Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Nothing is as Easy as it Seems

I did something unusual last night.  I admitted to myself that I didn't have time for something. 

I had been contemplating what to get for Avery's daycare teachers.  We had already purchased small Starbucks gift cards for each of them, but I needed a supplement.  Last year we did gift cards and the Bakerella cookie-in-a-jar mix, and I was thinking I'd do the same this year.  We had a very busy weekend so I didn't get anything accomplished in that area, and the gifts needed to be delivered today as Avery will be out tomorrow and next week. 

I had some Christmas shopping to do last night and had the cookie jar ingredients on the list of things to get.  But while I was out I thought to myself "Self, you don't have time for that.  Just admit it.  You'll have to go to at least 2 additional stores to get all the stuff, and you won't even get home until 9, then you'll have to assemble them all.  Self, just buy something else." 

And I actually listened to myself and found these super cute reusable cups for cold drinks with straws at TJ Maxx.  I'll put the gift card in the cup.  Perfect.  Done. 

When I got home and began putting the gifts together I thought to myself, "Self, you need some candy to go in these cups too!!  Why didn't you get some Kiss's while you were at Target?  Maybe the husband will go."   

Smiles at husband sweetly.

After convincing Rob that he should go to Target to get candy (I didn't think it would actually work, but it did) I busied myself with uploading pictures to Facebook and Shutterfly while waiting for him to get back with the Kiss's.  Upon his return I began filling up the cups and LO AND BEHOLD the straw on one of the cups was broken on the bottom.    Because of course it was. 

Rob, looking a little frightened, reluctantly offered to go back to TJ Maxx and exchange the cup.  No.  I know right where they were (were there any more?), I'll go.  So, thanks to extended holiday hours, I found myself BACK at TJ Maxx at 10:30 pm.  And OF COURSE they don't have anymore of the cups.  Of course not.  Long story short, I had to get 2 totally different mugs and give the morning teachers one kind and the afternoon teachers the other.  As I was filling the cups at 11 pm, wondering how something so very, very simple turned into a huge time waster, the irony was not lost on me that I could have probably been totally done with the cookie jars by then. 
Stupid cups

And the moral of this long and completely pointless story is...

You can't win!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Tour

Of our tree and a couple other items.  I don't have a fancy designer themed tree.  While those are very pretty I prefer the hodge-podge of special ornaments that you collect throughout the years.

Clockwise: 1. 2010 Gingerbread Girl Avery's Gigi got for her.  2. Green Eggs and Ham-I saw this at Hallmark and had to get it since we read this about 7 times a day.  3. OU Snowman.  I don't know where I got him but he's just cute.  4. Bride and Groom from the year we got married.  I think my mom got this for us.

Clockwise: Musical Santa that belonged to my granny.  I don't know how old it is exactly but it seems old.  It was given to me and still is wrapped in a 1992 Tulsa World.  2. This is a handmade replica of the boat we had when I was growing up. 3. Stephen got me this snowman a couple years ago.  4. Lovey hedgehogs from the 1st Christmas we lived together (2003).

I just like these Nutcrackers.  Nothing special.

After Christmas I hope to pick up some new stockings and a tree topper.  

Avery has done fairly well with leaving the tree alone.  Although she has brought me many bulbs she has removed from the tree 1) she always brings them to me and 2) she hasn't broken anything.  Yet.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

When you come home from the hospital with a new baby, the LAST thing you want (or have time) to do is cook.  At least for a couple of weeks.  Before I had Avery I made several freezer meals, and my mom made several for us as well.  I can't remember everything she made (although I'm sure they were delicious) but I do remember the chicken pot pie.  Rob and I loved it.  I got the recipe from her and finally got around to making it a couple of weeks ago.  It turned out great!

Chicken Pot Pie

Whole chicken or 4 breasts
4 whole carrots
1 whole celery rib
1 quartered onion
I had some Rosemary so I threw that in too.

Everyone in the pool.

Simmer above ingredients in water (if using breasts use broth) about 2 hours.  Remove carrots and slice.  Set aside.  Remove chicken.  Skin and de-bone.  Cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Strain the broth and discard onion and celery.

1 chopped onion
1.5 cup sliced celery
2 small peeled, diced potatoes
Green peas (optional) thawed (I used)
1/2 cup butter (this seemed like a LOT of butter so I only used about 1/2 stick)
1/2 cup cream, 1/2 and 1/2, or milk (I used milk)
6 tbs flour
1.5 cup broth
2 bay leaves
Fresh or dried parsley (Rob took this opportunity to enlighten me on his severe hatred of parsley....so I omitted.  But seriously who hates parsley?  Eight years and I never knew...)

