Tuesday, October 30, 2012

If You're Happy and You Know It

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She just started doing this on Sunday and it is sooooo cute!!!
 
Here is Natalie at the game on Saturday. Micah was concerned about her dressing up as the opponent's mascot when we were sitting in the BYU section, but everyone just thought she was cute.  I was mad that I forgot my camera, so Marty snapped a few shots with his phone.
 
Here's the best shot I could get of her at the trunk or treat. We were kind of rushing to get there, then arrived just as they started the kid's costume parade and went out to do the trunk or treating. Micah held Natalie's hands as she walked in the parade and it was adorable.
I'll have to score some more shots when we go trick or treating on Wednesday night. And yes, I am taking her trick or treating. It's my first year as a parent! My first ever opportunity to use my child to get candy!
 
 
 She is really into taking stuff out of containers/shelves/bags etc. right now. She went after a hamper of clothes that I had just folded, so I ran over to refold the clothes and turned around to this!

She is a creative prodigy. She knows how to use the magnadoodle and it is her favorite toy.

Second to Daddy, of course, who is the absolute favorite plaything.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Play

Natalie scores some Daddy play time...
 
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Natalie snatches away the baby food yet again to feed herself. And by "feed herself", I mean pour it all out, spread it liberally, and then play with the empty spoon and jar.
 
 
TJ, with the assist....
 
 
My daughter is a genius. Realizing that she would never figure out how to spoon feed herself on this occasion, she began dipping her bib into the food and then sucking it off.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Homemade Hanging Screen

 I see a lot of commercials for the magic mesh screen door and really wanted one. I thought of asking for one for Christmas, but then I would miss out on using it this fall. Fall and Spring here are perfect open-window temperatures. So I started shopping around online, reading reviews, looking at various types of hanging screens and then decided- hey, I could do that myself! I was originally going to use velcro so that it fit the door more perfectly, but instead just used a tension rod. It was super easy- just bought a roll of window screen from lowed, folded over the top and sewed it, slipped it onto a tension rod and cut it to the corrent length. It took less than 10 minutes, cost around $8 and now we get to enjoy the nice cool evening breezes without worrying about what is going to fly in.

 
 
And here's little miss noodle queen
 
 
 

Monday, October 22, 2012

How Do I Get That Goodness In Me?!

 
Natalie kept crying and screaming while I was trying to feed her. Finally, I just threw down the spoon and jar in frustration... and it turns out that was exactly what she wanted. She proceeded to suck on her jar and spoon, dump the food out all over herself and her tray and try to pick it up with her fingers and put it in her mouth. It's frustrating because she does not have the skills to feed herself baby food but she really doesn't like it when I spoon feed it to her. And I have TONS of baby food for her to eat still. Urgh. Need to find some recipe on how to make pureed baby food into finger food.
 
Natalie LOVED dinner last night- I was surpised by how well she could suck up the spaghetti noodles. She made the cutest little kissy lip-smack noise when she sucked it, not captured well enough in this video.
 
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

This Dog is CRAZY!

Case in point:
 
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He's young, so there are some things that come with the territory- such as chewing, needing further potty training work- but what's with the humping? He did it to me while I was holding Natalie, he did it to a friend who came over yesterday, he did it to Sammy this morning and he even did it to Natalie! Good thing he has such a loveable personality. It makes it easier to tolerate his naughty moments. He is a big sweetheart that just wants to curl up on your lap and get rubbed all over. Natalie has thoroughly abused him and he doesn't react. She'll be pulling a clump of fur out of his neck, and he will just sit there smiling. He growled at her once when she was coming near him while he had a bone- which is good. You want a dog that will warn you with a growl when he feels threatened. So, I'm pretty sure he will be adopted before long. And Sammy will breathe a sigh of relief :)

So, you've heard of snake charmers- people who get snakes to wiggle by playing an instrument? I think that Natalie could develop a real talent for that...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kale Kookies

