Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rocky Mountain Potato (updated - Fans of the Week!)

So, are you just dying to know what's in this?



I have to say, I got a huge kick out of all the various guesses. Sweet potatoes, butter, sour cream, ice cream, whip cream, cinnamon, black beans... maybe even some cauliflower? Well, I have been on a huge vegetable kick lately (click on "Deceptively Delicious" in my sidebar for details).

However, this recipe was inspired by a restaurant we have here in Washington called The Ram (I believe it's in a few other states as well). Chad and I went there once for dinner, and as I was glancing over the dessert menu, I saw something called a "Rocky Mountain Potato."

Huh?

A potato doesn't sound like dessert to me!

When it arrived to our table, I was confused. I'm NOT eating a potato for dessert! When I took my first bite, however, I understood the trickery. We devoured it up within minutes and it became our favorite dessert EVER.

What's in it??

* vanilla ice cream, formed into a potato shape (which I know you could NOT see)

* rolled in cocoa powder (i.e. potato disguise)

* drizzled with caramel sauce (i.e. butter/cheese)

* topped with whipped cream (i.e. sour cream)

* and finished off with a sprinkle of cinnamon (i.e. bacon bits? seasoning?)

Not a vegetable in sight. For those of you who guessed "potato/sweet potato," THANK YOU!!! That means I disguised it well! : ) I was craving this dessert and didn't want to go out to The Ram, so Chad suggested I try making it at home. It was so easy!! I think The Ram even puts slivered almonds on top for the full effect.

While KK was the first to go down the ice cream route, and described it perfectly, Rob&Brooke was the first to get all five ingredients exactly right, saying "cinnamon" for the topping. Good job!! Since Brooke is my Washington-friend-Brooke (remember, I have two Brookes here!), there's a good chance she's had this delectable dessert before!! : )

Just be warned: eating too fast results in cocoa powder inhalation. Choking over your dessert is just not right.

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I have lurkers? Seriously???

KK "de-lurked" the other day and it made me wonder - how many other people are reading my blog that aren't "following" it? Crazy! I didn't even consider it. And through "I Heart Faces," my followers total has jumped a little... and I can't keep up!

Rachel is a follower I just met recently, who happens to live in my town. Her adorable son's picture took 1st place for the I Heart Faces "Wonder" week (and she even got an Honorable Mention in Week 1). Well... believe it or not, we bumped into each other last night! We both decided Wednesday night was a perfect evening for Red Robin, and she recognized Aidan in the foyer. When someone you don't recognize knows your 9-month-old son, it's, well, a little weird. But she quickly explained who she was and I remembered Tristan's face from his pictures (and eventually hers!) and we chatted a bit before getting seated. She also found us before she left and said she noticed Chad from his "wonder" picture in the snow. And because of Rachel, I Heart Faces might write up a blurb about how it's linking people and they're even meeting in person (and it might even feature Rachel and me!). Our 15 minutes of fame!!!

UPDATED: We DID get a blurb on I Heart Faces... we're officially both "Fans of the Week." Go check it out!!

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What Aidan's up to now...

* trying toast and oranges
* said "ewwie, ewwie, ew" with his binky in his mouth during his poopy diaper change. Yeah, Daddy and I thought it was "Ewwie" too! P.U., Pod!!! Normally he says, "Oi-ee, oi-ee, oi-ee" and it's hilarious!
* still a little sick - Holy Flying Snotballs, Batman!!
* got a call from the school district about his "infant/toddler development" screening - I'll keep ya posted
* got a call to schedule his palate surgery/lip revision. They had May open, but said anytime between May-August is good. We're shooting for July, so I'll be off from work.
* laughing hysterically at the cats, at his Ugly doll, and even at the life-size cut-out of some race car driver in Office Depot!!
* we're no longer needing to burp him - he does it on his own!
* getting more hyper and rambunctous at times, smiles when we say "No" (just like Avie!!), and is starting to give us sneak peeks of future tantrums (when we take Mommy's iPod out his hand or don't get his food fast enough).
* oh, and apparently he's learning the skill of looking up ladies' skirts, because he just did it to me!

Ok, um, he's smelling "ewwie, ewwie, ewwie," so I guess that's my cue...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not your Mama's home cookin'...

Can you name the five ingredients in this? Be the first and you'll get... um... a big shout out on my blog!



(I know, I know, you want to win a blog makeover... I might be making it a little side business, so I'm not giving any away just now. I'll keep you posted!)

My little rock star...

Rock Star
mommy and rock star
camo toesies

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Just black and white...

