Zachary: 6 Months

Zachary is now 6 months old! Half a year has gone by with this little ball of curious energy-it’s hard to believe it!

This month Zach went to see his Aunt Stina and Uncle Matt in Walla Walla. He liked spending time with their dog Pepper, who loves kids, and wasn’t quite sure of their cat Alice. Zach also enjoyed listening to his Aunt, Uncle, and even Mom, play the piano.

He had a great Thanksgiving weekend with his NaiNai and Papa (Luke’s parents) and his great-grandma Coulombe. He decided to stick to applesauce and pumpkin for thanksgiving dinner. For more on our Thanksgiving see (Thanksgiving Leftovers ).

Zachary also went on his first Christmas outing: Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo. This was Zach’s first time to the zoo and to see Christmas lights. He loved all the people, the bright lights, and seeing bats, seals, and elephants.

Zach can sit for a good amount of time unassisted but we rarely see this happen: he’s always on the go. The days of staying on his blanket are over. He is scooting: using an army crawl and pushing off with his feet to launch forward determined to explore every object on the rug.

Zachary also started a new game, possibly after watching a game of catch with the dog. He will throw one of his smaller toys then case after it and throw it again. As you can guess we are buying baby gates now.

He likes to explore everyday objects like measuring cups, cooking spoons, hangers, and most recently, Christmas cookie tins, and hit them against counters and floors to hear the noises they make. He also likes to drop or throw objects to see how far they will go or how long it will take for someone to pick them up.

Zach now has realized that peek-a-boo is a game and laughs and smiles. He figured it out quickly then initiated a game with NaiNai in the car, hiding his head behind the car seat and popping out with a big grin.

He has been interacting more with Kira grabbing her ears, paws, whiskers, and even chewing on her tail. Kira has handled it all with grace like a good furry big-sister. If she gets fed up, she just moves away.

Zach is now in 6-9 month PJ’s, is sitting nice and tall in his highchair, and now has a very full head of blonde hair.

Hope you all have had a good November and we are excited to soon share with you about Zach’s first Winter Holiday Season.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

For Zach’s first Thanksgiving we were at his NaiNai and Papa’s house (Luke’s parents place).  We enjoyed a quiet peaceful weekend of puzzles, games, cooking, baking, of course eating and spending time together.

For Thanksgiving meal we tried giving Zachary sweet potato and mashed potato mixed with very ground up beef but it was too rough on his gums. Because he is teething badly he settled instead on applesauce, which has become his favorite food. He did enjoy dessert of pumpkin banana though.

I also made probably my best gluten free, organic, alternative sugar apple pie so far.  I was frustrated by having to piece-work the top together so I covered it with maple leaf cut-outs. It turned out looking pretty great.

I had even more leftover pie crust which I then turned into shortbread cookies by adding a little agave and cinnamon. These little cookies went over well with tea in the afternoons.

We came home with a ton of leftover mash potatoes, gravy and turkey to use up. So I thought: what do to with all the Thanksgiving leftovers?

I decided to make a freezer meal I call: Shepherd’s Turkey Pot Pie.

I bought cheap tin foil pie pans then defrosted peas and carrots.

I cooked the peas and carrots with a little garlic and pepper. Then put in the turkey meat and gravy. And ta da! Pot Pie filling.

I put down a bottom layer of pie crust which, is not necessary for true Shepherd’s pie.

Then once the pot pie filling cooled I put it in the tins, then covered the whole thing with leftover mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes needed to be re-whipped with a little cream to thin it out.

Last of all I covered them each in foil and plastic wrap and into the freezer they went.

Now I have four easy ready-made dinners for those crazy days before and after the winter holidays.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Now anyone have suggestions on what to do with a ton of leftover cranberry sauce?

Fondue Holidays

So what do you do when you live thousands of miles from family during most holidays? Our answer is fondue.

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It just does not make sense to make a whole turkey and all the sides for the two of us for one day. So we have tried to go out to eat for Thanksgiving the past few years.

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Last year we went to a more upscale buffet with carving stations, but it was beyond crowded and even with a reservation we were seated 2 hours late. On top of that, the restaurant was completely decked-out for Christmas. It’s little hard to enjoy turkey and the harvest season when your staring as a mechanical santa pops in and out of a chimney.

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So this year we have decided to stay in and make fondue. We have done fondue as our annual new years tradition since our first year of marriage. That first year we did fondue in a double broiler on a camp stove.

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The cheese was pasty (more flour than cheese) and the chocolate runny. For more on this see my blog post “a cheesy new years tradition”.

Since then we have done a major upgrade, learned about our ingredients, and bought ourselves a fondue pot.

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For Halloween we decided to have a grown-up Halloween party by having pumpkin gluten free beer cheddar fondue served with green apples, celery, grapes, salami, and bread. Then we made dark chocolate with orange liquor dip for bananas, marshmallows, graham crackers and strawberries. Since we live out in the country, no children come to us to get candy so we took the time to enjoy old Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. It was fun.

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For Thanksgiving we plan to make a white wine artichoke and spinach cheese fondue with green olives, apples, bread, salami, and mushrooms for dipping. And for dessert we will make a dark chocolate fondue with dark rum and similar fruits and treats as Halloween.

So no turkey for us, but don’t worry we will be full, happy, and thankful for our warm fall, our dog, and cheese.

Hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving!

2013 in review

I know we are a little more than a week into the new year but it has taken me a full week to get back into the normal routine of things (I can’t be the only one who’s in the post-holiday struggle for normality). As I look back on almost a full year with this blog I thought I’d review some of the highlighting events of 2013.