Melt butter in pan.  Add celery and onion.  Saute about 10 minutes.  Add potatoes and saute another 7-10 minutes until potatoes start to get tender.  Add sliced carrots and peas.  With mixture still hot add flour.  Cook into mixture for approximately 3 minutes.  Stir in broth and cream and cook until thickened.  Add more broth or cream if mixture is too thick and salt and pepper (next time I would probably add some more liquid).  Add parsley and bay leaves.  Pour into casserole dish.  Top with pastry (I used store bought), score for venting.  Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.
Is it obvious I used a store-bought crust?

I didn't take any pictures when it was finished.  Look, Pioneer Woman I am not.  But it looked pretty.  I'm sure you can imagine it! 

While this isn't difficult it is time consuming so it's definitely not a weeknight meal.  Unless you made it the night before and baked it the following night.  It's also very inexpensive to make and will last a family of 2 or 2.5 for a couple meals.  This is perfect to freeze and give to a friend that's expecting!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I'm wondering if it's coincidental that Avery started making a monkey noise and climbing on everything in the same weekend.

Suddenly she needs to sit on the coffee table (which, fortunately, is just a storage ottoman) and is exercising her ability to climb into chairs.  She can also open the top drawers in the kitchen and bathrooms and pull stuff out.  Which means...nothing is safe.

Saturday, I walked out of our office where she was playing.  I passed Rob in the kitchen on his way back to the office and by the time he walked in she was ON the computer desk.  Not in the chair.  On the desk.  In 6 seconds.

She also found a new place to sit: Rob's laptop at the dining table.
Attempting to log in

Note that the screen is locked but I'm sure that will be the next thing.  She can already unlock my iPhone. 

Speaking of.

This girl has no interest in TV but she'll play on the phone for 20 or 30 minutes.  Probably longer if I didn't beg and plead demand she give it back.  I can't really complain, as I created the monster.  It started out innocently enough with a few baby/toddler apps, namely one Itsy Bitsy Spider app.  Now, anytime I'm foolish enough get the phone out in her presence, she puts her pointer fingers together and twists them urgently (as a symbol of the itsy bitsy spider)...until I usually give in.

Finally, a (fitting) video of the monkey noise!
Her hair was crazy because it had been pulled up with a rubber band.
Aaaaaaaaaand, someone needs to work on their monkey noise.  I'm not naming names though.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hold the Phone!

I would love to know who she was talking to!  It was a pretty intense conversation!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Avery & Au-ter

Avery has a love-hate relationship with Arthur.  Sometimes she is treats him like the deity he believes himself to be and brings offerings to lay at his feet.  It may be a coaster or an Elmo sticker.  Sometimes it's actually one of his toys.  When he doesn't express interest in said item she'll remain persistent, pointing at the item while grunting as if to say "Hello, do you not see that I brought you a roll of Scotch tape? Scotch tape! Go ahead, take it.  It's yours."

When he gets too excited she gets annoyed and/or scared and wants him to go away.  I can't blame her: a running, chasing, jumping, 100+ pound animal that's eye level with me would scare me too.  

She also fancies herself to be somewhat of a disciplinarian.  Sometimes it comes in handy, like this morning when he was nosing around the ornaments on the Christmas tree.  She stood next to me, my little enforcer, and told him "no, no, no" while furiously shaking her arm like a tiny dictator.  She'll walk up to him and do this when he's simply lying on the rug too.  The looks he gives her in return, complete with raised eyebrow, is priceless.  If only he could talk...

For the record, she got this from my mom (telling Arthur to sit down, lay down, no, etc in an exaggerated manner) and she now does it to kids at daycare too.  

It's neat seeing them form a bond and relationship, even if it is a bit one-sided.  Deep down I think the old guy kind of likes her.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Birthday

To the best:

coloring partner






daycare ride


And all-around best Dad!

Thanksgiving 2010

We had a great Thanksgiving.  It was nice to have 4 days off to spend with Avery (minus the 24 hours we spent in Stillwater for Bedlam-BOOMER).  Even though the holidays always seem hectic and the time away from work inevitably flies by, we try to slow down and enjoy our time spent together and with friends and family.  Thanksgiving Day included our regular stops where Avery reveled in attention and lots of food!

We ate

Yes, we're wearing the same sweater. 
Ate some more

Put our jammies on and soaked up some more attention

And one last thing. 
Can I show you something?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Paula Deen Pumpkin Bars

Photo and recipe courtesy of Food Network
I made these for a work luncheon today.  Everyone, myself included, really liked them.  I'm not a HUGE fan of pumpkin like some people are, but these were very good and the icing was amazing.
I did not cut them and ice them individually as the pictures shows, I just iced the cake in the baking dish.   
 4.5 Stars
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

White Chicken Chili

I'm going to start posting more recipes and reviews on here.  In addition to quite a few cookbooks, I have so many recipes I've printed out or that were given to me by someone over the years.  Sometimes we make something and love it, other times we go "eh, probably wouldn't make that again."   I'll try to document the good and bad on here.  I made this White Chicken Chili the other night.  It was pretty good.  It probably won't blow your hair back but it's healthy, low-calorie, easy (I made in the slow cooker), and Avery liked it.

