30 January 2013

Inspired in the Kitchen

Lately I have been cooking up a storm. I think our new cafe at work has inspired me. The global cuisine - (which usually means Indian, Thai, or some Asian derivative)

Last week I made Tom Kha soup (my favorite) and baked coconut shrimp with a zesty dipping sauce I made up once I realized the directions called for apricot preserves, and who has those lying around? Certainly not me! Sloan had fun helping me cut the lemongrass for the soup... She is a great kitchen helper and loves to watch me in the kitchen. Often she goes back to her kitchen and mimics my actions. Stirring, tasting, putting it in the oven. Speaking of kitchen helper,
 I would really LOVE THIS

for the kitchen to keep her from falling off her step stool! Sloan has been trying to ask her grandparents for it, but she is a jumbled mess when it comes to complete sentences. She does have a handful of sentences that are as clear as day, but usually I can translate based on the few key words that i do understand and after falling the other day off her step stool, she insists that this is the one she needs! the girls across the street have it and she is green with envy!
I have cooked up multiple variations of rice, rice noodles and stir fry vegetables. My husband is a self proclaimed "disliker of Asian food" (when i get to pick a restaurant, my go-to is Sushi Thai much to his dismay). I think in his mind, it consists of vegetables and rice, but it is so much more!  I can't count how many times in the last two weeks he remarked, "This is REALLY good!"...  And these were healthy, cheese free, vegetable laden meals! So what if he uses 1/4 cup of soy sauce on his food, he is eating vegetables, and LIKING them! And he likes Asian food too despite his preconceived notion that he doesn't!. I even went as far as to have a Meatless Monday this week, and he remarked, "I really like this " he then proceeded to ask if there was meat in it, to which i replied, "it has protein". His reply was something along the lines of  "i already said i liked it, so you can tell me"  The answer, of course, was no. There is no meat in your spaghetti! And he ate it anyway and he liked it!

I think Rick is evolving quite nicely! He is amazed at how well our daughter eats  compared to other children he has known, but I constantly remind him that children aren't born liking only chicken nuggets and french fries, they have to be conditioned to eat that way. Sloan is a good eater because  I  WE do not allow her to eat junk, nor do we make special meals just for her.. If a child doesn't know it exists, how can they ask for it. Children are not bosses of the family, nor am i a short order cook! I do however, provide multiple options for her to choose from on her plate. For example yesterday I made tacos in baked corn tortillas. I offered her meat, a corn shell, halved cherry tomatoes, avocado wedges, and corn.  She ate the tomatoes, some avocado,  and a bite of her tortilla and a bite of meat.  Usually she eats more, but yesterday was not her day (in her defense we did eat a late afternoon snack of hummus and peas). I did allow her to eat a banana half after she refused her meat (i don't think she likes Cumin which i often forget before seasoning the taco meat)  I also cut my taco meat in half and mix the beef with "something else" (ask me privately if you are interested, but I don't let Rick know since his eating issues are all in his head...)  I season them together, the "something else" takes the flavor of the meat and since I break the beef up real good when i cook it, and puree the "something else" into a paste, it mixes nicely together. Rick knows there is something "different" but he eats it and usually likes it. This allows me to use organic, hormone free, grass fed beef rather than hormone laden corn fed beef often treated with chemicals and coloring to keep a longer shelf life.. yuck! The beef is more expensive, which is why i prefer to use half of it and cut it with "something else".

In other news we have been quite busy sewing. I am working on a new project for the house for a special room, but until then you will just have to wait ...

Look at me, Little suzy homemaker, cooking and sewing! Yup. That's pretty much what I do when i'm not working, sleeping, or playing with Sloan, might as well enjoy it!

I learned how to sew a ruffle (self taught of course) using a good website that gave a nice written description... Now I am a ruffling machine! Never mind the mess behind Sloan - we are in the playroom / craft room/ home office. It is our third floor, and we will get to it when we get to it :) I am itching to organize and decorate this room, paint a cute mural, add storage bins, etc etc... but patience is a virtue and i have other rooms to tackle first!!! We prefer to start from the ground up, so for now, this is our dumping ground. It really is nice to have one of these in the house!

