Monday, July 27, 2009

Every Little Thing... Is Gonna Be Alright

Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley should write ME a check... almost every night they are each invoked during our bedtime ritual. 

Finn is a Buffett guy; quintessential beach baby and pirate connoisseur. We started incorporating the song when he moved to a "big boy bed" because Eli needed the crib. We chose it because Caleb knew all the words. 

Number of times we have sung "A Pirate Looks at 40":
  • 5 times a week on average
  • 52 weeks a year = 260
  • for 3 years = 780 times! 

Eli is a little more chill and a lot less melancholy. He's only recently began asking for a song at night, but his taste is good - Bob Marley is his DOC. How indicative of his future character is this? Only time will tell, but hubs and I are more than a little worried. We've referred to Eli's Matthew-McConaughey-esque demeanor before... 

I remember being very pregnant in the heat of summertime and stressed to the max about work or some other odd hormonal thing. Driving in to the office that morning I stuffed this CD into my car's dashboard and cranked it up. The impact was almost instantaneous - I could literally feel the tension drain away...

How could you NOT?  

Here's to stress-free summers and steel drums. 
I hope you have both. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Veggie Tales

The veggies are in! The veggies are in! 

This year we're growing zucchini, crookneck squash, Roma & heirloom tomatoes, jalapeno & sorrento peppers, okra, cantaloupe, and a whole helluvalot of herbs. I wanted to grow stuff we actually eat, and now I'm running out of recipes... especially with the squash. I've fried and sauteed them, I've made zucchini bread, and tonight I took it to the next level and they got stuffed. 

Lo and behold... it turned out pretty good. So good I wanted to share it here, because if I don't I'll forget what I did and never get it right again. 

(Because if you call it "boats" little boys will eat it.)

Feeds 4 with some leftovers. 

2 medium-large sized zucchini
2 medium-large sized yellow squash
1/2 cup finely chopped vidalia onion
1 large tomato (or 2-3 Romas)
1/2 lb. ground pork OR 1 package Healthy Choice smoked sausage, chopped finely
1 tsp minced garlic
(optional) 1 TBS chopped fresh basil 
(optional) 2 sorrento peppers, chopped finely
1 cup prepared couscous or brown rice
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. 

Boil whole squash & zucchini in a large pot of water until tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from water.

Slice squash lengthwise into halves. Scoop out seeds & pulp, leaving the squash shells - reserve pulp & seeds in a bowl for later. 

Spray skillet with cooking spray and saute meat with onion, garlic, and sorrento peppers and cook until brown. Season meat with salt & pepper. Add squash pulp to the meat mixture and simmer on low. Remove from heat.

Add in your couscous or rice, chopped tomato, and Parmesan cheese. Mix well. 

Spray a 9x13 glass dish and arrange squash halves in it. Fill the boats with stuffing mixture until they are heaping. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until brown. 

Devour the squash boats & go blog about how fantastic they were. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Three is a Magic Number

What IS it with me and having holiday babies?? 

Finn was born on the 23rd of December, and we went home from the hospital on Christmas Day. Eli was born the 5th of July and I remember lying awake that night listening to the random POW of a still-enthusiastic bottle rocket at 3:00 AM, wondering if these contractions were real or the fake kind. 

So three years have come and gone and now the baby is a boy. 

As usual, we had a small party at home with family and a few close friends. Hubs fired up the grill and my dad brought homemade ice cream. My job was to furnish The Cake. 

I don't fancy myself a super crafty DIY person, but we've been doing the homemade birthday cakes for a few years now and I was stressing about this one. The boys get to pick what kind of cake they get and it's up to me to figure out a way to make it happen. 

Samurai Jack seemed simple enough - I got some small toys online and found a party supply store with all their SJ stuff on clearance. I found some red & black candies - a hodgepodge of licorice, Twizzlers, spanish peanuts, and candy blackberries & raspberries. 

Thank you, Fruit Rollup gods, for providing the orange-cherry swirl kind that made the most perfect flames when cut with a leaf-shaped cutter! The platform was an iced rice crispy treat.

