Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 "resolutions"

I'm going to do a few races this year.

I've set some goals for the year.

I'm going to do some reading again.

I'd also like to try more new recipes. But I'm not setting a goal or plan on that one.

12 Things I loved about 2012

A friend is posting her "top 12 things in 2012" and it looks like fun. Like her, these are in no particular order. :)

12. Marian's Family Reunion: It was super fun to see my cousins and aunts & uncles. We had 4 fun-filled days of laughing.

11. Ivy starting kindergarten: she says her favorite part of school is gym and friends. I love her teachers.

10. Spending time with the Stones: It was great having Jeremy's sister & her kids here for a couple weeks this summer. And then we spent two weeks with them in Florida. Lots of awesome cousin time!

9. I finished my first and perhaps only half marathon. It was very hard work, and I'm still not sure I enjoyed it. But I did it.

8. I lost 17 pounds. That puts me closer to my goal. (never mind if I gained a couple pounds over the holidays) And here's to more hard work. Maybe another half marathon to keep me motivated. :)

7. Spending fun times with the neighbors over the summer.

6. Many many days at Valley Fair and the MN Zoo.

5. Date Night!!

4. Downton Abbey. Seriously.

3. All the days we got to spend with my family. And the few days Ivy & Jamey got to spend up there.

2. Bethany living with us has been good. It's fun to hang out with her, and the kids love her.

1. Watching all Jeremy's races and the kids' swimming lessons. And all the bike rides, walks, days at the pool. Chutes & Ladders, Memorial Park, Kid Night at Lakefront Park, and hiking around Murphy Hanrehan.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Cookies

Hot Cocoa Cookies
I found these marshmallow bits at Target by the regular size marshmallows and, conveniently, the hot chocolate powder. I picked some up because the Swiss Miss packets never have enough marshmallows for the kids. And also because we had purchased a ginormous canister of hot chocolate. We drink it a lot after playing in the snow.

The recipe was on the back of the marshmallow bits container, although I couldn't find it on the Jet Puffed site.

They're okay. I expected more of a "together cakey" cookie. These spread out a lot and are flat & crispy. I don't like crispy cookies. And I think they'd be better if I could figure out how to incorporate graham crackers and then call them "Smore Cookies."

Nutella Rolls

A friend of ours has an amazing baker of a wife, and she makes these sweet little Nutella Rolls. After begging and begging (I think I asked twice), I got the recipe. I was sure it was going to be a huge ordeal of kneading and mixing dough and rising and waiting. But it's not. It's super easy. So easy, I did it while I was helping Jamey with "school," making coffee, and getting the girls out of bed.

The recipe says to wait 5 minutes to frost. I wouldn't. I'd do it right away. I'd also leave the rolls in the muffin pan until after they're frosted and set a little. The frosting recipe makes way more than you'll need, in my opinion.

Serve with a large cup of hot strong black coffee. These are not for the faint of heart or the diabetic. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Breastfeeding Recommendations

It seems pretty universal that everyone recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Baby's digestive systems aren't matured enough to eat any other food.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.

The World Health Organization has a load of information about breastfeeding. 

This picture is floating around Facebook about the amount of milk a baby's stomach can hold. The idea is that bottle fed babies overeat because no one wants to make 1/2 ounce bottles. 

Christmas Movies

I love Christmas movies as much as I love Christmas music. Here are some that we have or have seen.

Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns
Ivy cried when Frosty melted in the greenhouse. She says she doesn't want to watch it ever again.

Charlie Brown Christmas
They watched it on TV and didn't like it enough to stick through the commercials.

The Grinch (old and new)
We've had the "new" Grinch movie for a couple years. This is the first time the kids have liked it. In fact, when the "old" Grinch movie was on the other night, Ivy pointed out the many differences and wanted to watch the "real" one.

I don't know that the kids had an opinion. They really only want to watch the "New Grinch."

Muppet Christmas Carol
This is my favorite. I don't care what the kids say. We're watching it! :)

Santa Clause 1-3
The first and second ones are fun to watch. The kids like them. The third one is kind of d-u-m-b (because we don't say stupid).

It's a Wonderful Life
I have to be in the right mood, and Jeremy has to be out of the house. He doesn't like this one at all. I do love George Bailey!

Miracle on 34th Street
Oh dear. I do like this, but I have to force myself to turn it on. So I don't very often.

A Christmas Story
I don't get it. We have it, but I don't really like it. Seems sacrilegious to say that coming from my generation, but it's true. I think Jeremy likes this one, though.

