Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Anniversary

My Love,

It has been a wonderful journey over the last five years. In some ways it seems like yesterday, and in others ... well you know. ;-) You have made the last five years adventurous, exciting and memorable and I wouldn't want to travel through this life without you. You are a very caring and loving husband and father. Your love for your son and me is more than I could ever hope for. I love you. Here's to the first five and many more to come.

Love,

Your Wife



Thursday, July 30, 2009

Year Four

Our fourth year can be summed up in two main events: pregnancy and house-buying. Those were the big check boxes that our team decided to tackle for our fourth year of marriage. Year three was out of country travel ;-) Year four we had to kick it up a notch and buying a house and getting pregnant seemed like good things to accomplish in year four of our union.

Our fourth year was started out pretty status quo, my work situation was becoming increasingly ridiculous and a change was on the horizon there "any day" every day. I eventually quit less than a week after we closed on our house. After finding out we were pregnant, I chose to start my SAHM duties early and kept myself busy at home.

For several weeks prior to quiting, our lives were consumed with house hunting, paperwork, inspections and all the good festive headaches that come with buying a home. Then they were quickly transitioned into the appliance, carpet, paint buying and decision making mode. Then we moved in. :) The first thing we did when we moved in was put up the Christmas tree. It was past Thanksgiving and I was dying. I always ALWAYS put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving - and to have to wait an extra 5+ days was torture for me. We had no furniture in the house, but we had a tree :) We moved in officially a week later. And a few days after that we confirmed that I was pregnant.

We spent Christmas proper in So-Cal with my family and it was a delightful time. Especially announcing to everyone that we were going to have a baby in August 2008! It was an exciting, yet nauseous time for us me. Well he was excited - but not so nauseous. 2008 was riddled with doctor's appointments and many firsts. First heartbeats, first movements, the ever expanding baby belly. Loving Husband was ever so attentive during my pregnancy and took wonderful care of me and our son.

We wrapped up our fourth year by celebrating early in case Ace came at one of our favorite places to celebrate our anniversary - the lodge by the falls. It was an enjoyable and relaxing time for us. It was our final anniversary as just the two of us. We were weeks away from embarking on a challenging and most rewarding endeavor: raising our son!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Year Three

Our third year of marriage was actually the first year that we spent the entire year together! We ease into things ;-) just kidding. Our third year of marriage was a wonderful one it included our trip to Roma. It was wonderful, but I'm getting ahead of myself as that was near the end of our third year together.

Year three started out with me getting a job at law firm, which for a while was a wonderful job. I was happy to be working again. We hosted Christmas at our home for both our families, everyone but my brother and his wife were able to come. It was a full house, but such a great time.

We moved in January of that year again to a different rental, a smaller place - but we fit comfortably and the cats adjusted to their smaller indoor haven. We were both really busy with work and studying for much of the first part of 2007, but after that season passed we enjoyed some fun. During work in the winter of 2007 I studied and took the bar exam again. Working in the law firm 40+ hours a week and studying was pretty grueling but it was effective as I passed the bar exam. I was sworn in at a private ceremony hosted by my bosses, it was a really special event - that I still appreciate to this day. My mom and Dawn were able to fly out and be there and of course Loving Husband was there!

The summer was wonderful as we spent it in Roma (ok we were only there for 10 days)! It was our first time in Italy and I fell in love. It was a wonderful trip to spend just the two of us. We took a trip with a group of friends to the beach shortly after returning from Roma and spent the weekend there. It was a lot of fun. We celebrated our third anniversary by seeing a dinner show Teatro Zinzanni and it was awesome! It was a wonderful way to celebrate our third year together.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Year Two

Our second year of marriage started back in Southern California after a nice anniversary in the NW. I surprised my husband with a trip to the local mountains I grew up near, as he had never been there. I found a cute little bed and breakfast and reserved the "presidential suite" for the weekend. We celebrated his birthday and enjoyed another nice weekend away after spending several weeks apart.

I started teaching at That College in August and became the director of Forensics and Loving Husband was very helpful assisting with the debate team.

Our second year of marriage was a hard year for me in general, I lost both my grandpa and my dad within two months of each other. LH was my rock during that and was very helpful and loving through that.

At the end of 2005 Loving Husband received a job offer in the NW, however I was under contract at That College through the end of May. So my husband and I prepared and began a six month separation while he began his job in the NW and I wrapped up our lives in California. We saw each other about once a month and talked every day. While a challenge it was good. I moved to the NW in June.

For the first time in... forever I didn't have anything to do. My job at That College was done for the summer. I was planning to teach some online courses for them, but that didn't begin until August and so I found myself alone in a new state with only my husband and our two kitties. I slowly made friends and sorta (not really) studied for the bar exam again.
It was so nice to be in the same house again and to enjoy the beautiful summers that exist here in the northwest. We were reunited with our kitties and enjoyed spending time as a family together. We celebrated our second anniversary at the Space Needle for dinner. It was wonderful, we walked around the area before dinner and Loving Husband won me a prize at the carnival :) It was a nice way to celebrate another challenging by wonderful year together.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Year One

Our wedding day was beautiful. The weather was perfect, the ceremony was late enough that no one felt rushed, and my wedding started on time (that was my only brideism that I was a bit crazy about) we had a beautiful and simple ceremony, not too long. Be Thou My Vision played during the signing of the marriage license and we were surrounded by candlelight. The reception was very nice and I ate my entire dinner (some brides forget to eat, I wanted my filet - I was going to eat) we cut the cake and tossed some things and headed off for our honeymoon.

