Category Archives: Family Time

A Box is Better than a Toy

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We had a nice relaxing weekend of family time and getting stuff done around the house.

We put together our new grill over the weekend and of course the grill box was made into Alyssa’s “office”. She colored it and then she and Cassidy played in it all day Sunday. Why is it that kids love anything that is not a toy?

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I love that Cassidy is just a little pony tail sticking up in that picture.

We had a lazy day and did not change out of our pjs. Of course this is the day I decide to bring my camera back out of hiding.

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And Cassidy looks a little extra rough from the scabs all over her nose, lip, and forehead. Poor girl fell off one step off a friends deck and skidded her face. No bumps or bruises, and she barely cried. It looks way worse than it is and it makes her look so pathetic. But she clearly isn’t bothered!

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This left plenty of time for meal planning.

This weeks meal plan I am going easy and simple…I’m not feeling so motivated lately. I am going to include our breakfasts this time too. Lunch is usually a combination of yogurt, leftovers, salads, fruit, trail mix, etc and I never plan them out. But since giving up processed cereals, I have started making breakfast meal plans as well.

Sunday:

Breakfast: Chicken Sausage and Gravy with homemade biscuits and eggs

Dinner: Leftover meatloaf, broccoli, brown rice

Monday:

Breakfast: Banana bread

Dinner: Leftover turkey, garlic bread on homemade english muffins, steamed mixed vegetables

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Stovetop Old fashioned oats with mashed banana, ground flax, cinnamon, and homemade peanut butter

Dinner: Turkey tacos with 100% whole wheat tortillas, avocado, cheese, corn, and grilled peppers.

Wednesday:

Breakfast: Turkey sausage, egg, and cheese on homemade english muffins

Dinner: loaded baked potato vegetable soup

Thursday:

Breakfast: Pumpkin greek yogurt pancakes

Dinner: tilapia, roasted garlic dill potatoes, asparagus

Friday:

Breakfast: Stovetop Old fashioned oats with mashed banana, ground flax, cinnamon, and homemade peanut butter

Dinner: Blue cheese Burgers (on my new grill!), sweet potato fries, green beans

Saturday:

Breakfast: Yogurt and cranberry almond granola

Dinner: Leftover from one of the previous nights

I am glad to have all that planning out of the way. I really like to cook actually, it’s the deciding that I hate. Now I don’t have to think about it for another week!

Breastfeeding After 1 Year Old

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Now that Cassidy is 12 months, everyone keeps asking me when I am going to stop breastfeeding her. Breast milk or formula is supposed to be their main source of nutrition until 12 months, meaning they need a good amount until 12 months, and then they can start being weaned. Well we are at that point now. And it really snuck up on me. I knew it was coming up soon, but then all of a sudden it was here, she is 1! How did that happen??

With Alyssa I felt pressure to stop at 12 months. People know they are supposed to breastfeed for 12 months but after that I just assumed I should stop, mainly because that’s what I was told. I started weaning her at 12 months and by 14 months we were done. After I weaned her I learned of so many moms who did continue on nursing until 18 months or a little longer. And the World Health Organization recommends 2 years! After reading that I kind of felt like I weaned Alyssa too early. Why did I stop just because I felt like that’s what society wanted me to do? Well our society at least. Now don’t get me wrong, I would not want to nurse well into the toddler years, but I don’t judge moms who do. To each their own. Breastfeeding just takes a huge toll on my body and I need to give it a break before I get pregnant again (God willing). I also, personally, can not get pregnant while nursing. I did not get my cycle back until Alyssa was weaned to 1 feeding a day. Not complaining there!

