Monday, December 15, 2008

The Christmas Tree

Displayer of keepsake ornaments. Check.
Reminder of God's never-fading promises. Check.
Hiding place of sippy cups. Wait...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Celebrating Advent

It's hard to miss the decorations and carols that have been out in full force since even before Thanksgiving. With society's focus already on Christmas it's easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget about Advent. Sure, we have the Advent wreath out but aside from that most of our decorations for the season are Santas, snowmen, and gingerbread cookies. While I love the pieces we've collected, none of them bring our focus to Advent.

Today I found a wonderful online radio station featuring music specifically for the Advent season. It even says, "A Christmas-free zone until Christmas Eve." How opposite that is from several other stations who began playing Christmas music right after Thanksgiving and will stop the day after Christmas! I think people forget that the 12 days of Christmas starts on Christmas.

Next year, when the kids are better able to understand, I hope to have a Jesse Tree. As we are quickly running out of space in our home, a small, separate tree just wouldn't work for us. I like the idea of putting up our regular tree, stringing it with purple/blue lights and hanging our Jesse Tree ornaments on it daily. Putting on our family ornaments the last Sunday of Advent and plugging in sparkling white lights on Christmas day.

If I had more energy this year I'd put up wreaths with purple ribbons, and maybe some glass containers with purple (and a few pink) stones with candles. One tradition of my mothers was to put up the nativity scene and slowly add pieces as the story of Christmas unfolds. She also has a small, empty manger that she would fill with straw and place on the hearth to be filled by a smiling baby Jesus when we woke on Christmas morning. I hope to have several traditions such as these in my own family, celebrating the season as a season, and not just decorated anticipation for one day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A sweet and blessed day

About to receive the sacrament of Confirmation

Steve and sponsor

the cake

the cake tasting that resulted in hyper, giggling babies

finally getting his nap

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stuffed loves

In the mornings, as Daddy heads out to work, the babies run over to the gate for kisses and hugs and then hop up on the couch to wave goodbye out of the window. We've done this everyday for a couple of weeks now and the kids seem to really enjoy it, sometimes waving for a solid minute after he's left the driveway. This morning though, kisses for them weren't enough. Oh no, Monkey needs a kiss, too. Addie holds him up giggling. *Mwa* She drops the monkey and leaves to get up on the couch. Gabe runs over, scoops up the monkey and thrusts him in the air for even more loving.

They're in love with their new stuffed lion, too. He's great to sit on to read a book, to sprawl across, snuggle, and pet. Thanks for sharing, Aunt Margaret!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Notes from the week

The kids are interacting and playing together more and more. I will frequently see them settled down, back to back, reading books or passing toys back and forth. They are very interested in what the other is doing, so it's no surprise that when we are "punishing" one of them (sitting them in a corner for 15 seconds and holding them just so they can't get away) the other will come up and sit down next to the guilty party. ("What'd ya do?") Or if they can't get past me, they'll stand as close as possible and try to "talk" to them. This was the first way they really showed concern for each other, but not the last. The other night the babies and I were up in their bedroom getting ready for bed.

Addie had found a paci and was happily sucking away as I was trying to change Gabe.
He is not a fan of getting dressed and was letting everyone know it, crying hard and waving his hands in the air. Addie stopped walking around when she heard him cry, came over to us, looked down at Gabe... kept looking... then popped her paci out of her mouth and handed it to Gabe, who promptly took it and forgot he had ever been upset.

Games of peek-a-boo take place anywhere and everywhere. Addie will pull anything up over her face, robes, blankets, washcloths.... I think hiding is her favorite part, at times she seems almost annoyed at being found. She will pop out to surprise you on her own time and she'll be very animated about it too. She has also started hiding during meal times, putting her balled up fists over her eyes then raising them up to peek at you. Hiding in a fort is the best though, they love to crawl in with us and read books or just lounge around on a big fluffy robe... or an obnoxiously green monkey.

