Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm a model (and you know what I mean!)

"And I do my little turn on the catwalk!"

I know every mom thinks her child is the cutest person ever. I really do think this about Joel. I am pretty obnoxious in how much I love his face, his hands, his everything. Murad and I pretty much marvel everyday at how cute he is, and how he has the ability to look exactly like us and nothing like us at all. Each night, I sneak into his room to watch him sleep. I've never been so in love.

I am and I am not surprised that others find Joel to be as cute as a button. In fact, we've decided to capitalize on it! Okay, that sounds really bad, but it's not. I entered him into a local modeling search back in May. He was called up for his first photo shoot earlier this month. We'll find out soon if he's in the ad. I'm posting some pics from his first shoot. I need to pick 3-4 pictures to make a comp card (think: model business card). If you have opinions, please help! If this whole modeling thing takes off, we plan to only do it for a short time. We really just want to get some more money for college. Plus, one of my former students begged me not to let Joely become a male model. "Mrs. Campbell, please don't let your son become a male model. They're like the biggest douches." I ignored the fact that he used the term douche. Nevertheless, I don't want Joel to be a "douche."

I have really enjoyed watching Joel this summer. Like I mentioned, he finally made it to the big boy car seat. He now weighs 20 lbs and is 29.5 inches in length. His feet reach the foot rest on his high chair. If I put my purse on my shoulder or head towards the back door, he instantly starts w

aving. He's figured out that if he does something bad or has something he's not supposed to, that he should run. He hides behind me if the dogs are playing or up barking, but if they're sleeping on the floor, he pokes and pats them. He's starting to say "thank you," although it's more like "dank koo."

This weekend we headed to Once Upon a Child and for $20 we got 3 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shorts, 3 shirts and 2 pajamas! We also discovered that daddy's favorite ice place is coming to Plano! Yep! Philly-famous Rita's Italian Ice has a location in Allen, TX and there is one coming to Plano soon. We made two trips to Rita's this past weekend.

We have been doing lots of Olympics-watching as well. I will say that having a kiddo puts a damper on watching the Olympics. Joel will watch a few sports, but he mostly wants to play. That's okay, I need to get up off the couch and play!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Who convinced me to move to Texas? It's so hot! I'm allergic to grass. In fact, I think my allergies have increased since moving here. West Nile mosquitoes are out like crazy!!!

Joel and I have been trying to beat the heat. It was difficult a couple of weeks ago when our air conditioner went out and Miss Rebecca (his sitter) was out of town. We have stayed cool though, and Sonic Happy Hour is mama's BFF!

We love going to the mall play place. Joel really loves to climb the play place blocks. I was surprised that he was able to do that especially since he just started walking last month. He's so active!

We like to go to story time at the local library. At first, Joel did not do too well. All he wanted to do was run around and scream. He quickly changed his tune. He knows to sit right in mama's lap, clap his hands and listen to the songs. He even is starting to recognize some of the barnyard puppets. His favorite thing is the bubble machine at the end. He goes crazy! I love the story time because the families there are so multicultural. We mostly see Asian, Indian, African,Arab and Caucasian families. I am a little bummed that there aren't more African-American and Hispanic families there. I guess that kind of goes with the territory of where we live.

Last week my friend brought over some yummy veggies from her mom's garden. We used the tomatoes to make pasta sauce. We used the potato, green onion, and green pepper to slow cook with chicken, chicken stock and cream of chicken for a yummy soup.

We love summer seasonal veggies. Today I made a pasta bake with whole wheat pasta, cream cheese, pesto, chicken, zucchini, corn and Parmesan, mozzarella and fontina cheeses. So delicious! I think both dishes would go well with the fall weather.

We've had lots of visitors the summers and some people move to North Texas. We've had lots of changes, but we've made it through them. Right now we're dealing with my grandmother and her health. Without disclosing too much, but please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

As August approaches, I remind myself how lucky I am not to have to return to traditional work this fall. I try to take time to remind myself of this when I get frustrated with Joel or I'm feeling less independent.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cooking for a toddler

Like most toddlers, Joel absolutely loves finger foods. If I'd let him, he'd eat Cheerios all day. The only food he'll eat spoon-fed is yogurt. I'm so thankful for The Baby & Toddler Cookbook. It really is a book that the entire family can use.

