Monthly Archives: October 2010

Hoot Owl Cookies

Although we’ve been celebrating Halloween for a couple days at our house already, it’s not officially until tomorrow.  If you’re still looking for a good treat to make, try these cookies!!  I remember making these as a kid with my grandma and thought they were soooooo cool (and have great memories of making them!)  I thought it might be fun to make these every year around Halloween with Chloe.  Knowing that next year she’ll be ready to help, I decided to give them a trial run this year.

Here’s my Grammie’s recipe, with a lovely illustration by my mother:

And here’s a picture of our final product, in case you didn’t quite get the idea from the illustration 🙂 

Some owls turned out better than others, and we had already taken some of the best into work and to friends and family before we took this picture, so please excuse the poor excuse for an ear on the right side…

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Chloe’s Weekend Away

Chloe Mae had the pleasure of spending the whole weekend with Nanna and Dudad when Aaron and I went away for our anniversary.  It started out like a normal overnight visit with Nanna and Dudad.  Chloe spent the evening playing (and getting spoiled, I’m sure.)  She went to bed like everything was normal.  Then Uncle Justin and Aunt Becky brought Julia over to spend the night as well.  When Chloe Mae woke up on Saturday morning, she was over the moon to discover that Julia was there to play with her!!  I’m told Nanna didn’t mind so much either when the girls had a hugging marathon with Nanna.

When Uncle Justin and Aunt Becky came back to pick Julia up, they took Chloe with them for a field trip to Center Grove Orchard.  They played in the corn pool, met some farm animals, took a hayride and picked out pumpkins.  Chloe spent the whole afternoon playing there – even skipping her nap in favor of playing.  (Although it does appear as though maybe she took a nap in the corn pool for a while.  See picture below…)  I’m told that Chloe was a little leary at first, because she’s not used to hanging out with Justin, Becky and Julia without us around.  On the drive home, Chloe had finally warmed up to them and told all kinds of stories after Julia fell asleep.

Chloe spent Saturday evening recovering from her outing to the orchard.  After a late nap, we’re told she devoured some pork chop for dinner.  Sunday, she headed to church with Nanna and Dudad.  Her favorite part was saying “Bye-bye” to everybody at the end.  Then they headed to lunch at The Iowa Stater Restaurant, where Chloe accused Nanna of being crazy for thinking she might enjoy pork tacos.  Pork chops and pork tacos obviously share nothing in common!!

When I arrived to pick Chloe up on Sunday, she saw me from across the room, said “Mama!” and continued playing – turning on every noise-making toy and showing me everything she had been playing with.  She wasn’t overly excited to go home – after all, she’d spent the weekend getting spoiled!!

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It’s Worth a Shot, Right??

Chloe Mae is many things.  For this story, it’s important to know that she’s smart and independent.  She is also cloth-diapered and kind of predictable/obvious when it comes to certain bodily functions.  

I can admit that I am independent, stubborn and a huge planner. For 2 years now, ever since we started looking into cloth-diapering, we’ve been saying “And it’ll be easier to potty train her when the time comes!!” because that is a benefit we kept reading about (because cloth diapers don’t wick away the moisture like disposables do, so it’s easier for kids to tell they’re wet.)  I worked at a daycare for about a year, mainly with 3, 4, and 5 year olds, and saw kids in all different stages of potty training.  Dealing with 4.5 – 5 year olds who aren’t completely potty trained is not something I want to repeat at any time in my life.  So I’ve always thought that we’d start potty-training Chloe Mae early.  

I never thought that ‘early’ meant 17 months though.

Why you ask??

Every morning, shortly after breakfast, Chloe and I would have to stop whatever we were doing to go change a dirty diaper.  For about a month now, she’s been teething.  Anyone who has kids probably know what that means.  And we’ve been dealing with a diaper rash because of this for a few weeks now.  So I was ready to try about anything to have even one less dirty diaper a day to change – for my sake and Chloe’s.

