Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Buckroe Beach

After months of dreary, wet weather, the sun appeared today, creating a beautiful, warm opportunity to visit the beach. So, we packed up nothing we needed and everything we didn't use and took G to see the "ocean" (really the bay where it hits the ocean).

The water was maybe a little chilly for playing. Still, we let her dip her toes in.

We built a "sandcastle" - really, G just dug in the sand and tried to eat fistfuls of it.

Fun afternoon! Tim historically isn't the biggest fan of the beach. I wondered if we would ever visit the beach for a family vacation. Instead, we moved to the coast. I can take G whenever. Lots of sunscreen for us.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child

Prov. 22:15 "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him."
One of my dear friends (a mother of five) quoted this verse to me weeks before G was born. I believed her, after all, when you have five children under five years old, you should know what is bound up in the heart of a child. I didn't realize how soon that heart would show itself.

My girl loves to be naked. She actually calms down when you change her diaper because she is able to lie naked on the changing table. It also makes bath time a big hit. As a treat, we let her play disrobed in the sun or near a heat vent to stay warm. Recently, she started showing her displeasure at being dressed again.

We already knew that she had a temper (even the nursery workers noticed when she was less than two months old). She's just finding new ways to show it. Recently, she started shrieking hysterically every time I dressed her, showing no compassion for my mangled sense of hearing. It's a little young for the "rod of discipline" (I think her time outs would be approximately 20 seconds). All I can do is ignore the screaming and persevere in dressing her. Yet another interesting lesson in the human condition courtesy of Gwennan Ellis.

In case you think me insensitive that I took pictures of my daughter crying instead of cuddling her, well, yeah, that's what I did. Maybe I will correct that behavior next time around.

Tex Mex Chicken Salad

I thought I disliked chicken salad until recently. I made a chicken salad with apples and raisins. It revolutionized my view of chicken salad. The other night, I was struggling to come up with dinner plans and found some leftover chicken from fajita night. So, here was my concoction.

2 c of shredded chicken (best if leftover from fajitas, tacos, etc...)
1/2 c of chopped carrots
1/2 c of chopped baby spinach
1/4 c of chopped onion
1/3 c of light mayonnaise
1 T of red wine vinegar
1 t of cumin
2 T of chopped cilantro
1/2 t salt

I know it sounds odd, but it is really delicious. A nice twist on an old standby.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Amendment to Frozen Baby Food

The baby food doesn't just pop out of the ice cube trays like ice cubes do, probably because they don't freeze as hard, so they just flex with the tray. I suppose you could spray them with non-stick cooking spray, but I felt like that would defeat the purpose of all natural baby food. Oh well. Instead, I portioned several days worth into a freezer bag and have just defrosted that as I see fit.

New food of the week: Bananas!!! They were a hit. No surprise there.

86,000 meals for Haiti

I'm so proud of our church. This weekend, they packaged 86,616 meals to send to Haiti. Kids Against Hunger provided the organization and bulk foods, and the congregation put them all together.

The adventure started last Friday when the pallets of food arrived - 8 pallets to be exact. They were the only items in the semi trailer. Tim had to tie them to his truck with a rope and drag them (carefully) to the edge where the fork lift could take them into the church building. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find storage for 8 pallets of rice and soy?!

Tim's brothers, Andy and Will (they're twins - I'm not sure that G has figured out that they're two different people), and a friend, Ben, arrived Friday with all the packaging equipment. The church worked all weekend to portion out the food and package it.

This week, we will be shipping it down to relief workers in Haiti. I love that we were able to help tangibly. We're not just blindly throwing money at the problem. This food will be handed directly to families who need it. Such a cool project.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lullaby Playlist

My mom was very patient with our musical taste growing up. She listened to more than her fair share of Wee Sing sing-a-long tapes and all of our records set to 45 rpm instead of 30 (they all sounded like the chipmunks, and yes, I know that records are dated - I am too young for 8 tracks; obviously the record player was a hand-me-down as were the records). Little kid music wasn't great then, but it beat the heck out of "Kid Bop" - elementary students remaking pop hits. Good grief. Who comes up with this junk?!