Porcelain skin. Inquisitive eyes. Drool-covered lips. Yep, that's my baby. Just a-hangin' out in his jumperoo, about three months post-cleft lip surgery.

in the jumper1

And since these pictures always have to be taken by yourself, my adult pics will probably always be of my charming husband... hey, it worked out for us last week!!

This entry is of Chad and our friends' daughter Ella, dressed as that famous underwater princess. Ella was thrilled to have a playmate, especially one who claimed to know the words to "Part of Your World." This was taken just before the singing began, when Ella was desperately bugging Chad to sing and we were, um, encouraging her. : ) As Chad is graciously smiling for the camera, inside he's probably thinking, "Gee, thanks a lot people."

chad and ella

Add your B&W pic to I Heart Faces this week! Or just head over and check out the great photography. It'll be worth a peek!



A house full of Taureans

Mama Pod - born April 28th, 1977... Taurus

Daddy Pod - born May 10th, 1979... Taurus

Aidan Pod - born May 11th, 2008... Taurus.

Yep. It's nothin' but bull around here. : ) Seriously, we're probably the stubbornest house in the cul-de-sac. If Mama Pod wants to watch "The Biggest Loser" on Tuesday night, she puts up a fuss until it's on. If Daddy Pod wants the family room clean before we go to bed, by golly, it shall be clean!

And if Aidan Pod wants to prove the doctors wrong and pretty much ace the entire questionnaire in 2 days, well then, he's gonna do it!!!

What's wrong, Pod? Doctors get you down?
head in hands

What he can do as of today:

* stand on his own against his Learn n' Groove music table and play
* stand on his own against the ottoman and pound it with his fists like a true Hulk Smasher
* attempt to climb out of the tub during bathtime, to grab a shampoo bottle
* crawl backwards
* crawl forwards a little teeny tiny bit
* poop in the tub and on his clean towel (oh, that wasn't in the questionnaire? Sorry).

mohawk
hairbrush

The Pod's been a busy boy!!

But we're still gonna do the screening with the school district. He'll still most likely need speech, so it won't hurt to hook up with them early.

Our family of Taureans.
Daddy and baby
Mama and baby

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Not sure if Taureans are also competitive, but I really, really wanted to make the top 10 for my I Heart Faces "wonder" pic of Chad. I looked at the other adult pictures and I thought mine was certainly in the running!

chad in snow

It did not make the top 10. : (

BUT it was Angie's "top pick!" I like that even better!!! Check it out here. And feel free to leave a comment!! And also, check out Aidan's little mug in the 3rd collage down, top row, 3rd picture here. Yay for my cutie boys!

Next week's contest is "black and white." That's gonna be tough.

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Mimi's blog makeover is done!! Go check it out! I'm working on my c&h blog designs site right now and will have my "portfolio" there soon (all three layouts I've designed - woohoo, big portfolio.). : ) Here's the link to the other two.

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Well, I'm off to my second baby shower this weekend. Cousin Amy's was yesterday, and now my good friend Marie's is today. Oh, and speaking of pregnant ladies, hop on over to Liz's blog and give her a BIG CONGRATULATIONS!! She sneakily added a pregnancy ticker that I didn't even notice! Looks like she'll have to come up with a new blog name!

Hopefully I'll have some time later to respond to some of you newcomers - thanks for following!!! But I do have to figure out what I'm teaching tomorrow too... you know, because I can't stay on mid-winter break forever... : )

No, Mama, don't go back to work!!! Nooooooooooo!
funny face

: )

Friday, February 20, 2009

A walk in my town...

Before I met Chad, I never imagined living south of Seattle... in fact, Chad likes to tell people that I believed it was just cows and fields down here, which is SO NOT TRUE! Well, not completely.

We met in college, both of us living in Seattle (I lived in the "picc house" - a house full of piccolo players from the marching band!! Is that beyond geeky or what??). Chad graduated a year before me and couldn't find work in Seattle (that was worth doing, anyway), so he moved back home and began working for the state.

Home is the capital of our lovely Evergreen State... home is Olympia.

Olympia and I weren't friends in the beginning. Not much in common, didn't spend time together... our relationship was kind of rocky. I even spent nine months planning our Olympia wedding from Seattle, without really seeing it!

Well, things have certainly changed. It's been 5 years now and I'm warming up to my new "home."

In Olympia, you can find Evergreen State College, a liberal college with alternative education opportunities. I heard you can even make your own grades! Olympians typically are nicknamed "greeners" for their location to the college. But they're also "greeners" for being GREEN! 10 years ago, I didn't know what being green really was. But I'm working on it.

