Friday, September 30, 2011

A Date

Tonight I went on a date with my two best buds.  We had a fabulous dinner outside at Chipotle.  I love their food; there was a wonderful, cool, dry breeze; and Sarah Graves was in the sweetest, most adorable mood.
 

After dinner, we headed to a couple of stores to look for tennis shoes for a hard to fit foot.  We struck out on new shoes, but found some clothes for baby girl.  We desperately needed more clothes, ha!  She had fun trying on new shoes and being given the freedom to run around a store like a crazy woman! 
Can't wait to see what other fun things the weekend may hold!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Trip to the Zoo!

We have been having such cooler weather that we have been anxious to get outside and enjoy it.  A couple of weeks ago we headed out for a trip to the zoo.  We have been before, but she is a little older and definitely noticed the animals more. 




 We had a great view of the giraffes, zebras, and ostrich.

This is the panda cub and doesn't it look darling!  They look so cuddly when they are little.  The adults didn't look so sweet!



 Aaron took these great animal pictures!  We are finally getting around to using our long lens on the camera.




 The zoo has a fabulous playground and she really enjoyed playing there! 

Recipes

As I mentioned in her monthly letter, Sarah Graves is becoming more and more picky.  I think some of it is that she gets bored with eating.  I also think that we have been feeding her the same healthy foods for a while and she got burnt out on them.  I have been trying more one dish recipes as a way to feed her things that might appeal more to her and allow me to sneak a few good things in, too.  I thought I would post a few of the things that seem to be hits with her.

Cheesy Chicken Pasta from Once a Month Mom
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped  · 4 Tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 - 10.5oz. cans cream of chicken soup (you can buy cream of chicken soup in the organic section in cartons to avoid the BPAs from soup in the can, the cost goes up significantly)
  • 2 cups chicken (or turkey), cooked & cubed (I cooked the chicken in a skillet with some olive oil, coating both sides of the breast heavily with Emeril's Essence before cooking)
  • 8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups cooked bite-size pasta, (I used shells)
  • 1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs
  • (I added some salt and pepper to taste)
Assembly:
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Brown onion in butter (do it over low heat and let them caramelize). Stir in soup, chicken, milk, and 1 1/2 cups cheese; heat until cheese melts. Blend sauce with cooked noodles; pour into buttered baking dish. Mix the remaining 1/2 c. cheese and bread crumbs and place on top. Cover with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze.
Serving Day:
Remove foil or if in Ziploc bag, pour into buttered baking dish and top with bread crumb topping before baking.
If thawed: Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot.
If frozen: Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until hot.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 pound Ground Chuck
  • 1 can 15-ounces Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 8 ounces, weight Egg Noodles
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 1-1/4 cup Small Curd Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Green Onions (less To Taste)
  • 1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground chuck in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce. 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.
To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.



We also discovered that she likes the Indian dish, butter chicken.  We first introduced it while eating Indian food in a restaurant and later found this jarred sauce that really is pretty tasty.  Because she is a little funny about whole pieces of chicken, I put the sauce and chicken in the food processor before serving it to her over rice.  I also add a little bit of vegetable puree like eggplant to it to thin out the sauce/chicken mixture once it is ground up.

Other hits that we have tried have been jambalaya and Hamburger Helper.  I know, you are thinking about all the preservatives in these mixes and I think they are in there and not so good for us, but it is better than a kid who will only eat a Ritz cracker or a Gerber Graduate teething biscuit for dinner.  I healthify these dishes a bit by adding some veggie puree to them.  The flavor of Hamburger Helper is greatly improved if you add a little seasoning to it while cooking it.  The cheeseburger macaroni works well with some Essence added to it.  

Here is the cookie recipe that mom found when she was going through her cookie craze!  
Banana Cookies

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                        

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Stir in oats, dates, oil, and vanilla. Mix well, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown. 
  4. I store them in the refrigerator since they have banana and seemed like they would mold quickly if left on the counter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Post Scrip

P.S., Sarah Graves
I forgot to mention some other cute things about you right now.  You are fascinated by socks and shoes.  I think because you are working on putting your shoes on yourself?  You definitely associate going to school with wearing shoes.  Probably, because you don't have to wear shoes if you are hanging out at Lovie and Pops' house, but you do have to wear them to school :)  Any time I mention school, you tell me shoes!  You take your shoes off any time you are in the car, even for a two minute ride to the grocery.  It drives me a little crazy, but you look so cute holding them up to me when I open the door. 
Before football season we started teaching you that when we say, "TIGERS", you say, "GO!".  You have learned it quite well and any time you see a tiger emblem or LSU, you shout out, "GO!"  I don't think you can read, but you recognize those letters no matter what color they are. 
You are starting to communicate ideas and not just your own needs.  For instance, daddy put up a bird feeder outside and you pointed to it and signed to me that the bird eats.  It took me a second to realize that you were simply sharing with me that that is where the bird gets food and not necessarily that you want to eat.  When Lucy had her surgery recently you were sure to let me know that Lucy had a bobo and it hurt.  I can't wait to see what other ideas you are able to communicate to me!  I know there must be lots of them rolling around your mind just waiting to come out!
Okay, I think that covers the big stuff I wanted to tell you...I could go on all day about you, but I won't bore you to death and make you roll your eyes at me!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Letter Month Twenty