So, I sought hoped to brainwash G toward a more adult taste in music in utero. I read that babies respond to music heard before they're born. I figured it was worth a shot, so I created "G's Lullaby Playlist" (click here for  complete playlist). And...

It worked. She knows the songs and even calms down when they are played. I'm all about helping her fall asleep (eventually, we're going to use a babysitter). She also relaxes when my other favorites are on - Jack Johnson, Alison Krauss, Phil Wickham, the Weepies, etc... Pretty cool.

Another article I read talked about introducing your kids to world music that they can dance to. She starts kicking around with the Best of Africa and World Party cd's. Putomayo produces a lot of interesting global mixes (for those of you in K'town, McKay's usually has a great selection).

All this to say, I need help maintaining some semblance of adulthood. Some of the kiddie music out there kills brain cells; I lost enough being pregnant. I at least need good music!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back to Cloth

I have diapers on the brain. Kind of lame. This week, I've been pulling apart old diapers (I've improved my original design but need the old material), sewing diapers (5 down, 15 to go), washing diapers (always) and using disposables (the diaper rash rebloomed, although I think I have fixed it). Literally, I see diapers when I close my eyes.

Whenever I use disposable diapers, I remember why I use cloth. At first it was the trash, then it was the blowouts (her skinny legs create the perfect chute in disposables). This go around, it's the stink. Call me crazy (or overly committed to cloth), but the soiled paper diapers smell so strongly that I have a hard time nursing her if she has a dirty diaper. I never have that problem in cloth. And thanks to the diaper pail lid and baking soda, they don't even smell when they're waiting for laundry day. So yeah, I'm ready to finish these prefolds, so I can get back to cloth.

Daddy's Little Automechanic

When I was little, my parents used to read this book to me about two children helping their daddy. I loved it, and it fulfilled its purpose by encouraging me to see chores with Daddy as fun. We have pictures of my "help." At about 18 months, I'm sitting on my dad's chest with the oil funnel on my head, while he's working with his head under the car.

G had a moment like this the other day. Tim was studying the Toyota manual before replacing the fuel pump in the Leprichon (his truck is tiny and bright green). Following his interest, she became engrossed in the manual, sitting in front of it, swiping at the pages.

Obviously, Gwennan still has a limited ability to help, but we'll get there. Before we know it, she'll be digging through the mulch we just spread to check for edible objects and rifling through Tim's wrench set while he works on the car. I love it! (although, I might not when she's actually making a mess out of my project)

Did I mention that she sat, unaided, for several minutes while I took pictures?
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Homemade Prefit Diapers

After my last post, I hope I didn't worry anyone by not writing yesterday. I just had a great project that I wanted to work on, then I could post it.

Homemade Prefitted Diapers

The Materials:
My favorite part is the flannel covering. The patterns are so much fun and varied. I found most of it in the remnant bin at Joann's for 50% off. (I make special trips to Joann's just to dig through the remnant bin). The jersey came from leftover t-shirts that the church was going to throw away. All in all, 20+ diapers for around $1.50 each. This project is technically very easy, although it requires some time to cut all of these out (keep in mind, I need about 2 dozen diapers).

The Materials:
I found good, free patterns at Fern and Faerie and at Ottobre Design, although I later decided that the easiest and maybe most accurate thing was to trace the diaper cover, so that the diaper fit exactly into the cover.
Fabric wise: you need 2 pieces of flannel, 2 pieces of jersey, 1 piece of fleece, cut as shown. The flannel and jersey follow the Fern and Faerie pattern, while the fleece panel is more like an insert, that is slightly trimmed to fit around baby's legs. As you can see here, none of the fabric has to match, because you can only see the flannel in the finished product.

Step 1: Sew the fleece panel onto the backside of a flannel piece.
A thing to note about fleece in diapering. If you buy polyester fleece, it doesn't absorb particularly well. Instead, it draws moisture through the fabric. To keep baby dry, you want to position the fleece close to the skin, so it pulls the moisture away. If you splurge for hemp or bamboo fleece, it absorbs moisture, in which case, it should be positioned away from the skin.

