Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Update - Thanksgiving

The above photo is our Thanksgiving table. I always take a picture of the table at holidays because, let's face it, that's as good as it's going to get before little hands and food touch it.
This is a picture of what Little Miss had as an appetizer.  Actually, she only got the fork in.  She never got a taste.  I see the temptation, and I suppose none of us have self-restraint on Thanksgiving (that doesn't mean she didn't get a little slap on the wrists).
So, all in all, we ate a lot and had a nice day.  Here is some cousin bonding between Little Miss and her little cousin.  It's so cute how he follows everything she does with his eyes and how she talks with him and listens intently to all his baby babble.  It's just how she was with her older cousin.  It'll be interesting to see if they grow and bicker like Little Miss and her older cousin, too.  For now, it's still cute. 

Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Road Rage

I don't hate Christmas music. Really.  Also, I like Feed the World.  Plus, even though I think November 19 is too early to play it 24/7 on a radio station, I just choose to listen to another station until at least after Thanksgiving. That said, on my way to work this morning, I heard Feed the World. I look over at the car next to me. Her windows were up and my windows were up. Plus, I had my own radio on at a moderate level. What do I hear?  Feed the World from her car radio as if it was playing inside my own head. I could barely hear my own music (soundtrack to Rent in case you were wondering).  Seriously, first, too soon. Second, the music was so loud, her future self from next year could hear that stupid radio. Not necessary.  /rant

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

States by TV Show

Infographic: TV Shows By State
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If you can't read it, you can click here for a bigger graphic. Would you have chosen a different show for your state? I'm perfectly ok with The Gilmore Girls representing Connecticut.

If you're wondering, here is movies by state.

Too bad Washington DC isn't included in either list.

In Honor of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

No,  Mr.  Diggory
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Report on Little Miss's Progress

Husband and I had our first Parent/Teacher conference to discuss Little Miss's progress thus far in school. Though we think she's very polite, she only received a "Progressing" grade. Otherwise, she is about where we expected. I excerpted her "report card" to point out two specific things. First, a brag. She "Mastered" counting numbers 1-5 and 1-10. The teacher also remarked how she was impressed that she knew her numbers out of order as well knowing how to count down (this is partly because she loves a show on television that uses "Math powers" and also because we live on the 16th floor so she counts down the floors on the elevator). Also, she "Mastered" identifying shapes. The teacher also said that it was impressive that she knew shapes on which she wasn't tested like diamond and oval.

Second, the not surprised portion of the report card. You'll see below that she has "Mastered" independently making choices. It comes as no surprise to us that she knows her own mind. Though, truthfully, the teacher said she was glad that Little Miss can play with a wide variety of toys and learning devices and doesn't stick with a favorite, that she'll just go up to something and play with it. I think this is because she's the first child so she's used to independent play, but it's also because that's how we see her play at home.

Of course, with even the best of reports comes some generic thoughts on how, like all the children, she doesn't like cleaning up and has trouble sitting for long periods of time. She likes to sit by the window and bookcase so she can stare out the window or pick a book to read instead of listening to instructions or storytime. I'm actually impressed that she is thinking of alternate ways to amuse herself during her least favorite part of the day, but it's still officially being frowned upon if I need to be the bad guy.

So, all in all, a good report.

On a private note, you'll remember that Little Miss has had trouble with pooping. We've seen the pediatrician a couple of times regarding this matter. The pediatrician basically said we were lucky she took to the process so quickly and that it's only been 2 months. To gloss over all the details, she still hates to poop, but we created a sticker chart. After 10 stickers, she gets some sort of present. So, she's been very proud of herself when she poops on the potty, and there is positive reinforcement all over the place from everybody. She didn't even cry this week though she did cry all day leading up to it. At least she's doing it. We'll work on not crying later.

