Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Recap

Another weekend, another trip to the zoo and and a Sunday full of football.  

We were joined by Carolyn and Sophie again for some early morning animal adventures on Saturday. Our usually chipper kids decided that good behavior is overrated, and they were all fussy little monkeys for 3 hours. 

Before the day completely went to shit, we did have a few good moments.  The kids all got to pet a snake, and I got caught this adorable moment between Sophie and Brooke. They had been holding hands just before this.  These girls are so sweet together!

By the time we got home the kids were overtired, cranky and didn't want to nap. They finally went down, but didn't sleep long enough because they both woke up in bad moods. We had errands to run and needed both strollers, Carter's and the grogery require different strollers for easy maneuvering. When we got back to the van at the grocery, this note was on the windshield. 

Thank you to whoever the considerate person was who adjusted the stroller and closed the door. I hit the button to close the lift gate and walked away without a second thought. This gave me a smile at the end of a long day. It's nice to be reminded that there are good, considerate, trustworthy people out there.  

Sunday was just spent around the house eating chili and watching football. We were all in much better moods today, and even though our team lost, it was still a great day. Mostly because of the browned butter, sea salt and Nutella chocolate chip cookies we went to town on, and because Daddy was home. 

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend.  Ours went by too quick as always.  

An update to Friday's blog post: Harrison does not have ringworm and mommy is always right.  All of Harrison's ring like marks and now gone and bruises remain in their place. Yes, our sweet little Brookie Wookie has a biting problem. I hope these teeth come through soon so she'll stop assaulting her brother when we aren't looking. Canine teeth suck!

Friday, September 27, 2013

When Mommy Isn't Always Right

I'm always right.  Ok, I'm right 99% of the time.  Well, 75% might be more accurate, at least when it comes to the kids.  The majority of the time moms are right when it come to things pertaining to their children, but not always.  I was reminded of this yesterday by my husband, two kids and an infection.  

If you follow me on Instagram (justjm03), you saw the lovely picture of Harrison's bite mark on his cheek.  He woke up from his nap with the mark on his cheek and I assumed his sister bit him while they were hugging across their cribs.  Brooke has a history of biting Harry when she gets upset with him, so this seemed like the logical explanation of what happened.  

Robbie said he thought it looked like ringworm, but I insisted it was a bite.  H had no other marks on him and the red circle looked exactly like every other bit mark B had ever given H.  

I'm sure by know you can see where this is going.  By bathtime H had more red circles on his skin and I spent their bath consulting Dr. Google on how to treat ringworm and how he may have got it. Then I had to tell Robbie he was right and apologize to Brooke for unjustly accusing her of committing a twin crime.    

It turns out, mom isn't always right.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Girl Play vs Boy Play

Girls and boys play differently. Everyone knows this, but watching H and B play really highlights how different. Their new favorite toy is three ducks on a string that my mom picked up for them while we were out garage saling this weekend.  

First up is Brooke

And now Harrison

It cracks me up how different they are. Today was a rough day, they're both fighting colds, but watching these videos makes it all fade away.  I love these two!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Fall Apple Dishes

One of my favorite things about fall is going apple picking.  We've already been once, and I know we'll be going again soon. We bought a half bushel of apples and even though we've been eating them every day, we still have a lot left.  I could make a batch of apple crisp big enough to feed a small town, or I could try out some kid friendly apple recipes. 

Yesterday the kids and I spent most of our day in the kitchen testing some recipes.  We made applesauce, apple chips, sautéed apples, inside out caramel apples and apples dipped in pancake batter.  We were appled out by the end of the day and the kitchen looked like a tornado came through.  

First up is applesauce. I broke out my Baby Breeza yesterday morning with the intention of making mass quantities of applesauce. I however forgot to clean the steam tank before storing it, so there were mineral deposits in the tank. While cleaning it I then proceeded to get water on the motor.  Oops.  Of course it's 3 days past warranty. Thankfully taking it apart and using the blow dryer on it got it back to working order.  

