Saturday, February 28, 2009

Soup du Jour!

Emmy continuously asks me for "Cheesy Broccoli Soup!", since that's her favorite staple lunch when we go to Panera Bread. So, I scoured the Weight Watchers website for some recipes that wouldn't break my points bank. I scored big tonight with the delish soup I made, as the whole family loved it! I thought I'd share the recipe, as it was sort of a combo of a couple recipes I looked up. My recipe probably made 4-5 big servings. Estimate about 4 points per serving.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

1 can fat free chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 pint fat free half & half
about 6 cups of fresh broccoli
1 cup shredded light cheddar cheese
5 slices 2% cheddar cheese slices
salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove

Chop about 4 cups broccoli, and cook in the broth/water mix until soft. Saute onion & garlic in a little olive oil, and add to broth/broccoli mix. Use an immersion blender to puree once cooked to soft consistency. Steam remainder of broccoli and set aside. Add cheeses, corn starch and half & half to puree mix. Stir until melted and heated through. Add steamed broccoli & heat through. This is hearty and delish!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Year Successes

So, when I came home from our Indiana vacation after the holidays, I had gained an astonishing amount of weight in a mere 10 days. (OK, I'd been packing in on since November!) I joined online Weight Watchers, and rededicated myself to exercising. Then, I went off the deep end and decided to start training for this sprint triathlon in August. So far, training is going well. I bought a new bike today, and will start my swimming this week. Realistically, I have a very long 5 months of training ahead of me, and a long way to go to be ready for this thing. With the help of WW, I have lost 13 pounds, and am feeling much better in my own skin. It also helped that I went to buy a new pair of jeans, and happily, needed to buy the next size down...Yippee! I tell everyone I meet who is interested in weight loss that I have yet to hear about someone who HASN'T lost weight with WW. It is a fairly easy plan to follow, and you don't have to deny yourself anything. My motto is "everything in moderation", which has served me well. My issue was with portion control...I just never gave it much thought. Now that I'm tracking points though, I'm forced to think about it, and by works!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Big Girl Stuff

Emmy is changing so fast! I feel the need to write some of this down, as each week brings new firsts and surprises!

Cutting paper with scissors when I picked her up at school today.

Using lots of new words....some are obviously picked up at school.

Likes taking showers.

Wants to help cook, or at least stand on a chair and watch me cook.

Singing songs: "happy birthday to you" (hmmm...think the fact that they've had 3 birthday parties in 2 weeks at school has anything to do with this?!), "the wheels on the bus", the alphabet!! (that was a shocker!)

Interested in chatting on the phone (a little) with grandparents, and asking to call them.

Helps Mommy look for doggies and deer on the way home, as we are driving through our windy-road neighborhood.

Learning (and remembering days later) Spanish words from class at school.

Counting up a storm...everything must be counted!

Likes going to the library (and says it correctly!!!).

Gives Miss Kelli and Miss Roxanna a big hug before leaving school every day, and giggles like a hyena when they kiss her cheek.

Using sentences with 4-5 words. Quite impressive!

Repeats absolutely every word that comes out of our mouths. Did I mention she repeats. every. word?

Starting to do imaginary play (dolls, Weebles, stuffed animals, etc).

Likes to chase the neighbor's chickens. Contemplating getting some for our yard.

Totally hooked on the Incredibles, Dora, Toy Story 2, Elmo and Curious George. Sesame Street is very cool too.

Loves to read...insists on taking books to bed with her at night. Can hear her "reading" for a good 20 minutes after we put her to bed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Emmy Learned a new word!

During dinner tonight, Emmy took a bite of her risotto with asparagus. She chewed on the asparagus piece, then pulled it out of her mouth and put it on the table beside her plate. She muttered something I could just barely make out, and was rather surprised to hear come out of her mouth. So I asked..."what did you say, honey?" She looked at me, and said again, "Gross!".

Monday, February 16, 2009


Keith and I recently got established with a new primary care MD. Keith had his labs checked, and his cholesterol, uh...had some major room for improvement. I get mine checked next week, but this was a sign that we are getting to an age where we need to kick things up a notch in terms of our health. One of my old coworkers recently did a sprint triathlon (400 meter swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run). I found myself thinking...hey, I could do that! And then I realized that Keith and I could do this together. We started training tonight....short little run in the neighborhood with Emmy in the jogging stroller. I am checking into a membership at the YMCA so we can start swimming. Keith got a bike last Fall, and we need to shop for one for me. The triathlon is in August....hmmmm, what do you think, will we be ready??? In case you are interested, this is the one we are doing...
Super Sprint

Friday, February 13, 2009

Random Stuff...

