Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

kitchen samplings

I've been working on branching out more in what I make in my kitchen over the last several weeks. In the last 24 hours, I've had several successes!

I found a few new (and easy!) recipes on pinterest that I wanted to try for homemade granola bars and homemade fruit snacks. While not necessarily "healthy" I do enjoy the fact that these were prepared in my kitchen and lacking the many preservatives that anything off the shelf would have :)

First up: no bake granola bars... they took less than 10 minutes to make! I can't wait to try some different toppings on these. And I guarantee I make another batch this weekend for us to enjoy next week!

Troy happily devoured a granola bar for a snack this afternoon
Next up, I made fruit snacks. Almost as easy as the granola bars, and I think I can honestly call these healthy. I substituted water where it called for juice, used fresh berries and homemade applesauce (thanks Mom, that was handy in this recipe!) and unflavored gelatin is the only thing not "fresh". Since I've never actually given Troy packaged fruit snacks (I think they're a bit of a choking hazard for him still), these are just the right consistency. More firm than something like a jello jiggler, so it doesn't fall apart, but not so firm that he can't chew it. They're easy for him to handle, and I found myself munching on them this afternoon, too!

The batch made many more than shown in the picture below:

Last but certainly not least, I have to show off one of my juice creations. I've been making juice for Mike several days a week now for breakfast and have had fun trying different things out. For the more part I just make up the recipes based on what I have on hand. (Shout out to Brian for encouraging us to try juicing!) 

Today's juice may have been the prettiest (pre-swirled) juice I've made yet! It had apples, carrots, a clementine orange, beets, broccoli, and celery (and maybe some others I forgot). 

video variety hour

Okay, just video variety 3 minutes or so :) Enjoy this sampling of videos from the last week or so!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

playtime with a friend

Today Troy's friend Liam came by for a little while to play at our house. These guys are so adorable together, and Su and I just love watching them play every time they get together! Thanks, Liam, for coming to play!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Troy is no longer breastfeeding. Yep, its been a week so I'm sure of it now. As I mentioned in an earlier post, back in November I started dropping feedings, around one per week. He seemed ready and took well to cow's milk as I introduced it. So when we got to just one feeding first thing in the morning, I thought we were pretty close to done. But then it just kind of stuck around and both of us were enjoying it. These last several weeks were really great, and kind of a welcome surprise in getting some more sweet time with my little guy.

A little over a week ago, Troy started losing interest in nursing first thing in the morning. So I started thinking we were really getting towards the end again. We skipped a day and then the last time he nursed was January 17. And there it is. Another stage he has grown out of and on to the next adventure.

Of course I'm a little sad that we're done. BUT I can only celebrate and be so happy with how well it went, and pray there's another opportunity to do this again down the road :) I've blogged about the many things I've enjoyed about breastfeeding before so I won't again. But I will take a moment to say thank you to every person that has somehow supported Troy and I during this journey, especially my hubby. I know there are so many women that don't have the kind of support I did in the beginning weeks and months after their baby was born and I am very thankful for that. And for any mamas breastfeeding now, or getting ready to do so, keep it up and stay encouraged!!!

a trip to the Orpheum

Today the church building was closed down due to a construction-related power outage, keeping Troy and I at home for the day :) After his afternoon nap, I decided to try out the Orpheum Children's Museum in downtown Champaign, since two people in the last week suggested it to us as a place to check out.

I'll start my "review" by sharing we had a great time! Our 60 minute visit cost $4 (for my admission, Troy was free) and I think it was well worth it. To be honest up front, this is no Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier in Chicago. But it also only cost us $4 and is pretty much around the corner. There's a reason other museums are nicer and updated- you pay the price for it in admission, parking, etc. 

We walked in and Troy instantly ran (yes, there's running now) to the turtle tank. In fact, 10 minutes into our visit I thought we might be spending our entire visit at the turtle tank.

Another huge plus to this museum? At the time we went (around 3pm) there were maybe 3 other families in the whole place. It was awesome. We pretty much had it to ourselves, meaning I could let my still unsteady toddler roam free without fear of him being trampled.

I was bummed to see the water table off when we arrived. Thinking it was only on during "peak" hours, I asked the girl at the front desk and she simply directed us to a switch on the wall. Score. We had the water table all to ourselves!

Then we found this awesome steering wheel on a boat. Last week at the mall, Troy kept trying to steer the wheel on a car but was overrun by 3 and 4 year olds pushing him aside. This week he had the steering wheel all to himself...and was he ever pleased!

Last stop was the sand table. I never took him in a sandbox this past summer, so this was a new experience for him. He wasn't too interested for very long, but it captured him for a few moments.

Troy, you are at such a fun age right now! I can't wait for even more adventures and explorations with you, buddy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

family outing: Illini vs Wisconsin Basketball

loving the b section seats
Though we missed out on a visit from my parents this weekend, my dad took great care of us and gave us the basketball tickets he planned to use (thanks, Grampa!) This was Troy's first basketball game so we played with his nap schedule to ensure optimal outing success and we scored....things went great! We didn't even have to leave at all for diaper changes or running around breaks. Troy loved watching all the basketball happenings and when things got a little boring, I was quick to bust out the snacks :) Unfortunately for the Illini, things did not go great, and they lost the game by a few points. But the three of us had a great time...here's to many more sporting events as a family in the years to come!

sitting on Daddy's lap taking everything in
We even had some empty seats next to us (mega score when you have a toddler and a diaper bag with you!) so we let Troy "sit" on his own seat for a few minutes. It didn't last long. I think he figured our laps were much softer and offered a better view.

