Monday, June 27, 2011

Father's Day iMovie

Hi again Friends. Here is a picture taken on Father's Day at Brunch. At our usual brunch spot: Irwin Street Inn. I love both of their smiles and Luke's "chunky legs." This was a fabulous Father's Day, if I say so myself! Chris requested the workout DVD's called P90X as his Father's Day gift. He is now on week 3 of doing them, every night! I am so proud of him! He has already lost 7 lbs! His goal is 20. I think.

The other thing I did for him for Father's Day is put together this iMovie of the past 2+ years of him being a Dad. There are not a whole lot of pictures of me in here because I wanted to put the best of the best of Chris and our two boys in there. If I put all my favorites of me too, then the iMovie would be like 60 minutes long! (Just kidding, sort of :)  Here is the link on YouTube: Father's Day 2011.

Both boys are waking up simultaneously from naps, gotta go! It's like they can sense that the other one is waking up and they each don't want to miss a minute of the action. Enjoy your Monday!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gourmet Sandwiches

I could eat lunch at Panera every day. We have a Panera obsession in our house. Partly, it is because it is the only "healthy" fast-food restaurant restaurant in town and, frankly, their food is good! We go there for lunch (mainly) and dinner (occasionally) and we have our "spot" that we like to sit. The girls behind the counter know us! And almost have our order down without even asking! (Just kidding about this part).

Out of curiosity, I just added up how much money we have spent at Panera in the month of June. Are you sitting down? $205. Chris's reaction to this news: Oh, no :(

I don't really feel so bad about it because we rarely, if ever, go out to dinner. The 5-9 pm time frame in this house are the crazy hours and sitting in a restaurant waiting on a waiter to serve us is NO fun. Any time we do it, we instantly regret it. Like Friday night at sushi.

So I cleaned out my fridge and pantry yesterday and got inspired to find some yummy "gourmet" sandwiches. I consider "gourmet" anything that is not grilled cheese or PB&J. Chris could eat PB&J for every meal. Michael likewise with grilled cheese. Not me. Today's sandwich was roasted peppercorn sliced turkey with spicy mustard, cheddar cheese, romaine lettuce and sliced thin Granny Smith Apple on a toasted Ciabatta bread. (Easier said: Turkey, Cheddar, and Apple on Ciabatta). I have a whole new list of "gourmet" sandwiches that I will be testing out at home. I'll share any new ones that I just love.

Google Fun

Unless you are living under a rock, you are on the web every day and checking out what Google is up to on your search page. I just recently found out that you can access all of their old logos. Here is the link. It's fun to look back through the different logos they have put up. My most recent favorite was the one on June 9th, 2011 for Les Paul's birthday. Michael enjoyed it too.

Did you know that Google also now has a Google A Day Puzzle. From the past few days of checking it out, it appears to be a trivia-type of question that encourages you to "google" to try to get the answer. No surprise there! Today's question is: Wild salmon are normally born in freshwater and migrate to the sea. In America, there is a variety of salmon that never goes to sea. What was the name of this salmon subspecies, before they got stuck inland?

Here is another one from a few weeks ago: The first president to be born as an American citizen learned English as a second language. What was his first? (Answer: Martin Van Buren, Dutch).

This daily puzzle is something I know Chris will enjoy as he is a big Jeopardy fan!

All the interesting things we learn on the web.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Suppers

I feel like it has been a long time since I have put up a blog post. Sorry about that, my friends. It has been busy around here and I am still trying to catch up on the past 6 months of sleep deprivation.  This picture of Chris and Luke was taken a few days ago. Luke is 6 months old now! I just discovered after reading through my records I kept for Michael, that Luke NOW weighs what Michael weighed at 1 year old. Whoa, Baby! I've got a big boy on my hands. Luke is 3 lbs bigger than Michael was at this age. Crazy. Fun. I love this life of mine.

Summer time is one of my favorite times of the year for food. Fresh fruits and yummy veggies are in season and everything we eat is just a lot lighter. In both taste and calories. So I am trying to find some new summer dinner ideas. Please share if you have any that you are loving right now!

One new recipe I found was from Julia's Healthy Italian blog. Seafood Medley in Tomato Broth. It looked so good and sounded good too! I was always taught to make a recipe exactly the way it is written the first time I make it. After that, modifications can be made to suit my tastes. We made the trek up to Fresno to hit up Trader Joe's for the seafood part of this dish and I made it exactly as the recipe called for it to be made. Chris was excited about something new for dinner and so was I! We decided it was OK, but that we like our seafood dishes with a little more spice. The second time I made this dish, I substituted the 1 C. of wine with 1/2 c. tomato sauce (homemade or Classico), whichever you have on hand. That did the trick for us. I will be making this more often going forward! It is a light dish (we leave the pasta out) but fills us up to get through until breakfast.

