Follow me by Email

Grab my Button

The Houtz House Party

Search my Blog Powered by Blogger.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Family outing to the Zoo

It seems like nowadays it gets harder and harder to do something as a family, but a couple of weeks ago I decided to take advantage of the last few days of the 70 degree weather we were having and go to the zoo.  It was a beautiful day.  Unfortunately, my oldest, Peter, was unable to join us.  Thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, we have a zoo membership, so it makes it really affordable to go to the zoo as a family.  Awesome Christmas present too!  So, if my sister, Elin, is reading this, hint hint!  Just in case you didn't have any ideas yet! Hee, hee!  

 Abigail LOVES the zoo, as most kids do!  She runs all around not sure of what to check out first!  

 Just realized that this was NOT such a good photo of her, but decided to use it anyway!

 This is one of the rare photos I am in!  I normally don't become photogenic again until about a year AFTER I have a baby!  This is only about 5 and half months post baby!  YUCK!!  Anyway, I wanted to take advantage of the nice Fall background we had, so I jumped in there too!  Note:  my husband smiles the SAME way in every photo.  I don't know how he does it, but it's funny!

 I had to capture a picture of this bird.  See how the wing is all out of whack?  Since I tend to have the frazzled look down pat pretty much ALL the time, if I were a duck, this is definitely how I would look.

 Abigail had to climb on just about all of these, I couldn't get a picture of all of them!  

 You guys all get to see Abigail feeding a goat for the FIRST time!  She was so afraid at first, but my husband is always so good about making her try new things.  I would have just given up, but I am glad Reza kept pushing!  She loved it!

Maison was so happy to be out of the stroller and looking around.  He didn't really care too much for the zoo this year, but I can't wait to see his reaction next year.  That is, if my sister decides to get us that zoo membership again!  I hope she will get the hint, but just in case she didn't the 1st two times! 
Boy, a zoo membership would really be nice for Christmas!  
Ok, I think that should do it!
My sister is the best!  A little sucking up never hurts!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Homemade baby food

I have 3 children and yet it has taken me the third one to FINALLY make my own homemade baby food.  I found that it is really easy to do and I love doing it.  I also LOVE the thought that I already have all this baby food stored in my freezer ready to go when I need it.  I LOVE LOVE the fact that I have saved money (well, saved my husband money) by making my own baby food.  For example, one head of cauliflower (yes, I said cauliflower) cost me $1.99.  One jar of baby food costs between $.60 to $1.00, so I was able to get about 12 jars out of one head of cauliflower!  
$.60 x 12 =  $7.20
 1 head of cauliflower $1.99
  $1.99 / 12 = $.17/jar
Savings = $5.21
Pretty incredible right?  That's just one scenario!  Now, I know you can't normally buy cauliflower as baby food at the stores, but it can be added to other vegetables, such as, broccoli and meats as he gets older.  

This is the book that I have been using.  I found it at the library and loved it SO much that I bought my own off of ebay!  Check it out!  I guarantee you will love it too!

My parents have a wonderful garden and they were nice enough to give me some of their homegrown butternut squash.  So, the savings with this is remarkable!  I am pretty much getting FREE baby food!  So, anytime someone wants to give you fresh veggies or fruit, take them and see if they can be pureed into baby food!  Fresh is best!!  

 For those of you who have NEVER made their own baby food before.  This is what you do:
1. Cut the squash in half.

 2. Spoon out the seeds.

 3. Turn the oven on to 350. 
4. Turn squash face down on cookie sheet.  I put foil down because I don't like to clean up any extra mess.

 5. After about an hour, this is what you get.  Sorry, it's a bad picture.  Clean out the squash and put into blender.  

 This is how much I was able to get from them.  Not too bad, huh?

No, this isn't the squash, it is pears!  I forgot to take a picture of the squash.  This is what it would look like though.

This is my little helper!  Along with the squash, I have done carrots, broccoli, summer squash, apples, pears, mangoes, sweet potatoes, peas, and green beans.

