Friday, March 30, 2012

Creme Brulee French Toast with Drunken Strawberries

I had seen this recipe floating around a forum I belong to for a long time. It always was accompanied by rave reviews. The thing that appealed to me about it (besides its obvious-sounding deliciousness) was that it was a make-ahead breakfast. So when my Sister-In-Law and her husband came to stay with us for a ski weekend, I thought it would be a great Sunday morning treat. And boy, I was not disappointed! The recipe is super easy to make, and it was delicious! 

A couple notes: I had to use regular plain old French bread for this, as my grocery store is rather boring and doesn't carry challah or brioche. It worked just fine. I just sliced it up before hand and let the slices sit out a bit so they would get a little hard. I also think next time I would try and let the sugar mixture cool a bit before putting the bread slices in the pan. For some reason I think this would result in more of a brulee sort of result instead of the bread absorbing the sugary deliciousness. I could be wrong there, but I think it's worth a try. And also, I dumped all of the egg mix on, but I will not be so liberal with it next time. I would recommend pouring it on until the bread stops absorbing and discarding the rest. The extra cooked egg detracts from the overall look. Oh, and the strawberries are not really drunken; they are more like Tipsy Strawberries. Don't be scared by when you first mix them. They will make the whole room smell like a bar. I was worried that they were going to be super strong, but they were just right. The sugar really mellows out the alcohol, and the strawberries don't absorb too much. 

Here it is! Enjoy! Let me know how you like it. 

Oh...and I apologize for the photo quality...I took it with my phone, as I was too eager to eat this to go and grab my camera. Sorry! 

Creme Brulee French Toast with Drunken (Tipsy?!) Strawberries

1 loaf of challah or brioche (or French bread) cut into 1 1/2 inch slices

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup of packed brown sugar
2 Tbsps of corn syrup

5 lg eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsps Grand Marnier or Cointreau

For the strawberries:
1 quart of hulled strawberries sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau

Butter a 9x13 baking dish. 
In a small pot, melt the butter with the brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir together until sugar is completely melted. Pour into the prepared baking dish. 
Place the bread slices on top of the sugar. Squeeze as many pieces as you can in there. Make sure it's nice and cozy! You want to fill up as much space as you can. 
Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, vanilla, salt and Grand Marnier. Pour over the bread. 
Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or over night. 

Combine the strawberries, sugar and Grand Marnier in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours up to 24 hours. 

In the morning, remove the french toast from the fridge and let stand 20 mins before cooking. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 30-40 mins until toast is golden and puffed. 

Top with strawberries and whipped cream. Die and go to heaven from the deliciousness. 


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

8 Months!!

At 8 months Peanut:

~ weighs about 19.6 lbs
~ is about 30 inches long

~Is starting to understand a lot of words now. He definitely knows "bounce" and "kitty"
~Has discovered he can barrel-roll across the floor to reach his destination (which is usually the most dangerous thing in the room).
~ Understands the signs for "milk" and sometimes "more" but hasn't signed them yet. 
~ Loves to cluck his tongue
~ His favourite foods are the ones he can feed himself
~Shakes his head ''no", and is starting to wave
~Still not crawling, but that's A-OK with me. 
~Has a pretty mean pincer grip, and loves to use it to pick up (and eat) Cheerios. 
~Has just started to figure out how to clap in the last few days. So adorable. 
~Still puts himself to sleep, and still sleeps with his bum in the air. Cutey pie. 

So, a cute little baby development story. Hubby and I frequently call Kitty over by clicking our tongues. Peanut often clucks his tongue and has a lot of fun doing it. But recently, every time he sees Kitty or we call her name, he starts to cluck his tongue. It is sooooooo cute. At first we just thought it was a coincidence, but we have tested it, and he does it even when we say the word "kitty". Yup, it's true. He's pretty much a genius. At least we think so...

Mr. Serious



Thursday, March 22, 2012

Changing a Baby is Like Wrestling an Alligator...

I can't be the only one that thinks this, can I?? I mean, it's insane! 

I think back to when we first had Peanut, and we were learning how to change diapers, and it was a little intimidating, but all in all we only had to remember 2 things: 

1. Keep the fire hose pointed down. 
2. Pull out those little ruffles if you don't want to change clothes every time you change diapers. 

And getting him dressed? Easy-peasy! He pretty much just lay there, letting you do whatever you wanted to him. Sure, he might of squawked or (more likely) puked. But he was pretty much putty in our hands, doing whatever we wanted. Wearing whatever ridiculous little outfit we wanted to dress him in. Wearing puppy hats and not able to do anything about it. 

