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Coming Home

Posted by casey on May 29, 2010 in Home

For the past three years, my husband has had to travel for work A LOT.  This is something we knew would happen as it was part of the position he accepted.  Part of his “duty” so to speak to his career.  The most notable amount was the last 6 months of my pregnancy when he was gone 2 weeks out of each month.  Talk about being surprised to see what your wife looks like when you come home!  Many of my friends have asked how we did it and wasn’t it hard.  Of course.  However, we knew that was how it was going to be and you get used to your routine and well, I knew when he would be back.  I have thought recently about how I didn’t know exactly where he was, couldn’t picture what he was actually doing or what it looked like and wondered if I would hear from him that day.  Well, yes things could go wrong where he was whether it was traveling to and from the job or the job itself I did have the comfort of his safety.  Imagine our soldiers’ spouses.  I just could not bear it.  I just couldn’t.

Sure we all love to make Memorial Day weekend about having an extra day off of work, cooking out with friends and family and sitting back with a brewsky.  But, we should all do the very least and take a moment and reflect this weekend.  Remember that we can sit back and enjoy this weekend because of all of the heroic citizens who have given their lives for you to do so, who have risked their lives to do so, who are still signing up and training to fight for you to be able to relax and enjoy yourself, your life and your family.  Say of prayer of thanks for the lives who are no longer here and for peace to the families who are carrying on without them or worrying for them each day.

I mentioned the “duty” to his career in reference to my husband because that is what these men and women are doing each day on a much larger scale for us.  What we went through in our little family in our tiny bubble can’t even begin to make one comprehend what these families do each day, for years and this little moment for us was hard enough. They are choosing our country over their independent life.  That is powerful.  That is the duty they have signed up for and know is waiting for them.  I remember, I am thankful and I am praying that when your job is done you all will be coming home. Happy Memorial Day Weekend – we remember.

Moments of Coming Home
Take a minute to look through these BEAUTIFUL moments of soldiers coming home.

 
3

Quarter Year

Posted by casey on May 27, 2010 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles, Family, Home

Last fall I celebrated my quarter-century birthday and joked about my “Quarter-Life” crisis…today, Caden is celebrating is quarter-year mark! Say a prayer that he doesn’t decide to have a “Quarter – Year” crisis kind of a day.   That being said, I should let you know how it started.

He woke up for his morning feeding and all was going well, he was still asleep and eating away. (Wouldn’t it be nice for someone to feed you without you having to be fully awake or opening your eyes?)  As I was getting ready to put him back down to bed he was making a little bit of a gurgling “I have a burp in here.” kind of a noise so I decided to give him another minute.  MISTAKE! Well sort of…shower vomit.  The kind that was mentioned in this post.  The kind that soaks you and the kid clear through your entire attire.  The kind that also involves milk snot.  The kind that you have to race around looking for that damn suction ball to make sure he still isn’t harboring any leftovers in his throat, mouth, or well – nose. The kind that makes you pass him off to your husband who is going to have to get up for work in 15 minutes (Oh how glorious that last 15 min of sleep usually is) so you can start cleaning up.  However, since he wanted to celebrate in style as soon as I passed him to Colter he rocketed a dirty diaper so much that Colter surely thought he and the bed were covered with baby poo.  They were not.  I was however covered with milk vomit.  Happy 3 Month Birthday Buddy!

So I should re-phrase the statement, “Say a prayer that he doesn’t decide to have a “Quarter – Year” crisis kind of a day” to please say a prayer he doesn’t decide to celebrate ending his “4th trimester” any further.  I just don’t think he or I can handle anymore excitement!

I mentioned ending his “4th trimester” because to many that is what is said about these first three months of life for them.  That it is really like they should have had 3 more months in you since around the time of 3 months babies all of the sudden wake up so to speak.  Thank goodness I wasn’t prego for another three months and I think Caden is pretty happy about it too – minus the whole having to wear clothes now thing.  I can say that I noticed a big difference with him a week or so after he turned two months. You could just tell that he was seeing more and of course the smiling and interaction really started. (Not the ones we all imagine happened on purpose.)  So at three months, here is the news…

– He has officially been evicted. No more bassinet, no more rooming with Mom & Dad.  Caden is upstairs in his nursery in his crib.  Something that surely was more of an adjustment for us, but also something that we wanted to do around 3 months – he just initiated the transition a couple weeks early.

