Monday, January 20, 2014

Cal at Two

Cal's birthday was 10 days ago and I have had those 10 days to let it sink in that Cal is no longer a "baby".  He hasn't been a baby for some time, but he is officially a big kid now.  I watched him sleep in his crib the other night and he still has those cherub cheeks, but he is definitely looking more grown up these days.

Cal is talking up a storm.  He says pretty much everything and we can understand him about 90% of the time.  Once in a while he says a word and I have no clue what it is, but that is pretty rare.  He repeats everything we say so it's time to watch that language!  Not only does he string two words together, but sometimes three!  All done, bye bye, no Beau!, DVD Buzz, etc are all things that he says often.  At his 2 year Well Child visit, the pediatrician was very pleased that he is saying so many things.

Cal is pretty laid back and reserved.  He is shy, but at the same time, he can be very sociable.  It just takes a few minutes for him to warm up, and soon he will be in your lap giving hugs and open mouth kisses.  I often take the kids to the playground or to an indoor play place and he is right in there with the big kids, jumping and playing.  Cal is our more laid back kiddo.  That isn't to say he isn't as active, he is.  Just not as much as his brother.

He is SO affectionate.  He loves being cuddled, sitting on your lap and reading stories, hugs and being carried.  He gives the best open mouth slobbery kisses, not only to me, but the dog and cats, ha!

Calvin is sleeping through the nights most nights (yay) but still needs the occasional pat on the back or pacifier.  Speaking of, now that he has all his teeth, the paci is going away soon.  We will probably start with naps to get him used to the idea.

His favorite thing on the planet is Yo Gabba Gabba.  Pretty much the second he wakes up, he asks to watch it.  We have 55 episodes saved on our DVR so he gets his choice!  I made him a Yo Gabba Gabba blanket for Christmas and he has gotten several YGG toys.  Of course, they are his favorites.  Lately, he has shown a lot of interest in Toy Story, which is pretty much how Jack was at this age.  He loves watching Toy Story and all the sequels.

Cal loves his brother so much.  He loves to mimic and copy everything that Jack does.  Jack still needs to be reminded to be gentle, but he does play with him much more these days.  They run around the house and play "Monster" which basically means they chase each other and giggle and screech.

We still have a picky eater on our hands.  He doesn't like many (if any) vegetables, meats or foods he isn't familiar with.  He is not a fan of spaghetti, with or without sauce.  Things Cal does like?  Pretty much any fruit, raisins, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, hot dogs, pizza (sometimes), most crackers, yogurt, ice cream, and pretty much anything sweet (cookies, cake, etc.).

At his Well Child check, Cal weighed 27 pounds, 6 ounces (30th percentile) and was 34.5 inches (50th percentile).  He is wearing 24 month and some 2T clothing and size 5 diaper.  I know what size diaper because the cloth has been ditched (not my decision).

This little guy is so sweet and loving.  He is very curious about the world and asks all the time "What's that?".  He loves learning and I think being the second born has been good for him since he learns so much from his older brother.

I could photo dump so many pictures of my cutie, but instead, I leave you with my recent favorite.  He looks so much like Jason and Jason's dad in this picture.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Calvin!

Calvin celebrated his second birthday on Friday January 10th.  We had a very low-key party this year.  Being that we had a huge shindig last year, we kept things simple this time around.

We had a simple dinner of pizza, Ceaser salad, and fruit salad over at my in-laws' followed by presents and Cal's choice of cake.  He is OBSESSED with Yo Gabba Gabba, and while I wasn't doing any type of "theme", I happened to find some Yo Gabba Gabba items at the party store.  Score!

Here are some pictures of his birthday.  Enjoy!

Checking out his presents

Dinner time!

He loves books right now

Yo Gabba Gabba boombox.  He played with this for the rest of the night.

My in-laws got him this. He plays with one at church and loves it.

This drum and other instruments were a hit for our little music lover

When I asked Cal what kind of cake he wanted, his answer?  "Cookie!".  So alas, I made him a giant cookie for his cake.  It was a hit.

Embarrassed while we were singing to him

Enjoying his special cake

Look for a post about Cal at 2 soon.  He is so much fun these days.  And he is not a baby anymore!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I Made It

Besides making it through the holidays in one piece, I have been very crafty lately.  This year brought a lot of homemade gifts, knitting projects and awesome holiday recipes.  Here is a round-up of a few things that I squeaked out before the New Year.  This post is going to be a long one, so hang in there!

