Monday, February 28, 2011

RIP Fishy Fishstick and Mr. Nice Logan

Logan's beloved (although I was the one feeding him and cleaning his tank) beta fish, Fishy Fishstick, decided  a couple weeks ago (Feb. 16, exactly 8 months to the day that we bought him) that he no longer had the will to live in his little tank. He decided he'd try his hand at the outside world and apparently jumped out of his tank when I accidentally knocked his lid off (for literally 10 seconds, maybe!). I didn't see it happen and didn't notice he was missing until hours later when I was cleaning off the bar and picked up what I thought was a piece of an old, brown, shriveled up banana peel. I carried it to the trash and realized it really doesn't look like a banana, but what in the heck was it?? Oh no. Fishy Fishstick. Before I could even think about it, I threw it in the trash can and washed my hands. Yuck. Then I spent forever evaluating how it could have happened. I had no idea that it is apparently pretty common for fish to jump out of their tanks, but according to the guy at Petsmart, it is.

When I picked Logan up at school I told him about Fishy and he just kept asking how he jumped out and wanting to know where he was now. I told him he was in Heaven. That seemed to satisfy him pretty well, although he brings it up on occasion asking if Fishy is still up in the sky. That night we went to Petsmart and he picked out another beta fish (although when we pulled up he told us he was "maybe going to pick out a different kind of pet"--I don't think so, sir. Beta or bust), this time a little orange one he decided to name "Smalls." No clue where that name came from, but he was pretty dead set on it. So he and Smalls have been getting along famously, although Fishy Fishstick's memory will live on and his death will haunt me forever.

To go along with this story (sort of), Logan's attitude has been in serious need of an adjustment for the past week. I mean, he only wants me and he even gives me attitude and just flat out disobeys, but he whines and is just plain ugly to anyone who talks to him basically. I think he hasn't been feeling good, but I have a hard time dealing with that behavior, sick or not.

Anyway, so my sister, Logan, and I were at Chipotle yesterday eating lunch and we were talking about his bad attitude. The conversation went something like this:

Heather: I sure do miss Mr. Nice Logan. Where did he go?
Logan: I don't know. I think maybe he died and now it's only Mr. Mean Logan.
Me: When did he die?
Logan: He's in the sky with Fishy Fishstick.

Okay, kid, you're not helping your cause...we already joke about him being bipolar, now do we have to worry about multiple personalities?? I'm only kidding, I understand those are very serious conditions, but truly, this child's behavior/attitude/personality changes on a dime. Literally, one minute he's screaming and mad, next minute he's happy and laughing. His moods swing so much that it has me thinking he has hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because if he gets in a really foul mood it's usually because he needs to eat. Give him something to snack on and he's a different child completely. I asked the nurse practitioner about it today and she said some kids are just like that and that he's so skinny (why can't I have that problem??) that he needs to eat high-calorie foods that will sustain him longer. Lucky. Let's just hope Mr. Nice Logan makes a reappearance soon. For the sake of my sanity.

Lighthouse Lasagna & Root Beer Bundt Cake

My sister decided she was in a baking mood yesterday so we made some cookies, a cake, and a lasagna for dinner--all new recipes. The Lighthouse Lasagna and Root Beer Bundt Cake were a definite hit, the Butterfinger cookies were alright, but nothing to write home about (or blog about). My husband took the remainder of those to work today. The lasagna and cake managed to stay at my house--which is good, but also so bad.

Lighthouse Lasagna
makes 10-12 servings

1 1/4 lb ground meat (we used 1 lb of italian sausage, the hubby said it needed more)
1 small can tomato paste
14 ounces tomato sauce
1 t. sugar
pinch of Kosher salt
12 ounces egg noodles
1 T. unsalted butter
2 cups sour cream (I will use low-fat next time)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (again, I will use low-fat next time)
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

**we also added oregano, basil, and garlic to the sauce--we think it made it much better since there were no other seasonings other than salt**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8x8 baking dishes or one 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray (will definitely make this in two dishes when it's just for me, Chris, and Logan--make one, freeze one).