Here is the apron i posted on Facebook last week. I did a practice ruffle and then sewed it onto another scrap fabric. I started looking at it and realized that it was the perfect size for a mini-apron, so i found the flower fabric scrap I had lying around, hemmed, and voila! An apron for Sloan... I can't wait to make her a ruffle skirt, but first things first, i am working on a time consuming project right now. My other ruffles are a bit more ruffly, but this got stretched out when i tied it around here. Nonetheless, it is adorable  if i do say so myself! I should have probably selected a longer piece of fabric as the sash since it ties, but not long enough for an actual bow.

my model was reluctant to show me the tie in the back but more than happy to share her belly button. The mess is much more visable in these views. You're welcome! Can you see her toes? We also painted our toenails this weekend since we had some extra time off due to snow .

Sloan has taken interest in sewing and will sit on my lap and sew with me. She LOVES to hold my magnetic pin cushion and take the pins off. fortunately when she drops them i can just suck them up with the magnet! The only real danger when i'm working on a project is that i like to iron my fabric before sewing hems, and if she pulls the hot iron on her, it would scar her for life, literally.  So i have to keep her away and unplug and move the iron between each hem... I is fortunate that she naps for 2-2.5 hours on the weekends and goes to bed early at night, allowing me to save ironing for those times ! As i mentioned I am working on a project, which I estimate to take about 2 weeks, depending on progress on  weekends.. I started on Saturday and I think I am about 20% finished. Work really does interfere with my hobbies/crafting!

 I can't wait to share a finished project with you, stay tuned!

23 January 2013

If i Could Freeze Time... Happy 18 months baby girl!

If i could freeze time, I would freeze it now, well actually, I would wait for the weekend and then freeze it.

18 months has ALWAYS been my favorite age and i am constantly reminded why.
Sloan is SO.MUCH.FUN! This morning as i was getting her dressed she said "BEE" and pointed to the bumble bee on the pocket of her hoodie.

I waited to make this post until we had our check up. All looks good. She doesn't seem to have any physical or developmental delays, and is progressing nicely. She understands every thing we say. The doctor remarked that she was the best behaved 18 month old that she has seen in a long time. She also asked Sloan if she wanted to come with her when she left the room and Sloan grabbed her hand and marched to the door. We weren't expecting that! My stranger anxious baby is getting brave and is no longer clinging to me for dear life (unless we are in the frigid pool!)

The other day, I asked Sloan to go into the other room and get three things, and she came back with two (her hands were full), and then turned around to get the third. She listens MOST of the time when we ask her not to do something, and rarely has a full on meltdown. She is just amazing and so well behaved. ( for a toddler*)

Sloan is 33" tall (85%) and 23 lbs 11 oz (65%). I am exactly double my height from my 18 month appointment, so my prediction is that Sloan will be around 5'6", which is perfect, just tall enough to not have to get your pants hemmed!

Sloan's top canines broke the skin on Christmas day and have finally made their way in (probably halfway now) and her bottom canines are breaking the skin as we speak!  Sloan likes to get into EVERYTHING.
Just the other day, as I was preparing our home for bible study, Sloan was supposed to be coloring with the one crayon I gave to her. She had a different plan.
Here are a few of her favorite things:

TV Shows: Sesame Street.  - we watch very little TV still, but when we do, we often find ourselves turning to see what Elmo is up to.

Movie: The Lorax. She likes to sing, "How Ba-a-a-a-d  can i be?"

Music:  Dad says The Hooters - "Day by Day" ,
            Mom says  "Baby Bumblebee" and "ABC" or whatever i'm singing to her.

Food:    Nuts (Almonds and Cashews) and Honey! Noodles. Strawberries. Bacon.

