Thursday, September 29, 2011

Outdoor photo session

Last Sunday after church and after Lucan's afternoon nap (which consisted of 45 minutes - not nearly long enough if you ask me), we had a little fun backyard photo session. Lucan had his Sunday best on, a Ralph Lauren outfit courtesy of Josh and Nicole. Let me tell you, all of Lucan's super cute clothes are gifts from Josh and Nicole. Nicole took it very seriously when I proclaimed that if I wasn't going to have a girl that I could dress in pink tutus, that at the very minimum, I was going to dress my son like a prepster. They've definitely aided in this endeavor. My son has yet to wear John Deere clothing.

My work BFF, Kristen, is obsessed with trying to figure out if Lucan looks more Asian or Caucasian at any given time. In these pictures she said that she thought he looked more Caucasian. She's a funny girl.

We started out with Lucan on his tummy. We were really impressed with his head control. This picture was taken early on - you can tell because L is still smiling and not annoyed with tummy time.

"Hi Mom! I'm adorable!"

After 5 minutes or so, Lucan was tired. So he laid his head down to rest and then Lance proceeded to try and convince L to roll over. It didn't work so well.

"Help! I'm a turtle stuck on it's side! Save me!"

"Is no one going to help me? Fine. I'll just lay here on my own."

"Sweet relief. Someone flipped me over."

"Oh Daddy, you are so funny. There's no one else who makes me giggle like you do!"

"Uh oh. I'm sitting up again. Time to demonstrate my awesome neck control."

"Awww thanks mom. I know I'm precious."

"AHHHH! Mom is trying to eat me!"

The last picture is compliments of Lance's awesome photography skills. I said I wanted a new mommy-baby picture and instead Lance decided to take a picture of what looks like a carnivorous mom trying to devour her young. Thanks honey. Obviously the best picture of the day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tomato Bruschetta

One word. Yum.

We made tomato bruschetta several times this summer and enjoyed it every time. I really love making this because it really lets the tomato and fresh basil shine through. And it got rid of some of the tomato and basil abundance.

I remember, early on in my cooking endeavors, thinking that bruschetta was kind of time consuming to put together. The tomato dicing must have intimidated me. But now, in all my kitchen glory and experience (ha! you should have seen the mushroom reduction sauce I tried to make last night, it looked vaguely reminiscent of cat vomit, anywho ...) I find bruschetta to be one of those easy appetizers to put together in 10 minutes. Dice a few tomatoes, chiffondale some basil, throw in some minced garlic, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Easy peasy, lemon breezy. Toast some french bread that has been lightly sprayed or brushed with olive oil. Let the tomatoes sit a minute before topping each slice of toasted french bread and you have a 10 minute appetizer! (okay, in all actuality it probably takes closer to 15 minutes, but 10 minutes sounds so much more appealing)

A fun take would also be to include a little bit of Parmesan cheese to the mix. Non-think-ahead Kara never remembered far enough in advance to grab some before all the prep work was basically done.

We've taken this to meals at a friend's house and had this as a stand alone meal when we've felt lazy. There's no reason you have to spend $8.99 to have this at a restaurant when you can easily throw this together at home - enjoy friends!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tomato Adventures

This is our first summer we've had any sort of tomato harvest to speak of. I guess when you've prayed for five years for tomatoes, God answers. Interestingly enough, in our answered prayer, God decided to deduct green peppers from the equation. Perhaps he knew that we are having a hard enough time keeping up as it is. I've had two bags of green beans sitting in the fridge waiting to be blanched for who knows how long. I do miss green peppers though. They're probably second after tomatoes for things we use the most of out of our garden.

Getting back to tomatoes though. While we haven't had a "bumper" crop to speak of, we've had more than we've ever had before. We were given a yellow tomato plant from one of Lance's co-workers that did quite well. It produced large, perfectly shaped tomatoes. The only difference I really noticed between your traditional red tomatoes and the yellow ones, was that the yellow ones might be slightly sweeter. Slightly. Out of the garden we were also able to harvest roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and your traditional large red globe tomatoes. Our cherry tomato plant did amazingly well. Picking hundreds of cherry tomatoes starts to feel like punishment after awhile, especially when you are hunched over, standing awkwardly between plants, trying not to crush tender roots while leaning precariously trying to get that one cherry tomato just out of reach.

This year we decided that our canning adventures would be limited to diced tomatoes and salsa. We never really had enough large tomatoes at one time to can, so we had to supplement with tomatoes from Lance's parents' garden and my parents' garden. Combined, we had tomatoes coming out of our ears.

In true Lance and Kara fashion, we devoted an entire weekend to tomato canning, following the recommended guidelines from Iowa State extension. It made me hate life just a little bit. The kitchen was sweltering with gallons of boiling water and tomatoes simmering on the back burner. I felt like I blanched mountains of tomatoes. We don't use a pressure canner, so one batch, start to finish, probably took close to 2 hours. For a jar of tomatoes that I could purchase for around 70 cents. Yep, I'm still weighing the cost savings on that one. We did applesauce last year because you can noticeably taste the difference between homemade and store bought. Diced tomatoes? Not so much. On the second day we also did salsa, following a tested recipe from Ball. It did not call for salt. It needed it. Now I have quarts and quarts of salsa that needs salt. Fantastic.

