Monday, April 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

In addition to being in the black on our food budget this month, we bought a grill! We ate SO good last night. I seriously start salivating thinking about how delicious our first grill meal was. We had Farmer's Market Zucchini (which G absolutely loved), pork chops, sweet white corn with peppers and onions....and box shells & cheese because when I think of pork chops, I think of Velveeta, so I bought a box special for the occasion of breaking in our grill, a Ducane Affinity 4200 (I'll write more on that in another post).

I also need to write about G's first experience with spaghetti with sauce, and the making of Giada's Chocolate & Cheese Danish--which I altered a bit and devoured Sunday morning.

Onto the main point of this post: our meal plan for the week...as you might imagine, it includes a lot of grilled foods.

Monday: Leftover grilled pork chops, freshly grilled asparagus from the Farmer's Market
Tuesday: Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, salad from the Farmer's Market
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Grilled Brats with whole wheat buns, curly fries, salad
Friday: Baked Fish, pasta with tomato sauce, salad
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Grilled chicken, grilled veggies, pasta with white sauce

Thanks for checking out our dinners, you can find more on OrgJunkie.com

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Our Rainy Saturday in San Francisco

A few weekends ago the weather was dreary, but we decided to head to the city anyways. We had been wanting to do some sightseeing and we weren't going to let a little rain stop us (because it had the previous weekend).

Driving down Hyde Street toward the bay, following a trolley car...in the rain

We attempted to see the Golden Gate Bridge...

I guess there's quite a bit of construction going on around the GGB right now, but we were unaware of that before heading out. I had planned to take us to Fort Point, because it's got great views and wouldn't require us to drive over the bridge (and therefore have to pay to toll to get back into San Francisco). First, there is no good way to get through the city to the Pacific Ocean. The peninsula is super populated, and the prime real estate seems to be between the Bay Bridge and the GGB. We had to cross the Bay Bridge (paying $4/weekday $5/weekend toll to get into the city) and then drive through plenty of unique residential and shopping areas. It was urban-scenic and a fun adventure. When we got close to the GGB and found the exit for Fort Point, we were unprepared for the large amount of people who would still be sight seeing despite the weather. There were several tour buses and loads of cars. We couldn't find a spot to park and my husband kind of got us lost while looping around. G started crying because she was getting hungry, so we just scrapped the plan. We saw the Golden Gate Bridge and kept on driving....

We sipped a seriously strong Irish Coffee at Buena Vista.
So when we decided to head to the city in the rain, I googled 'things to do in San Francisco when it rains' and luckily found a list of free ideas. Now, many  'free' things in the Bay Area aren't really free because there are a lot of stipulations (such as being a resident, or going on specific days), so a lot of those didn't work for us. I did read about a little cafe that is home to the first American Irish Coffee. It's called The Buena Vista and has a great back story. My husband and I love coffee, and have a certain affinity for the Irish (including an occasional whiskey), so I knew this was the perfect stop for us! After the bridge fiasco, we headed back toward Fisherman's Wharf. We lucked out with a cheap-ish street parking spot near the cafe, which is literally a hole in the wall. The place was packed so we walked back and forth trying to find a seat. Finally a little-old-lady waitress told me that people just share seats all the time, so find a spot and sit down. My husband has a small anxiety with people, as in, he doesn't like being around a lot of people, especially ones he doesn't know in a small space. I, on the other hand, don't mind asking personal questions of people I just met. This obviously meant I would be the one to find our table-sharing victims.
I saw a young couple (probably early 30s) at a corner table, who were sitting on the inside chairs and empty plates. I politely asked them if we could share their table and the woman said sure. I apologized but stated that a waitress had told us people do that kind of thing when it's packed. The couple said they had been in our position before, and it was fine, they were even about to leave. We chatted with them for a bit and they recommended the Irish Coffee but said the food, for the price, was only so-so. They were locals who lived just a few blocks up (so I'm sure they are paying a pretty penny for that location) with their dog and had a few suggestions for us since we were new to the area.
After they left we ordered our Irish Coffees, which were delicious, but so strong I couldn't finish mine. The cream on top was the best part because it was so thick that the liquid slipped right underneath (bring a bit of cream with it) as you took a sip. My husband and I took imaginary bets on how much the drink would cost while G smiled and waved at the passerbyers, since our seat was at a perfect window for people watching. We were right 'on the money' with our guesses at $7-8 a pop. They were $7.50. When you consider the famous location and amount of Irish Whiskey in the drink...it doesn't seem as much of a highway robbery.

