Thursday, February 25, 2010

18 months! How did THAT happen??

The boys had their 18 month appointments yesterday. When did they grow up so much?

Random things happening in our house right now:

Grayson has decided he is going to walk. Gabe thinks he might be talking. Grayson has decided to sign. Both boys are stacking and making animal sounds. Both want to eat and drink out of the cat bowl on all fours. (Weird, I know.) Bath time is the best thing EVER right now :) Now if we can get that to 'stick' we'll be set! Gabe now tells us when he is wet or poopy and even brings us diapers on occasion to let us know to get with the program. Grayson holds his nose when he is poopy, then grabs his diaper and laughs. (Ahhhh....boys.)

When we are in the car the both like to take turns making raspberries and laughing hysterically at eat other. Sometimes said raspberries involve milk. It is very messy, but very entertaining. Grayson can do chin ups - literally. He can grab a book shelf and pull himself completely off the follow by his hands - legs dangling. Both boys are climbers. (I have no doubt this is due to Doug's DNA.)

They have over 100 signs they know. Watching the Wiggles turns into a signing/stand up/ sit down/stomp your feet/ sign-sign-sign/dance fest. It is MOST entertaining. Gabe loves monkeys and elephants. Grayson still loves to poke your eyes out. The more you say 'owie!' the more he likes to do it.

They love to eat Mexican food. Gabe had learned how to blow bubbles, but it makes him cross eyed when he does it. Grayson is cutting more teeth.

Stuff is happening so fast! How do you make it s--l--o--w--down?

The stats:

Grayson: 31.5 inches tall, 20 pounds, 2 oz.
Gabe: 33.5 inches tall, 24 pounds, 11 oz.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Saying good bye :(

OK, maybe that title is a little dramatic, but this has really has gotten me down. It is time to start thinning my "stash" of cloth diapers. Grayson has really gotten too long for the smalls, even though he is plenty thin enough to keep wearing them. I sold some to a friend, I sold some on Craig's List, and I have almost finished selling the stash on DiaperSwappers.

I felt like I should keep them in case we have another, but I know if they just sit around they will dry-rot and that would be even more sad! So I thought I would post a few pictures of the cute little diapers that have been covering our boys bums for the last 18 months.

Now we have started to rebuild the stash in medium sizes, and we are hoping the boys will be potty trained before w would need to go up another size. Of course, that means I have to have some sort of knowledge about how to potty train boys, and THAT is something I am not even remotely ready for!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two sick babies, a week of snow days, and two tired parents!

It's a crazy week with all the snow, and then more snow, and now we have two sick babies. Thankfully, Grayson seems to be on the mend after a pretty scary week of what looked a lot croup again. Of course, Gabe ended up sick, too - but not as bad as his brother. Another new twist to my life is the concept of 'snow days.' With the two big snow storms hitting back to back, we missed last Friday and now this ENTIRE week! Granted, the snow this time was a bit ridiculous, but over a week off? It is a shame the boys are sick, and the airports have all closed down due to the storms, or we would be quickly on our way to a sunny beach somewhere. You know our motto - Have passports, will travel!

Other updates to keep track of -

Grayson - He is now 'toddling' between people and furniture. He is so excited that he is doing it, too. You can see it on his face when he is just about to walk across a distance - you can see him thinking - I'm gonna do it! He is also really starting to sign, which is really great. A lot of his signs look the same, so it can be a guessing game on occasion, but he is really trying hard and doing it a lot.

On a not so great note, we have been breaking the big healthy sleep rule by bringing him into our bed in the middle of the night because he has been so sick. This means he now pitches a totally fit when he wakes up and wants to come in our room. Last night he cried for over two hours :( and I gave in...which I know means tonight may be worse. Bad mommy.

Gabe - Gabe is learning signs faster than we can keep up with him! He is stringing a few together in little sentences, which is very cool to see. He is also trying really hard to learn to use utensils. It is messy, but fun to watch. Of course, he is having a rough time with being sick, too. His nose is a complete faucet - and he has a pretty nasty cough. When he is sick he tends to be very clingy and cries - a lot. He just takes it harder, I guess.

