I have a confession to make. I have a hard time with the 'stuff' that comes along with having a little person. Don't get me wrong. I want my daughter to learn. I want her to have fun. But, I struggle with having an abundance of toys. I don't mind the dolls or the books, but the toys...and how quickly they can multiply! I don't like clutter. I don't like picking up little pieces of this and that. I don't like stepping on things in the dark. I don't like paying good money for things that are likely to break, she'll quickly lose interest in, or never really play with at all.
We are definitely into hand-me-down toys or finding things at garage sales or consignment sales. Somehow, the recycling of the fun doesn't bother me as much. It is not that I don't want her to have toys. She's definitely got them - she's got plenty! For instance, at Christmas, we didn't buy her any toys ourselves because we knew that would be something family and friends would want to give her. She has gotten some super fun toys that she still plays with almost every day. We try to rotate them out. We have learned that a toy that has been put away for a bit is very exciting when it reappears in the future. She's got different toys she plays with at her different grandparents' houses. She's definitely not missing out.
It all feels like a really great balance until ...
I go to one of our friends' houses and they have all these varieties of toys. They have so much more than we do. Elyse goes wild. She loves it all! Last week at playgroup, we got to play in Elyse's friend Luke's new playroom. He has an indoor slide, art easel, basketball hoop, rocking horse and so many fun toys. The kiddos had a ball playing with everything.
Whenever I'm feeling guilty that Elyse is missing out on fun or learning by not having one more toy, I'm reminded of something very important. Kids turn the funniest things into toys.
Case in point. Kirkland Brand Canola Oil.
There's a story behind the canola oil. When Elyse was only a couple of weeks old and my exhaustion was still getting the best of me, Marcie asked me if I needed anything from Costco. Canola Oil! I need canola oil! Marcie said she wanted to ask why I'd need so much oil, but she knew better. Don't question the new Mama. So, when she showed up with our goodies, I saw that huge jug of oil and we both laughed out loud. Yep, Elyse is 18 months old and it is still around. I'm actually pretty impressed we've used as much as we have.
There's one person here who is glad we still have it. She knows how to open the pantry and every chance she gets, she pulls it out and lugs it around. She thinks she is such hot stuff carrying it around. We make sure the lid is screwed on real tight and let her go. It makes her so happy.
And you know what - that's all that really matters these days.
Stay Tuned for ... Elyse plays with the broom. Ha!
Today, Elyse and I picked up Grandma Jo to go to a children's consignment sale. I got an armload of clothes for Elyse in the next size up. Good quality clothing for such a great price!
Afterward, we took Grandma to a surprise place - Mac N' More. It is a new restaurant not far from her house. They specialize in comfort food - grilled sandwiches, meatloaf, and yes, macaroni and cheese. You can have the original or create your own - from crawfish to buffalo mac.
I haven't taken many pictures lately so I brought my camera along to get some shots in. The restaurant actually had decent light.
The tables are chalkboard and Elyse thought it was pretty great.
By the way, my girl who has ripped hats off her head every chance we get, now often grabs a hat from her basket when she knows we're going "bye-bye".
Grandma Jo had fun with her.
Grandma got original and I just added green onion to mine. Nothing too fancy since we were sharing with Elyse.
She loved it.
So did Miss Lysey Girl.
Even if she makes funny faces with each bite. She is getting pretty good maneuvering that spoon.
Afterward, we went back to Grandma's for a bit. Elyse is always drawn to her ceramic cat.
She always wants to pick it up.
It isn't light, let me tell you.
What I love about it is Grandma has had that cat for YEARS. I used to beg her to let me take it home. I'm actually kind of surprised she didn't let me. But, I'm so glad she didn't. It would be long gone by now. Instead, it is happily still in Grandma's house and now my daughter gets to enjoy it.
Grandma had asked me earlier that morning if Elyse ever cries. I laughed and said, "Of course, she does!"
Well, here you go. It was naptime and Elyse was telling us we needed to go. Look at poor Grandma's face. Precious - both of them.
We had a great time with you, Grandma. We love you!
These are chicken enchiladas in a green chili sour cream sauce. They are so good and I think they've taken the place of my (formerly) favorite white sauce chicken enchilada recipe. Big hit for all of us.
WHITE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
10 soft tortillas
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan
2. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
4. Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
6. Bake 22 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.
If I might recommend - I'd suggest you pair the enchiladas with some tortilla chips. These are our new favorite. Locally, you find them at Fred Meyer.
Then, you can whip up my new favorite salad dressing. I eat salads pretty much every day at work. I'd never thought of this, but this is how they make the Mexican salad dressing in our cafeteria. I just had to try it and YUM! Elyse likes to dip everything in it. Tonight, it was cucumbers!
Then, prepare your favorite salad toppings. Here is what we came up with. The two items I felt were missing were a little avocado and black beans (we were out):
Our friend, Alyson, was here a few weeks ago. It was a quick visit - she was literally only here about 36 hours. I didn't even take many pictures - literally this was it. It was a fast visit, but always good to see her.
We were all into the Gotye song, "Somebody That I Used to Know". You've likely heard it on Top 40. This song REALLY sticks in your head. If you've never heard it, you must see below. We watched all three of these videos. Elyse was right there with us - she loves music!
Make sure to watch the full videos, but in the order below. The first is the original. The second is a cover (acapella version) and the third is a spoof on the cover. Here we go: