Cream of Anything Soup

I found this mini-recipe (substitution) today while doing my meal planning...I'm so excited about it that I have to share this treasure! I have plenty of recipes that call for "cream of mushroom" soup and/or "cream of chicken" soup. Well as much as I love those recipes and the lovely thickened, saltiness those soups bring, have you ever stopped to read the ingredients in those soups?? Very frightening!! Unfortunately you can't just omit them because then the recipe is majorly lacking something. But fear not, there is a solution! Happy Day! I plan to try this soon!

Condensed “Cream of Anything” Soup

1 cup cold milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper

In a small saucepan, whisk milk and cornstarch till well blended.
Stir in butter, bouillon, salt, and pepper.
Heat to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer on low for one minute more to thicken.
Use in recipes to replace one can of cream of anything soup.

Stir in a drained 4 ounce can of mushroom pieces to the recipe above.

Stir in 1/2 cup cooked chicken pieces to the recipe above.


Reflecting on this time last year...

For the 10 days I was past my due date (but really anytime after 39 weeks) I was THE crankiest person on the block. maybe in all of Greensboro! 40-41.5 weeks pregnant was uncomfortable in every way possible. I wasn't sleeping (believe or not, life-with-a-newborn-sleep was way better than end-of-pregnancy sleep), Eric was accusing me of "hogging" her to myself (hilarious in retrospect...but my sweet husband was just so ready to become a Dad!), heartburn, back pain, having 40 extra lbs on my frame, I was practically watching the minutes tick by on the clock. Quite a few people told me, 'don't worry, you can't stay pregnant forever!' but it really felt as though I might. More than anything, I was just so ready to meet my precious daughter and hold Sophia in my arms at last... I remember being so full of the fear that I'd come so close to having a child only to still experience loss in the end. I remember sharing these prayer requests with a friend on my due date (10 prior to birth): for patience on the Lord in His timing, for strength to handle delivery/labor, and for peace that the Lord has not brought us thus far to abandon us now. Oh how faithfully He answered each of those requests!
Well, one year later, I am so thankful. That I indeed did not stay pregnant forever! all those well-intentioned (but driving me crazy) people were right! thankful that I have gotten to hold, kiss, dance with, snuggle, zerbert, and a million other joyful things with Sophia every single day this year. thankful that Sophia is so much wonderful than I could have even dreamed her to be. thankful that I have a loving husband, who also happens to be an AWESOME Daddy for my little girl.
one year ago I was the crankiest person you could come across. today, I am perhaps the happiest. it's been a good year. the countdown to Sophia's birthday is....T-6 days! I'm very nostalgic these days so more reflections are bound to come. :)


New Wagon!

Mimi & Pops gave Sophia her own Radio-Flyer wagon for Christmas and she LOVES it!!! Eric had fun putting it together and wheeling her around the house. We know many good memories are to come in this wagon and we are so thankful to have it! Thanks Mimi & Pops!


Smoothie/Mash Ups

Sophia has been into these smoothie/mash up/squeezable fruit/veggie things lately. They go on sale sometimes so I buy them for when we are out and about (so much easier than taking messy Tupperware with homemade food in it). When she was first eating solids, it would take her 2-3 attempts to finish the whole thing. Now, she sucks it all down in one breath practically and then looks at me like, 'where is the rest?' It is fun that she can do it on her own now. Also, she is very interested in the lid and tries to screw it on and off herself (she did get it off successfully once alone!)

This morning I made my own smoothie for her...fresh organic spinach with beets and frozen banana. I used prune juice to combine it all (gotta keep my girl regular!) :) She seemed to really enjoy it! the beets make the smoothie a gorgeously beautiful color but super stain-able so Mama put her bib on nice and tight. :) Now she can eat to her heart's content since I made a whole blender's worth!

Look who is pulling up!!

Sophia pulled up to her feet this morning! She has been pulling up to her knees for a while, but has finally mastered how to get to a standing position on her own! She was helping Mama pull things out of the dryer and something was in the back that she couldn't reach from her knees, so she popped up to her feet! Then it looked like she wanted to climb right in... maybe another day!

She continues to be our cautious girl, only going for it if she is really confident she can do it. Eric and I tend to both be a bit cautious, so it is interesting to see either her personality matches ours or her environment encourages caution despite me trying not to put her in a box based on my own tendencies. I have to admit though, caution is not something I am disappointed with if it translates into wise, well-calculated decisions as she matures! We can only hope & pray!

Look at this cute little HINEY! I can hardly stand it! so squeezable!


Surprise Date!

Eric surprised me with a fun date this past Sunday night. He had Monday off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and it was before the molar-teething-madness started. Being the sweet romantic that he is, he printed off my first email to him TEN YEARS ago when our long-distance courtship all began. :) We went out to a new favorite restaurant of ours (Lindley Park Filling Station). We only discovered it a month ago, although I've been hearing good things about it for years, I don't know why it took us so long to try it. We had a coupon which made the night even better. Eric hadn't told me what we were doing that evening (only that it was a surprise) until he presented me with flowers and the babysitter arrived! He even had an appetizer for me in the car on the way there - Doritos. :)
It was a fun night!

Ellie, our babysitter, took the picture. Rare for us to get a picture of ourselves these days!


