Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! Don't shoot your eye out!

The chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles Dominic assured me that Jesus wanted for His birthday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recipe: Cheesy Chicken + Wild Rice Casserole

I finally made one of the recipes from my overflowing Culinary Schemes board on Pinterest.  I have been making an effort to actually "use," in some way, the many, many Pins I attach each week.  This recipe from Picky Palate, turned out quite tasty, so here it is for you to try along with some notes about changes I made.  I think it's super easy + pretty kid friendly.  Dominic didn't even notice the onions, which is usually one of the first things he pulls out of his food no matter how tiny I dice/chop them.  I also served half of it for dinner, while freezing the other half for post-baby, so we'll see how it fares as a freezer meal.

3 TB olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 TB fresh minced garlic
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
2 cups steamed white rice
2 cups prepared wild rice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

Cheese Sauce
4 TB butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat oil in medium dutch oven/pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery, and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in garlic, and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in chicken, rices, salt, pepper, and other spices.  Reduce heat to low.

2. To prepare cheese sauce, melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Whisk in flour, salt, and pepper; then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously.  Whisk until thick and nearly boiling then stir in cheese until melted.  Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture, and then transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.  Serve.

Makes 8-10 servings. 

Notes: I omitted the celery, suggest adding broccoli (already cooked), and also thyme, savory, parsley, celery salt, and a dash of rosemary.  It turned out great though, and all who ate it, enjoyed it.

Recipe: Chocolate Crackled Cookies

I made these yesterday with the little man, and they turned out great.  Dom was not a fan of getting his hands dirty twice before the cookies made it onto the pan, so after each dough ball went in a bowl of sugar, he wiped his hands on his shirt.  Needless to say, he was covered in powdered sugar by the end.

They're definitely best straight from the oven - crisp outside, with a gooey, chocolatey inside.  Just make sure you plan the three hours they need to be in the fridge into your prep time!


  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 stick Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening  (I used unsalted butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups PAll Purpose Flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar


  1. Beat brown sugar, shortening and vanilla in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs; beat well.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Add to shortening mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and chill 3 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar, then in powdered sugar to coat completely. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen

Also posted at my cooking blog: Comestibilis

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And he shall be named...

David + I were discussing name possibilities at dinner to add to our list for Baby O II (No, we don't have any definites, no, he won't be named until after birth).  We asked Dominic his opinion for names.  After rebutting his suggestion for "mama," he put forth "Pizza" as the perfect name.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baby OII::34 weeks!

Jeepers.  Time is flying at this point!  Tomorrow marks 34 weeks, but as we'll be driving for Thanksgiving, I figure most likely I won't be posting anything.
32 weeks had us at a large jicama... your guess is as good as mine.
33 weeks put the little man a little over 4 lbs!  Think... pineapple!  He's also passed the 17 inch mark, so we definitely are getting closer.

I am hitting the exhausted point for sure, mostly because I can't get comfortable at night to actually fall asleep.  Dominic keeps me on my toes the rest of the time.  His 2nd birthday is sneaking up on us - I can't believe how much has happened in the past two years.  Two Thanksgivings ago, we were anxiously awaiting his arrival!

Last Saturday, two friends of mine threw me a most awesome shower.  The theme was Eric Carle's 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' and the decor was superb.  I will have to post photos as soon as I can "borrow" some from someone who did remember their camera.  It was great fun to have a day with friends and to be blessed with many great gifts in prep for Baby O II.

A word of advice... be careful what you say around Dom.  He loves picking up on catchy phrases that come out of anybody's mouth.  Not only does he repeat it incessantly, but he makes sure he tacks on "'So-and-so' says" in front of it.  So at this point all words coming out of anyone's mouth are in danger.

On that note, I will wrap up as I need to go finish packing (my stuff is at least easy since I have about 5 outfits that fit me well at this point).  Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy your time off with whomever you are lucky enough to spend it with!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A yummy (easy) dinner.

Sausage + Lentil Stew (Slow Cooker style)

serves 4-6

1 cup lentils 
2 cups beef broth
1 (12-ounce) package smoked chicken or turkey sausage, sliced--your choice of flavor. 
1 cup chopped carrots
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
9 ounces (or so) fresh spinach (to add at the very end)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Rinse your lentils under cold water, and place them into an empty slow cooker. Add beef broth, and sliced sausage. Add the entire can of tomatoes and a cup of chopped carrots. The broth and the seasoning from the sausage is enough to flavor this dish-- there is no need for additional spices.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, then stir in fresh spinach. It'll look like a lot at first, but the spinach will wilt and I promise it will all fit. Cover again and let the spinach soften for about 15 minutes. Serve in a shallow bowl with cornbread.

Also posted at Comestibilis - a recipe blog I post to with friends

Monday, November 7, 2011

Checking in.

November is already here!  Less than 2 months til Baby OII's duedate.  It truly goes a lot faster when you have a 23 month old to keep you on your toes.

Our little one is checking in at 4 navel oranges...  (and has passed butternut squash - week 29, and head of cabbage - week 30).  He's already over 16 inches and somewheres around 3.3 pounds.  I've still been feeling pretty good - no swelling and fatigue only due to extreme back, shoulder, and neck aches.  No worries though - massage has been scheduled.  Dominic is slowly losing "his" spot - mostly this is changing the fact that he doesn't get carried as much.

In other news, Big Bro has loved talking to my belly button as he tells Baby Brother stories about triceratopses (?) and excavators.  His song of choice at present is "Whiskey in the Jar" - we can thank Uncle Thanny for this one.  He has, however, made it sweet (to me, at least) by changing "Whack for the Daddy-O" to "Whack for the Mama-O."  This song choice doesn't surprise me at all since at 2 weeks old this was one of the songs sung by David to calm him down.

Dom has learned his middle name, but sometimes he tells me that his name is "Dominic the Snugglebear."  His sentence structure is getting fantastic, but when he asks for something he wants, he always says: "May I please be...?"  This is due to the fact that he's been requesting to be excused from the table with these words for months.  It still is always a little funny when he asks to be salt + pepper or a cookie.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Here are a couple of the promised photos of Dom's 1st hockey game.  
As you can see, he truly got into the game.

Here's the most recent "shoot" I did.  To see more from this set, check out:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

1st Tigers Game

So, we took our little man to his very first RIT Tigers hockey game tonight thanks to friends who had 3 tickets they were giving away.

The highlights from Dom's point of view:

- the zamboni machine
- the playing of "We Will Rock You," which thanks to his Aunt Rachael and Uncle Josiah, he could sing and clap along to
- requesting "Baa Baa Black Sheep" from the Pep Band - they didn't acquiesce
- receiving a high five from the Tiger (otherwise known as Ritchie)
- getting to brag about above high five
- seeing Superman on ice... not really sure about this one
- learning to chant "RIT, RIT, RIT!" and "Yay Tigers" with all the other crazed fans
- when asked what color shirt he had on (it was orange and brown, of course), replying with "Tiger!"
- the cherry picker right near where we parked

Pictures to follow.

Friday, October 14, 2011


My boy is dancing around the room with a spatula to random 90s dance beats.  He's pretty epic.

I'm sitting here trying to recall the fantastic lists of Dom quotes I came up with around 2am during a bout of unsleep.  This one is sorely lacking - apparently my brain works better at ungodly hours.

"Oh no!..."  More of a pre- phrase.  I've heard this applied to everything from "Oh no, Macy ate it!" to "Oh no, Mama's car is wet!" to "Oh no, I broke it!"

"What's the deal, Mama/Daddy?"  It continues and always makes me smile.

"Nice to meet you."

"Sleep like a champ, Mama"  - I have told him this every night for months, and he has recently picked up on it and returns the phrase.

In other news, my pregnancy tumor has been removed and now I have an uber sore mouth.  I've decided when I hit 26-28 weeks, I apparently am prone to the most ridiculous case of the sniffles.  Baby OII checks in as a Chinese cabbage this week despite his lack of Asian genes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Mama braved the first ever making of Christmas sugar cookies with the mini man.
He helped at every step... dough-making, rolling, cutting out, transferring to sheets, sprinkling, and of course, eating.  We got some interesting shaped angels and stars out of the ordeal.  Stars were his favorite because he thought they were starfish.  Dominic ended up green by the end of it all because when I looked away for a second, one whole pan became green with colored sugar...

And, yes, I realize Christmas is far, far away.  I know exactly how big and how tired I will be in December, so I'm attempting to be organized and ahead of schedule.  =)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Eating in Season.

I am not a huge fan of squash, but I am all for eating in season, so I have been experimenting with squashes and mixing with other veggies.  I found one I like tonight!