Activity:     Dolls and Dollhouse! She also likes to read books, sit at her table and pour food from one container  to the next and stir the pot. The other day i caught her taking water from her cup on the table and pouring it into Tupperware then chasing the dog saying, drink, drink.. She hand feeds the dog her food when she can get away with it.. She also takes food into "her kitchen" and cooks them again and then serves herself. She LOVES to play with daddy. He puts her in cloth shopping bags, boxes, and blankets and carries her around, spins her, swings her, etc... She loves the carousel and the slides at the park. Last week she went on the seesaw for the first time and was quite "reluctant" to get off! She is a thrill seeker for sure! She also likes to watch YouTube videos. On Saturday, she and Rick were looking at funny cats. She plays well by herself and seldom needs to be supervised (aside from normal parental supervision)

Books: "Where is Baby" flap books. How big is Baby Elmo (she likes to turn to the page where he is eating a banana and drinking from a cup and pointing them out to me), and counting books. She also likes Eric Carle books.

OPENING DOOR KNOBS! Handles are one thing but now, she can turn the knobs. Being tall has it's privileges.
Here is a summary of our last few weeks:
On Sunday the 13th we were in tank tops and shorts....

On Friday the 18th, we were in snow gear, sort of. We got a mild dusting.

Sloan did this herself while we were reading a book. It was too cute not to snap a quick photo!

Enjoying a rare "mini-sucker" from the doctor's office.
Helping me bake date "cookies"

When did our baby get so big?

Anytime I think she has so little hair, i can look at how far she has come in a year!

21 January 2013

Top 10 of 2012

I started this in 2010, but failed to follow up in 2011 (i was busy by the year's end being a new working mom), but Rick inspired me to do another.

I had thought about this long and hard, because 2012 was not the best year for the Beeman family for many reasons, and if i were negative, I could probably list more reasons against 2012 than why it was great, BUT the best part about that, is even though there were bad moments, they don't stick around to muck up my head!  That's the beauty of giving it over to God.

10. Working for SAS
The group I belong to is quite small and produces high performance dollar software that sells for no less than a quarter million a copy, and we sell a lot of licenses.  Our company revenue is in the BILLIONS, and my product sales, annually, are in the hundred millions.. We make a good product and the client knows it. Not bad for a bunch of science and math geeks! We are usually rewarded for our efforts and hard work. Our CEO sees to that. We also just got voted #2 in Fortune Magazine's list.

9. Joining a Church
Rick and I struggled to find a church, and every time we thought we found a suitable match, one of us would find something we couldn't live with.  To be honest, throughout my pregnancy, we didn't go to church very often. I would say we watched it on TV or listened to it on pod casts, but we didn't make the effort until after Sloan was born. By then we were motivated because we both know how important our church upbringing was for each of us. We finally found one. www.madebeautiful.com We love the people and the fellowship we get from attending weekly. I am actively volunteering in the nursery and we open our home to host a community group (bible study) on a regular basis. They also hauled in snow for Christmas Eve and that was pretty great.

8. Boarding the Meka II
Yup. I got to board a pirate ship with a real pirate... It was awesome. Captain Sinbad and his first mate Lt. Brown were amazing hosts and we had a memorable time! Sloan and Ellie loved it too. http://www.pirate-privateer.com/ We spent Rick's birthday weekend in Beaufort, NC which was a real treat: Since I already have a PIRATE dog, she felt right at home! Yo Ho! Yo Ho! a Pirates Life for me!

7.  Trips Away and Visits at home
We did a lot of traveling in 2012 despite everything. (or IN SPITE of it).  We started out the new year pretty  home bodied. We had many visits to our house by both sets of grandparents. Grammy and Granddad Beeman were there to ring in the new year and Mimi and Papa Sloan drove off just hours before Sloan's first (and only) snow started falling from the sky, the same day Sloan started crawling! WE had visits from our crazy Quinn cousins. Many beautiful days spent outdoors.  We went to the beach for the first time in April to test out our beach gear and our baby before trekking on a bigger vacation we had planned. We flew to California the day before Sloan turned 10 months old. It was a painful flight, we were cramped, it was over booked, and it was HOT, but we made it! We got to spend a wonderful day and two nights at my sister in law Kristen's house in Walnut Creek area (the house is amazing) and swim in her pool. It was great to visit. We also visited some friends in Houston which was quite enjoyable. We went to Boston in June for my work, and Rick was fortunate enough to tag along and sight-see with Sloan while I did the "work thing" We had a wonderful time!
Sloan also got to meet ALL of her BEEMAN cousins in 2012, and a new one on the way for 2013!

