Monday, January 31, 2011

The Joy of Love Workshop by Willette

Willette photography is doing a workshop during the month of February and it is free! Everyday she will be emailing out photo assignments/prompts and a short lesson on photography. If you are interested in photography, it is a great place to start since it is free! No pressure either you can do all the assignments or none! Click on the picture to sign up.

Monday Meals - Manicotti

This is William's favorite meal! He gets upset when I make it on nights that we are not going to have dessert. (Because he knows he has to eat a good amount to get dessert and with manicotti that will be NO problem!) This recipe comes from the Kraft Foods website.

2 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
1-3/4 cups Ricotta Cheese
1-1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup pesto
12 manicotti shells, cooked, rinsed in cold water

HEAT oven to 350°F.

SPREAD 3/4 cup sauce onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish. Mix cheeses, egg and pesto until well blended; spoon into resealable plastic bag. Use scissors to cut small corner from bottom of bag. (I just use a pastry bag from Wilton )

FILL manicotti shells by squeezing cheese mixture into both sides of each shell; place in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce; cover.

BAKE 40 min. or until heated through

The first time I made this, it seemed like a lot of work but after a few times making it I can do it pretty quick. The recipe easily doubles. I make two each time and freeze one, so there is no prep work the next time we have this!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Meals - Cranberry Roast

If you know Mr. Bear (Yes, James should be included as one of the bears I live with. He is loud and messy too! Where do you think they got it from?) very well, then you know he can be a picky eater. He would be very content if I made steak and potatoes every night. So I try to frequently test out new recipes in order to expand the list of things I can serve. I thought I would try to share with you some of the ones we have tried (and liked!) on Mondays.

First up is Cranberry Roast. I got it from the Crockpot 365 blog, which I love! A bonus for anyone who has celiac's disease or follows a gluten free diet, one of her children has celiac's so every recipe is gluten free. Mr. Bear recently declared this his favorite meal that I make, so you know it is good!

Cranberry Roast

2-3 Pounds of Beef or Pork Roast or Stew Chunks
1 Tbs Dried Onion Flakes or 1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 (16-ounce) Can Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Put meat in your slowcooker (crockpot) and add the onion and soy sauce. Pour the entire can of cranberry sauce over the top. Do not add water. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 5-6.

That's it! Very yummy!

Last time I made it, I couldn't remember if it was soy sauce or worcestershire sauce, so I ended up putting a little of both and it was still yummy. We like the kind of roast where the meat ends up in little "strings" (know what I'm talking about?), but since I can never remember exactly what that kind is called we sometimes end up with different kinds. If you use a different cut of meat, you may want to pour some of the sauce on the meat when you serve it so it won't be dry.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Project 52 - Week 2

Still a little late getting the week two pictures up, but at least they are up before week 3 is over!

This week we have pictures of Eli and Ben playing with their Legos. I thought that this weeks pictures would be from the museum downtown, but we discovered that it was closed for MLK day. The kids were super disappointed!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby Led Weaning

Have you ever heard of baby led weaning? I hadn’t until a couple of months ago. It is a method of introducing solid foods to babies. It comes from the book, Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tacey Murkett. Basically, it says that there is no need to start with pureed baby food. With this method you go straight to soft table foods. I haven’t read the book, but I did read quite a bit (pages and pages) of it off the preview on Here is some of what the book says.

- Eating table foods develops chewing skills, manual dexterity, and eye-hand coordination.

- By feeding himself, he will only eat what he needs and is less likely to be overfed by coercing more bites in

- The book promotes waiting to introduce solids until six months. This is the same as the guideline given by the World Health Organization (WHO).

-Also promotes Breastmilk (or formula) as primary source of nutrients for first year b/c solids are less nutrient dense.

-Babies are programmed to explore with their hands and mouths. Why not with food too?

