Category Archives: Food

Caroline: Three Months {The Most Adorable Thing Ever}

Little Miss Caroline is three months old (on Friday)! 

Isn’t she a doll? (Nope, not biased.)



She doesn’t have a doctor visit until next month, so I don’t have any stats to share, but two weeks ago I weighed her at my parents’ house and she was 14 lbs, 6 oz.  She’s gotta be over 15 pounds by now. I should know – my arms are getting a gooood workout every day. Well, the left one is. For some reason it feels really awkward to hold her on my right side, even though I am right-handed. I also cannot wink my right eye or do right-handed cartwheels. Fun facts about Katy. 

Caroline is still sleeping phenomenally at night (and has been for over a month really). She goes to sleep around nine and typically sleeps all night. If she does wake up early morning she will come into bed with us, have a little milky meal, and sleep a few more hours. I’ve probably written this before, but I’m obsessed with waking up next to her in the morning. Since she rests her head my arm and faces me, I get to see her adorable little snooze face first thing every day. Then I just stare and stare and stare until she wakes up and smiles at me. 


[Isn’t her monogrammed romper adorable? A friend sent it to me along with some monogrammed pjs. Such a thoughtful and sweet gift!]

While nights are awesome, napping during the day isn’t Caroline’s strong suit. She is an extremely light sleeper during the day time hours, as well as a world-class sleep-fighter. She’s also the baby who will fall asleep in my arms and then promptly wake up the second I put her down or even try to move her into a more comfortable position. Some days she’ll get a good 2-3 hour nap in, but most often her naps are less than an hour long. Not getting a good nap makes her crabby and then she’ll scream bloody murder in Target or the library. One nice thing I’ve learned is that when babies cry in public, the fellow moms come out of the woodwork to pat your shoulder, smile, or tell you to hang in there. I’ve been “that mom” with the screaming baby in public enough times now that it hardly even phases me anymore. I really live on the edge. 

But as you can see from the pictures, Caroline has her happy/content times during the day, too. She is such a little smiler, especially in the morning and on the changing table. She also has started smiling up at me when she’s nursing sometimes, which might be the most adorable thing ever. She loves to coo and have little conversations with me where I mimic the sounds she makes. That might be the most adorable thing ever, too. Oh, and the way she sucks her thumb. Most adorable thing ever. I’m sure her laughter will be the most adorable thing ever, too, once that starts up. 



As for the thumb sucking, I am loving it! I remember having to pop Charlotte’s sucker back in her mouth in the middle of the night occasionally if it fell out before she knew how to put back in herself. Not a huge deal, but it’s nice that Caroline’s thumb isn’t going anywhere. She will also take the sucker now sometimes, at least for a few minutes, which has helped with the day time sleeping a little bit. In case you are wondering, I am not someone who worries about thumb sucking and pacifier use. In fact, I love that Caroline is using both. Anything that safely soothes a baby is fine in my book! Plus, I was a pacifier baby then a thumb sucking toddler and look how perfectly I turned out. 🙂 

Goals for this month are working on tummy time (No fun, she says!), remembering to take her vitamin drops (Bad Mama!), and potty training (A mother can dream right?). 

Of course I feel nostalgic over how fast time is flying, but having been through all this once before, I know about the good stuff that has yet to come. I am enjoying every sweet moment! 


First time at the movie theater (it was good!)

Today, Charlotte saw her first movie in the theater – Frozen. We met up with the Pudwill family this morning for the 10:15 showing; it was only $5 a ticket. Perfection!

The movie was really cute. Charlotte and Madeline loved it, of course, but so did I. Disney does a really good job making kids movies entertaining for “big kids,” which is good because it’s not fun to pay money to sit through something stupid!

Charlotte loved the giant screen and looked around in awe when new sound effects came out of different speakers around the room. She was bouncing in her booster seat with excitement for the first twenty minutes there.  And according to Charlotte tonight, her favorite part of the movie was “the horse.” An interesting answer considering the horse was in the movie for about a single minute. 🙂 But she also really loved the reindeer/moose named Sven. See, Sven is really supposed to be reindeer, but no amount of explaining was convincing enough for Charlotte. She is certain Sven is actually a moose because of his big antlers. She’s a know-it-all.  (just like her parents)

After the movie we walked through the rest of the mall and met up with Santa! This little mall near our house has like four stores in it, so we could just stroll right up into Santa’s lap without even worrying about waiting in line. I honestly had no idea if Charlotte would like the idea of getting into his lap (or even talking to him)….



