Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snack Trap!

Eileigh has fallen in adoration with a little green cup appropriately titled The Snack Trap. It has a cute little cow on front (Mmmmmoo per Eileigh) and a plastic lid that is surprisingly effective at holding Cheerios in. I know it is a horrible thing for her to be allowed to roam about, snack in hand- as opposed to sitting down and focusing on what she's eating- but I can't seem to stop the act that brings me such laughter and delight! She becomes so incredibly happy as she toddles independently around the room moving from wall to china hutch to piano bench to couch, Cheerio-laden Snack Trap in hand all the while. Sometimes a full lap is completed and sometimes she is only midway when there comes the pause, the totter and subsequent rebalancing, and then the hand dips into the Snack Trap and gleefully resurfaces with not one but several Cheerios set for ingestion. Often they do not all make it into Eileigh's mouth and end up on the floor instead- safe until the completion of another lap around the room. It is amazing to me how much more confident and independent she appears to be once the Snack Trap is in her possession, almost as though she's a little hobo- her Snack Trap is her knapsack and she's setting out on her own to see the world! At least, the world as seen on the first floor- and oh, what an adventure it is!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Happy Valentine's Day! (only a few days late- but since Mike was working on Heart Day we are celebrating it-mostly-today!) My parents are coming over early this evening and Mike and I are going to enjoy a nice dinner out. Last year Eileigh was only a few weeks old (not even full-term yet, technically) and so Valentine's Day was our first time away from Eileigh- I think we stayed away at least a full hour, maybe hour and a half. We went to Miramar, my fave local Mexican restaurant here in town. This year we are going to go wild and go into Salem and blow a good portion of a gift certificate we have for Olive Garden!! :) We're actually really looking forward to it- Mike really likes OG and we haven't eaten there in forever! Plus there's just something about Valentine's Day that says pasta/Italian food (if you're not among the upper eschelons that speak of prime rib and salmon, that is).
Mike, Eileigh and I have all been sick this last week- Mike and I being the hardest hit. One of the girls from work offered to work my Friday for me and I gratefully accepted the day off to recuperate. I spent it in my jammies laying on the couch (minus the time chasing, holding, feeding or entertaining Eileigh). So a good couple of minute anyways. But unfortunately my good fortune messed up Mike's romantic surprise! He had planned for flowers, truffles and etc. to be delivered to my work during the day and so I effectively ruined the plan and the surprise. Luckily they were able to deliver to our house instead (after major research to figure out who he had actually ordered the flowers from- apparently leaving no information to trace to the surprise has its disadvantages). So I received my beautiful flowers in the morning and was able to enjoy them and the chocolates all day long!! Eileigh has thoroughly enjoyed the balloon as well- she points to it and calls it "Bah". We're still working on the "lloon" part.
Last night I received the second part of my gift: a .38 Special!!! :) Now I have my very own handgun. I wasn't real wild about Mike's Glock (always being afraid of getting my skin pinched) and so I am a lot more comfortable with the revolver. It's cute! :) And while I don't have a gift for Mike as great as what he got for me, I believe he gets a huge kick out of having gotten his wife a handgun for Valentine's Day- and the fact that she loves it!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Piggies and Pretties

For Valentine's Day Eileigh received little rubber hairbands so we could start to do something with that wild mop of hair she has. Our first attempt left her with a little Alfalfa spike but the second day I had a better grasp of how to work it and she received two "piggies"- as we refer to her pigtails. They're not really official pigtails, since they're not on each side of her head... they're actually both in the front and on top but it keeps the hair out of her eyes and she's super-cute to boot!! :) It actually makes her look quite mischevious... which is a fitting, well-earned title as of late. Consider yourself warned! For the most part Eileigh has left them in her hair (except when she occupied herself with things to do OTHER than taking a nap) and so I consider that a great success. I used to bling her up a little with a bow or ribbon to clip her hair back but her favorite thing was to take her "pretty" right back out! Sometimes I would mess with her and pretend I was putting it in her hair and she would automatically grab for it and keep running her hand through her hair trying to find it... hilarious. Also amusing has been Grandma trying to CONVINCE Eileigh to leave her "pretty" in her hair. Hysterical. So this (so far) is working much better!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sweet and Savory Quick Breads

I thoroughly enjoy making bread. Well, quick breads anyways- I seem to have issues one way or another whenever I try to make a yeast bread. Probably because it is a rare attempt and by the time I decide to try again the yeast has been sitting in my cupboard for awhile and has either died already or will die when I put it in water that is too hot or some other such nonsense. Therefore, quick breads are my friends. These are two of my new favorites- simple, quick and easy!! Mike preferred the Peanut Butter Banana Bread cooled off to room temperature- the banana flavor wasn't quite as strong and the chocolate not quite as gooey. The females in the house did not have an opinion as to warm or cool bread- there's chocolate in it and that's good enough!! :) The Peppery Cheese Bread was a huge hit with Eileigh and I- it has great flavor! Not too spicy, just a nice pepper flavor and Eileigh enjoyed it just as much as I did. Eileigh accompanied every bite with a big "Mmmm".