Christmas Vacation
My second favorite! She's a beaut, Clark.

Fred Clause

White Christmas
Third favorite! 

Funny. Funny. Funny.

Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude

Someone on Facebook started "30 Days of Gratitude," so I participated. I posted these every day, but I wanted to have them all together.

Day 1: I'm really thankful that I have my hubby and our kids. This is what I wanted.
Day 2: Today, I am thankful I can stay home with the kids.
Day 3: Today I am super thankful for leftover fun size Snickers.
Day 4: Today I am thankful for meeting new friends.
Day 5: I'm thankful for my kids who are so hilarious and fun to spend all day with.
Day 6: Thankful that my vote counts!
Day 7: I'm thankful for a reliable postal service. The kids are decorating a box to send to our "new baby cousin" (due in Feb) in Germany. P.S. They have chosen names: Belle or Thomas
Day 8: I'm thankful for warm days and no kindergarten.
Day 9: I'm thankful to the opportunity to bless others.
Day 10: Today I'm thankful for my siblings. Sam Paradee is here visiting and playing with Jamey. Bethany Paradee lives with us and I love that! Levi 'Olaf' Paradee's having a baby, which will be awesome! Noah Paradee and Marilla Paradee are growing up to be such great people. I love you guys!
Day 11: I'm thankful for veterans past and present who defend our country and provide aid & assistance to others in need.
Day 12: Today, I'm thankful for my first daughter, the girl who made me a mom. She's funny. She's cuddly. She's a helper. I fun person to be around. 
Day 13: today I'm thankful for this hilarious snuggle bug who is so sweet. He told me this morning his name is "diddy." I'm talking about Jamey, not Jeremy.
Day 14: I'm thankful for this baby who loves me so much she wakes up for hours during the night to cuddle and nurse. 
Day 15: I'm thankful for all the friends I'm making at MOPs.
Day 16: Today, I'm thankful for my brother Levi. He's fun, he's encouraging, he's nice. He's got a great wife. Happy Birthday "Little Levi!" 
Day 17: Today I'm thankful for kindergarten. Ivy is having so much fun learning new things and making new friends. Her teacher is wonderful!
Day 18: I'm thankful for lazy family days.  
Day 19: I'm really thankful for whomever made coffee for me this morning!
Day 20: I'm thankful for Caribou, Foss, and the MN zoo. And Target.
Day 21: I'm super thankful for thanksgiving traditions--old and new.
Day 22: I'm thankful for family--near and far.
Day 23: I'm thankful for fresh starts.
Day 24: I'm thankful for Jeremy. He completes me :) 
Day 25: I'm thankful that we schedule date nights on a regular basis.
Day 26: I'm thankful for my hubby's financial prowess. 
Day 27: I'm thankful for peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate milk. Perfect lunch!
Day 28: Livy loves eggnog! I love eggnog creamer. I got eggnog yesterday!
Day 29: I'm thankful for Christmas baking!
Day 30: I'm thankful for support.

Book Review: Treadmill Training for Runners

November Book

Treadmill Training for Runners
Rick Morris
236 pages

This was a super easy read. I did skip a couple chapters about buying a treadmill and maintaining a treadmill. The last 100 pages or so are training plans.

It basically says that most runners do some training on treadmills. Some more, some less. It's a valuable tool, but not everyone likes it.

I might give one of the training plans a shot. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Christmas Music

I have a lot of Christmas music. According to iTunes, I have 23 hours of Christmas music. I love it!! Every year though, it seems like I need some new stuff.

Here's what I got this year:

Holly Happy Days by the Indigo Girls
Barenaked for the Holidays by the Barenaked Ladies
Michael Buble's Christmas album

When is Green Day going to come out with a Christmas album?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Homemade Coffee Creamer

Jeremy sent me a link to homemade coffee creamer. I can't find the actual link now, but thankfully, I had copied the recipes. I'm well-known in my own head for losing links, so I email myself almost everything, because then at least I know it's in an email somewhere.

I drink a lot of coffee. And I love creamer. Sometimes, we're not super excited about all the chemical though. I don't think there's actually any milk or dairy product in Carnation creamer. But adding some peppermint mocha creamer to a cup of hot coffee is the best part of waking up somedays.

The recipe makes two cups of creamer, so we picked up pint-sized Mason jars. The creamer fits exactly, and because the jars came in a four pack, I can have four different flavors of creamer to choose from.

