Monday, August 31, 2009

Why Do Weekends Have to End?

I think that I almost look forward to weekends more now than when I was teaching. There is just something so nice about being a complete family for those two days. This weekend M didn't go into work at all and it was wonderful. We didn't have any major plans, but that was okay. We have been busy the last few weekends and just hanging out without agenda was the agenda.

Friday afternoon Little Peachy and I walked to a few garage sales in the neighborhood. I got some clothes for the next season for our little girl. It was actually chilly here this weekend and it got me thinking about the fall. I even had to dig a jacket out for Peachy to wear on our walks. That evening we all went for another walk. I will miss our walks once winter hits.

Saturday morning we all slept in and got off to a slow and easy start. Then it was off to run errands. It is so nice to have someone else along when out and about. One of us can get Peachy while the other gets the cart. Things really do work out well when working in pairs. I was able to blanch and freeze two large summer squash given to me by a friend. I plan on using them for baby food once Little Peachy starts on solids.
I also made my second batch of homemade laundry soap. The first batch worked out well and I still had all of the necessary ingredients on hand.
We grilled out that evening and also had a fire in our newly acquired fire pit. Peachy loves being outside and enjoyed sitting by the fire with her mom and dad. We figured it was good practice for her first camping trip in a few weekends.
Sunday we were off to have our spirit renewed in church. After a wonderful service, including a hymn sing, we went out to lunch with some of our church friends. Little Peachy bravely fought off sleep for most of the time we were away from home. So by the time we finally made it home it was off to bed for nap time. M and I enjoyed some rest time ourselves while watching the Bond marathon on USA.
Weekends really make me realize how blessed we are as a family. How sad that not every family enjoys the time that they have to spend together. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my time.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Smiles

Little Peachy is "talking" more and more. Her favorite consonant sound is the hard /G/ closely followed by /H/. Put them together and it sounds like she is saying "hug." And that is a hard request to resist.


It reminds me of one of my favorite children's books, "Hug" by Jez Alborough.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Foodie Friday: Cranberry Soda Bread

This is another recipe from this month's Rachael Ray Magazine. It was easy, quick, and good. (I neglected to take a picture, so the one above is from the RR website.)
-1 1/3 c milk
-1 T fresh lemon juice
-4 c flour
-1 1/2 t baking soda
-1 t salt
-3 T butter (chilled and cut into cubes)
-1 c dried cranberries
-1 large egg
1. Preheat oven t0 425. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/3 c milk and the lemon juice; let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Use pastry blender to mix in butter until coarse crumbs form. Stir in the cranberries.
3. Beat the egg into the milk mixture; stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it just comes together; form into 8 inch round and place on prepared baking sheet. Using a knife, score 1/2 inch deep X in the round. Bake until dark golden and crusty, 25-30 minuted. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
The recipe called for a lime glaze, but since I was taking it in the car, I didn't add the glaze. You can find the directions for the glaze at the website.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rave: Baby Supplies Part 3

Little Peachy's ceiling fan addiction has branched out. Don't worry, ceiling fans are still her first love, but they are now closely followed by mobiles. Her Pack N Play came with a wind up mobile that we attached after seeing her love for all things overhead. Although the music annoys her parents, she can sit and look at it for minutes on end. And when she begins to tire of it, all you have to do is pivot it to a new spot and it is a whole new toy.

Seeing the joy this mobile brought our daughter, we also purchased a mobile for her crib. (I hope this isn't the first step to becoming over indulgent parents.) She loves her little ocean friends. (Almost too much in fact. When you put her down for a nap the sleep instantly leaves her eyes as she starts smiling at them and talking to them.) As parents we feel we are helping to shape her little mind as you have your choice of ocean sounds, Bach, Beethoven, or Mozart. Fun and educational all rolled into one. Too good to be true.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

House Keeping Tip 'O the Day

We recently ran out of Swiffer cloths for our Swiffer Vac. That can be a problem when you really need to clean your laminate flooring. (And that broom and dustpan are so old school.) I grabbed a micro dusting cloth we had lying around and tried it on for size. A perfect fit! Now I not only have clean floors, but I am also going green!!