Well, I hope this will encourage some of you to make your own baby food!  Maison will be 6 months this week and I know most people say you should start solids around 6 months, but I am going to wait a little while.  What's the rush!!  One thing I do know is that my freezer is stocked up so when it is time I will be ready!  If you have any questions let me know or if already make your own baby food I would love to hear from you as well!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Caccamo Clan - Guest Post - a must read

 My guest post for today comes from a woman named Kelly Caccamo.  She talks about how she is coping with the news that her husband, Joe, has rectal cancer, how their 5 kids are learning what cancer means at such young ages, and how they are learning that life may be short and every minute counts.  Oh, and with all that, they still have time to LAUGH!  After I read Kelly's posts, I start to wonder if I spent enough time with my kids and my husband today.  My answer is always NO.  I find that I take every minute of every day for granted, but don't we all?  Why is that?  Why does it take something life threatening to make us realize that we need to cherish the time with our loved ones and not bicker, fight, and nag?  When was the last time we said I Love You to our husbands and REALLY mean it?  We can all learn from Kelly. She has a great spirit and I am proud to know her and her family.  They are a great inspiration to us all.  So, thank-you Kelly for sharing and I hope I didn't embarrass you too much with the pictures!

Joe and Kelly - 9 yrs ago
Joe and Kelly - 9 yrs and 5 kids later
Avery - 7, Drew - 6, Addison - 5, Macey - 2, and Dawson - 1

We recently had “Dreams Come True” at Disney World thanks to some wonderful family and friends to whom we will forever be grateful! If you were with us or if you happened to be watching from afar our trip would have appeared more chaotic than relaxed, but what they don’t realize that is our life … crazy and chaotic! While each day we strive for less chaos and better behavior, at the end of an exhausting day Joe and I lay in bed and know that we wouldn’t have it any other way!! I do envy those families who seem to be able to manage it all, but we are not the Duggars :) !! I go to sleep dreaming of how perfect and magical tomorrow will be! Morning will come and the magic will begin, then the day will end just like it did the day before!

At Disney World the meltdowns were many, but the magical memories were more! Every morning the kids excitement could not be contained even as we barked orders, many times repeating the same order time and time again. They were not interested in the preparation, only getting there! One look into their eyes and you could see the excitement as they anticipated yet another ride, show, parade, fireworks or Tinkerbell flying from the castle!!! AWESOME!

As we ventured back to the Quad Cities, like most long road trips, their excitement was quickly replaced with agitation. Joe and I lacked patience as we knew the reality of what we were returning too …. chemo, scans and all the other realities that come with cancer. Even as Joe and I went to the hospital Monday morning our strength was replaced with agitation as we realized a hospital is no Disney World! We quickly pulled up the pictures of our vacation and reminisced about all the wonderful memories and our spirits were immediately lifted!

And then it hit me …. dreams do come true in Disney, but not because of the place, rather it encourages us to forget reality and make magical memories! This is yet another reminder that the dishes can wait, but Candy Land can’t … it is so important that we put away reality for a short time so that we can focus on our family! I realize life does not allow us to forget the craziness, chaos or meltdowns, so tonight I will not dream of a perfect day tomorrow, but rather that small moment in time when all is perfect and magical! My hope is that everyone takes the time tomorrow to play “Candy Land” and have their own small piece of Disney World in their own backyard where Dreams Come True!

Go to 'Joe's Journey by Kelly Caccamo' and "like" them on Facebook.  Follow along with them and keep them in your prayers.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

One of 'those' days

So, I am having one of 'those' days!  C'mon Moms, you know what 'those' days are like, right?  Well, here I didn't think I was going to have anything to post for today, but here I am writing!  

The only thing positive about today is that I was able to get a shower!  I had to get up before everyone else this morning, BUT I was able to get my shower!  Oh, and with NO interruptions!  For a moment this morning I thought I was on vacation!  My son wasn't coming in there telling me he was up and then going to the bathroom.  My 3 year old wasn't coming in and playing peek-a-boo with me and then leaving the WIDE open and letting in ALL the cold air!  Ok, so this might be a little TMI, but my husband wasn't even coming in the bathroom!  I had it all to myself!     
Shower's done - back to reality!!

So, I am finally sitting down here at 12:30 in the afternoon and yes, I am having a cup of coffee.  I was unable to have it this morning.  Since I am nursing I have limited myself to 1, just 1 cup of joe a day!  I savor it to the last drop!  I LOVE COFFEE!  So, as I am drinking this 1 cup of coffee for the day I thought it would be the best and only time to write down a quick little post.  As I write, I am being serenaded by my almost 6 month old baby boy crying from his crib.  He might be a little tone deaf!  Ok, so he isn't ACTUALLY serenading me - far from it!  What is so awful about sleeping in a crib, huh?  I would sleep about anywhere right now.  Well, not until I finish my coffee.