Our honeymoon was a surprise to me. Loving Husband had kept it a secret. In part our honeymoon was a several week extravaganza because one of LH's friends got married the Saturday after ours - so we had a mini honeymoon in the NW and then our real honeymoon in Jamaica! The entire time was wonderful to relax and just spend time with my new husband. I loved the warm waters of Jamaica and the resort was wonderful.

We came back to reality and my third year of law school and work at the law firm. LH went back to work. We enjoyed our first halloween as a married couple going as a bride (I wore my runaway dress) and he came as my ball and chain -- wearing a ball and chains. We enjoyed Thanskgiving in Southern California with both our our families. His parent's came down and we all went to my grandma's. It was a nice time. Our first Christmas together we began our tradition of exchanging stockings.

I graduated from law school in May and moved to the NW for three months to study for the bar exam and to live with his parents. We knew that we were moving to the NW in the near future, although at the time the date wasn't set, but I had to take A bar exam. During that time we acquired a kitty (Tort) by the end of the summer we adopted his brother (Nick) who orignally was LH's mom's cat... they couldn't be seperated. They had to stay in the NW though for a while until we moved back to the NW. At the end of July, after the exam, Loving Husband came to join me and we celebrated our first anniversary at the same spot we had enjoyed phase one of our honeymoon - at the lodge!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Beginning

Loving Husband and I met in August 2002, I was volunteering at my Alma mater (that I just just graduated from that previous May) as a debate coach and he was a transfer recruit to the debate team, he was a junior. I was instantly smitten, but had just come out of a long term relationship and so I wasn't really interested in dating - but I was very much interested in spending more time with him. His best friend had been on the debate team with me (also a junior now) and him and I had been friends. So hanging out LH wasn't very hard to do. We spent a lot of time together. We attended church together, often just the two of us, we rode together in vehicles to debate tournaments, we spent a lot of time together and I had a MAJOR crush. He seemed oblivious.


In November of that year my mom asked why don't you just date him and my response was that I could never date him, I'd only marry him. My mom found that weird and confusing, but it made perfect sense to me. We continued to be friends that saw each other more than any one else - I dated someone off and on in between for a while since LH was showing little interest, but LH still held my attention more than any other.


As time went on we continued to spend time together, everyone on the debate team thought we were dating - we continuously corrected them - because while I secretly harbored that desire - I didn't want to be third grade about it and have a bunch of people (yes boys included) giggling about it. Fast forward a bit to April when LH and my paths were nearing a brink or a break almost - in the fact that he was maybe going to NY and I was going to Northern California... after prayer, reflection, and some terse words to other parties - we began dating. Now as we told people we were dating, no one believed us - but eventually they all saw it to be true and were as happy as we were.


I spent those first few months of our dating relationship in Northern California, I had a job in a law firm. I wasn't going to give that up simply for a new dating relationship with a boy - although I knew that this boy would be my husband - I was clear from the get go that I wouldn't date him, I would only marry him. He had the same thing in mind. We "survived" our long distance relationship just fine and I moved back home.


In November 2003 (a year after my mom had asked why don't I just date the boy) LH took me on a cruise to Mexico - and on that cruise on the last day we were on the boat, he woke me at sunrise and took me to the back of the boat to watch it and proposed to me. He had had my ring made from a design he drew. I was in love (with him) and I was getting married. We decided on July 31st, 2004.


Cold Turkey

I have allergies. The one that I currently find most obnoxious and problematic is my allergy to pineapple. You see it isn't a common food allergy. No one is going to get slapped with a multi-million dollar lawsuit if they fail to acknowledge pineapple is in something. Dairy, nuts, whey..... all of these gems that cause terrible side effects are well documented on labels. Pineapple, not always. Often? Yes. Always? No. And so I was struck by the evil fruit (which ironically used to be my favorite fruit, stupid late onset allergies!) about a week ago. I had some coconut rum that had it in there, because by nightfall of drinking it, my entire top lip inside and out was erupted in cold sores and canker sores. DELIGHTFUL! I did my very very best to avoid my son with my mouth or my hands if they had been near my mouth. No sharing food, nada. We had managed to avoid any previous potential catastrophe earlier this year when I was exposed by an jelly belly! Who knew jelly bellys contained REAL pineapple?! Siiiigh.

