My little Laila girl....

So my Laila girl has always been a really good eater but recently has decided that it is her right to exercise the word "NO" (a lot) while I try to feed her. She used to devour pretty much everything and anything that was put in front of her and I always try to offer variety as not to get tired of the same foods. But the last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle for her and I.

While I don't want to cater to this new found freedom she is exhibiting. I have tried to limit her to a few choices at each meal but I don't want her to starve either. It's new territory for her and I but I'm standing my ground and trying to maintain a healthy eating regiment as I have seen the benefits. It's super hard but I remember very well the torment we went through with Hayden's eating habits and I don't want to go down that road again. I figure this too will pass if we just wait it out.

The other puzzling piece with Laila is whether to move her from her crib before or after the baby arrives. She loves her crib and sleeps very well in it. She has never tried to crawl out of it and if she had I would have recognized that as "the sign" and moved her to a bed. I started her in a Gro-Bag (sleep sac) from around a month old so I know that restricts her from actually trying to escape from the crib - again it has been a godsend in helping her establish an amazing sleeping routine. I'm a little selfish on this one as well because I love my sleep (especially now being pregnant) and wonder if moving her to the bed will ruin the really good thing we have going.

I'm not sure I want the headache of trying to adjust a toddler to a bed and having to care for a new baby in the new year - Any thoughts on what would be best ? We have already decided the baby will bunk with us for at least the first few months then eventually she and Laila will become roommates but we need to change the bedrooms around to achieve that goal.

On a funnier note she is getting so smart and trying to mimic everything mama does during the day...from sweeping the floors, to folding laundry, and my personal favorite putting things in the microwave (namely bunny) and trying to heat it up (It's right at her left as it's under our kitchen island).

Daddy is totally the love of her live and it is obvious that the feelings go both ways as he is very smitten with her as well. They have even started a little tradition on Saturday mornings of making a run to Starbucks before Hayden and Mama get up.

Hayden still pretty much just tolerates her but I think it is getting better with him away at school all day - he has time to hang out with his new buddies and not have a meddling little sister in his business all the time (and let me tell you she gets in his business a lot). She is definitely not a "wall flower" and will stand her ground when she feels it's important which we know will serve her well later in life.

We are all very curious to see what will happen in January when the new baby comes home - we figure it could go either way right now but we are hoping for the best. She will soon figure out that to the new baby she is the "rockstar" and will be idolized so we are thinking it will all work out.

I still have a hard to believing that she will be 2 in a few short months..... where has the time gone !!

Apple vs. Blackberry...

And we aren't talking about the fruit folks....hubby has finally gotten fed up with not being able to reach me during the day if I'm out and about. He wants to upgrade my (perfectly good but very old) cell phone to a new fancier one.

We are big Mac users but I'm not totally convinced that I want the iPhone. I have been given by said hubby 3 iPod Touch's and return each of them to the store because I felt the battery life was inadequate.

Faruq has had a Blackberry for as long as I can remember and he really likes it. I was looking at the updated version to his though the Blackberry Curve.

My other question is do I need to change carriers if I go with the iPhone - I'm with Telus right now and honestly don't have a problem leaving them but my current contract is still in effect there until the new year.

So which one should I pick ?

We survived Day 1...

Well we managed to get everyone dressed and ready to go to Hayden's new school yesterday for 9am. Hayden was a little grumpy as was my normally "happy-go-lucky" Laila. My kids like their sleep and don't like to be woken up. But this is our life now and they will just have to adjust to it.

I think we all had a few "nervous" bugs in our tummies going into the school and didn't really know what to expect. But upon entering we were instantly put at ease. The staff was so friendly and made us felt welcome immediately.

They had everyone meet in the gymnasium and once the staff was introduced the kids were called by their homeroom teachers to be taken to their classrooms.

It was funny because when we got into the gym I kept thinking that there were a lot of kids still missing but realized that this was all there was because of the fact there is only 120 students in the whole school. They had the upper grades come in at 11 yesterday.

We got to help Hayden take his supplies up to his class but were asked to leave while they set up their desks and cubbies on their own. Again, I was way more emotional then my kid ! We were told that once they were done the kids would come and get us.

