Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Time and Season for Everything

Well friends, I am afraid that we are nearing the end. It has been a good run, but there is a time and season for everything. And around here, the seasons are definitely starting to change. I wish that I could have taken advantage of the season more, but that is the way it usually feels as we near an end. So, farewell garage sales, until next year!
In the meantime I will always have the cute clothes for Peachy that I purchased to remember you by. And this darling shower curtain to go with our downstairs bathroom ducky theme. (Yes, I still am rocking the ducky bathroom. Thanks girls for that wonderful gift you gave to start it off so long ago.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N-!


Is there a better word in the English language? Last week M was able to take a few days off and we escaped to his mom and dad's house for a few days. While not much was "accomplished" there was plenty of relaxing, visiting, and baby cuddle time. (Is there a truer definition of vacation?)


Friday, September 25, 2009

Foodie Friday: MckAroons


A while back I tackled these macaroon cookies from the My Charming Kids blog. I don't know why I like macaroons as I don't really care for coconut, but I do. This was a simple and easy recipe for them as well. Unfortunately I botched the chocolate melting, but they were still good.
Ingredients:
14 oz bag of sweetened coconut flakes
6 T flour
1/4 t salt
1 t almond extract
4 egg whites
3 c chocolate chips
3 T heavy whipping cream
Directions:
Mix first six ingredients together in a bowl. Drop by rounded spoonful onto greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes or until macaroons are lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.
Put the chocolate chips and whipping cream in a double boiler. (I just tried to melt them together in a saucepan and think that is where I went wrong.) Stir often until smooth and melted. Once the macaroons are cool, dip int he chocolate mixture and let harden on waxed paper.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Camping with a Baby

Call us crazy. Call us adventurous. Call us admirable. Call us what you will. We took our four month old tent camping and lived to tell about it. (I would go as far as to say, enjoyed it.)

We have been camping with babies before, they just weren't ours and we therefore did not have full responsibility for them. Sure we did our share of holding and listening to crying, but at the end of the day we went to our tent and they went to theirs. Not this time, though.

Little Peachy is a lover of the outdoors which for the most part helped us out. Unfortunately she was so infatuated with her surroundings that she forgot all about the need for sleep. This did not bode well for her overall mood, but a few cat naps got her through until the major meltdown on the way home. The poor little thing cried and cried and cried until 20 minutes from home when sleep won out.

M and I enjoyed the great outdoors as well. There is nothing better than stripping life down to the bare necessity of just plain surviving. For some reason we find cooking over a campfire and having to heat water to do the dishes relaxing and fun.

We even managed to sneak in a few hikes. All in all, a wonderful weekend.
And I didn't even have to resort to the Gilmore Girls season of dvds that I had brought along just in case I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time in the van! (And your thought dvd players in vans were for children.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Something To Talk About

Little Peachy has expanded her speech repertoire. She now uses different octaves! (Warning: This video may be long and boring to anyone who is not her doting parents.)

video

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

CYO: Couture Kid Clothes


I can spend forever and a day on Etsy. (For those of you who don't know, Etsy is like a craft fair on line. Different crafters post pictures of their creations and you can buy them and have them shipped to your very own home.) I love looking at all of the creative ideas out there. I have to admit that I am more apt to steal the idea than buy it, though. A while back I found the most adorable onsies for little boys. I saved the picture to my craft file on my computer for future reference. Being that we had a little girl, I was unable to use the idea for her, but I kept the idea filed away for a future date. And that day came when one of M's friends had their little guy.
I purchased white long sleeved onsies from Target and dipped into my fabric stash to create these.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Results Are In


We just got back from Little Peachy's four month well-baby visit. While I am not a big fan of her getting shots, it is always fun to see how big she is. (And on the shot front, we all did good this time. I really wasn't too worried as I knew she did okay last time. Also, M was able to come along and that was just plain nice. Peachy cried a bit, but not too much.)
Anyway, we have a tall girl with a big head. The tall part comes from her father. (His father and siblings are pretty tall. My father's side of the family also has height.) Who knows where she gets her big head from. Ahem. No comments please.

So, without further ado, Little Peachy's vital stats:

Weight: 15 pounds 3.8 ounces, 78th percentile

Height: 25.75 inches, 91st percentile

Head circumference: 44 centimeters, 98th percentile

And now I am off to eat some nachos. What? Doesn't everyone do this after a well-baby visit?

