Monday, July 30, 2012

That's What They Said: Past and Present

I have been meaning to write something like this for a while; the kids say such hilarious/precocious/adorable things on a daily basis and I want to record them in some way so badly.  So here it is.  Hopefully this will be the first of many such "official" posts.  Enjoy!  (The "past" quotes were taken from Facebook posts; the "present" ones were taken from the few days it took for me just to write this post.)


Baylor:  (straining) Mollie, don't lay on me!
Amalia:  I just resting!


Baylor:  I've gotta take a break (from eating applesauce) ... I need to dance!


Amalia:  (upon opening her doll's diaper)  Holy mackerel!


Baylor:  (to Amalia)  Let's play nicely.  May I sit with you?
Amalia:  (smiling)  Yes!
Then they read a story together.


Me:  Baylor, do you know what I love more than mint?
Baylor:  What?
Me:  You!
Baylor smiles.
Baylor:  Mom, you know what I love more than you?  The elevator ... at Thousand Oaks!


Baylor, after skinning his knee on our walk:  It looks like ketchup under a bandaid!


Baylor, talking about visiting his new baby cousin:  Are they waiting for us?
Me:  Yes.
Baylor: Are they doing it?
Me:  Doing what?!
Baylor:  Taking the baby out.
Me: (relieved) No, they already did that earlier.
Baylor:  They took him out and he said, "Elevator!"


Baylor, taking swigs of imaginary liquid out of an empty vanilla extract bottle:  This must be root beer or wine.  It came from the trunk.  It must be wine.
Me:  Wine?
Baylor:  Yeah, wine.  (takes another imaginary drink)  I like wine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Low Sodium Recipe: Lasagna

Lasagna is, without a doubt, one of my favorite foods.  So it just about broke my heart to find out that most lasagna recipes are loaded with sodium.  Both of my low sodium cookbooks have lasagna recipes in them, but none of them looked A: easy, or B: delicious so I ditched the books and headed straight for the internet.  I found one on that looked good, but it called for an "envelope of spaghetti sauce mix" which is just fancier phrasing for "Italian spices and TONS of salt".  A few more searches and a couple of test runs, and I am pretty darn happy with the low sodium lasagna recipe I've come up with.  Is it the lasagna I've been in love with all of my life?  Certainly not.  But it's good in its own way, and best of all ... I don't have to freak out about the sodium content while I eat it.  Win-win.

Low Sodium Lasagna


1 lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey (I use the latter)
1 small onion chopped
1 can (28 oz.) no salt added crushed tomatoes  (this is tough to find; look for Cento brand tomatoes)
1 3/4 cups water
1 can (6 oz.) no salt added tomato paste
1 Tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups (16 oz.) low sodium, low fat cottage cheese  (Breakstone's makes a good one that should be easy to find)
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
6 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


In a large saucepan, cook beef/turkey and onion medium heat until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are tender; drain.  Stir in the tomatoes, water, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, combine the egg, cottage cheese, and Parmesan cheese.  Remove the bay leaf.  Spread 2 cups meat sauce in a 13" x 9" baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Layer with three noodles, half of the cottage cheese mixture, and half of the remaining meat sauce.  Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees.  Uncover; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted.  Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

With all the cheese, this obviously isn't a low, low sodium recipe, but it's light years better than most other lasagna recipes.  Selecting your ingredients wisely is key; you wouldn't believe all the things they add sodium to.  Just take the time to read labels, and you should be able to find everything you need to make this a healthier dish.


Friday, July 13, 2012

The Kids' First Movie Night!

For the kids' first movie night, we let them choose from a few Pixar movies they'd never seen: A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc., and Toy Story 2.  Without hesitation, they chose A Bug's Life; unfortunately that was the only one I really hadn't seen, so I had no idea what to expect.  To squeeze the whole movie in before bed time, we started it before dinner, stopped to have pizza and breadsticks (a favorite meal they plow through with relative speed), and then started it back up again.

There were a few tense moments when the grasshoppers were around, but all in all they did really well.

Sadly, the second movie night did not go so well.  The kiddos chose Monsters Inc., and it proved to be too scary for Mollie.  Three sleeps (two nights and a nap) past it and there have been many, many tears shed.  Lesson learned ... even if you've seen the movie, you should probably screen it first before you show it to your kids.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Haircuts for the Lot of Ya!

It's clear as day when Baylor needs a hair cut, especially in the summer when a thick mop of hair like he has only serves to make him warmer when he least needs it.  Mollie, on the other hand, is a bit of a mystery.  At the end of spring she and I decided that we'd try growing out her hair so she could wear it in a ponytail like mommy.  Cut to July, and after asking her about it, she informed me that she would in fact NOT be wearing her hair in any sort of tail.  Haircuts for the lot of ya, then!

I love watching Baylor get his hair cut when it's super shaggy like that ... it's like they're shearing a sheep!

I couldn't believe how long his hair had gotten.  Bye bye mohawk!

In the end, Mollie ended up with a cute chin-length bob, and Baylor ended up looking a bit like a Marine.

But now they're both cooler in this unbelievable heat we've been having, so it's a win all the way around.

Dam, Dinner, and Dessert!

We took advantage of some lovely weather a couple weeks ago and had a fun little night out in Rockford.  As usual we started off the evening with dinner at Marinades.  Of course, I left the diaper bag in the car, bringing only my purse with me, so I was left with little to entertain the kids.  But Baylor was cool with browsing through my library book (The Happiness Project ... check it out if you haven't yet!) ...