Gabe loves to drape things on his head as well, but prefers to wear them like a veil so he can see. Seeing Gabe look so silly always starts a game of chase as Addie runs after a giggling Gabe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last harvest before the frost

I am amazed at how resilient our tomato plants have been. Over a month ago we were sure we were going to lose them in the high winds of a passing hurricane. While two of the plants did topple, their stems didn't break and they kept right on growing, extending suckers and leaves out to two feet beyond the garden bed. To my surprise, this final harvest yielded 70 (mostly green) tomatoes and 15 peppers. Regrettably, we didn't keep a formal count of this years harvest but our estimates are 350 tomatoes, 35 peppers, and 40 cucumbers. In all we had 4 tomato plants, one pepper plant, and 3 cucumber plants that only survived for a month or so before succumbing to downy mildew.

Soon we will clear out the remaining greens, turn the soil and add compost and leaves to condition the soil for the next planting. I am excited to plan for next spring and have learned much from this year’s effort. I know we will have more tomatoes next year however I plan on using a ladder system instead of the veggie cages from this year. The cages did work well, but I think I'll use them for a different kind of veining plant, pole beans perhaps. We were unprepared for how large the four plants would grow (learning about pinching suckers to control size a bit too late) and they quickly outgrew what the cages were meant to handle. We will also be building a second bed, 4-6 feet by 2 feet just for the tomatoes. It was easy to prune and tie the tomatoes from the back, but to reach up high in the front actually required stepping into the bed. Fortunately our radishes had already been finished off so there was no trampling.

In all I would say this year has been a great success for a novice gardener. Learning to provide for our family in this way brings comfort in uncertain times and has instilled a greater respect for natures workings. Looking at the garden every day and seeing the growth that comes from such tiny seeds, along with the loss of whole crops (ahem, carrots) has served as a reminder of Jesus' parable of the Sower and the Seed. Quiet prayer and reflection on God's creation and plan for mankind was a wonderfully unexpected fruit of this garden.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Blue Halloween

All dressed up for some early Halloween fun! UNC spirit outfits courtesy of Uncle John and Aunt Julie! Gabe's mohawk courtesy of lots and lots of super hold hair gel. ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fun at the park

We're all feeling a bit better, so we took the kids to visit a local park to get some fresh air. It was large enough for them to do lots of running and also had swings and plenty of places for them to play. Addie's favorite part was taking a stroll on a path through the the woods. In her excitement walking back to the car though she got up too much speed on a small slope and ended up taking a face-plant on the sidewalk. She brushed it off quickly (after a few kisses from Daddy) and now sports a large scratch on her nose oddly reminiscent of Harry Potter's lightning bolt.

Making the sign for airplane!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Feeling buggy

Our family has been waging a battle against cold and flu germs for the last two weeks or so. It started with Steve and left him sick for the better part of a week and has now moved on to myself and the kids. So far I'm doing ok. Symptoms haven't progressed much past congestion, sore throat, hot/cold flashes and being down right tired. I'm taking Zicam frequently and hope to get over it quickly. The kids seem to be doing ok, other than a slightly-more-cranky-than-normal Gabe. I hear tiny sneezes and little coughs through the day but overall they seem no worse for wear.
Posting may be slow for a while though as all my energy is going into caring for the kids and myself. And maybe the house if I'm able... things like clean laundry and dishes to eat off of are somewhat important, you know ;)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The camera returns!

We've gotten our camera back sooner than expected, hooray!! Here are a few shots from our morning. :)

being a goofball

surfing the bins

standing tall

Monday, October 6, 2008

Progress in planning

For the first two weeks I was meal planning, I left only one or two days for leftovers and picked a few meals that turned out to be too much trouble to prepare when I was running low on time or patience. By the end of these weeks I had more leftovers than I knew what to do with and was feeling pretty discouraged about meal planning in general. But I realized that I was getting caught up in the idea; I really liked the look of the plans I had seen, each day assigned it's own menu. I'm sure for some having a set daily plan works wonderfully, but with the unpredictable hours my husband can work along with taking care of the twins the last thing I need is something else to worry about getting done that day. "I've got to be sure I get this started by 4! No matter that the kids are cranky from not napping, the toilet's overflowing, and my back is aching. Got to stick to the plan!" That's exactly what I don't need.