White Chicken Chili  3.5 stars

  • 2  pounds  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used 1.5)
  • 2  cups  finely chopped onion
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1  teaspoon  ground coriander (I didn't have any)
  • 2  (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 1  cup  water
  • 2  (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (such as Goya)
  • 1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2  teaspoon  hot pepper sauce (I omitted for Avery)
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2  cup  chopped green onions (I omitted)

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 10 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.
    Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cumin, dried oregano, and coriander; sauté 1 minute. Stir in chiles; reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes, partially covered. Add the chicken, water, cannellini beans, and broth; bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in hot sauce. Ladle 1 cup of chili into each of 8 bowls; sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and 1 tablespoon green onions.

    I made this in the slow cooker.  I just put everything in there (minus the last three ingredients), set to low, and cooked for about 8-9 hours.  We then took the chicken breasts out, shredded them, and returned them to the slow cooker.  Top with cheese, cilantro, tortilla chips, or whatever you want.

    233 (23% from fat)
    5.9g (sat 3.1g,mono 1.6g,poly 0.5g)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Day

One of the best things-probably THE best thing-about this blog is that we get to look back at it in 5, 10, 15 years and see what exactly we were up to.  I can't imagine having had a blog throughout high school and college and being able to read it now at 30 31.  That blogs weren't around back then (at least in high school) is probably for the best.  Anyhow, in the spirit of journalism, I thought I'd record what any given weekday is like for us. 

6:35 6:45 6:50 a.m.  I get up, shower, get ready for work.

7:00 7:15 7:25 a.m. Rob gets up, showers, gets ready for work.

7:25 a.m. I go in to get Avery.  She is usually awake by this time. Sometimes, like this morning, I actually wake her up.  I change her diaper and get her dressed for daycare.

7:35 a.m. Rob finishes getting ready, I get my stuff together for work.  I try to spend a few last minutes with Avery playing or reading a book. 

7:40 a.m. Crap, now I'm running late!  Leave for work.

8:00-8:15 a.m. Rob takes Avery to daycare.




Play Words with Friends


Play on Facebook


Work on school stuff

5:25 p.m. I pick Avery up from daycare.

5:30 p.m. Arrive home and start making dinner.

6:00-6:15 p.m. Eat dinner. Pet/feed/water Arthur.

6:15-6:45 p.m. Play, read, pick up, etc.

6:45 p.m. Bath

7:00-7:15 p.m. Read, wind down, bed.

7:00-10 p.m. Pick up house, clean kitchen, make lunches, prep for next night's dinner, laundry, household chores.  Also, any shopping, grocery or otherwise is usually done in this time frame.  If need be, I work on stuff for school. 

10-10:30 p.m. Watch TV, read, play on iPhone.  I go to bed at this time, but Rob is a night owl and usually stays up much later and does homework, plays on computer, etc.


And yeah, that boils down to less than 2 hours a day that we get to spend with Avery on a typical weekday.  That part pretty much sucks.  But in between all the regular weekdays are vacation days, sick days, holidays, and weekends.  Like today, for example, Rob is home with Avery due to chronic unexplained diarrhea (daycare's words).  Yeah, I don't know either.  So he's home with her today and I'll likely work from home tomorrow.  So it's days like those that we love the extra time we get to spend with her, diarrhea and all.  And then we're reminded of just how EASY we have it at work!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mini Me

Rob and I were cleaning out the office last night and we came across this picture.  One of my aunt's gave me this photo at my baby shower.  I don't think I've seen it since Avery was born. 

She kind of looks like me, huh?

Monday, November 8, 2010

18 Months


What?  How?



Moving along...

Length: 31.5 in (45%tile)
Weight: 21 lbs 14.5 oz (16%tile)

Dr. B said she is doing great and commented on her easygoing nature...that is until it was time for shots.

Here's my bellybutton, Dr.!

This is how you do it, Mom.
Avery at 18 months:

Loves to read.

Starting to talk more.  Common words include hi, bye, mama, dada, nana (banana), no, Elmo, more, dog, ball, bird, and (new, I haven't heard) Avery.

Loves to put on lip gloss, lotion, headbands, and shoes.

Likes puzzles.

Loves to eat.  Favorites are fruit, yogurt, meat, crackers, beans, cheese, pasta, green beans.

