Friday, August 27, 2010


Here are some random photos from the month of August. I've just unloaded a ton of pics from my phone that were taken over the summer, so look forward to more photos in future posts!!

Playing with blocks on a cookie sheet. (This activity is actually what Alex is doing as I type up this blog!)

The water line in our front yard sprung a leak. We saw the "fountain" after church one Sunday, called the city, and the next day a big machine appeared to fix the problem. The boys were fascinated.

On one Wednesday night in August my sister, Shelly, and I went to eat some yummy Bang Bang Shrimp ($5 for the whole dish). I devoured the whole dish (so much for counting calories that day!) and ordered an extra to bring home to the menfolk. Ajay loves using chopsticks. It takes a little work, but he's usually successful. He wouldn't eat the spicier shrimp, but he loved the milder ones.

Audrey came to visit us and enjoyed playing on the floor. I busted out the old baby toys for her to slobber over.

Superhero Alex ran in circles around Audrey (Ondry, if you ask Alex).

I posted Ajay sleeping in the last post, so now I'll post Alex sleeping :)

Concentrating on playtime.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"It's ME!"

The boys looked at this picture today and started arguing over who it was. They each emphatically tried to convince the other that it was "ME!" in the picture.
You be the judge.

Edited to add: There's no fooling you, readers! It was Ajay snoozing away in his crib (so this was taken at age 2 or under). He still sleeps with his buddy, Polar Bear.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 2 of school

I'm glad to report that Ajay survived his first day of school on Tuesday. I let him sleep in yesterday, but we were back on schedule today. He even woke up a couple of minutes before his alarm went off. Ajay mentioned at breakfast this morning that he cried on Tuesday before it was time to go to "PA" (he meant PE - Physical Education) because he wanted to go home. That made me a bit sad to hear. But he still didn't have any qualms about going today, so he must not have been too traumatized.

The woman who normally cuts our hair finally returned my calls/e-mails on Tuesday while Ajay was at school and informed me that she is no longer cutting hair. We're hoping this is a temporary situation, as we really like going to her. So since we were desperate for a haircut, I took the boys to a place down the street. They look so much better! Here is a shot from this morning - Ajay all ready to go to school, and Alex ready to play at home.

After watching the bus pull away with Ajay, Alex and I came back home and did a little coloring.

Alex wanted to play some computer games, so we did some color and pattern recognition games with Clifford the Big Red Dog on And now he's watching Clifford on PBS. That tied together nicely!

Happy Thursday to all!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And he's off!

Ajay is off to his first day of kindergarten. He has been so excited for this day. We've had a count down all summer. "How many days until I go back to school?"
Not only has he been verbally telling me he's ready, but his actions have been screaming that he's ready to go back! Our big guy is an extrovert and being stuck at home with just Mommy and Alex for company for most of the summer didn't cut the mustard! Some days the boys would play so sweetly together, and other days there would be constant screams, punches, kicks, "He started it," "I had it first," and much more.
Last week, we started getting Ajay to bed a bit earlier and I started setting his alarm again. Some days he was up before it went off, some days he'd sleep right through it. On a school day the boys get to watch a half hour of PBS from 7-7:30, then they eat breakfast until 8, and get dressed, brush teeth, wash faces, comb hair, etc until 8:30. Everyone should be ready to head out the door by 8:30. Yesterday, the first day of school for the district, we made a practice run. We walked to the corner of our block and met a couple of boys who were riding the bus to school. The bus was a few minutes late yesterday. Today, we were doing great on time and went to the corner. The bus was running a lot of minutes late today! About TEN minutes late! As soon as Ajay climbed on the bus and we waved good-bye (he sat in the very back seat), Alex and I hurried to the van and drove to school. I had more supplies to deliver to the teacher, and I wanted to meet the teacher (she was sick the night of Open House). Ms. T. was very nice and allowed me to come into the classroom to take a picture of Ajay playing at the table. I was extremely happy that Ajay did not balk at getting on the bus, nor did he have problems getting off the bus and to his classroom. There were no tears at all this morning (from any of us). It was a great first day of kindergarten!
He has tomorrow off. The kids have been split up for the first three days and are being tested, I believe. Regular schedule will begin on Thursday.
Even though I packed Ajay's lunch and saw him in school, it didn't hit me, until I got home, that it would be just me and Alex eating at our lunch table today. That will be an odd feeling. Last school year, we always had Ajay back home for lunch.
Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure:

Ajay's lunch in his Goodbyn lunch tote. He's got grapes, turkey pepperoni with light cream cheese, which he'll put on his crackers, there's a homemade granola bar, and some dried cranberries. In the drink bottle, he's got some apple juice. It was in the freezer over night to help keep the pepperoni and cream cheese cool until lunch time. The juice should be thawed out by then, too. When we practiced this lunch last week, the juice was still partially frozen at lunchtime, but it finished thawing very quickly once he took it out and put it onto the table. There's also a little piece of chocolate in there for a sweet treat.

Here's our Big Guy waiting for the bus:

It was still sprinkling off and on, so the boys all huddled under one umbrella. I think I'll need to get him a lightweight umbrella of his own to slide into his backpack.

Alex waited very patiently.

There goes Ajay! (You can see his brown-haired head on the steps inside the bus.)

When Alex and I got to Ajay's classroom, Ajay had already made himself comfortable at a table with some toys. As it turns out, there is a boy in his class that he's played with before! Camren lives close-by and his cousin is a backyard neighbor of ours. I'm glad that even though Ajay's buddy Skyler isn't in Ms. T's class, at least Ajay knows someone.
(Alex couldn't resist the pull of the toys and had to join in the fun.)

Ajay is ready to face the day!!