He clapped a lot and it was really cute to see him get into the excitement. Basketball has to be one of the better sports to take a young child to since everything is fairly easy to see, its indoors and there's always entertainment during time outs and such. Here's a short video from halftime:

date night! olive garden + destihl

It had been way too long since Mike and I had gone out for date night just the two of us (my blog says we haven't been on one since early August, for Alyssa's wedding, and then there were a couple work-related functions in there but I don't think those fully count).

We brought a new babysitter over (she was great watching Troy and putting him to bed) and headed out. First stop: Olive Garden for dinner. We're big Olive Garden fans and there's always something new to try. While the wait for a table was an hour, we hovered at the bar for 5 minutes and scooped up a perfect table...yes!

After a delicious meal, we took a lap around the mall to window shop and walk off some of dinner. Because the next part of our date had to do with more food...dessert at Destihl in downtown Champaign! Mike takes customers there often and keeps talking about this dessert. So he had to take me to try it :) Once again, we show up and the wait is an hour for a table. Hang out in the bar for less than 10 minutes and the perfect table opens up- round booth, in the corner, looking through the window out to downtown Champaign! Any date where I get to sit next to my hubby instead of across the table is a great success :)

We split the cherry bread pudding and it was really wonderful, definitely worth the special trip over for. And since I'd never been to Destihl before, I was able to check out the decor of this "trendy" Champaign restaurant.

Date night...success!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

track toddler

Last year, we took Troy to his first track meet ever at the U of I indoor track in mid-January. Today, we returned again, this time with a very busy toddler who doesn't seem to understand he can't go out there and run with all the people on the track!

Just a so-so photo to commemorate today's meet. At least Daddy is smiling and looking at the camera!

After we left, Troy was excited to ride on Daddy's shoulders out to the car. As I was lagging behind and still had my camera handy, I had to take advantage of this photo op of my boys walking through the U of I campus :) 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

pop tarts

Another splendid pinterest find...homemade pop tarts! These were super easy, very yummy and I made them while dinner was cooking tonight. Check out the recipe here and pics below!

the mind of troy

I don't try to figure out what Troy is thinking. I do think its funny to see what he "stores" in his two favorite storage areas though. At any given time, I usually find a drum stick, a puzzle piece or two, a sock and an assortment of blocks in the trunk of his train. There's also a hodgepodge of things in the silo of his farm. Check it out!

traveling basketball

My dad and I were just talking yesterday about Troy's future basketball career! So when he picked up this ball and started walking around with it, I thought it was a glimpse into the whistle calls for traveling he'll deal with down the road. I kept waiting for him to throw the ball into the sink to score a basket or something. Alas, he's not quite there yet :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

spoon practice

Tonight (well actually all day long thanks to my crock pot) I made a very thick baked potato soup for dinner. It was the perfect consistency for Troy to practice his spoon skills.

He did pretty well! And if the potato soup wasn't enough of a reason to give him a bath, his extra special dirty diaper sealed the deal. I think I should have read about the effects of flax seed before giving my toddler a healthy serving this morning in a breakfast bar/dessert thing I made.

*Side note: both the baked potato soup and the flax seed breakfast bar/dessert item were from pinterest! Love it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

we have shoes!

Troy really hasn't worn shoes much so far. I got a cheap flexible sole pair earlier this fall but now that Troy is off and running (literally), we needed something that would work for everyday wear! Off to Tuscola we went to go shoe shopping!

I had heard great things about Stride Rite, especially for early walkers, and when we arrived we got good news and bad news. Bad news is that Stride Rite is closing in a week, and we don't have another one nearby!: ( Good news is that everything was marked down at least 60%... shoe shopping score!

"these are pretty cool, mama!"
After picking out some shoes we had the pleasure of joining the Page fam for lunch as they were also spending the day in Amish country. Troy got to try his first milkshake ("more? more?") and we had fun watching Troy and his buddy interact across the table.

Here's a short clip of Troy in his shoes. Sarah asked me last week (remember, when it was 55 degrees and we were walking around the park?) how Bear and Troy were getting along now that Troy is walking. Here's Troy trying to "bark" back at Bear; he can't figure out how to make the barking sound she does! She's such a great sport at playing with him and letting him chase her around the house.


Troy is definitely my son. Mike has long referred to my sleeping habits (especially during the winter) as crawling into my cocoon. I get my blankets all wrapped around me (and apparently don't leave much for him).

Well Troy has just recently started covering himself up with his blanket from time to time. He's such a wiggly sleeper that there's no point in us covering him up when he goes to bed. But when he decides he wants his blanket, he pulls it over him and curls up under it. So cute.

That's how I saw him this morning when I woke up. Not the best picture quality, but I was trying to be sneaky and not wake him up :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More walking!

