Look Out World, here Comes Island Girl!

As I mentioned two Monday's ago, Island Girl took her first scoot/crawl during playgroup that morning. Much to Island Boy's disliking, she has only gotten more coordinated, mobile, and "into things" as time has worn on.

Island Boy did not start crawling (even army crawling) until he was 10 months old. I knew Island Girl would be earlier than her brother was, but I'm not totally sure I was prepared for it to happen just yet. For instance, having a two-year-old in the house tends to cause much more "stuff" to be on the floor. I find myself fishing far more things out of Island Girl's mouth than I ever did for Island Boy. Also, Island Girl is just more curious than Island Boy was at this age. He was content to sit and watch everything around him. She, on the other hand, wants to be involved in every part of the action!

Island Boy is being forced to learn to share his toys now. This is not a bad thing at all, in my opinion, but he is not a huge fan just yet. I hear a lot of "No, [Island Girl] that's MY TOY!!!" or "No, [Island Girl], let go of my foot!!!" His feet are a particular favorite of Island Girl's. Probably because, while she loves to grab all toes, Island Boy's feet move a lot more than mine do.

There is one part of her being mobile that I had forgotten about. This other thing has both upsides and downsides. She no longer loves being held and cuddling most of the time. She would much rather spend her time exploring the floor. Upside: I have free hands to do other things. Downsides: I miss my cuddly baby, I have to watch her like a hawk (which sort of eliminates the upside, anyway), and since I don't really have the cuddly baby, I'm starting to get twinges of baby fever again (another post for another day, but no new babies here any time soon, I promise)!

It is very exciting to watch this all happen. I just wish I could slow it all down and make it last longer.


Pancake Sunday Meets the Muffin Tin Meal

Once again, it's been a busy few days! We met with a friend for dinner on Thursday, then the same friend plus another for lunch on Friday. We attempted the beach both Friday and Saturday, but to no avail, as it rained at some point during our attempt each day. Such is life during rainy season! 

This week is shaping up to be busy, as well, meeting more friends for lunch, Island Girl's 6-month check-up, playgroup, and a few other things that I'm sure will come up at some point. I will try to be better about updating this week, if nothing else, to share Island Girl's growth during the last 2 months!

Moving on to the food!

There was no theme for Muffin Tin Monday this week, so I opted to create my own, rather than just throw together a random MTM. My original plan was to do breakfast for dinner. At some point, that morphed into a sort of autumn-themed muffin tin. As this is my first year ever without fall, I'm really missing the smell of burning leaves, the crisp edge to the air, and, of course, apple cider (if they have it in our commissary, I have yet to see it).

The four corner spots are pumpkin pancakes (recipe to follow). The top middle is apple circles, which are a repeat from last week's muffin tin "shapes" lunch. Island Boy was so in love with them that he has had them at least once a day every day since that meal. Fine by me! The lower middle spot is maple syrup for dipping. Even to my surprise, he came away from it surprisingly un-sticky. 

He LOVED the pancakes....those were pretty well devoured before I even actually got to sit down at the table. Of course he loved the apples, too.

Pumpkin Pancake Recipe (courtesy of Island Nanny)


2 c. Bisquick mix
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 c. solid pack canned pumpkin
2 tsp. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla


Combine dry ingredients. Add evaporated milk, pumpkin, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Cook on a pre-heated griddle. For muffin tin-sized pancakes, pour by small spoonfuls onto griddle. For larger pancakes, pour by 1/4 cupfuls onto the griddle.

For either, size, after pouring, cook until edges look dry and bubbles are forming. Flip, and cook a minute or two longer, until golden brown.

This time around, I served the pancakes with maple syrup. However, for next time, I am toying with serving them with a maple-cream cheese whip. I'll report back on that one.


A Shapely Muffin Tin Meal (and an Update on us)!

I can't technically call it a Muffin Tin Monday, since it's Tuesday here :-D

We've been keeping ourselves pretty well occupied in Island Dad's absence. Saturday found us attempting to go to the beach, while Sunday we managed to actually make it to church (hence, no pancake Sunday this week, but watch for my version this coming week!)

