Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries


A couple of weeks ago, Geoff and I visited the restaurant Blue Mesa. We were intrigued when we discovered that there was something other than tortilla chips in the chip bowl....they were sweet potato chips. And they were good!! So this sparked an idea in my head (scary...I know!). I thought that maybe instead of cutting up regular potatoes and spraying them with olive oil and sprinkling them with Tony Cachere's Cajun spice and kosher salt and then baking those in the oven....I could do something similar with sweet potatoes. And a reason I really liked this idea...was that the sweet potato fries (if they worked out) would count as a vegetable. And this would come in very handy with a toddler who is very picky about the vegetables she eats. It was worth a try.

So here's what I did. I didn't think that cajun spice and kosher salt would do the trick for sweet potatoes...and since I don't think I have ever even bought a sweet potato before...I just googled "sweet potato fries" and found Sarah's Cucina Bella. I didn't use the exact ingredient amounts, but I did use these ingredients...just dumped the stuff in the zip-loc baggy until they looked like I wanted it to. Moral of the story.... It worked. Parker ate a few of them...



...but hey...I am happy with that!! I think it helps that they look like actual french fries...just a little more golden. And Geoff and I really like them as well. Definitely something I will do again. I do not like sweet potatoes (or at least I used to not like sweet potatoes)...I do, however, love french fries...and although these do not taste exactly like french fries...they do have a similar texture and kind of trick you into thinking that you are eating something bad.

And here's just a little more food for thought (no pun intended...hehe)...these things are really good for you!! I think we'll be seeing more sweet potatoes in our house real soon...

The following information was obtained from: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64


An Antioxidant-Rich, Anti-Inflammatory Food

As an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and a very good source of vitamin C, sweet potatoes have healing properties as an antioxidant food. Both beta-carotene and vitamin C are very powerful antioxidants that work in the body to eliminate free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals that damage cells and cell membranes and are associated with the development of conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease, and colon cancer. This may explain why beta-carotene and vitamin C have both been shown to be helpful for preventing these conditions.

Since these nutrients are also anti-inflammatory, they can be helpful in reducing the severity of conditions where inflammation plays a role, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, which is needed to convert homocysteine, an interim product created during an important chemical process in cells called methylation, into other benign molecules. Since high homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, having a little extra vitamin B6 on hand is a good idea.

Strawberries and Ketchup.


Yesterday for lunch we had Whataburger. I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that...but it was cold outside and it was good, good, good! Anyway- Parker didn't get to eat Whataburger...she had her own meal that was made here (I know- life isn't always fair!). Anyway- she was done with hers before I was done with mine, so I let her sit in my lap. This is what ensued. She immediately starting picking up one fry after another, putting them in her mouth and eating them. She would even pretend to dip it in the ketchup. I have tried ketchup with her before with other things, but she has never been a fan. So- I thought it was cute that she was pretending. Well the deal is...I usually don't let her eat fries because the few times she has had them, they seem to upset her tummy and leave her a bit on the cranky/feisty side. So after about 3, I put the rest of them away and made them disappear. I was ready for a little fit....just knowing that she would want more. But I was wrong. Instead...she decided to pick up some of her leftover strawberry slices and dip those into the ketchup. At first I quickly brushed her hand away....it scared her because she jumped a little. I was trying to save her from the horribleness that was about to touch her mouth. But Geoff insisted I let her try it. And I guess he was right...she didn't mind at all. She had so much fun dipping that strawberry into the ketchup and licking it all off!! Yummy?!?!

NOTE: The pictures you are about to look at are not good. Geoff accidentally took the up and down pictures holding the camera the wrong way. So here's a photography lesson (not really, but this is true): He should have held the camera to where the flash was facing his right, instead it was facing the left...leaving a horrible shadow and a really dark picture. I messed with the exposure a lot to make them bright enough to see and so that's why they have a weird coloring. I don't know if this is true with all cameras, but it is definitely true with ours. It was an honest mistake, but I just wanted to explain what was going on here. So please bare with these photos...but you'll get the point...strawberries and ketchup!










(here...he had figured out how to hold the camera the right way again....:)
Yuh-uh-mmy!?!?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bedhead at its finest...