At this point, you can add velcro tabs to the flannel pieces. I don't because the diaper cover will hold these in place as will a Snappi.

Step 2: Match one jersey piece to one flannel piece - front sides of the fabric together. Sew just the short top edges together, then turn back sides together and iron. Repeat.

Step 3: Align front and back panels so that the flannels layers are together. Straight Stitch the sides and along back edges, leaving the short front edge open, creating a pocket.

Optional: you can add 3" of 1/2" elastic on either side at the thinnest portion (where baby's legs will be) and along the back edge. My experience is that this is unnecessary.

Step 4: Turn right side out (flannel print should be the only thing showing). Straight Stitch again along the sides and back, making sure to reinforce your stitches by the front opening.

This creates a pocket diaper which can hold an additional soaker for extra absorption (especially at night).

The finished product, folded and ready to go.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Vision of You

Looking at the premise of my blog, I realized that I portray myself as somewhat super human. Nothing could be further from the truth. I flake out and forget to call people back. I overload my to do list, then wig because I can't physically do it all. I get lost driving somewhere I should be able to find in my sleep and cry hysterically at a red light.

The reality is that the Lord graciously, painfully tore down idols in my life. The problem is that I now want to replace them - the god of career for the god of motherhood, ambition for my life transferred to ambition for my daughter's or homeschooling or whatever. This week the Lord has been revealing how incapable I am and how insufficient my earthly life is.

So this morning, Gwennan has cried non-stop since Daddy left for work; taxes are due; the beautiful weather has moved on; the home inspector is coming; the laundry is piled high and deep; and our house in Knoxville is still on the sluggish market. As I was about to scream at my daughter to just shut up a minute, the Lord intervened through my iPod (who says God isn't sovereign over Mac?)

Awaken what’s inside of me
Tune my heart to all You are in me
Even though You’re here God come
And may the vision of You
Be the death of me
And even though you’ve given everything
Jesus come    ~~ Shane Bernard and Shane Everett

I sat on the living room floor, Gwennan still screaming, asking Jesus to come into this moment. I can't tackle the whole week; maybe not even the entire day, but this moment I can spend with my Savior who is bigger than our mortgage or the home repairs or even Gwennan crying. 

Thank you, Jesus!! In you I find my rest!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Azteca Chocolate Cake

Traditionally, I didn't like chocolate, in any form. My mom swore I could not possibly be her child, but one look at us silences that. Then she told me that I would grow into it. Like most things, she was right. Through pregnancy,  I gained an affinity for dark chocolate. The rest of the chocolates are a waste of calories for me, but dark chocolate - oh my. I know eventually I'll half to cut back, but right now, I have a daily requirement.

It's my turn to bring dessert to small group. In an effort to curb my appetite for chocolate (I've already had some dark chocolate pistachio toffee from TJ!), I decided to make chocolate cake. Not just any chocolate cake, however. I'm borrowing this recipe idea from my sister. Her version was the best cake I've ever had. I don't know that mine will rival hers, but I had to give this a shot.

I labeled it Azteca Chocolate Cake because the only other time I've had this combination of flavors was at Teavana in the Azteca Fire Herbal Tea. I tried this tea two years ago, and I've never found anything to match it. My procrastination is becoming annoying, so I'll just tell what the flavors are: chocolate and cayenne pepper.

The Official Recipe:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I suggest Hershey's Dark Chocolate)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (depends on how daring you are)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cold brewed coffee
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients and use a whisk to mix thoroughly. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Bake for 35-40 min (if using two 9" round cake pans, 45-50 min if using a bundt pan).

Thanks to All Recipes for the basic cake recipe.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sweet Potato Baby Food

I might have ruined my daughter. I tried to use a jar of Gerber applesauce and rice cereal the other day. Gwennan wouldn't eat it. She never refuses food. In fact, she tries to eat everything we have on hand, including coffee. But she wanted nothing to do with that jar of baby food. My guess - it was really sweet, like candy sweet. She's never had anything like that. If I'm going to ruin her on food, there are worse things than teaching her to like the unsweet, fresh stuff.

