Another February Snow Day?!

I know, I know.....It's been far too long since I updated!  Having daycare cancelled and my internship agency closed Wednesday made me do all sorts of past activities.  I wish I was more organized to do it all even with my new obligations, but it takes all my extra time just to make sure I get dinner on the table after a day at work.  You would think that after a couple months that I would have it down?  Nope...just taking it day to day still and doing the best I can to keep the family (and myself!) happy.

This all started because I haven't been very good about preparing meals for the family in quite a while.  I've made my lentil soup, an indian cuisine, and spaghetti sauce, but then I freeze items and we munch on it for a while OR just order out.  Can't forget breakfast for dinner....

Sol has moved away from baby food and is much more interested in whatever we are eating.  That makes things tough for me because I love SPICE!  I haven't been very good about toning our recipes down for him and that makes it harder for me when I'm trying to put all of our dinners on the table at the same time.

I did a bit of research and found a turkey quinoa meatloaf recipe that looked interesting.  After reading reviews and suggestions, I made a few tweaks and wah-lah.  Here's the recipe:

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf
1/4 c quinoa
1/2 c water
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (I used half a yellow onion)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb (20 oz) of ground turkey
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp hot sauce (I almost held back for S, but I couldn't resist!!)
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp pepper (in the end, this was too much.  I would cut it back to 1/4 or 1/2 tsp pepper)

2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp water

First, you'll need a cute little helper....

Boil quinoa and water on stove top until the water is absorbed.  Set aside to cool.

Chop onions and garlic.  Make sure helper goes down for a nap, especially if it's that time of day.  If you want to make sure everything is done right, having a little helper tugging at your pants and crying probably isn't going to really help.

Saute onions with olive oil for 5 minutes.  Add chopped garlic for 1 minute.  Remove from stovetop and let it cool.

If you are cooking right away, set the oven at 350 degrees.  I'm getting this together so that I can put it in the oven this evening, so I'll hold off on preheating the oven.  Put the turkey, tomato paste, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.

Shape the mixture into a loaf on a foil lined pyrex.

Mix brown sugar, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp water.  Rub the paste on the top of the loaf.

I was so excited to see visitors in the woods behind our house...but it made me worry a bit about the cold weather headed this way.  We have 6 young deer that have been living in the neighborhood.  I haven't seen them in a while, but they look like they're growing well and sticking together.  Have I mentioned that one of the reasons I love where I live is all the nature we have around us??

If you're ready to cook your meatloaf, cook it at 350 degrees until the center is no longer pink, approximately 50 minutes.  If you're like me and you've prepped it ahead of time, make sure to cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until you're ready to cook it.  

David was wonderful and helped get the meatloaf into the oven so I could complete my treadmill run.  We also prepared asparagus and hash browns to go with the meal.

All in all, I will make it again.  As I mentioned in the recipe details, I put too much pepper in it and that's the only item I have to complain about.  While Sol hasn't been begging for seconds, he has eaten it and I blame teething for his decreased appetite.  We've enjoyed two meals from the loaf and have enough for another meal!

This is an unusual recipe for a meatloaf, would you branch out and try it??

Family Update

Farewell 2014, hello 2015!!  After welcoming our sweet Sol in February, we’ve realized how quickly time flies.  It’s been an exciting 11 months, and we’re all looking forward to celebrating Sol’s 1st birthday on February 15, 2015.  Our lives have changed immensely!  Whenever we have time, you’ll find us all together in Sol’s playroom or bedroom.  He started using his walker in November and every now and again he gets an itch to  pridefully march through the house.  His favorite toys are balls and board books.  One of his favorite activities is opening and closing doors…until he realizes that he can’t open them again!  He’s figuring out some of the toys that require thought, like his ball chute.  It’s so neat watching him learn!

