Today we visited the Space and Rocket Center to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing on the moon. We and about four thousand other Marshall Space Flight Center employees trekked through the Davidson Center, and the outside areas to see the different exhibits, astronauts, and more! I was quite appreciative that A is still little enough that we didn’t have to stand in line for rides. I’m sure that will come soon enough. A was happy enough to just look at all the people and the kids. A finds kids fascinating right now and he likes to wave at everyone (except on command, he will not wave on command. I suppose he is a bit stubborn in that way, not sure where he gets that!). He is still having a bit of stranger anxiety, but overall he does pretty well as long as he is in his stroller or we are holding him. Our tale of hat drama ends here, as he decided to take off his hat and throw it away when we were not looking. He got half way back to our car (which was a loooonnnngg trip) and I realized he didn’t have his hat anymore. So Brian ran all the way back to the center looking for it. Luckily someone was nice enough to place it by one of the planters so it didn’t get tromped all over. Perhaps I need to get a tie for it so he will keep it on. I have a feeling he would figure a way to take it off. We did get a picture of the three of us as a nice couple offered to take our picture outside. The woman that offered to take our picture was doing her best to get A’s attention so he would look at the camera, but he was distracted by all the other people nearby. I like the picture because it looks like we are the only ones there (we were definitely not).
Since my husband has been out of town for work this past week, A and I took a vacation (or perhaps a staycation) to my parents’ house for the week. In addition A is still not sleeping well at night, so I took the opportunity with the extra help to catch up on sleep, reading, and preparing my lectures for this fall. Which is why I haven’t updated! However, we have been quite busy with outings in the past couple of weeks that I wanted to post and put up pictures about. Last Saturday (not this Saturday, but the one before) we took A to the park here in Huntsville. We had a little picnic with him, fed the ducks, and walked around. A loved it as he loves anything that has to do with being outside. A also discovered at this visit that he does not care to wear his hat anymore. Which means now our struggle of hat not hat begins. It’s a drama that begins here and will end a few posts later, haha. It was quite funny feeding the ducks as we started out with one lone little duck (which A liked) and ended up with many more (which A started to get nervous about…or maybe it was me). Here are some pictures from our park visit.
In addition as we were packing for my husband’s business trip A helped out by seeing if he could fit in his suitcase. As you will see, A is quite a ham for the camera. In most pictures if you ask him to smile he puts on this huge grin, even if he is fussing. He has also figured out that there is a camera on my phone so when I open it up he starts smiling and reaching for it.
They are called rotelle, but I call them wagon wheels. I have started buying them because they are fun for our little sweet pea to munch on and go well with the pasta sauce I created here. You can easily add hamburger meat to this sauce to enrich it, but I like it with just the peppers and tomatoes.
1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 can of diced tomatoes (or you can dice two fresh Roma tomatoes)
1 half of a yellow pepper (you can substitute red)
About 7 large fresh basil leaves sliced thinly (or you can tear them like lettuce)
A handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
Dash of salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or more if you like your sauce spicy)
2 cups of wagon wheels
Heat a large soup pot of water until boiling. Salt water and cook wagon wheels according to package directions.
While you are bringing the water to a boil, begin making the sauce (you can also make the sauce in advance and re-heat the next day, or just let it simmer on low on the stove the same day. The longer it cooks the better it will be!). In a heavy bottomed and higher sided large sauce pan saute the onions and garlic on medium heat in olive oil for about five minutes. Add in the peppers and saute for another ten minutes. Add in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until it begins to bubble a bit then add in the basil and parsley. Turn the heat to low and let simmer until pasta is ready. Toss pasta and sauce together and sprinkle with a bit more parsley if you like.
I feel like many (or at least a few) of my posts about A deal with sleeping. I don’t think I realized how much I enjoy sleep and miss it now until we had A. Or maybe I did. I still remember when we first moved into our house and I was about eight months pregnant, and I would peel one eye open to say good-bye to my husband as he left every morning for work. Then I would sleep until about 8:30 (that is late for me, for some of you it is not. For my husband it is not.) leisurely eat my breakfast and then do a few things around the house. Not anymore.
When A was about two months old we enjoyed the fact that he slept about 9 hours a night. He has always been an unpredicatble cat-napper (he did sleep for only about forty minutes at a time, four times a day), to which I felt like during the day most of what I did was put him down for a nap, get him up from a nap, feed, change, then start all over (many have told me that is mainly what you do with little babies, but that is neither here nor there). However, we always got a reprieve at night of about 9 hours uninterrupted sleep. Until now. Now we leave the unpredictable world of sleep. Sometimes he sleeps all night. Sometimes he wakes up five or six times. Sometimes he goes to bed at 7:30. Sometimes we can’t get him settled down until 9. Sometimes he takes an hour and a half nap. Sometimes he takes a 15 minute nap. Yes I said 15 minutes!!! That’s the nap that you say, “no wait. did I just hear him? No. I didn’t even start eating my lunch yet!” I never thought that I would crave some sort of predictability. I work really hard to keep him on a schedule. Goodness, we hardly do anything that defers from his schedule. Yet he is still totally unpredictable when it comes to sleep. Which leads me to spend much of my time sitting around. I am always afraid to start working on something because I think by the time I pull everything out to do it, he will wake-up! So I am hoping a little more predictability in his naps will come in the future. However from what I hear I was not a predictable napper either. So he must get that from me. Whenever he changes his schedule despite my best efforts I always remember the story my Mom tells of how I wanted to quit dance when I was four. Apparently I liked dance, but I didn’t like having to go the same time every week. I wasn’t sure if I would have something else to do. Like a four-year old has other plans! But obviously A has inherited my reluctance to follow a schedule. For example, I had to write this post in two parts. Yesterday he slept for an hour and a half in the morning, today exactly forty minutes. He is quite cute when he wakes up though, it’s hard to resist!
