Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 goals

I'm not much of a resolution person, probably because I've never made one that I've kept.  So instead of making a resolution, I thought I'd set some goals for 2012, and share them so that friends can encourage me and hold me accountable.  Here they are, in no particular order...

  • talk less, listen more... REALLY listen... not the kind of listening where I'm planning in my head what I'm going to say next, but completely present in the moment listening (this is not a strong suit for me, especially when my busy little boy is running around me, but I really want to get better at this!).
  • try new things... I'm such a creature of habit and routine.  I do the same activities week in and week out, eat the same foods, go to the same places, and so on.  I want to try foods that I've never had, visit new places, and be more open to being spontaneous.
  • take more pictures.  I tend not to lug around our fancy Nikon much, and therefore don't document as many fun memories as I'd like to.  I acquired a small, inexpensive hand me down camera that I can keep in my purse, and want to get better at documenting my life, and creating a photo journal here to look back upon.
  • pray more. pray without ceasing. be in constant communication with my Heavenly Father.  making all tasks/ activities an act of worship.  constantly giving thanks, and constantly walking in the Spirit.
  • take a family vacay... just me, Jeremy, and Noah.  even if it's only 1 night.  even if we just stay in the French Quarter.
  • conquer my tendency to gossip.  use my words to encourage others and spur them on, rather than leaving idle (or worse) words.
  • reduce my inbox.  remove myself from email lists rather than just hitting delete.
  • catalog and backup all of our family pictures and videos that are stored on our computer.
  • become more like Christ and grow in my ability to love others in action and in truth.
Did you make any New Year's Resolutions?

Happy New Year!!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

crafting with noah

today Noah and I made up some quick thank you cards to send out for the gifts that we received.  he seemed to love the feel of the paint on his hands, and seeing his hands covered in red and green.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Gifts

The last couple of years we haven't bought any Christmas gifts, and have given a few small handmade items to our friends and family.  These are the gifts that I came up with this year...

peppermint bark... I did this for our neighbor gifts this year.  It seemed easier than my usual baking of multiple different kinds of cookies.

homemade playdough

a few homemade signs

assorted embroidered ornaments

Hope your Christmas was merry!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

14 months

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

At 14 months, your toddler understands many more words than she can say. Her spoken vocabulary likely consists of about three to five words, typically "Mama," "Dada," and one other simple word such as "ball" or "dog," but she learns the meanings of new words every day. As she starts to add words to her vocabulary, you'll notice that she looks for opportunities to practice them. Once she can say "dog," for instance, she'll look for dogs everywhere — in books, outside, on videos — just so she can point and say the word over and over again.

Rhymes, jingles, and silly songs are big hits with toddlers. If your 14-month-old is already speaking several words, encourage her willingness to repeat after you by singing silly or repetitive songs, such as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." As she becomes familiar with the refrains she'll chime in one word at a time and before you know it she'll be singing the whole song right along with you.

If your 14-month-old isn't speaking many words at this point, you can help her with the other two elements of language acquisition. When talking to your child, vary your tone, facial expressions, and hand gestures, all of which will help her understand the meanings of your words. Maintain eye contact when you talk to her so she learns to listen to you. And don't rush her when she is trying to use words — listen patiently and look her in the eye.

Now that your toddler can indicate her needs with actions and some words, expect her to use "tools" to help her communicate. She'll bring you her jacket to let you know she wants to go outside. Or she'll point to a CD that she would like to hear. She is trying hard to make you understand what she wants. And you can expect her to repeat many words she hears even though she doesn't know their meaning (so starting now you need to watch what you say, lest your little parrot repeat any swear words!).
Her ability to remember people, places, and events gets stronger every day. This month she may even be able to respond to two-part requests, such as to go to her room and fetch her shoes or a toy, or retrieve a lost pacifier.

Hide-and-seek is still very entertaining, especially if your 14-month-old gets to do the seeking. Here's a variation that's sure to evoke lots of laughter: Show your toddler a toy and then stash it in your pocket and ask her where it went. She has the cognitive power to realize that just because the toy is out of sight doesn't mean it's gone. She'll giggle as she searches your pocket, purse, or backpack to see where you've hidden the toy. You can also hide little toys in her own pockets and see how much fun she has trying to get them out.

Noah is doing great.  His vocabularly is increasing each week.  I think he is up to about 20 (or so) words right now.  Most often mama, dada, eat, walk, dog, light, go, bird, home, yellow, belly button, Noah, car, night night, poop, grandma, paw-paw, and a few others.  Most of them he knows what they mean... for example, he'll point at a light, dog, or car and correctly identify them.  But yellow is the one word that he says very frequently, that I don't think he has grasped the meaning of yet.  Luke says it all the time, so Noah is just copying him.  Noah frequently pulls up his shirt and points to his belly and says belly button.  Now he also tells us when he has pooped.  And when he starts getting tired and ready for a nap or bedtime he will say night night.  At least once (but up to hundreds of times) every hour he will say eat. 

