Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We're all under the weather here..... back soon.. I HOPE!!



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Growing a Garden... Our First!

The idea of growing your own vegetables has always appealed to me once I hit my twenties.  When I was a kid, I couldn't have cared less!  My mom would sometimes have a garden, but we never really had to do anything except maybe weed a little and make sure we didn't blow grass clippings all over it when we mowed the lawn (a feat in itself, trust me!).  And I admit, I was a little disgruntled when she got rid of our swing set and put a garden in it's place!  (Ok, I guess I was getting a little too big for the swing set, but still!).  Anyway... when Cory and I got married I had good intentions of starting my own garden.  But we married and moved in to our house in early June (after the honeymoon) and it just seemed like it wasn't a good time to dive in to something I didn't really know much about.  Fast forward through the next almost 5 years and I've either been pregnant or had a fairly new baby in the spring.  Not a good combination (for me at least) to go whole hog into something I'm not familiar with.  BUT THIS YEAR I AM DETERMINED!  We try to be very conscientious about the foods we eat.  We eat organic when we can find it and try to limit processed foods (though I admit, it's hard!).  Due to Eloise's food allergies, it gives us more of an incentive to know whats IN our food and where it comes from.  All the more reason to grow our own!  And with Eloise and Dinah getting older, I want them to learn the importance and process of gardening (right along side me).  No offense to my parents, but they didn't have us girls help with the garden so I am pretty green when it comes to all of it.  I have been doing my homework though and I hope to be on the right path!

The girls helped me pick out the seeds we would get (I did a little swaying, of course)... and we drew pictures of what we would be planting (a way to let them "help" me).  

 

Then we ordered our seeds and waited for them to arrive!  Once they got here, we did a little more waiting... much to the girls' chagrin.  They wanted to start right away!  

Finally the day came to plant our seeds!


 Eloise and Dinah were excited.  
I let them help water them - since I didn't really want
 them touching the dirt with the perlite in it.

Eloise stood and studied the dirt for awhile
until she finally revealed how frustrated she was
that nothing was growing yet!  Haha!
It was a good opportunity to explain the process, 
which I admit I should've done in the first place!

Live and learn!


Our garden is going to be a small 4'x4' raised bed that we will
be rotating crops in.  So we only planted a few broccoli and
cabbage plants to begin with.  We have the rest of our schedule
set for everything else (and transferring to the raised bed).


Yesterday when we came downstairs I noticed that
the seeds had started sprouting!
I sure wish I would have gotten the girls' reactions
on video!  They were over the moon!


Today, Eloise was even more excited that the sprouts 
are even taller than yesterday!
Seems like we're doing something right, even
if I am just kind of winging it!

Now.... if the snow would stay away!
We are ready for spring!

Monday, March 30, 2015

4 Months!

Audra turned 4 months last week!  
Of course I'm behind in posting about it... so here it is!


She learned to roll over from her back to belly several weeks ago 
and actually prefers it to rolling from belly to back!

She loves to sit/stand in her exersaucer and watch her sisters!


She likes to chew on burp cloths as opposed to toys!  
But we're working on that!
She likes her wooden ring as well!

She had her well baby check up and weighed 14 lbs, 5.3 oz 
and was a little shy of 24" long!


We get about 4-5 good hours of sleep at night...
sometimes 6 or 7 (if we're lucky)!

We've opted not to start baby food just yet.
I am leaning toward 6 months and perhaps trying Baby Led Weaning.
If anyone has experience with that, I would love some input!
We didn't do it with our other 2, but I wish we had!



Such a joy she is!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

After my last blog post, a friend reminded me that while my children are a top priority... it is also important that they see me doing and enjoying the hobbies and things I love.  That they see me as more than just Mommy.  As a person who has interests and likes that I can (hopefully) share with them as they grow.  I admit, it's easy to lose yourself in the craziness of taking care of your children, husband and home!  So I thought I would make an effort to post about the things I do with the girls that highlight some of the "creative" things I've always loved to do.  The key here, for me, is balance.  I have to let them do what they do - even though it's hard for me not to want to tell them how "I" would do it.  I also have to make sure that I don't put the project over them.  That's why I find it hard to bust out my sewing machine... because when I'm in sewing mode I know I am easily irritated by their interruptions (ditto on using the computer, which is why I often don't have time to post!).  So, while it may be awhile until I can sew again... I look forward to doing other, more simple things to help them see my creativity and learn to blossom their own!