What will we can next year? No idea. Some sort of fruit? Green beans? Or maybe ... we won't can at all. Shhh ... don't tell Lance (actually I can't even blame Lance. I seem to always get this itch to try something new every summer, so it's always partially my fault too)

Up next in tomato adventures - bruschetta.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Matchbook Magazine

Here's a link to the latest style e-mag, Matchbook Magazine. Check it out for some fun finds!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lucan: 3 Months Old!

Here are Lucan's 3 month pictures 10 days late :(
Lance and I both had insurance exams to cram for and pass last week, so I'm a little behind on things. Lance is also taking classes again and hogging the computer so I have limited access. (Just kidding Lance, I fully support your pursuit of higher education!)

My little man is getting so big and I love this stage of his life.

  • Lucan weighs a little over 14.5 lbs approximately.

  • He is getting so much hair! All of the hair he does have stands straight up! It is growing in thicker in the front too. I love his hair, it makes him so cute!

  • He's wearing 1-2 sized diapers. We're at the end of that size, I'm sure we'll be moving into size 2 diapers shortly.

  • He is fully into 3-6 month clothing. I can't believe how much sizes vary from brand to brand - Gerber 0-9 month onesies look like spandex on him. Lance jokes that they cut off Lucan's circulation. Lucan is long too, some of his footie pjs are already too short.

  • He is still sleeping through the night (I recognize we are very blessed). We did move him up to the large Swaddleme sized blanket.

  • We're still breastfeeding and have made strides over the last month. Persistence pays.

  • My favorite time with Lucan is when I've finished burping him and he just sort of snuggles on my shoulder. Lucan gets lots of kisses during this time.

  • Lucan is getting so strong and has so much more neck and head control.

  • He loves kicking. I'd list it as one of his favorite things. At Miss Cindy's house she has this toy where Lucan lays on his back and when he kicks the base, the toys on top make musical noises and flutter. This has translated into him madly kicking in his bouncy seat. He has to get strapped in otherwise he'll basically slide himself half-way out of it.

  • Lucan is really enjoying bath time right now too. I think him kicking in the water is very entertaining and he likes to see the splashes and his daddy's worried face when water is going everywhere. I just happen to think it's really precious. I also think that Lance is worried about Lucan wanting to play soccer someday!

  • Lucan is fairly consistent about pooping. Lance recently got pooped on and Lucan has produced some major blowouts - one which desecrated his car seat. Unfortunately Lance was by himself for that blowout and I think it made him a tiny bit spazzy :)

  • We are still doing 6 feedings a day - 6 am - 9 am - noon - 3 pm - 6 pm - and 10:15 pm. Lucan averages about 4.5-4.75 ounces per feeding.

  • Lucan has made a couple of roadtrips - one to Sioux City, another to Sioux Center, one to Omaha and this weekend we'll make the longest trip yet to Minneapolis. Needless to say, I'm worried about this weekend as it will also be the first time we've stayed with Lucan in a hotel. But he's done really well with the past car trips, so let's pray he keeps it up!

  • He has really found his voice and there have been a couple of occasions that we've found him laying in bed chattering to himself. Looks like this guy is going to be a talker!

  • Lance and Lucan watched a Baby Einstein video for the first time on Sunday. It was the baby's first sounds video - I think that Lance learned more than Lucan (he learned how to say hello in multiple languages) and was more entertained than Lucan. Lance gave me a play by play recall about one of the puppets Lance found very funny.

  • We gave Lucan his first lovey - Jerry the Giraffe. Except Lance keeps getting it wrong and calling Jerry, Gerome. Sigh... it's probably a miracle Lance gets Lucan's name right :) Lucan does love Jerry and will hold on to him tightly with his little clutched fist.

  • Lucan does this funny thing of raising his right fist into the air and just holding it there.

  • We've started using his ErgoBaby carrier and Lucan seems to like being toted around in it. I'm planning on using it some this weekend when we are shopping at the Mall of America, so I suppose that's the true test.
So without further ado, here are the pictures of my squirmy, non-smiley baby. Lucan really smiles quite a bit, but only when I'm not trying to take his picture. Go figure.

"Hi. I'm Lucan."

"Mom, I've fallen over! Save me!"

"If I stick out my bottom lip and be cute will you stop taking my picture?"


(that seriously was the last one I took. I tried to catch him smiling on three separate occasions. Obviously it didn't work out so well)

Sneak Peek: Lucan's 3 month pictures

Oh good Lord. Trying to convince Lucan to not fall over and get him to look at the camera is proving to be quite the challenge. Going through this month's film has been quite the trick. I have newfound respect for those photo people who take kids' pictures at Target.

Here's one of my favorites, but not really suitable to document his growth.

"I'm falling! Someone please save me!"