Sunday, July 18, 2010

Elmo's Mama!


While I was at work this weekend, Nate was able to shoot this cute little video of Sophia being "Elmo's Mommy!" It is amazing at only 18 months she is starting to remember and emulate our routine with her and that she can understand to do it with her baby Elmo. When I push Sophia in her umbrella stroller, I tip her back (as you will see) and we go "Weeeeeee!" When I am trying to get her out of her stroller, I say, "Up Sophia" (as you will see). When I am putting her down at night, I rock her in the glider for a few minutes, hold her up on my shoulder (as you will see), we sing (sometimes we say, Rocky, Rocky, Rocky, Sophia goes Rocky), and then I tell her night-night (as you will see). Can you believe she knew enough to do the whole routine with Elmo without anyone watching or prompting her!!

video

Nate also said she was putting the baby Elmo on the potty and in the exersaucer. She also tried to buckle Elmo into his stroller!!! The baby mind never ceases to amaze me!!

Hope you enjoy!! This video melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes!!

Allyson

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sophia and Shotzi


For the next two weeks we have a 5-lb house guest, Shotzi! We are dog sitting while Rhoda (Nate's middle sister) is in Germany having surgery. Sophia has taken a liking to having a "dog-dog" in the house! We are taking lots of pictures with Sophia and Shotzi for the time when she asks for a dog. We can show her the pictures and say, "See, you had a dog when you were a toddler, but it just didn't work out!" Can't deny the proof of pictures, right?

Here is a cute video of Sophia and Shotzi Nate snapped today while I was at work!

video

Allyson

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm a Big Sister Now!


..... I am not so sure what Sophia is going to think about being a big sister (when that time comes)!! (I bet many of you just had to close your mouth b/c you thought I was giving a big announcement huh? Ha!! Tricked you!!)

Sophia had the chance to "share" her mommy yesterday when we went to visit my dear friend Apryl's newest addition, Anna Kathleen!! The whole way to the hospital Sophia was practicing saying, "Anna" to which she can say it perfect!! When we arrived, I attended to Sophia and kept her attention! However, I think Sophia was a tad bit jealous the minute I started holding sweet Anna b/c she started acting out. Hum ....an 18 month old toddler trying to get her mommy's undivided attention? No way right? HA!!

Nevertheless, it was so good to finally meet Anna! I thought for sure Anna was going to be a little baby boy, I think Apryl thought the same too! But alas, she is as cute as a button and slept the full time we were at the hospital!! She was 8lbs 4oz and 20 inches long! It was sweet to have a 1 day old baby in my arms again!! I haven't gotten the chance to see Olivia, Anna's big sister, yet, but from what I have been told, Olivia is just smitten with her new baby sister! Olivia said all along that it was a baby sister and no one wanted to believe her!! She kept saying, "I was right, it was a baby sister not a baby brother!" Apryl told me that Olivia absolutely LOVES holding Anna and loves to give her kisses!!

Here are a few shots I was able to snap (with our new camera)!

Sweet Anna!

Perfect skin ... perfect snooze!

Sleep tight sweet pea!

"I am not so sure about this big sister thing.
I will let Olivia try it out first and let me know how it goes."

Allyson

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Iron Chef Girls!


Have you ever seen the show, Iron Chef America, on the Food Network? My brother and sister-in-law introduced Nate and I to this show! For the culinary-buff-wanna-be's, it is a great show to learn how to make one ingredient extremely versatile!! The only catch is that you only have 1 hour to prepare 3-5 dishes! Check out their website or DVR a show (they usually air Sunday nights) for more details!

My friend Tracy and I decided to try our own little version of the Iron Chef ... We call it, Iron Chef Tracy and Allyson!! Tracy is an amazing cook and I always learn so much when we are together! :) What better opportunity for a girls night than, cooking, laughing, talking, YUMMY food, wine, and chocolate!!

This week she and I split up all the courses and came up with recipes that had our "secret ingredient" as a main ingredient!! We tried to make the meal dairy free and gluten-free, so that always proposes a slight hurdle when picking recipes!

Without further adieu, are you ready for the SECRET INGREDIENT??

.... BLUEBERRIES!!

Here is the Menu that we came up with .... (links are provided for recipes)

- Fresh Garden Salad (org leaf lettuce, garden basil, fruit (blueberries of course), veggies, and a homemade blueberry balsamic dressing) - Tracy makes the best salad dressings from scratch!

- Rosemary Chicken with Blueberry Sauce - I found this recipe and let me tell you what, it rocked BOTH of our worlds!!! We would both HIGHLY recommend it!!

- Fresh farmer's market green beans (ok, we needed a veggie, but didn't have any blueberries)

- Blueberry Anadama Bread - Tracy found this one and it was awesome! A great bread you could even make GF substituting brown rice flour for the all-purpose flour.