We ate the most delicious/divine sundae at Ghirardelli Square.

Ghirardelli Square, in my choco-lover opinion, is a must-do experience in the Bay Area. The chocolate is no longer made on sight, but you can eat your cocoa heart out at a few different locations among the shops and restaurants that make up GS. It's right on the Bay and is within walking distance of a few museums and various piers. It's also just down the street from a street car boarding location.

On our way into the gift shop, we each got a sample of the Ghirardelli squares you can find in your local stores. We didn't really look around much because I had one goal in mind: a sundae. The woman at Buena Vista said if you like ice cream, you have to go to the GS ice cream parlor. She was right. We ordered a two scoop cookie sundae--and the cookie was made with Ghiradelli chocolate. The ice cream flavors we chose were Dark Chocolate and Cookie Dough. The sundae came covered in hot fudge, whip cream, and topped with a cherry. If heaven were in a glass bowl...this was it. Some might describe it as sinful...but it's better...it's divine.
They have a small, live-action display of how the chocolate is made.
 They use that chocolate in the parlor.

We walked along Hyde Street Pier.

There are a lot of piers to explore off the Embarcadero, but the weather was so crappy, we just walked down the one nearest GS and the Buena Vista. The Hyde Street Pier is next to the Maritime Museum (pretty much a bust the day we went), and has several ships you can pay ($5) to walk on. We stuck to the pier itself and traipsed along in the rain, with the baby on my back in the Beco. At the end of the pier we could see Alcatraz and with the rainy weather, the view was especially eery.

We ate lunch on the Bay.
We had worked up an appetite with all the rainy day adventures that the sundae just couldn't hold us over. We saw a place just off Hyde Pier that had "Kids Menu" as one of the writings on the windows. G was starving, and the place looked nice, so we chose it. The menu was a bit pricey for what it was, but I supposed Capurro's is a nice seafood restaurant with a decent location. Sadly, there isn't a great view of the Bay. While it's right off the water, there's an employee parking lot behind the building. I ordered the clam chowder in a bread bowl and it was very delicious and perfect for a rain day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Seven Quick Takes vol 21 {+video}


I suppose summer in our area of California has arrived. G got to wear shorts for the first time this summer on Sunday and I grabbed her two pairs of super cute Target shorts on clearance. Tell me she doesn't scream California summer in the ensemble seen in this video I took of her toddling around the park:


There is a current news story going about a Catholic school teacher who is suing her former employer and the diocese. She claims she was fired for having in vitro fertility treatments.
First of all, according to this CNN article, her contract was simply 'not renewed.' It's not like she was abruptly fired in the middle of the school year.
Secondly, the diocese released a statement that according to the same article says, "...that teachers working in the diocese are required to 'have a knowledge and respect for the Catholic faith, and abide by the tenets of the Catholic Church.'" IVF is against the church's teachings. Whatever her personal belief about IVF is...she's a TEACHER (re: example) at a CATHOLIC school and has to lead her outward life as such.  I have encountered many Catholic women who used IVF, and don't pass judgement...so please don't think I'm anti-women, anti-family, or anything like that. God is the only one who can judge...but when you are employed by a private school, you have to make sure you follow their 'rules.' While I think it is kind of her fault for talking about having IVF (because she could have just kept that part to herself), at least she wasn't deceptive.

My big question is ... If a Catholic school teacher was found to use any type of birth control, would he or she be let go too? It's against the church teachings too. What about if a teacher was found to have cheated on her husband? What if a male teacher was found to be a pornography watcher?
I would hope the answer would be yes to all of the above because what good is sending your Catholic kid to a Catholic school if their teachers don't practice what the school/church teaches/believes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Re-Re-Re Sleep Training

I'm currently right where I aimed NOT to be almost a year ago; sleep crazy as a toddler.
When G was three months old I started gentle sleep training and it worked pretty well. Then she got out of it and I re-sleep trained her. It took a while but eventually she got pretty good at putting herself to sleep. We kept going on this sleep crazy roller coaster until I finally just got fed up with what she was "supposed" to do. I decided to just roll with whatever happened--and that included letting her nurse to sleep if she so chose. Sure, there were occasions when she would not nurse to sleep, but over half the time she would, and that spelt trouble. I knew in the back of my mind that would bite me big time some day--and it now has.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

{Food} Wordless Wednesday with #linky

My husband requested Mexican Cornbread Casserole for dinner this week. I've made it one other time and it was so delicious, but this time I decided to play with the recipe. It's seriously soooo yummy! I highly suggest you check out the recipe I came up with. This dish is different from your run-of-the-mill casseroles and is sure to please everyone (though you should alter the spiciness to appease the palates in your house).
served with salad as a complete meal
baked to a perfect golden brown
topped with extra cheese
If you posted a photo today, please link up below!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recipe: Sweet Heat Mexican Cornbread Casserole

I've seen a lot of recipes for Mexican Cornbread Casserole, and I liked a few things from each of them...so I decided to create my own recipe.

 Sweet Heat Mexican Cornbread Casserole 

Servings: 6-8 
Prep: 30-40 minutes 
Cook: 15 - 20 minutes 

Life Lately & Baby Motion Sickness

Sorry for the lack of blogging over the past few days. We had a wonderful trip to Kansas City and I've been getting back into the swing of things. We saw my husband's cousins that we are close with, my sister, my BFF and her daughter, and my mom-idol + her two kids. We ate scrumptious food that A)I didn't cook and B)I didn't clean up...it was lovely. The hotel was nice, and though it wasn't horrible sleeping in the same room as G, it definitely wasn't fun. The flight there was fine. G got a little ancy but thanks to my foremomsight, the Elmo Calls app ($0.99) got us through. I'd highly recommend it for those times you need a little something to occupy the kiddo in a pinch (re: 4 hour flights).

Then there was the flight back to San Francisco............

It was actually going even better than the flight out until about an hour in. Literally out of nowhere, G started throwing up. My poor husband, who was holding her, looked at me, like...do something STAT. I had a mini-freak out as time moved in slow motion, but the puke did not. Both of our trays were down, and I tried to fumble with them while grabbing for those little white bags--you know the ones. There were none to be found, and in the mean time, more puke. I pushed the flight attendant button, hoping they'd come running. Unfortunately our flight attendants weren't too interested in us. The guy took care of a few things before heading our way (I could see him the whole time). When he got to us, his face when white and he was like...oh, okay, I'll be right back. More puke. G had stuffed herself full of treats and watered-down-juice; and we were seeing it all again. Absolutely lovely. My poor husband got the worst of it--his whole lap was covered. He is a way better sport than me--he didn't ever complain. I apologized a million times to him, though I had no control over the incident.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Going to college? CampusBookRentals.com saves you money!

I miss college. I knew I would. It was seriously an awesome time in my life. I grew so much as a person during those five years (switching your major from journalism to sociology to marketing to Math Education tends to tack on an extra year) and I had a lot of fun doing it. Life wasn't all roses, though, because I worked a lot, on top of attending classes. After my freshman year, I paid for pretty much everything, though my parents did help with rent until I got married during my junior year. I learned to cut expenses and one thing that seemed absolutely ridiculous were textbook prices! The campus bookstore was close, but it just seemed crazy to pay $100 for a book I could find elsewhere for $50. After the semester, I'd try to sell the book online, but would never make back what I spent, and sometimes it'd takes weeks or months to get rid of the book (so it'd end up hogging up shelf space in my little apartment). I often wished there was a way to get a book at the library for the whole semester but then return it after my final...you know, like renting a textbook! Why didn't my school bookstore do that?? (I've since found out they now offer some textbooks for rent, but not all)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Real Day in the Life 4/11/12

Last Wednesday I decided to record a 'day in the life' and post it on the blog for a little insight into what being a SAHM looks like for me. Little did I know that was the day G was coming down with a nasty virus! I think it's pretty ironic that the day I try to show what a normal life we lead, she ends up getting really irritable and comes down with a fever before bed. I wanted to share anyways, because with a 14 month old, life is never really 'normal,' is it...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dreaded Coxsackie Virus

For being a breastfed kid, my daughter sure seems to get sick a lot. I know that is supposedly good for her immune system later in life, but it sucks for all of us right now. Big Time--capital B, capital T.

G had a runny nose last Sunday, developed a mild fever Wednesday evening, and a rash started kind of appearing Thursday night but really got going on Friday, and she slept absolutely horribly Thursday night into Friday (up every hour almost, including a 3 hour screaming fit from midnight to 3 am). Something was clearly wrong. The difference in her skin between Friday morning and Friday afternoon was really scary. I, of course, googled some things and determined she must have something like Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease. She hadn't seemed to have anything in her mouth, but everything else fit.

Thankfully her doctor's office was able to get her in Friday afternoon (20 minutes after I called). The doctor confirmed my suspicions, in a way, by saying that this was 99% certainly a Coxsackie Virus (causes HFMD). He wouldn't say 100% without a blood test, which wasn't really necessary because either way we just had to manage her symptoms.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

{My 20th} Seven Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
This time next week, we will be in Kansas City! It's just a short trip back required by my husband's job, but G and I are tagging along (at our cost) to visit some friends and spend extra time with daddy. He doesn't have anything to do on Friday, so we are hoping the weather allows us to go to some outdoor attractions we never saw when we lived there. We have direct flights both going and coming, but that doesn't make flying with a baby easy, so I'm crossing my fingers for the least amount of stress possible. I'm really excited to see loved ones we haven't seen in nearly 2 months, and the comfort of the midwest has been calling my name since we left. EXCITED!

--- 2 ---
Guess who's been sick this week? Yup, the poor baby girl. We had a short play date at a park last Friday, and the little boy we met there had a runny nose. Apparently it leached onto G and she's been fighting some kind of respiratory illness since Sunday. She spiked a fever Wednesday evening but it's been low enough not to warrant medicine or a call to the doctor. Hopefully she kicks it before the beautiful weekend we are supposed to have.

Crafty Momma (2): G's Homemade Easter Dress

I've written a few times about how I got the crazy idea to sew G's Easter dress...and you may remember I explained how my mother is an amazing seamstress but I never really took the time (and she got kind of frustrated with me on several occasions) to master her craft. I have her old sewing machine. This past Christmas I did use a pattern under her direction to sew my husband a pair of boxers for Christmas (complete with dorky holiday print fabric). I've hemmed a few things and I made some curtains for our kitchen, and you may remember the crib rail covers I made. I suppose all of those things gave me the courage to jump right into dress making (which is probably the hardest thing to start out with).
I'll let the pictures take it from here:

I was off to a good start, despite miscalculating the amount of fabric needed
this pattern may have been in English, but it was not easy to understand

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

G's first trip to a Zoo

I love going to zoos, although I don't think I've ever been to more than one (the St. Louis zoo, which is awesome and FREE) until a few days ago.

We took G to the San Francisco Zoo and she loved it, as did we.

She is currently on a big dog kick (almost any animal is 'daw-daw' and she knows 'wooooof' and can spot a dog in any book we read). We don't have any pets, but she LOVES dogs and cats, so I knew she'd enjoy the zoo. We went on the Monday after Easter, and it was very un-busy, sunny, not to cool or hot--so basically it was the perfect time to go. I will get around to writing a review of the SF zoo one of these days.

Here are some photos of our great day.

THE Full House house

This past weekend I fulfilled a personal 'bucket list' item. I found the Full House house. Growing up, I was truly addicted to the show. Before TV on DVD was a 'thing,' my nana recorded all the episodes for me onto VHS. In preschool, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded, "Michelle" (not the Olsen twins, I wanted to literally be Michelle, ouce cream and all).

