Monday, May 28, 2012

It's coming back around

My mom just left after a wonderful weekend visit to meet K and catch up with T.  In an effort to gain parental insight, these visits usually include a round of "Did I do this when...?".  I've come to the realization that things certainly "come back to haunt you".  As such, T may not be just my clone in appearance but in action/attitude too.  *sigh*

For example, I've been known to be a bit, um, stubborn.  "No way", I'm sure is your response.  This stubborness manifests itself in many ways, most obvious is the need to be independent and do everything myself.  My lovely daughter appears to have this same trait.  While all kids go through the "I do it" phase and is an important milestone, T appears to be taking this to an extreme.  My mother's chuckle this weekend confirms this.  While not a bad trait, per se, I hope I can cultivate a little humility in her, and let her know that it is indeed okay to ask for help once in a while.  An example?  Instead of letting me, at the very least, guide her feet into her shorts, she was so determined to get them on, even though both legs were through the same side, that she ended up with a very little miniskirt and a floppy "pocket" with a giant hole in the bottom.

Otherways my daughter is mirroring me? 
She's the queen of stalling at bedtime.  A 10 minute bedtime routine can take an hour with her.
If looks could kill, I'd be long gone by now.  But then, so would my mom.
And, oh, the frustration when things don't go her way...

I find myself apologizing to B often.  "Sorry honey, she definitely gets that from me, and I have no idea what to do about it".  Those teen years are going to be F-U-N!

p.s. You can follow me on twitter now! @melissawhayes

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Zucchini Bites

Wow!  Yesterday's post about my spinach ricotta pinwheels got a ton of views!  Seems like I'm not the only one searching to ways to get my toddler to eat veggies, so...

Here's another winner!  I got this recipe from the April/May 2012 issue of Kiwi magazine, submitted by the blog author, Kelsey Banfield. Since I can't seem to just follow a recipe exactly, I'll write in italics what I modified:

Summer Zucchini Bites

butter to grease pans
2 large eggs
2 cups grated zucchini from one medium-to-large zucchini (I didn't measure, rarely do, I just used two medium zucchinis)
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped (I used a whole small onion)
1/2 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese (Like I have time to grate my own cheese?  Sheesh.  I used a cup of packaged shredded sharp cheddar.)
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley (Sadly, I didn't have fresh parsley on hand.  I really need to get that herb garden going.  I also ran out of dried parsley the other day.  Oh well.)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  Coat mini-muffin tins with butter. I only have regular sized muffin tins, so instead of 24 minis, I made 12 regulars and increased the cooking time.  Next time, I might use cupcake liners though as they were difficult to remove.

Lightly beat the eggs.  Add the remaining ingredients and fold together, making a loose, sticky batter. 

Spoon into each cup, and bake for 15-18 minutes. I increased this cooking time to 20 minutes for regular sized muffin tins.  Tops should be browned and set, ans should no longer jiggle when shaken. 

Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

These were great reheated too, just pop in the toaster oven for a minute or two. 

So, while I can't get T to bite into a slice of steamed zucchini (my favorite!), she tore into these!  You know these pass the toddler test when she asks for more!

p.s. I took a hint from the original blogger and made these while K was napping and then just reheated them for dinner. Perfect!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spinach Ricotta Pinwheels

Why is green food so repellent to small people?  Lately, the only green I can get T to eat is peas.  I would like to increase the variety in her diet (as well as ours).  Since spinach is such a super food, I thought I would try to make it more toddler friendly.

I've posted about the Green Monster smoothies before.  I had every intention of making these at least a few times a week.  But, the morning sickness monster came to visit and didn't leave for 39.5 weeks and the mere thought of a smoothie resulted in a very sick me.  I haven't been able to have one since!

So, I came up with these spinach and ricotta pinwheels.  I'm sure I'm not the first to put these four ingredients together, but I'm oh-so-glad I did.  Both B and T liked them!  I got her to eat spinach!

OK, here's what you need:

Frozen block of chopped spinach
Ricotta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Pillsbury French bread dough

I wasn't too sure how these were going to turn out, so I didn't take any pictures along the way.  I've made some pretty pictures in paint to illustrate the steps for you to enjoy!

Cook frozen spinach according to package instructions, adding any spices or flavoring you like.

Pop the dough out of the container and unroll it.  (Did you know you could unroll French bread dough?  I had no idea!)

Spread ricotta out in a thin layer, leaving 1-2 inches of dough exposed.

Sprinkle spinach over the ricotta.

Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella over spinach.

Roll it up towards the exposed inch of dough. 

Cut slices about an inch wide.  Should make 10-12 slices.  Place each slice on a baking sheet and cook for 15-ish minutes until dough is slightly browned.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dinner Napkin Pillows

First, I'd just like to thank everyone who has been checking up on us and praying for us.  K is feeling much better and we're getting back to normal around here.  Since K took a solid nap today, I figured I'd share what I did with naptime (I'll just shower later, haha!).

I've been wanting to bring in more color to my living room recently.  Over and over, you hear that pillows are the best way to update a space on a budget.  Even so, I don't think that $100+ for new pillows is very budget friendly.  So, when I saw these dinner napkins on clearance at Target, I was thrilled!

So, for less than $6, I was able to make four pillow cases!  I love this color green and I'm a huge fan of the lattice/scroll prints I've been seeing a lot of lately.  There's plenty of tutorials out there, I'm sure, to use dinner napkins to make pillow cases.  Here's how I did it:

First, my least favorite step, was to iron each napkin.  Then, with wrong sides together, I sewed around three sides and about two or three inches in on the fourth side.

Next, I sewed some Velcro into the opening on the fourth side.  Having little ones around, I want to be able to remove these covers and wash them if necessary.

