Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Seeley Family!

Merry Christmas to everyone! Here is  the card I designed for 2010. I thought it would be neat to make one that could double as an ornament for the family.

(front)

(back)

(Please click on the letter to view a larger version.)

We hope that you have a wonderful Christmas with your families and a Happy New Year!

Love,
The Seeley family
Josh, Kristy, Ethan and Daisy

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why we need our new Minivan....and some other catching up!

So I realize I haven't been doing a very good job lately with keeping my blog up to date. But, this time I think I have a pretty good excuse. ;) Life became a bit more chaotic for me in November, shortly after learning the big news...


Yep, Ethan is correct. We are expecting another little bundle of joy in July! :) With that news though, has come the exhaustion...and the nausea. :( This has been a major bummer since I had such an easy pregnancy with Ethan and didn't have to worry about these things. Pairing that along with trying to care for a very active toddler this time too and I am one worn out mama! So, I have been sleeping a lot more and even napping while Ethan naps most days. I am almost 10 weeks along, so hoping that it won't be too much longer until I start feeling like myself again.

As the title of this blog suggests, yep, we got a new minivan! Once we have two kids plus Daisy, the 4-Runner will no longer cut it for those long drives North. So, Josh gracefully traded in his beloved sports car and sensible truck to get me a 2010 Chrysler Town & Country. I am in love with it already after just the first week. It is loaded out with all kinds of fun and useful options, including Ethan's personal favorite...the dual screen entertainment system complete with a few children's satellite TV stations! Sadly, he does throw a small tantrum if we go outside and it's not to get in the van, but I guess it's good that he likes it so much! Should prove to be helpful for those long drives.

Unfortunately I haven't gotten around to taking any pics of the new van yet, so I will have to update this later with those.

It has been a rough couple of months for Ethan with fighting an ongoing sinusitis battle. Two rounds of antibiotics and a decongestant and he has managed to come down with it yet again this week. :( He's a trooper, but the runny nose and congestion have got to be miserable for him. Unfortunately it seems I have also managed to come down with whatever he has this morning. Here's hoping we can get rid of this junk soon!

After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner (including my first attempt at a stuffed turkey and real gravy) here at the house...


...we put up our Christmas tree for the first time on Thanksgiving Day too! :)


Ethan was able to help this year and it was fun to see the excitement on his face while he helped put on the garland and ornaments! :)


I even got the kids to pose nicely in front of the tree for me! :) Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mmmmm....Pumpkin Cookies!

It is that time of year again. Time for some baked pumpkin goodies! I always make the obligatory pumpkin pie, as it is Josh's favorite. I have never been a fan of pumpkin pie mysef (yes, probably the only pie I won't eat), so last year I decided to try a new recipe (courtesy www.realsimple.com) for pumpkin cookies. I thought they would be easier (read: less messy) for Ethan to snack on and they looked pretty tasty in the picture, so I thought, why not?

They ended up being super tasty (yep, even I liked them) and a huge hit with Ethan, so I decided to make them again this year, for Halloween. My family was visiting for the weekend, so I had a special helper, my nephew, Jacob, help me make them this time!


We gathered all of our ingredients....


9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (1 can) canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Then we started following the directions...

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and egg and beat until combined.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar and butter and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated.
  4. Spoon heaping tablespoons of the mixture 2 inches apart onto parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets. Bake until puffed and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Jacob was such a good helper! I measured the ingredients for him, then he added everything to the mixer for me. :)


As you can see, the finished product was excellent!


Jacob was very proud of how well he did and he really, really liked the cookies too! :)


To complete our pumpkin weekend, I made the kids some orange, Jack-o-lantern pancakes on Halloween morning. Yum, yum!! :)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lions, Tigers and Bears....Oh My!!

I feel like it has been ages since the last time I posted! Granted it has only been a couple weeks, so much has happened in that time to blog about that it is a bit daunting to get back on here again. But, it must be done, so I will start with one of the adventures we took last month.

On the 24th we visited the Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain, GA with the Richards family. Hard to believe, but this place is practically in our backyard! Who would have thought we could drive just 25 minutes southwest and find this wonderful, exciting adventure?!?


It was a hot Sunday for the end of October (and the Bengals were in town playing the Falcons!), but we made our way to the park to see some wild animals. As recommended to us by Josh's co-workers, we rented one of the park's vans to drive through the park.


It didn't take long to see why this was suggested. Unless you really like animal drool all over the inside of your car doors and the fact that the animals can fit their entire heads into your car when there aren't bars on your windows, then I would also suggest renting one of those sweet zebra minivans! ;) I think Josh was pretty excited about this deer coming right at his head, but I can't tell in this pic. haha!


Ethan, however, was quite concerned about the animals that quickly swarmed the vehicle.