Dear Sarah Graves,
You are twenty months old now and we are having such a wonderful time.  You have started Mother's Day Out at Northminster Presbyterian Church two mornings a week, we are doing Music Together, and you have started Happy Feet soccer class.  I am so excited for you to try all these new things and you are handling all the new experiences just fabulously!  You seem to enjoy each thing and are not upset by staying at school and in soccer on your own.  I love your adventurous spirit! 

A big change in our world is that you quit nursing.  I knew it was coming and it hasn't been as hard for me as I once feared.  You of course, have moved on to other things and never looked back.  That's okay.  That's the way it works and I am happy that you had it as long as you needed it.  I do miss our morning snuggle time, but I bet one day you will decide that you want to visit Daddy and me in our bed and that will be good, too.  Your paci and your blankie are still a comfort to you when you are ready for sleep.

You are officially at one nap a day and I think you are still struggling to get enough sleep in.  We have had several nights where you need to go to bed earlier than usual to compensate.  It's no wonder, with school and your extra curricular activities tiring you out during the day!  You generally like to nap around 11, but that makes for a long time until bedtime, so we try to hold you off until a little later.  You haven't had a solid schedule lately and I think that may make things harder for you too. 

You have become quite the picky eater.  You refuse most every vegetable that we offer you.  I have taken to making purees and try to put them in other foods as that's the only way you get vegetables.  You enjoy the fruit purees that come in a pouch and you suck it out, so we get some fruit in you that way.  You don't really have a favorite food as you seem happy just to graze all the time.  You do have a sweet tootth.  You went through a phase a couple of weeks ago where you wanted cookies all the time!  You screamed and cried for, "ca cas".  Thankfully, Lovie found a recipe for a "cookie" that has no sugar and is sweetened with mashed bananas and dates.  That seems to suffice.

You are quite the climber.  A fun activitiy that you discovvered at Lovie's is to bring a stool to the back of an upholstered chair and climb over.  You love to slide down, or if someone is stting in the chair, be flipped over their shoulder!  You really are a nut and it almost gives your daddy a heart attack to watch you do it!  Coloring is probably your favorite thing to do right now.  You call your crayons, "ions" and really like markers.  You generally have marker all over your hands and sometimes in other places!  We have discovered that washable markers aren't as washable as we would like!  We have been waiting to see which hand you prefer and it looks like you use your right hand more often, but you sometimes put the crayon in your left. 

 You have been extremely sweet lately and give big hugs.  It just melts my heart for you to come up to me from behind and put your arms around my neck or for you to put your arms around my leg and just hug.  Sometimes you grab our arm, put it near your face, and just hug with such intensity.  That sweetness more than makes up for any of the wildness.

Love,
Momma 

Tutu Sweet

While we were at the beach I wanted to do some photos of Sarah Graves.  I brought her tutu that Aunt Nay made for her and we went out one morning.  Aunt Nay enjoys taking pictures with our camera, so she was photographer and Aaron and I were the child wranglers.  Why would we need child wranglers?  Because our little precious was trying to dart into the water!  Aunt Nay caught some sweet shots. 



 I love how in this one the water is crisp in the background and she is a tiny bit blurry in the foreground. 








She looks like she's leading the hula dance.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Halloween Princess

She wanted to wear this together and was quite proud of her ensemble. The Halloween outfit was made by Ms. Margaret Ann. I was planning to let her show off the cute little number a little closer to Halloween, but she thought it was irresistible now!



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beginnings!

As much as I sometimes dislike change, I love that fall usually means the start of new things.  Sometimes it's the return of old favorites like football and favorite TV shows, but it is always the start.  This year, we have many new beginnings and I feel like we are moving at light speed - a good light speed, but still light speed.

Not only did Sarah Graves start school, she has started a music class and a soccer class!  We are doing Music Together on Saturday mornings.  It is a family centered class for children 6 weeks to 5 years old.  The focus is to teach little children about rhythm and pitch just the way that we teach them language from the very start.  