His biggest complaint about it all was there are only 4 other boys in his class and 10 girls but his dad tried to reassure him that in a few years that might actually be a good thing. Hayden still wasn't convinced but did manage to make one buddy .

After we were done at the school we took the kids out for lunch and a little shopping at Toys R Us then we all headed home for a little afternoon nap.

I have been plagued with mixed feelings all summer on whether we did the right thing by moving him to this school but after yesterday I truly know it was the right decision for us. I only hope that he will thrive in this environment and will enjoy learning.

Today is the first full day of classes so I'm anticipating a very tired little boy when he comes home but I'm sure he will adjust this new routine very quickly.

Chicken Bruschetta

One of my favorite appies is Bruschetta so when I came across this recipe in Rose Reisman's cookbook "The Complete Light Kitchen" (one of my all time favorite cookbooks by the way) I knew it would be a keeper and it totally is.

(This was the leftover from the night before which I served with wild rice and steamed corn - It was still very yummy but I found the chicken lost it's crispy taste from being stored in the fridge)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Serves: 4

What you will need:

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 1 lb)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp low fat milk
1/2 cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs (I just used the plain ones I already had and they were fine)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups diced plum tomatoes
1/4 chopped green onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
pinch salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I used the fresh dried I had in the fridge)

How you make it:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with cooking oil.
  2. Working with one at a time, place the chicken breast between two sheets of waxed paper and pound to an even 1/2 inch thickness.
  3. Place the flour on a plate. Beat the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on a separate plate.
  4. Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking oil, add the vegetable oil and place over medium-high heat.
  5. Coat each flattened chicken breast in flour , dip n the egg mixture, then coat in the breadcrumbs. Cook for 3 minutes per side or until browned and almost cooked through. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Stir the tomatoes, onions, oil, garlic , salt and pepper together in a bowl. Spoon over the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake in the center of the oven for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the tomato topping is hot. Sprinkle the basil overtop and serve immediately.

One thought I had was to make the tomato mixture the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight so the flavors would really come through.

I think this would make an awesome appetizer as well and you could just cut the chicken into bite size pieces.

(I totally forgot to snap a picture before we dug in tonight but we are going to have the leftovers tomorrow for lunch so I will take a pic then.)

Stop by Kelly's Korner for more yummy dinner recipes !!

Martha's Beef Stew with noodles

So for years I have made a very favorite beef stew recipe but have always found it somewhat cumbersome to make. But hooray I have found one in the latest Martha Stewart magazine that is really easy and tastes almost exactly the same as the old recipe I have.

The bonus with this one is it makes the gravy while it's cooking in the pot on the stove. I am to say the least "challenged" when it comes to making gravy. I have tried for years and honestly I know just give the task to Faruq when he is home.

So on one of those cold winter nights I think might be coming soon give this a try and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

(I forgot to take a picture of my stew so I snagged a pic from her magazine but honestly mine look identical to this picture)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Serves 4 (we actually got more like 6 to 7 servings)

What you will need:

1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 pounds boneless beef chuck. (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium onion sliced lengthwise
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled an cut into 1-inch dice
2 cups egg noodles
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp red-wine vinegar ( I omitted this and it was fine)

How to make it:
  1. In large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over high. Add beef, season with salt and pepper. Cook until seared and brown about 6 minutes.
  2. Add Onion and season again with salt and pepper. Cook until onion begins to soften (reduce heat if necessary) - about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir flour until beef and onion are coated and cook 1 to 2 minutes (do not burn).
  4. Add broth + 3 cups of water, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until beef is tender - about 25 minutes.
  5. Add carrots and potatoes - cook until potatoes are tender - about 10 minutes.
  6. Add noodles and cook until tender - about 8 minutes
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. To serve, stir in parsley and vinegar.
A few things:
  • Cutting veggies into evenly sized cubes helps to ensure that they'll finish cooking at the same time.
  • It can be frozen in airtight containers for up to 6 month. Thaw in the fridge before reheating. Honestly, I have never had enough stew leftover to even consider freezing it.
  • I honestly didn't season with salt quite as often as the recipes says and it was still very yummy.

Well for sure it's a......

Baby. We had our 18 (actually 19) week scan on Tuesday and all looks great for the latest and last addition to the Suleman family.