Note the bars over the windows in the background. Yep, we really liked those bars! I guess that was why there were signs posted all through the park stating that you should throw the food away from the vehicle to keep the animals away from you. But what fun would that be? We preferred to let them just eat it right out of our hands. Fortunately, only Josh managed to get nipped by a zebra, while the rest of us escaped unscathed.


It was amazing how well Ethan did at sitting still on my lap for the hour-long drive through the park. Apparently the thought of being gobbled up by one of those guys was all he needed to convince him that Mommy's lap was a safe place! :)


Ethan's favorite was the giraffes. They managed to bend their necks down and stick their heads on in the van so that we could get a feel of their weird tongues. Very cool.


We saw all kinds of animals while driving through the park - zebras, donkeys, giraffes, deer, camels, ostriches, pigs, goats, lions, tigers, rhinos, water buffalo, bison, yaks, cows, and probably more that I am forgetting. Finally by the end, Ethan was brave enough to feed the animals, as seen in the video below. :)

video


Once we turned the van back in we proceeded to the walkabout, where you could go around and view animals in cages, just like you would at the zoo. Here they had even more different animals and Ethan had a blast checking them all out! We stopped for a few cute photo ops. ;)



After visiting all of the animals, we went to the cafe for a late lunch. What a great trip with my two favorite guys!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Little Italy....in my Kitchen!

About a year ago I discovered the deliciousness that is Publix pizza dough. Since that time I have been experimenting with different recipes. In the past I would have been as happy as the next gal to just order a pizza from the local pizza joint, but lately I have started to really enjoy making these homemade pizzas and I am starting to really love the results! :)

Some of my favorites have included barbeque chicken (chicken breast, onion and bacon with a BBQ sauce) and Mexican (ground beef, taco seasoning, onion and cheddar cheese with a mixture of pizza sauce and salsa), but I have now found my all-time favorite...and it's just a simple margherita pizza. How is it that in my 29+ years I have never bought creamy, fresh mozzarella or sweet basil leaves at the store?? I know, it's a crime! For my latest pizza, I topped it with these items along with some crushed tomatoes. Three simple things atop that wonderfully yummy crust, but the taste was incredible! It really was like something you would get at a nice pizzeria. This was definitely not Papa John's, Pizza Hut, Domino's or Little Caesar's. This was gooooood pizza.


I also experimented with the dough to make breadsticks. I just rolled the dough out, scored the shape of the sticks with my pizza cutter, baked it, then while it was still hot and fresh out of the oven, spread some butter over it along with some parmesan seasoning. Delish!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My 'Lil Pumpkin

Whew! We have been very busy this month. I'm not sure what I'll blog about come November!? haha.

This past Sunday we made our first visit to a pumpkin patch! We picked Uncle Bob's Pumpkin Patch in Newnan, mostly because our friends, the Richards family, were going and we thought it would be fun to join them. :) Their son, Aiden, was born 3 weeks before Ethan and it has been great getting together with them so that they boys can "play" together. Oh who am I kidding, it's just nice to have grown up conversation with Tanya! The fact that the boys will someday play together is an added bonus. ;)

We started the trip with a visit to the "petting zoo". They had quite a few goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys and pigs. Ethan loved it! The goats didn't seem to mind him, but the sheep were enjoying running away from poor Ethan. :(

Wow, you are soft!

Hey, Mr. Goat! What's up?

Thanks for letting me pet you! :)

We attempted to get a good family pic of the three of us at this point, but Ethan would have none of it. :( Getting that boy to sit still for more than 3 seconds is a challenge right now. None of the close up pics turned out very well, but this pic from the side that Brian took turned out pretty neat.


After trying to get a pic, we learned about bees and watched them make honey. Apparently that made Ethan hungry, because it was then time for a snack. He was a very cranky boy...his shirt said it all!


We finished up with the snack, then took a hayride around the farm. Apparently Ethan was unsure about this at first, but he warmed up to the idea as we started to make our way around the corn fields. :) We returned from the hayride and collected some pumpkins and apple cider to purchase. Hopefully we'll get those carved this week and ready for Halloween!


For more pics from the trip, check out my FB album by clicking here! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Better Time for Squash!

A few weeks ago I bought my first ever butternut squash. I really had no idea what I wanted to do with it at the time, but I wanted to try something. So I started looking at recipes. I decided I was going to make soup because that sounded tasty. I found what appeared to be a fairly "healthy" recipe. It called for one 2-3 lb squash (roasted) and 2 cups chicken broth (pureed together), then heated on the stove, with 1 cup of milk to be added. I made the recipe as directed. It wasn't a bad soup, but after trying some of the roasted squash, I fell in love with the nutty flavor and smooth texture that the squash offered. I felt that the chicken broth overpowered this flavor and I was disappointed by this. I would need to try another recipe.