So here is a review of 2013 blog style:

January: survived our first NY winter:  A Lesson in Independence and explored our local museum’s winter events: 2300 degrees

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February: Started a new Valentines tradition: Valentine’s Pie: a New Tradition, and explored what it means to be newly married :Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage Myth busting: Round 2

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March: Celebrate Luke’s birthday with brewery tours/tastings in Rochester: A Chemistry lesson for a birthday present, Shared about my allergy to barley: Why I am barley free: Part One, and celebrated Easter: Hot Cross Buns and Berry Salad

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April: Celebrated 6 months of marriage: Wow it’s been 6 months!, shared details about our wedding:The Dress and  learning how to look for a job: Patience: giving myself time

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May: Traveled to the West Coast for an Oregon vacation and my brother’s college graduation: Vacation Highlights Part 1: Family TimeVacation Highlights Part 2: Date Days

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June: Went Kayaking in Rochester: Kayaking and BBQ, bottled our first homemade barley-free beer:  Bottling our first homemade brew and celebrated my birthday in Ithaca: An Ithaca birthday Adventure

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July: Explored local festivals: Two festivals and Korean BBQ, Fixed up the front porch: Home Improvement: The Front Porch Project, and traveled to Washington to be apart of pre-wedding events for my brother’s wedding : Pre-wedding Jitters

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August:  Particpated in my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower: Stina’s bridal shower and other wedding events, attended two local foodie festivals in NY: Smoke on the WaterTaste of Ellicotville, and hiked a local landmark: Walkins Glen State Park= Gorge-ous

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September: Looked back on my brother’s wedding: The Wedding, and shared more about my job-search: A New Year: Teacher without a classroom

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October: Picked pumpkins and attended an Apple Festival: Picking Perfect Pumpkins;  Apple Fest,  shared about my allergy to tree-nuts:Why I am tree-nut free Part one,  and celebrated a year of marriage with a trip to Niagara Falls :Niagara Falls anniversary Part One

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November: Kept busy with non-blogging activities and shared about them in: busy: and update

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December: Started two new holiday traditions: Post-Parade Cookies and Cocoa and Christmas Concert TSO. Attended our local holiday festival: Sparkle and shared our Christmas with my parents: A Very Corning Christmas present and A handmade and heirloom Christmas

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That is one very full blogging year! And that is only a small portion of the blog-post in this past year and doesn’t include any of my recipes. So what can you look forward to reading about this next year? You’ll find out soon enough.

Busy: an update

First and foremost I want to say: No I have not forgotten about all of you!

Second: I have been busy!! I am not telling you this to apologize from my blogging absence. Instead I am actually sharing with excitement that life is finally getting full.  We have been busy with social outings, holiday events, small group meetings, and of course work. So what have I been up to?

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1. Mama Mia: On Thursday the 21rst Luke called me early in the morning and shared that one of his co-workers was giving away two tickets to see a local production of Mama Mia for that night.  I was excited, it has been two years since I’ve seen a musical and how do you say no to free tickets?! Luke said he would go with me but I told him I would ask my friend Sarah to come along for a girls night out, sparing him from a night of ABBA . It was wonderful to get all dressed up and check out our closest preforming art center: Clemens Center . We had seats in the first few rows and this more informal performance included a three song sing-along after the curtain call (costume change and all).

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2. Thanksgiving x 2: This past Tuesday we had our first round of Thanksgiving meals with our small group from church. So Tuesday I was busy making stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a fresh salad. That was our first day of real  snow and the ground was wet and slippery so it took Luke awhile to get home from work. Running a little late to small group, we came in to our friends Scott and Sarah’s mudroom to the smell of turkey and gravy. It was a great laid-back night; a nice change of pace. We enjoyed just spending time together talking about hobbies and our Thanksgiving plans.

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Second round of Thanksgiving we shared with our good friends Tre and Miki. They moved out here 6 months before we did from San Diego and are also newly married. We went to their house in the dark and snow around 4:30pm and enjoyed a great Thanksgiving dinner just the four of us. We played a little Dominion, watched Charlie Brown and clips from the Thanksgiving football game while eating pumpkin bread and drinking coffee. We were grateful for a relaxing day with good food and great friends.

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3. New Job: Coming Soon!! :You read right! After months of applying, waiting, and frustration I will have a new teaching position starting in February. I will be teaching a Business/Professional Writing course for Keuka College’s ASAP program (Accelerated Studies Adult Program). Right now I am in the middle of the hiring paperwork followed up  by online teacher training and so on. This has been a long time coming and although it is only one class for now, I am grateful for a foot in the door!

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4. Winter Has Passed: No I’m not delusional. I realize winter is only beginning, evident by the snow falling outside, Winter Has Passed is the title to a new book about to be published. This is my mother-in-law Diana Greene’s 4th book and my second book as her editor in chief.  We have been working around the clock to get the final edits together for this second book in her Extraordinary in the Ordinary series so it can be sold for Christmas. I also had the privilege this time of writing the book’s introduction. For more on this book check out: Diana Greene Ministries or Diana Greene Ministries facebook page.

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What’s next?: Today I am baking like crazy for our first Christmas event of the season that has potential to become a new tradition. Then next weekend is Sparkle (Corning’s biggest winter festival) and a Christmas concert. All of which I will share more about later.

So now it’s time to catch up with all of you:

Are you still stuffed from Thanksgiving? What do you do with leftovers?

Are you ready for the Christmas season yet?