Salt Dough Ornaments

There is a recipe/project floating around Pinterest for these Santa hand salt dough ornaments.  I had all the ingredients and thought it would be a fun project for me and the boys to tackle while I was on vacation.  Not only were these completely easy to do, but they were fun.  We gave them as gifts to my in-laws and Jason's grandmother and they were a huge hit.  Because my kids have fairly large hands, they are more like wall hangings than ornaments though.

After baking:

Painting in progress:

Final product:

Here is the Pin from Pinterest if you are interested.  You could use the same recipe to make any kind of ornament using cookie cutters too.

Cal's blanket

Cal is obsessed with the show Yo Gabba Gabba.  I was at the fabric store picking up some knitting supplies and wanted to see if they had any fleece in the YGG print.  I knew it was a long shot, but I figure, I could buy a piece of fleece and call it a blanket.  Easy gift!  They didn't have fleece but they happened to have a piece of flannel.  I couldn't believe it!  It was on clearance so I bought what was left:  The perfect size for a blanket.  To make it extra soft, I got a piece of fleece to sew onto the back of it.

I am not a sewer by any stretch of the imagination but I knew I could at least sew four straight lines.  I borrowed my mother-in-law's sewing machine and here is the result.  A super soft blankie.  Cal is in love with it.  He asks for it for nap, and when he goes to bed.  And when he wakes up, he likes to snuggle on the couch with a blankie.  This one is a hit!  At less than $10 for the materials, it was a fun and easy Christmas gift.

Freezer Meals

Jason's Mamo is notoriously hard to buy gifts for.  Every year we struggle.  This year?  Easy!  I made a huge batch of freezer meals for her and her friend.  She is elderly and takes care of her friend full time so she needs simple meals to prepare.  It's hard for her to cook so I took the work out of dinner for her.

I made the following meals for her:

Million Dollar Casserole
Poppyseed Chicken
Old Fashioned Beef Stew
Sweet Barbeque Chicken

I also made a double batch of blueberry muffins that they can eat for breakfast or a quick snack.

The recipes were all very easy and will serve them for at least two meals.  This was a huge hit and Mamo was very excited to have dinner all planned out for the next couple of weeks.

This beef stew smelled amazing by the way.  I have bookmarked the recipe to make for my family!

Becky's Hat

I made my sister this lovely hat as a Christmas present.  I have the same hat actually, and I love it.  I made mine in a different color and a single button.  I hope she likes it!

Here is the pattern I used.  Yarn credit:  Berocco Vintage in Elderberry

Dad's Hat

My dad is a simple guy so he got a super simple hat.  I didn't even use a pattern; I just cast on the standard number of stitches for a men's hat and went to town.  Yarn credit:  Berocco Vintage in Smoke

Fingerless Gloves

This is SUCH a fun project to knit.  It goes super fast and it uses up leftover yarn.  I have actually made three pairs so far.  A pair for my cousin for Christmas, a pair for my sister using leftover yarn from her Christmas hat and a pair for myself using leftover yarn from my scarf.  I already have my aunt asking me to knit her a pair!

The pair shown above is slightly different than the pattern.  I wanted a longer cuff for the wrists so I added a few extra rows.  

Pattern here.  I used Lamb's Pride yarn for the pair for my cousin.  

Hodge Podge hat

This is the best way to use up extra yarn.  I save all the ends (as long as there is a good amount) from my projects and they do come in handy.  In this case, a hat for Jack!  I will be adding a pom pom to it and will also make a hat for Cal.  After all, Cal gets a little jealous if he doesn't have the same exact thing as his brother.

Once again, I didn't use a pattern.  I just cast on the number of stitches for a child's hat and made the stripes in varying widths.  

Sweater Ornament

I don't have a pattern for this since it was my aunt Laurie's pattern.  I believe she actually created this pattern.  I went to a lady's craft event at church a few weeks ago and she had packaged up this pattern along with all the supplies needed to make it.  I made this one for Lynn and have a red one for myself to knit up.  These would make awesome gifts since it takes less than an hour to make it.  I love that I can say that I knit a sweater in less than an hour!

