Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow and no

It has been snowing since about 6 this morning, we have about 5-6 inches and counting. It is really beautiful and offers some sort of peace to the trying past couple of days. Overnight my little guy decided that it was more fun to snub his nose at any kind of food I offered him. Rather than eating his food he proceeded to squash, smear, play, throw, and reject anything that touched his tray. I was ready to yank out my hair and had a few good crying sessions as I somehow took his rejection as a reflection of my mommy skills. Thankfully I received good news.....this is normal.

Whew.  I seriously thought somehow I had completely ruined my child and turned him into a ritz cracker and cheese guy for life. This morning I actually woke up feeling refreshed and somewhat normal as I had finally had a full nights had been about a week. A week of no sleep does something awful to a person and their ability to look at life with a clear focus.  I was more tired than the first months after Cole was born. Thankfully I no longer felt like a walking zombie and was actually feeling pretty optimistic about the whole "food" situation.  My focus was clear and I was ready to embrace this stage that my sweet boy was at.

Then he decided that naps were for babies. And that he was a toddler. And that the two were not meshing to his liking. 

3 hours later......

I had a baby that could barely hold his eyelids open and he finally succumbed to the sleep that he so desperately needed. And I have a moment to stare blankly at the beautiful fluffy fluff that is gracefully falling from the sky.

Honestly, I think someone was just too excited about his first "snow day". 

He stood with his face smashed against the window for a good ten minutes.  

I love him, food fights and all. He is my joy. But as much joy as he brings me I still look forward to his naptime. It gives me a few moments to make myself presentable, and sit down to eat something. Today I couldn't have been more thankful that I had a bowl of this waiting for me....

This was exactly what I needed, the perfect snowy day combo. It warmed be from the inside out and made me want to curl up next to a fire and sleep for awhile. Who knows, maybe I will.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
Adapted from All recipes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 pound cooked, chicken breast shredded
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (16 ounce) package mini potato gnocchi
  • 1 (6 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water (optional)
  • 1/2 can of condensed 2% milk
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsp Costco's Organic 21 no salt 21 spice (the best ever!)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, garlic, and carrots in the hot oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in cubed chicken and chicken broth; bring to a simmer.
  2. Stir gnocchi into the simmering soup and cook until they begin to float, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook until wilted, about 3 additional minutes.
  3. Whisk cornstarch into cold water until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture and milk into simmering soup. Cook until soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and seasoning.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The crockpot gets an ethnic hug

I don't have a lot of time, the little one is sleeping...and I'm starving.  So I am going to be quick and precise.  If you have found yourself in a chicken-this, chicken-that rut.  I have a wonderful solution, and get comes courtesy of your crock pot!

I found inspiration once again from one of my new favorite blogs Skinny Taste.  If you haven't visited it yet you should take a look, she has the most amazing creations. I haven't tried anything that I haven't loved, and they are healthy, nutrient-rich recipes. Yippee! Perfect for jump starting the New Year.  This is the photo that had my mouth watering, and I new I absolutely had to try it.

Source for photo and recipe: Skinny Taste

While it cooked away in my crock pot, I started getting a little nervous....this was my first time ever cooking with Chinese five spice. And to be honest is was smelling a little....too....baking spice, spicy. Meaning, it was smelling sort of like I had used a spice that should be put in a coffee cake or something similar.  Also, several of the comments on the original recipe said that it was similar to the Vietnamese soup Pho'.  That thrilled me to death, but my husband on the other hand is not a fan. So I began to bite my nails in anticipation.  But let me say this....

You need to try this recipe. Period.
Yes it was that good.  I too, served it over some Pad Thai rice noodles....drizzled some of the broth over the top and I was in chopstick heaven. Even Kyle got excited about the dish, so excited that he said several times, "this is a keeper, you definitely need to make this again." He must have been telling the truth because he had the leftovers for lunch two days in a row. That is love my friends. 

So go ahead and make your way over to Gina's blog and then dust off those crock pots and get to crockin. I promise that you will fall in love with this recipe as well as many others on her lovely blog. 

Ok, now I am officially soup is calling my name! Which will be another recipe that will be shared soon, real in, maybe tomorrow soon. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The time has come....