Butternut Cauliflower Puree

1 butternut squash
1 TB butter
1 head cauliflower
1 - 1.5 cups milk
Dash black pepper
Nutmeg to taste
1 ts vanilla
Dash cinnamon

Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds.  Place in oven safe dish, "meat" side up.  Put butter in each hole made from seed removal.  Roast squash in 375 degree oven for 45 min - 1 hour, until tender when poked with a fork.
Let squash cool. 

Steam cauliflower for 20 minutes.  Let cool.

Puree squash + cauliflower in batches with milk and vanilla.  Only use 1/4 cup of milk or so each batch. Put pureed mixture into large saucepan and whisk in spices and any remaining milk.  Add water or milk if thicker than you want. 

Heat mixture over low heat, and serve.

Also, posted at: Comestibilis

Clean, not wet.

*Whoops!  Mama brain has set in full force - I accidentally posted this over at Ji Babu, my art + craft blog first.

A cup Dom wanted to use requires the use of a straw if you want to use the lid.  As I got rid of the straw awhile back, this voids usage of the lid.  After him begging to use the cup anyway, I told him he could have water if he sat on the floor, and the cup got less than an inch of H2O in the bottom. 

He got mostly through his first serving before I heard him say "Uh-oh."

Then he attempted to show off his Spanish...
"Water on pantaronis." 

Me: "Dom, you made a mess."
Dom "See, clean!"

Well, I have succeeded at teaching him that water doesn't hurt anything...  though I don't think Mama is ready for open-topped cups anytime soon.

In other news, Baby OII checks in at a cauliflower this week, weighing in around 2 lbs!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Approaching Week 27

Since my last post, we've gone from
an ear of corn
to a Rutabaga
to an English hothouse cucumber...

The present veggie is my favourite, mostly because it's ridiculously over descriptive... I didn't even know there was such a thing until last week.
The little guy is growing nice and lean.  It's crazy how fast pregnancy #2 has gone compared to the first one.  The O house has been pretty busy since the last post: Dom contracted a lovely cold, which meant lots of cuddling and reading.  We celebrated the Baby L, yet to come at a fun outdoor baby shower, where I learned that my son is way more happy with just the graham cracker part of the S'more.  He handed me back the whole thing after one bite, with a "Thank you, mama."  He has this thing with thanking me whenever he gives me something... it's pretty cute.

Mama brag moment:
(I have decided that all moms are entitled to brag about their child at some moments... after devoting this much time and energy into one little person, sometimes it just needs to happen.)
Dominic owns this ABC puzzle where each letter covers up a picture of something beginning with that letter, so when you lift up the letter there's an A for Apple, a U for Umbrella, H for Hands, etc.  At this point, after playing with the puzzle for a month or two, Dom has learned most of the alphabet... though he only knows each letter for what the object is underneath.

The parental units of this household are managing to keep up.  David is piled high with research work at this point, so usually several nights a week, we don't really see him,  Weekends he's gone a good 4+ hours each day.  With this happening, I decided to take the mini ones down to see my family for this past weekend.  It was a terrific break for me, as Dom's aunts and uncles were more than happy to entertain and care for him.
I have hit the tired portion of pregnancy again.  Ugh.  Right now I think this mostly can be attributed to a nasty cold that I have... napping is out as Dom thinks playing cars and reading "Pirate Piggies" is way better for my well being.  I've also developed what's known as a pregnancy tumor in my mouth... terribly gross looking, but completely harmless.  I'm set to see an oral surgeon about it being removed next week.  I was glad to find out it isn't hurting me or Baby OII, but I'm definitely over the uncomfortability of it.

And, that's where we're at.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Oh my geeseness!"

As said by my older dude this morning.  He dropped pencils on the floor, exclaiming "Oh my geeseness!"

Yesterday I asked him:
"Who like... apple slices?", as I put a pile of them on his tray.
All hesitation aside, he called out: "Jesus!"
I had to agree that he probably does.

Little O2 is measuring in at Week 24 (as of last Thursday) as an ear of corn...  I do not understand this one. He weighs a little over a pound and is pretty long, measuring nearly a foot!  He enjoys late nights and early mornings... ugh, a little preview to how much sleep I'll be getting come January.  Oh wait, who am I kidding - I'm already waking every 1-2 hours and ending up wide awake.  I've been having to fight to sleep in past 6:30... I feel like my parents, knowing my middle/high school habits, might chuckle at this.