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

When I think of winter and fall, I immediately think of peppermint, chocolate, pumpkin and spices.  This recipe is actually a pumpkin bar, but it was so moist that I am calling it a cake.

Cake recipe:

Frosting recipe:

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

I have made this before and the recipe is posted on my old cooking blog.  This is one of those recipes that you kind of question because it sounds weird.  Buffalo chicken?  Lasagna?  Together?  But it works.

Of course, any lasagna done in the crockpot looks pretty gross in pictures but trust me when I say it was amazing.

Recipe here.  By the way, if you want an awesome blog for crockpot recipes, that one is highly recommended.

Easy Fajitas

I do not have a recipe for this.  It's one of those things that I just throw together when I need an easy meal.  The only special planning is how I marinate the meat.  I usually cut up the chicken into strips and put them in a freezer bag.  To that, I add salt and pepper, whatever spices you choose (garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, etc.) and some sort of citrus.  I usually use orange or lemon juice.

Once the chicken has marinated, I cook it in a skillet over medium high heat.  While that is cooking, I slice up an onion and three peppers in whatever color I have on hand.  When the chicken is done, I remove it, add some extra oil to the pan and saute the veggies.

Done!  Add whatever topping you prefer.  In my case, it's usually a little bit of cheese and a ton of cilantro.

Candy Cane Chocolate Tart

I wanted to bring a dessert to our Christmas Eve dinner - after all, any excuse to bake, and I immediately wanted to make this.  I saw it in the holiday Food Network Magazine.  Sold!  Peppermint and chocolate.  What else is more Christmasy?  

I don't have a tart pan, so let's just call this a pie.  Oh.My.Gosh.  Amazing!

Here it is before the whipped cream:

Recipe credit:  Food Network Magazine.  Link.

I have never made pudding from scratch, but I am guessing it's very similar to how I made this.  Everyone raved about how good this was.  I added the whipped cream and a layer of red and green sanding sugar to the top to make it festive.

Christmas Cookies

Every year, my sister and I spend a day and go on a baking extravaganza.  This year we made five different types of cookies. I insisted she make her same two from last year because they are awesome.  And I picked my two.  Than we come up with a fifth cookie to round everything out.

Want to see the result?

This wasn't all the cookies either.  There were some more on her counter.

We made the following (links provided as well):

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Brownie Peppermint Cookies
Red Velvet While Chocolate Chip Cookies
Hot Chocolate Cookies

Reusable Snack Bags

I saved my best project for last.

For our extended family's Christmas, we exchange gift baskets.  Instead of buying 50 plus gifts for people, a few years ago we decided to make or buy several of the same thing.  Each family brings a basket and the gifts that people bring are placed in the family's basket.  In years past, I have made batches of brownies and put them in Rubbermaid tubs for each family.  One year, I bought mason jars and layered ingredients for cocoa.  Some people will sew things, or knit things or simply buy things.  The rule this year was no perishable or food items.  That pretty much ruled out all the things I had planned since I love to bake.

I went on the hunt for something easy that I could make that wouldn't break the bank.  I didn't want to knit dish cloths, or knit anything really.  I came across this blog:

In there is a very easy pattern for reusable snack bags.  I have limited sewing skills but even this pattern was something I could do!

I made one modification.  Instead of the fusible vinyl, I bought oilcloth. It was much more economical at $7.99 a yard versus buying more fabric and a box of the fusible vinyl at $9.99 a box.

I got all the supplies I needed at the fabric store for $85.00.  Before you scoff at that total, it included a rotary cutter and a cutting mat which will be used for other projects.  If you take off those items, it was really closer to $48 for my supplies.  I bought enough for 30 bags.

Since I don't own a sewing machine, I borrowed my mother-in-laws.  All total, I spent about 10 hours on this project which includes cutting, pinning, sewing and finishing.


Thankfully, you can't see my not very straight sewing lines.  I guess they were quite the hit at the gathering.  I didn't go because I am sick at the moment.  I already have requests to make more!  I plan on hitting up the fabric store in the next couple of weeks to make another batch of these.

Phew!  That was a long post.  I am really proud of all the things I made this holiday season.  Of course, this post doesn't include all the dinners I have been making regularly or some other knitting projects I have going on right now.  This was just the tip of the iceberg.

I am channeling my inner crafty-ness and I really like it.