Today we awoke to see a little red dot on our son's lip. Oh no. Now he had fallen the evening before and busted open his lip very near where this dot was. However, the blood yesterday was on the inside near the top of his bottom lip and this dot was on the outside at the bottom of his bottom lip. Could it be a bruise? It seemed to be circular - a blister didn't seem to be there exactly, but (while we could hold him still) it did appear to have a white dot.... Oh no! So we took him to the walk in clinic. The doctor was of little help. Not so much to his own failures of medical knowledge but because the red dot didn't really have much of a blister - he said it could be a cold sore, it could be a clogged pore due to the heat, it could be from where he cracked his lip the night before. Siigh. He took a swab but was not confident that since there was no real blister to speak of that it would yield a positive result. He said if a blister did form over the weekend to bring Ace back in and he'd simply swab it again - no appointment or waiting required.

Also while we were there Ace got to stand on the big boy scale for the first time ever. He did very well ... until he tried to step off while mommy was answering the nurse's question and stumbled into the wall as he toppled over. However, we did find out that he weighs 19.2lbs now. Then while Loving Husband and I were waiting with Ace in the room, Ace busted the other half of his bottom lip open trying to retrieve Nemo who had fallen to the floor. The step to get up onto the table caused said resistance to his lip. Poor kid, take him to the doctor to get better and ends up with a bonk on the head and a fat lip.

The doctor decided that since there is a chance, albeit a slim chance, to spread cold sores to a nipple that breastfeeding was out of the question until we got a) the negative results back or b) the cold sore goes away. Excuse me?! No breastfeeding? Do you understand this is my son we are talking about? The no bottle, barely solid food boy? Are you MAD?! In addition to that my last few experiences with pumping have been a struggle. GREAT! Now to Ace's credit he has been in the last few weeks taking a bottle every now and again and in the last two weeks has been enjoying some goat's milk out of them. So I'm glad he's finally gotten on the bottle train or today would have been a real nightmare.

Yes, my son had to go cold turkey from the boob. After leaving the doctor's office, we went to BRU to purchase some formula. Worried that my pumping problem would persist (say that 3xs fast!) we thought it best to have it on hand. As it turns out - Ace HATES formula, he drank maybe an ounce and would not touch it after that. However, goat's milk was a decent alternative most of the day. He drank about 7oz. of goat's milk and solid food on his regular schedule. The only real challenge was nap time. I put him in the Ergo carrier and the poor boy tried to root around on my chest, there was about an hour of fussing and sadness, but eventually taking the bottle and conking out on me for his standard 45 minute nap. Not the most comfortable for mommy, but it was ok - it was a special time for him and I.

The whole potential pumping problem? Not so much of a problem after 10 hours. Yah since Ace's last nursing session was 7am - come 5pm I HAD to pump. Since I am hoping that this is only a temporary cold turkey situation and that I can continue to nurse after the sore is gone, I am not wanting my milk to dry up. I want Ace to naturally wean - this is not natural for him or me. This might very well be how we transition from nurse all day to early morning/night only though in the long run - but for now I'd like to still produce the same amount that I currently am. Considering that's only really occurring in one side. Yes in less than 20 minutes I pumped 12oz... out of one. An impressive feat. Ace enjoyed 6oz over the course of the rest of the evening and the other bottle ready for the nighttime wakings. I pumped again at 10 and gathered an extra 6oz in case he's super hungry in the night. Then we'll revert back to goats milk for a while in the morning.

Overall, Ace is doing ok with the cold turkey. He's been sad a few times and his dad had to get him to sleep tonight without me because it broke my heart. Tonight will be the first time when my little boy wakes up sleeping next to me that I will not simply roll over and let him nurse. It breaks my heart and it hasn't even happened. Perhaps tonight will be the night he sleeps through the night and I don't have to deal with watching his semi-sleeping-self root around desperate to find his midnight snack and instead being meet with a bottle. Perhaps in a few hours the 'cold sore' will disappear and merely be a bruise from the first fat lip he receive and I can pull my baby into my side and let him nurse till our hearts are content.

I hate you pineapple. I really do.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Favorites - Our Anniversary

This year we are celebrating our 5th anniversary! It's hard to imagine that 5 years has gone by when I said "I do" to the love of my life. We have enjoyed many celebrations of our anniversary. This next week leading up to our anniversary, I will have a post on each of our five years together.

The below picture is one of my favorites from our wedding day. Mostly because my husband is whispering to me that he hates pictures, but loves me. So my smile in this one is very real.



Friday, July 24, 2009

Eleven Months Old


What a month it has been for my little man. So many adventures, so much excitement, such a FAST month. Weren't you just turning double digits? Are we really into the final moments before you turn ONE YEAR OLD?! My goodness - where does the time go?

Well for Ace's eleventh month of life we enjoyed a few more firsts: Roseola, first trip to the zoo, first 4th of July, his first time being babysat, his first trip to a water park, his first taste of goat's milk.

We round out Ace's 11th month with 6 teeth fully in. One of the teeth looks like it has a chip, but I believe it was never "damaged" on the outside, I think it might have malformed under the gums since it was pushing against another tooth. Although who knows! He's a busy boy running around, climbing stairs, biting rocks (siiiigh) it could have happened anywhere. We will be making his first dental appointment soon.