So with Cassidy, I don’t feel the pressure to wean her right at 1 year. My views on breastfeeding haven’t changed, I am still a huge pro breastfeeder. But I guess whats changed is that I don’t care what others around me think. I am much more laid back in every sense with my second child. I use a nursing cover in public but if I am in my own car nursing her in a parking lot, you better not look in my windows unless you want to see some boob.  If I stop nursing, I need to give cows milk instead. But cows milk is still breastmilk, just from a cow. So if I could continue giving her my breastmilk, her own species, why not? And I know some people say “well just pump it out and give it to them in a sippy cup after 1”. Yeah well those people have clearly never pumped. It is a pain in the butt to pump! Nursing directly is just SO easy and convenient. There is nothing convenient about pumping.

So where am I at now and where will I go from here?

I still nurse Cassidy 5 times a day and pump in the mornings. I have almost cut out the pumping. I have to do it slowly because I have issues with mastitis on one side. Mastitis is not fun, at all, so I really have to wean slowly and let my body fully adjust before cutting another feeding. I hope to get Cassidy down to just morning, night, and 1 feeding during the day in the next month. I will wait at least 2 weeks between dropping feedings. That will still be 3 times a day and she will be 13 months old then. From there, I would like to get it down to just morning and night. After that, I don’t have any further plans. I do foresee her being completely weaned by 18 months. It may be 16, it may be 19, we’ll see how it goes. But for now…I love it, she loves it and at 12 months she is still a baby (especially since the little stinker refuses to walk).

My Family’s Eats

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I am lucky to have the time and opportunity to cook for my family every night. I really enjoy cooking so I do not mind at all. However, I am not a short order cook. I make one meal and everyone eats it. I’d say I am a pretty decent cook so its not like I am serving burnt tv dinners and expecting them to eat it. Everything is made from scratch, whole foods, and healthy. I do not make separate meals for my kids either. Unless I am making something that contains a major allergen Cassidy is not old enough for yet (peanuts, shellfish, etc). Both Alyssa, who is 3 1/2, and Cassidy, 10 months, eat whatever meal Dave and I are eating. Occasionally Alyssa will say “But I don’t want to eat this” or “I don’t like this” (before she has even tries it!). So I will say “ok that’s fine. Go ahead and get up and cook me the dinner you want to eat”.  She then says but mommy I’m too little to cook. So I say “yep, that’s right. That’s why you eat what I cook you”. That’s when I am feeling nice. If she is being rude with a little attitude, I flash her the evil eye and then she promptly says “Thank you Mommy for cooking me a healthy dinner” (A line I have fed her many times before, although its not usually said with much enthusiasm).

My What I Ate Wednesday went like this…

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Breakfast: 1 bowl wheat flakes with rice krispies and raisins added, 2 bowls multigrain cheerios. 1.5 cups skim milk on top.

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Snack 1: Blueberries from blueberry picking in the morning! A small black decaf from Dunkin.

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Lunch: salad- lettuce from my garden topped with leftover mexican pasta salad, avocado,and shredded chicken. An English muffin with 2 Tbs almond butter. Plus more almond butter straight from the jar of course.

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Snack 2: Four cups watermelon. Yeah that’s right, I ate half of a huge watermelon. Gotta get it while its good!

Dinner: Millet, chicken, and green bean casserole with melted parmesan and cheddar. Seconds were consumed.

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Snack 3: raspberry chocolate froyo popsicle. (plain greek yogurt, cocoa powder, honey, mashed raspberries)

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The girl’s Munchkin Meals very similarly went like this…

Breakfast: Cassidy: 1 stick of cheddar, some wheat puffs, and blueberries while we were picking.

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Alyssa: 1 bowl of multigrain cheerios with raisins.

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I kept Cassidy happy by feeding her fresh blueberries while we picked. The owners actually encourage you to eat while you pick since its all pesticide free!

Snack1: Alyssa: homemade graham crackers while we grocery shopped and Cassidy napped.

Lunch: They both had leftover Mexican Bean and Corn Pasta Salad with more blueberries on the side.

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Snack 2: They split a homemade yogurt popsicle. It was organic baby yogurt with mashed organic raspberries frozen in the mold. They both loved it. So much so it encouraged Cassidy to finally do the sign language for “more”. She was whining for more and I told her she wasn’t getting another bite until she said more. Well she signed it AND said the word. She wanted that popsicle!

