Friday, March 26, 2010

I can’t live alone!

That’s what John said.  So I said why not?  He says he needs some kids and a mom.  I said how about a wife.  He shook his head with a definite no. 

Well, I told him in order to have kids he would have to have a wife and he finally consented.  Ruthanne said she was not going to be his wife!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I forgot to catalog Paul’s stats from the last time he went to the doctor which was about two weeks ago (for his 9 month checkup, but he was 10 months).  He was 24.5 lbs (90th percentile) and 31 1/4 inches long (over the 97th percentile).  Still big, but getting leaner.  We’re still working on the crawling, he goes a little ways but then either bellies down and army crawls the rest of the way or sits himself up.  I moved his crib mattress down yesterday since he can sit himself up and may decide to pull himself up any day (and we don’t want him flopping out).


Should we cut his hair?  Part of me wants too, but part of me likes the scraggly look. 

OK, no more blogging for me today, but read the multitudes of posts below to get caught up!


What kind of animal meat is from is a popular topic around the dinner table.  So, we had shrimp Sunday and John asked what kind of animal it was.  You know you can’t always tell by the name, we call pig pork, cow hamburger, etc.  So Ruthanne says it must be the finger of some animal.  Sorry, kids its just from a shrimp, and this is what they look like alive!

So much hair


Gone!  Time for a haircut just in time for spring!  John’s hair makes me think of my brother Brent’s hair, it is so thick, coarse, and a similar color.  This was probably six weeks worth of hair, in comparison I cut Luke’s hair every two weeks, and this is all I getIMG_1434

A nice moment…

amidst the general chaos!  IMG_1430

Yummy Breakfast


Cookies for breakfast! They were AWESOME! So easy to put together, a little sweet, and pretty good for you!. I based my recipe on this recipe for pumpkin protein cookies.

Banana Breakfast Cookies

  • 1/4 cup honey (I didn’t measure though and it was maybe a little less)
  • Heaping 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (plus extra to bring up to the right consistency)
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (I used one large banana and didn’t measure)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients Stir in wet ingredients (and add extra flour to make it a more cookie consistency, but still fairly wet, you just don’t want it to spread too all over the place in the oven). Drop by ice cream scooper fuls. I made 6 with this recipe.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes in preheated oven. DO NOT OVERBAKE: the cookies will come out really dry if overbaked.

I fully plan on brining this to the weekly breakfast rotation. So far we have dutch babies, baked oatmeal (though I vary it. less sugar, and may try out a few more recipes), and now breakfast cookies. I can’t wait to try different variations, pumpkin, apple, etc. Oh, yeah, me and two kids, totally ate all six breakfast cookies this morning!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

In desperate need of a breadmaker! or a tinkerer?

I am killing my kitchenaid with breadmaking! I only want a breadmaker to run the dough cycle, but with these whole wheat recipes, kneading for a long time seems to be key! So, do you have a breadmaker gathering dust and want to make me a deal? Or if you ever run into one on clearance somewhere, or at a garage sale, or thrift shop, I'm your girl! I'm really not sure how much longer the mixer will make it and I'm not sure if I should keep running it. Maybe I need to bust out my Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook and try out their sandwich bread recipe (since no kneading is required)? I did try an oatmeal maple recipe this weekend from there, but it definitely wasn't sandwich bread, a good breakfast bread though.

Also, if someone knows anyone who tinkers with small appliances, I have a dimension 2000 mixer from my mom (similar to a bosch) that doesn't work even though it hasn't been used much. So far, I have not found anyone who will touch it.

On a side note, we had fabulous hamburger buns (homemade, used the EZ Wheat recipe with 1.5 times the yeast for fluffier buns) and sloppy joes for dinner tonight and man, the homemade buns really made it! My sloppy joes are a little of this, dab or that, type recipe, but I could throw some kind of recipe together if needed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shower Cream & Dinosaurs

John gets left out so much, but a couple things he has done has had me laughing like crazy. Some other unmentionable things have had me shaking my fists, but we just want to remember the good times, right?

Well, Sunday we had baked potatoes and I had out the fixins of course, butter and sour cream. John asked what the sour cream was, I said sour cream. He said shower cream. Ruthanne said no sour cream so John of course says oh, shower cream. One day he will get it right!

