Sunday, January 23, 2011

Baby favorites--Months 1-6


I just discovered this really cool site called Polyvore, where you can clip photos of different products and make collages. I've seen people build outfits with it, taking clothes and accessories from different stores and getting to see them all together. Pretty cool. I haven't done that yet, but I have a bunch of friends that are having babies and trying to figure out what they need and what they don't.

Everyone's different, but here are some of my favorites so far. :)

1. The Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym. Brody's outgrown this now, but from 2 months till Brody was starting to sit pretty proficiently, this was awesome. In fact, it was MAGIC. When I had to get stuff done, I could just plop Brody down on this and he would entertain himself forEVER. Put him in the Bumbo, waaaah. In a bouncer, waaaah. A swing, waaaah. But he was completely fascinated by this. Also, I think it's one of the cutest activity mats, at least of ones that aren't like 80 bucks.

2. Boppy. (These aren't necessarily in order of how much I love them--just clockwise from the middle)When Brody was first born, I thought this was the most pointless baby "necessity"--I think I used it for nursing maybe twice. So it got thrown in Brody's closet and forgotten about--until he started sitting. Once he started sitting, he wasn't interested in lying on his tummy or back--but his balance wasn't all there, so he would topple and bang his head and then start screaming. The bumbo was TOO much of a cheat--plus it always made him mad after just a few minutes, but if we put a boppy behind him, he could just sit and play until he fell and then fall on something soft--and--no screaming!

3. SwaddleMe--For Brody, this was the magic sleeping tool his first 2 months....he's loved his sleep since day one, and when he was wrapped in a swaddler. You can totally swaddle in a receiving blanket, but he never stayed in those. But these velcro so he couldn't get out. And wherever he was--in a crib, on the floor, being held...he immediately and blissfully drifted to sleep as SOON as we fastened him in.

4. Kushies Polka Dot Changing Pad--honestly, it doesn't have to be this changing pad, but it's cute and I like that it can be thrown in the washer. But basically, besides the nursing cover and the diapers and wipes, it was the only thing I actually cared if it was in the diaper bag. It's not glamorous or unusual, but it's GREAT for traveling, and it's my fav for a gift stash--I just bought a bunch off Amazon, and now they're ready to give to people whenever they need it!

5. The Ergo Baby Carrier. LOVE IT. I started out with the Moby wrap when Brody was itty bitty, and it was great, but took so long to get on and tie that I always dreaded it. Maybe other people are handier with lng strips of fabric than me, but I LOVE my Ergo. It hangs from your shoulders, but also has a support band around the hip, so it doesn't put strain on your back. It's easy to snap on, Brody loves it and you can wear it as a front carrier or a backpack carrier. Also, you can use it all the way through toddlerhood...till like 35 pounds or something. BEST THING EVER.

A lot of people love the Johnny Jump Up, and I WISH I could have used it, but sadly our apartments don't have doorjambs. So no Johnny Jump Up and no chin up bar for Ellis. I loved the idea of a Johnny Jump Up cause it's so little and easy to put away and store, but oh, well. Brody is using a huge hulking Jumperoo instead, which he got for Christmas, and LOVES--it'll probably be on the next list if I make one.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Brody's 7 months!

So I've been terrible at updating my fam about Brody here. I know you're going to see him in just a few days (SO EXCITED!!!), but here's a little sneak peek of what he's been up to.

5 months--he became a champion kisser. Unlike his daddy, he's not scared of a little PDA. Brody kisses ALL THE TIME. Due to my lazy nail-cutting habits, though, his kisses can be pretty painful events. He grabs generous handfuls of face flesh and pulls your face toward him in a pinching fashion and then drools copiously. I'm sure you can't wait to experience it. (It's totally worth the pain, though--we LOVE Brody kisses!)

Thanksgiving weekend was a big one for him--he discovered his ears and army crawled for the first time. He's still not crawling in the classic sense, but he's gotten pretty proficient at the worm--it gets him where he wants to go. It's really funny!

6 months--we changed our minds on who we thought his personality took after. He had been stoic and chill and quiet (like Daddy) all along, and then 6 months hit and he started jabbering all day long, smiling, and demanding attention (like Mommy).

7 months/the current state of things:

He's loving echoing back sounds at different pitches, and doing the worm, and standing--ALL THE TIME. I think I need to get him one of those standing toys so he can stand and play with the toys on top. Right now we're doing that with the couch and coffee table, but they're a little tall.