The cake itself was devil's food and iced with homemade buttercream. HUGE thanks to Aunt T, who is the Icing Queen! My frosting skills have much to be desired and she came over to help early that morning. 

A bouquet of swords from the dollar store also served as party favors. 

The candy sushi turned out pretty good!

Last year on the HH I chronicled the story of Eli's arrival. Since you know that already I won't rehash it here, but I will record some of my predictions on his character for prosperity's sake. 

Eli is our brute. He's the brawn to Finn's brain, the sheer will to his brother's nuance. But don't be fooled - that is no indication of Eli's intelligence. He's just more direct with his manipulation. He's cute, he knows it, and he totally uses it to his advantage. It's the same trait I can see we'll need to stay on top of to make sure it doesn't morph into cockiness as he gets older. He's more likely to cuddle with you and still asks to be held and carried occasionally... never mind he weighs the same (if not more) than his older brother. His hugs are fierce and frequent, and thankfully outnumbered by his outbursts... barely. 

So far, Eli has shown more interest & proficiency in team sports than Finn, tossing a ball with strength & accuracy or picking up on the way the game is played. He loves the water and doesn't mind getting his face wet in the pool. HE EATS LIKE A STARVED HORSE. Thai food, veggies, all kinds of meat, Chinese food, pasta, fruit - I honestly can't think of something he won't eat right now. He's even been known to sneak sips of our coffee if we aren't watching him. 

Once, when Hotwheels Hubs was traveling for work, he was hanging out in the hotel bar and met an interesting character who claimed to be an "International Astrologer" with clients all over the world. (Hubs must have a face that encourages people to talk because this kind of thing happens to him all. the. time. He should've been a bartender or a therapist or a priest because folks want to confess their sins and discuss the details of their lives with him without him ever encouraging that kind of interaction.) 

Anyway, they got to talking and International Astrologer asked about hub's family. When he learned a little about Eli he got excited. 

IA: "He sounds like a Crystal Child!"   

Hubs: "Umm... OK. What's that?" 

IA proceeded to rattle off characteristics of the revered Crystal Children
Hubs proceeded to laugh. 
  • Usually born after 2005. Check
  • Have magnetic personalities and are highly affectionate. Check.
  • Usually late talkers. Check.
  • Are very much connected to nature and animals. Check.
  • They love water which is beneficial in clearing and soothing them. Check. He's a fish at the pool, and loves going to the beach.
Then... it got weird.
  • Use telepathy and self invented sign language to communicate. Um. No. 
  • May be diagnosed with autism, or Asperger’s syndrome. No, thank goodness. 
  • Are even tempered, sweet and loving. Are forgiving of others. The temper on Eli is anything but. He holds a grudge, and eats "even tempered" for breakfast. 
  • Are natural healers and peacemakers. Nope. He's usually the one inflicting the pain, and more of a warmonger than a peacemaker. Just today I overheard Finn telling him, "I'M a lover. YOU'RE a fighter." 
  • Are quite interested in crystals and rocks. Yeah... to THROW.
  • Are extremely artistic and creative. We all knew that...
  • Often are natural vegetarians and may have a high metabolism. Wrong. You know those images of cavemen with giant hunks of red meat? That's Eli. 
  • May be fearless explorers and climbers with an amazing sense of balance. Fearless? Yes. Explorer? Yes - meddling is a hobby of Eli's. But amazing sense of balance? Far from it. The kid is top heavy, and has sported at least two black eyes and countless goose eggs to prove it. 
  • Their energy may disrupt electrical appliances. Usually because he's smashed something into said appliance. 

I think it's safe to say that Eli is NOT part of a more evolved, enlightened race of humans, and that Crystal & Indigo Children are really just another way for doting parents to worship their kids instead of raising their kids. This results in more rotten, spoiled rugrats that grow up to become rotten, spoiled adults. 
But that's just me. 

I, for one, am happy to have my little imperfect, willful, sweet three-year-old over that any day. Happy Birthday, Little Man!

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