But she did! Santa reached out for her and she reached back. And then she told him she wanted a car for Christmas. (Huh? That’s the first we’ve heard of this. She must have been looking at the collection of robotic cars kids can sit in clustered just a few feet away from Santa’s station.) We got a few decent pictures, but the photographer working there got the best shots. I have the information to look at and order them online, and I am actually so tempted despite the ridiculous prices.

Afterward we had lunch at a sushi restaurant across the street where both little girls devoured their chicken teriyaki, miso soup, and california rolls. How lucky are we that we don’t have to always order chicken tenders every time we go out???

I ate my weight in sushi. It was fantastic.

Before we left we stopped into Petland next door, but it stunk so bad in there we only stayed for a few minutes. Good story, huh? I’ll tell it again later.

I felt really productive having had all that fun before 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. Charlotte napped, then I did, then Chris did. I finished a book, and now I’m about to start a new one. I’d call that a darn good day!

Quick! Let’s remember Thanksgiving!

Oh boy, it’s snowing on my blog! Yet another reason to love the holiday season.

(I really cannot believe it’s been about three weeks since I last posted. I could have sworn only about ten days have passed…oops.  🙂 )

But since we just passed Thanksgiving I do have a few things to share tonight! We spent four awesome days in Glen Ellyn celebrating the holiday with lots of family. We are so lucky that Chris’s grandparents live in my home town, so we got to double up on the family fun (and food). I was telling my students last week that I really don’t like many traditional Thanksgiving dishing (no thank you to turkey, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie, whip creamy jello concoctions), but I always wind up stuffed from the delicious appetizers. And luckily our family does branch out in terms of options on the buffet spread. I especially loved my grandma’s roasted brussel sprouts, the mashed potatos (duh), and the kale salad recipe I found here.  <— It is so good and soo easy!

Of course, I was enjoying my time too much to stop and take many pictures, but we did snap some at the Shedd Aquarium on Friday afternoon. We made the mistake of telling Charlotte about the aquarium a month ago, so she was very eagerly anticipating this field trip. However, after waiting in line 45 minutes to get in the door, then checking out approximately three fish, Charlotte declared matter-of-factly, “I want to go home.” HA. 





The issue was remedied with some popcorn, and the fish-viewing was able to continue until we all saw what we wanted to. Some of our favorites were the beluga whales, the seahorses,  and the jelly fish. John, Joe, and Geneice came with us, so it was especially fun! 




A few other highlights of the long weekend:

  • Charlotte’s reaction to all the Christmas decorations at Grandma Margaret’s house. She loved the musical snow globes and electronic ice rink.
  • Visiting some Doran cousins in Wheaton for breakfast and coffee. They treated us well with pancakes, bacon, sausage, and hash browns. It’s another great coincidence that they live nearby, and we’re really happy to have been able to see them.
  • Hearing Charlotte belt out the lyrics from Chicago’s Greatest Hits 1982-1989 (think: all those sappy love ballads) in the car, while playing with toys, pretty much anywhere the mood strikes her. 
  • Deep dish pizza from Barone’s. It had been years since I’d had it – maybe even since high school – and it was just as good as I remembered.
  • Lunch with Mom at Glen Oak before leaving on Sunday, and feeling only a little guilty that Charlotte’s meal consisted of bread, gravy cream of rice soup, and mac and cheese. Balanced meals can wait until Monday. 

And now the Christmas countdown begins! I really do adore this time of year, and each year it has gotten even more fun as Charlotte has grown older. It’s so cute to hear her singing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…!” 


Charlotte eats an apple


Goat Cheese Pasta Deliciousness

Do you like goat cheese?

Of course you do. Everyone likes goat cheese. (Unless you’re a weirdo.) It’s soooo good.