Yesterday I made Lasagna Roll-ups and Tomato-Veggie Sauce. I've never seen Joel eat so many! I had to cut them into small pieces for him. Warning: eating them can be a little messy! (or a lot messy!)

Tomato Veggie sauce

1 small carrot (chopped)
1 small zucchini (finely chopped)
1/2 small red bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
1/2 yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup of Veggie Stock (or Chicken Stock)

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a small roast pan combine carrot, zucchini and bell pepper. Drizzle with 1/2 table spoon of Olive Oil Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender 20-25 minutes

while vegetables are roasting, in a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Saute until onion softens, about 5 minutes. add tomatoes and broth, stir to mix well and simmer gently uncovered until the sauce thickens slightly 15-20 minutes. Add roasted veggies to the sauce.

Let the sauce cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor or blender. Process to a smooth or coarse puree (depending on your toddler)

Lasagna Roll-ups
6 dried whole wheat lasagna noodles
2 cups tightly packed baby spinach
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive Oil for greasing
1 cup Tomato-Veggie sauce, warmed
MAKES 12 roll-ups

preheat broiler. Bring a large pot 3/4 of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente (8 minutes) Transfer to a colander and rinse under cool water. Lay flat on kitchen towel to drain and cool
add the spinach to the boiling water and cook until wilted. Drain in the colander and then squeeze spinach to remove as much water. chop coarsely. in a large bowl combine spinach ricotta and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.
lightly oil an 8 inch flame-proof baking dish. cut lasagna in half crosswise. Place 1 lasagna noodle half on a clean work space. Spread thin layer of spinach-ricotta mixture evenly over the noodle. Roll up noodle to enclose the filling, then place, seam side in the prepared baking dish. repeat with remaining noodles, placing the roll-ups snugly together.
Sprinkle remainder of mozzarella cheese onto the roll-ups. Broil until cheese on top is melted and the filling and noodles are heated through (3-5 minutes).

Click here

for a Weight Watcher's version

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oh, Joel!

I really think one is the new two, or two is really, really bad! Joel started walking on Tuesday (yay!). The bad part was that Murad was out of town on business and missed it. Fortunately, we drove up to OKC to see him, and my parents met us there as well. It was too hot to really do anything, but my parents were satisfied with watching their grandson play.

Joel is becoming quite his own person in good ways and in bad. He's definitely testing our limits and challenging us. Murad has to remind me not to overeact to his behavior because he'll learn that negative behavior receives attention. So, I've been trying to change my reactions. Instead of saying no when he grabs something he's not supposed to have, I reach for it and say, "thank you." He really likes that. Instead of screaming no when I see him putting dog food in his mouth, I've taught him to "feed" the dogs.

Joel also loves to fall out on the floor when he doesn't get his way. Sometimes he even puts his hands over his face. It's quite amusing and super annoying at the same time. This kid, man. I tell ya!

The cutest and scariest thing he did was on Friday. I let the dogs back in the house from going to the bathroom. Joel saw this and raced out the door to climb in the baby pool. I see why they warn people to gate their "big" pools. He was so determined and made it there. Anytime we walk past that darn pool, Joel looks at it longingly. I feel like he's plotting little ways to jump out of my arms and make his way to the pool. The kid has no fear, I tell ya!

I will say that Joel's listening during storytime has improved. Yesterday we read a book about Ernie and Joel sat through the entire 3 minutes and listened. After that, he pulled out every book from the book bin. Fun times, right?

Tomorrow we are heading to Joel's first modeling shoot! I signed up for one of those model searches back in May. Joel took some pretty good, but I hadn't heard back from them, so I just figured I'd wasted $40. Well, we got an email on Thursday for a fall/Halloween shoot. We'll see how he does!