Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Buddy

Gabe and the kids went for a walk today and found a little "buddy" to bring home.

A caterpillar!

I have no idea where they found it or how they got it home, but I came home and it was here. And Avery? She's obsessed with it! Girlfriend is not afraid to touch it or hold it either (she's not like her Mama that's for sure!).

Right now he's chillin' in a tupperware container with some grass! We'll see how long he makes it!
(he lasted 2 days then croaked! Oops!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cute as a Button....Take 2!

Remember this post?

Well, here's Cassandra in the same outfit!

I should mention that Avery was 3mos old in her pics, and Cassandra is 8mos old! Yep, same outfit! Haha!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Eight Months Old!

Baby girl is 8 months old today!

Cassandra is still in size 2 diapers for the day and size 3 for overnight. She's wearing a mix of 3 and 6 month clothing still. Some 3 month stuff fits her great, some got packed away. Some 6 month stuff fits great and some is big on her still! 

Cassandra is still a pretty good sleeper. She's been up once a night around 3-4am and still naps twice a day. One thing I noticed is that she really doesn't sleep in her carseat anymore unless she's really, really exhausted. So if we're out and about, she just won't nap! So that can be a pain at times!

Nursing is about the same-every 2.5-3hrs for the most part.  She's still having just one meal a day-dinner with us. I should add in a second meal for her, but really it's just more work for me so I've been lazy and not doing it! Yep, shame on me! This month she tried nectarine, cantaloupe, Coco pops from Wegman's, cauliflower, applesauce, pasta, and baby oatmeal.  She LOVES those Coco pops-oh my word! I tried taking a piece away from her and she totally freaked out! Sister likes her food!

As for new things this month....she has started to flap her arms up and down a lot.  She also has started grunting/growling at things, which is pretty funny! She babbles a lot now "bababa". She has started making an "ooooh" face with the rounded lips which cracks me up-it's so adorable! Cassandra has mastered rolling around and goes all over doing it! She's working on sitting up and does pretty well. She does need someone close by because she will arch herself back out of nowhere. For the most part, she does ok. She has started laughing like crazy when I wash her neck at bath time. She knows it's coming and bursts out laughing-it's so cute! She likes "peek-a-boo" and "I'm gonna get you".  Overall, Cassandra is a very happy and content little girl. She's just a joy to have around!

And now for the pics!

My favorites:

love this one!
And for kicks, here are Avery's eight month photos!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Granola Bars

Seriously, can you tell that I'm in a mood to try new recipes lately? I haven't posted this many in a long, LONG time!  I'm just in a kick of trying new things out for some reason and I don't know what's fueling this fire! It probably won't last long, but for now I'm enjoying some new stuff around here!

You can find the original recipe for these here! I didn't change anything from it!

Granola Bars/Bites
2 1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup rice crispies
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup choc chips

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Line baking dish with foil and spray foil with non-stick spray.
3. In a bowl, mix all ingredients except chocolate chips until wet/crumbly.
4. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Pour mixture into pan and press into pan
6. Bake for 17-22min
7. Cool overnight (loosely covered) and cut into bars/bites

(Notes: I didn't have rice crispies so I used cheerios instead! I used a 9x13" pan and baked mine for 18mins...they came out crunchy! I prefer chewy granola so next time I'll either bake them less, or use a square pan instead. I also didn't let them sit out overnight so I don't know if that would have made them chewier. I let them sit maybe 2 hours before I cut them and they were pretty hard to cut, but honestly I think they were just overdone.)

Even though these came out crunchy, they were still very tasty! I'm not a huge honey fan so next time I might do half honey, half maple syrup to see what that is like. I think this is a recipe that you could totally play around with and make it different each time (cranberries, nuts, peanut butter, dried fruit, etc).

I'll definitely make these again and play around with it some more to see if I can get them chewy!

So sorry I haven't  been taking pics of my food lately-I tend to think of it after it's been eaten! Oops!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Another First!

Another first for Miss Avery today....swim lessons!

