Friday, November 28, 2008

Off On More Adventures...

B, V, and I will be leaving tomorrow for another week long vacation. We'll be spending the weekend at B's parents' house because they bought us tickets for the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" in Cincinnati tomorrow night. It's an early Christmas present and something they've wanted us to see ever since they saw it last year. As an extra bonus, it'll be a "date night" for B and I, while V spends the evening with his grandparents. He's still too young to go to big, loud, long concerts, and it'd be really tough for him to stay in his seat the entire time, even if the show did keep his attention. Maybe we'll take him when he's older. We'll spend Sunday relaxing and preparing for the long flight to Los Angeles on Monday. V hasn't been on a plane since last May, so we don't really know what to expect. This will be the first time we've taken his car seat on a plane, too. Before, he was still small enough to stay on our laps. I think he'll like having his own seat, but I keep wondering how long it will take before he decides he's tired of sitting in it. We're going to take our portable DVD player as well as some small toys, crayons, and paper. Hopefully, he'll have plenty to keep him occupied, and maybe he'll even take a nap! We're going to be staying in the Pasadena area near where my sister-in-law lives. She's the big reason we're going to California. She's been back home to Indiana only once since she moved out there, so it'll be nice to see her again and spend some time getting to know her new city. I'm also looking forward to some sunshine and warm weather. I've found several touristy things on-line that look like fun to see and/or do. B and I plan on going over those together before we leave, but we'll probably plan everything on the spur of the moment while we're there. That always seems to make our trips more fun! I think B will be taking his laptop with him, so we may have an Internet connection while there. Otherwise, I may not be blogging again until we get back. Hopefully, I'll have pictures and stories to share!
Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Our Favorite Italian Dinner

After I married my husband, I received a lot of recipes from my mother-in-law that were passed down to her by HER mother-in-law. One of them is a recipe for lasagna that our whole family absolutely loves. It's also an excellent dish to serve while entertaining. I recently doubled the batch, so I had two lasagnas baking at once. They fed our board-gaming group with a little to spare. I also found a quick and easy garlic bread recipe somewhere (either the Internet or Food Network) that I enjoy pairing with the lasagna. So, in case you're wondering what to make some evening for your family, here are my favorite go-to recipes:

10 lasagna noodles
1 large jar of favorite spaghetti sauce
1 lb favorite meat (I usually use ground beef, but, recently, I made it with turkey sausage without the casings, and it turned out great!)
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large container small curd cottage cheese
4 cups (or one large bag) shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Cook the 10 lasagna noodles in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain, and set aside.
2. Brown the meat, drain, add it back to the pan, and pour spaghetti sauce over the meat.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, Parmesan cheese, and entire container of cottage cheese until well blended.
4. Put a little spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 casserole dish to prevent lasagna from sticking. Place 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan and overlap the seams with 2 more noodles. Layer 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce/meat mixture over the noodles. Then, layer 1/2 of the cottage cheese mixture over the sauce. Sprinkle 2 cups of the Mozzarella cheese over the cottage cheese mixture.
5. Repeat step 4 with 5 more noodles, the rest of the sauce, and the rest of the cottage cheese. Sprinkle the remaining Mozzarella cheese over the top.
6. There are two ways to cook the lasagna:
-Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. (I like the cheese on the top of my lasagna browned, so I omit the foil.)
-Or, cover with plastic wrap, leaving a vent, and place in the microwave. Cook on High for 12 minutes.
7. Lasagna may be runny. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 6-8 people.

Garlic Bread
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 loaf of crusty bread (like a baguette), split in half lengthwise

1. Combine garlic, butter, and oil in a microwave safe dish or in a small saucepan.
2. Heat in microwave for 1 minute or over med-low heat on the stove for 3 minutes.
3. Toast split bread under the broiler. Remove bread when it is toasted golden brown in color.
4. Brush bread liberally with the garlic oil. Cut into chunks and serve.

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving! Wishing you all safe travels and good eats!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

For Your Geeking Pleasure...

I've had a great week with my hubby at home. We've done a lot and not done a lot, depending on the day. I managed to read the first book in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I was instantly hooked and am now working my way through the second book. If you're into vampires and romance novels, I highly recommend it, even if you're NOT a teenager. I even finished the first book in time to see the film, "Twilight", on Friday. It was good, in a beautiful-teenagers-with-angst-and-perfect-hair-who-also-happen-to-be-vampires sort of way. I'll fully admit that I enjoyed myself, and I'm sure there are many other women my age who saw it who will agree with me! But, I won't spoil it for any of you. You'll have to read the book/see the movie for yourselves. ;)
To further my week of geekiness (because I AM reading about vampires, you know), here is a lovely little YouTube clip starring a mashup of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and "Star Trek". Because, really, what else do you need in life? (Besides the twisted romance between Bella and Edward, of course!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hubby On Vacation