So, I hope everyone has a good day and I will try and write more for tomorrow!  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"I can do it myself"

"I can do it MYSELF!"  Hmmm, I wonder who says that?  Could it be our little Ms. Sassy Pants?  Yep, you guessed it!  Our 3 year old daughter, Abigail, is into her independence.  Even though it is second nature for us to help put her shoes on, help her up into a chair, pick out her clothes for the day, she is starting to tell me, "I can do it myself".  With an emphasis on MYSELF.  I love seeing her want to do things herself, but it is also sad to know that as she gets older she will not need me as much as she does now.  Instead, she will only need for a $20 here and a $20 there!  Trust me, I used to the same thing!  I went to my Mom and asked her for a $20 and then went to my Dad (in another room) and asked him for a $20!  Ha, fooled them, but I couldn't fool them twice!  That stunt only worked once I am afraid!!

Here she is!!  

She keeps us very busy!  She causes our tardiness to church most of the time.  Well, tardiness to pretty much anywhere let's just say.

For example, we are running late as usual to AWANA (a church program at our church for kids pre-k through 6th) I put her into her car seat to save time.  She starts to pout and says to me, "I can do it MYSELF" and gets out of her seat ,gets out of the car and climbs back in all by herself?  Really?  It's a good thing we're not going to be late or anything (by the way, that was sarcasm). 

Ms. Independent is the other name I have for her.  Now, I don't want you all to think that I discourage her independence in any way, shape or form!  Not at all, but is it too much to ask to get her to do it a little quicker??  Hmmm???  Is it?  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My 1st attempt with leeks!

So, a few days ago I tried another NEW recipe on my family.  Well, only my husband.  My kids are never brave enough for new foods!  I found a recipe for a Creamy Leek and Potato Soup (Betty Crocker)!  So, so delicious!  

 So, how many of you know what a leek looks like?  It just looks like a ginormous green onion!  It has a more mild taste to it though.  They are grown in sand (never knew that) so you have really clean them.

 This is the soup!  Doesn't it look delicious!  My husband was working very hard at trying to get those oyster crackers to stay in the center!  We wanted it to look professional!  What do you think?

 Since I was not going to get my kids to try the soup and I wasn't in the mood to fight them on it, I decided to do chicken noodle soup for them!  No, I didn't make it, Campbells did!  Peter and Abigail had to have oyster crackers in their soup too!

Whenever I make a soup AND if I have time, I use the BEST Christmas present my husband ever bought me (my bread machine) and make some homemade  bread.  So, this time I made some rye bread!  Also delicious!!

When my husband leaves an empty bowl after having seconds, it is a good sign and answers my question, "Should I make this again?"  Well, what do you think an empty bowl says?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our little night owl!

So, remember my last post about our wonderful accomplishment of getting Maison from the swing to the crib?  Remember how happy I was about it?  Well, it really did happen!  No lie!  How long?  Only about a week?  For some reason the past couple nights he has not been wanting to sleep at all, even in the crib.  My husband and I are getting very exhausted.  One night of little sleep I can handle, but 2 nights without sleep is not good.  

 When I woke up this morning to get Maison he greets me with a smile!  Really?  A smile?  After last nights little stunt you pulled and you smile at me?  I just don't understand how such a sweet little boy could cause so much frustration!  So, as he smiles at me, I slowly (very VERY slowly) forget about last night's party we had til midnight and enjoy his smiles and coos!

So, we tried to tire him out today at the zoo and I gave him a nice warm bath.  He is now sleeping in the...
swing - ASLEEP!  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Swing to Crib

My 5 month old son finally started sleeping in the crib this weekend!  You are probably wondering where has he been sleeping?  The bassinet?  NO.  In our bed?  NO.  He has been sleeping in his Fisher Price swing!  Don't judge me.  I think every mother gets into that desperate mode.  That was exactly where I was. He wasn't sleeping in the bassinet or with us.  The swing just started to work.  

 At first, I was a little embarrassed by it and didn't tell people where Maison was actually sleeping.  I mean, let's be honest, there are a lot of Moms out there, I am sad to say, that are judgmental on how other Moms parent.  Its sickening!   I will be honest, I can be one of those myself.  Finally, I just started telling people the truth and laughing about it.