... while Mollie hammed it up for the camera then took it for a spin herself.

After polishing off almost an entire pizza and an order of breadsticks, we went for a walk in the park by the dam.  Mollie was all sorts of excited to get up and run around ... maybe because she was so colorfully decked out in her new dress, necklace, bracelet, and bonnet.

Of course, the enormity of all that water rushing over the dam can stop anyone in their tracks.

For a little while, anyways.

I begged the kids to stop and stand next to each other so I could take their picture.  I am not sure they know what "look at mommy" actually means.

Next time, try to remember not to attempt to take a picture of the kids head-on while standing near a fascinating landscape water feature.  Aren't they adorable, though?

We finished up at the dam and made our way over to Rocky's for some ice cream.

The weather was steamy so our ice cream melted way faster than usual, but we had a great time enjoying it together.  And, in the end, that's all that matters really.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Festival 2012: Two Days of Fun!

The weather was not overly promising for Festival this year, but somehow we managed to visit two days in a row!  According to one Festival worker, the weather on Friday was so bad that it kept most people away ... attendance was the worst she thought she'd ever seen.  So it was no surprise that it was super busy for the events on Saturday and Sunday.

The kids were not overly excited about going, largely because they had no idea what to expect.  But I think in the end they ended up having a good time.

Mollie starting things off fashionably with a double-dose of sunglasses.  

She eventually settled on the zebra pair and we set off for some chilly Festival fun.  I can't remember ever going to Festival this bundled up, and even with sweatshirts on we still got cold when we stopped to eat.

We had the kids' caricatures done for the first time.  It turned out great (hopefully I'll remember to post a picture of it on here sometime), but it wasn't a whole lot of fun for the kids.  Granted, it didn't take long, but they didn't seem to be in a cooperative mood.  Mollie wouldn't even give us the satisfaction of smiling even once.  And Baylor was too busy chatting with the artist and turning his head pointing out this or that.  Still, it was a fun experience.

Baylor has a fun book called Signs in Our World that includes a "No Dumping ... Drains to Ocean" sign in it.  So, needless to say, he was thrilled to see the Michigan variation of the sign spray painted on the streets of Grand Rapids.  And of course, being who I am, I just had to snap a picture of it.

Both days we attended we watched people dance, and the way Mollie responded to it convinced me that she will likely be in dance lessons before I know it.

I packed the kids a lunch both days as I didn't want to have to worry about what they were going to eat, and I'm so glad I did; it gave us the freedom to get them lunch as soon as they needed/wanted it without having to search out the perfect festival food for them.  They were more than welcome to try whatever the adults were having, but at least I could count on the fact that they had had something nutritious and to-their-liking in case they didn't want to partake.  Of course, we had to eat in front of the clock tower.

Once the kids were fed, I walked over to my favorite stand and got some pierogis.  Much to Bryson's surprise I bought six of them ... way more than I could eat myself ... but I thought he and the kids might like to share them with me.  I was right!  And Baylor loved it!  Kid after my own heart, I tell ya.

We listened to some music and enjoyed the coolness of the day.

Soon it was time to go, but before we left we just HAD to get dessert.  Grilled cinnamon roll, anyone?

Since she isn't a huge fan of sweets, Mollie looked for other ways to entertain herself while we were snacking.  Jumping off the curb is great fun!

After analyzing the covered parking meters and wondering who had the key to unlock it ...

... Baylor rather hastily informed us that he had to go potty.  Bryson sprung into action and found the nearest port-a-potty he could.  And that is where our nightmare adventure began.

It took Mollie and I a second to find the guys as they had sprinted off rather quickly, but in no time we had located the handicapped john they had fled to.  As we stood outside and waited, I began to wonder what was taking them so long.  Then, Bryson popped his head out the door and asked if I had any Clorox wipes; the seat was disgusting.  I didn't, but I had some other wipes that worked out well enough.  More waiting ensued, then Bryson popped his head out again and insisted we come in there with the diaper bag.  As it turns out, Baylor hadn't had an accident, per se, but certain parts of his anatomy hadn't been pushed down at certain critical points in the event and now his underwear and pants were soaked.

I have to say, going into a port-a-potty is no fun when you're by yourself, but being in there with both your kids and your husband is a nightmare.  I spent most of my time barking at Mollie not to touch anything and memorizing which fingers I would later need to sterilize, while Bryson tried to get Baylor's clothes changed without touching ANY surfaces.  We both failed.

The next day we went to Festival with our friends Trevor and Mackenzie, and the weather was much warmer.  I packed all three kids a lunch, and they enjoyed their meal while watching a folksy little band that included a lady playing a washboard.

We had a lot of fun until the very end when Mollie and Mackenzie went on a giant tire swing.  Mackenzie had a great time on it, but Mollie began sobbing after the guy pushing the swing made it spin a little.  After watching a little swing dancing while the other kids were using the potty, she calmed down and happily rode home.

As always, Festival didn't disappoint, and I am so looking forward to going back again next year.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mollie, Budding Photographer

While Baylor may be king of the Legos around here, Mollie is quickly becoming our family's newest photographer.  So often it starts with me taking her picture, which is followed by her simply request, "Mollie take picture (of) Mommy."  After much warnings and cautions I usually let her - as long as her hands are clean, of course - and soon I tend to forget she is holding my precious camera; ADD is amazing like that.  In the end, I find some pretty adorable photos on my camera and I thought I'd share with you some of Mollie's latest works.  Enjoy!