Also, THANKFULLY he has his dad's sense of rhythm. Whenever he listens to music, he bobs and kicks his feet to the beat. I'm hopeful this means he'll be able to dance like Ellis and not like me.

His eyes are still blue. We're hoping if they've stayed blue this long, they'll stay blue forever. How exciting!

We gave him his first solid last weekend, just a bit of egg yolk (as recommended by the book Nourishing Traditions--check it out!!). He wasn't too impressed. We haven't given him anymore, not on purpose, but just cause I keep forgetting. However, he LOVES glasses and drinking. He loves to drink water, and he won't say no to the occasional sip of beer or scotch (does that make us bad?).

Anyway, here are a few videos for you to enjoy!

Brody bouncing in his Christmas jumperoo

Brody trying out egg
(pardon the pantlessness)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

too many books?

{image via Apartment Therapy}

Love the idea of making a windowsill into a bookshelf in tight quarters. Hopefully our next place will have awesome ledges like this, like Amy's House Tour on Apartment Therapy.

Also, not an overall fan of this bathroom, but--one day I want a milk glass soap dispenser like this one in her bathroom:{image via Apartment Therapy}

Virginia Tech Anniversary Blanket

I'm pretty casual about my hobbies--basically I just love to see something pretty come out of something that was once ugly or mundane. But it's always been a back-burner goal to eventually be able to make a little money on the side doing what's already fun! So I was giddy to get a paid commission--a Virginia Tech afghan for an old coworker to give his wife as an anniversary gift! The time frame was a bit of a crunch for my usual laid-back, knit-to-relax pace--by the time I'd ordered yarn (then canceled the order because it wasn't going to be in by the time we went to SC for Christmas, and finally ending up going to AC Moore), I only had a month to make it.

Now I know there are plenty of people who can do a blanket in a week, but either amazing dexterity is something you're born with, and I'm not, or it's something that has to be developed and earned, and I haven't yet. So a month was plenty of a time crunch for me!

Brody was asleep when it was time for pics, so my other favorite model stepped up to the plate for me!

He asked me to do some embroidery in the corners of his kids names and birthdates. I was totally winging it and didn't want the back to get too messy, so I just shortened it to initials plus their birthyear.

And a little B+L with their anniversary year.

The pattern I used is Attic24's Neat Ripple Pattern, which is the same one I used for Brody's yellow blanket, which I never took an official pic of, but you can see here. It's a super-great flowing pattern that's easy to pick up when watching a movie or chatting or on long car trips...nice and mindless!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The White Part of Christmas

The coolest thing happened in the South this Christmas:

It was so nice that even though we weren't able to go out to the Northwest this year, we still got a taste of the pretty part of winter weather! Although honestly we're getting plenty in Virginia this year too!

The day after Christmas church was cancelled, so we headed down to our friends the Pruetts' for food and singing and pretty snow.

Brody's First Christmas

We thought Brody's first Christmas was going to be quiet, just Ellis, me, and 2 sets of Brody's great grandparents, but God had other plans and Brody ended up getting to see the whole Littlejohn side of the family plus Anderson greatgrandparents!

He even got to see Uncle Brad!! Sadly Rachel and Soren weren't able to make it, but we were excited to get to see Brad! Brad, Matt, Ellis, Brody, and I stayed with Grandmama at her house, and I had a BLAST getting to hang out with my brothers!! Matt made us watch Shutter Island, which I was terrified to see, but he assured me that it wasn't scary. I spent the whole movie doubting him and waiting to be scared, but he was right! I don't know why the previews make it look like a horror movie, but I LOVED it! No boy will ever agree with me about this, but I liked it better than Inception!

Abbou, Ami, and Tammi came down and Tammi gave Brody an awesome Monster-themed gift, which he loved, but not as much as the wrapping paper, of course. :)

And Emily introduced him to one of our favorite childhood toys, the back-flipping doggy! This dog (and it's previous editions) has been a part of my Christmas since before I can remember!

Ellis, Brody, and I headed up to Asheville to see Ellis' Anderson grandparents in Black Mountain. We LOVE the cute town of Black Mountain, and every time we go there, I always tell Ellis I want to move there!Here Brody and I are at a fantastic Black Mountain restaurant called My Father's Pizza! YUM!