I make all of G's baby food from scratch. I suppose the class I took on food borne illnesses in grad school has something to do with wanting to know the exact ingredients in her food (Did you know that formula from China can contain plastic as a key ingredient?!). However, I'm not here to argue the use of homemade versus store bought baby food. Your kid - your decision. But if you're interested, here's how I made sweet potatoes into baby food. This would work for most other vegetables also.

1. Peel and cut up sweet potatoes (one is sufficient for plenty of baby food).
2. Place in a pot and cover with water. Boil water, then simmer until the potatoes are soft.
3. Blend potatoes until consistency is appropriate for child's age (use the water they were cooked in to thin).
4. Spoon into ice cube trays and freeze to be used later. Each ice cube tray holds about a tablespoon. My skinny mini eats two tablespoons of baby food two times a day.

All in all, for 20+ servings of baby food it cost me $1.20 and 30 minutes (not counting the time it took to cook the potatoes when I was doing something else).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day at the Shenandoahs

Yesterday was fun. The mountains were beautiful. I've never been to the Shenandoah National Park, but I was very impressed. The snow melt made for a wet, somewhat snowy trail. At some points we were tromping through drifts that were almost 2 feet deep.

We tried Gwennan in a baby backpack. She loved it. For the first mile, she squealed with delight. She is too short to peer over the top, so she wedged her face into the gap at the side, where she eventually fell asleep.

The trail followed several streams down the mountain, forming several waterfalls along the way. At the pool underneath one of the falls, we stumbled upon a group of twenty-somethings that we had previously met in the parking lot. At the start of the trail, they were headed down to the bottom in their underwear - boxers, sports bras. When we met up with them again, they were stark naked, sunning themselves like so many albino turtles. Apparently today was bath day. We're not sure of their whole story, but they certainly provided comic relief for us.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Our First Hiking Trip

G and I are preparing to trek through the Shenandoah's today. This will be her first hike. So of course, pictures will be taken, not that you'd expect less of me.

I'm nervous. So I'm blogging instead of packing. Why am I nervous? This is my first hiking trip, too. Well, at least since she was born. Seven months pregnant the last time I hiked, my swollen belly caused me to stumble and topple over, leaving a softball sized bruise on my thigh. I kept up with the group, but just barely.

I'm no longer horribly off balance, but I am carrying an extra 11 pounds of precious baby. My pride is flaring up, telling me I won't be able to keep up, or my asthma is going to kick in, or I won't be prepared. Here's hoping that virtually voicing my fear will help me put it aside and enjoy a wonderful walk in the woods.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Babies in Pictures

My little girl is growing. She's learned to sit up. You can tell from these pictures that the boppy is really only necessary to cushion her fall now instead of propping her up as it is in the bottom photo. She now spends a lot of time sitting and chewing on stuff. For instance, she just pulled off her sock and shoved it in her mouth.

I admit, the baby picture posts are mostly to satisfy Grandparents and Great Grandparents (that's right MY grandparents have bookmarked my blog).

I want to point out something about photographing people in general, but babies specifically. Pay attention to the clothes they are wearing. When I wanted to take G's 3 month pictures, I put her in one of my favorite new outfits (she had just moved up a size) without a thought to how it would look on "film." Even though the light was much better when I took this shot (natural light on a sunny day coming in from multiple angles), the color was off. Those awkwardly pink flowers on her shirt are actually purple. The problem is two fold: the colorful shirt messes with the overall white balance, and the pattern distracts from my subject: Gwennan. If you look at the above pictures, you might notice the cat emblem on her shirt, but mostly you see her eyes. Even more distracting than big patterns, lettering. Right now, Gwennan has on the cutest onesie that say "Daddy Loves Me" in bright colors. While I love putting her in this outfit, today is not the day to photograph her. I'm not a particularly skilled photographer, but I try to improve. Paying attention to clothing detail is my newest lesson.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

The Promised Mobile

A few days ago, I asked for accountability to finish G's mobile. It worked. I finished it and have moved on to a set of leg warmers for my soon-to-be-scooting baby. Now, all the mobile pieces are waiting on Tim to finish the frame (He's close).

