so, we've been working on max's mad sitting skills, and he's getting pretty good at sitting up by using his hands to hold himself up. i call this sitting like a monkey.
he's pretty good at catching himself when he moves one of his arms and starts to topple over, but he has not yet mastered reaching for things while sitting up. his whole body goes in the direction he reaches, and he is unable to keep himself from taking a spill.
i think this sitting thing is a little bit difficult for max. he squirms and wiggles way too much to hold himself up for long. despite this, i think the time for more active toys (those best enjoyed while sitting up) is not far off.
in addition to sitting up, max has been discovering how much fun books are both with and without mommy's assistance. i have been reading to max pretty much since the day he was born. at first, he pretty much ignored the book in front of him, but since he was 5 or 6 weeks old he has really enjoyed the bright colors and pictures. chad seems surprised that max actually pays attention when we read to him (well, when we read short, extremely simple books that are mostly pictures). max also likes to turn the pages by himself, although he does not always turn them in the traditional direction. plus, he thinks books are pretty tasty and often chews on them when he's tired of looking at the pictures.
check out how max uses his feet to prop up a book.
only not so much. today i tried to make a purchase from oldnavy.com using the credit card that i always use to make purchases from oldnavy.com - only the transaction wouldn't go through. which is a pain in my arse. i had to update the expiration date on the card, but everything else is still exactly the same, so i do not understand why the credit card company suddenly decided that my purchases from old navy might be fraudulent. perhaps it has something to do with the new 4-stores-in-1 format that old navy, gap, banana republic, and piperlime are using now.
let me reiterate that i make purchases from old navy using this card every 3-4 months (i prefer this over going to the store for various reasons - one being that my local old navy rarely has anything in my size in their minuscule clearance section, from which i make many of my online purchases, and another being that i often really like some of their online-only items). i prefer to use a credit card instead of my debit card for online purchases because it's so much easier to get rid of a fraudulent charge on a credit card than to replace money in my bank account. so i always use the same credit card when shopping online.
but today the credit card company decided to screw with me. i entered my card info into the checkout section twice, including the security code from the physical card. both times, my attempted transaction was denied. instead i got a message that read something like, "the transaction could not be completed. please re-enter your information. if you are sure the information you entered is correct, please contact your credit card company."
only i didn't have to. they contacted me - 3 times. two emails and a voicemail while i was on the phone with them responding to the emails about 'possible fraudulent activity.' only there was no fraudulent activity - those bastards just decided that i wasn't allowed to buy anything today! well, i ended up just using my debit card after all, so i got the stuff i wanted. but no thanks to my stupid credit card people!
so anyway, i called their account security center (using the phone # from my card, not the emails) and informed them that there was no fraud and that i was very annoyed at the card not working for me. i also inquired as to how to avoid this situation in the future. and i was pretty much told that i couldn't. the chick i talked to said that if a transaction couldn't be completed in the future i would have to call the number on the back of my card and verify my information - which is a huge pain in the ass. anyway, she took the security flag off my account, so hopefully my card will work for me in the future.
i have been cooking up a storm over the last couple of weeks. i don't know what's gotten into me. one day i just caught the cooking bug, and i've been deviating from our usual tacos-spaghetti-pizza-sloppy joes-something from a box or the freezer dinner routine.
it all started a couple of weeks ago when i started itching to make nachos. mcguire's style nachos, that is. for those who aren't from around these parts, mcguire's is a very cool irish pub style restaurant in pensacola and destin, fl. they serve traditional irish foods plus the standard american fare (burgers, steaks, etc) - and there's a brewery right in the restaurant, so that's pretty cool if that's your thing. a lively round of "kiss the moose [crotch, ass, etc]" with the singer in the entertainment/bar area is also quite entertaining on weekend nights.
anyway, back to the point. nachos are one of the features on the appetizer section of mcguire's menu. but don't let that 'appetizer' thing fool you. when you order mcguire's nachos, you are served a veritable tower of food - literally. you get a tower of chips and yummy nacho toppings (meat/beans, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, various peppers, cheese, etc) approximately a foot tall. it takes five hungry 20-somethings to take down a tower of mcguire's nachos. not bad, feeding 5 for the low, low price of $9.99.
i love mcguire's nachos. chad and i frequently order them and nothing else and still take a mountain of leftovers home. well, we haven't been in pcola lately to sample this mountain of chippy, cheesy goodness, so i decided to try this at home. my effort is pictured above. it was pretty good, if i do say so myself. only i decided not to go for the messy tower. instead, i spread out the chips and toppings on a huge serving platter.
following the nacho success (and a few other food-related triumphs), chad coaxed me into making buffalo chicken fajitas for father's day. shortly before this, i had tried my hand at meatloaf. while it was tasty, it took forever, so a week or so later i did the meatloaf thing again, only i made four tiny loaves instead of one big one, which was way better time-wise. while grocery shopping this weekend, i got a wild hair and decided to make a chicken pot pie. it was tasty and quite easy. i have a recipe that calls for frozen veggies, but i wanted to experiment with different fresh veggies, so i just used potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions in the filling, and it was delicious.
oh, but the food madness isn't over yet. last night i was really craving good, homemade mac and cheese. so i made some. now, i have tried the mac and cheese thing before, and it turned out ok but not spectacular. something about the cheese sauce just wasn't quite right. so last night i threw the recipes out the metaphorical window and followed my amazing cooking instincts and made, like, the best mac and cheese ever. well, not mac and cheese, per se. i used penne rigate instead of macaroni, but you get the idea.
i also figured out the problem with my first attempt at the mac and cheese - my roux was too thick. instead of using equal parts butter and flour, i cut down the flour a bit (3 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp flour). after combining that with 1/2 cup half and half, 3/4 cup skim milk, and one 5 oz can of evaporated milk (i was going with what i had, people) then simmering it for about 5 minutes, it made a wonderfully thick (but not too thick) white sauce. then i added three huge handfuls of sharp cheddar, a little garlic salt and pepper, poured it over cooked penne rigate, topped it with more shredded cheddar, and baked it for 20 minutes at 350 deg. you should try it. best fake mac and cheese ever. but next time, i will plan ahead and just buy whole milk for the sauce.
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