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Dinner: Millet, chicken, and green bean casserole.

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Snack 3: They each ate a TON of watermelon. I would bet Alyssa will be up in the middle of the night to pee!

And of course Cassidy nursed 5 times throughout the day as well. Cassidys breakfast is usually different than mine and Alyssa’s because she eats a little later. She nurses right when she wakes up so she won’t eat any breakfast until at least 45 minutes later.

And here are some sweet pictures of my babies, just because…

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I love how in this next picture, Cassidy doesn’t have pants on and Alyssa doesn’t have a shirt on. Naked it where its at in this house apparently! They play together so well now. They played for over 2 hours last night together while I cleaned the house, love my girls!

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HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!

Another Good Weekend Turned Bad

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Let’s start off with the good… We kicked off our weekend on Friday blueberry picking. We have a pesticide free farm right down the street. We picked almost 4 pints of blueberries. The farm owner also sells zucchini, cucumbers, honey, eggs, and more depending on the season and his crop production. I talked to the owner about some zucchini growing tips and when it came time to pay he gave me a HUGE deal. 4 pints of blueberries, 5 cucumbers, and 2 squash for a whopping 5 bucks! And all pesticide free. One pint of organic blueberries are often more than $5 alone! We spent the rest of the day at the pool and the girls had an amazing time. Cassidy is fearless in the water just like her big sister!

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Saturday we went to Lowes for the kid’s build and grow workshop. Alyssa “bammed” as she says, which means hammered. She built a little wooden car and got a free pair of goggles and an apron. It was really cute! The rest of the day was pretty low key. We made some hummus and ate 3 of our cucumbers and 2 peppers out of our own garden.

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We also baked more homemade graham crackers and some cookie dough hummus for dipping.

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Sunday we went to church and I left Cassidy in the church nursery for the first time! I only left her for half the service because I didn’t want to let her get to the point where she was crying and fed up. She did great though. We had lunch at church and helped set up for the upcoming vacation bible school Alyssa will be attending all week. It’s the first time I have ever dropped her off somewhere and left. She has yet to go to preschool either. I am quite nervous, especially with her nut allergy. They assured me there was not nuts in anything they are serving and I was almost going to let her eat the same snack as the other kids. But I got a reality check and my paranoid parenting kicked back in on Sunday night and I decided I would pack her own snacks for the week. And for Thursday I am actually making snack for the entire VBS, 250 rice krispie treats! And what was my reality check?

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We had an allergy issue Sunday night. Although it wasn’t with Alyssa. I fried 2 organic eggs to top on a salad as part of dinner. I took the yolk out of one egg and fed it to Cassidy. After her second bite she started rubbing all over her face and I noticed she looked like this.

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She had hives all around her mouth. I remember this all too well from Alyssa’s reaction to cashews. I washed her down, took the egg out of her mouth, and called ask a nurse. She told me babies can’t have egg whites before one, something I already knew. And I am that overly paranoid mom that follows ALL the rules. If she was 11 1/2 months, I still wouldn’t have given her the whites until her actual 1st birthday. I told the nurse I knew that and I only gave her the yolk.

Then get this…she says “well do you think the white could have accidentally touched the yolk?”. Umm are you serious? Of course the yolk touched the white, haven’t you ever seen an egg?! The yolk is surrounded by the white! I obviously meant to remove all the egg white, but maybe there was a tiny bit left on there? But at 10 1/2 months, she is pretty close to 1 and I know plenty of moms who give their kids scrambled eggs well before 1, so it shouldn’t have been a huge deal if a microscopic piece of egg white was left on. But apparently it was. She has eaten egg yolks plenty of times the last month or two with no problem and has eaten things like pancakes and breads made with egg (which is considered ok before 1).

We are headed to her pediatrician tomorrow morning and then to a pediatric allergist soon after.

Not even a fresh loaf of chocolate zucchini bread could make this better. Although it was quite tasty.