Olympia is...

... where your pregnant friends register at little shops like Simple Cloth (4th sign down), rather than Babies R Us, to get the coolest collection of bumGenius cloth diapers and organic burp cloths.

simple cloth

... where you feel out of place if your baby's NOT in an ergo carrier (even though you own one!) because every baby you see is in an ergo!

... where you can get married at noon in front of the kissing statues at Percival Landing (like Chad's sister did!) and no one would think twice.

percival landing

... where you can plop your baby in the stroller on a sunny day, head over to Capitol Lake (with a gorgeous view of the Capitol Building), watch ducks and seagulls, and chew on a blanket if you happen to feel like it.

lake

... where you can do Tai Chi by the lake and be in complete peace (except, of course, for the paparazzi girl behind you madly taking snapshots for her blog).

tai chi

... where you can have your wedding reception above an organic restaurant called the "Urban Onion," on a hot, hot day in July 2003, with NO air conditioning.

ballroom

... where the bicycle Police sit outside downtown Starbucks on a sunny day... probably not eating donuts. Maybe organic bran muffins. Surely not donuts. (had the perfect view of their bikes before that silly car drove up!)

starbucks police

... where you don't get honked at if you decide to step out of your car for a second to snap a photo of the Capitol Building at a traffic light, because you've gone around and around the building and can't find a place to park or pull over, and you're desperate for a photo. : ) Actually, I was quick enough to jump back in before the light turned green... thanks to my new autofocus lens!

capitol

... where your baby enjoys his time so much, that he completely crashes in his car seat, and you're worried that his head might actually fall off his neck if he stays in that position much longer.

rearview

I've made a few changes in attempt to earn my "greener" Olympia status...

* buying organic when I can
* using reusable shopping bags (this is my obsession - I use them EVERYWHERE)
* recycling food waste, recycling everything I can
* changing lightbulbs to the engery efficient fluorescent ones
* using my Nalgene & filtered water instead of bottled water

If you want some real inspiration for going greener, check out my bloggy friend's site "just like camping." She's been washing her hair with baking soda and vinegar for half a year now!

I'm definitely one of those people true "greeners" hate - I've changed mostly because "going green" became popular. But who cares why as long as I'm doing it now?? In high school, I was a serious recycler... and still am. Chad loves my notorious habit of recycling receipts, bits of paper, even gum wrappers!! But I remember thinking my friend Lisa was crazy when I learned she was only eating "organic" food. I thought somehow organic wouldn't be as good for you, since it was missing important ingredients... ingredients like pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, etc. How quickly times change!!

Share away if you want on how GREEN you are (and how beautiful you think my town is!)!

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Thanks for your wonderfully supportive comments about Aidan's doctor's appointment yesterday (especially Joy, who really hit the nail on the head). I have a very bad habit of feeling guilty when I complain about Aidan's problems, thinking they're not big enough. When you go to Children's, you're surrounded by kids who are worse off. But, like a lot of you said, that shouldn't make my problems feel any less significant. They're big to ME. And like Katie said, it's my blog!

But just to clarify, I'm not worried about Aidan. I think his head size is fine and I'm not worried about his development. I know kids develop at their own pace. And it's especially obvious that Aidan is just taking after his Dada. Chad didn't walk until 13/14 months and wasn't a big talker until kindergarten. But already in one day, we tried things with Aidan we didn't know he could do! He didn't run laps around the kitchen, but he's definitely not that far behind. But like Kam said, doctors err on the side of caution, and medicine is often a rule-out science. So Aidan will just have to prove them wrong!

Children's called today: MRI, CT scan, ENT eval, lip eval, and general clinic visit will be April 27th. I'm sure we'll be talking palate surgery then too.

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If you haven't already, you just gotta stop by my friend Kameron's blog and see the cute "fashion show" of her creations!! Aidan's featured twice! : ) I just gotta get me one of those tie t-shirts. What a great gift idea!

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I went to the Rainforest Cafe with my friends Christy and Larissa and their kids. Aidan thought it was paradise!! He was so excited, looking around at everything. Larissa got some good pics I'll get later. After a great lunch, Christy and I walked the mall with our kids in strollers. Anyway, I had to laugh... (and Christy, don't kill me for writing this!)... I said something about the meals I've been making (which, by the way, my pita pizzas turned out GREAT tonight, but there's no way I could hide the spinach)... and she said, "Oh yeah, I saw that on your blog." Then she laughed and said something like, "I mostly just look at the pictures. I don't have time to read all of it. You blog too much!!" heehee Chris, I love ya buddy!!