I love my Baby Breeza and can't speak highly enough of it if you plan to make your own baby food.  It steams and blends the fruits and veggies in one easy step. You cut up the food, put it in the canister, push a button and walk away.  So easy!

While the Baby Breeza was fighting for its life, I rinsed the steamed apples and got to making applesauce on the stove.  It turned out really well and the kids went to town on it. 

Applesauce with Cinnamon and Honey


4 medium sized apples
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey 

1. Peel, core and cut up apples. 

2. Add apples and water to a sauce pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until apples have softened, approximately 20 minutes.  

3. Transfer apples to a food processor and purée to desired consistency. 

4. Return apple purée to sauce pan and mix in honey and cinnamon.  

Notes: If you are making this for a child under one year old, omit the honey. Children under one year of age should not consume honey. We like our applesauce with a lot of cinnamon, as you can see in the picture. 1/2 teaspoon is probably enough for most palates.  If you are making this in the Baby Breeza, steam and blend apples as you normally would. Add in cinnamon and honey after the apples have been blended and give it a few quick pulses to incorporate the honey and cinnamon.

One of the items on my fall bucket list is to eat a caramel apple. My braces prevent me from eating caramel apples, or real caramel, so I picked up some caramel apple dip at the store.  I cored out the inside of my apple and filled it with caramel dip.  I put it in the freezer to let it set up.  I wound up with a frozen apple and still runny caramel dip.  If you're going to make inside out caramel apples, use real caramel not Marzetti's dip.  It was delicious but messy.  

Inside Out Caramel Apples

To do it properly, cut your apple in half and core out the middle.  Melt caramels in a double boiler or make caramel from scratch.  Pour caramel into cored apples and let sit up in fridge.  Slice halves in quarters and enjoy.  

The kids ended their day with sauteed apples for dessert. This was their favorite apple dish of the day.

Pan Sautéed Apples 


1 apple peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Melt butter in a warm sautée pan over medium heat.  

2. Add apples and sprinkle with cinnamon. 

3. Sautée until softened and lightly caramelized, approximately 10 minutes. 

Notes: These are fantastic on their own, or great over vanilla, or cinnamon if you can find it, ice cream.  The kids had theirs mixed in with vanilla yogurt.  

After the kids went to bed I got to work on dried apple rings. These took about 5 minutes to prep and will be great snacks throughout the week.

Dried Apple Rings


2 apples 
Cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 200*. 

2. Wash, core and slice apples into rings.

3. Place apples on silicone baking mat or parchment paper lined pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

4. Bake at 200* for two hours.

Notes: I like my dried apples a little chewy, so I sliced them a bit thicker and only baked them for 2 hours. If you like them crispier like chips, slice the apples thinly and bake for a longer period of time. If you have a mandolin, I do but I was too lazy to break it out, this is the perfect time to use it. Even slices and no half rings? Yes please.

After all of the apple cooking I did yesterday, I never wanted to see an apple again. However I did want to give one last apple dish a go, so we had apples for breakfast today. I've had this idea pinned for over a year now, and I'm just getting around to trying it. The kids enjoyed it, and Rob and I did too.

Pancake Batter Dipped Apples


1 batch pancake batter of choice 
2 apples, cored peeled and sliced into rings
cinnamon (optional)

1. Make pancake batter. Add cinnamon if desired.

2. Heat skillet over medium heat. Grease with butter.

3. Dip pancake rings in batter and let excess batter drip off. Place on skillet. Cook both sides until golden brown.

Notes: I used Bisquick and added cinnamon to my batter. I find that Bisquick pancakes turn out just as well as from scratch. These are best when eaten straight off the skillet. The hot, sugary apple covered in warm pancake is delish. You will want to cook these no higher than medium heat as you want to apple to cook slightly without burning the pancake. Make sure your skillet is nice and hot before beginning. I used a butter knife to pull the rings from the batter and it worked well.  This is another time that using a mandolin would be helpful.

I still have a half dozen apples left and will probably just make more applesauce now that my Baby Breeza is working again. After I do that I'm going to swear off apples for a week or two. Mutsu apples are available for you pick starting October 4th, so a couple more weeks and then we'll be out going apple picking again.

