With a crazy month I never posted lots of stuff, so I'll try to catch up for my own sanity. My blog is the only way I can recall most life events anymore!
The cute monkey boy officially started preschool this month. Last year he was in a drop-off play group twice a week, but according to the nursery school it wasn't officially preschool, as there wasn't much of a curriculum. This year he goes three mornings a week. At the beginning of the summer when I informed him that it was summer vacation on the last day of school he asked me what hotel we would be staying in all summer. HA! Sometime in July, after we happened to drive by his school, he started questioning why he wasn't going to school anymore. Again I attempted to explain the whole summer vacation thing. I was loving our long summer, but by August he was a bit sick of the frequent farm visits. In fact, he freaked out the last three times we were at a farm because "it was making him sweaty and hot." I kid you not. (So much for homeschooling!)
We are now into the third week of preschool and the boy LOVES it. When he was sick he missed two days and it really bothered him. All weekend he asked when he would get to go back to school. I'm so glad he enjoys it, although what isn't there to enjoy? Play with new-to-you toys, play with 19 other kids, eat fun snacks, play on the playground. It's a kid's dream. He has told me that he cannot yet talk to his teachers, but he must be communicating somehow with them.
Last Friday when we arrived in school he found a lanyard with a star on it hanging on his coat hook. He was the official star for the day. It was so cute. When I picked him up he said he got so much stuff for being the star. By stuff, he meant he got to go first and be a line leader. He was so happy! I'm so glad we found such a great preschool for him.
Wow, it's the last week of September already! We began the month while at the beach. I can't believe that beach trip wasn't quite a month ago, this has been such a crazy month. Between a sinus infection for me, starting preschool, lots of water damage to our home from the summer of rain, and my dear boy getting sick and visiting the hospital, I'm exhausted! Thankfully, the month will end on a good note, since the baby boy is turning four (!) on Wednesday and there will be birthday cake. We are also hosting a family birthday party for the newly turned four year old this weekend, so there will be even more cake! (Love birthday cake here!)
This week's menu is fairly simple and I'm going to start returning to making some more cool weather recipes (like soups!.) I also want to get back into my monthly themes. I focused upon salads and fresh produce from the local farms all summer and am very happy with the new recipes and cookbook I discovered. September sort of blended in with the summer, so for October I have decided to follow the recipes listed in the October issue of Real Simple Magazine. Their cover story is about a month of easy dinners and they even have a handy pull out shopping list in the back. Some of the recipes sound not super interesting to me, but my goal of the year was to try new things, so this is a good challenge. The menu plan they provide only covers five nights each week, so there is some room to swap things around and add in a favorite each week, since I tend to cook dinner six nights a week, usually. I will start the month of Real Simple recipes next week!
For this week:
Monday: Chicken and pasta Caesar Salad, using leftover roasted chicken from Sunday night's dinner. This is a recipe that my local Whole Foods sells and I love it, but it's expensive. It's much more economical to make at home! (The recipe link is the basic recipe, I plan to use an organic bottled dressing.)
Tuesday: Stromboli with pepperoni and salad. (Using up ingredients in the fridge to clean it out for the weekend!) Using Trader Joe's pizza dough and fresh sauce.
Wednesday: Monkey boy's birthday...he asked to go out to his favorite restaurant, so no cooking for me! (Plus I ordered a birthday cake from my favorite bakery for him!)
Thursday: Hands down the best black bean soup, ever! The clilantro really makes it great! With corn cake/bread.
Friday: Turkey Burgers with waffle fries, salad. (Child has been requesting waffle fries for at least two weeks, with every meal. Hoping the grocery store has them! I like Alexa brand.)
Sunday: Party! Hoagie tray, soft pretzels, mini hot dogs, and homemade birthday cake and cupcakes! It's an Imagination Movers themed party. Let's hope my cake really looks like a gear! I plan to use this vanilla recipe for one layer of the birthday cake and the Hershey's especially dark chocolate cake recipe for the second layer (my favorite chocolate cake recipe!) I love Smitten Kitchen's website...she has great recipes that are realistic. I used her icebox cake recipe last Christmas and got rave reviews. I found a chocolate peanut butter cake recipe that will be the husband's birthday cake this year.