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So now I guess we will have a nut free and egg free house. And since I am breastfeeding I think I am going to have to avoid egg containing foods as well. I just don’t understand… I feed them so healthy, they rarely eat processed foods, and I follow all the recommendations on introducing allergenic foods…why are so many kids developing food allergies these days?

Week of Workouts

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I had the most successful workout week I’ve had in a while. Ever since not working out for 2 weeks straight while Cassidy (and myself) were in the hospital early April, it has been hard to get back in the groove. I’ve been working out 1-2 times a week but the runs weren’t my best efforts, nor were my circuit workouts. However, since my day to day life is so active staying home with two little ones, swimming with them, chasing them, etc I didn’t worry about fewer formal workouts. However after this week of workouts, I have just felt amazing! Workout endorphins are a strong drug.

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How cute is my future runner? She climbed her little butt up there in 2 seconds flat. I snapped a quick picture since she was so stinkin’ cute before I took her down (the treadmill is not to be touched at all by my kids, even though I keep it turned off and the emergency button disconnected at all times). Cassidy isn’t the only one who was reacquainted with the treadmill. I got in a 40 minute workout early last week that included intervals of running 3/4 of a mile followed by walking 1/4 mile at 12.0 incline. I repeated until 40 minutes. It left me super sweaty and I followed it up with some abs exercises.

Workout number two of the week was with a new running group I joined for marine corps spouses. We are all moms so we are all pushing strollers. We did roughly a 3 mile run. I didn’t run fast nor did I run far, but it was a lot of fun and still a good workout. We end our runs at a park so all the kids got out and played for an hour or so after the run. Win win. The only problem is the runs just got moved from 930 to 830 am to account for summer temperatures. We just can not make it out of the house that early since Cassidy doesn’t wake up until 830 or later.

Workout number three of the week was killer, in a great way! On base, they have a new crossfit gym. 3 times a week they have a wives class run by a couple of marines. The Saturday morning class starts at 9 am so I had to put the kids to bed early in order to get out the door on time. The other 2 days start at 830 but I just really don’t think we can make it to those unfortunately. I absolutely loved the class! We started with a 400 meter warm up run and then 10 minutes of high knees, butt kicks, sprints, etc. Then we did the WOD (workout of the day). I forget what the workout was named but it went like this…

10 cleans

5 burpees

bear crawl across the room

10 situps

bear crawl back

It was done with a partner and we held a plank (front or side) while our partner completed the circuit then we switched. Repeat as many times as you can in 20 minutes. My partner and I did it 9 times through. That means for half of that 20 minutes I was holding a plank. So in 20 minutes I did 90 cleans, 45 burpees, 18 bear crawls across the gym, 90 situps, and 10 minutes of planks!

The top of my back and shoulder are killing me! Those bear crawls really did me in. Its just an exercise I don’t normally do so my muscles really felt it! And one of the best parts about the crossfit wives classes is that they have a playroom with a babysitter in there. They just ask you give the 16 year old girl $1 per child! So I got an awesome workout with childcare for 2 children for 2 bucks. Deal of the century! The marines also go through each move in the WOD before we do it to make sure our form is correct. And they are there shouting encouragement at us along the way as well. I can’t wait to go back!

I know some of you may think 3 workouts in a week isn’t much, but that is my “sweet spot” as far as working out goes. I like pushing myself hard a few times a week versus less intense workouts more times per week. My body just can’t handle intense workouts consecutive days in a row. So 3 awesome workouts in 1 week is perfect for my body and schedule!

Crossfit was an awesome way to start off our weekend. The rest of the weekend was spent going to the pool, church, and of course enjoying good food. We made a homemade meatloaf with parmesean millet, and green beans from my garden.

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Cassidy got to eat one of the two tiny zucchini we got before the squash borers ate my plants. I steamed it whole and it was perfectly baby portioned!