I recently learned that the Full House house was not actually part of the famous Painted Ladies from the intro credits, as I had assumed. It was a seemingly random house at 1709 Broderick Street. The occupants of the house have since changed its front door to--I can only assume--throw off the swarms of pop culture fanatics looking to find the Tanner family.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

1. So last Friday I mentioned how we had a leaky pipe somewhere in our house that was causing water under the floor in our bedroom. The plumber found a pipe that had a hole in the master bathroom shower/tub. It was kind of a freak accident, actually, because a screw from the faucet piece had "a lot of pressure" against it (duh? water forces it's way into it) and somehow flew out and punctured a pipe in the wall. This was all concealed by the wall, and had been going on for a little over a week. We noticed it because the laminate flooring started to bow and water would squish out of it when pushed on. A baseboard near my closet showed water damage last Wednesday which definitely signaled something was wrong.
Half of our bedroom floor had to be torn up and also part of the hall way. There were two holes cut into our bedroom walls and my closet was not useable. Our bathroom door also had to be taken off and a blower was put in the other bathroom too. The restoration company brought in five blowers and 1 huge dehumidifier. The loss of use of both bathrooms, noise, heat, and unsafe floor caused our landlord to, thankfully, put us up in a hotel last weekend. While I really appreciate that, it did lead to a certain amount of non-productivity on my part. It was nice to be forced to halt my projects/blog writing/cleaning and savor the time with my little family. I was stressed to the max though, especially when the insurance people told me the entire house's floor would need to be replaced. I was freaking out at that point. Luckily my landlord figured out they only said that for cosmetic reasons, and he was fine with just replacing the small area that needed it (even if the shades of laminate are slightly different). By the end of tonight almost everything should be back to normal. My closet will be repainted next week, so it's still not usable until then.

2. I'm so proud of G and her walking. She gotten much petty in the past week. She's able to stand up if she trips, squat down to pick something up, carry things around without losing her balance, turn right angles, walk in circles, go up small differences in elevation, and has started to get a little gait going on (so I know running isn't far behind). It's like watching a small miracle happen before my very eyes. This precious little girl came out of me unable to do much but wiggle, and now she is prancing around, exploring the world! She's a beautiful sight to see and I really enjoy her personality. She's so fun.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Moving across the country: diaper edition

When we found out we would be moving from Kansas to California, we had about two weeks notice. There were a lot of things running around my head; moving check lists, address changes, settling our lease terms, finding a new place to live, how to physically get to California with a baby... but I never even blinked when it came to diapering. We'd obviously continue our cloth diapering.

A year ago, I would have been scared to even think about moving with cloth diapers; but our experiences in cloth have brought us to a point where we trust them and prefer them over disposables. (I do hate to say that I did briefly blame cloth diapers for G's night-wakings about 2 weeks ago). I used to fear traveling with cloth because of the smell and hassle of changing--not to mention trying to find a place to wash them. Thankfully both of G's grandparents used cloth and are okay with me doing laundry at their houses. We've never stayed in a hotel longer than 2 days, so we've been able to skate by on our good size stash. The smell is contained in our awesome travel wet bags (one planet wise and one itti bitti). The 'hassle' of changing a cloth diaper versus a disposable is just something I've gotten used to, and pocket diapers that are pre-stuffed make changing G pretty comparable to using a 'sposie.

I wanted to share how moving across the country in cloth worked for us, incase you ever find yourself in a similar predicament.

#BFBBP Grand Prize from Stokke High Chairs

I have some great news!
The Babies First Birthday Blog Party grand prize is a Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair and the giveaway starts now!!! Melissa at the Mommyhood Chronicles reviewed this item and Stokke is giving away another high chair to our BFBBP participants! You can read Melissa's review on her blog.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Happy Baby Winner

I know many of you have probably been on the edge of your seat waiting to know who won the Happy Baby giveaway (hint of sarcasm because only 35 people entered, which is a shame because these are still G's favorite treats), and without further ado...

Thanks to everyone who entered.

I will be on a brief review/giveaway hiatus because I've been very overwhelmed with real life things the past few weeks, such as moving to California, having a pipe burst in our master bath...you know...the usual.

I'm in a box! Wordless Wednesday

My aunt sent G some super cute clothes and shoes this week... Until she wears them, the box is obviously the star :)