My brother holding the adorabley hatted Peanut
Now, however, just trying to change a diaper is like a test of skill. It's like the Hunger Games, except instead of staying alive, you are fighting with all your might to put a diaper and an outfit on your child and  keep it on for more than 30 seconds. 

Just trying to get him to lay down in a relatively still position is a battle. Then it's amazing if you can manage to get the dirty diaper off without hands grabbing poop, or baby rolling over and then rolling back into the dirty diaper, thus spreading the poop all over his sort-of-clean bum and the no-longer-clean blanket/change table/floor (the last one is a very unlucky circumstance...changing him without some sort of poop-barrier between him and the floor is a rookie mistake). Once that task is over, I have to somehow manage to keep the now-naked baby from barrel rolling across the room to try and grab the only dangerous item in the vicinity and/or the unfortunate Kitty. 

Ok, baby is wrangled back into the safe zone. Now we have to try and put the new diaper on. This is a difficult task, as he constantly tries to roll one way or the other, twisting his body into poses my yoga teacher would be proud of. Great for yoga class; bad for trying to fasten a diaper. And when I do manage to successfully fasten those tabs, he is on a mission to unvelcro them faster than I can blink. 

Putting on the clothing is also a challenge. It's like trying to shove a slippery octopus into a sleeper. As soon as you get one limb in, the other gets free and you have to start all over again. And whoever decided to have millions of little snaps that require the talent of making sure they all line up while trying to get them snapped in a timely fashion surely never heard of an amazing little invention called the zipper. Seriously. 

And no hats. Hats last about 3 seconds now. He has figured out how to very efficiently pull his hats off the second they land on his head. Our only weapon left in our arsenal (for now) is the hood. He pulls hats off by pulling them forward, so the hood still baffles him (again...for now). 

So yes. Sometimes I do raise my hands over my head and cheer in victory after successfully changing Peanut. Because really, I have just outsmarted an 8 month old, and what feels better than that??


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our Little Guy is Growing Up!

This last week has been a big one for Peanut. He seems to be hitting new milestones left, right and center. And it's been so much fun to watch! He's turning into this little person now, and it's the coolest thing to see him develop. 

In the last week, he has figured out he can get to where he wants by rolling. It's pretty hilarious to watch (for now) since it takes him quite a lot of time and effort to get to the (usually dangerous) thing he wants. I am not looking forward to when he gets faster and more efficient at this. He's still not really that close to crawling, but that's mostly because he doesn't get how to get up on hands and knees yet. He can either lift his front end or his back end, but as of yet he can't lift both together. 

He has also started waving. This, for me, is a huge milestone. I'm not exactly sure why...Hubby said it's because it's like he's actually communicating with us now. In addition to the waving, he also shakes his head "no". It's pretty adorable, but I can already see the stubbornness ready to bloom on this one! Right now if we say "no" in any sort of context, he starts shaking his head. He also does it if we say "yes" directly to him. Pretty funny guy. So between long overtures of "bah bah bahing" and tongue clucking, there is a lot of head shaking going on. 

He doesn't really get the whole crawling thing yet...
Because he's hit these milestones of associating actions with words (I don't think he's really associated them with meanings yet), I have started being more consistent in my use of signs with him. He seems like the kind of child who really likes to get his point across, and I think that using signs will eliminate some frustrations for him while he's learning to speak. So far I haven't had any success with him really signing. He can do the sign for "milk", but he doesn't associate it with milk yet. Sometimes I like to pretend he is, but then when I try and feed him he looks at me like I am nuts. Which leads me to believe his thought process is not "Hey Mommy, I want some milk!". It's probably more like "Hey! I can do this awesome thing with my hand!". 

All of these milestones lead to a more independent baby. He can sit and play on his own for long stretches at a time, and is very interested in his toys. This has been a welcome change from the previous stage where he knew he wanted to do something, but had to rely on me to do it. That just lead to a lot of boredom and frustration on both our parts, as I never knew exactly what he wanted. And I have to admit, it's pretty exhausting trying to entertain a 6 month old for the whole day. Now that he can do the things he wants to do and get engrossed in the toys and activities he's interested in, things are much more enjoyable and I (theoretically) have more time to focus on other things. 

The only problem is now that he's semi-mobile, my attention needs to be on him all.the.time or I'm going to end up trying to explain to Hubby how the tantalizing and interesting Xbox landed on the floor all smashed and broken-like. (And while part of me would be sorta happy at the loss of Call of Duty in our house, in the end, I suppose it wouldn't be a good thing). 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Essential Baby Items: Mommy Jewellery!