I'm so Klever :)

 
Micah has now been gone at his conferance for 4 days. He comes home tomorrw night (super yay!). I miss him so much, I turned to my one foolproof sourse of solice: baking. As I was making oatmeal cookies (from this recipe), I got to the part where you mix your dry ingredients before adding the blended butter, sugar and eggs. I added some allspice and as I ground my cinnimon (fresh ground cinnimon is the BOMB!) I was thinking about how much I love strong spices in cookies. Then I suddenly remembered two weeks ago at the park where I was trying to describe the taste of kale and said it was sort of like anise. So, I incorporated kale, along with my favorite kale kompanion-sweet potatoes!!!
 
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup kale, stems completely removed
1- 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 finely shredded sweet potato
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1-3/4 cups old fashion oats
1/4 cup raisins
Blend first 3 ingredients in a blender. Add Kale and blend until kale is in fine pieces
Mix together dry ingredients. Add blended ingredients. Add the last 4 ingredients. Bakes 20 mins at 375 and Viola. Kale Kookies.
 
They're really good. Definitely a little different, but totally satisfy my baked good craving. With all the sugar, these are certainly not a health food, but definitely the coolest way I have ever heard of to eat your greens.

 
If I do it again- I would take out the stem of the kale. I usually do this, but was lazy this time. The stem leaves a very pervasive, bitter taste that doesn't belong. I might add nuts, grate the sweet potatoes finer and omit the coconut.
 
Now I want to try kale in a gingersnap or some kind of spice cookie. That would especially be fun to take to a holiday party, since the kale has such a bright green color.
 
 
 
And here's a random picture of Natalie, in case Micah checks out the blog and wants to see her:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mischief Managed

 
 
 
The list of items that we have to keep out of reach is getting pretty long... while the number of places that she can't reach are shrinking!


 
I don't think this one was her fault- I'm pretty sure TJ knocked it askew to get out, and Natalie and Sammy took the opportunity to get in. I was cleaning up a mess, so I didn't see it, just came back to this! So much for keeping everyone safely seperated when I can't supervise them! Fortunately, TJ had eaten all his food, so there was nothing for Natalie to choke on, but she did dump his water out on the floor :/



Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 2 of Missing Micah

After crying myself to sleep last night in our big, empty king-sized bed (and by that, I mean konking out, exhausted, the minute my head hit the pillow and only noticing Micah's absence by the lack of limbs bombarding my side of the bed all through the night), I decided that I needed a little pick-me-up to get my mind off of missing Micah. So I went shopping.


Kroger is having a deal where you can buy 5 participating items and get a $5-off-your-next-order coupon. I divided my stuff into 4 transactions so that I could use the $5 off towards other sets of 5 items that would produce a $5 coupon. I paid 13.84 out of pocket, but ended with one more $5 coupon and am going to get $6.50 from mail-in-rebates. So, net cost of $2.34. Shelf price? $72.36. 

Items included: 10 boxed potatoes, 5 frozen pizzas, 4 cans soup, 3 cans refried beans, 4 bags tortillas, 2 el paso taco dinner kits, 3 tubes toothpaste, 3 boxes tuna helper, 3 loaves bread, 2 boxes fruit snacks, and a few other random things. I'll probably go again later this week for more potatoes and beans, since they're collecting food donations at our trunk-or-treat next weekend.

Natalie might not be quite consciously aware that Micah is gone, but she is certainly feeling the effects. For example, having to be fed peas this afternoon on a huge metal spoon because all of the dishes are dirty, since I have nobody to impress. I'll have to wash them soon, though. I've gone through all the plates and bowls and only have 2 tupperwares left to eat food off of :)


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Going On



 
Some tidbits of what I've been up to lately...
 
A lot of keeping an eye on these two partners in crime.
 
 
Crocheted this way cute hat for my cousins little one. Turned out so well I think I'll make another for a friend who had a baby boy recently.


