Thursday, February 26, 2009


Before I had Veronica, I worked with children at Hillcrest Kids (for over five years). Before that I worked as a camp counselor and worked in the public schools for two years. Before that I had always helped out with children via church. Before that I grew up with my younger brother and helping out with things with him (at least after he was 2 years or so). All of that I never really knew the definition of "terrible twos." You hear people in childcare nod their head in agreement with you when you talk about it, but the thing is is if they have never had children themselves--they have no real clue as to what it's like to be the parent to this stage.

We look at Cadence and see how sweet she is and we know that she will go through this as well. It's inevitable! Although Veronica has allowed me the opportunity to go through this stage and cause me to start praying harder (rebuking the demons inside of her) than ever, I appreciate her wonderful sides--her myriad of faces.

She loves imagination playing. She is always busy at work being able to put personality to items that don't hold a person. She is very much like me as a child. She loves to make sure her BaaBaa is well taken care of by feeding him various items (sometimes there is jam marked on his face). She is a busy bee helping mama stir soup and here she is preparing for many days in her future to help out in the kitchen.

Being silly is something she loves to do. She loves it when I'm helping her pull off her pajama top and leave the shirt half on her head. She gets a big grin on her face, climbs up on the stool and smiles in the mirror. This picture is priceless in my mind.

I love Costco and there deals on kids clothes. A while back we were there and Veronica was in need of new pajamas. They had tons to choose from and the ones she wanted were the doggy pajamas. I bought two different doggy pajamas. She LOVES them. Unfortunately, she loves them a bit too much, because she hates taking them off in the morning. I found the same pair at Fred Meyer for a cheaper price than Costco and bought them to have an extra pair, in case the other two were dirty. I consider it money well spent.

Snacks: this means granola bars in our house. Every other snack item, cheese, apple slices, crackers have names, but granola bars are called snacks. This is what you see on her face.

My little girl is becoming a big girl. This is put into realization when I see her wear a dress like the one below. She just looks so much older. I look at her and think, "You're so very beautiful!" Of course, I know I'm biased, but she is very beautiful, not just the outside, but the inside. I love her curly hair that is untameable, her little belly that protrudes, her sweet voice when she's busy at play, her imagination, her willingness to help around the house, how she wakes up every morning inquiring to see her baby sister, and I love looking at her in the eyes and staring into her big brown eyes with naturally curled eyelashes and think...I gave birth to you--you're my daughter--how blessed am I!

Tuscan Three Bean Soup

Here is a yummy soup I made last night, which I adjusted to make it a bit more healthy.


4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 lb of lower fat ham, chopped
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup chopped onion
Salt & pepper
1-15 oz can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1-15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1-15 oz can cannelini beans, drained & rinsed
1-15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth
2 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
One head of Kale, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces.

Heat oil in stockpot. Add chopped ham and cook for 3-4 minutes to pull out the juices. Add carrots, celery, & onion, cook for 3-4 minutes. Add salt & pepper & stir. Add the chicken stock, diced tomatoes, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, & cannelini beans. Take kitchen twine and make an herb bouquet, add to pot along with the bay leaf & chili pepper flakes. Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat. Add Kale and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes on simmer.

This would be great with rustic bread, or heat the oven to 375, cut your bread, brush with olive oil and add shredded Parmesan on top. Bake for 2-3 minutes or till cheese melts and turns golden.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rolling & Giggles

Cadence highlight: She has really begun to talk, squeal, giggle and enrapture us all by her very delightful personality. On Friday marked the dawning of a new era in our home, as Cadence rolled over from belly to back many times, which got me thinking about how I'm not ready for onward mobility.

Giggles & Talking

Rolling over

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Some Light Reading

Upon coming downstairs I captured our two year old sitting in her chair, enjoying a snack and doing a little light reading, 'Raising an Emotionally Healthy Child,' by Ph.D. John Gottman. I mean, don't most two year olds opt to read about Emotion Coaching versus 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See?' She informed me, "I'm reeding!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kid Lunches part deux

I realize my daughter isn't a picky eater, which makes making meals a bit easier compared to other children (who knows Cadence could be my picky eater). I think it's fairly common for kids to not really like meats too much. Veronica has always liked ham and salmon; however, chicken is a tricky spot. If it's not cooked "just right" (which is hard to do) then she will chew it up and realize she doesn't like it and spit it out. I thought I would put down some other ideas we like (or should I say what Veronica likes) and once a week I'll post a new recipe. I like to make sure Veronica gets a carb & protein mixture in all her meals, and sometimes I don't have all the time in the world to accomplish this goal.

1. Brown rice cakes spread with Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese or cream cheese and then some no sugar jam on top of that.

2. Smoothies are always a hit in our home (sounds the same for Scheids & Backholms too). Either a blueberry smoothie (frozen blueberries, orange juice, lowfat plain yogurt, banana & ice) or peanut butter banana smoothie (ice, milk, peanut butter, banana & sometimes protein powder).

3. English Muffin pizzas: (we use whole wheat english muffins, top with tomato sauce (seasoned to your liking) and top with cheese and any other toppings if so desired. Either put it in the microwave or in oven until cheese melts a bit). Veronica LOVES these.

4. Whole grain frozen waffles (we bought some Kashi ones from Costco, so they're whole grain, have flax & fiber). Since I don't want tons of sugar in Veronica's system I top with either peanut butter & bananas, or blueberries and blueberry syrup, or plain yogurt & a fresh chopped fruit. She also LOVES these.

