Sunday, May 31, 2009

Potty Training? & a recipe

Potty Training? hahahahahahahaha...NO. Now that I've got your attention, you can listen to my complaint:

I introduced the "big girl" potty at 12 months. Ella sees it, likes it, doesn't want to poo or pee on it...o.k. I've attempted to just put her in panties for a day (several times) and I sit her on the potty while she pretends to push, gets up and then pees on the floor. frustrating. I tried "potty treats" (m&m's) because I heard that it totally works. Ella was very excited about the candy and talked about it for a long time while she sat on the potty and "pushed", but was happy to watch me eat them after she decided the treat wasn't worth her effort. wha?!

Here is where we currently stand, big girl potty has been put away because it became merely a speed bump in our little bathroom AND Ella loves to talk about "pee and poo-poo" in public..loudly. Yay! This is the fruit of my effort. She really did me in today when she came in the restroom while I was washing her cloth diapers (yes, that is where our washing machine resides...weird, I know.) and she started to whine because the smell was too much for her sensitive nostrils. Oh, SORRY! I couldn't believe that she thought the injustice had been done against her!! I could only laugh because it is just another day with a two year old.

On a lighter note, a recipe. This is a FAVE of ours, totally cost effective, scrumptious and GREAT...YES, GREAT as leftovers! We'll eat it with smiles for 3 days straight!

Italian Sausage Pasta Bake
(this may be like your Baked Ziti recipe, if you have one, but I use my mom's pasta sauce recipe and slow cook it to add to the dish. I'm not against the jar stuff (and would definitely use it in a pinch), but it seriously tastes NOTHING like this and I'm still short-cutting with canned tomatoes so you should just try it)

Tbls. olive oil
Large Onion (coarsely chopped)
1 package Italian sausages (mild or sweet is the family preference, but you can choose hot if you all like that)
2 15 ounce cans stewed tomatoes
2 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
1 T tomato paste
Vegetables: I usually use zucchini (sliced), squash (sliced), and/or spinach. I'll use 2 zucchini or squash and use a whole bunch of spinach, when I have it.
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt (more to taste, if preferred)
2 tsp season salt
1 tsp pepper
1 package of whole wheat pasta (we prefer rigatoni or penne or ziti)
10 - 16 ounces mozzarella (shredded) *big variance in amt...if you like cheesy..go for it. My family feels less is more when it comes to the cheese so we opt for less, please note that I am a cheesy fanatic so my vote was vetoed during the family vote regarding the amount of cheese to use*
1/2 C shredded parmesan (optional, I've made with and without)

In a large pot, swirl the olive oil around. Remove the sausage from its casing and brown it over medium/high heat. Add the onion and zucchini and or squash and allow to soften some. Dump in the tomatoes...all of them! Fill the two 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce with water (after emptying them) and add that to the pot. Pour in the seasonings...all of them! Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat, covered, for anywhere from 1-3 hours. It is totally up to you, but if you simmer it a long, long time, you may need to add a little water. The flavor condenses the longer you simmer...yadda, yadda. Wilt in your spinach at the very end, if you are using that.

In a separate pot cook your pasta according to package directions. Shred your cheeses. In a large casserole dish (biggest you've got) dump in your pasta, cover with sauce and then smother it in cheese. Spray some foil with olive oil (or any spray you've got) and then cover your dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until the cheese is ooey-gooey. This dish is REALLY GOOD the first night, GREAT the second night and AMAZING the third night! Serve it alone, with a light tossed salad and/or garlic bread. YUM!

tips: If your biggest casserole dish is not so big and overflowing, then be sure to add a pan to catch drippings in the bottom rack of your oven. Also, this is great for parties...make it ahead and pop it in the oven just before guests arrive. They will be left pondering how the dishes could all be done when you haven't even finished cooking the meal...heh, heh! This also freezes great so if you want to eat it twice this week and once next week (or week after next) split it up into two casserole dishes (medium and small) and pop the small one in the freezer.

Yay! I love food.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

We are THOSE parents...

Ella gets dirty...I mean REAL dirty. We don't stop her. If I do attempt to stop her it only ends in my frustration and her still being dirty. I do get the bug to keep her clean occasionally, but like I said before, I end up mad and she is still dirty and happy. Here is my *newly* two year old in action:

getting clean, singing and rubbing her hiney on the edge of the tub:

I don't know if Steph believed me when I said Ella would ride her little people princess carriage around the house, but here she is:

Getting dirty enjoying a cold watermelon treat:

Train ride at Houston Zoo (trip sponsored by Nana and Grandpa), this is post car nap and before the Zoo adventure:

Getting dirty/clean in the water at the Zoo. Other kiddos' parents would run their children past this exhibit with their hair tucked up neatly in cute bows and their boutique dresses flowing in the breeze....not us. Dirty snow cone followed soon after the drenching:

Ella and her Daddy at the Zoo:

Ella laying her head down during lunch after a long morning of fun with Rowan, who calls herself "Ro-Ro":

Ella and Ro-Ro during one of our three weekly play dates:

I know, not so many pictures filled with a filthy kiddo, but it happens...everyday. I guess I choose not to pull out the camera during those special moments. We've resorted to afternoon naked pool time in the back yard to combat the pile of filthy laundry that I was collecting.

Updates: my sister is graduating high school next week! Ella takes swimming lessons...wha!? More fun time with Nana, Grandpa, Mimi and Papa.