Monday, October 31, 2011

Bento Round Up, Week of 10/24

I have to say, this wasn't my proudest Bento week ! I had a pretty hectic (and soul sucking) week at work, lots of busyness in our personal lives and a case of the blahs. We've got two cheese pizza days, a day I know I took a photo, but clearly forgot to upload it before deleting it from my SD card, and a broken hotshoe flash resulting in craptacular photos, including two iPhone photos. Bleh, gripe, moan. On to the lunches!


Monday 10/24

Two little slices of cheese pizza, two Quorn nuggets, peas, strawberries, clementines (which I craved like crazy while pregnant, and lo and behold! Meyers LOVES), homemade blueberry muffin.

Tuesday 10/25

Baked potato mashed with cheese, veggie burger wedges, baked beans, peas, grapes, strawberries with kiwi, homemade blueberry muffin, cinnamon twist.

Wednesday 10/26
No photo, but as I remember, it was whole wheat angel hair pasta w/alfredo sauce, broccoli with alfredo, peas, fruit and some kind of baked good treat.

Thursday 10/27
Cheese pizza, Quorn nugget, corn, half a banana, grapes, homemade pumpkin muffin

Friday 10/28

Half a veggie burger on a wheat bun with bbq sauce and cheese, extra cheese, tots (yep, TOTS), a clementine, graham crackers, grapes.

I'm happy to report that Rhysappotomus gobbled his bentos up happily, despite his mama's malaise. Huzzah!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Magpie Wednesdays

I'm all out of Assvice, for the moment, so I thought I'd come up with a new Wednesday feature. As the hubs and I spend like 90 jillion dollars a month on daycare now, we've had to cut back in other areas. Or, rather, we HAVEN'T cut back, and as such have seen our once healthy bank balance dwindle. *BIG SIGH* In an effort to reign in shopping (especially shopping of the too-easy internet variety), I'm going to post things I'd like to buy here instead of clicking "order now".

One place I'm forbidden from visiting anymore is The Gap. We've got a Gap card and they send us coupons CONSTANTLY. A quick stop at Gap on my lunch break, pop in on the weekend to see what's on sale . . . next thing you know my Gap card bills have surpassed our mobile phone bills and are rivalling our grocery budget. No bueno.

And it really is too bad . . . since if I weren't sworn off the Gap I'd be running over there this very second to buy this hoodie. I love everything about it: Thumbholes! Black! Slimming! It'd be absolutley perfect to wear on our upcoming UK trip.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rhys' Toddler Room Makeover: Round Up

We hung our Tim Burton numbers print over the weekend, and now I consider Rhys' toddler room to be "complete". Here are a few favorite shots:










Monday, October 24, 2011

Another Day, Another Trip To Disneyland

Guys? I can't blog these fast enough. As of the time this posts (I schedule posts, so I'm blogging FROM THE PAST . . . ooooohhhiiieeeeeee), I'll ALREADY have another trip to Disneyland under my belt (and on my SD card). I'm going to roll with it though . . . I'd hate for you to miss even one second of Meyers' Disney fun-time.

One of the things I love about Disneyland is that families who visit the park a lot tends to have thier own "traditions" (i.e., Ride Pirates first! Get DoleWhip, however long the line is! etc. etc.). Two of our traditions from when I was small were to scream bloody murder when the lights go out in the Haunted Mansion stretching room and to try and catch the lead horse when riding the carousel. One of my and Paul's traditions from our years visiting the park before Rhys was born is to eat lunch at the Country Bear restaurant and feed the ducks our leftover hamburger buns. We've kept up with those traditions, and have recently added another. . . root beer floats at the Golden Horseshoe. In all my years visiting the park with my parents, and with Paul before Rhys was born, we never once in my memory had root beer floats at the Golden Horseshoe (which has been there since the park opened in 1955). Of late? We have root beer floats on every visit:



After our floats we made our way to It's A Small World (part of our regular roation now, since Rhys loves it), where we played with all three of our lenses (including the 10/20, with it's spectacular self-photo-taking capabilities), and we mocked the baby for teething (sorry, Rhyser, but you look kind of silly with your whole fist in your mouth! :)):




Also in our regular DLand rotation now is Toontown, where Rhys can run and play. On this trip he had fun climbing the four steps to the slide and sliding down by himself (My big, big boy . . . you guys!):



It was a fun, quick trip!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bento Round Up, Week of 10/17

Monday:


Bean salad, whole wheat quesadilla stars, Quorn "chicken" nugget, strawberries, kiwi, grapes, a homemade pumpkin mini muffin.

Tuesday:

Whole wheat angel hair with alfredo sauce; broccoli with alfredo sauce; Tofurkey sausages with peppers, onions and tomatoes; toast, nutella and strawberry star sandwich; grapes; berries.

That star sandwich was a pain in the butt to make, but it was cute!

Wednesday:


Two zucchini cakes, two butternut squash ravioloi, peas, grapes, half a banana, mini pumpkin muffin

This is going to be a recurring Bento . . . Rhys loves zucchini cakes and squash ravioli. We have a variation on this meal probably once a week.

Thursday:


Two wheat mini pitas stuffed with Tofurkey slices and cheese, cheese stars, snap pea chips, hummus, pumpkin muffin, grapes, blueberries.

This was the Bento of FAIL. Rhys ate nothing but the grapes. I don't think he really likes the sandwich concept, which is funny because all of the three sandwich ingredients (cheese, "meat" and pita) he likes a lot on their own. This lunch almost got him kicked out of daycare for the day, since they assumed he was sick. He's not, though . . . he went on to eat three pieces of pizza for dinner that night. He's just a picky nugget!

Friday:


Two crustless slices of cheese pizza; zucchini, peas and tomatoes sauteed with shallots and olive oil; quorn "chicken" chunks; half a banana; concord grapes; cinnamon twist cookie

We were on a roll with pizza, so I'm hoping Rhyser eats his lunch today!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Browsing

It has come to my attention of late that my eyebrows don't show up in photographs. Behold the browless wonder.

Since we'll be off to the UK in a few weeks, where a heck of a lot of photos will be taken (some of them even of me!), I figured I should remedy the brow situation. Since I'm not into the idea of dropping $50 at Sephora at the moment (see above, re: UK in a few weeks. See, also: Dollar to Pound exchange rate.), I started my brow remedy search with e.l.f. I picked up a $3 Studio Line Brow Kit in Ash (since, despite dabbling in black and fire engine red hair dye, I'm actually nearly blond naturally).



The night the kit arrived I watched a few brow plucking tutorials and had at mine with a pair of tweezers. I measured where my brows should start, end and arch and marked everything off with a pink lipliner pencil (says husband: "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO YOUR FACE?!"). In so doing, I realized that my brows were actually horribly misshapen and that I've been walking around looking like a bizarrely brow-ed troll all my life. Why hasn't anyone told me?!

ANYWAYS.

After cleaning my brows up I used the angled brush (included in the brow kit) to fill them in and encourage them into an arch with the light powder. The color is actually quite light, lighter than my brows even. This worked well though, since I was going for 'natural' and 'groomed' rather than 'painted on with a stencil and liquid eyeliner'. I used the rounded brush end to go over my powdered brows with the slightly darker brow wax and presto! I had eyebrows!

Here is what I look like first thing in the morning, no makeup (the things I do for this blog):



And here's what I look like after makeup and brow powder:



The e.l.f. Stuido Eyebrow Kit is firmly filed as a WIN as far as I'm concerned. My brows look clean, natural and well groomed without appearing fake or overdone. Worth your $3, for certain!

Do you "do" your brows? What product do you use?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dear Meyers

Dear Rhyser,

You are 17 months and 12 days old today, almost one and a half! I've realized over the last few days that you are for certain no longer a baby. You walk. You talk. You have opinions and you know how to express them. You will consent to be snuggled once in a while, usually when you're tired, but you aren't all for full time lap sitting and cuddling like you were 10 months ago (and I'll admit that I miss it). A few weeks ago you had a little 24 hour stomach bug and, I'm so guilty admitting this, but I almost enjoyed that day because all you wanted to do was sit on my lap resting and watching Disney movies. I built us a little nest in the crook of the sofa with cushions and blankets, set us up with drinks and snacks and just spent the day holding you. It was the sweetest thing ever.

I'm loving watching you learn to communicate and craft ever longer and more complicated sentences and requests. Yesterday, in the car on the way home, you got a bit whinge-y (as you sometimes do, in traffic) and I tried passing you a toy knight. You said "No, book!". I offered you your Julius monkey book and you said "No, ELMO book!". You were beyond thrilled with yourself when I passed you the correct book. It was so exciting to see! Later on in that same car ride you held up your little hand for me and said "Eat!", so I passed you a cookie. Just four or five months ago, we might have wound up pulling over to the side of the road, you hysterical in your carseat and me nursing you in the backseat to ease your frustration, without really knowing why you'd gotten worked up in the first place. Now, when you want something, more often than not you can tell me. It is huge. Everything is different now.

Your favorite activity lately is playing with water. Whenever I'm working in the kitchen you hold your little arms out to be picked up asking for "Wash?" Sometimes I set you up with an assortment of cups, sitting on a towel, and give you little slurps of water to pour back and forth between containers. You'll spill it all and ask for more "Wawas?" and I'll say "What do you say?" and you'll ask "Wawas, pease?" You also love taking baths, and you'll play your pouring water between cups game in the tub as well. You stare so intently at the cups as you pour . . . I like to think that you're teaching yourself all about geometry and volume. It wouldn't surprise me at all if you go on to study math or science . . . you are so intent and focused when you play.

Your current favorite books are "Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb", "Goodnight Baby", "The Star Trek Book of Opposites", "Sleep And Dream Of Happy Things (Yo Gabba Gabba!)", "Only In Dreams (Julius Monkey)" and all of your "Play A Sound" books. I'm always hard on myself, thinking we don't read enough, but we must be doing something right because you love to look at books in the car, you have specific favorites and I've read lot of those favorites enough times that I have them memorized. Something tells me you'll probably grow up to be just fine, even if some days we read only one book instead of four.

You are a good little eater, except for when you aren't! You're on a nice streak of eating anything we put in front of you lately, which has been fun. Last night you devoured the zucchini and Parmesan cake I'd made for you in seconds flat and were asking for "More, more, more!" before your dad had even sat down at the table! ("More" is always asked three times, by the way. With a little arm flapping motion thrown in for good measure. It is precious.) Particular favorite foods include strawberries, pasta, pizza, zucchini cakes (apparently!), tofu, any kind of meat (you're an equal opportunity eater, like your dad), yogurt and carrots.

On the nursing front, you seem to be making a move towards giving up your post school/work nursing session, which will leave us with bedtime/early morning nursing only. I still pump twice a day in order to provide you with one cup of my milk for naptime at daycare, but my volume is decreasing and I'm only planning to continue pumping for a few weeks more. I've got it in my head that since I've made it this far, I'd like to say I pumped for a round 18 months, so that's what we'll do. I'm so glad that we've continued nursing this long, and that we'll continue to nurse. At the same time, I'm proud of you for gradually giving it up. You're turning into a big boy, and I'm so lucky to get to watch you grow up at your own pace.

You've made friends with all the little kids at daycare, and can say all of their names. You're sweet to the baby and you share your toys with the big kids. Then again, sometimes, you bite, snatch and shout "Miinneeee!". You're a toddler . . . it happens. Almost every day when I come see you at lunchtime or come to pick you up, you're playing happily with one of the other kids and it makes me so happy to see. Daycare is a necessity, Your dad and I have to work and so you have to go. We've reached the point in your life though where I think spending time with other kids and with other adults has value . . . for you to have opportunities to play with kids your own age, see other styles of authority and learn from people other than your parents. Preschool is right around the corner, we'll actually be interviewing a few in the next month or so. My baby . . . preschool! My head spins just typing it.

As always, you're the sweetest, smartest, most beautiful child ever to live and I love you more than I ever though possible. Even though every day I think I love you more than anything in the world, the very next day I love you even more. There's some physics loophole by which you've created a supermassive black hole of baby love. See? You're an astrophysicist already.

You are my universe, Bubs.

Love,

Your Mama

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pinterest Rules My Life: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Whoopie Pies

I'm not even going to pretend that I made these using REAL pumpkin, bought at the pumpkin patch and lovingly hand cut, baked and pureed. I bought a can, like a real live working mom. It was can of organic pumpkin, at least, so two gold stars for me!

Anything pumpkin is a good time. Anything with cream cheese icing is also a good time. So, it stands to reason that these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Whoopie pies would be a REALLY good time. And they were!



I modified the recipe a tiny bit to use sugar instead of Splenda, unbleached wheat flour instead of white and olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I also halved the cream cheese icing recipe and wound up with about double the number of cookies the recipe suggested I'd have, so my pies were lightly iced inside which made them, although a tad less fun, easier and less messy to feed to mr. toddler pants.

I'd make these again in a heartbeat . . . in fact, I plan to bring them for Thanksgiving dinner this year!

Have you made any good recipes from Pinterest lately?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Fun

Although it is like a bazillion degrees here in LA (actually 90 at the moment I type this, lest you think I'm exaggerating), we are fast approaching mid-October and I finally gave in and admitted that if I were to hold out for Fall weather, Rhys might not visit the pumpkin patch AT ALL this year. Since skipping it entirely would've been completely unacceptable, we trekked out there in 85-ish weather. UGH!

We had a fun day, in any event. Playing with our camera (I used two of my lenses . . . the Sigma 10 20 and Canon 50 1.8):





Rhys panned for gems:





Met a few goats (he was unimpressed):



We took a hayless hayride:



And even rode a carousel:



I'll try not to grumble too much about the weather, because really, other than the oppressive, un-festive heat it was a pretty perfect day having fun and hanging out with family. I'm just oooovvveerrrrr the high temperatures and boring old sunshine, day in and day out. I'm sure if I were further north I'd be grumbling about the oppressive never-ending rain . . . or maybe not, because I'd be happy to be wearing my rain boots every single day. I'd imagine I'd amass quite the rainboot collection, if I lived in Seattle. That actually sounds fun.

How is your Fall going so far? Does it feel like Fall to you yet?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Round Up: Rhys' First Week of Bentos

Here are photos of the Bento lunches I made for Rhys this week:

Monday:

Whole wheat mac and cheese with tiny cheese stars, peas, strawberries, blueberries, homemade pumpkin cookie.

Tuesday:
Leftover Quorn cacciatore, whole wheat pasta with Parmesan and olive oil, cream cheese "toast ghost", blueberries, grapes.

Wednesday:
Two zucchini and leek pancakes, broccoli, two butternut squash ravioli with Parmesan and butter, a section of homemade pumpkin waffle, half a banana, strawberries.

Thursday:
Peas, two crustless wedges of cheese pizza, a halved zucchini pancake, blueberries, strawberries, graham crackers.

Friday:
Peas, brown rice, two veggie potstickers, two veggie pancakes (halved), grapes, strawberries, a cinnamon pastry twist.

He ate well each day, but I'm told Thursday was a real favorite. He polished off every single bite! So far preparing Bento lunches has been quick and almost as easy as preparing regular lunches. I think we'll keep it up! My only issue has been that Rhys gets SO EXCITED seeing me pack food in his panda after dinner that he kinda wants it then and there. Maybe we'll get him a dinner box too?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rhys' Toddler Room Makeover: The Mouse Door

I am fairly certain I first saw the idea for this project on Oh Dee Doh way back when I was pregnant with Rhys an didn't know yet whether he'd be a boy or a girl (although, I will have it known that I ALWAYS thought he was a boy, and said as much on this here blog).

ANYWAYS.

I had figured I'd save the "fairy door" idea for a girl baby sometime down the road, but when we started redoing Rhys' toddler room and I realized I could simply call it a MOUSE DOOR instead, I decided to go ahead and install one now. I used Ebay as my shopping resource and picked up a door, a knocker and handle set, and a little articulated mailbox with a hinged lid. Our local OSH hardware store sells little sample pots of paint that were perfect for this project . . . I bought one in cream and one in red and set to work transforming my little unfinished pine door:



Once I had the door painted, I did some research on dollhouse adhesives. I wanted everything to be UBER secure since, while Rhys isn't big on putting stuff in his mouth, the handle, mailbox, etc, are all potential choking hazards. I discovered that "gap fill" glue was considered the best for dollhouse hardware adhesion and picked up this Locktite glue from Fire Mountain Gems. I also picked up a tube of Gorilla glue to use affixing the door to the wall.



As it turned out, the Locktite was my choice for affixing the door, since I was worried about Gorilla Glue's expansion properties and having glue seeping trough the doorjamb. I did, however, have to use Gorilla Glue to attach the mailbox, as the Locktite wasn't making enough contact to bond (and Gorilla Glue in that application WAS very seep-y and leak-y . . . but I managed to clean up the glue mess with Q-tips before it dried and all looks fine in the end, I think).