I was browsing yesterday afternoon because I was looking for another show to get addicted to (I started this one, by the way. I think I like it so far, though I’m only one episode in so I’ll keep ya posted.) when I spotted this recipe for Quick and Delicious Roasted Broccoli and Goat Cheese Pasta. Quick? Delicious? Goat cheese? Yes, yes, and yes: I’ll take it!

So we had it that very night for dinner, and it was divine.

goatcheesepenne(Check out PBS’s picture. It’s much prettier.)

It really is a simple, tasty recipe, which is why I’m sharing it with you here. We made a few minor adaptations. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • whole wheat penne
  • five ounces of goat cheese (we used the herbed variety for a little something extra)
  • a head or two of fresh broccoli
  • olive oil
  • a few cloves of fresh garlic
  • pine nuts

Cook your pasta, and save a little bit of water for your sauce.

Coat the cut-up broccoli with a bit of olive oil before sticking in a 400 degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes. About mid-way through, toss in some pine nuts (unless you purchased them roasted already).

After the pasta has been cooked, drained, and set aside, saute your garlic in olive oil before adding in your goat cheese. Depending upon how thick you like your sauce, stir in some of your pasta water until you get the consistency you’re looking for.

Mix in the pasta, broccoli, and pine nuts, and voila! Dinner is served.

The three of us happily gobbled it all down.

*I don’t know how many calories this meal has. I don’t care either. Because: Goat Cheese.


Another Spring Break is behind us, and we’re feeling mighty lucky to have a week to relax in the middle of March. Chris and I usually like to take advantage of our shared time off and get away. Since we’ve been together, we’ve taken eight trips over Spring break, from Florida to Washington D.C. to the Mall of America in Minneapolis. This year, we considered ourselves lucky to (mostly) stay home.

Our week in photos:


1. Our dancing leprechaun // 2. Needle felted Easter eggs // 3. Baseboard and trim paint touch-ups // 4. Daddy snuggles (and Buddy and Mama, too, but someone had to take the picture) // 5. Home-made play-doh that Charlotte does NOT like (Weirdo) // 6. Cow babies! // 7. Eat your veggies!

Kids say the darndest things

So get this:

I just put Charlotte to bed, and when I turned off the light she called out from her crib, “Too dark!” My reply: “It’s okay, you’ll get used to it.”  And then I shut the door the behind me.

That was it. She talked to herself for about two minutes and then conked out.

Are you kidding me?! I am one (cold-hearted) lucky mama.

But enough with my bragging. What I really want to share is this: I think we are finally entering that stage I’ve been waiting for since way before I even had a kid – The stage when your child says hilarious things. I’ve been planning to laugh my head off at all the cute/funny things my children say and then write them all down so I never forget and can laugh about it with them when they’re 15, 20, 40, etc. So here’s my feeble attempt to get started on that lofty goal of mine.

I came home for lunch today to find Charlotte bouncing around our family room with her babysitter, Annalyse. She was so giddy and excited, even after Annalyse revealed what went down after bath time a few minutes earlier: Charlotte peed on her bedroom floor. She actually went to the corner of her room, rather than the little toilet we keep right in there, and let it all out.

This is really no big deal to me, but we try to make everything a learning experience around here, so I asked Charlotte, “Where did you go tinkle?”

And Charlotte replies (still bouncing, still giddy), “I tinkle on floor!” She was so happy!

“Uh oh, where are you supposed to go tinkle?” I ask her.

“I supposed tinkle on pony!” she says, and bounces over to pet Dallas.

Then Annalyse and I laughed our heads off. End scene.


Later, we had brussel sprouts and fish for dinner. It was just Charlotte and I since Chris had to work (sad face), and I had pulled her high chair up to our little kitchen table so we could eat together. I served up our meals and then sat down.

“Look!” Charlotte says, pointing to the brussel sprouts on my plate. “Dinosaur poop!”


I’ll leave you with this short video clip of Charlotte talking on her telephone. Chris and I were glad we grabbed the camera. Is it bad to laugh at your child as they are playing?



Lucky Leprechaun

A day later….

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from this little leprechaun!


She (and we) had a great time visiting the grandparents this weekend. St. Patrick’s day was spent with Amy, Bob, and Mike, where Charlotte enjoyed her own little Irish Easter basket from Nana, lots of games of basketball in the kitchen, The Little Engine That Could, and playing with her neigh neighs.

