Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bryce and Drew are 1 1/2 years old!

I like the sound of 1 1/2 years old vs. 18 months old - I guess it doesn't sound as old? The boys had their checkup with their pediatrician yesterday and had a great report. For the first time ever they actually weigh the same - 25#. Little brother Drew is still taller than his big brother Bryce. Drew is 34 3/4 inches and Bryce is 32 3/4 inches. Drew is in the 97th percentile and Bryce is in the 60th percentile for height. Just one more way they are so different from each other!

They have developed so much this past month. At 17 months I could count how many words they spoke. Now, they repeat almost everything we say, making lots of animal noises and trying to sing. I can no longer keep track of all the things they know. It's so amazing to see how fast they learn. Our favorite things they are doing include blowing us kisses, waving at everyone they see (even if they are strangers!) and saying AMEN after we pray with's so sweet!

Thank you to all of you who took the time to comment on my blog or email me about Bryce's biting issues. I love to get tips and advice from other parents and hear about what you experienced with your children. Thankfully, we have not had any more problems since then....keeping our fingers crossed!

Jimmy has basically taken care of the boys on his own the past 2 days. My back is really acting up - it's been very hard to walk, bend, sit, lift the boys, etc. So, on the recommendation of my chiropractor, I am laying low for a few days taking pain meds and muscle relaxers. They are so blessed to have J for their father. He is so awesome with them! I am so blessed to have him too!
J borrowed the bicycle cart from a friend and they've had a blast riding with him!
The boys went to the fair with Jimmy's friend and his little boy - they say "moooooooooooooooo" really loud!
Jimmy did really well dressing them, packing their diaper bag, taking snacks, etc but he forgot the boys' shoes! Thankfully their friend had some they could wear!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Family Food Faves

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (you can do 1 cup of whole wheat flour and skip the all-purpose but I think they get a little dense)
1 T. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 T. cooking oil
1/2 cup blueberries

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in small bowl and add to dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Cook on a buttered griddle or skillet. Flip over when they start to bubble.

Chicken Pesto Panini
Sourdough bread (or your favorite bread)
Pesto (homemade or store bought)
Grilled chicken
Provolone Cheese
Roasted Red Peppers

Grill chicken breasts or tenders with a little EVOO, salt and pepper. Spread each side of bread with pesto, then add sliced or diced grilled chicken, a slice of provolone and a few slices of roasted red peppers. Cook on panini press. If you don't have a press, Rachael Ray says you can cook it in a skillet with a heavy skillet on top to weigh it down, or you can even wrap a brick with aluminum foil! Cook until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted.

Parmesan Garlic Toast
Sourdough Bread (or your favorite bread)
Garlic Powder
Parmesan Cheese (shredded or grated)

Place bread on a cookie sheet, spread with butter, sprinkle with garlic powder and cheese. Broil for a few minutes until cheese has begun to brown and bread is crispy.

Greek Chicken Cutlets
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup feta cheese, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
2-3 T EVOO
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 thin chicken cutlets

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, feta, mint and 1 T EVOO. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan over high, brush with EVOO. Season cutlets with EVOO, salt and pepper. Once cooked through, top with tomato mixture.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Biting Bryce

No pictures here...just a frustrated and concerned Mommy! Bryce started having a few biting episodes several weeks ago. Unfortunately, it has progressively gotten worse. Typically, he will bite Drew when they are fighting for a toy or position. He has a mouthful of teeth and leaves a horrible bite mark which then turns into a nasty bruise lasting for several days. Today was the worst...he bit Drew 3 times. Poor baby, he just cries as him arm, finger, back or whatever body part is clinched in his mouth. We give Bryce a spanking and then a time out but it keeps happening. Have any of you ever had a biting child? If so, please share your wisdom. This has to stop!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Brotherly Love

When the boys first wake up in the morning they like to cuddle up with me or Jimmy and their babies, drink their juice and just take their time waking up. Yesterday was a cute first - they decided to cuddle up with one another on the couch and stayed that way for 15 minutes! They have both been sick with colds this week so maybe they needed a little brotherly love from one another?

