june in full swing

Not only does June hold the date of Elle’s birth, Father’s Day and me and Kurt’s anniversary, but my Mom and his Dad have birthdays just one day apart.  June is PARTY TIME around here!  We’ve had eating out, BBQ-ing, desserts and gifts coming out our ears and it’s been fun fun FUN!
We got to celebrate JoJo and Grandpa this week!
We are so blessed with parents who are so active in our lives.  They are always around to grab a quick cup of coffee or a beer.  To go shopping or to Fudd’s.  To talk or email.  We do not question for a single second that these 2 parents of ours would be, in a seconds notice, wherever we invite them to be.  We love you Jo and Dad!  Happy Happy Birthday!
Love, Dani and Kurt

On the food front:
I LOVE summer BBQ food!  Inspired by my favorite current appetizer at Savoy, we grilled up some bread with olive oil and sea salt.
Kurt (yes Kurt!) made Hummus. Garbanzo beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika on top.
I diced grape tomatoes, pecorino romano cheese, salami, baby bell peppers, red onion and kalamata olives then dressed it in this Giada De Laurentiis red wine vinaigrette.
It was good.  So, if you invite us to a BBQ this summer you’ll likely get to try this one 😉
Looking for a yummy, hold on – YUMMY – dessert? Head over to Farina for some Butterscotch Budino.  A delicious, not too sweet butterscotch pudding with caramel sauce and a little sea salt crunch.  SOOOOO not my usual dessert craving but after my courtesy bite, I could not stop my spoon from diving in again and again.  While you’re there better try the Chicken Cesar Salad (a special that was so good I think I’ll call in to the owner this week and beg him to put it on the menu) . . . it had the most AMAZING croutons, herb rubbed chicken and avocadoIf you have room after that, maybe throw in a Carni Curate Pizza (well, if you really really like meat).
Can anyone tell I’m hungry this morning?
And…
She got it!  We’ve got a toddling walker.  One month from her first step and she pretty much prefers walking over crawling.  She falls a lot.  She cries a lot. But when she has a good run she is oh-so-proud of herself! 🙂
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our version of a beach bod

With a beach vacation on the horizon and swimsuit wearing looming, we are focusing on healthy snacking over here.  I am not one of those gals who does very well going without things that I love, thrives on having a deadline, or who can really even function with any type of diet.  So, my beach bod goals:

Acceptance.

To feel healthy.

Embrace my strength.

Get energized.

For me, step 1 is buying a swimsuit that fits well.  This means some much needed boost (another thing nobody thought to tell me about breastfeeding 2 babies) and the right size to cover everything and allow me to play with the beauties. Two, to add as many healthy snacks as I can.  I don’t plan on cutting out sugar or booze or fat… I just hope that in adding healthy options to our fridge maybe I won’t have as much room for the junk that I tend to go for when I haven’t eaten all day. I want to focus on rest and sleep.  I will try to relax and just get done the things that are necessary and try to take advantage of the sleep time that Elle offers!  Kurt and I have also committed to a minimal number of workouts before we go.  Things that we consider fun (as fun as a work out can be) and can do together. I made a little scratch chart… we’ll see how it goes.  Wish us luck!

(notice, we have actually done a few workouts! oh, and we got the idea for our memo board here.  ours still needs some work but I love the idea!)

Here are some healthy snacks that have found their way into the snack rotation:

Lentals (hot or cold)

Baby Cucumbers

Apples with natural Peanut Butter

Light String Cheese

Edamame

Eggs

Brown Rice Cakes

Marcona Almonds

Sliced Turkey

Sliced Avocado with Sliced Cheese

Rice Crackers with Hummus

Baby Bell Peppers

Turkey Pepperoni’s

As a side note: I will be finishing this flourless chocolate cake before the weeks end, just in time to finish the pan of brownies I will be making for Kurt’s Birthday ’round 2′ on Friday!

Trader Joe’s flourless chocolate cake. Add some ice cream and in our case some peanut butter chocolate sauce- ummmm… yum! And, it’s Gluten Free if that’s important to ya!

Lets be honest, I think the main goal I will focus on for the bod a’la beach vacay will be acceptance .