I made up the patterns for the dragonfly and bumblebee, but the pattern for the ladybug is here and the flower is here. They were very quick and would make great gifts. I am working on the write up for the dragonfly. I had no idea how time consuming it is to write out a pattern. When I'm making it up, I just adjust until it looks right. Reproducing it for anyone is difficult.

A word about where I find patterns. I usually list the websites on the left side of my blog under "My Inspiration." My favorite site for knitting and crocheting patterns is ravelry. They have hundreds of free patterns to make just about anything you could think of. If you have any interest in yarn crafts, ravelry is gift.
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Middle School Quote of the Week

My husband and I work with middle schoolers which provides much jocularity at our house. My favorite today:

Tim: "You don't need to answer - that's a rhetorical question."
Middle school boy: "I can answer. It's not retarded."

Oh dear.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wait, what am I doing here?

I heard about pregnancy turning your brain to mush. Like everything else that people warn me about, I thought they were exaggerating. But no, I have totally lost my mind. It's more than just lack of sleep and time to myself. The problem is more deeply rooted in the recess of my previously high-functioning brain. I've become such a flake! I can't keep track of the days. I walk into rooms and can't remember why I'm there. My calendar is virtually empty, but I can't keep track of the few things I'm responsible for. So frustrating.

Those of you who have babies know what I'm talking about, and you may be chuckling at our shared fate. Those of you who haven't had babies yet, go ahead, laugh and shake your head. Tell yourself it will never happen to you. That optimistic sense that every other mother is an idiot and you will not succumb to their stupidity allows us to charge ahead into the next grand adventure. If you really knew what you were getting into, you probably wouldn't get into it.

I say that you wouldn't get into it - that's not true. I love being a mom. Getting Gwennan up in the morning is the best part of my day. I just wish I could form a coherent sentence.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I started fooling around with embellishing on some onesies for a friend's baby boy. They came out so much cuter than I might have imagined. I can't wait to try this out on a few onesies for G.


To make these, I drew the pattern on a paper bag, then cut out the image and used it as a template on patterned fabric (these were all scraps or quilting squares). Then I used permanent fabric glue to adhere the embellishment to the onesie and traced the edges with fabric paint to protect from fraying. This works best if you wash both the onesie and the fabric before you start to avoid uneven shrinkage.

Thanks to wise craft for sending me in the direction of this site.

Ottobre Design

This website has all sorts of cute patterns that could be used for embellishing. They also offer plenty of free patterns for those of you who sew. I am itching to sew a purse with some fabric I found in the Joann's remnant bin, and I saw a couple really cute patterns here.
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Sarah's Cough Drops

Kudos to my sister, Sarah, for making cough drops at home. You might wonder why any sick person would take the time and effort to make cough drops. What can I say, Sarah and I come from the same faulty gene pool.

Here's the scoop:

Brew a 1 1/2 c of herbal tea - this needs to be really strong, so use 3 or 4 teabags.

Mix with 1/2 c of sugar and 1/2 c corn syrup or honey

In a saucepan, heat to 300 degrees. For those of you without a candy thermometer, a hard boil until clear (clear is different from colorless; clear means no sediment; you shouldn't see any sugar granules).

While your syrup is heating, take a 9 x 13 pan and cover in powdered sugar approximately 3/8" deep. Using your thumb, make cough drop sized indentions in the powdered sugar. When the mixture is hot, pour it into the powdered sugar molds (Sarah insists that this process is very forgiving).

Let cool. Once the cough drops harden, remove them from the powdered sugar. You can then run the powdered sugar through a sifter and store again for another use - no harm done to your sugar.

Thanks Sarah for sharing with me.

New Craft Day

My girl is in a benadryl induced coma (part of the diaper rash regiment - she actually has hives), so I am taking some time to work on my neglected blog. Thank you for being patient while my family was here. I really enjoyed the visit.