Add in a few visits to my parents, and grandparents, and end it with a visit to my hometown to see some wonderful people that I have known most of my life! We had a great year of traveling in 2012, and we hope to continue our passion of travel in 2013. Sloan and I have a trip already on the books for February, and a tentative one to PARIS in JUNE - gotta fly this one for free while we still can!

6. Sloan Growing up!
I could write a whole blog about this. Oh wait.
01 JAN 2012
This past year has been amazing. Sloan went from sitting up to crawling to walking to running (sort of). She grew from eating only milk to solid foods to everything we have on the table and even some of the things we don't serve (dog food). This has been a great year and I love being a mother! She has this incredible vocabulary, a witty disposition, and is so full of life, energy, and pure joy!
14 DEC 2012
Seriously, I love my life. And who isn't happiest at their healthiest weight?! As i mentioned in my previous blog, Rick and I lost at least 20 lbs each last year, but I personally lost about 25 and am down to my 15 year old weight! I think the photographs above show the difference in the year. The tough part is having to purchase a new wardrobe because I never thought post baby i would get back into my then skinny jeans (which are now a bit baggy)... I know, first world problems indeed. The changes I made? Well for one, I am chasing a toddler whom I am also still breast feeding. And secondly, we eat only whole foods, natural foods, none of that processed  crap that comes in boxes and bags. Sure on occasion I will indulge in something, after all, I am human. But fried foods and what i consider to be toxic are a thing of the past.. Who ever thought I'd be in a size 2 at 32? I feel great and i love what i eat.

4. Passing my PhD ORAL Exam
This is self explanatory. I passed. I should be finished by end of 2013, and really hope to put that on the top of my list for next year!

3. Rick staying in NC
This is both a good and a bad thing. Rick took a job that would have had him living away from home, and filming in South Africa. The funding for the production fell through (this was pretty bad for us) so he had to scramble to find a plan B. I am grateful that he found a plan B, albeit not his dream job. The good part of this is that WE are able to see him every day. I think having a present parent is crucial to raising good children. They need both parents to be there. Especially in the formative years. When are the years not formative?

2. My father's restored health!
He was sick. He is better now, mostly. We are so grateful as I love my dad so much i hope he is around for another 60 years :) The worst news of 2011 became a blessing in 2012.
Papa Sloan and Sloan B. -  19 Feb 2012
We went to Hawaii in 2012, and while it's not on my list of going back anytime soon, I am so glad that i went and got to experience it.. The entire time I was there, I likened Hawaii to Costa Rica (minus the price tag on everything). If you have a huge desire to go to Hawaii and not the budget, go to Costa Rica ! We were fortunate enough to have free accommodations thanks to my in laws and their Time Share.  We budgeted our trip by eating in most meals and hitting up "Early Bird" specials when we ate out.  Don was a trooper and went on one of our excursions around the island.... We had a great time. I do plan on blogging about the trip one of these days, but life, as you know, hasn't stopped to let me catch up yet, and I don't imagine it will.

03 January 2013

New Year Resolutions!

My only goal for 2013 is to finish my PhD in Statistics by the end of the year. I'm not a fan of  new year's resolutions. I think every day you should strive to be a better you, so why only do it one day a year, only to fail by mid-Jan? This year I also plan to wean Sloan at some point. This is going to be a difficult task but will be a necessary step as we approach her second birthday. Other than that, I plan to be a better employee, a kinder person, and spend more time unplugged. I am also reading through the entire bible and I plan to complete that this year ( i started in December ).

Over the past year, Rick and I have LOST more than 40 pounds ( at least 20 pounds each!)  My life goal is to maintain my healthy habits, while his goal (imposed by me) is to continue improving his eating habits. Rick has come a long way. In fact, for New Years day he ate an entire bowl of vegetable soup and has commented that he liked it and even likes broccoli and spinach.  Our daughter is a pretty healthy eater and we want to continue her on that path to ensure she is equipped with the proper tools to make healthy choices later in life.

I want to recap the last 10 days for you.

