Board Games with Grandma

ladybug game
One thing I have been very thankful for is the support of time and attention my parents have given to the kids while DaddyO has been away. It lessened the burden of being the sole parent and EJ is learning and doing things that I wouldn't have had the time to do with her. She especially enjoys game time and my mom is always willing to play one with her.

Six Months Old


Each month seems better than the last. I remember feeling this way as EJ went through her different baby stages as well. I forgot though how quickly they develop and their personality blossoms.

CJ is my happy little guy. He gets especially excited about about people, food and mobility. He squeels when he sees a smiling face, lunges with mouth wide opend whenever food is in view, and crawls across the room in a matter of seconds.

I call him "my little giraffe" as he takes giraffe length naps, 20 minutes here and there. Just long enough to jump in the shower or do an activity with EJ, but not long enough to clean the house or read a book. He wakes up with a smile and a coo though so I quickly get over my frustration at the short naps.


EJ is enjoying his growing up just as much as I am. She trades toys with him, helps change diapers, and shares her food. His looks of utter admiration towards her make my heart melt. I hoping their loving dynamic lasts. I think it helps that she feels a part of taking care of him and is proud to be a big sister.

milestones: crawling, pulling up to a seated position, standing with assistance, 5th and 6th teeth, feeding himself pincher food

Cooking with Avia


Dinner at Avia's is always a special occasion. When it comes time to prepare it, EJ immediately asks for an apron (whether it be Avia's Stouffor or Christmas one) and starts cooking with her.


EJ has learned how to scrub potatoes, chop veggies, and cook pot roast.


We set the table, say grace, and enjoy a candlelit dinner together.

First Sunday in Philly

degas ballerina statue
The first Sunday of each month is a great day to visit the Philadelphia Art Museum. It is "pay as you wish" at the museum which means a quick visit with kids is much more affordable.

We started the day at Tenth Presbyterian Church, a favorite of DaddyO and mine, located just a couple block from Rittenhouse Square.


It was a cool rainy day so the umbrellas came out.


EJ is always excited for an excuse to use her ladybug umbrella.


We spent the afternoon taking in the great artists at the museum. Degas' ballerina statue was EJ's favorite.


The knights were just like those in her Cinderella book.


She found a painting of a real king.


 Was awed by the large tapestries.

 

Made friends by the fountain.


And finally passed out in the stroller.


It was a wonderful first Sunday in the city.

Autumn Picking and Planting

planting the mums
EJ helped Grandma pick the last of her summer vegetables and the beginning of the autumn harvest. We sure have enjoyed eating by season out of Grandma's garden.

We won't have the luxury of her garden after we move but we plan on shopping by season till we have a garden of our own. Here are some of the fruits and vegetables we have to look forward to this fall!


EJ learned how to plant mums and was great at spotting the last of the tomatoes and first of the guards.

 

When the Leaves Change


DaddyO told EJ to watch for the leaves to change color as a sign of his coming home. They were starting to bud and bloom when he left and needed to be red, orange and yellow for him to return. She was very aware of the their colors around her. She would point out the changing leaves in her books and remind me that "Daddy comes home when the leaves change colors".

Well, the leaves are starting to change and that means DaddyO will be home soon! In celebration of the upcoming reunion we read "Autumn Leaves" and baked sugar cookies.

We mixed up the dough and started cutting out the leaves.

After they baked we mixed up vibrant colors and decorated the leaves. We hope the days till DaddyO returns disappear as fast as the cookies.

Pinkalicious Pumpkin



EJ found Pinkalicious and the Pink Pumpkin at the library, I'm always impressed at the great books she finds, and Grandma and I read it to her over and over and over again.


In the story Pinkalicious visits Farmer Pink's pumpkin patch and after spending most of the book searching for a pink pumpkin, finds a beautiful big one Farmer Pink painted just for her.

The book gave grandma an idea. Why not paint EJ her very own pink pumpkin?! Grandma had a gigantic one growing in her garden ready to be painted.

When Grandma called EJ out to see what she found in her garden, EJ exclaimed "my pinkalicious pumpkin!"