We've wanted her to start these for a very long time. Originally we were going to when she was a baby, but then she had this fear of water forever so we didn't (I'm sure I've posted about it but can't find it for some reason!). Basically, she hated taking a bath-we both would have to hold her in the water while she screamed through the entire thing. It sucked-so swimming? Yeah, that went to the back burner until girlfriend could tolerate being in water!

Not to mention that I heard that swim lessons really don't do much for them until they're older and can understand stuff. It's pretty expensive for lessons and at 6 months old, what do they really get out of it?  So at that point we decided to hold off until a good time came along to start them.

And now seems to be a good time. Both of us really think learning to swim is a must-no questions asked. I think in this day and age you have to know how to swim. When I hear of someone not being able to I always wonder why and how can you NOT know?!  It's just a no-brainer to me....learn to swim people!

I struggled with which class to sign her up for. There was one with a parent to come and one without. Would she willingly go in the pool without us because it's something new? Or would she be scared?  I really didn't know so I decided to do the parent class to be on the safe side. I figured if one of us was in there with her, maybe she'd feel more comfortable and not as nervous. Now this may make lessons in the future interesting when we can't be in there with her-but that'll be a hurdle we'll jump when we get there.

So today was her first class and she decided that Gabe was going to go in with her. She was very excited and had no hesitation about going in, which was awesome!
Here they were singing "If You're Happy and You Know It" and kicking their feet:
Practicing the back float with the teacher:
And swimming on her belly:
The class is only a half hour and it really flies by! Today they learned how to get in/out of the pool safely, jumping into the pool (with assistance), and the back float.  She said she had a lot of fun so I hope it stays that way! We were very proud of her!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nama's Visit

My Mom was on vacation this week so she came out late yesterday for an overnight visit! She probably would have stayed longer, but my Aunt is still recovering from back surgery so my Mom can't leave her alone very much just yet. 

But the girls sure love their Nama time!!

When she came out yesterday, we stopped by Gabe's parents' house for a short visit so that she could see their new house. Then Avery had gymnastics so she went there with us as well. Then the usual dinner and bedtime.

Today my Mom wanted to do something with all of us (Gabe had to work of course-boo!) so we let Avery choose what to do. I swear, all week it was something different she wanted to ranged from going to tea, to the museum, to the name it, she mentioned it!  Even this morning she kept changing her mind, until she finally decided on the farm!  It was a good choice since it was a nice day out (until we got home and it poured a half hour later!).

The farm had a story time that we went to and for story time, they bring an animal that the kids can touch.  This week the animals were calves!  One was 3mos old and the other 4mos old!  They read a few cow related stories, then it was off to pet them!  Aren't they cute?!
Avery had no fear-went right up and stuck her hand in there!

They also had tons of pumpkins out-and we bought some-they were such a steal we couldn't pass it up!
For the fall season, they also set up a train ride, so of course she had to take a spin on it....

This was her pose for the entire ride-kid looked miserable, yet said it was SO fun! Haha!
After the train, she had to get her usual ice cream there and play on the playground!  She had a good time! 

After the farm, we just came home and played-my Mom stayed for dinner (we went out for burgers) then headed back to Buffalo! We always enjoy her visits!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Peanut Butter Crockpot Chicken

I've professed my love for peanut butter quite a few times on here before, so of course this recipe piqued my interest!  And it's another one to try in the crockpot-yay!

Peanut Butter Chicken

1 1/2 lb chicken
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp cumin
juice of 1 lime (~2tbsp)
1/2 cup chicken broth

1. Put all ingredients into crockpot and cook on low 6-8hrs or high for 4hrs.

(Notes: I used boneless/skinless chicken breasts and cut them in half. The recipe wasn't clear on exactly what type of chicken to use!  I also used creamy peanut butter, but I'm sure you could try crunchy if you desire!)

We served this over some simple brown rice.

Honestly this wasn't one of my favorite recipes as of late. Out of the 3 crockpot chicken dishes I've made in the past month, this was probably my least favorite. It was good, but not fantastic.  Gabe thought it was too "nutty" tasting-to me I couldn't really pick out the peanut taste. Would I make it again?  Probably, but it wouldn't be first on my list!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saltine Toffee Bark

My girlfriend brought these over for a dessert a few weeks ago.

It was the first time I had this....

and it won't be the last!