This week I'll be trying a new recipe if you all want to try it with me...

Lily Pad Pancakes

8 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) frozen peas, thawed
2 Tb water
1 egg
3 Tb all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
Vegetable oil, as needed
Butter or plain yogurt for serving

Preparation: Set aside 1/3 cup of the peas

Add the remaining peas to a blender with the water and egg; puree until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder and gradually mix with a fork or whisk. Stir in the reserved 1/3 cup peas; let the batter rest for 10 minutes while you clean up.

Place about 2 Tb of oil in a saute pan, warm over medium heat until simmering, and drop 1 Tb of batter into the pan. Gently cook for about 3 minutes, until you see bubbles forming around the edges. Flip and cook on the second side until very lightly browned. Continue until all the batter is gone. Serve warm with butter or plain yogurt. (makes 15 silver dollar size pancakes)

Variation: add in cooked bay shrimp, diced chicken or fresh corn.

Toddler tip: If your child won't usually eat peas, make sure you add all the peas to the blender in the first step so they get pureed.

**Paige mentioned she adds a handful of fresh kale into the smoothie--great idea!!
**Biz mentioned that PB is a fav and anything she can give to Adri to dip into PB. I think this is true for toddlers. They become interested in food when they can dip for some reason.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Yummy lunches!

As a mom of two it can be hard to serve healthy and yummy lunches. I find that breakfast and dinner are much more easy to come up with ideas to serve my family a well-balanced meal. I wanted to get feedback from you as to what you serve your kids for lunch, maybe this could be an exchange of meals.

Ham, Cheese, & Apple Melt

I used a whole wheat pita bread (you could use another soft bread) and toasted it in the panini to warm it up. Then added a layer of ham, thinly sliced apples, and sliced mozzarella cheese. Put it in the panini grill and toasted it until the cheese is melted and grill marks appear on the bread.
If you have a panini grill this is great, but a pan is just as good. Veronica loves it and so do I. The salty sweet combination of the apple & ham is just right. Plus, you don't need to add any condiments, because the juices from the apple & ham meld it all together.

If you don't have a panini grill just make it like you would a grilled cheese sandwich on the stovetop. If you have a cast iron pan use that and then you don't need to use any butter.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

Veronica Storey
When I think about Veronica I can't stop but be in amazement at how many things she enjoys in life. Her personality is very vibrant, playful, dramatic, observant and thoughtful at the same time. She can lack attention for certain areas in her life, while having intense focus that lasts well beyond what two year old's are expected to exert. As a tribute to my lovely daughter, here are some of her favorite things to date.

1. Being a helper & protector: She is very concerned over her sister's being. When baby is crying in her carseat before leaving the house she will go and rock her saying, "rock a baby, rock rock a baby. Its otay Tadeenz!"
This is part of #1, as she loves to help with whatever mommy is doing. She sees us sweeping and shouts out, "Sweep sweep!" The other day she swept while I was at the table, then left to the kitchen. She returned, but she was now underneath the table. I looked over to see what she was doing to find that she had gotten the dustpan and proceeded to place the crumbs by hand into the dustpan. So sweet!

#2: Her sister & her sister's glider: Veronica absolutely loves her sister's glider because it lights up and has songs. The other day she was VERY concerned shouting, "OH NO, OH NO! More Songs, More Songs--soxs soxs!" The songs had stopped and baby had lost her sockies off her feet. She wants to make sure her sister is taken care of by ensuring that her sockies stay on.

3. Paint, Paint, & more Paint: She loves to paint. In fact, if we let her paint everyday she would be a happy camper. However, there are times when Ben and I think what she really likes about the painting experience is when we squeeze it out of the tube. Maybe that's why she likes ketchup so much?

4. Eating like a big girl: This morning Veronica wanted to drink her milk out of her big girl cup. So I poured in a bit and she walked over to the table (her table) to drink it. Then, when I showed her breakfast, she put her hands out as to say, "I can take it from her mom!" She proceeded to her table and climbed in her chair to eat breakfast.

5. Books & her daddy: She has a rotating favorite's list of books, but one things for sure...she LOVES books. Her attention span is very focused when it comes to reading books. The book daddy is reading was written in the 50s and she had me read and reread it for 15-20 minutes. She loves her daddy without a doubt and I think he's a fantastic daddy for a little girl to have.

6: Cadence: She loves her sister. She pats her gently, sings songs to her, rocks her, puts her blanket on her, and reads her books.

7. Kitchen & Pizza: She thinks kitchen sets are very interesting, but we don't have one. Here she is playing with one at a friend's house. She is also really into pizza lately. In fact, on the way to the friend's house she suddenly bursts out saying with glee, "Piz-ZA, Piz-ZA!" It's quite cute to hear her put the emphasis on the last syllable.

8. Walks & Pockets: She enjoys going on walks. Here we are enjoying a nice sunny day in the winter. While going on walks she points out her pockets and puts her hands in them. After doing so, her face lights up and chest becomes a bit more proud as she walks with her hands in her pockets.

9. My personal favorite is when she says, "OTAY!" For instance, she asked for more strawberries and I said, "oh do you want more strawberries?" "OhTay!" but she says it more like I was the one suggesting it and her responding with, "that sounds like a great idea mama!"