At least I have the week off to baby them both.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Crockpot Gyros...who knew??

30+ inches of snow today meant it seemed like the time to break out the crock pot again. I read a recipe for gyros that could be made in the crock pot and I have been dying to try it. However, we live in Strasburg in the middle of nowhere - so finding ground lamb has proven to be very difficult. I did finally find lamb at the lovely (ugh) Food Lion, but they refused to grind it for me. (Yes, the 'full service' butcher's department refused to grind it because it would, and I quote, "contaminate our machines." What planet do I live in???) Anyway, the hunt continued and this time I found lamb in Martins in Stephen's City - but a price that was outrageous. So I once again left the store sans lamb. By this time over 2 months from my original quest had passed and I still had not managed to try the recipe.

And then....

I hit the Costco! They have lamb! And the BIG surprise, they have lamb in reasonably sized packages (like 5 pound roasts) at a great price, only $3.99 a pound. So today we tried the recipe. Here it is as we tried it, followed by our thoughts:
Crock Pot Gyros
For the meat:

1/2 pound ground lamb

1/2 pound ground turkey
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1 medium sized onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
juice from 1 lemon

For the tzatziki sauce:

1 c. plain yogurt
1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs mint (yeah, we have 3 feet of snow, we don;t have this. Oddly, dried dill works very well)
juice of 1 lemon

cumin - to taste
grated or small diced cucumber (we didn't have this either, but it is fine without)
salt to taste

Mix all sauce ingredients together and put in the fridge to marinate while the gyro meat cooks.

  1. Mix the lamb and turkey with the paprika and oregano and make it into a meatloaf in the size and shape of your crock pot.
  2. Chop the onion and garlic and spread it on the bottom of the crock then lay the meatloaf on top of it.
  3. Squeeze the lemon over top of the meatloaf and cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 2 hours. Test for doneness with thermometer (170 degrees)
Slice thinly and serve with sauce in pitas with your choice of toppings (we used lettuce, feta, tomatoes and slivered onions.)

The Verdict:

Not bad. It was not at all greasy like the gyros we get in the restaurants. When I sliced it I was surprised by the slight pink hue it had from the paprika. When I tasted it straight from the loaf it seemed a little dry, but once it was in the pitas with the sauce it didn't seem dry at all. I think it will be nice on a salad as left overs, too.

This was our first time ever making gyros of any sort so we stuck to the recipe - which I usually do the first time I try any new recipe. We enjoyed it but felt like it was a bit bland for our taste and a few small changes could make a big difference. When we make it again I am going to grate some onion into the meat mixture as well as add several cloves of minced/mashed garlic. It could also use a little salt and some super coarse black pepper added in, too.

I think this recipe was a really good starting point. I am going to a little more research on what is traditionally used to flavor gyros and I will be trying this again. It was certainly easy enough - and fast enough - to be a keeper.

Snow, Snow, and More Snow

I think maybe pictures are the best way to help you understand how ridiculous this weather is...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

For Michele...Grits, they aren't just for breakfast!

Here you go -- dinner in under 30 minutes with very little in the house! This is one of our 'go-to' meals because you can make it from the pantry and/or freezer.

Spinach and Black-eyed Peas over Cheese Grits.

Start the grits (please tell me you know how to do this...)

While those cook work on the rest. You need:

10 0z bag of spinach (fresh is great, but frozen is good, too. We use frozen.)
2 cans black eyed peas, drained and rinsed if too 'saucy'
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbs oil
pinch red pepper flakes (or cayenne or even hot sauce)
ground black pepper
sharp cheddar cheese

1. Saute the onion in the oil. Add the fresh spinach to the pan and cook just until it wilts. (If using frozen, cook according to package, the drain and add to the onion.)
2. Put peas, pepper flakes, and pepper into the spinach and onions. Stir to heat it through and salt to taste.

This part is now finished.

3. Grate cheddar cheese and stir into your grits until as cheesy as you like.

Now assemble. Put a big pile of grits in a bowl and top with spinach mixture. I like to also put a little hot sauce on top.

Yes - it sounds weird. However, it is really, really good comfort food. Trust me. :)