I made two different ones on Saturday: Vanilla and Chocolate Almond.

There is a base recipe and then you can add whatever flavor you want.

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 T real maple syrup (I might leave that out next time--it's 57 grams of sugar I don't think is necessary)

Mix all that in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to steam. That means like 3 minutes. It doesn't mean walk away at all. Stir it the whole time. Take it off the heat and add flavors.

Chocolate Almond: 2 Tb cocoa powder & 1 tsp almond extract
Vanilla: 1 Tb vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
Cinnamon Strudel: 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon & 2 tsp vanilla & 1 tsp almond extract
Peppermint Mocha: 3 Tb cocoa powder & 1 tsp peppermint extract
Pumpkin Spice: 3 Tb pureed pumpkin & 1 tsp pumpkin spice & 1 tsp vanilla

We have guessed that you have to steam it for the cream and milk to mix properly--otherwise would they separate in the fridge?

I think the almond is strong in the chocolate almond, but the vanilla one is great!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why we're not "babywise"

I thought having a baby would come "easier" to me than people said, because I'm the oldest of seven. I've been around babies and kids my entire life--I knew what to expect. Ha ha! Then sweet Ivy was born. And she cried for six months straight, unless I was holding her. And she nursed 20 hours a day. 

At first, it was fine. I didn't have anything else to do but hold her anyway. And then I got tired, and the floor needed to be washed. And Jeremy was always looking for clean clothes and meals. 

Someone recommended Babywise to me. So I picked up a copy and cried the entire time I read it. It seemed cruel, and I couldn't figure out why I needed to "tough it out" when we were supposed to let her cry for hours until she fell asleep--It was nap time, you know. 

After one day of that nonsense, I found a different book at Barnes and Noble: The Fussy Baby Book. And then we found the Dr Sears website, and the Attachment Parenting group in the Twin Cities. And then I read Sleepless in America. I cried the whole way through that book, too, but they were tears of joy and understanding. 

I think the biggest reason we don't "follow" Babywise is that the tone of Ezzo's teaching is "make your child bend to your will, no matter what." It doesn't seem to take into account different personalities or traits--just make the baby do whatever so it fits into your life. 

Here are some resources to research for yourself Gary Ezzo and Babywise: 

Ezzo Info has a ton of information about Gary and his wife and their organization. 

Unprepared to Teach Parenting

The Cultic Characteristics of Growing Families International

New Challenges Face Gary Ezzo and Growing Families International

This link is to an interview with Gary Ezzo. What I think is interesting is that he never answers the questions.

Here's the Wikipedia page on Babywise. 

The National Institute of Health published a comparison of Attachment Parenting and the Babywise claims. 

In 1998, the American Academy of Pediatrics published an article linking Babywise to dehydration and failure to thrive. You have to create an account to read the whole article. AAP News 1998; 14:21

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A fun Saturday

This was a very fun Saturday! First of all, Ivy had her first little play date with a friend from school. And maybe my favorite part so far is that this girl lives about four blocks from us. I see lots of fun summer walks in our future!

Then my brother Sam came down for a visit. He's staying over night and will hang out tomorrow for a while. Probably until the football game(s) are done.

And, even more fun, Livy's little boyfriend Scout--from next door--came over to play for a couple hours.

Let's get this party started!!

Seriously, let's get partying!

Mom, can I have the camera? 

Matchy matchy

We ran up to the "America Mall" as Jamey calls it. We had to get a little present for a friend in FL. I had mailed one, but the envelope tore open and the gift didn't arrive safely. And we did some Christmas shopping for the family in Germany. 

While we were in FL, we went to Chipotle with Auntie Amy one day. The manager came up and gave us a coupon for 5 FREE BURRITOS. We were going to eat at the MOA, but the line was hella-long. So we just drove home to "our Chipotle." 

Livy ate an entire small cheese quesadilla and then that whole piece of my veggie burrito. She must be growing! Hopefully that makes her tired!!

Cherry Berry is just across the parking lot from Chipotle. Because a mondo burrito isn't enough food, we went over for super delish and huge froyo. 

Chilly Willy


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mother Son Game Night

Wooddale hosted a Mother/Son Game Night tonight, so I took Jamey. Whew! That boy is funny!

Nevermind the early use of Ivy's booster. It was easier to move into Jeremy's car than his own car seat. He's wearing his stocking cap with his ears sticking out--just like his dad.  

There were activities set up in two classrooms and the gym. We just went from station to station playing games and doing art. Every station had questions to ask the boys. 

