Monday, January 26, 2009

Where Did My Baby Go?

Munch's turning 3 on Tuesday. I don't know how it happened.
On the one hand, 3 years doesn't sound like a whole lot- heck, AudioDad & I have been together for 18 years this coming spring. Munch's presence is a blip compared to that. But on the other hand, I can't remember a time without her. And it's hard to describe that feeling of recognition that swept over me when I first held her (and it's strange now to realize it was actually several hours before I did).


Munch was so tiny (hence the nickname, as well as Peanut) and I remember us just mentally preparing for all unknown consequences of her difficult delivery. I was expecting permanent, or at least long-lasting, damage to her shoulders/arms and lots of physical therapy after she got stuck during the delivery and they broke her collarbone trying to get her out. I remember how she wouldn't feed and I was a wreck every time the nurse visited the house to weigh her. I remember keeping close track of her milestones, wondering when and how we'd see any developmental delays.

One day old- those preemie diapers practically went all the way up her back!


Munch was always a really good baby. She was calm and happy. And during the months that I was home, I just kept telling myself not to worry- that she'd crawl, talk, and walk when she was ready. So, we just had fun- and the time flew.



At some point after the Munchkin's first birthday, I wasn't worried about her being a preemie anymore. Developmentally, she was hitting her milestones without an age adjustment. And like I said in the beginning, I'm not quite sure where my baby went. Because all too soon, she was a big girl.

I can't complain. She's my pal- she's well-behaved and loves to do what I do: shop, go to restaurants, bake, read, more baking, more shopping. And sometimes when it's quiet, she likes to snuggle with me under a big blanket and just be my baby again.

Happy birthday Munch!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hibernating

It's been a while since I last posted. I don't know, there's just something about winter that makes me so LAZY. I don't want to do a thing, and I want to stay in my jammies while I do it (meaning nothing, that is). I work through my piles of magazines and think about all the pots of soup I want to make. What recently caught my eye was a recipe for popovers in Wondertime magazine. (Who remembers that scene in Little Women- the ORIGINAL one- where Amy is feeding the babies bites of popovers? Anyone? Blancmange, on the other hand...) So I made a batch to go with some lentil soup- and now I'm hooked. They're so easy to make (and you don't need a special pan- I just use a muffin tin, although I'm thinking of investing in a popover pan now) and the ingredients are always around. I've made them 3 times this week already! Slathered with blackberry jam, they were quickly devoured!

Now you'd think that with me talking about winter hibernation, it would be chilly and gray out. Well, turns out we've had lovely CA weather (70s to 80s) that AudioDad and Munch made sure to take advantage of. She's making really good progress learning to ride her new bike-

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sigh....

It's been a long week at our house- and not much deliciousness is coming out of our kitchen because we got hit with the stomach flu. It's been saltines and chamomile tea for us. AudioDad might have kicked it off, with a really mild upset stomach over the weekend, but it never got worse than that, lucky guy! Munch took it hardest and threw up in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Thank goodness we've been through this enough times with her before and mostly kept her stomach empty until it passed. She's a happy little sick kid (see previous post) and we had a nice couple of days at home together. I was actually able to do a lot of housework and painted my bathroom in between her napping and playing. It was good to head back to work on Thursday though- I have a hard time being out of the classroom unexpectedly. But by lunchtime, I knew I was in for it, too. I was achy and chilly...and no appetite all day- not like me at all! Munch was adorable though. Once we got home, I went straight to bed and she cuddled and played quietly in my room until AudioDad arrived. She gave lots of love and attention to the dogs for me, then made sure to tuck me in, and gave me a little pat and kiss on the head before heading down to dinner. I sometimes feel guilty about not having more time with her, but those moments remind me we're doing something right...

On another note, a fun something thing to share- during parent-teacher conferences I happened to see an ADORABLE cotton-candy pink watch a mom was wearing. She told me she saw it a while back in the Oprah magazine, but I looked and looked for it online and couldn't find mention of it. In December's issue the magazine did a recap of their favorite gifts and voila! There were the watches! So I quickly got myself over to TOCS watches and picked out this fun little number-


I was tempted to get pink or orange, but figured the "Frosty" would be more versatile- it'll be great for work because it's waterproof (the reason I think my last watch died-it wasn't) and it's really fun looking! With its over-sized face (it will take some getting used to wearing a such a big watch), it's like a Swatch watch (and I know a certain someone who loves those still!) on steroids!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Krispy Peanut Butter Balls



I'm so excited about these, I just had to blog again today! I had already decided that I would be sending Rice Krispie treats to Munch's preschool on her birthday. (As a teacher, I'm not a fan of these huge, frosting laden supermarket cupcakes that kids bring in for celebrations- the aftermath is not pretty. Crumbs everywhere-and they're not easy to sweep/wipe up, frosting everywhere, and usually most of the cupcake gets tossed in the trash.) But I was recently flipping through the December Oprah magazine and saw these yummy looking Rice Krispie balls that had peanut butter and mini chocolate chips mixed in- you know I had to try them! To see the original recipe, click here. It doesn't seem to make many- about 15 golf-ball sized treats. Cute if you're going to package several up for a friend. But for a class treat, I knew I'd need to increase the recipe- this should make enough bigger treats for a class (and don't forget the teacher!)

