Monday, May 7, 2012

Ada is....housebroken? -- 17.5 month update

Ada is 17.5 months now and it's time for an update!

As you can see, her hair is now long enough for pigtails, and I'm having way too much fun playing with her hair!  The pigtails definitely make her look more grown up.  

She understands a LOT of what we tell her, but she's not able to communicate much back to us.  She uses sign language for "milk" "more" "all done" "please" and "thank you"

Words she can speak: baby, dog, Mommy, Dadda, Wa-Wah(water), ball, and bye-bye.  However, lately she has only used "bye bye" when I'm talking on the phone.  Usually when I end a phone conversation I will say "ok, sounds good.  Alright, I'll talk to you later. Bye."  As soon as she hears "Ok, to you later," she says "bye-bye."  It makes me chuckle every time.  I've heard that talking parrots do this too.

She knows what dogs and cats say--"woof!" and "mao"

She LOVES to read books! Both with us and on her own.  

She can follow simple directions if I ask her to do something.

She helps with a few chores around the house. Her specific chores are to help Mommy unload the dishwasher (she hands me the dishes and I put them away), put the clean clothes in the dryer, and put Charlie in his kennel before we leave (she picks out a treat for him and walks over to his kennel and waits for him), and gives Charlie a treat when we return home.  She is a very enthusiastic helper, and sometimes cries when we finish a chore!

She likes to put phones, remotes, and calculators up to her ear and talk.

She started walking independently the week before Easter.

Lastly, she is housebroken.  Not potty trained, but housebroken.  You may have read my post about Ada learning how to become fully diaper free.  Well, the last few days we've had some breakthrough....sort of.  When she is diaper-free, and she has to pee or poop, she will go out on the deck and do her business there. She does number 1 and number 2 only standing up.  I've observed her as she's busy playing,  then will stop, walk out to the deck, and relieve herself. When she does this I give her lots of praise and a bite of marshmallow. I've tried to get her to sit down on her potty seat, but she usually gets upset (tantrum) at this I've even tried a different potty seat to see if that was the problem.  Maybe the sunshine, sounds of the birds, and fresh air help her to relax more?  Maybe she's been learning from Charlie? Maybe she knows she gets a treat if she goes outside to relieve herself?  So, I have mixed feelings.  I'm thrilled, because after months of doing diaper free trials, I feel like we've made a big step!  However, I'm don't know where to go from here to get her to willingly sit on her potty and go.  Currently, I've put one potty seat on the deck and one in the bathroom.  I welcome any suggestions!

My two loves

Thursday, May 3, 2012

From PB to FFRB: Homemade Fat Free Refried Beans and Tortillas

About 6 months ago, we took Ada to see an allergist to get tested for allergies and discovered she is allergic to peanuts, egg whites, dogs, and more recently, strawberries and cantaloupe.  Though her initial reaction to peanut butter was mild, her doctor has prescribed an epipen for us to start carrying around.  Since Ada is still breastfeeding, I've had to cut peanuts out of my diet as well, which has drastically improved Ada's eczema (skin rash) and she began regularly sleeping the whole 13 hours at night.

I went from eating a peanut butter sandwich everyday for lunch for about the last year or so, to eating refried bean burritos.  Once I stopped eating PB sandwiches for lunch, I saw our food budget increase because we were going through so many tortillas, cheese, and canned refried and pinto beans.  So, I decided to give a shot at making homemade refried beans and homeade tortillas.  The results: AMAZING!  CHEAP! EASY!

Fool Proof Fat Free Refried Beans:
Dry pinto beans
Spices (from largest amount to smallest amount): Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika (measure according to your tastes.  Add green chiles, lime, or cilantro if you have it!)

If you eat a lot of beans (great source of protein, iron, antioxidants, carbs, fiber) like we do, I would highly recommend buying a pressure cooker because it will cut your work by at least  50%.  If you have a pressure cooker,cook beans according to manufacturer's recommendations.   If you don't have a pressure cooker then follow the package directions.  I recommend using at least half the bag.  The beans are done when their skins are starting to split. Next, you need to dump out about 95% of the leftover water into a separate container.  Then, add the spices to your taste and depending on how many beans you cooked.  Lastly, mash the beans with a potato masher until you reach the consistency you prefer.  If your beans are getting to sticky, then add more of the reserved water. Store in the fridge for about a week, or in the freezer for a few months.  If after being stored in the fridge, they got too thick and sticky, then just stir some warm water into the beans.

Then I thought I'd give a shot at homemade tortillas.  I don't know why I keep being surprised at this, but once again, but homemade tastes way better than store-bought and I don't think I'm ever going back.

Homemade Tortillas (adapted from Jenny Jones):
1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup warm water

Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Once incorporated, take dough out (it will be in large pieces) and place on a floured surface.  Knead the dough so it all holds together and shape into a round oval.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Start heating a cast iron or a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Cut and divide the dough into 8-12 equal size pieces (8 pieces are burrito size, 12+ are taco or fajita size).  Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten into a disc, and roll until very very thin.  Once pan is hot, place flattened dough on the pan.  Once large air pockets (about 30 seconds to a minute) start to form, flip the tortilla and cook the other side until slightly golden.  If you want crispier tortillas then cook for longer.  Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag either at room temperature or in the fridge for 5-7 days.

So, that's my story of how I went from eating a peanut butter sandwich everyday to homemade bean burritos with homemade tortillas.  The total work time to make 12 tortillas and 8-10 servings of refried beans was about a half hour.  And, it's cheaper and healthier.   I don't even miss PB sandwiches anymore; but I still miss Snicker's bars, peanut m&m's, and peanut butter cookies a lot. :)

Today's (and the rest of the week's) lunch: bean tacos with sour cream and leftover salad!