Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blueberry Breakfast Bake

One of my friends commented on the Christmas post asking about our traditional Christmas morning breakfast, so I'm going to post it here for them (and anyone else who'd like to try it). This tradition comes from Ryan's family, who got the recipe from somewhere, but I don't know where, so I can't credit it.

Blueberry Breakfast Bake

8-10 slices white bread, cut into 1" pieces
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into .5" pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
8 eggs
1.5 cups milk
blueberry syrup

Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Spread half of bread in the dish. Top with cream cheese. Sprinkle with blueberries. Spread remaining bread over blueberries. Beat eggs and milk until blended; pour over bread. Cover with foil and refrigerate 8-24 hours. About 1 1/4 hours before serving, heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 25-30 minutes more or until top is puffed and center is set. Serve with blueberry syrup.

The original recipe just calls for 8 slices of bread, but I think it also uses a slightly smaller dish, so I usually use as much as is needed to cover my 9x13 dish, which I believe is 9 or 10 slices. I think I probably use more than one cup of blueberries as well. Also, you can buy "blueberry syrup" that is essentially blueberry-flavored corn syrup. If that grosses you out, simply pour some of your leftover frozen blueberries in a small saucepan with a small amount of butter and your preferred salt and, if desired, a tiny bit of sugar, and cook until it's warm/juices are flowing. This year we threw in some raspberries as well. Much tastier than the corn syrup.

We don't usually have much leftover of this, but our experience has taught us that it tastes much better fresh from the oven and doesn't re-heat particularly well. I find the leftovers edible, but not nearly as delicious, while Ryan doesn't even consider the leftovers edible.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Malcolm at 10 months

I missed 9 months, but I'll include his stats here. Malcolm's on the small side (no surprise there!), which was really made clear when we went to dinner with some friends. Their 4 month old was as big as Malcolm, a little bigger even. But considering he started out life 3 lbs. larger than Malcolm, I guess that isn't too surprising. At his 9 month visit Malcolm was 27.5 inches long (25%), 16.14 lbs (10%) and had a head circumference of 45.25 (55%). I love that our doctor doesn't focus on the percentiles, but just on whether he's growing or not.

Malcolm's learned how to drink from his sippy cup, though tilting it very far up is not figured out yet, so the water level has to remain above a certain point or he gets frustrated. He's definitely a crawler, but a belly crawler. So he does the whole crawling motion, but keeps his belly on the ground. He was starting to pull himself up into a kneeling position, but he was using the tv stand to do so. This meant that after his knees slipped on the floors and he whacked his head against the stand a couple of times he decided pulling up on things was a bad idea and hasn't been too keen to continue practicing that skill. I'm interested to see how long it takes for him to try again and to start pulling up to standing. Gareth was starting to do that around this time, but our apartment in VA had low window sills that were perfect for that and our couch at the time was much lower as well. I look around our house here and don't see a lot that Malcolm will be able to pull up on.

Teeth numbers 5 and 6 made an appearance a couple of weeks ago, after putting us all through much grumpiness. Sleeping at night is still a work in progress. I've stopped nursing him at night, but he still wakes up at least once each night. We let him cry for a while and then go tuck him back in. Often he's able to fall asleep after us going in just once, but occasionally he continues crying or else wakes up several more times through the night. He seems to be a much lighter sleeper than Gareth was (and is).

He's really into finger foods these days, and usually gets a bit upset if you're only feeding him with the spoon and not giving him something to feed himself. He's been enjoying getting to eat the foods we eat and particularly loved some spinach and cheese spanakopita we had at a friends house the other day.

Malcolm loves playing with Gareth and continues to be fascinated and amused by everything Gareth does. When they're supposed to be going to sleep, he likes to sit in his crib and jabber while Gareth reads aloud each night. He likes playing peek-a-boo and if he's being grumpy you can usually make him momentarily happy by singing pat-a-cake, eensy-weensy spider, or wheels on the bus with him. His separation anxiety is quite strong these days, though he did show some improvement when we left him with a sitter last weekend. He still cried most of the time we were gone, but did calm down for dinner and a half hour before bedtime and was sound asleep when we got home. Considering that the last time we left him with a sitter he cried the entire time we were gone (and was still crying in his crib when we returned at midnight), having at least a few minutes of calm is major improvement.

While we're often annoyed with Malcolm when he cries during the night, we all enjoy having him around when we're more awake. It's astonishing to me that an entire year has almost passed. Ryan and I were dreading these first several months and now they're behind us, seemingly so much more easily than they were the first time around.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Something's Missing

Gareth lost his first tooth last night. It's been loose for a while, so it was no surprise. And, in the end, he swallowed it while eating dinner. I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't the only tooth he swallows, as neither Ryan nor I are willing to pull his teeth, and Gareth didn't do a whole lot of wiggling of the tooth himself, so it's not likely that he'll pull a tooth out while wiggling it. He was very excited to get to put a tally mark on his classroom's tooth tally today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Science Center

I had good intentions to set up several play dates for Gareth over the break and then completely failed to follow through on those intentions. We did get one in, though - a trip to the Pacific Science Center with some friends. Going to the science center is not something particularly adventurous since we have a membership and therefore try to go at least three or four times during the year. But, it'd been a while and they have a new exhibit about your body and health, so it was fun to go again.

We didn't get to spend as much time as I would've liked in the new exhibit, but Gareth enjoyed smelling various types of breath (minty, garlicy, your run-of-the-mill morning breath, etc) as well as some more pleasant odors such as cloves, watermelon, cinnamon. He also got to sit in front of a computer, have it take his picture and watch it age him in a couple ways - one as though he takes good care of his skin/body, and the other showing what he'll look like if he has too much UV exposure. It looked rather funny since I don't think the program is intended to work for five year olds, so some parts of his face, like his eyes, looked super-young still. But it was modeled so the skin looked all wrinkly/saggy. I don't think we came even close to exploring the whole exhibit, so we'll have to go back soon to check it out in more depth.

Other fun things included Malcolm actually showing some interest in playing in the toddler area:

Okay, so he looks totally unimpressed in this picture, but I assure you he was loving this thing. This was the only picture I managed on my phone that wasn't mostly blurry. His other favorite in the play area was the rubber matting on the floor, which, based on his determination to return to it whenever I pulled him away, was quite nice to chew on.

After we finished up at the science center, we went over to the Center House and got some pie. But before we could get there, Gareth and his friends found this fun structure to play in:

It's a lot harder to go out and do things with Gareth in school and Malcolm not old enough to enjoy many outings yet, so I was glad we took advantage of the break to get out at least a little bit.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Holiday Puzzle 2013

We waited until New Year's Eve to start our puzzle again this year, so we only got one done. This one was a 1500 piecer, but it was much easier than last year's (and the couple of new ones now waiting in the queue) despite having more pieces. Not having half the puzzle made up of sky certainly helps, plus all the various fairy tales give it multiple sections with drastically different colors/textures to focus on. We didn't get it finished by the New Year, but it only took us a couple more days beyond that to complete:

Gareth wanted to help a lot with the puzzle this year. I tried to involve him a little, but to be honest, I was usually glad when he lost interest in helping and went back to playing Dirt 2. He did put a few pieces in though, even correctly placing a piece of the sky before we'd started working on that section at all and without any help from me. I keep thinking we'll have to be sure to get some puzzles of his own out for him next year, but I have a feeling he'll still prefer to help with the big one rather than do his own. Next year's will probably be much more difficult, so we might have to start a bit earlier if we hope to finish before we all have to go back to school/work.