Friday, July 30, 2010

Hooked On Phonics...

Okay, I'll admit, this post probably falls under the category of me bragging how my kiddo is super smart. So, I'll forgive you if you refuse to indulge me on this subject (especially since I know that your children are equally if not more intelligent).
But, I have to say, Mr. Ethan has always shocked me by how quickly he picks up on various skills. Counting and letters came easy to him around the age of two. Colors and problem. Letter sounds, a breeze. He even laid a little Spanish on me. He is way smarter than I was at his age. I'll even try to trick him by putting things out of order and he'll arrange them correctly...I can't pull a fast one on him.
As of late, he's enjoyed maneuvering the letters from his play mat to try and make various words. Right now, he's working on three-letter words like DAD, PAT, MOM, CAT, DOG, ZOO etc. He displayed the above letter sequence for me one day and said, "Mama, what does that spell?" I said, "Well, buddy it doesn't really spell anything. But, good job trying to lay out the letters!" He would have none of my encouragement. He said, "Mama...sound it out!" I tried sounding out the gibberish before me, while the little Mr. praised and encouraged my attempts. I fell right into the trap of the role reversal, but felt better about myself when he offered me a, "Good Job!" sticker for my verbal blubbering.
Today my sweet hubby watched Ethan maneuvering his letters again, and decided to jump in my teacher/student territory to show the puppy a few tricks. So, this is what Ethan came up with today:

He was so proud of himself and, I'll admit, did an excellent job of sounding it out a la
'Word World' style: P-O-O (Pah-OOOO) POO! As if listening to poo talk wasn't enough, now he can spell it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm Gonna Hug You And Kiss You And Love You Forever...

Remember this little lady? If you were a kid in the early 90's then you probably sat square in front of the tube after school and gave Tiny Toons your undivided attention for a good hour. Or Anamaniacs...or Pinky and the Brain. Ahhhhh...good times as a latch-key kid.

Anyway, this little miss reminds me a lot of my own little miss. Elmyra was known for her animal loving ways. She loved animals to...death. Her infamous line was, "I'm gonna hug you and kiss you and love you forever." Then, she would proceed to squeeze the poor little critter as it squirmed, struggled and ran from her grasp of death.
Our Elmyra-esque little miss had discovered a love for little critters as well. She beats on windows with her palms shouting out her hellos to the birds, bunnies and chipmunks in our yard...and poor Stella. Stella is hugged, tugged, kissed, patted and sat on daily. The sweet pooches I sit for are not off the hook either. The little miss has a lot of love to give. Here's our little PETA poster child in action:

Contemplating her move...timing is everything.

The side hug...gets em' every time.

Then she seals the deal with the ole' squeeze around the neck.

I'm gonna hug you and kiss you and love you forever...

Monday, July 19, 2010


Okay, please don't let my last post about being a 'non-taster' scare you off. This meal really turned out delicious and was super easy to whip up! I was looking for a way to use up the goods from our garden and refrain from heating up our house with our oven since the heat index has been like 200 here lately. I know, not really possible, but it sure felt like it!

Anyway, I just threw this together and it was a big hit with my family. The pesto tasted amazing against the fresh veggies and I loved how the goat cheese really added creaminess without dousing everything in Alfredo or heavy cream. I kept my seasonings down to kosher salt, since a lot of flavor was coming from the pesto and goat cheese.

So, without further ado:

Garden Veggie Penne with Pesto Sauce


Two chicken breasts (I seasoned lightly with kosher salt and sauteed in a bit of olive oil...then diced small)

2 zucchini diced

1/2 red onion diced

1/2 red bell pepper diced

2-3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 package of penne pasta

1/4 cup pesto (or more, if you like)

3-4 tablespoons goat cheese (I used plain, not herbed)

While sauteing the chicken, boil the penne according to package directions. In a second saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the veggies until slightly tender...not soggy (about 5-10 minutes over medium heat). Drain pasta. Dice chicken and toss with the pasta along with sauteed veggies. Add Pesto and goat cheese and toss until the mixture is combined and creamy.

We served this with garlic bread and melon. Enjoy

Garlic Bread:

Ciabatta Bread
one garlic clove

I spread both sides of bread lightly with butter, then grilled on both sides until toasted. When done, rub one side generously with the garlic clove.

Friday, July 16, 2010


After we married, my sweet husband was absolutely horrified when one morning I walked sleepily over to the fridge and proceeded to eat a piece of chocolate cake for breakfast. Another morning it was pizza. Even chili. Sometimes brownies. From that point on he dubbed me a "Non-Taster", for surely a person with taste buds would not choose non-breakfast items and call it breakfast.

When I'm hungry, I want to eat. I frankly don't care what it is, I just want my hunger pains to go away and pronto. So, it's no surprise that at least one of my wee ones would have inherited my lack of taste buds. And, I'm sad to say, it's the little miss.

The girl will eat anything...mostly from items you or I would deem "non-edible". Toilet paper is a particular favorite. Crayons are up there on her list too. A cheerio or goldfish from a couch cushion is also fair game. Don't get me started on toilet water or the lone sippy cup that somehow rolled under the couch...gross.

One day I was preparing lunch and heard Ethan cry from the dining room, "Ummmm...mommy. There's something wrong with Eva." I ran in from the kitchen to see the little miss sitting on the floor, wide-eyed and her mouth white and foamy. I F-R-E-A-K-E-D. I swiftly lifted her from the floor and began to beat the center of her back with the heel of my hand. But, I quickly noticed she wasn't choking. I swept her mouth and there was nothing there. I asked Ethan what she ate and he had not a clue. So, I called poison control. Thoughts were reeling through my head, "How could I have left her in there with Ethan...Please, Lord, let her be okay...How could I have missed something she could have gotten into."

Then my thoughts were interrupted by the reassuring voice on the other line, "Poison Control, what is the nature of your call?" I quickly spewed how my daughter ate something and that she was foaming at the mouth...she wasn't choking, but I don't know what she ate...I wasn't with her at the time...please help me...I don't know what to do." Before she could reply to my ramblings, I glanced down at my feet and saw a small white object lying near Ethan's coloring book. I picked it up and noticed one end was bitten off. I rubbed it between my fingers and realized I was holding the remnant of a piece of chalk in my hand. I shouted, "CHALK! She ate chalk!" The woman on the other end of the line was quiet for a moment and then burst into laughter. She was laughing so hard I could barely make out the words, "She's going to be just fine. She probably had a blank stare on her face because it tastes like crap." I had my daughter on one hip and I just stood there staring at that little piece of chalk in my hand. She had ate nearly the entire thing. I was dumbfounded. I was snapped back to reality by the woman's words, "Ma'am, everything will be just fine. Just give her a big drink of water." And with that I hung up the phone, but not before hearing the woman say faintly, "You guys won't believe the call I just got."

I shook my head and looked at the little miss..."Seriously, Eva. CHALK?!" She looked at me and smiled, then slowly leaned toward the chalk in my hand to give it one last lick.