Yesterday I took John to the eye doctor to see if his glasses are working well for him and see if he is using his bad eye a little more (if not they were going to patch him occasionally). So, they have all these funny little black and white pictures (we aren't totally there on consistent letter recognition). The lady started out too small and then had to make them bigger and tell John what they all were. Well, after this she starts really testing him (he is really not getting them all right, because he still isn't seeing perfect) but she shows him the horse and he says it is a dinosaur. I burst out laughing, its probably not good to laugh at your kid at the eye doctor, right? Oh, well, good news is the doctor says he is seeing better, no patch needed, we just have to go back in another 3 months.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Are Slings Safe?

So, I love slings/babywearing, it allows me to get so much more done than I would otherwise. But, are they safe?

The CPSC has issued a warning to use caution when using slings with babies of under 4 months. The warning has some good safety tips BUT, the news reports, both written and in television are providing misinformation. Some are reporting that the CPSC warned NOT to use slings with babies under 4 months of age. This is not correct.

Some slings are never safe (bag slings, two different good links on the subject) but most are as long as you use them correctly and make sure you use proper positioning and sling safety. Here is a little handout on babywearing 101.

If you ever want a baby carrier and don't know what to buy, try me! I've bought and made many over the years. I carried John until he was over two (not all the time, but it did still come in handy and can still be very comfy, you just have to step outside the bjorn world). Paul gets carried daily, mostly on my back, he can see everything going on and I can get things done instead of him whining when I am out of eyesight. If you want to buy one, I'd recommend a few stores:,, Also if you are handy with a sewing machine, try sewing your own (with quality thread, fabric, and sewing).

Have fun being close to your baby! And just for fun, here is an old picture of John in a Kozy mei tai (a brand I highly recommend!).

How to find local food?

I thought I would share some of the website I have discovered that may list some local farmer near you.

your local craigslist (I put out a wanted ad and found eggs that way)

your local farmer's market

If you know of any others I'm always searching!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

You can get good food with little money

at Earthfare. If you have one nearby its definitely worth your while to sign up on their website to get emails (for free stuff!). Today I had a free 5lb bag of potatoes coupon and then when I walked in they asked if I had a 3lb bag of apples coupon, nope! So, I signed up for the local emails and got apples for free. I had some more things on my list (BOGO salad greens), rotisserie chicken (on sale this month, antiobiotic and growth hormone free and local chickens), chickpeas (for hummus and roasted, they are in the oven as we speak, type!), and Luke likes their OJ. I thought that was a pretty good haul for $23 and some change! Earthfare has a awesome food philosophy, check them out! This goes along with my trying to eat healthier, natural, fewer preservatives thing! More to come on that soon!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Read all about it!

Ruthanne wrote a newspaper article about Paul's advances in crawling. He can do it a little bit now, at only 10 months and about a week old! I have a feeling in a day or two he will be all out crawling all over. Anyhow, after we had Paul crawling toward Scooby-Doo, Ruthanne decided to write a newspaper article about it. It was very cute! I wanted to take a picture and post, but she would not like that and in fact, crossed out the whole last sentence which was the cutest part of it all. We talked a little about periods and capital letters (which she knows she needs to do but often forgets when it is not something official for "school"). I have a feeling there will be another newspaper article soon and maybe then she will let me take a picture of it to share.

Well, I'm two days late and probably more than a dollar short, but finally posting this! I thought Paul would be full on crawling by now, but he got struck with some kind of fever bug and has been extremely cranky and not wanting to be put down. Will post a video of it sometime!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cookies, cookies, cookies

I've been on a cookie kick. Whenever it is time to make something sweet, I can only see cookies. We love Hu La La cookies so those get made fairly often, they are a chocolate chip cookie full of oats and coconut. But, I've been on the hunt for a really good chocolate chip cookie. browsing has not helped my obsession. Apparently lots of other bloggers have been on this search too. I made this one a while back and it was a nice soft cookie, but not as puffy as the photo ( oh, and I didn't add cinnamon). ATK has a recipe, but lately the buzz has been the New York Times chocolate chip cookie. The problem with this cookie, chilling the dough for at least 24 hours. I'm sorry, but when I make up a batch of chocolate chip cookies I have to have a cookie, right then!

