Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend Getaway

Steve, the baby and I took a trip down to the beach this past weekend to spend time with friends, to relax and celebrate a birthday (which is actually today, Happy Birthday, Mell!) Juliana was wonderfully cooperative; sleeping well, and adjusting to the new surroundings with lots of people and noise. She started cooing and smiling some this weekend, too. Something my friend Mellanie was able to capture on film. (Picture coming soon!)
We headed out to the beach on Saturday and were able to stay for a few hours. It was quite windy which was good for keeping cool in the shade, not so good for keeping our shade in place. But it worked out fine. Juliana sat in her car seat with the shade up and my light nursing shawl draped over the front to block some of the wind and sand. She was quite content for a good while, alert and looking around for a time and peacefully napping a bit later.
The rest of the vacation was spent visiting at the house and playing Rock Band. I was intrigued when I first heard of the game and this was really the first chance I'd had to play. Taking turns on the drums, guitar, and singing we all had a great time. (I can't wait to try the Beatles album, when you know the songs well it's easy to lose yourself in the game; rocking out on the drums, popping the guitar and belting out the lyrics.)
In all it was a wonderful, relaxing trip. It was great to spend the time with our friends and have a much needed break.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Special Gift

I wanted to share a new treasure of mine; an authentic, vintage apron worn by the mother of a dear family friend. It's simple, feminine, and not too frilly. Perfect.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing this beautiful piece of your family history! I love it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stand For The Unborn

An important call to action.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Little Link Love

Life lessons from finger painting; it’s the process, not the product. From On Simplicity.

Check out some awesome pictures of the Dawn Treader being built for the new Narnia film! From Under Her Starry Mantle.

I am anxious to try out this recipe for Ground Beef Pasties (though I'll use ground chicken.) They look delicious and easy to boot. Plus they freeze well! From Cooking During Stolen Moments.

I can hardly wait for Easter to try out these silk-dyed eggs, they're so beautiful! From Our Best Bites.

Check out this blog about a Mom's hobby of fixing up her daughters' hair. No, really. It's crazy. I hope Addie and Juliana don't expect things like this from me, I can do a ponytail and a straight braid. The end. From The Story Of A Princess And Her Hair.

How fun are these chocolate bowls?! I'm so finding a time to make these. From Gourmet Mom on-the-go.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My new frontier

Yesterday Steve went to an auction to bid on some items for the restaurant. He was gone by 6am meaning yesterday was my first morning alone with all three kids. In the past week or so I have started waking an hour before the kids get up so I have a chance to get myself dressed and get a few things done before the day starts. Yesterday, however, all three kids were up an hour earlier than normal, taking away that opportunity. There was some frantic scrambling when we first came down because Gabe slipped through the gate before Addie and I made it downstairs. He found that the pantry was open and proceeded to begin the transfer of all the canned goods to the entertainment center. Worrying for their bare feet (if anyone remembers how I broke my toe a few months ago, this was it) I rushed to put them in socks and shoes. Add only a new diaper and that's how they stayed for the first hour of the morning. We ate a small breakfast and they watched their episode of Little Einsteins. Everything had calmed down. Or so I thought. In the course of the next 30 minutes the following happened:

*Sung to the tune of 12 Days of Christmas*

5 time outs for Gabe!
4 smacks and shoves
3 diapers in 5 (min)
2 clothing changes
and 1 really good taunting. "Tahm out, tahm out. no, no TV."

God was sending me some enormous graces yesterday because I stayed cool and didn't loose my temper or patience, all I could do was laugh at how absurdly frustrating the morning was.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Certianly, I will be with you."

I wanted to share this great post I came across at Keeper of the Home. This is a guest post by Kelly at Generation Cedar. The main message speaks to knowing that God is with us, equipping us with the graces we need to carry our responsibilities, or burdens for that matter (you needn't have children for this to apply to you.) Whatever life God has given us, whatever cross we have to bear, he is with us, always.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jump Around

The kids had a blast playing at Bounce-U on Friday. It took them a while to get up the courage to go down the big slide but after the first few rides with mommy and daddy, they were hooked. The video also shows their first experience with a water fountain.
There was lots of laughing and giggling but because of the noise of other kids and constant drone of the fans it's very hard to hear on the video. They wore themselves out though, and took a three hour nap that afternoon.
We love this place!!

