Friday, June 24, 2011

First ever photo of the cousins!

Yep, that's it!  Technically, the two people you see are sisters, but the bumps they are sporting are most definitely cousins!  One is a little older than the other, by just a couple months, but by the time we are back at the beach and pool next summer, they'll be playing together in the water and sand, and we will have lots of photos of them together.  This is just the first of many....

Linked up at Paisley Passions!

I just shared one of our recipes over at Paisley Passions! Look for my Sausage & Leek Hash recipe on the "Fun with Food Friday" Linky Party. And don't forget to visit some of the other great recipes posted there!

If you missed my recipe when I first posted it, you can find it here, or click on recipes at the top of the page to find a (small) list of my favorite recipes. I will be adding more as time goes on.


My first thank you

The other morning, Luke sat in his high chair waiting for breakfast.  As usual, I began by filling his cup with water.  When I gave it to him, he said, "thank you!" It was the first time he said it without prompting or simply repeating it.  I was so excited to hear my little guy using manners already!  So now we are working on please, both the word and the sign.  I didn't feel like I taught him to say thank you, but I guess it all goes in.  It's probably just repetition and imitation, and now I am so glad I use manners myself!

Mother and Daughter Reunited!

Habiba and Alma have been officially reunited!  This is great news, although I am not sure if some permanent damage has already been done.  When I think of the more than three weeks they were apart, it makes me want to cry for them.  I just imagine my Luke being away from me for that long, and I simply can't even fathom how hard it must have been for them.

At least there is some happiness for them today!  Best wishes to the pair as they go on with their lives together!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The big 3-0!

Honestly, with all the thought about the new baby arriving, I haven't given much thought to my upcoming birthday.  Some of you know that it is possible that the baby and I might share a birthday.  I am not necessarily hoping for that, but given the dates, it is very possible.  This birthday is a big one for me - the big 3-0, and I think I am in some ways happy to have it overshadowed by the birth of the baby.  I don't really want to think about getting older and time that has passed (even though most of that time has been wonderful).  I don't think 30 is old, but each birthday marks the passing of time, and that in and of itself is a little, well, concerning.  You don't get it back, after all.
Yesterday, I was scrolling through some of my blogs and I came across a wonderful idea that I just had to borrow for myself.  The idea is creating a list of "Thirty Before 30" and then completing each of the 30 items before the big day arrives.  For someone like me, who was viewing the birthday as a passage of time, rather than a marker of all the wonderful things that have happened up until that day, this was exactly what I needed to motivate me to do some things I've been wanting to do, and to appreciate my birthday as a milestone.

The "Thirty Before 30" is not a to-do list.  It doesn't read "do the laundry," and "go to the grocery store," etc.  These are more meaningful tasks, although some of them can be home-oriented.  Not all are huge or life-changing.  At this rate, with just about 10 weeks until my birthday, (and my energy level, which is not so high right now), my list will be simple and achievable.  I have about nine items so far, but I will not share any until my list is complete, as I am a notorious reviser, and I want to get this right before my big reveal.

I'd also like to share with you my inspiration.  Please note, that I did not read her list.  I wanted mine to truly be mine, so I only glanced at a few items before deciding this was a fantastic idea that I wanted to steal for myself.  You can find Amy and all her wonderful musings at Positively Splendid, as well as a link to her Thirty Before 30 list.

Wish me luck in my list creation!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"We are all Habiba"

Have you heard about this?!  Read the article here.  A 15-month-old baby was taken away from her mother because the mother refused to stop breastfeeding.  I am shocked and appalled.  It's been nearly two weeks, and they have not been reunited.  Investigations into Habiba's parenting have shown that she is a typical mom, providing for her daughter as best she can.  The reports from the investigations have been made public, and I think many parents will discover they are just like Habiba.  What do you do when your child won't sleep?  If you ever brought him or her into your bed, you are like Habiba.  If you feed your young toddler from your plate, you are like Habiba.  Oh my!  My blood is boiling over this!

Luke and I ended our nursing relationship when he was about 10 months old.  With my pregnancy, my supply diminished to such an amount that he would grow frustrated when nursing.  Not only that, but I could feel some contractions when he nursed, which while sometimes very normal for pregnant moms who breastfeed, were just a bit scary to me.  Luckily for us, Luke responded well to weaning, and seemed ready to end that stage of his babyhood.  I was definitely more emotional about it, in fact!  I share all this only to highlight that if we had not had such circumstances impede our breastfeeding, we might still be doing it today, at 15 months old, which is exactly the age of Habiba's baby.  While we may not be nursing anymore, I wholeheartedly believe that women and babies should have the right to do so for as long as they see fit.

If you have not already done so, please sign the petition to have Habiba reunited with her daughter.  The form asks for your first name, last name, email address, and postal code.  You can access the petition here.

Silly boy!

I've been working on teaching Luke some new signs, and one that we both love now is "silly".  The sign involves bringing your thumb to your nose and rubbing it a few times.  The introduction of this new sign was very quick and easy, as Luke truly enjoys making me laugh, and pays close attention when I am giggling at his antics.

Luke was very silly today.  In his high chair during lunch, he tried all the different fruits in the fruit salad, even though he doesn't really like the pineapple or melon.  He would stick his tongue out and lick each piece and make a funny face, and we both agreed, that was very silly!

I witnessed Luke try another funny little antic today, in which he put his hands behind his back and walked around in circles trying to make himself fall.  He would giggle each time he tumbled, and get right back up to start over.  I laughed and told him he was being silly, and he loved it!  Bring on the giggles!

I love that we are able to communicate with each other!  Even on a basic level, using American Sign Language has brought us many opportunities to share our thoughts with each other, and to avoid some meltdowns when Luke is able to make his desires known to me in a moment of need.  We are nowhere near fluent in ASL, but we are moving forward and adding new signs all the time.  It seems to be enhancing Luke's verbal language development as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Menu Planning Evolution

Okay, I gave you my rationale for doing this in a previous post, and also an example of one of my first official attempts at menu planning.  Well, now that our vacations are over, and baby #2 is due in less than 10 weeks, it's time to refine the system and get back on the menu-planning wagon.  This time, I added two snacks per day to the calendar.  I also made sure that lunch is Luke-friendly, as I was getting entirely too frustrated with creating lunches on the fly, and would be disheartened when Luke would refuse whatever I put together for him.  I also realized I needed to balance the nutritional content, and not provide Cheerios for lunch on a day when oatmeal was for breakfast.  Simple stuff, right?

So, without further ado, here is a new version of the Kelly Family Menu Planning Calendar:

B: bagels
L: quiche
S: n/a
D: salad & skewers
S: ice cream
B: cereal, OJ & coffee
L: salmon salad with fruit salad
S: trail mix & animal crackers
D: jambalaya
S: cheesecake
B: scrambled eggs with toast
L: jambalaya with apple slices
S: smoothie
D: turkey burgers with sweet potato fries
S: cheesecake
B: English muffins
L: salmon salad with berry yogurt
S: Rita’s water ice
D: leftovers
S: sherbet
B: smoothies
L: turkey rollups with fruit salad
S: yogurt & granola
D: salmon with cous cous and spinach
S: ice cream
B: cereal
L: grilled cheese & tomato soup with apple & peanut butter
S: trail mix & animal crackers
D: takeout or leftovers
S: fruit salad
B: cereal
L: BBQ at Bellmawr Lake
S: munchies at lake
D: BBQ leftovers
S: ice cream
B: omelet with bacon & toast
D: frozen pizza
S: sherbet
B: smoothies
L: pita & hummus with cheese and apple slices
S: berry jello
D: tuna casserole
S: muffins

B: cheesy egg scramble with toast
L: PBJ & watermelon
S: banana & chocolate pieces
D: enchiladas
S: muffins
B: cereal
L: tuna salad muffins & apple sauce
S: muffins
D: leftovers
S: banana splits
B: English muffins
L: egg salad & berry yogurt
S: hummus with crackers
D: hot dogs with beans & baked potato
S: brownies
B: bagels with cream cheese
L: PBJ & apple sauce
S: Madhavi’s birthday cake
D: take out
S: brownies
B: french toast casserole with bacon
L: breakfast leftovers
S: pie

Shopping List
hot dogs
1 lb sausage
spring onions
3 tomatoes
red leaf lettuce
green pepper
red pepper
2 multigrain
burger buns
frozen pizza
ice cream
2 small salmon
baked beans
diced tomatoes
teriyaki sauce
tomato soup
trail mix
egg noodles
muffin mix 
chocolate sauce
instant rice
2 cream cheese

block cheese
sliced cheese
sliced turkey
sliced ham

Sausage and Leek Hash

Looking for a quick and easy recipe?  Here's one that is sure to please no matter what the season.  It's so simple and requires only one pan, so even the clean-up is fast.

I originally found this recipe in a one-pot cookbook my mother-in-law brought with her from the UK.  Since I did not have my own photo from the last time I cooked, I found this one online, and it belongs to the exact recipe I followed several years ago when I first started cooking it!  I have translated to American measurements, and include my somewhat modified version.  You can, however, find the original recipe under the photo source link.


  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 4-5 average-sized potatoes 
  • 1 bunch leeks
  • 1-2 tbsp. horseradish cream sauce - if you can't find this in the store, use 1 part horseradish to 3-4 parts heavy cream for a similar taste
  • Olive oil 


  1. Pan fry sausages in small amount of olive oil. Turn over to cook on all sides. Cover pan.
  2. Remove sausages and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. They may still be somewhat undone in the middle. This is fine.
  3. Add thinly sliced potatoes to the pan. Cook through for about 8-10 minutes, turning potatoes over and making sure they aren't sticking to one another - if they do, they will be a little raw and crunchy.  
  4. Add sliced leeks after potatoes have softened for 3-4 minutes.  I hold some leeks for the end of the process so they are a bit crunchy.
  5. After potatoes are mostly cooked, add sausages again, stirring the whole pan several times.  You will need more time if the sausages were a little undone after the initial pan-fry.
  6. Add 1-2 tbsp. of horseradish cream sauce, depending on taste.  
I absolutely love that there is no need to be precise with this dish.  Add more leeks to your taste, go lighter on the sausage - or even use a chicken or turkey sausage - to suit diets.  This is such an easy recipe to modify.  Once you cook it once or twice, you won't need to look at the recipe at all.  Believe it or not, it also freezes well for a few weeks.  This is a great dish to double; keep one for your own family, and give the other to a family who's just had a illness or a new baby arrive.  This has certainly become one of our favorites!


And he's walking!

For some reason, this is THE milestone everyone talks about, but I was in no rush for our boy to walk when it seemed he was on the verge.  Back in January when I was still nauseous and lethargic all day every day, following a toddler seemed impossible.  In recent weeks, though, I couldn't help but wonder when our boy would take off on his own.  After much speculation about the delay - was it because we had been holding his hands and walking with him since he was seven months old? - we decided that because he was physically capable of taking the steps, just not mentally prepared for the big leap on his own, we'd back off and stop our wondering.  Well, we stopped wondering aloud, anyway!

All that, and our happy boy decided to take off on his on officially on May 29, 2011, while vacationing in Spain with us and his Granny and Papa.  It was wonderful that they were able to see such a big step (quite literally) in his development, because they are often far away and witnessing his achievements through Skype.  This time, they got the full interactive version, and celebrated with us with lots of praise and hugs.