We had a ridiculously stressful and exhausting week, which is why I haven't been online to post. My little guy had a cold last weekend that led to him being admitted to the hospital via the ER after we realized he was having trouble breathing. He was in respiratory distress and ended up diagnosed with the general "reactive airway disease." Basically he had an asthma attack, but he wasn't doing what I thought was traditional wheezing. He has no history of wheezing, so we are really hoping this was a one time occurrence as a result of the cold virus. He was released after a day and has been on round the clock nebulizer treatments, which has just wiped me out. I haven't slept more than three hours in a row for a week now. Yesterday during our second visit this week to his pediatrician for follow up we were told his lungs sounded good and we just had to continue the nebulizer treatments around the clock four times a day for another week. In my exhaustion I almost screamed at the doctor, but held it together enough to just question the length of time on the meds. He agreed that just four more days would be enough. In the meantime, the little guy HATES the nebulizer. It's so bad that I've taken to promising candy if he does it, something I swore I'd never do! Let's hope that he doesn't get alot of colds this year, as that could lead to him having another wheezing issue.
I do have to say that our local hospital was just wonderful. We were in the ER for about six hours before he was finally admitted because his pulse-ox levels did not improve enough with albueterol in the ER. While there, he had to have a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. While we were waiting for the x-ray tech, we witnessed an older woman in a hospital gown, drunk, being arrested and led out of the ER in handcuffs. I covered the monkey's eyes for that, since I wasn't up for the questions that would follow. A young football player in full uniform, helmet and all, was wheeled by us with his family in tow. That freaked me out, every parent's nightmare of a kid being whisked off the field into an ambulance without even removing his helmet. I tried to find out if he was ok, but our nurse wasn't involved in his care. I reassured the little guy that he was ok. Someone overdosed and was either being treated or died while we were there, as all of a sudden a nurse came to our area and told us she had to shut our curtain for a few minutes. A gurney passed by shortly afterwards and we later learned that someone had died. There was a little six year old girl there in worse respiratory distress than my little guy and our nurse was really upset about it as they were hoping that she wouldn't have to be intubated. Saturday night at a suburban hospital was quite exciting. The physician's assistant that took care of us initially was a mom from our music class that we used to take, which was nice since we knew her.
The pediatric unit at the hospital was very impressive and run by CHOP. There was a playroom complete with a play house, which is something my son desperately wants to own. Every room had free tv with a DVD/VHS player. The play room had a full video/DVD library, so we were able to watch the Lion King and Phineas and Ferb! There were race cars for the kids that parents could wheel around the unit. The staff was wonderful and really helpful. For a while the little guy begged to go home, but after he started feeling better he realized how much was there to play with and see. He loved checking out the kitchen that was filled with snacks and drinks. He must have had four cartons of chocolate milk that day, a usually one time a week treat. The liquid prednisone he was on made him sick, but we were able to mix it with Hershey's syrup to make it more palatable. Today he told me he loved being at the hospital and can't wait to go back there to play. I would love to never have to go back there, but at least it was a good experience for the little patient.
While on vacation I worked on the Lavender Summit shaw/scarf that will never be finished! This is a project that I love, but just am not fast enough and do not have enough time to dedicate to finish. Someday, it will look smashing!
While we were away, my dear friend was being a new mama to her third baby girl. Since she didn't know it was going to be another girl baby, I knit a basic cardigan in bright orange and a pumpkin hat for her. It turned out very sweet and I love the little fishy buttons.
Since all it seems to do is rain here, it is time to post about our wonderful week at the beach in between Hurricane Irene and the tail end of what ever system of rain is hitting us this past week in PA.