*Sorry some of the footage is so shaky, it's hard to stay still sitting inside one of those things!*

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wake Up Call

The kids usually wake up somewhere around 8am and talk and play in their cribs for a while before asking to get up. (Addie serenaded us this morning with her rendition of Ode To Joy (la la la LA LA la la, LA.... LA LA!) Most of the time their requests to get up are usually just calls for "Daaaadeeeee!" But this morning Addie took a different approach singing, "Let the mission... BEGIN!!" (Thank you, Little Einsteins.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Friday Find

I was doing some blog hopping the other day and stumbled across a fantastic blog. Bakerella, did not go to school to be a pastry chef. Per her profile, she took a cake decorating class that sparked her interest and appears to be entirely self taught since then. Very impressive, considering the kinds of goods she turns out. She even made an appearance on the Martha Stewart Show! Check out these adorable apple cake pops! Her instructions are clear and broken down into easy to understand steps. I can't wait to try some of her ideas! (And, holy cow! Look at where she gets her supplies! I think that's decorating heaven.)

I had plans at one time to attend Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, NC to study Baking and Pastry Arts, however events led us back home putting school on hold. It was difficult giving up that dream, but now that we have our three beautiful children and a restaurant in the works it's clear to me that this was my real dream all along, being a wife and mother. Baking and cake decorating will always be my ultimate hobby though, and it's wonderful to see that even without that university education I can develop the skill to produce some beautiful edibles.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't cry

As you've seen, Addie has a great interest in her baby sister. She's always watching and asking to help with getting the baby changed or take a bath (her favorite activity so far.) She's demonstrated several times her ability to, at least momentarily, calm Ana's fussing at times either by patting and shushing or placing blankets and giving kisses. I assumed this was a one-way interaction though, until yesterday morning. Juliana was laying on our bed when the kids came in to say good morning. Addie tripped over her brother and ended up knocking her head pretty hard on the desk. There were crocodile tears and loud crying until she looked over my shoulder and saw that Ana was crying, too. She slid off my lap, her face tear streaked and still whimpering, and crawled over to Ana to pat and shush her asking, "What's wrong?" The baby actually calmed down for a moment and Addie sat back on her heels, wiped her eyes and smiled.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Freshly Baked Goodness

I've been on a baking kick for the last couple of weeks. When I'm stressed, getting in the kitchen and working with my hands can be very soothing. So can the smells of freshly-baked-goodness wafting through the air after all the effort.

This past week we've had zucchini bread and applesauce breads made with my chunky spiced applesauce. (The batch I made for last Christmas turned out a little strong so it works perfectly to add texture and spice to these sweet breads.) I made some modifications to these recipes, omitting oil and nuts and changing spice amounts but they're great recipes to start with.

I've also tried two new chocolate chip cookie recipes, one fairly straight forward and one using vanilla pudding mix. Both are excellent but I'm working on merging them to get the perfect flavor of one with the structure of the other.

For the baptism party I made a wonderful bundt called Too Much Chocolate Cake. Instead of topping it with a glaze or frosting I opted for cool whip (Kool Wheep!) and fresh strawberries and it was a perfect compliment.

Last Thursday I made a batch of pull apart dinner rolls but they did not turn out as well as I would have hoped. I like my rolls to be light and buttery but these were quite dense and the flavor wasn't quite right. (Though it could also have been in my conversions, I cut the recipe by a 1/3 but some ingredients aren't easily converted, like the 2 eggs. uhh....)

Yesterday was my first attempt at soft pretzels. The dough came together easily and I decided to try a few different ideas with it. I believe the total weight of dough was just over 2 lbs and with that I made 3 hoagie rolls, 6 pretzels and 3 wrapped hot dogs. They cooked up easily and tasted great, though not anything I would normally consider as a pretzel. We also didn't have kosher salt to top them with so they were just brushed with melted butter. Next time I will be trying a recipe from my Bakers Dozen cookbook.

