One Year Old

Ike you are one year old today.  What an amazing twelve months this has been, we are looking forward to what you still have in store to share with us.  Every day with you has been a blessing.  I look forward to seeing your happy face each morning.  I count the days to the weekend so we can hang out all day long.  You have grown to be very independent in just one year.  You don’t like for anyone to help you, you want to walk by yourself, feed yourself, climb on things to reach by yourself.  You are like your mommy that way.  But then you light up and wave furiously while trying to hurry over when someone comes home to see you; then you remind me of your daddy.  Always social, happy, and outgoing; enjoying everyone’s company.  You love to cuddle and give kisses, especially early in the morning and just before bed, you have just so much love and affection to share.  You love to have people around you, I think one of your favorite places to be is the airport, where you can make friends all around.  You’ve never met a stranger.  Although you definately have your favorites.  I think your sister is the most important person in the world to you.  You call her name when she is not around.  You scramble over to her as soon as she walks in the door. You prefer her over the rest of us any day.   She is your hero, and you are her partner in crime.  What mischief you two might make in the years to come…

When we all look back, many years from now, these are some things I would like to remember about you, baby Ike.

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Baby Ike, November 22nd, 2013.

Words Ike Can Say:

  • Daddy
  • Mama
  • Wow
  • Gabby
  • Grandma
  • Cow
  • Tickle Tickle
  • No
  • Up
  • Go

Ike’s Favorite Song

The Wheels on the Bus

Teeth? 5
Weight? 24 pounds
Height? 31 inches
Clothes size? 12 months

Ike’s Favorite Foods

  • avocado
  • oatmeal
  • chicken
  • eggs

Signs

  • milk
  • all done
  • more

Travel

  •  11 trips
  • 9 airports
  • 20 airplane rides
  • 2 road trips
  • 1 new country visited

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You’ve changed my life forever Ike.  And I wouldn’t trade our worst day together for the best day before you were here.  I love you to the moon and back.  Happy First Birthday.

Georgia Style Banana Pudding

Hint: There’s extra richness in it, that makes is Georgian, because just milk and bananas isn’t creamy enough!  There’s also special cookies inside, not a plain old vanilla wafers.

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Start with the usual suspects plus 8oz softened cream cheese (it must be upside down for the recipe to work) and a can of sweetened condensed milk.

Line the bottom of a pan (I used 9×13 inch) with cookies.  Then slice up the bananas.

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I used a disposable pan since this dessert is going to my husband’s pot luck, and neither of us are very good about picking up our containers.

Line the cookies with bananas.  And if you are like me add more cookies and more bananas for more YUM!

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Mix two 3.4oz boxes of French Vanilla instant pudding mix with 3 cups of cold milk.

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In a separate bowl beat condensed milk and cream cheese until it’s smooth (it will start out curdly, don’t worry).  Combine the two mixtures and mix until well combined and just divine!

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Fold in a container of Cool Whip (defrosted), and spread the pudding over the cookies and bananas in the pan.

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Top it off with MORE COOKIES!  Also, don’t eat all of the cookies for the top while you are making the pudding.

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Voila!

Honestly, this dessert took me all of about 15 minutes to prepare.  It is always a crowd pleaser.  I would recommend this to anyone that is short on time but big on promises (ME!!).  You can get it done quickly and everyone you serve it to will be full, fat, and happy.

Georgian Banana Pudding

2 3.4oz boxes French Vanilla instant pudding mix
3 cups of cold milk
2 packages of Biscoff cookies
6-7 bananas
8oz frozen Cool Whip (defrosted)
8oz cream cheese, softened
14oz sweetened condensed milk

Line the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan with cookies, bananas, extra cookies and bananas if desired.  Whisk pudding mix and milk until smooth.  In a separate bowl beat cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth.  Combine pudding and cream cheese mixtures and mix until blended.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Pour pudding mix over the cookie/banana pan.  Top the pudding with remaining cookies.  Refrigerate until served.

It went over quite well at the pot luck. I am told it was the first thing gone.  Apparently some people were not quite ready to say goodbye.

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This is an easy, delicious dessert for all those pot lucks  coming up this holiday season!  It could be made substantially lower calorie with the following swaps:

3 cups SKIM milk
Fat Free sweetened condensed milk
Light Cool Whip
Neufchatel cheese (in place of cream cheese)

Enjoy!

Attention! We have a walker!

