Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner

Since Ryan's been away this week for work, I tried to come up with a meal plan for just Owen and me that would save some time and money, and attempt to make dinners that I wouldn't normally make if he were here. For instance, Ryan is not a big fan of BFD (breakfast for dinner), but I kind of love it once in a while. Anyway, here are two that turned out particularly well.

I have never made a quiche before. I think I was intimidated by them, assuming that they were very complicated. Quite the contrary, I found...at least the version I made. I found a recipe online and tweaked it for what I had on hand and liked. The recipe was for a bacon and cheese quiche and I ended up with a broccoli, ham, and cheese version instead. I happened to have a frozen pie crust leftover from last Thanksgiving or Christmas, so it worked out well.

Owen ate an entire slice of this! He actually loves ham and broccoli, so that's part of why I chose the ingredients I did. I served it with hash browns and fresh fruit. Very simple.

Here's how I did it...

3 oz. (approx.) deli ham (I used Hillshire Farms honey ham)
1 cup (approx.) frozen chopped broccoli
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 oz. shredded Italian blend cheese
9-in. deep dish frozen pie crust
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half & half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix ham, broccoli, onion, and cheese. Dump into unthawed pie crust. Mix eggs and half & half in a bowl. Pour egg mixture over cheese mixture in pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 35 minutes, until top begins to turn brown.

Really simple to put together and pretty tasty! I've been enjoying the leftovers for breakfast, too.

And tonight, another BFD...

Pumpkin Pancakes
I found this recipe in a MOPS magazine last Fall and thought it sounded good, so when I considered making pancakes this week, I decided to forgo my usual Bisquick recipe and give this one a try. I am glad I did! It was a little more effort than I anticipated and it made a HUGE mess of my kitchen (pancakes always do, though), but they were really, really tasty!

I added chocolate chips to a few of them because I was worried that Owen might not like the pumpkin flavor and figured that adding chocolate could up the ante. But the melty chips ended up making such a mess that I abandoned that move after a couple batches. He ended up eating two pancakes total, one with chips and one without, and he didn't even seem to notice that they were in there anyway.

One thing to note is that this batter was way thicker than any pancake batter I'm used to, so I had to do some strategic flipping and smooshing with the spatula. (That's a technical term, by the way...smooshing.) And if you don't love pumpkin flavor, you probably won't care for these. It called for almost an entire can of pumpkin (which I also had leftover from the holidays). Oh, and it made a TON! 28 pancakes in all, so there were lots of leftovers. I like to freeze leftover pancakes anyway between small sheets of wax paper and have them for a quick and easy lunch in the future.

Here's how it went down...

1 1/2 cups flour (cake or all-purpose)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp melted butter
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 egg whites

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add to dry ingredients and blend. Let batter stand for five minutes before pouring the pancakes onto the griddle.

I served these with real maple syrup (which I recommend over regular pancake syrup) and chopped nectarine on top. It kind of felt like we ate dessert for dinner, but it was fun and delicious!

And while I'm on the topic of food...if I can remember to get a few pictures tomorrow, I'll try to share two new cookie recipes I tried this week for my dad's retirement. Both turned out really pretty and yummy. I'm batting four for four (is that even the correct use of that baseball term?) on my cooking/baking skills this week! Yay, me!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Potty Progress — Part 3

As an update to yesterday's post, I am pleased to report that a.) Owen awoke from his nap completely dry and clean (much to my surprise!), and, b.) he finally pooped in the potty last night!

I'm not sure how he managed to accomplish the first feat, but I was very, very pleasantly surprised. (The exact same situation is going on even as I type this post so we'll see if I luck out again and find him dry and clean in a couple hours.)

And as for the second accomplishment, we just continued trying, trying, and trying some more for the remainder of the day until finally, right after dinner, he dropped a load (sorry for the terrible slang!) in his Elmo potty. It was disgusting and beautiful all at the same time!

I had been bribing him all day with different things (i.e., a new toy, ice cream, etc.) and after lots of wildly excited cheering and high-fiving (by me), we agreed on a special hot fudge sundae from McDonald's (that was his choice).

I was really hoping that once we tackled the hurdle of that first poop that he would see that it wasn't scary or hard to do and it would be smooth sailing after that. So far, however, that remains to be seen. He did wake up this morning with a small amount of poop in his diaper (I'm not even close to taking the diaper away at bedtime yet) and, though I can tell he needs to go (he's nothing if not regular!), he hasn't done so again yet today. So, again, he's in his underpants taking a nap and we'll see...

