did this about 10 more times, until I finally gave up and told him he had to go to sleep in his crib.

Honestly, that's exactly how I expected it would go, and I didn't mind at all. I thought it was cute. I wondered if he was amazed that I could always figure out exactly when he had gotten out of bed, but he may not be that sophisticated yet.

We haven't attempted a repeat experiment, but I'm thinking about his big boy bed and how to rearrange his bedroom now.

More Random Pictures

I just think he looks cute and funny here.

From our recent trip to the beach.

High winds the day before had thrown tons of seaweed onto the beach.

Chillin' on the diaper boxes. They make a great temporary bed.

This is the night he decided he'd rather play with stickers than get his jammies on after his bath. Then he had to run and show Daddy all his "buttons."

Pool Fun

This is when we went to Christian's house to play in the pool and with his choo-choos. I think this is where most of Declan's choo-choo fascination came from. It's also the site of the great strawberry theft mentioned in an earlier post.

We convinced Declan to go down the slide a couple of times, then he didn't want to anymore. I'm not sure if he got scared, or just stubborn.

They both had a blast sending the cars and trains down the slide, though.

I found some humongous strawberries for them to snack on. Christian didn't like strawberries, but he'd only had sliced ones before. When he had a great big strawberry in his hands and saw Declan nom-nomming on his, Christian decided strawberries might not be so bad after all.

Here's the site of the choo-choo wars.

Finally, here's the great strawberry theft, once again.

Zoo Visit

A couple of weeks ago (before it got hot), we took Declan to the Houston Zoo, thinking he might be old enough to enjoy looking at the animals. I'll skip to the end...he wasn't. He was as interested in the leaf on the ground as the lemur in the tree. So Daniel and I went to where we wanted to go. But I got some good pictures, and he had fun too.

Brushing the goats.

Trying to get the fish.

Okay, not the best quality picture, but this was in the piranha tank. They had a tube that the kids could climb through, and this was right before they fed the piranhas.

He did love watching the little ground squirrels dig and dig.

Toddler Games and Choo Choo Madness

Who knew that you could spend 30 minutes running in circles around a dining chair in the middle of the kitchen, and it'd be the best game of the week? It got even better when I put a discarded tension rod on the floor and we had to step over it on each lap.

I don't know how Declan did it. I got dizzy after 5 laps, but fortunately, we were going nice and slow.

Another game we discovered was Flying. I'd lay on my back, and Declan would flop on top of me. Then I'd lift him up toward the ceiling and tell him to put his arms out wide. That makes him giggle non-stop. I get in a little workout by doing baby presses, too.

Then there's the pig game. We only play that when he's in his crib for bedtime. I do the Five Little Piggies on his toes, and he screams with laughter on the 5th little piggy going Whee, whee, whee all the way home. Then he sticks his other foot up in the air and says in a demanding, toddler way, "Pigs!" So we play pigs about 6-8 times every night.

His all-time favorite thing right now, however, is trains. Or choo-choos. He got a Thomas the Tank Engine book for his birthday in March. The first day, he made us read it to him 12 times. Then he wanted to read it multiple times every day, and it's all he wants to read at night.

Then we went to Christian's house a few weeks ago to play in the pool. Christian had a bunch of Thomas the Tank Engine toy trains with magnets in them, so they'd snap together. He and Christian were fighting over them most of the day. One would pick them up and run off with them, then he'd drop some, and the other would run in and scoop them up. Neither of them has the concept of sharing down yet, but that's okay. They're both just two.

Oh, you have to take a look at the video of them eating strawberries. Actually, Declan loves his strawberries, and devoured his right away. Christian wasn't used to eating whole strawberries and was taking his time. Well, he took too much time, and Declan decided to take the strawberry right out of his hand and run off with it. Christian, in a bit of a delayed response, decided he wanted his strawberry after all, and took off after Declan. So cute!

Anyway, now Declan has his own Thomas the Tank Engine playset, with three little trains to play with. His new favorite word is "snap", because the trains snap together. And we frequently have to take them away during dinner time in order to get him to eat his lunch or dinner. Sometimes, he demands that we sit and play with him, and while I love spending time with him, as an adult, I admit that I get quite bored running trains around a circle track after about 10 minutes. But it's still loads of fun. I like it when Christian can come over and they can play together. Or at least side-by-side and steal the trains and cars from each other.

We're supposed to meet them at the park this Sunday morning so they can play together outside before it gets beastly hot. Of course, it depends on whether or not we get any of that tropical system that formed overnight around Florida. I'll take the rain over anything else right now. They're more than welcome to come play in our house!