Next on the green to-do list, making Swiffer Duster refills.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rave: Baby Supplies Part 2

Ah,the magic of the bouncy chair! When an important task is at hand, your friend bouncy chair comes to the rescue. Need to eat some lunch? Bouncy seat is your friend!! Need to take a shower? Your child will be content to wile away the minutes in her friend bouncy chair. Need to write a blog post? Bouncy chair! You get the idea.

Peachy's bouncy chair comes with some key features such as the vibrating seat and the attachable woodland friends bar. I have found that a slow build up is the key to making the best use of the bouncy chair and its features. 1. Place the child in the seat. 2. When child starts to fuss, turn on the vibrations. 3. If the child happens to fuss again, add the toy bar. These three simple steps will bring you at least ten minutes of hands-free fun. (Just enough time to take a shower!! Then again, if you are in the shower, you most likely won't be hopping in and out to attach toys, but you get the idea.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Foodie Friday: Chocolate Cherry Loaf

When I saw this recipe in the new Rachael Ray magazine it was love at first sight. I made it to share with my family this past weekend. We all enjoyed it, especially with a scoop of ice cream on top. (Cause you know that a decadent chocolate dessert just isn't enough.)

-1 3/4 c flour
-1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 1/2 t baking powder
-1/2 t salt
-1/4 t baking soda
-20 oz frozen, pitted cherries, thawed and drained
-1 c sugar
-1/2 c sour cream
-3 large eggs
-6 T butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries and the sugar. Using a potato masher, crush the cherries. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Whisk in the sour cream and eggs. Stir in the flour mixture.
3. Stir in the butter. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, then bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Let cool int he pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Going Green

Check it out:

We have a front yard and it is growing like a weed. (Although it is weed-free, for now.) We have already mowed it twice and it needs it again. Now we just have to get some extra dirt for the boulevard and get the grass going there and our yard will be complete. (Well, the grass part. Then M will be designing some landscaping for it. And we may even get a deck on next summer.)

Makes you want to run through it with bare feet, doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rave: Baby Supplies Part 1

Now that I have been a mother for all of three months, I feel that I can pass on a bit of baby knowledge that I have acquired. The first piece of knowledge is that no two babies are alike and no two days with the same baby will be alike. Little Peachy is not a fan of regularity. One day she will only sleep in half hour chunks and the next she may decide to sleep for three hours. One week she will be sleeping through the night and the next she will decide that is overrated. As my one friend likes to tell me, "When you figure her out, right the book and you will become rich."

Babies come with lots and lots of stuff. (Well really, they don't come with anything, but any good parent will make up for that by buying lots and lots of stuff for their baby.) Just when you think that you have everything that you could possibly need you see something that you know that you cannot live without. A recent addition to our baby supply arsenal is The Miracle Blanket. (AKA The Baby Straight Jacket.) Little Peachy has uncontrollable hands that like to whack her in the face and take her pacifier away in the middle of the night. M and I tried every method of swaddling known to man, but our little girl is a regular old Houdini. She can get herself out of the tightest of wraps. That is until we purchased The Miracle Blanket. (Cue music and light from heaven.) Now most nights find her swaddled tightly in the cozy cocoon that is The Miracle Blanket. Once and a while she will get an arm or leg out, but lets chalk that up to operator error.

One would think that a baby would not tolerate being put into a straight jacket. But we have found quite the opposite to be true. Peachy almost seems to welcome being swaddled when she is tired. I just swaddle her up, give her her pacifier, and place her in her bed. Most days and nights she goes down without a fuss even if she is still awake. See how much she likes it?

So until she is able to keep those unruly hands out of her face, she will be snug as a bug in a Miracle Blanket when it is time to sleep.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bitter Sweet

This weekend my whole family gathered together at my parent's house. While it was great to be together, it was a bit sad as well. We were meeting up one last time before my sisters start new adventures in their lives. My older sister and her husband will be leaving for Japan in about a week and my younger sister is headed to Ecuador. I know that we will be together again, but it is hard to think of how much distance will be separating us. Until now we could easily get together over a weekend. Now it will even be tricky figuring out when we can talk on the phone.

