Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Scary Story

What better way to start off the Halloween festivities than with a sick child? We were determined to do it “right” this year and Jacinta drew the short stick, so she got to usher in the fun by spending 24 hours vomiting. Thanks for taking one for the team, Jacinta.

It all started one dark and stormy night. Wait. It was actually a warm and sunny afternoon, because we live in Arizona. So one sunny Saturday afternoon we traipsed off to church to welcome our new niece and her very new little friend into the fold. The baptism ceremony was unique in that both girls shared the same first name, and the parents of each child were the godparents of the other. Just pause and think about it for a minute, it will make sense. It sounds like it could be the scenario for a strange nightmare – “And the couples walked in the church, only to find out that they had named their children the SAME NAME…dun dun DUN!” – but that’s not the scary part.

At the reception, my sister-in-law had just finished telling us of their adventures the night before with a recalcitrant water heater and the “handyman” who almost fixed it for them. Not wanting to be outdone in bad luck stories, I in turn shared our struggle with diaper rash last week, which included cleaning up pee underwear, poo underwear, poo crib, poo Jacinta and dog vomit. That last one had nothing to do with diaper rash, but it happened the same day. And just because Paul cleaned it up doesn’t mean it didn’t majorly gross me out. *shudder*

Possessing perfect timing, Jacinta chose that moment to open up and spew her lunch across the couch in true zombie fashion. I defy any undead being who calls themselves a zombie to top her perfect form. After the second time this happened, I decided to take her home.

We walked into the spooky old house…wait. It’s not that old, and not very spooky even with the spider webs I managed to drape over the chandelier. We walked into our house where several repeat performances induced me to call the nurse on call for our pediatrician. Since Jacinta didn’t have a fever or any other symptoms, we really just had to wait it out and try to get some fluids in her to keep dehydration at bay.


Scary Story 2

That proved a little difficult, as it was hard to resist feeding her when she was obviously hungry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so excited for a dropperful of Pedialyte. But I learned the hard way that her little tummy just wasn’t ready to nurse, even if she thought she was.


Scary Story 3

She finally fell asleep around midnight and slept until about seven. No vomiting, so I nursed her and put her back to sleep while I took my turn to go to Mass. She had just woken up when I got home, and was obviously relieved that I was back so she could expel the vomit she had been saving for my dry-clean only skirt. Back to the Pedialyte.

So, here we are, a few hours into the Pedialyte regimen and looking forward to a Halloween full of…well, I won’t describe it. We wanted Jacinta to be a ladybug, but she decided to be a zombie instead. Maybe she can be a zombie ladybug.


Zombie Cinta

The End.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Tasty Tuesday

I made Broccoli Cheese soup last night. This has been one of our standby recipes for a while. Hits the spot every time!

I found the recipe on a few years back, and just tweaked it a little to suit our taste.

My changes:

  • I use fresh broccoli most of the time, though frozen works fine.
  • I use butter instead of margarine. Yech!
  • I leave out the onion. I started making this recipe before I really started appreciating onions, and I just can’t bear to change it now.
  • I use half Velveeta, half sharp cheddar.

Tasty, comfortable and warm. Perfect now that the weather is (finally) cooling. And it gets some vegetables in Veronica, as long as the broccoli is chopped small. That alone makes it a favorite in my book.

Check out some other Tasty Tuesday recipes!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Boo at the Zoo!

Saturday we took Veronica and Jacinta to the zoo for their Halloween event, “Boo at the Zoo!”


Zoo 1

Veronica is always excited to see the animals.


Zoo 2

Jacinta was interested in other things.


Zoo 3

Throughout the day, they had pumpkin feedings for various different animals. Not all the animals like pumpkins.


Zoo 5

Like the elephant. She got to eat this scarecrow instead.


Zoo 4

I don’t know what it was about Jacinta that day, but she had an uncanny ability to attract flies. She didn’t seem to care about it as much as I did though.

“Mom, why do you keep waving your hand in my face? I’m trying to get my toes in my mouth.”


Zoo 6

The gibbons had already eaten when we passed by them.


Zoo 8

But we were in time to catch the warty pigs! Not that warty pigs are usually high on my animal priority list, but they were actually kind of cute. Apparently they really like being petted, so when the keeper crouched down they all just flopped down next to her, waiting for their belly rubs.


