Thursday, January 31, 2013

Conversations With My Toddler

For Christmas, my friend Elizabeth got me this great book called "My Quotable Kid". It like a journal where I can write down all the crazy stuff Grant says. I absolutely LOVE the book and it's perfect because Grant keeps us in stitches with all the silliness that has been coming out of his mouth lately. A few of my favorite recent entries:

Last weekend Grant and I were going to run out to go shoe shopping because he needed some new sneakers. He was grabbing every toy in sight asking if he could bring it with us. I kept having to tell him no. Finally we managed to get out the door.
Grant: "We can't bring Daddy?"
Me: "No sweetie, Daddy is going to stay home and take a shower."
Grant: "He need take a shower?"

Me: "Yes, so he's going to stay home."
Grant: "And poop?"

This one happened in the living room this past week while Nate and Grant were playing hockey together. Husband was sniffling.
Grant (to Nate): "You have booger nose?"
Nate: "Yup. I have boogers in my nose."
Grant (sticking his finger out): "Let me pick it."
Husband tells him no which of course just makes Grant resort to cramming his finger into his own nose. 
Grant (triumphantly pulling his finger out of his nose): "Ah! I DID IT!"


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Big Boy Bed: Take Two!

Back in early September we made a premature leap to the big boy bed. It actually went well for about 2-3 weeks. But one night Grant just wouldn't stay in bed. At all. He kept getting up over and over and telling us he wanted to go play.

No sir.

So around 2 a.m. this Mama had had enough and returned the big boy bed to it's previous crib state. I had some guilt over it. Grant was super proud of his big boy bed and I felt like I took something away from him. But it stayed that way for a while.

The day after Thanksgiving (I avoid Black Friday like the plague), Grant and I were hanging out at home, so I asked him if he wanted his big boy bed back. He said "Uh...yeah." So I decided to convert the crib again to give it a try for nap time. And it was fine so when Husband got home from work we decided to keep it that way for night time - both of us anticipating disaster. But it was fine. And it has remained fine...going on two months now. So we're thinking it's permanent this time.

He generally sleeps with no less than 5 stuffed animals. far so good. We're more prepared to be patient this time. Partly because we're potty training and he needs to be able to get out of bed. But also because the time has come where he just doesn't need a crib anymore and we have to adjust to Grant's grown-up-ness even if it can be rather inconvenient at 2 a.m. 

He looks so cute and grown up in his big guy bed :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Recipe: Meatball Sub Casserole

Here is another new recipe from another new cook book! Husband is beginning to wish he hadn't gotten me so many cook books because, he says, he's been eating like crazy. And he did eat this recipe like crazy...two helpings and then picked more out of the casserole dish until I yelled at him. I can't blame him, I loved it too and I've never been a big fan of meatball subs.

Meatball Sub Casserole

  • 1 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • 1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 - 1lb package frozen meatballs, thawed
  • 28 oz. jar pasta sauce
  • 1 cup water
  1. Arrange bread slices in a single layer in an ungreased 13"x9" baking pan; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and seasonings; spread over bread slices. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese; set aside.
  3. Gently mix together meatballs, spaghetti sauce, and water; spoon over cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Recipe Source: Gooseberry Patch

  • This may come as a shock, but I didn't follow this recipe exactly. I added more mozzarella cheese. I also added some grated Parmesan cheese in the cream cheese/mayonnaise layer. Making an "Italian" dish without Parmesan cheese just seemed wrong.
  • I left out the Italian seasonings. I can't stand oregano.
  • I couldn't find a 1 lb bag of meatballs. The store where I was shopping only had a 2 lb bag. So I just used one of my bigger casserole pans and upped the amount of sauce to 2 jars.
  • Since I made a bigger casserole, I baked it at 375 instead of 350.
  • I left out the water...that seemed like a weird ingredient.
  • After all my turned out great! Great meal for any night of the week served with a good salad.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Recipe: Pioneer Woman's Braised Beef Brisket

I actually made this recipe on January 1st. My very first new recipe of the new year! One of my Christmas presents was a cook book I've been wanting for a while. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl (Want one? Amazon has it here). I had never opened this cook book but I follow her blog and I love her recipes. Surprise to me, looking through this cook book I noticed that not only does every recipe look awesome but there are step by step pictures with all of them. I love that!

So I picked her braised brisket recipe to start with. Silly of me, considering I rarely cook a beef recipe well. But this one turned out good! I was rather proud. Husband and I are big brisket lovers and it's hard to find really good brisket. I think Husband was a little disappointed because this isn't like BBQ brisket. He said it had more of a pot roast thing going on, but for me it was different than pot roast.

I'm not going to re-type Pioneer Woman's recipe here. You can find it on her blog HERE. She has lots of great step-by-step pictures and the whole recipe. She's much more detailed than I would be so it's best to get it there.

