Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Flashback

Either Anne or Douglas took this picture of me and Isaiah in March of 2004 when we were visiting at Doug's home in Salt Lake. I love my expression in the shot, and it's one of the few digital shots we have from that far back. Isaiah was so beautifully chunky at this age (about 9 months), it makes me excited for Max when he is a little older.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Max - 3 months

3 months
approx. 17.5 lbs
(according to the bathroom scale)
red hair
blue eyes

Loves: "talking" while being changed, "eating" stuffed elephant, splashing in bath
Hates: sitting at the computer, being cold after baths, sleeping during the day
Milestones: first laugh, first shower, playing with toys, sleeping 7-8 hours at night consistently

Max, you are so much fun to watch! You have started using your fists to bat at toys, and you'll hold up your hands and watch yourself moving them. Your mouth and eyes get very round when you are concentrating on something intently. You still love to kick, especially in the bath, and are quite strong. You laughed first for Daddy, and you turn to look at him when you hear his voice or when he comes into the room. Katie and Isaiah love to entertain you, and you watch them intently. Isaiah is proud that everyone thinks you look so much like him (you even have matching dimples!). Katie hugs and kisses you constantly, and you endure her love very well.

I've started keeping your stuffed elephant on the changing table to keep you entertained, and you like to bat at it, hug it, and "eat" it. You love when I sing to you, especially when I maintain eye contact. You have a hard time when you are tired, fussing and flailing crazily, but when I swaddle you and give you your binky you calm right down and you'll fall asleep on your own in your crib. You've gotten used to the carseat and even smile as I put you in.

You are so calm and happy, and such a joy to our home.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I *heart* hair!

We're getting ready for Valentine's Day around here . . . what? Yes, I know it's still January. However, one of my best girls, an old roommate from SUU, Kelly, loves Valentine's. It's her favorite holiday. And about a thousand heart-shaped sugar cookies later, I started loving it, too. Eight years later, it's still fun. (Pssst . . . I'll share a secret with you: It's waaaaay more fun when you have a Valentine! The kind that you can kiss whenever you want, but especially on February 14th.)


So, where was I? Oh yeah, we're decorating with hearts and stuff around here, that that has extended to our hair. Did you think I had stopped experimenting with Katie's hair? No, I just am too lazy to get the camera out most days. But this is a camera-worthy hairdo, perfect for your long-haired little Valentine, that I got from this hair blog. It was way easier than I thought, and it stayed in for two and a half days! (Again, I am really lazy, but it really did still look good the second day.) Katie was so sad when I took it out before I bathed her today. I promised her we'd do it again in a couple of weeks. And maybe while we're at it, I'll paint little hearts on our nails . . .




Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pizza


Mmmm . . . pizza!

Last year for Primary we interviewed each of the children for our birthday bulletin board. I didn't keep count, but I'm pretty sure about 50% or more of the kids said pizza was their favorite food. And, let's be honest, kids know what tastes good. Yeah, sometimes calamari, sushi, or escargot are appetizing, and sometimes, well . . . they're just "grown up food." Which isn't bad, I mean if I had to eat mac & cheese or pb&j all the time I'd go nuts. However, sometimes fancy food just doesn't make you feel good. Pizza always makes you feel good. Even cold. Even before (or for) breakfast.

That is good pizza is always good. See, for the first few years of our marriage I was not allowed to make homemade pizza because my first couple of tries were not so great (think doughy . . . or crunchy . . . or both--in the same pizza). The trick with pizza is the dough, and I was sucking at it, so for about 5 years we only had restaurant pizza, which is really good, but also less fun.

And then a couple of years ago, when I was a Young Women leader, we had a cooking activity, a pizza night. We made dinner pizza and dessert pizza. The advisor, Pauline Hansen, made this really great pizza dough, and since we were making recipe cards for all the girls, I made a couple extra for me. And I tried making the dough on my own. And it came out perfect. But since it could have been a fluke, I tried it again. And it worked again. And it worked every time.

Thank you, Pauline, I can now make homemade pizza!! And everyone likes it, especially the kids, who occasionally help me make it. And now you're family can like it, too:

Pizza Dough
(also good for scones, breadsticks, and Navajo tacos)

3 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 cup hot water

Mix ingredients in order listed. Use enough flour to make a soft dough that isn't sticky. Knead lightly for 4 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll out dough on floured surface. Place on pizza pan. Add sauce and toppings and bake at 400 degrees until crust is brown and cheese is bubbly (10-15 minutes).

So, in case you were wondering why I'm always posting recipes, this story of the pizza is a good illustration of why. Early in our marriage I couldn't cook. I thought I was an okay cook, but after a couple of months (okay, probably in the first few days), it was discovered that most of what I cooked wasn't great. So, everything in my recipe box has come from trial and error, finding what works and what doesn't, what my husband, and now my kids like and what they don't, and learning new cooking techniques the hard way. I guess it's exciting to me now to be over the hump, so to speak, in learning to cook. I'm no longer just figuring out the basics. I can make pizza dough and have it work every time. And that inspires me to try exciting new things like Cake Balls, Fruit Salsa, or various varieties of pork, beef, and poultry that used to frighten me. So thanks for sticking with me as I share my many recipe finds.
PS If you want Adam's dessert pizza recipe, comment and I'll post it later in the week.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

WPPI

For those of you who don't know, our lives revolve first around our family, and second around Instaproofs, Adam's business. We love Instaproofs so much that our children talk about the business as if it were a person, a member of our family. In fact, I think Isaiah may have only just now figured out that it's not (but I don't think Katie's in on the secret yet!). We love the business so much that we are excited about helping it grow, so next month we will have a booth at WPPI.

If it were just the chance to stay in Vegas with my hubby for a few days, it would be exciting enough. But I am just sooo excited to be by his side for this exciting marketing milestone for Instaproofs. I'm so grateful to Shelli, Sybil, and my mom for making it possible for me to be there.

If you're a photographer, or know a pro, come by and see us in February!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A fun way to start your life together . . .

This video is a total crack up!! They seem like such a fun couple :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pork Chops, Potatoes, and Apple Crisp

Last night my stepdad was in town and we got to spend some time with him. (Yea!) I invited him and my mom to have dinner with us, and then started thinking of the new cookbook they gave me that I had yet to make something from, the pork chops in the freezer that sounded so yummy, and the Rhoades rolls begging to be baked . . . well, you get the idea. We were going to have a big dinner! (Yea again!) The only problem? I'm a little low on some of my staple pantry items, and my first plans had to be scrapped. No biggie . . . on to plan B: honey pecan pork chops, twice baked potatoes, rolls, green beans, salad (thanks Mom!) and apple crisp for dessert. I know, you're mouth is watering, right? Here are my variations on the recipes:

Honey Pecan Pork Chops
(based on Awesome Honey Pecan Pork Chops by Kerena, from allrecipes.com)

6 pork chops (about 2-2.5 lbs)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter
6 tbsp honey
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Pound pork chops well with meat tenderizer. Salt and pepper chops to taste and dredge in flour.
2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add chops, brown both sides, then transfer to a warm plate.
3. Mix honey, soy sauce, lemon juice, and pecans into pan drippings and heat through, stirring constantly. Pour sauce over cutlets.

Serves 6

Twice Baked Potatoes
(based on the recipe from my brand new Better Homes and Gardens cookbook--thanks Mom and Doug!)

6 large baking potatoes
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 tbsp milk

1. Scrub potatoes and prick with a fork. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake on oven rack at 425 degrees for 40-60 minutes (mine took a full hour).
2. Unwrap potates and cool for 10 minutes. Cut a thin slice of skin off the top of each potato, reserving any pulp in a large bowl. Scoop out the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a thin layer of potato inside the skin to hold the shape.
3. Mash the potatoes with a masher or hand beater, then beat in the sour cream, 3/4 cup cheddar, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Add milk to reach the desired consistency.
4. Scoop the potato mixture back into the skins and bake in a 9x13 pan for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake another 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Serves 6

Apple Crisp
(This recipe is one of the few that has survived the last 10 years since I first made it in high school Foods class, and it has become my "fall-back dessert," as I always keep the ingredients on hand.)

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (one stick) margarine or butter, melted
1 can apple pie filling (Okay, that's not in the real recipe, but it's the only way I've made it since that first time in Foods class, and it saves time, effort, and it always turns out great.)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Stir in melted butter, making sure all dry ingredients are moistened. Press half of this mixture into an 8x8 baking dish.
3. Spread apple pie filling over crust, then sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 8

I think plan B was better than plan A anyway. And now that you've seen my recipes, I'm sure you're thinking, "Wow, those are all really easy! And I thought it sounded so complicated." Well, maybe you're a better cook than I and didn't think that at all. Either way, everything was pretty simple, especially with Rhoades rolls and making the apple crisp with pie filling. Not hard at all. But it looked and tasted fancy. It was a delicious dinner, made so much better by the company and conversation. In fact, I think we have some leftovers . . . I'm off to make myself a late-night snack!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Laughing

Max laughed for the first time Tuesday, which was the highlight of my week so far. But he didn't laugh for me, I only caught the tail end of a third or fourth laugh a bit later. I was making dinner, and Adam came into the kitchen with the biggest grin on his face and said, "He laughed! For me!" Ah, the sweet moments that make all the poop and vomit worth it . . . .

Kind of like the moment we had tonight while our children played quietly together, which, in its own right was special. But then I overheard the following:

Isaiah (playing the Little People Mom): Ring, ring . . . I'm calling you at your office . . .

Katie (playing the Little People Dad): Hello? What do you need?

Isaiah: I need you to come home and make the baby laugh.

Yeah, we need our daddy around. Because the baby's not the only happy person when Daddy's around, our whole family is just happier.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Baked Alaska

Tonight for family night treats we tried something different: individual servings of Baked Alaska. Our kids were impressed that I baked the ice cream, but I think they weren't as impressed by the taste of the fancy "combination" dessert (ice cream and brownies separate, please). However, Adam and I really enjoyed it, and it was fun making something new. Here's our version of this yummy dessert:

Baked Alaska

Brownies (your favorite recipe or mix, prepared, cooled and cut into generous squares)
Ice Cream (your favorite flavor; we had chocolate chip)
Meringue
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Prepare meringue as directed according to recipe.
  3. Place cut brownies in a baking pan, leaving an inch or two between each. Use a cookie scoop (smaller than a regular ice cream scoop) to scoop ice cream onto each brownie. Cover ice cream scoops with meringue, sealing completely to brownies.
  4. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 2-3 minutes, watching closely.
  5. Serve immediately.

The meringue recipe I linked to is really good and fairly simple. It makes enough for 8-10 servings of our Baked Alaska.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Max - 2 months


2 months old
15 lb 9 oz
24 inches
red hair
blue eyes

Loves: the changing table, kicking, being talked to, the bouncer
Hates: the carseat, being tired or hungry
Milestones: first social smiles @ 5 weeks, cooing @ 7 weeks, 1st formula @ 7 weeks, sleeping 7-8 hours at night occasionally

Max, I am having so much fun getting to know you! You are such a content little boy, rarely fussy, and usually quiet. You are the most happy on the changing table, and show it with big gummy smiles, happy coos, and wild kicking (I remember what it felt like inside of me, you must have been very happy in utero). When we hold you, you like to arch your back and keep your head up or tipped back to get the best view. You like bathtime and splashing by kicking your feet. You watch your brother and sister as they talk to you and give you attention (unless they get too close or too loud, but even then you put up with a lot). You usually only get mad when we put you in the carseat, and the only thing worse than the carseat is wearing a hat--which always seems to slip over your eyes in the carseat, making you madder! Even in the carseat, you calm down once we start driving. One funny thing: you have grown so quickly, you weigh the same as your 8 month old cousin, Kamry! We love you and can't wait to see you as you grow and learn more!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas with the Ellis Family

We had a wonderful Christmas season full of many activities and time spent with family. It was a special year: Max's first Christmas, Isaac home from his mission, and we had a white Christmas for the first time since . . . ever, I think! I'm posting a slideshow of the highlights so I don't have to bombard you with pictures! Hope your Christmas was as wonderful, and that you have a joyous New Year.