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Fall for Breakfast

Posted by casey on September 30, 2011 in In The Kitchen, Most Important Meal of the Day

Just in time for your Saturday or Sunday brunch and the beginning of October, I am bringing you a special fall treat. Pumpkin Pancakes.  Say it with me – “Mmmmm mmmmm delicious.”  There are a couple of things I like about this recipe besides it being a seasonal twist on a classic.  First, because the original recipe came from a “Cooking for Baby”  cookbook it has minimal added sugar.  Therefore when you go ahead and add syrup you are only at a small sugar overload instead of a ridiculous one.  The second thing I love about this is that they freeze for up to a month.  Surprise, surprise something else I can stick in my freezer.

Pumpkin Pancakes
1 cup milk
1/2 – 3/4 cup puree pumpkin (the can works fine)
1 egg
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 cup whole wheat flour (if you are feeling extra healthy)
if you don’t have whole wheat, white flour is fine
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 heaping teaspoon nutmeg

** For freezing, I doubled the recipe and then put the cooled pancakes in pairs in ziploc freezer bags**

** Additional topping ingredients to consider – blackberries, walnuts or pecans, raspberries, powdered sugar **

1. Whisk together your milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar until well blended.  (I added a little extra pumpkin because I couldn’t resist.)

2. In a different bowl, combine your dry ingredients. (flour, brown sugar, salt, spices).

3. Combine your liquid and dry mixtures until just combined.  Then let the mixture sit for a few minutes and thicken some.

4. Spray your griddle or cooking surface with a cooking spray or however you like to keep them from sticking.  Pour your pancakes to size (recommended 1/4 to 1/3 cup spoonfuls) and cook over medium to medium high heat until golden on each side and cooked throughout.

5. Top your pancakes as you please, serve warm or cool to freeze for later.

Happy Fall!

 

 

 
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Bub in a Tub

Posted by casey on September 30, 2011 in Caden, Snapshots

Excuse me, I’m in my birthday suit here. Do you mind?

Pa-pa-pa-pa-paparazzi!

Should I be concerned that these might end up on the internet? (Absolutely)

In that case, this is my best angle.

Or maybe this one with the subtle smile.  You know, less is more.

Who are we kidding, more is more!

 
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Big Boy Everything

Posted by casey on September 29, 2011 in Caden's Chronicles

 When I sat down to reflect on this past month this week as we hit nineteen months, I further came to the realization that our handsome little boy isn’t so little anymore.  Caden is a big boy who likes big boy everything.  Big boy chairs, big boy stairs…okay I won’t get carried away like Dr. Seuss. 

We did survive our bout with sickness this month and are hopeful we have paid our dues prior to brother’s arrival. You have gotten to see some recent evidence of his “growing up” which means he has also become a toddler.  While sure it is easy to whine right along with him about the challenges of this it also means that he is much more independent.  Pro?  He will go and pick things up for you/get out what he wants. Con?  He doesn’t want you to do it for him…until he is so frustrated that he can’t do it he freaks.  So we take the good with the bad.  It is definitely an interesting new stage but he seems to be learning faster than ever and copying us more and more.  This new independence of his means that he now likes to
- Walk up and down the stairs “by himself”
He actually does a really good job of holding onto the stair rails and supporting himself however he isn’t completely trustworthy since he occasionally likes to stop & have a dance party on a stair, slide off one & laugh or get distracted by the dogs he sees through the rails.

- Go and get a diaper and the wipes for you if he needs/wants a change.
He is so proud to do this for you. (and just about anything you ask him for help with) We had been changing him standing up for awhile now because he didn’t like being made to lay on his back.  Now he thinks its great though.  He will run to the ottoman and climb up or the carpet, lay down and roll over and then lift his legs spread eagle in the air.  Modest?  Maybe not.  Easy? Definitely.  He laughs and giggles while you change him and then is back off to party.

- Drink out of regular cups.
We have to hide ours if we don’t want him to demand it especially if we are out to eat.  He does okay ignoring it if it is a regular glass (although he would be thrilled if you gave it to him) but if it has a straw in it, you are done for.  The problem is he can do it but then there is always that one time where he ends up pouring the whole thing on himself.

- Big boy swings.
Who wants to sit in a baby swing anyway?  He first saw this at Nonna & Pa Pa’s a couple months ago and wanted to sit on it.  He obviously wasn’t fully aware that he had to hold on the whole time so we were extra cautious.  Now, when we go to the park he asks for these swings first.  He is content barely moving since we still don’t swing him really, just a little push but he also death grips the chains and doesn’t let go.  He will point with one finger while still holding on when he wants down but is enjoying the big boy seat.