So, while browsing on I found someone who said they mixed some new ATK recipe that called for brown butter with the NY Times cookie. I decided what the heck. Luke was gone this weekend so I whipped up the dough Friday night. Now, I cheated and made up one batch of cookies for me and the kids to eat and put the rest in the fridge like a good baker! Saturday night I pulled out the dough and baked up some more. After being in the fridge the dough was hard though! Also, its hard to tell when these cookies are done since the dough is dark from the brown butter. This batch was not so hot, I overcooked them. Oh, well. I decided to make the rest up Sunday night and these I carefully cooked so that they were not overdone. They were very good. BUT, the first batch right after I mixed up the dough was perfectly good to me too, so I'd probably just do that. Now, I just want to try out the original New York Times recipe (with just plain butter) and then maybe I can move on to some other dessert, or maybe none at all!

This picture is the cookies is from the batch made immediately after mixing. Looking back this look a lot lighter than the chilled dough cookies. These also look like they spread a little more but they were still thick enough for me.
This is what Paul did while I made the dough. Thank goodness for safe non-toys (a milk jug). If I had given him a real toy he would not have been entertained for nearly as long!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Recent Pics & What the kids have been up to

I haven’t posted pics of the kids in a while.  They’ve been busy playing and having fun, pretending mostly.  Ruthanne has been practicing her piano, but last week her piano teacher had to cancel lessons indefinitely as she hurt her back and is 7 months pregnant.  We were going to have a lull here after the baby anyways, but now its even more so.  Ruthanne is a trooper though, she has been teaching herself new songs out of her piano book anyways!

John is still just cute and a trouble maker.  We constantly can’t believe the things he says (not all bad, just cute!).  Last night I totally thought he was not listening to me as we read an Old Testament story so I asked him a question, which he answered, and the offered up even more info!  Smarty pants!

Paul is 10 months today!  My baby is getting so old!  He is cute even though he doesn’t sleep through the night!  He goes to he doctor Monday for his 9 month checkup, just a month late.  He can get up on all fours occasionally now, so maybe crawling is in his future!

On to the pics.  We went to visit my parents recently and took a trip over to St. Simons to play and then go to the lighthouse (I have never been and I have lived there my whole life).  It was fun and we checked out the museum and learned some new things.  We were not able to climb to the top because of construction though, we’ll have to try that next time!  But, here are some pics of the kids at the playground.




Here are some funny pictures of Paul.




And here are a couple videos of Paul talking (he grunts) and singing to Scout.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Whole Wheat Bread

I've been tinkering around with whole wheat bread recipes for a while now. I started with Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day but really this crust is too hard for all the time. Then I found another blog with a wheat bread recipe that calls for all kinds of dough conditioners (vital wheat gluten, vinegar, potato flakes) and I thought I had found my recipe. Its really good, fairly dense but very moist and keeps pretty well (this is my normal problem with sliced bread, it dries out. I like to make three mini loafs instead of one big loaf and this helps it stay moist.). But, of course I can't leave well enough alone and was wandering around the King Arthur Flour website and found an interesting recipe. Orange juice, huh? This was fluffier than my other recipe. I just made it today so I can't say yet how it will keep, but this may be made frequently too.

I think my bread plan is to mostly make wheat bread but maybe once a week make some yummy white rolls. The kids really like even my homemade 100% wheat bread and they were never big on store bought wheat bread. Who knew?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Granola Bars

I finally got around to making granola bars today. Of course I decided to try the ATK recipe first. I modified it slightly of course and may continue to do so, but it is pretty good! The kids want some chocolate chips, so I will probably have to find some mini ones sometime. Oh, and I'm wondering if I could use butter instead of vegetable oil, maybe I try the sub next week. I want to add that these dried fairly crunchy. I was looking for more of a chewy thing. They do taste good though. I'm wondering if I bake it for less time maybe that would do it. Or I may try Alton Brown's recipe and see if it is chewier.

3.5 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup veg oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces honey
3 ounces light brown suger (I halved the recipe hence the weird measurements)
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract (oops forgot this, but they're still good!)
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional (I opted no)
3/4 cup seeds/nuts/etc (I used sunflower seeds and sliced almonds and some coconut, probably more than 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup wheat germ (I added this, could probably add ground flax seed too though)

Preheat oven to 375. Toss together oats, salt, and oil in a 9x13 pan and toast in the oven about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Heat honey and brown sugar together in the microwave until sugar is dissolved, stirring in cinnamon and vanilla when done. When oats are done, lower oven to 300 degrees. Stir together all ingredients in a big bowl. Dust out your 9x13 pan and spray with cooking spray. Pour your mixture into the pan and press firmly down to pack it in good. I used some parchment paper to help me along. Bake until golden, for me that was about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then flop out onto your counter and cut into bars. I made 24 Quaker chewy sized bars. And, these seem a lot more filling!