 
Just picked up my new glasses today. Very light prescription. Mostly for reading and driving. When I first put them on and asked Micah how I looked, he laughed (Supposedly because he was surprised by how good they look).

 
And this is TJ. He's a spaniel mix that we are fostering for Small Dog Rescue. He's very sweet and cute, so he'll probably be adopted by someone soon, but he's staying with us for the coming weeks-months. Sammy is so socially awkward, he doesn't know what to do. He wags his tail and just watches him. TJ is only 7 months old, so we are going to be working on housebreaking him and training him in some basic puppy manners. He came from a family with 7 kids, so we expect he should get along fine with Natalie.
 
Micah is leaving tomorrow for a conferance and won't be back until Thursday. Nooooo! I will miss him terribly. So will Natalie, who is so happy when Daddy comes home. He has been working really hard at getting his presentation together, in spite of a lot of negative feedback. He had to pretty much totally redo it after rehearsing it Wednesday. He wasn't home until 8 yesterday and then got up at 6 to go back up to school to work on it. He's been pretty wiped out.
 
 
 
Natalie is babbling in new consonants and just talks all the time as she plays.
 
I was introduced to the most amazing thing ever- the DeKalb County Farmer's Market. It's a huge warehouse open all week with tons of produce, bakery items, meat and fish and other random stuff. The produce is so cheap and so amazing. There are different crops of each fruit and veggie from different places so you can choose if you want local peaches, CA peaches or peaches from Chile or if you want to buy the cheaper or more expensive ones. And I got some gorgeous, tasty produce that looked so much better than what I see in the grocery store. I'm glad that it's pretty far away so I don't go overboard and shop there a ton :) A bunch of girls that I do aerobics with shop there, so I can try to carpool there with them once in a while.
 
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Uhhh...Sammy Made Me Do It

 
Cute basket to store extra TP: Good idea.
Leaving the bathroom door open: Bad idea.

At least the toilet was closed. Natalie has learned that there is water in there.... and she can reach it. (blech!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Whooooo's knocking?

Behold! My awesome festive door crafts!


 
Not quite as cool as the little smiley candy corns that Darlene made a couple years ago, but I thought they were pretty cute. I just dried the leaves in a note pad with some books on top, spray painted them white and made faces with a sharpie.
 
And while on the topic of crafts, check out my fun little grape basket!
 
 
 
Yesterday I go my eyes looked at. Aside from reading the lines at the DMV, I haven't had a full eye exam in... oh.... enough years that I can't remember if it was in this or the last millennium. I have been having headaches nearly every day for over a month and the doctor confirmed that I was experiencing some eye strain. I could see everything and read letters on the lowest line of their chart, but it was hard for me to focus so she suggested some very low prescription glasses especially for reading and driving. So hopefully that will be the end of my headaches!
Natalie approves.

 
So, who wants to be Natalie's favorite person ever and get her a harmonica for Christmas?
 
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Natalie loves to play with Micah when he gets home. These are a bit old, but who doesn't want to hear more of that laugh?
 
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Pinching the Dollar

I haven't been taking pictures of my couponing hauls in a while. I have been mostly making frequent, small trips to my local stores with Natalie in the stroller. It helps me get my exercise in, Natalie is happier without having to get in and out of the car seat, and it keeps me from splurging very much because I know that I have to push home everything I buy.

This week I wanted to do a free milk deal at Kroger, which is 2 miles away. Though I have walked to Kroger many times, and I have carried milk in the stroller many times, I was a little concerned about making it so far with milk with the temperature in the 80's. So, I drove and bought everything I wanted to get at Kroger in one stop. Then I dropped by CVS and Aldi too (they are a few steps from eachother). So, here you have it: What $24.99 can buy you with a little knowledge and some resources:


Though I got $6 of in-store credit for my CVS purchase, so it was really a net cost of $18.99 ;) a little less than a third of the sales price. Not bad, escpecially with so much produce!