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And multiple batches of these single serving cookies (makes 2 cookies for 150 calories!) were consumed. I played with the recipe and they are amazing! I guess I should have just made a whole batch and eaten them throughout the weekend huh? But my problem is that if I have 2 dozen cookies sitting in my house, I will eat an entire dozen throughout the day. So if I only make 2 at a time, I can only eat 2 at a time. Recipe to come later this week!

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Last week was a success in the kitchen and on the fitness front. Feels great and I am ready to tackle another week! We have a busy one ahead for sure! I have a feeling it will be obsessing over planning the girls 1st and 4th birthday parties, even though its still 2 months away. I think we are going for a lollipop theme. We are having one set of parties in MD for both girls then a separate party here at home for Alyssa since she has her little friends she wants to celebrate with. Do you think its terribly lazy of me to just make both themes lollipops so I can reuse the decorations I make? Its just so tempting and easy sounding considering I am throwing 2 birthday parties within a couple weeks of each other.

Weekend Wrap Up and Cassidy’s 10 Month Update

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How in the heck is my baby girl already 10 months? Famous words of a parent, I know! Time really does fly. Before I go into Cassidy’s stats, I’ll recap my low key weekend.

We ate lots of fresh healthy dinners with vegetables from our own gardens! Friday night’s dinner had green beans from my garden as well as a fresh pesto I made with basil from my garden.

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Sunday nights dinner had veggies from my mom’s boyfriend’s garden. He lives on a farm and has a legit garden/farm, not just a little backyard one. He sent me home with more potatoes and peas than most families could ever consume before going bad. But I will be eating them everyday until they are gone, I don’t mind repeats and leftover, especially when its repeats of fresh home grown vegetables. I roasted them up with a couple of Trader Joe’s chicken sausages, olive oil, and parsley, oregano, and basil from my own garden.

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Speaking of gardens, mine took a huge hit this weekend. I found out I have grubs or squash borers that completely destroyed ALL of my squash plants. HUGE bummer to put it lightly! I had butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini squash, and spaghetti squash all growly beautifully a few days ago and now they are all dead.

I drowned my sorrows in a rolo McFlurry last night to make it all better. It helped a little.

Now on to the cutest, sweetest 10 month old baby around, Cassidy Blaire! Cassidy is still the same little angel baby she has always been but now she is go go go. She is always moving and active and its getting harder to get her to sit still in places like church. She made it about 40 minutes on my lap with snacks and patty cake before I had to take her into the “mother’s room”. In her defense, church is right in the middle of her morning nap so she is forced to nap later on the way home from church in her seat on Sundays.

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Sleep:

Still a STELLAR sleeper. Like seriously unreal. She’s out by 830 pm and wakes up at 830 am. Some days even longer. Friday night she was out by 815 pm and I woke her at 930 am because we had somewhere to be that morning! She naps for about 1-2 hours in the morning or sometimes a nap in her car seat if we are out and about which is usually only 45 minutes-1.5 hours. Then she naps in the afternoon for 2-2.5 hours, sometimes closer to 3 if she had a shorter morning nap. She adapts beautifully to our hectic schedules and naps whenever she can. We are usually home for her afternoon nap though so she has some nap consistency and I do keep a relatively strict bedtime. She goes to bed late maybe once a month if we are out at a party or friends house but I really try to be home by bedtime.

Eating:

She is still breastfed mostly. She nurses at 830 am (or wakeup time), 1130, 230, 530, and 820. So that’s 5 times a day. She eats a small breakfast of bananas and some days some rice puffs. Lunch is a fruit, vegetable, protein, and whole grain. Dinner is a vegetable, protein, whole grain. A little cheese is offered at either lunch or dinner and is her favorite food of all time. She eats baby cereal mixed with 2 oz breast milk around 7 pm each night. She eats mostly organic, well I guess we all do. She just eats what we eat, no baby purees or anything. She is not picky at all so far and eats whatever I make the rest of the family to eat. I just cut it in little pieces and she feeds herself. So a modified baby led weaning approach I guess. Sometimes I give her the bunch chunks of food for her to bite, like bread or a green bean, but I cut up most of her food.