We went to our first class last Saturday and really enjoyed it.  The other kids in her class are probably all between the ages of 1 and 2 and a half, so we definitely have the toddler set.  We sit in a circle with her teacher at the front playing the guitar.  Most of the kids sit in their parents' laps and maybe clap along with the music.  Not Sarah Graves, she would stand up, rock, and clap the whole time.  Sometimes she would dance around a bit, but usually she just stood there and rocked back and forth.  I was worried that she needed to sit down, but her teacher said standing was perfectly fine!  

The songs are set for the program, so you get a song book and CDs to listen to at home and in the car.  They strongly encourage parents to model singing and moving to the music and to play the music for your child regularly so that it becomes familiar to them.  Well, that was all we had to hear and that music has been playing everywhere she goes!  The songs are actually pretty catchy and I can remember some of the hand motions that we did in class, so I show them to Sarah Graves.

This week she started soccer class through Happy Feet, but the class is offered at her school.  Happy Feet is in a lot of cities and has been around for a long time.  They offer this class for kids 18 months to 2 years old.  Sarah Graves is the youngest one in the class, but that doesn't seem to stop her.  This is a class where she goes on her own with her soccer coach, but Lovie managed to find a spot where she could watch.  She reported that SG listened and followed instructions pretty well.  I think the class focuses mostly on coordination and agility and not really on the actual rules of soccer.  

Who would have thought that my baby would be out there doing all this!  I am so excited for her to get to try these new things!  

Below is some more of her art work from school.  I probably won't post everything that she does, but I thought I would share these.

 She was dressed in purple for LSU and maybe she was trying to color coordinate?
I love this one! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Furry Patient

Lucy had her surgery yesterday and we are so thankful that all went well.  I dropped her off before work and waited and waited to hear how it went.  Finally, I got a call in the afternoon that the surgery was finished and she was in recovery.  Her vet performed the eye lift procedure on both eyes, removed a wart growing in her mouth, and another wart that I noticed that morning on her side. 
Aaron picked Lucy up after work and Sarah Graves has been so sweet to her.  She told me about Lucy's bobo, signed to me that it hurt, and then would pet her so gently and kept signing that she had to be gentle.  Sarah Graves really is fond of Lucy.
Lucy has been doing very well.  She acts a little lethargic, but she hasn't complained about discomfort and seems to feel okay.  She has eaten a little.  Her biggest complaint is probably that she cannot go outside unsupervised for a while for fear that something will get in her eye.  She loves to be in her yard and enjoy a cool evening, so she is missing that. 
I am really worried that the warts are going to keep coming back in other spots, but there isn't anything that we can do about it.  I hope that this surgery helps her and we can get back to enjoying life with her.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

School Days

 Last week was the official start of Sarah Graves' school year.  We were so excited for her first day of school!  I worried just a little bit about whether or not they would be able to understand what she needed and know just how special she was.  Her teaches seem very sweet though, so I didn't worry too much.

  Here she is on the morning of her first day all dressed and ready to go!  I thought she looked just adorable and comfy too!  She was most impressed with her new school shoes.  She points out her shoes all the time!  She loves to take the shoes and socks off, which drives me only a little batty!

Here she is arriving at school and wouldn't you know it, she took her socks and shoes off on the five minute ride over there!  That kid is crazy!
 Here you can see her little tag where she leaves her bag out in the hall each day.  She brings her lunch, 3 diapers, and an extra change of clothes with her each day. 

 This is Sarah Graves with one of her teachers.  There are 8 kids and 2 teachers for her class.  Like I mentioned, her teachers seem very sweet and they know babies.

 She had a great first day and came home in a fabulous mood!  Her teacher described her as a power player because she was constant motion and went up and down the slide so much.  Sarah Graves loved playing outside so much that she tried to take the playground home in her shoes!  The sand just pours out of them!  I think that's the sign of a good time playing.

She was so proud to show me her work from school.  We went over each of the animals and talked about the sound they make.  I love seeing her feel so good about herself!
I didn't order it soon enough for it to be here for the first day, but this is her backpack that I just love!  Of course, she insisted on putting it on even though it is almost as big as she is!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The End

 These are the last of the pictures of us enjoying the beach.  We had such a fun time.  We spent a couple of days with Grandaddy and Mimi, we spent a few days on our own, then we spent a few days with Lovie and Nay.  We wish everyone could have come to hang out with what has to be the most fun girl we know!





Nay kept her cozy all wrapped up in her towel! 

I love how relaxed and peaceful life is at the beach.  I look forward to our trip back to that one particular harbor...

A Few More?

 Thanks for indulging me on a few more beach photos!  You are still out there, aren't you?  Okay, here are some sweet ones. 
 









 We ate some wonderful dinners sitting outside watching the water!  I also ate my fill of fried shrimp, yum!

Sarah Graves enjoyed a baby cone.  I love how she can so fully enjoy eating something.  It's the kind of joy that you can't train a person to experience.