1/4 c. butter or stick margarine
16 oz. bag marshmallows
1 1/2 c. peanut butter
11 c. Rice Krispies cereal
3/4 c. mini chocolate chips
1 c. Heath toffee bits

Melt butter or margarine in a large saucepan (I used my 6 qt. stockpot) over low heat. Add the marshmallows and peanut butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add the cereal, chocolate chips, and toffee bits. Stir quickly until well combined. Using your hands, shape the mixture into balls (coat your hands with oil first if you need to) about the size of an ice cream scoop. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve (if you don't eat half the batch before then!)

Check Out This Giveaway!

Thanks to Sasha for alerting me to this fabulous giveaway- you've got to check it out & enter!

Friday, January 9, 2009

So Cute!

Now that we're done with the holidays, I'm fully into birthday party planning mode. Munch turns 3 at the end of the month, so I'm planning her first "friends" party. Just like with this past Christmas and Halloween, she's old enough to participate in some of the decision making (guest list) as well as understand and remember what's going on. There's a nice equestrian center that we pass daily on the way to daycare. We always wave hello to the horses in the morning and afternoon. So when I found out they did parties, I jumped on it- and I'm crossing my fingers that we get a nice, warm CA winter day.
In searching for invites and party favors online, I came across a great place that does adorable photo cards with a "scrapbook" feel- Heavenly Impressions. Rachel was super easy to work with and my invitation cards turned out great- here's a look:



Be sure to visit her site- there are so many great cards that she can help you create! Now, I've just got to get those goodie bags, menu, and cake figured out!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Grocery Finds

I was at the grocery store recently and happened to pass the British foods display. This unfortunate item happened to catch my eye-



Now, maybe it's just me (and the whole "fresh from the farmers' market" mentality here), but yuck! What sounds more unappetizing than canned peas, and smooshy ones at that? Turns out you can use them to make things like green pea fritters, but I think I'll pass.

However, I had forgotten about this other find and recently unearthed it from the corners of my pantry-



From the website, it seems that it's being marketed as a flavor enhancer for water. I found it next to the drink mixes, Crystal Light and such. But the reason I picked it up is that it had the potential to make my lemon snowballs the zingy little treat that I wanted them to be. These citrusy cookies were tucked into my holiday cookie baskets and trays this past Christmas. They're inspired by a delicious lemon cookie that Williams-Sonoma used to sell when I worked there SO long ago- I'm almost positive it was the Nikki's brand. They were basically a lemony shortbread-like, but possibly drier, cookie, dusted in powdered sugar, but with a really lemony zing. I was positive there was powdered lemon mixed into the powdered sugar coating, but it was impossible to find, except for a couple of random people who sold to bakeries. So I shelved the idea of replicating it until I came across the True Lemon at the grocery store.

I adapted a recipe for lemon cookies that was similar to a Mexican wedding cookie or Russian Tea cake. I'm not sure I quite have it just the way I want it, but it's a good start-



Lemon Snowballs
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 tbs. lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
additional powdered sugar for rolling cookies (about 1 1/2 c.)
2 packets True Lemon

Combine the butter and 1/3 c. powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Beat until fluffy using a mixer at medium speed. Add lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour and salt and mix well. Cover and chill dough for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls, leaving about an inch between cookies. Bake for about 15 minutes until set, and lightly golden around edges. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before rolling in a mixture of powdered sugar and contents of True Lemon packets. Allow cookies to cool completely on a rack before rolling in mixture a second time.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Recap

It's been a week now since Christmas and I'm barely feeling like things are "back to normal". AudioDad's been busy taking the trees down and putting decorations away. The holidays were fun with Munch being able to participate more- not sure how much she really understood, but she went with it okay.
The day before Christmas we headed off to Jelly Belly for Munch's first Santa visit. I've been carefully preparing her (don't want a crying kid!) with Santa stories and waving at the mall Santa whenever we walked by. She was so excited as we waited in line, but got a little shy once she got closer. Munch did great though, making sure to tell Santa she wanted a pink bike with a basket.



For Christmas Eve dinner, I tried a new recipe off C. Beth's blog for Indian fry bread.



It was delicious and easy! We spread them with black beans, added toppings, and ate them taco-style. After dinner, the Munchkin made a plate of cookies for Santa-



then we mixed up some reindeer food (oatmeal with sparkly pink sugar sprinkles)



to sprinkle on the lawn-



Munch said goodbye to Doodle and scampered off to bed. The next morning, she got up nice and early. She carefully arranged all her presents on the coffee table as she opened them-



and one of Grandma's gifts made us all giggle-



a nice, big roll of bubble wrap for dancing on!
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