The highlight for Chris and I was probably dinner because Amy always brings it in the kitchen. (Wait, that sounds weird. I was trying to say that she’s an excellent cook.) We had boiled shrimp, mushroom and spinach ravioli, warm bread, and beets (Charlotte’s fave). For desert we had caramel cheesecake and fresh fruit. I think I gained five pounds yesterday. Worth it.

Today, Charlotte had playtime with Nana, and then we all went to lunch for her birthday before hitting the road for home.

Typical me, I didn’t take many pictures of the weekend, so I’ll leave you with another shot of Charlotte the leprechaun. Though she’s not looking quite as convincing. 🙂

Really, Mom? Really?

Really, Mom? Really?


Stay tuned for another post about the first part of our weekend…There may be some baby cows involved. Eeee!



Mmm-mmm, Yummy yummy

A little bird told me….


…”Gee, thanks for making me!”

Oh, you’re welcome, Little Robin! The pleasure was all mine. Really, I like needle felting. Maybe one day soon I’ll write up a quick post with a few how-to tips. That way, if/when one of you comes to visit me, we can make adorable little felt creatures together.

But this post isn’t about my (ca-ute) little bird; it’s about quinoa!

A couple of months ago, I discovered one of my new favorite blogs, Iowa Girl Eats. And since then, I’ve been pinning recipes left and right. We’ve made two in the past week, and while our meals aren’t as beautifully photographed or garnished, our taste buds have been quite happy.

Tonight we made Thai Fried Quinoa. This is what it looks like when Iowa Girl (aka Kristin) makes it:


Looks lovely, right? I took one look at that picture and list of ingredients and probably said out loud, “I want to eat that,” because I did. The recipe calls for chicken broth, but due to my vegetarianism, we subbed in veggie broth.

Oh, and when I said that we made it, I meant Chris. I was at Walmart buying secret materials for a new winter’s-boring-so-let’s-keep-you-occupied gift for Charlotte, which will be debuting tomorrow.

Anyway, this is what it looks like when Chris makes it:


So it’s lacking the presentation, but the important thing is how it tasted. We let Charlotte be the test of that. Here is her verdict:



She kept repeating those words with gusto throughout the meal, as if Chris and I needed any convincing to agree with her. The portion we made was supposed to serve four, but the two and a half of us devoured it all easily. But since it’s made with such healthy ingredients, who cares? I love that about healthy food. We’ll definitely make this again!

Here is a sneak peak of my surprise for Charlotte tomorrow. Come back to see what I’ve made!

Hmmm, is it alphabet soup? Noodle ice cream?

Hmmm, is it alphabet soup? Noodle ice cream?

Our Saturday

Our Saturday in bullet points.

  • Two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (“Peejelly?” she asks, while carrying the entire loaf of bread into the family room.)
  • A twenty minute nap (“All done! All done!”)
  • Mama and Daddy go to work (Taking turns, of course. We don’t trust Buddy to babysit quite yet.)
  • Reaching up to touch my chest during a diaper change and saying, “Mama has boobs, too!” (Shoot, now she knows my secret.)
  • Nap round two (This time, she sleeps an hour and a half. Mama gets to enjoy some quiet time on Pinterest…and fold laundry.)
  • An hour-long phone convo with a best friend (Hi Muff!)
  • A trip to the grocery store to push the kid-sized “baby” cart (Wait, did I say push? I meant rocketing through the store like a madwoman child while squealing weeeeee!)
  • A giant cookie for dinner because Mama and Daddy just couldn’t say no when she asked so very nicely at the store. (Dinner was rounded out with broccoli and a clementine at home, fyi.)
  • Reading on her potty before bed (More reading and less potty most nights.)
  • Getting a little teary-eyed when the baby bear and his blanket fall off the bed in her story (Oh honey!)
  • Pretending to be a monkey by walking on both her hands and feet and oooh-oooh-aah-aahing around the house (There is a hilarious video, but it is far too inappropriate for the internet as she was stark naked and her baby bum was way up in the air. Just picture it though — hilarious.)
  • Finally getting into bed with two dogs, an elephant, three blankies, five horses, and a rubber duck (and a partridge in a pear tree)

I’d say we had a pretty good day.