I KNOW I write too much. This is why I don't sleep at night! And I laugh when people refer to my blog because I forget someone besides Chad is actually reading it! But if you just want to look at the pictures, you just go right ahead. That's why I try to include great pictures like this one in every post! And I always enjoy your comments about my cutie Podling (more than about my lame ramblings and soapboxes)!! : )

rearview

Goodnight and Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What ELSE???

Seems like at every doctor's check-up, there's something new for us to worry about.

At birth, it was his cleft lip, cleft palate, sacral dimple.

A few days later, it was jaundice, which sent us back to the hospital several times for bloodwork.

A few months later, it was his "wandering" eye, which sent us to an eye specialist who sent us home packing after a pointless short exam.

Then, it was his umbilical hernia, his surgery (you can search for these if you want), his nose stents staying in longer, his reflux, his horrible scar, news of more lip surgery, news of an MRI for his sacral dimple...

I know for those parents with sick or impaired children, children like many of you often write about and pray for, these problems are so minimal. But you know how it is. In MY mind, they're huge because that's all I know.

Anyway, we had two rounds of I don't believe a word doctors tell me sometimes and I'm completely not worried disappointing news today:

1) Aidan's head growth is apparently so astronomical, they want to do a CT scan to check for hydrocephaly. He's only in the 90% for head size (not off the charts!), which is only up from 75-90% last time, where they didn't mention this at all. And his height and weight are in the same range. I don't get it. But since he's having an MRI done in March (where he has to be sedated), they're going to try to schedule the CT scan then too. Chad had an enormous head when he was an infant too, so Chad's mom knows what we're going through. Obviously it turned out ok with Chad!

2) Aidan's developmentally behind, which I think is totally ridiculous! I filled out that dumb 10 month questionnaire (but he's only NINE months), and had to say no to a lot of questions... mostly because there were things on there I hadn't even tried with him! And why on earth do they place so much importance for gross motor about standing, and hardly any questions about crawling, which is what he's trying hard to figure out??? He's doing great in fine motor - picking up food (even tiny pieces of shredded cheese!), banging, passing toys, etc. But then obviously his communication was horrible. No, if he can't say "da," then he can't say "dada." DUH!

SO... they gave me the number for the school district he'll be in, to get a screening. At least it's free. And we'll have to go there anyway for speech, so I guess it's ok to start now.

But it was a lot in one check-up!

And then he peed on the table after we came back in from weighing! haha Serves 'em right. He weighed in at 22 pounds, 15 ounces (75-90%) and measured 29 3/4 inches (90%).

And then, poor baby had two shots and cried and cried! And he was feeling awful all evening, flushed and hot. I gave him two rounds of Tylenol and hopefully he'll sleep through the night.

Oh, and guess what else??? This is actually good news... he has another tooth!! I didn't even know it came in! Top right, on the good side of his gumline. Now I'm super curious about the next one, coming in on his cleft side. Hmmmm...

Whatcha think about all this, Pod? What's that? You just wanna chew on Oma's glasses? ok. : )

sunglasses

I'll keep you all posted!!

Tomorrow, I'm going to write about the rest of my day. I know, there's more! Besides cook 3+ meals and go to a doctor's appt., Aidan and I took a walk downtown and took beautiful sunny pictures!! Goodnight for now!

"Goodnight little house. And goodnight mouse. Squeak, squeak... squeak, squeak... squeak, squeak," (on the third set of 'squeaks,' Aidan always cracks a smile. heehee). : )



How many meals can I cook? 1, 2, 3...

I've gone bananas. Maybe downright squashy. I definitely cauli-floored my husband today with all my home cookin'! And I completed #20 on my 101 goals in 1001 days (see my sidebar)!! Ooh, and #74!

Am I feeling like I lived in the kitchen today - preparing, cooking, cleaning?

YES.

Will I do it again?

Not a whole day's worth of meals by scratch!! But I did feel like I was providing my family great nutrition!!

Breakfast:
* french toast - banana puree, cinnamon, egg, whole wheat bread, and sprinkled flaxseed meal and powdered sugar (picture taken before syrup drizzle was added). : )
* scrambled eggs (2 eggs, 4 egg whites) with cauliflower puree and low-fat sour cream
* fresh fruit

french toast

The verdict?