And just like that, toodlerhood begins…

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Now Ike has been taking steps here and there for the better part of two months now.  And he’s been cruising since about 7 months (mostly in a circle around the playpen). However, taking two-four steps on his own was previously accomplished only by massive amounts of coaxing and only at certain times (ie when he darn well felt like it and nothing more).   He actually started properly crawling and taking coaxed steps around the same time (right at 10 months).  Then he sort of reverted to crawling for a while (safer, faster, more efficient) and seemed to abandon learning to walk altogether.

As of Tuesday, Ike is taking steps all on his own.  Teetering along to get from the couch to the toy box/toy area (because the toys have completely taken over).  Or traipsing around the dining room table a few times before dinner, what is with this kid and making laps?   He can walk from the living room into the dining room with no assistance.  He toddles about from the desk to the dishwasher and over to the refrigerator to play with his magnets.   He will not however cross the transition strip between the dining room and the kitchen, must crawl for fear of tripping.  I think he’s faceplanted too many times and may now be getting some of that good sense I’ve been waiting for.

He is full on WALKING!  I have a new found comprehension for the word “toddler”, because that is what he does.  He has a sort of mummy-like, jerky-knee, belly-lead toddle, but it seems to be working for him.

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‘S
cuse me daddy…

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I
 believe there’s a doggie over here…

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T
hat requires my chasing…

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yes

With all the walking comes an intense need to be put down right this instant!  He does this weird thing where his body becomes sort of rigid and he slides he way down my body until his feet hit the floor.  He holds on to my pants for a moment or two and then gone baby gone.

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I have to go potty!

He has one pair of too small shoes, one pair of too large shoes, and one pair of soft-sole sandal type shoes.  I had to order some new shoes.  Wide width proper rubber bottomed shoes.  No more baby in socks for us, this baby is on a mission.  I think they are just the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

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These baby shoes are made for walking.  Go out and explore the world little man.

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So this Pumpkin Walks into a Bar (of Butter)

I volunteered to make some treats for a bake sale at work this week.  I blame my insane Pinterest habit during pumping sessions.  I am happy to report that this was not a Pinterest Fail (ie Salinterest), but a huge, buttery, sugary success.  This recipe was posted at NoblePig, but she credits Cuisine at Home magazine for the original.  Either one, it is fantastic and thank you!

To say that this recipe is decadent would be a complete understatement!  There is bacon, bacon fat, butter, sugar, brown sugar, cream cheese, heavy cream, more sugar, and more butter (and pumpkin cause you know veggies or is pumpkin a fruit?).

Below is my adaptation of the Pumpkin Caramel Bars with BACON!

Start with necessities.

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Open flour and sugar canister and briefly panic because there is neither two cups of flour nor a half cup of sugar in non-transparent canisters.  Check pantry, find stockpiles.  Whew.  Continue.

Start with Bacon.  Naturally.

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Try to keep husband from eating all the bacon.

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Combine brown sugar and granulated sugar, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin into stand mixer bowl.  Add melted butter mixed with BACON GREASE!

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Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

Aside: I have had to learn the hard way that baking is not like cooking.  Free-styling is not recommended, especially when it comes to mixing up instruction steps and throwing everything into the bowl at once.

So SEPARATE bowls check? Check.

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Beat egg/sugar mixture until smooth, then add flour mix little by little until combined.  Stir in toasted pecans (or non-toasted like I did because again with the free-styling in the kitchen).

Pour batter into 9×13 (I think) inch dish that was previously greased with cooking spray.  I do not think that cooking spray was really necessary, the bacon grease made the batter pretty slick.  This was how clean the bowl ended up.

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Place beautiful pan of pumpkin goodness into the oven at 350 for 20ish minutes.

Small rant, why are baking instructions so incredibly precise (like room temperature eggs, and add flour 1 tsp at a time, and stir for 51.3 strokes) but then the baking time varies by like 10-15%?!

Ahem.  Place pan into oven and wait until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  About 20 minutes.  Or 25 minutes if you are using my specific oven.  Your oven is probably more like 22.141567824 minutes or maybe a half hour.

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After the pumpkin bar is finished baking let the pan cool completely.  Also, don’t eat any.  Or try not to, because it smells amazing.

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At this point, you may want to cook some more bacon, if some of yours mysteriously disappears as mine did.

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Now for the Caramel Sauce.  I’ve never ever attempted caramel before.  Something about the idea of intentionally burning something made me afraid I would end up with a kitchen fire or third degree burns on my face.  It went pretty smoothly though and now I feel a little silly.  Caramel I have defeated you!

So add more brown sugar and a little water to a sauce pan, I’d recommend a larger one, this one got pretty close to boiling over before all was said and done.