Saute the meat in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, breaking it up to crumble as it cooks. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, and salt. Fill the tomato paste can with water and add it to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes.

Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles, then return them to the pot and add the butter, stirring until melted.

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, cream cheese, and scallions. Spread a little sauce and meat mixture in the bottom of each dish. Top with a layer of noodles, then spread half the sour cream mixture and half of the meat sauce (1/4 of each if you are using 2 dishes). Repeat the layers and top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake 35-40 minutes until lasagna mixture is bubble and cheese is lightly browned.

**We thought this was very good, but rich. Definitely a keeper!

Root Beer Bundt Cake

For the cake
  • 2 cups root beer (not diet)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
For the Root Beer Fudge Frosting
  • 2 oz. dark chocolate (60% cacao), melted and cooled slightly **we did not want to spend money on expensive chocolate so we just used a couple Hershey's Special Dark bars**
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup root beer, plus more as needed
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Generously (very generously...learned this the hard way. Let's just say our cake wasn't the prettiest cake I've ever made. It's what's on the inside that counts, right??) spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved.  Remove from heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined.  Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture.  The batter will be slightly lumpy; do not overbeat, as it could cause the cake to  be tough.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time, until a small knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

To make the frosting, add all the ingredients to a food processor.  Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and smooth.  Add more root beer, a few teaspoons at a time, if the frosting is too thick to spread easily with a spatula. **We made our frosting more like a glaze, which looked a little messy but it was much easier than frosting, especially since the cake had fallen apart somewhat**

Use a spatula to spread the frosting over the crown of the cake in a thick layer.  Let the frosting set before serving.  Serve with vanilla ice cream on the side.

**Another keeper. Again, very rich. My sister said it tastes like Dr. Pepper cake, which I've never had. We couldn't taste the root beer at all. It just tasted like a really rich chocolate cake.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Do You Know the Apple Man?

Every time Logan says something that surprises us (typically something we didn't expect him to know or say), he says he learned it from the "apple man." When we ask where he saw the "apple man" he never gives us a direct answer--sometimes he says he sees him on TV, but can't tell us which show, sometimes he says he hears about him at school but I have never heard the teachers talk about any "apple man", and most often he says he is the "apple man who lives on the moon." He started talking about him in the last month or so and I have NO CLUE where it came from.

This morning we were eating breakfast and he got into a rather detailed story about how food goes into little circles in your tummy and them comes back up...don't ask me. Again, NO CLUE.

Me: Where did you learn about that?
Logan: From the Apple Man on the moon.
Me: Where do you see the Apple Man? (thinking he would finally tell me a TV show or something)
Logan: He lives on the moon, you know. And I go there and see him.
Me: Oh, really? When do you go there?
Logan: I go on Saturdays.

Hmmm. This kid has quite the imagination but I have no idea where he comes up with this stuff. The conversations we have crack me up on a daily, if not hourly, basis. So, if anyone else has a clue where this "apple man" came from, please fill me in.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pre-K Already?

Besides trying to get pregnant and deal with everything that comes along with all that, my other worry has been about Logan going to Pre-K. I can't even believe it. I don't even want to say that word. But I also don't want to think about him turning 4 either. Every year I am in denial about him becoming one year older but this year it's really hard because I know after Pre-K is Kindergarten. I get sad just thinking about that. Anyway, back to the subject at hand...

Logan is in a MDO this year 2 days/week and loves it. Between his former in-home sitter and this MDO, Logan is doing awesome. He knows his letters, some sounds, he can count to 20 (most days) and can recognize up into the teens, he can write his name, and is attempting to figure out the whole rhyming words thing. He is smarter than I can even handle some days. I am not trying to brag but he floors me sometimes with the things he notices and says (echolocation, anyone??). I have to remind myself he's only 3 sometimes.