This morning Parker had some crazy hair! I tried to comb it....I didn't use the "put water on the comb" trick because I didn't feel that it was all that important seeing as we will not be leaving the house today. But today, her hair had a mind of its own....more than usual. I put a bow in to try and at least keep it out of her eyes (a huge pet peeve of mine!). But after about 2 hours of being awake, it just seemed that the more I looked at it, the worse it was getting. It just kept making me laugh outloud! (I think this may have to do with the fact that I am still a little giddy at the fact that I am home today!) So here are some photos of bedhead at its finest...( and I assure you...I did not stage this or make her hair crazier than it was...this is the real deal...)



Here...she is getting a little perturbed that I am still taking her picture....

And here....she's had it!!! (but she does like looking at herself in the little screen on the camera once I have already taken the picture...she kind of giggles and smiles....it's pretty cute!)

My Fitness Coach: Update I

I got a phone call this morning at 6:15, informing me that TWU is closed today due to the inclement weather. I was so disappointed. Ummmmm...yeh right! I couldn't just go back to sleep...I had to get up and see for myself. Then, like a little kid, was too excited to go back to sleep. So I did the only logical thing....I did my first workout using my new "game." And now, I just want to follow-up a little with the post from Sunday since at that point, I had only set up my profile.

I really think I am going to like this if I can just stick to it (isn't that always the case!). But it started out warming up, then did the cardio section. I was sweating after only a couple of minutes. When I was done with that section, then it asks you how it was for you. For example, you didn't break a sweat, if you worked hard, or if you just couldn't keep up. Then they tell you, depending on what you said, that they will adjust the workout for next time (making it harder if you weren't breaking a sweat, or making it easier if you couldn't keep up). They did the same after the abs and the stretching sections.

And so now, here it is 7:50 and I have done my workout for the day. It's a pretty good feeling...one I haven't felt since before Parker was born!

And to everyone getting out into the elements today...be careful!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Fitness Coach

My Fitness Coach

This is the name of the new Wii game that I got this weekend. After talking to one of my friends in nursing school about the Wii and how I was wanting to get the Wii Fit, but that it was hard to find...she suggested the My Fitness Coach. Let me tell you- I am so excited about this new "game." Basically- this program lets you put in your current weight, height...even measurements such as arm circumference, waist, thighs, hips, chest, etc. (so that you can track it). All of that fun stuff. Then it goes through this little fitness thing where you are able to see how much you can do. For those of you who have Wii Sports and have found your Wii fitness age, it is nothing like this. My Fitness Coach d0esn't test your ability to play the Wii, instead- it gets you to put in your resting heart rate...then you do jumping jacks for 2 minutes... then take your heart rate again to see what it is after activity...and then according to those numbers (basically how high your heart rate got), they tell you what kind of a workout that was for you, (i.e. if it was low impact, moderate, or high impact). Then from there they tell you to do as many leg squats as you can until you get to 50 OR you get too tired to go on, and then however many you are able to do, you just enter that number. So there's really no pressure as to how many you can do, you just have to be honest to set an accurate picture of where you are so that it can design a program for you that starts at your level and then you can work up from there. They do the same thing with crunches, push-ups, and then a flexibility test. So.....after all of that is complete, they tell you what they suggest to be your long-term focus area. They tell you that to get a good work-out, you should do a variety for your whole body, but that you can focus on one area. Eventhough they give you a suggestion, you can still choose what you want to be your focus. For example, they chose my upper body because my push-up number was so low....and yes- my upper body is pretty weak. But to me, I want my focus to be my core. I need some abs of steel! haha Anyway- after all of that they ask you to make a committment. Committment. I didn't really like seeing that word. It made it more real. Geoff said, "Yes- Marla. That's why you got this....to do it." So- they give you a calendar and I chose the days that I planned on working out and for how long (because you can decide whatever you want). I chose 30 minutes. And I only put myself down for 3 days because although I would eventually like to work myself up to more, I want to set myself up for success....so we'll just start with that. (Ummmm...looking back, I am thinking maybe I should have started out with two days.) And I also have such a wonderful husband, that he also committed to me that on the days I am scheduled to work out (which we discussed), he will take Parker to the park or upstairs or to the store or somewhere so that I can do my thing. So we'll see. I'll keep you posted. But I am truly excited and thought I'd share because the reviews for this game are pretty good...and it was only $29.99 as opposed to the $89.99 that Wii Fit is. Plus- it's almost like having your own personal trainer. It's sort of like watching a workout video, but the exercises that they choose are tailored to the areas of your body that you want to tone. Plus cardio. The thing that I like is the guidance and variation it will give me. It also asks you what exercise accessories that you have like hand weights, a step board, balance ball, etc. So then the exercises that they have you do can include those things. I guess another way to describe it is attending an aerobics class in your home. The lady talks to you..."You're almost there....and stop!" "Glad to see you here today!" :)