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Cook the caramel until it thickens.  This also gives me twitches like the baking time thing, can this engineer get some density approximations?  What is “thick”?  How “thick”?  Thickness is a very subjective term!

Once the sauce “thickens” (“approximately” 10 minutes) add cubed butter and cream and stir like crazy and hope the whole thing doesn’t blow!

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Then place sauce into stand mixer (wash it first) and beat on medium until the bowl is cool to the touch, “approximately” 10 minutes.  Add cream cheese (I added extra cream cheese and there was a lot of caramel frosting!).

Frost the pumpkin bars and drizzle with bacon crumbles and OMG eat the whole thing!

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I didn’t eat the whole thing.  I split one portion between me, my husband, and my daughter.  Juuuust to make sure I didn’t forget something crazy like the pumpkin or flour.  I didn’t.  They were delicious.  I think I gained two pounds from one bite.

Stupid good, go make these right now.  Here’s the recipe.

Pumpkin Caramel Bars with BACON!

courtesy of Noble Pig by way of Cuisine at Home

8oz. bacon, crumbled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (Trader Joe’s makes an organic variety)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 stick + 2 tbs  unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped, toasted (or not) pecans
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
4oz cream cheese
sea salt (optional for drizzle, I omitted because personally I felt that the bacon was salty enough)

Preheat the over to 350F.  Coat a 9×13 inch baking pan (I used glass) with nonstick spray.  Cook bacon in sauté pan until crisp, reserve 2 tbs of grease.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat together on medium pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, egg, 2 tbs melted butter, bacon grease, and vanilla.  Add flour mix, with mixer on low,  a little at a time.  Stir in pecans.

Transfer batter to the pan and bake about 20 minutes or until batter is no longer moist.  Let cool complete before frosting.

Boil 2 cups of brown sugar, water, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over high heat, about 5 minutes.  Stir a lot to prevent kitchen fires.  Whisk in cream and cubed butter.  Boil 2 more minutes.  Transfer caramel to stand mixer and mix on high until the sides of the bowl are cool to the touch, 10 minutes.  Add cream cheese a little at a time until the frosting is smooth.

Frost bars, drizzle bacon crumbs and sea salt (if desired).  Refrigerate the bars once finished because the caramel will melt off otherwise.

One last shout out to Noble Pig.  This recipe was amazing and the bars were a hit at the bake sale.  Thank you!

*This post was linked up at Create It Thursday and Thrifty Thursday link parties.

Oh to be young again

Isaac and I both attended SHPE’s national conference last week in lovely (rainy, cold, and cloudy) Detroit.  There is a lack of photos in this post, because most of the time we were both in work-branded attire.  We (my work) recruit there annually and are a major sponsor to the organization.   The candidates we get interest from at the conference are always stand outs and they are from schools across the US all in one place.  SHPE’s mission is very simple, but powerful as well.

SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.  credit.

The students I have talked to at this conference have often accomplished more by their Junior year of college than I have, or even hope to have, in my entire professional career.  They hold multiple certifications, they are entrepreneurs, and many have overcome obstacles to make them first generation college students.    I look forward to this and, the counter part in the spring, NSBE every year.  It is most refreshing to escape the cynical working world of corporate america (as wonderfully shining and happy-family-oriented as my company may be) to get a new rose-colored perspective from young students.

Plus, being around so much youthful energy makes me feel young again.  Or rather, tricks me into thinking I am actually young again.  I am not.  I have to relearn this the hard way every year.  This year, on Thursday, we stayed out hanging around the hotel bar until, oh I don’t know, 12:30am or so.  Yeah it’s now um, Tuesday, I think I’ve almost recovered.   Maybe one more day, or week, whatever, I’m an idiot.

Note to self for next year: YOU ARE NO LONGER 20, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN FOR SOME TIME NOW, YOU NEED ALL OF THE SLEEP TO FUNCTION AS A “FAR-CRY-FROM-RESPONSIBLE” ADULT!

We  brought Ike and Gabby met us there a little later as well.  And grandma Gigi took two days off to come and help with the little monster while Isaac and my’s schedules overlapped Thursday and Friday.  Ike grandmasareawesome please don’t ever forget that.

Gabby has been trying to decide between a Marketing major and an Electrical Engineering major for some time now.  SHPE is one of the country’s largest engineering societies geared mainly towards collegiate students.   It attracts numerous fortune 500 companies to their gigantic career fair, and those companies often host workshops to help college students with everything from resume writing to helping find their professional calling.   Gabby attended two workshops and the career fair.  The career fair can be quite daunting at first, and she was shy about talking to recruiters.  But there was one place that seemed to spark her interest towards the end of the day.  Also, the free giveaways always help to break the ice.  There was a certain cosmetics corporation in attendance that was a particular hit.

Isaac lead a workshop for our company on the basic principals of Project Management.  He did awesome and all the students raved about him and our business.  We both conducted coop student interviews during the conference.  Isaac made an offer on the spot.  I interviewed two phenomenal students for two other departments, I found zero candidates for my own department.  Ugh.  Electrical engineers are so weird man.  Sorry husband (and daughter), but Aerospace nerds are way more sociable.  Generally speaking of course.

I mentioned we brought Ike.  It seemed like a good idea in theory.  We could work opposite schedules, and I didn’t have to wig out about milk and bed times and general baby safety/happiness.  Perfect.  Except, not at all!  He was a complete brat the whole trip.  Screaming on planes.  Screaming at dinners.  Screaming in hotel rooms.  Screaming in carriers at career fairs.  You get the picture.  We went out to dinner with all of the recruiters one night, and he was passed back and forth between me, Isaac and Gabby until dinner came, mostly to keep him from crawling down the stairs (why are their three flights of stairs in a restaurant in the first place?).  Then, once dinner came, he proceeded to gobble up all of the meat and throw every single green pea on the floor.

Oh and he discovered how to do this as well.

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Now every time the bathroom door opens there is a thundering sound of knees and palms hitting the floor in fury to try to get to the toilet paper.

But it wasn’t all bad.  Ike did take his sister and I out to dinner Saturday night.

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P.S. Happy Veterans day to all the Vets out there, namely; Mom, Dad, and Uncle Johnny.  Thank you all for all you do (or will do or have done).  We take for granted the luxury of living in a country that is safe.  We take for granted our freedom to go out and do things like VOTE and not fear being harmed for expressing our voice.  It takes a bravery that I cannot fathom to put your own person in harm’s way for the good of complete strangers, but I am so grateful that you do it.  So go hug a Vet before the day is done.

The Baby is Winning

Ike and I have been having a bit of a battle of wills the past few days.  I insist he sit in the high chair and eat, he insists that he climb out of the high chair after throwing all of the food on the floor.

Aside from the giant mess this makes on the floor.  He is STILL up all night nursing or having bottles.  Yes we have tried both with equally abysmal results.

Everyday I wake my exhausted butt up with new found determination, this baby is not going to beat me.  I am smart and also the grown up.  Everyday, he refuses every. single. thing. I put in front of him. Eggs, cheese, oatmeal, avocado, chicken, these are his favorites!  There are traces of all of these on the floor.

Last night I pulled out some baby food purees from the freezer, wondering if the problem was laziness and the labor of self feeding.  No. He refused to sit in the high chair, even after I let him taste the food in the kitchen.  So I let him out to crawl around and proceeded to follow him around with the spoon trying to force a bite here and there.  Yeah I found pureed chicken soup on a CD, a book, the corner of the table, and in my bra.

Tonight, I pureed some sweet potato, apple, and brown rice and put the high chair in the living room.  I let my child watch television while I feed him.  It was the baby channel, and it was all of about 15 minutes, but I feel pretty guilty.  He did however finish the bowl of food.  This is clearly not a long term solution though.

Does anybody have any workable solutions?  And if someone says to present the food and let it be, or that it’s his choice on what, how much or even at all I would like to personally invite you to come and spend the night at my house.  Yeah, I read that book.  No it is not working! I am so tired.

So, I’ll just be over here combing through baby sleep, eat, poop, and be reasonable books looking for a realistic solution.  Just kidding.  I’m going to have a glass of wine and pick up cheerios off the floor until Ike wakes up for his night-breakfast.

 

First Halloween

Ike’s First Halloween showcased his most awesome hair.  Like this…

 

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He was Neymar de Silva Santos (I had to look that up).   Anyway, he’s a really good soccer player from Brazil.  Dad bought Ike the jersey during the World Cup.  I bought the awesome blue headband in the beauty department of Target.  Grandma managed to find knee high socks in baby sizes without lace (because apparently only little girls need knee high socks, people have no imagination).  I think it all comes together nicely.

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We went Trick or Treating at cousin Mei’s house, but we took too long to arrive so she went ahead of us.  Ike was very disappointed not to be invited into everyone’s house.

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Although candy is the best!  Candy wrappers anyway.

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Happy Halloween from the cutest baby soccer player ever.   And his mom and dad too!

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