So, instead of assigning a meal for specific days I pick out 5 recipes to use in the coming week, but still plan on 3 days for left overs, going to our restaurant or being at friends and family for meals. I put these recipes (on index cards or printouts) in my home management binder and decide which I'm making each night based on how the day is going. If it's been a long, hard day well then leftover night is just the ticket. If the morning is going well and we don't have errands to run or places to be I reach for a crock pot recipe. Dinners that are made mostly on the stove top I keep for when Steve will be home to help with the kids.

I've gathered around 30 recipes that I keep filed in the front of my binder. Some of them are made primarily with pantry items (beans, tomatoes, rice, etc) and other items I normally keep in the kitchen. Others share similar perishable ingredients such as potatoes, carrots, and onions, which is helpful to be sure I use up bulk purchases. None of them are very difficult to make, but all of them are filling and tasty. It's been enjoyable trying out new recipes and getting out of our usual routine. This recipe is my new favorite, offering up tons of flavor with little prep required.

BBQ Chicken over baked potaotes
In crock pot combine the following:
12 oz any BBQ sauce
1/2 cup vinegrette dressing (I like sun-dried tomato)
2 Tbsp worcester sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
Add 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast and cook 4 hours on high (or low for 8.)
After the chicken has cooked 3 hours pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub potatoes clean, coat in olive oil and season with salt. Bake 45 minutes.
After chicken has cooked use a fork to "pull" or shred the chicken then serve over split potatoes. Top with sour cream or shredded cheese.

Friday, October 3, 2008

New skills

I feel like I should preface this post by mentioning that there will be a sad lack of pictures for the next several weeks. Our camera was on the fritz so it's currently being repaired, with a 3-4 week turnaround time. Such a shame, because the last two days have offered countless opportunities for catching some really hilarious shots.

The kids are very interested in climbing up and down off of anything and everything right now. Addie has mastered climbing onto the ottoman by herself, and has recently taken to climbing her toy shelf and standing on top (oh, joy.) They've also started emptying out their toy bins, turning them upside down and standing on them. Gabe has proven himself to be quite good at balancing, looking like a surfer as his pudgy toes cling to the corners of the bin, knees slightly bent, crouching and swaying to stay upright. Somehow, in all this climbing excitement, one of the bins turned over and Gabe sat down inside. Just his little tush and feet would fit and I expected him to be upset. But they think it's hilarious and spend most of their time now practicing to be contortionists, pulling the bin over their heads, stepping in from every side, and twisting all around to stuff as much of themselves inside as possible. Cirque Du Soleil, here we come!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strides in pottying

A big moment in our house yesterday, Gabe used his little potty!! I saw him scrunching up his face a little and heard him grunting faintly so I asked if he had to go potty and made the sign. He started nodding a little, so I picked him up to change him. I had caught him in time so I set him down on the little potty in the bathroom, just to see (we'd never had luck with this before.) Twice more I asked if he had to go potty, and made the sign 3 times. And... he went! And seemed pleased with himself! Heh. Hooray, Gabey!
That night after Steve came home Addie walked right up to him and made the sign for diaper, indicating she needed a change, and she was right! Another first!

To me, signing and infant pottying go hand in hand. I was unsure how it would work with 2 little ones, so I was pleased when it turned out to be fairly easy. Well, with Gabe at least (Addie's a little more covert when she's going potty. heh.) But every time I saw Gabe's face puff up or heard him grunting quietly I would ask if he had to go potty, and make the sign as I said the word. He would give some indication that he did, so I would hold him over the toilet and he would go. He was doing that at 6 months, I believe. But eventually, he got tired of being held and would struggle every time I tried, so I stopped pushing. I got the little potty out and would sit him on it, but with no luck. Yesterday was special for some reason, maybe he was finally comfortable and familiar with the potty. Whatever the reason, I'm thrilled. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Small Changes, Part 2

Ditch the Disposables Challenge: Paper towels and household cleaners

So far things have been going well with the re-useable cloths instead of paper towels. I get out 2 each morning, one for cleaning the babies and one for spills and general cleaning. I use new ones each day for 4-5 days then wash all of them with a larger load, no need for a special load, which saves energy.