On most days the boys eat cold cereal (Cinnamon Harvest by Kashi - yummy!) for breakfast. Today, Drew had a cereal strike and wanted to eat yogurt instead. It was pretty funny when Brcye tipped his bowl up to his mouth to drink the milk out of the bowl, Drew did the same with his yogurt. What a mess we had!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Family Food Faves

Here's a few favorites from the week. The first one is not the healthiest but it's a good "have on hand" meal and it's tasty!

Cheeseburger Bake
recipe courtesy of Goose Berry Patch
8 oz. tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1# ground beef
1 package taco seasoning mix (I only use 1/2 package because some are so salty)
15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Unroll crescent roll dough: press into a greased 9" round baking pan, pinching seams closed. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 min, set aside. Brown beef in a skillet over medium heat, drain. Add taco seasoning and tomato sauce to skillet and heat through about 7 min. Pour into crust, sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 10-15 min. Let stand 5 min. before serving.

Tangy Pulled Pork Sandwiches
serves 4
1 pork tenderloin (1#)
1 cup ketchup
2 T. plus 1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
2 T. plus 1 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 T. plus 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. spicy brown mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 kaiser rolls

Cut the tenderloin in half and place in a slow cooker. Combine all the other ingredients and pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until meat is tender. Remove meat, shred with 2 forks, return to slow cooker and heat through. Serve on crusty rolls by itself or add your favorite toppings - cheese, peppers, etc.

Teriyaki Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup OJ
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
Mix all ingredients together. Great to marinate steak, chicken or pork. One of our favorites...

Hawaiian Chicken Burgers

Chicken Breast or tenders
Pineapple Rings
Swiss Cheese
Hamburger buns or favorite roll

Marinate thin chicken breasts or tenders for several hours in teriyaki sauce. Grill until cooked through and then top with a pineapple ring and swiss cheese. Heat just until cheese is melted. Serve on crusty roll plain or with your favorite toppings - shredded lettuce, onion, tomato, etc.

Parmesan Peppers
a quick, healthy side dish

Red peppers (or your favorite color)
Salt & pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese

Cut peppers into fajita-size strips. Heat EVOO in a skillet over med. and saute peppers until soft (approx. 8 min). Once they are cooked sprinkle with salt and pepper and parmesan - heat just until cheese begins to melt.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lots of Firsts

Jimmy's company had a picnic yesterday at one of the amusement parks in the area. We were so excited to have a fun afternoon with the boys. The forecast called for 72 degrees and clear skies. What a perfect day to be outside strolling around, right? WRONG! As soon as we got there it started to rain and dropped to about 55 degrees. What a shock when we're used to about mid 80's - 90's! Thankfully the boys had jeans on and a jacket, but they were freezing. We thought they would enjoy some of the "kiddy rides" - here's a few pics.

The boys' first carousel was just OK!
They rode on a train with our friend's daughter and screamed the whole way!
Trying to get 2 wet, cold, hungry, tired toddlers to pose cutely in front of the fall setting...IMPOSSIBLE!

I think the highlight to their day was getting to eat at our new favorite Mexican restaurant. We got several compliments from people on how well behaved the boys were. Honestly, they do so well there because they LOVE the food and eat the entire time we're there! They love chips, salsa, queso, rice ,beans and quesadillas. They dip their fork directly into the salsa and queso and eat it straight! Thank goodness they like Mexican because it's our favorite!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Family Food Faves

I LOVE to eat and thankfully I LOVE to cook. I spend a lot of time each week planning my menus and looking for healthy (not always!) fresh and fast meals. And of course, now I'm trying to find foods that all 4 of us can eat. Amazingly, Bryce and Drew like a lot of different types of food and prefer lots of flavor, especially garlic and onions!