Thanks to the Southwest Companion Pass and Sol flying for free, we didn’t slow down with traveling.  Sol’s quite the flyer!!  Caleigh and Sol accompanied David in June to a conference in Orlando, where they had a chance to see Nana and Lito and visit Disney’s downtown.  At 6-months, we took Sol to Puerto Rico for some much needed family time.  In October, David took Caleigh and Sol for their first visit to Plantation,  FL, where Nana and Lito live.  In December, the family traveled to Bethesda, MD to visit friends and then to Fredonia, NY to spend the holidays with the Orloff’s, Ryan’s, and Nana and Lito Alevy.  This family is not slowing down!
We made a couple of trips to Destin, FL as well.  We visited over the summer with Pat Pat, Bubbe, Lito, and Nana.  Sol loved the attention!  We returned for the Thanksgiving holiday with the Rathmell family.  Sol loved going out and playing in the sand. 

David celebrated 15 years at Infinity in August and he’s 1 semester away from finishing the IEM program at UAB.  With his love of learning and passion in rental investments, he’s already talking about taking a local real estate course.  He has ambitions of expanding his slum empire! 
Caleigh has completed 23 hours in her graduate program and has taken an internship with Children’s Aid Society this semester.  She has been able to keep a few massage clients around her school schedule and Sol’s daycare/napping schedule.  She still has around 37 hours to complete her Masters in Social Work, but she is determined to finish!  It’s very doable, especially since UA offers the program online.  

Azaria continues to be a great companion for our Alevy family.  We have trained her to behave like other grown up puppies and are very proud of her accomplishments.  She loves her Sol and he loves crawling on her.  As David loves to tell everyone, she uses kisses as her defense mechanism.  Unfortunately, Sol LOVES her kisses!  They’re great playmates and we love seeing their bond grow.

2014 was an exciting and adventurous year for all of us and we can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store…starting with a baby brother or sister for Sol in July!!  
Much love to all, David, Caleigh, Sol, and Azaria Alevy 

Visiting Nana & Lito

My boys decided it was time for another trip, so off we went. 
What a happy reunion!  Nana & Lito last saw Sol at 4 months. He's bigger and stronger and certainly more vocal than he was then. 
While the weather wasn't great 3/5 of the time, it wasn't terrible. We took advantage of getting in fresh Florida air. 
While Sol wasn't sure what to make of his new surroundings, and no ZaZa, he settled in as soon as he saw boxes available!  Who woulda thunk?!  Boxes in FL and AL, I wonder if they have them in MD and NY?? ;)
He wasn't hurting for attention on this turf. 
Had to show off one of his Halloween costumes to his Nana and Lito, especially since they're always offering him chocolate!
Daddy introduced us to his childhood friends Marcello and Telma (and their families). 
Before leaving yesterday, we had a chance to get in our 10k for Daniel!  It was beautiful, warm weather and perfect time for a nap. 
A quick Alevy selfie and back home we go. 
Until next time...

On a side note, Sol was pretty amazing on these flights. I made sure to have my cover handy, solid food prepared, and a few toys. However, it's more interesting finding what the plane had to offer: safety pamphlet, lights, strangers, and views. On the flight down, we stayed on the same plane when we had our "layover" in Tampa. We moved to the very front. Absolutely loved the space for Sol to play and a chance for David to stretch his legs. While in past flights we've sat toward the back, I requested we move up closer so we can deplane sooner. It's been better that way and since they were full flights, there was no chance of us spreading out. 
We continue to enjoy SouthWest and look forward to out next adventure!

Off Facebook again?!

Yes yes yes, I removed my Facebook account AGAIN. Look, I'm in grad school AND I have a young child. And honestly, I wish I had more time for my massage clients, too!!!!  I just don't have time to check Facebook.  Unfortunately for me, if it's there, I want to check it daily!

A friend asked me recently how she could find out when I update the blog since she had visited it before when I posted it to FB. Good question!

On the left of your computer screen, there is an option to submit your email address to receive updates!  It's quick and easy and you don't have to worry that you may miss a Sollie update!!  So for all my lovely family and friends, I hope you'll sign up to keep up with our adventures!!

Speaking of adventures...we may go camping this weekend. That's an update you don't want to miss!!!