It's been busy in the kitchen lately, but baking is something I really enjoy. It allows me to channel some of my need to be creative and productive and also give something useful and enjoyable to my family. Next on my list are pizza bread, bagels and cinnamon buns.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jail Break!

The other day, around the end of nap time, I heard the familiar mumblings and giggles of waking children over the monitor. Soon, though, the sound seemed to become much clearer. Not in a the-monitor-is-static-free way but in a I-think-a-child-has-escaped way. Sure enough, Steve comes to the foot of the stairs and there's Gabe, hanging out behind the gate, smiling and waving.

Upon inspection, it would appear that he rattled the drop-front on his crib hard enough that it broke. It will stay on the crib, but drops down enough for him to climb out. I guess this means we're transitioning to toddler beds. The cribs convert, I just have to figure out how. Hoo... I am so not ready for this.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Well that's a new one

Making the sign of the cross before grace at dinner the other night,

Me: In the name of the Father
Gabe: Fah-yur
Me: And of the Son
Gabe: Sun
Me: And of the Holy
Gabe: Ho-wee
Me: Spirit
Gabe: Eh-phant! (elephant)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Baptism weekend

Courtesy of Aunt Margaret, some great pictures of the family over the weekend of the baptism. Pictures of the actual event will hopefully be coming soon. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Finds

I am frequently drawn to vintage and old fashioned styles so I am always excited to find stores that offer inspired clothing, like Red Dress Shoppe. I am completely in love with the 1940's couture dress, isn't it fantastic?!

As much as I appreciate pieces like these I don't have many places to wear them. This is where my love of aprons comes in. They protect my clothes when cooking or cleaning, serve as towels for drying hands or little eyes, and can actually help keep me productive. Something as simple as putting on and taking off an apron clearly marks the beginning and end of a task. But most of all, they can be so. darn. cute. The perfect way to have my cake and eat it, too.

My sister, Jen, made this fantastic reversible apron for me several months ago. "More work than you'd ever think would go into an apron." she said smiling. But oh, so worth it!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fun with songs

The first part of this video is a couple clips of the kids watching Little Einsteins. The song they're following along with says, "Use your hands for turning, turning, turning, turning, clapping, clapping, up down!"
Addie's version of the Alphabet song includes a few numbers, if you listen closely, but she also nails every letter after Q.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Playing Catch-up

A few random pictures I hadn't gotten around to posting.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You're OK

Both kids are attentive to Ana and try to help when she's unhappy. They will lay down to give her hugs and kisses or bring a blanket to lay over her. This scene with Addie was too cute, especially her version of "shushing" at the end.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First tub bath

The first real bath was just after the three week mark. I can't say if she enjoyed the bath or not but there was no fussing and she seemed fairly relaxed in the warm water. She handles new things well, this one.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blueberry Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
fresh blueberries

Sift together dry ingredients then stir in wet. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle and drop 4 or 5 blueberries on top. Brown on both sides. Serve with homemade syrup.

1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp maple flavoring
1/2 tsp vanilla

Bring first 4 ingredients to low boil in saucepan, reduce heat and continue to simmer for aprox. 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, add flavorings and let stand 10 minutes to thicken.

Serious goodness.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Friday Find

I love tea. All kinds of tea. Hot, cold, black, white, green, and herbal. My favorites are usually black teas since I don't drink coffee and they can give me a caffeine boost when I need one. So when I came across a tea called Pu-Erh Tuo Cha at Whole Foods the other day I was intrigued. It's described as being full-bodied with notes of sweet molasses and cocoa. Cocoa? I'm there. And now I'm hooked. One of the best things about this loose leaf tea is that one brick will take me through multiple servings and the flavor doesn't become bitter if steeped for a long time. Even Steve, who normally won't touch tea with a ten foot pole, enjoyed it. Now that's saying something.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


When she is ready to sing she is insistent, as you can hear in the beginning. "Come On! Wanna sing!"