Ace has (for now) reclaimed his enjoyment of solid foods and we are routinely eating about 1 to 1.5 jars of food over the course of a day. Every other day mommy tries to let him explore the idea of feeding himself dinner - followed promptly with a bath. That's another thing, we've graduated out of the baby bath tub and into the big boy tub! There's no turning back now. Additionally, he's added goat's milk into his diet - he's taken to it very well and there seems to be no signs of an adverse reaction. It has made mommy's ability to go out whenever much easier as planning and pumping do not need to be involved.

In the learning department, he hasn't added too much to his vocabulary, occasionally he mutters in a repeat fashion "red" and also 8 out of 10 times will point to the color red when we ask him to. He does ok with yellow too but that is after a lot of repetition so the remembering that association I don't believe is quite there yet. However, I am confident that he knows the color red. We continue to work on colors and numbers. Those currently are some of his favorite books. His ultimate favorite book though is his Jesus Storybook Bible. Almost every night Loving Husband reads it to him and almost every morning I read some to him right after we wake up. He will often walk over and try to pick up the book himself. It's really cute to watch. He's getting more and more comfortable simply sitting (still!!) in our laps and reading about one to two pages before he feels we should move to another page or a different room entirely (aka the wiggles start to break free of his tiny body.)

Ace is walking without issue now, even with a bit of a jog to it at times. He is enjoying the outdoors whenever we will let him escape out there and loves to climb up the stairs. He doesn't like shoes in the least which is a-ok with us and now that he's more independent with his movements we've been able to take him to fun places like toddler cafes which look like giant play lands for kids and the water parks. He's really enjoyed the freedom that walking gives him.

My little boy is growing so fast, but I'm loving this new phase of him learning and advancing everyday. His world is expanding around him and he's learning new things daily. Although some of those do include learning how to open drawers and get into cupboards, but that's ok - because it's all a part of growing up. Enjoy your final month before the years set in baby boy, they'll go so fast after that.

*** He was just waking up for these pictures, and his pants really do fit, apparently just not when he's sitting. *****

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A New Adventure!

Having an 11 month old - my adventures are pretty limited. It's ok, I'm enjoying whole-heartily the adventure of watching my little boy grow. However, every now and again the downtime creeps in and the piercing void of something to do takes over. And so coupled by many different motivations, I have decided to embark on an additional blogging endeavor. Don't worry, The A-Priori Mommy isn't going anywhere, she's just splitting her personality into the Amature Foodie as well. Yes, I have started a new blog. As you may have noticed button on my left column that has been there for a few days, I created a new blog, a new adventure.


While The A-Priori Mommy will remain true to our daily life and the happenings and milestones of Ace and a few fun giveaways every now and again, like THIS one that is currently going on; Amature Foodie will be my outlet and accountability for making dinners and the inspirations to drive me to a culinary adequacy. Yes, you read correctly. I'm not seeking to be the next great food blogger, just someone that cooks semi-regularly in this house. :) (shameless begging, self-promotion, and unjustified guilting are imminent) So if I have people reading (Pllllllleeeeeeeeeaaase!) and following my food blog and reading what is happening in my kitchen then the more likely things are to happen in my kitchen (guilt in 3, 2, 1...) and then my family will be fed good and healthy home-made food.

Ok ok, yes my family will still eat even if people do not read my new blog, Amature Foodie, but if you are interested in what we're cooking up at our place, please do stop by and check it out. I plan to post recipes, and links to great and better blogs than mine that I've found that have wonderful recipes. I do hope that Amature Foodie additionally will become a good resource to find good things to create in the kitchen.

Thank you to all of you whom read The A-Priori Mommy, I would write about my son and his adventures all day long, even if there was no audience to be found - but it's such a delight to know that other people take some joy from hearing reading about and seeing my sweet baby boy.

Meatloaf with a delicious twist

Often when you think of meatloaf you think of your standard beef and ketchup mixed meal. However, tonight with a pound to ground turkey in my fridge begging to be cooked and not tossed in the trash, I knew I needed to cook - and I had planned to make a second helping of Doron’s Turkey Meatballs with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts after making a delicious first helping at our book club. However, when we got home it was already nearly 7pm and the thought of making meatballs and standing over a hot skillet cooking them in the house that was 80' did NOT sound like fun.

But since the turkey was on it's final day of survival... something had to be done and those meatballs were REALLY calling my name. So I decided to make it a meatloaf! Followed the recipe just the same - with the exception of "cook in hot skillet with oil" I tossed it into a bread pan and cooked at 350' for 50 minutes. Slice and serve. I of course still made the lemon cumin yogurt sauce and served it with it. It was delicious.

I think I'll make this dish even more now that I know that it tastes just as delicious in meatloaf form. If you need inspiration for recipes, I really recommend Molly's blog, Orangette.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Heart Faces ... er Feet!





Time for another installment of I Faces and this week they are focusing on FEET! So really this week I Feet is showing off all the piggies. Of course I am very fond of my little man's piggies. In fact they are my button for this blog! However, we've all see those feet day in and day out, so perhaps a more updated picture of piggies are required.