Foodie Friday: Summer Squash Squares











Intrigued by the name? Don't be. Really these are zucchini bread made with summer squash instead of zucchini. However when I was Skyping with my sister yesterday we decided that summer squash bread just didn't sound right, so we went to our trusted friend alliteration and came up with summer squash squares. (Apparently alliteration is no friend to the Ecuadorians. You'll have to ask her about that, though.)
A friend recently bestowed several large summer squash on me. (You may remember that I froze the first batch in preparation for baby food.) I decided to do some baking of adult food with this batch. I started by grating the squash. Since I have given away my food processor, I used my box grater. It worked out well. Sure it took a little more time, but I really didn't mind it and it was a great upper body workout. I ended up with a large mixing bowl full of grated squash. I froze the unused squash in two cup portions. That way I can take out just enough for a recipe when I need it in the future.
I first made two loaves of chocolate bread. I thought that I might have to make that recipe up myself, but turned to a trusty Lutheran cookbook and found I one there. It is nice to not have to reinvent the wheel. (Us Lutherans know food.)


Chocolate-Summer Squash Squares

Ingredients:
3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
2 c flour
6 T cocoa
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
2 c grated summer squash
1 t vanilla

Directions:
Beat first three ingredients together well. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl. Mix with first three ingredients. Add squash and vanilla. Pour into two greased and floured bread pans. Bake about 1 hour at 325. Cool in pan 10 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely.


I also wanted to make plain bread with some yummy mix-ins. I found this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.


Summer Squash Squares with Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 c olive or vegetable oil
1 3/4 c sugar
2 c grated summer squash
2 t vanilla extract
3 c all-purpose flour
3 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.
Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
Stir this into the egg mixture. Pour into pans.
Bake loaves for about 60 minutes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Its All About Perspective


Have you ever been so entrenched in your own day to day minutia that you fail to realize that the world is going on around you? I have found that since becoming a stay-at-home mom I can easily get caught up in MY life and lose touch with what is going on in the world around me and in the lives of others. Unfortunately when this happens, I have a tendency to take for granted the many blessings that the Lord showers upon me and my family on a daily basis. I become so focused on the little details in my life that the big picture is nothing more than a fuzzy backdrop. I see the world through the negative and not the positive. Recently the Lord has sent some reminders my way to help me put my life back into the right perspective. The perspective where my life is just a small part of the big picture. The perspective where I can clearly see the Lord's hand in my life and the wonderful path that he has laid before me.


We have some dear friends that found out their unborn baby had a heart defect right around the time Little Peachy was born. I very clearly remember the day that I found out their sad news. I was still riding high (and low) on the after birth hormones and hearing about their little girl quickly dissolved me into a puddle of tears. The tears I shed that day were tears of sadness for their unborn daughter, but were also tears of guilt as I realized all that I had taken for granted in the healthy birth of our own daughter. Our friends had their little girl about a month ago. Since then she has not left the hospital where she was born. She has endured open heart surgery and continues to fight for her life everyday. Reading her parents' entries on her CaringBridge site is truly a perspective changing experience for me. Here I am worried about diaper rash and cradle cap while these friends worry about unknown infections, exploratory surgeries, and their daughter's dependence on the heart and lung bypass machine. Their perspective on their current struggles changes my perspective. How silly all of my daily worries seem in comparison. How blessed are we as parents of a completely healthy and happy four month old!


My happy and healthy marriage is another blessing that I all too often take for granted. I forget that having a loving and accepting husband is not something that everyone has. I forget that having a true partner in raising our daughter is a gift of the Lord. I overlook the fact that not every spouse has someone to share their faith with.


The list of daily blessings can go on and on. M's job is very stable and we don't have to worry about money or the next paycheck. We have a beautiful house filled with much more than we could ever need. We have wonderful families that support us in many ways. We have a church home that we love.


And, the biggest blessing that can so easily be overlooked, the true peace that I have in knowing that all of my sins--even the sin of selfishness and taking things for granted--have been paid for in full by a loving Father sending his Son to wipe my slate clean.


So, today I thank the Lord for putting my life back into His perspective and I ask him to help me realize the many blessings that we as a family share. May you too be blessed in a new perspective on your life.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Everybody Loves an Airshow!

Every year there is an airshow in our town. Every other year the Navy's flight team the Blue Angels come and perform. The first year M and I were married we paid the price of admission and attended the actual show. (We also paid the price of heat exhaustion and sunburn, but that, my friends, is another story.) Two years later, we rode our bikes to a nice, close spot and watched the Blue Angels zoom overhead. This year we drove the van to a parking lot and watched the Blue Angels tailgate style. (We weren't the only ones with this idea, either. We had a bold family of 6 literally park on top of us part way into our picnic. Notice all of the empty parking spots they had to chose from. Oh well, at least we stopped the two year old from getting too far with the container of watermelon he took from the back of our van.)

