Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gimme Three Steps!

This is just a quick update for you all, but our little guy is a walker now!  On Thursday he took a step to me on his own (apparently though he's been doing that at daycare too, but I just don't count it until I see it!).  Then on Friday he took 2 steps.  On Saturday he was an ambitious little guy and took 5 steps or so.  It is funny because we were at a potluck get together with some of my Army friends and my friend Polly had just taken Nolan from me to hold him.  As many of you know, Nolan can be very attached at times, and he was just so anxious to get back to me.  So, Polly stood him up on the floor and I reached my hands out to him to get him to walk to me and that's when he took all those steps!  What a fun event :) 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Two Years!

We have now owned our house and dog Frank for two years!  Yes, we got both the house and Frank on the same day :)  These two years have really flown by!  When I think of the things we wanted to accomplish with the house, I realize we have done quite a few things.  We finished up the upstairs and the basement, painted the exterior and turned Nolan's room into a nursery.  While we have more projects in store, it is nice to look back and acknowledge what has already been done.  Also, I don't think we could have been luckier in our choice of dogs.  Frank is such a joy for us.  Yes, he does bark at least 50 times a day and he'll pull your arm off if you take him for a walk on the leash.  However, he is gentle and sweet, and those are the qualities that matter most to us. 

In other news, we recently aquired a Kelty Kids carrier off of Craigslist and got to try it out at the dog park last Saturday.  I think Nolan enjoyed being in that much more than in the stroller.  Here are some pictures of the day.  Nolan is even modelling his new hat for you! 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Introducing Mom Living Healthy!

Some of you may have noticed that you're not just receiving posts about Ryan, Nolan and Frank. I've been writing about menu planning, recipes, cloth diapering etc. Well, what can I say. I just enjoy this whole blogging thing so much that I want to write about other topics too! For me, this is a process that allows me to learn new things and to share all that I am learning. I started this blog in April and have learned SO much in those 7 months!

With that in mind, I'm proud to introduce my new blog Mom Living Healthy. At that site I will focus on parenting, nutrition, fitness, recreation, organization and time management. No, I'm not professing to be an expert in those areas, but I am striving to improve my health. Through Mom Living Healthy I will pass on what I learn through books and other blogs that I read. I also hope to learn from you and your experiences as well.

So, could you help me out? Click on over to Mom Living Healthy and tell me what you think of the design. If nutrition and healthy living are interests of yours, consider subscribing to my posts and taking this journey with me. Thanks!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Cloth Diaper Baby

Here are a couple of pictures of Nolan in his cloth diapers. We use them almost exclusively when he is not at day care. If you missed it here is a previous post in which I discussed cloth diapering. So far we are 10 months into using cloth diapers and are still going strong! I'm showcasing my two favorite brands of cloth diapers. The first, a One Size Pocket Diaper, is from my friend Deb, who makes adorable cloth diapers at her site Made By Mama. The second is the Bum Genius 3.0 One Size Pocket Diaper which I bought at the Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care store.

Diapers By Deb

Diapers By Deb

Diapers By Deb

Bum Genius

Giveaway at Kitchen Stewardship

Hi all! I've been learning a lot from the Kitchen Stewardship blog about super foods and nutrition. Right now she is giving away a book called Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck. How awesome is that?! If you're interested in the book, click here. If you want to find out more about the Kitchen Stewardship blog, you can find the site here.

Chicken with Gingered Brown Rice

I made this chicken with gingered brown rice for dinner last night. While my husband didn't like it as much as the tomato soup from Monday, he thought it was pretty good. I REALLY enjoyed the rice. It was my first time using crystallized ginger and I thought it added a nice flavor. Be aware that this is a sweeter meal due to the orange marmalade and ginger. I got this recipe from the Betty Crocker Whole Grains cookbook. I would make it again, but perhaps just cut the chicken into smaller pieces.


1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
2 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons orange juice (I used a little more than that)
1 small onion, finely choppen (1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons orange marmalade (use a low-sugar version)
1 tablespoon canola oil (I used olive oil)

1. Cook brown rice in water as directed on package

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch square (2 quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon orange juice to boiling over medium heat. Cook onion in orange juice 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender. Stil in cooked rice, ginger, parsley, thyme and remaining 1 tablespoon orange juice.

3. Spoon rice mixture into baking dish. Place chicken breasts on rice mixture. In small bowl, mix marmalade and oil; brush over chicken.