My groceries included:
5 Wolf Chili
4 Cheerios
3 Wholly Salsa
8 Bottles Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner
4 Robitussin Cold Medicine
3 Simplait Yoplait Yogurt
2 Cantelopes
4 Ripe Bananas
3 Green Peppers
2 3-lb Bags Yellow Onions
1 3-ld Bag Gala Apples
1 Pear
1.3 lb Fresh Green Beans
1 Zuccini
1 lb Strawberries
1 Bunch of Kale
1 Eggplant
1 Gallon Milk
1 8-pack Hot Dogs

A little over 6 weeks ago, we came to a house with no food and now, without spending too much money, our cupboards are full, I am struggling to keep our closet from overflowing, and several boxes of storage are lining up in our bedroom corner. We haven't had this much food since last September when LeAnn stocked us up! I am having to face interesting new challenges, such as, how to fit everything in my fridge and how to make sure that I am eating the most soon-to-expire foods first. A dramatic change from the wait-until-there-is-nothing-left-to-eat-but-condiments-before-going-to-buy-more-food approach. I used to struggle to not repeat the same meal twice a week. Now I struggle deciding what to prepare for dinner because there are too many choices!
It's such a blessing.

I've been rubbing off on others, too! Some girls from church that I do aerobics with are interested in learning how to save more on groceries. I have given them some of my extra coupons and sent them out to hit a few great deals lately.
In unrelated news:
Natalie officially has all 4 top incisors! Her 4th middle tooth just came in, for a total of 6 teeth. It's funny how much it changes her smile to have teeth!



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Perscription Medication!

Natalie has **dun dun dun** (cue dramatic font)...sinusitis.
 
Her nose has been runny for almost 3 weeks now. It started clear, so I assumed it was from allergies, but the got all green and yucky. Yesterday she started running a high fever, so I went ahead and took her to the doctor this afternoon. It was kind of crazy- she just wanted to be held and rest her head on me. How sweet, even though it was sad that she was feeling so crumby at the same time! She is now on an antibiotic and will hopefully be feeling better soon.
 
Here Natalie is helping me coupon (i.e. playing with the ones I am tossing as i sort out expired coupons). It's been a great few weeks of deals and I am filling our fridge and cupboards with all kinds of goodness :)
 



 

 Here is the second painting I have made since Natalie was born. It's hard to see the details- the glare from the frame made it hard to photograph. But I made it for a frame that a neighbor threw away for the downstairs bathroom. So, our itty bitty bathroom now has ambiance.

 
I am now working on 2 pieces- one for my neice for her birthday and one for a Christmas gift. It's so nice to be back to painting a bit. Natalie has been taking better afternoon naps, which has allowed me the time. I hope I continue to be able to work on some things!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sweet Potato Blondies

I feel like I am constantly hearing about the benefits of sweet potatoes. So, I returned to this fabulous dessert centered on the most nutritionally-dense item in the grocer's  produce section:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/golden-yam-brownies/detail.aspx
I tried it twice before, but this was shortly before realizing that the temperature sensor in the oven was bad. So, it had turned out wierdly soggy both times. Now that Micah in his incredible, impressive, able-to-fix-stuff manliness has replaced the temperature sensor, I figured it was worth another shot. With the calorie-counting weight-loss plan going great, I tried to half the recipe and make it a little lighter. I ended up with this:

1/2 cup I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup egg beaters
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
1 cup finely grated sweet potato
1/4 cup raisins

Blend sugar and butter substitute. Add egg beaters. Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the wet stuff. Finally, dump in the sweet potato. This does not need to be cooked or peeled. Cook 40 mins at 350 in a 8''x8'' pan, or until toothpick comes out clean.

By using half the sugar, omitting the glaze and using light butter and egg substitutes, the calories are nearly halved. And they are delicious. Dense and smooth like the perfect brownie. Plenty sweet and perfect with a cup of milk! Definitely a step up from throwing sweet potato into my oatmeal raisin cookies.