Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy new year!

We continued our New Years fondue tradition tonight and Troy was able to join in for the first time!

2012 was amazing and I can't wait to see what's in store for the new year for our family!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Summer in December

In a moment of spontaneity, after Troy had a crazy long nap and dinner was on the table early, I thought about taking him over to the indoor pool to play for a few. As you can see, it was a good idea :)

He didn't want to leave! After we came out of the locker room, he sat on the bench and just watched the last two kids playing in the pool as it was almost closed for the night.

Unfortunately Troy got his first "sports related injury" as Mike is calling it :( Poor guy was jumping in the pool over and over and over. And just didn't jump out far enough one time and bumped his head. He was back to playing within a moment but I realized as time went on he was getting quite the bump. Poor guy!

the reject dish

Just yesterday a friend asked me if Troy ate all the meals I make or if I make something different for him. I proudly answered that he's not picky at all and eats whatever I make for mike and I.

Enter in tonight's Chicken peanut Thai noodles.

That would be my son spitting out my Thai dish above. Ah well, I suppose that it was inevitable that we found ONE thing he didn't like!

He was much happier to have the Thai dish deconstructed: just chicken and bell peppers, no peanut sauce.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

January Meal Plan

Something crazy happened last night and I found myself meal planning for the entire month at once, instead of one week at a time like normal. Want to see it? Here it is! (Note: recipes aren't clickable since this is in my google calendar. If you are interested in the links to any of these recipes, just leave me a comment!) Also, grocery lists for each week can be found below.

Grocery lists
Grocery lists only include lists for dinners/weekend lunches. They don't include staples, breakfast foods and weekday lunches. And many of the meals I planned use items I already have in the house.

Week 1: Begins December 30
2 cans italian tomatoes
ground turkey
frozen pizza

Week 2: Begins January 6
3 jars pasta sauce
lasagna noodles
2 cartons cottage cheese
16 c mozzarella
heavy whipping cream
shredded cheddar
frozen peas/corn
2 pie crusts

Week 3: Begins January 13
coconut milk
curry powder
frozen corn
4 lg bell peppers
monterey jack cheese
jar of sauce
garlic bread
shake and bake

Week 4: Begins January 20
green peppers
penne pasta
boboli pizza crust
jar of sauce
2 cans crescent rolls
cream of chicken soup (make it?)
cream cheese
cheddar cheese

Week 5: Begins January 27
Eat out of the house/freezer! (except for staples)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Grampa!

Our Chicago visit continued through lunch today so we could spend some of Grampa's birthday with him :) Troy got a special trip to Grampa's work at the beer company this morning and they even let him "drive" the forklift around the warehouse, which he was still talking about as the day went on.

I think he had fun :) 
Later on we grabbed a delicious lunch, as Troy ate an entire cheeseburger and fries. He even helped Grampa blow out the candle in his ice cream treat! I think he's got a handle on this birthday thing now!

Christmas Day

Christmas Recap 2012! Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas :) I think this was the best Christmas yet this year. Troy was a blast and it was overall just a really special Christmas Day, celebrating the birth of Jesus with our family and friends!

Its fun to be establishing some traditions that are all our own, now that we've done them two years in a row! We stuck to our one present from Mom and Dad for Troy system again this year...gosh, that's getting harder! Maybe next year I'll add stockings to the mix or something :) And technically he opened two things since I had two separate puzzles for him this year- one fire truck and one chunky dinosaur set. He really likes how the dinosaurs can stand up on a table or the floor, too.

After presents and a delicious french toast breakfast casserole, we hit the road for "road trip!" as Troy calls it, up to Chicago. And surprise, they were getting snow! We thought we were going to miss White Christmas this year. Troy really hasn't been out in it this year since we've just had a little at home, so he had the sweetest look on his face as he took it all in. 

We had a visit with Aunt Nat and her hubby and family. Ollie the bunny was even wearing a Santa hat for the holiday!

Nat and Joe playing with Troy and his new toy truck from them!

Then, back down the street to Gramma and Grampa's for some more fun (i.e. not naptime like every normal day!) Troy had a gift to give to them, an ABC photo book called "G is for Gramma and Grampa". He may have had a little help creating it :)

A little bit later, Troy got to open another gift, one from Gramma, Grampa, Uncle Andy and Auntie Daria. They all went in together on a wooden zoo train, that Troy promptly drove all over their house :) 

We thought he had to crash at some point! A quick nap to recharge on the way to Christmas dinner in the 'burbs.

Here's a quick shot of most of the people at our italian Christmas dinner at the Marx house. And the fun continues: white elephant gift exchange, yummy desserts and getting educated on the latest One Direction tunes from my 8 yr old cousin :)

Merry Christmas, everyone! What an amazing celebration this year :) 

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Montessori Christmas

Troy has been a little rambunctious in his room the last couple days. Not quite as much activity plus tons of sugary treats equals a boy not ready for bed! Tonight he moved his bed around the room...I was just thankful he finally fell asleep!

Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Is it cliche to say it feels like we were just celebrating Christmas and now here we are again, a year later? This Christmas has been great so far and there's still lots more to come! Today we had a(nother) relaxing day for the three of us. Troy has been on napstrike the last two days so we were on a mission to tire him out this morning. We headed out to the mall and let him run around their play area for awhile. Our indoor playground was closed for Christmas Eve and we didn't have too many options :/

After a (delayed, but successful) nap, we went to our Christmas Eve service at church! Phew! 1300 people packed into the auditorium. It was a great service. Truth time: in the past, I haven't always looked forward to bringing Troy into the service with us when kids church isn't open, like tonight. Enter in the realization that we were going to be squished in with 1000+ people and I hesitate even more :/

But its been awhile since I brought him in. And guess what? I really enjoyed it! He raises his hands in worship sometimes now (and one moment when Daniel was praying over the entire crowd, Troy reached his hands out to receive). He recognizes people on the stage (like two of his favs, Laura and Leah, both up there tonight). And when we were in our seats singing silent night he just laid his head back on my chest and sat still for a few moments. And I got a little teary thinking about how thankful I am that he is here with us :)

When we came home, I got to work on our special Christmas Eve dinner. Since these are fairly young Christmas traditions, I've loosely stuck to "something out of the ordinary" for our Christmas Eve dinner. Tonight's choice was blue cheese crusted filet with a port wine sauce. All I have to say is YUM! And thank you to Meijer for having such good deals on great cuts of meat.


Then we went over to our tree and opened up a very special ornament. My mom recently brought this down and put it on our tree. This is my absolute favorite Christmas ornament from my childhood. Its a nativity scene with doors that open and close. We always left the doors closed until Christmas Eve (usually after getting home from church, like tonight!) and then we opened them that night. Troy and I did this tonight. He liked pointing out the different characters, but I think he liked the fact that he got to touch something on the Christmas tree even more!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Have a wonderful day tomorrow, too!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

cookies pt 2

All those lovely cookies we cut out and baked yesterday still needed to be decorated today. Troy did an awesome job. He was pretty adamant about painting and sprinkling all of his creations on his own :) I managed to sneak away a few stars to do myself. Nice work, Troy!

Side note: I now use Instagram. YES!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

cookie baking

As a follow up to our salt dough experiment last weekend, I decided to roll out sugar cookies with Troy today. He had lots of fun and we made some pretty awesome cut out cookies :) Can't wait to decorate them tomorrow with him, pictures to come of the finished product then!

hard at work

my happy helper

first snow of the year

Chilling at home

After some time out at the stores with the rest of C-U, we relaxed at home with casual lunch. So thankful we're enjoying some time off this Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Keeping an eye on the snow

Troy wouldn't leave the window tonight as the snow came down, he was SO excited. He would start playing with something and then run over there to peek out. Finally he ended up just setting up camp at the window to play with his ninja turtles and watch Veggie Tales.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"big hug"

Tonight I was tucking Troy in and kissing him and goodnight and he said "big hug!" and reached out with his arms. Wrapped them around me and squeezed hard with a big grin.

Parenting is such a joy :)

That is all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

a whole bunch of Christmas cheer

Troy's had all kinds of Christmas cheer going on the last couple days. Gramma came to visit and spend a couple days with us! Troy was very excited :) Thanks for coming, Gramma!

Here they are dining at the Cracker Barrel. Notice Gramma's three cows on her shirt; earlier when we were all at home, we saw Troy looking at her shirt. Gramma asked Troy, "do you like my cows?" He paused and replied clear as anything, "Three!" I think this counting thing is sinking in :)

Today, Gramma and Troy went off to the mall to run some errands. They bumped into Santa as he was taking his post for the day. Troy went to give him a high five and since he was the first kid of the day, they gave him a stuffed reindeer, whom he loves...

Apparently its fun to share your milk with a reindeer.

Tonight after a fun visit with friends, I thought we'd drive through Candlestick Lane here in Urbana. We're not typically out and about during the hours its open, so it was a good opportunity to check out the Christmas lights. We pull up and Troy has yet another run-in with the guy in the big red suit. This Santa was passing out gifts to all the kids in each car as they drove down the street!

Tonight we read the Christmas story and Troy brought his two new animals to bed. Then the musical entertainment began over the monitor...he began singing his own version of Jingle Bells!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

back to normal

2 1/2 months after the famous haricut fail, Troy's hair was FINALLY ready for a haircut with his guard today. He's looking sharp with his new (AKA normal) haircut!

End of September photo

Today. Not sure what's up with the pouty lip! He was pretty excited to get his haircut :)

salt dough

A friend and co-worker made some adorable salt dough ornaments a few weeks back and kindly offered me the leftover dough to make some of our own. Unfortunately after a few weeks of sitting in the fridge it wasn't exactly producing ornament-like shapes once we got to working with it tonight. It did, however, prove to be a lot of fun to play with and Troy has no clue this didn't turn out the way I had planned. He had tons of fun working with the dough! Thanks Corrie, for the afternoon entertainment!

First we picked out our cookie cutters. In addition to the Christmas standards (which I picked out), Troy chose a turkey, elephant and football.