Good news - someone is viewing our house in Knoxville today for a second showing after getting their finances in order. I'm very excited at the prospect of finding somewhere permanent to live in Virginia. Big thank you to the Fehl's for providing us with a home thus far.

My house is in order; we have plenty of leftovers; Tim's at work; it's raining. Is that not the most amazing description of a craft day? It doesn't get any better.

My mom always motivates me to start knitting. She is a wonderful knitter who always has the best yarn. I know it's a sin, but I covet her yarn basket. Anyway, since she was just here, knitting every time she sat down, I dug through some ravelry patterns looking for a new project to tackle.

My ultimate goal is to knit my first pair of socks with yarn my mom gave me. I want to knit them both at the same time because, as any of my readers know, I don't like multi part projects. To practice knitting two items in the round at the same time on the same needles, I've started a pair of leg warmers for G. They should knit quickly and come in handy in the next few weeks. She has started rolling over easily - front to back and back to front. Next step, scooting.

I frequently become distracted while writing, looking for different craft projects and any available dogs on craigslist (I really want a dog). Today, I stumbled upon a video for DIY shoes from Patagonia. Of course, I can't find them for sale anywhere, but it started me thinking about how easy it would be to make a pair of moccasins. Hmm... I see a day of leather punching in my future.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My mind is a little mushy - thank you G

Today was a catch up day. The type when you clean up from company, eat leftovers, wash laundry, finish projects. Honestly, I'm having a hard time making it sound exciting.

We made a return trip to the pediatrician today for the diaper rash that won't stop. Seriously, four different alternating medicines. I think there are chemo treatments less complicated than this.

I wish I had more for you, but it's just been that kind of day. Quick and mundane. Those days that you forget about. Later in the week, you can't figure out how time slipped by so quickly. I think that's part of why I blog. It forces me to think through my day, what I did, so I don't just drift. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Yesterday, we visited Williamsburg. Not my best photography day, but we had a wonderful time.

Avoiding the sun

These two children were dressed up for their trip to Williamsburg. They were so cute. I can't wait until Gwennan wants to wear colonial dresses.
colonial girl

My mom and Gwennan
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More Williamsburg

We got a kick out of the "good rooms for ladies and gentlemen." In Knoxville, the Last Chance strip club always advertise 30 Beautiful Ladies and 1 Ugly One. Now, we snicker any time we see numbered ladies. (I also giggle when anyone says "manage assets" - I'm just that immature)

They sold birdhouse jars - neat concept. Since Sarah was with me and is a potter, I just handed it to her. Please make on for me for my birthday, Sis. :)

A sweet moment between Daddy and G - the first time she noticed a tree.
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mobile Accountability

Sometimes I need a crafting kick in the pants. I usually crank through my projects, especially knitting and crocheting. Recently, I hit a wall because I don't love the pattern I'm working on. It's a mobile for Gwennan with ladybugs and a dragonfly and bee circling a flower. I'm stuck on the flower - the petals require that you count every stitch. Plus you have to make multiple pieces. I've noticed the more pieces I have to make and stitch together, the less likely I am to finish. Maybe that's why my mom makes both socks in a pair at one time. When you bind off the last row, you're done - a complete pair of socks. It's so discouraging to bind off, only to realize that you still have 6 more pieces to make and connect.

So, I'm giving myself a deadline. I must be finished with this project by Sunday. Please, ask me about it, beg for pictures, berate me if I don't post this mobile. I need to move on to another project. Thanks!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dinner with Auntie Sarah

Sarah helped me out tonight by feeding Gwennan. They made a terrific mess. So much fun.

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My favorite muffins

I made these muffins this morning. On a funny note, because Alex is asleep in the living room, I didn't want to use the food processor in the kitchen and wake him up. I ended up carrying the chopper and the bag of carrots and G out to the garage and using the outlet on the workbench. Silly, I know.