This picture was taken after Ace had crawled around the cherry blossoms back in April. He was seven months old at the time. Hard to believe this week he turns eleven months old!



Check out other people's piggy pictures here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Clapping

Ace learned to clap on July 14th 2009.   I don't have anything else to say other than documenting this milestone for him and his accomplishment.  That and to say it's particularly adorable!  :)

Cranberry Chicken Salad

The other night a friend and I ventured out to a local wine bar. There we enjoyed a flight of wine and one of the tastiest salads I've had in a long time - and it was a strike of inspiration. The Purple Cafe is probably my favorite location to venture to whenever I am looking for a good wine to try out, but to be honest their food never has really overwhelmed me with pleasure. Truthfully, I chose this salad because it sounded good enough. To be fair their more expensive dishes are divine, but when you're wanting to just go out with the girls for an evening, you don't NEED to drop $30 on dinner, now on WINE, absolutely!

For the wine I enjoyed a flight entitled the "Teethstainer" it included 4 "voluptuous, rich dark berry and plum fruits combined with a generous lip-smacking finish" wines.
highway 14 . columbia valley, washington . 05
jm cellars ‘bramble bump’ . columbia valley, washington . 07
rigal malbec cahors, france . 07
fairview shiraz . south africa . 06

The first and the third were my favorites, the shiraz was it's own unique beast and the bramble bump - well I wasn't even a little bit of a fan. However, the food that accompanied it took center stage for my pallet for a while. A delicious cranberry chicken chopped salad sans lettuce. Both my friend and I ordered it (with our own tweaking, me sans almonds, her sans the onions and vinaigrette for a plain balsamic.. allergies) - and only ordered half salads. We instantaneously regretted that choice upon our first bite. It was so good, crisp, tart, savory - delicious! In fact we ordered a half salad, split with our previous alterations - we ended up each getting another half salad! Score - we scarfed it down!

That got me thinking, this would be a perfect thing to make and have for lunches around here. You see in addition to my terrible track record for dinner making, me and lunches also are not terribly awe-inspired. Often golden arches or a microwave is involved in my lunches.

So on Sunday afternoon after I had finished feeding Ace his lunch, I left him in his high chair and sat down next to him and got to chopping things. Keeping him busy with bits of apple, celery, etc.. Now since I had this dish at a restaurant I didn't have a recipe, so I winged it. Below is the recipe that I created based on the ingredients off the menu! It was a tad wetter than what I remember, so you might want to scale the dressing back ever so much.

Cranberry Chicken Salad
2 red apples
4 green onions
3 stalks of celery
3 strips of bacon
6oz of grilled chicken
3oz of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of raspberry vinaigrette
dollop of Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
dice everything and toss with the vinaigrette.
Makes 6.5 cups worth.


Enjoy for lunch, I plan to!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Joyful Organizer Book Review & Giveaway

Who doesn't love to be organized? No one. What we don't love is getting or staying organized. Nope often we get buried in tasks, or paperwork and the ideal of organization at that point seems like a four-letter-word. Now add moving into the mix and selling your home and most people's heads are close to the exploding point. It's overall a frightening disaster. If you are sitting there saying "what's the big deal?" Then this isn't for you. If you're sitting there reading and nodding with a few amens every now and again, well then keep reading there is a solution!

The Joyful Organizer is a company that offers professional organizational help. The founder, Bonnie Joy Dewkett has been a life long organizer, some people are just born with that knack, the rest of us live our lives constantly digging ourselves out from under clutter and piles. :) The Joyful Organizer also offer IN home help, yes they will come to your home assess your room and then organize it for a fee! Personal shopping is also involved! Yes, The Joyful Organizer will go to the store and purchase (at your expense) the supplies necessary to organize, it just sounds magical, go to work to your messy office there, come home to a beautifully organized home-office. Although I think my favorite part is they are willing to work with children to teach them how to be organized! A list of their services can be found here. Anything else you'd like to know about this company can be found here in their FAQ section.

I reviewed The Joyful Organizer's Guide to a Happy Move and it is chalk full of details and advice from preparing your home for open houses to getting your vet records (if you're moving out of town) there are several helpful print out sheets that contain checklists to help keep yourself organized and it is wonderful to just be able to go the book to double check details. After moving 4 times in the last 5 years, I completely understand the frenzy that it can be and how things can get lost, forgotten or left undone. This book honestly would have been helpful during some of those moves. It was well written in easy to understand sections. Lots of bullet points so you don't get lost in the dredge of too many words on a page. There are some things that are in the book that seem pretty obvious, but overall I think the point that it all boils down to is that it CAN help you to get organized and if you're moving that is the KEY.

Win it! The Joyful Organizer has kindly donated one digital copy of The Joyful Organizer's Guide to a Happy Move

How to Enter
1. Leave a comment! Your first entry it's that simple! (1 entry)
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Please leave a separate comment for each entry (i.e., if you blog about this giveaway, leave three separate comments stating that you did. Your comments are your actual entries.)