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Recipe

Peanut Butter Banana Bread



  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


In a small bowl, stir the flour, brown sugar, peanut butter and cinnamon until crumbly; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened.
Divide half of the batter between two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans; sprinkle with half of the topping. Top with chocolate chips. Repeat layers of batter and topping.
Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves

Peppery Cheese Bread Recipe

Peppery Cheese Bread


  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, oil, milk and mustard. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cheese and onions.
Transfer to a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rabbit, Anyone?

To continue with the tradition of sharing my enthrallment with Eileigh's "firsts", I shall cross the line into an area much more grotesque than has previously been noted. Last night Eileigh ate rabbit poop. Yes, yes it's true.
The story: I was talking on the phone to Mike (who was on shift) and sitting on the couch in the living room. Eileigh was circling around me like a little shark, practicing walking, falling, and crawling. After one slightly longer, quieter circle she arrived at my location and I noticed she had picked up the additional feature of two small brown flecks on her cheeks- which I assumed were dirt. I brushed them off and then realized she was chewing. On something. I put down the phone after my first failed attempt to retrieve the object and was rewarded on the second try with a firm bite on my finger and a pea-sized dark brown object. I figured it was a little rock with some dirt around it until I mentioned it to Mike. He SOMEHOW instantly knew it was rabbit poop. Maybe because he'd already seen some and failed to tell me about it. So while Eileigh cried at me for taking away her chewy treasure, I gingerly brought it to my nose and took a whiff. Yep, rabbit pellet. Our backyard neighbors have a rabbit that refuses to be contained and so is allowed to roam wherever it pleases, including our yard. Our cat Graybie seems to have made friends with it and so I'll see the rabbit sometimes on our back porch when I let Graybie inside in the mornings. Never before however, have I seen any other evidence of its roamings. Until now. Mike believes Gray might sometimes bring the evidence in on his paws. Geez.
Oh, and you ask, how does a rabbit make it with so many cats around? I had wondered that myself until one day I was upstairs and happened to look out the window and saw the rabbit next door. The neighbor's cat was walking casually towards the rabbit and I thought to myself, This should be good. And so it was, as I watched the rabbit LEAP towards the approaching cat which then spun around and ran away as fast as its striped little legs could carry it. Very enjoyable to watch.
I think that rabbit better watch where it hops. If any more such delicacies find their way into Eileigh's mouth- so help me! Maybe that bunny will get a taste of its own medicine. Dirty diaper anyone?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pushing 90.. and 73.. and 65...

Percentiles, that is. We had Eileigh's 12-month check-up at the pediatrician's last week and were astonished to find that she's grown 3 inches in the last 3 months for a grand total length of 30 1/4 inches- 90th percentile for height. She weighs 22lbs, 13 oz. and is 73rd percentile for weight. Since kiddos are supposed to triple their birth weight by one year I felt relieved of my *great worry* (please feel the full force of my jest) that she wouldn't meet that. Actually, she's just about quadrupled her birth weight- I'm so proud!! :) And her head circumference falls in the 65th percentile. Definitely approved- our doctor says she has completely caught up for every growth curve, and not even adjusted for being early! And since she started crawling Saturday and our appointment was the next Thursday we were able to inform the doctor that she met that milestone and she is right on track! :) (Good thing it had not been the Thursday before!!) Funny how that works.
Today Eileigh spent more time practicing standing and walking independently. As soon as she's done standing or walking to me she grabs me and clings to me like a lice egg on a strand of hair... just kidding. She's much easier to remove than that. :) We also spent a good portion of time outside today. Eileigh walked in the grass (quite unsteadily), pointed out lots of different items of interest, and enjoyed stepping on her first crunchy, crushable leaf. She stepped on it several times in fact and thoroughly enjoyed herself. I'm experiencing the world through the eyes of a child- how fascinating it is!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Out with the Old, in with the... Old