The following week I picked up another squash at my favorite local Publix store. This time I wanted to roast it and add the puree to my ground turkey to make burgers. See my previous post to see how this turned out. :)

This week I once again bought a squash. Hopefully Ethan and Josh aren't getting sick of squash yet. ;) I also picked up some heavy cream. It seems that every really good soup requires heavy cream. I tossed out my hopes of creating a super healthy soup. This time I just wanted something that would taste great! I read through some recipes and decided to just wing it with my own creation. Let me tell you, I am so happy with the results!! Once again I roasted my squash. I know some people boil theirs to cook it, but boiling veggies removes a lot of the nutrients and to me, ruins the flavor. So, roasting it was once again! When my squash was done, I let it cool for a bit before adding it to the food processor. While it was cooling, I diced up half of a white onion. I added this to my saucepan with a little bit of butter to brown the onion. I then added the squash to the food processor and pureed it. After that, I added 1/2 cup chicken broth to the squash and mixed this in well. I then added this mixture to the onions in the saucepan. I let this simmer for a bit then added 1 cup of heavy cream, keeping the heat low to not burn the soup. I let this heat up, then served it up, complete with a little shredded parmesan on top. :) Soooo tasty!! It was definitely a heavy soup, so next time I may try using half and half instead of the cream to lighten it up a bit. ;)

On the side, I made grilled cheese sandwiches with Publix's White Mountain bread and slices of mozzarella and asiago cheeses fresh from the deli. I think next time I would like to try adding some slices of tomato and fresh basil too. Sounds super yummy! Here is a shot of dinner. Delicious!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Under the Sea

Last Sunday (10.10.10) we packed up and made our way to Atlanta. Zoo Atlanta was having a Walmart Sunday Funday, which meant $5 tickets! This is a great savings considering they normally overcharge their patrons with $19.99 tickets! What!?! You may not think that is a bad price, but I visited the zoo a few weeks ago, and let's just say I am glad I went with a friend who had a pass to get me in for free (little man was still little enough to be free, of course). Maybe it comes from being spoiled by growing up with the Cincinnati and Columbus Zoos (both rated in the top 10 in the country), which were definitely both way better zoos. Coincidently, tickets for the Cincinnati Zoo are only $14 and just $12.99 for the Columbus Zoo! As we approached the Zoo, we noticed that the street parking was slim to none and the Zoo lot was closed because it was full. :( First bad sign. We finally circled a few times and noticed a van pulling out from their spot. We quickly swooped in, unloaded the stroller, and started making our way in. Ugh. The line to get in was nearly half a football field long and 6 to 8 lines wide! It appeared we would be waiting hours just to get in. Apparently $5 tickets sounded like a great idea to everyone in the ATL metro area! :( We quickly decided that little man was not going to last that long as it was already almost noon and he would probably be needing a nap no later than 2 or 3. So, back to the car we went. We loaded up and decided that since we were already in Atlanta, we needed to do something, so off to the Georgia Aquarium we went! Fortunately it was not nearly as packed as the Zoo, so we bought our tickets and entered, all within 10 minutes! :)


Yep. We bought the picture package. I am such a sucker! $30, but at least we got a cute magnet for the fridge. ;) Oh well. It is hard to get a pic of the 3 of us with everyone looking and no one blinking or throwing a tantrum (yeah, Josh is pretty hard to control, haha). So we had a great time making our way around the aquarium and seeing all of the exhibits. Here are a few pics from the day. If you want to see more, you can view them in my facebook album by clicking here.

Here are Ethan and Josh at the entrance, checking out the big fish.


Ethan had the best seat in the house!


Checking out the sharks in the tunnel!!


His favorite part was definitely getting to pet the fish!


Look at that grin!! :) Definitely made the trip worth it!


We finished up at the aquarium and made our way to IKEA from there. Nothing like a little shopping and a warm cinnamon roll to end a great day! :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Adventures in Turkey Burgers

In an attempt to make this blog more interesting to read (in the event that someday someone actually reads it besides my cousin - thanks Jenny!), I am going to try to include some posts about things aside from my darling little son. You know, so I can be one of those moms who does more than just talk about her kids? ;) haha. Remember, I said try.....

So...a couple weeks ago I decided to revisit the idea of making turkey burgers for dinner. This is something I had tried a few years ago, and dear hubby was not a fan, to say the least. If it's not a beef burger, he really didn't want to eat it. :( I am attempting to improve our diet and instill in my son a love of all different kinds of food (unlike myself growing up), so I thought I would give it a go again. Hubby was not so thrilled to see the ground turkey package sitting there on the counter, waiting to be formed into burgers. I had told him that morning that burgers were on the menu for dinner, so I guess he had gotten his hopes up? Poor guy. He would have to suffer through my attempts at making an edible turkey burger. I had some ideas of what I wanted to do to make it even healthier, but it would be purely experimental since I had no recipe to follow. My plan was to add some oats and to make a carrot puree and add some of that too. Unfortunately, I didn't plan enough ahead of time and I didn't have time to make the puree, so I just added some oats, some egg whites, and some yummy spices. The end result was not bad! The flavor was good, but I'm not going to lie, it was kind of dry, like stick to the roof of your mouth kind of dry. :( I guess I would have to call this a failed attempt. It just couldn't stack up to a real beef burger.