This past week was insane, and I am greeting the dreary weather now with a to do list a mile long.  Last Thursday I shopped the pre-sale at Weepeats (the world's best consignment event - see post from 2 years back:  I have graduated from the mere attending of this event to now, consigning my own stuff and volunteering for a shift or two.  The perks to doing those are: getting in Thursday, so no Friday lines, and you are pretty much guaranteed to find what you want without having to fight anyone for it.  It's so worth it.  Check-out ends up being 10 minutes instead of nearly 2 hours.

I managed to make out with all Dom's fall/winter wardrobe, a $5 pair of Sorrel snowboots, bday/Christmas/big brother gifts, and several over the top cute things for the new little man.

Saturday I worked the sale for 8 hours, which meant all day on my feet.  Then, Sunday was Artist Row at the Public Market, at which I had a booth... meaning another 6-7 hours on my feet.  Needless to say, yesterday was a recuperation day.  And, also, that'd be my excuse for my not updating in over a week.

For those of you who've asked for one, a pregnant photo of me doesn't exist as of right now...  maybe at some point.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Baby O II is a mango this week... in my mind a mango is not all that large, but I guess a good sized one could weigh in around a pound plus a little.  He's a little squirmer in the nighttime, but is still mellow in his movements.  I haven't been getting all that much sleep... well, I sleep - just not for more than 1.5 - 2 hours at a time.  I also have had an early onset of heartburn.  Ugh.  Dom caused quite a bit of heartburn, too.  I have discovered this time around that the perfect heartburn combatting food is melons with Greek yoghurt. Delicious and creamy enough to squelch any burning.

Friends of ours just had a tiny, little girl yesterday.  I've seen pictures, but I cannot wait to meet her and hold her.  My newborn itch has definitely set in.

As has my nesting need.  Our house has been getting TONS of attention this week.  There seem to be a million things coming to mind that can be done to make the house more organized and ready for baby (and hopefully, not too far after, moving).  I can't complain - the energy is there, Dom has been a trooper about playing solo, and tons is happening.  We'll just see how long this lasts...

Monday, September 5, 2011

A photo shoot.

Took my little man out for a shoot at a nearby park this past week.  He is not one to sit still long, so I mostly just worked with him, and shot whatever he wanted to do...

To see more from the shoot, check out my Photography blog or my FB page.

Teeny Bum.

Cannot wait to have the little bum to fill this teensy diaper.  I picked up a couple extra smalls to add to our collection this past Saturday.  We didn't cloth diaper Dom for the first 6 weeks, but since we're already doing the laundry loads for it, it seemed logical to start this little one right off in CDs.  This 
GroVia will also be our first AIO (All in One); previously, we've only used pockets.

Baby is clocking in at a Spaghetti Squash point this week - last Thursday marked 22 weeks.  He weighs nearly a pound at this point!  Yesterday at church, Dominic insisted that I hold him through the service - about halfway through praise songs, I felt a good solid kick on the inside right where Dom was sitting on the outside... brotherly competition has begun.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Arm-gorillas and Carrots

So, cute story on Dom, and then update on Baby O II.

Dominic is trying as hard as he can right now to learn many, many new words.  The majority of the time he succeeds.  However, he is struggling with correctly pronouncing words ending in illo/ella and any combo thereof.  He has been able to say 'gorilla' well for at least 5-6 months, so when I sound out words such as 'umbrella' and 'armadillo,' he says...

'um-gorilla' and 'arm-gorilla'

It's pretty frickin' adorable.

Baby O II is growing along just lovely.  Midwife appt. #3 was this week, and we met a 2nd midwife from the practice I am using this go round.  Heartbeat on this one is just as strong and fast as his older brother.  This little guy continues to be a mellow mover - he moves, but his pokes aren't as "jab-by" as Dom's were.  We have another night owl at the moment... hopefully this changes at some point, so I can sleep with the rest of the world.

It's really exciting knowing the little one inside is a boy - it has been fun telling D. all about his little brother, and every night D. tells my belly "Good night, little brother.  I love you, little brother" and gives him a "kiss" (unless you have reached a certain stage in Dom's affection, you are offered a cheek for you to bestow a kiss upon- the baby still gets a cheek).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Win 10 Cloth Diapers!

EcoBabyBuys has almost reached 9000 fans over on their Facebook Page.  When they do so, they will be giving away 10 cloth diapers!  Companies they are giving away diapers from include Fuzzibunz (one of our favourites), Rumparooz, and more.  For details about how to enter, check out their blog:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mini little joys.