My worry for next year is that I want to find a Pre-K program that will really challenge him. Some of the ones I have looked at (only online, haven't done any visits yet) talk about how they learn their letters and how to write their name and recognize numbers. He already does that stuff and then some. I honestly don't know if he is advanced (again, so not bragging) or if I am just not looking at the right places. If I am paying money for him to go somewhere, I don't want it to be boring for him or just playtime. Now, of course, I don't want it to be strictly academic either. I want him to have fun and enjoy being there but I want him to be learning. I know all too well what will be expected of him in Kindergarten and I want him to be prepared. I am thinking 3 days/week just to work his way up to the 5 days/week it will be for Kindergarten. I also want parental involvement to be encouraged and I plan on being involved. That's one of the main reasons I decided to start staying home in the first place.

So I'll be making some phone calls this week and setting up tours I am sure. Hopefully it will ease my anxiety some. I know Logan will do great wherever he goes but I just want him to get a great foundation and develop a love of learning so school will not be something he dreads. At least not until high school, that's just a given.

Seriously, when did this happen??

5 months old
3 years old

Gym=Happy Place???

I feel like I say the same thing every year...I need to get in shape. I know I will never be the size 2 I was in high school (yet I still thought I was fat) but I've got to do something. I have recently talked with some girls about meeting up to walk or run (don't laugh...okay go ahead, I did) together so we can get out of the house, with or without the kids, depending on when we go. That's all well and good and I am super excited about getting together and being able to have adult conversations again but there are some days/nights/weeks that it won't happen for one reason or another and staying home now I have found that I NEED a reason to leave the house sometimes. And being on the tight budget we are on, I can't just go to Target and shop mindlessly like I used to (although I shouldn't have then either).

I keep hearing other SAHM's talk about how the gym is their happy hour, their escape, and it sounds SO nice. Now, I have joined a gym before and never kept up with it but it was when I was working full time and Logan was just over a year old and HATED going to the child care there (and the child care workers weren't awesome either but that's another story) so it made it really hard to find time to go. Not to mention it was one of the huge gyms and I felt so intimidated by everyone else and all the big machines I didn't know how to use.

So...there's a gym down the street that is small and has super cheap rates and group classes and nice equipment and everything. I am considering joining just to have an escape from the house that is actually healthy. I am only hesitant because I know me and, although this is something I want to stick with, I seem to always find excuses to stop going. I hate that about me. Maybe now that I am home all the time I will stick with it just so I can have some time without kids crawling all over me. As much as I love it, boy is it nice to have some space and peace and quiet and not have your clothes/hair/hand/leg yanked constantly.

The other problem is if I join I am going to have to finally figure out how to upload/download/whatever music to my phone and figure out how to use the Ipod thing that is supposedly already in my phone. Yes, I am clueless. Some of you will have to share your playlists (can you do that?) with me so I will have some sort of idea where to start. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Is This So Hard?

A year and a half ago I went to a new OB/GYN in hopes of figuring out what my issue was with regards to fertility. Logan was a COMPLETE fluke and, although we hadn't been "trying", we also hadn't been preventing anything since Logan's 1st birthday. Well, almost 1 1/2 years later, still nothing. But yet I torture myself by watching Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant, where these girls get pregnant at the drop of a hat. Of course. But I digress...this new OB/GYN worked with me for 6 months, doing sonograms, medicines, even a round of injections, before referring me to a specialist. It took me a while to get up the nerve to call the specialist. For one, I still didn't want to believe I needed that much help. I got pregnant with Logan without help, why is this time different? For another, fertility specialists are expensive. And insurance doesn't cover it, even if there is a medical reason behind it (which I still don't understand to this day). Neither doctor was able to tell me exactly what my problem was except for the fact that I didn't ovulate. I understand that, but why not? I have polycystic ovaries (according to one sonogram by the specialist, but that was never mentioned in all the sonos by my OB??) but not Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (my bloodwork didn't match up to that diagnosis). Three months with the specialist and hundreds of dollars later, still nothing. Clomid wasn't strong enough one month but was too strong the next month, causing massive cysts. Seriously, can't my body just work right for once?? The specialist wanted me to try an IUI the following month but those are way more expensive (like $600 not including meds and injections) and I still wasn't ready to believe I needed that much help. So we decided to take some time off and stop bleeding money for a little bit and relax a little to see if it would just happen...

