Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fish Chowder

Fish Chowder

This is one chowder that you don't have to feel guilty about eating.  This recipe is very versatile.  Clams could be substituted for the fish, or any variety of white fish could be used.  Carrots or corn would be a great addition.  Fat-free half and half could be used instead of the evaporated milk also.

-2 Tbsp butter
-1 onion, diced
-2 stalks celery, diced
-4 cups chicken broth
-2 potatoes, peeled and diced
-2 pounds tilapia, cut into bite sized chunks
-1 tsp Tony's seasoning (Old Bay or season salt would be fine also)
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 cup clam juice
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-2 (12 fluid ounce) cans fat-free evaporated milk

In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Saute onions, and celery in butter until tender. Add chicken broth and potatoes; simmer for 10 minutes. Add fish, and simmer another 10 minutes. Season to taste with Tony's seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix together clam juice and flour until smooth; stir into soup. Remove from heat, and stir in evaporated milk. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired. Serve.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

17 weeks

Here is what is going on with Noah this week according to;

By now, your baby may play with her hands and feet for a few minutes at a time. She's quite fond of doing one action over and over again until she's sure of the result. Then she'll switch things up a bit to see if the result is different. Suddenly you'll realize it's strangely quiet in the bedroom and look in, only to discover that your baby, who until now has needed your attention for most of every waking moment, is amusing herself in her crib. You might be able to start reading the paper again — well, maybe just the headlines.
If you're the primary caregiver, it may feel like a reflex by now to step in whenever your baby starts crying. But it's a good idea to give your partner the chance to be the soother, too. Not only does this give you a break (which is huge!), it adds to his confidence level and provides bonding opportunities. There are plenty of techniques you can encourage your partner to use, but it's also important to leave him room to experiment and learn on his own. Remind your partner to assess the baby's needs (diapering, feeding, burping) and to fulfill those first. If crying continues, he can try to soothe the baby by holding her close, rubbing her back, or giving her some infant massage. Many babies are comforted by gentle, rhythmic motion, which helps a parent feel like he's doing something. Dancing, rocking, or swinging the baby may do the trick. Distraction is another popular method. He can try playing the entertainer with silly stunts, singing, and funny sounds and expressions.


This has been a fun week, Noah has started rolling over.  I put him down on his back in his crib for a nap, and came back and found him on his belly.  Whether he is placed on his back or belly he loves to kick and squirm around until he flips himself over.  He does it all with his legs though, and hasn't seemed to get the hang of using his arms to push and help him.  He usually has his hands shoved in his mouth while sucking on them and pushes himself up and over with his legs.  Now that he is suddenly mobile we have learned that he can't be left alone anywhere other than his crib, unless we barricade him in with piles of pillows.

more often than not Noah ends up napping like this now.  whether I put him down to nap on his back or belly he fights it and rolls around for a while until he wears himself out and passes out on his side.  we still swaddle him at night though, so he sleeps still on his back then.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

the party

as I mentioned yesterday, yesterday was my 30th birthday.  today Jeremy and his parents threw me a fun birthday party at our favorite place, the park.  it was perfect!  we had beautiful weather, delicious food, and I was surrounded by family and friends who I love.  I felt so loved and celebrated, I wouldn't have changed a thing.  a huge thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate and wish me a happy birthday!!!!!!


Friday, February 18, 2011

fruit of the Spirit canvas & the big 3-0

after making the names of God canvas a couple of weeks ago Jeremy had asked me to do another one with the colors reversed so that we would have a set.  I happened to have an additional canvas that was the same size that Jeremy's mom had gotten from a yard sale that had already been painted on.  so again, I primed and painted over the old art work.  then I used my Cricut to cut out the words, and modge podged them on.  all of these supplies I already had on hand.  it has been fun to come up with ways to do craft projects with things that I already have lying around the house.

on a side note, today is my 30th birthday.  I had a wonderful day filled with breakfast with some girls, a walk in the park with a friend to enjoy the BEAUTIFUL day, some crafting time to finish up this canvas, and a coffee date with Jeremy and Noah for a chai tea latte and pumpkin bread (thanks Mom for sending the gift certificate!).  and now I've learned that 30 isn't nearly as scary as it sounded, and it's actually quite fun.  so here's to another decade, hopefully full of even more love, laughter, and fun then the last two.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

16 weeks

 Noah seems like he is itching to crawl (or walk)... he loves picking his head up and kicking and pushing his legs around
Here is what is going on with Noah this week according to;
Researchers believe that your baby can now understand all the basic sounds that make up his native language. Between this time and 6 months of age, your baby will develop the ability to make some vocal sounds, which means you may hear the words you've been dreaming about, namely "ma-ma" or "da-da." While child development experts say it's too early for your baby to connect those sounds with you and your partner, that won't make hearing them any less exciting. You can encourage your baby's attempts at communication by mirroring or imitating his expressions and sounds. He may try to imitate you now, too. Say "baa" and he may try to say it back. Reacting when your baby makes noises or tries to say something will help your baby learn the importance of language. It'll also help him better understand cause and effect. It's great for his self-esteem, too. He'll begin to realize that what he says makes a difference. Expand on what your baby says and try to give it meaning. For example, you can say, "Yes, that is a ball!" Soon, his "ba" will become "ball."