On a second note, she started crying when we drop her off at school. Today, she didn't cry for the first time in about a month. She was a little clingy at first, but I made sure she had with which to play and then I snuck out. The teacher was amused that, even when she wails, once she's occupied, she stops. There's no ramping down or hiccuping, she just stops crying. She's not really a kid who cries unless she's tired or hurt so it is unusual. Hopefully, this is progress. You know, right before Christmas break after which it may start all over again.

What Christmas Looks Like

I guess I could have posted a photo of a pumpkin as well. Seriously. Starting before Halloween, I saw Christmas lights and Advent calendars. There are now decorations at the mall (and it's before Thanksgiving) and music on the radio 24/7 starting this week. Now, I realize to most that I'm the enemy. I have my preliminary Christmas card spreadsheet all printed out so I can begin addressing cards (though they probably don't go out until the first week in December) and I have about 1/3 of my Christmas shopping completed. I'll pick up a couple of more items this month and the balance in December. However, that's more budget-planning than being in the Christmas spirit. I usually get filled with Christmas spirit on Christmas Eve and then realize, once I'm in the throes of holiday charm, that the season is gone.

Last year, we got the crying on Santa's lap photo. This year, I'm hoping Little Miss does a little better. She knows who Santa is and definitely understands the concept of presents more so it should be fun. She's still young enough, however, to enjoy being with family more than accepting gifts which is sweet. So, I'll get into the Christmas spirit for her... but not until December (or after Thanksgiving as we get our tree the day after Thanksgiving every year). Plus, she does look cute in red and loves her Jingle Bell hair ties. Plus, your heart will melt if you ever hear her sing Jingle Bells (I'll try to get video before the end of the season).

Oh, right, back to my point before I got carried away with cuteness. Seriously, commercial America, don't push us into Christmas. It's the same time every year. There's no reason to move up the date to the middle of October. /rant

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Update - Take Me to the Zoo

Last weekend was a busy one! On Friday, we had the In-Laws over for dinner. Little Miss loved it so much that she invited the In-Laws to the zoo with us on Saturday. Little Miss has been obsessing over elephants for over a week so I told her we could go to the zoo if the weather was nice.

On Saturday, the weather was perfect. I got Little Miss up and asked her what day it was and she responded, "Zooday!" I told her it was Saturday, but we were going to do the zoo. We left the house after she had a gigantic breakfast of 2 1/2 eggs and a bowl of Cheerios. We got a teensy bit misdirected going to the zoo so, by the time we pulled into the parking lot and parked, Little Miss was sound asleep. She did perk up while we were walking through the zoo. She loved the elephants and the cow. We did a quick tour, but next time I think we'll do the different houses so she can see the reptiles and small mammals. We picked up sandwiches for lunch on the way home. Little Miss took an immediate nap, but we ate and then napped as well. After, I met a friend. We had dinner at Chick-Fil-A and then saw Due Date. After the movie, we picked up some Coldstone Creamery and watched the DVD, The Girl who Played with Fire.

On Sunday, we had a nice day at home before heading to my parents for Nephew's Gotcha Day (the day he was adopted). It was a nice evening with my grandparents, parents, sister and nephew. We were more than happy to get home and relax last night though. Next week should be a relatively relaxing weekend before Thanksgiving so I look forward to that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weekend Recipes

This weekend, we had mostly old stand-by recipes.  I made tomato/mozzarella salad (sliced vine-riped tomatoes, sliced mozzarella cheese, diced red onion drizzled with olive oil with a little salt and pepper and sprlinked with ribbons of basil).  I also made Stuffed Tomatoes again because they're usually a crowd pleaser. Last, but not least, I made crab dip which I could have sworn I've posted before, but it doesn't look like it. So, here it is:

2 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
4 TBS mayonnaise
2c shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 tsp hot sauce
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
paprika for garnish
2 6-oz cans crab meat

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix cream cheese, mayo, cheddar cheese, crab meat, lemon juice, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce.  Transfer to shallow 9x12 baking dish.  Garnish with paprika.  Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

A few notes - I don't use tabasco sauce because it makes the crab dip too spicy, but Red Hot and any other hot sauce works fine.  I also use the full pound of lump crab meat because that's what the container comes in.  You can use imitation or backfin crab meat, but the texture is a little different.  I serve it with bread or water crackers.