Loves to open/close, buckle/unbuckle, zip/unzip, etc.

Gives hugs and kisses.

Identifies nearly all body parts and facial features.

Loves to be outside.

Sleeps about 12 hours a night.

Happy 1/2 birthday to our baby girl!

Monday, November 1, 2010


We had a busy and fun Halloween weekend.  We started Friday with my company's annual Halloween event, with a stop on the way at Mimi's work where Avery saw a big airplane and garnered some treats for her bag.   At my work, employees are invited to bring their children to trick or treat in the afternoon, along with various other activities and a photo area.  Avery was not smiling for the pictures, however.  Oh well.
Aloof Bee

She loosened up a little later with the other kids in my department.  Two of my co-workers, my boss, and myself all have children within a couple months of each other.  They were not cooperating for the picture.  Imagine that!
Elise (born in August), Bryce (born in April), Zoe (born in June), A (born in May)
Bryce has the right idea-Avery was clueless about the candy.

Saturday we went to the annual Boohaha parade on Brookside.  We had Mexican for lunch and of course Avery had to have chips and salsa.  You *have* to pass her the salsa to dip her chip in.  It's really quite ridiculous (and cute).

She had a great time at the parade, checking out all the people and dogs.
She spotted some of her kind in a store front
Sunday we showed the bee off to her great-grandparents (and grandparents) (and Aunt Lynn) and the lucky bee garnered some more treats. 

I think we got our $5 (+ S&H) out of the bee costume!  I am already thinking about next year's costume (I'm thinking a ballerina).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lazy Sunday Morning

Hanging out in a basket

Thursday, October 21, 2010


This girl

It's the last thing we do before bed.  It's the first thing we do in the morning.  As soon as her feet hit the ground in the morning she heads to the bookshelf.  She is sometimes content with flipping through a book by herself, but usually she wants us to read to her.  When she approaches you with a book in her arms and looks up at you with those big blue eyes, you have to just stop what you're doing and sit down...and read (even Rob, who hates to read, will do this).   She really prefers reading to playing with toys, although she does like puzzles.

Also, you read what she wants to read.  She picks out the books.  She will let you know what she doesn't want to read, too.  She's open to suggestions, but if she's not into it within the first few pages, she's on to something else.  What cracks me up is the fact that she'll repeatedly pull books off the shelf that she doesn't want to read.  She's brought me Green Eggs and Ham at least 30 times but I've never got past the third page of "SAM I AM!" without her running away.

Her favorite this week and last?  Dr Seuss's ABC.  This is by far the longest book we've ever repeatedly gotten through, and I have the entire thing memorized.  She can successfully identify the A, B, and C on the cover (yeah, yeah, I'm sure it's just memorization). 

She also takes her control-freak show on the road.  At daycare they tell me she is such a good helper with the books.  Avery will take the book back to the bookshelf and pick out the next one to bring back to the circle.  She also amazes (their word!) the teachers with her ability to identify animals in various books.

I love to read and always have so this tickles me pink.  I know that toddler interest in things is always changing and I realize next week she may not want to pick up a book.  But I hope her zeal for reading continues.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween Spirit

We're getting in the Halloween spirit around here.
Candy Corn wreath
Treat bag Uncle Stephen got her
Bumblebee costume purchased on Ebay for $5
Trip to the pumpkin patch

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is This Normal?

I'm mainly referring to the 4 plates (!) notation.  But please note that she also had a banana, TWO yogurts, and cereal for breakfast. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

I don't really have anything to comprise an entire post, so how about some random thoughts...

When is this word explosion supposed to happen?  She says about 5 words on a regular basis. 

She knows the sign for "more" and is starting to abuse it.  For a while, I thought it was so cute I would give her more of whatever she wanted when she did the sign.  The other night I ran a bubble bath and as soon as I put her in the tub she looked at the bubbles and urgently started signing "more."  So I pulled out a total mom phrase and said "Play with the bubbles you have, then we'll talk about more."

I think I want her to be a bumblebee for Halloween.  And of course I want the $50 costume from Etsy.  There's no way I'm paying $50 though.  Has anyone seen black and yellow tights/leggings/leg warmers?

We went to the zoo a couple weeks ago. 
I don't care who you are-that's just funny.

Sometimes, if Rob is dressed by the time I leave for work, he and Avery go outside and wave bye to me as I leave.  It's pretty much the cutest.thing.ever.

Avery is obsessed with crayons.  She loses her composure when you have to take them away.  She has already began a mural on the wall of our office.  Yay.

After bathtime Avery wants you to squirt lotion on her hands.  But instead of rubbing it in, she freezes up and does this hilarious/creepy laugh.  I have to try to get it on video.

Baby Bronx was born yesterday.  What a sweetie!