For the first four to six months of life, your baby gets all the nutrients he needs from breast milk or formula. Still, parents are often eager to start their babies on solid food. It's true that your baby's digestive tract is more developed now and his tongue-thrust reflex is starting to fade, so it seems a logical time to start feeding him some solids, such as pureed baby food or cereal. But there are good reasons to wait, too. Starting solids later may cut down on possible allergic reactions, and ensures that breast milk or formula won't get crowded out of your baby's diet. And if you're hoping that eating solids will help your baby sleep through the night, studies have shown that you can't count on that happening. The debate over when to start solids continues. If you're unsure about when to introduce them to your baby, talk to his doctor.

Noah's new favorite activity is hanging out in his jump seat

Each week Noah continues to get more "grabby" and reach for and grasp more items.  He's also starting to move those items directly to his mouth to suck/ chew on.  He loves to flap his left arm up and down, and frequently hits himself in the head while doing it, sometimes with whatever rattle he's holding while flapping his arm around.  He is now big enough to enjoy his jump seat and loves standing in it.  When I read books to him he loves to bat at them and slap them with his hands.  Now that we've had some nice weather we have had a chance to break in the jogging stroller that we got for him and take him on some jogs and walks around the park.  He loves being outdoors.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shrimp and Grits Casserole

(sorry that this picture is of the dish prior to baking, I neglected to take a pic of the final product)

Shrimp and Grits Casserole

This dish is so quick and easy to throw together. I like to prepare it in the morning following all of the steps except for baking, then refrigerate all day and pop in the oven just prior to dinner time. As is, this dish serves 6-8 people. For a smaller group divide the recipe in half.

-4 cups milk
-1 1/2 cups chicken broth
-2 cups quick cooking grits
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup parmesan cheese
-4 Tbsp butter
-6 oz cream cheese
-1 Tbsp dried chives
-3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
-zest and juice of 1 lemon
-2 Tbsp hot sauce
-2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 

Combine milk, broth and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Gradually add grits to the pot, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan, butter, and cream cheese. Stir in chives, parsley, lemon zest and juice, hot sauce and shrimp. Spoon mixture into a greased 13 x 9 dish. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

posterized picture canvas

I whipped this up as a Valentine's gift for the hubby.  It was super quick and easy using this tutorial.  The canvas is reused, I painted over a canvas that I bought for a buck fifty and Salvation Army, and the rest of the supplies I already had lying around.  This was WAY more quick and easy than I had expected!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

15 weeks

Here is what is going on with Noah this week according to;

When placed on her stomach, your baby will lift her head and shoulders high, using her arms for support. This mini push-up helps strengthen her muscles and gives her a better view of what's going on. She may even amaze you (and herself!) by rolling from her back to her front, or vice versa.  You can encourage this skill through play: Wiggle a toy next to the side she customarily rolls to in case she's interested enough to try again. Applaud her efforts and smile. She may need your reassurance since her new skill can be frightening.
By now, your baby may respond to your presence, your voice, and even your facial expressions by kicking and waving her arms. Your baby, who up to this point probably smiled at everyone she met, is also beginning to be picky about the company she keeps.  In large groups or with unfamiliar people, your baby may need time to get comfortable. Allow for transition time with strangers or when leaving her with a sitter.  When she's safely in your arms, though, she's likely to be interested in interacting with other people — especially noisy, boisterous children because they're more active, more amusing to a baby, and physically less imposing.

Noah gets more and more fun each week.  His personality continues to develop and he continues to become more interactive.  He isn't showing any interest in rolling over yet.  He is becoming a lot more talkative, and will go on for extended periods of time making fun noises at us.  He loves holding his rattle and hearing the sounds that his crinkle toy makes when he grabs it.  Most of the time when he fusses it seems that he's tired and goes right to sleep, but other than that he is a very happy, laid back baby.  Noah does really well around other people, we usually have about 15-20 people at community group each week and the volume can get quite loud when we have several conversations going on at once.  Noah seems to enjoy the social activity and stays happy as he is passed around from person to person.