Zoo 9

Then they got their treats. The keepers threw these paper bags full of produce around the enclosure. This guy went from bag to bag, eating what he wanted out of it before running to the next one. I’m not sure what exactly was his favorite, but he made sure he got it out of each and every bag.


Zoo 10

We finally made it over to the pumpkin patch.


Zoo 11

Veronica got up close and personal with the rhino. Well, his picture anyway.


Zoo 12

She got to see the anteater, too.


Zoo 13

The mandrills had just been given their pumpkins when we arrived. If I had to guess, I’d say they actually like the pumpkins.


Zoo 14

More than the rhinos did.


Zoo 15

They had other things in mind.


Zoo 7

Another fly. They were really everywhere. Well, everywhere that Jacinta was.


Zoo 16

The lions didn’t get pumpkins. Somehow I don’t think they cared.

This is the most alert I’ve ever seen the lions at this zoo. Yes, I said alert. We’re talking about lions here.


Zoo 17

The tiger, on the other hand, was in his usual napping spot down by the wall of his enclosure. I think he is there 99% of the time.

They did a pumpkin feeding for the tiger, but we were all getting tired by then and didn’t stick around. I am kind of curious how they were going to coax a giant cat to eat a pumpkin.


Zoo 18

We passed the giraffes on the way out. They have one of the best enclosures in the whole zoo. Wait…what is that giraffe doing?


Zoo 19



Zoo 20

This was the only time I’d ever seen a giraffe sit like this. Kind of funny looking. He seems like he’s listing to the side a bit, though.


Zoo 21

Veronica is happy to go to the zoo anytime, but it really was the perfect day for it. Cool breeze, warm sun, and lots of fun!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Small Successes Thursday, October 21st


It’s important for moms everyone to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.

1. I cleaned up my messy corner of the couch. It’s where I set things that I’m “working on”. Some things found homes, some things found the trash can.

2. I logged my transactions into Quicken every day this week. I had gotten way behind, but I really want to take more care with our spending so I’m trying to do it every day.

3. All the laundry is put away. Yay!

What were your small successes this week?

Monday, October 18, 2010


We got Chinese take-out on Friday. We don’t eat out (or order in) very often, but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do the cooking. And I do so love Chinese food. Which is why I’m still not sure how Paul ended up choosing both of our entrees. But that’s not the point of this post.

We have two very large greyhounds who are always intensely interested in what is being served at the dinner table. They have been this way since we adopted them four years ago. I assume most other dogs share the same interest. But while they would eagerly devour any meat, cheese or popcorn product they were given - provided it was buttered popcorn, of course - they consistently turned up their noses at vegetables and fruits. Unless said veggies or fruits were spoiled. But that’s not the point of this post, either.

After Veronica started eating food on her own, dinner-time became Deja and Hammi’s favorite time of day. They could count on some kind of tasty leftover coming their way, in the form of Veronica’s dirty tray set on the ground for them to clean up. And yes, we washed the tray thoroughly each time after they were done.

It got to the point where it didn’t even matter what was left on The Tray – they would eat it. Veggies, rice, noodles…you name it. If it came from The Tray it was desirable, and they would dive headfirst into the food without a second thought about what they were actually eating.

They don’t get to eat off The Tray much anymore, but there is still a little bit of that intent disregard, that incredible focus that greyhounds have that allows them to see only that they are getting FOOD and not what kind of food it might be. Even if it’s just on a regular plate, or in their bowls, instead of The Tray.

So occasionally we try to trick them.


Dogs 1

Food food food food food food. This came from the dinner table so it must be good.”


Dogs 2

Hey…This tastes like duck sauce but it is definitely not duck.”

This was after he licked all the sauce off of it.


Dogs 3

And Hammi…he avoided that cabbage like the plague, while still trying to lick up his share of the sauce.

We didn’t manage to trick them into actually eating the veggies this time, but it was funny watching them try to eat around them. Especially since there really wasn’t any other food in the container. Just leftover flavor. But sometimes that’s all a dog needs.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What’s black and white and keeps your children up at night?