Monday morning, with no expectations, I sat Chloe on the toilet.  I held on so she wouldn’t fall on, and did my best to explain to my one year-old why she was sitting there.  After about 10 seconds, she wanted to get down.  I let her.  I wasn’t going to push the issue, I just wanted to start getting her used to the idea of sitting on the toilet.  Then my little girl surprised me – she peered into the toilet, then asked to get back up.  She sat there for another 10 seconds or so, then asked to get down, peered in and got back up.  I had decided that this was the last time I was going to let her get up and down, because I didn’t want it to become a game.  Third time’s the charm though – she actually pooped in the toilet when she got back up!!

I was totally unprepared for our first go on the toilet though.  There I was trying to get toilet paper, while keeping Chloe from falling in or hopping down before we were done.  Then I ran into her bedroom to get a fresh diaper and came back to my daughter peeing on the floor.  Oops – my mistake!!

This morning I tried to be a little more prepared.  We bought a “Cushie Tushie” last night so the risk of Chloe falling in is reduced 🙂  We also put some wipes in the bathroom, so I won’t have to battle the roll of toilet paper.  I had a clean diaper ready.  We were set.  I put Chloe Mae up on the toilet.  She was a little squirmy and kept trying to peer into the toilet bowl again, but she got her business done – again!!  And this time, there was no mess on the floor to clean up when we were done.

Do I think we’ll be completely potty trained by next week??  Of course not.  I’m not totally unrealistic.  I am, however, excited at this first step.  And I’m crossing my fingers that the last couple mornings haven’t just been a huge coincidence!!

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Happy Anniversary to Us!!

In honor of our  4th wedding anniversary later this week, Aaron and I had a weekend away together.  Chloe Mae spent the weekend with Nanna and Dudad and Aaron and I got wild and crazy and spent the weekend in ….*drumroll*…. Des Moines!  It might seem lame to some, but we could do pretty much everything we wanted with our weekend in Des Moines – sleep in, eat out, go shopping and do a little nothing – and were happy not to spend 8+ hours in the car.

We checked into the Sheraton on Friday evening.  We took advantage of some connections and got a pretty good rate on the room (free!!) which allowed us to do some other fun things over the weekend.  We started out by going to Court Avenue Brewing Company for dinner with Aaron’s cousin, Jeff, and his girlfriend, Kathy.  I enjoyed a chocolate martini, Aaron enjoyed trying their microbrews and we both enjoyed having adult company at dinner!!

Then we decided to act like kids, without ours, and played video games at AllPlay.  I decided that if Aaron ever decides to get a motorcycle, we better up our life insurance and we won enough tickets to get some Laffty Taffy and a sweet slap bracelet 🙂  After all was said and done, we were still back in our hotel room a little after 9.  It’s rough getting old…

Saturday morning we slept in until 7:30!!  I wanted to spend all morning doing nothing, so we had breakfast in bed and watched some home remodeling shows on TV.  It wasn’t a complete success though, because we were still showered and out of the hotel room by 10:30.  After 17 months of being busy with Chloe Mae all the time, it’s hard to do nothing!!  We started the day with some shopping.  Aaron really wanted to buy the Shake Weight For Men at Bed, Bath and Beyond, because he’d seem the commercial for it twice that morning, but I wouldn’t let him.  Luckily I’m good at dealing with tantrums in stores these days 😛

We had lunch at Applebee’s so we could catch part of the Iowa State game.  I think their win was the highlight of Aaron’s weekend!!  After lunch, we did a little shopping for Miss Chloe Mae at Old Navy and then went to the Aveda Institute and got massages.  The students giving our massages could tell which side we carry Chloe on (note to self: try to switch to the right side every now and then…) and helped work out some knots.  It was great!!  We went back to the hotel to recover from our massages, watch some more football, and get ready for our own progressive dinner.

We went to 3 different restaurants for our appetizer, entree and dessert, with some shopping in between.  Our first stop was Buffalo Wild Wings where we enjoyed Parmesan Garlic Wings and watched the Iowa Game.

We caught snippets of the game while we were at the mall – I think every guy stuck in the mall – working or shopping – was in Scheel’s watching it!!  After we felt sufficiently digested from our first course, we walked over to Joe’s Crab Shack and had Crab Cakes for dinner.  I haven’t spent much time at Jordan Creek Mall, but we really liked the open air feel.  We enjoyed our walk between restaurants and the mall, next to their pond and fountains, and got to sit outside at Joe’s, which was quite pleasant with the heaters on the patio.  Considering it’s all just a big commercial zone, it was fairly romantic.  As romantic as Aaron and I get at least – there was also some silliness.