As an apple recipe bonus, last week I made breast milk apple pancakes for the kids. I still have frozen milk I'm trying to use up, and pancakes are the prefect way to do it.  Just substitute breast milk for cow's milk. I added diced apples to pancake batter with a little bit of cinnamon.  The kids ate them up!

Recipe bonus #2 is for Hard Apple Cider Sangria. I have not tried this yet, but thanks to Buzzfeed, I will be. It would probably be really good and a little bit sweeter with pear cider.

Now that we've covered everything from breakfast to breast milk to booze, I think I'm spent. Happy cooking everyone!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekend Recap

Our weekend started out Friday morning with at trip to the AT&T store. Rob's phone was in desperate need of an upgrade and since we couldn't preorder the iPhone 5s, it was off to wait in line we went. Thankfully the line was only a few people long, so we were in and out with two new phones in an hour.

First picture on the new phone.

Friday was still very summery here, so the kids wore a couple of our favorite summer outfits.  I'm not looking forward to having to pack more clothes away soon.


The last day of summer felt a lot like fall.  We dressed in thermal one pieces and headed out to do some morning garage saling.  The ducks on a string are Brooke's new favorite toy, and not just because they're new.  She has figured out how to pull them behind her and knows to pick up the first duck if it falls over.  It is quite possible the most annoying toy ever, partially because she hasn't stopped playing with it since we got it.

The rest of our Saturday was pretty relaxed.  We played outside for the rest of the morning until it was time for lunch.  After naps we joined Grandma and Grandpa for mass and dinner. The best part of Saturday was that Daddy made it home for baths.  

Sunday morning we headed to the zoo to see Sophie and Miss Carolyn.   It was a perfectly cool and sunny fall morning.  The kids all had fun running around, watching the animals and throwing tantrums.  I could have done without the last part.  

I love that H and B are old enough now to enjoy spending time with Sophie, and thankfully she likes them too. I listen to the crazy things she says and it makes me so excited for when H and B are really talking. Kids say the craziest stuff.  

Notice Brooke's horse is missing Brooke. She cried and refused to stay on the horse.  I carried her and we walked beside the horse.  

During nap time I worked on some meal planning for the week and enjoyed one of my favorite fall finds, Thomas Pumpkin Spice English Muffins.  These things are seriously delicious and are perfect for breakfast, as a snack or with a little Nutella for dessert.  

I am definitely excited for soup.  I have a couple new crockpot soup recipes I'll be trying this week.  If anyone has any good crockpot recipes that don't require tons of prep work first, please share! If I'm using the crockpot, I don't want to have to brown my meat and cook the veggies first. I may as well just cook it on the stove if I have to do all that. Am I right?

Both babies woke up on the wrong side of the crib after naps, so we headed outside.  The fresh air always puts them in a better mood.  Even with some outside time, they still headed to bed a little early tonight.  

Rob and I are now enjoying pizza and beer while watching football.  I'm really hoping I can make it through the game, but I have a feeling I may only make it to half time. 

I came across this fall bucket list today and think it looks perfect.  I can already cross pick apples and drink hot apple cider off the list, although I'm pretty sure I'll be doing both again soon.  I'm really excited to do a few of them with Brooke and Harrison.  They were too young to really enjoy fall and Halloween last year, but this year we'll be going all out.  Does anyone have other things on their fall bucket list we should be doing this year?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gear We Love

Today is the last day of the Kid Tested Mommy Approved link up party and today we're talking about our favorite gear. Vanessa at Sunflower State of Mind is hosting today. We get out of the house a lot, so it's really important to have gear that makes it easy to get around with two babies. When you're buying two of everything or special gear to accommodate multiples, price is a concern too. 

Diono Radian RXT - When it came time to get convertible seats I researched and researched to find the right seats. The Radian is not cheap, but the investment is well worth it. This is the last car seat we will need to buy. It converts to a booster seat, so we won't need to purchase any other seats as the kids get older. They can rear face up to 45 pounds, more than any other seat we looked at. The height limits are also higher than other seats we looked at. It's one of the only seats that you can fit three across in the the same row. Most car seats are made of plastic, but the Radian has a steel frame and aluminum side walls. I can't speak highly enough about this car seat. We gout ours for just over $200 on Black Friday. Watch sales, and you can get a really good deal.