Last night Cole and I decided to say good-bye to his nighttime feeding. For 14 1/2 months those quiet moments were so special, they helped me carve out time to just sit and revel in the sweet little being God created just for us.  Some of the sweetest and earliest memories of my baby were of him so enthusiastically nursing like there was no tomorrow. Yes, there were moments I felt like a human pacifier and that was all I was good for. But then all I had to do was look down at that doll-like face and those sweet pursed lips and being a "human pacifier" was just what I wanted to be.

While I am sad that we aren't going to have "our moments" together any longer, I do look forward to finding other special ways to bond with my boy. This is just the next step into toddlerhood and onto the new phase of God's plan.  One that I will embrace with open arms...good thing, because my little boy isn't going to stay so little much longer....

Soon I will be embracing a little munchkin running laps around my kitchen.

And I'm ok with it.

He has finally acted somewhat interested in walking! I thought for sure I would have a 3 year old that used crawling as his mode of transportation. But low and behold he is gaining interest and gaining courage. Just this past week he started to stand up, stick both arms straight in the air, puff out his chest...and then either body slam into mama or take several steps. He does this on repeat. He also prefers to hold onto only one of my hands while walking, he will sometimes shove away my other hand as if to say, "pah-lease mom, I do not need your help." Yet, he hasn't decided he wants to ditch my other hand just quite yet. Hey, we all need a little safety net.

My safety net happens to come in the form of a pot that plugs into the wall.

Because of the pace of life lately and mama not having a lot of energy I have found the crock pot has been once again, a lifesaver.  This is often a favorite meal around our household. It is a cinch to throw in the crock pot and makes enough for leftover lunches. You can also serve it wrapped in a tortilla, or over a bed of lettuce for a taco salad twist. I love that I can have dinner prepared while the little mister naps, and then that way I have more time to help him practice his mad walking skills when he awakes. Awe, the best of both worlds.

Crock Pot Sante Fe Chicken:
(Source: Iowa Girl Eats)

Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 large chicken breasts, thawed
  • Combine all ingredients from chicken broth to salt in a crock pot. Salt chicken breasts, lay on top of mixture and cook on low for 7 hours.
  • Remove chicken breasts and shred with two forks. Return shredded chicken to crock pot, stir to combine, taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Serve over cooked rice. Top with more green onions, sour cream, cheese, olives, guacamole, fresh cilantro, and chips for scooping.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Today I am soaking in God's rich blessings.

I'm gawking in God's awesome power and amazing love. My heart is so full, I feel it could burst. He is good. I do not deserve those blue eyes and dimpled cheeks, yet for some reason God chose ME to mother him. I am a work in progress, some days I fail miserably as a mom, wife and child. Yet, I wake up each day ready to embrace my boys and the life that God has given.
I am forever changed and forever grateful to my Lord.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Soup to warm your Soul

I think Cole is beginning to feel more himself again. He slept most of the night, I only got up once around midnight to snuggle and rock him.  Secretly.....I don't want to say it too loud, as it's not a habit I wish to instill....but I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed our midnight snuggle sessions the past two nights.  I snuggle my little punky up against my chest, and he nestles his little cheek into my neck. what happens next reminds me again that he is 100% my son.  He starts a squirmin', he turns into "all elbows and knees"....adjusting one way...then 2 seconds later turning the other. A trait that my grandpa used to always say about me.  I remember climbing right up into his lap the moment we arrived for a visit...we would sit there in his squeaky recliner usually watching Lawrence Welk....he would patiently wait for me to get comfortable while I twisted and turned, this way and that, pushing, shoving, kicking, jabbing until finally he would send me on my way to go play. he always said I was all elbows and knees.  So proud that Cole is like his mama. 

It made me chuckle as we rocked there in the dark.

It also made me sad that we are not living closer to our families as I'm sure Cole misses sitting on their laps getting so many squeezes.  In fact, he has been in withdrawal mode most of this past week.......Clinging to my leg, begging to be picked up and held. I couldn't take more than two steps away from him before he would start to whimper. He was definitely missing his entourage and the constant attention that surrounded him while visiting was I.  So I decided to bring a little bit of home to Boise. We had a bout of dreary weather last week, which reminded me of the damp and dark winters of Portland...what better way to wash them away than with a hot, steamy bowl of soup. Something that was often served growing up, my mom and I share a love of the comfort in a bowl. So Soup I made, and soup we ate. With each bite I could feel the warmth wash through my body and I immediately felt a wee bit closer to my family despite the miles that loomed between.

