Friday, December 7, 2012

Alexander at Two Months

As a kid I could never figure out why my parents and especially grandparents were always saying that time flies so fast, but with each child we have time seems to speed up a little bit more.

Here are some random fun facts about Alexander who is somehow already 2 months old.

  • He is over 13 pounds already and growing into 6 month clothing
  • He is quite strong, holds his head up well, can push his head up when on his tummy, and loves to practice standing
  • If he gets mad enough he has successfully rolled over on a slant and scooted forwards and backwards so we have to watch him
  • He likes to coo and can make a lot of sounds already
  • He is really good at tracking things visually and has a really long attention span for such a tiny guy
  • He is so good when Chinese people hold him, he smiles a lot and seems to enjoy it a lot right now :)
  • His brothers (and everyone else) love him soooooo much  
Since Aaron (our first) was an early talker, and Andrew (our second) was a very early walker, it will be interesting to see what Alexander's strengths are as he continues to develop. Right now it seems like either verbal or motor skills could be his strong suit. It seems like he wants to do everything at once to either catch up to his older brothers, beat them at something, or be able to talk back or run away from them when they are loud and too loving.

Christmas Holiday Preschool Craft: Potato Stamp Wrapping Paper

Another not very original idea, but one that is frugal and fun, is to make wrapping paper using stamps cut out from potatoes.

First I gave both boys large sheets of paper from a fun art pad that my mom brought for them on her visit and all kinds of red markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc. and let them color. You can skip that step of course (or just let them color on it  and skip the paint stamping for a different kind of wrapping paper). But I let them color all over the paper to keep them busy while I cut out the tree stamps from potatoes and got the paint ready. Then them stamped green trees over whatever amount of red they had colored.

If you don't want to use new paper reuse paper bags or even newspapers. We've done both before and they look quite nice as well.

This project is has the added benefit of being useful. Use the wrapping paper to wrap up gifts that stand out from the rest.

Christmas Holiday Preschool Crafts: Painting Pine Cone Christmas Trees

We having been having lots of holiday fun at our house, so much that I haven't had much time to write about it. But I'm going to try to write about a few of the simple things I've been doing with my 4 and almost 3 year old.

Our first holiday project this year was painting pine cone "Christmas trees." This idea isn't new and is pretty self explanatory, but it is cheap and the boys had a lot of fun. They just painted the pine cones they had gathered with washable paint and then sprinkled on a little glitter. You don't have to use glitter of course if you are afraid it is going to make a big mess, or you could even add sequins or buttons to add even more decorations to the little "Christmas trees."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pie and Ice Cream Recipe Roundup

If you are still looking for recipes for Thanksgiving pie and ice cream. Here are few great recipes to choose from. I'll be making some of these later this week.

Pie Recipes:

Ice Cream Recipes:

Dessert Topping Recipes:

DIY Pumpkin Ice Cream

I made this awesome pumpkin ice cream last year for Thanksgiving, based off of a recipe on David Lebovitz's blog. I'm thinking about making it again this year because it went so well with pumpkin pie. In fact, it is basically like eating pumpkin pie in ice cream form.

You could serve it all by itself as a great alternative to pumpkin pie, for those who love the flavor but not the texture of the classic Thanksgiving pie. You could even use it to make an ice cream pie or cake. It would also be great with ginger bread or other spice cake,

If you are not convinced you want that much pumpkin in one bowl, but you still want to make ice cream for Thanksgiving, classic vanilla or this amazing caramel ice cream are sure to please as well.

Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (homemade works great, but if using canned make sure to use 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling with the sweetener and spices already added)
  1. In a metal saucepan mix the milk, cream, white sugar, desired spices, and salt. Stir over low heat until the mixture just begins to bubble at the edges.
  2. In a small mixing bowl whisk the eggs and gradually add about 1 cup of the warmed mild and spice mixture to the eggs. This is tempers the eggs and keeps them from making scrambled eggs in your ice cream so don't skip this step.
  3. Add the egg mixture back to the saucepan and stir until the mixture bubbles and thickens to coat a spoon or spatula.
  4. Remove from heat and cool in the refrigerator or regular freezer.
  5. When cool add brown sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin puree.
  6. If there are pieces of egg, small chunks of pumpkin, or you just want to make sure your ice cream is super smooth, press through a fine metal strainer at this point.
  7. Freeze in an ice cream freezer or follow the instructions here for freezing in a regular freezer.
Makes 1 quart/liter of ice cream.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

DIY Black Bean Brownies (gluten free, dairy free)

I heard about black bean brownies quite a while ago, and possibly quite a few of you have too. But it wasn't until recently that we finally found good beans here and I was able to actually try out this unique dessert. The texture is a little different than traditional brownies, but not at all a bad sort of different. And they are incredibly easy to make, much healthier than most brownies, and really delicious.

I thought I go ahead and post about these now, because if you need to take a dessert to a holiday gathering where you know someone has allergies or is trying to follow a gluten free, dairy free, or low carb diet it can often be quite difficult to find a good recipe, but this one fits the bill. At the same time, it is so good no one will know it is a healthy dessert or gluten free unless you tell them.

Homemade Black Bean Brownie Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or one 15oz can drained and rinsed very well)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Optional additions such as chocolate chips, M&Ms, or nuts, but read labels carefully if you are trying to avoid allergens for others
  1. Add all ingredients together in a blender (except for any optional additions) and blend until smooth.
  2. Stir in additions if desired (or you could wait and sprinkle them on top too).
  3. Spread into a greased 8x8 baking pan.
  4. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

DIY Crescent Rolls

Yesterday I made a bunch of these crescent rolls and stuck most of them in the freezer for Thanksgiving. This recipe turned out just as good as last year and they really do freeze well, so no need to try to make them at the last minute. I based it off of this recipe.

My boys said that the rolls look like snails, but they thought that was a good thing and gobbled them up. You could substitute this dough in recipes that call for canned crescent rolls as well.

Homemade Butterhorn or Crescent Rolls

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 heaping Tbsp yeast (or 1 and 1/2 packages)
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (or melted butter)
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups or more flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp or more butter (melted for brushing)
  1. In a large bowl place the warm water and dissolve the yeast.
  2. Add warm milk and sugar and stir well.
  3. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until bubbly.
  4. Add oil, eggs, and salt and stir well.
  5. Begin adding flour 1 cup at a time, stirring at first and then kneading to form a soft (but not sticky) dough.
  6. Let rise until double, about 1 hour.
  7. Divide into 2-3 balls and roll into circles.
  8. Cut each circle into 12-16 wedges.
  9. Brush generously with melted butter.
  10. Starting at the large end, roll up each wedge, pinch to seal, and place tip down on baking sheet. Brush tops with butter.
  11. Allow to rise until double again and bake in oven for 8-10 minutes at 375 F. They brown quite quickly.
Makes 2-3 dozen crescent rolls, depending on how large or small you want them.

Family Fridays: Baby Smiles

Alexander has smiled occasionally from very early on, and since he turned about one month old he was even smiling responsively once in a while. But this past week he has really started to get smiley, and I finally got a photo of a couple great baby smiles.

And because everybody loves him so much, our friends had a sort of combination baby shower and the one month old party that are common for babies here. Our friends were thrilled to see him and hold him. They argued a bit about it, but they seemed to finally decide that he looks more like Aaron (his oldest brother) than Andrew (his "little" big brother). One lady proclaimed he was her new little toy and no one better take him. Alexander did really well and let everyone hold him very nicely.  It was of course strange that he wasn't wearing split pants, was only wearing one light sweatshirt when it was almost 70 F outside, uses a pacifier, and only drinks mommy's milk. Since they were friends, I think they seemed more fascinated than appalled. However, it was very important that his sweatshirt constantly get pulled down into place, even though a Onesie was always covering his tummy.

The little guy had a busy week and got quite tired out.

Big smile

Everybody loves me

Andrew loves me

Aaron loves me

Tired out after the party

Sometimes I love my cozy little bed


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...