- Booster Seat at Dinner
Caden has finally decided that he would prefer to sit in his booster seat at the dinner table with us (or a regular chair for that matter) instead of his high chair pulled up.  We still go back and forth between the two (he chooses usually) but it is pretty cute to see this little man sitting right there next to you in a “real chair”.  I think he likes it because he is even closer to your plate to try and snatch off of. :)

 Overall his favorites are still his favorites.  Being outside, throwing/kicking a ball, snuggling/playing with the dogs, pointing out every truck he sees and climbing.  He has decided that when it is naptime he wants to take something upstairs with him – laundry basket, soccer ball, Cozy Coupe car etc. It doesn’t matter what it is or how big he is going to try to fit it through the gate up the stairs before giving up.  I enjoy seeing what he is going to grab each day.  Other than that he doesn’t protest his nap at all.  He loves his room & bed so he walks upstairs with me and goes into his room to get his “snuggle bear” and rest.

While it became a favorite a month or so ago reading is even more of an obsession now.  We read at least 30-40 min each day and then again for 10-20 minutes at night as he is winding down.  Caden loves to go and pick out books from his book basket and bring them to you and then exchange them when you are done.  “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”, “Where is Baby’s Belly Button”, “What Do You See on the Farm” and “Goodnight Moon” get excessive action.

Caden did get is first haircut this month, courtesy of Salon de Mom.  It was just a tiny trim on the sides where his curls were getting a little out of hand and silly in just one spot, plus a little shaping up top and on the neck.  He gladly accepted the haircut since was playing in the bathtub the whole time.

Now that it has cooled off we are again enjoying going to the park in the mornings and playing in the yard with Daddy each evening.  He spends a lot of time searching the sky for airplanes and waiting to see where the dogs will run to next.  Our big boy has stretched another 2 + inches and gained another 2 lbs so he is trying to bulk up before brother gets here to make it clear he is the big brother.  A little over 8 months ago I remember thinking how we will be around 20 months old when baby comes and here we are at 19 + months in the home stretch to him not being an only child any longer. 

Live it Up Son!

 

 

 
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The End is Near

Posted by casey on September 27, 2011 in Everett's Edition

Hallelujah the End is Near!

  The end of this pregnancy that is.  I wasn’t one to be “so done” with Caden’s pregnancy and it is not at all   that I don’t like being pregnant or anything of that sort. Sure, this pregnancy has been much physically harder on my body-back-hips etc. than the last but you never know exactly what you are going to get.  I am ready to be done because I am very ready to meet this little man and start out transition into a family of four.

Can you believe it? Four!

While the contractions are still an ongoing “issue” (issue because they are watching them closely, nonissue because they keep stopping and not doing much) this baby boy is still baking away although he is definitely running out of room. He tries to stretch and get comfy all day long.  I don’t blame in.  If my head was locked into a pelvis and my hands hit a hip bone every time I punched them I would be upset too.  Should I through in the fact that his feet are always either kicking me into some heartburn or on the very bottom of my ribs?  How about that my stomach growled today but it appears based on the location of the growl that my hungry tummy was relocated to the left side of my rib cage.  He has made room for himself in there, no doubt about it!

Let me just say that this baby belly is large and in charge. Today I put on a maternity shirt that based on my “bump” had turned into a belly shirt.  My belly shirt I mean you could see my “mid-drift” which is not what I am sure what I would call an exposed baby belly.  “You know your REALLY pregnant and the end is near when your maternity clothes look like hoochie clothes and you aren’t going out to buy bigger ones because soon enough the belly will be no more.”

I am now one of the few in my prenatal yoga class who makes the room go “Ohhhh” when you tell them what week you are in since I am getting close (and look even closer) and many of them are as I was 5 months ago.  It is always interesting to be the one who is 12-13 weeks along and just starting seeing the women at the “finale” and still going strong and then have the tables turned on you.  My yoga teacher can’t believe I am already almost done with my second pregnancy with her when it really does seem like I was just there going through it with Caden.  She and her class are a blessing and the two times a week I see her are a nice break in getting to just focus on being pregnant and preparing my mind & body for labor.  Yes, I realized that sounded very zen and it is which may not be how you think of me normally but it is what I use to and how I labor. Bless yoga and my zen mind.