I took this video today. It seems like he walks better and better every day!

sit, stand, kneel, clap, and.....

At church, we invite people to sit, stand, kneel, clap, etc. during worship. Waving your socks around hasn't made the list yet...maybe Troy is just picking up on this whole "freedom" thing! :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

13 month update

Another month come and gone! Just a few updates on Troy this month for you today. (I told you these updates wouldn't be quite so detailed after a year!)

Troy eats like a champ. Sleeps like a champ. Plays like a champ. And has no fear. That about sums it up.

Troy will eat anything and everything put in front of him (and all at once, if you don't hand it to him in small quantities). Veggies, fruits, meat, dairy, its all good to him. Let me just tell you folks, those diapers are getting downright ugly. He's still breastfeeding once a day. (More on that in a moment.)

He still naps twice a day, though the days that he skips the morning nap for whatever reason he does surprisingly well waiting for the afternoon nap to come around. So I think we'll be saying goodbye to that morning nap in the next month or two. But right now, he naps from 9-10:30 or so, 1:30-3:30 and sleeps from about 6:30pm-6:30am. Wow, that's a lot of sleep!

Troy will play with anything and anyone anywhere he is. Everything is a toy. It better be locked up and out of the way if we don't want it to turn into a drumstick, hat or other toy. Its definitely fun! Tonight he was shaking the breadcrumb container like crazy to hear the sound it makes (I know, I took a gamble that it wouldn't open by handing it to him!)

As I posted last week, Troy has no fear. Its a scary stage for sure, because he doesn't totally understand what he is capable of and what he is not capable of. I try to watch him like a hawk but things still happen. Praying that he figures it all out rather quickly though I think when I'm doing his 10 year old blog post I'm going to be writing that my son doesn't understand his limits. I pray protection over him every day!

Some very random updates on us (Mike and I): Mike got some great news last week at work...he's been promoted to Sales Manager! Woot! I'm one proud wife, let me tell you. Just even more confirmation that Mike is a perfect fit for his company and his company is a perfect fit for him. Very thankful for that :)

On still breastfeeding Troy: When I started weaning him at 11 months, we dropped from 4 feedings to 3 to 2 to 1 almost one week after the next. So when we got down to 1, I fully expected we were a week away from being done. But as naturally as we dropped feedings, this one feeding first thing in the morning stayed. And he never asks for it throughout the day, so I've even made the mistake of telling people he's weaned. He nurses first thing in the morning when he wakes up, burps (so I know he's still getting milk) and we're off to have breakfast. I am so thankful for this extra time to get some snuggles with him and offer him just some of the many benefits of breastfeeding for just a bit longer, especially through cold and flu season! So that's where we're at :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

a beautiful spring day

Or at least that's what it felt like! I am loving this warm weather we're having, and so are Troy and Bear since we've all taken lots of walks. Today Sarah and I met up for a walk to take advantage of this great weather (great idea, Sarah!). And Troy got to play in the park for awhile, carefully walking from one thing to the next.
definitely big enough to go down slides now!

careful walking on the wood chips

bumps and bruises

There are so very many things I love about this age that Troy is at right now that I can't even begin to list them off. One of things I don't love so much is how often my little guy bumps and bangs into things. I am sure it hurts me more than him most of the time because often he doesn't even cry. This was one was a doozie today though. He rebounded rather quickly, as you can see below!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

walking... for real!

Troy's got this walking thing down now...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

this may be the best book ever

Troy got some awesome Christmas gifts this year, some of which include about 15 new books to add to our collection! (Thanks, everyone!) This book may just be the very best book we have yet. We've read it every single night at bedtime and Troy always pulls it off the shelf when he goes to his bookshelf to read himself. As you can see in the video below, he's still figuring out all the different names and pictures, but he's definitely learning! And he's started this adorable pointing thing that he only does when we read this book, probably because I point at each animal as we say its name.

not-so-secret hideout

Troy loves playing in his cabinet in the kitchen. Last night he literally played IN the cabinet instead of just with the things housed in it :)

a week with dada

So take out the fact that Mike has been awfully sick all week long and this has been a pretty fantastic week! Despite his cold, he took care of Troy while I went into the office for a few hours each day Tues-Thurs. It sounds like my boys had lots of fun! And now his love for "dada" has gone to an entirely new level. As soon as I pick him up out of his crib in the morning he starts asking for dada. When Mike crawls onto the floor to play with him, he gets all excited. Its quite adorable :)

Aside from eating a lot (mostly Troy) and sleeping a lot (both of them), I've had a few glimpses into what their time together was all about. They must have played the "vroom vroom" game a lot because Troy takes his tiny cars onto the kitchen floor to play this now.

The funniest thing that came out of the week is Troy's enthusiasm for "The Office" theme song. We watch a lot of this show in our house, but this week he has shown true excitement every time this song comes on (every 22 minutes if we're watching multiple episodes). He will stop whatever he is doing and rock out. See below.

I continue to fall more and more in love with my hubby as we continue on this parenting journey together. Its amazing to see Troy's love for him and his love for Troy :) I think the "week with dada" should be an annual tradition!