So if you are like me and need a bowl of joyous warmth, I want to invite you to try this soup. It had been on my list of recipes to try for awhile and I'm so glad I actually had all the ingredients on hand to whip it up. I served it with crispy and chewy pieces of garlic cheese bread...the perfect accompaniment. It will warm your soul in true Italian style.

Pasta Fagioli:
(Source: Fake Ginger)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled & chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, I used Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage and removed from casings.
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 -2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 – 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 cup ditalini (or other small pasta)
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the diced onion and cook until it just begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots; cook, stirring frequently, for another 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the sausage to the pot, crumbling as it cooks. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Stir in Italian seasoning and red pepper. Stir in tomatoes and stock.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in the beans and ditalini. (Add an extra cup of stock or water at this point if it’s boiled down too much.) Simmer for 6- 8 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  5. Serve piping hot with Parmesan cheese. (I really liked the sharpness of the green onions with this as well.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Teeth

Wow. I cannot believe it is the new year already! Let's just say we started it off with a bang....gone are the days of staying up to watch the ball drop. Here are the days of staying up all night because your sweet baby boy is teething something awful. I'm not really all that surprised, he was due for a new tooth as it's been about 5 months since his last one. I knew it was coming when my little man turned into a beaver....chew marks all up and down his beautiful crib railing. Then came the "jaws" moment while I was feeding him before bed.... Yep. Something was definitely a brewin.  Teething always comes as a bit of a surprise for me, most moms always seem to have a clue when one is about to pop through. Me on the other hand, couldn't be more in the dark. Don't get me wrong, I try to stay in tune.  But whenever I go to check or feel around.....Cole clamps his little trap shut so tightly I would need a screw driver to pry it open! He does not like anything up in his grill. So I have to watch for the other signs, hence the beaver fever.

I knew I was in for a long night New Years Eve when he screamed and cried while I was trying to feed him before bed. With the help of my dear husband we finally got him down. Only for him to be up an hour later, and then again.....and then again. Every hour brought on another abrupt wake up call....and every hour the same dear husband slept right on through it. All.

Oh how I wished that I was able to sleep like a log.

At that point I only assumed that the culprit was a tooth or two or maybe even three.  Finally, last night before bed I rubbed some orajel gel on his gums just in case.....and there it was on his upper left! A sharp little toothie poking through. I patted myself on my back all puffed up with pride, secretly congratulating myself with such a great blind call.....should have reminded myself that pride comes before the fall...... 

After getting up several times to rock and snuggle my poor baby, I finally fell asleep.

And I actually slept like a log.

In the morning I awoke to Cole I made my way down the stairs I was greeted with something awful and sour that encompassed the very air I was breathing.


My baby boy was covered and reeked.  And I had slept through it all. And I felt so so guilty.  I should have been there to give him water, to help get the nasty taste out of his mouth. I should have been there to hold him and tell him it would be ok.  I don't think it had happened long before I got to him but that didn't matter in my head....I should have been there the second it happened, just like my mom always was for me.

Thankfully my little punky seems to be doing much much better. I will keep a close eye on him, but I have this feeling that all of this was due to his teething and perhaps the fact that he chugged an over excessive amount of milk all day yesterday.

I stripped him down and stuck him in the bath tub...which he seemed to think was pretty cool and treated it more like a lap swim and modeling shoot.

"don't mind me, I'm just laying here trying to look natural."

feeling better.
"hmmm...this would make me look really cute."

"hmmm.....maybe I should try the 'deep in thought' pose."
"Now this is just getting boring."
"fine, I will give you one more where I look debonair."
"Time for the model lips and puppy dog eyes."

As you can see, he was feeling much better and spent the whole bath time striking poses. we were laughing so hard I couldn't help but grab my camera to catch a few of the many.

We had a bit of a tough start to the New Year but I have no doubt that we are going to have an amazing year ahead. It's pretty impossible to have anything short of amazing with this little guy running around. :)