Still I feel like I say “Oh I am hanging in there.” or “We are just still plugging along.” ten times a day.  Truthfully, that is about the only answer I have!  Those who see me regularly (mother in law, OB, chiropractor) have commented on how much my belly has dropped each time they see me in the past few weeks.  My chiropractor even mentioned the difference from Thursday to today.  Thus I have also reached the stage where due to the low belly and even lower baby I am pretty much walking around feeling as though I am sitting on my head.  This was how I felt a before Caden too and my doctor comforted me by saying “You feel like that because you are.” Oh…awesome.

 – His room is for the most part ready.  I say “for the most part” because there are still things I would like to do but he won’t be spending much time in there for the first few months (bassinet in our room) so I am okay with waiting until he is a resident of the room to finish up.  It looks like a nursery, it is a whole different scheme than Caden’s but just as soothing and I love it.  Yes, I will show it to you soon.

– I finished sewing all of his new swaddle blankets this weekend.  I loved the ones we had made for Caden because they were larger and swaddled so much better.  So, I thought he deserved a few of his own so that he can be all wrapped up just as well!

– My freezer is almost at capacity. Lasagna, Manicotti, Chicken Spaghetti, Baked Ziti with Ham & Peas, Penne Alla Prego, Chili, Chicken & Spinach Orzo, Cinnamon Rolls, Pumpkin Bread, Banana Bread, and Sausage Egg Casserole (plus cookie dough – it counts right?) are about all it can hold.  I am sure I will squeeze a few more things in there!

– He still appears to have the same nose and lips as Caden’s 3D sonograms even as he continues to plump up.  So while their features may be similar we are wondering if their coloring will be.

Although we get to have sneek peeks today of our babies I think it is one of the most wonderful things about pregnancy and birth that we don’t have the control to choose boy or girl or what they will look like precisely. It truly adds to the miracle that is all things pregnancy, birth and babies.

– Among the other typical questions (due date/gender) and comments (weight/advice) one you often get is something about cravings.  I have been telling everyone that I really don’t have any. Nothing weird, nothing constant. (not like the need for red meat with Caden)  Then, last night, as I was eating my nightly bedtime PB & J (yes I said nightly bedtime PB & J) I realized that it seems as though this nightly bedtime PB & J just might be my craving. Duh.  I mean who knew the general population doesn’t want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich right before they go to bed?  I know. I was just as shocked as you.

- My arms keep falling asleep while I am asleep. It seems odd to wake up because something on your body has fallen asleep.  Shouldn’t that make you sleepier?  Regardless, when I lay on my left side (which is supposed to be better for circulation by the way) Baby Kaz II doesn’t like it and his position clamps some vein/artery somewhere that makes my arms and hands fall asleep.  Once I’m awake and can rub my fingers and hands (tricky when they are both asleep at times) so that there is some fuzziness in them I can roll over and all is well.

– When I get up to pee at night, I have to sit on the side of the bed (after awkwardly pushing myself up to sit mind you) for a couple minutes to that baby will feel the change in position and shift his body ever so slightly so that my hips can actually function and allow my legs to walk.  Just imagine when I wake up and have to pee and then have to wake my arms up before being able to push myself to sitting to wait for my hips to work while getting cramps in my calves and desperately trying to flex my feet in protest against the cramp before it sets in.  Then I actually have to walk to pee and at that point it really doesn’t seem worth it.

– Thrasher wants to snuggle my belly.  Bo wants to lay his head on my belly.  Caden wants to pat and poke and recline on my belly.  It’s popular around here.  Let’s hope baby is just as popular!

So the end is near and while I am giving Caden extra snuggles and “I Love Yous” I am excited to give him a brother and someone who will one day be a playmate for him.  Until  then and your next update I will be walking around wearing a tent since my shirts are too scandalous.  I apologize in advance for the fashion faux pas.

 

 
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Such Potential

Posted by casey on September 26, 2011 in Family, For Your Funny Bone, Home

This past weekend had such potential.

Friday evening we decided we would take our little family of three out for dinner at one of the many restaurants at the Rockwall Harbor.  The weather was perfect, the patios are abundant and their are numerous fountains to entertain our little man.  It had actually been awhile since we had gone out to eat the three of us mainly due to weighing the pros & cons of taking a toddler to dinner.  It isn’t that he is so terrible always but he obviously doesn’t want to sit forever and when you spend a lot of your mealtime giving him things to eat and making sure he sees the things that will entertain him you lose that whole “isn’t it relaxing to just talk & not worry about cooking/cleaning ourselves” feeling.  However, we lucked out.  He was thrilled. (Patios are a must with him.)  He happily ate what we gave him, drank our water with the “big boy straws” and was content seeing the fountains and people watching (aren’t we all).  I drooled over my husband’s margarita but was content watching our little family enjoy the evening.