That's right, people, we have first words! Big excitement in this house! She has been saying both for a week or two, but Eric and I have looked at each other, wondering, is she saying what we think she is saying?? is that coincidence? but on Monday she said one word and then yesterday another, both CLEAR AS A BELL.

drumroll.....and her first word is.....KITTY!! mama is so proud! Also it cracks me up that neither mama or dada were first! Eric and I have been jokingly arguing about that since she was born. We were both wrong! hah.
When she says kitty, it sounds more like, 'kke-kke' like two 'k' sounds together. she points and hold her hand out when the cat is in sight, lights up with a smile, 'kke-ke!' that's right honey, kitty!
Another cute story of her saying it this week. We took friends who just had a baby, Matt & Erin, dinner on Monday. It was fun to see sweet little Holden, he slept the whole time we were there. While Matt was holding him, we brought Sophia over to him and said, 'look, Sophia!' she got quiet, gasped in wonder at the little bundle, and reached out to touch him, 'kke-ke!!' We were like, no sweetie that is a BABY not a kitty. both are cuddly and soft though so I understand her mix-up. :)

her second word is....ALL DONE! of which she also uses the sign (actually she still signs 'all done' more than she says it, but its starting to be both!) It is actually very handy to know when she is all done! Communication is exciting!

Also, though it isn't technically a "word", she can also roar like a lion when prompted (especially if you roar first). Sophia, what does a lion say? "ROOAAARR" :)

Signs she continues to use:
-more (claps her hands together as variation)
-all done
-kiss (this is the sweetest one!!!)
-please (used it a few times, still working on using it more)
-eat (hit and miss)

and then she is good at pointing or reaching an out-stretched hand towards what she wants

Going for her favorite kitty! He is safe up there for now...she hasn't figured out how to climb yet :)


Cutting Molars

So this week Sophia has been cutting some new teeth (four to be exact from what I can tell)! Since she has 6 so far, we are talking about almost doubling her quantity of teeth! I can see the gums bulging on the top two teeth on either side of the four she already has, and on the bottom side molars. Those look like they will be big teeth! Needless to say, the nights have been unusually rough the past few days. Last night I think I was up with her 4-5x to comfort and nurse her. Unbelievably, this was a tremendous improvement from the prior night, which she refused to sleep at all unless in Mama's/Daddy's arms (so we co-slept for part of the night). In the dark of night, as she is laying passed out in my arms, I kiss her soft cheeks and listen to her breathing. Even as my eyes burn and head pounds from interrupted sleep, I am reminded what a gift it is to be my daughter's safe place and source of comfort. These days are short and I don't want to miss the opportunity to soothe and comfort her when she's hurting. Along with Mama & Daddy's cuddles, infant advil has been our friend... :) so glad it relieves the soreness and pain for her enabling us all to get some good rest.


Sophia - crawling!


or click HERE to watch!

PS please excuse her trashed room - she was having fun pulling toys off the bookshelf!


11 months!!!

This is my last monthly post before the big "1" yr birthday! Craziness! My baby will no longer be a 'baby' this time next month!!!! Sophia, you are growing up toooo fast!

*BIG news this month* on Christmas Day, Sophia Grace started crawling!!! She had been scooting herself backwards for a while, but this was full-fledged, rocking on all fours, crawling full-steam ahead! It is so fun to watch her see something across the room and then just go for it! It was really neat to have both sets of Grand-parents get to witness this milestone with us. She seems so much happier now that she can MOVE!

*She still loves imitating sounds back and forth, blowing bubbles, sticking her tongue out & blowing, clicking her tongue, and she has started giggling at body noises (oh gosh! it begins!) like blowing your nose, sneezing, burping, farting, the works. Eric's child 100%. :)

*While in Germany (shortly after arriving), we got thrush. AGAIN. thankfully meds cleared it up after about 2 weeks. definitely seems to be linked to travel/stress somehow since we get it each time I fly with her

*Still responds to her favorite song: Chris Brown- 'Forever'. She has even miraculously figured out how to turn it on my phone (by herself!!) and lights up when she hears it begin! She also starts 'dancing' when music comes on...she moves her torso back and

*Nursing 4 times during the day and while in Germany 2x at night. Now that we are home we are experimenting with her overnight diaper since she really gets soaked by being in the same one for 12 hrs. The past 3 nights I have tried a disposable w plenty of zinc oxide cream on her and she has sttn! I'm going to try an extra liner in her cd to see if that keeps her dry enough

*The month in Germany she napped 3x a day, one long morning nap (2 hrs) and two short afternoon naps (1 hr each) but her bedtime wasn't usually until 8:30-9:30 pm while we were there. Now that we're home, she is back to her normal 7p-7a with two naps (usually around 8:30 am and 1 pm)

*she has become quite a ham since all the attention in Germany! She will do something adorable then look around like, 'is anybody watching to see how cute I am?' makes us laugh (which of course is the reaction she was hoping for) :)

*loves playing peek-a-boo and will initiate with her lovey, daisy! her eyes get so wide while she is 'hiding' and sometimes she keeps one of the only partially covered like she wants to keep an eye on what is going on even though she is hiding. Then when she reveals herself, we yell "BOO" and she jumps then starts belly-laughing! such a fun game

*Eric taught her to give high-fives! and this week she learned that when we ask, 'how big is Sophia?' she puts her hands way up in the air - 'SO big!'

*when she is concentrating, she opens her mouth and forms her lips into an oval "O". She does this when she is really excited too, like playing w an i-phone or other electronic device

*Nicknames: peanut, sweet pea, love bug, 'bug', Soph, Sophers, and poo-nut (that one is all Eric)

We are so thankful for how you are growing and developing, Sophia! Our hearts overflow with love for you!

This month's pictures accurately display that life doesn't stop these days....constantly on the move! ;) no time for pictures, Mom! time to explore!