Beco Gemini - I am a big supported of baby wearing in general, but with twins it's almost necessary to be able to wear one baby sometimes. From 6-10 months the only way to get grocery shopping done was to wear one and have one sit in the cart. The Beco has great padding and is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Even now that they're 25 lbs, I can still wear one of them for an hour without any issues. The Gemini allows for a front carry, back carry, hip carry and even forward facing out.

Graco Snugride 30 - Their infant seats were key during the first 6 months. Yes you can use an convertible seat from the beginning, but if you have twins I guarantee you don't want to. Even having a singleton, I think having an infant seat would be worth the extra expense. It's great to be able to strap them in before you walk out the door and then just pop them in and out of the car seat base everywhere you go. Plus, lugging around two of these means you don't need to worry about your arm workout at the gym. Graco makes a 32 and 35, the numbers refer to their weight limit, but there's really no reason to spend the extra money. H and B outgrew their infant seats before they were 20 pounds.

Britax B-Agile Double Stroller - Picking the right double stroller is a tough decision. Just browse any multiples forum and you'll see tons of questions about which double stroller to buy. While there are a lot of really fancy, really expensive, double strollers out there, I didn't want to spend $800+ for a stroller. Instead I was able to get two really great strollers for less than the price of one fancy one. The B-Agile is super easy to maneuver, has nice under seat storage, with access from the front and back, snack trays and a removable drink and storage caddy for mom. The seats are easily adjustable and most importantly the kids like riding in it. This is the perfect stroller for trips to the grocery store, park or zoo.

Baby Trend Double Snap and Go - Pretty much every twin mom will tell to get a double snap and go. Our snugrides snapped right into the snap and go for easily getting around wherever we went.  It steers terribly, but is so easy and light it's worth it. If you look on Craigslist you can more than likely find a used one. I got ours in like new condition for half price.

Contours Optima Tandem Stroller - This is the main stroller we decided on once we were done with the snap and go. I love that the seats can face each other, face out, both face forward or both face backward. This was the main selling point for us. The only other stroller I know of that has seats that adjust the way the Optima's do, costs around $700. The only downside is that it doesn't have snack trays. This stroller is great for walks, trips to the mall or anywhere you need a narrow stroller. It does have two infant car seat adapters, so you could use it instead of the Double Snap and Go.

I highly recommend getting a side by side and tandem stroller if it's in your budget. Being able to choose which stroller we us for particular outings is nice. Although there have been times where I don't remember to switch the strollers in the van first and I wind up with the side by side in Baby Gap. It works, but I definitely can't get the kids to the back aisles with me. If I had to choose only one stroller I'd pick the Optima. The Baby Jogger City Select is probably the most highly recommended stroller from twin moms, but it's expensive, and what I loved about it, the seats, the Optima does as well.

Some of or other favorite gear is listed in our monthly Things We Love, although a lot of it is toys. The breastfeeding twins post has a lot of good gear recommendations for moms nursing singletons too.

12 and 13 Months
10 and 11 Months
8 and 9 Months
Gear for Breastfeeding Twins

Doing this link up party has been so fun. I've gather lots of fun ideas for activities to do with the kids, fun things to buy for them and great foods to try. I hope everyone reading has enjoyed it as much as I have. Make sure to follow the link and see what all the other blogger moms have in store for us today.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Toys We Love

Today I'm linking up again for the Kid Tested Mother Approved link up party. Julie at Girl in the Red Shoes is hosting today and we're talking about tried and true toys. The number one thing I look for in toys is educational value. I love toys that teach letters, numbers, colors, building skills, etc. I know at this age pretty much everything is teaching them something, but I love when their toys pull double duty as fun and educational. The thing H and B play with most often is books. I could write a whole post on their favorite books, but today I'm sticking with toys.