Island Boy has not napped at all since Island Dad left. But I think I'm alright with that. He's been going to bed by 7:30 very consistently, which tends not to happen when Island Dad is home. So Island Boy is actually getting twelve hours of sleep a night, and then we have what I like to call "Enforced Quiet Time" for awhile in the afternoons. It gives he and I both a much needed break from each other, and allows him to learn new ways to entertain himself. Of course, a lot of the ways he had been learning were somewhat counterproductive to keeping the house clean, so many things have since been removed from his room ;-)

Island Girl is starting to army crawl her own way now! It's more a combination of army crawling/thrusting herself forward with her knees/rolling when necessary. Whatever works. The kid is speedier than you'd expect! Also, she has a tooth now! She's basically going to he a whole new baby by the time Island Dad returns.

On to the muffin tin meal!! If you're new to my blog or to muffin tin meals, check out the original muffin tin meal site. I aspire to Muffin Tin Mom's level of creativity. She's awesome!

This week's theme was shapes. So, we have star- and heart-shaped turkey and Swiss cheese sandwiches, apple circles, and kiwi triangles. Island Boy adored the shaped sandwiches! Even more amazing in the fact that he doesn't usually *love* sandwiches with meat (at least not homemade ones). He also loved the apple circles. In fact, if you look closely, the lower tin of apples has only one slice. He kept walking over and grabbing them out of the tin before I had even served it! I finally had to persuade him to give me just one so I could take a picture :-D Kiwi is still fairly new to him. He does not love eating anything with seeds (or much that is crunchy, for that matter). So he ate about two and a half pieces before stopping and saying "I can't. Too many black seeds. I don't like seeds." Still, I see two and a half pieces as a decent success!

As a side note, with the remaining half of the apple, I hollowed out the core, stuffed a couple extra slices of Swiss cheese into the hollow area, sprinkled an ever-so-tiny amount of brown sugar on top, and then popped it into the microwave for one minute. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!


Raising Myself

Yesterday after his theoretical nap time, I went in to see Island Boy's room destroyed, yet again. I asked him to pick up the clothes he had strewn about the room, and he obliged. Sort of. He picked up the first two or three items and put them in the dirty laundry pile. Then, he grabbed the rest of the clothes and, as I was standing right there, tried to shove them under his bed. I thought to myself, "Huh....I guess you really are my kid!" And then I made him pick them up and put them where they really belonged.

As Island Boy's personality is starting to show through more, I am starting to see more and more of myself in him (beyond just his desire to skip over cleaning tasks and simply "hide" things out of sight). I was horribly shy as a child (ok, I still am pretty painfully shy, I just hide it somewhat slightly better now). I also have always struggled with self-confidence issues. Not self-worth, mind you (not usually), but more doubting my own ability to do things. Though I still struggle with it, that one has improved somewhat as I've grown and matured. I mostly feel it come back up when it gets paired with the shyness. It's really, really not fun, and sure not something I had ever hoped one of my children would get.

Don't get me wrong, you can find plenty of Island Dad in him, as well. But I worry about Island Boy having to go through feeling the same things I felt as a kid. I want better for him (not that my own parents didn't do  a fantastic job, because they did. I would be a hundred times worse off now if it hadn't been for them).

As Island Boy is now two-and-a-half, I am looking into pre-school for him for next year.

As I understand it, the age of three, when I started pre-school, is not necessarily the norm. But I really truly feel he would benefit from an extra year of learning to interact with other kids his age, and especially in a group setting. And the confidence in his abilities (we're starting to hear a lot of "No, I can't" from him lately, which also worries me).

My problem is in trying to actually find a place to send him. I have a very easy time identifying things that I don't want (far down Island, glorified daycare). I also have an ok idea of what I do want, although verbalizing it is a bit harder. But, I'm not sure that I can find exactly what I want on the Island. After asking other parents, I had heard a great recommendation for a Montessori school.....which turned out to be completely full, with no waiting list. I at least feel confident in this being a sign that that was not the right program for him. I just wish I knew how to tell which place *would* be.

So, now I'm back to the drawing board, feeling totally overwhelmed by the decision, but knowing that I need to do something, because my action will affect my child directly.



Today has been one of those days where I really wish I could freeze time and keep the Island Kids forever 2.5 years and 6 months old. Minor frustrations aside, they just melted my heart today.

As is usual when Island Dad has to leave for any amount of time, the first day or two is a huge adjustment for all of us. This time has been no exception (though it may be more of an adjustment when he returns than normal, as this is by far the longest he's ever been gone...for now).

Today, things started to look up, though. Both kids slept in until 8:00 (!!), having both been in bed and asleep by 7:15 the night before. And while Island Boy still didn't nap this afternoon, he was considerably quieter during his "enforced quiet time" than he has been recently, too.