Those who know me well will find it interesting that I am posting about making banana bread for two reasons. The first is I don’t eat banana bread, and the second is I’m not the best baker. I named my blog after cupcakes because I like to eat them, not particularly because of my skill of making them. This story begins with three overripe bananas and my plan to make banana bread for some of my family. See, whenever I am making banana bread I am never making it for myself. In fact I won’t eat bananas in anything but their plain straight from the grocery store form, and only at a certain ripeness. Once they past that point I refuse to eat them, hence I end up making quite a lot of banana bread for someone who doesn’t like to eat it.
Perhaps I should give a quick story of why I don’t like banana bread or foods with banana in them. It all stems from a 1994 (95?) celebration of my great-grandmother’s 90th birthday. While it was a joyous occasion some of us unfortunately got food poisoning. Before we realized we had food poisoning I ate about six little Debbie banana breads (they were miniature. I still shutter a bit as a I write this). So without giving all the unnecessary details, I don’t like banana bread now. In fact I didn’t even eat bananas up until about five years ago, and the smell of baby banana food (I shutter again). Anyway, that is neither here nor there, but it brings me up to date on making my latest banana bread. I don’t have my own special recipe, but I do have one I recommend. It’s from Food Network’s website. It’s the Banana Walnut Bread (I leave out the walnuts) made by Food Network’s Kitchens. It’s simple and easy, it only has about six ingredients.
I have made this banana bread several times, but despite making it over and over I still run into trouble occasionally with my cooking. I ended up having half of the banana bread stick to the pan and pieced it together. This is just an example of one of my many baking debacles that I run into, however I continue to bake figuring one day my food will turn out the way I expect. Despite all this my family members that I delivered the bread to enjoyed it, with one of my favorite little food critics stating “It was yummy, it was like lovin’ in my tummy”. I’m not sure if I can give a recipe a better recommendation than that.
Since I am not working this summer much of our day consists of doing household things, like laundry, dishes, and watering our garden. A has become a good helper recently. He is interested in helping with things like folding laundry, helping pay bills, and cleaning the kitchen. Mainly because when he helps fold laundry he can chew on all the interesting clothes, play on the keyboard of the computer when he is helping pay bills and look at all the interesting bubbles on his tray when we wash dishes. I’m sure one day he will be much less interested in all these chore things, but I am hoping that his interest will remain for at least a few more years 🙂
These were a standard in my family growing up. I think it’s a recipe that my Mom found in a magazine years ago. There are two ways that you can make them, baked or fried. I’ll give you the recipe for both! It’s basically meat and cheese, but the sauce is really what makes the recipe. I introduced these to my husband when we first met and it quickly became one of his favorites and most requested for dinner recipes. It may sound complicated with the folding, but with a few tries it is easy and also really cost effective!
1 lb at least 85 percent lean hamburger beef
1 block or 1 bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
1 16oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
sour cream (optional)
green chilies (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a high sided skillet to medium-high heat. Break up beef in pan and cook thoroughly then drain off excess fat. Mix in cheese with beef until well melted. Heat tortillas on griddle (or in microwave for 20 seconds). Roll up about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of meat inside the tortillas (picture instructions below). Basically fold the tortillas like a hot pocket over the meat. Spray a 8 x8 inch dish (deep sided) with cooking spray. Place folded “burros” in pan and cover with foil. Cook in oven for 20-25 minutes.*
While cooking meat, in a blender combine diced tomatoes, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cumin. Blend until well combined and tomatoes are broken down. Pour into saucepot and heat over medium-low.
Spread lettuce over plates. Place a cooked burro on plate and cover with sauce. Top with sour cream and chilies.
*Alternatively: Heat about a quart of vegetable oil in a large soup pot. Heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees on a frying thermometer. Place tortillas carefully in sauce pot and cook two at a time for about 5 minutes each, until golden brown and crispy.
We have been quite busy the past week, so I haven’t had time to update! A is making big milestones, finally crawling and talking up a storm. Most of his crawling is backwards and most of his talking is Dadadadada, but it is amazing how much he is improving on them each day! He can crawl forward, but only when he has much motivation. I caught him crawling down the hall after a ball that had rolled out of his train. Obviously that was the motivation that he needed! He does lots of toe and arm push-ups, which amazes me that he has the much strength in his arms. Perhaps he is getting motivation from his cousin B who is in the Army!
We haven’t gotten much good video of him crawling yet, as he tends to fuss when he sees us watching him crawl. We are very excited about his milestones, however they seem to come with less sleep for everyone! A has not been sleeping well the last few nights, with Friday night being the worst, where we were getting up with him about every hour. Hopefully that will start to straighten out soon! Here are a few pictures of A working on his crawling and push-ups.
I’m not sure if this is a tradition in your house, but it certainly is in ours. Hot southern summers mean hot sticky babies, which means on non full bath nights we have been sponging Super A off with a wet washcloth. This action my sister affectionately coined “bird baths”, which I think perfectly sums up the little mini baths. In addition we have added in working on our toothbrushing skills to Super A’s nighttime routine. He hasn’t had any teeth pop through yet, despite all my previous posts, but I want to have brushing his teeth as part of his routine so I figured we should introduce it. I wasn’t sure how he would take it, but he loves it. AND he loves looking at himself in the mirror as you will see in the pictures!