Word to the wise....don't build your profile on the My Fitness Coach (i.e. do 2 minutes worth of jumping jacks, 50 leg squats {my legs are still giving out on me with no warning}, 60 crunches, 30 push-ups, and stretching) 30 minutes after eating Pioneer Woman's Cowboy Nachos. Uhhhhhhhhh....not good. Also- don't let your husband/wife watch. And don't let them do your measurements either. Geez!

So to make myself feel better after doing these exercises/tests/building my profile/measurements....I went and ate a thick and tasty brownie. Hey- my committment doesn't start until tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Poor Lola...

These are words that you will hear us utter often in our house these days (that's a mouthful!). Since Parker was born, the dog has, well.... let's just say, not been given as much attention from us. Well- all of that has changed quite a bit over the past few weeks. From Parker trying to sit on her...touching her eyeballs..."pet" her (aka hitting her fairly hard and then laughing about it)....pulling her ears....to trying to play hide-the-doggie with the throw pillow...to chasing her around the yard trying to shove the tennis ball in her mouth....to this....




But honestly- it's not really Poor Lola....because I think she secretly likes all of the new attention!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kids are funny.

At least I am convinced that mine is. I know that all kids have their quirky things that they do, but it seems like Parker has tried to fit quite a few of them in just past few days. Let's see. We have tonight at dinner when she was eating her chicken nuggets (a new fave at our house, unfortunately)...and we are still working on taking bites...not shoving the whole thing in her mouth all at once. So tonight...she figured out that she could shove the last huge bit into her mouth (a bite that should really be two separate bites to prevent a choking hazard) while looking straight into my eyes, and then, (here's the good part) she would turn her head away from me so that I could not see her while she was chewing it?? So silly. And then there was 2 nights ago when all of her toys were put up and it was almost time for bed and Geoff and I looked at her at the same time only to see her purposefully walking backwards....with a face like "I'm so neat because I am walking backwards." You could tell that she was walking backwards for the mere fact that she wanted to walk backwards..no rhyme or reason. (Why would there be?) And then there was last night. She was attempting to put on my tennis shoes (a feat {no pun intended} she has tried to conquer for months now) and she did it! I saw her and she immediately looked up with the best most happiest smile on her face. Like she felt so accomplished! So then...of course...I get the camera and here are some of the pictures of her actually walking in her momma's shoes...

There's just something that doesn't like right about it...:)




getting closer.... (to me- so she can put her greasy kid hands all over the camera)

yes...her (I mean, my) shoes are on the wrong feet....

but that's not really slowing her down any...


she doesn't know where she's goin', but she's goin'....

KIDS!!! :)

____________________________________________________________

And on a side note...

This is what I came home to today....


Geoff and Parker did this for me for my first day of school. Of course, the flowers are pretty....and the M&Ms are my study snack...and then the card. It was so sweet...


If you can't tell what it says on the left-hand side, I just have to point out that the picture was drawn by Parker...and Geoff wrote a caption saying "picture of mommy smiling." I have to admit...I teared up a bit when I saw it. Don't really know why other than it was just really sweet...so sweet...and perfect after a long day away.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

16 months old


Yes- our little girl is now 16 months old. I was just thinking tonight as I was putting Parker to bed, "when will I stop doing the month-by-month pictures? At 24 months? I can't see myself doing a 25 month post? But who knows...

Anyway- it's been an exciting month. We had a great Christmas and Happy New Year. Off the top of my head- there are 2 major things that have changed this month. Number 1: Parker is now taking one nap a day instead of two. We are still in our transition phase (or at least that's what I call it) because she is making it fine until after lunch, but then once she goes down for her one nap of the day, she wakes up after about an hour with a whine. Not a full on crying fit, but a whine. I made the mistake of going to get her after only a minute or so for a couple of days...and those nights were not the best (I guess you could say)...so then I tried to let her "whine-it-out" for about 4-5 minutes, and since, she has been going back to sleep...making it a good 2 hour nap (fingers crossed that this continues). She is also sleeping a little later now and sometimes going to bed a bit earlier. So in short (or long as you can see), she is sleeping the same amount , but at different times and in different increments. I was a bit nervous to let go of that morning nap (don't really know why), but she's really been great and it has actually helped in being able to plan our day a bit better around the 1 nap, rather than the 2.