The other new summer supper I have been putting together is a fresh garden salad with the Trader Joe's Cioppino. I had never heard of Cioppino until Chris and I were watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay right around the time Michael was born. It is a seafood medley type of dish but with A LOT more spice. We have tried to make it from scratch, but not having fresh seafood makes preparing this dish a pain (to us, at least). So to our delight, Trader Joes' comes to the rescue again. We cook up their Cioppino in a sauce pan, pair it with a garden salad, add Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette salad dressing and a baguette and voila! Super easy dinner. Who has time to cook with a toddler running around and an infant who doesn't like to be anywhere but in Mom's arms?

A recent re-discovery of a good summer dinner is Chicken Cesar salad. It's so easy to put some baked chicken over romaine lettuce with fresh croutons and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. The thing that makes this salad so good is the homemade salad dressing. I use the recipe on the side of the Pampered Chef salad dressing mixing bottle. I still want to make their French and Asian dressing too. The more homemade salad dressings I make, the more I can't stand the store bought ones. Except for the Champagne Pear Vinaigrette. I love that stuff. Can't get enough.

For dessert I am hooked on the Ciao Bella gelato. They have Key Lime gelato squares with graham crackers that are to die for. SO good. We got to taste test them on a Saturday, a few weeks ago, at Costco. I was hooked. But because of the drive, I couldn't buy them at Costco without risking them melting before I could get them home and into the freezer. So I kept my eye open for them in my local grocery stores. Lucky me! I found them!

So friends, if you have any other light summer supper ideas, please share!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm feeling crafty - kind of!

I am not a very crafty person. Deep down, I would love to be into scrap booking, knitting and crocheting. I've tried. I just don't have the patience. I do love quilting though. I love it but when I start doing it, Chris proclaims that "Sweat Shop Molly is open for business!" When I start a quilt project, I focus all of my extra energy to complete it. I cannot relax until it is done. Which doesn't make it very enjoyable.

This morning, one of the website/bloggers I follow put up a post about how to use Instagram photos in a new way. Turn them into Magnets. Cool Mom Tech is the website that posted this idea, scroll down to Sunday, June 12th and you can find it. I was jazzed about this crafty project! It seemed easy and so cute! I love the download of the Polaroid frame. Unfortunately, I don't have Photoshop to be able to use it and I am not skilled enough to be able to figure out how to use that download with my iPhoto software. So, I headed to Michael's for photo paper and magnets. I got the magnets but I had to trek over to Staples for the photo paper...and guess what I discovered? Magnet sheets. I had no idea such a thing existed! They were pricy ($13.99 for only 4 sheets). But this would eliminate the gluing and taping!

We got the boys to bed about the same time tonight and I was determined to get this project done. See a pattern here? I chose the Instagram pictures I wanted and I sized them down to 1.5" x 1.5". The vertical pictures ended up being 2"x 1.5". I was able to get 20 of these pictures onto one Pages document (Mac's version of Word).  I loaded the magnet paper carefully into the printer and said a silent prayer. This printer is at least 5 years old. I was prepared for a complete meltdown with the expensive magnet paper stuck inside. I set the pinter to print at the "Best" quality. I pressed print and literally held my breath. Guess what? It worked! Yippee! I love my new Instagram magnet photos! This could be a cool thing to send on the ship with Chris next time he goes out to sea (which will, unfortunately, be too soon). Thanks to Cool Mom Tech for sharing the awesome idea for this wanna be crafter!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The "Subcultures" of Life

When we lived in Virginia Beach I did a lot of running. I signed up for a ton of 5K's and 10K's. I've done 4 half-marathons and 1 full marathon. I love running. Full body workout, great for your cardiovascular system. I can't wait to get back into it. For Thanksgiving 2004, I signed Chris and myself up for the Turkey Trot. I thought it would be a fun way to get a run in before we stuffed ourselves full of Thanksgiving dinner.

This was Chris's first "organized" run. We drive up to Mount Trashmore and Park on the east side of the YMCA. For those of you familiar with Virginia Beach, you will understand this geography. We started heading to the race start line so we could get a good starting position and stretch our cold muscles. As we are walking over this little hill we see a crowd of people milling about, race numbers on, setting their iPods, and tying their shoes.

