Food for thought

So I’m sitting here eating my spaghetti with homemade marinara for the fourth time this week and I start to read the package to our favorite tortilla chips–Mission Tortilla Strips which we affectionately  refer to as, that’s right, “strippers.” But that’s beside the point. My point is, what is restaurant style anyway? Can you even buy non-restaurant style chips? What makes them restaurant? Wikipedia didn’t seem to know. Do you? Even though they say restaurant they really aren’t what you get at a good Mexican restaurant. They are nothing like Ixtapa’s chips. The only restaurant that serves these type of restaurant style chips is The Mayan–yuck.

And while we are at it, what are home style fries? And what is the difference between New York style cheesecake and just cheesecake?

Guiltless

A few weeks ago we got this in the mail:

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Yeah, remember this?

Remember how I had every intention to pay? Remember how I called when I got home only to find out that the Health Department has the “we’re here until 6pm but the phones go home at 5pm” business model? Remember how I called the next day to explain the situation (ie let them know they are ridiculously incompetent) and go in to pay it so that I could get our records?

Oh yeah, remember how I have a baby and don’t feel like going to a government office to…wait?

After putting it off for a few more days (you know, to stick it to the man) I’m happy to say, it’s been paid.

Now, all I have to do is be more patient when I have to go back in two weeks for the next round of immunizations.

Woo. Hoo.

Google Reader and then some

I recently received a comment asking what Google Reader is.

Only the best thing ever! Devin introduced me to it. I know there are at least a few of you out there that haven’t discovered this wonderful tool so I’ll give you a quick, and hopefully simple, tutorial on how to set it up and use it–or at least what I know about it (ie the minimum).

First, you need an account. Gmail. Don’t have it? It’s definitely time to make the switch. You can just sign up for it (you don’t need an invite like you used to) and it’s free. Just go to gmail.com and click on create an account. K, done.

Next, sign in. (Was that too obvious?) Along the top left there is a link that says “Reader”. Don’t see it? It’s under the address line, above the “GMail” logo, next to the link “Documents”. (yeah, I can’t quite figure out how to circle it for you.)

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Click on “Reader.”

Now you can add all the blogs and web sites that you check on a regular basis.  It will show you when they have been updated so you don’t have to constantly check them.  It’ll look something like this:

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Now, add your sites. Go to the home page of a blog, not a specific post. Let’s do mine as an example. The entire URL is https://www.devinandbrittany.com/.  Copy that from the address line when you are on the page. This is of course in a new window or new tab because you want to keep the Reader open too. Anyway, copy the address of the homepage and then click on the box on the top-ish left that says, “Add a subscription.” Then paste the entire URL into the box that pops up and click “add.” It will then appear in the bottom-ish left of the page under “subscriptions.” There you have the option of creating different folders and renaming the sites you are subscribed to. I’m not going to go into all of that, just play with it.

Now that you have added all your favorite sites, all you have to do is go to your Google Reader to see what’s new with everyone.  After the initial set up, it will probably tell you that there are dozens, even hundreds of new unread items. It’s just playing a little catch up but once you scroll through all of them, you should be good to go.

Just a little heads up, Google Reader will not show you when a private site is updated.  For example, I have a few blogs that I read that the writers have made private and they require you to log in to read them. They won’t show up in the reader.

And a few other time-saving tips:

Use keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process. To copy a URL, highlight the entire address then click ctrl+c (incase you are unaware, this means hold the “ctrl” button while pressing “c” just like you would do if you were trying to make a capital c except use ctrl instead of shift. Does that make sense?) Ctrl+c copies the highlighted text. To paste, move your curser to the area you want it, then press ctrl+v.

Another helpful function is the tab.  Not the tab button that indents or moves you to another text field, but the window tab. This makes it so you can have one browser open but you can be on several sites at the same time. Make sense? Here’s a screen shot of an example.

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See how along the top there are three tabs (Google Reader, Devinandbrittany, etc)? This is in Chrome but other browsers are similar in function and look. The tab that is lighter is the page that is displayed. You can switch between the different pages quickly without opening a whole new browser window. To do this, you can either click on the little “+” sign at the top right of the current tab or press ctrl+t. It will open a new tab and then you can go to a new site without leaving the other one.