The book claims that skipping pureed food will actually make your child a better, more adventurous eater because they go at their own pace and are allowed to explore food on their own. (As opposed to my picking out what he will eat and having it shoved in by a spoon) Now again I didn’t read the entire book, but really how can you prove that?

So when I heard about this concept, I didn’t think too much about it. With Will and Ben we transitioned to table foods pretty quickly anyway and starting with pureed foods work just fine for us. But then I tried to feed Eli pureed food …

As you can see it was not easy. He insists on putting the spoon in his mouth on his own.

So I remembered this BLW concept. I thought to myself … well if he wants to do it himself, then why not give him some soft table foods to try? The results?

LOL! To be fair, he actually chewed up a bite of carrot before this picture, so I have no idea why he reacted to the second bite this way. I think we will continue with both pureed food and table foods.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Project 52 - Week 1

So you might be wondering, "What is Project 52?" If you have ever heard of Project 365 (P365 for short), it is the same concept only on a smaller scale. P365 is a photography project where a person takes a picture a day for an entire year. It is supposed to help get the creative juices going (Heck, you would have to get creative to think of something new to photograph every day!) and improve photography skills. It is also a great way to capture the events of a year in your life. Sometimes, people have a theme for the year or for different days of the week. I think the hardest version I have ever seen is the self-portrait theme! I would not be able to come up with 365 different ways to photograph myself! P52 is just a smaller version where you only have to take one picture a week. Now, I'm not going to limit myself to one picture each week of course. I don't think I can get my camera out and only take one picture!

This week (or really last week, since I took these last week but didn't get around to posting them until today), being the first week of the new year, I decided to take pictures of my two favorite new things. First up is my new camera lens! For those who know about camera lenses, it is a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8.

My other new favorite thing is something Santa brought Ben! Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash! Basically, the cars go around and around in a four leaf clover until the crash into each other and go flying off. The boys and I have had a lot of fun trying to get the cars on and watching them fly off! Here is a picture of two cars speeding through.


About to crash!

Oh! And flying through the air!

Flying again!

Monday, January 10, 2011

10 on the 10th!

1. It's Monday! I love Mondays and I hate Mondays all at the same time. I love getting back into the routine of the week, but I hate cleaning up the mess that always develops over the weekend!

2. I get a lot of questions about Alaska. Most people want to know about the sunlight. Yes, there is very little sunlight this time of year! To give you an idea of what this is like, today the sun rose at 10:05am and will set at 4:10pm. But hey, that is 3.5 more minutes of sun than yesterday!

3. We desperately need lamps in our master bedroom! I looked at JC Penney's for some, but was unwilling to pay $40 for just a lampshade!

4. I may be a tad biased, but I think I have the cutest kids in the world! Case in point, William blows me kisses when he gets out of the car to go to school every morning and waves hi to me from the school door every afternoon.

5. Alaska has some pretty amazing pink and purple sunsets!

6. I bought the cutest little dryerase board calendar at Target yesterday. I'm determined to be organized this year!

7. I totally need snowpants!

8. William is taking after me in the love of photography department. He got a Nikon Coolpix camera for Christmas (Thanks Grammy!) and is constantly taking pictures with it! Don't be surprised to see some of his shots on the blog in the future.

9. I am drooling over these Merrell Yarra's I do wear snow boots everyday, so it should be a justified purchase right?

10. Baby laughter is the sweetest sound in the world. Especially when his brothers are the ones making him laugh. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

The New Blog!

So I'm starting a blog ....

For those who don't know, we are living in Alaska now. We are living with bears! Or at least very near to them. I thought the title fit pretty well not only because of all the bears in Alaska, but my three boys are like bears too. They leave the house looking like a bear came through and they are most certainly as loud as bears! Plus, have you ever seen bear cubs fighting .....

Anyway, I thought this would be a good way for family and friends who aren't on facebook to keep up with our lives. I also decided to start a Project 52 this year and I need a place to post about it. Hope ya'll enjoy!
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