27 July 2009

Weekend Update 7.26.09

Here's what I was up to this week: I baked, a lot. Three loaves of homemade cinnamon raisin bread (not that great, sadly), homemade white bread (good, but not as good as Muzzie's), and 2 new cookie recipes. One for banana oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies, and yes as good as they sound. The other was a repeat but a goodie as well: double-chocolate and sour cherry cookies. I didn't get either photographed, which is a bummer because they were both definitely blog-worthy.

The cookies were supposed to be for book club, but alas - Scott didn't fully fix the little air flow issue, so the car died in the middle of a fairly-busy intersection while I was on my way to book club. Lovely. I didn't read the book anyway, so I guess it wasn't a huge loss. I just drowned my sorrows in cookies.

Peter had his 6-week dr. appointment on Thursday. All is well, weight and height in the 75-80% range. His head circumference is still small, this time in the 25% percentile (better than his 2-week size in the 15% percentile, but still). Poor little pinhead baby. Everything else is just fine, thank you very much. He does have tummy issues and the dr. said to have him sleep sitting up, so it's all swing or car seat or inclined-bassinet for Peter. Fine by me, whatever helps that tummy of his!

Our weekend was pretty low key - just one of those lovely, quiet, relaxing weekends (the last before a busy week). Friday night I tried a new tortilla soup recipe. Oh my gosh, the BEST tortilla soup; recipe is here and you must make it exactly as given (including the tortillas and avocado for toppings; they really make the soup). We chowed down on soup while watching several episodes of Mad Men. One of my new favorite (totally addictive) shows.

Peter and Gabrielle!

On Saturday Audrey and her little cutie Gabrielle came over to meet Mr. Peter. Then later that afternoon Kala also stopped by to visit. It was a day of visitors! That evening, Scott met up with his old buddy Brek at Kaufmann to take in a KC Royals game. Hillman got thrown out and surprise surprise: the Royals won. Good night for a game!

Peter and I camped out in the bedroom that evening, where we watched more Mad Men episodes, planned the baptism menu, and basically just snuggled together in the cozy bed. I may or may not have had half a bag of Oreida french fries for dinner that night. In bed. Using Peter for a plate holder. Er, maybe. In my defense: he's nice and flat when swaddled, and he just snoozed most of the time.

Sunday morning picture time while "sleeping in".

Sunday all of us slept in, then went to the late Mass at church. Now I remember why we haven't attended that Mass in almost 3 years - lots of singing, and hand holding (don't even ask). We won't be making that mistake again for awhile. After church we had a late breakfast of Huevos Rancheros The rest of the day was spent shopping for daycare stuff, then carefully folding, labeling, and packing all the things we needed to take to daycare the next morning. Sniff. A pretty sad little chore for me. I am very, very grateful that we decided to do a trial of daycare before I head back to work, because methinks I'll be keeping him home a few days at least.

19 July 2009

Weekend Update 7.19.09

Hello again! Another week, another update...

This week seemed to go by really quickly, lots going on. We had a wee car issue on Wednesday (ahem, Hubster), but Scott installed a new air filter and everything was good as new by the evening. We got our canvas and print order from Peter's newborn session on Wednesday as well, so we spent some time hanging pictures and assembling albums, and I got the baby announcements out in the mail. Yay!

Thursday was the annual Lawrence Downtown Sidewalk Sale, so Scott had Peter for the morning and I was downtown at 4:45am, coffee in hand, waiting for the first store to open their doors. I got tons of clothes for Peter for the coming year, and found a dress to wear to his baptism. Scott got new Reefs and a KU winter hat. All in all, a good bargain hunting day :)

I also had my final postpartum doctor appointment. I have officially lost all the baby weight, but my goodness - when they tell you that your body changes after a baby, they are not kidding. I still can't button my pre-baby jeans, and my wedding bands still don't fit on my finger. Boo. So we need to work on a few areas in the coming months (although how one slims down a finger is beyond me...).

Peter visited the work folks this week, he did really well considering all the PEOPLE and the TOUCHING and the COOING and oh! but the FLUORESCENT LIGHTING. It took him about 2 and a half hours to finally lose his cool, which is a long stretch. And only one person confused him for a girl. Must be all that pretty blond hair and gorgeous blue eyes that the boy has ;)

We had tons of rain early in the week, then awesome cool temps this weekend. Where usually it's heat indices in the 110s and humidity so thick it looks like fog, we instead have cool evenings that dip into the high 50s and sunny, breezy days in the low 70s. Absolute heaven! We've taken full advantage, Scott worked in the yard (got some beets and pattypan squash planted), and we grilled out. In the evening Scott and I take the baby monitor (and a beer) and enjoy the weather on the back deck. Ahhhh, just lovely. Aside from the bajillion mosquito bites on my body, I can't complain :)

We made a home improvement update as well, one that's been a long time coming. When we bought the house, the kitchen had a new brushed stainless faucet. After we did our updates to the kitchen I would have preferred an oiled bronze faucet to match the light fixtures and hardware, but hey. New is new, right?


The "new faucet" started to have a slower and slower water flow. At first I thought it was all in my head, but basically the water pressure kept dropping until by this spring, all we could get out was a weak trickle. It took about ten minutes to get even warm water, and doing dishes was now a long, tedious chore. Heck, washing your hands, doing ANYTHING was a long tedious chore...