So, now you know! Google Reader, ctrl+c, ctrl+v, and ctrl+t.

I love shortcuts.

We survived (sort of)

It seems like it’s been a week in the making but we finally moved Katelyn into her own room. Nerve racking? Yes. Successful? Mostly.

Since the second bedroom has and always will be Devin’s “office”, it took some revamping to get her moved in there. First I needed to organize my craft table upstairs so that I could organize the storage shelf upstairs so that we could move some of Devin’s stuff onto the shelf but before we did that we had to organize his stuff so that I could have a craft table. Then we had to organize the bookshelf so that I had a place for Katelyn’s books and miscellaneous stuff (like the lamp, thermometer, baby monitor, etc). We then had to rearrange the closet so her clothes would fit and I would finally get my side of the closet back. We moved over the heater and fan, cleaned the blinds, vacuumed, dusted, unassembled the porta-crib so that it would fit through the doors, and called it good.

She slept through the night! Woo-hoo! Me? Nope. I was up a couple times making sure the monitor still worked and the temperature was around 70 degrees like its supposed to be. Unfortunately, the window in that room is a good three times larger than in ours so it got cold. So I was up turning the heater on for her and re-tucking her in.

So it’s still a bit of a work in progress. I would love to keep her in our room for the convenience and so I don’t have to worry about her getting cold but from what I’ve read, the longer you wait the harder time they have transitioning because by now they know there is someone else in the room with them. In addition, I want my closet, dresser top, and side of the bed back.

Oh, and the poop smell to go away. Does anyway else feel like they smell poop all the time, no matter where you are? Is she dirty? Did it get on her clothes? Did it get on my clothes? What’s going on?!

What I’ve figured out so far…

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Being at the three and half month mark you’d think I’d have this mothering thing down. Or somewhat. Well, here is what I’ve figured out so far.

Katelyn’s Schedule–She goes to bed anywhere from 9pm to midnight and wakes up anywhere from 6:30am to 9am. So not much of a schedule but we are getting there. Thankfully, she’s been sleeping through the night pretty consistently since a day or two before New Years. For us, through the night started as about seven hours, then eight, and now she usually is out for a good 10.

Once she finally wakes up in the morning she is usually all smiles when I go to greet her. I love it! Then she eats, I change her clothes and diaper, have a few minutes of play time and she’s back to bed within 45 minutes to an hour. Keep her up past that, she’ll be up for probably three hours but it definitely won’t be a happy three. During her first nap she’ll usually sleep for two to two and a half hours which is when I get my shower, breakfast, and blog reading in. Yes, that’s my “me” time. Selfish? Get over it.

Then she’s up for another feeding. Sometimes I have to wake her up from her first nap, though it is really tempting to just let her sleep…forever. After that, sometimes she’ll go down for another nap easily within an hour. But, after the first nap, the day is often unpredictable.

Katelyn’s Tricks and Favorites–Over the past few weeks she’s gotten quite good at rolling over from her stomach to her back. This is of course due to her overwhelming dislike of tummy-time. One of her favorites things to do during play time and after diaper changes is to be pulled up to a sitting position and then to a standing position. And her favorite treat? Yeah, her hands.

Recently she’s had a hard time eating. Not because she doesn’t like to eat, but because she’d rather be smiling and socializing with me.  It was like one day she just discovered that there is a face to look at while she eats. Sometimes it drives me crazy because I’m wanting to get it done but who can get mad when my little Bug is showing off her gummy smile. I love it. She just loves to smile all the time.

Oh, and finally she’s wearing size one diapers! She wore newborns until she was two and a half months old! It seems like she’s finally starting to fit them better, too. For about two weeks, it was like no matter what we put her in, she was gonna leak–the newborns were too small and the ones were too big. They have size 1-2, why not N-1? We weighed her on our shipping scale yesterday and she registered just under 12 pounds.

Hmmm, what else? Oh yeah, pictures of course!

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We took these pictures today because she wore my blessing dress to church. It’s way too small for her but I had to do it at least once. I guess that’s what happens when you wait three months to take her to church.  But really, how was I supposed to know it would be too small? I mean, the tag does say 0-6 months. Yeah, that’s like saying a pair of jeans is size 2-12. Doesn’t work.

Three months!