Also, the photo above is not of my crab dip.  I don't remember where my recipes originates, but mine is a little darker upon baking.

For dinner, the Inlaws stayed and I made Shrimp Scampi with Linguini which was super yummy.

Weekend Update - Happy Birthday

Nothing like ringing in your third year with two birthday parties.  Little Miss celebrated again last weekend.  Food to come in a separate post.  We had a nice afternoon.  Little Miss really loved her gifts and of course she loved the cake.  She also was really good with her baby cousin.

On Sunday, we met Sister and Little Miss's big cousin.  The cousins got along and plotted against having a good portrait session for their annual holiday portrait.  We settled on a couple of photos and left with headaches and stress.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Books Read in October 2010

  1. Crush On You by Christie Ridgway (NOTE: This is Book 1 in the Three Kisses trilogy.)
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (NOTE: This is Book 1 of The Hunger Games series. Book 2 and 3 are listed below.)
  3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (NOTE: This is Book 1 of The Hunger Games series. Book 1 is listed above, and Book 3 is listed below.)
  4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (NOTE: This is Book 1 and 2 are listed above.)
  5. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (NOTE: This is Book 3 of the Millenium trilogy. The book order can be found here.)

As always, the books that link to an ebook were read on my nook and the books that link to a physical book were read on paper.  I felt like I didn't read many books this month, but I think it's because The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest took the majority of the month.  I really enjoyed it though. 

Movies Watched in October 2010

  1. The Town
That's it. We went to see The Town on our anniversary last month. We really thought it was well done and had a great evening out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Birthday Lunch Menu

Photography by Kate Sears

On Saturday, I mostly made a bunch of salads and an appetizer in addition to a (store-bought) cake.  The cake was actually part white cake and part vanilla ice cream which was different but pretty decent.  I first made stuffed tomatoes which are always a crowd pleaser. I also made broccoli salad which is also a popular dish. I also made caprese pasta salad with lemon vinaigrette which I snagged from The Cooking Photographer's blog. In addition to the tried and true, I also made a new recipe - Aida's Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad. It's probably a good summer recipe, but I used frozen corn and it still tasted good.  I don't know if I loved the cilantro dressing, but it's very light and I still liked it.  This was the only dish that I actually added salt and pepper to.  Mine wasn't as colorful because I only used red grape tomatoes, but it was still tasty.  Recipe is linked and also below:

Aida's Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad

For the dressing:
1 1/2 cups packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
4 ears corn, kernels removed (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds grape tomatoes, halved (about 3 cups)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, diced
2 medium avocados, diced

Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender, using 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste; process until smooth. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Weekend Update - Trick or Treat!

On Friday, we cleaned the apartment, and I did some prep work on food for Saturday. On Saturday, we had one of two birthday parties for Little Miss. My family and friends came over. We had lunch and then opened presents and then had cake. The photo above is what Little Miss wore for the first part of the party. I wanted her to wear a birthday hat she has. No such luck. I suppose I should be lucky she wore her birthday shirt.

On Sunday, we had a nice family breakfast. Little Miss and I made a quick trip to the store. We both had a nice nap. Then, at 3PM, I had to wake Little Miss from her nap so we could head to my parents' house for a Halloween party and trick-or-treating. She was Snow White and her cousin was Dopey. She walked from house to house for hours and was a little trooper. This is the first year she's gone trick-or-treating. So, at the first house, she walked right in. After about 3 houses, she got the hang of it. She slept in her Snow White costume last night and is still wearing it today. I think the holiday was a success!

10-31  Snow White and Dopey posing for the papparazzi