We finally got Aldi in Houston. For those of you that don’t know what Aldi is, it’s a discount grocery store. They keep their costs down by charging 10 cents per bag (or you can bring your own for free), selling only their store brand, not taking credit (cash or debit only) and “renting” a shopping cart (for free of course).
Here’s our Aldi
You might ask what are you talking about renting a shopping cart. Well, I say “renting” a shopping cart because I’m not sure what else to call it. You put a quarter into the shopping cart to unlock it, and you get your quarter back when you put your cart back. This allows the store to not have to hire an employee to be collecting shopping carts in the parking lot. I always thought it’s quite an ingenious system.
Here’s my quarter.
Here’s how it works.
Well, today was the grand opening. I was very excited. The last time I was in an Aldi was when Jeff and I went to Scandinavia with friends. We went into one in Denmark. The time before that was long ago when we went to college at WVU. So it was quite exciting. The grand opening was very busy. People were shopping away. And who wouldn’t when they are selling nectarines for 59 cents a pound and a dollar for a pineapple?!?
I tried very hard to take a picture discreatly without others in it so I didn’t look like a weirdo…lol!
I was in Aldi heaven. I know Jeff will be jealous that he didn’t go with me. We always loved going to Aldi together in WV. I guess I’ll just have to go back with him soon
My grocery loot!
Oh, the little things in life that make me happy… Aldi!
So today I happen to be in a H-E-B grocery store that carries Mama Tang’s. I first heard about it from a co-worker because her family makes it. It was so good. It’s great as a salad dressing or a marinade. I thought to myself I must get it once it’s in the stores. Well, they have been in select H-E-B’s for a while now. The first one I went to had no idea what I was talking about. So I gave up. Well, today I went into another one that carries it. I couldn’t find it where I thought it would be, so I asked someone (thinking that it would be like the last time). The manager came out and asked an employee. He walked me over to the employee and he happened to have it on his cart for stocking. Come to find out that they normally keep it in the cooking connection area (where they make food for you to sample). I was so excited!! I finally found a place to get it. YUM!!
A lot has been happening over the past few weeks. For starters, I’m loving working from home. Our friend Anne told me house wifey looks good on you. I never thought I would want to be a stay at home mom, but here I am… and I’m loving it. I really like working a few hours here and there. It helps me feel connected to a working world, yet I’m at home taking care of business. Being that things have been great, we gave notice to day care for Estelle. Her last day is in two weeks. After that it will be me and her together all day everyday… so that’s pretty exciting.
With all of my new time, I’ve been able to cook a lot more at home which has been great. I got a mandolin for my birthday and used it to make yummy sweet potato fries.
I added those to some fresh fried fish and a salad for an exciting 4th anniversary dinner.
A few days later I made homemade raviolis for us and our friends Kim and Fernando. I had a great time making them and Estelle was quite interested in what was going on. She was crawling back and forth following me around and watching me roll out the dough. Jeff took some pictures of me assembling the raviolis. I got to use my small rolling pin and ravioli wheel that my mom gave me which she got from my grandma who got it from her mother. So that was exciting!
Cutting the raviolis.
Making sure they’re closed.
Making raviolis is a blast!
The final product.
Don’t forget the grated cheese on top
On Saturday morning Estelle was making her usual cute little noises when she woke up. When we went to get her we found this…
Estelle kneeling in her crib.
Her being a beaver baby.
Then… she STOOD!!! She was very proud of herself.
We realized we needed to lower her mattress down to the lowest setting. Later that week she pulled herself up on the ottoman. Here’s a link to watch. She is getting soooo big soooo fast!
As I said early I’ve been doing a lot more cooking. I also have been trying to make my own bread and baby food. Not only is it much healthier, I think it tastes amazing and it’s so much cheaper than buying them at the store.
I have been trying to find a bread machine banana bread recipe that actually tastes like banana. I made a nice looking loaf that has a banana hint to it. So I tried it again with an extra banana, which was a bit of a failure. I’m thinking banana bread in a bread machine is only going to have a slight banana flavor… oh well. It still tasted good.
Things are looking good…
Cue in sad noise… wah waaahh… as you can see the top fell in.
And now my process of making baby food.
First you steam the veggies.
Then put them in the food processor.
Then you blend. Wa-la… baby food. Estelle seems to like all sort of squash. This is butternut squash.
As I’m sure you’re aware we also garden a lot. We plant lots of yummy veggies that we eat and freeze. This winter we did really well with broccoli, peppers (till the plants froze), snap peas, carrots, and brussels sprouts. Since it’s the spring we needed to start our summer garden so we picked everything that was left in preparation for planting the new plants.
Here is the loot…
Our delicious carrots
I turned them into this with squash
Now that the garden was cleared out, we planted our new plants. Estelle helped us.
The final product.
We planted lots of peppers, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, cucumbers and lettuce. We’re taking a break this summer from okra. I’m a bit okra’d out. In the past we didn’t do so well with cucumber and squash. We seemed to get these boring type bugs that eat the roots. So this year we sprayed the garden with sevin. Only time will tell if that works. If not, it won’t be too late to plant some okra since it grows so fast and loves the heat.
For Easter we went to Jeff’s parent’s house and spent the holiday with Jeff’s mom and sister, Katie. Jeff’s dad made the trip to Slidell to see some of his family that flew in from PA. Since this was Estelle’s first Easter I made her a little Easter basket. I got her two books (Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Chick-a-Chick-a Boom Boom), rice rusks and yogurt bites (for babies learning how to self feed), and a few other small things. I put some of the rice rusks in eggs for her. Playing with the plastic eggs was fun too! Here’s a video link of Estelle eating a rice rusk. She seems to like them. You’ll have to ignore the person in the background on the phone. Just look at the cute baby
Since Estelle is a pro now at standing, I got her a play center type toy that she can stand next to and play. She really likes it.
She’s just the sweetest baby. We love her so much! Happy Easter Estelle!
Jeff’s been traveling for work a lot. But it’s been so much better for me being at home. That doesn’t mean Jeff doesn’t see Estelle. Estelle is an expert at skying. She has skyped with her Uncle Steve and Aunt Elizabeth in Chile, her Uncle Alex and Aunt Kate in China, my parents and grandparents in NJ and my aunt in FL. Well, when daddy’s away she also skypes with him. Here’s Estelle skpying with her daddy over dinner.
Estelle is also a big fan of helping around the house.
Here she is helping with the laundry.
And helping do the dishes at Jeff’s parent’s house.
Well… that’s about all that’s been going on over the past few weeks. I need to post more frequently. Hopefully that will happen soon