Chris stops, looks at me and says: I had no idea this subculture of the population ever existed.

I got a good laugh out of that. Ever since then, when we see unique groups of people all congregating for a specific purpose, like running in 40 degree cold on Thanksgiving morning, we joke about Chris's "subculture" epiphany.

This week, as I was reading through the website that my sister and I manage, I clicked on a new video that she found and posted to the website. It brought me back to the "subcultures" of life. Surfing Dogs. It is so cute to see them doing this and the interviews with their owners is even cuter. Go to and scroll down to the bottom middle column. There you will find the video's. There is a really cute cat and dolphin video that went viral this week too. I have been showing Michael these cute video's and he loves watching them as well.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cool new finds

I just discovered this super cool train table online. Michael would LOVE it! But, stop the presses. It is 450EU. That is $667! Whoa! I wonder if we have a woodworker in the family willing to reproduce this train table. Those of you who know my family well enough are laughing out loud right now. We are not a handy family. We just call the handyman. I do wish we were more handy. I only recently learned how to change a bike tire. I mowed my first lawn at the age of 25. You get the point.

Maybe this should be a mid-year resolution: to learn how to be more handy. I'll keep you posted on this one.

The second cool item I recently discovered is Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Wash in Pink Grapefruit. It smells so yummy and works really well! I bought it at Target this week and I'm glad I stumbled upon it. Why do I still get pimples at age 32? Who knows. I'm blaming that one on my non-handy family lineage.

I'm not a big TV watcher but this one has me hooked. Shark Tank. My favorite Shark is Mark Cuban. One of the products pitched tonight was such a fabulous idea. Toyaroo.  Awesome, awesome, awesome idea (did I just type awesome 3 times? Yup)! I wish I thought of it myself. Bookmark this website. It is not up and running yet, but I will be signing up as soon as they launch and are taking new orders. You can see the owner of Toyaroo pitch the company to the Sharks on tonights episode 6/3/11.

That is it for tonight. Still sleep training over here. Maybe tonight will be the night! Fingers and toes are crossed.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sleep training

First, I must confess that I still don't know the difference (nutritionally) between greek and regular yogurt and the difference between a grape and a cherry tomato. (Read my previous post). This is life with a baby and a toddler.

I remember other Moms telling me: You'll be lucky to get a shower some days. Although, I won't forgo a daily shower, I know what these Moms were trying to tell me is that my time is no longer my own and that is OK. I really don't NEED to know the differences between these foods. (I do, however, need a daily shower). And I'll figure it all out eventually.

5 nights ago, I started the dreaded task of sleep training Luke. Prior to 5 nights ago, he was co-sleeping with me. It was easy with nursing and I don't regret a minute of it especially since Luke was born in December while Chris was deployed. It was easy and convenient and he has thrived. I would do it again, in a heartbeat. But now I'm on the fun journey of getting Luke transitioned into his crib and sleeping on his own. I won't sugar coat this, it is not easy. I want to pick him up the instant he starts fussing. Look at the face in that picture - who wouldn't want to just pick up and cuddle him?!

Here is how the past 5 nights have gone:

Night 1: Luke woke up every 2 hours. I was a zombie the next day.
Night 2 and 3: Luke woke up every 3 hours. I saw progress, so I was encouraged to stay the course.
Night 4: Luke woke up only 2 times! Yippee!! This was real progress! I can do it! At Peewee Fitness the next morning, I think I told every mom that was within earshot that Luke only woke up 2x!
Night 5: Good and bad. He only woke up once (at midnight) but then he would not go back down until 2 am. I was exhausted. I tried nursing, burping, rocking, back rubbing, shushing. Finally he fell asleep at 2 am and (here is the good news) he slept until 8:15. I'm hanging onto the "good news" part of last night. Six straight hours of Luke sleeping - glorious!

One thing Chris and I have both noticed is that Luke sleeps better during the day. This is, obviously, a result of better sleeping at night. We all were ready for this transition.

My goal of this is to see progress from the night before, in terms of less nursing, easier transitions going down, and longer sleep cycles. I feel encouraged and that is good. I know this "too shall pass" and we will get there eventually. I did not have to do this with Michael, he was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old. He was doing this in his swing, but he was still sleeping! So "sleep training" has been a new thing for me. I know it is the right thing for all of us. Research has shown that sleeping is mostly a learned skill, taught at this early age.

Hopefully tonight will be even better! Please say a prayer for me!