Just for fun, here's a comparison of Noah in his bouncy chair at age 2 or 3 weeks (left) and him in his chair this week (right)... what a difference!!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

names of God canvas

I have been wanting to make this sign for a really long time, but because I don't have a crafting budget I have to wait for crafting supplies to make their way to me before I can follow through on a project.  Fortunately for me, my mother-in-law knew that I was looking for some used canvases to paint over for projects and she happened to find me two for next to nothing at a yard sale last week.  They originally had some type of children's paintings on them, but after I painted over them you could barely tell that the canvas had been used before.  This was super simple, I used my Cricut to cut out all of the words and just modge-podged (that can be a verb, right?) them onto the canvas that I had painted black... quick and easy... I started and finished the whole project during the time that both Noah and Luke napped today.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

14 weeks

Here's what is going on with Noah this week according to;

At last, your baby's sleep patterns may start to settle down, giving you some rest. Many 4-month-olds sleep for a six-hour stretch through the night, though others still wake for an occasional feeding. Some babies take until age 6 months or later to sleep through the night, though, so don't get your hopes up! Two daytime naps are usual now.

Your baby's starting to draw conclusions about the world around him. He's looking at everything with curiosity, even his own reflection.  Prop an unbreakable mirror next to him or sit him in front of your mirror when you're getting ready. Your baby won't realize that it's actually his image in the mirror (this usually begins to happen well into the second year), but that doesn't matter. He'll love to stare at his — or anyone else's — reflection, and he may show his delight by an all-out gum grin.

Your baby may stop sucking his thumb or bottle to listen to your voice. By cooing or making noises at him, and by describing even the most mundane household chore, you're not only connecting with him but also encouraging him to express himself. Wait and see if he "answers."  Your baby is becoming more animated and engaging (even with others) — flashing smiles, oohing, and cooing. And the fun has really begun as he's starting to laugh.  When you're with friends, keep your baby nearby so he can hear the richness of human interaction. He'll enjoy watching the antics of other babies, toddlers, and pets, but keep up your guard: Neither he nor they know the rules of safe engagement just yet.

Anything within your baby's reach is fair game now. While he's mastering his grabbing skills, give your baby interesting things to hold: lightweight rattles that are easy to grasp, a plastic or rubber ring to hold with both hands, squeaking toys, or soft stuffed animals.  Your baby will start to favor one hand for a while and then switch to the other, but you can't really tell whether he's a lefty or a righty until he's about 2 or 3 years old.

Noah is doing great!  He seems to be getting thinner, but we don't think he's losing weight he just seems to be growing longer right now.  This week I packed up some of his 3 month outfits that don't fit anymore and dug out his 6 month clothes which he is wearing now.  For several weeks Noah has loved staring in mirrors and gives huge grins when we let him do that.  I tend to read him a book (or more a day) and I think he likes staring at the pictures.  He can now hold his head up at a 90 degree angle when he is lying on his belly.  He loves kicking at things with his legs, whether he is pushing off of us, or I like to put him in his crib, close to the end and let him kick and push away.  He is also really starting to enjoy his mat with toys dangling down at him, he doesn't only bat at them now, but reaches and grasps for them a lot.  He loves going for walks, in the stroller or Baby Bjorn carrier.  His eyes are still very blue, and we're hoping that they are not going to change colors.  As of now we think he's a pretty good combination of the two of us... my mouth, chin, hairline and profile, Jeremy's eyes and maybe nose.  I also tend to think that he has a lot of his daddy's personality... which is fine by me... I'm a pretty big fan of him!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rosemary Polenta

Rosemary Polenta

It's likely that we'll be moving in about two months, so I've been on a quest to use up all of the dry and canned ingredients in my pantry so that I have less to pack.  This polenta was the perfect use for a bag of cornmeal that I had lying around.  This is a great side dish for many different meat dishes, or you could go vegetarian and top this with my roasted mushrooms.  Cheese is nice, but there is plenty of flavor without it.  Add salt to taste, but my broth contained enough for my taste.

-2 3/4 cups chicken broth

-2 cups water
-1 1/2 cups milk (I use skim in everything)
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp dried rosemary
-1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
-1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese (optional)
-salt and black pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring to a boil the chicken broth, water, milk, garlic, rosemary, and salt. Gradually whisk in cornmeal, set heat to medium-low, and simmer the cornmeal mixture until thick and creamy, stirring often to prevent lumps, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in cheese if using.  Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a 2-quart casserole. Spoon the polenta into the prepared casserole.  Bake in the preheated oven until the polenta is bubbling and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.