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Monday, February 28, 2011

Where It's At

Nathan
Is doing really good on his schoolwork. He knows how to write his name, is able to figure out how to spell simple words, can read simple stories, and is writing all letters without curves easily (still practicing B, C, etc.).
He is growing some muscle (seriously). There is a tiny bump in his arm from all the push-ups he's been doing. :-) Adorable little bump. He's very proud of it.
Nathan's favorite thing to play is imaginative play. He loves to pretend to be someone (such as Ironman, Peter Pan, etc). Or he uses his toys (such as ships) and plays stories he's read or movies he's seen (such as Captain Hook and Peter Pan, Curious George, etc.). Favorite toys are his Transformers, Fisher-Price Trios (he's been building all kinds of things with these, whatever his little mind wants to make), Star Wars, etc. His favorite play is with people though, especially daddy. If Abigail takes longer naps than he does, he doesn't quite know how to play without her.
Nathan only likes to read books at naptime and bedtime. On occasion he will sit down with Abby and me and read with us. He has been doing a lot of coloring lately though, which he hadn't done in a long time. He's especially fond of the black and white felted coloring pages.
His favorite foods are anything sweet. He likes Grampy's fish sticks, cheeseburgers with just ketchup, strawberries, grapes, apples, broth soup with noodles, yogurt, drumsticks, banana bread, oatmeal and honey, honey sandwiches, cereal (as long as it has at least 9 grams of sugar per serving...). He does like most meats. No vegetables as of yet. Not even sneaky ones like marinara sauce.
Nathan loves movie night. Oh, yes, he loves popcorn too. He also loves play dates with his friends Carter, Evan, Hailey, Tate, Zane, Katiree, Abel, Locklin, Tabitha and Honoria. Nathan also likes going to bible study and Sunday school. He really enjoys playgrounds (although we haven't been to many of those) and on rainy days, he loves the jungle playland where he can run, jump, tumble. He is a very physical and a very WILD kid. Nathan is very sweet and eager to learn. He is very obedient (most days and as long as we are not leaving grampy's house) and follows rules to a "t". Lately we've noticed him paying more and more attention to the people around him and trying to do nice things for them. He has a real tender spot for his little sister and cannot stand it if she is upset. He'll do anything to make her happy again (unless of course he's the cause of her "upsetness").


Abigail
Abigail is definitely in her "testing the limits" phase. :-) Yes, it's great fun. She's such a girlie-girl though and so cute that you go between being upset at her testing and laughing loud at her cuteness all day long. She's definitely potty trained for day-time and well on her way for night-time. Abigail loves to spend her days "reading" with her Tag, coloring, dancing, singing and cooking. She also likes to play with Nathan a lot, much to his delight. Oh, and there is dress-up. She could do that all day long. Choices for dress-up may not be what you expected. She has a talent for coming up with some strange combinations. :-) As far as colors go, there is no uncertainty; the girl loves pink and purple. In her world, everything should be pink and purple. One time she freaked out (in excitement) because a store had pink soap. And another time she equally freaked out because she got a pink cookie. If you've been reading these posts, you'll remember how she lost it when she saw a pink Christmas tree. Right now she is sitting on the couch, holding on to two pink balloons leftover from a baby shower for a friend. She hasn't let go of them for the last hour.
As far as eating goes, she is a real good eater. She does however take a very loooonnnnnggggg time to finish eating. Her favorites are yogurt, fruits, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, avocado, drumsticks and crackers. The only thing she is not too fond of is meat.
Something Abigail is really good at is imitating emotions. She's got the best pouty face, can cry on the drop of a dime, but also has the cutest little girl smile. We might be in trouble when we hit the teenage years.....
This little girl is also a very good student. She has known all her letters and their sounds for a long time. She knows all basic shapes and all her numbers up to 10. She can count to 29 and is starting to learn how to write. She has managed to write some first letters such as "E" and "F". And of course she can memorize songs really well. :-)
And as far as obedience goes, we're working on it. Hard. :-) Thankfully she's the cutest little redhead around. Saving grace.

Home-made Marinara Sauce

Been wanting to make my own marinara sauce for a while and freeze it. It's hard to do when you can get it for free in the grocery stores (after coupons). But alas, finally we were running low and I wanted to give it a shot. I promise, eventually I will take pictures of when these things are cooking... Eventually. :-)

Here's what you'll need:
1 TBSP olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 gloves garlic (we like garlic and used big ones), minced
200g tomato puree
1/2 cup chicken stock (or more, depending on how runny you want your sauce)
3 cans diced tomatoes
1 can Italian stewed tomatoes
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP dried basil (or 1 tsp fresh, chiffonade)
2 TBSP fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a stock pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent (about 7 minutes). Add garlic and saute another minute. Add tomato puree and cook 2 more minutes. Add chicken broth and scrape bottom of stock pot for the brown bits to release into liquid. Add all cans of tomatoes. Stir in tomatoes (all 4 cans), parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Funnies and Cuties

Nathan: "I'm not sure I can listen (obey); I'm Darth Vader."

David to me about Nathan needing help in the bathroom: "Can you handle it from here?"
Nathan: "Mommy, can you handle me?"

I put Abby's hair in a pony tail. Daddy explaining that it is called a "pony tail."
Abigail (concerned): "But I don't have a pony tail on my butt?"

Abigail: "Mommy, you're pretty." (well, thank you!)

Abigail: "You're a peach."

Abigail: "At last!" (I swear she secretly watches classic movies at night....)

Abigail, with southern accent: "Well,..." (more evidence...)