OK, so she is actually three and a half months now but oh well.  We took some pictures on the day she turned three months old. I also took some pictures a few days before that turned out better. But once again, they are…well, you know.

But here are some pics from her three month photo shoot…in our living room. Still trying to figure out the best settings on our camera. The lighting wasn’t great and we waited about five minutes too long to get taking them so we didn’t get many great ones, but a few good ones.

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Thanks and no thanks

Just want to say “thanks!” to all you moms out there that are keeping it real and say “no thanks” to you moms who are in denial.

Thanks to all of you who really know what motherhood is about and share your support.

No thanks to all of you who [think they] have the “perfect” child and don’t understand a thing all other real mothers experience.

Thanks to all of you who say, “it’s definitely an adjustment, not easy, and well worth it.”

No thanks to all of you who say, “it’s totally natural, just rely on your instincts and don’t bother with books.”

Thanks to all of you who tell the truth and give warnings like, “diapers don’t catch it all.”

No thanks to all of you who say, “I  never had that problem.”

Thanks to all of you who put their arm around me and say, “it’ll get better. Trust me.”

No thanks to all of you who are too busy patting your own back to give me a hug.

Thanks to all of you who share your stories of poop, pee, puke, and piles of laundry.

No thanks to all of you who say, “I don’t need sleep. I can do it all. What’s your problem?”

Thanks to all of you who say, “it’s hard work and half the time you don’t know what you’re doing.”

No thanks to all of you who say, “pshhh, whatever. Just sit them in front of the TV.”

Thanks to all of you who say, “you need a break. Take some time for yourself.”

No thanks to all of those who say, “wow, that’s selfish.”

Thanks to all of you who show understanding that nursing is not as simple as you would think.

No thanks to you all of you who say, “how hard can it be?”

Thanks to all those wonderful women who have truly stepped up to the plate to be great moms and a wonderful example to me, and I’m sure, many others!

No thanks to…well, you get the point.

Some more favorite things

So I started writing a post where, in a nutshell, I’m ranting about a few things that have bugged me lately. Then I found this post, which I started back in September. I just glanced over and saw it in my drafts. So, I thought I needed a little pick-me-up after all the ranting I was doing on my other post, which may or may not become an actual post. I’m debating it. I guess it’s just that it says certain things to certain people that I’m upset with. But it’s ok. They never get it anyway.

Anyway, so here is this old and stale post for your enjoyment.

I’ve mentioned a few things before like my favorite Divine Comedy video and my favorite most recent commercial but Devin said I should just make a post of a bunch of my favorites of everything. Oh yeah, here we go. And tag (can I make my own?) you’re all it! Everyone should do this too! My disclaimer is that this list will probably consist of a lot of food. But really, whose won’t?

  • Favorite restaurant is Ixtapa in Monroe, WA. I think I mention it at least once a week.

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  • Sprinkers. The sound, how it cools the air–everything.
  • Chukar Cherries Honey Peacans. Yum.

  • Daqurie Ice ice cream from Baskin Robins.
  • Really good homemade waffles with fresh strawberries and real whipped cream (or ice cream).

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  • Leaving a fan on at night–no matter how cold it is.
  • A cold bedroom with lots of blankets to snuggle with.
  • Taking a bath with candles.
  • Fresh peaches.
  • The rain and everything about it.
  • Thunder storms.
  • The beach.

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  • Camping with big camp fires that go all night. 
  • When the power goes out.
  • I like to swing…with hammocks, rocking chairs, swings, etc.
  • Taking naps. Specifically long Sunday afternoon naps (though I’d take it any day…or time).
  • The all American chocolate cake from Costco, warm with vanilla ice cream.
  • Cheese cake.
  • My favorite candy and candy bars include Charleston Chews, Idaho Spuds, Twizzlers, and the occasional chocolate covered gummy bears.
  • Clean feet with a fresh pair of socks
  • Sun warmed cars on a cold day.
  • Fall leaves.

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  • Hot chocolate!

The following are things that I’ve added today. Though, I’m having a hard time because all I want to write is “people that don’t…” and then write the things that are bugging me.

  • A clean baby that doesn’t smell like poop and spit-up.
  • Laying on a heater vent with a blanket and taking a nap.
  • TiVo!
  • Pens, paper…office supplies in general.
  • Freshly washed bed sheets.
  • Putting on warm jammers straight from the dryer.

