Friday, December 14, 2012

Ella and the Fur Babies

One of the questions I have gotten since Ella's arrival is "what do the dogs and cats think of Ella?"  That  is a great question.  Fortunately, the answer is everyone is getting along just fine.  But I was pretty worried that wouldn't be the case. 

What We Did to Prepare the Dogs
All the pets, but especially the dogs, were used to being the center of our world.  Early  in my pregnancy, like 8 weeks early, we started to retrain the dogs.  We set new rules- no dogs on the couch unless invited, sitting and waiting to eat, reduced number of toys (on the rare occasion Oliver and Matilda would fight, it would almost always be over a toy).  Slowly, the dogs got the hang of the new routine.  While I know it was hard for both Seth and I to enforce new rules, it would be so much sadder if we had to re-home any of our babies because we didn't properly prepare them.

After Ella was born, we sent a couple blankets with her scent on them with my mom (the dogs were staying with her), so that they could learn the new smell.  When we got home, Seth went in the house first and greeted the dogs.  Then he came out and got the baby and I went in and greeted the dogs.  We then set Ella, in her car seat, down between the two of us on  the couch.  Matilda was very interested in what was happening.  She jumped up on the couch (bad Tilly) and gave the baby a good once over.  Oliver was a bit more hesisitant.  He actually growled at the car seat (we weren't surprised- Oliver is a bit of a head case), so we let him out for an hour and tried again.  This time, we held the baby and hid the car seat.  He slowly approached the baby and gave her some good sniffs.

And that was that.  Ever since everyone has been fine.  The dogs are freakishly protective of the house.  We have to know when people are stopping by so we can make sure they are out (Matilda actually tried to nip a guy delivering flowers).  As much as everyone is fine with Ella, each pet has a different approach to her.

Matilda meeting Ella

Tilly is out oldest baby (6 1/2!) and is used to being Seth's little princess, but like I said, she showed great promise in the beginning.  But she hasn't exactly warmed to the baby.  She likes to sniff Ella, but if you try and put that baby down anywhere near her, she runs away.  When Ella cries, she always checks to make sure she is okay, but then retreats to another room.  I don't worry that Til would ever hurt Ella, she just isn't particularly interested.  We are 100% sure that will change as soon as Ella can drop food on the floor.

Oliver snuggled with Ella during nap time (excuse the unmade bed)

Ella is Oliver's baby.  This was very surprising.  He took a while to warm up to her, but as soon as he figured out he could give her kisses, he was sold.  Now whenever I put Ella down for a nap on our bed (she sleeps better that way), Oliver can be found snuggled right up to her.  We figure that he will want to sleep with her once she is in a big girl bed in a few years.  It makes my heart happy to know that Ella and Oliver will be best buddies for years to come.

Ava trying to get some attention too

Ava seems to be a bit jealous of the baby.  One day, I had Ella in the carrier and was working at the computer.  Ella climbed on my lap and proceeded to lie down on top of the baby.  I shewed her off and haven't had a repeat performance.  Since then, Ava has warmed a little to the baby.  She was hanging out on the back of the chair while I was burping Ella a few days ago and Ella got the biggest smile on her face and giggled at the cat.  I don't think Ava was amused, but she's coming around.  She also enjoys new places to sleep- mainly the changing pad and Ella's chair.

Henry says "What baby?  This chair is for me."

I'm not entirely sure Henry is even aware that someone else has joined our family.  He definitely likes to come visit when I am feeding Ella in the morning, but like I said, I don't think he realizes that I am up for any reason to do anything other than pet him.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Time is Here...

I really love Christmas.  This holiday combines a lot of the things I enjoy- cooking, spending time with my family, driving Seth crazy, and decorating.  This weekend, we finally got around to that last one.  I try hard not to go over board and I think I usually do a pretty good job.
The Christmas tree is up (sorry for the kinda blurry picture).  The only presents we've gotten around to wrapping are the ones Seth picked out for Ella.  I am a little behind this year.

The baby artificial tree I got in college is up on the sideboard.  In a few years, I imagine Ella will have a blast with this one.
And the stockings are up.  Seth and I both have our stockings from when we were young and we ordered a similar knit stocking for Ella.  I like that the stockings don't match, it kinda shows how our family has been built over the years. 

We also have wreathes on both doors and lights up on the fence, but that is it.  The house feels Christmasie (Christmasy?) without feeling obnoxious.