"More french toast!! More french toast!!"

more

It was a hit. Next time I'll try adding a veggie to it. The bananas made it too easy. : ) Scrambled eggs were ok. Wasn't in a cauliflower mood for breakfast. Oh yeah, and Aidan just had some puffs after his bananas. No french toast for him. : (

Lunch:
* tuna salad - light tuna, light mayo, cauliflower puree, celery, and spices, served in a whole wheat pita pocket

tuna salad

The verdict?

"I can't even taste the cauliflower!"

Seriously. I couldn't. We'll definitely be doing this again... maybe less mayo and add pickles. And I LOVE my new chopper! It chopped up 2 celery stalks in 1, 2, 3!!! Felt like an infomercial!

celery

Dinner:
I was going to make pita pocket pizzas, similar to those MckMama made the other day, but I didn't have the tomato sauce. So, despite having already eaten cauliflower puree TWICE, I made the mac n' cheese.

* macaroni with cauliflower puree, red. fat cheddar cheese, flour, water, milk... I skipped the cream cheese. Didn't sound appealing to either of us.

mac

The verdict?

"Wow. This is amazing!!! You should make this for my mom - she'd be impressed!!"

While I probably won't be making it for my mother-in-law anytime soon (OR my mom - they're both good cooks and I'm nowhere near ready for that!!), I'll definitely be making it for Chad. I added extra milk to thin it out. Tasted like cauliflower with cheese sauce and noodles thrown in. Great for dinner and probably something Aidan will eat!

And finally, as if I hadn't cooked enough...

Dessert:
* Banana Marshmallow Dip - banana puree, butternut squash puree, marshmallows, apple slices.
banana dip

The verdict?

"I'm stuffed."

It was GOOD, people. Seriously. Allison and Ande, you have to try this one!! When I first combined the squash and banana, I was not liking the smell. But a minute in the microwave, and all I could smell was the banana. Add the marshmallows (which soon melted into a creamy goodness), put on a pretty plate, and dip with apples. It was delish! Looked rather disgusting, but tasted amazing!! And... um... we may have given Aidan some.

And... um... he may have bounced off the walls afterwards.

And... um... we probably won't be giving it to him again. : )

At least for a day or two.

Seriously though, we just gave him the squash/banana mix. He loved it!

thumbs up
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Aidan had his 9-month checkup today too, so there's more to write about (notice the RED CHEEKS in the picture above)... but I'll start another post. Feel free to comment on as little or as much as you'd like. You know I love hearing from my Pod fans!

Monday, February 16, 2009

You put what in my soup??

I tried my first Deceptively Delicious meal... "meatball soup." It wouldn't have been my first choice, as I looked through the numerous ingredients and steps, but Chad picked it. And he gave it "5 thumbs up!" Whoa!!! I wasn't as big of a fan... not lovin' whole-wheat pasta, which I knew before. And the meatballs weren't what I had in mind... mushier, made of whole wheat bread. But flavorful! And the carrot and sweet potato puree blended perfectly.

Now I just need to get past the fact that it took me almost twice as long as suggested to prepare, and actually make it again, knowing I'll probably be faster and more efficient the next time around. Next up... "french toast with banana puree!" (by the way, this pic was taken with my NEW lens! I didn't have to manually focus - woohoo!)



I'm starting to use Flickr to upload my pictures now, and I don't think it enlarges anymore if you click on the pictures. But if you squint your little eyes and look close, you can spy his two bottom teefers! And notice the major drool action! That's why he's usually sporting a bib. Or he looks straight out of a sweaty Flashdance scene! And yes, we let our son play with cords. Hey - it wasn't plugged in!!


Aidan's first trip to McDonald's for a birthday party on Sunday... would've made a good "Wonder" pic too, had it not been for the wonderous boogers in his nose and the wonderfully messy, spit-up covered bib. : ) He was in awe of the slides! They took the kids on a "tour" of the kitchen... I should've gone. Probably would NEVER want a hamburger there again!!!


And here's my little future Husky. : ) Glad I tried this hat on him, because I assumed it wouldn't fit for awhile! Yikes. I swear, he's only 9 months old!!


The "big room in back." : ) First sunny day we've had in awhile!


And the little hoodlum version. : ) Too bad you can't see his camo cargo pants too!


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Thanks to all of my regular followers (and new ones!) for commenting on my "wonder" pics. Can you believe all the comments??? I'm definitely partaking in that contest weekly! Woohoo!! And it's funny how everyone loves the picture of Chad in the snow, and he HATES it. Something about his 5 o'clock shadow. : ) Here's MY favorite of that day - just not quite as flattering...



: )