 

After a little more shopping, we got some cheesecake to-go from the Cheesecake Factory and headed back to the hotel.  We shared a piece of Snickers Cheesecake and a piece of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cake and Cheesecake.  They were delicious and a perfect end to our meal!!  We’re total party animals* and didn’t go to bed until after 9:30!!

We slept until 8AM today!!  Then we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel, made a stop at Babie’s R’ Us and headed home.  We unpacked, did some laundry and grocery shopping before we picked Chloe Mae up.  Not the most exciting way to end our weekend away, but it definitely helped us have a much less stressful end to our weekend.  As I write this, Chloe is napping and Aaron is watching football – everyone’s happy.

Stay tuned to my blog.  Soon, you’ll get to hear all about Chloe’s adventures this weekend!!

*I realize we’re the farthest thing from party animals, but I like to pretend we’re not totally lame 🙂

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Our Smoothie Queen

As a family, we have smoothies at breakfast 2 or 3 times a week.  At first, I shared mine with Chloe.  It quickly became clear that she wanted (needed) her own cup.  We have one sippy cup with a straw and Chloe has been working hard on making it work.  The problem is, she wants to tip the cup back like she does with all of her other cups.  But the straw cup needs to be kept down for it to work – the whole idea of a straw 🙂

We try to remind her to “keep the cup down like mommy’s.”  That generally works for about 3 seconds before she flings it back up in the air.  We have discovered a slightly more effective method though – she just wedges it down between herself and the table.  It’s adorable.

And what do you think about her bed-head??  Cute isn’t it 😀

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Dine-and-Dash

Tonight we participated in a Progressive Dinner sponsored by the Young Professinals of Ames.  Four households signed up to create a ‘course’ – although every course was supposed to be heavy appetizers and a beverage.    All of the dishes were supposed to be inspired by a specific fall ingredient.  The first course was cranberry inspired, second was apples, we had nuts and the final course was pumpkin inspired.  Here’s what we created (and by we, I mean I helped come up with ideas and Aaron did 90% of the cooking.)

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Mixed Nuts

Almond Crusted Shrimp Risotto Balls

Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloing w/ Apricot Almond Quinoa and a Peach Chutney

S’Mores Crepes w/ Nutella, Candied Hazelnuts, Marshmallow Creme and Graham Cracker Crumbs

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate w/ a Peanut Brittle Swizzle

It was a fun experience, although it was a bit of a challenge to squeeze close to 2 dozen people in our house.  Most of them didn’t have a place to sit, which is really okay since they were dashing after they dined.  Next time I think I’d prefer to be on the eating only end – not the ‘cleaning my house, preparing food and enteraining my daugher while everyone else eats’ end.

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Wanna mop my floors??

I’d like to think that Aaron and I are not messy people.  I feel like we’re disgustingly messy people these days though.  I’d like to blame it all on the fact that we’d rather spend our time playing with our daughter when she’s awake, which leaves after bedtime and naptime on the weekends to get basic things like laundry and dishes done – with some possible relaxation thrown in for good measure.  And although that is a good chunk of the reason, some of it can be blamed on laziness or impatience.  Turns out, Chloe Mae would love to help us clean, it just takes about 5 times as long.

Here she is “helping” daddy vacuum.  She wanted to push the main part of the vacuum around while he was using the hose – helpful, except Aaron really needed the canister to stay where it was.

Aaron thought he had it made when he rigged up our Swiffer and made the handle just her size.  She loved it, as long as we were watching her and not doing anything else.  As soon as Aaron went back to vacuuming, she needed to help on that again.  I’m thinking someone might be getting their own Swiffer for Christmas this year so we can tag-team it.

We did eventually get our entire first floor vacuumed and relatively dog hair free, even so much as moving furniture and really getting everything cleaned.  Only a small portion of the floor got mopped – or Swiffered as the case may be – before Chloe lost interest.  We’re having people over on Thursday night as part of a progressive dinner through Young Professinals of Ames.  I’d really like my floors to be spectacularly clean by then.  So, we’ll start the negotiations at a dozen cookies.  Anybody willing to  come over and mop my floors for a dozen cookies??

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