Friday, January 29, 2010

Alaina - 14 month update

Life with a toddler is never dull! Alaina turned 14 months old yesterday and she is becoming quite an independent little girl with a fantastic sense of humor. She is now walking like a champ and even runs from time to time. And don't even get me started on her dancing! She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to dance to "Yo Gabba Gabba" and Rob & I think it's pretty fun too.

We're excited that she is also making associations between objects and body parts:
  • She puts her hat on her head
  • She knows that her shoes go on her feet and she tries very hard to put them on
  • She holds her toy phone up to her ear and talks on it. Yes, she IS my daughter! :)
Alaina also has 11 teeth (including 4 molars) and has done very well with teething. She very rarely grumps but does enjoy gnawing on anything hard including toothbrushes, teethers, toys, soda cans or her fingers!

Earlier this week I won a contest on Facebook courtesy of Douglas Cuddle Toys. They randomly selected me from amongst their Facebook fans and I won a free stuffed animal. Rob and I had a good time perusing their site to find the perfect stuffed animal for Alaina. The winner: a ferret!! Alaina adores it and carries it with her everywhere!



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chocolate-dipped Coconut Macaroons

If you love Mounds bars like I do, you will LOVE these cookies! While I'm sure they aren't figure-friendly, they sure are delicious and are worth a little indulgence.

Ingredients
1 (14 ounce) package Baker's coconut
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the chocolate ganache
8 oz of semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour baking sheets; set aside.
  2. Mix coconut, sugar, flour and salt in large bowl. Stir in egg whites and almond extract until well blended.
  3. Drop coconut mixture into 36 mounds, 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets, using about 1 tablespoonful of the coconut mixture for each mound.
  4. Bake 20 min. or until edges are golden brown. Immediately remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely.
  5. For the ganache, cook the heavy cream and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.
  6. Dip the top of each macaroon in the ganache
  7. Let stand at room temperature or refrigerate on wax paper-covered tray 30 min. or until chocolate is firm.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

DIY Winter Wreath

Our Christmas wreath has been packed up till next year which means we are in need of a winter wreath to decorate our front door during the dreary months of January and February. After making trips to a few local stores and coming back empty, I figured, "Ok. I can't find a winter wreath I like so I guess I'll have to make one."

And what could be better than doing crafts on a rainy, chilly Sunday afternoon? I went to AC Moore earlier this week and bought my supplies: a grapevine wreath, a 6' wedding garland, floral wire and glittery silver ribbon.














If you'd like to duplicate this wreath, follow these step-by-step directions.

Step 1: Attach the 6' garland to the wreath by twisting one end of the garland around one of the twigs on the rear of the wreath
Step 2: Spiral the garland around the wreath (careful not to get it twisted)

Step 3: Secure the other end of the garland to the back of the wreath

Step 4: Tuck in the various "limbs" of the garland in and around the twigs
Step 5: Make the bow. Take your ribbon and make loops by making Figure 8's. After you have the desired amount of loops, secure the center of the bow with floral wire. Step-by-step directions for making bows can be found here.

Step 6: Afix the bow to the wreath

VOILA! You've just made a winter wreath!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fish

What kid doesn't like fish?! This afternoon we bought a small aquarium and six little goldfish for Alaina. Okay, she's not the only one who likes the fish -- Rob and I think they're pretty neat too.

We bought 3 orange goldfish and 3 multi-colored fish but now we're on Death Watch. The guy at the pet store told me that it is not uncommon to go through many fish at first until the water gets some bacteria in it. Apparently ultra-clean water with fluoride in it can actually kill the fish. Who knew? The self-proclaimed "Fish Expert" at the store told me all sorts of useless trivia about goldfish... including to never bang on the glass because fish only have a memory of 3 seconds and tapping on the glass scares them and can cause premature death. I digress.

But now back to our tank! We bought a 10 gallon aquarium and have it set up in the living room. Alaina really likes to watch the little fishies swim around and I must admit, I like it too. They make me smile!

1/17/10 Update: We lost 2 calico fantail goldfish within the first 48 hours so we got 2 replacement orange fantail goldfish and now they just died. So we're back down to 4 fish (3 gold and 1 calico) -- still debating whether or not to go get 2 more.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Kicking off 2010














HAPPY 2010 TO ALL OF YOU!

We are starting 2010 off with some excitement in the Pond household! While Alaina has been taking steps here and there for the past few months, today was the day that she finally stood up on her own and started walking EVERYWHERE without assistance. Before she would take a few steps and then sit down, but not anymore. This girl is walking and loving it! We are such proud parents!

Here is a video of Alaina walking (taken earlier this evening).

Alaina's new thing is now to wave at people and say "Bye." She started this over Christmas vacation and everyone loved it! It's so cute! She grins when she says it too as if she's so excited that the adults can finally understand her chattering!