We made sure to bring the proper protection for Little Peachy's little ears. We made sure to bring along plenty of picnic food. We also made sure to bring along good company. (Thanks for joining us in this fun adventure, Jo.)
The Blue Angels once again brought their awe inspiring performance to our city. At one point they flew right over top of us with so much speed that they literally shook our bodies. Awesome.
And is it true? Does everyone love an airshow? If a 3 1/2 month old can have this much fun, I think anyone can.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Third of a Year


Little Peachy turned four months old last week! Wow how the time has flown! It is so much fun watching her grow and develop. She is definitely the apple of our eye.

She really likes to be sitting up and standing up. Of course, she is not able to do this on her own yet, but she sure does let us know that is what she wants. She will use her ab muscles to pull herself up out of a lap. She will also straighten her legs and make them stiff as a board when she wants to be standing. We call her our little bobble-head doll.
Along with this large muscle development comes a acceptance and sometimes even joy over tummy time. It is short lived, but much better than the instant anger it used to bring. She will boost her head and shoulders up and hold them for a few seconds and then face plant into the blanket.

Her fine motor skills are also developing. She reaches out and grabs onto anything within her reach. And boy, does she have a firm grip when she wants to. (Just ask her dad about her grabbing onto his arm hair.) M is working with her on putting her pacifier into her mouth on her own. She sure does come close. Most of the time her hands are busy working at getting the pacifier out, though.

She loves to talk when the mood strikes. She often wakes up talking in her crib. (That is how I know that she got a good nap in. If she wakes up crying, I know I had better try to get her back to sleep.) She still loves to "say" hug and gee. I think that we should work on putting those two sounds together and making some money off of her as a Huggies spokes baby. She also "says" hi. One morning I turned on the monitor to see if she was awake yet. As soon as the sound came through, we clearly heard, "hi."

Unfortunately she has developed her parents' love for the television. I had her on her blanket the other day facing away from the tv while I sat on the floor next to her reading a magazine. I looked up to find her twisted around and halfway rolled over so that she could see the tv. At first I just laughed at her determination. Then I realized that she had almost rolled herself over. I am sure the full roil over will be coming soon. (She just has to figure out how to tuck her shoulder and arm in.)




Friday, September 11, 2009

Tummy Time

As Peachy gets stronger she has started to tolerate a bit of tummy time. (Could we maybe even say enjoy it?)
video

Rise and Shine

Here is a recent video of Little Peachy greeting me in the morning. (Notice the arm out of the swaddle. Hmmm, we might have to invest in a real straight jacket.)
video

Foodie Friday: Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake


Wowie, wow, wow. This has got to be one of the yummiest things that I have ever made. (If I do say so myself.) Thanks Brown Eyed Baker for this delicious recipe.

My parents were here over Labor Day weekend. Since it was my moms birthday a few days later I thought that I would make her a birthday cake. Now I could have recreated some of the cakes that I made her in my youth. (I would bake a box cake and then make powdered sugar frosting without a recipe. I would always try my hand at "fancy" icing. This usually involved a Ziplock Bag and dying the frosting. Somehow the frosting always ended up looking the color of mint toothpaste.) Instead, I decided that since we are both a bit older, the occasion called for a more mature recipe. I found this and knew that I had to give it a try.

(I am hoping that this cake made up for the fact that I am not done making her birthday present yet.)


Part One: Brownies
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
3/4 c butter
1 3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1 c flour

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 13x9 baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending out over the sides. Grease the foil.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30-35 minuted or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on a wire rack. Remove brownies from pan using foil handles.
Cool brownies, then cut them into 3/4 to 1 inch squares for use in the cheesecake. You will need two cups for the cheesecake. What you do with the remaining schnibbles is up to you. ;o)

Part Two: Crumb Crust
(These measurements are for a doubled crust as per the Brown Eyed Baker's suggestion.)
3 c finely ground Oreos
10 T butter, melted
2/3 c sugar
1/4 t salt

Stir together and press into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a buttered 10 inch springform pan.

Part Three: Cheesecake
3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese softened
1 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed after each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan. Put springform pan in shallow baking pan in middle of the oven. Bake for 45 minuted, or until cake is set three inches from edge, but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.

Part Four: Chocolate Ganache
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 T butter
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 t vanilla
1 T powdered sugar

Place finely chopped chocolate in medium size mixing bowl. Scald the butter and cream together in a saucepan. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and then whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cooled cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Fresh Start


Little Peachy's diaper rash had cleared up over the weekend so it was back to cloth diapers yesterday. Back to cloth diapers and back to the diaper rash. At least it was easy to determine what is giving her the rash. Only one day of cloth and the red, bumpy rash was back all over her little bottom. She is in disposables, again, while the rash clears up, again.