Rhys really got a kick out of seeing the door for the first time! He knocks on it, opens and closes the mailbox and even calls "MOUSE!?". Although I feel really badly for whoever buys our condo down the line, because that door is SO never coming off, I am happy we took the mouse door plunge and I think Rhys will continue to get a kick out of the door as he grows.



As fidgety as the project was, what with taping tiny corners, multiple paint coats, etc., I'm actually itching to make another door. Maybe a mouse door would make a nice baby shower gift? Packaged with a tube of glue to install? What do you think?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Assvice Wednesdays

AW #13:

Make these. Stack them up with sheets of wax paper between each. Stick them in the freezer. Once frozen, break each in half and store in a freezer bag. Pop a half in the toaster each morning. They taste amazing, they're actually pretty darn healthy, and your kitchen will smell like fall every morning from now through Halloween.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Socially Inclined

A quick, drive by post to let you know that I've set my Etsy shop up with a Facebook page and a Twitter account. I plan to use both to share previews of new items, behind the scenes photos of my workspace, alerts regarding especially cool new listings and coupon codes. Internet ninjas will note, a coupon code has already been made available.

The thing that I've always loved most about Etsy is the personal angle. When you buy from an Etsy seller, you aren't buying from a faceless multi national corporation . . . you're buying from (if I can get away with projecting a little here) a working mom who fiddles around with beads and coins in the dark every night purely because she loves doing so. I hope to share a little bit of that creative process through these two new outlets.

Please stop by on Facebook or Twitter to say hi!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bentotastic

Back when I was pregnant with Rhys I came into a copy of this adorable book on Bento Boxes for kids. I became OBSESSED with collecting cute Bento ideas and that year for Xmas, the hubs bought me a sweet little panda box and a pair of hard boiled egg molds.

Thrilled as I was to get those Bento fixings, they've been shelved in a cupboard until just now. While I knew I wanted to be the kind of mom who made cute little Bento lunches for her kidlet, I didn't have a real-food-lunch-eating kidlet until recently. And when Leah posted a link to Wendolonia's Bento blog on Friday, it was just the kick in the butt I needed to pull the panda out of storage.

I packed Rhys his first Bento for lunch today. I'm told he liked it quite a bit.



Along with the panda box, I used a bunch of silicone baking cups that I'd received as wedding gifts but never used (they're adorable, but typically when I bake cupcakes I bring them somewhere and, as such, am not in a position to ask for the wrappers back!). Rhys had homemade whole wheat mac and cheese from the night before, paired with a cup of peas and studded with tiny cheese stars that I cut out using a punch that came with my Zoku popsicle maker. The second tier of the panda was fruit themed and included a stack of halved strawberries, a pile of sliced blueberries and a homemade (whole wheat and olive oil based) pumpkin bread cookie.

I'm pretty pleased with the aesthetics of the box, for a first attempt! I'm looking forward to trying out a few more ideas (mini wheat bagel sandwiches filled with crushed blueberries and cream cheese? whole wheat quesadillas cut into star shapes? Mikey Mouse pancakes?) Bento sharing might become a regular feature around these parts!

Do you know of any good Bento idea resources? Are you interested in seeing the lunches I come up with for Rhys?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rhys' Toddler Room Makeover: Fort Meyers' Command Center

So! The two holes in Rhys' play tent that face the wall were just crying out to be filled with something fun and gadgety for Rhys to use for imaginative play. Initially I thought I'd put wall decals up so there'd be images visible through the portholes, but my husband did one better by suggesting some sort of hanging toy apparatuses.

I did lots of searching for wall mountable toys but, if they exist, I sure as heck didn't find them (in any form other than $300+ doctors' office waiting room toy form which, just . . . no.) I had started drawing up plans to build something using wood knobs and beads, having rejected a plan to install non-working light switches and dimmer knobs (I was grasping at straws!), when I realized we had the perfect solution sitting in our house the whole time.

An abacus from Ikea that we gave Rhys for Xmas which never got played with much because the stand isn't sturdy enough to keep it upright during spastic toddler play sessions. I tacked it to the wall with two command strips and presto, Fort Meyers had a command center.

We filled the smaller hole with a tap light purchased from the hardware store for about $6 and also held in place with a command strip.



Rhys is just starting to get into make-believe and I hope he appreciates these little touches as he grows! I know that my inner 5 year old practically peed her pants when she saw the tent all gadget-ed out in all its glory. I only hope Rhys likes it as much as she did!