And some safety proofing tips..

So far, so good with my hearth design-although Sol hasn't been around it a lot yet. Only time will tell!!

We still have some items exposed that I see us saying "no!" to Sol as he messes with them. After speaking with a friend, and mother of two, I am going with my gut that it's just better to cover everything we are concerned about, so that Sol can explore without my watching his every move. 

For now, I have a few items I picked up at target and a couple more that were handed down from friends, thank you!!
I thought I was going to like the option on the left and purchased several of them. I hate them!  They are frustrating to get on and off a most of the cabinets because the space is either to wide or too narrow. The option on the right has been great. Easy to set up and easy for ME to open for access.
A similar hand me down item is working great, too!
I asked David to begin installing other locks last week. He had to drill into the cabinet door and on his second door, two nails broke!  It was late that night and I wasn't having it. I wish I had realized how awesome these other locks are because we could have used them on this door arrangement, since there are two side by side.
We still have 4 cabinets we will need to drill in for kitchen safety, but then we can breathe a sigh of relief, I hope. Still may need to think through oven, dishwasher, and freezer locks.
This $9.99 gate I picked up at Burlington suits the front entryway, and we have a door in the kitchen to close--so the back part of the house is my biggest focus.
I have put outlet plugs in that part of the house and will be continuing in other rooms soon. While I do not plan for Sol to spend time in the front part of the house, I never know why he may end up out there...I may accidentally leave the door open, we may have him out there when entertaining company, or perhaps a sitter wouldn't realize we don't frequent that area.  I'm going to continue on with the plug covers, for sure, and will think of how to secure those cabinets as well. 

For now, I'm left struggling with how to proof this:
Eeek, look closely and you can see the back of a remote on the floor right below the stand. While brushing my teeth, Sol already tackled this area with extreme interest and excitement for his balancing/standing. Oy vey!
I found these do it yourself suggestions on Pinterest for the bottom of the stairs:
Not sure if I'll have time to do either, but I especially love the second option--so cute!
I'm especially struggling because this area belongs to our one and only furry girl--I hate to take it away from her!!

We've brought in some gates for stairs, but realized that the side hand rail interferes with the gate meeting the wall. We also tried fitting it to the other wall, but the gate wasn't long enough.

Well, that's enough for now. Off to studying!  Need to knock some research out so I can enjoy the beautiful Fall weather with my family!

Safety proofing time!

It's official, Sol is crawling!!
Even worse, he loves to pull up on anything and everything so he can try standing!
Since his play area is next to the fireplace, I've been searching high and low for a safety solution. Thanks to Pinterest, I'm hoping my hard work today pays off. 
I purchased this mat at Burlington for $24.99. I also picked up 2 roles of tape at Home Depot, each $6.99
Since our fireplace is lower, I used an Exacto knife to cut down the mats on the sides. I wasn't sure exactly how to take the mats down, so first go around I started putting tape on the mat. 
And I ended up separating the blocks and laying them individually. 
I realized it was better to put the tape on the brick instead. 
I went back and used a glue gun to try and connect the mat better---but didn't love the results. 
So on the second side I cut the mats a bit shorter and connected all of them together. Then, I used the hot glue gun to reinforce the mat. 
I then put larger pieces of tape down on the bricks 
This time I put down the whole mat at once. I added tape in spots I noticed were weak, but I think this side looks better. 
I have heavy objects on the mats in hopes they will help them stick. They won't stay there. Sol already loves Azaria's bowls and tub of toys. Of course her toys are cooler because they aren't allowed for Sol!
I'm pleased with how it looks so far. And we have matting leftover!  Not sure yet where it will go. 
The real test will be when Sol tries getting up on the fireplace again. 
By the way, I am, by no means, encouraging him to get on the fireplace-but I want to supervise and discourage activity and hopefully not have to spend $150+ to get a gate around the entire fireplace. We will see!
In the meantime, David is working on the proof safety proof!
Happy 8 Months, my love!!!