Elmo's Count Along Crayons - Quite possibly the most annoying toy ever. Quite possibly their favorite toy ever. They love Elmo and they love this toy. It was a birthday gift, and it took them about a day to figure out the buttons. They haven't stopped pushing them since. They love it because it's fun, makes noise and lights up.  I love it because it helps teach colors and numbers.

Ernie's Alphabet Notepad - Ernie comes in a close second on the annoying toy scale. It's also a close second for their favorite toy.  Ernie has four modes. He will create a story if you choose any three letters. He sings the ABC song and plays other songs in music mode. There's a find mode where Ernie asks you to find a letter. In the main mode Ernie says what sound the letters makes and what starts with each letter pressed. Definitely a winner when it comes to toys that help teach the alphabet.

Shape Sorter - We have three shape sorters and the kids favorite one is from a garage sale. It has four shapes, lights up and makes noise. I think what they enjoy most about this particular one is that they don't have to take anything apart to get the shapes back after putting them in. The Fisher Price one I linked to seems to be the most similar to the one they have. I recommend avoiding ones that have a lid that has to come on and off. The kids take it off, and it doesn't go back on until I put it on.  They then take it right back off.

B. H2-Whoa Water Drawing Board - This was an impulse buy while on a Target trip. My nephew has water coloring pads that he uses and loves, he's two years older than H and B, so when I saw this drawing board I knew we had to have it. They still try to eat every marker or crayon I give to them, so we don't use them often. I love that I don't need to worry if they put a water crayon in their mouth. One of my favorite features, it has snaps where all four water crayons fit, so they don't get lost and they're always with the board when the kids want to use it.

Fisher Price See and Say - My mom has a few old See and Says, the kind with the pull string, floating about her house.  The kids love them, but they're hard to understand.  The Disney one she has sounds like Mickey has been smoking 3 packs a day. When we saw this one, we were all over it. It has pretty much every farm animal noise you could ask for. It also plays Old McDonald and Farmer in the Dell. The kids are just now getting to the point where they can pull the handle on their own. Thankfully that means I don't have to pull it 487 times per day.

Duplo Legos - I'm pretty sure every kid born in the last 4 decades has played with Legos while growing up. There's a reason they're so popular, they're awesome. The kids are just now starting to put pieces together on their own, but they've been pros at tearing apart what I build for months. Brooke drags out the tub of Legos within 5 minutes of being up each morning. She loves to dump them out and play with them. If I sit with them and build them things to tear apart, they will happily play with their Legos for at least 20 minutes.

We share things we love every couple of months. A lot of the toys that made the list in previous months are still ones they use regularly. To see some of our favorite toys from past months, follow the links below.

Twelve and Thirteen Months
Ten and Eleven Months

Make sure you stop by the link up party and see what toys some of the other mommies recommend for their little ones. I'm hoping to find a few ideas from mommies with older kids. I'm already thinking Christmas presents.


Monday, September 16, 2013

16 Months

The last month has been a whirlwind of craziness.  When I said something to Robbie this morning about the kids being 16 months on the 16th, he said he thought they were 17 months already.  This month sped by and was so packed with stuff, it does almost feel as if two months have passed.

16 months on the 16th. Does that mean this is their golden month, or does that only count with years? Either way, it's a special month.  They all are.  The last month brought more teeth, more words, and more consistent sleep.  It also brought more tears and more separation anxiety.

Between the evenings and days away from the kids for adult time and the unusual hours I had to cover at work, the kids thought every time I set them down, I was leaving them. When we would go to my parents, they would cry. When grandma came to our house, they would cry. If we went to the daycare and I set them down, they would cry. And of course when I did actually leave, they would cry. I can see they're gradually realizing that I always come back, so the tears were less frequent this weekend when I had to run to work.

We are starting to see more tantrums, usually for ridiculous reasons. My favorite this month was when B threw a fit because I wouldn't let her hold the honey badger while she was eating. Macaroni and cheese doesn't mix well with stuffed animals, but try telling that to a toddler. I was fully expecting her to refuse dinner just to get the honey badger back. Not being able to climb on the dishwasher, having to stay inside when it's raining and holding still for diaper changes are some of the most common reasons for tantrums these days. Of course wanting whatever item, book, toy, sippy cup, their sibling has tops the list.