Out of the oven after 4.5-5 hours in the oven.
Sliced (after trimming the fat) and ready for dinner!

I served mine with twice baked potatoes and corn.
  • I followed the recipe as exact as I could. PW said to use a 7-10 pound brisket but the biggest cut we found was 5.5 lbs. Next time I'll think farther ahead and get a custom cut.
  • When she says to marinate 24-48 hours, she means it. I ran out of time and mine only marinated about 20 hours. It wasn't tough by any means, but I definitely think it should have marinated longer. Next time I'll allow for more time.
  • GREAT FLAVOR! While it's obviously not a BBQ style, it has great flavor.
  • Reheated amazingly well. Both of took left overs for lunch and agreed that it reheated very well.
My favorite thing about PW's recipes is that she uses REAL ingredients. I got all the ingredients for this recipe at Walmart (except the meat) and they're the exact brands that PW used. I'm looking forward to making more stuff from my new cook book!

I unknowingly made another recipe from this cook book for our Father's Day cookout. Check out PW's The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Grant's First Hockey Game!

 On Christmas morning there was a surprising box under the tree. It was to me and Grant from Husband. He's never gotten us a joint gift before so it really got my curiosity up. It was kind of big but light so I had no idea. When we opened it, I saw it was something from Ticketmaster (Grant's attention immediately went back to toys). First thought was that it was Monster Jam tickets, it's coming back to Raleigh in March. BUT IT WAS HOCKEY TICKETS! If you're a hockey fan (or maybe even if you're not), you know there's been a lock out. But the Hurricanes minor league team, the Charlotte Checkers, were coming to Raleigh for one game. On a Sunday at 1:30...perfect for a toddler's first game.

All week we'd been talking it up. Then we'd ask Grant what we were doing that weekend and he'd say " man game!" He was very excited. Fast forward to the day of. Husband and Grant got up before me and I was barely functional enough to make coffee when Husband said "Look at the news". And there it was - lock out over! Hockey is coming back! Yippee!

Not having had a nap all day, Grant passed out in the car on the way to PNC Arena. When we got him out of the car he wasn't awake enough to be excited, so Husband carried him.

Mini Caniac dressed for his first game :)
Clapping with the crowd as the Checkers take the ice.

We had great seats! 

Grant & Daddy (Grant's wearing earmuffs to
 dull the sound - hockey fans can get loud!)
Curious guy checking things out.

It's never complete without a fight.

 Grant was scared at first. It was loud and kinda crazy. But he got comfortable and even started bopping to the music they played. During the first intermission we grabbed a late lunch. Grant must have started to get hot because after he ate he wanted his jacket and hat off. With the hat, the earmuffs came off as well. That's when the Checkers scored and the place went nuts. Grant looked at Husband and told him "I need go outside". He was scared, poor guy. Husband took him out and I stayed behind to gather our stuff. Nate said that the whole way up the steps Grant was yelling "I be right back Mama! I coming back!"

We never went back in. We kept asking but he kept saying "No, it's loud and scary". So instead, we walked around and Grant talked Husband into every souvenir his little heart desired.

Grant & Daddy checking out a John Deere their matching gear :)
So we only made it half way through, but it was fun all the same. We had to start somewhere, right? And maybe with the season starting back up we can give it another try soon. Even if we'd only stayed 20 was nice to see hockey again :)

P.S. After we got home and Grant was playing with the hockey set that he so easily talked his Daddy into, he kept calling himself "Hockey man!" And consistently yelled "Go Checkers!" until he went to bed.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Gingerbread House

Right around Thanksgiving I got a catalog from King Arthur Flour full of yummy looking mixes and all kinds of baking tools and pans that I lust over but can't justify. (I have a tiny kitchen and no room for bakeware that I'd use once or twice a year - but I want them all the same.) On the very first page of the catalog was a gingerbread house kit and of course they showed it in their perfect gingerbread house glory. Grant saw it and did one of his most dramatic gasps to date then looked at me and said "I need make that."

And so began my quest to find us a gingerbread house kit (because I wasn't brave enough to give it a go from scratch). It didn't take long. Those things are everywhere during the holidays and my mother-in-law picked one up for us on a great Black Friday sale. Made by Wilton it had everything we needed to put out gingerbread house together.

It was about 3 weeks ago that Grant and I put it together. He loves to help in the kitchen and was actually a part of a lot of my Christmas baking endeavors, so I knew he'd love a project that was just for him. I trimmed the pieces while Grant snuck the crumbs into his mouth. Then I put the house together with the frosting. After that was the real party:

He kept telling me "More candy! More! More!"