My husband started a week's vacation yesterday after his call shift ended at the hospital. He decided that he'd prefer to spend this vacation chillin' around the house instead of traveling, especially since we'll be spending his next vacation (in two weeks!) in Los Angeles. He spent his first night on vacation leading our Dungeons and Dragons group through his very own campaign. We had a great time as our characters did major combat on an airship, and then, landed in the middle of nowhere, fought off more baddies, and were rescued by a Warforged barbarian. Because B has next weekend off as well, we'll be continuing the campaign through Eberron, and I'm really looking forward to it. He's quite the talented Dungeon Master! We have a few other plans for the week. Since he'll be home to watch V, I have an appointment tomorrow at my new OB/GYN's office for my annual exam, and we'll be taking V to his two year appointment with his new pediatrician on Wednesday. I'm also going to try to get into an eye doctor this week because I'm in desperate need of new glasses. Besides these important tasks, we're also having friends over for gaming tomorrow night. One of the women in my new moms group mentioned that she and her husband like to play board games, so we decided to invite them to our house for dinner and fun. I'm really looking forward to adding more people to our ever growing circle of friends. Later in the week, B and I want to go see the new James Bond movie. Our college/gaming friends have volunteered to watch V for us while we have our "date", and in return, B is going to watch their sons and V while the wife of the couple and I try to see the new romantic vampire film that's coming out next weekend. It'll be like a little vacation for me, too, because I haven't been to a movie theater in ages! I also plan on catching up on some books I've been meaning to finish as well as a few NetFlix movies we have waiting for us to watch. So, if you can't tell, I'm really happy that B will be home all week. It'll be a great chance for us to just hang out, spend time with V, see our friends, and have lots of fun and relaxation.
Hope you all have a great week, too!
Best to you all,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Being The "Bad Mommy"

Do you ever have days when you hate being a parent? Actually, let me rephrase that. I don't hate being a parent. I dislike being the "bad" parent most of the time. You know, the one who's always saying, "No, you can't have another such and such (insert applicable foodstuff here) because we'll be eating dinner soon", "No, you can't play with the video game controller right now because we have to leave the store", and, the one that makes me the worst parent of all, "It's time for a nap". I had to use that last phrase today much to my 2-year-old son's chagrin. Because he's been "paci-less" since last week, getting him to sleep has been very difficult. At night, it's easier for him to realize it's time to sleep because it's dark outside and both Mommy and Daddy are in bed and ready to sleep, too. However, nap time occurs during the day when it's still light and nobody else but him is going to bed. He still desperately needs his afternoon nap, but he's been fighting it ever since he realized it was much more fun to be awake and playing. Today was the mother of all struggles. I think it lasted an hour. We watched some "Little Bear" in the family room, and when I noticed him acting tired around 2 o'clock, I told him it was time to take a nap. Then, we went up to our bedroom, and I put him on our queen-sized bed and laid down next to him to help him fall asleep. That's when the screaming and the kicking and the wiggling to get down ensued. I tried holding him and rocking him. I tried hugging him and rubbing his back. I tried singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". Nothing calmed him down. He sat up and screamed and begged in his toddler gibberish to get down from the bed. And each time, I laid him back down, which only resulted in more screaming and kicking. At one point, I wanted to cry myself. I've become so tired of the daily struggles at nap time. Before, popping paci into his mouth made him realize it was time to rest. Now that he doesn't have paci to help him fall asleep, we're back to square one in that learning process. I've been going crazy trying to find a way to help him. He has a little white stuffed rabbit that seems to be his new attachment, but even it didn't help today. An hour laying with him and listening to him scream finally resulted in him dropping into a heap onto my shoulder and finally falling asleep because he was exhausted. That just can't be healthy. We tried the "crying out" method with him when we tried to get him to sleep in his crib, and it never worked because he'd scream for two hours without stopping to breathe, it seemed. Now, it appears we're back to that at nap time, even with me in the room. And, every time it happens, I feel like the worst mommy in the world. I ask myself time and again why I can't get my son to sleep. It's one of the most natural things in the world to do, and yet, he just can't seem to do it. I'm always envious of other moms who say their children ALWAYS go to bed at seven or eight o'clock every night and ALWAYS go down for their nap at such and such time without a peep. What I wouldn't give for a little time to myself or with my husband every night! I think I could be a much better mommy during the day. Lately, it seems as though once he's napping, my son sleeps for two or three hours, so I get a little break from the chaos, but it's usually spent doing housework or something "productive". Maybe as he gets older and starts to understand more, things will get a little easier, and we'll see a little more improvement in his ability to fall asleep. I've already noticed he sleeps through the night without paci because he's not waking up to find it when it inevitably falls out. So, there is some good in me being the "bad mommy" and not buying a new paci to replace the lost ones. I just hope I remember that when nap time rolls around again...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Life Without "Pappi"