This giveaway will end August 6th at 11:59 PM PST. Winner will be chosen via random.org. Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is chosen.
Worldwide entries accepted!

Kitchen Gadgets

I was destined to be a baker. Yes when I was young I used to "bake" sugar cookies with my Grum. She used to get all the dough ready to go get it rolled out nice and even and then I'd go to town with cookie cutters and all the fixings to dress up the fancy shapes. We did this for many Christmas seasons. Baking sugar cookies led to a general enjoyment of baking for me, and so it was only fitting that for my Birthday/Christmas present last year, my grandma bought me my Kitchenaid Mixer.

Arriving in more than enough time this now favorite kitchen gadget of mine whipped up many cookies, doughs, breads, etc for the holiday season. On Christmas night it whipped up a mean batch of mashed potatoes and it knows the ingredients to pumpkin bread like no other Kitchenaid mixer can. So while I do love to bake, we can't eat breads and cookies for dinners (every night.) And while this is my prized kitchen gadget and the most used in our household. I have an affinity toward unique kitchen gadgets and tools. Most of them aren't terribly useful on a regular basis, but are still applicable to something at least once or twice a year.

My latest gadget acquired was a cherry pitter. This particular one is made by Oxo and it has been used to make two cherry pies. Currently it is visiting a friend's house to assist with her cherry pitting party. It's a handy dandy tool during cherry season. Far easier than trying to slice cherries in order to pit them. Although if your cherries are overly ripe (which is always excellent for cherry pie) it will look like a massacre has occurred as there will be splatter everywhere!

I am able to pit enough cherries for a cherry pie (about 4 cups) in about 10 minutes. Before the cherry pitter came to live with us, I rarely made cherry pie.

Another favorite of mine is the crinkle cutter. It's 80% useful and 20% fun! It's a great blade to hold and chop carrots and celery without much effort and you get a delightful crinkle with each chop. Although the one I have has a green handle hold.


I have a feeling as I do start to cook more that this will get more use time. However, besides my Kitchenaid mixer, which will come in handy for mealtime cooking, I think I need to find a little inspiration in other kitchen gadgets that will help making cooking meals easier (or just fun!) What might you suggest I "need"?


* stock photos taken from Amazon.com

Babysat

Yes, ladies and gents! Ace has for the first time, just a week shy of being eleven months old been babysat! I know for many parents this does not constitute such a grand announcement, only a mere blip on the baby advancing radar (often times a lot sooner than eleven months!) However, for us it was a big deal. Between the boy that won't take a bottle to the boy that only semi-often will entertain a jar of baby food, having Ace watched by a third party truly has not been an event I've been willing to subject on someone. Ace often doesn't get watched solely by his dad either for the same fooding reasons. I am the food - therefore... ipso facto... I cannot wander far.

However, Ace is growing up. He's a big boy AND he has started to entertain a bottle (a little) and we recently started him on goat's milk. Not much. No more than 4oz a day at this point, but he seems to be taking it pretty well. And Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince came out at 12:01am on Wednesday morning and it was Saturday and I had yet to see it. Issue or no Issue, I was going to see that movie before it was out on dvd. ;-) (Please see legal definition of "issue")
Pop Pop and Gran eagerly volunteered to be the first to babysit! They were excited and happy to do so. So we set out this morning to ensure Ace got a decent nap in, was fed and happy when we set out for our three hour adventure! We are told that he did excellently! No massive crying at all! Woohoo! Perhaps we'll try this again in the near future.

Do you know, this was the first time since having Ace that I've been in my husband's car? Yep, it's true - a two door sports car is not ideal for a carseat, so we are 100% of the time in my vehicle when we have our little man. This is a picture of us backing out of our driveway, on our way to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince! Yippee!

This is Ace on a fairly warm day (hence the (non)wardrobe choice) toddling in the backyard, while Grandpa captures their adventures in pictures with his fancy iPhone.



Gran smiling at her boy, Ace sharing something with his Pop Pop. Thank you so much for watching Ace and taking such great care of him for the 3+ hours that mom and dad were gone!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fortune Cookie



Ace enjoyed his first fortune cookie. His fortune: You will have an opportunity. He enjoyed that cookie till it was a soggy mess. He was perfectly pleasant at the restaurant. (Yay!)

Winner

Thank you everyone for entering my latest giveaway. Check back in the next few weeks for a NoThrow, another children's book and a book on organization, for the mommies and non-mommy readers! The winner of the Brain Child Book is: #26!

MoziEsmé said...
Would love to win this for my daughter! janemaritz at yahoo dot com
July 11, 2009 5:29 PM
Stop by to congratulate the winner!

A New Adventure!

This past week has been a flurry of insight into my personality. First, I did a vlog which you can watch here, in which I discussed being lazy and uninspired to cook on a regular basis. Then not two days later, I post this blog about my culinary excitement inspired by the book A Homemade Life by author Molly Wizenberg, author of Orangette. That's when I put two and two together, I even said it myself in my vlog: I need inspiration, perhaps even motivation to cook. Feeding my family doesn't seem to cut it. Saving money doesn't do it either. However! A blogging adventure - now that might just do it. Although I make not guarantees, and as a betting woman, while I don't bet against myself on this one - I am certainly not putting any down on this to be a successful endeavor.