To make a long (long looooong) story short: we looked for replacement parts to fix the problem, Home Depot was of no help. Turns out that they have several manufacturers make their Pegasus brand, whomever is the cheapest at the moment. Making it virtually impossible to get replacement parts... Scott eventually found the part after months of searching, but luck would have it that it didn't fix the problem. We finally just went to Lowes this weekend and bought a Moen faucet. It's a lovely oiled bronze and cost quite a bit, but I'm sure it will last a lot longer than the previous thing.

Hooray! Running water in the kitchen, what a revelation! So: that's about it for the week. We'll see what next week brings; it's the last full week of Peter at home (we're starting daycare before I head back to work, so that everyone is used to the routine before I have to add working to this whole mess). As much as I'm ready to head back to work, back to some normalcy and a healthy routine for both me and Peter, it does make me sad to know our days together are almost over.

Better-Than-From-The-Tube Cookie Dough

So you know how there was the whole Salmonella contamination with the Nestle tube dough? That awesome stuff that tastes good straight from the tube but even better when baked off? The convenient, bake-as-needed shape and packaging? Yeah, I thought it was kinda sad, too. I'm not much for buying those tubes anyway, but I get their appeal. And after the whole Salmonella scare, I really don't want to buy the stuff for awhile.

If you are like me, though, you can just try this recipe and have no more worries. Who needs that prepackaged tube stuff when you can get the same out of this recipe? These cookies are freaking awesome. The shortening is the key to keep them soft while also to keep the cookies from spreading terribly. Plus it helps the dough to keep in your fridge for what I guess would be a good couple of weeks. I wouldn't actually know, because we blew through the dough I made in a few days. Cookies don't last long in this house.

Better-Than-From-The-Tube Cookie Dough
(adapted from this recipe)

1 c. vegetable shortening
4 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. bittersweet chocolate chunks (chop up a few bars)

Cream shortening, butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and mix well. Add baking soda and salt and flour and mix thoroughly. Toss in chocolate and mix until incorporated.

Pull out a few long sheets of Saran wrap. Split the dough in half, and drop one-half of each on a Saran wrap sheet. Pat the dough into a longish log, then pull the sides of the wrap against the dough. Squeeze and shape with the Saran wrap until you've worked the dough into long tubes. Wrap up completely. Place in the fridge to chill, at least 1 hour.

When you are in the mood for some cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Slice off cookies about half an inch thick and bake for 10 -12 minutes (no more than 12 minutes!). Let sit on pan for 5 minutes and then move to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

12 July 2009

Weekend Update 7.12.09

Time for another update! Things have been pretty much the same around here, I'm still home with the baby and I think we're getting into a good routine. We ventured out quite a bit this week, scouted out potential daycares as well as took trips to the grocery store, post office, Target, clothes shopping (gotta get him trained on bargain hunting early)...

Scott bottled his 2nd batch of Robot Ale this weekend. We also got out to the Farmers Market for the first time since baby. One lonesome stand still had the yummy ripe peaches, the only one still selling the Kansas summer peach crop. So of course we picked up a few pounds.

On the Pete front: We got the baptism invites assembled, addressed, and out. He also celebrated his official 1 Month birthday on Tuesday. Happy birthday little man!

Yeah I know - he looks thrilled.

This week we were finally able to secure daycare - YEAH! That was a big hurdle. I really love this place, I think it'll be great for Pete - she coordinates with EKANS on educational programs, including working with infants, which is a bonus. We start in about 3 weeks, so we found her just in the nick of time.

On the gardening front - things are really starting to come around. The tomato plants have shot up, and we have a bunch of tomatoes starting to bloom and form. I'm super-excited about our tomatoes this year, we planted all heirlooms - Green Germans, Brandywine, and Yellow Pear. Also we now have an abundance of cucumbers. Scott started a few batches of dill pickles, and we've been enjoying cucumber salads. YUM. Kansas summers are totally gross, just hot and soupy and disgusting (you can't really do anything outside). So to me the best part is enjoying the garden goodies... inside. In the nice, temperature-controlled air conditioning. :)

Okay, off until next week. I've been baking A TON - however haven't been able to photograph everything. I hope to get a few recipes up next week, though.

05 July 2009

4th of July Weekend

Fourth of July weekend! We got a lot done this 4th of July. Usually we'd head out to visit someone else if the holiday falls on a weekend (Lawrence has lame fireworks laws, you can only set off sparklers or those snake things). This year with the baby being so little, we decided it wouldn't be too smart to drag him around Kansas. Scott's parents decided to make a visit to see us instead, so we still got to see family.

Friday Scott bottled some beer in the morning, while Pete and I picked up the house a little bit. Scott's parents were gracious enough to watch Peter for the evening, so Scott and I actually were able to have an evening out. Yeah! We headed downtown and had dinner at Free State Brewery. It was a great evening weatherwise (rare for Kansas in July) and the Tour of Lawrence started that evening downtown, so we watched the sprints for a little bit. Then a nightcap at The Eldridge, and back home for us. Peter was showing off and only fussed for his grandparents for an hour. On his best behavior! So everybody had a pretty good evening :)

The rest of the weekend was spent baking, organizing closets (as FUN AND EXCITING as it sounds, folks), and watching Wimbledon. We had one other visitor - our bud Anna came over to visit Peter. She was able to witness The Fatness that is now our baby. Speaking of which...

So this weird thing happened on Saturday. I put him down for a nap, here's a picture I took of him after swaddling him for his afternoon nap:

And here he is right after his nap, when Anna came over:

Um, yeah. I am not sure how that happened. It's like he hides treats in his bassinet and snacks on them when he's supposed to be napping.