We spent a lot of time doing art--making pennants. And then flying them like airplanes. The question here was "If you had $10, what would you do with it?" Jamey said, "Give it to some workers ... like at a restaurant." 

He had quite a bit of trouble actually hitting the bowling balls with the ball, so he ended up kicking the ball to hit the pins. "If your pets could talk, what would they say?" Jamey told me that the fish want to eat ice cream, go to the park, and sleep in his bed. 

Playing in the gym. He couldn't really get this thing going on his own, so I pushed him around. It was a lot like playing at Edinborough Park or Shakopee open gym. 

Snack Time! They had "make your own trail mix," rice krispie treats, and football shaped brownies. Jamey was super excited for little bottles of "racing juice." 

Bean Bag Toss. He threw bean bags for a very long time, but wouldn't stand back any further than this. 

"Mom, it's a big smile!" He hung on to one end of the noodle, and I pulled the other end. Lots of fun to swing him around so he'd fall off the rolling thing.

Playing catch. Then throwing it through the hula hoop. "What kind of animal would you like to be?" A giraffe, so I could bend down and eat you!

His favorite thing of the whole night was laying on his belly on the gym floor and holding on to the hula hoop while I dragged him around on the floor. LOVED it! That's the first thing he told Jeremy about when we got home.

This event was scheduled from 6-9. Around 7:45 Jamey asked if Ivy was still at swimming lessons. When I said she was in the bath or going to bed, he asked to go home. "But Mom, I wanted to watch Ivy swim." 

On the way home, I asked if he wanted ice cream or to go home. After a long discussion about Dairy Queen, Cherry Berry, and Wendy's, he picked Wendy's. When we got inside, he asked if the girl working was Wendy. 

Mom & Son

Mmmm. Chocolate Frosty!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Father-Daughter Square Dance

Wooddale hosted a Father-Daughter Square Dance on Friday.

All dressed for her date with Daddy
Not all dancing was square dancing, we did some line dancing too
Ivy's had made her hot, so dad wore it most of the night
There were lots of fun snacks, we took many dancing breaks to have gummy worms and cookies

Huge circle of square dancing
Listening to a missionary about life in China as a missonary
Ivy took this time to take some pictures around the room she thought was fun (pink light)

For the last dance, Ivy danced with a girl as her partner.

Ivy and dad got milkshakes on the way home
The last dance had pairs taking turns doing the lead portion of the dance. The segment you see Ivy just standing there while someone in the background runs back and forth, Ivy is supposed to be doing that too, but it was a fairly complex series of moves and she just went to the end

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October books

I was supposed to read Hold on to Your Kids by Gordon Nuefeld. This is the third time I've tried to read this book. I just can't get into it.

The book club book was Juliet by Anne Fortier. I think the premise of the book is stupid. Some girl (named Juliet) is a direct descendant of the "real life"Juliet and there really is a "curse on both their houses." Dumb idea, but I read it.

Here's hoping the November books are better.


The kids were so excited about their costumes and the whole day of fun, they put their costumes on as soon as they got up. 

We went over to City Hall and the Police Dept in the morning to go trick or treating there. Then off to an oil change and to Target. We were looking for a costume for Daddy. They were all out of adult hot dog costumes, so I'm going to have to buy that earlier in Oct, no matter what Jeremy says. :) 

Ivy had a party at school, so she got to wear her costume there. She said it was a lot of fun. They played games and got fun little toy prizes. 

After dinner, we went out trick or treating with our neighbors. We were out from 6:30-8. Ivy, especially, loved it. Jamey did, but he kept sucking on his fingers, so they got very cold. Even Livy liked picking candy out of the bowls. 

There were some awesomely decked-out houses. Thankfully, the teens pretending they were dead in the lawn didn't jump up to scare the toddlers. But there were a few houses that Jamey was scared of. One had a bush that shook when you walked past it. 

Ivy & Livy's haul

Ivy said something like "chips are not candy" and handed them to me. 

This fan lasted approximately 15 seconds. 

Oh my. Sugar dipped in sugar. It's like I'm 10 again. 

The glow in the dark teeth are a huge hit! 

In case there wasn't enough candy in the house

And then as a special Halloween treat, all three kids were awake in the middle of the night. Starting with our sweet baby who cried from 2-4:30. Ivy & Jamey couldn't sleep through that, so we played musical beds for a while, and eventually everyone went back to sleep. But our lovely boy woke up a little before 7, so I'm sucking down coffee this morning.