Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's Time for a Pipdate!

Man, we are WAY overdue for an update on Baby Pippa! I think I last updated when she was six or seven months old. Now she's eleven months old! I almost thought I should wait and just do a 1 year old update next month, but she's doing so many cute things right now, I figured I better record them for posterity before I forget.

First of all, Pippa is huge! I'm not sure how much she weighs. At her 9 month appointment, she was 20 lbs on the nose. My guess is that she's 21 or 22 now. She's chunky and has big fat cheeks and I absolutely love it! Even though she's blowing through Daphne's old clothes super fast (she's already wearing 18-24M and a few 2T!) I still think it's fun to have a rosy, fat baby for a change.

Pippa can:
·Drink from a sippy cup (she learned it today! She figured out how to tip it up and now she can't get enough of it).
·Say a lot of words: Dada, mama, baba (bottle), uh-oh, dat (that), tee-tee (tweet tweet), and her absolute favorite: HI! She says hi to everyone! Every person she passes at the store gets a hi. She says hi when she sees someone or something she wants. She says hi to her bottle. And she shouts "HI!!" to the entire congregation behind her when she turns around on the pew at church! It's adorable. The grandma waitresses at IHOP practically died at how her sweet little voice said hi, and how she'd hold out her arms for them as they passed. I thought they might take her back to the kitchen with them! She definitely isn't a shy one. She takes after her sister that way.
·Understand a lot of words. She can understand commands like "stand up" "lie down" "no!" (this is where she turns to look at me and smiles impishly. But she usually obeys), "come on" "ahh" (meaning "open your mouth and let me remove that disgusting thing you're sucking on!) and a few others.
· Climb stairs! We found this out the hard way when I was cleaning the basement and couldn't find her. There she was, at the top of the stairs! And she had even closed the stair gate behind her when she got to the top. What a good girl!
· Eat big girl food. Pippa never would eat baby food. There was about a 3 week period where I could get her to eat baby oatmeal from a spoon, but then she wouldn't eat that either. And she has never liked any pureed baby foods. So we went from those oat puffs pretty much directly to people food. She eats eggs, Life, crackers, ham, hot dogs, ramen, mac and cheese, bananas, strawberries, bacon, rice, and about everything else we eat, especially if it is on the floor. Still, she loves her baba more than any food.
· Crawl! Pippa started crawling just a few days after she turned 9 months old. She's a pro now.

Pippa is not much of a snuggler, but she is very friendly. She loves to be held for about 10 seconds, and then she wants to go go go. And then 30 seconds later she wants up again. She is so busy!!! And so social. She loves nothing better than when the whole family is over and she can go person to person the whole night.

Pippa is so on the go. She is into everything! She loves taking everything out of the cupboards, drawers, pantry, etc. She loves to sit in the wet shower if we leave it open for the cat to get a drink. She also loves to dip her arms in the cat's water fountain (which I'm not even sure if the cat drinks out of) and sit in it if she can maneuver it right.

Pippa is still a fantastic sleeper. Except for that 6 week period from age 4 months to 5 1/2 months where she woke up in the night and had to be Ferberized (which worked like a charm, I should add--one day and she was back to sleeping through the night again!), she has slept through the night since 4 days old. Now, at 11 months, she sleeps 12 hours a night (7:30-7:30) and takes 2 naps a day (9:30-11am and 3:30-5pm). I love that she got my sleeper gene!

Pippa has tons of hair. Daphne was bald until about 18 months, and only had this much hair at her 2 year old birthday. Pippa's hair is still strawberry blond, and in some lights looks quite red! It's curly at the back behind her ears. Pippa has two teeth. She got one two weeks ago and one popped through yesterday (bottom). It looks like one on top is about to come through soon too. Pippa's skin is that gorgeous rosy color that no one on my side of the family has. Thank you Big Daddy for that! Her eyes remain, thank goodness, grey. You might call them hazel. They are blue-ish grey but have a green tone in some lights and a starburst of brown in the middle. Sometimes I'm worried that that starburst of brown will expand and take over her eyes! But so far it has stayed limited to right around her pupil. Fingers crossed!

Pippa loves to be hung upside down, to laugh at her siblings' antics, to crawl so fast her hands won't keep up and she lands face first in the carpet, to shake my iPod and dance, to chase the cat, to eat cat food, and to give big, wet, open-mouthed kisses.

She is such a joy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

3 Cheese Macaroni And Cheese With Ham

I had a ton of ham left over from Easter dinner at my house on Sunday. I also had the stomach flu yesterday. So today when my appetite returned, sort of, I wanted something really comforting to eat. This baked ham and macaroni and cheese recipe I created turned out great! It really hit the spot and my husband declared it "possibly the best macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten." He may have been just trying to get the kids to try it. Because heaven forbid you do something radical to the worlds most kid-friendly food, like add HAM to it, or put BREAD CRUMBS on top of it. Now it somehow needs talking-into. Pschaw. Ignore the kids... I swear it's delicious!

3 Cheese Baked Macaroni & Cheese With Ham

(Serves 8)

• 4 oz ham, chopped to bite-sized pieces
• 2 cups elbow macaroni
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/4 cup onion, diced fine
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 2 ¼ cups milk
• 6 ounces (3/4 cup) shredded medium cheddar cheese
• 2 ounces cream cheese
• 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of your favorite cheese, grated or cubed. I like parmesan, gouda, or havarti. Nearly anything will work, but cheeses with more flavor produce a better result.
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon pepper
• ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
• ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs

• In a large sauce pan, cook macaroni for 7-8 minutes in salted, boiling water. Macaroni should be slightly al dente. Drain and set aside.
• Meanwhile, fry the ham for 3-4 minutes on medium heat until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 2 quart casserole dish or a 9x13 inch pan with foil. Spray with no-stick cooking spray. This will make clean-up a breeze. No baked-on cheese to scrape!
• Now it’s time to make the roux. In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and garlic powder and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the edges are beginning to brown. Remove from heat. Whisk in the flour, one tablespoon at a time until smooth (the onions will make it a little lumpy, but you don’t want lumps of flour). Return to the heat. Cook and stir the butter, onion and flour for 2 to 3 minutes until it thickens. Whisk in the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook an additional 2 minutes.
• Now add the cheeses. First the cream cheese, cut into chunks. Once that is mostly melted, add the cheddar, half at a time. Once that appears mostly melted, add your final cheese. Stir for another minute or two until the cheese is all melted and the sauce is smooth.
• Pour cheese sauce over macaroni. Stir in ham. Add salt and pepper. Stir well to incorporate.
• Once the whole thing is nicely mixed, pour the macaroni into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs until the surface is lightly covered. (Add more if needed).
• Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are hot and bubbly. Change heat to broil and cook an additional 2 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.