Skunk post

Veronica has been refusing to go to bed on time all week. Long after lights-out, the sounds of Tuffins and her merry band of stuffed animals can be heard, despite repeated attempts to return her to her pillow. When she finally would fall asleep, it was on the floor surrounded by all her shirts she pulled out of her dresser, and we would try to gently return her to her bed before heading to bed ourselves.

Last night was different. Whether it was the culmination of several late nights and early mornings, or some other unknown quantity, it wasn’t long before Veronica was sleeping soundly with Lion tucked securely under her arm. When we peeked at her before going to bed, a slight shift to put her head back on her pillow was all that was needed.

Fast forward to 3:00 am. A shriek comes over the monitor, followed by calls for Daddy. Daddy rises and hurries across the house. Mommy follows groggily.

By the time I got there, Paul was headed to the kitchen to refill Veronica’s drink. That is not at all unusual for her to wake and cry about, so I sat on the bed next to her where she was eyeing her pile of blankets with trepidation. Maybe it wasn’t just the empty cup that was bothering her.

“Mommy, there’s a skunk in my blankets.”


While we had been reading a kid’s animal encyclopedia earlier that day, and we did come across the “stinky skunk”, there was nothing to indicate that it had affected her in any particular way. In fact, if she was going to have nightmares about anything, I would have expected it to be about this video we watched on the internet together.

But somehow the “stinky skunk” stuck with her, and she awoke thirsty and also convinced there was a large rodent in her blankets. Luckily Daddy managed to convince her that the skunk had gone home to sleep, and that she should do the same. We tucked her back in, and returned to finish our night of sleep.

She remembered the skunk when she woke up this morning, and I have a feeling that it will be a conversation piece for quite some time. Our nightly ritual will likely now include an inspection of blankets for sneaky skunks that will be told firmly to go home because it is bedtime.

So if your child awakes crying in the night, be sure to check her blankets for skunks. You never know when the little critters may appear, and vigilance is the only sure way to avoid their blanket-stealing antics. Which is why I feel this information is important enough to share with all you fellow parents, so you can be prepared.

You’re welcome.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Comparison: 6 Months

I’m late posting my comparison again this month. Not that that is a surprise. I can’t believe it’s already the middle of October. Sheesh! Where is the time going? Please come back. Please? Or at least slow down a little so I can catch up.


6 months Veronica 3

We were definitely well into feedings by the time Veronica was 6 months. I think she started cereal around 5 1/2 months or so, and by this time, she was testing her first veggies.


6 months Jacinta 1

Jacinta has really taken to eating cereal. She devours it! The concept of a spoon - which has to be repeatedly refilled - is a little frustrating for her. She wants the continuity of nursing, but the tastiness of cereal!

We started the cereal a little later (not because having two kids is busier or anything) and haven’t quite started veggies or fruits yet, but I’ve got some frozen and ready to go. I think she is more than ready.


6 months Veronica 2

Veronica still wins the chunky baby award, hands-down. There is just no competing with her little rolls. And the cheeks! I love the cheeks.

Favorite starfish, om nom nom.


6 months Jacinta 3

Jacinta has definitely put on some extra chunk since she started eating cereal though. Her hair is a little lighter than it was when she was born, and it hasn’t fallen out quite as much as Veronica’s did around the sides and back. No bald spot for Jacinta! If she’s not nursing, she’s likely to be found with her two fingers in her mouth. Two fingers can’t compare with Mommy, but they come close.

She does not like tummy time very much, but we are slowly lengthening the amount of time she will stay that way. She definitely knows what she wants (toys, the tablecloth, occasionally my keyboard), and will reach and strain for it with her whole body. She loves her big sister and often smiles or giggles at Veronica’s antics. She loves when people sing songs to her and she will join in, too!

This morning Jacinta woke up at 4:30 am (thanks) and when she was finished nursing, she decided it was time for a song. I told her to “Shhhhh!” and she proceeded to make breathy noises for the next ten minutes or so instead. “Ahhhhhhhhhh….”

We are having so much fun with both of our precious girls. And it’s fun to see them begin to have fun with each other.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Small Successes Thursday, October 7th


It’s important for moms everyone to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.