Lately, one of his favorite pastimes is trying to come up with new and ridiculous ways to make Island Girl laugh. This makes me happy to no end. And I find that I usually end up getting in on the laughs, too.


We've all Gone Mobile Today, it Seems.

This week's theme for muffin tin monday was "movies." After much thought and consideration, I opted for Cars as our theme.

Top, left to right: Grilled Tow Mater and cheese sandwich (in roughly the shape of a truck), pretzel "dip sticks" in "oil" (blackberry jelly), and a watermelon car (Lightning McQueen). Bottom is the same things, different configuration. Island Boy was completely in love with the pretzels and jelly, lukewarm about the watermelon (he likes it, but is not a fan of the seeds), and not fond of the sandwiches at all. Eh...you win some, you lose some, and that was a risk I took by including tomatoes, which are not one of his favorites. And, of course, that is his Cars cup you see in the background!

In her own tribute to all things mobile, Island Girl started doing something that approximates crawling today! We hosted play group here this morning, and she was down on the floor (before there were TOO many kids) playing, too. Someone dropped a brightly colored football just out of her reach, and she wanted it. Very badly. So she crunched her knees up underneath her tummy, got up on her forearms (not up on hands just yet), and thrust herself forward, several times, until she actually managed to get the football! Go Island Girl, go!!!!!

Pancake Sunday

Despite flying solo right now, I did actually manage to get some pancakes made this morning! Accomplishing that, while Skyping with Island Dad and trying to wrangle both kids, was a big confidence booster.

This week's recipe was from Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking magazine, June/July 2010 issue.

These were very similar to the Granola Pancakes we made a month or so ago. These were more oat-meal centered, so very dense and VERY moist. Totally yummy!

Oatmeal Pancakes

2 c. quick-cooking oats
2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. egg substitute
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. raisins

In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in egg substitute and oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the wet ingredients just until moistened; add raisins.
Pour batter by heaping 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown.


What a Week!

Aside from the week surrounding Island Boy's birth, this has, hands down, been the craziest week of my life as a Military Wife.

Island Nanny was here for two weeks, and left early early early (as in, before the sun was up, which is very early here) on Thursday morning. Six hours later, I was taking Island Boy to "Tumbling for Tots" on base, and I called Island Dad to see if he wanted to meet up for lunch, which we usually do. 

Instead of our normal, brief, "Hey, you want to meet for lunch in an hour or so? Yes? Ok! See you then!" I was greeted with, "Hey! I assume you want to meet for lunch, and that's fine. But [insert daunting 'dun dun dun' music here], I wanted to run something by you [further daunting music here]. There was a last-minute opening for the up-coming session of Squadron Officer's School (SOS, henceforth), and they're offering it to me. 

"Major-in-our-office (the deputy in the office, name withheld for privacy) said I needed to run it by my 'Commander-in-Chief-at-Home,' first. I'd have to leave the day after tomorrow. Big downside is that you won't be able to make the trip you've been getting excited about [leaving out detailed information here, as well, for privacy]. I feel awful about that part." (Backstory: I was beyond excited, yes, but Island Dad was the one who initially had encouraged me to go.)

Now, SOS is a big honor to get to do in-residence, and something that would definitely enhance Island Dad's career. And it's five weeks long. We knew he would have to go at one point or another, and had actually been thinking he was going to be gone over Thanksgiving for the course. And I really, REALLY wanted to go on that trip.

So, I tried my hardest to hold it together as we walked from the parking lot into the gym where Tumbling for Tots is held. I am not ashamed to admit that I did have myself a little pity party for the first little bit of time there, until I realized that I didn't know any of the other moms, and I probably wasn't making a great impression. After all, who wants to be the loser sitting in the corner and crying? Not me!! 

Basically, I knew what my answer had to be. A) It was better that he go now than potentially be gone at Thanksgiving, or, worse (as he pointed out later), gone for five weeks to SOS next spring, and then have to turn right around and do pre-deployment training for a month, followed immediately by a six-month deployment. That would be a total of eight to nine months gone, in the end. Not good. 
B) My wanting to go on the trip was purely selfish. Yes, maybe my getting a break from the Island Kids would have done us all some good, but ultimately, I was the one who would benefit the most, and I was really the only one who would have been greatly affected by my going on the trip. Island Dad going to SOS, however, affects his career, and therefore it automatically affects ALL of us. Him, the kids, myself, all of us. On a lot of levels. And, yes, it really is still quite strange to me that such an outside force can have such an effect on our entire family. I'm not always sure how I feel about this.