The #2 thing that sticks out in my mind is how her vocabulary has really grown over the past month. And I was going to go into that right now with some examples, but I am tired and will have to save it for tomorrow (I hope tomorrow...otherwise it may never happen!).

So here are some pictures of Parker today at the park at 16 months old...





She was on the look-out for the dogs and the ducks. Seriously- she was SO loud and would just constantly say "DAH! DAH! DAH DAH DAH!!!" I laughed outloud. A lot.



And here's this pictures to show just how little our big girl really is...

Here's Daddy and Parker up close and personal with the duckies....we always forget the bread...maybe next time...

This is just a close up of her face from the picture above. She was so into these ducks. Every movement.

She didn't even freak out when the duck did this....
To be honest, I almost did...I mean- you just never know what those things might do!!


And then we decided to leave when she no longer wanted to walk around, but to merely play on these steps.

Byebye...

Friday, January 16, 2009

So far so good...

Well- we made it through the first week with Geoff's new schedule. It worked out really well. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous that our "bright idea" had the possibility of not being so bright after all...but really- it was a great week. Granted- I was not in school yet and into my schedule, but Geoff adjusted well and we all just had a really good week. We were able to spend so much more time together. And Parker is so happy. She is happy when she is home alone with me, and she is happy when she is home alone with Geoff, but it just seems to me that she is happier when we are both home. Although this is not how it will always be (the 3 of us home together since I will have school and then Geoff will work), I am excited that Geoff will have this "extra" time to spend with her. I don't know how to describe it, but it just seems that she is doing something new everyday. From saying new words... to copying something we do... to making a new face...it seems there's always something new. I find myself saying at least once a week "Now, she really seems to know what is going on"...and I think I end up saying it at least once a week because it is those little things that she progressively adds to her repertoire that I could never have imagined.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where did it go??

One of Parker's favorite games to play these days is "where did it go?" (I'm not too creative so we'll have to settle for that title, ok?). This game started about a month ago, but it is just recently that I have been able to capture it in a picture.

So a few nights ago Parker was playing with this...


It is a container of powder and a powder brush. She has been watching me put on my make-up (it's really only been a few times because I feel like I hardly ever wear it these days...although I know that I need to!). She found this (unused) brush under my sink and started playing with it...brushing her face and her hair and all of her head. Long story short...when it was time to go down stairs, she wanted this to come with her.

This is when she started playing her game...

Here, she has hidden the lid and is saying "Dah?" (a.k.a. where did it go??)

Reaching....


"Here it is!" It is so precious to watch. She's so proud of herself!

Hiding it again....

"Where did it go??"

"Here it is!"

And hiding....

And finding...
You get the idea here....we do this for a while....

And now for the real reason I am posting this (it sometimes takes me a while to get to the point, in case you haven't already noticed). We (she) usually plays this game with inanimate objects. But today...she played it with the dog. It started with Lola on the couch, but then moved to the floor, and these are the pictures that I have because this is when I was able to get to the camera.


It took her a while to get settled...And by this point, Parker is over by me wanting to touch and hold the camera herself....

So then I asked her, "where's the doggie?" (I had to ask a few times and she kept giving me looks like, "You don't know where the doggie is??" Reluctantly...she went...

Lifted up the pillow....

"Yep! Still there. Right where I left her."

Then placed the pillow back on her head...and left her....

Seriously...the following picture is at least a couple of minutes later. I was laughing that Lola still just laid there....Probably wishing that we would all go away and thinking that maybe since she could not see us, that we would not see her. :)

Parker was off to bigger and better things...like cleaning. That's my girl!!! She was on a rampage, I'm telling you! She vaccumed with her vaccum earlier in the morning for almost 10 minutes (that's a long time!) and then this sweeping kick went on for almost 10 minutes as well!

Luckily...Lola was not in her way....I'm glad they get along all right. :)

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