4. Cover baking dish with foil; bake 25 minutes. Remove cover; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170 degrees).

Question: In which recipes do you use ginger? I have some left over now and don't want to waste it if possible. Leave a comment if you have any ideas!

PS- I'm posting this recipe on the Kitchen Stewardship blog as a part of her October Fest Carnival of Super Foods. Check it out!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fresh Tomato Soup

Last night when I asked Ryan if he had any requests for dinner this week, he said he wanted grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Normally, we use Campbell's tomato soup made with milk instead of water. I admit, I do really like that version of the soup. However, I wanted to try making a tomato soup on my own. I found this recipe for Fresh Tomato Soup in the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book.

Ryan rated this soup at a 7-8 out of 10...his only complaint was that it wasn't exactly like the Campbell's. I LOVED it! I'd definitely make this again. I did alter the recipe a bit, which I will indicate in red.

Fresh Tomato Soup

3 medium tomatoes, peeled and quartered (I used 5 tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups water (I used Swanson low-sodium organic chicken broth)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
1/2 of a 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon granules (Swanson broth)
1 teaspoon sugar
few dashes bottled hot pepper sauce

1. In a large saucepan combine tomato, broth, onion, celery, tomato paste, cilantro, sugar and hot pepper sauce. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until celery and onion are tender. Remove from heat; cool for 10 minutes.

2. Place half of tomato mixture in a blender or food processor (I used the Magic Bullet). Cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat wiht the remaining mixture. Return all to the saucepan; heat through. If desired, garnish with additional cilantro.

Menu Plan Monday: 1st Time!

I've been planning out our dinners for the last month or so and am really enjoying the process. It helps me in several ways. I waste less time each day wondering what we should have for dinner. I save money because I know exactly what I need to buy at the grocery store and I also cut down the number of trips I need to take to pick up groceries.

This is the first time I've actually participated in Menu Plan Monday though. No, I didn't think of this idea on my own. Check out Laura's blog at I'm an Organizing Junkie for all the details and tons of other recipes for Menu Plan Monday.

So, here is what I have planned for this week. I'm trying to gradually increase the number of homemade meals we have, because in the past we ate mainly packaged meals or ate out at restaurants. I realize that we still do this, but we're taking babysteps toward healthy meals!

Monday: Fresh Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Tuesday: YOYO (You're on your own) because I have water aerobics class that evening.

Wednesday: Chicken with Gingered Brown Rice

Thursday: Bag Meal

Friday: Tuna Sandwiches- for me only as Ryan will be going out with friends

Saturday: Prime Rib Dinner at my Grandma Carol's house

Sunday: Leftovers or eating at my mom's

How do you plan out your meals each week? Do you go day-by-day or are you super organized and have them planned out far in advance? Leave a comment if you have an extra minute :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Our New Family Room

We recently had our basement painted and carpeted so that we could use the space as a play room. The four of us (Frank included) have really been enjoying the time we have spent in our new space. Nolan has lots of space to play without fear of him hitting his head or teeth on the wood floor. Frank has more area to run and has been chasing stuffed animals all over the room. I have some workout equipment set up so that I can do workout videos a few times per weeks. We don't have a whole lot of furniture in here yet and there is more work to do to organize it and have it "looking" like a family room. In the mean time though, we sure do love it!

Today we also picked up a kid-sized table from a Craigslist add. It is the perfect height for Nolan and has edges all around for him to play with legos, trains, tractors, trucks, puzzles and whatever else he might use it for in the future.

Here are a couple of pictures of Nolie-Bear enjoying this space. Nevermind the mess in the background, just focus on the cute kid :)

This one was taken in the family room too. I especially love his chubby cheek and little golden curl.

Now that we had the stairs carpeted as well, Nolan loves to climb them!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Fall is here and Nolan is loving every minute of it so far! We went to the Apple Farm a few weekends back and Ryan picked out this pumpkin for future carving. I introduced it to Nolan thinking he might like looking at it because it was so bright. It was sitting on our kitchen table at first, but then we needed the space and I set it on the kitchen floor. Not too long afterward Nolan made his merry way over to the bright orange he is fascinated by it! He pats it, uses it to stand, rolls it around and if you clap and make a beat for him, he will push off it and practice standing. He's gotten so that he balances for about 10 seconds before plopping down or lowering himself. If he gets bored, all we have to do is ask, "Nolan, where is the pumpkin?" Nolie-Bear then makes his way over to it and points it out. I never imagined it would be so entertaining, but he sure does love it!