I keep reminding myself of the Bible passage, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

The Lord has plans for you, my sisters. We love you and will miss you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

When Life Gives You Drool

make sure you have a grandma who can make you stylish, yet absorbent, bibs!

(This isn't even all of them! We are set!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Foodie Friday: Five Ingredient Rhubarb Squares

A true summer delicacy, rhubarb. While we don't have a garden here yet, it usually isn't hard to procure some rhubarb from someone in the summer. Mine came from M's parents' house, but I am sure I could have found some around here as well. I wasn't ready to use it right away so it got chopped and put in the freezer until a more convenient time. (I believe Jenny took care of this for me over affirmation weekend.) I had already made two loaves of rhubarb bread with it (I'll get that recipe up soon) and still had plenty left to make this recipe one night when my mom was here. I got this recipe from the Betty Crocker website.

-1 box yellow cake mix
-1 c butter, cut into small pieces
-1 3/4 c sugar
-3 eggs
-4 c sliced fresh rhubarb
1. Heat oven to 350. Reserve 2 T cake mix. In large bowl, cut butter into remaining cake mix, using pastry blender, until crumbly. In bottom of ungreased cake pan, pat 2 1/4 c of mixture. Reserve remaining mixture for topping. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
2. In large bowl, beat reserved 2 T cake mix, the sugar and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Stir in rhubarb. Pour over partially baked crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbly mixture over top.
3. Bake 45- 55 minutes longer until golden brown and center is set. Cool slightly and serve plain, with ice cream, or with whipped topping.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Like Mother, Like Daughter

I like to talk on the phone.

I like to talk on the phone a lot.

I mainly talk to my family. It is a good thing that my sisters, mom, dad, and I all share the same cell phone company. That way we don't use any minutes as all of our calls are cell-to-cell. (I don't know what I will do when both of my sisters are out of the country and we can't use those free minutes for unimaginably long conversations. I guess we will be looking into Skype.) We recently got a landline and I now use the unlimited long distance to talk to several friends. It is so nice not to have to worry about how long a conversation has gone on.

Little Peachy has started to become quite vocal at times. She will blabber on at me or any inanimate object that looks like it might need some company. When my mom was here, she also started to talk on the phone. She and my mom would call up grandpa and have some nice little chats. It is fun to watch her listen and respond. Sometimes you can see she wants to say something, but can't quite get the sound out. Too cute.

I guess that the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. (Just think, soon she will be walking around with a toy phone imitating how I talk on the real phone. I had better watch out.)

Of course she was jabbering away until I got the camera out. :o)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mother/Daughter Time

This past week my mother was able to come and spend a few days with us. The comfortable companionship was just what I needed. We went for walks, fabric shopped, and talked. It was so nice to take a leisurely shower, be able to cook without having to worry about Peachy, and watch my daughter smile and bond with my mother. What a blessing those four days were.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Three Months, Baby Girl

In some ways it seems like yesterday. In some ways it seems like forever ago. Time is funny that way.

Little Peachy turns 3 months old today.

I can't imagine our life without her. What did I used to do all day?

Now that she is three months old, her personality is definitely starting to come out.

She is curious about the world around her. (That usually means that naps are hard to come by when we aren't at home.)

She loves to smile at people. (When she is in the right mood.)

She can lift her head up to look at things now. (She really likes the flower and lady bug hanging from her car seat handle.)

Some days she sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. (Sometimes for hours in a row.)

Some days she just gets in little cat naps.

She still hates tummy time.

She is so close to rolling over from her back to her front. (Her shoulders keep getting in the way.)

She has transitioned from our closet to the living room. (I still hear every little sound she makes.)

We have started to put her into her crib in her room for naps and plan on having her sleep down there at night soon as well.

She still isn't back to sleeping through the night. (Those two plus weeks were sure nice and I look forward to uninterrupted sleep again.)

Some mornings she wakes up talking instead of crying.

She likes to talk to anyone and anything when the mood hits.

She likes her bouncy seat.

She is starting to hold herself up in a sitting position on our laps for a few seconds at a time.

She is truly a miracle and a blessing from the Lord and I can't wait to see what the next month brings.