1. I’ve managed to use or freeze most of the produce we’ve been getting each week from Bountiful Baskets. Hardly anything has spoiled, which is good because I hate wasting food. And I can now count blanching among my culinary skills!

2. I shipped a box off to my brother in Afghanistan. He’s a linguist in the Marines and they don’t have much out in the middle of the desert. I baked some cookies (hopefully they won’t be too stale by the time they get there!), picked up some used books since he is in desperate need of reading material, and even stuffed in a few packages of Ramen noodles since they need quick, hot meal options available. Thank goodness for the special military flat rate shipping boxes!

3. I’ve started pureeing and freezing fruits and veggies for Jacinta. She is a couple weeks into eating cereal and loves it! We will be ready with our fruit and veggie cubes when she starts eating more foods.

What were your successes this week?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Minestrone


Last week I made this Minestrone soup that The Pioneer Woman posted on her blog recently. The pictures lured me in, it just looked fantastic.



Photo by Ree Drummond


And it tasted fantastic, too! I did have to add an additional 4 cups of liquid to mine. I think my zucchini and yellow squash were on the big side. I may just do one of each next time, it made A LOT of soup. I also substituted Great Northern Beans for Cannelini Beans, since that’s what I had in my pantry. I’m looking forward to making it again when the weather cools a bit!

Here is the recipe:

  • 2 whole Zucchini, Halved, Cut Into Strips, Then Cubed
  • 2 whole Summer Squash, Halved, Cut Into Strips, Then Cubed
  • 8 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Stems Removed And Quartered
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons (additional) Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Carrots, Washed And Sliced (not Peeled)
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, Sliced (leaves Included)
  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 2 cans Cannelini Beans, Rinsed
  • 1 cup (heaping) Cut Green Beans, Fresh Or Frozen
  • 1-½ cup Medium Or Small Pasta Shells, Uncooked
  • 1 can (14.5) Diced Tomatoes With Juice
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoons Turmeric (optional)
  • Parmesan Cheese, Shaved
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Toss cubed zucchini, squash, and mushrooms in a bowl with olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Arrange onto two sheet pans (to avoid crowding) and roast in the hot oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until brown and black parts begin to show. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, and celery and stir to cook for 3 minutes. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for ten minutes.

Add cannelini beans and green beans. Cook on low for five minutes. Add pasta and cook for an additional five minutes. Add canned tomatoes, stir, and cook for an additional five minutes on low heat. Check for seasonings, adding salt, pepper, and turmeric.

Add roasted vegetables at the very end. Stir and allow to simmer and heat for a few minutes before serving. Be sure to check seasoning! Add more broth if necessary to increase liquid amount.

Serve with Parmesan shavings and crusty Italian bread.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Daddy Cricket

The other day I whacked a cricket with my sandal, then shoved it behind the fish tank because I didn’t feel like cleaning it up. Squashed bugs are gross. And I don’t like touching them, even through a napkin or whatever.

Fast forward to the next evening. I was doing my business in the bathroom – not that kind of business, the number one kind – when I hear Veronica squeal from the family room “It’s a Daddy Cricket!!!”

At this point I should probably mention two things.


Daddy Cricket

1. Veronica loves bugs. She has been known to handle – and yes, even eat – “little bugs” that she finds around the house. They are her best friends, aside from Hammi, Deja, Lion, Dinosaur, Pink Bear, Piggy, Sheep, Turtle, Curious George, Monkey and “Shampoo” Whale. And Orangutan. And Jacinta.

2. Dead is not really in Veronica’s vocabulary. So the first time we found an expired insect of the chirping kind, I said “dead” cricket and she heard “daddy” cricket. And, dead or alive, she has called them that ever since.

Naturally, I was concerned that said “Daddy Cricket” may end up in her hand or – sweet mercy, no – her mouth. But seeing as I was in the middle of something, ahem, I couldn’t jump up and stop her. Suddenly, the bathroom door burst open and Veronica made a beeline for the toilet paper. With some help from me, she secured herself a square and trotted out of the bathroom.

Seconds later, she was back, “Daddy Cricket” firmly tucked into the square of toilet paper.

Look Mommy, Daddy Cricket. I throw it away.”

And she did. I may never have to dispose of another insect again.

Bless you, my child.