I really am so excited for this Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Beets, and Kale

It's been a while since I have posted any recipes or meals.  Mostly that is because dinner is now whatever I can make in between feedings, diaper changes, and load of laundry.  I have found that anything I can throw in the oven for a solid chunk of time is really helpful.  This whole dinner took 45 minutes, with most of that being cooking time.  In addition to being easy and fast, this dinner was super tasty and pretty healthy.

Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Goat cheese, Spinach and Cranberries

1 pork tenderloin
handful spinach
2 oz. goat cheese
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing

Preheat over to 350.

Butterfly your pork tenderloin and pound until thin.  Sprinkle 2 oz. of goat cheese over the pork.  Layer spinach on top of cheese.  Sprinkle cranberries on last.

Roll up your pork and place seem side down in a baking dish.  Coat with salad dressing.

Bake 35 minutes or until cooked to satisfaction (I like my pork with a bit of pink).

Roasted Beets

Peel and slice your beets (3 beets is plenty for Seth and I).  Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place in covered baking dish (cast iron works wonderfully).  Roast at 350 for 40 minutes.


Wash your kale well (it can be gritty).  Pull the steam out of each leaf and tear into bite sized pieced.  Get a pan and just a bit of olive oil  pretty hot.  Dump in a bit a kale, it should crackle and pop a little bit.  Turn it until it starts to wilt.  Add more kale.  Repeat until all your kale is cooked down.  I like mine on the less done side of thing (wilted, but not limp).  Toss your cooked kale with the juice of 1/2  a lemon and a sprinkle of coarse salt.  The cooking process generally takes about 5 minutes.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One Man's Trash...

Its no secret that I am perfectly willing to pick up things off the side of the road in hopes of restoring them in some fashion (I come by it naturally- my mom is the queen of finding roadside treasures).  So when I was out running a summer ago (yes more than a year ago) and I found this beauty, I had to go  back and get it...
Yes, thats right- an old school chair, plastic seat and all.  I placed this sweet little chair on the front porch with promises that I would make it pretty real soon.  And that didn't happen.  The chair ended up sitting there, unloved, for well over a year.  Whoops. 

But with the impending arrival of Seth's family for Thanksgiving, I finally found the motivation to make this lovely actually lovely.
 I started by taking the chair apart and sanding it well. 
I spray painted the frame oil rubbed bronze.  The light fixture on the porch is ORB, so I figured a darker frame would go better.
 I spray painted the sets green.
 And put it all back together...

And placed it back in its home on the porch.

Like most projects I tackle, this was insanely easy and fast.  It really is embarrassing that it took me so long to finally get this done, especially because it looks SO much better.  I think the chair needs a plant or something sitting on it.  Hopefully it wont take me more than a year to get on that...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thanksgiving revisited

So Thanksgiving, right?  I know, I am a little behind.  Even though it was only a little over a week ago, its already been long forgotten in the rush that is the Christmas season.  But I'm not ready to let it go yet, plus these recipes would all be great for Christmas!

Before I go on much further, let me say I actually impressed myself.  The day was a bit nutty between making dinner, running the dogs back and forth to my moms house, feeding the baby, and enjoying time with my in-laws, but dinner was on the table by 4 and it was mighty tasty.

Lets start- you remember the plan?  I followed it to a T.

The Pork- OMG, the pork.  I skipped the pan sauce, but holy cannoli this was amazing!  Please, promise to make it for a gathering.  Its super simple and way tasty.

The Stuffing- also really good.  I meant to add bacon to the recipe, but forgot.  Seth commented that it was "very appley," which I take as a good thing.

The Carrots- if I could skip one recipe, this would be it.  They weren't bad. so much as they were just meh...

Mashed Taters- I wish I has paid attention cause my MIL knows her way around a tater...  Those suckers were good.  She tells me the secret is evaporated milk and lots of butter.

The Kale- MAKE THIS ONE NOW...  Do not wait for a special occasion, it is amazing!

Cranberry Sauce- generally, I just kinda make up my own recipe and it always turns out just fine.  This year, I decided to take the easy route and used a recipe.  It was excellent and it was so nice to use the crockpot instead of worrying about another pot on the stove.

Pecan Pie- I am not generally a pecan pie kinda girl, but this pie was pretty freakin good.  Give it a try.

Apple Pie- Much like the kale, I demand you make this pie.  I did tweak the recipe just a bit.  I just poured the sauce over the apples and then did a crumb topping.  It was pretty awesome.

That was my Thanksgiving- it was tasty and fairly easy to pull off.  How did everyone else fair?  Anybody started to think about Christmas dinner yet?