While Ellis and Brody were hanging out with his grandparents, I slipped away to join Mom and Julie at Chelsea's Tea Room, where we've been going at Christmastime for at least 10 years--we always get the same waittress, and I think we must've spilled something big a few years ago, because she didn't seem to like us. She warmed up to us a lot, though, when I told her their almond scones were the most amazing scones I've ever had and that I look forward to them every year and have the cookbook, but have never been able to duplicate them. (No joke--they are the best things EVER.

Christmas Eve we were able to move up to the mountain house my parents rent out. It had been occupied for most of the visit, but it was great to get the whole family together in one spot for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

Julie found various fake tree limbs (not from the same tree set) in the basement, stuffed the limbs in a basket, and voila, adorable Christmas tree. Here's Emily decorating it.

Meanwhile, Ellis and Brody did some dancing.

And Matthew smiled in a pic!! I can make one prediction for sure about 2011--this picture will be in the 2011 edition of Mom's Shutterfly photobook. :)

Christmas morning.

Brody dressed up at Grandmama's house. Again, no shoes--toes are cuter anyway. :)

Partway through the afternoon Brody's Christmas turned white, so here he is in his snowsuit! Snow pics to come soon!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

mmmm...Easy Peasy Pizza Dough

So last month my thing was photos and I guess this month it's food! I totally hate posting without pictures cause I always assume posts without pictures are boring, but my whole memory card is FULL of pics from Christmas and so I am just too intimidated by the prospect of sorting through 600 photos to put them on the computer. So this will just have to be a boring picture-less post and then I will hopefully get all my pics uploaded tomorrow. (And by tomorrow I mean actual tomorrow and not the generic "tomorrow" of a procrastinator, even though that is what I am. :( )

Anyway, another go-to meal at our house is homemade pizza! Every Friday night we make pizza with whatever toppings we want (always peppers, mushrooms, and pepperoni!) and either have a nice quiet date night to recover from a long week, or have friends over for a pizza party!

I've been using the same dough recipe from my friend Kate for 3 years, and it is super fabulous, foolproof, and QUICK!

Kate's Pizza Dough
2 1/4 tsp. yeast, dissolved in 1 C. lukewarm water (I normally make it a heaping 2 1/4 tsp--I figure a little extra yeast never hurts!)
2 T. olive oil
2 1/2 C. flour (I usually do 1 C. wheat and 1 1/2 C. all-purpose)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar

Dissolve the yeast in water and let stand a few minutes. Meanwhile mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a big mixing bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix with the flour, then add the olive oil at the end to keep it from getting too sticky. Spray top with Pam, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place for half an hour plus. (I usually just do half an hour and it's fine.)

After 30 minutes, separate into two balls and turn out on floured surface. Roll out with a rolling pin or just mash with your hands (that's what I do most of the time :) ), and put each pizza on a stone or just a cookie sheet. Brush crust with olive oil and bake at 425 degrees for 5-10 minutes.

Add sauce and toppings and cook until the cheese bubbles.

Each batch makes 2 pizzas. Hope you like it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Garlic Chicken

Wow, I almost feel like a shy stranger here, it's been so long! My grandfather passed away the second week of December, and so Ellis, Brody, and I drove down for the funeral and then Christmas with my grandmother and my family. So aside from being busy with family events, the internet is not welcome in Grandmama's house. Not only did she not have it, the fact that everyone else did annoyed her. (I'm using the past tense because my dad and aunt have forced it on her in the last couple weeks. :) ) So we spent a nice, old-fashioned Christmas with hardly any technology!

Oh, and my power cord broke. And I JUST got the new one in the mail!! SO exciting! The limited internet has been a great cleanse, but I'm ready to have it back! yay!!

So for the first post of 2011, the most amazing chicken ever! This recipe was given to me by my friend Whitney, and it is to die for! (Any time you see a recipe came from Whitney, you will know it is good!!) I'm sure it's terrible for you, but you will know what I mean when I say who cares? Normally chocolate trumps everything for me, but I would seriously choose this chicken over dessert any day!

Here we go:

Garlic Chicken

Chicken breasts (the card from Whitney says "3-4 (or 5)"--so really, however many you need)
10 T. butter (mmmm)
1 garlic clove, crushed
3/4 C. Italian bread crumbs (or regular ones + Italian seasoning)
1/2 C. parmesan cheese
Salt and pep
Lemon juice

Melt butter in baking dish with the minced garlic clove. Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Lay chicken breasts in baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumb mixture. Sprinkle some lemon juice and paprika on and bake till it's done. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!
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