29 May 2009

Help A Mama Out

Quick question for you all (mamas, babysitters, people who are otherwise brilliant with children, etc....).

What did your kids eat for snacks at around age 18 months? Or, what suggestions do you have for healthy, yummy, creative, toddler-friendly snacks?

We're running out of ideas and getting a little bored around here with our regular snack times and I'm looking for new ideas!

I know my *many* loyal readers (snicker) all either have kids and/or love cooking so I thought I'd ask you all first!


UPDATED: I'll take meal time suggestions, too, not just snacks!

26 May 2009

Elmo pees.

Sorry for the title...I'll explain, I promise.

Brian and I have been singing to Liam since his birth, and very early in his life certain songs seemed to calm him more than others. The monotone and repetition of songs like "Old MacDonald" and the alphabet song were particularly soothing, especially when riding in the carseat. So Liam heard these songs very, very often. And we've realized as he has gotten older that he was listening and absorbing a lot of what we were singing to him.  One of his first words was "E-I-E-I-O," in fact. We'd stopped using that song as a calming technique as he got older and needed less soothing, but suddenly probably months after hearing the song the last time, he started singing it back to us. We were stunned and thrilled that he remembered.

After that, it is not entirely surprising that Liam has begun singing the alphabet to us. He heard it many times when he was very small, and even has a Leapfrog toy that sings his alphabet to him as well.  So several times in the last few days I have heard him going about the house singing, "ABCD.....e..c...d.... ."  He's got the first part down, and the tune is pretty close, but after that he jumbles a little. Well, yesterday afternoon he added a bit more.

"ABCD..e..c...d...*pause*......elmo peeeee..."

Perhaps I should suggest that as the next "must-have toy" this year....Go Potty Elmo?

12 May 2009

Trader's Joes and other thoughts

A funny thing happens whenever Brian and I move to somewhere new.

The place we left seems to get...cooler.

We lived in downtown Rome, Georgia for the first year of our marriage, right on Broad Street in an old and rundown but pretty cool little loft apartment. We spent our evenings wandering up and down Broad Street, which is the heart of downtown Rome, eating at Schroeder's New Deli and window shopping. Then we moved to North Carolina. And Rome got STUFF. Like gourmet food shops and bakeries on Broad Street. And a Ru San's - our very favorite Atlanta sushi place, the sushi place where we had our first date. And Starbucks in the Kroger that we shopped at. Meh.

But we lived in Charlotte which was pretty cool. And then we moved to Shelby, NC. And guess what happened? Our road in Charlotte got STUFF. The very road that we lived on for TWO WHOLE YEARS now has a SUPER Target, a Mimi's Café, and A STINKIN' IKEA. An Ikea, people. Now. After we're gone. Why, oh why???

Ok, so the point. We've discovered something else that our old neighborhood in Charlotte has now that it did not before. A Trader Joe's. And boy, do we love Trader Joe's. Have you ever heard of them? Been to one? If not - GO!  Check out the locations, find one near you, and go!  Trader Joe's is a great little grocery store that people in California are lucky enough to get to shop at all the time. They carry lots of organic and all natural products, gourmet and hard to find foods, and their own product brand which is well priced and delicious!!  So far we've tried Trader Joe's brand cookies (yum), Korean short ribs - a must buy, and several other items including Israeli couscous (large pearls of couscous instead of very small), cheese, pizza dough, and French onion soup.  The only thing we have not been crazy about so far was the soup - Brian thought it was a little bland. Trader Joe's is also home to Charles Shaw wines, better known as "Two-Buck Chuck."  We've tried a couple of bottles with some of our dinners, and for cheap wine it's pretty good!

One of my very favorite Trader Joe's purchases of late has to be the pizza dough. They sell fresh made pizza dough in little bags. You take it home, roll it out (which includes tossing it in the air if you are brave like my husband), top it, and bake!  We made two, one with olives, peppers, and mushrooms and one with fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, and mushrooms (hey, we like mushrooms).  It turned out like fancy artisan pizza that you get at overpriced pizza places but cheaper and made at home!

And I have to admit - this just makes Trader Joe's even cooler.  They use proper grammar.

I can't help but wonder what will come to Shelby after Brian and I move, and what we will miss from this town when we move on to the next.