– He has entered the “insert into mouth” phase which makes me think that he got a little bit of my niece Cathryn in his blood. :) Seriously though, he LOVES his hands, fingers, my shirts and his toys.  He will grab his toys in his play mat and immediately pull them to his mouth.

– He is a rolling machine.  You can watch him roll here if you so desire and haven’t already done so.  Rolling over both shoulders from his belly to his back and since then he has rolled back to belly once.  I think it was because of the cushy material he was laying on though because most of the time he will roll from his back to his side and almost get all the way over but then gets stuck.  Those silly arms always get in the way! Stupid arms.

- Lunchtime hours are heaven.  He is in the best mood from oh….9:30 – 2:00. Talking, laughing, playing, napping…everyone’s dream.  The “witching” hour in the evening still exists but is getting less.  He definitely has a bedtime cranky mood now which at least lets us know he is done for the day!

– Caden is still very mellow for the most part.  He hangs out well and really doesn’t mind other people holding him or messing with him yet.  I do have to be careful about talking right next to him if someone is trying to hold him because then all focus will be in the direction of my voice.

– Want to see a smile? Lay him on his changing table.  The kid thinks it is hilarious.  I think knows you are having to clean up after his mess and finds it fantastically funny.  Or you can smush his cheeks.  This will make him laugh and start “talking” to you too.

– Drool, drool, drool.  Better than spit up I suppose because it dries and doesn’t leave a mark.  He loves to drool and make spit bubbles – the works.

Lastly the answer to everyone’s favorite questions.  When you were pregnant the question you hears eighty times a day was “How are you feeling?”  Fine, I am fine.  Now, the question is “Is he sleeping through the night? How is he sleeping?” Fine. He is sleeping fine.  I talked early on about sleep patterns and how you adjust fairly quickly, but as soon as you get a taste of some longer stretches you adjust REALLY quickly to getting those back.  I have to say he has been a champ recently.  Right now he will go anywhere from a 5 1/2 to 8 hour stretch between feedings starting around 9:30.  So, somewhere between 9:30 and 11:00 he will get his last feeding and then somewhere between 4 and 6 a.m. he will get hungry again.  Not too shabby!  I don’t so much mind getting up and getting my day started then either at times because I like the quiet of the morning.  He should be having a growth spurt here in the next month so I am prepared for him to start waking up again more, but for now he is peacefully resting in his room where he sleeps harder and longer.

I had a little “mom moment” at the store the other day when I had to buy something that was 3+ months and said “Infant” on it.  Why the big deal? Right next to it was the 0-3 month version which said “newborn”.  So long as I have a little while until “toddler” starts appearing I think we will be okay!  Colter and I are enjoying our little family and sharing him with the rest of our family.  He is so lucky to have so many people who love him and who anxiously await his next round of pictures!

3 Months Have Come and Gone

        

 
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Summertime Wrap – Chicken Tarragon Wrap

Posted by casey on May 27, 2010 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

Perfect for a light summer dinner or a refreshing lunch, these summertime wraps are simple and tasty! Yes, wrap, not rap.  I’ll show you my rhyming and beat skills later.

Tarragon Chicken and Avocado Wraps
2 Cups Diced Chicken (If you’re in a hurry snag a cooked rotisserie chicken from your store.  If not, I suggest grilled or pan seared chicken breasts)
1 Lemon
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Tablespoon Dried Tarragon or 2 Tablespoons Fresh
1 Avocado Cubed
Chopped Romaine
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Pitas, Tortillas or Flatbread
Grated Parmesan

To Make the Dressing:
Squeeze 1 1/2 Tablespoons of lemon juice into a bowl.  Add the mayonnaise and tarragon and stir to combine.  Set aside in the fridge while you assemble the rest.

Once your chicken is cooked whether you cooked it yourself or bought it that way chop it into cubes and toss the chicken and the cubed avocados with the dressing.  Season to taste with salt and pepper to your liking.  You can make the dressing ahead of time and even toss the chicken with it in advance but do not cut and add the avocado until you are ready to assemble the wraps.

Chop up your romaine into thin slices.  If you chop it into large salad like pieces it will be difficult to fit everything into your wrap.