The pumpkin has held up to wind and rain and has garnered a few comments from the neighbors. It's not every day you see a pink pumpkin peaking out of a garden.

Genesis Bicycle Breakfast

ready to ride
We have a wonderful bicycle shop not too far from our house that sponsors a bike ride and jazz breakfast every year for their customers.

CJ is still a little too young to carry on the back of my bike so I dropped EJ off with Grandma and Grandpa for the bike ride.

all geared up
I met up with them afterwards for a delicious breakfast cooked on Coleman camping stoves.

making omelets


Everything tastes better when eaten outside.

enjoying breakfast together
Genesis Bicycle is a company that gives back to their customers and community.

jazz music

bicycle demonstrations
 I know where to go next time a need something for my bicycle!

Green Tea Coconut Milk Gelato

sakura vert green tea
Staying with my parents these last seven months has allowed me to foster my ice cream making ability. They had an ice cream making machine ready to be used and I had cravings for the the pure and creamy taste of the homemade dessert. It is so simple to make and the varieties to try are endless. Along the way I have picked up my own machine and developed a few of my own recipes

This Green Tea Coconut Milk Gelato is a twist on a recipe that came with our machine. Since we are trying to eliminate cows milk from our diet as much as possible almond and coconut milk are the substitutes of choice in our refrigerator. I wasn't sure how the gelato would thicken the first time I tried "cooking" it, but it did, and what came out of the machine was delicious! I used Lupicia's "Sakura Vert" green tea to infuse the milk and added some coconut shavings for texture. Don't eat this ice cream before bed, the caffeine from the tea will keep you up, but it would be a perfect brunch dessert or accompaniment to high tea. I look forward to experimenting with different tea infusions.

the perfect cup

Green Tea Coconut Milk Gelato Recipe

Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups coconut milk
8 green tea bags
1/4 cup powdered fat free milk
8 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:
Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat to a simmer. Pour half over the tea bags in a medium bowl and let steep for 30 minutes; strain, pressing all the liquid from the tea bags. Stir powdered milk into the remaining and keep warm over low heat. Place egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Using a whisk, beat until thick and pale yellow (the consistency of mayonnaise). While mixing, slowly add the hot milk and whisk until blended. Stir the egg mixture back into the saucepan and add the tea-infused milk; increase heat to medium,. Stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thickened like a custard sauce and registers 180 degrees. Stir in cream, cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours before continuing.

Turn the machine on; pour mixture into freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. The gelato will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the gelato to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.

God Made the Grass


EJ is learning all about what God has made in her Wednesday night Puggles class. She came home with this piece of artwork last week. Even grass is amazing in the eyes of a child.

Stretcher Time


I never like seeing DaddyO on a stretcher but this was training and the smiles are reassuring. The sailors practiced carrying the wounded around. Just another day on the job.

Grimm's Farm Pumpkin Patch


I love autumn. It delights every one of the senses and brings so many warm and cozy feelings. Having lived in FL the last couple years I missed the change in seasons, but fortunately PA brings it in full force.

What better way to enjoy a cool fall day than at a farm? We headed to Grimm's Farm for a hay ride, corn maze, and pumpkin picking afternoon.

We started off on a tractor driven hayless hayride.  

 

 Then ventured into their six acre corn maze.


EJ had fun running through the maze. I was expecting some fairytale characters to pop out as we went, how could you have a name like Grimm and not, but all that popped out was her Uncle J.



The apples trees had been picked clean but EJ was still able to find a couple ground ones to get the idea of where apples come from.


There was no shortage of pumpkins in the pumpkin patch though. EJ looked for the biggest pumpkin she could find but then we told her she could only take home one she could load in the wagon. It was fun watching he heave and hoe as she loaded one in.

 
 

She wasn't as successful at pulling the wagon.


What is a pumpkin patch without a few pumpkin pictures? Couldn't let the beautiful hues of orange go to waste.

 


As if that wasn't enough, there was a play area to slide and play on hay bails.



And delicious pumpkin ice cream.


Grimm's farm got us in the autumn spirit.

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