We have a very active little bean and the the technician actually had a bit of a hard time doing the scan. This really didn't surprise me in the least as both Hayden and Laila were exactly the same way at their scans for 18 weeks. But the tech was very patient and managed to get all the measurement she needed. Unfortunately for most of the scan the little kicker had it's hands of their private parts (again just like other two) so it was beginning to look like we wouldn't find out the sex. I really wanted to know this time so I could start clearing out either boy or girls clothes.

I think she knew we really wanted to know so tried for almost another 10 minutes. Low and behold right at the very end it did move it's hands for a second to reveal it's bits. We couldn't see any little boy bits so the technician really felt it was a little girl. Secretly, I was so thrilled with that news but again for the selfish reason that it will be easier to bunk the baby and Laila together.

My guess is this baby will be longer then the other two and I think will look just like Laila when they come out. Hayden is still just indifferent to the whole idea of another baby and is glad that he will not have to share his room. Daddy is thrilled for another little girl but I laughed when I heard him telling Hayden the other night that "the power" in the house has officially shifted to the girls (like they ever had the power in the first place).

I honestly can't believe that we are 5 months into this pregnancy. I know that January will come very soon and it will all be over. I'm actually very sad about it ending and will miss being pregnant. My problem was getting pregnant and endured many years of infertility but honestly being pregnant was some of the best months of my life. We are blessed beyond words with 3 little ones and can't wait to watch them grow.

Here are a few pictures from our U/S and have to say they look identical to both Hayden and Laila's.

Unrelated to baby news we are just trying to enjoy the last few days of summer vacation. Hayden starts back to school next week and I'm glad for him. We haven't done much this summer and I know he has found it a bit boring. I think once he settles in and makes new friends life will be better for him.

So come next week it will be just me and my little lady at home. I'm looking into signing her up for a few classes as my time will be a little limited in the new year.

I hope everyone in Calgary is out trying to enjoy the last few days of what I think is our summer ! I have a feeling we are going to have an early fall.

Chow for now !

Two Small Words

I said two words to someone this week and can't tell you how good I felt after.

The "Coles Notes" version of the story is.... A few years back I was involved in a situation that was not pleasant and I wrongly jumped to the conclusion that a friend was involved in it all. I actually didn't know who was involved so made the decision to sever communication from a group of individuals.

At the time I didn't need the extra stress and stupidness of the situation as I was newly pregnant with Laila. While I know I made the right decision with most of the people because truthfully they weren't really friends in the first place I was wrong with the one individual.

It has taken almost two years to say these two words "I'm Sorry" to this person and honestly I didn't even know if it would even be accepted but I felt as if I had to at least make the attempt. I don't want to go back but just move forward (sort of what Kate Gosselin would say).

Why as adults do most of us find it so hard to apologize when we are wrong and instead prefer to just let it eat away at us.

Have a great Sunday !!

Lovely Bones Trailer

I had heard sometime ago that they were actually making the Alice Sebold book Lovely Bones into a move but hadn't heard much else. Well I happened upon trailer on You Tube the other day.

I think I need to go back and reread the book before December. Thoughts on the trailer?

It comes out December 11th, 2009 !!

Wordless Wednesday & Manners !!

Sadly, I haven't taken my camera out in almost a month so I have no new pictures for Wordless Wednesday but I'm going to make a real effort to start taking a few more pictures here and there.

I have been thinking about a something for the last few weeks and was wondering if it is just me or others are finding this as well. In a nutshell it has to do with kids and the way in which they talk to adults (primarily not their parents).

This is the first summer that Hayden has had quite a few friends in the neighborhood that will come by to see if he wants to go out and play. Out of the 5 kids that come by there is actually only 1 that I secretly really like - he is polite and knows to say please/thank you. The issue I have with the others is they sadly seem to be lacking in the manners (or maybe even just common sense department).

Two of them come to the door and will ring the bell until someone answer it.... so if we are upstairs or in the basement that could be 10 times before we get there - I have talked to them numerous times (even yelled once because I had just put Laila down for her nap) but they don't get it and just keep doing it.

The other two just seem to ignore Faruq and I if we tell them Hayden is not able to come outside to play and will continue to ask for him. They bombard us with question after question. In my day I was taught to respect my elders and if I was ever caught doing this man would I be in trouble if my parents ever found out.