What do I hope this adventure to be? Hopefully a successful effort at being a SAHC! Yes, a stay at home cook! While we will still eat out, and I will still drive thru - I would like to make more dishes at home. And I hope with some cyber motivation to do so!

What do I hope this blog to be? Well, at first it will be an outlet for my frustrations, my accountability, my muse for all things related to my kitchen. Whether it be a recipe I found that I want to try, or merely a blog about what I did for dinner. A new recipe I did try that failed miserably or a recipe that was a great success that I didn't even have to add salt to (that's a big deal for me, I LOVE salt!)

I hope to provide you with some entertainment, some insight, and some yummy recipes for you yourself to try. Mostly though - I just want to get my arse in the kitchen and make myself and my husband some food that doesn't come out of a box or require a delivery vehicle to arrive at my door. ;-)

So tell your friends that The A-Priori Mommy is also the Amature* Foodie and that I'm cooking up something new over here!


*Yes, officially "amature" however it is a popular misspelling and well, being a dyslexically prone individual, amature feels correct(er) than amateur. So I'm not being incorrect, I'm being modern. Additionally, Amateur Foodie's url was taken by a blogger that blogged 3 times last year never to be seen again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Our Book Club

I have hosted a book club at my house for almost two years, I named it after the Gilmore Girl's hometown: Stars Hallow. Rory loved to read, and it was the final season of the show, it seemed appropriate. September will mark two years officially, and last night was probably one of my favorite evenings. Sadly only about half of our group was able to join us due to some scheduling conflicts - summers are always hard - but it of such a fun evening because we read A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg the author the blog Orangette.

For a simple review of this book: I LOVED it. Molly tells her life story in such a great and charming way, and it was a delight to read and salivate over each and every recipes. I highly give this book 'two thumbs up' '5 stars' it was a great read, and it doubles as a cookbook!

I find it amusing that after my last post where I get on camera and tell you I rarely cook dinner, that I would follow it by THIS post in which I talk about cooking, and loving a book about cooking, but as you'll recall, I do love to cook when I have inspiration and Molly's book (and blog!) have in recent days provided a great deal of inspiration.

Our book club usually gathers once a month to discuss the book of choice which most often are fiction books, but we chose to make an exception for this book because it was just that good - and one of our book club members had the great idea of turning it into a potluck of recipes out of the book! Ingenious! And indeed that's what we did. Our menu included:

Doron’s Turkey Meatballs with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
Bread Salad with Cherries, Arugula, and Goat cheese
Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
Macaroons, coconut with Chocolate Ganache

B & D of the Ravenna Girls brought the salad and the bread, and oh my they were delicious, I was a little sad to see the bread go home with D. :( But I did enjoy some! I prepared the meatballs and macaroons - and there were no meatballs left (although I was nice and saved a few for the husband.) I MIGHT just make that dish again tomorrow. It was that good. Really every book club should be that good. Oh my it was delicious. And I have macaroons still in the fridge. YUM.





Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chick Chat

Yes, it is finally my turn to participate in Chick Chat hosted by Three Bay B Chicks! I'm so excited. This is my debut vlogging experience, so forgive my atrocious use of fillers ("ums" "uhs" and "so") the communication professor in me is beating me senseless for such a terrible display of nonverbal cues. Siigh. Do as I SAY not as I do, right? I digress! Enjoy

Today we're talking about What's for Dinner?
Myself, Jenni from Jiggety Jigg, Kim from The Ungourmet, Denise from There’s Always Room for One More and Heidi from Sacred & Profane, are all a chatter about our dinner habits! So please stop by their places after you've watched my vlog!

The intro-title page somehow managed to be 10 seconds, so I apologize for the long black screen - just think of it building anticipation! ;-) Or just fast forward a few seconds.



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bebe Au Lait Hooded Towel Review

Often people wonder why it is important to have baby towels. Some would argue it is because they are softer than the regular towels that we adults use, and that's true - often times they are. However, the feature that I love most about a baby towel is the hood that comes with it. However, I have been less than pleased at my earlier experiences with hooded baby towels. First of all the standard three pack that you can buy at Target (you all know what I'm talking about) are super thin and the hood is "built in" to one of the corners of the towel. BOO I say, because once your child is older than a few months, those towels just do not work! They barely wrap around your baby, let alone that tiny "hood" fitting on their ever growing noggin'

That's why I was so excited to review Bebe au Lait's hooded towel. I love their products. Often most identified by their nursing covers, they also have an expanded inventory beyond that including: reversible bibs, burp cloths and these hooded towels. These towels come in two sizes: Baby and Toddler. I am seriously contemplating the toddler one for myself. I'm small, it might just work. Why? Because I am IN LOVE with this towel. It is super thick and plush, of course is available in a wide variety of their adorable fabrics, and the best feature in my opinion, the hood is not attached to the corner of the towel, it is on one of the sides! Finally! Someone who understands the mechanics of wrapping a baby in a towel effectively! In the toddler version of this towel, there is even a magnetic "clasp" at the base of the hood! That's just awesome.