When we were all done he yelled "We did it!"
So proud of himself!
Grant and I had so much fun with this little project. He was so funny to watch and kept asking me "I can't eat it, right?" I guess we started a little tradition with this because I'm already looking forward to doing it next year! The tough part was last weekend when we told him that Christmas was over the house had to go bye-bye. The look on his face was awful. Like we just crushed his favorite monster truck in front of him. It was pretty sad.

BUT also last weekend at BJs I found a gingerbread man decorating kit (contains 3 kits!) and I plan to surprise Grant with that one weekend soon. And he'll really like that because we'll be able to eat it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas 2012

You like reading my Christmas posts almost two weeks after the fact, right? It seems so last to post about it that I'd probably skip it altogether except that it was just so damn fun this year.

We really talked-up Santa this year...and Grant finally started telling us that he wanted Santa to bring him Thomas toys. He's very into Thomas the Train right now. At first when you asked what he wanted from Santa, he'd say "Uuummm...Grandma". But eventually he'd say, without thinking "Thomas toys". Santa did not disappoint. Santa and I made a pact that we would not go overboard and I'm very proud to say that not only did Santa and I do very well not going overboard...but we also managed to get all of Grant's Christmas presents without once having to step foot inside Toys R Us. There is nowhere worse during the Christmas season than Toys R Us - not even Walmart.

Anyway! On Christmas morning we always do stockings first, then presents, then breakfast.

Brodie waited very patiently for his stocking full of goodies.

He wasn't quite as ready as he thought to wake up.

Grant likes to help pass out the stuff.

Auntie Shauna helping Grant with his stocking.
Pretty excited about the ring pop. There were four in
there and Grant yelled "Another one!" every time.

Finally finished! Grant's is the biggest and, therefore, the
fullest stocking. However, I consider myself quite the stocking stufferer.

She really liked her scarf.

Sword fight with candy stuffed canes.
First present...

Monster trucks - who would have guessed?

He immediately asked to open them.

Fist one from Santa was a Percy toy that made Grant say
"Oh. my. gosh. It's Percy! He wuvs Thomas."
There were, of course, several other presents before "the big one". And Grant was excited about everything (except the clothes). I could bore you with no less than 100 pictures of paper-tearing fun but this post will be too long as it is. So we'll just skip to the big one.

It's a Thomas the train set. When he opened it, Grant yelled "IT'S THOMAS! Oh my gosh!"
Then he started frantically tearing the paper off.
Probably my favorite picture of the day was when he was playing in the little tent that my sister go him:

So then we ate a yummy breakfast that my sister cooked and headed to my mother-in-law's house. Again, I could post a ton of pictures so I just did a collage of some of my favorites.

And just in case we hadn't eaten enough...we had all this dessert:

And on the Friday after Christmas we went to my father-in-law's house to do Christmas and dinner with them:

Grant had such a great Christmas. I love Christmas anyway but watching Grant have so much fun and get so excited and so enjoy spending time with family made it 100% better than it's ever been. 

This has been a super long post so I'm going to cool it and stop for now. But I'm hoping to get a post up about the gingerbread house that Grant and I made together and also just some general pictures of Grant riding his crazy Christmas high.

I hope every one's Christmas was a merry as ours was!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Eve

Late as usual! Oh well. 

When I was growing up, my parents always "hosted" Christmas Eve. Aunt Bonnie, Uncle Charlie, Nick, AJ, and my Gram always came over and my cooked a bunch of appetizer type stuff (or poker food, as my Dad called it). We all ate too much, watched Christmas shows on TV, my Dad passed out, the kids went sledding, the adults played cards, and we opened our Christmas presents to/from each other. And then the next day Aunt Bonnie & Uncle Charlie hosted the more "formal" Christmas day meal. It was all so much fun and we all looked forward to it so much. 

Now that my parents are gone and my sister spends Christmas with us, she and I like to host a Christmas Eve get-together. Much like my mom, we cook a bunch of poker food...probably more than we all need. But it's Christmas, you're supposed to eat a lot :) And Husband's family comes over and we eat too much and talk and play with Grant. Who, by the way, loves to be the center of attention.

Grant loves to help in the kitchen! So we found
something easy for him to do.

Crushing the crackers for the top of one of the dips.

Just a little bit wired...

Having fun with Grandpa

He loves when Daddy blows the train whistle
After the "party" was over and Grant had at least semi calmed down, it was time to put out Santa's cookies and read stories...then make some sort of attempt at putting Grant to bed.

Santa really likes the store-bought sugar cookie with
the mountain of icing on top. He really likes them.
And that pretty much sums up Christmas Eve. After Grant went to bed, my sister helped me ice the cake I made for Christmas lunch...which I may never let her do again but that's a story in itself.

Hopefully I'll get around this week to posting about Christmas!

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