I thought it would be fun to pick a few recipes that I've cooked successfully each week and post them for you to try with your family. In return, I would love for you to post, in the comment section, one of your family faves. This way, all of us can benefit by adding new recipes to our repertoire. If you're anything like me, you can never have enough GOOD recipes!

White Chicken Chili

1 medium onion - finely chopped
3 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil - for those that don't watch Rachael Ray!)
3 tablespoons flour
1 4ounce can chopped, green chilies, drained
1 teaspoon cumin
2 15oz cans Great Northern Beans (rinsed and drained)
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
1 1/2 cups finely chopped chicken breasts (cooked)

In a large skillet cook onion in EVOO for 4 min. Add chilies, flour & cumin and cook for 2 min. Add beans and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 min until thickened. If you want in thinner add more broth or water.

Servings: makes about 4 servings. It's good plain or you can garnish with grated cheese, sour cream, salsa, chips, etc.

Farfalle with Turkey Sausage, Peas and Mushrooms
recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis (tweaked a litte bit)

1/2 cup EVOO
1 pound ground turkey sausage (not Italian sausage, but breakfast type sausage)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 ounces cremini (I use button) mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 10 package frozen peas
1 pound dried farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Grano Padano cheese (I use parmesan)

In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente - about 8 min.

In a large saute pan over high heat, add 2 tablespoons EVOO. Add turkey, season with salt and pepper and saute breaking any large lumps until golden brown. Remove meat from pan and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons EVOO and heat again. Add chopped mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated - about 5 min. Add the peas and saute for 4 min. Return the meat to the pan and cook another 3 min. Remove from heat and set aside. Drain cooked pasta and return to the pan. Add the meat mixture. Combined and gently cook adding more EVOO if necessary. Top with grated cheese.

Sesame Glazed Snap Peas

2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 cups snap peas (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add snap peas, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of water and cook 3-5 min. until peas are tender and water evaporates. Stir in sesame seeds (optional) and cook 1 min until seeds are golden. Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper.

This is also tastey with fresh or frozen whole green beans. I buy a huge bag from Sam's because it's my boys' favorite veggie!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatos (however many you want)

Peel potatoes and cut into wedges - about 1/2 inch. Place potatoes onto a cookie sheet or baking pan and drizzle with EVOO. Toss with your fingers to coat each wedge. Sprinkle with salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook potatoes until soft but a little crunchy on the corners. About 15 min.

We like to make these with russet or yukon gold potatoes too, but don't peel the skin! Bake for about 25-30 min.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

They are so beautiful to me!

I stood behind the entertainment center today so the boys couldn't see me and I just watched as they played quietly and lovingly together on the floor. It was such a sweet moment seeing them share toys, pat each other on the back, giggle at one another and talk in their own little "twin chatter." Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought about how much I love my children and how beautiful they are to me. I love to look at their little hands, to hear their feet pitter-patter on the hardwood floors, but most of all, I love to look at their sweet faces and innocent eyes. I never want to forget what my babies look like so I take a lot of pictures. I especially love the close-ups of their faces - smiling, sleeping or crying! Here's a few of my recent favorites.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Toddlers or Monkeys?

Bryce and Drew have started climbing onto and into everything! The other day they took all of their toys out of the entertainment center, crawled inside and then each of them laid down on a shelf. It looked like they were sleeping on bunk beds! The next few pictures show some of the other things they have discovered! For those parents out there reading this that either have toddlers or remember when their toddlers did this, how did you handle it? We want them to have good manners and of course, we're afraid they will fall and get hurt, so we're either spanking them or putting them in "time out." Please share your thoughts and opinions on this...I greatly welcome them!

The boys discovering they can climb into their high chairs at the same time!

Monkeys on the kitchen table!

Standing on the kitchen chair turning the light on and off!
Bryce in action!

Drew in action!