Personally I think that pitas or flatbread work the best for a dish like this, and I really love “Flatout Healthy Grain Flatbread”.  In most groceries they carry these or similar types near the deli meat counter not in the bakery or bread aisle.

Now, depending on who you are serving you can either assemble all of the wraps yourself or, you can lay out the simple materials and let your hungry audience do it themselves.  I like the latter.  I’m just saying.  Also, this particular recipe makes enough for 4 wraps, so be warned if you need more than that!

For lunch some crisp fresh veggies, or fruit makes the perfect side dish and at dinner we served it with a lighter soup just to help fill you up some more.  Regardless it is a simple and cheap summertime meal which puts it up at the top of my list!

Original Recipe From Williams Sonoma “Simple Suppers” Cookbook

 
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Chocolate Buttercream? Yes Please!

Posted by casey on May 25, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

 Just in time to help you get into your summer bikini body….the perfect chocolate butter cream! Not helping am I?  Regardless it is delicious and you can even play with it to make it more how you like it.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 stick Unsalted Butter at room temperature
16 oz powdered sugar
2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon half and half

Cream the butter and the powdered sugar together until combined.  It will first become crumby, but keep beating it until it fully combines.
Begin melting the baking chocolate in a microwave safe dish in 30 second intervals until fully melted.
Add the half and half and vanilla to the creamed mixture.
Begin spooning in the melted chocolate a little at a time until fully combined.

You can play with the consistency to make it how you choose.  More powdered sugar will make it thicker, more half and half – smoother.  Another variation would be adding a cooled shot of coffee for a slight coffee flavor with the chocolate.  Just an idea!

This recipe made enough frosting to top 24 cupcakes and was enough for a thin layer on a double layer chocolate cake.  I would recommend doubling the batch for a cake!  This time of year we all need to throw the visions of string bikinis out of our heads for awhile and just enjoy a delicious treat – Happy Eating!

 
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The Eviction Roll

Posted by casey on May 23, 2010 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles, Family

Technically, if I was keeping up with my pattern, this should be a post about Caden’s 12th week…but as it goes I’m a little behind and I wanted to wrap his 12th week into the big 3 month wrap up. Sooooooooooo, this is actually all about Week 11 which ended last Saturday…as in 8 days ago it ended.  It turns out, Week 11 was a very big week!

Two different posts this past week let you in on the love the dogs have for our little man, which wasn’t so much of a new development but a topic I had been meaning to touch on for awhile now.  I wasn’t a logical person I just might let them babysit because sadly, I think they could to a better job than some humans out there.  You really should have to pass a test before being allowed to procreate, I mean right?  I suppose that is a whole other post for another time.

leanThe big development is that right after his two and a half month post Caden became a roller!  I know, I know the proud mommy milestones that most of you are wondering what the big deal is.  Frankly, it is just so wonderful to watch him learning new things and working it out.  He had started this crazy lean during tummy time earlier in the week, so I had a feeling that his rolling skills weren’t far behind.  You can see his lean in this snapshot, but the best part is Thrasher there in the corner trying to keep him from rolling by lifting that side of the blanket.  Poor pup thought he was helping his brother and had no idea that he was actually hindering his new tricks! Tricks, tricks, tricks! Don’t believe me?  Watch it for yourself.


Wait for it…then he became professional.  Yes, a professional roller, or what I think one would be.  Why you ask?  Not cheeksonly did he roll over his left shoulder from belly to back, but then he started going over his right as well. Ta daaaaaa.  Impressive I know, you don’t have to tell me. I told my Dad that Caden must have inherited his ambidextrous abilities.  I see, you don’t believe me again.  In true “mommy” style, I have video of him rolling the other way. (Come on, his grandpa lives in Florida so I have to document these things for him). 

Yes I know they are sideways, the videos that is.  No I don’t know why. Well, I kind of know why.  I took them with my iPhone.  Apparently when you turn your iPhone sideways it makes the video sideways even though it doesn’t look like that to you. Technology – ay yi yi.  I’ll do better. I’m sorry. (Consider this a lesson in short choppy sentences.)