Our kid is a bottomless pit, he eats most foods that we give him, and anything that he does eat, he'll eat as much of it as we are willing to give him.  This month he had his first taste of chocolate (against our wishes) and grabbed a big hunk of chocolate cake off of the table at community group when we weren't looking.  Now that he knows that stuff (dessert) that we haven't been giving him is good, I'm sure he'll beg even more.  This month he also learned how to open the fridge (to my dismay), and how to help himself to food in there.

He knows where his ears, nose, and belly are and can point to them if you ask him.  He tries to count to 5, usually leaving out a number or two, and with the numbers sounding a little bit mumbled.

He still doesn't/ won't pay any attention to tv shows or movies, but when I was burning some videos of him onto cds for Christmas presents, he was fully engaged and getting a kick out of watching videos of his much younger self.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Whole Wheat Artisan Bread

I made this whole wheat bread to dip into a big pot of soup for our dinner.  Prior to today, I have always been intimidated by yeast breads.  This was my first time using yeast, and my first time using the dough hook for my mixer.  This bread really was super easy, and came out so well!  Not bad for my first attempt.  I see MUCH more of this bread in our future.  And since the dough keeps in the fridge for 14 days, you could make it a while in advance and have a fresh baked loaf any day.  I can't wait to try some fun flavors by adding in rosemary, garlic, and more.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Black Bean, Corn, and Feta Dip

Black Bean, Corn, and Feta Dip

We recently had something similar to this at a friend's house.  She said it was a Pampered Chef recipe, which she verbally told me the ingredients of.  I liked it so much that I went home and tried to re-make it.  Based on my memory this may, or may not be the same as the Pampered Chef version.  In hindsight, I think hers may have had some colored bell pepper in it, but I'm not quite sure.  Serve this at room temperature, with your favorite tortilla chips (I like Baked or Multigrain Scoops).

-1 (15 oz) can white corn, drained
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1/4 c sugar
-1/4 c apple cider vinegar
-1/4 c olive oil
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-4 scallions, chopped
-1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

In medium bowl, whisk together sugar, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Toss with remaining ingredients.  Chill at least 2 hours prior to serving.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

I made this Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchilada recipe.  Noah and I really liked them, but Jeremy didn't seem to care for the idea of sweet potatoes in his enchiladas.  The few changes that I made were to use flour instead of arrowroot starch, use whole wheat tortillas (and omit the frying step), I mixed the sweet potato mixture with the black bean mixture (rather than doing them separate), I added 1/4 tsp cayenne to the filling, and used cheddar cheese instead of jack (but pepper jack would be GREAT!).  Next time I think I'd try to spice them up a bit more by adding hot sauce and more cayenne to the filling and sauce.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Roasted Cabbage

Although I'm a cabbage lover, I never would have thought of the idea of roasting this particular vegetable.  I have so many ways that I already enjoy cabbage, that I wasn't searching for any new recipes... until... I came across this Martha Stewart Roasted Cabbage on Pinterest.  I was intrigued.  And since cabbage is on sale right now for 54 cents a pound, I figured I didn't have anything to loose.  I made one tray with the fennel seeds, and one tray with the caraway seeds.  Much to my surprise, I think I enjoyed the fennel seeds a touch more, but they were both delicious.  This is such a simple and delicious way to enjoy cabbage!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Black Beans, Corn, and Rice Casserole

Black Beans, Corn, and Rice Casserole

This is the perfect side dish for a Mexican or Southwestern meal.  Or you could make it a main dish by adding cooked chicken into the mix.  This is a crowd pleaser, Noah, Jeremy, and I all really liked it!  You can assemble this casserole early in the day and keep in the fridge until you are ready to pop it in the oven.

-4 c cooked brown rice
-1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 cup light sour cream
-1 (4 oz) can green chiles
-1 c salsa
-1 1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp cayenne
-2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Combine all ingredients except cilantro and 1/4 c cheddar in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Spread into a greased 13x9 dish.  Top with remaining 1/4 c cheddar.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mushroom Brown Rice Casserole


I made this Mushroom Brown Rice Casserole.  (That tastes WAY better than it photographs, I promise).  The only things that I did differently were to double the salt, add 1/2 tsp pepper, add 1 tsp dried thyme, and used reduced-fat cottage cheese and sour cream. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Indonesian Green Beans

I made these Indonesian Green Beans.  They were good, but not quite as amazing as I had hoped for.  Still, they were a nice change from plain old steamed or roasted beans.  The few things I changed were to eliminate the coconut (I couldn't bring myself to buy a bag for only 1 tsp), and used red pepper flakes instead of sambal.  In the future, I think I would double or triple the sauce ingredients, because there really wasn't much sauce at all, and maybe add a tsp or two of sugar to the sauce.