Monday, August 18, 2008


"Hoo-Hoo"...that's the sound a train makes, at least in Maddie's mind. Lately she's been really into trains and watching "Thomas and Friends" on TV (well, she'll watch it for about 5-10 minutes at a time), so I took her to IKEA and we picked out a wooden train set. Keith is really good at setting up the track in new, creative ways (when I do it the track is just a big oval with a bridge or two thrown in!). Maddie loves it! :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Big Girl Bike

Maddie's favorite word is OUTSIDE. Often it's the first word she utters from her crib upon waking in the morning. It doesn't matter if it's 30 degrees or 104 degrees (hello yesterday!)--she wants to be outside all the time. For about a month now, she's been green with envy at all the kids and adults who ride by our house on their bikes. Whenever she sees them she points to herself and says, "You? You?" (translation: "Um, hello, why don't you hurry up and get ME one of those?!"). So last week we went to Target and she picked out her first big girl bike!! And helmet with butterflies on it. She was so thrilled. I thought the helmet might be a sticking point because she refuses anything on her head (hats, bows, you name it), but I told her if she didn't wear the helmet then she couldn't have a bike. That did it! She even wore the helmet the whole time we were at the store! :-)

Anything having to do with tools or construction, Maddie's all over it! She jumped right in, often saying "Excuse me, excuse me" because Keith was in *her* way. :-)

You can never have too many screwdrivers going at once.

She's still too short to reach the ground, but she does like to have someone push her around.

Always the neat and tidy one, she made sure to dust her bike when she was all done. What a cutie pie! :-)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Beef Stir-Fry

Here's a great recipe for those nights when you're short on time but still want to have something healthy and filling. It's my new favorite EASY stir-fry recipe. The only changes I make are: 1) since I usually can't find flank steak, either tri-tip or petite sirloin work just as well, 2) swap an orange bell pepper for the green one (I'm not a green pepper fan), and 3) DOUBLE all the ingredients for the sauce *except* the black pepper. The sauce is awesome. Serve over rice (I like a brown rice-wild rice blend) or corkscrew/penne noodles + a salad and you're all set! Yum!! :-)

Three Pepper Beef (

2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound flank steak, trimmed and thinly sliced across the grain
1/4 cup low-salt beef broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 1/4 cups cubed red bell pepper
1 1/4 cups cubed yellow bell pepper
1 1/4 cups cubed green bell pepper


Combine 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, salt, and flank steak in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Set aside.

Combine 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, broth, soy sauce, and black pepper, stirring with a whisk until sugar dissolves; set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add beef mixture; stir-fry 3 minutes or until done. Remove the beef mixture from pan; cover and keep warm. Add peas and bell peppers to pan; stir-fry 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add beef and broth mixture to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly.


4 servings (serving size: about 1 3/4 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 326(36% from fat); FAT 13g (sat 5.2g,mono 5g,poly 1.3g); IRON 4.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 76mg; CALCIUM 50mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.6g; SODIUM 832mg; PROTEIN 34.1g; FIBER 4.4g