After dinner Caden ran and ran and ran around the harbor, grass, and fountains so pleased to have open space and two doting parents watching him.  For the first time in this pregnancy believe it or not I found myself realizing how our days as a family of three are numbered and it was just so pleasant to witness us all together on what did feel like a perfect fall evening.  It was one of the best evenings I had in awhile and the perfect start to our weekend.

Being this pregnant…and my” this pregnant” I mean that strangers get nervous around me now as if I might go into labor right then instead of thinking its cute I was fortunate enough to enjoy a Saturday morning/afternoon to myself thanks to my hair appointment backing up to my usual Saturday morning yoga class.  I do miss my boys and family time on the weekend when I am not with them but I know it is nice for them to play without me hovering too.  So I spent Saturday continuing to be excited for Sunday.  Why Sunday?  I decided that it would be nice to have some “final family of three” pictures of taken prior to Baby Kaz II’s arrival to mark this period in our life and document both for Caden and Baby Kaz II what this family looked like right before he came.  Since I very well can’t take and be in the pictures at the same time I enlisted some help.

A sweet, sweet former dance team-mate and friend from high school has recently been working to kick off her photography business and while I love supporting those that are trying something new as I have done that for myself I thought it was a perfect match.  She so kindly worked out with me doing two separate sessions, one now and then one after the baby comes to mark our new family of four.  Fortunately we live pretty close to each other and made all of the arrangements to meet.  As you can tell from the pictures you often see Caden isn’t particularly camera shy and loves being outside.  What could go wrong?

Toddlers.

He slept in…he ate a great breakfast…and we left for the pictures so pleased that we were having a good morning because he was going to be SO happy to be outside.  Something must have gone terribly wrong in his head in the car on the way to pictures because about 30 seconds after we got out of the car and started pictures he started crying…and whining…and screaming…and throwing himself around…and running away…and having none of it. NONE. OF. IT.

Maybe it was the location we thought.  In the middle of some adorable shops & scenery was maybe too much for him to look at and want to get to right?  (We were going with any reason.) So, we went ahead and moved to our second location – the park.  I mean come on…it’s a park.  We live at the park. He loves the park.

So, he was furious the whole way to the park and as we were getting out I then realized that on the drive to the park his sippy cup had been steadily leaking all down the side of my jeans.  Awesome.  Colter said it would keep me cool.  I said people were going to think my water had broke.  Caden didn’t care.  Sweet Ashley (yes I said sweet again) who is pregnant with her first baby (who I am sure we were traumatizing) even brought Caden a little pumpkin to hold and play with.  Sweet right?  He threw it.  We stood by a great fence with a gorgeous field where he would typically love to stand/sit on the fence as we were trying.  He just wanted to crawl under it – while screaming.  Then he high-tailed it for the pond.

The best part?  Hubs and I look like complete morons.  We were at a total loss.  Having never seen him react quite like this to well…nothing we had nothing in our arsenal of ideas of how to cure him.  The usual distractions?  Could have cared less.  Snack? Sure…for the ground.  Us holding him (a for sure win)? He hit is. HIT US!  There is Ashley trying to get some “final family of three” pictures and we look like we should never have had one kid let along about to have another.

I will say this.  Maybe pictures of a cranky for no reason kiddo with his confused parents desperate to please and survive the outing is exactly the documentation of this time that we need.  We called it quits exhausted and disappointed that of all mornings to have a colossal toddler meltdown it was picture morning and for once we had nothing (teeth/hungry/didn’t sleep/needs nap) to blame it on except his age and frustration.  We tried.  He tried.  Then we all cried and went home.  Okay, Caden cried.

The weekend started off with such potential and ended with a morning that wiped us out for the day.
The little man didn’t want to do anything with anything or anyone and that was that.
At least he is decisive.

Thanks Ashley for being so patient with us and still managing to pull out some memorable pictures!
(I’m sure the really cranky pictures & outtakes are even more memorable for everyone)

 
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Toddlerhood

Posted by casey on September 24, 2011 in Caden's Chronicles

 

 Here is the thing.  Every sweet angel baby is going to one day become a toddler.  You can’t help it.  You can’t stop it.  You can only watch your sweet angel baby turn into Danger Dan.  Sure some may seem like they stay in this phase for others while some kiddos breeze through but it will happen.  Around this house, we have gotten used to all the mischief that comes with  Toddlerhood.  Let’s reflect on this.  The Trouble With Toddlers is…

They climb on everything.

And once they learn how to climb on everything, then they can really get into everything.
EVERYTHING

If they shouldn’t touch it, they do.

If they shouldn’t turn it into a play-toy, like say oh an extension cord…they do.

If there is dirt they will find and rejoice in it.

Sharing is not always a  priority.

Curiousity is constant which means so is danger.

Whining is a normal and continuous means of communication.

It’s their way or the highway so you better listen up.

They think that couches are trampolines or wrestling rings but not for relaxing.

But don’t worry, they find it all highly amusing.
Even if you don’t.

The Trouble with Toddlers is that even their trouble can be pretty darn cute.
The Trouble with Toddlers is that right when you wish they were old enough to send to their room they give you a smooch.
The Trouble with Toddlers is that all of their curiousity is the innocence we no longer have and the fun we no longer choose to see because we would rather not take the risk.

The Trouble with Toddlers is that they might actually have one up on us. 

 
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Guessing Games

Posted by casey on September 22, 2011 in Everett's Edition

Seeing as how I am rapidly approaching the end of this pregnancy it seemed an appropriate time to let you start yor guessing games.  Yes, Baby Kaz II has a name.  However, if you remember with Caden we don’t reveal our bambinos names until they make their appearance.  You get to greet them when we get to meet them.

With a few weeks to go we shared with you his initials.  So, to hold everyone off and to allow you to get your guesses off your chest, we will give you just enough to make you think.
The Initials

No I won’t tell you if you’re right.
Yes you are seeing correctly and it is not another “C” name.
You only get one guess in the next few weeks so make it good.
Colter, Caden, Baby Kaz II and I are having fun seeing what you are coming up with!

 
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The Look

Posted by casey on September 22, 2011 in Caden, Snapshots

“But Mom…puhleeeaaassseeee!”

Any guesses where he learned this look from? The puppy dog look?
I’ll give you a clue.

 
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Freezer Frenzy – Baked Ziti with Ham & Peas

Posted by casey on September 21, 2011 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

In my mad dash to load my freezer with as many meals as possible before Baby Kaz II arrives I have been saving some to share with you.  The tricky part about most freezer meals is that I think you get a lot of lasagnas, manicottis, spaghettis sauces etc.  Not that I don’t love a good red Italian sauce but eating it night after night can get tiresome.  So yes, this is a pasta dish but in my opinion it is entirely different, fresh and delicious.  This recipe makes enough for one 2 qt dish. However, if you didn’t feel like doubling it (although it is very simple to make two of) you could try and split it between two square dishes which would probably be more than enough.  One for dinner and one for the freezer – perfect!

Baked Ziti With Ham & Peas
1 lb ziti
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups Parmesan
1 cup frozen baby peas (I like to put in at least two cups)
(I think you could also add or substitute some crisp steamed chopped broccoli for a different veggie/flavor)
1/4 lb prosciutto or sandwich ham chopped (I like to put in 1/2 lb)
1/2 cup bread crumbs

I think adding the extra veggies/meat makes it more of a rounded meal (plus a salad and maybe an extra veggie) rather than just a creamy pasta dish.

1. Preheat your oven to 425 and lightly grease a 2 qt baking dish or whatever you are using.

2. Cook your ziti in boiling, salted water until al dente (just barely tender)

3. Melt your butter in a pot over medium heat.  Add the flour and cook stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Start to slowly pour in your milk stirring/whisking the whole time so it doesn’t clump.  Cook until your sauce begins to thicken and get creamy – 5 to 10 min ( always around 10 for me). 

4. Stir in your nutmeg, cheese, peas and ham.

5. Combine your sauce and pasta either in the pot if it will fit or a mixing bowl until evenly coated.  Pour into your baking dish and top with bread crumbs.

6. Bake approx 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden.

Original Recipe From Williams Sonoma “One Pot” Cookbook

 
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This Morning’s Wishes

Posted by casey on September 20, 2011 in Caden's Chronicles, Life as I Know It

“Mommy, why haven’t you made us feel better yet?”

“I mean, it is starting to get gross around here. Will my best puppy look help?”

“The sneezing and pools of snot are out of control.”

“I know I said I wanted a snack Mommy, but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.”

“Dear God, if you’re there please make us feel better or at least send more tissues.”

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