The one thing you learn pretty fast as a mom is that once your baby reaches that grabby stage, nothing is safe! The first thing that gets pulled is your hair. The next is your necklaces. Peanut is obsessed with necklaces. He loves paying attention to really small things right now, and so it makes the chains very attractive. And of course once he grabs it, he yanks it as hard as possible. And then he shoves it in his mouth. So, I learned pretty quickly that if a piece of jewellery is precious to me, that I shouldn't wear it. Because it's only a matter of time before it gets broken. Not only that, but while Peanut is nursing he grabs and flails and scratches me. He loves to play with my hair, but that always ends in me being held hostage by an infant, begging and pleading with him to please let my hair go. Of course, this is the most hilarious thing in the world to him, so he pulls harder, and giggles. There is nothing like being overpowered by a 19 lb baby to make you feel like a strong woman...sigh. Anyway, when I saw that there are necklaces out there for moms, I was instantly interested. I ordered myself a Mommy Necklace and waited for it to arrive. 

The Mommy Necklace in action

I like the Mommy Necklace because it's pretty stylish. It's not really my style to wear big beaded jewellery, but it at least looks like I am wearing something for me, and not for my baby. It's got a breakaway clasp, which is awesome, because it's pretty much guaranteed that Peanut is going to yank that thing so hard it will break. So the clasp prevents that from happening. It definitely does it's job of keeping him occupied while he's nursing, and he does get very enthralled with it when we are just hanging out as well. The only drawback is that it's inevitable that Peanut is going to shove it in his mouth the second he gets the opportunity, and the necklace is not really safe for that. 

Which brings me to the next necklace I have: Teethease. This is my necklace of choice now. I have the pendant, which is a simpler style than the Mommy Necklace. It's basically a medical-grade silicone pendant on a ribbon with a breakaway clasp. Which means that it's totally safe for Peanut to mow away on to his heart's content. And man, he goes to town! At first I was a little surprised to find that the pendant was strung on a ribbon; I thought that it would be something a little "nicer" (for lack of a better term). But after wearing it the first time, I am happy that it's ribbon. Peanut loooooves pulling the ribbon through his teeth, and twisting it with his fingers and trying to tangle and untangle it while he's sitting...basically it's the best toy ever. I should have known that this would be the can spend money on all these expensive toys, but he will prefer to play with the empty Gatorade bottle instead. The pendant is awesome, because it's pretty much indestructible (which if you have children you know is a valuable feature). He can chew and chew and chew and it looks brand new. It's basically like having a teething ring always on hand (on neck?!), without looking like you do. 

Stylishly modelling the Teethease. No one can see my PJ pants...mwahaha

There are other mommy jewellery brands out there, I am sure, but these are the 2 I have used personally. They are pretty ingenious...they are the type of thing you wish you would have thought of yourself. Which is another reason why I like these products too: they are made by moms, and in the case of Teethease, a Canadian mom! 

I definitely think that having some Mommy jewellery is an essential item in my Mommy repertoire. Not only for keeping Peanut occupied, but also for those times when I feel like changing out of my PJs and going to Starbucks. I can put on a necklace and feel pretty put-together. Which fools people into thinking that I actually know what I'm doing, and that I am not frazzled and that I don't spend my days in pyjamas pinning things on Pinterest and writing blog posts...score! 

Peanut going to town


Disclosure: while I was given a sample Teethease product for a feature on a TV spot I did, I was not compensated in any way by Teethease or Mommy Necklaces for this review post. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Cloth Diaper Routine

We decided to use cloth diapers purely for the cost-saving aspect. There are a few calculators that you can use out there in web-land that will tell you when you will break even using cloth. I used this one. Basically, we broke even in about 3.5 months. I bought my stash mostly used, or from deal websites, so I haven't paid full price for cloth diapers yet, which knocked down the initial investment cost for us. 

I use mostly GroVia hybrid diapers (seen in the pics here), which means there is a snap-in cloth insert and a cute little cover.  Because the cover and the insert are separate, I only have to change the cover if it gets dirty. So for most wet diapers, I only have to change the insert and can re-use the cover. This cuts down on the amount of covers (the expensive part!) I need to have on hand. So right now I have about 10 covers and 20 inserts. I also have a couple of Applecheeks diapers that I really like too, but they are sized, and Peanut has grown out of them. Boo! 

First, a word about wetbags. A wetbag is

Monday, March 5, 2012

Guest Post: Lindsay from Two Men and a Mommy Shares a Giveaway!

I'd like to introduce you to Lindsay from Two Men and a Mommy! Lindsay is taking over the ol' blogeroo today to let you guys know about an awesome giveaway she's having. Congrats on your new home Lindsay! And thanks for the awesome giveaway. Can't wait to enter...woohoo! So, without further ado...


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