Harrison is still holding steady at 8 teeth. You can see and feel all of his molars, but none have broken the skin. Brooke went form 9 to 12 teeth in two days, and she took it like a champ. one night while brushing her teeth, I looked at her only to see blood streaming down her face. Harrison's gums don't bleed when teeth break the skin, but hers do.  Not every one, but quite a few of them have.

Kind of a side note, we have a lot of people ask us about their amber teething necklaces. They wear them all the time. There are still some days when we use Motrin at bedtime and days when teething rings are a must, but I do think the necklaces help.  We haven't had a fever from teething since they started wearing them. We haven't had any days where someone was inconsolable due to teething pain since we got them. We don't need to use teething tablets anymore.  As one friend said, "She just got three teeth in two days and is still alive?" Yes, and I really think it's because of their necklaces. They take the edge off enough to keep them happy. No more teething monsters in this house.

There are a few new words that have entered their everyday vocabulary. My favorite is cheese. Harrison was the first to say it and it's so funny when he does. He sounds like a little Borat and pronounces it more like chiz than cheese. It makes me laugh every time. Go is another one that get's used every day. If I say we're going to go somewhere, they run to the front door and say go. Boo was the first to get the G sound down. Harrison has started saying shoe as well. They both are making tons of new sounds, and I feel like the language explosion everyone talks about close to 18 months isn't too far away.

At the start of this month, we were still back and forth between one and two naps. Some days their second nap would be completely boycotted and other days they'd take one afternoon nap that wasn't long enough and then we'd have to put them to bed early. The last week and a half they have been taking one two hour nap each day and staying on their same 8p-8a sleep schedule, with the exception of Saturday when I completely messed up their schedule so we could stay out late for a friend's birthday dinner.

They have also been waking up less often for their 6am nursing session. I feel like it's probably time to just be done with the night nursing they're still holding on to.  Question for any other nursing moms that dropped the final night feeding after a year: Did/Do you do a wake up nursing to make up for the one they aren't getting overnight, or do you just completely drop that feeding? Obviously we don't need to worry about lack of calories since they eat three meals a day, plus a couple nursing sessions and a snack.

They are both still eating mostly with their hands.  We are trying to introduce silverware, but mostly they push food around their plate or hold the fork in one hand and use their other hand to eat. They both like using silverware, so much so that they often refuse to eat until they have some, but it's still more of a pain than it's worth. At what age do they stop looking like they bathed in their food after every meal?

They still love to read more than pretty much anything else. They definitely have their favorite books and they expect you to read them over and over and over again. Brooke has started to get specific books if you as for them. If you ask her to get "The Little Blue Truck" or "Everywhere Babies" or "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," she will go get you that specific book. The other day I asked her to get "Jesus is With Me" which was sitting right next to "Jesus Loves the Little Children." She looked very confused and couldn't decide which one to pick up. When I sang, yes they're books that are sung, the first line of "Jesus is With Me" she picked it up and brought it right over. Brookie is one smart cookie.

Both kids love the dogs, but Harrison really LOVES the dogs. I feel like everyday he becomes more and more attached to them. He is constantly petting them, climbing on them, pointing to them and saying dog. He has started dropping throwing the ball for my parents little dog. We are constantly telling them to be nice when they pet the dogs, so now if we say nice they will pet the dog. Or if we say be nice to your brother, Brooke will pet his head. It makes me laugh every time.

This month has been really trying, for more reasons than just the babies, but a lot of fun. Seeing them grow and learn is so great. It's tough when I see how frustrated they get because they can't yet communicate what they are feeling or what they want/need, but I can see their brains processing and learning new things each day. I'm really excited for this month because there will be lots of new things for them to experience with the change of seasons.

Happy 16 months, H and B. I wouldn't trade a day of it for anything. I love you to the moon and back.

They wanted nothing to do with pictures in the sac today. I got one smile. Out of 40 pictures, Harrison smiled once and Brooke scowled the entire time.