Then we gave it our best shot to get some decent ornaments cut out :/

After awhile I just turned it over to Troy and let him have fun with the dough. He's attempting to scrape off dough from around the cookie cutter here.

The rolling pin was a huge hit! We'll have to make cookies in that long weekend before Christmas :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Troy is 2 years old!

A crazy Troy self-portrait; seems he's starting to figure out the iPhone
Here's the scoop on what Troy's up to these days.... I haven't done one of these since he was 18 months or so, i might be a bit rusty!

Eating: Troy is still a great eater. He eats anything and everything. I never have a problem getting him to eat fruit and veggies; in fact, that's what he goes for first most often (hooray!) Some of his favorites are apples, broccoli, grapes, cucumbers, carrots and bananas. Some of the less healthy favs include fruit snacks, cookies (animal crackers) and cheez its. Yum. He eats beef, chicken, pork, fish, whatever is for dinner. He always just eats what we eat :) We've had some thai noodle dishes recently that he's really loved!

Sleeping: Nothing too noteworthy in this department either. Troy typically goes to bed around 7:30pm (though on special occasions he can stay up as late as 9 or 9:30) and sleeps until 6:30-7am. There have been about two or three times in the past several months where he's slept in until 8am on a weekend. #bliss. He takes one nap a day from about 1 until 3:30; sometimes longer, rarely shorter and sometimes earlier or later too. Three days a week, I pick him up from daycare and bring him home for his nap and he often still falls asleep in the car on the way home.

Talking: Troy talks. A lot. It would be hard to even try to name everything he says. He is just starting to put two or three words together in the last month or so. Now that he has so many different words it will be exciting to see how he uses them! We're continuing to work on colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. I wouldn't say he's learned any of them well yet but more progress to come :)

Potty: We're working on it. I know I just need to go cold turkey with diapers over a weekend and switch to underwear. He gets it most of the time, but if he's wearing a diaper, we end up with wet diapers here and there. Thankfully the majority of the poops are making it to the potty so that's huge!

Playing: Little people and animals. Building "boats" with blocks. Puzzles. Vehicles (trucks, trains, cars)! Chasing after Daddy and Bear. Reading books.

On TV: We've let Troy watch TV since he was little and never banned him from it or anything. Yet, he never really hooked on to it at all. I've spent some time teaching (yes, teaching) my child to watch TV in recent weeks. Some of his favs are Sesame Street, Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder. We throw Veggie Tales in from time to time to mix it up, too. Tonight he snuggled with me for almost a half hour watching Muppet Family Christmas on the iPad. Yes!

Randoms: Troy has been so affectionate with us and snuggly lately. Hugs and kisses abound. He's such a sweet boy and even though he's go-go-go most of the time, the moments that he stops and slows down are simply precious. Now that he's physically capable of doing most things he *wants* to do, we're dealing with disciplining him when he can't do them (i.e. feeding the dog an extra time, climbing a chair or kitchen stool, etc.). When he starts to get tired or extra cranky he tends to throw. We're working on that, too :) The rest of the time, he does a great job playing on his own or with us and being generally easy-going.

Love you, Troy! Happy second birthday!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pinned it, Did it

Here's another edition of Pinned it, Did it! (Or as my buddy Ethan suggested today, "Livin' the Pinterest Life.") A big thanks to Emily at Knee Deep in the Baby Pool for her Pinned it, Did it inspiration. Check out her blog for regular crafty updates :)

So as I predicted, this week has to do with Troy's birthday. Woot! I have a 2 yr old! Strangely he's felt like a 2 yr old for awhile to me, but now its official :)

Project: Construction birthday cake

Picture I pinned
The finished product!
Okay, I have to admit...I'm really happy with how this cake turned out! I scoured pinterest looking for different cake ideas (many of which you can see on my "parties and more" board) and the one that ended up proving to be the most inspiring was the one above. But I still made it my own...first off, I did NOT do the crazy yellow/black patterned cake on the inside that the original pinner did. But, wow, impressive that people can call that "quite easy". 

my clean slate canvas
I did decide to go with a double layer 9x13 cake. I just thought that would provide us the closest amount of cake we needed. I'd never done a double layer 9x13 cake before but it worked out just fine. Stacking the cakes was a breeze. Once that was done, I frosted them and then just had some fun!

I picked up a set of "mini machines" from Target to use on the cake. I also printed out the signs since I knew I wouldn't be writing on the cake at all. I picked up some milk chocolate "rocks" at the candy store (hooray Marketplace Mall for having a decent candy store!) and crushed up some Oreo "dirt". Not having a cake carrier, I picked up a large cake box at the party store for $3 and some cake boards at Meijer. All great purchases, making decorations and storing the cake for a day super simple! If any of you out there want truck cakes (or hey, I could probably handle trains too) you know who to call :)

So...have you been introduced to SkinnyTaste? It is one of the best recipe resources out there! I love all the variety and there's literally hundreds of delicious looking (and so far, tasting!) recipes to choose from. If my meal plan is ever lacking a night or too, I head over here and fill in a new SkinnyTaste recipe. This chicken/broccoli dish is going to be in our rotation from now on!