In addition, I have stopped buying many household cleaners. I have found that the cleaners made at home with simple ingredients that are cheap and readily available work just as well as, if not better than, store brands. My all-purpose cleaner of choice is a 50/50 split of white vinegar and water. For clogged drains I pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar, allow that to sit for a few minutes then flush down with a gallon of boiling water. I use Borax and washing soda when I wash the kids cloth diapers and I'm planning on making laundry detergent with them as well. Check out Earth Easy for tons of great non-toxic home care tips.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bucket baby

err, drawer baby might be more accurate. I heard him whining and came around the corner to see this:

He crawled in after flinging all the diapers out. He did the same thing with the tupperware drawer in the kitchen, but I didn't have my camera handy. Silly baby. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ditching the Disposables, Part 1

Over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess there's a challenge a-foot; "choosing disposable product(s) to leave behind for two months in favor of an environmentally-friendly reusable product." My ultimate goal is to make my husbands paycheck stretch as far as it can, and help provide a healthy, happy home for my family, so this idea fits right in.

One of the first changes I made was to mopping the floors. I had been using a popular brand of pre-packaged wet cloths to scrub the floors, and they worked well. There was a scrubby strip for hard to remove "things" and the sheets were pre-soaked; no need for a bucket of yucky water. However, to get the floor as clean as I like I had to put in some serious elbow grease, and it would take 2 sheets to thoroughly clean my downstairs. That works out to be 112 sheets, per year, full of chemicals I'd rather not use around my kids and will ultimately end up in the landfill.

This is where the H2O Steam Mop comes in. This mop converts plain water to steam to clean without the use of chemicals and comes with with a washable mopping pad. I have seen a few negative reviews of this product for things like its cord being too short and leaving the floors too wet afterwards. They are minor annoyances but to me the pros far outweigh the cons. (It's easy enough to replug for each room and after mopping I do some cleaning or other work upstairs for a few minutes while it's drying.) I do love that I don't have to do any more scrubbing or scratching, just hold the mop over a stain for a few seconds and it comes right up. It comes with accessories too, one of them a attachment to steam your carpets and another smaller hand held steamer. Best of all there are no chemicals, a big plus for me with two babies running, rolling, and playing on the floors all day.

Part 2 coming soon... the paper towel challenge.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Toddlers and laundry

Whenever I have a load to move from the washer to the dryer, I try and enlist the help of either child that happens to be nearby. Or both, more frequently. Usually I end up handing some of the smaller items to child A, who will fling them in the dryer and turn back for more with a big smile while child B shows up to help unload the dryer. Although a simple task can end up taking much longer, it's nice to include them in the ordinary things I have to do each day.

Today is my day for washing sheets and blankets so there was a nice soft pile in the middle of the kitchen when the kids got up from their naps. Drawn to it like flies to honey they flung themselves into the pile and rolled around giggling. Unable to resist the opportunity for some indoor sledding, I picked up the corners and drug them all around the floors. After a slow pass or two they seemed to be ready for more so I pushed the rug back and began running between the kitchen and living room slinging them around in circles. (A toddlers belly laugh has got to be the most infectious outpouring of joy, ever. :) Of course, after 10 minutes or so my back was aching and I was ready to get the load started.

Filling the washer with the sheets and clothes it was obvious the blanket wouldn't fit as well so now it lays in a heap in the playroom, babies sprawled across it reading books. I believe they've staked their claim. Maybe I'll be able to wash it during their second nap....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Gabe's first trim

We weren't able to get any "during" shots since it was just me and Jen; her snipping quickly here and there while I tried to keep his attention and Addie out of trouble.
It wasn't the walking or signing that made me realize my baby is now a toddler, no, it was the haircut.



