Tuesday, December 9, 2014

PEP Talks- 21 months

So my mom and I were looking at the calendar, and we did some math, and wouldn't you know it? I am 21 months old already!  I guess I should fill you all in on how I've been doing the last three months.  There's a whole bunch to cover, so I'll get started.

October was so fun! There was a bouncy house and a big slide and a pumpkin patch, just like last year (apparently. I don't remember.  After all, I was only 7 months old at the time!).  We had a BLAST! Daddy and Mommy took me down the slide and let me go in the bouncy house with them.  It was hard to walk around in there, but I loved it!

I also go to a Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat.  Mommy and Daddy dressed up as Hipsters, and I was a Starbucks Frapp.  Everybody thought I was so cute! Especially in my glasses.  Mommy borrowed a pair from Aunt Ryan.  When I saw her wearing them, I put on the other pair all by myself and wore them all night!

In November, we celebrated Thanksgiving.  It was nice getting to see my family.  We went up the weekend before to see Mommy's side of the family, and Thanksgiving day was spend with Daddy's side.  I ate foods I have refused to eat every other time I've been offered them! What can I say? I have to keep Mommy on her toes!

So that's what I've been up to; now a little about me.

I have decided I like to nap.  Gasp, you should.  Why I fought it so hard for so long is beyond me.  I am in such a better mood after my nap! And so are my parents!  And not only do I nap, but I nap HARD! I'm talking two and a half or three hours at a time on a good day.  I started transitioning to napping by watching a super amazing show on Netflix called "Flowers."  It has close-ups of flowers blooming and rain falling... And the music! It is so relaxing.  I just couldn't help myself.  I was mesmerized.  Slowly, my eyelids began to droop... All of the sudden, it was two hours later.  I felt amazing, ready to take on the world! Soon after, I grew accustomed to watching my special show everyday at the same time.  I started getting sleepy at that time no matter if the show was on or not.  Now, Mommy asks, "Are you ready for night-night?"  I AM! I lay in my crib and curl up with my blanket and Frederick, and I take a nap.  It's glorious.

I'm also getting much better at eating different foods.  I still have my favorites (fish sticks are still the best), but I am willing to try new things.  I love burgers and tacos.  I love soup (I get that from my mom!). Mac and cheese, veggies, fruits of all kinds... The only thing I will not eat is chicken.  Do you know what chicken is? It's a CHICKEN! You know, the kind that goes, "Bock, bock, bock."  I have never liked chicken, but Mommy and Daddy finally figured out why.  They gave me my plate of chicken.  I looked at it and back at them and started "bock, bock, bock-ing."  Don't they know chicken is a sweet little animal? It's in my Barnyard Dance book.  And they want me to eat it?!? How horribly cruel! I refuse.  No chicken for me. 

The best thing that's been happening is that I've really been talking even more, to the point that Mommy and Daddy know what I'm saying and can answer me back.  We have conversations!  I can say some pretty big sentences.  One afternoon, I told Mommy, "Duck swims in the water!"  She was so thrilled that I said it again and again. And again.  And a few more times until I pretty much wore it out.  But Mommy loved hearing it.  Another thing I say is "I'm okay!"  If I fall or if I'm hiding, my parents will ask me, "Are you okay?" and I say, "I'm okay!" It comes out "Hockey Kay!" I even ask my toys if they're okay if they fall off the couch or if I drop them.  I'm very considerate.  I use my words when I want something, and I am very specific.  Mommy says I'm going to keep talking better and better.  It will be so nice to talk to everybody when I'm bigger!

Looking forward, I am excited to celebrate Christmas! Mommy and Daddy put the tree up one night while I was asleep.  I love the tree so much.  I am very gentle with the tree.  I know what I'm allowed to touch and what I need to leave alone.  I love all the "lights" and "balls." The presents are pretty fun, too.  I may or may not have seen Mommy do this, but what I do is pick up a present and gently shake it back and forth.  Then I put it up to my ear (or Mommy's ear if it's her present), and I say, "What could it be?" It comes out pretty much just a high-pitched "Be?" but that's what I mean. 

Mommy and Daddy started a new tradition with me for Advent.  Every night, I get to open a new Christmas story book! It is my favorite part of the day.  I love books, so this is the perfect thing for me.  I open the book and sit in either Mommy or Daddy's lap while they read the story to me.  At the end, I say, "Again?"  This continues for a few re-readings.  I'm only on book 9, but I'll fill you all in on the rest next time I post. 

I can't wait to tell you all about my Christmas.  I may not be able to wait three more months to post.  There's too much going on, and I'm worried I'm forgetting things and leaving them out, which misses the point of the whole thing.  Yes.  I think I'll have to write more often.  If I can pry Mommy away from the computer! She is almost done with her English degree, and she is working hard. I keep telling her itt will all be worth it!  I even cheer her on.  Mommy was upset one evening, so Daddy and I shouted, "Go, Mommy!" It made her feel a lot better.  We are really proud of her; I hope she doesn't forget that!

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the last few months.  Until next time,

Parker E. Poe

Monday, November 24, 2014

Loaded Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Preheat oven to 500. Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Mix 1/3 c olive oil, 1 and a half tsp salt, 1T pepper, 1 T paprika, 2 T garlic, and 6 T hot sauce. Cube 8-10 medium-sized potatoes (1/2 inch cubes). Coat with hot sauce mixture.  Spread into pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Reduce heat to 400. Cube 2 lb chicken (1 inch pieces). Coat in sauce. Spread over potatoes. Top with 2 c shredded cheese and 1 c crumbled bacon. Bake for 15 minutes. Top with sour cream and chives. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Chicken Soup with Spinach, Carrots, and Gnocchi

This is the perfect soup to make if you have a cold. Or if you are cold. Or if you just really like soup. 

