Sunday, November 22, 2009

Report Card!

Favorite thing AM did this week

AM got her first "report card" earlier this month. Hilarious! At her "school" (3 days a week, Mother's Day Out program) the 2 year olds get an assessment in October and March. AM did pretty good. They actually grade them on about 40 things. The grades are as follows: C = I Can Do It!, or a T = I'm Still Trying. Apparently AM is still trying to "respond well to discipline" (I did not need an assessment to tell me that), "take responsibility for personal items, i.e. lunch, trash, putting toys away," and (my favorite!) "staying in assigned center." So she's a rebellious, messy, busy body. What 2 year-old isn't?

In the Cognitive/Language Development area, AM received a T in "draws a face (no arms, legs, or proportion required)." Okay, maybe she's no Michelangelo yet, but she comes pretty close to famed American Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still. See a comparison below.
AM's chalk on board Untitled (2009):

Clyfford Still's 1957-D, No. 1 (1957):

I know, as an art history teacher, I shouldn't encourage a comparison between kiddie art and the real thing, but you can't deny there is a similarity in the lines, no?

Finally, AM's last T came in "Hops on one foot." Seriously? I really want to meet the 2 year-old that can do this successfully. And I don't mean just standing on one foot, and shaking the other one in the air (as AM now does when we ask her to jump on one foot--not that we're pushing her to gain this skill).

One of my favorite Cs that she received was in "Knows that God made him/her." How cute is that? I know you will all be waiting with bated (baited?) breath to see how she does in March.

In other news, for those of you outside of the viewing area, or who have not done painstaking research on the internet to find the clip of AM on our local ABC morning show, here is a link to it. She did great...
That's us in the cover shot - red polka-dot pjs, arms in air. Happy hands! The pjs are Hatley brand, so soft, and the embroidered designs at Once Upon A Time (Crestline and Homewood) are adorable!

Favorite thing I saw this week
Dave Matthews' impersonation of Ozzie Osbourne on Saturday Night Live this weekend was too funny. Here's a link to it... Ozzie appears about half-way through if you want to fast-forward.

Favorite thing I read this week
See "Report Card" section above.
Favorite thing I ate this week
I am loving Blue Bell's Birthday Cake flavor ice cream. Our local Western Grocery sells it in the small party-size containers (12 to a bag), but I'm sure most larger chains carry it too. Our friend Nancy introduced me to it a few months ago, but AM saw it in the store this weekend and insisted we buy some. She hasn't had any yet...gotta love the 2 year-old's short term memory, but I've had a taste or two. According to the website, this is a "rotational flavor," so in other words, buy it when you see it, it might not be there next time!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

okay, last thing...

The show with AM tomorrow is 9-10 a.m. (not 8-9 a.m.) I know you're all feverishly setting your DVRs, so I didn't want you to miss it!

Two plugs

I know, I know, twice in one weekend?! Who am I?

Anyway, this is a special edition, plugging two things happening this week. It's mostly for local folks, but out-of-towners can read on too!
1) AM, along with 3 of her little friends will be on our local ABC 33/40's morning show tomorrow (8-9 a.m.) modeling Christmas pjs from the best baby store in town, Once Upon a Time AM's pair is made by Hatley (see them here, with an adorable appliqué from OUAT. She's done it once before, but it wasn't live. This time it is, so wish us luck!

2) This week is the Jr. League of Birmimgham's annual Market. Read more about it here, It's a fun, festive event, and the shopping is great. Retailers from all over the place coming together with their best merchandise under one roof. And tickets to the The Market support a good cause. Also, instead of being down at the BJCC, as in years past, this year The Market has moved to a shinier location, Cahaba Grand Conference Ctr, on Hwy 280.

Okay, enough promoting for one day!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Disney, Halloween, and Lasagna!

It's been a while since I posted, so this is a long one...

Favorite thing AM did this week

Okay so this is more of a favorite thing that we all did...last week marked our big, family trip to Disney. AM was great 99% of the whole time (just a few temper fits). She wasn't scared of anything (except maybe the characters up close, but they really are a little scary, no?). I think maybe she was a little too young to know to be scared of the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion. As for the movement rides, she loved Goofy's Barnstormer (the kid-sized roller coaster), which even Matthew and I thought was a little rough for a kid coaster.