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c flax seed meal
3/4 c wheat bran
1/2 c rolled oats
1 c brown sugar
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon (I also throw in some allspice and nutmeg)
2 c shredded carrots
1 1/2 c shredded apples (you can also use applesauce)
1 c craisins
1 c chopped nuts
3/4 c milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla

Mix dry ingredients with whisk. add carrots, apples, craisins and nuts and mix until covered with flour mixture. Add liquid ingredients and mix just enough to involve all the flour.
Bake at 350 for 18 - 20 minutes.
This recipe makes 20 - 24 muffins. Try with cream cheese - oh my.

Thanks to Bob's Red Mill for the recipe and the flax seed meal.

A new morning

You know that cheesy song, "A Baby Changes Everything?" It's true.

We used to sleep in. Seven o'clock was early for us. We were proud of ourselves for getting out the door before 9. Those days are long gone (well, at least 4 months gone) with no hint of returning.

It's 8 o'clock - Tim's ran this morning and has been at work for an hour now. I have started two loads of laundry, baked muffins from scratch, made baby food and fed G twice.

As parents, you just don't realize how much you do in the morning until you have company. Everyone else is still sleeping. I'm glad for it, since this trip is their vacation. But it does provide the contrast I needed to see just how much our daily routine has shifted.

I'm also noticing a bit of G's development. She is exploring her voice, more than I realized. Until you're sitting in church during the communion meditation or have family sleeping on the couch, you might not realize how much your kid chatters. This morning has been an even louder morning than usual as G was on a tare over her breakfast. I could not shovel the food in fast enough. If I would puree it finely, I think she'd prefer a straw. Maybe that's why smoothies are so popular. Instant gratification without even bothering to chew. (I'm poking fun at myself - I make smoothies all the time)

I think I'll enjoy the quiet time while everyone is asleep. Maybe G is ready for her early morning snooze, and I can enjoy my Bible for a bit.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Family comes tomorrow

I should probably be in panic mode right now. My family comes tomorrow night, and I'm not remotely ready. I have two meal ideas; the house is a mess again; we're almost out of everything in the fridge. Did I mention that tomorrow is Sunday - my day of rest is the busiest of the week.

But, I'm too excited to be stressed. Where is Alex going to sleep? I don't know. I'm just glad he'll be here. What are we going to eat for lunch? No clue, but I'll be figuring it out with Sarah. What are we going to see? I could literally just sit on the couch and talk to my mom the whole visit.

Okay. I've finished my lunch and only have another hour and a half before G wakes up. I need to work through this "to do" list.

Anybody have suggestions for meals? I'm hitting a wall. We eat anything so don't be shy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Avocado everywhere

Pride goes before a fall, right? Story of my life. And this morning was no exception.

When Tim feeds G, the two of them seem to smear green baby food on everything within a three foot radius. Not so when I feed. I keep the mess limited to her bib and block her hands and wipe her chin.

But this morning, she bested me. We made such a mess that I had to use the bugger bulb to remove avocado from her nose! No one mentions that in parenting classes when they talk about aspiration. Hey, soon-to-be moms, in a few short months you could be sucking mashed vegetables out of your kid's nose. It's probably best that they don't tell you that beforehand.

Also, they probably shouldn't tell you that you will want to give away all of your clothes labelled "dry clean only." Or you can just wear the dry cleaning bag over all of your nice clothes. I find myself trying on shirts asking, "can I get urp out of this with a diaper wipe?" Now that would be handy information for the clothing care label. "Dye lot impervious to alcohol wipes." I'd buy nothing else.

They don't tell you about extra trips to the doctor or the panicked feeling when their fever keeps rising even after Tylenol. But, they also can't explain the joy of holding your baby while she sleeps. She's worth the mess. Sometimes, the mess is even inconveniently funny.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Dinner to blog about

Does anyone remember the "Ab Roller" commercials? I know where they got the idea. Tim and I made ravioli tonight. Hand rolling pasta dough is intense. My abs haven't worked that hard in years.

Was the work worth it? Oh my - fresh pasta is totally worth it. Although, I'm really hoping for a pasta roller before we try this again. But seriously, I wondered how people ate pasta everyday without rampant obesity. If you work that hard to produce it, you can handle the calories of the pasta.