But he did remarkably well, and we were able to trim the back, the wings over the ears and the wisps in his eyes. One lone ringlet saved for mommy. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Meal Planning, or something close....

Dad, Jen and I took the kids to the Farmers Market this morning to pick out some fresh produce. It was a lovely morning, in the mid 70s with a slight breeze. We had gotten there early enough to sit and have a breakfast of egg biscuits and hash browns at a picnic table while the last farms put out their products. I ended up going home with some beautiful peaches, yellow squash and zucchini. Dad opted for some lesser known varieties to experiment with. I plan to use some of our peaches fresh for the kids and will probably make a crisp with the rest. The squash and zucchini will be divided between a chunky sauce (made with tomatoes from our garden) for pasta one night and sauteed with some leftover onion as a side dish another.
It's a start to a meal plan, anyway. I've got to go through and inventory our pantry and freezer to see what we have to work with, but I'd imagine we can create quite a variety of dishes with the staples we normally keep around. Today I used 7 frozen (black) bananas to make 2 loaves of banana bread for the kids. I'll freeze one loaf and the other will take us through breakfast and snacks for a week. (Did you know you can freeze bananas? In their peels, no less! No more will you have to toss black, mushy, wasted bananas! Defrost them in the microwave and they'll make super moist banana bread.)
To get a jump start on tonights dinner, I decided to go the crock pot route. I had some boneless, skinless chicken breast in the freezer so I looked around the kitchen to see what I could create. A simple chicken stroganoff seemed to be in order. I threw in the remains of a tub of sour cream (about 1 cup), a packet of mushroom gravy mix, a little flour and about a cup of water. Once those were mixed well, I tossed in the chopped chicken breast, and used up the last of our yukon gold potatoes, some baby carrots and half an onion. Its slowly simmering away now and in about 4 hours I'll add some peas and mix up a savory biscuit topping to cook for another hour. Dinner should be ready and waiting after the kids go down for the night.
We try to keep food items on hand that are often used to make many simple dishes. Besides pasta (spaghetti, rotini, and orzo), rice, potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomatoes are serious multi-taskers in this house. I just need to start getting in the habit of planning these dinners out ahead of time so at the end of the day I don't throw my hands up in the air and say, "Oh, forget it. I'm having a sandwich."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Adventures in soap making

My sister, Jen, and I have recently been discussing ways to simplify, scale back, and budget more wisely. She mentioned an interest in making her own soap as a way to save money but also to have fun being creative. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the everyday and feel overwhelmed by deadlines, never-ending chores, and the monatany that can come with throwing yourself into your work, whatever that may be. Having some kind of creative outlet is a wonderful way to stay balanced and refocus. I frequently find that after spending some time in my garden, or completing a fun project I'm more motivated to tackle the less glamorous tasks around my house.

So we gathered our ingredients and set about this process as detailed over at Rhonda Jean's blog.
We chose to use Olive, Grapeseed, and Coconut oils and were rewarded greatly when the smells started permeating the kitchen. We cooked the oils together on the stove, just to melt the coconut oil (it was in solid form) and bring all the mixed oils to 140 degrees. We also mixed our water and lye outside and left it to cool to the same temperature; when they're both at 140 degrees, you combine them and start mixing.
We had a little bit of difficulty timing this though and had to use ice packs to cool the oils because the lye mixture had been hovering at 140 for a while. heh.

Fortunately we had an immersion blender so mixing only took about 5 minutes or so. We poured the mixture into our molds (8x8 tupperware containers greased with cooking spray) and left them to dry till the next morning. I had some difficulty removing the soap from the tupperware. I really think silicone is the way to go next time, there's much less chance of damaging it. The soap was firm but still slightly maleable so I cut the blocks into bars and tried out some stamps.