Pizza heaven

If you were to ask a first grader what their favorite food is, most definitely they’d say pizza and ice cream. At that age, what else is there, really?

Anyone who knows Devin knows that he lives for pizza. Why do you think he married me, the daughter of a pizza delivery man? Duh.

About a year and a half ago we saw a recipe for deep dish pizza on America’s Test Kitchen. We tried it while we were in Houston staying with my parents for an internship.

Loved. It.

Even I love it. And I’m not that big of a pizza fan. Certainly not like Devin.

So here is the recipe.

First, you gotta get the sauce started. The longer it simmers, the better. Nothing less than 30 minutes if you ask me.

Sauce (this is just a recipe me and my mom made up that I have gradually adapted to my liking):

In small/med sauce pan, add 5 or 6 cloves of garlic (chopped), about 1T of olive oil, and about 1/4t of red pepper flakes. Heat on med-low for about 5 minutes until garlic starts to get soft and aromatic. Add one can of tomato paste. Bring out the tomato yummyness by “toasting” the paste. In other words, mix all that together and let the paste get a little caramelized. Again, you know its working when it becomes aromatic. Just a few minutes of this. Then add one can of diced tomatoes, about 1/2t Italian seasoning and a pinch of S&P. You can add a little sugar if you like but I usually can’t taste the difference. Simmer on low (covered) for…a long time.

Pizza Dough:

In large bowl whisk together 2 1/3 cups flour, 1 pack instant/rapid rise yeast (or 1 heaping T of reg. yeast), and 1/2t salt. In a microwave container, combined 3/4 cup + 2T milk, 2T olive oil, and 2t sugar. Microwave (about one minute-ish) until mixture is about 110 degrees. Add to dry mixture and combined to a sticky dough. Turn out onto floured surface and put your back into it. Kneed it, adding flour as needed, until you have a nice round ball, soft as a baby’s bum.

Put into oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap that has also been oiled. (Pam works great.) Put in your oven that you have warmed. And by warmed I mean warm like a hot summer day, not like the warm setting on your oven. That’s too warm. Let rise until doubled. That usually takes about 30 minutes, give or take.

Gently turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Don’t handle it too much or it will be hard to shape and keep it there. Divide the dough by cutting it with a knife (don’t try to pull it apart…again too much handling). Divide into 3 if using 8″ round cake pans. If you using 9″ round pans you could divide it in half. Gently stretch the dough into rounds slightly bigger than the pans to account for the dough wanting to shrink smaller. (No, this is NOT the time for a rolling pin…leave that for cookie dough). In the pans put about 2T of olive oil (for 8″ or a little more for 9″) and put the dough inside. The goal is to keep the oil under the dough, not seeping over the top, which will inevitably happen a little. Sometimes it takes 4 hands to be successful in this step.

Let the dough rise again in the pans for about 20-30 minutes. You might want to cover with plastic wrap again. This is a good time to get all your toppings ready, including the last step of the sauce.

Back to the sauce–blended is best. I prefer an emersion blender but you can use a food processor or blender to get the job done. Just uses more dishes that way. Oh, and you might want to let it cool a bit first.

Add your toppings! Sauce it up, add what you like then layer it with good mozzarella cheese. We found out Safeway brand is not good. Whatever Costco carries always does the trick.

Bake in 400 degree oven on the bottom rack for 20-30 minutes, until crust is crispy and cheese is a golden goodness. For a little extra crisp, remove pizza from pan and bake directly on rack for another few minutes. We found you can bake up to 3 at a time and get good results, though you may want to rotate them a time or two during baking.

Then, you have this:

More of the Houston trip

Here are a few more pictures from our Houston trip that didn’t quite fit in with the Christmas Eve stuff.

A few days before Christmas I laid Katelyn down next to the tree to take pictures of her to document her first Christmas. She really likes to just lay down sometimes and look around, especially at the tree.

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And if you are lucky and put her down at the right time, you’ll get this…

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Yep, she’ll just fall asleep. She does that on her play mat sometimes, too. It makes my life easy.

And here is one of her hanging out with Gramps. She’s all dressed up for yummy Christmas dinner.  Gramps hadn’t quite made it to that point yet.

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