The recipe:
4 c of all-purpose flour
6 eggs (use 4 if you use semolina flour)
1 T of olive oil (you can use more if it's really flaky)
2 t salt

You can't overknead this. Work it until it's glossy, then roll it as flat as possible. If you're going to take it on by hand, enlist some help.

Tim relieved me of duty.

The finished project - totally amazing.
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Yogurt Whole Wheat Bread

Here's an idea to try with your homemade yogurt (or store bought) - Yogurt Whole Wheat Bread

Yogurt whole wheat bread is one of my favorites because it tastes like sourdough but doesn't require starter. Also, it keeps the bread really moist.

1/2 c warm water
4 t yeast
1 c yogurt
2 T olive oil
2 T honey
2 t salt
4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c wheat bran (or wheat germ)

I list the yeast with the warm water because Mollie taught me how to make your yeast explode. Mix the yeast in the warm water at the onset of your recipe. Let it sit while you measure and mix all the other ingredients together. When you add it, the yeast is already awake and looking for food. Your bread will rise much better. Thanks Mollie!

Can you tell that I'm supposed to be setting out the family budget this morning? I'm really procrastinating because I don't like deciding the best way to spend our money. Instead, I'm wasting another resource, time.

I'm pinned

G received her second round of vaccines yesterday, and today she's feeling lousy. So I'm pinned beneath a sleeping baby with the threat of heart wrenching whimpering if I move. Problem - my left arm is asleep. And I have to pee.

At least my coffee cup is full. I know, why would I drink more coffee when I have to pee? That's the strange part of addiction. You want more even if it's going to hurt you.

I'm not addicted to the caffeine. It's literally the coffee - the flavor, the warmth, the dry taste in your mouth when you've had too much, the intestinal upset, all of it. Like I said, I'm hooked. It doesn't have to make sense.

My relationship with coffee isn't unlike my experience with reality tv. I know it's crummy. I know there are better ways to use my time. But once I start, my competitive, addict side kicks in, and I feel obligated to find out who wins. It's embarrassing (as is the fact that spell check just corrected how I spelled embarrass when I could have sworn it's spelled embarass - shoot).

Back to reality, or not so reality tv, I have followed seasons of shows on models, survivors, chefs, dancers, even dog groomers - all to find out which complete stranger wins. More accurately, to find out if I correctly picked the winner. Yes, I'm unfortunately willing to waste hours justifying my own opinion. That should be a warning to my readers. I'm a fool for my own opinion. Enjoy watching me publicly humiliate myself.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The laundry has taken over

I literally have laundry hanging from the chandelier. What can I say - the light fixture looked like a good drying rack.  Please don't give me credit for being super green. It's less frustrating than finding damp laundry in the dryer over and over. The dryer takes at least an hour and a half to dry a normal load. Cloth diapers take more like two hours. What mom has two hours? 

The only other time I let my laundry air dry was in Kenya. The school did not have a washing machine or dryer (no great surprise), so we hand washed our clothes in a bucket of soapy water.

I was there during the dry season which meant no rain for months. No rain meant dust - dust like you wouldn't believe. Dirt was suspended in the air in invasive fine particles. My pants changed colors from the red dirt embedded in the weave of the fabric.

Laundry isn't my favorite household chore even when I have a washing machine. I procrastinated washing my clothes by hand until I was down to my last pair of underwear. By the time I finished washing my suitcase load of clothes, my knuckles were bleeding (could have avoided that if I'd had bar soap). After that, I tried to do laundry more often and less thoroughly.

By the end of the month, I gave into the dust. You just couldn't get away from it. Also, the showers were open air without hot water. I didn't have the metabolic fortitude to scrub with cold water for that long.

As for my laundry now, I'm just hoping our house sells soon so I can reclaim my washer and dryer. Here's to the front loading washing machine with the spin cycle that sounds like a helicopter lift off. I miss 40 minute dry times. In the meantime, we should avoid turning on the chandelier.

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