Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Broiled Zucchini

Summertime. If you know anyone with a Garden, they are probably swimming in Zucchini right now. I was visiting my Mother and I was a little bored with how I usually cook Zucchini (either sauteed with Onions or made into Cold Soup). I decided to experiment with what I had on hand.

Here is my new "Favorite Way to Prepare Zucchinis"

1. Leave the skin on and cut off the ends of one medium Zucchini. Cut it in half length-wise

2. Stand each half up on it's end and sliced it into three parts. Try to make each piece as flat as possible (or you can just cut them into rounds).

3. Oil aluminum foil with a bit of Olive Oil. Lay down slices.

4. Add Sea Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Paprika and your choice of fresh herbs. (I added Basil, Rosemary, Thyme. For a twist, add Lemon Balm and Cinnamon but then skip the next step).

5. Add Parmesan Cheese.

6. Broil in oven for 8 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.

7. Enjoy! (the first 2 photos below were taken BEFORE I put in the oven...the last 2 photos are from a batch that I topped with Cheddar Cheese).


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Temporary, DIY Baby Mobile


Things have started to normalize here, since the arrival of our Bright Eyes, 12 weeks ago. She's no longer colicky, which helps A LOT.
I've been having a Mother's Helper come to our house for 4 hours a day, 3 days a week. B is a College Student at home this Summer. She's been a big help.
She takes Nye-Nye on short little Adventures like to the Spraypark, the Library and various local Playgrounds.
When they are out and about, I am able to focus more on the baby.
Just like how it dawned on me that she might like Tummy Time more, if she had a mirror in front of her. I realized that she needed some Mobiles to look at and interact with, while in her Bassinet.
When Nye-Nye was 3 months old, I could leave her on the floor and walk away to get something. She was only in the Bassinet to sleep and was never put in a Playpen.
Not with this one. Poor Anala. When her Big Sissher is in the house (racing around the Living Room), she has to be in some secure spot (unless I am on the floor next to her). That spot is usually on Mama's lap, the Ergo, the Swing or in the Bassinet.
She was NOT LIKING the Bassinet at all and would start protesting after a minute or two.
Then I realized. She's bored. Head-smack.
I immediately threw together a "temporary baby Mobile" using a thick, sanded dowel rod and some baby rattles. Not secure at all, but she likes it and it's not heavy when it falls on her. Plus, she's learning cause and effect, right?
After I took the video (which can be seen at the end of this post), I realized there were some velcro flaps on the Bassinet that I could use to secure the dowel rod better.
I switched the direction she was facing in and put the flaps over the rod. She still manages to knock the rattles and stick on herself, but it takes more time. She loves it. She coos and smiles and kicks her feet when she sees me setting it up.
I just finished making her a "Montessori Dancer Mobile" (which now hangs over her Bassinet), so I can phase out this temporary Mobile. I can't wait to share with you how inexpensive and satisfying it is to make both a Dancer Mobile and a "Montessori Gobbi Mobile"! Photos and a post coming soon about the baby's Montessori Corner...





Monday, July 29, 2013

Lemon Verbena and Cinnamon Infused Vodka

What's my latest Obsession? Making Infused Vodka.

My husband and I have varying ideas about Gift-giving. But, when I mentioned this idea, he jumped on it. It combines my interest in Herbs and his interest (and his friends' and family's) in alcohol. It's perfect.

(Thanks Elyse for the inspiration)!

We have several friend's Birthday Parties to go to over the next several weeks, so now is the perfect time to experiment. We have some brave Herbs growing in our Back-yard (despite our neglect). I read this post and got some ideas for some pairings based on what we had on hand.

Papa Bear and I both like the taste of the "Lemon Verbena and Cinnamon Infused Vodka" and plan on making some more. We kept the Cinnamon Sticks in for 3 days (3 sticks in a large Ball Jar). The top photo shows what it looked like on Day 1 and the last photo shows how much the color changed by Day 3.

We kept on small Ball Jar for ourselves and left the Lemon Verbena leaves inside it. I want to see, if it can balance out the Cinnamon flavor (which is good but strong). Next time, I think I'll just leave the Cinnamon Sticks in for only 2 days.

What is your favorite Infused Vodka flavor?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lee District's "Our Special Harbor" Sprayground

Lee District's Our Special Harbor Sprayground is less than 10 minutes from our house. We are so lucky. It's a really fantastic Sprayground with a Chesapeake Bay theme and tons of fun features that are guaranteed to tucker out a very active toddler.
Best of all?
It's FREE.
Our family will be very sad when it closes for the season.







Sneak Peak. Anala's Montessori Corner.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

12 Weeks Old Weeks Ago...

We had been waiting, and waiting and waiting for this Little One to show up...




Her smiles and coos and laughs continually delight our family. We are all madly in Love with her, especially her Big Sissher.
It feels like in many ways we have been a family of four for a long, long time. But it has only been 84 days. 84 days??? It feels like a Faraway Place being pregnant with my Bright Eyes. Here I am a mere handful of days before her Arrival...




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mirror + Tummy Time = Happy Baby


Every parent knows they are suppose to do Tummy Time. At least 30 minutes a day, right? Well, "what are you suppose to do, if your baby screams after a minute (or less) when placed on their tummy?"

My Pediatrician's advice? Just do it ten times a day. Ummm...sorry that's not going to happen when there is an active Toddler racing around the house.

I just had a Head-smacking Moment, on Monday. The baby LOVES looking in the mirror. Why not combine the two activities?

Sometimes it's amazing how long it takes to open your eyes to the simple solution that's been staring you straight in the face (sorry, couldn't resist).

I began "borrowing" Nye-Nye's mirror in the Living Room. I prop it right in front of where I change the baby on the floor. It's easier to remember to do Tummy Time, by making it a habit to do it right after I change her.

She can now last up to almost 10 minutes at a time. It's a HUGE improvement! Hats off to the simplest solutions!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Children's Museum at National Harbor

We finally made it to the "National Children's Museum" at National Harbor. It's been on my To-Do List for a long time. And, because we are members of Port Discovery, tickets were half off.
It was a decent Children's Museum, not as spectacular as Port Discovery, but there was plenty for my two-year old to explore. They have a 3 and Under Area that she adored (she loved playing with the cash register and driving the bus). But, her favorite was definitely Bob's Taxi (in the main room).
The place opens at 10 am, but we didn't arrive until 12:30 pm. That seemed an ideal time, crowd-wise. It wasn't too overwhelming crowded like how Port Discovery often gets. There was enough for Nye-Nye to explore, but it wasn't too overwhelming following her around. It was just we needed on a super-hot Summer day. Looking forward to go back!
















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