Nathan to David: "When I grow up, I wanna be a regular guy like you who spends time with his family. And I wanna marry someone like my mommy 'cause I love her so much." (Awwww...)

Abigail (petting daddy's face): "Ohhhh, that sweetie pie."

Abigail: "Mommy, you're my best friend."

Nathan playing doctor during playtime: "All good. Your heart is beeping." (Oh, goody.)

Abigail who is sick and wants to have her feet rubbed: "Mommy, you can snuggle with my feet."

Abigail to daddy: "Mommy is finally off the couch!" (Back off, people, I was on bed rest!)

Abigail to me: "Because you are really heavy" Seeing my face, she adds "That's because you are really tall." (thanks for correcting that!)

Abigail loudly, while walking by our grocery store's deli: "Look mommy, they have yucky stuff too!"

Abigail: "When is the baby coming?"
Me: "It'll be a while longer."
Abigail: "You are making me wait sooooo loooong!"

Here are a few pictures too:
She's got such a sense of style. My, my.


What my husband does when he's bored at work. (Don't worry, he's his own boss.)


Bed of push pins. America's answer to the bed of nails.


Nathan colored this pirate picture for days. He's very proud.


This picture is correctly posted under Funnies. It's my first crocheted toy. It's a.... .............cat! Bet you didn't guess that!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011 - True Love

For Valentine's Day this year my wonderful husband once again gave me a wonderful thoughtful gift. He took me out for dinner. Well, you say, that is nothing that special. There is more to this though. If you know my husband, then you know he's a meat and potatoes guy. He loves that food. What he doesn't like is "weird" food. That pretty much sums up most vegetables. Squash is exotic to him. Plain, simple, American food. That's the ticket. Not weird stuff. Beyond weird are some of the foods I love and cherish. On the top of the weird list? Sushi. Really, to a meat and potatoes guy, how much weirder than Sushi can you get? So obviously, if I want to go eat Sushi, I usually have to wait for my Mandy to come over from Germany. Sushi, although loved tremendously, does not happen often (which makes it all the more appreciated when I do get it). For Valentine's Day my husband did something that most likely scared the living daylights out of him. He took me for Sushi. That's right. Not only was he going to take me, he was going to share the experience and eat it! When we left, I was as excited as a little girl on Christmas Eve. I didn't expect him to like it at all but was just excited that he would do something with me which I loved so much, even though it was the most strange thing to him. Uncomfortable, strange, weird (again, top of the list) and most likely very displeasing. He did great. He felt uncomfortable at first but quickly got the hang of it. He tried many different types, working his way from plain cooked shrimp on rice to fancier things, including baked mussels and octopus. Even though he didn't fall head over heels for sushi, we enjoyed our evening together very much. It was awesome, to be honest. He even promised me we'd go again....in about two years or so. Again, my husband taught me that the best gifts are not things we give. I will cherish this very much and remember it fondly.

His first piece was a safe cooked shrimp on rice. You can see the doubt in his face though. And by the size of the tiny piece he bit off....


My first try: Squid salad. Was really good. Sorry Mandy to make you drool... Mama, I know this is gross to you, so just skip the pictures.


I had quite a few of these. It still stuns me that David ate some.


See that happy girl!


This picture isn't very sharp but I love the look on his face. He isn't quite sure whether or not this is going to kill him.

He even ate shrimp tempura. That is not really that surprising. What is surprising is that he ate it with the avocado in it!

Bravery feels gooooood.


After he'd tried a few pieces of sushi, he had to cleanse his palate with good ol' American food. :-) We stopped to get him a cheeseburger.

Thank you so much for taking me. It really meant a lot to me and I had a blast. You got a date for 2013!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Nice Reminder

A new blog I'm reading is Our Peaceful Home. Click here to read her article on mommy guilt. Don't we all have enough of that to go around? Her nice reminder for all of us is 2 Corinthians 9:8:

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My New Favorite Salad

Today is finally my last day of bed rest! Cannot wait to get off this couch and have my kids back (although I'm sure they are having a blast at Grampy's house, getting spoiled). But couch/bed rest definitely had some positives. For one, I've been scrolling through a gazillion recipes and watched a ton of cooking shows. One recipe I had all the ingredients on hand for was a Kale Salad with Maple Poppyseed Dressing posted over at SimpleBites.net. I made it because it sounded intriguing and let's face it, sitting on the couch for a week, I gained a bit more weight than I should have. That's apparently a side effect of boredom and watching cooking shows all day. Plus, there is that tiny little girl inside of me who deserves better. So greens and veggies was on the menu and I have to say, this salad was very satisfying and just oh, so yummy. Almost like eating dessert. Almost.
Had the poppy seed dressing with the honey instead of maple syrup and for add-ons, there were almonds, dried cranberries and lots of sour granny smith apple. It was really good. It's sour, sweet, crunchy and has really good texture. The dressing stands up nicely to the kale. Go here for this recipe and another fennel salad which also looks intriguing.
Have I told you yet how happy I am for life to resume to normal? Miss my kids. At least David works from home and that is and always has been awesome. Love my life. We are truly blessed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chai Thai Ice Tea

My new favorite drink. Cold drink that is. Other than plain water.

You'll need:
3 bags of black Chai tea (my favorite is Tazo brand)
Pitcher full of hot water
1 can of sweetened, condensed milk

Put tea bags in hot water and let steep. Refridgerate once the tea has come to room temperature. Pour in sweetened condensed milk and stir until mixed. Serve cold or with ice cubes. Delicious. Tastes rich and creamy and almost Christmas-y because of the spices in the Chai.