Fortunately, I have perseverance. Unfortunately for my hubby that meant he would be eating turkey burgers again. ;) I tried again this past week. I gathered all of my ingredients: my ground turkey, my egg whites, my oats, and some butternut squash that I had just finished roasting.


The week before I had made roasted butternut squash soup for the first time and it was fabulous!! The nutty flavor of the squash was excellent and so good that I decided I would make more and use the puree in the turkey burgers! So, forget the carrots, squash was my new secret ingredient to give those burgers the moistness that they were so desperately lacking.

I still did not use a recipe when I attempted to make the burgers again. Perhaps that is where I am going wrong. I added the squash to the food processor, pureeing until it was pretty much the consistency of baby food (which I have now decided I will be doing for baby number two - making lots of homemade baby food!!) I then added 6 heaping spoonfuls of it to the 1.25 pounds of ground turkey that I had. I threw in about 1/2 to 1 cup of oats and a generous splash of egg whites. I mixed it all up and also added some garlic salt, pepper, chili powder and ground red pepper for more flavor. I started to form my burgers and realized that the mixture was very moist, so moist that it was indeed difficult to form a shape. But, I did it. I probably should have added more oats at that point, in an attempt to decrease the moisture, but unfortunately, I didn't. Hindsight is always 20/20!

Hubby grilled the burgers and we topped them with a slice of sharp cheddar and a slice of fresh tomato on a whole wheat bun. Served on the side was Ethan and I's favorite, baked sweet potato fries. This time, lack of moistness was certainly not an issue. The burgers were super moist and as I feared, a little too moist. Too moist for my preference that is. Again, the flavor was good. Still not the same as eating a beef burger, don't get me wrong, but definitely something I could get used to eating if I had to. So, I guess I will be attempting the turkey burgers one more time. I am determined to perfect them! Next time, less puree, more oats. I'll let you know how it goes! Sorry for the lack of a finished product picture. I think we were super hungry and in our attempt to quickly scarf the burgers down, I forgot to take a pic!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Long Time, No Write

So I am very disappointed in myself. I haven't blogged since January!! Obviously much has changed in the past 10 months.

Ethan celebrated his 1st birthday in March. We had a small party at the house for mostly family. It was a nice weekend and we had a great time seeing everyone.


At the end of April we took a trip to Port St. Joe, FL with my parents, my sister and her husband and two children. We rented a house near Cape Sans Blas and it was gorgeous! Unfortunately the ocean was still a little cool, but luckily the heated pool at the house was great! We enjoyed time on the beach and time at the pool. Little man had a super sleepy week, but we made the most of the time he spent awake that week! The great part of the trip was that Cape Sans Blas is dog-friendly, so Daisy made the trip with us and discovered that she LOVED the beach!


Here's a video of Daisy and Ethan digging a hole together! :)

video

We had a very hot summer here in Georgia, which limited the time that we spent outside. In May and September, we made Ohio trips again this year to beat the heat and see the family! While we were there in September, we made a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo for Ethan's first zoo trip. He loved seeing the animals!

So this was just a small sampling of what we have been up to this year. I am going to try to get better about making more frequent postings again so that this can become more of a journal and a better aid for us in the future when trying to remember our journey!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Day in the Life of Ethan

For the past few months, Ethan has finally settled into a routine. I am getting ready to change it up a bit next week and add a 3rd meal in, but here is what his day looks like right now:

9:00 - 9:15 am Wake up, nurse, get dressed
9:15 - 10:30 am Play with toys
10:30 - 10:45 am Eat breakfast (oatmeal or waffle and fruit)
10:45 - 11:30 am Take a walk with Daisy and mommy
11:30 am - 12:00 pm Play with toys or watch Sesame Street
12:00 - 2:00 pm Nurse and nap time
2:00 - 3:00 pm Play with toys
3:00 - 5:00 pm Nurse, then run errands with mommy (or play with toys if no errands)!
5:00 - 5:30 pm Nap time
5:30 - 6:00 pm Play with toys
6:00 - 7:30 pm Nurse, then play with toys
7:30 - 8:00 pm Eat dinner (rice or mixed grain cereal, veggie and banana)
8:00 - 9:00 pm Play with daddy!
9:00 pm Nurse, get jammies on, then bed time!

What a life! :) It is nice to have him on a routine. He is a good eater and sleeper and a generally good-natured boy, which I think is in part attributed to that fact that we stick to a good schedule. :)