Milestones:

She pulls herself up on anything and everything and can climb really well. I found her on top of Alyssa’s little tykes picnic table in the playroom. I went to the bathroom real quick and ran back to see her so proud of herself that she made it to the top in record speed. She is starting to walk behind her little push car but I don’t foresee her walking on her own this month. I am expecting closer to a year old, but who knows.

And we can now do pigtails, that’s a milestone, right?!

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Stats:

These are unofficial since I did them at home. She is 29.25 inches long and 17.75 lbs. That puts her in the 95% for height and 30% for weight. We only have 3/4 of an inch left until she outgrows her infant carrier. I am dreading this because she still falls asleep in her carrier a lot and its nice to be able to snap it out of the car and just sit in the house for her to keep napping.

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Speaking of percentages, I looked up growth charts today to get her percentages and there are 2 different ones commonly used. One is from the CDC and that’s the one my pediatrician uses. It averages all babies in the United States. However the other one is the WHO growth chart and it is made from averages across the world (I think it said from 4 different developed countries) ONLY from babies who were exclusively breastfeed for at least 4 months and are still nursing by 12 months. So the WHO growth chart would obviously be more accurate for us and it puts her at a higher percentage for weight.

I really don’t know what I did to deserve this easy easy baby. Maybe its to balance out little miss sassy pants Alyssa. Alyssa is so sweet and caring and hilarious but girl has a little attitude on her when she wants. Dave better watch out because if all my future children are as easy as Cassidy and fun as Alyssa, I may want 10!

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Maryland Blue Crabbing

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I grew up in Maryland. That means I grew up eating blue crabs dredged in Old Bay. If you truly want a “Maryland Crab Cake”, you have to order it in Maryland. I have yet to find a true MD crab cake anywhere else. They always have peppers or onions or huge chunks of bread in them, gross! The limiting factor to eating crabs and crab cakes however is the price. At around 30-40 dollars per dozen or 15-20 dollars for one (great) crabcake, it’s a luxury.

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When I was in MD visiting, we decided to go old school crabbing. No crab traps or trot lines. We went to a pier and tied string to the dock that had chicken necks tied on the ends. When you see the line tighten up, it means a crab is tugging on the chicken. You slowly pull the line up, with the crab attached to the chicken by its pincers, and then scoop it up with a crab net.

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We filled a bin with water and dumped them all in as we caught them. We caught 12 total! That’s about 40 bucks worth!

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Walking back to dump our crabs in the bucket.

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These first two we put in the bucket had a full out brawl. The one crab pinched the others eyes and ripped his mouth off.

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While we crabbed, the kids played. Alyssa was playing on this monkey bar type thing. She was going to the top then dropping to the ground. She kept hurting her arms doing it but the crazy kid kept going back for more so she could get it right.

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Cassidy hung out in the pack n play and kept an eye on the crabs for us.

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When we got home, we steamed them up. Just boil water with some vinegar in there. Load them up with a bunch of old bay, put the lid on, and steam for 30 minutes until they turn red/orange.

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Check out that intense look. I had just dropped one on the ground so I was trying not to do it again!

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If you ever go to Maryland, you must try either picking fresh crabs or get a good crab cake. Warning: it takes a pretty long time to pick crabs if you aren’t used to it so crab cakes may be the way to go. Either way, Old Bay must be involved!

I made crabcakes with the leftover crabmeat and put it on top a salad for lunch. And I forgot to take a picture until it was almost gone, oops.

And since it is what I ate Wednesday I will show you a delicious dessert I ate last night (and the night before). Even though its not really with the theme this month of “sensible snacking”.

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Starting off with a one pan skillet cookie.

And topped it off with vanilla ice cream and a ton of homemade hot fudge sauce. yum!

Have you ever had Maryland Blue Crabs? They do take longer to pick and have less meat than snow crab legs or Dungeness Crabs, but they taste SO much better!