Christmas Eve:
Santa came to our house early since Sloan was such a good girl. We actually did this to give us an extra day together since Rick had to work the day after Christmas and we travel on Christmas day.

Our child scored big time! pardon the blinds/window treatments, or lack thereof. It is on my short list for 2013. Before you go saying how spoiled my child is, I will have you know, we spent around $100 on her for Christmas. If you look closely at the stuff she got, you'd see that I got some fantastic steals plus some gently used items
From Santa/Us: Loving Family Dollhouse, Wooden Shopping Cart, Stella Doll, Zebra bouncy, Billy the Bull, Basektball goal, Monkey Cradle Swing, Truck, Brave, Lorax, Horton Hears a Who, Rio, 2 Melissa Doug Wooden Puzzles, Book, $1 bill, Small Candy Cane, Small Doll, Sesame Street "MP3 player" (it has three preset songs), LeapTop computer and an Elmo balloon.
From Others (that we collected on our journey): Cash Register, FP Pocketbook, piggy bank, stacking balls, truck, big legos, hand puppets, another smaller dollhouse, puppy/vet kit, Sneezing Elmo, a shape sorter, and some cash. We have toys coming out of our ears!
Sloan's favorite? The dollhouse!

What a MESS!

Eating banana snowmen for breakfast with Yummy Santa Milk!


Rick and Sloan also enjoyed playing with his toy helicopter - the only thing i've genuinely heard him ask for,  for three years straight! He finally got it!

That evening, we had church at 4pm. Our church had 4 tons of snow placed the hill and after the service, Sloan and I went sledding. Being the daredevil that she is, she loved it!
Christmas morning we woke up, played with toys for a little bit, then hit the road to my grandmother's house where we met up with my parents, and my sister's family. Sloan didn't like that her cousin was on her daddy's lap so she had to get up too! She is not very good at sharing her parents attention and affection right now. We will have to work on that this year.

Sloan is great at opening presents!

Christmas dinner is always spent at my aunts house with the entire Sloan family. Brady (4) fed dinner to Sloan. Then uncle steve and aunt Lori loved on her. Lori really wants a baby girl, and in the end, Steve wants Lori to be happy. Time will tell.

My cousin Christina has three boys and a mystery baby on the way (they will find out the gender this month!) This is her third baby, Luke. He is EXACTLY 9 months older than Sloan
Everything is a hat to Sloan. She really makes us laugh!

Rick had to leave early so he could get to work the next day. He was a little disappointed he missed out on the family photograph. Missing this year are, Rick, Uncle Lee and Edwin, and Edwin's wife Linda. I think that's it. Oh and my cousin Stacey but she never comes, and my brother Matt. We are expecting at least 2 new babies in 2013, but you never know what other surprises might come along. I

Sloan and I took a little road trip after that. First we spent two days with my Papaw (my mom's dad). Lori and the kids came up too. We went on a tractor ride, but mostly played inside due to the rainy weather. Sloan loves her Great Papaw.

Then Sloan and I went to visit my friends in Greenville, SC where I grew up. My parents have since moved away from Greenville, so it has been difficult for me to make it back very often since I am often balancing my time with so many other things..  This is the family i babysat from 1994-2002. (pics below are from 12/2012, 8/1999, and 12/2000)  Sloan LOVED playing with the Dugas family and I think they loved her too!

Then we went to see the Willis family, and back to my parents in Rock Hill, SC.  Sloan is a good road trip companion. She sings and claps along to the music when she isn't sleeping!
Rick met me at my parents on his days off. We both really missed him a ton! It's amazing how much you miss someone once they're absent.
At my parents, Sloan had a 9 person Ring around the Rosie going on! Uncle Steve and Lori, Mom and Dad, Rick and myself, and cousins Carter and Brady. She is quite the take charge girl. It started with just carter and brady and then she kept pointing and adding one more person until we were all involved.
Carter and Brady weren't so sure about Sloan being near their race track. "no sloan, you're breaking it!"

Finally we went back home to all her new toys and a LOT of cleaning up to do with unpacking. Apparently her Stella doll is just as good as a basketball.

Happy New Year!