Recently we did a little painting project!  I drew "hidden messages" on paper and let them paint with watercolors to reveal the messages.  While it didn't go exactly as I had planned (Dinah didn't quite put enough paint to see the whole message... and things got a little messier than I'd hoped!), they had SO much fun!



Eloise was so excited to see the shapes come
 to fruition when she painted over
the white crayon "message" I had drawn.


Dinah enjoyed playing in the water more than the actual painting part!


Finished products!



We also did a little Easter craft...


We made Easter cards to send to some family!  
I drew some Easter eggs and they happily painted them!


The cards will be going out in the mail tomorrow!

Did you (or do you) do anything fun and creative with your kids!
I'm always up for ideas and I'd love to hear them!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Award Goes to.... ME.

It's obviously saying something when your 4 year old sees a picture of you smiling on your birthday from the year before she was even conceived..... and she excitedly says, "Mom!  You were happy then!"

I stopped short from loading the dishwasher and replied to her, "What do you mean, I was happy then?"  I admit, I was phishing for some cutesy answer... something that had to do with the picture....

 "Well, you were happy and then when you had us... you were mad."

....... ::Cue tires screeching on asphalt!!::  .......

Not. What. I. Wanted. To. Hear.

Not what any mom wants to hear.

I've been sick this past week... battling a horrible cough (thankfully no one else has caught it!).... but it goes beyond that.  And I know it.  I guess I kind of suspected what she meant from her first observation of the picture... I just was hoping I was wrong.  I mean, who wants their kid to think that they made them mad just because they were born!?

Guilt is a heavy burden, let me tell you.

I have been praying about this and thinking about it it a lot actually - before any of this even happened. I am not a patient person. I'm often tired (having a baby who doesn't sleep through the night will do that to you). I look at the mess -which is my house- daily and feel like a failure (despite trying to keep up with things). I growl when my children bicker over toys. I snap when they wake the baby. You get the idea. I actually have to make a conscious effort to praise my children because sometimes... who am I kidding?... MOST times I am too tired to really muster up the acknowledgement. It's truly sad. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't wracked by guilt every day. "Worst Mom of the Year Award?".... It goes to me. Hands down. So on nights like tonight, when Eloise unknowingly puts me in my place, I have to say a prayer... not only to ask for the strength to be a better person, a better mom, but also a prayer of Thanks that it's not too late. I can start fresh RIGHT NOW. I know I'll never be perfect.... but I'll always be blessed.

For the record, I did explain to Eloise about all the things I used to do before having kids (like she saw me smiling about in the picture).... and then I explained that being a mom is hard work and I don't really get to do those things anymore... but that it's okay because I can do them some other day (when I'm old, ha!)... because my girls are more important to me than any of that stuff (even when I'm utterly exhausted!).

Maybe those weren't the right words, hey, I'm human...

But her response: "I love you, mom." gives me the hope I need for tonight, tomorrow, for however many days God gives us together on this earth. For that, I am grateful.






Monday, March 2, 2015

Recipe: Mini Grahams

If you don't already know, we deal with severe peanut and egg allergies with our oldest, Eloise.  I can't tell you how scary it was to have her try those foods for the first time and watch her allergic reactions unfold.  Truly, you can only know if you experience it... and I hope you never have to!  We are afraid to have Dinah try peanuts (though she is good with eggs, thank goodness!) and may check to see if we can have her try it at the allergist office (which is right across from a hospital).  Though the statistics are low that we will have another child with a peanut allergy, they are just statistics and we want to be prepared for reality!  