If you can't tell, I really like this product. My son not only gets to be covered entirely, but he gets to be warm from head to toe! I believe my sister-in-law with her little one on the way might be expecting one of these in her near future, because it is just that great.

Would you like to own one yourself, or perhaps give it as a gift at your next shower you have to attend? Stop by Bebe au Lait and get one (or two!) If you like the towel that Ace is modeling, that is Bebe au Lait's Shrine Aqua Baby Hooded Towel

Monday, July 13, 2009

Walking - Phase Three

I should have posted a phase three of walking a long time ago. Ace has been cruising around the house and parks on his own for weeks now. But I just took a fresh video today to show his speed he's picking up and the slight jog he's even attempting. We had a good weekend, lots of outdoor time for Ace, who is now sporting a farmers tan!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer Favorites - Outdoor Fun!

One of my favorites of summers is the ability to be outdoors. Particularly here in the northwest. There are so many great parks around to go to. They always keep their grass so nicely green and soft, whereas our grass here at home starts to get brittle and brown after while (we're too cheap to keep it THAT green.)

Going to the parks is not only a great way to get out of the house, but also to get some great vitamin D! I have been so excited that Ace can get the real deal and not the drops these last few weeks. And yes we are off today to enjoy a trip to the park! In fact we are off to celebrate my friend's 30th! What fun!

My favorite thing to do in a park was to sit in the shade of a tree and read a book... while I won't be able to do that this season as I am busy chasing a busy boy around, I certainly will enjoy the warm weather! So enjoy the sun everyone! What is your favorite outdoor activity in the summer?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Transition

It is official, my baby is really not a baby anymore. I no longer can shop in the "baby" section of clothing (at least at JCPenneys.) He has graduated out of MOST of his 9 month clothes, or is in that "in between" phase where yes the 9 month fits ok and 12 months is a tad baggy, but why buy one when he can "grow into" the other. For a long time now I've watched my infant slowly fade away into the little boy he is now. But my last shopping trip was a tad traumatic for me. Ok traumatic is a tad much, but it certainly did not go unnoticed. On the latest trip to JCPenneys - I ventured into the toddler section. Their baby section goes from 0-9mos. Ace is now officially into the "toddler" section there.

This is just crazy, yes I'm aware he's almost 11 months old, so of course that's the natural course of things - but when did he become 11 months old (almost)? Seriously, wasn't I just watching Law and Order: CI, laboring away awaiting his arrival ... 30 hours later? Wasn't I just holding him for the first time, yesterday smelling the top of his what looked like SUPER curly hair? Wasn't it just mere moments ago that we realized that he didn't have curly hair, but just a massive amount of it? Wasn't his "newborn" outfit baggy on him as I packed him into his car seat for the first time? Since when am I shopping in the toddler section?!

He's gone from scootching across his play mat at a week old, to practically running across rooms. He's gone from a full head of dark brown hair to a full head of blond. He's gone from 8lbs to 18lbs, and yes he's gone from size "NB" to "12m" and that apparently graduates him to a whole other section of a store. Oh my. Slow down baby boy. I can't handle the speed, but I am loving every second.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My little racoon

Yes, Ace is a good helper in the kitchen, but of course the place he finds most fascinating is the recycling. The trash can doesn't yield too much entertainment because it is closed, but the recycling is just an open bin and always yields something fascinating. I took these pictures a few weeks back, because the shirt he was wearing was too priceless as I caught him once again rooting through the bins. :) Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MOH - The Dress

Probably the key ingredient to being in someone's wedding is the dress. Never has there been such an item of potential controversy that cause women to go from being BFFs to being cats in a bag. Women are so excited to be in the wedding, and often offended if they are NOT in the wedding - but goodness gracious the fights, grumbling, and NONSENSE that exists once the discussion of the bridesmaid dress begins. Wow.


Luckily! I have a fabulous bride. She only had a few requests that we all choose a dress the same length (knee, tea, floor...) and that we get it at David's Bridal (so the color matched: peridot.) I can handle that. Not a problem! So I took my color option to David's Bridal while my mom was in town (helpful to watch my little man) and started trying on my options. And I found the one that best fits my body, you see my little man only is eating on one side.... (nuff said) and this dress does best to downplay that fact, and as a bonus it's cute!

Sent a picture to the bride-to-be and she said she loved it! YAY! How easy was that! Whew. I never had a doubt, Bec is so easy going and we have similar tastes - well maybe not similar but we know what looks good on the other one. We've been friends for 19 years. :) So the dress has been decided and will be purchased in a few weeks. It will look delightful with my new shoes!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our Fourth of July



We had a great time on the 4th. Ace did wonderfully with his first pyrotechnic holiday. I survived the fireworks and found an outlet with the camera and catching some fun shots with that. Ace actually fell asleep during some of the lighting of the fireworks, which was impressive since it sounded like a war zone, and he handled being up late just as well. Hope you all had a great Independence Day!