- Dark Chocolate Almond-Blueberry Turtles -- Unfortunately our first attempt with this didn't go so hot. First of all, we both learned that you can't add margarine to chocolate for dipping purposes! Any of you chemistry buffs know why it just makes it hard? Second of all, I learned that chocolate can burn very easily! (Who knew?) I couldn't get the chocolate to melt in a double boiler, so I put it in the microwave ... long story short it burned ... we put water on it ... poured it down the drain .... caused some serious plumbing issues and had to call a plumber! (Good thing one of us knows one pretty well!) Chocolate batch #2 worked much better and provided an amazing end to our amazing meal! (PS. Tracy even had a decaf blueberry coffee -- I was so proud of myself ... I took 3 sips without completely gagging and puking!)

Here are a few pictures journaling our experience! We have already decided we are going to do this again next month! It is my turn to pick the "Secret Ingredient!"


Batch #1 of Chocolate before it burned! Yikes! (At least it still smelled good!)

The blueberry-pomegranate sauce for the chicken simmering!

Tracy cutting up fresh zucchini and squash from her garden for the salad!

The chicken marinating in olive oil, black pepper, and garden rosemary and lemon basil! YUM!

My first attempt at melting chocolate ... after this picture I stuck it in the microwave!
(Bad news bears!)

Something on all 4 burners!

The final presentation .... THE PLATE! It tasted as amazing as it looks! YUM!!

First bite of the amazing turtles!!

After our first edition of IRON CHEF: Tracy and Allyson, I can't wait to cook again! We had such an incredible time together and ate some yummy, healthy, fresh food!!

I am now taking suggestions in the comment section!! Please leave an ingredient that you would like me to use in all courses! I will then blog about the menu and link up recipes!!!

Iron-Chef wanna-be,
Allyson

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Save Energy, Save $!!

Cloth Diapers and Dryer Balls

I have been following (ok, maybe stalking) Melinda on her Buddha Bunz FB page. Over the past few months, everyone in my little "Green-world" has been raving about dryer balls. I thought to myself, "how in the world could those really make a difference." I continued to put off trying them until I talked to Erin, and she convinced me that they really shaved off serious drying time! As many loads of laundry I seem to do these days, I thought ... hum ... wonder if saving energy could really save me decent $$$! Once Melinda hit 1000 FB fans, she put her unscented dryer balls on sale for $5/each. I thought .... now is the time to take the plunge and order 2 of them!

Last week I received my Buddha Bunz Unscented Dryer Balls in the mail (not to mention in a compostable shipping bag which is in our compost bin as I type -- way to go Melinda!)! I am officially HOOKED on the dryer balls. I have done at least 6+ loads of laundry and 2 FULL diaper loads! With each load of laundry, I have seen a minimum of 20 minutes saved and a maximum of 30 minutes! Can you believe it? If I do 10 loads/week (including diapers), that is saving 5 hours of drying time! I can't wait to get my next energy bill to see the savings!!

Head on over to Buddha Bunz's facebook page and or website to see the technology behind the dryer balls and how they could save you $$$$!

Plus, she makes them in many scents if you prefer your clothes to have a "natural fragrance." Her scented balls are OK with cloth diapers too (if you are worried!)

Saving the earth and not to mention some $$$ one load of laundry at a time,

Allyson

Elmo LOVES dryer balls too!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

18 months ALREADY!


I just can't believe my baby girl is 18 months old!! It just seems like yesterday when we were bringing her home from the hospital! Ok, well, maybe not yesterday, but definitely not 18 months later! It has been so fun to watch her grow, develop, and change into such a beautiful young little girl! It seems like she learns a new word each day! I wrote them all down and I counted close to 50 words!! She continues to run, climb, and talk more each week!! Hummm .... wonder where she gets her non-stop talking trait from? One guess ... and it isn't her father!

Yesterday we had her 18 month apt with the doctor and her stats completely blew me out of the water ....

Weight: 27 lbs (75-90%) -- up 3 lbs from 3 months ago

Height: 35.5 inches (off the charts, >100%) -- up 3.25 inches since her 15 month apt!! Now we aren't talking "just barely off the charts," we are talking an inch above the normal growth curve! Guess that is what happens when your parents are 6'1 and 5'8.5!

OFC: 19.25 (back on the charts again, 95-97%, didn't change from her 15 month apt!


I almost fell out of my seat when she told me her height! I knew she had been growing, but no wonder why her 18 month dresses look like they should be a shirt!! Good thing I started buying 4T dresses for next summer!!

In other news, I was able to reconnect with an old friend of mine on Thursday afternoon! Lisa and I worked together at Meijer pharmacy for many years! She was my role model going through pharmacy school and she moved to AZ over 5-6 years ago. We had lost touch over the years until I saw her name in the Butler Alumni magazine for the birth of her twins, just 21 days younger than Sophia!! What are the chances?? I searched for her on FB and google with no luck. I finally got brave and looked up all of the Lisa ___'s in AZ and found one that "could" be hers! I typed up a letter and mailed it! To my surprise, I found the correct one!!! It just so happened she was flying back for the holiday weekend and had some free time!!

It was so fun catching up and letting the kids play together!!

Here is a snapshot of the kiddos after a few hours of playing hard!!
(Believe me, this was really hard to get!)

Sophia, Christopher, and Lauren

Now we have a new place to vacation and friends to visit!! AZ here we come (in the winter months of course!)!!

Allyson