Here he is!  This has been his bed for about 5 months!  Don't you think he is getting a little big?  Yeah.   When the swing hardly moves even after you have put NEW batteries in, it's time to relocate him to bigger and more spacious and most importantly, room to grow!

So, here is the little man now in his NEW bed - the crib!  He looks so much more peaceful and comfortable!    The transition was hard, but not as bad as I thought it would be.  

Now, on to getting our 3 year old from coming into our bed at all hours of the night!  Any suggestions??  She is a thrasher so we are open to anything you've got!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Who doesn't love Fall?

Let me just say that I love Fall!  It is by far my favorite season!  It is so beautiful out right now.  You can still be outside and throw the ball around, ride bikes, take walks, and much more!  My daughter loves looking out the window at all the trees and seeing them change colors!  This is a picture of the beautiful scenery driving in the car going to my parents' house.  It is our "Tunnel of Trees".  

We did a lot this past weekend.  It was my Mom's ??nd (can't reveal the age).  Let's just say she is 29 and holding too just like ME.  How many years can you still say that?  Anyway, she loved spending time with her grand kids!  They got their faces painted.  Peter went for a more patriotic look.  You can't even see his mouth!  

Isn't it nice?  Yeah, but not so easy to take off though.  My daughter got a butterfly on each cheek.  She kept looking in the mirror at herself while the lady was putting it on her!  Can I just point out how sweet and innocent she looks here!  

We also went to a pumpkin patch and the kids got to pick their own pumpkins out!  

We will carve them soon and I will have pix of those!  It was such a nice weekend!  If anyone spent the weekend inside, I hope they had a darn good reason!  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pinterest caramel sauce day

What a yummy and delicious day it was today!  I was able to spend the day in my sweats, making a yummy sweet caramel sauce (anybody who knows me, knows that sweets are my weakness and I can't control myself when I am around them), and I got to make it with my great friend Steph!!  She was nice enough to wear sweats too!  Thanks for that!  So, we bummed it together making NOT one but TWO different caramel sauces!  

 We doubled the recipe so there would be enough for both of us!  I couldn't let her keep it all to herself and her family!  I am not that nice when it comes to sweets.  I am a little on the selfish side I do believe!

 Oooohh,  doesn't it look delicious??  Well, it was!  We might have let it boil a little too long on the stove because once we put it on the ice cream it hardened right up, similar to the Shell toppings.  Oh well, it still looks pretty.

   Anyway, so the first caramel sauce (kid tested by the way in case you were wondering) was delicious, yummy, and heavenly!  If it can be all three!  Sure, why not!!  I am the writer here!  Here is the link for this sauce:

So, now on to our 2nd caramel sauce which tasted delicious, yummy, and heavenly.  Unfortunately, it did not look so heavenly!

As you can see by the pictures we let it caramelize a little too long!  It got all clumpy, but we decided NOT to waste all that yummy sugar and butter mixture so we strained the liquid out.  Guess who was lucky enough to take home the clumpy sugar?  Yep, me.  I decided to use it as a topping for ice cream!  Waste not, want not!  Ok, that sounded a little like my grandma, but when it comes to sweets, I will say it!  Here is the link for the 2nd sauce:\

So, Steph and I thought we would make ourselves really good and tally up the calories for the 1st and 2nd sauces.  
The 1st Sauce:
1 cup Corn Syrup - 960 Cal
2 cups Heavy Cream - 1600 Cal
1 1/2 cups Sugar - 1080 Cal
1/2 stick Butter - 560 Cal
1 Cup Brown Sugar - 720 Cal
Comes to a total of = 4920 Calories and 2460/pint jar
So, that's 77 Calories/tablespoon
(I think - I wasn't always good at math, but my calculator was)

The 2nd Sauce:
2 cups Sugar - 1440 Cal
Water - 0 Cal
Comes to a total of = 1440 Cal and 720 Cal/pint jar
So, that's 22.5 Calories/tablespoon
(Again, I think - feel free to correct me if you would like)

****Hey, where are you going??  Scroll down and check out some other blogs on Thursdays Blog Hop!!  Enjoy!  Share the ones you like and post on the ones you like!  Thank-you!!