Fast forward 8 months--and here we are. Still nothing. I've tried herbal stuff and fertility monitors and "relaxing" as much as possible. Meanwhile, everyone and their dog is pregnant right now with their 2nd or 3rd kid it seems like, including my best friend. Granted, she did the IUI that I was too chicken/in denial to do but she needed that for her 1st child so it was more understandable for her to have another IUI. I am due for my annual exam in March so I am thinking I will talk to my OB/GYN again and see what he thinks. I am hoping he will work with me again on sonos and injections since it's been a year--he can code it differently so that it is covered under insurance. If he recommends a specialist again, I plan on going to a different one that I have heard great things about by several friends/acquaintances. This one seems a bit pricier from their website but I have been told that they work with you and try to find studies for you to participate in as well.
My 1st time seeing/holding Logan~A moment I'll never forget

I know this post is random, but it's been on my mind a lot. I know I didn't go the specialist for very long before taking a break but it just seemed like he wanted to do the IUI for speed's sake instead of working to try to figure out what the actual problem is. I know I want a baby but I would also like to know why my body doesn't work, so it just didn't feel right to do an IUI yet. So, I've gone back and forth about whether I am not trying hard enough to get pregnant but I just don't want to do unnecessary stuff if there is some way I can do it without extra medical assistance. I am really going to appreciate this pregnancy when/if it happens...I can't wait for the day Logan gets to wear a "Big Brother" shirt.

See No Evil??

While playing in Logan's room today he decided to get up on his top bunk (that we just put together) and threw a toy off the top. I told him he wasn't allowed to throw toys from the top bunk or the ladder would come down.

L: What about books?
Me: You can't throw books off the top either.
L: Can I just drop them?
Me: No.
L: *proceeds to climb back up to the top with the same toy from earlier* Mommy, can you go away?
Me: No.
L: Can you just leave for a minute? I don't want you to look.
Me: No, sir.
L:*he sets the toy of the very edge of the bed and slightly bumps it as he's getting down* Oops, it accidentally fell off, Mommy. I hit it.
Me: If it "accidentally" falls off the top again, the ladder is going away. Understand?
L: Yes, ma'am.

That was so not an accident. The little toot just wanted to drop it off the top again. I find it hilarious that he thinks just because I don't "see" it happen means he won't get in trouble for it. Sometimes I am smarter than him...sometimes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate Yummies Recipe

These are so yummy! I have been making them for a couple years and every time I make them I end up having to make them over and over again because they get eaten quickly and I keep craving them. Bad, bad news.

Chocolate Yummies Recipe - Kellogg's® Rice Krispies®

(Nutrition Information)

  • 7 Crackers Keebler® Grahams Original
  • 2 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 package (12 oz., 2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 cups Ready-To-Eat Cereal Rice Krispies

1. Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch microwave-safe dish with cooking spray. Arrange KEEBLER GRAHAMS ORIGINAL crackers in single layer in dish, breaking crackers as needed to fit. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over crackers.

2. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until marshmallows are puffy. Remove from microwave. Cool completely.

3. In 2-quart microwave-safe mixing bowl combine chocolate morsels, corn syrup and butter. Microwave on HIGH about 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate is melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in peanut butter. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal, mixing until combined.

4. Spread evenly over marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm. Cut and store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Follow step 1 above using 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375°F about 7 minutes or until marshmallows are puffy. Cool completely. In medium saucepan combine chocolate morsels, corn syrup and butter. Cook stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal, mixing until combined. Complete as in step 4 above.

*Each cracker sheet measures about 5 x 2-inches and is scored into 4 pieces.