Happy St. Patty’s day friends!  Cheers to some green beer tonight!  {Geez, I’m hopeless 😉 }


It’s Pie Day!

Ava has been on…and on…and on about making a pumpkin pie!  I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know what a pumpkin pie is and I’m entirely sure she won’t want to eat it once it’s served, but for Thanksgiving we will be making a pumpkin pie!  Well, a Pumpkin Cream Pie to be exact 🙂  Thank you Pioneer Woman for your inspiration!  My anti-pumpkin pie eating self is thoroughly looking forward to trying this creamy creation!

We’ll also be making a Mud Pie just to be on the safe side!  This one is wonderful and reminds me of a wonderful slice I shared with my family many years ago in Hawaii!

Stay tuned for some pie pics and reviews!  Oh I hope they are good!

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!


“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. “

One short year ago no one (including us) thought we would have 2 pink stockings hanging by the fireplace!  Actually, equally surprising is that we actually have a fireplace to hang our stocking from!  What a year of wonderful blessings we have had!  Thank you Lord for our precious new baby girl and our beautiful new home!

Thank God also for Dad’s!  Just a few bribes (eggnog and cookies) and he was more than happy to pull our Christmas Tree down a little early 🙂

Elle made fast friends with our tree!  So bright and sparkley, what’s not to love?!

What’s a Christmas Decorating night without ELF??? And Dion’s pizza, (GF)Peanut Blossom Cookies and Eggnog!

“Ava, make Noelle laugh”- this phrase can be heard just about every time a camera is pulled out these days!  Those sisters can really get each other going… LOUD!

Elle pittered out on the decorating a little early but I LOVE every snuggly baby moment I can get… this time is just flying by!

Can’t you just feel the Christmas Joy in this picture…

As long as our tree is up, no day will be complete without a little snuggling UNDER the tree 🙂

And it wouldn’t be Christmastime in our house without a little Point Of Grace and Dancing…

The Holiday Season is definitely upon us!


Oh the Preperations…

Our Ava will be 3 on Friday!  In many ways I can’t believe it…3… but in others it feels like I’ve know this little sweetie for my whole life.  We are so excited to celebrate her this year, especially since it seems that for the first time she understands what’s going on.  She knows about birthday’s and parties, she knows how old she will be, she knows that her birthday is October 25 15 (every time we ask her when her birthday is she says ‘October 25th?’) and she knows ALL about gifts… I did some research on 3 year old’s looking for some ideas for how we could best celebrate her on her special day.  The thing I found that really spoke to me said that with these little ones it is really all about the preparation.  Though they will no doubt love any kind of party or event that you plan for their day, they will mostly remember the details of how you got ready for it all.  So in our house this week we have been focusing on preparing for turning 3!  Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been doing:

 

Hanging some decorations

 

 

Preparing for a craft that we will do with some of our uncles and aunts

 

 

decorating and filling treat bags for our movie date with cousin Brody

 

 

Making and packaging some Butterfinger Lollipops for everyone who helps us celebrate

 

*as a side-note, I was blog hopping one day and ran into this blog.  This blogger swore that using only candy corn, peanut butter and chocolate she could make something with the taste and texture of Butterfingers… now, Butterfingers aren’t even my favorite candy bar but I thought I’d try out the easy, cheap recipe just to see… WOW- it is amazing!  I was skeptical, but the finished product was dead on and I am embarrassed to say that I keep sneaking into the freezer for another taste (just to make sure it really does taste butterfingerish)!

 

decorating some boiled eggs that we will eat for our birthday brunch

 

What a wonderful way to make a birthday really feel complete!  When this week is over we will be Birthday’d  out!!! Well, that’s the plan anyway 😉


Green Light

 

 

Look at our sweet dad blending up some baby food!

At Noelle’s 4 month doctor’s appointment this week we got the green light to start introducing a little bit of fruit and veggie variety into her solids diet!  I was concerned that she was a little young to be so into eating and asked if we should hold off.  Everything I keep reading online says that babies can start solids (mostly cereal) as early as 4 months, but that they really usually aren’t ready until closer to 6 months, hmmmm…I was noticing that around dinner time in our house Ellie was getting pretty excited/agitated.  She would kick her feet, smack her mouth and just looked interested in what we were doing.  Even if I had nursed her within the hour she seemed like she wanted to eat again EVERY time we would sit down to eat.  I decide that I would try a little bit of rice cereal, just to see and…she loved it.  From pretty much day one she ate it like a pro!  In a previous post Ava and I made Elle some rice cereal with Avocado…a hit!  So at our doctors appointment this week I asked what we should be doing.  Feeding her solids once a day? twice? introduce any new foods?  He pretty much said “GO!”  Of course that meant, go within reason- age appropriate fruits and veggies and introducing each new food about 4-5 days apart and feeding her1,2,3 times a day depending on her interest and our patience.  Using this website I found a list of recommended cereal, fruits and veggies for 4-6 month olds and am going to try to make Elle some healthy ‘first foods’.

This week we’ve decided to introduce a vegetable!

SWEET POTATOES!


Here’s what we did (I feel a little ashamed even posting this based on what little effort it took, but I think I just didn’t know how simple it was to do and wanted to share with everyone. A good measuring stick for simplicity is the picture above; if Kurt is doing it, it really is easy!! 😉 ):

Washed sweet potato, poked holes in it, wrapped in tin foil and placed in 400 degree oven for 70 minutes.  Cool enough to removed skin, chunk up and put in blender with 6 ounces of breast milk, formula or water.  Puree until smooth.  Freeze in freezer trays!

Who’s surprised that Elle loved it?? 😉

 

 

 


Blendin’ up some Elle food

I seriously scrounge around for activities each morning and afternoon to keep Ava and I busy… When I’m out of ideas we usually just end up doing a craft (cutting up my old magazines and gluing the scraps to boxes and paper) 🙂  Today when I found myself turning to craft-time #2 I decided that rather than vacuum up the paper mess again we should try something new.

In accidentally opening up some of my junk email I had run across this recipe for making baby cereal from scratch.  So, since the kitchen needed a good cleaning anyway we decided that the experiment was worth it.   It looked easy enough for a 2 year old to help with and if it worked I knew we’d use it up on our hungry little baby!

We did it!  Not only was it a fun way to use up some of our afternoon, but I have to say I felt very accomplished with our cereal chilling away in the freezer!  I am so happy to feed Elle this cereal made with love from Ave and I!

Here’s what we learned:

Babies digest rice easily and are less likely to be allergic to it than to any other grain. That’s why it’s a perfect first food. Brown rice, which is called for in this recipe, is extra nutritious since the vitamin-packed outer husk is still intact.

Avocado makes a great first food for baby due to its texture and creaminess as well as its high nutrient content.  Avocados are often called one of nature’s perfect foods because they are said to contain everything a person needs to survive.  A wonderful “good fat” food for baby’s brain and physical development, try an avocado as baby’s first food instead of refined cereals.

So here’s what we made:


Brown Rice Cereal with Avocado

1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions

1/3 avocado

6 ounces breast milk, formula or water

Place the cooked brown rice in a blender with the breast milk/water/formula and avocado. Puree until it’s as smooth as possible. Pour the cereal into ice trays, cover and freeze overnight. Once frozen, pop the cubes out of the trays, place them in a freezer bag or container that’s labeled with the date, and return it to the freezer. Lasts up to two months.

Defrost the cubes, and add more breast milk or formula to develop a smooth consistency. For babies just starting solids, thin the cereal to a semi-liquid consistency. Warm the cereal slightly, if desired. You can change the flavor of the cereal by adding different strained fruits or veggies once your baby has started to eat those foods.

Side-note:

*I am loving this Costco find… fully cooked frozen brown rice!  You just scoop whatever amount of the frozen rice into a microwave safe dish and heat for 1-2 minutes or scoop it right into a skillet and toss it around until heated through!  I am SO bad at rice… this yellow bag has been such a lifesaver!
Noelle loved her first homemade dinner tonight! I just popped one of the frozen squares into a bowl and defrosted it, no need to add anymore milk, stirred it up and spooned it in!  As you can see she couldn’t get enough and took to licking her seat to get every last bite 😉