AM's absolute favorites? Definitely the teacups which she had been discussing for months leading up to the trip (glad they didn't disappoint) and the Buzz Lightyear ride, which she refers to as "Buzz Buzz Right Here." Hilarious. She also loved the Spectro-Magic parade (that's the 21st century's version of the Electric Light Parade, for those of you born before 1990!). Oh, and she also loved the Disney bus. Here's a shot of that...

One more thing to say about Disney...this is the BEST time of year to go. Matthew and I waited 20 minutes to ride Thunder Mtn, and that was our longest wait all weekend. We did use Fast Passes for a few things at EPCOT, but I'm not sure it was completely necessary; the exception is maybe Soarin', which is still pretty new (and awesome). Also, our hotel was great (Saratoga Springs--a Disney property, close to Downtown Disney), and the food was even pretty good everywhere (Disney is not known for culinary experiences!).

Of course, AM just loved being there with so much to do, and so much attention from Mommy, Daddy, Grandmommy, and Grandad-o. And we all really liked it too. Matthew didn't want to leave!

Here are some more of our favorite pictures...

On Cinderella's Golden Carousel

Checking out Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride
With Daddy and Grandmommy on the famous Teacups.
Playing an energy game with Daddy at EPCOT's Spaceship Earth.

Tired kids and mommies in front of Cinderella's Castle.
Family shot in front of the castle.

Our trip coincided with Halloween, so we spent that evening with our good friends Tom & Robin, Megan & Chris, and their 1-year old, who all live in Orlando. We were joined by our friend Cindy, and her 2-year old, who live just a few hours away. So three toddlers actually went pretty well. Here is a picture of our costumed kiddos: a pirate, a hamburger, and a spider...
And one of AM in the trick-or-treating process...

Favorite thing I saw this week
Christmas decorations! I know plenty of people complain about Christmas decor coming too close on the heals of Halloween, but I LOVE it. And I am quite unapologetic about it too. To add to my premature Christmas joy, I was thrilled to find that one of our local stations (Magic 96.5) has already begun their 24-hour Christmas music celebration. They used to only do holiday music on the weekends during November, but I guess Christmas fanatics like me convinced them it should be a 7 day/week thing for this month and next. Also, for those of you tuned in to Pandora online (Love this site..should blog about that later) they have special holiday personalized stations. So Christmas is already playing throughout my house...AM can already identify "Jingle Bells" and "Jingle Bell Rock," but I'm trying to steer her clear of the obnoxious "Santa Baby."
Favorite thing I read this week
I started reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The best word for this book so far is charming! Even though it takes place in England (Guernsey and London) immediately following the devastation of WWII, it's surprisingly upbeat, and it moves very quickly. It definitely makes me want to stay on the bike at the gym just a bit longer!

Favorite thing I ate this week
I was craving (yes, I am in craving mode now) lasagna this week, but didn't really have a night when I would have the time to put it together, bake it, etc. SO, I found this recipe for slow-cooker lasagna, and it was great. Also, since I forgot to buy ricotta cheese, I omitted that, and we didn't miss it at all, making it ever-so-slightly healthier...
Slow-Cooker Lasagna
1 lb. ground round (or ground turkey)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (I improvised with my own mixture, probably used more than a tsp. worth)
1 (26 oz) jar of chunky garden-style pasta sauce (I used Ragu, and I am normally NOT a jarred sauce girl, but for something like this, it worked fine and made it all the easier)
1/3 cup water
8 uncooked lasagna noodles
Cooking spray
1 (4 1/2 oz.) jar sliced mushrooms, undrained (fresh work too, but you might need to add a few tsps of water)
1 (15 oz.) carton part-skim ricotta cheese (or not)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I probably used a little more)
Cook beef, garlic, and Italian seasoning in a skillet until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain, set aside.
Combine pasta sauce and water, set aside
Spray bottom and sides of slow cooker with cooking spray. Place 4 noodles on the bottom, breaking to fit. Layer with half each of beef mixture, pasta sauce mixture, and mushrooms. Spread ricotta cheese over mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining noodles, meat, pasta sauce mixture, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Cover and cook on HIGH setting for 1 hour.
Reduce to LOW and cook for 5 hours (Mine cooked faster than this, about 4 hours).
Easy, easy, easy!