I've been feeling nostalgic lately, for whatever reason. Thinking back to younger days, childhood memories, favorite family moments. Don't know if it's because Emerson is getting a little older, and starting to get interested in "big girl things". I gave Emmy my baby bed from my childhood, complete with my name hand-painted on the side by my Mom. I thought of repainting the bed before I gave it to her, but couldn't bring myself to paint over the stuff that has been there for 30 years. One day, I hope Emmy will think it's cool that her Mom's name is there, because she'll know the history of her toy. I love that so many of the decorations in our home came from the homes of our parents and grandparents. I love it when they come to visit, and say, "Oh! I remember that!", and then maybe share a story about an item that we didn't know.

Emerson has 3 living great-grandparents, and I think of how incredibly fortunate she is to have that, along with 4 living grandparents. I want Em to learn the history of their lives, and what amazing, interesting people they are! I've been thinking of ways to bring some of that history to her, and have seen some really neat ideas online for family scrapbooks that grandparents help fill out. If only I had a day (or four) to sit down and focus on this.

I was thinking of birthdays, since Em's was just last weekend. Remembering birthday cakes, and how my Mom always had a cake made that reflected our varied interests. I don't think we EVER had a store-bought cake, and I am incredibly biased about not having one for Em. I remember my brother's Inspector Gadget cake, and my Ms. Pac-Man cake, and my Gram's cake with yarn & cats & tea cups. Obviously, they made a big impression, and I can literally visualize those cakes all these years later. I want to make those kind of memories for our little girl.

I've been thinking of family traditions, and what will become our family's traditional activities. Growing up, my brother and I could always count on Gram's sage dressing with the turkey at Thanksgiving, a ham at Easter, and making/decorating butter cookies for the holidays. We went together to cut down our Christmas tree, went to the public library weekly, and Gram always made us popcorn on the stove while we watched Wheel of Fortune together. We usually took a trip over Spring Break, and those are some of my favorite memories. I still get a smile on my face when I hear "Jump (for my Love)" by the Pointer Sisters, as I can visualize my family driving down the causeway in Clearwater, Florida...heading to the beach. I often wonder what memories will be so clear in Emmy's mind when she is my age. Which of our family's traditions will she want to incorporate into her own family one day?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Little Girl

Wow, Emmy turned two today. Keith and I are amazed that two years have passed so quickly, and by how much our daughter has grown! We had a wonderful day! I made a pancake breakfast for everyone, which always starts the day off right. While Keith went to church, Em and I stayed home and read the newspaper, made Valentine's for family members, and played together. When Keith got home we had birthday cake after lunch. I was up in the wee hours of the morning finishing the Dora cake. Quite the labor-intensive endeavor! It turned out really cute, and Em got a kick out of it. She blew her first candle out, and then stood on her chair to get a better angle on the second one, singeing her bangs in the process. Lovely! After naptime, we went to the Duke Gardens to feed the ducks. It was 70 degrees here today, so everyone was outside and had the same idea as us. The ducks had been fed all day, and were totally uninterested in eating our bread! We gave Emmy 2 Dora books for her birthday, and I passed down my old baby doll bed from my childhood. Emmy loved covering up her dolls, and even made them each a "snack" from her kitchen, and served it up in bed. Em was very chatty tonight, and spoke with each grandparent, aunt & uncle on the phone about her day. She is starting her "big girl school" tomorrow, and her trial day last week went over VERY well. She was SO ready to be with kids her own age, and played like crazy with them. We will miss Jeffrey, and I know Jeffrey will miss Em. Our little baby girl is changing so quickly, and these past few weeks she has really seemed to transform before our eyes into a little girl, not a baby anymore. (Maybe it's because she keeps proclaiming that she is a BIG GIRL!)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just a little Bling-Bling

Florida & Back

We took a quick trip to Florida over a long weekend to visit Keith's parents & grandparents (and other lovely family!). We celebrated Emmy's birthday a little early with a Dora cake and lots of presents (almost everyone gave her books, which she LOVED!). There was a cold front in Florida, so no swimming this time around. Emmy had a fabulous time on the airplane, but Keith caught a cold as we arrived. By the end of the trip, we all were sneezing and stuffy. Sebring has a great little children's museum that we visited on Tuesday. Em had a fun time hanging out and exploring. We took a couple golf cart rides to look for alligators on the gold course, but it must have been too chilly!