Finally, I stuffed my couch pillows in, closed the Velcro and that was it!  In less than an hour, I have a newly updated living room!

Here are some before and after pictures:

 Looks so much more fun and cheery right? 

These new pillows pull together the green curtains and the green from the Pack 'N Play.  haha!

Even Druha likes the new pillows. :)

BTW, I gave in a while back and signed up for Twitter.  I'm completely hooked now!  Follow me: @melissawhayes

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Running Guilt

Running is one of those things you either love or hate.  For me, I crave it.  I need it.  I really WANT to run! When I see someone out for a run, I actually get sad inside because I miss it so.  Maybe its the solitude of running. Maybe its the sense of accomplishment with each new distance achieved.  Maybe its the fact that the only thing getting in the way of reaching my goals is me and I am in complete control of my success.

So what's the problem, you ask.  Just go for a run.  To explain why it's not as easy as that, here's how my morning went thus far:

7:15 Take T to daycare, go to grocery store.  K woke up when I put her in her carseat, but she's content.

8:30 Just got home.  Lots of yummy fruits and veggies so my family can eat healthy foods! K starts crying.  I'll bring in the groceries and eat breakfast after I feed her.

9:30 Finally finished feeding K.  She seems kind of sleepy.  Maybe I can run on the treadmill?  I'll put her down and do some sit ups to make sure she's asleep.

9:45 K is still asleep.  Put on sneakers, grab my nook and jump on the treadmill.  Just as I am about to hit start, I hear her crying.

10:30 Got K settled.  Think she'll sleep now.  Ok, so my new plan is a quick one mile run, then shower, eat, order prints from our newborn photo shoot and a bunch of other chores.  Hopefully she'll sleep.  Wait a few minutes to make sure she's asleep and then jump on the treadmill.

10:50 One mile run felt pretty good!  Wish I could have done more.  Turned off treadmill and hear K crying.  How long has she been crying?!  Poor thing is really upset and she still really needs to sleep, since she's been awake since 7:15!  Give her a bath to relax (really wish I could shower since I'm all sweaty!), feed her and put her back down.  REALLY hope she'll sleep this time.

12:00 Check in with B at work.  Realize groceries are STILL in the car!  Ugh.  Finish writing this entry, try to eat, shower, get chores done all before she wakes up again.

Yeah, so not as easy as it should be.  And I'm sure in a couple of days when I attempt to run again, the Mommy-Guilt will sneak its way into my brain. "What if she wakes up again while I'm running?  What if she's crying the WHOLE time?"  I know I need to make my health and fitness a priority though.  Any advice from other moms?  I feel like Mommy-Guilt got the better of me with T and I really don't want that to happen again.

Just finished my leg of a marathon relay.  Next goal is a half-marathon!

Where I'd love to be right now.

Haha! I like this!  Wonder mom, chained to the list of things she needs/wants to do and being chased by Mommy-Guilt!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Horton Party

For a final wrap up of T's birthday party, I thought I'd share how I fit the theme together.  From my last two posts, you probably realize that we created T's party theme around her favorite movie, Horton Hears a Who.  If you haven't seen this animated film of the Dr. Seuss classic brought to life, you need to.  If you watch it about 50-60 times, you might start catching up with us!  Every time we watch it though, I pick up on something new and I crack up laughing.  Vlad gets me every time (the vulture, not the bunny who makes cookies), "Hear come the water slides!".  Hmm, maybe its because his accent reminds me of my mentor...  Anyways, I wanted to plan T's party around this movie without actually making it too cutesy, a touch of sophistication you might say.  OK, maybe not.  Anyways, here are the decor, craft, and food details to show how I brought this movie into our house.

Maybe I'm a romantic, but I still love a paper invite.  They set the tone for any event.  I think traditional mail is a thoughtful way to go.  Really, who doesn't like a nice little envelope amidst the bills and junk mail, all vying for your hard earned cash?!  Anyways, I designed this invitation and hand delivered them to T's friends that were invited.  For efficiency, we FB invited our adult friends at the suggestion of my B.

If you haven't yet, check out this post about the cake we had made for the party!  In addition, I tried my hand at making clover-like cake pops.  If you squint and turn your head sideways, you can see them in the picture above.  I dipped the sticks in green dye left over from our Easter egg dyeing extravaganza, made double chocolate cake pops, dipped in pink melting chocolate and sprinkled pink sugar crystals to give them some texture.  My well thought out plan was harder to execute than I expected, but cake pops are very forgiving in that they always taste delicious!  So, while they may not be as pretty as I had hoped, they tasted great!

For the decor, I embraced the clover idea and made pink and orange poms following this tutorial.  I should say that int he past, I haven't had much luck trying to make these.  The paper rips, it doesn't fluff, etc.  This time, the how-to instructions finally clicked.  In the past, I had been twisting the middle of the folded tissue which made it impossible to separate and fluff.  Duh!  So, after this epiphany, I spent many evening hours (when I wasn't nursing!) folding and fluffing poms of all different sizes.  The larger ones I hung in the windows or from the ceiling fan over the dining room table.  I twisted green pipe cleaners onto the smaller ones and placed them in vases.

For the craft/favor, I had the kids decorate flower pots and plant clover seeds. I purchased these pots from Oriental Trading, along with foam flowers and pipe cleaners.  From Amazon, I got red clover seeds.  I thought this was a great activity for the kids, especially with Earth Day just around the corner!

So, that's it!  Food, decor, and crafts to bring the Horton movie into our home for T's birthday.  I know she had a blast since she burst out crying when her friends left!  So, to round out our afternoon, we watched... you guessed it... Horton!