One of my favourite things about little people is listening to them learn to speak.  A few very short jots in these adventures...

Yesterday I told my little man goodbye by saying, "Goodbye Sweet Baby."  He replied, mimicking me exactly.  It was pretty adorable.

I've always said "snackerdoodles" when referring to snacks with D.  He, for the past 4 or 5 months, has called them "snacker-babas."  Today in church he asked for a "snacker-baba" at least 8 times in a row.  Finally, he looks at me, cocks his head to the side and says "snackerdoodle?"

So, we have this children's book 'Moo, Baa, LaLaLa' - a fabulous book by Sandra Boynton, our favourite board book writer.  David and I have been singing the title to the opening tune of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance.  Today Dominic took the most opportune moment to sing it, quite loudly, during the sermon.  Thankfully, we were in the back and I don't think anyone heard enough to make the connection.

On a non-talking note, I'm very proud to say my son can already clap out the beat to "We Will Rock You."  This can mostly be attributed to his Aunt Rachael and Uncle Josiah.

Friday, August 19, 2011

these days...

... are the longest of all.  Dom awoke this morning crying in pain.  Although he speaks very well for his age and has a good 150-200 words in his vocab, he could not help me find the source of pain this morning.  Ugh.  I feel horrible since I cannot "fix" whatever is wrong, and I'm sure he's just as frustrated with me not being able to.  All in all, it makes for a long day, and at 2pm, now that the little man is down for a nap, mama is feeling ready for one, too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby Ortiz II. Week 20.

The blog has to be dug from beneath fluffy piles of dust.  Baby II is already halfway through cooking.  It goes much faster, I think, the 2nd time around.  I have also promised photos of the ultrasound to several people.  We got to see the little man 8 days ago, and unlike his older brother, this little guy is not nearly as wiggly and active, but he is proving to be just as stubborn.  The ultrasound technician tried for over 20 minutes, having me roll this way and that, to get the correct spine photo.  So, here is peek #1 at him (yes, we decided to find out this time...)

I think the boys' profiles are similar - here's what Dominic's looked like at this stage.

I am going to attempt a weekly-ish update on our lives on here... we'll see how that goes.  Feel free to follow along if you're interested.

Here are a couple recent photos of my older little man (now 20.5 months old):

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Day Off.

Yesterday, I took the WHOLE Saturday off.  I am pretty sure this has not happened since maybe early January.  Off of housework.  Off of Etsy business stuff.  Off of pretty much everything.  It was marvelous.

The day began early as my small person (now aged 17 months!) has decided he does in fact, want to take after his father and get up at the butt crack of dawn.  Pretty much every day this week has begun by 6:30 at the latest - thankfully my lovely husband knows how much of a morning person I am not and has been non-grudgingly taking the first shift. 

With the early start in the day, we were packed up and ready to go by 9ish.  The plan was the head to Buffalo, NY to check out the Museum of Science as I'd scored 4 free tickets in a giveaway.  The museum lacked the draw to hold us there much more than 2 hours though it might have been the loud grumblings in our stomachs that made us decide it was foodtime.  I don't know Buffalo all that well, so I'd done a quick Google search early in the morning to check out restaurant reviews and come up with a list of at least a dozen that looked promising. 

We ended up at a tiny little place on Elmwood Ave that was more than promising.  It was devine.  So, if you are ever in Buffalo. and you're hungry, I highly recommend Europa Bistro.  We tried all kinds of stuff, and between the 4 of us (my brother had come along, and yes, we ordered Dom his own stuff, mostly so we could try it...), managed to try several amazing dishes.  I'm not a restaurant reviewer writer by any means, but it was so good, I might travel to Buffalo just to eat there again.

The day was not yet over.  No more plans had really been made, but we had a map, and we knew Buffalo had a zoo, and we also knew we got a discount.  All those reasons made for a pretty compelling urge to go search out the Buffalo Zoo.  Also, very worth it.  We all had a blast - I almost wanted to sneak a spider monkey out.  Man, they were cute.  Dom was thrilled with finally seeing a gorilla in person - although one of his first words, his experience to gorillas had been limited to the book "Goodnight Gorilla."

I decided to count yesterday as my real Mother's Day - today was fantastic as well, but I did clean the toilet, so I'll go with the adventures of Buffalo with the win for the weekend.  For now, it's off to bed.

Also posted over at
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