We reserved a week at a little beach bungalow rental on Long Beach Island last winter with big plans to have fun on the beach. While the hurricane prevented us from going to LBI on our planned Saturday, we were finally able to get on the island by Sunday night, giving us a full five days and one half day to spend on vacation. We really had amazing weather the whole week. Temperatures were in the low 80s all week, the sky was clear blue with only a few puffy white clouds. The water was chilly and rough, but not too bad. It was great surfing weather, if we had been surfers! We did get the chance to watch a bunch of surfers early on the beach Monday morning. It was beautiful! Our little beach house was on a section of the island that was only two blocks wide, so we could walk from the bay to the beach quickly. We spent every day on the beach and dug lots of holes in the sand and built castles and forts in the sand. The little guy had a blast and was looking like a true beach dude by the end of the week with even blonder hair! We ate some great seafood and even got the little guy to eat some fish, although he prefered the "chips" part of the meal more.
There is no boardwalk on LBI, which was fine by me. There was a little area open at night in Beach Haven that had shops, restaurants, a bay side playground, and an amusement park. We went there twice to the delight of the little guy. We rode the ferris wheel as a family both nights and the little guy rode on a mini pumpkin ferris wheel ALL BY HIMSELF! This was a big deal, since every time we go to amusement parks he has refused to ride anything without one of us. He was so proud of himself!
At the little guy's request, we went for a beach walk at night to see the "shapes in the stars." He insisted he saw stars shaped like each of us. We also had the chance to see the sun set over the bay several times. It was a great get away for us and if I ever come into vast amounts of money, I am buying a beach house on LBI!
Last week's new recipe that I tried was Chicago-style pizza pot pie. I wasn't entirely sure about it, but wanted to give it a shot. I ended up using Trader Joe's herbed pizza crust because instead of preparing homemade crust we were hunting for butterflies in the yard. (We didn't find any.) This dish turned out surprisingly good. I am not a big fan of traditional sausage, so I used organic mild Italian chicken sausage, which was really good. This recipe is a keeper. It didn't look pretty, but it was tasty. (Although the little guy wouldn't touch it!)
This week's menu plan:
Monday: Chicken Fajita Salad (My own recipe using Penzey's fajita seasoning.) A mix of fajita seasoned chicken sauteed with a sliced onion, black beans and roasted corn (frozen kind from Trader Joe's) over salad greens with cheddar shreds and whatever dressing I have on hand!
So, the basement is flooded, again. It hasn't been dry since July. The grass in the yard looks amazingly green with all the water it's getting. It rained all night last night, a hard rain with thunder and lightning. The neighborhood was so flooded that they closed schools today in our district! I saw reports that in central PA, the Lancaster and Hershey areas, are flooded. So flooded that the zoo in Hershey had to be evacuated and they lost some animals due to flash floods. So sad. Pictures on Facebook show that Dutch Wonderland is under water. At some point, some of this rain has to go to Texas, which is literally burning up with drought.
This is officially the last day of my son's summer vacation, as he has "meet the teacher" tomorrow morning at preschool and his first official start of preschool on Monday. It would have been lovely to celebrate the day at the playground or the pool, but between the rain and the threat of more thunderstorms, neither place would work. He got it in his head that the news mentioned that the movie theaters were open today and would not stop talking about going to the movies. I finally gave in and decided it would be a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. There was only one movie showing that was kid-appropriate...the Smurfs! It was not a movie I thought I would like, but after we watched a few trailers and clips, he declared it a movie he would love to see. So, we went.
Aside from the annoying la, la, la song, it was actually a cute movie. Some of it was boring to him, since it probably is geared towards an older child, but he liked the smurf parts and declared it a funny movie. In one scene, the smurfs are riding on the top of a taxi through Times Square, while a Vampire Weekend song (Holiday) plays in the background. My son knows this song from listening to the cd in the car and said he loved that part of the movie. It also helps that I told him that his daddy works in Times Square, but the scene was too fast to id his office building.
Despite the rain, the wet basement, and a headache, it was a smurftacular day!