I was able to exert more focused pressure on and get a clearer impression with the smaller stamps, the large ones were faint and generally unimpressive. But the bars look lovely and have a subtle clean scent to them. Jen and I each got 11 bars of soap that we'll be able to use once it's cured, about 6 weeks.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Steve had the evening off and we all met at mom and dad's for dinner. Dad cooked up a great meal of chicken, onions, mushrooms and potatoes seasoned and fired on the grill with a side of brown sugar glazed carrots to sweeten the deal. Everyone had a great time laughing and visiting; it was wonderful to be able to have all of us there to celebrate.

I had a lot of fun making this cake to celebrate mom's birthday today. This is a butter cake with lemon curd and raspberry layers and frosted in buttercream. The recipe for the cake is from The Bakers Dozen, a wonderful book full of detailed recipes and insights into the subtleties of baking.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Notes from the week

~Arms by their sides, fingers splayed in “jazz-hands” fashion, their hips sway from side to side as they hurry across the floor. Backs arched slightly to keep from tumbling forward as they pick up speed, they squeal with delight playing chase and hide and seek.

~The floors had dried enough for the kids to come out and run around. Each with their sippy, they come thru the gate to the kitchen and chase each other (and the dog) around the living room. Soon Gabe comes back to the kitchen, big smile on his face, toting both sippys. I go back to washing dishes and hear him giggling. Then I hear a *clack, clack* pause *clack, clack, clack.* I know that sound. It’s the sound the valve of the sippy makes when it’s fallen into the cup that’s being shaken violently. Sure enough, rain showers of milk were falling all over the walls and freshly mopped floors. Grumbling to myself, I set about wiping up as Addie rounds the corner and stops to survey the scene. I look up and see her standing straight as an arrow, arms pointed fiercely downwards and eyebrows arched to their highest. “As long as you’re in cleaning mode…” she seems to say. Deposit made. I could only laugh.

~Walking home last night after a trip to the park in our neighborhood Addie has her first temper tantrum. This child will not hold your hand when she’s walking unless she’s nervous or on uneven ground. After several unsuccessful attempts to guide her back to the house I decide to cut her off. Instead of walking beside her hoping she’ll follow me, I dart in front of the driveway she’s heading towards to block her path. That’s when she’d had enough of not being able to go where she chose. She abruptly plopped down on the street and started wailing. Oh, this child can wail, too. Deciding enough was enough, I scooped her up and carried her wriggling, and kicking back home. *shew* Thank goodness that’s over! Heh, yeah right. Payback’s a comin’!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Welcome home

I had been worried that after our week long trip we would come home to tomato plants that were dead, dried up, toppled over, or something equally depressing.
Imagine my delight when we were able to not only salvage many of the perfectly ripe tomatoes, but had enough to make almost a gallon of Steve's fresh salsa. These are a mix of Jet Star and Big Boy hybrids; large, firm, and much meatier than those you would find in the grocery store. I had wanted to grow some heirloom variety, but in a pinch Lowe's seed racks came through just fine.

The salsa is wonderful, made with vidalia onions, jalapenos, and plenty of garlic. Our collection of canned foods is growing, you can see the jars of bread and butter pickles I made a few weeks ago. The recipe is from Rhonda Jean at Down To Earth and is terrificly spicy and crunchy. I eat these right out of the jar or as a complement to a meal; it seems almost a shame to put them in sandwiches. ;) They're not as sweet as the ones found in the supermarket but I like them especially for that reason. Unfortunately our cucumber plants did not survive the trip so this was the last batch I was able to make with homegrown cucumbers. Oh well, 8 pints should last a while anyway, and there's always next year....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blueberry Buckle

Now this is the way to start your day!
You can find the recipe here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hacking away the unessential

"Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life,and the labors of life reduce themselves." - Edwin Teale

Between routine baby and house care I'm spending time here, today.

I've never been one to take naturally to order and organizing but I'm figuring it out. I've been able to get a handle on the clutter on the lower level of our house but the upstairs provides more of a challenge. More specifically, the spare room. You know, the room that you would never show to guests let alone spend any worthwhile time in yourself. This room has become, in essence, a huge junk drawer; everything that we need but don't have a home for and is too big to stuff in a closet. It's the way-station for items on their way to and from the attic. The home of "I'll get back to that later" projects and paperwork. Boxes and furniture to go to Goodwill line the walls and spare cables and wires snake their way across the floor.