I decided that the cloth diapers must be harboring bacteria. I washed them all today and have them hanging out on a drying rack in the backyard. Yes, I am being a rebel and breaking our neighborhood covenants to save my daughter's sore bottom. Got a problem with that?!!

I am hoping this does the trick. I would hate to have to go to disposables full time. I put a lot of work into the cloth diapers and have spent some money on the process as well. Another reason that I don't like disposable is that she is always leaking out of them. I would much rather have poop on the cloth diapers than all over her clothes, my clothes, and whatever she happens to be on at the time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If I Could Turn Back Time





Well, I can cancel my order for pink bathroom paint. My rugs have been returned to their original splendor. (Well, the one came out looking a bit green and it never had green in it before, but I can handle it.)


All thanks to this little magical package.



Perhaps time travel is a possibility.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Foodie Friday: Blueberry-Buttermilk Scones


Here is the latest in scone recipes. I love scones and making scones and eating scones. Look for another scone recipe soon.


Ingredients:
2 c. flour
3 T sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 c butter, cut into small pieces
8 oz frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
1/2 T lemon juice with milk added to make 1/2 c, stir and let sit for 5 minutes (or 1/2 c buttermilk)
1 large egg, plus 1 egg lightly beaten for egg wash
1/2 t vanilla
sanding sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. Whisk together dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender. Stir in blueberries.
3. Whisk together lemon and milk mixture, 1 egg, and the vanilla. Drizzle over flour mixture and gently stir together.
4. Turn dough out onto a work surface, and gently knead dough once or twice just to incorporate flour. Pat dough into a 1-inch thick round. Cut into 12 wedges. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire rack to cool.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back To School

"Fall is here, hear the yell


Back to school, ring the bell


Brand new shoes, walking blues


Climb the fence, books and pens


I can tell that we are gonna be friends


Yes I can tell that we are gonna be friends"




This is the first fall in 25 years that I will not be going back to school. People keep asking how I feel about not teaching this year. To be honest, it hasn't really sunk in yet. Who knows, it may never really sink in. To me, I am not a teacher right now, I am a mother. I have entered an entirely new phase of my life. This phase is very distinct and different from the past phases in my life. It is almost like starting a new life completely separate from the past.




Just because I have a new title in life doesn't mean that my personality has completely changes, though. Yesterday I found myself browsing the school supply isles at Target and Wal-Mart soaking up all of the new school supply scents and sights. Although I practiced self restraint and only sniffed the Crayolas (You've Got Mail, anyone?), I couldn't resist the urge to pick up a new planner for myself. Isn't it cute?


I must be thinking about school a bit though, because I had a back to school nightmare last night. I was the teacher and totally unprepared for the oodles of preschoolers that I had coming in. It was quite amusing looking back on it, but I had that feeling of complete dread during it. At least I don't have to worry about it coming true this year.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

That About Sums it Up!

I just found this dear Letter to a New Mom and it hit the nail on the head. She is so right in every aspect.

Vacancy


We have a vacancy in our home. Little Peachy no longer calls our closet her home. She is now residing in her proper place, her very own room.

While it is nice to be able to move about freely without the worry of waking the baby, it is hard to put that much distance between us. I put her in her own crib at night and if all goes well, I won't see her again for many hours.

I know this is just the first minor step toward independence. One day I will send her off to school. (Right Jenny?) And then I may end up sending her off to a foreign land. (Right mom?) Everyone says to enjoy these years because they are fleeting. I am already catching a small glimpse that in these past four months. Where did my little newborn go?

She is doing pretty well with the change. Her sleeping patterns haven't really seen a change. Some nights we are running down the stairs every few hours to stick a pacifier back in and some nights we don't hear from her until it is time to eat again. (And so far I haven't tripped down the steps in the middle of the night. Quite an accomplishment I would say.)

This is the smiling face that greets me most mornings. I would say that she is pretty happy in her new digs. Wouldn't you?

In other Peachy news, we have taken a cloth diaper break. She developed a severe diaper rash over the last week and we are working at clearing it up. Thankfully it is working. Now I just have to decide which of the many changes did the trick. I really don't want to go back to her crying in pain at every diaper change. That is a sad thing for a mommy to handle.
There is another vacancy in the house this week as well. M had to leave town for work. Originally he was scheduled to leave in July, which got postponed to August, which got postponed until now. I see the Lord's hand in this as I don't know if I would have been able to handle being alone for several days before now. Thankfully I have been doing much better and it is not such a daunting task at this time. I thank the Lord for the good days that I have been having.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Knew Better


I was washing rugs today. I knew that the braided kitchen rug with all of its bright colors would bleed. I knew that, yet I put it in with the two bathroom rugs. And it proved me right. It shared its lovely red with the other two rugs. So, do I redo the bathrooms in pink?