We have always taught Hayden (and we will our other kids) to respect your friends parents while you are visiting their home. So far I haven't had any feedback to say he is acting otherwise (but certainly would want to know).

What has happened to the practice of manners and respecting others. Is it not being taught at home anymore? Possibly my standard it set to high for your average 6 year old but I don't suspect so.

Anyone else find this or is it just me ?

Great Weekend....

We had an awesome weekend just chillin' around the homestead. Faruq went to work for a few hours each day before we got up but it didn't impact family fun time....We had no real commitments which is just the way I like it.

Saturday was spent outside weeding the flower beds and painting the front porch with a few hours of just "playtime" tossed in for fun. We started the garage purge but didn't get it quite finished...I'm not sure about other people but that area of the house just seems to collect "stuff" which then needs to be cleaned up a few times a year.

Our regular sitter returned from holidays on Friday and she came by on Sunday to spent a few hours with the kids. They love her but secretly I think we love her more. Faruq and I wen to go to the grocery store alone for the first time since the beginning of summer....we were actually like giddy school girls and stopped by Starbucks for a cold drink before heading home. It was heaven !!!

Anyone watching Big Brother ? I can't wait until Thursday night and to see what Jeff does. Hopefully either Natalie or Jesse will be packing their bags and hittin' the road. Now that Casey is gone I'm kind of rooting for either Jeff or Russell. Thoughts ?

I sadly did not get to see Julie & Julia this past weekend but hubby and I are planning a little date night this coming weekend and that's my pick for the movie. Anyone see it ?

I just started reading The Time Travelers Wife and have to say it was a little tough in the beginning but I'm really enjoying it now. When I picked it up I didn't realize that it had been made into a movie that was coming out in a few weeks so I can't wait to go see that as well.

We have no scheduled activities for this week and Faruq is away Wednesday & Thursday so the less we need to do the better. We have our next U/S booked for August 18th and hopefully we will know if the little kicker is part of Team Pink or Team Blue.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer !!

Chow for now !

The last days of summer .....

We are just trying to enjoy the last few weeks before school starts. I think Hayden is a little bored at being home with Laila and I. So the change of pace and new routine will do him the world of good.

I went last week and did some of his school supplies shopping. Holy I have spent almost $100 and I'm not quite done yet. This is grade 1 and I have spent that much. They are very specific on what is required with the big ticket item being hard covered binders with zippers for the 7 subjects...hmmm I went to three different stores and honestly still don't think I found exactly what they are looking for but they will have to do. What happened to the good out Hilroy scribblers that we used many, many years ago. He used those in Kindergarten and I thought they were great.

Truth be told I was one of those kids at the beginning of each school year that loved all the new school supplies....I loved freshly sharpened new pencils, erasers that haven't been used, pencil crayons all lined up in the box and scribblers that hadn't been cracked open yet. Sadly, Hayden doesn't seem to share the same enthusiasm that I did about school supplies and honestly hasn't even really looked at all the new stuff.

The one thing that I'm really craving is early bedtimes for the kids as I'm finding I need to get to bed earlier myself. We have started to wind the kids back so that in a few weeks it won't totally be a shock when they need to be up at 7ish every morning. I'm not worried about Laila as she gets up pretty close to that time anyways but it should be interesting getting my first born up for that time. Luckily it will be his dad that will need to deal with him at least 3 out of the 5 mornings.

The school offers before/after school care for the kids so I think we have decided that 3 mornings a week Hayden will drive down with Faruq as his office is only about 5 minutes from the school and that I will pick him up on those days. The others days I will drop him at the school in the morning but he will stay afterwards and Faruq will collect him on his way home.

We should be fine up until Christmas but come the new year with a new baby the schedule should prove to be interesting but like when we had Laila it was easier to just take things one day at a time. For me really it's just my recovery time that I'm more concerned with at the c-section. I will be out of commission for at least 3 weeks so it could be tricky but I think Faruq plans to take some time off during those weeks and we are also looking into a part-time nanny for a few months.

Anyway...enjoy the remaining few weeks of summer with your kids because soon enough it will be over !

Chow for now !

So true in my house right now....

This is an older version of the commerical presently running for Staples but it means more to me this year then any other year.

Enjoy !!!