As promised, here is our "new" truck- a 1988 Toyota, complete with every option not available. As in, no power steering. And we just happened to have a spare piece of foam lying around that fits perfectly into the back of the driver's seat for improved comfort. Luckily. But I love this thing! (Not that I have to drive it). It has a bench seat in it- which means that I get to sidle on over to the middle and claim my rightful place next to Mike- a requirement for any small town girl riding in her man's truck!! :) That is definitely the highlight of every trip we take together in it- mostly Wednesday nights, since that is the only time we are Eileigh-less. This truck is not exactly car-seat compatible.
But we are excited for what this truck has made possible- we now own my 4-Runner and are almost completely debt-free except for our new 15-year mortgage and one school loan. (It's mine unfortunately). We are on the road to FREEDOM!! And the ride is made just a little bit sweeter in our old, bench-seated, 1988 pickup truck.

Molars... and Diaper Rash

Originally I was going to talk about Eileigh's first molar that's erupting on the bottom right side but as of this evening I am now aware of her second molar coming in on the upper right as well!!! Sure explains a lot of what's been going on lately!! She has the worst diaper rash she has ever had- yesterday she was crying it was so painful. I felt so bad for her!! Today it seems to be a bit better. I've been giving her lots of "air time", especially before bed. She loves to roam around her room half nekked- wearing nothing but socks and a sweater! And I must say she has the cutest buns I've ever seen!! :)
Even with two molars coming in, the last couple days have been really enjoyable (other than the diaper rash). Eileigh is standing alone for lengths of time and has been walking back and forth to Mike and I- it's a blast! She's so proud of herself too. She's always been somewhat hesitant regarding independence but this has really helped her confidence and I think she's happier because of it. This in turn has changed her into an occasional snuggler- my heart sings!! :) She'll get back from a walk and snuggle or hug me and I just melt. I think it reassures me more than her- sometimes it's so hard to see my baby growing up!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Eats

I thought the Super Bowl this year would be a great excuse to try out a couple of recipes I'd earmarked awhile back. I don't get around to making appetizers very often and these two had really caught my eye. Turns out, they are both FABULOUS recipes which I plan to make again when the chance presents itself. The Taco Meatball Ring was incredibly easy and came together really fast. The Buttery Hot Wings definitely required more effort but I think it could be because I started out with frozen chicken wings and had to go through the hassle of dethawing them in the microwave before I could continue with the recipe. The end result is worth every minute of effort though!! If you're watching your waistline (or any other body part) you might want to nibble lightly on the Buttery Hot Wings- they are labeled Buttery for a reason. (And the flavor is worth it!!) The Taco Meatball Ring, however, is actually fairly decent nutrition-wise as far as appetizers are concerned. I changed the recipes a little bit so I will post them the way I made them- because I think that's the way they should be!! :)

Taco Meatball Ring Recipe

Taco Meatball Ring

2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
2 tablespoons water
1 packet taco seasoning
1 pound ground beef (I actually used ground elk meat)
2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 medium head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 medium tomato, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
Sour cream and salsa, optional


In a large bowl, combine 1 cup cheese, water and taco seasoning. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 16 balls.
Place meatballs on a greased rack in a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 12 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Reduce heat to 375°.
Arrange crescent rolls on a greased 15-in. pizza pan, forming a ring with pointed ends facing the outer edge of the pan and wide ends overlapping.
Place a meatball on each roll; fold point over meatball and tuck under wide end of roll (meatball will be visible). Repeat. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.
Transfer to a serving platter. Fill the center of the ring with lettuce, tomato, onions, olives, jalapenos, remaining cheese, and sour cream and salsa if desired.

Buttery Hot Wings Recipe

Buttery Hot Wings

20 whole chicken wings (4 pounds)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Oil for deep-fat frying

1-1/4 cups butter, cubed
1/3 cup hot pepper sauce (I used Tapatio)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I omitted and they were fairly mild to medium spicy)


Cut chicken wings into three sections; discard wing tip sections. In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, paprika and cayenne. Add wings, a few at a time, and mix to coat.
In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 1 in. of oil to 375°. Fry six to eight wings at a time for 3-4 minutes on each side or until juices run clear, adding more oil as necessary. Drain on paper towels. Transfer wings to a large bowl and keep warm.
In a large saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat for 10 minutes or until butter is melted. Pour over chicken wings and toss to coat. Serve immediately. Yield: about 3 dozen (2 cups sauce).