I'm not foolish enough to believe that he's got everything all figured out yet. I'm sure there will be some setbacks along the way. But, man, am I relieved to finally have this very momentous (in my opinion!) challenge finally behind us.

I snapped this hilarious photo this morning and thought it was appropriate. Notice the titles of the book he's reading and the one sitting next to him. He found them in our bathroom, curled right up on the chair, and started flipping through them...completely on his own. I'm taking it as a sign that potty training is going well...

And since I haven't posted (or even taken, really) any photos or videos lately, I thought I'd give you a little "slice of life" video from this morning at breakfast. Messy, messy boy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Potty Progress — Part 2

Warning: The following is kinda graphic stuff, so if you'd rather not hear about the logistics of poop potty training a toddler, please skip this post.

It turns out that O seems to have a fear of going poop on the potty. He has been successfully peeing on the potty (and keeping his underpants dry) for a couple weeks now, but has yet to have that first poop.

I'm not entirely sure why this is. At first, I thought he was just afraid of the different sensation — having the mess fall away from him into the bowl, rather than smash right up against him like in the diaper. (I warned you, this is gross stuff!) But sometimes I wonder if it's more of a physical difficulty. By that I mean that when he poops in his diaper, he's always standing and just sort of hunches over slightly. So, I wonder if being in a sitting position is challenging for him.

My plan initially was to keep him in a diaper for naps and bedtime, at least until he mastered pooping (and probably longer for the overnight stint). And, honestly, because I'm terrified of having an accident out in public, I've also been putting him in diapers (or pull-ups, which are essentially diapers that are a bit easier to get on and off) whenever we go out anywhere. With the exception of a few very short trips to the store that I've braved with the O-man in his underpants, I have been reluctant to take him anywhere else (i.e., the library, MOPS, church, etc.) without the safety of a diaper. As I said, this is mostly because I'm not too keen on cleaning up a public potty mess, but also because in many of those situations, I am not going to be the one taking care of him. I feel like I shouldn't impose on his church or MOPS caregivers by asking them to be sure to take him to the potty every 30 minutes, or worse, clean up a poopy-pantsed 2-year-old. That's not really their job, right?

But what I'm afraid has happened is that I've confused the poor boy. It seems that he will just wait and "hold it" until he gets put into a diaper, which is, at the very least, twice a day (naptime and bedtime). And while I'm grateful that I really haven't had very many poopy accidents to clean up in the past few weeks, I'm concerned about his lack of progress with this step.

He is making progress, though. We just spent the past hour before his naptime today sitting on the potty (two different potties, actually). I know he needed to go. And, to his credit, he was really trying. He would lean over and sometimes lift his body up with his hands. I heard a few toots in there and could just tell that he was making an effort. But after a solid hour (and 20-minutes into naptime), I decided to give it a rest. However, I chose NOT to put him in a diaper for naptime. I'm 100% positive that when he wakes up, there will be some sort of mess to clean up. He will probably be wet, and there is a good chance that he will also be dirty. And that means I will have to strip the bed and clean and sanitize everything. But I feel like if I don't just grin and bear this unpleasantry, he's never going to learn.

Anyway, he's fast asleep now and only a short time will tell how this little experiment goes. Thanks for following along as I keep on "wingin' it" over here in potty land...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Life update

God sure has a funny sense of humor, doesn't he? The very night after my last post (where I was whining about my terrible day), I came down with a nasty stomach flu that had me completely wiped out for a solid 48 hours. I will spare you all the gory details, but let's just say that, while puking in the middle of the night is never fun, it's especially loathsome when you are nearly seven months pregnant! And have a 2 1/2-year-old with boundless energy due up by 7:30 a.m.

God also is SO gracious, though, in that he has blessed me with amazing parents who swooped in and came to the rescue. My dad took the day off work and drove here (about a 45-minute drive) to pick up Owen that next morning and whisked him off to his house (another 45-minute drive back!) for the day. That allowed Ryan and I to lay around in our dark, quiet house (I didn't even bother opening up the curtains or blinds all day) and get some much needed rest. By Sunday morning, his fever had finally broken and my energy had returned and we felt like new people! And, somehow, despite being surrounded by sickness (turns out both my parents were sick — and still are — the day right after having Owen stay with them), the little guy managed to avoid all of it. Praise God!