Perhaps it's the annoyance of not being able to reach the items I have somehow managed to store b/c of all the junk the in way of them, or perhaps it's that my sister is coming to stay the night on Friday (heh.) But enough is enough. Starting today and working slowly to not burn out, I'm de-cluttering bits at a time. It will take time and it will be tedious, but it will be so worth it. Just imagining, a room without a walking path... now wouldn't that be a thing to behold!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Notes from the day

~Today's after dinner treat of choice? Addie's toes. I had cleaned Gabe up and set him on the floor as I was wiping Addie's hands clean. I look down and see Gabe's mouth wide open heading right for a plump, unsuspecting foot. It must have been good because he went back for seconds.

~Gabe is loving the freedom that is coming with being more mobile; I regularly see streaks of blue out of the corner of my eye followed by an eruption of giggles. Tonight I was in the playroom after changing Addie for bed and called Gabe to the gate to get him ready as well. Coming from the back door he makes a bee line toward me but then darts away just as I go to grab him. He walks halfway back to the door, turns, and runs in front of me, just out of my grasp, to the dryer. One more trip to the door then finally back to me as he decides that now he is ready.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Practice makes perfect

You'll remember in my last post I said Addie was taking "tentative steps."
Oh, the difference one day makes....
(sorry if it's somewhat shaky, I had to hide behind a door to get this.)

Notes from the week

~Addie is obsessed with Gabe's curls. They seem to be whispering to her, "play with me, run your fingers through my golden softness and giggle with delight."

~The kids are getting more and more mobile with each passing day; just last night Gabe walked from the entertainment center to the fridge! Addie is starting to venture out alone as well, taking a several tentative steps before plopping down. She seems to favor moving to the side (a carry over from cruising no doubt) so she walks a little like a crab, heh.

~Gabe has started feeding himself!! He does better with hard foods for now (like cheerios and cheddar bunnies) but hopefully he'll figure out softer foods too (french toast and fruit.) For now, he would still rather squish them in his fist, raise his hand triumphantly in the air and ceremoniously fling the food to the floor. Oh well, one step at a time. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

quick freezer breakfast

Today the kids had apricot and pear oatmeal with banana bread french toast. I had made the oatmeal several days ago and the banana bread almost a month ago, and stored them both in the freezer.

apricot and pear oatmeal:
Combine 1 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup rolled oats, and 6-8 finely chopped dried apricots in a saucepan. Cook about 3 minutes then add 1 chopped pear. Blitz with an imersion blender for a smoother consistency.
To store, divide among several plastic baby food containers and stick in a labeled ziploc bag in the freezer.
To reheat, add a couple of tablespoons of whole milk to the oatmeal and pop in the microwave in 20 second intervals. Voila! Fast and tasty.

When I put away the bread, I cut it into narrow slices and stored them in a ziploc bag. The first few weeks the defrosted bread was just as good as (if not better than) when it was fresh. However, this morning I noticed that although it still had a pleasing taste the bread had become dry.

banana bread french toast:
combine 1 egg, slightly beaten, 1/3 cup whole milk, and a dash of nutmeg in a shallow dish. Dip each side of defrosted bread in mixture and place in a skillet on medium heat. cook about 2 minutes on each side. Let cool then chop into bite size pieces. The bread will still hold it's shape and is now as moist as ever.

Monday, July 7, 2008

home grown tomatoes

“Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and home grown tomatoes.”
- Guy Clark

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lake Gaston

The past week was spent with family, decompressing by the lake. As is typical of Cabaniss family vacations, activities included reading, napping, canoeing, fishing, and playing games; the height of relaxation. :)
New slide show up.

edited to add: For more great pictures from the trip, head over to A Lovely Mile.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mad Skills

At the very end, just as Addie enters the living room you can hear her call to Riley, "Aiieee!"