So we embarked on the most insane 36 hours I've seen in awhile! He worked all day and night (because he had to make phone calls to the East Coast, which meant 2 AM for us), and I did what I could to mentally prep myself for what was coming.

The Island Kids have taken fairly well to the change, all things considered. Island Boy has been maybe a bit more rambunctious lately, though that probably is due in part to being cooped up because of contractors replacing floor tiles yesterday, and then rain today. Island Girl did not want to sleep yesterday, but again, mostly because of the contractors banging and chipping tiles. On the whole, I am, at this point, fairly certain that we can all make it through this and my sanity will be intact. And, I think, so will the house! Still, it's a little weird to be the only adult on the [familial] Island right now.


Toddler Science and a Muffin Tin Meal

This morning, there was a rather unfortunate odor coming from our garbage disposal. I ran the disposal, and then treated the smell with baking soda and vinegar. Island Nanny and I took this as a prime opportunity to introduce Island Boy to the baking soda and vinegar "volcano." We first showed him what happened when both were poured down the drain. Then I moved the experiment to a measuring glass (placed in a baking pan for protection of my counters...). He thought that was pretty cool! Then, we threw in some tiny pieces of spaghetti and made "dancing spaghetti," which was one of my favorites as a child. The carbonation bubbles catch on the pasta, causing it to float to the top of the liquid, where the bubbles pop. The spaghetti sinks back to the bottom of the liquid, and the cycle repeats indefinitely. Island Boy also thought this was pretty interesting :-D

On to our muffin tin meal for the week! Island Nanny was pretty excited to give it a try, so we did. There was no theme this week, which made it a bit easier to put together.

On the top, left to right, we have 1/4 of a sun butter (a legume an tree-nut free peanut butter substitute) and jelly sandwich, cheddar cheese cubes, and another 1/4 of the sandwich. On the bottom, between the other two quarters of the sandwich, we have red grapes. I kid not, he ate all of it except for one part of the sandwich. He was just too full by then!

Next week's MTM theme is Movies....I'm debating a couple of different choices, so stay tuned to see what I decide on ;)


Pancake Sunday!

With Island Nanny in town, we've been very busy here!

We have taken her down to Chamorro Village and again introduced her to the fiesta platter. And coconut juice! On Saturday we went to the flea market and picked up some new plants for our yard, and we went to the mall where Island Boy loves to look at the giant kinetic sculpture in the main concourse. Yesterday we took her down to the beach on the Naval Base, where Island Dad took Island Nanny out snorkeling for the first time ever! She was getting the hang of it quite well by the end. Then she came back, and Island Dad and I had a chance to go out snorkeling together, which is rare, since it's usually just the two of us with the kids.

In other news, Island Girl has been working VERY hard on her mobility over the last few days. She can now pull her knees underneath her tummy, and is getting good at rocking/scooting her back side around that way. As most grandchildren seem to like to do, I imagine she will wait until shortly after Island Nanny leaves to start actually crawling.

Island Boy is just generally being himself! He is very much enjoying his time with his grandmother, and is being spoiled rotten, too :-D

On to the pancakes (one of these weeks, I really will get on top of my game and take an actual picture of the pancakes before they're all devoured)!

This week, I used a new (to me) recipe from Taste of Home magazine. Lately, Taste of Home has become my go-to for great new recipes that make the whole family happy. I get scarily excited when my new one arrives in the mail every other month.

Blueberry Cheesecake Pancakes
(submitted to the magazine by Donna Cline)


3 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. whipped topping
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/4 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 c. fresh blueberries
3/4 cup maple syrup, warmed
additional blueberries optional

For topping, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and whipped topping until smooth. Chill until serving.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cracker crumbs, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine the eggs, buttermilk, and butter; add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown. Spread topping over pancakes. Top with warm syrup; sprinkle with additional blueberries if desired.

I followed the recipe pretty much verbatim this time, except our grocery store on base doesn't carry graham cracker crumbs (that I could find), so I used the cinnamon grahams and made crumbs of my own. Definitely a very yummy substitution! We also did not find it necessary to have the maple syrup, although I'm sure it wouldn't hurt the flavor at all.

We all, hands down, LOVED these pancakes! Even Island Dad, who is not normally a breakfast food fanatic, has requested that these make a repeat appearance on future Pancake Sundays.

Stay tuned for a return to Muffin Tin Monday tomorrow (which, for us, of course, is really Tuesday).