On our way out, Alex wanted to get himself a drink. This is something he did almost everyday last school year when we would take Ajay to his pre-k class. Alex lines up the little step on his own, climbs it, and insists on pressing the water button on his own. No help from Mama! My boys are getting so big!!

I can't wait to hear all about Ajay's first day!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Cucumber Sandwich Spread

A few weeks back, at Bunco, Angie served some delicious cucumber sandwiches (along with other tasty sammies!). I asked her for the recipe and she directed me here. Angie told me she had used onion powder in place of the grated onion, so when I made up my batch, I did the same.

In an effort to make these a little healthier, I tried these, a second time, with a twist. Turns out they're just as good with yogurt instead of cream cheese, in my opinion. Biju had a sandwich and gave his approval. He told me his mom used to make these, and put a little bit of butter on the bread.

Here is how I did it:

Strain some plain yogurt. I put mine in a fine-mesh wire colander w/ a coffee filter and let it sit (covered, in the fridge) for about two days. This made it set up nice and firm, like cream cheese's consistency. You'll want to end up with about 8 ounces worth. (You could probably use Greek yogurt if you didn't want to wait for 2 days.)

(This was the day I started straining the yogurt)

When the yogurt is ready:

Peel and Grate 2 medium cucumbers, drain well. (I used the wire strainer again, and pressed down on the cucumber w/ some paper towels.)

(Here is the water drained off the cucumbers, and the thickened yogurt measured into the cup.)

Combine the 8 ounces of firm yogurt with 4 Tbs. Mayonnaise. (I used Kraft Light Mayo made w/ Olive Oil)

Mix cucumbers together with creamy mixture and add in a few shakes of Onion Powder. (you could use up to a 1/2 Grated Onion - do it to your preference.).

Spread onto carb of your choice - I like whole Sara Lee Delightful wheat bread or a spinach wrap.

Makes 10 Quarter Cup Servings.

This is our new favorite sandwich. We sliced up some tomato from our garden the other day and added it to the sandwich. It was good enough, but I really do love this on its own - spread and bread. Yum!

My notes: I received some free Armenian Cucumber seeds last spring, so those are what I've got growing in the garden. I used the Armenian kind for two batches. As my cuke vine doesn't seem to be spitting out anymore cukes, we've resorted to buying some regular cucumbers from the store. I've found that the ones from the store a lot more watery. Nothing wrong with that, but if you can get your hands on the Armenian kind, you won't have to work as hard to strain the water out.
Also, the other night when I started straining my yogurt, I didn't measure how much I put into the strainer. When I made up the most recent batch yesterday, I saw that I only ended up with 3/4 c. of yogurt - which was still enough. Next time I strain, I'll measure how much goes in, so I can be sure of my calorie calculations. With the smaller amount of yogurt, I used a smaller amount of Mayo, too - 3T instead of 4T.
What to do with that cucumber water?? I've been throwing it out, but yesterday I saved some in a little bowl. I thought maybe I could swab some of it over my face. It also really helped cool the burn I got on my finger. I had burned it at lunch and put lavender oil on it, in addition to using some aloe plant juice. Those helped nicely enough, but everytime I washed a dish or washed my hands, the hot water would irritate the burn. I found that if I just put my finger in the cuke water, it cooled immediately. Ahhh!

When made with 3/4 c. thickened yogurt and 3 T. mayo, it made 9 quarter cup servings and it has:
Fat: 2.0g
Carbohydrates: 4.6g
Protein: 2.4g

When made with 1 c. light cream cheese, instead of the yogurt, and 4 T. mayo, it makes more like 10 quarter cup servings and it has:
Fat: 5.6g
Carbohydrates: 3.2g
Calories: 74.7
Protein: 2.7g

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Scrambled Noodles

1T. Oil
1/2 T. Mustard Seed (optional)
1/2 onion, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
3 packages Ramen Noodles (Maggie Noodles) - your choice of flavor. (We typically use chicken)

In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add in the chopped onion and cook until tender. While onions are cooking, beat eggs and add pepper to taste. Add eggs to onion and scramble.
Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, boil some water and add the noodles from all 3 packages. Once they've boiled, drain most of the water (not all). Add the three packets of flavoring. Once noodles and eggs are done, mix together. Serve hot.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Exploring Nature

It has been quite hot this summer, as most of you can attest to. We've been slugs, for the most part, and have done a lot of indoor activities. The boys go outside for a few minutes at a time but get all red faced and sweaty in no time (notice Ajay's pink cheeks in the first photo).
On one of my ventures to check on the garden, I saw the husk of a bug and brought it in to show the boys. I explained to them that the bug hadn't died, it had just grown new skin and left its old skin behind. They were quite intrigued.

I saw the bugs were enjoying our corn, so I thought I'd pick some so we could eat a few before they were gone. They might not have been done "growing" as the kernals didn't "pop" in our mouths, but more sorta stuck to the back of our teeth. The boys didn't mind so much. They really enjoy corn on the cob. This handful (pictured below) is pretty much all we got. The bugs (or whatever critter) did a thorough job of cleaning the cobs!!

The boys were really itching to go for a walk, so I got them out before it got too nasty outside. We only went around one block, however. We all collected some leaves, bark and other things hanging from trees. When we got home, we did some rubbings. (Leaf, sheet of paper, crayon shaded over top.)

Notice one of Alex's ear looks unnaturally large? Darned mosquitoes!

Friday night wasn't too unbearably hot, so we all played in the backyard for awhile. I sat on the brick patio with Alex and did some chalk drawings. Biju kicked the soccer ball around with Ajay for a bit. When Alex went inside, Biju hefted Ajay into a tree. Ajay, of course, loved it!

Looking forward to some cooler weather! (Funny how last winter was SOO cold and we couldn't wait for it to warm up, and now it is SOO hot and we can't wait for it to cool down!)