8 baby carrots, finely grated
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
8 cups of chicken broth (or 8 cups of water with 8 bullion cubes)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Onion powder and garlic powder to taste
2 cups whole milk
16 oz package dried gnocchi (I found mine at Aldi)
2 cups spinach, tear after measuring
2 tbs each of butter and flour (to make a roux to thicken)

Melt butter in large pot. Add carrots and flour. Cook for about a minute. Add chicken broth to pot. Add seasonings and chicken. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Heat milk in separate pot. Pour into broth. Add gnocchi and torn spinach. Simmer for 15 more minutes or until the gnocchi is tender. To thicken, make a roux in a separate pot by melting the butter and stirring the flour into the butter. Cook for a minute and add to soup. Simmer, stirring constantly for the first minute, until thickened. Season to taste with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup

Warning- this soup is really rich and really fattening and REALLY delicious!!!

Another fall soup recipe; I can't get enough!

1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
2.5 c milk
2.5 c half and half
2 chicken bullion cubes, smashed
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2-3 cups cooked chicken
1 8 oz package smoked prosciutto, chopped
1 c shredded Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder and onion powder to taste

Melt butter in non-stick pot and add flour to make a roux. Cook for about a minute. Add in milk, half and half, and bullion cubes. Heat for a couple minutes over medium heat. Add cream cheese. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil to thicken. When thick, remove from heat. Add chicken, prosciutto, and Swiss cheese. Season to taste. Serve with toasted sourdough bread for dipping. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Philly Cheesesteak Soup in a Bread Bowl

On what has been the coldest day so far this fall, I could think of nothing more comforting than a big bowlof hot soup, and this recipe was sure to please!

Philly Cheesesteak Soup in a Bread Bowl

1 box (14 slices) steak-ums
Onion powder
Garlic powder
4 tbs flour
1 tbs olive oil
Chopped onion, mushrooms, bell peppers (all optional; use as much or as little as you want)
4 cups beef broth
4 slices provolone cheese
4 small sourdough loaves

Break steaks into pieces and place them in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and 2 tbs flour. Mix to coat. In a hot non-stick pot, cook the steak until no longer pink. Set aside. In the same pot, add olive oil, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Cook until tender.  Add in 2 more tbs flour, mixing well and breaking up flour "clumps." Add four cups beef broth. Bring to boil and summer for 10 minutes to thicken. Add cornstarch and cold Walter mixed together to thicken more if necessary.  Add steaks. Ladle into hollowed-out bread loaves and top with a slice of provolone. Place bread bowl son a baking sheet and broil until cheese is melty, bubbly, and golden. It will be very hot!!

My husband loved it so much, he are every bite, including the bowl! It was just right on a chilly night like tonight. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DIY Starbucks Cup Halloween Costume

We had our Fall Festival at church this evening, and I was so excited to reveal our costumes, particularly Parker's!!

This was a super simple costume to make.  Absolutely NO SEW! She already had the white shirt and leggings. All I needed was the "sleeve" with the logo. I bought a piece of tan felt and cut it in half length-wise.  I measured it around my daughter's belly and hotglued one end together.  Then I attached self-stick velcro on the other ends to make it removable.  I Google-searched images for the logo and printed it off on my home printer on a 4x6 background.  I cut it out and attached it to the felt using spray adhesive.  You could use iron-on paper, but I didn't have any on hand.  The spray adhesive held up really well!

For the headband, I cut a piece of oval felt the size I wanted the "whipped cream" to be.  Then, I simply hotglued stretched-out cotton balls all over it.  I hotglued the straw to the cotton and added more cotton balls to cover up the base of the straw and make it more sturdy.

The glasses frames were all my daughter's idea.  I borrowed a pair from a friend to wear for my costume.  When Parker saw mine, she picked up the other pair and demanded, "Glasses, Momma!" She put them on herself and wore them the whole night! It was the perfect touch for our Hipster Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Painted desk

Have you ever had one of hose days where everything seems to be going downhill and then one little thing changes all that? Well today was that day and this desk was that thing. 

I made a split decision to drive past a really hit-or-miss thrift/junk store that's right by my house. Seriously, I've found some great stuff there, but other times, it can be a total bust. They always have some items in the parking lot, so I thought I'd take a quick peek. Well, I saw this desk sitting next to the ugliest recliner you've ever seen. I had to rescue it.  The price tag said $9.99. 

Let me repeat that. 

The price tag. Said $9.99. 

Less than $10 for this gem!

I eve found a Ralph Lauren Polo dress for my daughter for $1.99. I scored today people. 

So I got the desk and brought it home. I couldn't wait. I had to start on it immediately. The wood was in really good condition. I sanded it down just to make it a little smoother. I painted on one coat of white leaving the seat and the desk top natural wood. Then, I heavily distressed the white parts. I sealed the natural wood with polycrylic to make it a bit more durable. 

Total, this piece took about an hour and a half to complete, including waiting on the paint to dry. I'm planning on keeping this and using it for photo shoots! Also, I can imagine my daughter doing homework on it when she gets older. I got really lucky with the thrift store today! It will be hard to top a great find like this one!