These things are addicting! My sister-in-law told me that a coworker of hers makes these and calls them "crack" (as in that's the name of this recipe). I can totally see why! They are that good! 

Gabe actually told me the other day that another batch needed to be made because we were running out!  So I decided to try and make them.

And....they are super duper easy.  Addicting + easy = bad! These will probably become a staple in our house which is a bad thing, but they are so.darn.yummy!

Try them please!

Saltine Toffee Bark
Saltine crackers (enough to line a 9x13" pan-I used 28 crackers)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
heath bar bits (or nuts/sprinkles/any garnish you desire)

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Line a 9x13" pan with foil and spray foil with non-stick spray (aka Pam)
3. Cover bottom of pan with saltine crackers:

4. In saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil for 3mins then remove from heat and pour over crackers (I read online not to stir it while it boils so I didn't...not sure if that's true or not!):
5. Bake in the oven for 5-6mins. It will do a lot of bubbling while baking!
6. Remove from oven and sprinkle on chocolate chips. Let stand 5mins, then spread chocolate chips on top of crackers. Sprinkle with whatever garnish you want to use:
7. Let cool completely then break into pieces and enjoy! FYI it's best to store this in the refrigerator (we put ours in a ziploc bag).

(Notes:  The recipe actually calls for 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of choc chips.  After reading a lot of reviews online it sounded like it was a little overkill so I cut back on the amounts a bit and to me they tasted just fine.  It seems the big garnish to use is walnuts, but Gabe isn't a fan of nuts so we stuck with the Heath bits, which is what my friend used as well.  To cool mine, I stuck the entire pan in the fridge for awhile until it felt pretty solid and then I broke it into pieces. I have no idea how long it would have to sit at room temperature to get hard enough to break-I'm guessing a few hours easily.  This also freezes really well too-added bonus!)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Starting New Things

So we have some new things starting up around these parts!

Cassandra is babbling like crazy these days and in the past few days has started making a new face which I just adore!
How stinkin' cute is she?!

And Avery is starting something new as well...gymnastics!

Yesterday was her first class and she loved it!

We got her all ready in her new leotard:
like the undies hanging out?!
and she had to have a pic with her sister too!
She seemed a little nervous before class and we got there and it was really, really busy. We waited around a few minutes and then her teacher, Mr. Jonathan, came to the door and called for the 3yr olds to line up! Avery got in line and followed him right out the door for class (of course she looked at me and was like "aren't you coming with me?").  Cassandra and I waited in the waiting room and Gabe showed up about 10min before class ended.  When class was over, Avery came through the door with a huge smile on her face and saying "I want to do it again!" and we kept telling her "you will next week" but she insisted "I want to do it again RIGHT NOW!"  Yeah, it took us about 15min to get her to leave the gym! Haha! I'm just hoping her enthusiasm for it sticks around awhile!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Unofficial End of Summer

It seems like summer just started and here we are at Labor Day weekend!  Where did the summer go?  Technically we still have a few weeks left of summer, but you know that Labor Day is the unofficial "end" of the summer. Boo! 

We had a busy weekend, that's for sure (just like every other weekend this summer!).

On Saturday we did some stuff around the house and I did our weekly grocery shopping. Then Avery and I went to a friend's birthday party, which was a lot of fun!

Yesterday, we made a trip to Buffalo. We started out at my Dad's house where we had lunch and relaxed a bit (and I forgot to bring my camera in!).  Then we headed to my  Mom's. My Aunt and Uncle came by to see the girls!
Uncle Joe, Aunt Marion and Cassandra
My Mom took Avery to the playground for a bit (Avery insisted that no one else came along!) and Gabe went to the casino. I stayed home with a napping Cassandra and sat on the porch and enjoyed the day. We had a nice dinner and shortly after, we headed home. 

I took this pic of Cassandra as we were getting her PJ's on!

Today was busy-we both had the day off, but still had to do the usual Monday things like getting ready for work/daycare we had to pack lunches, pack bags, etc. Then we went to Gabe's parents house for a cookout. It was nice to get together and the kids had a blast of course! 

Hope you had a great "end" of your summer as well!