Cream Biscuits

Biscuits so good (and easy too!) you'll never want those in a can or from the freezer again! From the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (forget Betty Crocker this is my go-to cookbook).

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray baking sheet. Whisk together dry ingredients. Add in cream and stir until a dough forms (about 30 seconds). Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead until smooth, about 30 seconds. I then pat the dough out into a flat shape (roughly circular) about 3/4 inch thick and cut into 8 wedges. You can also use a biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Put on your baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where does my money go?

I don't know! It disappears! I've been meaning to keep better track of our day to day finances (grocery store, target, walmart, etc). I also want to minimize my trips to the store, especially the commissary. I made a list of things that are good deals at the commissary and my goal is to only go once a month to stock up on those things. We went today. I want to document how much I have spent this month so far.

Yesterday $21.25 at (milk, cream, eggs, tomatoes)

Today, at the commisary $196.67 (WOW!). I also spent about $10? at the exchange on some gardening supplies. OK, lets go back to the commissary amount, here is what I bought:

4 cans beans
4 boxes mac n cheese
2 lb pasta
2 pkgs peanut butter
2 jars salsa
dijon mustard
coconut milk
veg oil
canola oil non-stick spray
3- 6 packs applesauce
raisins, dried pineapple, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds (hulled)
8 lbs sugar ($2 for 4 lbs)
4 lbs light brown sugar
3 big tubes of oats (like $1.60 for 3 lbs)
coconut flakes
4-5lb bags whole wheat flour ($1.25 a bag, super deal!)
3-5lb bags bread flour (same deal)
3-5lb bags unbleach AP flour (same deal)
18 jars baby food (I should be making my own)
Baby puffs and yogurt melts
Provolone & meunster sliced cheese packages
4 lbs shredded cheese ($2.50 per lb)
real parmesan cheese
Brummel & Brown tub margarine (I need a better spreadable real butter)
2 pkgs Activia yogurt (for Luke, I'm making the rest)
4 lbs unsalted butter
cream cheese brick
strawberry cream cheese tub
3 packages frozen corn
6 Deli Creations (kind of expensive but easy for Luke to keep in his office for lunch, $2 each for a sub sandwich)
2 packages lunchmeat
2 pkgs tortillas
Earthgrain flatbreads (coupon made these really cheap)
3 pkgs easy ups (pampers pull ups $8.48 a pkg plus I had 3 $1.50 off coupons)
Produce: carrots, apples, bananas, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus
aluminum foil, glad press n seal wrap (way better than cling wrap)
1 pkg each quart/freezer/sandwich storage & freezer bags
Kitchen trash bags (20 ct)
12 double rolls toilet paper
Lysol wipes

Whew, I think I did buy a lot. It says I bought 117 items, so overall they were less than a dollar an item! And, total only $138.58 of that was food items.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Granola in the oven

In my quest to make more of our food, I have granola in the oven (yes, Mom, call me crazy). We are having a hard time with breakfast now that I have banned sugary cereal from the menu. Currently the kids are eating lots of bagels and english muffins (maybe I will attempt those soon). I love cereal with milk though so decided to attempt granola. I found a recipe from Mark Bittman (NY Times writer). Here is what I did:

6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup dried shredded coconut, optional
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
Dash salt
about 1/2 cup mixture of honey & real maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, cinnamon, salt and sweetener. Place on a sheet pan and put in oven. Bake for 30 minutes or a little longer, stirring occasionally. Mixture should brown evenly; the browner it gets without burning, the crunchier the granola will be.
2. Remove pan from oven and add raisins or dried fruit. Cool on a rack, stirring once in a while until granola reaches room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and store in refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.

We'll let you know how we like it later!

ETA: This is good with milk. Definitely not too sweet. It is also not clumpy at all, which is fine as long as you don't want more trail mix type granola. This would be good on yogurt too!