As I grew up and moved out of the house, etc... I knew that organic/whole food items were a better option but didn't really bother to take the time to really look into it.  Since having children, and especially having a child with food allergies, it has really forced us to look into what ingredients are in the food(s) we buy.  It's easy not to think about it.... ignorance is bliss, right?  Except for all of the garbage that we put into our bodies that we don't necessarily realize can be causing simple or major health issues.  I'm not here to guilt anybody - your choices are you own!  But in an effort to keep Eloise safe and limit the amount of processed foods we give our kids (and ourselves - though I admit, we are not even close to perfect!)... I am always on the look out for egg free and nut free recipes.  (Technically El is not allergic to tree nuts, however most peanut products and tree nut products are manufactured in the same facilities so we have been instructed to just steer clear of ALL nuts and nut products for the time being).

Recently, my cousin and I have started swapping some recipes.  She has a couple of kids around the same ages as mine, and we both are trying to make healthy choices for our families.  She shared THIS recipe with me and I thought it would be a nice treat for my girls.  They have never had store-bought graham crackers, so I knew I wouldn't be competing for taste... however, I admit they turned out pretty yummy!  They remind me of  Teddy Grahams.

One of the main things we didn't want our kids to have was refined sugar (white, brown, HFCS, etc)... so we try to make an effort to convert recipes we find to be able to use Pure Maple Syrup (and also egg free, if a recipe calls for eggs).  SO... please know that the recipe I am posting below is not MY recipe (see link above)... but I did tweak it for our needs, so really it isn't the same as the one in the link anyway.  But that was where I got my base.  (I haven't looked at any other recipes on that site yet... if you do, let me know if you find anything good!)

I had a helper yesterday!  Please excuse my photos as I was using my OLD cell phone to take pictures (my camera battery had died RIGHT when we started to make the crackers!).


*Note: we normally would use Whole Wheat Flour but the flour manufacturer changed their stance on not producing their flour around peanuts... so we recently had to switch to the only other safe flour we could find for Eloise, which was an Organic White Flour.  I have NOT made these with Whole Wheat, so I'm not sure if they would taste as good - but the original recipe does call for Whole Wheat, should you choose to use it!


Mini Grahams

2 1/4 Cups FLOUR
1 tsp BAKING POWDER
1/2 tsp BAKING SODA
1/2 tsp SALT
1/4 tsp CINNAMON
1/4 Cup MAPLE SYRUP
1/4 Cup WATER
1 tsp VANILLA
1/2 Cup (1 Stick) BUTTER, Melted


-Place all dry ingredients in mixer bowl.
-Add wet ingredients and mix with cookie paddle until everything combines.  The dough will be moderately greasy, NOT sticky.
-Preheat the oven to 350*.
-Divide dough in half and roll out on lightly floured surface.  


-Roll to 1/4" thick and cut with cookie cutters or pizza cutter.  Prick with fork and bake 8-12 mins (edges lightly darkened).
-They will harden as they cool.
-Store in air-tight container.



NOTE: I didn't have to use flour to roll the dough out because the dough is greasy enough that it doesn't stick.  I also think they are better if you roll them out thinner since they puff up when they bake!  I also baked them on parchment paper - but doubt you'd have to grease the cookie sheet if you didn't want to use parchment!

If you try these, let me know!  I hope you enjoy!




Saturday, February 28, 2015

Yea or Nay?

I recently took a photo of the girls.
 While asking Eloise and Dinah to look at me... 
this is what I got!!


I posted it to Facebook and everyone has been commenting on it.

Here is my question...
Do you think it's appropriate to have this made into a canvas print 
(or something similar) to give to my mother-in-law for her
birthday in March?

It's obviously not your standard "professional" or "posed" portrait!

And if the answer is YES... 
would COLOR or BLACK & WHITE be better?


Needing some opinions here! 
I will not be offended if you tell me not to
use it... I am just trying to see what others might think
if they saw this hanging on someone's wall!

And.. no.. I still never got them to look at the camera for a "nice" picture!
Haha!