Pretty soon he is going to be rolling from his back to his belly too because he will go all they way to his side and then hang out because he is pretty comfy.  Times are a changing, no more leaving him unattended – I mean, not that I ever, ever did that of course. :)

31191_10100282867083974_8305504_63926711_6054217_nThat new trick would be the roll of the title.  The eviction – him. From my room.  Out I say, get out!  It in no way was harsh like that, but that was way funnier than “Noooooo if he is upstairs how am I going to hear him? What if he needs me? It is so lonely up there!”  See, the “Out, I say out!” was way better. He might look worried in the picture, but it didn’t seem to bother him much.  In addition to approaching the three month mark my chubby cheeked chuckler (say that fast five times) has become a bit of a sleep talker.  Okay sleep chatter.  Sleep cooer?  Sleep noisemaker.

There, that works, sleep noisemaker.  While knowing that he is perfectly fine and that his noises were just that, noise, not “I need something.” noise, it was becoming a nuisance and I felt like he wasn’t sleeping as well either.  Half my brain while partly asleep was constantly, subconsciously deciphering the noise as to color yawnlevel (Yellow – Chit Chatting Mom, Just Chatting, Orange – Working on Waking Up, Maybe, Red – Now Please, I Want You Now)Colter and I had wanted him to start going into his room around 3 months or when his sleeping was established enough that I wasn’t having to get up more than once or twice. (If it was more than that I was likely to fall down the stairs sleepwalking.)  We started with some of his daytime naps up there to get everyone, myself and the dogs included used to him being up there and I must say, this past week has gone quite beautifully.  I think he likes having his own space as much as we do.  So yes, he was evicted from our room but I have to say, he has himself quite the bachelor pad up there.  Yes I will show you pictures of his penthouse soon since I never have done that.  You are so demanding!

With a pretty established routine and a baby boy that has become reasonably predictable I feel like we are even more settled in to our little family.  His laughter makes our day, because you just can’t do anything but smile when he laughs, smiles or coos at you.  If a tiny person can be so happy to see you all the time, shouldn’t we make an effort to be really happy when we see our loved ones as well.  Just a thought!

Mr. Caden the Roller With a Rockin’ New Living Space

 
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A Little Margarita in Your Meat

Posted by casey on May 21, 2010 in In The Kitchen

This was a wonderful summer meal, with the perfect summer marinade.  So perfect that I wanted to drink the marinade, because it smelled like margaritas.  Don’t worry I refrained, put my patience into gear and waited to devour the meal.

tequilasteakTequila Marinated Skirt Steak

3 Limes
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
3 Tablespoons Tequila (throw in another shot for yourself :) )
1 Teaspoon Sugar
Salt
1 1/2 Lb Skirt Steak – cut into 8 inch lengths
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter at Room Temp
2 Teaspoons Ancho Chili Powder
1 Avocado

Finely great the zest from the limes at set aside to use with the butter.

Squeeze the juice from all 3 limes ( 3 Tbsp) into a shallow dish that is large enough to hold the meat laid flat.
Stir together the lime juice, oil, tequila, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Put the meat in the dish and turn to coat it.
Cover the meat in the dish and let it marinate at room temp for 15 minutes.

Heat the grill while the meat is in the marinade and then get ready to prepare the ancho-lime butter.

Mix together the room temp butter, lime zest and chili poweder. Set aside. (You can put it back in the fridge while you wait or freeze it up to a month to use later)

After grilling the meat to your desired liking, add a dollop of ancho lime butter on top. Slice the avocado on top of the meat as well.
 We served it on a bed of brown rice with a side of steamed spinach and garlic which accompanied the meal nicely!

I hope you enjoy your margarita meat and possibly make yourself a margarita while you cook too!

 
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Chocolate What? – Granny’s Chocolate Cobbler

Posted by casey on May 20, 2010 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

Surprise, surprise, I was in the mood for chocolate.  So was 76 % of the world’s female population so lay off. (Can I just say that the “womanly chocolate cravings” did not take over my life until I was in college).  Anyway, I was looking around for something new to try and was looking around Pioneer Woman’s website because I haven’t had the time to make any of her recipes since Caden’s arrival.  They are always delicious, but always take some time the first few gos and her work. However, her cooking page, led me to another site which everyone should visit called Tasty Kitchen

You aren’t going to believe what this recipe is called….Chocolate Cobbler.  Yup, cobbler.  it wasn’t a typo.  Technically, it is called “My Granny’s Chocolate Cobbler” and it is the Granny part that caught my eye even more than the chocolate part.  I don’t know about you, but any recipe from my Grandma is going to be good so I had a feeling this wouldn’t let me down. A member from Tasty Kitchen posted it, which made it’s way into Pioneer Woman’s heart and then into mine.  So now, I bring it to you.  In the end, think of it as a Chocolate Molten type dessert….Mmmmmm Mmmmmmm

choccobblerGranny’s Chocolate Cobbler

  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 7 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder, Divided
  • 1-¼ cup Sugar, Divided
  • ½ cups Milk
  • ⅓ cups Melted Butter
  • 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cups Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1-½ cup Hot Tap Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Reserve the remaining cocoa and sugar.

Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. I prefer my small oval Corning Ware glass dish.

In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining white sugar (it should be 1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter.

Pour the hot tap water over all. DO NOT STIR!

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is set.

Let stand for a few minutes if you can hold yourself back. Serve with homemade ice cream using the gooey sauce to spoon over all.

 
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Recipe Re-Do – Pot Pie Take Two

Posted by casey on May 19, 2010 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

Since I revisited some old funny stories this week, I thought I might also revisit some recipes I have done before and see if there is a better one.   Last fall, wanting a nice cozy meal I gave you this recipe for Chicken Pot Pie.  Well, this past Sunday I was again in the mood for a cozy Sunday meal but I have to say, I think this recipe from a Williams Sonoma Chicken Cookbook was much more flavorful!

Classic and Fresh Chicken Pot Piechipotpoie

Freah Ground Salt an Pepper
1 Cup Shelled Fresh Peas or Frozen Peas
1 Cup Corn Kernels
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 Tablespoons Chopped Shallot
1/4 Cup Cup Flour
1 1/2 Cups chicken stock
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
1/2 Cup Half and Half
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
1 Egg Yolk Beaten with 1 Teaspoon Water
One 9 inch pie dough round – homeade or frozen

Preheat an Oven to 400 Ddegrees
Bring a Saucepan of Salted Water to Boil and Immerse carrots and peas for 3-5 minutes until tender crisp
Lift out, Drain and Transfer to a Bowl.
Repeat with the Corn and Set aside.
In a large frying pan overmedium high heat melt the butter. Add the chicken and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until browned on all sides. (Approx 8 Min)
Add the shallot and cook , stirring until softened about 2 minutes.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Stir in the chicken stock, wine, half and half and parsley and bring to a simmer.
Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Then add in the veggies and season with salt and pepper.  Trasnfer this mixture into a 9 inch pie dish.

Now, brush the egg yolk mixture on the edges of your pie dough round. Place the round, egg side doen over the filling and press to seal around the dish.  Brush the surface lightly with the remaining yolk mixture and cut some slits in the dough to vent.

Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and then into the oven.  Bake about 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

 
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Revisiting Chuckles

Posted by casey on May 17, 2010 in For Your Funny Bone, Home

laughSince the majority of our population tends to get a bit gloomy on Mondays, and there have been all these stinking baby posts :) I decided we all need a laugh.  So naturally I took a look back at my old posts to bring a few back.  What else would I do?

There were so many I had forgotten about and as I was giggling when I would see some of the titles and remember the random, rambling posts I have given you, I found “The Series”.  Yup, the series of posts that should really be made into a movie except for the fact that the movie could never be as good and as unreal as the real thing because it just doesn’t happen in real life.  Eight months ago, it happened though…and so I bring back for your laughing pleasure, “The Series”.
Part One, Part Two, Part Three

It is hard to top that event, and I don’t predict that anything like that will ever happen to me again.  I hope not.  I also hope that my husband never does thisto me again either.  Surely he has learned right?  I mean, men can learn….right?  Change? Ay yi yi…I better protect myself if he arms himself with a cleaning product!

Now, in case you are tired of reading since the weekend is over and weekends can wear you out too, a little picture that just sums up one very inappropriate perk to being a teacher.  There aren’t many extrinsic perks people, so this, well, was a classic.

Hopefully that isn’t the only laughter you will have this weekend, but if it is, you’re welcome in advance!

 
10

Add the Caption

Posted by casey on May 16, 2010 in Add the Caption, Caden, Contests & Giveaways, Snapshots, Uncategorized

Ready for a game?  It has been awhile since I have done mystery picture, so I thought I would change it up.
It’s pretty easy. I show you the picture, you comment what the caption should be. Click on the picture to enlarge!
Ready Go!

dsc_1416_edited-1

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