Before I had my son, I always thought I would never have my future children use pacifiers, just like I thought I would never co-sleep with them. Then, I became a mommy for real, and most of my thoughts on how to parent disappeared. Co-sleeping became the norm, and we suddenly found a need for pacifiers because V hated riding in the car in his rear facing infant car seat. Plus, my raw and bloodied nipples from his incorrect latching while breast feeding needed a break once in a while. So, "paci" became his comfort object, and we went through several over the past two years. When he started talking and was able to name things, paci became "pappi". Don't ask me where the second "p" sound came from, but even though my husband and I called it a "paci", it's always been a "pappi" to V. Anyway, some time on Wednesday afternoon, pappi got misplaced. I looked everywhere for it, but it seemed as though it had gone to the realm of lost socks and missing puzzle pieces. Luckily, we had "paci-on-a-leash" still around as a backup. When V was younger, we put his pacifier on a wooden clip/pacifier chain made by HABA, a great German company that sells games, toys, and other things for kids. Not only did it look great, but it was durable and stayed clipped to his clothes. As he got older, we upgraded to bigger pacifiers, and since he could put them in his mouth and take them out all by himself, we didn't bother to clip them, anymore. This helped wean him a bit and gave him a chance to talk without having something constantly in his mouth. It also meant we were losing pacifiers much more frequently, which is what happened on Wednesday evening. We reverted to "paci-on-a-leash", and even though he hadn't used it in a long time, he seemed to be just fine with it. He used that pappi all day yesterday. His nap ended up being later in the day because we had spent some time at the library playing. He woke up from his nap just in time for us to grab him and take him to his second Musik Garten class at the YMCA. I ended up dropping my husband and V off at the entrance to the Y, so they could rush into class and get settled. Apparently, neither of us realized that he had had the "paci-on-a-leash" in his mouth, that it had NOT been clipped to his shirt, and that it had fallen outside of the car as B and V went into the Y. In fact, we didn't realize this until we were leaving the Y after class, and B couldn't find pappi anywhere in the car. We had plans to go to our friends' house after V's class, and as the evening wore on and V got more tired, we heard numerous pleas for pappi. It broke my heart because I knew we had lost our only backup. It was too late to buy a new one, and B thought it would be a good opportunity to see how V did without a pacifier overnight. So, we ended up going to bed with V still wide awake and wanting his pappi. It didn't take him long to fall asleep after the lights went out, and I don't remember him waking up in the middle of the night, which he was apt to do whenever his pacifier fell out of his mouth. When B's alarm went off this morning, V and I woke up, too, and though we usually try to go back to sleep, he had a rough time without having his pacifier to soothe him. I decided to go ahead and get us up early, even though I would have preferred another hour or two of sleep. It's now lunch time, and V has asked for pappi a few times today, but it doesn't seem to be bothering him too much. I've tried to keep him busy and interested in other things, and by some strange coincidence, I even had a book appropriate for the occasion, called Pacifiers Are Not Forever, which I had picked up from the library yesterday. I've thought about transitioning him from the pacifier for a while now, and though this really wasn't the way I wanted to do it, it seems like it might be working. We'll see how nap time goes today. We're going to my parents' house this weekend, too, so I guess we'll find out how he'll do without pappi there, too. I guess if worse comes to worse, I can always go out and buy a new one. However, this might be the perfect time to help him find other ways to comfort himself and to fall asleep, like a stuffed animal or a blanket. Also, the potty training that I'd been hoping to try for a while is going on the back burner until we get through this. Hopefully, it'll be a little more smoother than the co-sleeping transition that we're still working on!
Best to you all,

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Like many Americans around the country, I've been glued to my television since the polls closed in my home state. I watched as CNN projected which states would go to which candidate. I watched as the polls closed on the West Coast, and Barack Obama was declared the next President of the United States. And, I was moved by the celebration and sense of joy (and, maybe, of relief) that was being shown from all over the country. And, then, I watched as President-elect Obama walked onto a stage in Chicago surrounded by the world and showed us the kind of American we should all aspire to become. As I said in the comments on Wil Wheaton's latest blogpost:

I must admit that even up to the moment I voted, even though I felt I was making a better choice by voting for Obama, I still wasn't sure if he could truly help bring change about in America. Then, I watched as the people were heard, and he was elected. And, THEN, I heard him speak, and I cried. I now have renewed hope for the future of this country, and I'm ready to get to work. YES WE CAN!

Oh, YES! WE CAN. Congratulations President Obama!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tropical Tree Frog Costume GIVEAWAY!!!!

Tropical Tree Frog Costume GIVEAWAY!!!!

Finally, my favorite blog about sewing (and giveaways!) has a cute little frog costume that would be great for V's next Halloween! I hope I win!