In other news, we resumed full-on potty training this week with revitalized energy and the O-man has shown some remarkable success! He pretty much has the whole peeing thing down pat and rarely has an accident of that kind. Unfortunately, we still have yet to get a poop into the potty, but are getting very, very close! I really thought that today was going to be the day, but so far, no luck. He certainly tries, but then just as I think it's about to happen, he gets all nervous or scared or something and backs off. Frustrating! But I have confidence that it will all happen very soon. I am still a little too nervous, however, to take him out of the house in his underpants, so I usually throw a diaper or pull-up on him whenever we head out to the store, the library, a play date, etc. The stinker seems to know this and always manages to take advantage of that diaper-time to make his poopy. This does make for easy clean-up — I haven't had to clean out even one pair of dirty underpants all week. But I know I need to take away that crutch soon.

And in sad news, we learned that my grandma (on my mom's side) passed away last night. She was sick and weak, and had been for quite some time. And her mental state was not exactly healthy either. But the news did come as a bit of a shock this morning. We will be heading to the Chicago-area probably sometime tomorrow to attend the funeral services, so prayers for everyone's safe travels are appreciated.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I surrender

Have you ever had one of those days where you just want to trade in your life for some other life? Throw in the towel and go hide in the closet? Have you ever felt up to your eyeballs in bodily waste? No? Is that just me? Was that just my sucky day?

Here's a recap...

Just before my shower this morning, I discovered several long, brown streaks on the carpet (at least four of them in two different rooms), which I soon realized was the result of the dog dragging his behind to rid himself of the dingleberries on his fur. Awesome sauce. I gave him a quick "butt bath" and removed said dingleberries with my bare hands and promptly scheduled him an appointment for a hair cut. (Oh, and scrubbed my hands raw.)

Then, I took Owen to see his Papa for his birthday today. We had some fun, but when Owen fell asleep on Papa's lap in the recliner, I decided it would be better to move him to the couch so he could take a bit more of a proper nap. Unfortunately, he woke up in the process — screaming mad — and refused to go back to sleep despite our best attempts. He did fall asleep on the drive home then (for all of 20 minutes), but was explicably crabby for the remainder of the day. Owen without his nap = NO fun! Just try explaining that to him, though.

Ryan left work early this afternoon because he wasn't feeling well (which is something he never does!), and had been in bed resting since Owen and I arrived home. That is, until he decided to visit Urgent Care this evening, where he learned that he has a fever of 103 and tested positive for both strep throat AND bronchitis. Oh, and is "extremely contagious." Extra awesome sauce!

I am quickly learning that my patience is probably going to be the biggest barrier to the whole potty training endeavor with Owen. Although we haven't been formally training since several weeks ago (when Owen got sick), we do indulge his frequent requests to "go pee on potty," which — before you go getting all excited — is just because he's learned that he gets some kind of "treat" when he does so. (In hindsight, offering a reward for each and every pee was probably a mistake.) At any rate, he also insists on "helping" dump the pee in the potty into the toilet and tonight, spilled it all over the toilet...that I just washed, no less. Ugh.

While in the bathroom, I realized that there is still a pair of poop-stained Buzz Lightyear underpants from yesterday, sitting in a plastic bag, waiting to be washed. Forgot about those, so they're probably gonners.

And while I'm riding the "woe-is-me" whaaaah-mbulence, I'll just throw in there that the dishwasher still hasn't been unloaded from last night's run, and I have some kind of crazy-painful chapped lip thing that has been going on for over a week now that I'm pretty sure is either some kind of allergic reaction to something or worse, but I'm too embarrassed to call the doctor with a complaint of "chapped lips." Oh, and because it's the kind of awesome mom I am today, I wanted to just sit Owen in front of the TV for the last half-hour before his bath tonight, but our living room TV decided to crap out on me and refused to turn itself on. Cool beans.

So, here I sit, lamenting my crummy day on the computer, rather than unloading that dishwasher or cleaning up the dog poop on the floor. (How do I even do that, anyway???) 

But I just read a friend's post on Facebook that said, "today was a VERY bad mommy day. Here's to hoping tomorrow is better." I immediately responded with, "Ditto that," sensing a familiar attitude of defeat. But another friend had these much more inspiring words to share: "finish each day and be done with it. you have done what you could. some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. tomorrow is a new day. you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense," which apparently is a quote from Emmerson. 

Love it. I needed that.